When the Plains of Eidolon were released, so was something else. A complete do-over of the Focus schools, the ability trees your Space Kids use. They were reworked and changed up. Everyone got all their Focus points back to spend in the new schools.
The themes of each school remain the same. Unairu is based on tankiness. Naramon focuses on death and melee. Zenurik remains the go-to for all your energy needs. Each school has a combination of passive abilities for Operators (e.g. extra armour, extra movement speed, extra energy regeneration), passive abilities for Warframes and Operators (extra armour, extra affinity on melee kills) and active abilities for Operators, either for their Void Blast ability (bound to E by default) or their Void Dash ability (crouch then jump). You still need to use Operator Mode at the beginning of each mission to get your passive powers started though.
While the schools themselves don’t seem too bad, there are still lots of problems. Firstly, Zenurik is still the best school by a mile. Energy is always useful, and the first two abilities in Zenurik, Energy Pulse and Energizing Dash, are both amazing at just giving you energy. Not as reliable as the old Energy Siphon-esque 4 energy per second all the time Zenurik, but much stronger. The other schools don’t really compare, even with Madurai’s increased affinity radius and Naramon’s ability to make melee combos decay rather than instantly disappear.
On the plus side, some passive abilities can be upgraded to be available no matter what school you use.
The second problem is just how many Focus points you need to unlock these things. Over the average day, I get about ten, maybe twenty thousand focus points? Yeah, that’s not going to get me very far. Most abilities in the Focus schools cost 50,000 points to unlock, need 80,000 points for the next rank, and so on and so forth.
And you can’t just spend all day farming, because there’s a cap on how many Focus points you can get. 100,000 points a day. Which means you need a day and a third to unlock one ability (50,000 Focus points) and level it up by one (generally 80,000 points). And once you’ve maximized an ability to make it available no matter what, that’s going to take you 10 days minimum to get the one million focus to unlock it. The current ‘easy’ way to farm Focus is to have a Night Form Equinox use Sleep on high level Exterminate missions, wait until a Convergence orb pops up (which increases Focus earned for 45 seconds) then kill everything with a long ranged melee weapon, being incredibly careful that nothing wakes up and thus ruins your stealth multiplier.
On top of the new Focus schools, ‘Arcanes’ were added for Operators. Normally Arcanes are items that are won in the two Raids, Law of Retribution and Jordas Verdict (and their nightmare versions) but these new Arcanes can be bought from some bastard in a cave behind Cetus. They cost a fortune to both purchase and make, requiring huge amounts of Sentient Cores to purchase and a ton of rare ingredients. On top of that, you need TEN Arcanes to genuinely make their minor buffs useful! TEN!
Of course, people weren’t really fans of the new Focus. They all thought that costs were too high. So we got Focus 2.5.
Focus 2.5 didn’t do much though. Its main feature was reducing the Focus points needed to upgrade each school, as well as buffing some of the weaker Focus abilities. But you still need 1 million Focus points to unlock the various passives for use in any school, and everything still takes forever to unlock.
Alright, I get that Focus is supposed to be an ‘end-game’ objective to work on. But even then, it’s still tiring. I consider myself an end-game player, I’ve done all the quests so far, I do Sorties daily, I’ve got most Warframes and a good collection of weapons. Yet unless I start dedicating myself to the cheese strategies used to get Focus relatively quickly, it’ll take forever for me to get anywhere.
At the end of the day, it’s a tiring, convoluted mess. The Focus system wastes time trying to make the Operators the powerful Void Demons they’re supposed to be, but locks that power away behind a huge mountain of grinding and tedium.