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Suggestions for Warframe Mod System

January 3, 2014

The most important thing when creating a mod system is creating interesting tradeoffs for the player. Mods should be balanced, in the sense that some should be better than others for some guns, but not for all guns. Using the same build for gun after gun defeats the purpose of having many different mods and customization. Having different mod stats for various gun types (shotgun, pistol, rifle, etc.) needlessly complicates things and creates a situation where, for example, Piercing Hit is useless for rifles, but No Return is viable for pistols, seemingly for no reason at all.

Damage and Multishot
The damage mods are too powerful and encourage using the same build over and over, especially for unpotatoed weapons. Pistols and Rifles should all be limited to 10% per rank, for a maximum of +110 at rank 10. Melee can be left as it is, since those mods only go to rank 5 and you have to chose between killing blow and pressure point. Shotguns also go to rank 5, but also have Blaze. If the Point Blank were kept the same and Blaze was changed to 10% base damage per level, that would bring the total base damage for shotguns to 130%. It’s 20% higher, but more costly and requires two mod slots, so I think that’s fair. Additionally, that would bring Blaze in line with the “2/3rds the effect” rule for dual mods compared to their component mods. Corrupted base damage should also be limited to 10%.

Multishot is more or less equivalent to more damage, with the chance of not getting the extra bullet occasionally. Since they are typically so expensive, I don’t think they need to be changed. Barrel diffusion is overpowered, especially in conjunction with Lethal Torrent (+180% total – double the multishot of other weapons). If Barrel Diffusion were reduced to 15% per level, that would be more reasonable.

Crit builds
Crit mods should be standardized at +15% per rank with a maximum cost of 9 at rank 5 for both crit damage and crit chance (what Blunderbuss is now). That would make crit builds more viable for melee and shotguns while making them less OP for rifles. Now that the Grataka has been buffed, it doesn’t need the +150%/+120% rifle crit mods. The Soma and Synapse are the two highest DPS weapons in the game, so limiting them wouldn’t be too detrimental.

Physical damage mods
Right now, physical damage mods such as No Return, Shredder, etc are terrible. There’s no reason to mince words. Let’s start with the Hind, which has 10 puncture, 10 slash and 10 impact. If you put a maxed “Piercing Hit” mod on it and you get +3 damage. 3. For a maxed mod. In comparison, put Cryo Rounds on and you get +27.

Some options:
A: Dramatically increase the physical damage mods. At least to +15% per level to match elemental damages, but if you don’t do the other two suggestions, they could be increased to +20% per rank.
B: Decrease the cost of all physical damage mods to that of pistols: 2 at rank 0, 7 at rank 5.
C: Calculate the increase for the physical damage mod based on the base damage, not on the matched damage type. In our example, Piercing hit would add 30% of 30 for +9 puncture.
D: Allow Physical damage increases to count towards base damage. In our example, Piercing hit would increase the effective base damage of the Hind to 33 for the purposes of calculating other elemental damages. I am personally opposed to this idea, but I include it for consideration because it’s interesting.

Don’t do all these suggestions or the physical damage mods would be overpowered. 2 of the 4 should be sufficient.

Fire Rate, Reload and Magazine Size
Each of these mods increasing the number of shots a Tenno can fire in a given amount of time. While they increase damage, they also decrease ammo economy. Because of that disadvantage, they should give slightly more of a DPS boost than an elemental mod.

The formula for total DPS = (Bullet Damage x Magazine Size) / (Time to empty the clip and reload)
Cycle time = (Magazine Size / Fire Rate) + Reload Speed

The takeaway from the formula is that no matter what base stats of the weapon are, no weapon will get a greater than a 10% boost to DPS from a 10% fire rate/reload/magazine size mod. With the average weapon, it is closer to half that bonus. If base damage is 10% per level and elemental damage is 15% per level, these mods should be 20 or 25% per level to be balanced.

If we use the MK 1 Braton as an example, a 30% increase to the magazine size results in a measly 4.5% increase in overall DPS. While it increases the magazine by a lot, most of the time in the cycle is firing anyway, and so it doesn’t result in a large increase in damage. Even the best rifles to use magazine mods on only get around a 12% increase in DPS from them. Magazine mods should be increased to 25% per level.

Reload mods are a bit different because people often reload unspent magazines and also you can be staggered between reloads which causes you to you have to start over from the beginning. 10-15% per rank would be fine for reload mods. The 5% per rank for rifles is a joke.

Fire Rate should be a 15% bonus per rank with a base cost of 4 (like Shotgun Spazz now).

Other comments
Add some D polarity mods for weapons. Status and Cold are not enough for the D polarity to be useful. Perhaps fire rate/reload/magazine mods could be D.

Add some V polarity mods for Warframes. Stretch, Streamline, Flow, Narrow Minded and Overextended should be V.

Before I get flayed in the comments for nerfing everything, these changes increase some mods and decrease others. The overall DPS wouldn’t necessarily change if you updated your build appropriately. If they did reduce damage overall, scaling could be adjusted.

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