Choose My Adventure: Frenzied slashing in Warframe

Do cut.
So, for this week’s antics in Warframe, I bought a frame.

“Shenanigans!” you cry. “The poll went against your buying a frame!” And it’s true, the poll did go against that… the week that I put up that poll. But there was no poll last week, and thus I declared executive privilege and went with the frame that I’d been eyeing for some time as a perfect compliment to my playstyle. Which, despite what many people have suggested, was not one of the most stealthy frames.

My reasoning, ultimately, was that there was no real way for me to reliably farm up the materials to build an additional frame and actually start playing with something else in the time I had remaining. Thus, rather than continuing to tool around with just the Excalibur, I felt that it behooved me to give another frame a shot so that I could at least realistically say whether having a different option altered my opinion about the game as a whole.

Don't hate.As it turns out, it both did and didn’t. But first it was important to me to pick up my Valkyr frame.

Yes, the Valkyr. A lot of you had suggested other frames based on my avowed love of winnowing enemies from stealth in advance of a frontal rush, but the thing is that Valkyr is just as good at picking some things off with stealth kills. Once it’s actually time to mix things up, she’s got a grappling line (invaluable), a buff to melee damage (helpful), a tool to detonate her shield (middling in usefulness, but worthwhile when shields are dropping anyhow), and an “ultimate” mode that turns her into a vampire melee monster (ideal for these scenarios). More to the point, she doesn’t heavily rely upon mods to work, which some frames do.

This choice was also happily endorsed by a friend of mine with more overall familiarity with the game, who confessed that Valkyr and Mesa seemed like the frames I’d want to play. She knows me.

Said friend also pointed out that this was, in a way, antithetical to the very nature of the game; when you have a game so heavily reliant upon farming things up and assembling crafts yourself, just buying a frame seems to encourage some bad habits. On a whole, I agree with her; as mentioned before, however, the fact that your frame choice starts out as so blindingly limited means that you ultimately will spend a lot of time unable to swap otherwise, and it’s a longer interval until you start getting meaningful choices about what to use.

Considering the game is so much about farming drops and the like, you obviously should have limitations. But I think giving you a chance to test drive and work with an arsenal of two or three frames before you start that farming would be a useful change. It’d slightly even out the curve when you’re getting into it, and while I can see the case being made about earlier frames being easier to play, there’s a balance between “what’s easiest to play” and “what is going to convince people to keep playing.”

That, thankfully, is all the dirt I have to sling. Once I started to get my sea legs with Valkyr, I quickly felt like my choice had been the right one. Her tools more naturally complemented the way that I prefer to play, and while I would believe she might not be as useful in a broad sense as the Excalibur, I was certainly having more fun on a whole.

Said friend and I also ran a few duo missions, and I continued experimenting more with running missions as a group rather than just running things in solo mode. The two different gameplay styles I mentioned last week are very much in full effect, especially when you’re grouping with more experienced players. To someone who has been doing this for a while, the goal is to maximize results with minimized movements; to someone playing solo, there’s more reason to go slowly, explore, and creep about the edges of the map rather than rushing.

I told you not to hate.

For the record, this seems like a different beast to me than the anniversary event missions; just because event missions work a specific way doesn’t mean all group gameplay does.

I’m hard-pressed to say that one is better than the other, but it does feel like a bit of an issue with design. Getting better rewards through grouping when higher-leveled and more experienced players are just gliding through the maps can, at times, feel kind of like being in perpetual tagalong mode. That’s less than fun. On the other hand, it also makes the game far faster to just glide through and smash things, and that part is fun. A mix of both seems the way to go, for my experience.

My Mastery rank ups were all contained within the experience of playing as Valkyr, and they remind me of nothing so much as the training missions from Metal Gear Solid, short challenges asking you to take on enemies with only one sort of weapon. They are not particularly difficult, at least not in the early ranks. I appreciate that the core need here was to create a system wherein you have a separate level rank from your various weapons and frames which also level up; this may have been the most elegant solution for that.

I also picked up a few more blueprints, which required rare items that, again, I am clearly meant to farm for much later in the game. This is fine, in and of itself, but to echo a complaint that has been made many times by now, it would be nice if the game itself mentioned any of this. Thanks to the (extensive and helpful) comments here, and the fact that (as noted) I have a friend who is fond of the game, I had the grounding necessary to know what was going on here. “Oh, that cosmetic item will require some farming later, but the blueprint is also sometimes hard to get.”

The game itself is silent on this matter. Without this external guidance, there would be no way to know any of this.

She cut.Most of you who have read a variety of Choose My Adventure entries know that my usual policy is to either take no help from readers or accept only minimal help, and the fact of the matter is that this is part of the reason why. I can only imagine how baffled someone without this guidance would be. Sure, you can do a wiki trawl to figure it out, but “just search the wiki” is the refuge of developers who have done a poor job guiding players.

Having this guidance at least made it clear what I was supposed to do and whether or not I should expect to be ready to unlock this soon (no). Explanations are few in number and slow in arriving, which is not good. You wind up having to guess a lot.

This is compounded by the fact that, as near as I can tell, there’s no way to actually look up which weapons are part of which weapon family, which is very relevant when you get into melee stances. That in particular feels like a baffling choice. Fine, you have some dozen different melee styles and you have to divide them up by specific weapon type for some reason. That’s weird, but all right, I can live with it. But then you could at least have, like, one line saying “this is a dual sword” on the info box? Maybe?

For that matter, you cannot convince me that it’s vitally important to divide things this narrowly. You also cannot convince me that it’s useful or important to make it this hard to get a stance for your melee weapon.

The bright side, again, is that the actual mechanics do make sense once you get up to speed on them, and of course the actual mechanics are fun. There are lots of missions that are fun to do, and they provide an actual fun spread of different options for what you can be doing at any given time. Between farming and the need to unlock various nodes, you even have good cause to do various missions over and over, which I appreciate.

In summary, I enjoyed my time with Valkyr, and it served as a nice capstone to my experiences. But there are issues with the game, which I’ll be picking apart more next week as I wrap things up. Until then, you can mail feedback to or leave it down in the comments below. As I’ve said before, thank you all for the variety of comments; they’ve been invaluable in sorting out the game’s mechanics and what to do.

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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Valkyr is amazing, but with the right mods she’s an unstoppable killing machine. There are a couple that give you energy when you take health damage. So you take no shield mod, stack health and armor, then put those energy mods on. Melee….get hit lots, get low on health, flip on power 4, with your full energy, rinse and repeat.


While Valkyr is a great frame with a nice self heal and her grapple lines help in a lot of situations, she is *very* *VERY* far from a stealth frame. She’s a stealth frame the same way any other random frame can be a stealth frame in the game by sneaking around and using noiseless weapons, but she isn’t made for stealth and comes with no stealth abilities. If you try to debate she’s a stealth frame, you can use whatever debate and excuse you’re making up in your mind to call her that on *any* other frame in the entire game.

Ivara is my favorite actual stealth frame. Some people like Loki, others think Ash fits (he’s a ninja but to me doesn’t feel as stealthy as Ivara and Loki).

Don’t get me wrong, Valkyr is a great fun frame and you can do some awesome melee setups and things with her and I really love her (she was my first prime frame), but she’s not stealth at all.

I would have highly suggested Ivara for actual stealth. But sometimes it’s fun to be a rebel and do debates that make no sense in the end, like calling Valkyr stealth :D

I actually didn’t read this entire article, which is probably a no no for responding, but hopefully in the end you ended up enjoying your play with her anyway. If you want to try true stealth though pick up an Ivara (as long as you’re just buying her, if farming Loki is easier to get).

Kickstarter Donor
Rees Racer

Well, what Eliot actually indicated in this column…was that despite most of us interpreting his play-style as stealth-oriented, he doesn’t care for it any more than the next, necessarily. Many of had suggested Ivara (one of my favourites, certainly when doing solo spy/sabotage missions), but he elected to go with something a bit more versatile.


Went with Ye Olde Berserker Kitty, eh? One of my favs for sure. Not one I would have bought, but far from a bad choice.

Melee stances are the way they are because each stance has different animations that have different damage multipliers and status procs on them that serve as part of the weapon type’s balance. For example, the Vulpine Mask stance for rapiers has strong slash proc mulipliers which makes it ideal for status based rapiers but is a nice bonus for crit based rapiers. That gives them a different flavor than other weapon types. So some stances might be better with one build while others will be better with a different build.

Since you have the living blender frame now, you can see this when you put away your gun and swap to your melee weapon. You can’t use stance combos when you just use the quick melee. You have to put the gun away. When you do, use Valkyr’s 3 and then try the stance combos. This is where melee damage goes bonkers. Bonkers to the point where I never use guns on Kitty. I mean I have them equipped but I never use them. All melee all the time. That’s really the best way to use her. She’s the premier melee berserker frame. Put the guns away, forget stealth, and shred everything that stands in your way to pieces.

Also fun fact: Valkyr is voiced by DE Megan, one of the community managers. So all the screaming you hear is her.

I also hope you make it to The Second Dream before you wrap Warframe up. It really is the single major turning point in the story and I feel like you won’t be doing the game justice if you stop before getting there.


Whoops, I meant Valkyr’s 2. Not 3. Stupid typos.

Kickstarter Donor
Rees Racer

“Sure, you can do a wiki trawl to figure it out, but “just search the wiki” is the refuge of developers who have done a poor job guiding players.”

I want to take some exception to this statement, and whilst there is certainly more that might be explained through a better in-game tutorial (or prompts playing early on), I really believe many of Warframe’s systems and massive array of equipment are simply too complex to easily demonstrate.

I hate to compare it to EVE, but there are certainly similarities in that players are rewarded for tabbing out to do a bit of research. And it is rewarding. I’d also prefer not to use the term “easy to learn but difficult to master”, but there is some accuracy in that as well.

I’ve made several decisions for what frames or weapons I might prefer based almost entirely on the Wiki, or advice from my friends and other players (as you did).

These developers are not lazy, to be sure.