We currently have two Necramechs in Warframe right now. The first came out with the Heart of Deimos update and the release of the Cambion Drift. The Voidrig Nechramech is a terrifying mechanical monster. It has an electric shield of death and immortality around it. The mech can lob volleys of grenades at you. It can and will bunker down, turning into a turret firing rounds of bullets that do thousands of damage. And, for some reason, the Voidrig Nechramech will occasionally throw canisters of worryingly white, slowing liquid at you.
The second Necramech, named Bonewidow, is… uh… well, crap. So we’re gonna talk about how to fix it.
First off, the problems.
Voidrig Necramechs are basically turrets on legs. Bonewidow on the other hand is supposed to be a tanky melee counterpart. Yet it fails to be either tanky or melee-y. Bonewidow has almost no flexibility, no agility to get into melee range and what she does have to line things up for melee attacks is pitiful at best. Her massive sword does basically nothing, lacking the massive stats that the Voidrig has for its turret guns.
On top of that, Bonewidow’s means of self-protection are shit. You’re supposed to raise your shield to block incoming damage from the front, but it barely does anything. Plus, since Warframe is a horde shooter with enemies everywhere, blocking bullets from the front is utterly meaningless. Even reflecting blocked damage back at enemies doesn’t mean much because, again, enemies shoot from all directions.
So, we need to make Bonewidow both tanky and capable of hitting things with a large sword.
Easy Solution: Give Bonewidow protection just like Voidrig
Shield Maiden is a crap ability. Not only does it not provide meaningful protection, but it also disables one of Bonewidow’s other abilities. You can’t use Meat Hook (which brings an enemy closer to you so you can hit them) while Shield Maiden is active. Because you’re busy holding a shield to use a meat hook. You need to make a choice: protect yourself or deal damage. Not both.
On the flip side, apart from energy costs, Voidrig’s Storm Surge is completely free to use. So Bonewidow’s Shield Maiden should be too. And, honestly, I’d make it almost identical to Storm Surge. Maybe make it 90% damage reduction and reflecting attacks to make it seem different. But if you’re a massive, slow, lumbering walking target, you need protection that actually works.
If you really want to keep the shield theme, then make Shield Maiden work like an actual shield, something akin to Reinhardt’s shield in Overwatch. Or, for an in-game version, Volt’s Electric Shield, which can be carried around at will.
We still have a melee weapon to worry about.
You’d think that a giant sword would be cool, but Ironbride is actually awful. Even with the multiple buffs it’s had, it still does not compare in the slightest with, well, any gun. Or normal melee weapons. Or even normal Arching melees, which have always kinda sucked. But really buffing damage numbers isn’t going to help the Ironbride. We’re piloting a massive mechanical suit with a skeleton inside it, we should be able to fling a giant sword around like it weighs nothing. What Ironbride really needs though is better range. We have a massive sword, it should have massive range. After all, everything else is very small compared to a Necramech.
Even then though, we still have the problem of grouping enemies together. Now, Bonewidow does kinda have an ability like that but it’s too slow. What would work far better would be an ability like Vortex or Larva. Grab enemies and bring them close together so Bonewidow can hit a big lump of enemies than a line of them. Funnily enough, Khora’s Ensnare would work amazingly well with Bonewidow and fits somewhat thematically – chains of death bringing enemies together.
With or without changes, I don’t think people will use Bonewidow over Voidrig.
Voidrig is just all-round better in every single way. But with some simple buffs, at least Bonewidow might be considered, rather than completely ignored. Because, right now, the Bonewidow Necramech is less useful than a Kuva Seer. And requires the same number of Forma.