Warframe of Mind: Should Digital Extremes ditch RNG in endgame loot drops?

    
36

Here’s a question for you: Should a game that eschewed random loot boxes at the request of players use RNG loot drops for rare endgame items? Does it make sense to strip the hated randomness from one aspect of the game but leave it in elsewhere? This is the situation we are looking at in Warframe today.

Early in Warframe’s development players made it abundantly clear that they were not one bit happy about RNG in their store purchases, even for something as small and inexpensive as a dye color. So Digital Extremes pulled these types of items then, and pulled more again as recently as this past week when the essential mod bundles replaced the random mod pack. Now lootboxes in game and random packs in the store are non-existent. However, when it comes to collecting cosmetics and important components for frame building in the endgame, RNG still rules the roost — and it frustrates players.

So is there a better way? I think so.

Where the RNG hurts

So it might seem really weird to ask to remove one of the most fundamental aspects of MMO play: random loot. But this isn’t really a request to remove all RNG everywhere; it’s fine to have in the regular resource hunting as you play through missions, but it is not good for the specific, hard-to-obtain endgame items.

Where is the RNG the most painful? Consensus seems to be that the ephemera cosmetics are one sore spot, as are the Korrudo weapon, the Aura Forma, and the Wolf of Saturn Six. With the exception of one ephemera, Bleeding Body, the drop rates for those items are between 1.01% and 5%. And that’s not even counting the RNG of the necessary boss/mob showing up in your instance! Poor Smoking Body not only has a low drop rate coupled with a low chance of the rare enemy showing, but you also have to deal with the low RNG chance of getting the Ash Systems from a rare enemy in order to build it! Yeah, I’ll never see that.

The new Korrudo weapon has a 5% or less chance to drop only from killing a high-level variant of a Tusk Thumper on Plains of Eidolon, which in itself is beholden to RNG to even spawn. The blueprint and items from the Wolf of Saturn Six are in the same boat — but this boat sprung a few leaks! Not only is it rare for the boss to appear (and there’s only a 2% or 4% chance for the items to drop), but this fight needs more specific weapons and loadouts in order to kill this boss — loadouts that were likely not in use because they were geared toward the mission at hand instead! Can you just imagine going weeks without seeing the boss, then the one time you get him to show you can’t even come close to killing him? Talk about frustration!

The Aura Forma seems to have the best chances, as it has a 1.5% chance to drop during the first wave of Arbitration, then increases to 4.5% in each wave after the third. One is even a guaranteed reward from the Operation: Hostile Mergers event that is currently running until June 3rd.

How to change

It’s exactly how the Aura Forma RNG is being done right now that gives us a glimpse of how this can all be done better all the time. And as noted above, Digital Extremes has already set a precedent for ditching RNG, first with the dye packs and more recently with the Jovian Concord Update that included the removal of random mod packs. The studio also listens to player feedback and frustrations, already offering some adjustments to the RNG dilemma, such as the Aura Forma event, having the Wolf of Saturn Six event that made the boss a guaranteed show for a short time, and making some ephemera like Spring Step and Fae Path more widely available. I applaud that the studio is responsive to players and feedback, but I don’t think this is quite enough. I think DE could do a bit better.

As mentioned before, I think that the RNG to get most basic building materials as you work through the various missions is fine. The grinding itself does not feel bad on the lesser items because you know with time you will gather what you need at a fairly regular clip. However, there are certain items that players need to collect that can take forever — if you are lucky enough to actually get them to drop! It’s that final grind of epic proportions for specific goodies that drives players insane. When farming crosses the line between “endgame activity that keeps folks playing” to “frustration inducer that drives players away,” it’s a problem. And overly punishing RNG, such as in these instances, is problem. Then you are getting the exact opposite of what you set out to do.

So let’s look at how the Aura Forma looting is set up. One, it has a guaranteed reward for an achievement. I think players would be much more receptive to having the items be tied to an achievement instead of RNG. I don’t mean to say to make it easy. You could probably make it a set “kill 10,000 enemies” task and people would like that better than fighting that many and getting nothing. For bosses that rarely appear, make it a lower number of killing them for the achievement, or for completing the relevant instance a certain number of times. The events that make the boss a guaranteed spawn is nice, but that’s just a short-term band-aid. Instead, make it so after running the instance so many times (with or without the random boss spawn), have the next instance the guaranteed spawn.

Sure, some folks are extra lucky and could maybe gather all they need in the first 500 they kill. However, how fun do you think it would be for those who — like myself — are so unlucky that they wouldn’t find a piece in the entirety of that grind? None at all. There seriously are few things more disheartening than spending weeks, even months, grinding out something to try to get “the thing.” You feel hopeless, and you start to resent the game. So make getting access to these rewards based on repeatable achievements, so that after a certain amount of time and work players know they will get the reward.

But that’s not all. What if they could get that reward and then some?

Best of both worlds

Maybe you are that lucky person who finds many awesome items thanks to the RNG and you make a living off fueling the economy with your finds. Don’t worry, my idea isn’t to leave you and your 12 die of Luck of the Universe out. I think you can have the best of both worlds (I mean, if you ever could use the term “best” in regards to RNG). While we’re lost in the grind, DE should go ahead and reward folks with those random extras. Keep the RNG in the grind as well, just make sure there is also the guaranteed prize at the end so folks can truly feel that all that effort will pay off. I think that encourages folks to continue farming and reduces the frustration of never being rewarded.

What do you think? What’s the most frustrating farming grind you’ve done in Warframe?

Pick a ‘Frame, any ‘Frame! The Warframe galaxy is in danger, Tenno, and Space Mom needs help to combat it. Are you in the right Warframe of Mind to join in? MJ Guthrie has enlisted; she suits up in her favorite ‘Frames biweekly to fight the good fight, blasting the Grineer and Infected into smithereens.
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
gamesahoy

If I was DE, I would double down on the rng tonfix rng. Stuff like a bonus roulette in the beginning of each game that gives the squad boost to resource, drop, or spawn chance.
Resorting to kill count is fine. But should not fall into it constantly

Reader
exorouge23

Farming the blue things for the intact cores was not hard at all especially if you have ivara…just steal a core from them and then kill them for another so you are getting 2 out of each of the blue dudes instead of one….for me it was just catching the night cycles since they are so short. I think equinox was the most difficult frame for me to get because of the number of parts it takes to make her and of course rng.

Reader
Anton Mochalin

I think we have quite a healthy discussion here so why don’t we help MJ to find other topics we Warframe players would like to discuss. I’d propose:
– What kind of content we’d like to see added more? Story quests, new tilesets, open world zones, weapons and frames, cosmetics, new game modes?
– Isn’t most of Warframe content a little bit too easy? Do we need some challenging content requiring a lot of skill / mechanics knowledge / squad coordination?
– Do we need a more or less working PvP mode in Warframe?

Reader
Johnathan Hagelstein

I try to never go into a mission with one goal. If I’m only going in for the end drop, I throw a forma on something, make sure I have the right syndicate regalia and make it also about leveling and experimenting with previously forgoten MR fodder. If I know I can easily repeat the mission solo, maybe I’ll offer newer players to carry (especially if there’s other rewards that would be useful but I already have or something), or see how many times I can run it in a time limit, or run it with randoms and see what happens. If you’re already looking at warframe as an RNG grind… then that’s all it’ll be, but that’s not for lack of content or initiative on the part of the developers (there’s TONS of content), that’s on the individual. However, I wouldn’t mind some more ways to affect the RNG table, like making radiant relics… but for bosses or other missions… but that’s because I have more love for the game than I have time to play it. (Stupid work)

Reader
Jynx Beaudry

Actually, the reason they got rid of the colour thing was because SOMEONE USED IT TOO MUCH. [Edited by mod; please review our commenting code.]

xpsync
Reader
xpsync

Farmed Juggernaut for days, and days, and nothing, my son says i’ll come and bring my Nekros, first drop, WTF?

That was a weird moment, elated i got my drop but at the same moment i really felt like i had wasted days and days of playing. Like really first drop???

One thing i thought of back then was that if something is for example a 2% drop that it ALSO has a xx% (50% as example) chance to drop say a token, as you play you are accumulating tokens and at xx (98 as example) tokens you can buy the drop from a vendor.

I love grinding, and grinding is not a terrible thing when you love the content or whatever you are doing, but a sub system such as above prevents burnout as you know you’ll get it eventually, a solid carrot to follow and who knows you might luck out and get it first drop.

I’ve had that happen too, all prepared to grind hard for something, all stoked up and ready, psyched myself up, LET’S DO THIS! it drops… that is not an exciting moment tbh, as it felt too easy, like someone just gave it to you, a let down, i wanted to work for it a little. lol

Overall grinding isn’t bad, but when luck isn’t on your side… yea i don’t need to explain that one lol, i really feel they should facilitate a system such as tokens, this way you know one day you will, plus that feeling that all your time and effort counts, and veterans can’t say you didn’t pay your dues either.

kjempff
Reader
kjempff

Rng is the backbone of all good games. Every game without rng is a bland unrewarding experience.

Reader
Steven F Jackson

Or as they do in WoW dungeons and raids, start at 5 percent and each boss kill it goes up another 5 percent until you get a drop, then resets, in a dungeon that would give ne about 3 boss drops in 2 dungeons….just a thought

Dalishal
Reader
Dalishal

For the second part of your questions: Revenant was the worst grind for me so far in Warframe. Grinding reputation just to build a frame is a bridge too far for me. I don’t mind the 12 hours for each part then 3 days for the frame, I grind prime parts while I wait. But making me grind eidolons with my crappy mote amp was just excruciating. I had the frame parts built for months before I could build the whole frame just because my reputation with the *redacted* faction wasn’t high enough.
For the first part of your question. The having to double grind is worse than RNG. DE is using this reputation before frame grinding as a time sink to extend content. As in my first example that bothers me more than RNG. I only have so much time. Grinding rep is very unrewarding until you pass certain checkpoints. Imagine, I spend multiple nights just chasing eidolons around, I’m talking the little ones with the faces because I still have a mote amp, only to then do the quest to build Revenant. I spent so many resources for one frame that just didn’t seem worth it. Grinding out Equinox was more rewarding and that took me 3 months.

Reader
Skine

From the sounds of it you just need better gear since it took only like a couple days to farm equinox. Not just play the mission once and quit that’s not how it works.

Dalishal
Reader
Dalishal

See not everyone wants to grind one mission over and over again for hours. Some people move on when things don’t drop and come back. And that is how it works if one chooses. And not everyone has time to grind a game for hours. I may want to, but my kids actually need a parent. Also equinox has like 8 parts to her not the prime version the regular one. So think about RNG for 8 parts. The night aspect blueprint just would not drop for me. Just for the record I have close to 500 hours in Warframe. Still a baby really but I do know how the game works.

Reader
Anton Mochalin

Well it’s around 500hrs in game that people realize Warframe is about doing many things and not grinding for one particular thing for a long time; or at least grinding for several things at once. Did you at least bring a Dragon Key with you to those Derelict missions? Did you farm Kavat genetic codes there?

Really it’s a best way to ruin the Warframe experience – to grind for one specific thing many missions in a row. Or to speedrun to some goal like I did when I tried to get MR14 before Baro’s Supra Vandal offer was gone. I didn’t want to play Warframe for more than a week after that.

Reader
Jynx Beaudry

Then don’t play loot shooters

Reader
Anton Mochalin

You could easily get those Intact cores for the Quills standing from Vomvalysts which die from 2 Mote amp shots. Your problem was I guess low MR so you had a low daily standing cap. So if Revenant wasn’t available for your MR at all I guess you wouldn’t have this problem and would just consider Revenant quest a higher level content like you have level requirement for dungeons in MMORPGs. But you were given the choice to either grind for Revenant for longer or do some other content till you have higher MR.

Dalishal
Reader
Dalishal

The nightly standing cap was rarely a difficulty, I am MR 14. It was boredom and time. It takes a really long time to grind out the small cores to level rep just focusing on chasing around those things. MCgamerCZ said in one of his videos he thought it would be crazy for someone to farm the little Eidolons to level Quills rep due to the time it takes. In total it took me about…5 months total to get him if I factor in playing the sacrifice, fortuna, Chimera, farming prime frames I wanted, Nightwave bounties and so on. Or was it longer? I bought the crystals to make the larger crystals during plague star…Boss fights are way more time efficient and fun for me. My time is more precious to me than achievements in a electronic world. I have a finite amount of time each night to play videogames and Warframe is not the only game I play. My tenacity is why I finally got him, not because it was easy or fun. The actual Revenant quest was actually fun, the grind to get the quest was not.
Going back to MJ’s original question, if I was an average player who does not read a wiki or watch videos how long do you think I would stick with this? How many folks that play the game now do you think are MR20 or higher? If someone is coming to the game now do you think focusing on building quills rep of all of the faction rep in the game is where they would put their time after star chart completion? How does one choose to do that over syndicates? Or choose POE over Fortuna or simaris or so on? If so is the gameplay itself enough to entertain someone for the days it may take them to do it? I’m not even talking about the fact that it is not always night in Cetus when one may get time to play.

Reader
Anton Mochalin

I did all that stuff ~2 months ago and I’m MR15 and it took around a week or so to farm the Quills standing from 0 to Observer which gives Revenant quest. I joined Teralyst hunting parties (the bounty appears in Konzu’s list when you get first tier standing with the Quills and then it’s just automatic matchmaking) and was just shooting Vomvalysts and collecting cores and trying to help a bit with the Eidolons. An average party does 2 Teralysts in one mission and as you know Teralysts and accompanying Vomvalysts drop quite a lot of cores while you fight them. It took maybe 8 or so such missions to get enough cores. Now that you wrote your answer I just don’t know why it took so long for you, maybe you really were very unlucky to enter the game when it was day in Cetus all the time.

Reader
Vangel Trajkovski

Ok. First of all i dissagree with the removal of RNG, think of all the playes who farmed for hours to the the specific item(like me) and it suddenly becomes easy, anyway the korrudo is easy to farm, the rare thumper always spawns on the higest level bountie, 5% drop chance is ok, Ash is one of the esiest to get frames just run around and eventualy you will figure it out that you have him ready to build. The RNG removal from the shop wich uses real money for random mods, has nothing to do with the mission RNG. There was 3 days of a wolf hunting event that dropped a lot of hammers, ephemera are just cosmethics that dont realy matter so i dont know why they are RNG based, but the biggest problems were not mentioned like the harrow farm or the octavia farm. Also 10k kils is not that bid of a number, you could even call it easy. It feels wrong reading someones personal issues with the game and trying to say its a problem for the whole community.