Warframe is a fantastic, fluid, and totally-free time sink that is both relaxing and engaging to play. Build timers and daily login milestones will keep you coming back day in and day out, while the steady flow of cool new guns will add ample variety in moment-to-moment gameplay. However, all these mechanisms also turn Warframe from a simple pastime to a god damn addiction machine. Play with caution, as you may soon begin to care more about the game than you do about the rest of your life…
What is Warframe?
Warframe is a free-to-play MMORPG funded by microtransactions. Players take control of a “Warframe”, which, to dodge spoilers, we will refer to as something akin to an Iron Man suit that comes complete with a unique passive and four individual abilities. At the time of writing, there are a total of 36 frames, and a player can collect as many as they have inventory space for. Frames can be swapped in and out of freely in between missions, which alleviates the issue of “class fatigue” in many other MMO titles where players quickly grow tired of playing their chosen class.
In addition to your frame, you can equip two weapons and one melee weapon. While many weapons resemble traditional items such as assault rifles or shotguns, others are far more creative: A few of my collected favorites included a buzzsaw gun, a spike thrower that pinned enemies to walls, an arm-mounted beam canon, an arm-mounted sonic detonation launcher, a beam-firing staff that could be thrown like a javelin, and a shotgun…that was also a sword.
Missions in Warframe are instance-based, chosen from a player’s spaceship, which also acts as their upgrade station, access point to the premium “market”, quest area, and more. Gameplay encourages fast movement and reactions but tends to lean more on the strength of a player’s ‘build’ than individual skill.
Speaking of “builds”… While every weapon, companion drone, frame, and pistol can be leveled to a max level of 30, gaining power in Warframe is based more around a player’s choice of “mod cards” than item level. Max level can be easily reached within a few hours with a set of gear, and from there, it’s up to you to find a set of cards that work with your specific item. Each item has its own number of points and its own set of mod cards that can be applied, with different cards modifying different aspects of an item: A sniper rifle might have one mod that makes its shots silent to enemies, one that causes rounds to deal electrical damage, one that increases reload speed, and even one that causes it to shoot two bullets at once!
For more info on the gameplay itself and why I’m telling you not to dive right in, check out Part 2 here.