Warframe of Mind: Looking back at Warframe’s lucky seventh year

    
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In our first Warframe anniversary retrospective in 2019, we covered everything from the beginning up through the shooter’s sixth birthday. For the lucky seventh birthday, we only need to look back over 12 months. The thing is, talking about one year in the life of Warframe is still a daunting task! Digital Extremes offers up a ton of content and updates for players to enjoy — not to mention more dev streams than you can shake a Grineer at!

While other games may have highs and lows throughout the year, Warframe stays pretty reliably in the highs zone; even the low of the loss of a live convention this year has positive points. So it makes sense that Warframe was one of PlayStation’s most downloaded games of 2019. Here’s a look at this more-than-a-shooter’s seventh year filled with the Eidolon refresh, new primes, Railjack, and one of the best cons in the business: TennoCon 2019.

Bigger, better, badder

Bigger. Each year Warframe grows in scope. What started as just a shooter has moved far beyond that. And this past year saw major expansion into space. Better. New content aside, the game has also seen improvements made in existing systems and features that really enhance the experience. Badder. You want vicious new enemies, both as a whole and personally? You got it this year.

Hot on the heals of the sixth anniversary came a major refresh of the massive Eidolon outdoor zone. This beautification project did more than just purdy things up with striking details that really enhance the ambiance (and making terrain more fun for K-drive enthusiasts); in fact, it added new content as well. Players could now head out on conservation missions for the wildlife there or face three new Tusk Thumper enemies. The fact you can grab remote missions in the field was a very welcome change! A creative mode for streamers was also enabled in this update along with a Grineer sparring weapon.

If that wasn’t enough content for April, players also got to experience the final episode of the then-current Nightwave series, The Wolf of Saturn Six.

Spring is all about renewal, and Eidolon wasn’t the only area getting spruced up. The rest of spring was rounded out with May’s The Jovian Update, which included a remaster of Jupiter’s Gas City tileset along with cyber-mutant encounters and a Ropalolyst boss fight, and a new endless Disruption horde mode.

Summer wasn’t for slowing down in Warframe. June saw a Nightwave intermission event and the Operation: Plague Star event, while July added in the next Nightwave series, The Emissary. August included the light-hearted Dog Days summer event. Who wasn’t amused by a squirt gun fight with the Grineer? Of personal interest to me, the summer closed out with the promise of playable instruments! Thanks to the guitar-like shawzin, you can participate in shooting or shredding – shredding some chords, that is.

Halloween and monsters go hand-in-hand, so it makes sense that the Kuva liches system would be announced to deploy in October (though sadly it missed the mark by a few days). These personalized boss encounters were a long-awaited system. Keeping in the holiday spirit, the Hallowed Flame tactical alert offered players a themed adventure. Did you survive the night of infested hordes plaguing the Origin system? Nightwave’s Intermission II also began as players await the next series. Additionally, the next story step was taken with the Chimera Prologue.

Initially delayed a bit, Old Blood — with its kuva liches — was released at the start of November. Fall finished up with The Rising Tide, allowing players to start prepping to build their own multiplayer Railjacks. Oh, we cant forget celebrating Movember with mustaches, now can we? November was also the one-year anniversary of Warframe on Switch.

Speaking of Railjacks, mid-December we got an early Christmas gift when we could finally fly our own Railjacks. The next little bit of story progression came with the cinematic Erra.

And though it ended up delayed until just after the seventh anniversary, we have to include the release of Operation: Scarlet Spear, the latest step in the story of Warframe.

It’s all in the details

While the above run-down focuses on the bigger content drops, the year also had no shortage of tweaks and adjustments, such as alterations to Arbitrations in April and September. The Railjack experience needed tweaking, as did the Kuva Liches and pets. During the year, devs would conduct surveys to see what players wanted, then follow up. The Feb update preview on Kuva Liches and pets was directly in response to player feedback.

Things may not go perfectly for Warframe, with releases that must be delayed or need tweaks after

For the ‘Frames

A big part of Warframe is getting new frames to play with. This past year, three new frames and five new Primes were added to the roster. For regular frames, we got the ethereal enchantress Wisp, the speed-demon Gauss, and the ever-hungry belly-feeder Grendel. (We also learned about Odalisk, a new warframe concept that won’t be out until later this year.)

For your priming pleasure, Digital Extremes released Equinox Prime, Wukon Prime, Atlas Prime, and Ivara Prime. And squeaking in just after the anniversary was Titania Prime and her bladed butterflies.

The highs and lows of TennoCon

A look back over the year would not be complete without lingering on TennoCon. The 2019 convention was bigger and better than ever, with a sweet, sweet story cinematic intro, multiple panels, TennoGen goodness, announcements, and even a contest to win a trip into space. (Wouldn’t that be nice to take right about now?!) You could even stroll through a museum filled with memorabilia, which we captured for your digital browsing pleasure. Even greater than giving players awesome news and chances to mingle together and with devs, TennoCon 2019 raised $250,000 CAN for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Every year you have to wonder how Digital Extremes can keep up the momentum. And then a pandemic steps in.

The terrible news about the loss of a live TennoCon 2020 came mid-March. This was definitely the biggest low for me. However, Tenno need not despair the complete cancellation of the event: Digital Extremes is switching to an all-digital format this year that will be open to more than ever before. So there’s the high point in all this; even more will be able to fully participate. I am already formulating ways to keep the spirit of the con alive, including how one could organize a remote costume contest!

Just for fun

While it can’t fit anywhere else, there is another aspect about the past year that just highlights the fun of Warframe. And that was seeing some Warframe in real life! While I am sad I could not experience it in person, the July prank on the streets of NYC was captured on video. DE pulled a prank using an in-game weapon, and the results were hilarious. Anyone needing a smile today should watch, more than once if necessary.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2020

What does 2020 have in store for Warframe? How will the eighth year go? It promises to be a unique one, that’s for sure, And we can assure you that it will also involve more warframes, more primes, plenty of cosmetics, and surely a story or two. Check back next March for the eighth anniversary retrospective to see it all summed up. Or, even better, keep checking right here and see it all unfold live on MassivelyOP.com!

Pick a ‘Frame, any ‘Frame! The Warframe galaxy is in danger, Tenno, and Space Mom needs help to combat it. Are you in the right Warframe of Mind to join in? MJ Guthrie has enlisted; she suits up in her favorite ‘Frames biweekly to fight the good fight, blasting the Grineer and Infected into smithereens.

 

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sophiskiai

The Chimera Prologue was released around the end of October 2018, not 2019. And seeing in black and white that it’s 6 months since the current Nightwave “intermission” started is kinda depressing.

I still hugely enjoy Warframe’s base gameplay and have a lot of love for the game as a whole, but it feels like they’ve been dropping the ball a lot the past 7-8 months or so – the Jovian Update, Nightwave: Emissary, and Dog Days updates were all great but those were all last spring/summer. I enjoyed Kuva Liches but many didn’t (and there are definitely some flaws with the basic mechanics of them), Railjack was broken on release and still has a bunch of issues (and we’re still waiting on the Intrinsics being finished), Scarlet Spear was so broken and poorly explained/communicated on release that I’ve been putting off giving it another try.

It’s got to the point where Rebb spoke in last Thursday’s livestream about how disappointed large portions of the community have been with the past few main releases, and said that it’ll be a major point of discussion in this coming Friday’s devstream.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

The Devstream was canceled just before it was supposed to start, apparently. I don’t know what’s been going on at DE, but the last three “big” releases have been super disappointing to me. Especially the complete “meh” that was the Kuva Lich system.

I own both of the games that apparently inspired the idea – Shadow of War, and Shadow of Mordor. The Orc and Troll opponents that could be generated were interesting, and most importantly *varied.* I haven’t played either in a while, but I still think about my greatest nemesis (and later most loyal ally) Bafra the Clever. In the first game he had a trait that gave him the ability to randomly turn up whenever I “activated” another Orc chief. Trying to sneak into a fortress to get one of the collectable items? “Oi! Ranger! I see you up there!” Trying to mess up the plans of a different Orc? “Hey Ranger! Did you forget about me? ‘Cause I haven’t forgotten about you!”

He was a constant, lurking menace for ages. Since he had glowing blue eyes, I’m pretty sure I even accidentally killed him at least once with Wraith abilities, but that didn’t stop him. I was so pleased when I finally managed to recruit him. And then discovered that he was probably *at least* as dangerous as an ally. Because he *still* randomly turned up whenever I was near another orc captain. I never knew when a stealth encounter was going to turn into all out war.

In the sequel he lost that trait. Instead he got a cursed javelin that apparently causes explosions of eldritch magic whenever he attacks. IE, some lunatic made him a rocket launcher. At least it keeps to his previous nature – he’s at least as dangerous to have fighting with me as against me. O.O

The Kuva Liches have NONE of that. They have exactly two personality types, one per gender. They are utterly interchangeable, and completely disposable. And the worst part was that when they released, they killed you over and over and over if you interacted with them. There was no way to avoid it with skill, no puzzle to solve or weaknesses to exploit. Unless you got incredibly lucky, you’d probably die at least four times trying to “discover” the correct runes and the right order to equip them. And part of their excuse was that “we didn’t want players to have to fight the same lich for months before getting a new weapon.” I guess it never occurred to them to have the new weapons drop from (for example) lieutenants who weremore disposable while keeping the lich as a sort of “end boss” encounter. The only Lich I’ve had that I can even remember is Badd Dipp, because he has a silly name.

Anyway, doesn’t matter, no one cares. Kuva liches were a disappointment. Railjack was even more broken. And the Scarlet Spear is… I lack the language skills to even express how bad it is. Nothing they’ve shown off in the last two Tennocon reveals has turned out anything even CLOSE to what was shown. And given the state that Liches and Railjack and now Squad Link released in, I seriously doubt there’s even a way to fix them. :(

I don’t hate Warframe. But I have been taking a break from it since Scarlet Spear started. I got the two new event weapons and haven’t really felt like logging in since. If I make it online during MJ’s stream this afternoon, it’ll probably be the first time I’ve played since maybe the third day of Scarlet Spear.

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sophiskiai

They postponed the devstream because Rebb’s cat died, but there is a great podcast-style discussion with Scott that Shy posted: https://twitter.com/PlayWarframe/status/1251210848762302466

Agree with you about how the Liches compare to Shadow of Mordor, but am feeling more confident in the eventual future of Railjack given what Scott says about the direction they want to take it with the changes he’s been working on (more arcade gamey, shorter TTKs, hull breaches as a rare and urgent event rather than a constant annoyance).

I’ve been avoiding Scarlet Spear thus far, but have still been playing a bunch of Void Fissures and the occasional Sortie.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I’m sorry to hear about her cat. Losing a pet is hard. I can understand why she didn’t feel like talking about games today. :(

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Tee Parsley

Having been gone for a couple of years, trying to pick up Warframe again is just completely mind boggling. They were never good at explaining anything anyway, so I guess that’s consistent.

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Anton Mochalin

Warframe has the most broken event ever going right now. It could be so much fun if DE just fixed Scarlet Spear. IDK what is happening with them recently, maybe just smoking too much nitain.

I’m still playing Warframe almost every day because I love the game. But they should start fixing things they release half-baked. I’m not even asking for more, I just want to play Scarlet Spear in some working form, especially the Railjack part of it.