2016.05.07

Warframe Mag screenshot
Prologue

So J and I are letting The Division rest a bit and give the developers a chance to get their act together or move on and deal with the irate fans. I'll defer to his analysis:

I'll give you a brief rundown of Monday night's proceedings.

The daily missions didn't repopulate (again), so I ran a random side mission to see if enemies would scale. They didn't. I dropped into the DZ for a hot minute and promptly got shot in the back. Twice. Realizing that this was in no way fun, I opened my map to find something else to do, and didn't see anything worth doing. So I logged out, got to Witcherin' and had a much better time. The end. [Ed: not the end]

Honestly, I thought Bungie didn't put a lot of thought into Destiny's endgame, but this seems even worse. At a minimum, why wouldn't enemies in the lightish zone scale to you once you hit 30? This is a loot-driven game, is it not? They spent God-knows how long designing that map, but there's literally no reason to explore it once you hit the level cap. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Oh wait, I take that back. Finding cell phones, echoes, and downed drones is enthralling... oh and crafting materials. Also, the incursion has been almost universally panned by redditers and respected YouTubers alike for being boring and uninspired. So as I see it, there's really not much to look forward to there, and therefore little incentive to grind for the best loot.

Sigh. Sorry for the salt. The core game is solid and it has so much promise (which is largely how I felt about Destiny), I just feel that with so many games as models of what and what not to do with loot based games (BL, Destiny, Warframe, even Diablo), many of Ubi's mistakes were easily avoidable. I hate to say it but I think this game needs a good six months to a year to incubate and hopefully get its crap together.

Some of the DZ06 graffiti and daily mission action is worth sharing before we put that one on ice:



Defense of the visually-appealing napalm production plant.



That jerk Benchley totes flamethrowers.

Learning to Warframe

Warframe Mag glide attack

So we moved over to a free-to-play shooter/slasher that's been around for awhile. It's weird to go from cover shooter to shooter, it's really weird to go from cover shooter to space-parkour shooter. After getting the controls down - which are basically the normal dual stick with a special ability menu - it was necessary to figure out how to really move. Because when you jump into a game with veteran players, they are on the other side of the map before you've made it through a couple of doors.

For example, the slide + boost jump combination propels you through the air faster (and safer) than you can ever run. There is double jumping and wall-walking, each with tap and/or hold mechanisms.

The end result is that you can move through rooms of enemies with relative ease. This is considerably different from needing to clear a room to move. The complex movements feel fast at first, but it's not hard to pick them up and getting them wrong is reasonably forgiving; think Assassin's Creed where you can't get by mashing the parkour button.


The first time I dared capture video.

Learning to Warframe equipment

Warframe upgrade system Lato Hawk Eye

I just started playing the game yesterday, I can't be expected to grasp this. Warframes (exoskeletons) are upgradeable. Guns, swords, ships, and companions are upgradeable. Upgrades are upgradeable. They have ability, variety, rarity, and probably a few other aspects I have yet to grasp. There are materials, there is money, there are levels for everything.

It's not unintuitive or anything, I was just going at co-op pace - make it good enough to get through the next mission.

There were three starter warframes, J chose Excalibur so I went with a Mag. Each warframe has four unique special abilities.
Play modes


Point defense.


In my one session I've spotted quests and single missions that include point defense, capture, clear, assassinate, and exfiltrate. There are some pvp modes that I haven't even touched (since terrible). Missions are spread throughout the Sol system. There are a variety of enemy species, there are frenemy clans.

Matchmaking is very proactive, which is great for the defense/capture mission modes. With others, though being paired with veterans can make newbs feel like a liability, particularly since some maps are difficult to navigate.
Look and feel

It's pretty, with more polish than Planetside and less than The Division.

The bottom line

Warframe quest Once Awake Mag

It's early but I'm quite optimistic. With looting games, especially free-to-play, I worry about how much of a grind some things will be. But the gameplay is solid and there's considerably more playable material than its rivals.