Choose My Adventure: Slowly cracking the code of how Warframe works


For the longest time last week, the Choose My Adventure voting was extremely close – it was at a three-way tie at one point – and by the end of polling this week it was a split between Destiny 2 and Warframe, leading to a coin flip and Warframe getting the nod.

This game and I have a bit of a bumpy past, with every attempt prior to this week seeing me bounce off of the game out of frustration, mostly caused by bad explanation, unclear guidance, generally crappy personal performance, or some combination of all three, so to say that I was going in to this week’s assignment with some trepidation was putting it mildly. This time around though, I think that I’ve started to put it all together. Or at the very least some of it together.

It certainly didn’t seem like that was going to be the case at the interim. I returned to my only character – a max rank Excalibur – and did what the in-game guide was directing me to, which was a mission in Fortuna involving protecting an extractor. I once again thought that perhaps I was out of my depth, as I failed constantly at this mission while not understanding what I was doing wrong or why I was being forced to go into this whole thing alone.

And then, after my sixth failure, I had an epiphany: I could just ignore this shrieking in-game alert and just do something else entirely. So that’s what I did, starting with moving from mission to mission on Mars.

This decision made it readily apparent to me that I was probably undergeared for Fortuna, as enemy types that I was able to mow down with near-impunity here were bullet sponges in the open world area. After a quick bit of consultation with friends who are much more regular players of the game than I am (including the majestic MJ), it was confirmed to me that, yes, Fortuna isn’t really meant to be done at the mastery rank I’m at and with the gear and mods I have. MJ even wondered aloud why the guide directs me to it.

That affirmation meant that I could get myself back into just playing the game, clearing missions, hoovering up as many materials as I could, and coming to grips with how Warframe plays. And let me tell you, after some adjustment of the mouse sensitivity, it is playing pretty sweetly.

That’s not really divergent from my prior experiences, honestly. I know that this game has outstanding movement, solid gunplay, and a pretty great melee combat system. It’s a frantic and frenetic good time, made even more fun when I’m able to let loose on some of the more pell-mell mission types like assassinations or exterminations. I did almost run into another brick wall when I was doing a spy mission, but once I learned to respect the speed limit of this mission type and do more stealthing, it went a bit easier.

That mission type seems to be anathema to how Warframe should be approached in my opinion, where previously the game suggested to me that I needed to move and kill as quickly as possible. That assumption certainly wasn’t helped when I changed my mission state to allow anyone to drop in and join me, as my teammates and I were all slide-jumping across the map to get to our next objective, mowing down enemies as fast as possible in the process.

The fact that Warframe should be played at high speed isn’t necessarily a complaint, mind you, so much as it is an observation, especially considering that it definitely feels its best when you smash the gas pedal down and go bonkers on all of the enemies.

Those random teammates also showed off what the other Frames are capable of, which was both awe-inspiring to behold and kind of depressing when stacked against my basic starter character. Still, at least in these missions, I felt like I was mostly able to keep up. Admittedly that felt like somewhat less the case when I streamed the game earlier this week and was joined by some viewers, but it was still aspirational instead of depressing to watch my team tear apart foes with incredible skills.

More than ever, this game seems to suggest that I, too, can be a space wizard. That caused me to want to focus on reading and learning mods, to consider that I should build some better weapons, and to maybe look around at the different Frames and see if there’s a new robo-body I can enjoy. I was slowly starting to unravel the esoteric iconography and the mysteries of Warframe, where previously I felt walled off by its goofy jargon and overly aesthetic UI elements.

I don’t know that I’m going to really ever get good at this game; I’m not a min-maxing sort, and doing research on the various Frames turned up tier lists and guides written and produced by memelord hot take dispensaries who have feelings on what people should be using. But I think that I want to learn and develop my skillset. And I’m starting to puzzle things out on my own, like opening relics and mod polarities and using a doggo as a companion.

For the first time in literally years, I think that I’m beginning to see through the mist and boil down things to like about Warframe. The game can be a bit too twitchy sometimes, playing for long spans of time does eventually make my hands absolutely roar in pain, and some of its progression methods are still a bit weird to me, but I now think that I can try. I can push. I can progress. And maybe I can find a Frame that I like and a build that I enjoy. Maybe this will become another months-long project where I attempt to create understanding.

Or maybe this will remain a curiosity that I dip into now and again. At the very least, it is staying on my hard drive.

Now that we’ve gotten that one out of the way, it is time once again to look into next week’s MMO/multiplayer shooter, and seeing as the voting was dead split between the two games, next week’s write-up will be about Destiny 2. This does mean that I’m going to have to make a decision beforehand, and that’s whether I should try to continue with my old account or start from square one. Thus, this week’s poll:

Should I pick up my old Destiny 2 account or start from scratch?

  • Pick it back up. No sense in tossing away all those power levels. (40%, 16 Votes)
  • Start from scratch. It's been too long to just jump in. (60%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 40

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Like usual, polling closes at 1:00 p.m. EST on Friday, February 17th. For now, I might see if maybe I can’t get a few more missions under my belt.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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