Content of the article: "Energy leeches and energy drain rework ideas"
There is a TL;DR at the end of the post
Before reading: this is a long post, but I really put effort in this idea and would appreciate feedback from players. If people like it, I hope DE can see this post.
Intro: Builds that require energy to work and manage it carefully with efficiency, max energy and/or energy refilling weapons/skills as a secondary aspect are still heavily punished by energy leeches and drain per second abilities. Leeches specially can be such a big problem that Trinity and energy restores are not just valuable assets to combat them at times, but necessary for some builds to work as intended when facing them. The problem isn't that they drain energy, but how suddenly they deplete it and the restricted amount of ways we have to recover from encountering them. Also, they don't have any clear visual indicators to identify them as the threatening units they actually are.
Concepts for Eneergy Leeches:
Grineer: Unique grineer unit with shield capacity. It has a mechanism on its back that can be hit separately (further referred to as backpack).
While the backpack is active: It can attempt to hook an enemy unit and drain energy over time from the successfully hooked target through a cable, while it's transformed into shield regeneration over time. Cables are cut when the target exits their maximum range of 18 meters, ending the energy draining and shield restoring effect. If no energy is drained (for example, the target's current energy value is 0), then the amount of shields restored over time is 0.
On backpack destroyed: Releases a pulse of energy that restores energy to enemy units (meaning the operators/warframes/archwings/necramechs) within 12 meters of itself. The amount restored is equal to the maximum amount of energy it managed to drain from a single target. Its ability to drain energy to regenerate shields is no longer available. Gameplay-wise, without its backpack, the unit is similar now to a scorpion.
On level scaling, instead of changing the amount of energy drained, the rate at which drained energy is transformed into shields is what varies.
On death: The backpack is destroyed if it is still available. Heavy unit drop, with a guaranteed bonus energy orb drop.
Explanation: The idea is to give a moderate risk and moderate reward energy leeching mechanic to players. The shield and linked hook add higher visibility to the unit among other grineer, without needing a flashy aura or special indicator. The risk of letting it live is not high, as it requires to land its hook to actually be a threat, and even if it lands the hook, the energy drain can be interrupted. The rewarded energy can be controlled to a certain limit by players, and could be used for fun interactions, like 'donating' energy to allies, which could be possible in theory, but would still require effort and time invested on being hooked, and destroying the backpack while allies are in range. The idea of restoring the lost energy is there to encourage players to interact with the mechanic, while they can still lose it all if they are out of range when the effect is triggered.
Notes: The backpack's health functionality, the amount of energy drained per second, base energy to shield transformation rate and level scaling, armor type and base shield capacity, armor and health values are yet to be set.
Infested: Ancient with a visible aura. This unit has an aura with an effect range of 45 meters. All enemy players in range get an image distortion effect. The aura drains energy over time from enemy units. Players affected by this aura can see an effect similar to the Vengeful Trick Ephemera pointing to the direction of the energy leech. Proximity with the leech intensifies both the energy draining effect and the visual effect of the aura on the player. Energy drained is stored up to a maximum amount for more effects.
Allied units within the area of effect receive a mild/moderate damage reduction buff and a portion of their health restored over time. Both of these effects are intensified by the amount of energy that is stored by the leech.
On death: A pulse of energy restores energy to all enemy units within the aura's range an amount equal to what the leech managed to store. Additionally, the unit explodes, dealing heavy damage over a small area, that is strengthened by the amount of energy that was stored. Heavy unit drop and guaranteed bonus energy orb drop.
Explanation: This unit is supposed to present a big threat to players and form a high risk / high reward scenario. The current problem about energy leeches is that they start draining energy intensely and players quickly run out of energy without getting any warnings. The identity of this unit is based on presenting a threat to players that can do the same and worse than current leeches, but with a proper warning. Everything from its auras to its death effects are supposed to scream "don't approach me, but make sure to kill me fast". Reading this, however, you may yet not have noticed what the high rewards are or could be when confronting this unit; for example: mind controlling effects could be used in the player's favor when used on this unit once it has absorbed some energy, or its energy pulse could be used to share and multiply energy between players in a wide area (if the leech stored 26 energy from one player and 41 from another, all players within range will receive 67 energy). While there are good possible strategies, the risk of executing them is high and could involve accidentaly buffing enemies too much and running out of energy. Notes: The aura's min and max energy drain per second, base damage reduction and portion of health restored per second, bonus damage reduction and portion of health regeneration per energy stored, the unit's base health and maximum energy stored, and the explosion's base damage, damage multiplier per energy stored, falloff, radius and damage scaling per level are yet to be set.
About energy draining abilities:
It's weird that abilities like oberon's 3 prevent players from gaining energy when active. While I understand why it's done like this, I have a suggestion to improve the energy spending experience: instead of negating complete energy gain from sources that aren't energy orbs, the warframe/mech/archwing's current Ability Efficiency value could be used as a multiplier between 0 and 1, restricted by its maximum possible value. For example, if a source that isn't an orb restores 50 energy to a warframe with 130% Efficiency, then the warframe is restored 50 energy multiplied by the proportion between its Efficiency value (130) and a warframe's maximum efficiency value (175), therefore gaining ~37 energy (=50*130/175). This would still control energy gain, while allowing players to mitigate the penalty through their builds and having improved performance compared to players that choose to leave Efficiency behind.
TL;DR: I proposed a rework to grineer and infested energy leeches and the way energy is gained during an active energy draining ability. Both leeches are threatening in their own way, more visible and encourage players to worry about getting rid of them. I appreciate feedback!
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