xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
[personal profile] xyzzysqrl
Y'ever have one of those things where you enjoy it, but you don't know or really understand WHY you enjoy it, or what makes you come back to it? Where it has a weird, inexpressable quality you can't deny, but it's also just "not quite right" enough that you walk away and give up for a while before it draws you back in?

I started playing Warframe in 2013. I know this because I have a few Steam achievements for the game, basic things like "pick up 1000 credits" or "change the color of your suit", and they're dated Nov 27th, 2013.

My next achievement, "pick up 10,000 credits" is dated March 1st of 2015. After that there's "play for 2 hours", which is marked March 24, 2016. I get "play for 10 hours" in June 2017. Around that date is where I start stopping in regularly. I have now played 67 hours.

When I came to Warframe in 2013 it was a god damn mess of a game. I didn't think it was worth anyone's time, let alone mine. At some point through the cultural grapevine I must've heard "It's gotten so much better" and decided to check in again in 2015. It probably had, but it was still this weird awkward third-person shooter and ehhhh I had other stuff to do.

Something kept me coming back, and by now I have to admit: It's got some of the most fluid movement options in gaming, it has a unique visual aesthetic, and there's nothing else like it on the market. Plus it's genuinely free as long as you have time to pump into the game.

The problem with Warframe, I've decided, is that at no point does it ever effectively inform you how to play Warframe, and it at no point makes an effort to hide that it has a cash shop. A new player will come in and be baffled by all the Space Ninja Verbosity and sneering bad guys and so on, then they'll look at the market and see nothing but "buy the weapon/warframe/advancement tool" and they'll go "Oh." and then they'll quit.

Which makes sense. So here's what Warframe is and how you play it:

Warframe is a space ninja third-person-shooter. Because you are a space ninja, you can roll, superjump, run on walls, run up walls, airdive, glide, and execute other such manuevers that wave a middle finger at the laws of physics.

You're wearing a cool-ass space ninja suit that gives you superpowers. There are like thirty-some suits in the game and they run the gambit from your basic lightning zappy dude to more interesting and creative ideas, like channeling a heart of glass, your love of PBS and fairy queens, or just being really good at MIDI sequencing and Guitar Hero.

As a space ninja, various factions around the universe dislike your physics-defying antics. That's okay, you can kill them and take their stuff in the honorable space ninja tradition. You have a vast amount of freedom in how you do this. You can be a loud space ninja and come flying at people through the air with a quad-barreled shotgun and a pistol so large it looks like it should dislocate the shoulder of the dude next to you when you fire it, or you can play it quiet and use a space bow and arrow or some throwing knives.

Alternately while others study the gun, you can study the blade. Yes, you can run straight through machine gun fire deflecting bullets and then stab as many dudes as you like. You can also use staffs, halberds, nunchucks, greatswords, spears, fist-claws, just plain punching and kicking the hell out of peoples, and I'm pretty sure I saw an axe in the shop in case you want to get up to some of that Kung Fu Hustle business. I'm not here to judge, because it is GOOD TO HAVE OPTIONS.

Actually you want to have lots of options because of something called Mastery. Every single gun, bow, sword and superpowered ninja suit has its own experience bar, and your own experience level is tied to how many things you've mastered.

That's where we get into both the best and worst thing about Warframe: It is the grindiest game human culture has ever devised. You always want to be on the lookout for blueprints you can use to make more suits, more weapons, and that means materials, and that means running missions to get the materials, and that means fighting your way to the parts of the solar system where they drop the materials you need, and THAT means clearing a lot of missions on your way to a boss fight that drops new blueprints, and now you need more materials again.

This is where a lot of people look at the store and conclude the game is a raging cash grab. ... But there's the option to buy things directly from the store for real money on tab one, and most people don't flip to tab two, where they sell the blueprint that tells you exactly how you can make one yourself.

You can pay in money, or you can pay in time.

I think that honesty might be what keeps me coming back to Warframe. It's a soloable free MMO that just demands your time, and does so well enough that when I'm tempted to buy something from the store I always stop and check the wiki first, because I KNOW I can put it together myself if I really try. At the same time, I need that wiki because the game itself isn't interested in explaining itself, because if you're the type of person who will walk away over a clonky UI you aren't the kind of person who will stick with Warframe for the Eternal Grind.

I keep walking away, but I keep coming back too.

At least I feel like I've explained why, a little bit.

Date: 2018-07-12 01:55 am (UTC)
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
From: [personal profile] renegadefolkhero
Thanks for this. The Switch announcement put it on my radar but I hadn't read anything on it.

Date: 2018-07-18 12:47 am (UTC)
ff00ff: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ff00ff
I've played 2169 (nice) hours of warframe according to Steam. I started in the game's beta. It was a mess then. I came back some time later. It was much better.

It definitely suffers from the ill of perpetually in-development games that you basically need to play it with the wiki open in another window. And when you get to the "endgame" you're definitely going to resort to looking at youtube videos to figure out the most powerful way to mod your gear (and learn there were whole sets of mods you've never heard of in content you were never directed to)

You positively must engage with the main quest story missions, each one seems to top the last, and even deliver generously on new game-play elements.

Also worth noting is that the premium currency in the game is tradeable between players, leading to a thriving and active community market for rare items. I spent a little real money on the game to unlock color palates for customization, but have expanded my inventory slots handily by selling items to other players in game.

Date: 2018-10-28 04:07 am (UTC)
rowyn: (smile)
From: [personal profile] rowyn
I was telling Terrycloth about this entry and I had to go dig it up to show to him because this comment is the perfect summation of Warframe. Especially the Fucko the Clown part. We both died laughing at this. XD


xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)

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