Last week’s Nightwave task included doing 5 different bounties in the Orb Vallis. At minimum, this meant doing the 5 bounties Eudico offers, although the Profit Taker heists also count. While the bounties aren’t particularly hard, they are… incredibly boring and simple. I somewhat mindlessly worked my way through the Nightwave task and then just moved on. Despite being a cool place to visit, I had little reason to stick around. And in all honesty, the same applies to the Plains of Eidolon.
While these two areas are cool, I really don’t think we need any more. We’ll probably end up getting more, with the Divurii Paradox and an “Infested world” map that’s apparently in the works. But these places have a lot of flaws to them.
They are somewhat forgettable once you’re done with them.
When you boil both open worlds down, you’re not left with much. One is a big, snowy land with the odd factory in it. The other is a big grassy plain with the odd outpost in it. They’re very pretty places, but there’s not much to them that stands out in any real way. Just large, hilly spaces where you occasionally kill some people or defend a thing for a bit. That’s pretty much it.
A new place probably wouldn’t be much different. After the initial shock and awe has passed, it’ll be ignored, except for whatever bosses give good loot (like Eidolons and Profit Taker). It’ll only be relevant again with a (particularly rewarding) event or for Nightwave stuff.
Open world areas are incredibly empty.
It’s hard to quantify how large the Plains of Eidolon and the Orb Vallis are, but they are pretty damn large. That’s before you include all the hidden cave areas. But most of this is either empty space or static decorations. Or places that are locked off except for bounties! Sure, you’ll get the odd patrol wandering around, but you’re mostly on your own. If you want trouble, you have to look for it. If you want peace and quiet however, the random patrols will invade your private space.
The Orb Vallis is by far a worse offender here. Sure, there’s many caves and the odd thing to interact with, but most of the time you only see like 3 areas! The default bounties are always in central areas. Outer areas are only ever used if you spend 3 minutes defending a console after clearing a base. And even then, it’s still the same bounties, just in different locations! The Plains at least have Ghouls, Vomvalysts and natural wildlife, so there’s always some movement.
They are completely disjointed from normal gameplay.
The open world areas are filled with cool new resources. We got fish, we got minerals, we got floofs! There’s even K-Drives, a whole new type of vehicle! However the majority of these resources are farmed in open worlds… and never used again. The bounties you do only ever affect the open worlds. Everything you do is restricted to these large, open spaces, and they don’t connect at all to the world around them. What happens on the Plains stays on the Plains.
You can argue the same about Railjack, but that at least has a chance to be better integrated into normal gameplay. Heck, part of its original intent was that you’d use Railjack to travel from ground mission to ground mission! Open worlds however are static, and there’s no real way to integrate them with the rest of Warframe.
They actually take away from the randomness of normal missions.
This sounds weird, but hear me out: You can play E Prime on Earth a hundred times, but every time the map layout will be different. The same applies for pretty much every mission in Warframe except for Defense and Interception. The individual tiles are the same, but they connect together in different ways. For example, when I was running Sergeant missions on Phobos, one map was very linear. A second map was… well, it had 6 elevators in it and 2 ‘friendship’ doors. Okay, it wasn’t the best, but it was certainly different.
Open worlds and their bounties lack this randomness. You always do the same number of tasks in the same few locations. The only thing that really changes is the order. And the order doesn’t change at all if you are repeating the same bounties. A little bit of randomness stops the grind from being a complete chore, instead of a bit of a chore. It’s one tile set instead of a combination of 10. It’ll always lack that weird, strange, random generation.
Open worlds take far, far too long to build with too little payout.
The biggest issue by far is just how much work goes in to an open world. It’s not just creating a map and sticking some things in it. You’re making not just an open world but also an additional hub world nearby and then throwing in multiplayer stuff. Multiplayer stuff that has to both be synchronized between players and game servers. And that’s before you start adding your new open world’s gimmick to make it stand out. What about the massive optimization work that’s needed to make these areas as accessible as possible?
Most of this ends up being unseen by the players. But, more importantly, players end up becoming frustrated. Not just because of the delays, but because everything else in the game gets pushed to one side, so the next big thing can be released.
Sure, it all looks cool, but is it actually worth it?
Honestly? I don’t know any more… But I am pretty sure that the Orokin and Infested open worlds are going to have the same problems that the Grineer and Corpus ones have already…