Self-damage, shield gating, and Chroma in Warframe’s first mainline update of 2020

Getting Chroma’s Vex Armour buff up relies entirely on taking damage to both shields and health, to increase your armour and weapon damage respectively. A lot of people are understandably upset that self-damage in Warframe is going away because of the effect it will have on Chroma.

I’m not.

See, self-damage is useful to get Chroma’s buffs up, but non-essential. So while I can understand why people are upset, I’m used to the alternative so I’m fine with it. Whenever I’ve run around with Chroma, whether in Eidolon hunts or just generally to level weapons because Chroma can turn even an unranked weapon into a one-shot machine, getting Vex Armour up naturally has never been difficult.

What I’m concerned about is shield gating.

Also coming in Warframe’s first 2020 mainline update is a brief period of invulnerability when your shields break. Damage won’t immediately spill over to health, so you have time to react, run away, and start shield regen if necessary. How long that invulnerability period is will determine how annoying it will be to get Chroma up to full strength.

When hunting Eidolons, my strategy is simply to piss off the Eidolon and then stand in place while it shoots, stomps, or generally tries to whack Chroma’s face off. Being invulnerable when the shield breaks means that some of the damage just won’t do anything, which in turn means that Vex Armour won’t come up as fast as I’m used to.

Again, it’s unlikely to have a significant impact. Shield’s take four seconds to start regenerating when fully depleted so I’m expecting an invulnerability window of two to three seconds – enough for you to react but not so much that regen starts while you’re invulnerable.

But it is very likely that getting Chroma fully buffed will take a little longer than it would have otherwise, since his health bar will be safer than it was previously. What I’m imagining now is a loop that looks something like this:

  1. Chroma loses shield
  2. Hits shield gate, and misses some health damage
  3. Shield gate ends, Chroma takes health damage, damage buff goes partway up
  4. Eidolon (or whatever) briefly stops attacking, and Chroma’s shield regens
  5. Eidolon attacks Chroma again and does shield damage
  6. Repeat from step 1 to 6 forever

This is the part that’s concerning. There are plenty of things in Warframe that are capable of doing enough damage to stack Chroma quickly enough. But how much that shield gate will get in the way is worth thinking about. I’ll be doing some (non-exhaustive, just to satisfy my own curiosity) testing with Chroma to see how noticeable the impact of shield gating on Vex Armour is and I’ll just update this article if I learn something worth writing about.

In the meanwhile, I highly recommend practicing my strategy of parking your Chroma in front of an Eidolon. If you’re enough of a nuisance, the big walking tree will be more than happy to stomp your buffs into you.

Trevor Coelho
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2 thoughts on “Self-damage, shield gating, and Chroma in Warframe’s first mainline update of 2020

    1. Maybe if you’re really min maxing? Personally, I really like the armour buff you get from having at least a little shield that can be ripped off – makes solo Eidolons a lot comfier for me. But a more skilled player than I am would be able to make lack of armour work, I think.

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