The release of new content for massively multiplayer online games rarely goes well, even for hybrids such as Warframe published by Digital Extremes. On Friday, DE opened up the floodgates to a bunch of new parts of the game, just in time for the onrush of criticism to arrive for the weekend as players got to try out what got added.
The release of “Beasts of the Sanctuary” unleashed a Warframe, Khora, a new game mode, Sanctuary Onslaught, three new weapons and parts for craftable weapons. The update also let loose the dogs (and cats) of client crash bugs and what the community felt was a mediocre showing in Khora’s power set.
The hype for this release has been unrelenting and interest in Khora started some months ago during a developer livestream where DE communicates with its core audience and players. As that time stretched out, the company changed some of what players expected from Khora and this has led to some part of the critical response — below is an outline of some of the criticism and how DE employees have worked (over the weekened) to commmunicate about how it will be addressed.
The warframe Khora would become a dominatrix-like frame who would whips and chains to subdue the enemy. At her side, Venari, a void-summoned cat that would use its teeth and claws to shred enemies bound by Khora’s chains.
She arrived closed to expected: whips, chains and cat – known as a kavat in Warframe — all part of her interesting power set.
At the same time, other parts of the update appear to be suffering from flaws that the community has also chafed against.
Sanctuary Onslaught launched with game-breaking crash bugs that affect a significant number of people in the community. Although the new mode is fun and people have shown a lot of interest in playing it – Onslaught is a frenetic environmental shooting gallery mode that involves killing as fast as you can in interesting environments – the crashes strip players of rewards making the mode a gamble.
The Friday launch means that the DE teams cannot get into the code to discover the origin of the crashes to start fixing them until Monday.
However, where the response to this update from community and DE really begins to deliver is with the reaction to Khora.
As a warframe, much of the community expected Khora to ship with an exalted whip – basically a warframe power that turns into a weapon. She did not, probably because the development studio changed directions on a mechanics update mid-production of Khora and the whip could not be implemented properly.
The rest of her design, however, also did not sit well because players did not agree with how the powers worked. The sentiment across the community seemed to bend towards claiming Khora came across as interesting but weak and that her powers did not synergize well with one another.
This sort of opinion became the foundation of community sentiment and was noticed by Scott McGregor, design director at Digital Extremes.
More work to be done on Khora, sifting through feedback over the weekend.
— Grineeer (@GooseDE) April 21, 2018
He quickly came to a conclusion that certain parts of how Khora works currently do not mesh well. Not simply with expectations of her function – as a warframe who carries a whip and summons a vicious cat to do her bidding – but also shipped with some bugs that affected her operation.
In his commentary, McGregor mentioned that Khora’s powers will get a quick rework that focuses more on her cat. Venari is a signature of Khora and having the cat underpowered really seems to take away a lot of what makes her function. Also, he mentioned, that he might try to work on how the other powers synergize together.
“Changes I like so far: inverting 1-2 combo, instead of breaking 2 it probably should boost or expand the reach of 2, removing duration on venari as at least a first step, consider making her out perm and reworking 3 as mode switch,” he wrote on Twitter about upcoming reworks. Finally, he added, “Check kavat mods for bugs.”
Quite Shy, YouTuber and Warframe commentator, and Tiffany Versailles brought up that a lot of mods for kavat cats do not work properly on the summoned kitty. McGregor responded that this should not be the case and thus brought him to add that the mods must be checked for bugs.
He also addressed that Khora has a whip attack (her first power) and her second ability is a sort of snare that locks down a single enemy and draws in others nearby. However, hitting a snared enemy with a whip causes the snare to break.
Many in the community felt this was too much like other already existing powers and suggested it instead cause the snare to spread. McGregor agrees in his thoughts on how to fix up Khora’s power set.
Much love and huge appreciation for all the work that goes into everything! Especially on a weekend!
— H3dsh0t (@_H3dsh0t) April 21, 2018
In the MMO industry, this sort of rapid reply from someone very high up on a design team is almost unheard of. It’s even more telling that this entire conversation happened on the Saturday after the release, April 21.
It involved McGregor posting that he understood there were problems, soliciting advice from the community and then actively commenting on how he might approach fixes.
Although many people looking at the surface of forums, Reddit, Twitter and other spaces might think that the community is constantly boiling over with criticism and anger at the company. This sort of community-sourced feedback shows an industry unexpected responsibility taken by what is probably an extremely rocky release.
Warframe is a game played by over 38 million registered users, as of 2018, and since its launch has seen the release of 53 warframes. Each one has its own qualities, quirks and power sets – and some of them have themselves seen much-needed reworks.
It is not uncommon that a recently-released frame would get attention and changes. In fact, Gara, the last released glass-based warframe, had its ultimate power – Gara’s namesake glass wall – changed as to better fit her expected play style.
With McGregor, and by extension Digital Extremes, communicating a readiness to examine and listen to community feedback and criticism it shows a rarified quality about DE’s culture.
This post first appeared on Guild Wars 2 Heart Of Thorns Reveals Pact Commande, please read the originial post: here