Eidolon hunts are cool. You follow a massive, wailing monster across the Plains, breaking it down bit by bit until it screams, falls silent and rises into the air, subdued by your lures and dragged off into nothingness. It’s really… quite horrific when you think about it, as the Teralyst just wanders around the Plains mourning the loss of its family and doing nothing else until we attack it. Then we capture it using a bunch of horrible Grineer drones and the spirits of their own mini brethren.
But the problem is, if you want to kill an Eidolon or Eidolons in a timely manner, you need to follow a meta. A very strict meta. You need a Chroma, a Volt, a Trinity and a Harrow. And you also need a specific gilded amp (known as the 223 for the rank of the compoments required – although I think this has changed between the time of writing and publishing) and specific focus school abilities (Void Strike from Madurai and Void Wisp from Unairu). But even with these basic meta items, you need specific builds as well, with high damage single-target weapons, all with Radiation damage (or Electricity damage if everyone is using Corrosive Corruption auras).
Deviation from this meta is… tricky. There is no real way to alter it. No matter what, you spend most of your time using your Operator, so for speed reasons, you need Volt’s electric shield so Operator amps do more damage. Void Strike does help with this since you can “charge up” your damage, but those shields the Eidolon has are huge. Unfortunately, there is nothing else in Warframe capable of buffing Operators in the same way Volt can. Sure, you can leave Volt out but the time spent destroying Eidolon shields almost doubles.
Then there’s Chroma. Once those shields are down, you need to take out the Eidolon’s limbs, but they are INSANELY well armoured and have a huge amount of health. They also need to be shot out and can’t really be targeted by Warframe abilities, so you need someone who can boost their gun’s damage. This limits you to a handful of options, and Chroma’s damage boost outshines everything else. Rhino is an option since he buffs team mates more easily but he can’t reach the insane damage buffs that Chroma can. Mesa requires too much time to build her damage up and is otherwise too flimsy.
The third role is generally of status immunity, to try and protect your Warframes and Operators from the waves of magnetic death that Eidolons spew. At the same time, they generally have a secondary role and need to offer damage and healing huffs to team mates. Again, there are only two Warframes who can offer that to the entire team. Harrow and Oberon are the only frames who can do this, and Harrow offers crit chance, while Oberon provides healing and extra damage if he uses Smite Infusion to give allies extra Radiation damage.
The last role is the lamest. Trinity is really the only person capable of babysitting lures and keeping them alive easily. Blessing is easy to apply and also gives damage resistance to all it heals. But the role is also a very demanding one since without lures filled with the souls of dead Vomvalysts, you end up wasting time chasing your Eidolons around the plains, as they teleport away if you don’t have lures to ground them. There’s only one other frame capable of making sure lures don’t die and that’s Limbo, but he is far, far harder to use in an already demanding role.
The thing is, everyone already has this uber strict meta sorted out. It’s almost impossible to try anything new. But it’s not just because of players, the fight itself is incredibly strict, with very little that actually works.
I mean, of course you can take non-meta frames and weapons and all sorts, but the biggest part of the fight, getting through the shields, takes forever. When you only have a limited amount of time to get your Eidolons down and captured, you don’t want to spend forever doing the boring job of shooting as your Operator.
The really sad thing though, with the meta, you have almost no time to… actually shoot an Eidolon with your Warframe. You follow the meta so you can get your rewards nice and fast, but then the Not-Operator phase lasts literally seconds. You don’t follow the meta, you spend forever destroying Eidolon shields and the Not-Operator phase lasts… well, a little bit longer.
But you have so little time. You’re racing the Eidolons and time and your own team mates. There’s no space to try new things, and if those things don’t work, you waste precious time going to and from Cetus.
It’s a shame really. I just wish there was more room for experimentation.