Warframe: To Grind or Not to Grind?
It is weird no matter how much you love a game; there are times you need to take a break from it. I have spent a half of a decade with an on and off relationship with Warframe. I truly love the game and want to play it for many more years to come, but there are times I can’t bring myself to play it. I know I am not the only one that feels the same about Warframe. Every time I post an article here at MMORPG.com, there is at least a few comments about how the commenter can’t stay engaged in the game, but they love to play it when the urge hits them. I see the same situation with my friends that play the game. They play for a couple of months, and then take a couple of months off. To me, it is not a bad thing to take a break from a game and play other games because it gives me a chance to refresh my love for the game I’m not playing. I like to have a good rotation of games I love to play. Right now, I am enjoying Destiny 2: Forsaken DLC, Doom, and Guild Wars 2. When I play these other games, I tend to think about what I would like to see implemented in the game I am not playing. The theory-crafting makes me excited to see in the future of the game.
When I got back from TennoCon 2018, I was excited to play Warframe because I was pumped up from the crowd and the future content revealed. After about a month, I started to lose focus again and I put Warframe away for a while. I would still log in to the game every day, but I would quickly log off. My logging in and out quickly has been a vicious cycle for the past two months. Even today, I feel like I am going crazy waiting for all the new content I saw at TennoCon. While I impatiently waited for the new content, I would log in and farm for relics to try to get things like Rhino Prime and Nyx Prime. I figured this could be my only time to get them ever again, since they were unvaulted for the summer. Quickly got frustrated by the RNG and would log off. Not until recently when Nezha got a much-needed rework and deluxe skin, did this on/off cycle turn back on in full force. So, how did a simple rework and deluxe skin turn me back on to the game again?
I know Fortuna is coming soon! I can race around looking amazing in my Nezha Empyrean skin and have fun. Nope, that even got boring quick. I wanted to stay engaged in the game so I looked to Plains of Eidolon (PoE). Even though I haven’t played much of PoE, I am extremely excited for Fortuna and the new features that expansion will bring. The biggest difference between Fortuna and PoE is how a player can stay in the world without going in and out of town. When I think of Fortuna, I think about what I love about Destiny 2 (after Forsaken). Don’t get me started on Destiny 2 before Forsaken. In some ways PoE is an open world type of map like Destiny, but in some ways, it still feels like a hallway shooter. You still need to end the mission and reset your progress before continuing in the world. In Fortuna, a person can pick up an initial bounty in the town and stay in the world. Once a bounty is complete, the NPC shows up in the world to turn in the bounty. At that time, the player can pick up more bounties and continue in the world. To me, this is a giant step for Warframe in becoming more of an MMO and less of a hallway shooter. There are still elements to the game I wish they had to keep me engaged without making me feel like I am just farming relics to get the next best Prime gear. Don’t get me wrong, I love farming for new Primes, and I plan on farming Chroma Prime all weekend with my son, but relic farming over and over feels empty at times. The saving grace is, my son is a huge Chroma fan and having him hyped for the game also makes me more hyped to play. I wish there was a bit more sustenance to the farming.
Since Forsaken released for Destiny 2, I have been playing it every night and enjoying it more than any other time in the whole franchise. Bungie has stepped up their game and turned it around with Forsaken. They should have never veered away from what worked in Destiny 1: The Taken King, but I can understand they wanted to try something different. Nobody would want to pay a premium price for Destiny 1: 2.0. Playing Destiny made me realize what is missing from Warframe. It showed me why I am engaged more with Destiny and less with Warframe. Warframe lacks secrets and is too focused on farming. Warframe has drastically changed over the years by adding quests, story, open world environments, and soon to add space battles, but the game still lacks secrets to keep the community playing daily, besides farming for Primes. I wish there were more secrets like the Wall of Wishes in Forsaken, or evolving world of the Dreaming City. I was thinking of things I would like to see in Warframe that are unique in a way but build upon what Destiny has done with Forsaken.
Farming is a key element to Warframe because it is a free-to-play the game. I do not fault Digital Extremes for building a passionate free game while ensuring they can make money while they do it. Their free-to-play model is by far the best out of any game model. Unfortunately, it starts to wear on the players over time, and they become strongly aware of the grind. Even though Destiny 2 has a different way of making revenue, it is still a farming game like Warframe. The difference is, they gate their best gear and weapons behind quests, events, secrets, and content that seamlessly ramps up in difficulty without having to go back to an NPC to select a harder mission. I would like to see more of Destiny’s type of gated content in Warframe. Just look at Fortnite, and how Epic Games is constantly changing how they engage players in the world. The world feels alive with secrets and mystery. Waframe could do that with Fortuna and Railjack. It is my secret hope, they do. That said, I have nothing against farming for things I want. What I do mind is mindlessly grinding in hopes that one thing will drop with nothing else to keep my mind off the grind. I would like to go into a defense mission and be surprised by something unexpected, or a random change in the mission. That is what was fun about the Acolytes; they made old missions have more than one goal. Riven mods kind of touch on this concept by making the players do something unique with their weapons and warframes in a mission to unlock special perks. Riven mods are very much like what makes Destiny 2’s exotic weapon quests so much fun to do. We need more things like this to keep our minds off the farming, so it doesn’t turn into grinding.
Every game has its pluses and minuses. Warframe has a hard balance between keeping players engaged with the constant flow of “stuff” to farm for, and engaging content to take a player’s mind off the grind. The good thing is, Warframe is not shy at changing their game at a neck-breaking pace. Even when I am off the game, I am looking for a reason to get back on. Lately, if it weren’t for my son and his love for Chroma, I would not see a reason to log back into the game until Fortuna came out. At times, I wish the game got smaller changes to the mechanics instead of waiting for a giant expansion to change the smaller annoyances. I love Warframe, and I will always come back and play it, but playing Destiny 2 and Fortnite, I am now craving more secrets, new ways to get the “stuff,” and anything that will make me forget I am grinding against tiers of RNG.