Warframe – From the Fire Hose

I’ve built, managed, edited, and used wikis for a stupidly long time.  Most gaming wikis have a lot of leaves, and only a small section of branches.  Leaves are pages where you simply “end up”, with very little information to have you go backwards.  Something like this Uskang page for D3.  It’s relevant, has the necessary info, and gets the job done.

Then you have something like Warframe, and it’s (ridiculous) complexity.  Here’s the Inaros page (a class), and here’s the Soma Prime page (a weapon).  You could spend days/weeks plumbing this wiki and still not have enough.

There are two reasons for this, and primarily is the above stated fact of game complexity.  EvE is the only game that comes to mind with more of it.  Now, complexity isn’t bad, if there’s a method the game takes to train/help the players.  This is the second issue, the game has a hell of a time communicating information.  The information in the wiki should be entirely available within the game… but good luck actually finding it.  For a small developer, this is a tough choice to make – simplify the systems/content and make it easier to get into, or have a really strong community that will help people out.  I do think the devs made the right call here.  The player expectation is that people don’t know what they are doing, which dramatically changes player expectations.   It’s entirely possible to get half way through the game and have no clue what’s going on.

Compare that to something like WoW, where the expectation in almost every group encounter is “go go go” and total group silence.  The game’s simplicity (excepting M+), makes nearly all group activities brain dead.  You can successfully fail Warfronts.

I’ll say the moment to moment portions of Warframe are fun (Archwing, less so).  The movements are quick, the controls are tight, and the large 3D spaces for combat are full of alternative paths.  In that sense, playing without a goal works, and consuming the map content is pretty straightforward.

Then you start hitting a few walls.  You need Mastery Rank to progress in some places, but what’s that?  The level of a planet is 27-35, but all your gear maxes at 30.  Why do your companions die so fast?  How are people able to bullet (torpedo) jump up 3 levels?  How do you wall run, shoot, and then keep wall running?  Why is the boss taking 0 damage?  How did I trip an alarm?  Why is the gate guardian here wiping the floor with me?  Where the heck do I find the parts to make this weapon?

The only way to get answers to that is the wiki, or video walkthroughs.  And then let’s say life gets in the way and you leave for a couple weeks.  There are very high odds that you’re going to forget an important piece of data and get frustrated because you should know this .

I am still amazed at the sheer volume of stuff found in this game.  Moreso that people have such a great grasp of it all, and that I feel like a pleb surrounded by gods.  Every gaming session, I come away with some new bits of info, and a few steps closer to my goals.  And a game without progress is no real game at all.

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