Warframe is a year or so old free-to-play game from video game developers Digital Extremes. Anyone who has ever played a third person action game will recognise Warframe’s mechanics. So is it worthwhile to play and any good? This is My Scrambled Thoughts on Warframe.
I initially played Warframe when it was in paid closed beta. I tried the game for a bit and then got the Hunter Founder pack which was about £20 (a mistake looking back) and I played it more. If you asked me back then whether the game was any good I wold of said its fun and has potential but as I haven’t played the game now in months that will probably give you an idea of my thoughts on the game. I have however been keeping track with the game so I am still aware of what is happening and not much as changed. All that’s mostly changed is the addition of more weapons and Waframes. I am glad I abandoned the game last Summer but I thought it was time to share my thoughts on the game.
(Click an image to see a larger version. I lost my Warframe images):
I am going over the basics quickly of Warframe and then I will talk more about the game.
Warframe is a free-to-play game that is still in open beta. Every new player starts with some Platinum (the games real money currency which is grossly inflated) and a selection of three Warframes to start with. When I first played the game it was between I believe Excalibur, Volt and Loki, it changed later on and now its Excalibur, Loki and Mag. Once you chosen your Warframe and done the tutorial (optional) you start in the solar system mission screen. This screen is where you select all your missions, every players starts in Mercury and as you progress you go outwards towards Pluto etc and as you do that the missions get more harder and the rewards better.
The game has an armoury system where you choose what powers (think MMORPG skills), mods (weapon and power modifiers), weapons and Sentinels (pets) to take with you on a mission. The armoury system I will talk about more later as this is with the Market place and Foundry are the biggest problem with Warframe. Each weapon, Warframe and Sentinel has levels which are earned by gaining experience points from killing enemies. Each level gives Mastery Points that go towards increasing your Mastery Rank which still doesn’t really serve any purpose in the game.
The Market place is where you can buy various Warframes, weapons, Sentinels, boosts and more for Credits (free currency) and mostly Platinum. The Market place in Warframe is the perfect advertisement of how not to do a free-to-play game as you will see later.
Missions have you and up to three other Warframes (human players) rocketed to a planet or space ship where you complete various objectives (normally kill everything) before evacuating at the end (a cool feature). Combat is simple with guns shooting like guns while melee attacks can be charged to cut through enemies or block attacks and deflect bullets. While you are running around the game features basic free running mechanics such as wall jumping, wall running, ground slides, air slides, flips and more. The whole mechanics are simple but when used together do set the game apart from the crowd.
The main point of Warframe is to level up your Warframes, Weapons, and Sentinels to get more powerful and achieve higher Mastery Ranks. However Mastery Ranks have no purpose other than to show how much you have played the game. The actual point of the game is to do hundreds of missions to grind materials and Blueprints to be able to make new weapons and Warframes.
Sounds all good? As the game is a free-to-play one you can’t really complain too much but any one who as has played the game for more than few hours will testify that the game is just one big slog. People complain about games being walk simulators well Warframe is an experiment to see how far you can tolerate grinding the same missions and areas for materials before giving in and spending real money. You can feasible play Warframe and not spend any money on the game but this is a lie as there is money barriers everywhere. Blueprints are required to make weapons and Warframes and a lot only drop from bosses therefore meaning you have to grind bosses over and over again. Materials drop from enemies but the more valuable ones again drop mostly from bosses so you are going to be fighting bosses a lot. Even if you have gained the required Blueprints and materials to make a new weapon or Warframe you will need to pay Credits to craft the item in the Foundry (construction place). Weapon and Warframe constructions can literally take several real days unless you spend real money to speed up the progress. This leaves a possibility for a someone who has spent ages playing the game to get a new item then having to wait even longer just to try the item. The game also features a limited amount of item space you can carry at once which means you could craft an item and not be able to use it without paying Platinum to gain more backpack space. It’s deeply frustrating and all the worse things about free-to-play games.
All game progress can be avoided by spending real money to either speed up the process or to buy the items you want outright. The Warframe market is a joke. I would know I was keeping track with all the times on the official forums and when I stopped playing and keeping a record the game had about £500 worth of items you could pay real money on. This means if you wanted everything in the game at that time without doing any work it would cost you £500. That’s an insane amount for which result in weapons and Warframes that mostly play the same and aren’t that different. Now no one would recommend you spend that amount to get everything but it shows the gaping void between its paid and free elements. As the game is a co-op game having any sort of pay to win element in Warframe is fine but the only problem with this is that the game doesn’t have any clear pay to win weapons or Warframes. This is of course good but means that game the doesn’t satisfy in any fronts. Most weapons aren’t special enough to make buying them feel special or worthwhile. You also can’t just spend some money to make the game easier for you or the people you are playing with as like I said there is no real essential items that would allow this.
I spent 200 hours or more playing Warframe in closed beta and lost about 24 hours from server issues that plagued Warframe at the start and about 150 hours of Warframe in open beta. Therefore I have spent 350 hours or more on the game and while it was fun for a bit the game is average at best. I feel like I wasted my time on the game. I played so much of the game because at the time it had potential and I was led to believe that Warframe could a cyborg ninja or Gray Fox game that all Metal Gear fans have always wanted. However Digital Extremes have ruined all that potential by making a game that requires paying players and non payers to grind all the time. Digital Extremes seem to think that by making an average game then just adding new weapons and Warframes is a good idea but it isn’t it just adds to the endless item treadmill. While I was playing the game I had nearly all the weapons and Warframes out at the time because there wasn’t as much but if you started playing the game now it would be a daunting task to do the same and near impossible without spending hundreds of hours or hundreds of pounds.
The bottom line is that Warframe is a bad and average game, the community is terrible, lag makes the game unplayable when playing online, the developers are blind to real change, the market place is out of control (throw hundreds of pounds down the drain if you want) and it is still in open beta. I argued that the game when it was in closed beta was actually a released product because they were charging people back then but everyone in the Warframe community went up in arms about it. However they are still doing it now and I have been shown to be right. The game doesn’t seem like it wants to officially release because then they can’t use the excuse that it’s still in beta. Digital Extremes are happy to milk their small loyal fan base and people seem happy to let them, don’t let them fool you and spend your time and money on a better game.
If Digital Extremes said “we are going to release Warframe for £30/$45 with all items included” but are dropped regularly from enemies then I would say “buy the game if you like the genre”. In other words they should turn Warframe into a Diablo type game and only charge for future expansions like Diablo III and then all would be good but they won’t and would rather see their game continue to obscurity. Warframe is also out on the PlayStation 4 but it is no better and arguably worse. That version is only popular because the PlayStation 4 system at this moment is a barren wasteland and anything that is free id bound to get people trying it out, but people trying something out for free and sticking with it to spend money aren’t mutually exclusive.
If someone says “Is Warframe worth playing?” then I would say “No, it isn’t. It’s like being a prostitute and not getting paid for your services”. Anyone who says otherwise will come to the same conclusion eventually. If not they are likely suffering from Warframe Stockholm syndrome.
My Other Scrambled Thoughts: