Phewph. All the way back in the dim, dark, barely remembered days of old… Er, Day 18 of this challenge, I spoke about working toward unlocking Arbitrations.
Welp. I’ve unlocked them now. It has been a bit of a piecemeal approach. A few nodes here, a few nodes there. Mostly in solo time. Occasionally pulling in an unlucky friend to help with a particularly obnoxious mission-type here and there.
There was one Interception mission in particular where I called in the cavalry. Interception missions require you to have majority control over four different relay towers spread across the map.
Generally speaking the distance between them isn’t too far and soloing them is fine.
On this particular map though they’re spread out over multiple height levels and quite spread far as a crow flies too. Turns out, actually, I still probably could have solo’d it. You can tell the NPC Spectres you can craft and take along as ‘gear’ to ‘Hold position’ and while they’re not amazing they can at least hold a capture point long enough for you to get back there before it cedes to enemy control again.
Anywho. The point is — they’re all done now.
Arbitrations are mine.
So I did one.
It was a survival mission. One of my personal favourite types. It was however filled with Infested. They’re also a personal favourite. … Right up until they’re not. That ‘not’ basically aligning to when the parasitic varieties capable of draining energy come out to play.
I took my Saryn Prime out to play, which I’m still on the fence as to whether or not this was a good call.
I managed to get some *crazy* stacking damage from her Spores out in the field. But I also lost some fairly crazy stacks due to the Shielding Drones that come out with packs every so often. Those drones render the enemies around them completely immune to all Warframe abilities and Status effects.
They need to be prioritised hard whenever they pop into existence. The few times this didn’t happen and my Spores couldn’t jump to new targets was rough.
Especially after the parasites were in play and I couldn’t necessarily bring together even the tiny amount of energy required to recast Spores manually before their virulance dropped away. *shakes fist*
Perhaps most importantly though, my main source of self-regeneration comes in the form of a mod for Saryn called ‘Regenerative Molt‘. By the end, I essentially couldn’t cast this any more and it certainly led to a few more deaths. … Certainly contributed at least.
The Mental Effect of Dying in Arbitration
Arbitrations are an endless mission type. Not a unique concept in Warframe by any stretch. But they do come with a few tweaks to the usual formula to keep things interesting.
The Shield Drones mentioned above, for one.
Another is that if you die — you have no self-resurrect tokens whatsoever (normally in a mission you would have 4), neither can anyone come and get you up by the normal means of holding a button over your corpse.
Instead you drop a beacon and the Shield Drones start dropping an energy core when you kill them. It takes five of these cores being held by the rest of the team in total, then brought to your death-beacon to get you back into the fight again.
Carrying those beacons carries the same penalties as carrying points in The Index. Namely, your maximum health pool takes a dive for each point carried and your energy regen turns negative very quickly. Carrying five points is no small feat for most frames when you enter the later sections of an Arbitration run.
So ideally, your team would split them — unless of course someone brought a Rhino in. In which case, get them to cast their Iron Skin and then just run around like a crazy person until the dead person is up again.
Ultimately though — it becomes a greed vs. skill check. The longer you’re in, the better the rewards and the more drops you’re getting. But the enemies are scaling in difficulty, both in the types being spawned in and their actual raw level. Not to mention too, the numbers able to spawn in a single wave keep going up too.
In a Survival mission, every 5 minutes on the clock nets you another reward. By the time we hit 30 minutes, I was already beginning to freak out. I hadn’t died yet — but it had come close a few times, and I’d participated in resurrecting the PUG that loaded in with us twice.
I was ready to skiddadle.
Around minute 40, I had my first death. I was brought back up in fairly quick order, but something changed in my mental state.
I think I started reading bigger jumps in difficulty than what was actually occurring. Between minute 40 and 50 the pack sizes didn’t really change much, I don’t think. But certainly my perception of them did. For sure though, I was struggling with energy more which would have further added to the impression of shit really hitting the fan.
Around minute 50, I died again. I was brought up again, but it took longer, almost the full five minutes to the minute 55 reward.
The goal had been to stay in for an hour — there isn’t an achievement or anything for this, I’m led to believe, but there certainly would have been bragging rights with another friend who hadn’t yet pulled this off ;) — but at this point I was done and it was time to beeline for extraction.
Then our PUG died.
Then I died.
We didn’t have a full four man run for this, it left just my friend alive. If he also died — that was it. A wipe.
We would have kept each of the rewards from the 5-minute intervals, so not a complete wash. But every single resource drop obtained throughout our 55+ minute run would be sucked into the void.
Then our life-support ran out.
Oh, I don’t think I mentioned that. In Survival missions, the enemy is also trying to gas you out. Your orbiter launches life support pods every so often to replenish the breathable air. Plus occasionally the enemies themselves will drop their personal life support packs.
But in our efforts to escape, we had neglected this part. And a constant tick of damage started on the one remaining party member. The nearest pod was quite far back now, through a horde of angry infested. But the extraction was still 400m away.
It was… not looking good.
Fortunately though, he was playing Wukong. And Wukong has a ‘Cloud Walk’ ability which not only turns him incorporeal and able to fly — but also regenerates health while in that state.
Two back to back cloud walks and he was almost there. But then he stopped moving… What was going on?
Out of energy.
Dropped an energy pod. One pulse of energy went out — but it wasn’t quite enough for another cast.
Parasitic Infested were closing in… Health dropping already from the air toxicity.
Cloud Walk activates and he makes it to the extraction point.
This might be the most aerobic exercise my poor heart has had in a while. Maybe by later tonight I’ll be up to giving this another go.