When I started my “Tales from a Newbie” article series last month, I totally spaced on the holidays. Given that, I haven’t played Warframe as much as I would have liked, but I haven’t been able to play anything as much as I would have liked, of course. I have made some progress and have some thoughts, and wanted to update everyone and get Warframe veteran feedback … so let’s recap the last four weeks!
Remember my disclaimer though, please: These articles are written from the perspective of a new player working their way through the game, looking up YouTube videos and written guides when needed. It is not written from the perspective of a journalist doing a ton of research to make sure something I write is 100% accurate. This means that I may get something wrong and I mean to leave those things in this record. Why? It shows how I progress as a player and gives Warframe veterans and new players alike a chance to liven up the comments section with suggestions, corrections, or new information that I may not have come across in the game yet simply because I haven’t reached a certain point. That said, if my opinion on something changes later due to progressing in the game, I’ll certainly state as much in future posts.
Disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to my progress update, my thoughts on cash in Warframe, and my new current favorite weapon!
Where am I now?
From a top level, I have reached Mastery Rank 10. For those that don’t know, allow me to explain my understanding of the Mastery Rank system at this point and Warframe veterans can chime in with additional information in the comments, if needed. Mastery Rank is basically your “overall level.” It doesn’t really mean much but it does give other players an idea of how long you’ve been playing the game, though it doesn’t indicate skill. Yes, leveling up your mastery does come with perks (Warframes being given more starting mod slots, more daily trading allotments, and others), but more importantly this rank is what locks certain weapons, equipment, and even content.
How do you gain Mastery Ranks? Play the game. Literally. Clearing nodes on each planet or location nets you Mastery Points (referred to as “affinity” in game) upon the first clearing. Leveling up each Warframe to max rank (rank 30) gets you Mastery Points. The same happens with weapons and other equipment. Use them, get them to max rank to get the most Mastery Points from them, swap to another weapon/Warframe/sentinel and rank that up to rank 30 to scoop the Mastery Points.
With that formula, you can already see the benefit to unlocking as many weapons or Warframes as possible … but let’s talk more about that in the cash portion of today’s recap.
In addition to making Rank 10, I now have nine Warframes at max rank. They are a mix of Warframes that I crafted from scratch or bought with platinum. (Disclosure: I had platinum left over on my account apparently from Digital Extremes adding some plat in the past so I didn’t pay cash for that particular plat.) I still don’t have my first prime version of a Warframe, but I’m close! I have crafted the systems, neuroptics, and chassis for Nekros Prime. I didn’t pick Nekros in particular; I just happened to have received the blueprints for its components while playing. I still don’t have the blueprints for Nekros Prime itself, though. I had a relic that had a chance to drop it, I boosted the relic to up my chances … but of course RNG wasn’t on my side so now I’m back in a Prime holding pattern until I get another relic that could contain the blueprint again as I don’t want to buy it from someone. Such is life.
On the map side of things I haven’t made a ton of progress there as far as advancement goes. I’ve opened Saturn but I still
cannot access Uranus… haven’t opened up Uranus … haven’t gained access to … none of these sound right … haven’t gained the ability to travel to the planet Uranus. This isn’t a difficulty thing, I’ve just been busy visiting all previous planets and locations to clear every node on the maps for the mastery and for the ability to send extractors to planets to get resources for me. Now that I have no blue nodes on any planets, I’ll be pushing forward some more … and hopefully getting to the quest (The Second Dream) everyone keeps telling me to get to as soon as I can.
Money and Warframe
Most people, even non-Warframe players, know the basic gist of how the cash shop in Warframe works. I certainly did going into the game but I wanted to point out a few things for other new players here, and maybe veterans can chime in with their thoughts below.
In Warframe, you can pay cash for a currency called platinum. Plat can be used to by a lot of things, from access to Warframes, to certain weapons, to resources, to blueprints, to slots that even allow you to have more weapons and Warframes, and beyond.
So, wait … if you can buy weapons with cash straight out, how is this not pay-to-win? Fair question, and there are actually a few reasons why I personally don’t have any pay-to-win feeling from Warframe.
First and foremost, while Warframes are not Mastery Rank-locked, weapons and other equipment can be. This means that you must reach certain Mastery Ranks before you can buy them with plat. You could farm up the materials for the new weapon at any time but you can’t even buy the blueprint to build the weapon until you reach certain Mastery Ranks. The point is, the gating of better equipment is based on gameplay, whether you buy said weapon with plat (cash) or in-game — not to mention that some weapons are only available in-game and could require advancements through your clan on top of materials to obtain.
So, Magicman, then the grind becomes the issue for non-paying player, right? Well, technically yes, which leads to my second point. The better an item is the more likely it is that you will grind for the materials in-game. Even this, at least in my experience so far, isn’t all that bad. It certainly doesn’t come anywhere near the mobile-type grinds you see for non-paying players in other titles.
And, damn, the feeling at payoff when you’ve grinded out those materials and blueprints for a Warframe or weapon feels good! I feel rewarded when I have crafted things ready to claim, not the feeling of “thank god that’s over.” It’s a delicate balance and, in my experience, so far Warframe pulls it off almost to perfection. Plat should, in my opinion, primarily be used to buy Warframe and weapon slots to hold the things you build. Even then, plat doesn’t have to be bought with cash as you can sell things in-game directly to players for plat. To me, Warframe’s monetization comes down an instant gratification thing. I don’t feel the need to buy something to “keep up” in any way. I would buy because I want to and don’t want to farm or wait for crafting.
A small note here, by the way. While I personally don’t think Warframe is pay-to-win, it is because of the reasons above. Often, I have seem Warframe and other games tout that you can’t be pay-to-win when the game is largely/all PvE. I reject that notion entirely. I feel that a PvE-centric game can certainly be pay-to-win. Yes, I’ll agree that it isn’t in the more common “competitive” nature that the label is usually used, but in a PvE aspect, the pay-to-win shifts to paying players being able to enjoy a game versus non-paying players having a bad or sub-par experience. That’s just as bad as competitive disadvantages in a PvP-based game to me. Luckily, in my opinion, Warframe doesn’t fall into that bucket yet either.
But before we move on … are there loot boxes?
Simply: yes. But not in the way you’re thinking. Not in the way of “spend cash, get a random prize” which has become the norm in modern-day games. In fact, Warframe’s loot boxes aren’t cash-related at all.
In Warframe there are relics, which are basically loot boxes. There are different types and different categories, called “Eras.” You gain these randomly as rewards through gameplay. Viewing a relic will show you all the items that could drop from that relic. They even show the odds — well, not the odds as in a direct number, but a visual bar indicator of the rarity of each potential item.
To unlock these relics, you simply visit a location that has a Void Fissure event currently running (they cycle randomly all over the galaxy map), complete the quest there while having the relic equipped and … BLAMMO … relic opened. You can even “upgrade” these relics with Void Traces to increase the chance of getting the more rare loot while decreasing the chance of receiving the more common loot available in the relic.
And guess what, new tenno? Even the Void Traces are divorced from cash purchase through plat. Gotta farm that up too. So, yes there are technically loot boxes of a type, but nothing that requires cash.
Wrapping it up with my favorite weapon
Last article I mentioned that my favorite weapon was the Boltor rifle. That’s changed this time around, as I’m sure it will often. KineticFetus recommended the Arca Plasmor to me in the comments on my last writeup and I’m still working on that (gotta do some Dojo research to get the blueprint at the moment), but I stumbled upon the Phage Infested shotgun. This wacky bastard fires off seven wavy Ghostbuster proton pack-like beams that eventually narrow and focus into one point while aiming. While the range kind of sucks and it isn’t great against said Infested, I have had a blast running around with this thing that feels like it has infinite ammo compared to other weapons. SO much fun!
That’s where I’m going to wrap it up with this recap. Feel free to help out in the comments clarifying things I may have said based on your experience or chiming in with recommendations for me.
Thanks to everyone that commented last article and gave me codes to grab some freebie emblems and items. Much appreciated!
All images courtesy of Warframe Wiki and Warframe Forums