The concept of Arbitrations was originally really bloody cool. Enemies that are much tougher than normal, longer missions and better rewards, but you only have one life and if you die, it’s game over, you’d be unable to continue and you wouldn’t be able to try again. This was end-game level content, somewhere where veteran Warframe players could stretch their legs and use all their OP builds.
But no, that’s not what happens. That’s not what happens at all in Arbitrations. Either everyone dies, a few rounds are struggled through until someone gets oneshot by an invisible grenade or everything dies because someone has a Catchmoon Kitgun. While mostly only ever getting Endo or weird, obscure mods that I doubt many people use, aside from Adaptation.
Frankly, I don’t mind the weird rewards, the tough enemies. I didn’t even mind the longer missions. But these have all changed when the ONE thing I always hated has remained the same: the stupid Arbitration Drones.
The Arbitration Shield Drone is a small, fast-moving enemy, similar to a Shield Osprey. But unlike Shield Ospreys, the Arbitration Drones make enemies around them invulnerable and completely immune to Warframe abilities, and are themselves immune to Warframe abilities too. To make nearby enemies killable again, you shoot the drone.
These drones though are pretty small and hard to see among the chaos. They hide behind other enemies and because said enemies are invulnerable, this makes them even harder to hit. So you either need line of sight to shoot them or you just take a Catchmoon Kitgun and spam it in the general direction of the drone. And all the while you are being shot at by invulnerable enemies that the drone is hiding behind, all illuminated by the vaguest of red auras that can be hard to see in many a tile set, like the glowing red Infested tile sets or the orange and brown Grineer Galleons or the red and black Kuva Fortress.
Once that drone is gone, you can go back to shooting everything else and using your Warframe abilities again.
The Arbitration Drones suck the fun out of everything and require you to have a powerful, spammy weapon that goes through other enemies to be able to kill those bastards. That’s why almost everyone uses a Catchmoon, a weapon that not only does insane damage but has innate punch-through, allowing it to pass through the invulnerable enemies body-blocking it. Other popular weapons include the Ignis and the Arca Plasmor, but neither of these scale as well as the Catchmoon Kitgun does, require just as many Forma and crafting materials, are harder to get Rivens for (it’s literally a 1/4 chance to get a Catchmoon from a Kitgun Riven) and neither of them have powerful Arcanes to go with them. And frankly, pretty much any variant of the Catchmoon works.
Thus Arbitrations end up with the simplest meta ever: Catchmoons and nothing else. After all, the drones spawn more and more frequently, as do tougher enemies, so your Warframe abilities quickly stop being useful, aside from tanking and damage reducing abilities. So Arbitrations just end up being boring.
The issue is, the drones are supposed to add challenge and limit our god-like powers. But scaling and objectives on their own already do that. Enemies have more and more health and armour and take longer to take down, while objectives have less and less health or give less life support or are generally harder to do. Because while you are killing drones, you still need to be protecting Operatives or Excavators, filling life support capsules or destroying Demolysts and you STILL only have one life if you’re playing solo – now team mates can revive you if they pick up 5 life-reducing items that drop from killed Arbitration Drones. Honestly the one-life-only gimmick was the most interesting thing about Arbitrations and even that’s gone now.
If you want to add even more challenge, the drones aren’t the way to do it. They are a roadblock. You kill them then go back to what you were doing.
But I’ll admit I don’t know what should replace them. I suppose random debuffs? Disruption actually does this pretty well, as each Conduit gives a different debuff but most of them are pretty balanced. But Arbitrations can be a number of game modes, so maybe they’ll need something… more individual?
Either way, Arbitrations suck. Especially because we will HAVE to do a TON of Arbitrations in order to obtain Grendel. While Gauss was a pretty easy farm, Grendel is going to be a pain in the ass to obtain…