Video Games

Meet Hera, my Helminth Charger, a microcosm of the Warframe experience

Long ago, in October 2012, the Tenno began their mission to bring balance to the Origin System. At the time, I’m sure most players felt exotic weapons, ninja skills, and space magic were sufficient for the task at hand. But little did they know how their arsenal would expand.

In March of 2013, Update 7 landed, ushering in the now comically long ‘open beta’. Part of this update was the arrival of Sentinels—small robotic companions that tag along on missions, providing various forms of support. Sentinels are themselves fairly elaborate. They can be equipped with different weapons, and modded to suit various playstyles. I imagine most players didn’t expect much more aside from the occasional introduction of a new one.

In July 2014, Update 14 brought the Kubrow into our lives—dog-like creatures hatched from an egg, in an incubator, on our very own spaceship! For realz. They can be modded like Sentinels, and they come in different breeds with different personality traits. Now, if only they could roam freely around the ship like a real pet. Update 14.5 made it so.

Well, we’ve got dogs, might as well have cats. Am I right? Yeah I’m right. As of July 2016 we can breed Kavats, cat-like companions with their own special abilities and personalities. What’s more, we now get to decide when, or even if, we want to mature our pets into battle ready adulthood, allowing us to keep them in puppy/kitten state indefinitely. Who doesn’t love puppies and kittens?

At this point, one might think Warframe had taken the companion system as far as it could go, but they would be wrong. Update 19.5 brought with it a curious new mechanic where Warframes can contract a sort of Infested infection. This infection manifests itself as a cyst. Someone at DE apparently saw this and thought—new companion! The cyst can be drained and combined with a Kubrow egg to give rise to a Helminth Charger: half Kubrow, half Infested, and 100% badass. Thus Hera was born.

The evolution of companions in Warframe is typical of just about every element within the game. It is perpetually evolving, improving, and expanding in new directions. At this point, the only thing I’ve come to expect is the unexpected. As for the future of companions, Plains of Eidolon will introduce open world gameplay, perhaps a horse would be in order.


Video Games

[Warframe] Apollodorus, where art thou?

I popped a Forma into Ash last night and immediately headed off to Apollodorus. Except when I got there, it was Infested, not Grineer, spilling out of every doorway. What is this foul excrement!?!???!

Survival versus the Grineer on that node was my absolute most favorite way to level up Unranked Frames. Versus the Infested? GTFO. Killing Grineer is relaxing, therapeutic in a way; the infested, not so much. Getting knocked down and dragged into Ancients or Toxin proc’d by those mosquito things is an annoyance I’d rather avoid.

A quick Google search suggests I’m not alone in lamenting the loss of this low level Grineer Survival mission. What’s worse, there’s no Grineer Survival node until you get all the way out to Ceres! I’m sure DE had their reasons, but this Tenno does not approve in the slightest.

Ah well, guess I need to find a new go-to spot for ranking up my low-level shit. I don’t have to like it though. -_-

Video Games

[Warframe] The Stalker is a Troll of epic proportion

When it comes to Platinum, I’m like Scrooge McDuck. I hoard it, buy it on sale and never spend it. If I could, I’d polish each coin with a diaper and stack them all in nice neat piles. The thing is, I love bows, and there’s one in particular that eludes me—Dread.

Yes, the Stalker’s signature weapon. Dread is the high-end weapon I covet most dearly. The blueprint for it only drops from the Stalker himself. And though I’ve played the game for over 300 hours, the son of bitch has never shown up to assassinate me. You can buy Dread from the market, but only as part of the What Stalker? bundle for a whopping 800 Platinum.

Well, I finally decided “hey, I’ve got all this Platinum not doing anything for me, I really want this thing, and it seems like I’m never going to get it through other means”, so I go for it. I splurge and buy the bundle.

In the days, not weeks—days—since I bought that bundle, the prick has invaded me four times. Thrice I was playing solo with a low-level Frame and he dumped whoop-ass all over me. The other time I was playing with a PUG and we killed him. What does he drop? The motherfucking Dread. Now I have two, and the blueprint is untradeable, so I can’t even help out a fellow Tenno in need. FML

On the bright side, the throwing knives (Despair) which also came in the bundle are amazing; the scythe (Hate), not so much.

Video Games

If you’re wondering what free to play means with Warframe

In the event that some folks are avoiding this game because they assume there’s a “catch”, I thought I’d explain how it works.

Warframe is available on PC, PS4 and XB1. (PC being the lead platform.) It is 100% free to play, forever, without any kind of cap. You can fully level your Warframes and other gear, unlock all locations, progress through all story quests, and participate in endgame activities at the highest level.

So what’s the catch? There are three.

1) Slots. To start with, you have 2 Warframe slots and 8 weapon slots, meaning that’s all you can hold in inventory at a given time. You can rotate anything you want through those slots and experience everything the game has to offer, but it’s gonna sting like hell every time you need to sell off a beloved possession to make room for something else. This is by far the biggest catch.

2) Time. It takes time to build things. For a new Warframe, you typically need to acquire 3 component blueprints, which usually drop from bosses, and construction materials. Then it takes 12 hours to craft the components followed by 3 days to craft the Warframe. Weapons are simpler— buy the blueprint, farm the materials, and build in 12 to 24 hours. This “grind” can be rushed along or skipped entirely by spending $.

3) Cosmetic items are very limited if you don’t want to spend money.

How to work around these three catches?

There are two main in-game currencies. Credits are farmed and used to buy blueprints, rank up mods, build new items, etc. Platinum is the premium currency and can only be purchased with real $. (Well, not exactly. More on this later.) Platinum is used to buy slots for more weapons and Warframes, rush construction projects, buy prebuilt gear, and purchase cosmetic upgrades.

You start with 150 platinum for free. Warframe slots cost 20 and two weapon slots cost 12. So as far as catch #1 goes, you’re handed a Band-Aid right off the bat. 150 platinum will buy you 4 Warframe slots and 10 weapon slots with some left over. That’s plenty to keep you busy for a long ass time. If you find you still need more slots, then you’ve played the fuck out of the game and maybe it’s time to support the developer.

On point #2, the grind is the game, and I hate the term grind because it usually comes with a negative connotation. You get credits, resources, and blueprints by just playing. You don’t play to get those things, you get those things as you play.

And point #3 is largely irrelevant. Cosmetic items are superfluous by their very nature. That said, there’s a reason many people refer to the endgame as Fashion Frame and I’d be full of shit if I denied spending hours fine-tuning color schemes.

Finally, if you’re piss poor and/or absolutely refuse to spend a dime on the game (even though you’d pay $60 for something you’d put less time into) there is a way to get platinum in-game. You can farm rare mods and Prime parts and sell them to other players. So ultimately, it is possible to have everything for free, but it would take an immense amount of time.

What I like about this model is that you only spend money on the things you value, as opposed to paying a flat rate for a game or DLC that may include stuff you don’t particularly care about. YMMV.

Video Games

Warframe Mastery Tracker

This is basically a giant checklist to help with inventory management as it relates to Mastery Rank progression. It’s up-to-date with the current PC build, so for those of us on console, there are a handful of items we don’t have access to yet.

To use it, just click the link below and go to File > Make a copy… or File > Download as to save an editable version for yourself. If you have any recommendations, questions, or problems, let me know in the comments.

Warframe Mastery Progress


Video Games

God damn Warframe is fun

I used to play Warframe. A lot.

But after 300+ hours of gameplay, my enthusiasm finally waned. I stopped playing sometime prior to the Specters of the Rail update, which turned the Void/Key system on its ear. There have more updates since, but I haven’t been following the game’s evolution.

A few days ago, my good friend @the3rdwalker told me about the Free Prime with Prime promotion. Say what!!?!?

Yeah, I jumped all over that shit. And there I stood, Frost Prime, in my trusty orbiter, just as I left her, Clem noggle and all. A Kubrow egg ready to hatch. The dulcit tones of Ordis’ voice chirping away. Grineer ramblings on the scanner. Ahh, home again. Then I pulled up the Star Chart. =/

It all went downhill from there.

I don’t mean downhill as in bad, but downhill as in progressively more bewildering. I got these relics I’m supposed to do something with, junctions to unlock, bizarre drops I’ve never heard of, other drops I don’t know how to interact with. Sheesh. It was hard enough figuring out this game the first time.

That said, I was soon grinning from ear to ear: bullet jumping, slide spinning, and unloading the mighty Telos Boltor on hapless Grineer.