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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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

  1. Mining can be fun, but those times when you do need to mine up 200 of a certain ore and then all you find are gem nodes can be frustrating. Generally If I’m out in the plains, I just make sure to have my cutter equipped at all times I’m not actively fighting or fishing. I’ve mapped my cutter and fishing spear to 0 and 9 respectively, so I can swap back and forth very quickly from tool to weapon. Plus you can always quick-melee regardless, so if the enemy isn’t flying, I can hit it without needing to swap to a gun anyway.

    But anyway…. keeping the cutter out and being willing to stop whenever I hear the chirp of a nearby node made it so that I was able to keep a pretty decent gem and ore supply, so I never had to grind out mining materials much.

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