Io was one of my favourite maps in Warframe. It was the Defense tile on Jupiter, set in the Gas City. The same tile was also occasionally used for Interception, but Io in particular is only a defense mission. For a long time, it was one of my favourite maps, but now, it’s a completely different beast.
The old Io was… not a big map. Well, it was big and not big at the same time. Like the Ceres Shipyard defense room, you need to take a massive elevator up to the map itself, but the old Io tileset was far, far more open. It’s basically a massive room overlooking a bright orange void and enemies rush up to the control point. I mean, you can see exactly where the enemies spawn. But the uniqueness of this map was that you basically had line of sight of most enemies on the map, but you could easily kill most of them.
The map itself isn’t that complicated or anything. Your cryopod is on the top of a platform, there’s a little bit of cover and you’ve got the high ground. Even if you don’t have someone who can nuke the whole map, like Saryn or Equinox, you still have plenty of cover and can funnel enemies in. Sometimes an enemy will get stuck, but it’s insanely easy to find a stuck enemy and murder them.
That map though no longer exists. It got replaced, alongside the rest of the Gas City tile set, with a brand new, slightly less orange look. One of the major things is that everything is bigger and more vertical.
The new Io though, it’s… a mess. It’s a very large map with levels all over the place. The only things that are the same are the lift to get to the cryopod and the fact that there is a tall, thin structure below the cryopod.
I think the issue with the map is that enemies come from everywhere, towards a cryopod that has basically no cover aside from a few storage crates. You have enemies running in above and below. Heck, a bunch of them literally swing down on a zip line from the same area where the players run in. They spawn everywhere but with no real flow to how and where they spawn. Sometimes you’ll have a big bunch of them spawn in the hollow areas under the stairs where you enter the main room. Sometimes they’ll flood in from the zip line. Sometimes they’ll go under the cryopod and up and round.
But at the same time, there’s a lot of space that feels wasted. The map feels huge, even if it’s quite small compared to other tiles in the Gas City. I feel like this map was designed for Interception first and Defense later, rather than the other way around for old Io. Then again, the old Io map, when used for Interception, is insanely chaotic and a genuine challenge since the spawns are so close. I wouldn’t say it was good for Interception, but it was fun. Especially in Sorties.
This means that the flow of the fight is kinda weird. You’ll be shooting at an area and suddenly a bunch more enemies spawn behind you. It’s a situation that you can deal with, but it’s a pain in the ass as enemies can easily slip by.
On the one hand, the old Io map was pretty bland, but it was clean and straightforward. The new Io map is a bit of a paradox, feeling too big and too small at the same time, with too few and too many enemies and paths at the same time.
Sadly though, old Io is gone forever.