Matching Language in PR

Digital Extremes recently announced a major retuning, and rebalancing to one of the core systems for Warframe related to damage. This is something the community has been asking for for ages. There are 3 base damage types. All 3 have various utilities, but in practice 1 is objectively superior. So why did the announcement of a system to bring the other 2 get such a huge backlash from the community?

The announcement simply failed to use the language of the community. Instead it spoke about the change in the language of game designers without offering a bridge between the two.

For the community the core issue is understood that slash damage is superior, because its utility is that it does more, scaling, and stacking damage. The other two damage types, impact and puncture, have utility, but they do not enhance damage.

The designers at DE saw this, and rightfully drew the conclusion that slash’s utility is overpowered compared to the other two. Similarly the words “scaling” and “stacking” were a red flag set against two others that didn’t scale or stack. This combination of mechanics is enough to make any designer nervous. Trying to balance mechanics that can be summarized with different Big O notation sounds insane.

So naturally DE focused on bringing the 3 in line with each other. Impact, and puncture were buffed so that they scale as well, and slash received a moderate nerf. Slash is still the only one that adds damage. But this is a game where some of the most competitive classes, and weapons are used for utility over pure damage options.

But so far the community reaction on Reddit has been staunchly negative. They have no specific numbers, and no experience with the system in practice. But most are convinced that this solution misses the point, and fails to address the problem.

It’s telling that most of these comments don’t even discuss the content of DE’s announcement. In the world of Reddit this issue is discussed as slash’s ability to “ignore armor”. The word “armor” does not appear anywhere in DE’s announcement. By contrast some form of the word “scale” appears 6 times.

That’s it. Most of this comes down to players thinking DE misunderstood the problem, because the designers described it in their own terms, not the community’s. At the very least this language should have been used as a starting point to explain the designers’ understanding of the problem’s source.

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