Yesterday, I had the chance to get a virtual tour of Empyrean that was guided by Rebecca Ford. While most of the virtual tour was already covered in past Warframe Devstreams, like Devstream 134, there were some interesting tidbits.
First of all, at the end of the tour, I asked a question. Scouring social media and the forums I saw was a big concern the community had about matchmaking. My question was about how will the matchmaking for Railjack work if a person with minimal knowledge of Warfame mechanics will be helpful in a Railjack mission. In theory, a person that is new to the game that has only finished the Archwing quest with a Mastery Rank 2, can pop into a Railjack matchmaking session and help.
As players saw in Devstream 134, the Railjack missions are not easy, and they take a large amount of communication to complete. Most games would consider this raid-esque content or “hardcore player” content. How is a new player to Warframe going to contribute to content that a veteran player might have trouble with? During the Devstream, we saw the developers and community managers hit the god-mode button to survive the mission. Granted, their Railjack was level 0, but the player position levels for the Railjack mode were three and four. If the creators of the content were having a hard time with the Railjack mission, we can assume a player at Mastery Rank 2 would have a near-impossible time with the mode? Wouldn’t that become frustrating for the veteran players that are not part of a large clan and want to do Railjack content? We can assume so, but the answer Rebecca gave me explained the systems a lot more and set me at ease as a veteran player.
The matchmaking system for Railjack will have several different options to help players form groups. The matchmaking system will let players cycle through their settings and find what best fits how they want their team to be set up. The way it was explained by Rebecca, the system is a bit more robust than what is already in Warframe. Although, it is not as in-depth as being able to choose positions you want to be filled on your team. Personally, I would love to see the option to pick a pilot, gunner, maintenance person, and away team person. It would be like having roles in any other MMO dungeon looking for group system. That way the person with the Railjack can pick what type of player they will need and that player will know their role upfront without typing it in chat. Overall, Rebecca said the key to a successful Railjack party is having the new players man the Railjack while the veteran players do the away team stuff.
Even with the community concerns over a possible loose matchmaking system that could be frustrating, the developers have said time and time again that the content is doable as a solo player. During the virtual tour, I got to see this first hand. Rebecca went into a mission with no help. I did see another member of the developer team pop in her game session, but they did not move during the mission. I watched Rebecca move from piloting, gunning, putting out the fire, kill boarding team, and then on to an away mission with no help. I do not know if the enemy AI stops shooting your Railjack when you leave, or they wander around your ship looking at Daro’s Deals until you get back. The concerns of matchmaking are real, but I would not put much stake in it, ruining a gaming session if a team is made of a bunch of Mastery Rank 2s.
What to Expect at Launch:
With the launch of Empyrean soon… very soon, there are some new additions to the game we can expect.
- We can expect Railjack positions that you can rank up that does not affect your Mastery Rank. These positions on the ship are tactical, engineering, piloting, and gunnery. When ranked up these positions come with perks. For example, during the virtual tour, Rebecca showed us that a high ranked gunner could go into an augmented reality enabling her to shoot through her ship in a 360-degree area. The augmented reality gives players the option of the gunner seat being able to shoot everything without having to move to different positions on the ship.
- New locations will be added to the star map. The star map for the Railjack is like an overlay of the current map, but with Railjack missions. From the tour, I could see each planet had close to a dozen new mission nodes. The exact number has not been confirmed, but on Earth Proxima, there were ten different nodes.
- The ability to teleport. I am not sure if the teleport function is just for the Railjack missions, but a player can no select teleport through the item wheel. I watched Rebecca teleport from her Archwing in space back to her ship, on her ship to the bridge, and on an away mission enemy ship back to her Railjack. She said teleport gives players the ability to stay with their team, so they are not stuck getting back to the action if needed.
- Points of Interest are being introduced into missions. A normal Warframe mission you might be sent to kill enemies and take over their fleet. Adding PoI’s there is more exploration and objectives to accomplish within one mission node. It will be interesting to see the eight different types of PoI’s that are launching with Empyrean.
What not to Expect at Launch:
- There are more positions for the Railjack confirmed to come at a later date. The only one mentioned so far is called the Command position. If it is anything like Star Trek Online, we can expect perks that will buff our team during Railjack missions. There is little to know information on the Command position, so I can only speculate as to what it will add.
- Lich integration into the game mode. Right now, captured Liches can randomly spawn in missions, but the Warframe developers want to give them a bigger purpose. They want Liches to be part of your crew. It will be interesting to see how far they take the Lich system and what they do with your crew on the Railjack. I want to be able to assign my crew to positions on my Railjack while I wait for the random matchmaking or if I want to play solo. Now I am thinking of Mass Effect…
- More PoIs and more game nodes. With the New War coming in 2020 (hopefully), it will be nice to see where the war will take us and how Railjack becomes an integral part of the war.
The Game Awards:
On December 12, we can expect a huge Warframe announcement from Rebecca Ford at the Game Awards. Hopefully, both Warframe and Rebecca get awards during the ceremony. Just recently, she was on the Forbes List of 30 under 30- Games 2020. On Monday night after 9 pm Eastern Standard Time, she was giving a virtual tour of Warframe. On Tuesday morning, she was on a flight to Los Angeles for the Game Awards. Her hard work and dedication to Warframe is a large part of how great the community interaction is. Her recognition on the Forbes list is well deserved. Besides her amazing work at Digital Extremes, the whole team is ready to take the game to the next level this year. To get an idea as to what to expect, the announcement at the Game Awards will help launch our exceptions into space for 2020. Isn’t Digital Extremes launching a person into space?