Warframe is all about cooperation. Whether I’m playing with my husband or a group of four friends, we all work together to take down waves of enemies and big bosses. But I have a Warframe problem that makes me a liability. His name is Gauss, and he is my fast son.
In order to understand my problem, you have to understand a little bit about Warframe. The game allows players to choose “Warframes,” which are essentially mecha-ninjas. Each Warframe is like a champion in League of Legends or a hero from Overwatch; they have their own unique abilities and mechanics. Every Warframe has the power of “gun” and “flip”; they all share a same set of core mechanics, but their unique ability sets mean they play quite differently in practice.
Gauss’ abilities are all centered around speed, but I couldn’t tell you the best way to use them, because I am focused nearly entirely on one ability: Mach Rush. I had to check and see what that ability is named, because to me, it’s essentially a glowing red button that says “GO FAST,” and when I hit it, my brain makes dopamine and serotonin.
If I were a restaurant reviewer, I would write glowing praise on the texture and headiness of going fast as Gauss. Everything is a blur. There’s a pleasant whirring noise and the rush of air. It feels great.
I haven’t had such a potent and powerful love affair with an ability since Mass Effect’s Charge. The Vanguard class unlocked the ability in Mass Effect 2, and it was even better in Mass Effect 3 and that game’s multiplayer mode.
In Mass Effect 3, I would bounce from target to target like a pinball of murder, up until the point where I was murdered, which tended to average out to approximately 30 seconds later. I use Charge on everything: mobs, minibosses, big bosses, bosses with insta-kills that only triggered in melee... So, after a period of hollering and howling from my friends, we decided perhaps it would be for the best if I did not play Vanguard any more.
You might think that this would affect my ways, but hoo boy, buddy, do I have some bad news for you about the ability for shame to change my future behavior.
Gauss hits all the same buttons for me, and since Warframe is a cooperative game, I absolutely should not be running far ahead of my group, faster than they could ever go, and then charging into the enemy, or the objective zone. I’m not intentionally trolling, my brain just completely blanks out when I play Gauss, and everything is replaced by the following flow chart:
And so, much to my chagrin, Gauss has to go up on the shelf along with the Mass Effect Vanguard.
I hope that I am not the only person out there, but part of me suspects that this problem runs deeper than anyone suspects. We all get furious at the Yasuo players in our League of Legends games, or the Hanzo mains in Overwatch. Every MMO or competitive game has one particular class of character that has two attributes:
- They are extremely fun to play and allow for big, triumphant moments for the player
- They are absolutely terrible for the rest of the team to deal with
For my dumb ass, that character happens to be Gauss, or indeed, anyone who is capable of going fast and smashing into people like a charging bull. That doesn’t mean Gauss is universally a problem.
But it does raise the question of how designers can manage these characters. Some powers are just so potent, so thrilling, that they must be wielded with extreme care. Do you dole these out to your fanbase, regardless of the anguish they must cause? Do developers even realize the potentially terrible results of a kit that’s way too fun?
Until I know the answers to these questions, I regret to admit that I need to hang Gauss back up. He’s not for me, and can never be for me. Not while he’s capable of going so gosh dang fast, or while I’m so weak and so easily tempted by that speed.