Dark or Light

Bill is Wrong

Aaron Couture Posted:
Columns 0

When Bill Murphy secretly never came to me and never asked me to do a Warframe re-review, I was hurt. I sat in the corner of the MMORPG.com regional office that does not exist and cried dry tears for several hours or minutes. Nobody in the office was timing, so I lost all sense of time. I sat there wondering why he wouldn’t bestow the pleasure of re-reviewing my all-time favorite game for all to see.  At first, I went through the 12 steps of anger management to deal with my feelings. Within minutes I went from pissed off to blaming myself, while I cuddled my Excalibur plush toy I don’t own.  Finally, I reached a moment of enlightenment that you are about to read.

You would think Bill would go to the one guy freelancing at MMORPG.com that actually plays Warframe daily. While I was at TennoCon this year it dawned on me why he did the re-review himself instead of going to the fanatical expert, I am extremely biased towards Warframe. While talking with all the other press at TennoCon I finally understood why I could never grow up and be a real game reporter (well, besides my genetically enhanced procrastination), I have spiritually bonded with the game. The other members of the press at TennoCon have to play lesser games to review instead of being able to sit down and really enjoy Warframe in all its glory. Each member of the press I had the chance to talk to had little to no actual in-game experience beyond about 50 hours of gameplay. Currently, between PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC I have approximately 600 hours. I know that is not a lot compared to most Warframe fans, but as a freelance writer for games (actually, I am a freelance writer for “a” game. Bill won’t let me touch the other games yet), I probably have the most experience in Warframe. Once I get over 800 hours I plan on submitting an application for a Guide of the Lotus. Frankly, I felt bad for all the other press members at TennoCon because they will never get the chance to feel as connected to a game as I am. It makes me sad real game journalist like Bill, are too busy to be able to sit down every night and enjoy the game they love like I do.  What they do every night is to ensure you, the reader, have the most unbiased snapshot of a game. 

Even though Bill might not have completed all the quests, unlocked every planet node, leveled every Warframe to max level several times to add Forma, or spent hundreds of hours ignoring a statistics paper that is due tomorrow, reporters like Bill have a keen eye and expertise a biased fan like me does not have. Because Bill knows how much of a fan I am of the game, he knows I cannot do an unbiased review of the game. If I had to score it now I would probably give it a score of 12 out of 10. Most likely if a Digital Extremes developer farted in an elevator I would assume roses were blooming, Bill would be changing diapers. For the first couple years, it wasn’t always like that for me and Warframe. Like most people that play Warframe, I was an on, off, and on-again player.

The first couple of years for Warframe was very rough for the studio and the players. When Bill first reviewed Warframe I probably would’ve given it a lower score than he did which was a 6.6 on the Murphy Scale. I felt he was too generous with his first review and probably would have given the game closer to a 5.5.  Even last year before Plains of Eidolon came out I felt the game could not hold my interest for more than three months out of a year.  I believe the true turning point in Warframe’s current success, is the addition of the Oscar-worthy quests like The Second Dream, The War Within, Chains of Harrow, and Sacrifice. Once the Chains of Harrow came out, the game started to grow on me. I started becoming immersed in the lore and felt there was a life behind each Warframe and my Operator. I now log in every day because unlike Bill’s recent re-review that states there is no end-game, there is a very strong end-game in Warframe. Like a lot of single player games and true RPGs, Warframes end-game is “new-game-plus” and collecting all the shiny things you can. Both those systems involve epic tactical fights like taking down Eidolon Teralysts (think Monster Hunter), Sortie missions with random missions and modifiers (think Destiny Nightfall and Heroic Strikes, but less sucky), and the endless journey to look the best you can while you kill everything in posh-ninja, high-fashion.  The fashion is where Digital Extremes has taken strong cues from the community to help players express themselves in the game and get rewarded for it out of the game.

On November 9, 2015, Digital Extremes approved their first round of submissions for TennoGen. If you do not know, TennoGen has player created cosmetics for Warframe. Currently, the community content creators can make cosmetics for weapons, warframes, Syandanas (ninja capes), and the landing crafts. Through the Steam Workshop content creators that are verified through TennoGen rounds, can be paid for their cosmetics. Just this week Warframe verified and released TennoGen 13 which has some amazing cosmetics that I plan on buying to not only support the community but to look amazing for all the dead Corpus I kill. 

Making money is good and all for the community to stay involved in the game, but Digital Extremes went a bit further and hired content creators for several different designs.  Working this closely with the community on helping Warframe grow is really what the end-game is about. A game is a relationship between the creators and the players if that relationship is always one side people are going to start to grow restless and start to find faults in everything each other does. Like any long-lasting strong relationship, it is important to communicate and reward each other as often as possible. Digital Extremes has found that sweet spot in its relationship with the community with TennoGen, hiring content creators, weekly developer streams, and their transparency over social media. They know from time-to-time they are going to promise the Moon and stars (see Codename: Railjack) but produce something the fans might not enjoy as much as they thought (try enjoying Archwing, I dare you). It is okay though because Digital Extremes keeps plugging away at the game updating it and fixing it with invigorating passion.  I can’t think of any other studio that has built such a strong bond with its community the way Digital Extremes has. I believe the end-game in any game is finding a game you can connect with and build a lasting relationship with. Finally, I have come full circle with this article and reached my whole point; I am biased towards Warframe. Bill made a great management call by not handing me a re-review I would’ve overinflated. I believe he did a good job with his re-review but... Bill is wrong! The game is a 12 out of 10.


Aaron Couture

Games, motorcycles and guitars! Everything that screams mid-life crisis. Freelance writer for MMORPG.com for over 10 year.