Ryu’s Musings – Warframe 2.0

Posted on March 4th, 2016 by Ryu Sheng |

WarframeStorePosterV3_largeLanguage: English
Developer: Digital Extremes
Publisher: Digital Extremes
Format: PC, PS4
Type: FPS, Action, CO-OP
Synopsis:

They were called Tenno. Warriors of blade and gun: masters of the Warframe armor. Those that survived the old war were left drifting among the ruins. Now they are needed once more.

The Grineer, with their vast armies, are spreading throughout the solar system. A call echoes across the stars summoning the Tenno to an ancient place. They summon you.

Allow the Lotus to guide you. She has rescued you from your cryostasis chamber and given you a chance to survive. The Grineer will find you; you must be prepared. The Lotus will teach you the ways of the Warframes and the secrets to unlocking their powers.

Come Tenno, you must join the war.

Anyone remember Tabula Rasa? Well Warfare is nothing like that, but I just want to wax nostalgic for a minute 😀 Playing Warfare did have me flashing back to Tabula Rasa, but purely because I’ve not had an MMO shooter for a long time.

Graphically Warfare is pretty damn stunning, no arguments there. The various frames (of the games namesake) are varied in design, and can be further customised by the user. So it’s very rare you get two same looking frames. While the basic frames you start with are the same, these can be customised with various addons, such are a armour kits, holograms, sigils, different helms, different cloaks (though these are hit an miss). Personally I like this, keeps things fresh and different.

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Weapons sadly don’t have the customisability, to upgradability, which I find a shame. When I find a weapon I like and want to use I don’t like being forced to use another just because the other is ‘better’ all round. This is especially true with stealthy weapons, such as bows and stuff, because there’s so few of them in the game.

One of the new elements added to the game since I last played it (not long after it first came out) is your ship. Initially it’s not much, just a place to chill between missions. However it’s customisable like the armour, and depending on the time of year you can buy different decors for it. While it’s not a huge thing I find it nice, having a place to call home, rather than a loading screen.

The landscapes and level designs are really well done as well, with some really amazing looking level designs. However, for a game with supposedly ‘random’ levels, where every time you run a mission it’s supposed to be different; I keep coming across the same layout all the time. This is a pretty big thing IMO as it leads to quicker burn out as you get bored looking at the same maps all the time.

Yet you do not get bored with the variety of the settings, this is one area I’ll sing their praises till I’m blue in the face! The variety here is amazing, especially when you add in the crossover areas and infected areas.

The same is true  with the NPC’s you fight, they’re unique and each race is different enough to be interesting to fight, looks wise at least.

For me the weakest part of the game comes from the mission types, it’s almost always survive waves of enemies. While it’s not on the eve of Destiny, it’s still pretty grim. The mission types sound varied, but almost all (with a few exceptions) entail you surviving wave after wave of mobs. There are some where you just have to capture one guy, those can be done in minutes; since you literally just run in knock him out and leave. The other is ‘Exterminate’ where, well, you kill everything and Assassinate, where you’re usually targeting a boss, and can leave after killing him. The rest sadly are all wave based in one form or another. Now, I will qualify this by saying there could be more mission variety down the road, I’m not sure how far along I am in the game, because it doesn’t really tell you.

The vast majority of the combat is your basic shooter, and satisfying as hell I might add! But there is one other area to talk about, Archwing’s. Archwing combat is essentially the same wave based missions as normal, only this time you’re flying through space in your own Gundam! Personally, I hate this area, I find the flight clunky and unresponsive and the combat not as satisfying as the rest. What’s more I found it harder to level up my gear in this mode, and even when I did level it up it felt pointless since mods weren’t dropping for the gear, so I want to avoid it now, which is a shame since it looks so much fun.

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Lets get into combat, cause it’s confusing as hell! While it’s certainly true that the combat is pretty much a generic shoot, it’s variety makes it a lot of fun. What’s more most of the weapons have satisfying feed back and sounds to them. Even the bows, which I thought wouldn’t work well in this setting, were for the most part highly satisfying. The gunplay is frankly amazing, which it needs to be.

However the levelling system and mod system which is tied to the levelling system are a little off putting. Firstly levelling, there’s two aspects to this, the Master Rank and then the Weapon and Frame level. Every weapon and frame, regardless of how you get it (whether you build it or buy it for platinum), starts at level 0. While wearing and using them in combat you gain experience. The more you use specific things the more experience that item gets. For example if you do a mission using only your primary weapon, then the primary will get the most experience, the side arm will also gain some, but not as much. Each piece of gear has 30 levels, each level unlocks mod slots, at the max level it will unlock 30 mod slots.

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However you can add a catalyst to the item which will double the mod slots, and you can get specially mod’s, aura mods, that will give you a small increase as well (so far I’ve found one that gives me an extra four slots).

You need to level up as many weapons and frames as you can because levelling them unto the max is how you increase you Master Rank, which is the most important, think of it as your character level. Master Rank is important because certain features and weapons are actually gated behind a MR level, which I personally think is a bad move; however it does promote pushing forward.

Mods, are card drops from enemies and mission rewards, they give significant boosts to your weapons and armour. Each mod has a cost, in it’s mod slots. So if you have a card that has a mod cost of 6, it’s going to take up 6 slots out of your 30 slots on your weapon or frame. So while you can get some massive boosts, your limited by the number of mods your item can hold. Which is why it’s always the best idea to put a catalyst in the frame and weapons you’re planning to use the most, to maximise your mods. Mods can be upgraded as well by combining them with other mods, but this increases the cost, so it’s a constant battle between the mod cost and the reward.Polarities

Right, lets look at those ugly elephants and then wrap up the post!

Is this game a Beta or isn’t it?

If you ask the developer they’re adamant the game is in beta, if you ask anyone else (with a brain) they’ll tell you its not. The simple truth is this game is nominee in beta than say World of Warcraft is in beta. What’s more, as soon as you put a cash shop in you’re game with elements costing £100 then you’ve no longer got the right to call you’re game a beta.

The game is constantly being updated, which is why I think the Dev’s say it’s in beta. But lets be frank, if Blizzard turned around and said WoW was in beta just cause they were constantly updating the game, I think they’d be laughed off the planet.

So no, it’s not a Beta (IMO)

The Free to Play Model

One of the criticism levelled against the game is that it’s pay to win, and hugely expensive. At first pass this does appear to be the case, however the reality is something different. Frames and weapons bought from the market with platinum (the premium cash) come with several benefits, you get instant access to the item, you gain a free inventory slot for the item (inventory space is very limited and can only be increased through buying slots with plat), and it comes pre catalysed giving you maximum mod slots.

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So looking at those benefits it’s easy to see why it’s claimed as Pay2Win, however all it really is is Pay2Skip. All of the benefits (with the exception of the inventory slot) can be ground out. Lets take the current (at writing) Prime Frame, Saryn. You can grind to get the blueprints and materials to build it yourself, which depending on how long you’ve played may or may not take a while. For example after a month of play the hardest grind I’m having these days is getting blueprints, materials are easy to come by. Once you’ve gotten the items it’s then going to take 4 days to build, 1 day each for the individual components of the frame; which if you’re sensible you set off on the same day, and then finally 3 days to build the systems into the frame. You can then buy or build a catalyst to put in it giving it the maximum mod slots.

Now, I’m not saying its easy or quick to grind out the stuff, it’s not, early on it can take a long time to build up the resources and find the blueprints. Thats why it’s Pay2Skip. Normal weapons can be bought from one of two sources, either the marketplace or a Clan Hall (guild), and then the same applies, get the mats and build. Normal weapons take an average of 12 hours, with some taking shorter and some longer.

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What’s more, you can sell off the blueprints you don’t need anymore. As you play the game you’ll gather a load of prime prints that you can sell in the trade chat. All trades like this are done for platinum. A colleague made 7000 platinum last week just selling prime blueprints, thats almost £200 worth of platinum, and he started and stayed as a free to play player. He’s never bought any platinum or prime packs, and he’s currently sitting on 20k platinum.

Essentially, the model, while appearing to be pay2win, is actually one of the fairest models I’ve seen to date.

As an aside note, every day you login you get a reward, which can include anywhere from 25% to 75% of platinum. So you’d be able to buy the top tier £100 for £25, which isn’t that bad a deal!

New User Experience

Honestly this is where the Dev’s have seriously dropped the ball. The new user experience is horrific and even while it’s been significantly improved, it still missing a hell of a lot of information. A lot of it is important as well, such as mods, how they work, how you combine them and other things like that. The information is there, but it’s buried under a tonne of text that no one really reads. People are more interested in getting into the game than spending an hour reading a wiki.

What’s more they (the Dev’s) seem to have taken a ‘let the community deal with it’ approach, which is abysmal. Now granted the community have stepped up and delivered, such as  iFlynn with his amazing Warframe Beginner Guide 2.0, which I would highly recommend watching. However it shouldn’t be up to the community to fix problems, Digital Extremes need to create their own and incorporate it into the game.

What’s more you can get lost, once you finish the main quest you’re left hanging, with no indicators what your supposed to be doing next, or how to get to the next story mission. Digital Extremes really needs to improve this a lot and stop relying on the community.

So, to wrap up this post, is the game worth spending time and/or money on? Absolutely. initially I wasn’t so sure, but after I got past the first bottleneck and things opened up it really became an addicting game. I ended up buying the Prime Access pack, as well as some plat and frankly, after spending around £150, I don’t regret it. I’ll still be playing this game for a while to come, I’ve got the gear I want, and I’m enjoying the hell out of the game. Sure, as I said, it has it’s issues and flaws, but overall I can get past them just on how satisfying the gameplay and mechanics are.

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