Choose My Adventure: Voting for the start of Warframe

The votes are in, and I’m heading to the world of Warframe. Or worlds. I am honestly not altogether clear about how much of the game takes place in space and how much of it is, like, still focused around one specific planet. Obviously there’s one specific place where you can do a lot of exploring, that’s a thing, but at the (very real) risk of exposing my own ignorance, my knowledge about the setting is kind of a blank space from top to bottom.

That’s not by way of laziness, for the record. Or at least, it’s not just laziness; some of it is how I prefer to take on these game where I know very little. As it stands for me, Warframe is that game where I don’t know much of the story or the background, but the results of the game that I do see are incredibly neat and surreal. It seems like it’s a game all about intensely baroque and odd-looking robot-armor-suits engage in all sorts of high-speed high-flying combat, and limiting that down to the realm of actual facts seems like depriving it of that power.

Of course, as much as I might enjoy putting that out there, it’s almost mandatory at that point that I actually look up some details on what the game actually is. That doesn’t diminish my love for the weirdly abstract designs, though. Apparently (and fans can let me know how off-base this is in the comments), the whole premise is that you’re playing as a member of the Tenno taking control of the eponymous Warframes, awakening after an intensely long span of time to find yourself at war with various factions. The why of all this and the questions of what happened between “going to sleep” and “waking up” are kind of vague.

If you’re not familiar with me at all, you should know that this is exactly the sort of setting that I love. It’s at once surreal and grounded, giving you a sense of coming in with some of the answers but not nearly all of them, and serving as a good narrative justification for a whole lot of battle while also leaving lots of blanks to fill in later.

Regardless of the background, the game has been around for a while now; it feels like a recent release, but Warframe has actually been running since 2013, which means that we’re coming up on five years now. It also earned a lot of attention and praise from us last year when it released the Plains of Eidolon, an open-world area that makes the game a bit more MMO than it was when it launched.

Hey, you like brooding? I love brooding.

This is the sort of philosophy that I like, and one that I think ought to be encouraged. The game has proven good at iterating and improving over time, releasing a steady diet of new Warframes (which are akin to the various heroes of Overwatch or the classes in Mass Effect 3/Mass Effect Andromeda multiplayer, to my understanding) along with other content updates. In other words, there’s a steady stream of things to shoot at and things to shoot at those things with, not so quickly that you feel overwhelmed but not slowly enough that it starts to get stale.

Hopefully, anyhow. These things are always finnicky.

Plains of Eidolon, however, pointed to the game moving onward and upward into new departments, a trick that other MMOs and MMO-like games have used in the past. Get a viable and fun game out the door and then expand it to become more of a full-featured MMO over time. It’s the sort of thing that a lot of titles have used to flesh out their feature set, and it’s up there with another title’s addition of housing as a demonstration of what can be done with iterative patches.

Except for all that praise, I don’t know how much fun this actually is. All I know is what I see from the outside looking in. It’s an over-the-shoulder third-person shooter with lots of weird melee maneuvers, parkour, open-world elements, and the bizarre sort of fictional background that I like. Then again, all of these factors also describe another game that I tried a long while ago without much affection, so it could be that the actual gameplay won’t grab me.

But here we are, at the start of Choose My Adventure, which means that I’m going to find out how well the gameplay grabs me. Another big win would certainly be welcome, although it’ll be a slightly uphill battle as I’ve been warned by multiple sources that the tutorial could best be described as hot garbage.

shark robots

Fortunately, I have you fine folks to serve as guides. So let’s start with the basic selection process that I know will happen during… well, I don’t think it’s quite “character creation,” but the closest thing I get. You can choose between three Warframes to start, the balanced Excalibur, the electrical-output Volt, and the field-controlling Mag.

CMA: Pick my starting frame

  • Excalibur (62%, 113 Votes)
  • Volt (21%, 39 Votes)
  • Mag (16%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 182

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You also get your choice between melee weapons, primary weapons, and sidearms. I’m also putting these to a poll choice, as they do a lot to determine your playstyle starting out; you could opt for throwing knives and a bow for pure stealth, run in with a pistol and assault rifle, or have a pistol and bow for most fighting or long-ranged silent kills respectively. But you people in the voting pool have a better idea of which one is going to be easier to acclimate to. Or, depending on your mood, which one is going to produce more entertaining annoyed ranting.

I would really like it if you err on the side of the former, for the record.

CMA: Pick my starting weapon loadout

  • Sword/Pistol/Rifle (35%, 72 Votes)
  • Sword/Pistol/Bow (16%, 32 Votes)
  • Sword/Knives/Pistol (4%, 9 Votes)
  • Sword/Knives/Bow (12%, 25 Votes)
  • Staff/Pistol/Rifle (11%, 22 Votes)
  • Staff/Pistol/Bow (8%, 17 Votes)
  • Staff/Knives/Pistol (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Staff/Knives/Bow (11%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 181

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Oh, and if you didn’t notice, you can make multiple choices on that poll. It’s a wide-open field. I also erred on the side of weapon types rather than weapon names for that outlay, so even if you’re not as familiar with the game you can piece together what’s going on.

Last but not least, there’s a question of what better tips there are for getting started beyond the tutorial, which, as discussed, is well-known for being garbage. Here, I can’t really ask for a vote, because there’s not much to vote on there. I can, however, ask for your tips and/or relevant guide links down in the comments, which I will definitely look toward as I’m making my first fumbling steps in the game.

Feedback is also welcome by mail to eliot@massivelyop.com as well, or you can just leave other forms of feedback in the comments as well. Seriously, you’re not just resources to be mined out. Polls close at 6:00 p.m. EST on Friday, so get in your votes by then, and tune back in next week to see how my first shot went on a whole.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Eliot each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures — and you get to decide his fate. Especially if that fate involves lizards and cats.
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28 Comments on "Choose My Adventure: Voting for the start of Warframe"

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Namtubb

Once again all I can say is hope you enjoy it and don’t feel like you have to spend Platinum to speed up crafting. Really hoping the waiting on crafting doesn’t bother you like it makes-or-breaks the game for others, especially since for the CMA you might feel like you should complete a certain amount of the game.
I remember first approaching this game like a Dynasty Warriors game; I’d just shut off my brain and go all…murder hobo? I remember hearing that from a MOP Podcast…
Anyway, the “Second Dream” happened and so was it that we could no longer joke about Warframe having no story~

Teh Beardling
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Teh Beardling

Mag gets no love :(

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Alex Willis

I’m only now just getting into Mag. It’s a great Frame! It’s just tricky. I did *not* know how to play it when I first started. It’s pretty obviously an awesome anti-Corpus Frame. But I just don’t get the point of Pull when it seems (to me) like Mag’s goal should be keep range and CC. Polarize and its Augment seem great though.

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Reginald Atkins

easy answer: as a starting frame Excalibur is amazing… Radial Blind is a STAGGERINGLY effective CC which opens up all enemies in range of it to a finishing move. With the right weapon you can one-shot level 100’s.

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sophiskiai

Also, the official Warframe YT channel has ~2m profile videos for each Warframe that are good for giving an idea of how each ‘frame looks in game and how its powers work, though some of the older vids show some outdated game systems:

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sophiskiai

The choice of starting Warframe is very important (though not quite as important as it used to be, since they recently changed Excalibur to be less of a pain to get later on), but the choice of weapons less so – while most weapons in the game require blueprints and materials, there are a handful (including the starter ones that you don’t pick) that can be bought in the Arsenal for credits. I’d recommend staff/knives/rifle as the staff has a bit more reach than the sword and knives give you a ranged stealth option for taking out stuff like cameras and sensors on stealth missions.

Pop into Cetus and the Plains of Eidolon once near the start just for a quick look around to admire the scenery, then ignore the place until you get at least one ‘frame to level 30!

You get a handful of platinum (the cash shop currency) when you start, save this to buy slots for more ‘frames and weapons.

There’s a Codex station on your ship which shows you all the quests in the game (and the requirements to start them) and a bunch of other stuff like some tutorial tips and all the ‘frames and weapons available, all of the ‘frame entries have great visuals and some have neat lore snippets (though said snippets might not make much sense till you get a good way into the game).

Do as many story quests as possible, and try to unlock as many planets as possible – each planet has a junction leading to the next one with a mini boss battle inside, and to unlock the junction you’ll need to do a bunch of stuff on the previous planet (which usually includes beating the planet’s boss). Unlocking the junctions can give you some neat rewards, unlocks more quests, and unlocks new systems like Sentinels and Archwings.

Don’t be scared of falling down pits or off ledges or into water, you’ll just respawn nearby a few seconds later :)

Bullet jumping is love, bullet jumping is life. Crouch and jump, or crouch while running (which takes you into a looooong slide) and jump. It can tale you a long way either horizontally or vertically, and aim your weapon while in the air to enter a slower glide during which you can shoot people. You might need to fiddle with the toggle settings on sprint & crouch to get it working smoothly. You also take less damage from attacks while dodge rolling or bullet jumping.

Even when you aren’t on a stealth mission, creeping up behind an enemy and using a stealth melee finisher move on them grants bonus xp.

Warframes gain stats (health, shield, energy, new & better abilities) as they level, but weapon stats remain constant. What does change with level (for both ‘frames and weapons) is how many mods you can slot n. You can also level up an individual mod using a couple of the currencies, endo & credits.

Don’t expect too many answers to the lore mysteries unless you reach at least Uranus/Neptune.

The level numbers listed next to nodes & missions show the level of the enemies, rather than the level you need to be. The only way to get a feel for what level missions you can take on with your gear and build is to try stuff until you hit a wall and need to step back and change up your approach. It is possible to do every single node in the system solo (I’ve done it myself), but that does require a lot of grinding to get powerful enough to handle some of the later ones – I hit a major wall around Saturn and level 30 missions.

Godnaz
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Godnaz

We’ll see if he makes it far enough to get his first Cyst…

Steep learning curve.
Grind like a mother.
Tile sets can drive a player mad.

Good luck sir. Once you get the hang of all the systems, the grind doesn’t seem so bad. Don’t expect to get our onto the Plains of Adalon anytime soon.

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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

Yay! Looking forward to this CMA.

It’s at once surreal and grounded, giving you a sense of coming in with some of the answers but not nearly all of them, and serving as a good narrative justification for a whole lot of battle while also leaving lots of blanks to fill in later.

This is exactly what you’ll get. It’s both frustrating and compelling. For the most part, I’ve really loved the uniqueness of the game’s history and setting. It is its own thing, for better or for worse. And I always give points for originality.

The poll numbers so far are pointing in the right direction: Excalibur starter frame, with Sword/Pistol/Rifle. Some people run Excalibur even at endgame, so that’s a sign that it is competitive from the get-go. I really need to emphasize the Rifle piece: bows can be EXTREMELY good in this game, but you will be in for a frustrating time and a rude awakening if you’re not good with them. (And I am NOT good with them.) The Braton starting rifle is, on the other hand, extremely solid. The pistol can be traded out for the Knives if you really want — Secondary weapons are more for taste and flavour than anything else in my experience. Sword and Staff are a bit open but you’ll find the Sword a lot of fun (and that’s the more important piece).

Following the Tutorial, my suggestion to do the following (interchanging them out as needed):
1. Starter quests
2. Opening up routes to Venus and Mercury (and then Mars)
3. Alert missions

Don’t worry about the following as you’re starting out:
1. Cetus/Plains of Eidolon (have a visit but don’t worry about exploring the open world unless you just want to see what it’s like — which is “beautiful”, for the record).
2. Rep grind
3. Item grind (you’ll get stuff organically as you go through and from alert missions)

And my #1 recommendation for gameplay: when doing regular zone missions or alert missions, do Public, and not Solo. This game is at its best when done Co-Op. BUT! Don’t get frustrated when people rush to the goal/finish. Warframe is a grindy game at its core and the pro grinders will want to wrap it up ASAP. If you want to explore a level (and that can be a lot of fun, especially on places like Cetus and Mars), play Solo or with a Friend.

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Rees Racer

I know you don’t much favour secondaries, but one of my main loadouts for certain missions is a good sniper rifle (e.g. Rubico)…or the Opticor for ruinous ranged AOE death, and pair it with Twin Grakatas. Lots of synergy there.

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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

Oh, I’m not saying Secondaries aren’t good. I’m just saying I don’t prefer them, because I tend to get the murderrage and only switch to melee and back to Primary and forget about my wee peashooters. But like a lot of people I’ve used Akstiletto to insane effect. I really like beam weapons so the Atomos often makes an appearance in my arsenal. And the Azima…oh man, I love that gun more and more. And when I want to simply wreak havoc? KULSTAR

Exxar
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Exxar

The pistol can be traded out for the Knives if you really want — Secondary weapons are more for taste and flavour than anything else in my experience.

From my experience, and that was only with the starting pistol and knives mind you, the pistol is just for backup when you’re outta rifle ammo, while knives are just as deadly as the rifle. I’d say I’m biased though, because I’m having huge fun with knives while the pistol was meh.

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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

I had fun with the knives for stealth play. But my favourite stealth play move is still to sneak and kill at melee range, so YMMV.

If you switch up between melee and primary, you should be recovering enough primary ammo to not really need your secondary. I didn’t find a Secondary that I loved until I got my Azima. And I LOVE that gun. (Unfortunately for new players, it won’t be available until after 100 days of logins — but it IS guaranteed after that, and it’s SO worth the wait.) I want to build a Mesa now just so I can make an Azima-focused build.

Exxar
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Exxar

I kinda prefer knives for stealth because I don’t know, it somehow got too easy and repetitive with stealth melee kills :D

I actually use my sword mostly as an oh shit button, because it’s better at dispatching loads of enemies in melee than a rifle. Which I find neat. Get engaged in melee, use your sword, not your gun!

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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

This is why my favourite play mode is Shotgun+Melee. Get up close and stuck in the fight and [CENSORED]! Or just get an Ignis flamethrower and rush at the enemy screaming and then bludgeon their burning bodies to death.

Sorry, I’m getting carried away and now I want to play.

Regardless, in my playstyle, there’s not a lot of room for secondaries.

Exxar
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Exxar

I still haven’t tried a shotgun. Or flamer. Or sniper. Or beam weapons? Didn’t even know stuff like that existed until I saw it here a couple days ago. Well, I haven’t really played that much and I’ve been in other games for the last couple of months, but I look forward to returning sometime.

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Jennifer Yaner

Start with Exaclibur for sure. He’s a really good all around frame, he’s also the hardest starter to get parts for later. Don’t overcomplicate things early game, go with a simple rifle/pistol/sword. Bows look cool, but can be unwieldy for newer players and lack the sheer DPS of a rifle (bows are better for killing single targets). Excalibur also receive a bonus when using a sword, so it will synergize well.

To start, focus on doing the quests. They will help guide you along and unlock new content. If you are struggling try asking in region chat, or joining a relay and asking in the relay chat. People are generally helpful in the relays especially. Don’t worry about trading early on, when you do start trading use warframemarket for good deals, people in game overcharge.

CapnLan
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CapnLan

Excalibur is the best starter frame IMO. He’s the best balanced between the three and doesn’t require a heavy investment in mods to work well. Volt and Mag got buffed recently and are great frames, but are squishy and need more mods than Excal to work well. Don’t fret too much over initial frame choice as you can eventually collect them all and swap between them any time you want. Think of your frame more as a piece of equipment rather than your character. I can’t give more than that because that would be major story line spoilers.

For weapons I voted for sword/pistol/rifle. These may seem boring choices but I feel for a game like Warframe it’s important to start off with weapons you are used to and then use them to get a feel for how the game works. You can then branch off into the more exotic weapons once you have a handle on things. Also the rifle (Braton) is a hitscan weapon where the bow (Paris) is not. Meaning when you fire the bow, the arrow it shoots is an actual projectile with speed, range, and fall off. You also have to lead your target if they’re far enough away. If your aim is bad, bows will hurt. The Braton does not have any of that. You just pull the trigger and things get hit like normal video game guns.

The tutorial also does not teach you the movement system well at all. To master Warframe you must master the Bullet Jump. Fortunately that’s easy to do. Press crouch and while crouching you press jump. This will propel your frame in an impressive jump called a “Bullet Jump.” You can reload while doing this which means you can jump into or away from an engagement while prepping your guns. Running, jumping, sliding, and Bullet Jumping are the corner stones of Warframe movement. Rolling also reduces damage taken while you roll, so start rolling and jumping around when you find yourself under fire.

This is why I say to use weapons you’re familiar with. Trying to learn how to Bullet Jump while aiming a bow is nasty for a newbie to start off with. Bullet Jumping with the rifle is SO much easier.

Finally, don’t ignore your mods. They have more of an impact than getting a new gun. A max level rifle is literally the same as an unleveled one. The bulk of your powers lies in your mods. If you find yourself struggling against enemies, then take some time to check out your mods instead of rushing to get a new gun or frame. Excal can do every piece of content in the game. You actually don’t need any other frame as he can do it all. So if you have trouble with him, check your mods. ALWAYS check your mods. ALWAYS.

There’s way, way more than that but this should get you started. Also ask MJ to play with you sometime. I’ve seen her play on stream and it’s absolutely hilarious. Warframe at it’s core is a co-op game and taking some backup that you know will go a long way to making the game fun. Just don’t take her on spy missions. She yells at the cameras when they spot her and then gets shot. :p