TennoCon 2020: Warframe’s infested open world Heart of Deimos launches August 25th on all platforms

    
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TennoCon 2020: Warframe’s infested open world Heart of Deimos launches August 25th on all platforms

To the moon, Tenno! A Mars moon, to be exact. If that was your guess for Warframe’s Heart of Deimos expansion, you got it. But did you guess “rideable infested dragonflies”? Giant sun and moon worms locked in eternal battle on the surface? K-drive combat? Playable mechs? The ability to take skills from one Warframe and put them on another? Neither did we. But now thanks to the big TennoCon 2020 reveal, we’ve seen it! Heart of Deimos will take players on an open-world adventure through a pustule-filled infested landscape full of new creatures, new features, new takes on older features, and new story that reveals more about both the infested and the void.

Along with the big TennoLive reveal, I had the opportunity to speak with Live Operations and Community Director Rebecca Ford and Producer Dave Kudirka ahead of the show to learn more about this update. There’s quite a bit on store for players when Heart of Deimos launches on August 25th simultaneously on all platforms. So prepare to dive in to prevent imminent intra-dimensional catastrophe! (and check out the new player experience while you are at it!)

Deimos, moon of madness

The smaller of Mars’ two moons, Deimos — meaning dread — was named after the Greek god who was literally the personification of terror. Instead of being a being, Deimos is the representation of the terror that is brought upon humans (or in this case, Orokin) by war. And the setting of the Infested-infested landscape instills that dreadful creepiness quite successfully while also touching on the “horrors of war” theme. Adventuring on Deimos means working your way through a series of procedurally generated networked tunnels and vertical spaces underground (thankfully with a little help from archwings and a unique fast travel system). As Ford describes it, its a “world of grottos of infested goo.” Walls are dripping with tendrils and mush, poppable pustules scar the terrain, and grotesque new creatures slither about. Warning: If you are squeamish about centipedes and other creepy crawlies, this environment might be harder to handle. One new mob can hurl other enemies at you while also spinning a lovely web; another has teeny hands but smashes you with its dangling butt. There are head huggers that attach to your frame and infested pods that drop even more monsters on you. And beware Bitey-Scratchikins!

Not everything on Deimos wants to kill you, however. As in other open world areas, there are fish to catch (some just happen to fly here) and critters to conserve (or even ride). Wait, ride a mob? Yes: There’s a super cool dragonfly-looking creature called a velocipod that players can jump on and ride much like a K-drive. Unlike a K-drive, however, this bug can move sideways. On the other hand, the K-drive doesn’t wander off and abandon you once you jump off like the velocipod does — so don’t expect a quick getaway! Kudirka did tell me that the time they hang around may be lengthened a bit to account for the new bond you form with it. Speaking of K-drives and dragonflies, there’s one other teeny tiny tidbit of information players might be excited to hear: mounted combat! Yes, on both the K-drive and the infested velocipod, folks will be able to use their secondary weapon in combat while riding.

Another unique feature of this moon is the two key denizens that control the day/night cycle: the moon and sun monsters. These giant worms are locked in an eternal battle, defeating each other then coming back again. What does this mean for warframes? During the “day” that the sun monster brings, all infested get a buff making them even stronger and more difficult to dispatch.

Tying infestation to the void

Some players have speculated that the reason Digital Extremes has focused on infested was that COVID-19 redirected plans. Kudirka, however, told me that the pandemic and working from home was a driving force behind something the team wanted to do anyway – that Digital Extremes has been aching to tell the story of the infested. As he explained, it was really important to the studio to tell this story as it is the next step in the lore; to get where players are dying to go, they have to pass through here. Without giving many spoilers, both he and Ford noted that the infested story is tied to the void. So before getting more of the void, Tenno need to hear this. In Heart of Deimos, players will get to learn about the origin of the void. In fact, Ford showed me a glimpse of a special room in the Necrolisk where players will get to delve into that history and the infested connection.

OK, how about another tidbit? One connection to the void is Deimos itself: Hidden down in the moon is a special vault where the Orokin would decompress and prove their sanity after excursions into the void. Tenno will travel here to uncover what is happening as they work to protect The Heart.

Keep the Heart beating

During the reveal, we learned that the Heart of Deimos is crucial to the warframes, and it is in danger of destruction. So the Tenno have been called upon to come rescue it. Upon reaching the moon, players will be greeted by a unique cephalon called a Necraloid, which happens to have an amusing dual personality. Liod (the serious one, as opposed to Otak, who is a goofball) informs players that they need to meet with the Mother to save The Heart and prevent that imminent intra-dimensional catastrophe I mentioned earlier. The Mother turns out to be part of a family of Orokin, the Entrati, who created and maintained the Heart, which is the source of the warframes’ power and life. That definitely sounds important.

After earning access from the Necraloid, Tenno will enter the Necralisk, the void research facility, to speak with The Mother. Like everything on the moon, the Entrati have been infected with the infested. The combination of Orokin and infested is quite the sight!

I won’t be divulging any more about the storyline, but I will say that players can work with two new syndicates on Deimos and that the reward for the Deimos quest involves the new Broken warframe.

Splicing warframes: Helminth’s new customization

Remember that ooey-gooey Helminth room on your orbiter? Well, it is becoming much more useful now. One of the biggest changes Heart of Deimos is bringing to Warframe is the ability to customize your ‘frames abilities! This is a whole new level of customization, folks.

Ford explained that the Helminth room is a living, breathing organism, and players can feed it base warframes (not Primes) in order to harvest abilities that can then be infused into another frame to replace one of its original abilities. Note: It will never be a frame’s signature ability or any ultimate. The Helminth Chrysalis system also offers some powers innate to it that players can select. Before you can install the new skill, however, you will have to satisfy the hunger of the Helminth and increase its secretions by feeding it various resources to satiate stats like biotics, oxides, and bile.

Ford explained that all frames will only have one ability that can be harvested. Conversely, each warframe can only have one ability swapped at a time. However, you can save multiple configurations of that frame in order to have saved loadouts with different skills. Important note: The warframe that you feed to the Helminth to harvest its skill is destroyed; you can no longer use it as a frame, but you will gain its slot back. You also cannot use Prime ‘frames to feed into the Helminth. Once the skill is stored in the Helmith, it is available to be used as many times as you want, on as many different ‘frames as you want. Kudirka explained that the plan right now is to have a small library available on the Helmith so players can select from various skills they have harvested.

Ditch your frame for a mech

The game is called Warframe, not Warmech, so we understand if you didn’t anticipate playable mechs as a new incoming feature. Yet here we are! On Deimos players will discover a remnant of the Entrati family’s past: giant warmachines called necramechs. During their adventures, players will not only fight these combat mechs who stand as sentries guarding the secrets of the Orokin vault but get to pilot one themselves. Those who want to battle the more powerful creatures (like those that emerge during the day cycle) will depend on having their own necramech.  Like warframes, the necramechs will have their own progression, arsenal, and so forth. Kudirka described them as older versions of warframes and noted that players will be able to mod and customize them.

Heart of Deimos is located early in the Star Chart progression, making it accessible for new players. However, Ford told me that to fully use and appreciate the necramechs, players will need to have completed The Sacrifice. Once you have a mech, you can use it in any open-world map.

Launching this month!

If hearing that Heart of Deimos is launching this month surprised you, we can’t blame you. After a couple of years of announced content coming out many months after the con (or the next year) or even not at all, Digital Extremes wanted to get back to the days of a quick turn-around. As Douglass Perry, director of public relations, put it: “We don’t want to talk about all these brand-new things that we are not going to get to for two years; we want to announce something that we’re then going to deliver on.” And that is what DE is doing. So buckle up, Tenno. There’s a new adventure on the gory, grotesque, oozing horizon. See you there!

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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Danny Smith

Meh. I’ve been down this road twice before now. Sure it looks nice and will probably have some nice moments but why should i expect anything but another super shallow sandbox to spam repeatable missions in while farming materials? Warframe has settled into a really bad habit of selling you on really neat ideas only for the end result to be a lot less interesting and over the last two years each one has kept player interest for less time than it did the time before.

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Dug From The Earth

Maybe your expectations are just too high for a free game thats been out for 7 years now?

Honestly… this is why I think games need to die off, and sequels need to happen. Its just possible to a single games momentum going the same speed year after year.

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EmberStar

I’m not sure what you think would happen with a “Warframe 2.” Personally, I wouldn’t even consider touching such a thing unless all my existing weapons and ‘frames were A) in the game at the start and B) fully imported the moment I started playing.

I am NOT a player who enjoys starting over from scratch – I’ve spent years collecting all my stuff. I have no desire to collect it again. I copied my account to the Switch when that was an option, because “it might be nice when I’m out of town.” Then when I realized how many of my rare mods and cosmetics weren’t included, I stopped playing it on the Switch.

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Tobasco da Gama

Wet Destiny is looking wetter than ever!

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sophiskiai

Mind completely blown, I never expected a surprise Infested open world (with added Orokin lore squee) or mix-and-match ‘frame abilities or combat mechs!

(Was anyone else getting a bit of a Tyranid vs. AdMech WH40K vibe?)

Also really glad we’re finally getting the promised revision of the new player experience, it needed a bit of an overhaul and that gorgeous movie-quality cinematic deserved to be in the game.

Great way of doing an interactive con too, letting players get a look at models in-engine as they were shown in the demo.

I think Parvos Granum made an off-hand mention of the Entrati in Deadlock Protocol and I speculated they might be Duviri related, didn’t expect to be proved wrong so soon.

And the Warframe version of Audrey II is squickily adorable :)

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Tobasco da Gama

My first thought on seeing the Necramechs was “Even in death, I still serve!” So, not the only one. :)

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EmberStar

The Necramechs definitely have a touch of Imperium to them, with the visible skulls. I’m interested in the idea that the Necramechs will be customizable, and that they’ll be usable in the other open world maps once you get one.

I’m much more hopeful about Xaku (the Broken Frame) now. It looks like they managed to rein in the memelords and actually pick useful powers for her. The part where she ejects her shell of borrowed parts and runs around as an infested void skeleton is… interesting. O.O

I’m not sure I see the point of the Helminth room upgrade. I guess I’m glad it’s going to have *some* purpose besides lancing Infested boils. I just don’t understand why anyone would want to destroy a warframe to harvest a nearly useless ability, and then put said nearly useless ability on some other frame. And I have no idea how that would even work on ones like Octavia, Harrow and Grendel where all of their powers need each other to work at all. Especially since “no signature powers and no ultimates,” which almost by definition rules out Octavia’s Metronome and Grendel’s Devour.

The interactive con probably lost something for me, because I’d clumsily let my iPad run out of batteries. I had to switch back and forth between the Twitch window and Warframe.

Also, am I just weird for wanting to just replace the K-Drive (which I almost never use) with the ability to summon a Velocipod? I mean, I’m sure there couldn’t be *any* way that summoning a giant flying Infested bioform into other areas could go horrifically wrong.

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sophiskiai

Most ‘frames have at least 1 of their 4 abilities that I never use, so I like the idea of replacing that with something else even if that something else is only a little bit useful. And I’m curious to find out what unique abilities Helminth will be able to give at high ranks…

My only concern is how it’ll work for things like getting duplicates of quest-awarded ‘frames, I guess by buying BPs from Simaris?

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EmberStar

Probably from Simaris. I suppose you could also just buy them, but that seems like a waste since the “Subsume” option was pretty clear that it completely destroys the ‘frame (but returns the slot.) Part of what you pay for is the pre-installed Orokin whatsit that doubles the mod capacity, and you won’t get that back.

But I guess I’m not the target audience for the system, since I collect frames and never delete them. I’m sure that some of the “get the Mastery and trash it” players will be happy. I’m equally sure that some of them will complain even louder, because “Internet.” (Most likely thing to complain about – only one power per Warframe, and probably *NOT* the one they’d most like to spam on every other ‘frame they do keep.)

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sophiskiai

Aha, Pablo’s been answering some questions about it on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PabloPoon/status/1289703597597495297

One possibility that immediately jumps to mind is Saryn’s Molt with its Augment is great for getting out of trouble and a great self-heal.

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EmberStar

Okay, so it looks like the plan is to reduce the prices to get at least some of the Warframe stuff from Simaris. (Hopefully all, but he seemed to only be replying directly to a question about Chroma.) If someone wanted to make a copy of each Warframe to feed to Helminth though, that’s still a *lot* of Standing, even if they’re all half the current price.

On the other hand it looked to me like there’s a limited number of slots to allow Helminth to assimilate a frame (it said “2 slots available” when Rebecca let it glomp Mag.) And in the demo it said it would take 24 hours to complete the process. If you had a disposable copy of each “non-Prime” Warframe constructed and ready to claim, it would still take almost three weeks to feed them all in.

(45-ish standard ‘frames, at two frames every 24 hours is over 22 days. Probably more since it’s likely that you won’t hit it exactly as the 24 hours expires and will eventually miss a day. Assuming you play at the same time, every day. o.O )

Meh, I might go ahead and get the pieces for the ones that aren’t insanely annoying (Nidus, Grendel, Protea.) It’s something to do, I guess. And it’s not like I have to actually build them or feed them to Helminth if it turns out to be “not worth it.”

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EmberStar

For Saryn I’d guess either Molt or her third power, which adds toxin damage to attacks. “Ultimates” are off limits, and I’d say that Spore is pretty solidly Saryn’s signature power. (It’s also a rare “first” power that’s really, really good. I’d see them declaring it her “Signature” just so that *every* Warframe doesn’t end up with it. O.O )

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sophiskiai

Accdording to Pablo, Saryn grants Molt and Nezha grants Fire Walker, we know from the stream that Volt grants Shock and Mag grants Pull, and the Helminth itself grants 8 unique abilitires once fully ranked up – so that’ll be a total of 52 abilities to choose from at launch (as Xaku will be out then) of which we’ve only had a handful confirmed so far.

Since there’ll be a limited number of subsume slots (I think about 10?) I’m going to hold off on farming any ‘frame parts till we have full details and I can decide exactly what ‘frames I want the abilities from. But am going to set my Extractors to work farming resources to feed Helminth!

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sophiskiai

I suspect the one granted from Hydroid will be the Tempest Barrage hailstorm, which nobody ever uses, or maybe Tidal Surge if we’re lucky – Undertow is too much of a signature skill :(

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EmberStar

I’m assuming they’ll allow us to expand that… eventually. If Saryn does grant molt, that’s good and bad news. Good because it’s a decent power, especially with the augment. Bad, because it means fighting Kayla De Thaym (or whatever her name is) in the Rathuum arena. A fight that looked so irksome and tedious in “how to do this fight” videos that I’ve *NEVER* done it. :( (I had the nodes unlocked before they added the Arena, and never had to replay them. I’ve been happily ignoring it ever since.)

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EmberStar

*Edit* I’ve got most of the blueprints for frames already, and in some cases millions of the resources. Not really a brag – if anything it says that I’ve spent *way* too much time playing Warframe instead of doing something productive. (Like learning to draw, among other things that “I want to do and haven’t done yet.”)

Collecting the parts and having nearly all assembled and ready to claim is at least a goal – normally I just log in once in a while and annoy the Grineer, or wander through the Infested Derelicts because I kind of like that tileset. Speaking of, I’m a little sad that Heart of Deimos seems to mean that the Derelicts are probably going to go away. :(

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sophiskiai

The impression I got is that the Derelict missions are just getting moved to become the other nodes on Deimos? But I’ll also be sad if we lose the Derelict tileset, because seeing the normal Orokin Void tiles overgrown with Infestation does have a great atmosphere to it.

As for Kela De Thaym (I can never remember how to spell her name either, had to check the wiki!) her boss fight itself isn’t too bad once you know the tricks (Ignis on the spinning wheels, Operator void mode to ignore the bombardment phases, Temporal Blast and/or armour stripping on the boss herself), I found it a breeze to duo even in Steel Path. But farming the Sedna Arena missions to get the tokens to access her node is a huge headache!

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EmberStar

I checked Pablo’s Twitter post. He said that Helminth would have 10 levels, and that the benefit of ranking up is unlocking “more powers and slots.” I might have misunderstood, but as I read it he didn’t actually say how many subsume power slots there would be. But he did also mention that they’re planning to do a Dev Workshop about the system around a week before it goes live.

Here’s hoping that “Heart of Deimos” isn’t DElayed. >.<

Leo
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Leo

it was a pretty cool tennocon, and one thing I do like about this game is that they can make areas and worlds feel very different from each other plus some unique mechanics which helps add some flavor to everything

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Ironwu

Nice overview, MJ. :)

All this looks pretty dang awesome. I doubt I will ever catch up to all the content this game has.

For me, it has certainly been worth the moneys I have spent here.