Choose My Adventure: Already captured in Warframe

    
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Three-point landings.
You know, I’ve been oddly impressed with the starting experience for the past couple of titles I’ve been playing in Choose My Adventure. Both of them have managed to avoid one of my pet peeves, where characters tell you that there’s no time to explain when there is not only time but an immediate and obvious necessity to explain. Starting off Warframe immediately made it clear that there was, in fact, no time to explain, because I was surrounded by hostile enemies with some form of restraint device on my frame.

That isn’t to say that you start off with no idea what was going on. You get the absolute barest overview of what’s taking place before you launch into your first encounter, which makes it clear that you’re waking up slowly and have to get right back into the thick of things right away. But it was an impressive experience insofar as it really does feel like you shouldn’t quite have a clear picture of what’s going on. Something is happening, yes, but there has not yet been time or opportunity to explain much.

Here’s the unfortunate side: All of that also extends to the actual tutorial itself, which covers the bare minimum of actions but still doesn’t cover some rather important points. For example, I’m really happy that readers told me about activating bullet-jumps by leaping and then zooming – not only does it make it easier to shoot things while I’m in the air, it also seems to make for wider leaps and more effective traversal in places. The game doesn’t mention this at any point.

The game in general, in fact, seems to be long on making things happen at high velocity and short on giving you context for it until later. Part of me appreciates that, insofar as it works to give you a sense of “hit these things to collect items” before you’re going to be told why you’re collecting this stuff. But it also feels like you’re constantly being bombarded with messages devoid of context.

Have a new type of mineral! Resources! Open your foundry! You can work with mods now! How do you work with mods? We’re never actually going to tell you that, although it turns out it’s the “upgrade” screen on your armory, but there’s nothing pointing you that way! The next few missions will be hell without them! Hope you figured it out.

If you could just tell me how to do these things, that'd be great.

The thing is, the more I play stuff for Choose My Adventure the more I appreciate decent tutorials and the way that the really good ones point you in a direction without holding your hand along the way. Warframe, unfortunately, fails badly on that front. It frequently doesn’t point you in the direction in the first place, much less giving you an explanation of what direction you’d even want to head in. It tells you the controls and acknowledges the existence of systems, but it doesn’t waste even two minutes giving you some idea of what those systems are about.

The result is that I’m a few hours in but still don’t know how to actually acquire new frames yet. But I do know that the “1” key activates my first power. (The tutorial doesn’t show you any others, because you don’t get any others for a while. I think.)

Having said all of that, none of this would matter if the actual gameplay wasn’t worth the time it takes, and I’m happy to say that it is. All of these are very real problems, yes, but the heart of the game is running around as a cyborg space-ninja shooting people. Turns out that doing so is a lot of fun! Who would have guessed?

Playing solo in particular is satisfying because of how the game is structured. A lot of people told me ahead of time to default to a solo queue for the first few runs, which was good advice, ad it works well from a balance standpoint. I’ve never felt overwhelmed by enemies or in huge amounts of danger, but neither do I feel untouchable amidst swarms of enemies.

My frame can stand up to a decent amount of damage, but once the shields are down it doesn’t have a whole lot of health, and a sustained firefight takes my shields down quickly. So the smart thing to do is to focus on stealthy kills and picking off small groups before they can sound the alarm. Yet it never feels like that’s the endgame; stopping alarms isn’t tremendously difficult, so if things go cross-eyed it’s a matter of being smart and taking the next steps necessary.

It’s a rare game where the fighting and the stealthy operations are both fun enough to hold up under scrutiny. Obviously, it’s a very light sort of stealth, but it feels like a natural transition back and forth without ever being obnoxious or uncomfortable.

I have shot so many people.It also helps that your starter weapons feel like weapons, rather than discarded trash. I can see things I don’t like about my assault rifle and pistol, for example, but I never feel like I’m plinking away with inaccurate or weak weapons. So often games start you with absolute garbage, and I appreciate that’s not the case here.

The actual story and missions are fairly perfunctory “go here and do a thing” sorts of affairs, with the early focus being on restoring your half-damaged ship and getting that restraint off of your body. You get the strong sense of being caught between larger icebergs, to steal a phrase; it’s clear that you don’t have the whole picture, but it’s also clear who your allies and enemies are. (Surprising no one, the enemies are the horrendously weird Grineer.) You’re not being manipulated, you just aren’t getting the full story.

Suffice it to say that I’m enjoying the game so far, though. There are some definite weaknesses in presentation and in teaching, but the actual moment-to-moment gameplay is fun, and while a lot of things are under-explained, nothing feels so terribly obtuse that I’m not confident I’ll figure it out eventually. Really, the only thing I totally dislike is the way that weapon swapping works, helped not a whit by the muscle memory reaching for “F” for melee strikes.

Now, a poll. Thus far I’ve been heading straight through the game’s main missions from start to finish, focusing on that above and beyond any side ventures. That doesn’t mean I don’t see those side ventures, though, and perhaps I ought to be exploring those instead of just having tunnel vision. But is that the right way to play? For that matter, is that the play style that people want to see? Let’s put it to a vote!

CMA: How should I proceed?

  • Continue this storyline to the end (34%, 43 Votes)
  • Start doing side missions (8%, 10 Votes)
  • Do a mix of both (58%, 73 Votes)

Total Voters: 126

Loading ... Loading ...

As usual, polls are open until 6:00 p.m. EST on Friday. Until then, you can feel free to leave comments and feedback down below, or mail them along to eliot@massivelyop.com. More advice and suggestions are also welcome, since the game definitely has lots of things which require an explanation they don’t actually get.

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. He is not exactly thrilled at the lack of character creation options, but many parts of that can wait until a later column.

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David Goodman

If you are a low-income player (e.g., you’re not F2P but you’re not spending money frivelously), and you don’t know about it, Warframe does a daily login bonus thing. Sometimes, you can get a discount off platinum in the in-game store.

Sometimes, it’s a 25% off coupon. Not bad. Sometimes, it’s 50% off — rarely, 75%.

If you want to make the most of a small budget, wait for one of those. Buy WARFRAME SLOTS, and maybe a weapon slot. Don’t spend plat on the in-game market; you can generally get a better deal from players. And you can build most anything you want by playing the game. However, you CAN’T gain slots to hold new warframes without buying them, so if you want a large variety of frames to play around with, this and maybe a weapon slot or two is what you want to focus on.

I picked up 170 plat for $5 with a 50% off coupon. That might be all that I spend on Warframe but it’s a generous game to free players and those who don’t want to spend a ton.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Warframe has some very excellent story missions that they did a terrific job on. They had a pretty meaningful impact on me but sadly they’re only a small part of the game and end up being few and far in between.

My favorite ones I can’t even mention as they end up having major spoilers in them as to new game additions you get later. And please nobody reply and mention them as every player should experience those for themselves.

One thing Warframe is pretty bad at is new player tutorial and direction, despite it being better than it was not too long ago. It’s mainly because of the way that the game was made and expanded. The original game didn’t need much of an explanation, then they kept adding new things into the game that all the players there got a bit at a time as new additions.

So to the majority of the player base these were added systems they learned as they went along and got them added in. To new players now however, you’re presented with a lot of options at once and it can be semi-confusing to a number of people.

So it’s that the new player experience didn’t keep up with all the additions that kept going into the game over the years, for the most part. They did add in a little bit of help and direction but it’s far more open than most games are and in an age where games hold your hand like it’s the first time you’re playing a game every time you start them, going the complete opposite way of very little direction confuses a lot of players.

In reality it’s not hard to learn what you can be doing if you do a little research (I know people feel that they shouldn’t have to, but they really should) and once you do there’s an amazing gaming experience to be had.

They’d retain a lot more first timers if they added more direction to begin with, which is sad for those that miss out on the game and for the game as a whole because that would mean even more money going into it for re-investment back into new game additions.

The new open world areas also are really changing up the game and give even more options, though personally I enjoy their story telling more than anything else those open areas are pretty interesting as well. Most companies would have made “Warframe 2” to make all the additions these guys have added on but they’ve just kept adding them to the base game expanding it to something really huge with so many options. It’s why it keeps a spot on my hard drive to return to every once and a while despite hundreds of hours (from a casual player even) put into it.

It’s my most played game ever and it’s funny because I didn’t even like shooters at all at one point.

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Mykal Quinn

I do have to say that Warframe is not very new player friendly. My best advice is to find a veteran to help you learn and get access to their clan dojo (a lot of gear is locked behind there). Other than that, you definitely want to play each mission node at least once, and complete any and all alerts and invasions you can that contain items. Many of them are exclusive to those missions.

The Warframe Wiki is your friend and if you do choose to continue playing you will be using it extensively. The official forums are also a great place to find information.

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Mykal Quinn

Mashed did a great animation depicting a new player’s experience, and it’s quite silly and relatable.

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Zen Dadaist

I usually show this to anyone who mentioned they’re looking at giving WF a go :p

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sophiskiai

My advice is to follow the Junctions – if you look at the map of Earth, there are Junctions leading to Venus and Mars, and mousing over the Venus junction will show you what needs doing to unlock it. Completing the starting questline is one requirement, the other requirements involve killing Eximus enemies (bigger and tougher Grineer that turn up randomly in missions, with special powers and visual effects) and collecting a bunch of mods, so you’ll probably need to do a load of random missions anyway for those.

When the Junction’s unlocked you’ll have a solo fight against a mini boss, once you win then you get a blueprint to build a robot pet and it’s on to Venus with whole new terrain tilesets and enemy types :)

You unlock more powers (and make your existing powers more effective) just by levelling up your Warframe. At this early stage of the game, you can get blueprints to build new Warframes as random drops from Eximus enemies (Oberon, an antlered frame with healing and radiation powers), rewards from limited-time Alert missions (Vauban, a crowd-control engineer with grenades and mines), and drops from the boss on Venus (Rhino, a solid tank with strong defensive powers). You need four different blueprints for each Warframe – three to build the chassis, systems, and neuroptics, then another one to combine those three parts into the finished ‘frame.

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Alex Willis

Story missions aside, and once you have found your feet (or “parkour feet” or whatever), I cannot recommend highly enough doing Public, Co-Op side missions (Alert Missions, Rep quests, etc). Content in Warframe tends to scale to the number of players from what I can tell, so the number of enemies will as well. Multiple players opens up huge opportunities for inter-Frame synergies (some Frames get better merely by having other Frames near them, like the Vauban). But most importantly? More enemies = More loot. And that is critically important in a game that will start to test your resources very quickly. I found that I hit a bit of a content wall in terms of what gear I could acquire about 8 hours in, because I was missing small numbers of rare items that were required to construct weapons and gear. Now, once you’ve unlocked most of the planets/sites, that difficulty evaporates to nothing, but there’s a curve, and it starts going upwards after the opening missions. Frankly, the best way to ensure more stuff is to play with more people. The math just gets harder and harder to work when you play solo.*

(There are exceptions, of course. I vastly prefer to do Spy and Sabotage missions solo. Partly because stealth gameplay pays off in these missions — literally, in what you can acquire stealthily — but it’s also a nice break from the murderninja bloodbath that most missions turn into with a group. And if you ever wanted to spend IRL money on a Frame? Go for Ivara. Best stealth frame in game, and it opens up tactical options on the map you would never have considered without the frame.)

Exxar
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Exxar

Can second Ivara, both as an awesome frame and as one of the rare worthy frames purchased for real money. There are a couple of others, and the criteria is how ornery it is to grind for their blueprints.

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Rees Racer

Ivara was first the frame I bought with RL money, and she is still one of my favourites. Pair her with a good bow or sniper rifle on spy/rescue (even capture and sabotage) missions, and it’s great fun.

Octavia and Frost (Prime) are great for defence/mobile defence missions (and sabotage), and Inaros ideal for survival (and any nightmare mission with no shields…since he has none anyway).

Anything you like for exterminate based on your play-style, really.

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Joshua Dickerson

One of my only gripes with Warframe was that I started when the game was first being developed. So to my knowledge those of us with “legacy” accounts never got to experience the new player ones with the story elements tagged on.

We did get all the other themed chapter quests though, just not the beginning ones.

Exxar
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Exxar

Eh… I’d tell you something you something about your poll choices but that would be spoilery.

Exxar
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Exxar

Hmm, didn’t see the other comments below when I was writing the above one. So since it’s “spoiled” already… You really can’t do the story quests exclusively. And the side-missions aren’t really side-missions, they’re the meat and potatos of the game. It’s rather the other way around: from time to time, as you advance through the planets, the story quests will unlock for you.

So what I’d suggest is just advance through the planets, you’ll need to do a decent amounts of missions, but not most of them, on a single planet to unlock the next one, and when you get access to a story quest do that. That’s actually kinda important since they sometimes unlock new gameplay elements.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Best advice.

CapnLan
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CapnLan

Yep, there’s no way around it. The Warframe tutorial is garbage and needs to be thrown out. Weapon swapping has been a long standing issue that the community has been talking about for years now, but the devs don’t change it because of “design reasons”. I don’t know why they won’t change it, but they’ve been clear that they don’t want to. I’m sot surprised you find this to be an issue though as many of us do as well.

You can quick melee though by pressing E (default keybind) when you have your gun out. You can rebind that to F if you want so your muscle memory will work. The main difference being that quick melee can’t use stance combos. Have to actually swap to your melee weapon to use those. Some mods such as Blood Rush also only work with combos, so quick melee won’t trigger those. Most players just use quick melee though as swapping speed is terrible.

As for the story missions, just keep plugging away at them. Eventually they start to spread out so you will have to clear some planetary nodes to progress. You will then get to the Junction at the end of each planet that has different requirements to pass. I highly recommend you use the wiki for some of them as the game again fails to tell you what some of them mean. One Junction has a requirement to kill Eximus enemies but never tells you what those are or where to find them. Wiki all of that stuff.

The story missions you’ve done right now are quite old and don’t reflect the new standard of missions that DE has put out as of late. The quality increase really starts when you get to the mission called “The Second Dream.” That is the mission where quality goes through the roof. That mission is THE turning point for the whole story of the game. It sets the pace for everything that comes after with it’s significant reveals and lore implications. That is the mission that I recommend you play before you move on from Warframe. Though after that mission, you might not want to move on, heh.

So just keep plugging along with the old story missions for now and clearing some nodes and Junctions as you go. Everything takes off once you get to The Second Dream.

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Alex Willis

The quality increase really starts when you get to the mission called “The Second Dream.” That is the mission where quality goes through the roof. That mission is THE turning point for the whole story of the game. It sets the pace for everything that comes after with it’s significant reveals and lore implications. That is the mission that I recommend you play before you move on from Warframe. Though after that mission, you might not want to move on, heh.

This is so true. I found most of the quests up until Second Dream to be a little thin, but…wow. It’s cool as shit from there on. Very original science fiction content.

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Etharion Ethie

Within your Codex, there is a Quests section. The order in which those quests are presented is chronological in terms of what part of the story they occur in. It’s my advice that you complete those quests as you procure them and have access to them, as even side content is more or less relevant to the overaching story of the game, should you be interested in pursuing said story. Having a mentor available to offer advice and guidance in-game (whether that’s a friend that also plays, a discord, or whatever) would do much to ease things as well. Warframe is a very community-driven game, and while playing the entire game solo is feasible, I do feel like you’d lose some of the camaraderie the game otherwise offers!

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Zen Dadaist

OK so “side missions” can mean many different things in Warframe. Thay can be non-mainline Quests, they can be Alerts that pop up with a nice reward, they can be completing and therefore unlocking planet nodes that aren’t directly in between where you are and the next planet Junction.

In other words, you’re going to end up doing a mix of stuff anyway :p I don’t advise rushing ASAP to Uranus to start on The Second Dream (which is what you would do if you wanted to focus solely on the “main” quest).

The game not telling you how to get new frames immediately isn’t really an issue because they’re not the sort of thing you quickly grab. They are the centre of your powerhouse arsenal, the choice of which is arguably the most important when entering a mission you don’t vastly overpower already. They take time to acquire and build, as a result. They are acquired by doing quests, farming the parts off planet bosses and in a few other random ways (for example one comes from Alerts, another has parts that drop from Eximus enemies).