Choose My Adventure: Single-track shooting in Warframe

After my second week in, I have to admit that I’m kind of bothered by Warframe. Or, more accurately, the fact that I like the game’s overall mechanics doesn’t fix the fact that it has some seriously irritating bits of work running through the whole experience.

None of this is to say that the game is bad, mind you. In fact, the second week, if anything, reaffirmed the fact that this is in fact a well-polished game with a clear picture of what it wants to be. All of that is commendable. The issues that it has are entirely down to issues of choice and the investment needed to make those choices, and the fact that it frequently prevents you from getting information that might be entirely valuable.

But then, the game also still does a good job of letting you enjoy running around while shooting stuff. So it’s a mixed bag that’s going to hit everyone a little bit differently, in other words.

Shoot till you're happy again.I’m still having some issues with bits of the controls, like the mechanics for swapping weapons and bullet-sliding, but most of that is down to me not remapping the controls just yet. (Mapping a couple more things to my mouse would probably fix that right up.) The fact is that the game is still proving fun in terms of the moment-to-moment gameplay, and that covers a great deal. I’m especially enjoying the fact that the game is still a stealthy game, but it’s not the sort of game where that signals two wholly different gameplay styles.

Sneaking around is fun and useful, and now in particular I’m thinking that I want a bow for ranged stealth takedowns. (It’d provide more opportunity for using both my primary and secondary weapon; I have yet to find a use for my pistol in actual combat aside from “I remember I’m not using my pistol.”) But there’s a definite phase transition when you go from sneaking to weapons hot, and it doesn’t necessarily have to escalate to alarms. Nor is it game over when the alarm sounds; when I’m trying to get back to sneaking, I still feel like I’ve got time and space to get things back under control.

More to the point, the designers are good about giving you maps in which various approaches are rewarding. I often feel like I don’t have much chance of going stealthy through certain areas, but I feel like I do have a chance to eliminate the people who spot me before things get worse. And when I can move unseen, it makes the whole experience feel even more satisfying.

That being said, the game’s first boss-ish encounter against Vor was not something I found particularly fun. That was the one point when it felt like the game offered you exactly one choice in a stand-up fight, and while your frame feels durable it doesn’t feel like it’s meant to serve as a bullet sponge. I cleared it all right, but it bothered me a little bit.

What bothered me far more, though, is the fact that the game still has offered me no actual options beyond what I started with. That’s something that’s just a little bit harder to overlook.

The game is quick to tell you that you don’t need to worry too much about your initial choices and that you can change everything – your frame, your weaponry, and so forth. What it doesn’t tell you is how to actually do any of this, nor does it provide the means to actually do so. The Market interface is about as clear as a block of limestone and half as smooth, and just finding out about the differences between blueprints and items – much less the different currencies in the game – is an exercise in frustration.

Fair cop, we’re talking about a free-to-play game, so some of that is understandable. But not all of it by half. It’s downright absurd that you don’t even get the other starting options accessible in short order. You feel like you’re perpetually collecting stuff waiting for the point when it’s useful, and then you finish the initial questline and…

Oh, hey, I got the anniversary skin.And what? There are more things to do before the gates, but the game doesn’t explain them to you at all. I had to bother a friend of mine who is an experienced veteran just to find out what some of the terms in question meant, and even the ones I fully understood looked like a jumbled mess of taking a long time to get things unlocked.

Worse yet, all of the different weapons and frames and whatnot are hampered by the problem that there’s no way to actually try these things out before you buy them. That’s right, you’re going in blind every time, either for something you’re buying with real cash or devoting a lot of in-game resources to unlock. It’d be bad enough if you were asking if you were going to really like this new style of shotgun, but when you realize that you have to buy in just to find out if you like shotguns at all?

That’s absurd. Yes, a free-to-play game needs to have its cash gates and so forth, no argument there. But jeez, this is not good. It’s a lot of blind leaps in the hopes that you’ll like something, and the game completely fails to explain what many of those leaps even mean.

I can’t think of any good reason to lock you off from even being able to try out these expensive or time-consuming items. Seriously, the game is not going to break if I had the chance to just try out a basic shotgun, bow, and sniper rifle before you ask me to buy and build new ones.

This is also one of the reasons I usually go into these things without accepting a lot of help from other people, as I’m aware you can send things back and forth between players. (Probably. This is a game that goes out of its way to avoid telling you that things exist.) But then, if I leaned on that I never would have learned how bad it is about giving players those options to start with, would I?

It’s here where I find myself getting frustrated by the game. It’s not that the weapons I got to start or the first frame offered is bad by any stretch of the imagination; I don’t feel like the Excalibur is a bad frame. I just want the option to swap and play around with some of my other options, to find a configuration I really like. And it’s so hard to find any information about how to even unlock those extra options that it winds up pretty frustrating.

The obvious response to that, of course, is to drop some money on the game. And, you know, that’s not actually a bad thing anyhow. My usual policy for Choose My Adventure titles is to subscribe for a month, even though it’s not required; that being said, my past few outings have not had a proper subscription option. (Or, in one case, were not able to offer anything of notable use for a month’s subscription.) So it’d be entirely in keeping with the theme for me to drop a little bit of money on the game and pick up some new toys.

Then again, perhaps you would rather see the experience from the eyes of someone who had spent nothing. So tell me, dear readers, should I spend money on the game?

CMA: Should I buy a frame?

  • Yes (48%, 50 Votes)
  • No (52%, 54 Votes)

Total Voters: 104

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The poll will run until noon on Saturday, just to give you a little more time to vote (we did run on Friday this week, after all). Other feedback is also welcome in the comments or by mail to eliot@massivelyop.com, as are personal recommendations for frames if this goes affirmative; I have my own ideas, but I’m certainly willing to listen to other suggestions.

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 did find the screenshot mode! He’s pretty fond of it, more games should have something like this.
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Jon Camp

As some have noted, the “MK-1” weapons in the market are available for credits, not platinum, so you can try out several without needing to drop real cash.

The upside to playing “public” is that you can run a bunch of missions very quickly, plus your teammates’ kills will give you xp to your frame and all 3 weapons simultaneously, so it ranks everything up a lot faster.

The downside is that your preferred stealth gameplay style doesn’t exist in a group and it’s very much a “go go go go go, do the objective, go go go go go, extract!” mentality when in a group, unless you’re playing in a pre-made and everyone knows that you want to slow it down, perhaps loot a crate or 2, etc.

I completely agree that the in-game tutorials need to be a lot better, but I can see why so much has been left out of them, since they were written/coded 4+ years ago, and many of the current systems only went in to the game in the past year or 2, so of course the tutorial doesn’t have them. But yeah, they should update the tutorial to have them….

And as noted — do the anniversary missions. Do them public and they’ll be very easy, plus you’ll get 3 new weapons plus the cape, some decent xp, credits, and even some rare resources.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

Most (all?) of the weapons you can buy for platinum in the market, you can also buy the blueprints for in a dojo for credits and then craft them in your Forge. I have more potential blueprint options for weapons than I have money for. Join a clan and make sure you can use the labs there to purchase researched blueprints and you won’t need to spend real money to see if you like a particular weapon.

You’ll eventually be able to craft more than you know what to do with, but it’s slow-going at first.

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Alex Willis

Voted yes, and agree with a few frames from CapnLan’s list: namely, Ivara, Nidus, and Mesa (in that order). To that list I would add Chroma, though that one is a little more farmable in the medium-term. Not sure the Prime packs are really necessary: if you like Stealth, Ivara is always going to be the better bet. Though my personal favorite choice is definitely Nidus: totally different gameplay than any other frame, and can be freakishly survivable.

Generally Capn is right about the weapons, too: go for the credit-purchase Mk-1s. They are purpose-built for “trying it out”, and 15K can be achieved in a couple of alert missions (or only one, if you’ve reached Ceres and can do Seimeni (http://warframe.wikia.com/wiki/Ceres), which gives 20K+ per run. And those alert Dex weapons are great!

Won’t lie to you, though: the lack of information doesn’t get any easier/better as you proceed through the game. It sucks that you’re frustrated by it, and I hope you can look past it, because there’s a very deep and exciting game underneath all that “limestone” (to use your metaphor). I get that not everybody has the time to scour the game’s wiki — but it is easily the best game wiki I have ever found (and it is VERY frequently updated and is highly trusted as a source by the community).

Not sure if you’ve played any co-op or Public missions yet but I still highly recommend you try them. Much more profitable and you can experience some very different game modes that way, and learn more about the game by watching others and asking them questions. I’ve found many friends by random Public games and they were great resources.

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bill bunny

“That being said, the game’s first boss-ish encounter against Vor was not something I found particularly fun. That was the one point when it felt like the game offered you exactly one choice in a stand-up fight, and while your frame feels durable it doesn’t feel like it’s meant to serve as a bullet sponge. I cleared it all right, but it bothered me a little bit.

What bothered me far more, though, is the fact that the game still has offered me no actual options beyond what I started with. That’s something that’s just a little bit harder to overlook.”

Uhhh….are we playing the same game? You can make any Warframe decently durable by just upgrading health and shield mods if you want to play a more tanky style…you would probably be into the rhino frame…it pretty beefy

How does the game not offer you any options? You can farm several weapons and frames by just doing missions….

It seems like you don’t have much of a clue of what’s going on in that game…that’s honestly one of the problems with that game is it is almost overwhelming for beginners…trust me though, everything you need is there for farming if you know where to look. Most bosses drop a random piece of a frame every time you kill them….kill them 5-6 times build a new frame. Maybe get a better understanding of the game before you write an article about it? Cause this is just a cringe to read.

I would say the main downfall of Warframe is a lack of endgame….it just gets boring and there is nothing to really do with all that groovy stuff you’re farming for…..I didn’t get the point after a while.

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Jiminy Smegit

This game takes quite a while to click. The in-game tutorials (in the codex) are semi decent but the game overall does a genuinely terrible job of explaining anything, especially now they have several layers of complexity built up from various patches.

I love this game now that I am past the starting experience and understand how most things work but the new player experience needs a lot of work. If they wanted to be lazy, even something as simple as emails from Lotus to point you at various codex tutorials at appropriate times.

As for frames, if you like stealth buy Ivara, if you want to murder things with tentacles buy Nidus and if you want to be cheap and murder in a leisurely way, just work to getting Rhino (tanky and super easy to play). Nidus easily my favorite frame so far.

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Alex Willis

Go Team Nidus! *mutant scream*

View post on imgur.com

CapnLan
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CapnLan

I voted yes, but only certain frames are worth buying. The ones I bought were Mesa, Ivara, Nidus, Harrow, and Atlas. I bought Atlas because I’m lazy and hate Archwing but he’s easy enough if you can deal with Archwing. The rest of them are a pain to farm and most of them I got from random sales. Every now and then they go on sale for 55% off so I grabbed them then.

A better alternative is to look into the Prime Vault: https://www.warframe.com/prime-vault

Theses packs come with Prime frames, Prime weapons, and other Prime goodies. They also come with some plat that you can spend on whatever else you want from the market. These will give you a rather huge boost as an early player. Some in the community don’t like to see newbies with Primes, but quite frankly I disagree with those people. The bulk of your power comes from your mods, so getting some Primes as an early player doesn’t suddenly make you overpowered. What it will do is open up a bunch of options and game play styles that you don’t have right now. In fact, DE did a Twitch prime promo last year where they literally gave away Frost Prime and some Prime weapons for free. It was a smashing success at bringing in new players. So bugger what others say about newbies getting Primes. It brought in a bunch of players and kept them here.

Speaking of Frost Prime, if you can only afford one pack then I highly recommend him as your one. Ember is alright, but got smacked around a bit in the last rebalance. She’s not horrible, but needs some work still. Loki is fabulous, but needs mods to bring out his full potential. Mods that you definitely do not have as a new player yet.

Frost needs minimal mods to get rolling. His pack also comes with Latron Prime which got mega buffed in the last weapon rebalance. It’s damn good now. The melee rebalance hasn’t happened yet so Reaper Prime is a bit under powered, but it’s more than enough to get you through the Star Chart. It looks excellent as well. You also get one of the best Syandanas in the game. The extractor is meh, I hardly use mine. $40 isn’t a horrible buy in price to get started for the amount of stuff you get. You can then use that 400 plat for slots or one of the frames I mentioned at the top.

Last point on weapons is that you can buy the other Mk. I weapons at the market for around 15k credits. They come pre-built so you don’t need to use resources. You can also buy a Lex pistol for 50k also pre-built, but that might be too expensive for you right now. The market is a mess so you aren’t wrong in being frustrated by it. This is actually the revamped market too. It used to be far worse.

I also see you got your Dexcalibur skin. Go to your navigation panel and open up your alerts. You should see the anniversary alerts up near the top. Run those. They’re very easy but if you can’t solo them then go ahead and switch it to Public. I helped carry a bunch of newbies get theirs in Public games so you can just sit back and let some random vet that joins smoke the whole thing for you. Most of us don’t mind at all. You can get a Dex Furis (dual auto pistols), Dex Sybaris (powerful burst rifle), Dex Dakras (dual swords), and a Dex Nouchali (cosmetic Syandana). Those weapons come with a free weapon slot, have Orokin Catalysts automatically built in, and are completely free. Do the alerts, get free guns. The Dex Sybaris in particular is stupidly powerful. Unless you already got them, in which case disregard this whole paragraph.

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Rees Racer

Buy a Frame. Buy Ivara. She’s hard to farm, and is actually built for the stealth gameplay you seem to like.

Also, there are several cheap entry-level weapons you can purchase with in-game currency (available most EASILY in the arsenal…not the market).

Mattaui
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Mattaui

Yes, buy a frame. It can be farmed up, sure, but it doesn’t mean it’s remotely a cost effective use of your time. Plus it supports the game!

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Stiqman

“In fact, the second week, if anything, reaffirmed the fact that this is in fact a well-polished game with a clear picture of what it wants to be.” That’s a lot of facts.

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Toanstation

I voted “No” because you should just farm up a frame. You’re first available frame will be Rhino on Venus. The Jackal isn’t hard to defeat once you learn his mechanics.

Once you get a bit more established, you’ll find that building weapons and frames, once you have the blueprints, is a manner of managing resources. Some resources seem rare or scarce at the moment, but that will change over time.