TennoCon 2020: The creepy charm of Warframe’s broken frame, Xaku

    
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TennoCon 2020: The creepy charm of Warframe’s broken frame, Xaku

When Digital Extreme’s first announced that the Broken Frame concept won in the community creation contest, I had my reservations. I have known — and appreciated — how much Digital Extremes involves and listens to its community, but was this stretching it too far? Could eaterofstorms’ meme-alicious idea that might be construed as a joke really fit into Warframe’s lineup?

Anything is possible, but even as development progressed and various talented community artists were selected to design different aspects of this new warframe (Eornheit, frame; Kedemel, weapon; Karu, syandana; and Faven, alt helmet), I’ll admit that I had doubts. I wasn’t sold on the idea — until I saw Xaku in action at TennoCon 2020. Now, call me a fan!

Coming to life

The art panel at TennoCon this past weekend introduced the latest iteration of Xaku, the 44th warframe, complete with veins of void flowing between salvaged parts of other frames. Aesthetically, this added extra oomph to the model, but it wasn’t until the TennoLive reveal of the complete package that Xaku came alive and captured my interest. The animated veins of void pulsed through the body while the armor pieces hovered above them was much more intriguing. Add in the startling idle animations of removing different body parts and the hobbled posture and I really felt the personality come alive with a Frankenstein vibe. How could a horror aficionado like me not love this piecemeal monster?

The real wow factor of Xaku, however, was in demonstrating their abilities, especially the ultimate. (Note: As an amalgam of various warframe parts, Xaku’s confirmed pronounces are they/them.) This fourth ability involves Xaku self-destructing, shooting off all their armor parts as shrapnel and running around as a void skeleton. In this form, Xaku is not only faster but has 75% damage reduction. Creepy, cool, and crazy useful!

Feel like taking a turn as Frankenstein’s Space Ninja? Xaku will be available to acquire in Heart of Deimos, launching later this month.

Catch up on more of our TennoCon 2020 coverage!

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sophiskiai

I wasn’t sold on the concept art, but the final look is great, especially the animations. And as an enby person myself am very happy we’re getting a canonically enby ‘frame!

They confirmed that the #1 ability that adds Void damage to attacks won’t work on Eidolon shields, since it could completely trivialise that phase of the Eidolon fights for everyone if it did, but if it only works on Vomvalysts and Kuva clouds and Sentients elsewhere that’s still very useful.

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EmberStar

I think it’s a neat choice. I’m not entirely sure the Warframe community is ready for it, and I KNOW the Internet as a whole is going to have a meltdown when one of the “get woke go broke” dipsticks picks up on it. I’ve seen too many issues with the other “non-standard” Warframes already. I’ve seen people completely flip out about Equinox from both directions (assumed she was male and found out she’s not, or found out that all three forms are female and are angry about that.)

I barely team, and I’ve still gotten rude comments from playing as Nehza and Hildryn. :( And there’s usually at least one post a day from someone claiming “mah free speech!” because they got chat-banned over Nehza and that stupid anime meme. And I saw a couple of people have a meltdown over various characters in Fortuna. (Ticker was the main point of screeching, but someone pointed out that Eudico’s rig isn’t exactly a swimsuit model either and the thread pretty much imploded.)

I think it’s neat, and I look forward to Xaku though. I am a bit sad that they arbitrarily decided not to allow their void damage to work on Eidolons. Seeing as those are literally the only enemy in the game where it actually makes any real difference. (Vomvalysts are easy enough to stamp on once you get used to them, and you don’t even have to shoot Kuva clouds – with my Focus setup I just Void Dash in the general direction of the sound and *poff* I win.)

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EmberStar

*Edit* I am a little worried about the second power though, that yanks away enemy weapons. The problem is the same as for Nyx – enemies do basically no damage to *each other.* Their weapon damage mostly levels out at about a thousand points, give or take. Which is easily enough to one-shot most Warframes. And not even enough to shift the health bar when you’re talking about a level 60 Bombard with like half a million health and 60% damage resist. :( The only real benefit of Nyx’s Mind Control and Chaos (and Revenant’s Enthrall) is that enemies afflicted aren’t shooting the player. There’s almost no chance that they’ll actually damage each other though. :(

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sophiskiai

Enemies damaging each other works ok at low levels, just scales very, very poorly – since it appears to be floating ethereal copies of the weapons rather than the enemies themselves wielding the weapons, maybe Xaku’s version will scale better?

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EmberStar

I’d actually hope it gets something like the damage scaling they added to most of Vauban’s powers. (And so far, *ONLY* Vauban. :( ) It’s an issue with any DPS powers that they mostly stop working by the time you hit “Sortie” level content. A power that does 1500 points of damage will annihilate a level 10 enemy. (So will throwing a paper airplane at them, honestly.) It’s not even a fraction of a percent of the effective HP of most things at level 80.

It’s why I have an issue with how they’ve changed frames like Ember. She was “too good” in low level maps, and killed everything. So they chopped her range, chopped it again, then finally reworked her powers to add an overheat mechanic that seems to actively punish you for using most of her powers. (The original version even included the feature that if she completely Overheated she’d be stunned and lose ALL stored energy.) Even after a complete nerf stomping Ember still destroys level 20 enemies. And gets completely destroyed *BY* level 80 ones, who she can barely damage at all.

Honestly, I’m expecting Xaku’s second power to be functionally a crowd control power. There’s almost no chance it will do any useful damage to enemies that can’t be killed by swatting them with a rolled up paper towel anyway. The benefit of the power will be that it (hopefully) disarms ranged enemies and stops them from shooting you – so basically the same thing as Loki’s Radial Disarm.

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Ironwu

Little off-topic, but how is your assault on Protea coming along? Going to have a video or stream of it? :)