Warframe: Thoughts on Story and the War Within (non-spoiler edition)

warwithin1

Finished the War Within questline.

Immensely enjoyable.

I find myself reflecting on why I feel Warframe’s storytelling is better than Guild Wars 2’s, and somewhat reminiscent of what I enjoyed in Guild Wars 1.

I think it boils down to elegant simplicity and personal, emotional impact.

It doesn’t try to be overly clever; you don’t need a summary of 1000 words broken up into various sections to help you track the plotline and where the hell it’s going; it’s content merely to hint at lore and leave a lot of things unexplained. Ultimately, it leaves you wanting more.

There’s usually one beat going through the main line – find something, track someone, one main goal to focus on. As a character, you know what you’re aiming to do.

When the game throws you a curveball, it impacts you directly, there are in-game consequences and even changes to the game’s mechanics to accentuate the point.

To pull a GW1 example, you work through several quest chapters to Ascend and that Ascension significantly changes your character in permanent ways – the Mursaat’s spectral agony no longer melts you.

To pull a GW2 could-have-been example, it’s as if Blish’s arm conveniently falling off and setting up an elaborate stealth mechanic game wasn’t just treated as “funny ha ha convenient, no?” and a milestone to hit along the plotline of multiple steps to take an outpost to build an army to storm a fortress to defeat Joko – but more along the lines of what-if the portal takes you and Blish into the depths of Joko’s fortress and just before he’s dragged off for questioning by Joko, he divests himself of the arm for you to stealth escape your way out (rescuing him in the process.)

Even better if Joko cuts off your arm during your own questioning and you have to replace it with Blish’s gift arm and get that skillset permanently (but that’s not happening since GW2 is allergic to imposing restrictions and consequences on player characters.)

But at least it would be slightly higher and more personally impactful stakes.

At the end of Warframe’s quests, something always changes. Your ship expands, develops, gains new additions. You, and the story of you, expands, develops, becomes more than you once knew.

warwithin3

Warframe’s story does not hesitate to take some very dramatic steps.

It is helped along by some of the best video game music I’ve ever heard. They accompany the story beats, accentuating wordlessly the emotion behind what you witness.

 

Gives me chills just listening to it.

That’s a soundtrack sale right there.

warwithin2

I’m hooked and definitely down for the Warframe ride.

Advertisements

Fan Outrage Impels Company CEO to Fire Dev Over “Hateful” Twitter Posts

https://kotaku.com/subnautica-dev-fired-over-hateful-statements-1822746373

http://www.gamerevolution.com/features/367149-not-surprising-subnautica-developer-fired

Oh, wait. Did you think I was talking about ArenaNet?

That’s old news.

So I brought up even older news to make a point.

Please remember to remain consistent with your stances.

Personally, my stance is: if you make the company look bad by being stupid on social media AND are personally identifiable to boot, don’t be surprised if the consequences come back to bite you in the ass and if the company no longer wants to be associated with you.

Oh, and don’t identify as an apache attack helicopter.

I recommend wolves of no specified gender.

All of geekdom will be so distracted teasing you as a furry that they will forget any more politically charged issues and unite under one meme banner.

Warframe: Of All The Things to Find in a Sci-Fi Not-Quite-MMO

Sorry bout that; it took a little bit of doing to wrest back keyboard control from the big lug determined to turn my blog into his fishing Instagram.

But wow, I should have checked out all these non-combat side activities in the Plains of Eidolon a long time ago.

Then again, maybe not, as it is somewhat confusing to get started.

First, I had to realize that there was a Fast Travel option to the various NPCs in Cetus (and some of the other relays) before I started getting comfortable with the “town” lobby.

Second, I had to understand Syndicates and Standing – something that going through The New Strange quest and scanning for Cephalon Simaris managed to teach me step-wise, rather than getting bludgeoned with strangeness all at once (ie. the first time stepping into Cetus.)

Lastly, I had to know how to craft and equip (and locate again to use) items that weren’t straight up weapons. Mostly this involves equipping them in the Arsenal and bringing up the radial gear menu (or keybinds that I haven’t gotten around to yet) in actual instanced missions.

However, if you can somehow wade your way through the unfamiliarity (with plentiful wiki or Google help if needed), Warframe really goes the one step further that one sometimes hopes to see from MMO professions/non-combat skill systems – something a little more advanced and skill-based than “press F / click button and wait.”

spearfishing

Fishing in Warframe is spear-fishing.

(Wow, that’s a little different from rod-and-line fishing already.)

The basic gameplay is simple – you wait by a body of water, and look out for fish. Bubbles and ripples provide some clues, but ultimately you have to be sharp eyed enough to see the fish under the water (or at least move your target cursor close enough to see its nameplate.)

Then clicking the mouse button throws your spear out, and it automatically reels in a short while later. If you aimed well and hit the fish, you’ll see a damage number and you’ll get the successful fish caught screen, where you can admire its size.

If not, well, you missed. And you probably scared the fish a little, who are now swimming more erratically.

There are more advanced fishing spears to craft as based on your overall faction standing; there is bait I haven’t tried yet but supposedly helps you control/encourage the type of fish that spawns in, if thrown at a demarcated area; and there is dye that you can craft to make the fish glow and thus easier to see and spear.

spearfishing2

It’s a simple enough minigame, and a little different from the standard “press a button to throw out a line, wait for a float to bob, and press button again to reel fish in” fishing gameplay.

Then there’s mining.

Wow.

While it might not rival the complexity of A Tale in the Desert’s mining – which practically makes you solve color or shape-based puzzles every time you attempt a strike – it’s certainly more simulationist than “Press F to mine.”

First, you buy a Cutter from an NPC in Cetus.

This Cutter is a combination mining laser and ore scanner.

Obviously, you find metal ore or gems in rock formations, so you have to physically get near a rock and check your Cutter.

If it detects something, it will have a little metal icon indicator on the left side, a distance indicator on the right, and the game will start chiming and pinging in an audible version of the “hotter/colder” children’s game as you spin in circles looking for the deposit.

Once you spy the red (metal) or blue (gems) indicator and zoom in, a white outline shows up around it.

warframemining1

This is your cue to attempt tracing the outline with your mining laser. A task slightly easier said than done.

Take too long and the white outline disappears, leaving you to trace the remainder from memory – or zoom in and out again to bring back the outline with a penalty to the yield.

warframemining2

Naturally, how accurate your trace is impacts how much of the final product one gets at the end. 10 appears to be the best (with the basic Nosam Cutter anyway) and I’ve screwed it up to the point of getting only 5 now and then.

warframemining3

Still, ’tis remarkably refreshing to find such innovative takes on ye olde staples of mining and fishing.

I might come to dread it if I ever find out I -need- to grind 300-500 of some resource or other over and over, but for now, it’s a pretty darned fun change of pace from running through metal clad hallways slicing things to bits at breakneck speed.