From its humble beginnings as a simple third-person space looter-shooter to its current status as a Steam juggernaut, Digital Extremes’ breakaway hit game, Warframe, is a Cinderella story about a little game that turned into a global phenomenon.
Warframe is an action role-playing third-person shooter online game produced by Canadian game developer Digital Extremes. Warframe released for PC in March 2013, PlayStation 4 in November 2013, Xbox One in September 2014, and the Nintendo Switch most recently in November 2018. Warframe started as a game with a relatively small following, which has grown into a nearly 50 million player base. If you’ve never played the game before, I can sum it up for you in two words: Space Ninjas.
Whether you’re the run-and-gun type or the more stealthy kill-from-the-shadows type, there is a warframe to suit your game play style. What is a warframe, you ask? Just think of them as living suits of armor with extraordinary powers. That’s over-simplifying at it’s finest, but it will have to do — I won’t risk ruining the surprise. There is a popular in-game quest that explains the origins of warframes and who exactly is piloting them, and that’s all I will say on the subject.
So what makes Warframe a game worth playing? Here are my first 5 reasons:
1. Warframe Is Entirely Free-To-Play
While Digital Extremes admittedly makes their money with in-game transactions, all the items available for purchase with actual money are purely cosmetic. They do not hinder your in-game progress. Every single weapon and warframe in the game is obtainable by merely playing the game. Prime Access is rather costly, starting at $49.99 for a pack containing two prime weapons plus some in-game currency called “Platinum,” or the Prime Accessory Pack (which typically includes 2 cosmetic items plus a 90-day affinity booster and a 90-day credit booster.)
The highest-end bundle goes for around $139.99 and consists of a Prime warframe, two Prime weapons, some Platinum, the Prime Accessories Pack, and a couple of glyphs (in-game avatars.) Personally, I do not object to spending actual money on in-game items, but this is not the case with everybody. The good news is that most of the items in the pack (except the glyphs and the Prime Accessories) are obtainable in-game, by unlocking the appropriate void relics and a healthy dose of good luck.
2. Warframe Makes Customization Easy With Lots of Options
There’s a running joke in the Warframe community commonly referred to as “Fashion Frame” regarding all the customization Warframe offers. Players spend a lot of time customizing their warframes and weapons in the game, applying custom skins and color palettes, and even special effects called “ephemera.” Even player-created cosmetic items (referred to as “Tennogen” items) are available for purchase in-game, earning the creators a percentage of the profits. It’s not just about being the ultimate killing machine; you have to look good, too.
3. Player Versus Player in Warframe Is Entirely Optional
While there are many gamers out there who live for player vs. player gameplay, there is an equal number who, like myself, absolutely loathe it. There have been way too many games that start well, but once you get to higher levels, the game forces you into PvP. This is not so with Warframe.
There are two game options for those of you who feel the occasional itch for player versus player challenges: dueling with another player in your clan’s Dojo, or one of eight Conclaves spread throughout the star map. Each Conclave has a different rating, which corresponds to the strength and effectiveness of your gear. This ensures that only players with equally strong gear can face each other in combat in the game.
4. Competitive Co-Op Gameplay Makes Warframe More Fun
Having up to four players in your team can make the game easier when tackling high-level end-game content, but it can also increase your missions’ difficulty by increasing the number of enemies that spawn. End-game content like Sorties and Elite Sanctuary Onslaughts are excellent ways to get experience and high-end drops. However, be prepared to fight swarms of high-level enemies! Having a reliable team that works well together is the key to conquering end-game content.
5. You Can Play Warframe Solo, as Long as You Have the Right Load-Out
Most of the game veterans have invested a lot of time and resources into building the ultimate warframe and weapon load-out. Having a high health pool and good armor rating will help a lot if you plan on soloing high-level content. It’s tricky but do-able.
I’m one of those antisocial types who enjoys running around by myself, without the hassle of dealing with other players. I know all too well the advantage of having a trusty sidearm that deals enormous damage, or a melee weapon that can hack and slash its way through even the thickest of enemy spawns, and of course, a warframe that can withstand all the punishment.
Part of what makes Warframe such an appealing game to so many players is the viability of many different play-styles. For example, my husband enjoys playing “tanks” — solid, defensive frames that excel at not dying — like Rhino, Wukong, Inaros, and Baruuk. When I’m in a group, I enjoy playing support classes like Trinity, Oberon, Harrow, or Titania. Here’s a list compiled by Digital Extremes, taken from their website.
Tune in soon to read my part 2! I’ll be discussing the outstanding open-world Warframe offers in game, along with some insight about Digital Extremes! Did your favorite reason to play Warframe make this list? Let me know in the comments.