TennoCon 2017: Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon is the first step toward a true MMORPG

Do you think you know what Warframe is? Can you define the game? Well toss that out the window because the new expansion is going to change things quite a bit. Plains of Eidolon, announced tonight at the end of TennoCon 2017, is taking the shooter in a new direction by opening the world up and fleshing the universe out, creating new ways to experience the game. If you haven’t tried Warframe yet thinking the game isn’t for you, this summer will definitely be the time to jump in and give it a spin.

Can the new expansion really be that game-changing? Yes. I sat with devs as they played through a live demo earlier this afternoon, and what I saw really takes Warframe in a new direction. (I also really liked it!) Plains of Eidolon adds a whole new dimension of player freedom. It brings a more MMORPG feel into the game — makes it more of a real world. Instead of just taking missions and teleporting to small instances, players will have the chance to explore the Warframe universe in open landscapes and meet the races they’ve been protecting for the last four years. Game Director Steve Sinclair told me that while it isn’t an open world, this is a first step in that direction, incorporating elements such as NPCs, open adventure areas, and day/night cycles that influence the gameplay. Of course, the expansion will also include a new Warframe, new weapons, and plenty of new story. Read on for a preview and the brand-new trailer!

Why change?

Some Warframe fans might be a bit shocked at such a departure from the current feel of the game. That’s a bit of the point. Sinclair expressed that one of his biggest fears is that the game will stagnate. No dev wants their game to go stale and get boring. The idea is to give players something new without taking away from the old. And you can’t argue that this isn’t new! A living, evolving game will stay infinitely more interesting than one that just delivers the same old, same old.

For those who really like the old style of just jumping to missions from their ship, Rebecca Ford, live operations and community producer for Digital Extremes, told me that new content going forward will likely be a mixture of landscapes and the instanced missions. However, that all depends on what players want.

What changed

So what are the details of these changes and how will it impact the game? First, players have the chance to finally meet and interact with one of the races they fight to protect, the Ostrons. Sinclair noted this is the first time a new culture is introduced and explore — but it won’t be the last. Players will land in Cetus, the new relay (it’s like a town in an MMO). Here the scavenging Ostrons have build their settlement, and players can wander through, watching snippets of life (I particularly like the kids cosplaying Warframes!), as well as collect missions. These missions send the Tenno out into the new landscape, which is three square kilometers of playable, explorable land complete with a variety of environs.

The new area, called a landscape, is a huge departure from the previous mission mazes. One, you walk to it seamlessly instead of teleporting. Two, you have the freedom to choose what you will do. Before, players had objectives that took specific paths to complete; you even have an arrow directing you. This landscape is more like an open world: You can go where you please and decide what to do and when you do it. If you see a mountain on the horizon, you can go to it (the rendering distance is vastly improved here). You can do the missions, but you can also engage in spear fishing (with leaderboards and possible uses for fish parts), shoot birds from the sky, hunt new species, go spelunking in caves, stalk Grineer settlements, or just fly about the air with your Archwings. The natural landscape also has some fun gameplay built into it: The tall grasses will allow for hiding and stealth if you crouch, and battles can take place high in the air.

Although the city of Cetus allows for up to 50 players to congregate together, the landscape itself will only allow up to the four in a group, with the possibility of that increasing to the raid size of eight, according to Ford. Players will need to squad up before heading into the landscape or invite others afterward because there is no matchmaking. Cetus (and its repeatable quests) remain the same, but each trip into the landscape will be different for players. Sinclair noted that things will change in the procedurally generated map; mission objective locations will move and conditions will change, such as the number of Grineer and where their camps are.

It is important to note that unlike many other expansions which require many hours of play to be able to reach and experience, Plains of Eidolon will have content for all levels of Tenno, from the new player to veterans. This is where the day/night cycle comes in. During the day the new landscape is filled with Grineer that even new players can fight. The quests from the city Cetus are doable. But that all changes when night comes: As the sun sets, even the Grineer hop in their ships and flee the surface. This is when the Spectral Sentients, the ghosts from long ago battles there on Earth, rise from the water in search of their remains. These four- or five-story high beasts are quite the challenge, with multiple variations and stages to fight through that will require experienced Tenno to come together and use strategy to defeat. The entire landscape will be more difficult, but the rewards will be different as well: Sinclair told me plans are for a completely different weapon and armor system to be attainable from the night to turn Tenno (the Operators) into warriors. Even the fish to catch will be different! Sinclair described it as one Tenno versus many mobs in the day and many Tenno versus one mob at night.

Other changes to the game include adding a new Warframe and weapons, all with a glass theme. That’s right, real glass weapons! And I’d just like to mention that the Warframe has bunny ears. As for acquiring the new stuff, remember those missions we talked about in Cetus? These lead players to find and build new Warframes and weapons. More info on all that will be forthcoming, but the art panel did reveal multiple new goodies, including gold prime pieces, wraith tint, a kusarigama, and mystery melee weapons. There is also a new modding system for customizing said Warframes and weapons like never before. Think of build-a-bear but with weapon pieces instead of stuffed arms and legs. And the different components will change more than just stats but stance as well. Ford noted that right now there are six blades, six handles, and six balances that can be intermixed but plans are to grow that pool fairly rapidly. Players will also be able to name their custom-built weapons.

How much will be available to free-to-play players? Ford emphasized that free players will have access to all this, from the city to the landscapes to the weapon customization. The biggest difference between free player and not, she noted, will likely be how many weapon components were available to start and how much time it would take to acquire them.

To Eidolon and beyond!

Plains of Eidolon is not where this new type of environment ends. Sinclair told me that the goal is to continue opening up more landscapes, including moving to other planets besides Earth. It is, after all, a space game! The Ostrons are also just the start of introducing more cultures onto the game.

During the art panel, some of the most interesting images were of the sentient outposts which grow by consuming materials from space. Also shown was the concept art for a multi-player ship. That is something I am really looking forward to! Ford said that these items are in the future sometime after this next expansion.

Worth a look

As much as I am not a fan of shooters, I have found that I really love the combat in Warframe. And not just combat, but the bow! I’ve had a blast pinning Grineer to the wall, or watching their bodies ragdoll flop down a hall or over a ledge. There is such satisfaction in that! On those merits alone I would recommend anyone to try the free-to-play game. I mean, if I can like a shooter, it’s possible anyone can, right?

But now you add in the open landscapes and detailed environments that give me the freedom to explore at my own pace, NPCs who bring life to the world (whose stories I can learn and I can people watch), and the non-combat activities like fishing, and I triple that recommendation. Even better, this content is something we can get into now, not after months of playtime. Well, not now now, but as soon as the expansion launches. And that release is anticipated to be at the end of the summer, so the wait won’t be too long.

I am eagerly awaiting Plains of Eidolon, and judging by the reaction from the cheering TennoCon crowd, so are many other Warframe fans.

Disclosure: In accordance with Massively OP’s ethics policy, we must disclose that Digital Extremes paid for our writer’s travel to and accommodation at this event. The studio has neither requested nor been granted any control or influence over our coverage of the event.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

36 Comments on "TennoCon 2017: Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon is the first step toward a true MMORPG"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
Castagere Shaikura

I wish they had a refresher for old players because i’m clueless how to play this game. Its been about 4 or 5 years.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Modrain

It’s been a while, but it seems that I’ll launch again the game in the future!

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
John Bagnoli

Been trying out Warframe on a friend’s suggestion. I’m only a few hours in but I do like it. A bit confused with some of the systems though.

Reader
Scrungle

Breath of the wild meets warframe.

Reader
Sorenthaz

Love that DE is willing to keep trying new things and slowly but steadily push towards Warframe becoming more of an MMO.

miol
Reader
miol

Is there a way to circumvent genderlock for classes (warframes)? :(

Didn’t know they had that, as I’ve never read any critique about that!

Or is that critique unique to MMO games? XD

Reader
Sorenthaz

Genderlock isn’t really a thing. There are male/female ‘frames’ but they’re not your actual character. Without spoiling story things.

shadanwolf
Reader
shadanwolf

I could never have a frame that wasn’t the same gender as I am. With so many frame choices and mods that doesn’t seem to be an issue.

Reader
Sorenthaz

Well every warframe is unique and has different strengths/weaknesses/playstyles depending on how you build them and what weapons you use and whether you choose to emphasize their abilities and so on.

From my experience most of the ‘female’ ones tend to be more magical/agile/fragile in nature – often heavy on ability nukes, crowd control, and/or supportive playstyles. Primary exception being Valkyr who’s a crazy melee berzerker (though still is huge on mobility/agility since you need to quickly move from target to target to shred them apart), then Mesa who’s a gunslinger and Ivara who’s a stealthy bow user. Examples are Ember, Trinity, Mag, Zephyr, Titania, Saryn, Nyx… basically most of them, lol.

Meanwhile most of the male frames tend to be bulkier with pretty much all of the tank frames being ‘male’. The others are melee-heavy fighters like Excalibur and Wukong or certain other fantasy archetypes like Oberon representing paladins and Nekros representing necromancers.

miol
Reader
miol

Thank you for being so kind and refraining from any spoilers! :)

The way you describe it and what I’ve experienced so far, it sounds like it’s exactly inbetween genres in terms of “character creation/individuality”! But since I was involved in the story from the get go and I was spoken to directly, I did understand it the other way!

Thank you for clarifying it!

Reader
Eamil

Each warframe is a mix of class and character. They’re each meant to have a sort of attitude or personality of their own. It’s like complaining that Tracer or Reinhardt are gender-locked.

Reader
Sorenthaz

Yeah I play Valkyr mostly and don’t really care that it’s a female warframe because I’m not really paying attention to that when I’m darting around shredding things with Hysteria active.

Reader
Castagere Shaikura

I bet the destiny 2 crew is saying WTF about right now.

miol
Reader
miol

And the Anthem crew! XD

kjempff
Reader
kjempff

Goddamn, I said goddamn. That is awesome and bold move, I hope this will make a great game even better. Other developers are you watching ? Dare to change sh.t, don’t stagnate.

Space Ninja nerdgasm overload.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
kanbe

Awesome news. I’ve been enjoying Warframe and this will just make it even better.

Richard de Leon III
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Richard de Leon III

Wait…its becoming more like a real mmo(a first step)? I may have to restart the game…..

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

Warframe the destiny expansion was what went through my mind on reading this.

Will be interesting to see what they can come up with and I look forward to giving it a spin at some point in the future when i next get that itch to play Warframe again.

miol
Reader
miol

Although the city of Cetus allows for up to 50 players to congregate together, the landscape itself will only allow up to the four in a group, with the possibility of that increasing to the raid size of eight, according to Ford.

So on the MMO’esque scale of things, where will Warframe fall now with this expansion?

[—–Vindictus———-Destiny———-GW1———-Skyforge—–]

Between Vindictus and Destiny, since Destiny has still more “open” areas?

Reader
Bryan H

I think we’re witnessing the way forward for MMOs here. Grass roots vs. the Star Citizen big dreams “they go writing checks that they brains can’t cash” plan.

Reader
John Mynard

I am so hyped over this. Moreso that even going to Argus when 7.3 comes out.

Reader
Armsbend

Surprising and good news.

shadanwolf
Reader
shadanwolf

I will try the game tomorrow. Expansion definitely got my attention. Crafting….moving to open world…what’s not to like ?

Reader
Godson69

The beauty of Warframe is that it was designed to be a modular program. By designing the game this way they have been able to add content and features that other games would have had to wait for a special releases. Other companies would have been happy with the game as is and milked the players without really improving the game. They have built a solid foundation for the game and just keep building on that. I just wish other game companies would follow their example.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
kgptzac

I think we should be more cautious, even I like what I see here. Over the years this game has improved for sure, but let’s remember that even PvP and Archwing are systems that players legitimately could want, the way DE implemented them are a running joke with the community. I can say the same for this update: more lore for friendly NPC and their culture, and more open field areas, are indeed things players yearn for, and kudos to DE in recognize and attempt to give us players what we want. Other developers should follow this example, but I’d also like to have the features polished when they hit the shelf, too.

Reader
Eamil

There are some understandable complaints about how DE runs the game, but I don’t think anyone can deny they’re freaking amazing at what they do on the technical side of things. The game is incredibly well-optimized, and every time they do a visual update to a tileset, many people say that tileset runs better on their machines than it did before despite all the graphics upgrades.

Reader
Paraxes

Ver cool, that would definitely bring me back. I am a founder (even have that funky bandana :D) and got a lot of hours out of the game but after a certain point it’s just not enough variety anymore considering that it’s essentially Diablo in space.

But I will definitely play again once that comes around.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

Part of me feels they should develop that as an entirely new game, a Warframe sequel. Although putting it into the current game they can release a single open area at a time instead of having to make an entire game world first so maybe this will work out. It is different but seems extremely cool.

These guys are usually pretty good at story telling too. The game started out without much story, but over time the story missions they added have been very awesome and interesting.

Reader
Zen Dadaist

I was watching. I’m hype! My potato of a PC won’t like it though…

It’s funny but I was thinking earlier about the fact I’d missed out logging into Firefall one last time. Then I watched this and it’s basically where Firefall meets Warframe.

Ohgodohgodohgod don’t mess this up DE…

wandris
Reader
wandris

Exciting news, Warframe is one of those games which grows on you the more you play it. The sci-fi elements and different environments are all impressive. I am hoping someday we might get to go to some interstellar places, maybe Alpha- Centauri? or the newly discovered TRAPPIST system?

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Little Bugbear

I love this.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

I liked warframe before seeing this. It was a game i could play for a month or two, take 6 months off, and repeat. This new concept is just going to make me play more regularly.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Ashfyn Ninegold

I’m intrigued.

Reader
Castagere Shaikura

People have been wishing for this for years. This game play would be so bad ass in a open world environment. Free to go where you want. Done right it would give games like destiny a run for its money.

Reader
flamethekid .

I remember all those years ago I played this little game that resembled its cinematic trailer so much(im not gonna lie but that trailer and the game look no different from each other)

and it has evolved so much into a really big game I hope it grows more(and solves the grind problem)

Solaris
Reader
Solaris

Hmmm. I’m intrigued. Surprising news!

wpDiscuz