Warframe of Mind: A history of TennoCon reveals, from The War Within to Heart of Deimos


I don’t know about you, but there was a certain sadness hanging in the air on July 11th as I sat home instead of in the convention center in London, Ontario. I expect many Warframe fans felt the same that day. Instead of attending the fifth TennoCon fan convention, I could only sit back and relish the memories of TennoCons past and wonder what this year’s will be like. One thing I knew for sure: TennoCon 2020 will be unlike any other — either before or after. (At least, I sure hope we can return to a live gathering next year!)

Going all digital ensures that the experience will be unique. But there’s something else different about this year’s event: Digital Extremes, known for keeping things a secret until the big live reveal, is “leaking” a little information to help folks better bear the wait caused by COVID-19.

Let’s take a look back at all the big announcements, and then we can zero in on this year’s. Armed with the name and theme, we are free to start conjecturing to our hearts’ (of Deimos) content about the content.

The War Within, 2016

The inaugural TennoCon in 2016 was an exciting affair. Not only was getting together with fans and devs pretty awesome, but this was the birth of the big live reveal tradition. In 2016, fans were treated to the teaser of The War Within, the big story cinematic story arc. And tacked on to the very end of that trailer was a spoiler tidbit that made many in the audience gasp:

Reveal spoiler
Yes, that was an operator walking around! Whoa! No longer an abstract term, it is a tangible part of the game.

Talk about a major where-out-in-left-field-did-that-come-from shift in Warframe! And as we came to learn in subsequent years, it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

While not as knock-your-socks-off as the above teaser, many other announcements and possibilities were discussed throughout the event. The multiple prime announcements — prime tigris (shotgun), prime galatine (heavy sword), and the Nekros Prime warframe — were a fan favorite. Also discussed were possible mechanical pets, pet commands, and dojo improvements. The 100 Days of Warframe cartoon was debuted, and more information about the butterfly queen Titania was shared.

Though small by many standards, the con was a great success! Fans left happy, and everyone was hoping for a repeat event the next year. It was so incredible in so many ways that I immediately start playing when I got home. And I looked forward to the next summer.

Plains of Eidolon, 2017

Come July 2017, Digital Extremes topped the energy and announcements of the first year. The con didn’t spread out over two days, but it did double in size and offerings. And DE threw fans for the biggest loop: Game Director Steve Sinclair shared that this was the first content ever to not be leaked in any way, so you got a true, first-time-ever reaction from the crowd. And boy, was it a surprise!

I still remember how the audience reacted to the Plains of Eidolon open world announcement; it wasn’t the wild cheering of the previous year — it was silence. Fans sat there in disbelief, and whispers of “No way,” and “It can’t be,” were heard in the crowd. The idea of a large, Orkokin-themed open map that players could traverse and adventure in while working with NPCs was just so far beyond what anyone could have thought for this game. It even added a non-combat activities in fishing! After the initial shock, however, the room erupted in cheering. Looks like Warframe caught some MMOness.

Additionally, this con had more news and announcements (and goodies). Glass weapons were shown, new skins presented, and attendees received a physical first copy of the new Warframe comic (with digital copies available to all for free). there was even had a player wedding proposal! Of course, keeping with the tradition of teaser trailers, Digital Extremes showed a clip for the next big story step, The Sacrifice, staring the new Excaliber Umbra warframe, which totally drove the crowd wild. Again, I am left wondering how DE could top themselves for the next convention — and we knew there would be a next now!

Fortuna and Railjacks, 2018

The open-world theme was continued with the big announcements of TennoCon 2018. Sinclair had said the year before that the plan was to open up more worlds, and he meant it. This time, Venus was getting the open-world treatment with Fortuna. The new industrial culture of the Solaris were introduced along with their indentured plight, and players would have the chance to build their own weapons and even a special robotic companion (remember that tidbit from 2016?) More non-combat fun was also coming, including hoverboards and creature collection for conservation.

Oh, but that wasn’t all! Fans learned that Space Ninjas would be going to space! Open space maps would become a reality and players would get to man Railjack ships on adventure that included ship-to-ship combat and archwing combat. Little else was learned about the space part, because that was the big ending tease for the year. Another big spoiler was revealed in a cliffhanger: a complete image of the Lotus herself.

New frames and new skins are always a part of TennoCon, and this year got the Garuda reveal, more information about the Eidolon-themed Revenant frame, more deluxe skins (Nyx, Limbo, Titania, and Nezha), and even the reveal of pet skins. Folks also learned the game would be available on Switch. For fun, we also heard why Warframe would never really “launch” by the genre’s definition.

Empyrean and Duviri Paradox, 2019

The final live TennoCon to happen thus far was in 2019, and it was pretty packed with everything from activities to announcements to a surprise contest. There was a brand-new story cinematic for new players, a museum to wander through, The New War trailer, and reveal of the nemesis system and the brand-new engine for the game. And you can’t leave out the contest to win a trip into space! (I mean, 2020 would be the perfect time to launch yourself away from the planet for a while, right?) Two new frames were announced again this year (Grendel and Gauss) as well as plenty of new looks for various others. Players also got a look at the new sentient tileset, renovated orbiters, and modular archwings. We also soon learned that the TennoGen store became available on Steam.

However, the biggest news of the event was for the upcoming not-an-expansion Empyrean. Unlike previous years, this big announcement was not a brand-new reveal. Instead it was a more in-depth look at the railjacks teased in 2018. Empyrean was the next step in the evolution of Warframe, going beyond just introducing space and building your own ships to fly in it would also bring together all aspects of the game up until now. It would tie the open world areas, the tileset missions, and space all into one experience. Empyrean would expand the universe and make it more cohesive. Warframe-style raids were introduced, and attendees both live and at home were treated to a live demo of a Railjack space mission.

Keeping things fresh, Digital Extremes took two announcements and raised the wow factor by releasing those reveals that night! Both Nightwave Season 2 and the Wukon Prime frame went live right at the end of the convention. No waiting for sometime in the future here! Then, as is tradition, the night ended on the next big tease that DE left players hanging on: The Duviri Paradox. (Which we sadly haven’t seen anything of yet.)

Heart of Deimos, 2020

This time, the teaser comes not at the end of the con, but before the beginning. And here it is: The name of this year’s big reveal! TennoCon 2020 will show off the next expansion called Heart of Deimos. But that’s just about all you get to know right now. The only other info we can divulge is that it is focused on infested. That is not a lot to go on, now is it?

Who/what/where is Deimos? Is it a person or place? And is the heart a central thing, or a real beating (or once-beating) organ? Perhaps it is an infested heart from a guy named Deimos. Or maybe it is a giant organism from a city/civilization called Deimos. Who knows! We sure don’t — at least not yet. We’ll have to watch the big reveal on August 1st. Until that point, we can conjecture and come up with our own theories. We can look back at the trends of previous cons and see if we can extrapolate. What are your guesses? Share and let’s compare! And stay tuned for a release of the TennoCon 2020 schedule and free prime offer.

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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