With the current debacle about how RNG is ruining Warframe and how the randomness and difficulty of obtaining good loot with both Kuva Lich weapons and ephemeras and the randomized stats on dropped Empyrean stuff, Riven mods often get referred to as even more bad RNG that started all this randomized loot messiness off.
But frankly, Riven mods aren’t that bad. At the very least, they are not Team Fortress 2 Crates levels of bad. Allow me to explain why I think this.
First though, we do need to admit some problems with Riven mods. Because while I don’t have any real issue with them, they definitely have problems. Riven mods are a time and platinum sink and a potential cause for gambling, with a HUGE number of levels of RNG. While you can much more reliably purchase Riven mods, either in the form of collecting Riven slithers and trading them to scary cat lady over in Iron Wake, or buying them for standing or Vitus Essence from Cephalon Simaris or the Arbiters of Hexis, there’s randomness in getting the specific weapon you want, and even getting the specific weapon type you want, when it comes to the standard weapon types.
And then you have the next level of randomness, opening a randomly generated challenge to reveal a randomly chosen weapon with randomly chosen stats. While the weapon is always the same weapon no matter what (unless you transmute the Riven and three others to make a new, veiled Riven mod), the stats are insanely random, with no way of preserving any of the ‘goodness’ of any particular Riven. You reroll it, it’s all or nothing. So you can waste a LOT of Kuva getting the stats you want.
The other issue is how Rivens affect the Platinum and trading markets. While there are always going to be stupidly expensive items (for example, vaulted Warframes on the Nintendo Switch were insanely expensive because few people had a massive backlog of relics to open to obtain those parts) but Rivens are a much more subjective matter, with prices being all over the place and it being pretty easy to scam someone by suggesting their Riven isn’t worth as much as it could be. Most of the time though, you can somewhat reliably guess what something should be priced at, you just need to be a bit more careful. The same goes with trading in general.
But do you know why Riven mods are mostly acceptable? Because Riven mods are completely optional to gameplay. Sure, they are really nice to have, but you don’t NEED a super top tier weapon with a super top tier Riven on it to be able to do 99% of gameplay. It’s only the far extremes, like speed-running Profit-Taker, trying to do 6 Tridolon hunts in a night or doing insanely long endurance runs. Most people don’t need to do that and don’t want to do that. And if you want to make your favourite gun better? Well, unless it’s an insanely popular weapon, it’s genuinely not too hard to buy or trade one you want, especially if you just sell veiled mods rather than trying to open them.
Kuva Liches are also optional, aside from getting the weapons for mastery. But Kuva weapons are mostly side grades and aren’t required and, like Riven mods, if you have platinum, you can just buy a Lich with the weapon you need.
On the flip side, you absolutely NEED a good reactor for your Empyrean because the default reactor has very little room for all the avionics mods that you NEED to have. And you can spend a lot more time trying to grind rare parts like reactors. Rivens will come to you slowly and you don’t need to seek them out, but the fact that you have limited capacity for mods and HAVE to farm a decent reactor (or just put up with the basic Sigma MKIII reactor) is a major concern.
Oh and both Riven mods and Empyrean ship parts also have limited slots available. Except you can sell all your riven mods and easily see the stats on them, much unlike ship parts, which need to be built and used to see how they properly affect your railjack.
So yeah, that is why I think Rivens are fine. Yes, they are a massive mess of RNG, but they are optional content and if you don’t want Riven mods, you can just sell or delete them.
Railjack components on the other hand are essentially required content that is tedious to farm. Fingers crossed this changes soon…