Diecast #244: Anthem, Warframe, Mailbag

By Shamus Posted Monday Feb 18, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 104 comments

Thanks to the folks who sent in questions. We still have a few in the queue, but as always the email is in the header image.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:00 Apex Legends

Is the Battle Royale craze over yet? No? Okay, games industry. You can do ONE MORE, and then you need to pick a new fad.

01:45 Anthem Demo

Look, it’s simple. If you want to know who gets to play the game, and when, and for how long, then just consult the following chart:

Some restrictions may apply. Void where prohibited. Use only as directed. All sales final. Do not eat.
Some restrictions may apply. Void where prohibited. Use only as directed. All sales final. Do not eat.

Are we having fun yet?

19:20 Warframe

In the show, I threatened to quit again. But I’m still playing. I seem to have landed in a rut where I’ll do everything that isn’t boss fights, interception missionsInterception is basically impossible to do solo. It’s the control point capture game from Unreal Tournament, but even if you massively out-level the mooks, they can grab all the control points faster than you can murder them., and spy missions. I don’t know how much more content I’ll be able to do before I run out of non-spy, non-boss stuff. I’ve unlocked Saturn, but I’m spending all my time leveling weapons in survival missions on Ceres.

For the curious, the hyper-annoying boss Issac dealt with was Tyl Regor, at the end of Uranus. (And not the end of Jupiter, as I said on the show.)

39:35 Mailbag: Low-effort video.

Dear Diecast,

Shamus: Are you familiar with Noah Gervais? He’s a YouTuber specializing in long form videos, often retrospectives of whole game franchises. His look back at call of duty was particularly interesting for me as I’ve never played any of them. The reason I wanted to bring him to your attention was his style: he simply reads an essay about a game or series of games over some passably relevant footage. In the past you’ve beamoaned the time required to make video content, but I think that Noah proves you can get away with skimping on the editing if the ideas being presented are engaging enough.

Paul: Who would win in a fight between Bink Video and Speedtree?


If you want to watch some Noah Caldwell-Gervais videos yourself, check out his YouTube channel.

44:45 Mailbag: Dad Mode

Hi Diecast,

As a father of two and full-time employee, my gaming time is constrained. To give context, I spent three years playing Witcher 3. Not a complaint, I loved every minute, just how it is. As a result of this limited time my play style tends towards easy level, enjoy the story.

What does frustrate me to no end however, is when games claim to provide this and then don’t. Prey (which I don’t want to pick on because it is fantastic, I just happen to be playing it now) is guilty of this. I have spent 80% of the play-through really soaking up and enjoying the story and being able to fend off most attacks without too much difficulty.

But as we reach the denouement the designers feel compelled to up the ante – movie style – for big and climactic end of game boss fights so to speak. Based on the play style and difficulty setting, this is something a player like me is completely ill-prepared for, and has had me walk away from quite a few games. I am in fact on my second play through of Prey – this time putting more effort into upgrading my skill-trees and searching more nooks and cranies for resources – in the hopes I would not have to give up right at the end again.

Unfortunately I am very close to giving up again anyway, as the sudden difficulty spike in encounters is still overwhelming.

I guess I just want to hear someone talk about this as it’s a real shame for ‘casual’, or part-time gamers like me. We need a new difficulty level – Dad Level.




[1] Interception is basically impossible to do solo. It’s the control point capture game from Unreal Tournament, but even if you massively out-level the mooks, they can grab all the control points faster than you can murder them.

From The Archives:

104 thoughts on “Diecast #244: Anthem, Warframe, Mailbag

  1. Scampi says:

    The industry has one more BR before they have to leave it?
    While I have not played a single one, if there was even one I might have gotten behind, it would have been Spellbreak and by what I have seen, I recommend trying it.
    It looks awesome and I wonder how much synergies the designers might implement. I don’t think they would go beyond the standard 2 elements, but there is so much more potential than that.

    1. Exasperation says:

      Just so everyone’s aware, the industry has now done its “one more battle royale” since Apex Legends.

      …it’s Tetris.

      No, really. In the new Tetris game, 100 people play Tetris simultaneously, competing to be the last one standing.

      1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        And it doesn’t look terrible somehow.

        It’s also giving me flashbacks to Puzzle Pirates.

        1. Exasperation says:

          Yeah, it’s not unlike the swordfighting/brawling minigames, but on a larger scale. I haven’t thought about Puzzle Pirates for a while now.

    2. Scerro says:

      Spellbreak is decent. Shoddy performance plagued the semi-closed alpha, the fighting was fun but the sub-specs were fundamentally broken.

      They’ve been swallowed by the monster that is the Epic Games store, now.

      1. Scampi says:

        Thanks for the info.
        Just had a few looks into it recently, would probably never have played it but liked what I had seen.
        Sounds like a sad tale.

  2. Geebs says:

    Anthem? More like Exanthem, amirite?

    1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

      Soon to be Ex-Anthem.

  3. Tizzy says:

    For the curious, the hyper-annoying boss Issac dealt with was Tyl Regor, at the end of Uranus.

    [Insert obligatory Uranus joke here.]

    1. Hal says:

      I’m sorry, but astronomers renamed Uranus to end that stupid joke once and for all.

      1. Tizzy says:

        Bummer! I did not realize that Warframe was set that far into the future.

        1. Agammamon says:

          What he doesn’t realize is that Warframe is set *so much further* into the future the changed it back because that joke never stops being funny.

  4. Joe says:

    Clearly the answer to your Anthem problem is for all dialogue and notes and such to be read out slowly, regardless of if you’ve heard it all a dozen times before.

    On my first playthrough of Witcher 3, Geralt would encounter someone new, act like they were old friends for five minutes before I could check the journal entry. It was disconcerting, but I went with it. I wonder if the devs expected people to know the books and previous games.

    On the subject of watching LPs, I realised today that there are a lot of average gamers out there. When I first heard of LPs, I thought that the players would have to be pretty good to put themselves out there. No. They ignore prompts, have wonky aim, don’t see the obvious path to take, forget sidequests… It’s a cross between heartening an annoying. Yes, these people are as crap as me. But I’m not putting my ‘skills’ on display.

    1. silver Harloe says:

      Perhaps they aren’t putting their ‘skills’ on display, either. Specifically, I’m implying that *they* aren’t implying that they are particularly skilled, or interested in LPing to demonstrate skill or mastery. It might be possible they’re just having fun and sharing that fun with their friends and if some strangers come along, too, so much the merrier. Just a thought.

      1. Geebs says:

        Obligatory shout out to the Chip and Ironicus LP of MGS:Revengeance, which massively increased my enjoyment by showing off all of the fun stuff there is to do in the game, which I might otherwise have missed.

    2. Scampi says:

      I don’t think LPs have to show elite knowledge or mastery of mechanics.
      I enjoy the enthusiasm of gamers way more than I could someone just elite level playing through a game and besting every challenge easily.
      I had a good laugh when I read about one of my favorite LPers being described as an “elite level gamer” when he obviously is nowhere near that level and his value is more in his personality and being a generally likeable and entertaining person on screen.
      Also: I wouldn’t put “wonky aim” or “ignoring prompts” on the same level as “forgetting side quests”. The first two might make one play less precise and with less skill, but not being a completionist doesn’t make a bad gamer, I believe, and if someone is a good gamer, he won’t become magically a bit better by doing them.
      My first playthrough of GTA San Andreas, for example, was driven purely by my desire to have fun, see the story through to the end and have as much of a good time in the process as possible, which was quite a lot to me.
      When I later went for a 100% playthrough, I had to push myself to doing every single task, including the annoying “fetch quests” with 4 (?) different types of items spread across the world, one of them being invisible to the naked eye and one requiring the player to partake in the diving mechanics, which were imho not very fun outside the obligatory missions (there weren’t fun there either, but at least they had a mechanical use).
      In retrospect, the second playthrough was still overwhelmingly fun, as the game itself was enjoyable to me, but going for the 100% was a huge waste of my time. The same applies to many games that don’t require perfection to complete.
      It even includes the absolute classic Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, where I believe I had avoided the singular task of defeating Biff in boxing. I believe this was the only path to solving a riddle the game offered which I never completed. It appeared to be way too bothersome to try back when I played it.
      Long story short: I wouldn’t claim to be a good or elite gamer but if someone just believes a specific effort not to be worth their time, they don’t magically become bad at gaming.

      1. jbc31187 says:

        If I’m 100% the game like that I use maps. It may be cheating but I don’t see why I should punish myself for something I paid money for. And if it’s just hunting oysters or spray tags I don’t see why I should invest too much time in it.

    3. Lino says:

      LPing is a really tough business. I’ve noticed, that in order to be a successful, you need to be either:

      1. Very, very, VERY good at the game, or
      2. Very, very, VERY entertaining

      The first category encompasses professional players, or people who are very good at a certain type of game. Usually, these guys play a competitive game, and they rarely switch.
      The second group are people who use the game as a vehicle for presenting their own personality. Most successful LPers fall into this category – Pewdiepie, Markplier, or whoever it is the kids are watching these days. They are rarely good at the game in question, and only ever talk about the game if something really interesting is happening on-screen. Their viewers come mainly for their personality – not for the game.
      But what I’ve come to realize is that commenting while playing is very hard, and it really puts a damper on your skills as a player – even pro gamers struggle with it, and stop talking during the challenging parts of the game. So, whenever you watch a Type 2 LPer, bear in mind that they’re probably a lot better off-camera…

      1. Scampi says:

        Interesting. I found out I relaxed and made more sound decisions and moves in general when having someone around to converse with during a game. The same was true for an old roommate who would play best when he got general input and possibly useful advice from someone else.
        From this perspective, I became a worse player when I moved in with my girlfriend, as I couldn’t even pointlessly throw banter at games due to her misinterpreting my words.
        Since we have a rather small apartment, she is always in range to hear me and I play in deadly silence to avoid her randomly deciding to believe I had adressed her, what would, instead only result in distraction, as it would very likely lead to an argument about me disturbing her (she is really bad at multitasking).

        LPing may still be a very different beast if one does it alone, as it’s really easier to play off something or someone tangible, maybe even someone who shares the “burden of dialogue”.

        1. Lino says:

          I guess it depends on the person. But I think the main problem for LPers is the fact that not only do they have to talk, but they also need to make sure what they’re saying is funny and/or interesting. And unlike a normal conversation, where you can easily see if the other person is bored or would like to change the subject, LPers are talking to an empty room.
          A few years ago, I used to watch Game Grumps – an LP channel with two guys playing the game together (usually one of them just watches while the other does the actual playing). Once, one of guys was sick and the other had to record on his own, and he said something along the lines of “Now I see why single-person channels don’t upload as often as we do – when you’re alone, it’s much more exhausting!”
          In that regard, streamers have it a bit easier, since they can have immediate feedback from their chat. But then that brings its own set of problems :D

      2. tremor3258 says:

        And keeping it up is hard too. Things to say during an opening or exposition dump, not so bad. Running commentary out in the open world for the sixteenth time, that’s tricky.

        1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

          The Spoiler Warning crew solve that problem by simply talking about everything EXCEPT the game they’re playing.
          Which seems to work well enough, especially with open-world games.

    4. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Why annoying? How does them being crap at the game hurt you in any way? Full disclosure, I’m neither good nor particularly entertaining and I still “put myself out there”. I primarily did it to not feel crazy running a commentary on a game in my head and also I have a friend with whom I like to talk games but we rarely meet IRL and who likes to have something running along while he’s working, so he watches my VODs and drops comments to which I sometimes reply on FB or when we meet. Without any networking and with a poor setup I still get some occasional viewers, met a couple small time streamers with whom I like to chat about stuff we’re playing through so we visit each other’s channels and sometimes people who are interested in specific games stop by to comment, chat about the game or watch my first reaction to it.

      Now speaking as a consumer those are also the streams I usually go for: people playing through a game for the first time. I don’t care much for skill unless I want to see a guide or be impressed by a speedrun and I do watch some people doing a more in-depth commentaries on YouTube but in terms of observing someone live I like catching that first time reacion to something I liked, disliked or was surprised by.

      1. Boobah says:

        Why annoying?

        Childhood buddy: I remember mixing Molotovs for Ma and Pa when they had to deal with these things.

        Xenobiologist: …and that’s why these xenoforms are vulnerable to excessive heat.

        Love Interest: …love you. And by the way, use FIRE on this next type of enemy.

        (5 minutes later…)

        LPer, firing Ice Beam: Why won’t these things just die?!?

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          But that’s part of the experience of watching someone go through a game blind, sometimes they make mistakes and it’s part of the entertainment. If it doesn’t entertain you, which absolutely fair enough because people have different tastes, than you should probably avoid anything tagged with “blind playthrough”. I was under the impression, perhaps unfairly, that the OP was somehow annoyed by the very idea that people who are “as crap them” “put themselves out there” and wanted to know why.

          On a vaguely related, even with minimal audience the very fact that you’re streaming and talking as you do can be really, really distracting at times, I know I at least one “blanked out” at a quest description, I read it, but was talking at the same time and a sec later I was like “uh… where did that guy tell me to go?”.

  5. Turtlebear says:

    The more I hear about Anthem, the more I realise I am definitely not the target market for Bioware anymore. Probably should have realised in 2010, but better late than never.

    1. Henson says:

      The thing is, I’m not sure what Bioware’s target market is right now. Sure, Anthem is almost certainly not taken from the Story and Character focus of Classic Bioware, but both ME: Andromeda and The Old Republic are, even if they both come with significant flaws. Then again, both of those games came from satellite studios, not the main Edmonton branch. So the question is, does Anthem resemble a Bioware of the future? (assuming they have one)

      1. Agammamon says:

        I think they’re in the same transitional thing that BGS is. Both are moving away from story and character and focusing on shooting. But neither have *focused* on shooting – they’ve just been dropping the story and character.

        So they’re churning out mediocre shooters in a genre that is full of better examples but leaving in enough ‘old school’ RPG stuff (but not enough to make the RPG *work*) to annoy the guys that just want to shoot things with someone telling you bits of story in between the shooty bits.

        In Bioware’s case, they tried to bolt RPG onto a shooter engine and failed. In BGS’ case they’re trying to make an RPG engine work as a ‘live-services’ shooter – and have failed massively.

        1. Chad Miller says:

          This also explains why fallout 4 (and possibly 76, I refuse to play that game) had mechanics that felt like they were cargo-culted from the earlier games without any understanding of why those mechanics existed in the earlier games. Terminals and locks were the worst about this.

    2. Well, I paid for a month of Origin Premier so that I could play Anthem early. I streamed the first couple days but then I stopped to avoid too many story spoilers.

      I’d say that the story is pretty competent, and the game is actually a GOOD GAME. The gameplay is complex enough that I was still figuring out how to properly play my MAIN SUIT with ONE CONFIGURATION by the time I’d FINISHED the main plot.

      I agree with Shamus that it’s a weird game–the lore doesn’t fit together really well, so the story is most awkward AT THE BEGINNING when you’d, you know, WANT it to suck you in. The first dozen or so conversations consist of people repeating the same things over and over in slightly different ways. It’s painful.

      It is hellishly difficult to find some damn people to play with, too, because while you can play with other people you cannot TALK to them aside from voice chat WHEN YOU’RE ON A MISSION, and I am literally the ONLY person I met who would EVER use the voice chat. There’s sort of a “guild” system, but how are you supposed to MEET people to get a guild going? It’s like they expect you to already know people and play with them.

      I suspect they did this in order to avoid the usual “general chat is a cesspit” issue.

      Also, you CAN skip the dialog, you just need to hit ESCAPE instead of SPACE. Also there are weird times when you have to hold down a button to skip something or access something.

      And the game doesn’t bug you about playing solo every time you go on a mission, just the FIRST time after your most recent log in. There are some missions (strongholds and freeplay) that you CANNOT play solo, which, when you see how they work is actually fine.

      My recommendation would be that if you care about story and going at your own pace, you do ALL the plot missions (denoted by a triangular symbol) by yourself. They’re most enjoyable that way, although late in the game this means fighting some obnoxious bosses by yourself that may be tough to do.

      The CONTRACTS (paper icon) are just busy-work missions and you should do those with a group so that you can enjoy playing with people in a situation where those people aren’t obnoxious. And USE YOUR VOICE CHAT. It’s also best if you wait for everyone to finish loading in before you leave the first platform–I’ve actually run across groups of people who did this spontaneously, and it makes the mission SO much more fun for everyone.

      You HAVE to do at least a certain amount of free play to advance the story, and this is probably the best way to learn how to use the different features of your suit(s), so I suggest doing this early when the story is meh.

      1. The interesting thing is that although I’ve finished the main story (so far), they end on an obvious cliffhanger, so it’s obvious that they intend to release more “story packs” that continue the story.

        I think this is actually a pretty cool idea, and they telegraph it quite well. But it also means that if you buy the game LATER, there will be MORE GAME FOR YOU.

  6. War Stories | Blade Runner: Skinjobs, voxels, and future noir.

    Loved the game, and especially how they pulled off what Intel said was not possible with PC gaming back then.

    1. Echo Tango says:


      1. Redrock says:

        And now good luck actually finding a copy and making it run on a modern PC.

        1. lurkey says:

          I actually have a copy. Four discs, I think. Doesn’t run on Win7.

          But! Blade Runner has been blessed with a very high quality Lets Play (by the same dude who did KOTOR2).

  7. Lino says:

    1:03:00 – I think Slay the Spire is the game Paul’s talking about.

    1:06:40 – this sounds a lot like a game called Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime. It’s co-op, and you need to coordinate which parts of the ship to control.

    1. Syal says:

      I’ll guess the card game is Munchkin.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Good guesses. I was thinking of Dominion, but there are quite a few “procedural rules generation” games out there.

        1. Nimrandir says:

          I use Fluxx as an in-class demonstration for my first year seminar students.

  8. Echo Tango says:

    Actually, there are “easy mode”s in Leage of Legends, which are unavailable for tournaments! There’s one mode called “training tool”[1] where it’s just you training with your champion against lanes of mooks, with no enemy champions. You can also do a “custom game”, and just fill the game with AI, and set their “difficulty” rating (or whatever it’s called), to “easy”. As much as I hate the hyper-competitive nature of the community, the game itself is actually reasonably accessible to newer players[2]. :)

    [1] I think. I’m at home right now, and the game doesn’t run in Linux.
    [2] Or players like myself, who quit half a decade ago, and only came back to play with their co-workers at lunch. They changed like…half of the champions that I used to play a lot, so I had either little idea how to use their reworked skills, or counter-productive knowledge, from how their old skills worked.

    1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

      Shame that their culture is a toxic dumpster fire, because the game is actually halfway decent.

  9. John says:

    As I recall, the best strategy in Good Robot was to move slowly, use a gun with bouncing projectiles, and kill enemies at extreme range. Or at least that was the strategy that was most effective for me. I wouldn’t call it game-breaking though. While it might have made the game a little easier, it definitely didn’t make the game easy. Nor did it work very well in most of the boss fights.

  10. Steve C says:

    You mentioned the organic look in Warframe. The warframes (and a lot of other things) are biotech. You got the feeling that they seemed to be people turned inside out. There is a body horror aspect to Warframe. Spoiler for the Umbra questline (late game quest): The warframes *are* basically people turned inside out. The Grineer are clones that have gone wrong from entropy and are falling apart.

    Also the Fortuna robot guys are not paying for upgrades. They are born into debt. They are forced to pawn/sell their organic body parts and use cheaper robot parts that are ultimately not under their control (like a EULA). Their heads are taken as collateral. The organic parts allow wealthy corpus to live for centuries. It is funny through absurdity. But it also body horror.

    1. Hector says:

      Warframe is a game where the Thing (as per the Kurt Russell movie) is actually considered a sideshow. The current horror is so much worse. And that doesn’t even begin to explain the evil if those who used to rule the Solar System.

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      Well, good on the art team then.
      Still doesn’t excuse the busy designs and lack of large scale structure.

      1. Steve C says:

        I feel “excuse” is the wrong word here. I like the art design. Shamus made the same point about someone reviewing Thief– different strokes for different folks. If you got the kind of art you like, I would not get the kind of art I like.

        I personally don’t agree that the ship looks like underwear. Nor do I think the ship looks like a hodgepodge of parts. There are many places in the game that are hodgepodge collections because that is what is supposed to be representing. I’ve seen some drop dead gorgeous in game screenshots people have posted to reddit that I would happy to frame and hang on my wall.

        That said, the art design really fails me when it comes to visual effects of abilities and boss effects. Way too busy for me. I call it “unicorn puke.” I don’t play much anymore because of this more than anything else. However I have to accept that the locations and content I dislike (POE and Fortuna) is actually the most popular in the game. That content more than any other has made Warframe’s player base skyrocket. I’m not going to say they should not do it because I don’t like it.

    3. King Marth says:

      Ahh, Fortuna. What sort of wacky dystopian future would have people go into extreme debt to pay for education upgrades in order to be capable of consideration for low-income labor which barely covers living expenses let alone paying down the mountain of debt? Best not to think about it too closely.

      Given the free-to-play target audience, Fortuna hit a lot of people close to home [citation needed]. Possibly too close, this veers into politics territory, but that is indeed one of the jobs of sci-fi: displaying a logical extreme or analogy in a world distant enough from your own to see it from a different point of view.

    4. Asdasd says:

      Listening to Paul describe it, the name that came to me for the aesthetic he was describing was Muffin-top-punk.

  11. Steve C says:

    The community in Warframe is really good. True endgame in Warframe is players helping players. If you want a hand learning some ropes then I’m sure someone would be willing to help. I’d be happy to teach you some tips and tricks Shamus.

  12. Milo Christiansen says:

    Hearing you talk about Warframe is putting your opinions of other games into question. Honestly, there are so many details you are missing, so much lore, it makes me wonder what you miss in other games.

    I’m very disappointed that a details focused reviewer like you is taking such a shallow look at the game.

    And the crafting times you hate so much? They are balanced around making you come back every day not to make you rush things. Nobody rushes things in Warframe as anything other than a very rare event. You build everything you can, then let it sit in the foundry until you need it.

    As for the bosses, you need more damage. Build a Hek or Vectis, and then look for a good early game build. So many new players use bad weapon with very bad build, and wonder why they are killing so slowly.

    1. Ciennas says:

      I would countersign that if the new players keep picking bad builds and suboptimal weapons, then the game should be able to spell that out better.

      I was able to finally beat Reggie with the Lex Prime (Semi Auto Magnum pistol, for those who don’t play.), and I think the Braton Prime (Well balanced upgrade to the starter auto rifle.) and the…. Dragon(?) Nikana (Katana.)

      I was using Trinity Prime, and had a rando join me.

      The fight took forever, and by the end I was scrounging for pistol ammo because I had run out of all else, and it was the only gun that seemed to do anything to him.

      I’m not a complete neophyte, but even now, aside from setting the gun to ‘eat shields’ and ‘kill it with fire’, I’m not sure what I was doing differently from the last five times I had fought him, other than making sure my gear was all prime variants.

      The game is fun, but it is still so obtuse.

    2. Shamus says:

      “Honestly, there are so many details you are missing, so much lore, it makes me wonder what you miss in other games.”

      Ah the old defense of, “No, it’s really good, you’re just magically missing all the good parts.”

      “And the crafting times you hate so much? They are balanced around making you come back every day not to make you rush things.”

      Well, on more than one occasion I’ve been stuck. I have no new weapons to level*, no new warframes, and I’ve got stuff that won’t be done building until the next day. You can CLAIM that’s there to encourage me to stop playing today when I have time and come back tomorrow when I don’t have time, but I maintain it’s there to sell platinum. We can pretend it’s there to give me a sense of pride and accomplishment or whatever, but I unlocked the Rhino blueprint on Friday morning and I won’t get to try him out until tomorrow morning. That’s completely obnoxious.

      “As for the bosses, you need more damage. ”

      I’ve got both a Hek and a Vectis Prime, but in my experience neither one is as useful as the Boltor. But none of that fixes the problem of the bosses being mechanically dull, irritating, and ultimately shallower than the mook fights.

      * This is to say nothing of the disappointment of crafting a weapon, waiting until the next day, and then discovering you hate it and it isn’t any fun. I built Fragor over the weekend and it was complete garbage and a waste of time.

      1. Daimbert says:

        Dragon Age Inquisitions missions hit that for me, where the mission was going to take until the next day but I had time to play now. The good thing about that was that in general it didn’t leave you with nothing to do — you could still play the game — and so all it did was, ultimately, limit the number of missions you could complete.

      2. King Marth says:

        There’s a lot of stuff in Warframe, enough that you can generally avoid the parts you dislike and focus on the parts you do like, but that doesn’t excuse the bad parts. There was a great Extra Credits about disposable design which perfectly describes Warframe, where you throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks. I imagine this is yet another of the many problems Warframe has with retaining new players; old players have forgotten the frustrating experiences by tuning them out.

        On bosses in particular: They are indeed “puzzle bosses”, or more accurately “invulnerability phase bosses”. The only true bullet-sponge bosses left are Phorid (Infested Invasion) and The Sergeant (Mars), due to how mods increase damage multiplicatively – a primary with maxed +damage, +multishot, and a mix of three +elemental is dealing 2.65 * 2.5 * 3.7 = 24.5125x the damage (at 62 mod capacity so you’d need at least one polarity, Forma or base) with space for convenience features, which more often go into more multipliers like boosting critical chance/damage or fire rate. For a newer player, let’s take a shotgun (cheaper mods to rank up) without the rare multishot mod, so you should be looking at 1.9 * 3.7 = 7.03x damage (42 mod capacity); the moment you get Hell’s Chamber that more than doubles (at 57 mod capacity). Any boss which is simply a collection of hitpoints will be oneshot by an invested player, and depending on who was targeted when the boss was added to the game, they could very well be near-invulnerable to weapons which don’t push the limits of modding. Note also that bosses don’t scale to the number of players, they are the same strength whether you have a squad of one or four, which also changes the damage equation.
        What’s worse, these bosses have obtuse mechanics because you only see them for the first time once – there’s an expected 6-10 runs as you mentioned to get three distinct parts, and most of the new content is previewed on the biweekly developer streams on Twitch (or run on one of the other general play streams they host). There is zero consideration for people going into the fight blind.
        As an invested player, I’m not confident that I could legitimately beat all of the bosses solo. With my ridiculous gear I could probably survive and eventually plink the right spots enough for my next three bullets to wipe their health bar. Ultimately, you’re spending a lot more time in missions like Survival where you’re fighting a bunch of mooks; bosses are less a culmination of that and more a way to completely change pace. They’re a novel experience, but not a particularly fun one, which is indeed a shame.

        Plus side, if all you need to do is clear the boss once to open a juncture, go ahead and group up. You’ll get matched with people who’ve memorized what to do by the last bunch of runs they’ve played, they’ll sweep on through and you’ll get your credit and can go on to the mission types you do enjoy. The game doesn’t give you the option to pay to skip the boss fight itself because that’s a free service you can get at any time; the payment option is to outright buy the Warframe whose parts are dropped by the boss. There’s a lot of games out there with That One Level which isn’t fun but blocks progression because You Must Beat Video Game Levels In Order, at least this one offers convenient ways to skip.

        I’m just happy to see someone pick up Warframe, point out problems from a new perspective, receive feedback, and uncover some new problems as a result. It sounds like wait times really are a deal-breaker, and you’ve made me far more aware of how much selective attention is needed to gloss over huge swaths of broken game to find the parts which keep me coming back. I’d really like to see these thoughts expanded in a proper article, and I think the developers of Warframe actually would read a detailed critical analysis.

        1. Shamus says:

          Thanks so much for the advice!

          I have been torn between two things:

          1) I can play with a group, and the high-level players will kill everything and I won’t learn how to play the game.
          2) I can play solo, and slam face-first into inexplicable difficulty spikes that seem to exist for no reason.

          Based on what you’ve said, it looks like I’m not going to miss out on important learning if I just group up for the bosses. If I stick with the game, I think grouping up just for the bosses would be a good way to make sure I’m learning the game while also smoothing out those spikes.

          1. DrBones says:

            Later content (I’d say most levels from Neptune onward, Sedna and the fourth branch of the Void especially) is astoundingly difficult to solo, especially without a very solid build. By the time you’re done with Uranus, you’re pretty well finished with whatever you can learn solo, and enemy damage reaches the point where just rolling and playing smartly won’t cut it.

            There’s no shame in joining pubs in a game explicitly built around four-player co-op. I’d say soloing in Warframe is about on the same level as soloing in Magicka.

          2. Steve C says:

            That seems like a false choice to me. Yes, if someone plays with random matchmaking they can expect #1. And yes, if someone plays solo while making a mistake they don’t realize, then they can’t fix it and they can expect #2. There are also two other options:

            3)Group with similarly skilled players.
            4)Find a mentor to teach the game.

            Asking in the LFG channel for a compatible group will likely find you someone to play with. Something like, “New player LF other new players to group with on Saturn.” If you find someone who is the same mastery as you, but is outclassing you on stats then you’ll know to ask “How you doing that?” and together you can increase your skill.

            Asking “noob questions” in general chat will often get tons of legitimately helpful responses. There are a lot of high level players who are willing to teach the game. Ask for advice and you will likely receive useful advice. Obviously you shouldn’t beg for things (other than a free Ignis Wraith Blueprint- do beg in chat for that). A lot of players who know what they are doing really do enjoy showing new players the ropes. The real endgame is helping new players.

            Either these mechanics are as broken as they seem to be, or the new user experience is not properly directing new players.

            It is the new user experience. It is crap. The developers have given up on improving it. Steve Sinclair (the guy in charge) has said on camera that the manhours they put into the new player experience does not result in greater player retention. They know it is a mess. Yet statistically it isn’t worth fixing. Not compared to throwing another layer of content onto the pile.

            Given what you’ve said in the Diecast, I really feel like something has been missed. Like maybe you never seen a serration mod drop. Or maybe you’ve never put a potato on anything. Or a dozen other possible unrealized issues. This is absolutely the fault of the game. However the community does make up for it. It is a resource is there and can be used.

            1. Ayrshark says:

              To add to the new user experience being crap, it very much is. They don’t really explain the different elements (heay, cold, electric, toxin) or the combined elements (viral, radiation, blast, gas, magnetic, corrisive) much if at all. You pretty much have to go look at a wiki in order to find out what does what and how much it effects the damage against what type of enemies. Even then it can often feel like you built your non-melee weapons wrong just because certain enemies have tons of armor (thus why corrosive projection is the most used aura mod ever) and/or you didn’t get a head shot. All of that adds up to doing less damage than you think you should be and sometimes not really even knowing why so that you can fix it. Also, sometimes people trash on amazing frames like Mag (can make a magnetic bubble on a targeted enemy that makes bullets that hits that bubble go to the target you used it on, damage other enemies in the bubble with the same bullets, and also multiplies the damage of said bullets which murders the hell out of most bosses if you have decent punch-through). On the other hand you get some amazing combinations that are really fun to use sometimes like the previously mentioned Mag and a Lanka.

            2. Lino says:

              It is the new user experience. It is crap. The developers have given up on improving it. Steve Sinclair (the guy in charge) has said on camera that the manhours they put into the new player experience does not result in greater player retention.

              Thank you so much for sharing that video! I was wondering whether to go back to the game, but now that’s convinced me definitely not to. Now I finally know why Warframe doesn’t even HAVE a new player experience!
              I used to wonder why a game whose mechanics are so different to anything else on the market doesn’t bother to explain any of its systems. But now I know that this isn’t a game for new people – it’s a game for long-time fans and hardcore players who want to get into something new. Which is a shame, since Warframe really has all the systems in place to capture a more casual audience – it wouldn’t even need to dumb the game down – it just needs to create systems to facilitate learning some of its more obtuse mechanics…

    3. Redrock says:

      Uh-oh, fanboy alert. To be fair, I agree with some of your points, especially the crafting wait times, but I think that your post could be a tad less forceful and judgemental. Just a thought.

      1. Milo Christiansen says:

        It just bothers me that this is the second Diecast in a row where Shamus shows off how little he knows about how the game works. It is sad in the extreme.

        1. Shamus says:

          I’m just a person. I play the game. I say what I think. You’ve got this absurd elitist attitude like I’m not supposed to give my opinion on the game until I’ve mastered the mechanics and learned all the lore, and… that’s not how people play videogames, you know? That’s not how opinions work, either.

          Going by what other people have said, all of this is a known problem. The Warframe new player experience is rubbish. Rather than getting mad at new players, maybe just accept that this is a problem with the game? Even if you’re right and I’m wrong about how the game works, you’re not going to convince me that I’m having fun. Something is going wrong with the game. Either these mechanics are as broken as they seem to be, or the new user experience is not properly directing new players.

          The long-form retrospectives where I dissect a game and analyze all the story and mechanics are the result of me playing through a game many times. Sometimes as many as six times, and never less than two. Those articles are weeks in the making. You shouldn’t be surprised that my off-the-cuff reactions to the game don’t follow the same form.

          1. Hector says:

            Hoo boy is it a known problem. Literally every single review I’ve seen of the game has to point that out. Players often point it out. My assumption is that DE has some tough constraints regarding what it can develop. I think they’re nuts toignore the New Player Experience like they have, though. Don’t get me wrong – I loved Fortuna and it’s one of the most technically impressive things in the game despite the netcode issues, but the game is incredibly impenetrable for new players.

            If it helps, you’re right at the start of the best parts of the game AND you won’t have to hit all the bosses going forward. IIRC all planet bosses past Tyl Regor are optional to progression, although it’s a good idea to eventually clear the system map.

          2. Gargamel Le Noir says:

            How dare you form an opinion and share it before having played at least 5 year? Shame!

  13. GM says:

    why are you going for taking focus away from the game and into cutting mode?
    aka oh easy like no combat in mass effect?, which show´s more the problem with the game than having it being great but then i guess it´s better than monetization of pay for this or that so you can get through the game.

    Mind if it´s the easy mode of Dark souls,well just use cheats and discover what that makes the game. uhh the Dagger spam sounds like your saying why the game doesnt have a difficulty mode,i havent played the game through but it sounds like the frustration is something you defeat or you just wont enjoy.

    The sudden difficulty spike sounds like a failure on the designer who put least energy at the end.


    1. Echo Tango says:

      I can’t tell if this is robo-spam that’s cut-pasting other peoples’ comments together, or if this is a real comment… Either way, I certainly can’t tell what point you’re trying to make. :)

      1. Syal says:

        So… assuming it’s a real comment, I think he’s saying Easy Mode and Story Mode is a cheap shortcut to avoid balancing things, any problem solved by easy mode is better solved by tighter game design, and unbalanced gear is no different from having a distinct easy mode.

        So, first things first; when I was very young and even worse at games than I am now, I owned System Shock, and could still enjoy it because it had an option to straight-up turn off the enemies. I enjoyed it more that way than any of my adult attempts at playing through it properly (because I’m still not good at games, especially stealth games).

        The difference between Easy Mode, and normal mode with overpowered combos, is who has the burden of balance. If the game has an easy mode or hard mode, I can play it as min/max as I want to, knowing there’s an easier (or harder) time available. But if I’m trying to set challenges for myself, I have to have a good enough grasp of the game to know what’s broken and what’s not, and what’s necessary and what’s not; you pretty much can’t do that as a player your first time through, because you don’t know if the game requires the Dagger Spam.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      I entirely agree 100%, but also don’t some of the time.

      Can you do am has face with greater difficulty? Or are you triumphant hair-raising and needing too?

      If cutting mode is too easy, you should focus on disturbance. Though monetization is true will. It is better to lose what you do not love than to not be healed.

      1. RFS-81 says:

        My face is tired.

        1. Baron Tanks says:

          Let me preface this by saying I generally don’t enjoy ‘like’ buttons as they encourage to aim for low-hanging fruit jokes. However, there are occasions, such as this one, where it is easier to with a single click acknowledge that you, sir, have won the thread. Rather than leaving this obnoxious lengthy comment.

          Alas, it is not to be.

          1. RFS-81 says:

            I though it *was* a low-hanging fruit after “has face with greater difficulty”, but glad you liked it :)

        2. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I hope you can still manage at lest the “everything is fine” smile.

  14. Daimbert says:

    Persona 5 did difficulty levels pretty well, I think (although except for “The Answer” the modern Persona games have always been pretty good about that). There’s an easier mode than Easy that always lets you retry any fight, and in general even on Easy you have to pay a bit of attention to not be totally screwed over but in general if you have some decent Personas with basic skills you’ll be all right, and your companions always have a progression that you can use as a guide anyway. The big boss fights, especially at the end, are long but not particularly hard, and the only issue you’d have is potentially running yourself out of SP with the semi-pointless battles leading up to it.

    1. Asdasd says:

      I still feel like Goldeneye was the game that got difficulty right. It’s tiresome to lock away story content behind the upper difficulty tiers; presumably the whole point of having difficulty levels is to let everyone reach the end while accommodating their ability. But giving people more objectives increases difficulty in an interesting way while offering both replayability and a natural learning curve.

  15. Viktor says:

    I recommend never playing on Easy your first time through. A well-designed game will teach you skills as you progress, and require using those skills at key points to ensure that you have that ability going forward. The problem is that it seems most games don’t balance the Easy mode*. So those gateway fights, the ones that are supposed to require mastering dodge-rolling or grenade bouncing to progress, a decent player can actually just tank through. This is fine until you hit the late game and run into repeated minibosses that require 3 or 4 separate skills that the Easy player has had no reason to learn yet and now has no chance to. Play on Normal**, that way you’re getting the intended experience AND you can still lower the difficulty if you hit a wall later on, which you can’t do if you’re already on Easy.

    *Why would they? “It’s just Normal except the enemies deal half damage, it’s FINE.”
    **I’ve actually had a couple games where it’s easier if I play on Hard, but those are pretty rare.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’m one of those people who for a long time played games almost exclusively on easy because “so many games, so little time, I’m playing for the story anyway”. With games that I didn’t play for story but sometimes replayed, like X(-)coms, Civs, the Endless series etc. I approached them with the idea that I’m going to see the tech tree, the endings, the gameplay on easy and then bump the difficulty up. It usually did not work and I eventually came to the same conclusion you did, easy mode did NOT teach me the necessary skills, in fact it probably was teaching me all the wrong lessons because once I bumped the difficulty up everything I did on easy was not enough: I was using armies/units that weren’t strong enough to overpower the enemy (because they did on easy), I was not getting the technologies to keep my pops happy (because I had bonuses to happiness on easy), I ignored certain aspects of diplomacy (because on easy the enemy would be more amicable).

      Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with playing a game on easy. Heck, when I got tired of ME3 I bumped the combat down because I just wanted to see the storyline to the end. If someone just wants to play a Total War game cackling evily as their armies wipe the enemies with ease more power to them (I know I like a good cackle every once and then). And if it so happens that easy Xcom is actually the limit of your skill go on and enjoy the game to your heart’s content. I’m just saying that despite popular opinion “easy” doesn’t actually teach you the game most of the time.

  16. Apopei Viorel says:

    I think I have about 1000 hours in Warframe over 4 years, and I think the new player experience for Warframe is terrible.
    It’s one of the biggest recurrent criticism, even coming from within the community. Digital Extremes promises to rework this part later this year, so we’ll have to wait and see how they do.

    I liked the game because of the sci fi weaponry and their previous work on the Unreal Tournament series.
    I despised Anthem’s approach to having realistic ballistic0bullet weapons with sci-fi tech and magic combined. I don’t understand to whom that might cater to?

    Maybe I could some perspective on some of the things you mentioned:

    -The “speedrun meta” where veterans leave new players in the dust exists because the game’s matchmaking does not differentiate between what a “new player” might be or what a “veteran” might be. Most of the veterans speedrun the game because people have crunched the numbers and opening boxes/exploring is just not worth it in the long run when compared to rushing the objective and repeating the mission.

    -The reason why so many of the bosses seem terribly designed is because of the balance. Although I’m sure a lot of people will call me out on this, I think the game suffers from a power creep problem and the bosses “need” to be designed around that. So things like gimmicks , invincibility phases, teleportation, shields etc exist.
    There is a boss called The Sargent who is basically a souped up mook . Even the level 100 version of him dies instantly from anything I could equip to that mission.

    -Something I don’t know if people have mentioned is the fact that you can trade for cash-shop currency in this game, and at a certain level, I think the game’s economy is designed around that. Once you hit a certain level of power and efficiency, you can regularly farm for things to sell on the market and maintain a decent influx of platinum. Rather than using the awful trade window you use a third party marketplace and just play with it running in the background.
    I see it a bit like “PLEX” in EVE Online. You can eventually sustain indefinitely , and not have to put any more money into the game, as well as be able to regularly spend platinum on things like boosters, cosmetics, upgrade parts like Forma and the likes.

    -Another thing that somewhat shapes the economy is a “somewhat” known tidbit:
    One of the random daily login bonuses you can get is a 75% reduction in your next platinum purchase. What most people don’t know is that it’s not really random. Its appearance tends to correspond with long periods of inactivity , so when you take a long break from the game and come back, you have an urge to put money in and enjoy all the new stuff instantly. Pretty much every person I know in-game ONLY purchases platinum with this offer, if they don’t have the patience to earn platinum by trading.

    So in short ,yes. The game can nickle-and-dime you in many ways, but the reason most people (me included) believe it’s fair is the above ability to earn cash shop currency in game (sometimes in large quantities).
    Without the ability to trade for platinum, the game would absolutely be a pay-to-progress/ pay-to-win nightmare.

    As an aside, the first thing I thought of when going to Fortuna all the way back in November was Shamus’s point about the importance of peasant villages, i.e NPC’s with character to contribute to worldbuilding and to give context to your fetch quests . I guess Shamus’ ME retrospective stuck with me in how I look at games.

    It was a nice surprise to hear Shamus’s opinions on the game. I wish he could’ve enjoyed it more, but I understand why he didn’t.

  17. Scerro says:

    Warframe doesn’t really end once you get to the end of the planets. Personally for me it was collecting all the different warframes, I have them all now… it’s been a 1k+ process. All but a small handful are awful.

    Once you complete all the planets you have a daily sortie, you need to finish all the quests (You [b]have[/b] to play through The Second Dream to make any real judgement about the story.)

    Now, I started 3 years ago, nearly 4. It’s been a great game to play, take a 6 month break, and come back to. Developers are fair. The game’s complex and it’s a mish-mash of things, but fantastic once you get far enough in.

    If you haven’t seen it, I recommend watching the No-Clip documentary on Warframe, it’s down your alley. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOE6528pwFc

    1. Lino says:

      You have to play through The Second Dream to make any real judgement about the story.

      You do realize that “The story gets good 40 hours in” isn’t a point in the game’s favour, right? Because that’s how much time you need in order to get to the Second Dream. I think I quit on the planet before Jupiter, partly because the story felt like a bunch of disjointed nonsense. If the game isn’t good enough to keep me engaged for the 40 hours up until that point, that is still a huge problem, and no amount of amazing story can erase that. Because no matter how genius the story becomes, I still have to sit through 40 hours of dross to get there – hours I’m never getting back. And yes, if you know what you’re doing, you can probably get there in 20 hours. But that’s the problem – as a new player I don’t know what I’m doing, and the game doesn’t even try to help me.

      I don’t know why I’m sounding so confrontational – I just really want to get into the game, but I feel like it’s purposely designed to turn off people like me. I’ve watched and read guides, I made myself a cheat-sheet, but alas, it still didn’t help. I really wanted to get to the “good” part of the story that one reviewer even compared to Legacy of Kain. However, I was still in the early game, and the only thing I had to tide me over was the gameplay. But playing the game just felt like a chore – enemies were either going down if I so much as sneezed in their general direction, or were unfun bullet sponges, and the progression system was impregnable, no matter what guide I was reading – guides were either talking about basic principles I already knew, or were comprised of terminology I had to constantly look up on the wiki which, in turn, used even more terminology I had to look up. In the end, I’d actually forget what I was supposed to be reading about :D

      I want to enjoy Warframe, but I just can’t. One of these days, I’m just going to watch the story missions on YouTube…

      1. PeteTimesSix says:

        Ultimately Warframe just isnt a game everyone can enjoy. You have to be able to enjoy the mindless grind of the same set of missions every day or youll just get bored of it.

        As far as the Second Dream goes, it really hurts to say this, because I too personally *hate* when people say “oh it gets good fifty hours in”, but it… it just is That Good. The problem is, Second Dream came out what, three years into the game’s lifetime? So to get to it you have to:
        a) survive the monotonous stuff before it thats the cumulative result of three years worth of incremental updates
        b) trudge through the nonsensical lack-of-plot in the star chart that is the result of most lore before that point being handled through time-limited events (look up the nonsense that is Alad V these days for a good example)
        Alas. I get why so many people give up before they get there, I’d probably have done it if I didnt happen to have a four-year old account (or something like that… I think I quit right before parkour 2.0 hit) with most of the star chart unlocked when I came back to it a year ago after listening to everyone on the Discord I hang out in talk about it for *months*. Its a real shame, though. Warframe post-Second Dream is almost an entirely different game, at least plot-wise.

      2. Steve C says:

        “The story gets good 40 hours in” isn’t a point in the game’s favour, right?

        I disagree. Strongly.
        Warframe had no story at all for the first few years. Just lore and some world building in various places. In that way it was a bit like Dark Souls. It did not need a story. It was still cool. It spawned endless discussions on what it all meant for people who were interested in it. You could deep dive into it if you wanted. And easily ignore it if you just wanted to shoot dudes in the face.

        Having a big impactful quest 40hrs deep is an amazing experience. All those questions you are asking and thinking about finally get an answer. It is a major payoff and emotional. Players still post about how it made them cry. You cannot get that one hour in.

        Other games info dump on the player at the start. They expect the player to magically care about the world and story. Players don’t. Warframe did it different by necessity and by accident. It works so much better than the standard. If anything, I would prefer most games do the story exactly like Warframe did.

        If you view those first 40 hours as dross then it is not the game for you. Those first 40 hours are the meat and potatoes of the game. If you don’t like the core gameplay loop of a game, then that’s fine. Players aren’t playing Warframe for the story. The story was/is a surprising bonus and it is amazing if you already care about the world. Watching a video of Second Dream isn’t going to be anything special without the journey to get there.

        I feel like it’s purposely designed to turn off people like me.

        It would be more accurate to say it isn’t trying to cater to you. The developer made a conscious decision of where to put their resources. They couldn’t do both and made the tradeoff. It may have lost you as a player, yet it kept me playing for years.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          Would you people all Stop! Making! Me! Want! To! Play! This! Game?! I honestly don’t have time for another game that requires daily maintenance.

        2. shoeboxjeddy says:

          Dude, this is a nonsense reply. It is impossible to write a story that is interesting and impactful an hour in? Perhaps you meant that the formula of all the boredom followed by a rewarding payoff was a unique pleasure. Sure… that sounds like getting braces. Describing your video game’s plot as an experience similar to braces is not the selling point you may think it is.

          1. Steve C says:

            I’m talking about the emotional impact. Name one video game where after playing for 1 hour that the most common response is players crying? For example, Lee and Clementine in The Walking Dead. Imagine the entire game now takes one hour. Do you really think that hour would have any kind of emotional impact compared to the actual arc of the game?

            Warframe’s big quest that everyone talks about is not “the story.” It is the climax of the emotional arc. It is the moment at the end of Spec Ops: The Line when something major is revealed that re-frames and re-contextualizes everything you have done up to that point. It is not possible to simply watch all the cutscenes from Spec Ops and expect the ending to have the same kind of emotional impact. The journey of the gameplay is what gets you there emotionally. Reading a wiki will not do anything.

            The difference with Spec Ops is that the story is the core experience. In Warframe it is just a cherry on top and nowhere close to the core experience. But man that cherry is really tasty. It can only be so delicious because it was slow cooked for so long. There is no other way to get it to taste like that.

            You dismiss the core gameplay as boredom. That “boredom” is exactly what millions of other players are playing the game for. If it’s not for you, then it is not for you. Regardless, drop the attitude and the insults. The strawman you used is simply offensive “dude”.

  18. Agammamon says:

    Interception is basically impossible to do solo. It’s the control point capture game from Unreal Tournament, but even if you massively out-level the mooks, they can grab all the control points faster than you can murder them.

    That’s not really true – but its certainly easier with certain frames, like Vauban, Ember, Frost, or Limbo (all of which can leave behind area denial abilities) than with straight DPS frames. But even then if you’re outleveled it can be done. One of the keys is understanding you don’t have to hold *all 4 points* – only three. And really only need to hold the third more often than the enemy does.

    It also helps to have a weapon that can shoot across the map too.

    But really – there’s no excuse for doing them solo (outside of Starchart completing). Just run a PUG – you don’t even have to talk to anyone.

  19. evilmrhenry says:

    Regarding Dad Mode, this seems like a completely different axis than difficulty level, or Tourist Mode or similar. Let’s say you’re playing Path of Exile, the Witcher III, the Borderlands series, or most other open world games: the issue with finishing isn’t the skill level required, the issue is that you need to play over 100 hours for your *character* to be able to complete the game.

    I would consider Dad Mode to be more of an “expected length of experience” level. Some kid who needs the game to last all the way through summer vacation (because they don’t have the money for another game) might want a 1000 hour game, while A Dad Who Has Things To Do may only want a 10 hour game. So, how to do both? Some suggestions:
    * Remove grinding: most RPGs could add an optional xp/loot multiplier so people don’t need to kill every enemy, and rerun completed areas in order for the character to level up. This looks similar to a difficulty level, but it’s a different thing. You get where you are going faster, but you’re not more powerful when you get there. Maybe have a “smart loot” system to make sure you always have level-appropriate gear and such.
    * Make content optional. This doesn’t even need to be an explicit option; when designing a quest-based game, simply go through the quests, and make as many of them optional as possible. (Maybe add a bunch of optional collectables or something.)
    * Add convenience options. Respawn at death location instead of last checkpoint, fast travel, movement speed upgrades, skip common animations, etc.
    * Create a focus on short games with good replayability.

    With The Witcher III, most of that wouldn’t actually help, because the actual issue there is that the game has a LOT of good content, with very little filler, and Ross actually wanted to experience all of it. (Although the option of a faster horse or other ways to travel between locations faster might help.) However, most 100+ hour games have a significant amount of grinding involved, and could be condensed without losing much interesting content.

    I don’t expect anyone to actually implement this, though. Companies are mostly going for a strategy of a $60 base game, with a bunch of DLC, preferably designed to take up all your free time in order to create a market for their microtransactions, and having a Dad Mode runs completely counter to this strategy.

  20. DeadlyDark says:

    8 hour video from Shamus? Mauler would approve, I bet. Not that I’d be against it as well, no sir

    I remember trying to watch Noah some time ago. I watched his Crysis and Mafia videos (I played both series’ first two games). Can’t say I liked these videos, mostly because he didn’t say things I didn’t consider myself, so for me it was nothing new, plus he said couple things that I thought is a wrong assessment. But I must say, after finishing Dragon Age Inquisition, a month ago, I watched his videos on it and I felt they were a little better, at least he noticed few things I missed.

    As a long form format, though, I like JA, Mauler, Chris Davis, MatthewMatosis. Honorable mention goes to HaphazardStuff for his Bond series (for Dalton-Brosnan-Craig movies).

    1. DeadlyDark says:

      I forgot to add NerdSlayer. His series about dead MMOs is quite interesting

      1. Lino says:

        +1 on NerdSlayer – I haven’t really watched the others much (I don’t have time for long videos anymore :( )
        I’d also add MandakireGamingf- his style is definitely not for everybody, but he covers a lot of games I wouldn’t have otherwise heard of.

        1. tmtvl says:

          Yeah, MandaloreGaming is cool. I think I’d also add Raycevick to the list, although his reviews/analyses aren’t quite as long form.

          1. DeadlyDark says:

            I knew I forgot someone. Though yeah, length of his videos more on the middle, compared to others

  21. I have been playing Anthem since the “demo” (for better or worse) and discovered that the conversations ARE skippable.

    You have to use the ESC key.

    Or maybe it’s the F key?

    It’s one of those. I just button-mashed in frustration until I got out of the conversation.

    Some of the dialogue in this game is so insipid that I’d mash my face against the keyboard if I thought it would make the characters shut up.

    1. Mr. Wolf says:

      Personally, I apply cat to the keyboard and hope for the best.

  22. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    Shamus : Hey guys, could you please try to keep your mailbag questions on the short side?
    Diecaster :
    Chapter 1 : Origins

    As I took my first breath in the year of our Lord 1985, I didn’t realize that 33 years later I would play a game that would…..

    Man, it’s like something about this website attracts long winded people or something!

    1. Geebs says:

      This is brilliant

  23. Kubic says:

    Shamus, interception is VERY easy to do solo. The thing to keep in mind is NEVER try to defend a node, if there is another node you can capture instead. Warframes’ mobility means you can capture all 4 nodes solo easily then you can run around and kill stuff defend. Interception is actually one of the easiest missions to solo, with practically any frame.

  24. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I stare at that Anthem timetable and I can’t help but be like “What the actual F?!” Is the idea to give the “best paying customer” an advantage since it’s a multiplayer game? Is it to let those customers enjoy the game before the inevitable login problems on release day? At least it’s not as bad as single player games having different release dates in different countries on the same digital platform but still, do we really have to deal with this kind of nonsense?

    (For the record I have no intention of buying Anthem personally)

    1. It’s not really an advantage because, unlike most online games it’s not a grindfest with an insane power curve where people who have been playing for months are so enormously more powerful than newbies. You get a little stronger, but only a little. Most of your power comes from practice and skillful use of your abilities, NOT from having powerful stuff. You know what you mostly earn by grinding a ton? Cosmetics.

      A casual and an uber-badass can EASILY play together without holding one another back. You can always contribute to the group even if it’s just by throwing a few force bubbles down and rezzing downed teammates and picking up puzzle pieces.

      It feels like a casual-oriented game, actually, where you hop on, play a mission or two or do some freeplay, maybe run a stronghold, and then go off and do something else. It doesn’t seem to be designed with the idea that you’ll play for hours every day.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Oh… this actually somehow escaped my attention. So basically another reason for me to not be interested, I like having stuff to work towards so if I’m to commit to something for months or years I actually prefer it to have a bit of a grindy element.

        1. There’s plenty of stuff to *do*, it’s just that the *power curve* isn’t very sharp, so you can play with people who are far behind or far ahead and still be useful.

          Or, if they’re feeling overwhelmed, you can switch to one of your crappier suits to play with people. One of the biggest things to do is to get gear together for your new suits as you unlock them–I’m finding it VERY difficult to play just the three I have unlocked. My Colossus is far in advance of what my Ranger and my Storm can do.

          The gear that drops for you is appropriate to your current suit, so to gear out other suits you have to play those suits.

          1. Interestingly, this “no gear for off suits” thing also means that if they want to give “oldies” something to work on without a big content release (or between big content releases), they can opt to release a new javelin type (which they’ve mentioned they may very well do). Some major play options are not currently covered–there’s no stealth suit, no “guns master” suit (where your abilities buff your weapons instead of being completely alternate attacks), no healer, no debuffer/crowd controller, no summoner, no trapper, and while there is a sniper RIFLE, there isn’t really any functional long-range sniper-focused option that I’ve seen yet. So there’s quite a lot they could still bring out.

            1. Sleeping Dragon says:

              Oh sure, I don’t diss the game entirely, just saying it’s not my thing, I like watching numbers grow and in most multiplayer games need constant character progression to keep me occupied with the game.

  25. boz says:

    Now that this post is a bit drowned in site I’ll link you this Shamus

    This is a better Begginers Guide. Just read the Quick Start part if you are in a rush or bored.

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