Vauban is a sad, sad Warframe. Over the years, Vauban has become weaker and weaker and weaker. Not because he has been nerfed repeatedly, but because so many other frames have come out over the years that provide better crowd control than Vauban does and almost all other frames have better ways of dealing damage to enemies. Not to mention the fact that the best crowd control tends to be death, which Vauban doesn’t really deal in.
There’s a secondary issue too, that Vauban doesn’t really fit his theme. Vauban is named after Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, a French military engineer whose “…design principles served as the dominant model of fortification for nearly 100 years…” (Wikipedia). But Warframe’s Vauban just kinda has grenades and, uh, more grenades.
So yes, Vauban is in desperate need of a rework. Far more than any other frame. People can bitch about other frames but they all have uses. Vauban… has, well, bounce pads. And electric grenades that do no damage.
Before we start, I’m going to point out that I don’t actually play Vauban, but frankly, no one really plays Vauban.
Tesla, Vauban’s first ability, is completely superseded by other abilities these days, and charging it to increase status chance is a shitty buff. Sure, you can spend ages throwing Tesla grenades on someone willing to stand still, but you’re still doing basically no damage. Wisp’s little shock seed things and Volt’s Shocking Speed are far superior to Tesla. My suggestion is to combine Tesla with Vortex, merge the two abilities together so that you’re grouping enemies up and dealing damage to them. Charging each Tesla would increase the range of its pull. You’d need a limit on how many Tesla grenades you can have active at once, but I think that the grouping of enemies combined with being able to throw them anywhere would lead to interesting effects. You’d still have to buff Tesla’s damage though.
Vauban’s Minelayer ability on the other hand is a pretty interesting ability, except all of his mines suck ass. Really, when you think of it, Bounce, Trip Laser and Concuss all do the same thing, they knock enemies down, and Shred doesn’t do enough damage or strip enough armour to be useful. While Shred (with some number tweaks) should stay, I would actually merge Bounce and Concuss into the same ability and make it larger, with a base size of about 3m. Because knocking down enemies is fun. The last two grenades, one should be an actual mine that deals a ton of blast damage, and the last could be some sort of utility like a teleport mine.
Bastille, Vauban’s third ability, is also just pretty shitty these days. It was very useful in the time of Raids, as it has a huge range and can hold quite a few Grineer, but frankly these days, a Khora can do so much better. Also, Bastille isn’t particularly fortress-y and was built way before Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban was born. Our French Engineer’s ideas of fortification used star-like shapes to create “crumple zones” in order to waste attackers’ energy and deflect their damage away, so why not have the same with Vauban?
My new idea for Bastille would be a powerful yet translucent wall, similar to Gara’s glass walls, but in a large square or star shape (more like an actual fortress). But on top of just being massive, fortified walls, this Bastille would have different effects depending on where you attack it from – attacking corners would stun enemies, while attacking the walls would funnel enemies into said corners. You would be controlling the flow of battle and directing enemies into kill points for maximum effectiveness.
Of course, with Vortex merged with Tesla, we have space for a new fourth ability. Or rather, third ability, because Bastille always felt like a fourth ability. As to what that would be, I have several ideas. My first would be an Exalted Sentry Gun, similar to the Xiphos Air Support which no one uses but capable of being properly modded. Unfortunately, this would probably end up the same as Chroma’s dragon pelt, because most of the time we’re moving from place to place, it would get unused and ignored. So I think an Exalted MOA or Osprey would be a better fit because it can run around. But then I though… what about a Bursa companion that works like Venari? After all, Bursa ARE walls on legs, so they would work well alongside Vauban. Just like Venari, this Bursa would probably have several modes – an “attack everything” mode, a stationary defense mode and some sort of utility shields/healing/enemy disarming mode.
Alternatively, just make Vauban to be like Team Fortress’s Engineer. The Dell Conagher of Warframes. Sentry Gun, Dispenser, Teleporter and Exalted Shotgun. Because frankly that covers all of Vauban’s bases and would make him far more useful than he is currently.
Other silly ideas include taking all of Vauban’s abilities away and giving him a small army of MOAs, multiplying all his ability stats by 10 and making Vauban the only Warframe with Gears of War-style cover mechanics. But really, I could go through silly ideas all day.