Glassmaker - A Symphony of Poor Design Philosophy
Glassmaker - A Symphony of Poor Design Philosophy Foreword
I read your feedback and tend to agree. The intro was long and unnecessary. I expected much worse than what I got and am thankful for that. So I'll just say this. I know this is nothing more than a long rant. I wrote it because I felt like writing it.
Failing From The Start
(A player's perspective on the design and development philosophy of Digital Extremes as it pertains to Warframe) Premise
What is the premise of Glassmaker? The gameplay premise I mean, the idea that "investigating" is fun. Ok, I'll bite, sounds interesting. Where do you start on the path to incorporating the feel of player discovery and investigation into Warframe? Well, according to DE it starts with abolishing the very notion of the kind of game Warframe is. Gameplay
The Glassmaker is built with a set of gameplay mechanics that fail to make even the smallest bit of sense in the world of Warframe. Movement is restricted to a crawl, you can not jump, you can not slide, you can not dash, you can not crouch, you can not use your operator, and you have no access to your Warframe abilities. This is Warframe right? Someone, probably many people, at Digital Extremes sat down, talked about this, thought about it, tossed it around and some how landed on the premise that the most engaging way for players to interact with their new investigative content would be to strip them of everything that makes Warframe what it is, lock them into a borderline on rails experience and slow gameplay down to a literal crawl.
This is ironically intrinsic to Warframe gameplay though isn't it? Almost every piece of new content we get absolutely defecates on the core of the Warframe gameplay experience and it seems to be a lesson DE refuses to learn. Archwing, Lunaro, PvP, Operators, Railjack, "Heavy Weapons", K-Drives, Liches, Deimos... one sin after another continuously compounded by the weight of DE's inability to understand that its players want to play Warframe. Not Tony Hawk, Not Call of Duty, not World of Warships, not NBA 2K11, and not Monster Hunter World. We want to play Warframe and despite continuously releasing systems that see high traffic day 1 that quickly plummets to barely being what you could consider "participation" they just keep coming up with new ways to make gameplay experiences that are everything but Warframe. I'm all for changing it up every once in a while but DE you gotta learn the lesson here... We love Warframe. Design Philosophy, or Lack There Of
The choices that were made after the core gameplay was established are more confusing and offensive to me than the gameplay it self. It is as if someone brought in Delores Umbridge and told her to make this as unfun as is possible.
How appropriate I guess. Every single new experience that has come to Warframe since I began playing 7 years ago has been plagued with "This would be great if they didn't ruin it by doing this-itis" Archwing would've been great if the controls weren't terrible. PvP would've been great if it was even remotely possible to balance. Heavy Guns would've been great if they came anywhere near approaching the power levels of Melee weapons. Operators would have been great if their movement and health made it nearly impossible to survive for more than a split second. I could go on for days about everything that has just been completely in opposition to it self as it launched cough Scarlet Spear cough but I won't. Suffice it to say that DE proves time and time again that it can't release a piece of content without crippling it to the core first and sapping all the potential fun out of it first. DE is too afraid of the players breaking content that they won't even risk letting their players have any fun any more. Hide and Seek
The player must search for objects, objects that are small, hidden, difficult to see, carry no indicator of where they might be until you're already staring at them, have color schemes and patterns that blend them into the muddle color pallet of the game spaces they are placed in, and who's placement follows no kind of logic or design pattern.
This is heavily indicative of DE's tendency to design things that work but just don't make a lot of sense. If I had a dime for everytime I've run up against a problem in Warframe and went "Why isn't this just built like this instead" I'd be retired and not ranting about Warframe RNG, the only thing players hate more than Knock Back
To make matters even worse, what the object is AND where it is located are essentially random or at best, not predictable. So these incredibly difficult to locate objects are hidden in such a way that you can't even Youtube or wiki a guide to finding them if you're struggling. What purpose did this serve other than to frustrate the player?
I can't count the number of times the Warframe devs have had to get on Dev Stream and apologize for implementing unnecessarily punishing RNG into the game. You think they'd learn... RNG is a necessary evil it is not a good gameplay mechanic. It is designed to punish players who do not sink time into the game to encourage players to sink time into the game. It should not be relied upon to tell stories, encourage player engagement or gate content progression. The Radar Is Jammed
As if to add insult to injury the player is given what by all rights should have been an indicator to the location of these objects, a pulse of light that emanates from the player every few moments as if to emulate sonar or radar of some sort however the joke is on the player as this emanation serves absolutely no functional purpose (or if it does, it was broken for me on every single Glassmaker story step because it did nothing).
I don't actually have a way to tie this to a pattern in bad gameplay decisions DE is making except to say it is in and of it self an example of confusing, contrarian, expectation subversion for the sake of subversion that I just can not wrap my head around. Proper Investigation Is checks notes Uneducated Guessing?
Given that there is no predictability to which object you will be searching for, where it might be located, that there is no indicator to help find them, and that there is no design logic in their placement the player is left to literally wander aimlessly around the room feeling lost and hopeless with no way to reason out where to go but simply hoping to stumble upon these objects.
This is a good example of DE going "We wanted to give players the feeling of being an investigator and uncovering a story" and then doing the exact opposite of that. You can see this constantly in Warframe designs... Volt the Warframe meant to be all about electricity was primarily just a speed Warframe and the god damn speed Warframe they released is predominantly a stationary crowd control frame. I could just go down the list of every Warframe that was sold on a premise they don't and can't fulfil but we all play the game. We all know. We just stopped talking about it because DE has proven over and over again that they just don't care. This Will Be On The Test
Not only must the player find these randomly placed, difficult to locate objects but the player must also commit to memory features of these objects that becoming increasingly vague and difficult to discern as the story progresses. In the most recent Glassmaker part 5 for example several of the objects have absolutely no indication as to what about them you are meant to remember. The Legem comes to mind. It has a symbol but unless you already know that symbol is not unique then you are looking at an item with no highlights, no indications, no evidence what so ever that would point to the feature about the item you are meant to remember, which would be fine had Digital Extremes not spent the previous 4 story missions highlighting in bright colors the things you were meant to remember about the objects. DE was responsible for setting the expectation that the player would have some kind of indication and then strands the player without them.
Many of you will not remember a time when Warframe did not have even 10% of the in game info that it has now but Warframe was born into the gaming universe as a game that made it's fan maintained "wiki" a necessity for gameplay. You simply could not play early Warframe without the Wiki because most of the information you relied upon to make good decisions or any decisions simply wasn't available in game or was so incredibly inconvenient to find that the Wiki was the better choice 100% of the time. Worse than that, the Wiki is often actually more accurate than the in game info represented inside Warframe (I'm looking at you Shotgun status calculation). DE's reliance on the Wiki to serve players information that should be in the game has gone from being a quirk of having a complex game to a simple sin of laziness. I pray for any new player who tries to play this game without the Wiki up on a second screen 100% of the time. No Time To Explain
At no point, during any of this, even the very first part does the game actually explain any of this. All the way up to passing the investigation, navigating the platforms, and killing the boss. Not a single thing is explained by any source in the game. This would be perfectly fine if this gameplay followed in logic, pattern, or style anything that had ever been put into Warframe in the past but obviously it does not so fumbling your way through this and failing repeatedly until you give up and google it is basically the expectation here.
I could just refer you back to my previous statement about how Digital Extremes relies on the Wiki to delivery nearly 100% of all necessary gameplay information to it's players but I'll go a step further and say often when information is included in game it's either accidentally or intentionally incredibly vague. I'm betting on the latter. We Don't Play Our Own Game
I am convinced, 100% convinced that DE does not consistently play their own game, or if they do, they do it completely differently to how their players do. The "boss" fight for Nihil is a perfect example of this. You enter this fight (with no explanation, no indication that it's even a boss, and no obvious mechanics of course, and you are presented with an enemy shooting at you and FINALLY you have your movement back at least. Now, this is DE so obviously you can't Warframe the dude to death because screw you this is our game and you'll play it how we want you to, but you quickly pick up on the idea that you have to dodge these relatively difficult to see projectiles that will slow you into oblivion. Sure. No Problem. I'm a Warframe with slide and bullet jump and aim glide and dodge and ooooooooooooh whoah slow down there buddy. Getting a bit ahead of our selves aren't we? See these projectiles (that you have to dodge while not looking at them because it's impossible to aim glide backwards, dodge forwards, watch this projectile, and land on the platform) they can actually hit you while bullet jumping/dodging at full speed. In fact they will hit you 50% of the time. I tested this. The first shot misses, the second hits. Every time. In actuality what you are supposed to do is stand still. Yeah... stand still.. because get this, despite the fact that the projectile can hit you moving in air at full speed you can actually side step them incredibly easily and it dawned on me... this is how they intended you to play and I realized this because he will destroy the platform you're standing on so you're meant to stand still, wait, dodge, wait, dodge, wait, dodge to another platform and rinse and repeat this incredibly boring slow paced infantile excuse for a boss battle.
I've seen this time and time again on stream.. DE Megan rolling around like a pill bug with A.D.D. or Reb slowly aim gliding her way through the air like nothing is actually dangerous (it isn't, she plays with god mode on). The problem is well this is the worst, least efficient, least effective, least fun way to play this game. No.. if you watch a real player play (and by real player I mean literally anyone else. Just pick a rando on Twitch or Youtube, doesn't matter, they all play the same) then you'll quickly see Warframe is a game about extreme speed movement, dodging, clever repositioning, winging backwards shots at enemies as you fly by them, racing to objectives, and completing missions as fast as humanly possible. I know DE wanted to create a space "ninja" fantasy stealth game with cover and slow paced thoughtful combat and all that shit but face it DE, that's not what you made. That's not what Warframe is.
I love Warframe. I hate pieces of it with every fiber of my being, but Warframe.. what Warframe is supposed to be at it's core is amazing and that's what keeps me coming back despite my developing distaste for it's development team, messy releases, community patronization, and low effort unimaginative "innovations". (Except you DE Steve, keep that shit up, Warframe is beautiful and I still get excited hearing you talk about graphics improvements just for christ's sake stop making jokes we make about you like they aren't about you. When you look at the screen and go "Soon, right hahaha like DE soon or real soon" it makes me want to stop playing for weeks at a time. You don't get to be a part of the joke when you are the joke. Fix things and then you can get in on laugh but it just feels bad to hear you laughing at our expense and make no mistake it is at our expense)
Digital Extremes... please stop trying to turn Warframe into everything but what it is and get back to making Warframe better, more stable, and more fun or admit to the community that you don't want to make Warframe anymore. That's all I'm asking for. Give me a reason to hope for the future of the game or disappoint me now so I can leave Warframe behind me.
P.S. Keep in mind that after the Tencent announcement you are on thin ice for a lot of players. Many of us are waiting for anything that even smells like the intrusion of Tencent's toxic presence into Warframe and we are ready to jump ship to stop our selves from supporting directly or indirectly the single largest cancer the video game industry has. Now is not the time to make mistakes you plan on apologizing for later because I imagine there won't be a lot of forgiveness to be had if you start becoming the evil that players are afraid Tencent will make you.
submitted by SpartanG01
I served as a Security Forces Specialist, guarding gates, monitoring alarms, and doing entry-level police work for two years at Kadena Air Base, in Japan. This was a difficult place for me. I don't drink and I don't enjoy partying, but that was the SF culture at Kadena. I had a couple people I tentatively called friends, but I irritated or annoyed them I think a little too much for us to get as close as we could have been - and let's be honest, that was entirely my fault. I was a little...well...a lot...stuck up as a young Airman. I resented everyone and everything around me, and thought I was the greatest thing thing sliced bread. Or at least since the toaster oven. I hated Kadena. I'd rather eat a guidon, stick, pennant, and all, than go back there. It was the worst two years of my enlistment. To give you an idea, we used to walk through tall grass at Kadena because there was a rule that if you were bitten by a Habu snake, you had to leave the island within 72 hours of recovery and you were never allowed to return, because the anti-venom only worked once. Tall grass has a higher probability of snakes, so we went through there. I met my friend Anna at Kadena. To be honest, we didn't interact much. The most memorable moments were when, after an exercise that had us working a straight week of 16 hour shifts, I swore out loud as she came up to my post to relieve me because our Desk Sergeant had announced a re-mount (have to stay an hour or so after work for who knows why). The swear I used was a slur that could have reasonably been applied to her, but in this case was not. I simply chose it because it was a swear. Anna challenged me on it, and I both realized what happened and apologized. Anna could have ruined my entire career right there, had she reported me to EO. But, probably realizing I was a dumb kid, she didn't. Phew. Months later, I was escorting a...visitor...of the opposite gender...out of our dorms, and we crossed paths with Anna, who was waiting on a friend. Now, this was the type of visitor you would be embarrassed to be caught with. The kind that would have ruined my reputation and formed an excellent source of gossip for SF across the base. SF is notorious for this sort of thing. Anna never said a word to anyone. It's small, and it's simple, but it speaks volumes about her character, given the environment we were serving in.
On October 19, 2015, Anna went to the armory and accepted her Beretta M9 sidearm for work. She proceeded to the clearing barrel, and under the watchful gaze of the attendant, loaded her pistol. She then went outside. Because she was a police patrol, nobody noticed she was missing until Guard Mount started. This is basically the SF version of reporting accountability in the morning - the formation SF goes into to get daily news and then post to work. The Flight Chief posted everyone and tried to hail Anna on the radio. She didn't reply. So, the Flight Chief figured something was up, and notified the First Sergeant. This is not normal procedure. Normal procedure is to send a runner to someone's house if they don't show up and aren't answering the phone - so this tells us that someone somewhere knew that Anna was not doing okay. The First Sergeant and Flight Chief went to Anna's home, and knocked on her door. There was one single gunshot from inside. She died as they forced her door. I don't pretend to know what went on in Anna's life that made her feel like there was only one way out. I don't know why she didn't reach out to her peers for help, or the chaplains. I wonder, of course. I wonder about it a lot, to be honest. Sometimes, when I'm having a particularly down day, I wonder if that interaction at Kadena, the one where I used a slur that applied to her, did it cross her mind while she sat on her bed, contemplating her service weapon? Did I contribute, in some way, to the choice she made?
I thought about it the next year, too. I was recently married, deployed to a relatively safe area, and fighting constantly with my now ex-wife. You see, at the time, she was suicidal. I would work a 12ish hour workday, then come home (due to the time difference) and stay up to listen to her over facebook voice chat as she described to me the different ideations she had had that day. Driving off the freeway, hanging, throwing herself off the cliffs near base. Accusing me of cheating with an ex, demanding I stop talking to my female friends, you know the type. Accusing me of mental abuse, detailing in what ways I was a bad husband, all that fun jazz. It was not a particularly fun deployment. My birthday rolled around. I had decided that I was going to work a half day (I had a unique job deployed), head to lunch at the Army tent (they had better food) with my Intel buddy who worked in the same building, then go to my barracks room and play Transformice or some other dumb game to whittle away time. Maybe I'd go for a run. Tom and I set off for the Army dining tent. About halfway there, my work phone rang. There had been a suicide. Because I was the Investigator on the base, I needed to respond. AFOSI handled the scene, as I'm just some po-dunk SF Investigator, but I provided material support and at their request, I helped process the scene and body. It was an officer from a maintenance squadron. She had written two suicide notes; one in English and the other Spanish. Then, she hung herself. She had two sets of ligature marks - lines pressed into the flesh around her neck, with different states of lividity. The agent I was assisting at the time explained that they were different because one line was made while she was still alive, and the second was a different color because it had happened after she died. I asked how that could happen if we didn't suspect foul play, and he explained that she must have changed her mind partway through the handing and gotten some purchase on the wall or floor, but was too weak to relieve enough pressure, so she passed out and slumped down - causing the second set of marks higher on her throat. Her boyfriend worked on the base, and was deployed with her. Agents collected him and put him into an OSI interview room - but couldn't tell him why, because her Next of Kin hadn't been notified. It took us around ten hours to process the body. He stayed in that interview room for about six of those hours not knowing why he was being detained by AFOSI, only to learn that his girlfriend had committed suicide. I remember reading the news stories about it from Fox and CNN. They didn't know what had happened - only that a USAF member had died while deployed. Comment sections speculated, wondering if it was an accident, whether something was being covered up or swept under the rug, or whether it was a combat-related death. I remember that made me so angry. She didn't even exist to them; she was just some name, some number, some piece of quick news they'd forget in ten seconds. She left a broken-hearted squadron, grieving family and friends, and haunted agents. She looked kind of like my wife. That evening I called my wife and told her I wanted a divorce. You see, as I walked home from the body, noting with some interest that I had sweat so much that my blue dress shirt had white salt buildup from the sweat in some of the creases, I had this soundbite playing over and over in my head: "I will not come home to this."
The Air Force dubbed 2019 the Year of the Defender; a year dedicated to glorifying the SF job and initiating positive reforms to the SF career field including new equipment, updated training, and a change in the selection process. In the same year, thirteen Defenders killed themselves.
I understand we are in college and many of us are Cadets, not yet even considered Airmen, but know that the real world is right around the corner. It's coming at us fast and hard like a freight train - and the silly decisions we make as POC that make the GMC scoff will morph into decisions that will affect the atmosphere and day-to-day lives of our Airmen. A flippant comment when someone mentions they're feeling depressed, or telling someone to suck it up and get over it when they've told you they don't see a path to go on, that can impact many, many lives. It's not a neat statistic. Many of the folks we see on Facebook doing 22-a-day push up challenges personally served with someone who committed suicide. It's very, very real to us. I understand we're young, but we have to think before we speak, before we post. We have to practice considering our words before we put them out there now, so when we do put on those gold bars, we don't inadvertently hurt one of our Airmen.
The two instances I wrote about are real. I obscured locations and changed names to protect their privacy and the privacy of their families.
tl;dr - Regret lasts forever. Reading this lasts about five minutes. Read it.
submitted by feralsmile