Is Warframe Worth Playing in 2021?
10 March, 2021...
Is Warframe worth playing and paying for in 2021?
That totally depends on what kind of game you prefer and what you're looking for.
This game suits a certain kind of player.
We'll get to that in a second.
I've spend 1966 hours on this game to date so I've got plenty of experience on the ins and outs.
So let's jump right into it shall we?
The Gun Play
One of the biggest reasons anyone plays Warframe is for the satisfying gun play.
You can fire guns while sliding or sailing through the air.
The guns do a wide number of things from firing explosive rounds to piercing through and nailing all enemies in the line of fire - this is even before you start using the modding system.
There are satisfying kicks from firing certain shotguns or other weapons as well.
In fact firing explosive rounds too close will actually bowl you over.
They used to hurt or kill you.
The Sword Play
We're talking melee or close quarters combat.
Just like with the guns you have so many options for fighting up close.
You can launch jump attacks, slide attacks, slow heavy hitting attacks that slam like a truck and more.
Many melee weapons have special quirks like having heat, toxin or electricity damage even without mods.
Before the current melee 3.0, using melee was a lot more clunky and thrown weapons didn't always work well.
The key combos were also hard to use.
Now they've made it dead drop simple with no complicated key presses to use most stance combinations.
Melee in 2021 is in a pretty good place.
Movement is Fluid and Smooth
Another thing Warframe is known for its smooth, fluid "parkour" movement.
You can run/leap on walls, double jump great heights, bullet jump like a twirling javelin in midair and air glide while firing or swinging a weapon.
For action combat movement Warframe is one of my favourites and no other game I've played comes close to the smooth movement in this game.
When I compare Warframe's movement to a game like Destiny or even action MMOs like Black Desert, there's nothing like it.
This game's a looter shooter so the loot's important to look at.
What you get in Warframe are not fully built gear or guns usually unless it's the very rare quest reward.
What you usually get are crafting materials and blueprints that you use in your Foundry.
The blueprints cover all warframes and much of the gear in the game.
In Warframe, crafting is big and so the loot is all about that.
The claim that Warframe is more of a farming simulator could be said to hold true here.
You also do get in drops from missions and enemies are mods of either common (blue), rare (orange), very rare (yellow).
The mods are what allow you to heavily customize your warframe's abilities, stats and damage.
So it this better than a game like Destiny 2 or Diablo where you get random rolls on loot, where you can easily get trash more often than anything else?
To me a more casual player it is, however for those super grinders who like those surprises of a big pay off from a god rolled loot item this might not suit them.
This kind of loot system generally means that nothing you get from missions is every useless or something you'll just trash or breakdown for spare parts anyway.
I guess you could say that you skip the trashing/breakdown step.
Variety of Warframes
In Warframe there are dozens of possible warframes that you can possess and use in combat.
You can think of each warframe like it's own special class from traditional MMOs except there's a huge variety and you can "switch" (possess) them at any time.
Want to go into a mission like a walking tank?
Switch to your Lavos, Rhino or Inaros warframe.
Want to be a viral spreading biohazard of dps death?
Switch to Saryn.
Want to raise dead enemies to fight for you?
Want to be a master of swords?
So unlike rpgs where you're limited to one class per character, in Warframe, you have an unlimited number of "classes" you can switch to assuming you've built the warframe.
And this is for a single account.
The only other game that I can think of like this is Final Fantasy Online which isn't an action looter shooter.
Great Modding System
As I said the modding system is one of the best I've seen to date.
You can even use platinum to trade for mods you don't have.
The mods allow you to heavily customize warframes, weapons, necramech "battle suits", your archwing flying systems and railjack spaceship to name a few.
You could increase resistance to a certain attack, boost fire rate and/or damage or change the way your warframe's ability works.
Just make sure you have enough "endo" farmed up and credits too as you'll have to level up mods so they're powerful enough for use in tougher content.
Warframe is made up of a lot of game modes as of 2021.
You've got multiple mission types ranging from assassination, sabotage, capture, etc in the game at the start.
- void relic farming
- sorties for max level frames
- arbitrations for max level frames who've finished the entire star chart
- railjack space fighting missions
- archwing space fighting missions
- Sedna arena missions
- kuva siphon missions
- Orthrix sentient invasion missions (coming in the 2021 updates before the Call of the Tempestarii)
- eidolon hunting on the Plains of Eidolon on Cetus, Earth
- disruption mode missions where you defend hacked conduits to rob enemies
- steel path mode where you redo the entire star chart except your enemies are at least level 100+ and have 200% more armour and health...
And many more...
So you definitely have many, many mission types and modes to choose from despite this game not being open world or having much in the way of quests or story lines.
You won't be too bored if you're willing to play a variety of game modes.
Warframe is a free to play game mostly.
However if you want to build things faster instead of waiting hours or days, you can pay for the convenience of faster building with the in game currency platinum.
You can also buy many, many cosmetics to do "fashion frame" or make your warframe look as badass as you want.
If you don't want to whip out a credit card ever however you can just farm void relics and crack them open in void missions for prime parts that can be traded with other players for platinum.
You have to be willing to grind void relic missions to take this totally free route of playing Warframe and fashion frame.
That this game has this option is great as it means that if you want, you never have to pay any real world money ever as long as you're willing to grind valuable parts for other players to get platinum.
The only other game I play or know of that is as generous as this is Guild Wars 2, a mmorpg that I reviewed in 2021.
The graphics of Warframe are great without being amazing.
They run perfectly fine at 60 fps locked on my GTX 1660 Ti.
The graphics are well optimized using DirectX 11.
The most important point here is that fps stutters are rare though of late they can happen however it might be that I have to revisit my graphics settings.
The special effects of some weapons and warframe abilities can get pretty flashy or screen filling (i.e. Bubonico) however it's not exceptionally over the top like in games such as Devil May Cry 5, Black Desert Online or Vindictus.
This can be a good thing or bad thing depending on your graphical preferences.
The Gun Play (also)
The gun play which originally drew many players to Warframe has become somewhat unbalanced when compared to melee weapons.
In fact, right now as of Mar 10, 2021 if you take guns into the absolute hardest content (i.e. arbitrations, sorties, eidolon, profit taker, steel path), you find that almost all of them don't deal enough damage to kill fast when compared to melee weapons.
That's because they lack the combo counter melee weapons have and don't have the same super mods like Primed Point Strike that melee weapons also have.
In the next update scheduled late March or April 2021, they may add some more gun improvements with only a slight nerf to melee weapon attack speed.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that if you're a hard core gun player, you may find Warframe to be less interesting to play.
Spamming melee tends to get the job done faster and more easily.
Another gripe I've had with Warframe is that many of the damaging abilities of warframes don't scale well as enemies become higher and higher level.
At best they do enough damage to kill level 50 enemies.
Take the same damage abilities into a level 100 steel path mission or level 100 arbitration and they do almost no damage at all.
Crowd controlling abilities or abilities that boost your survivability become more useful in these cases.
This might not appeal to everyone who likes using their abilities to clear or nuke rooms of enemies.
Instead you'd need a weapon, and right now in early 2021 that's usually just a melee weapon.
Enemy and Companion AI
Another small peeve is that the enemies are kind of dumb.
They don't really go out of their way to dodge your attacks though at times they will hide behind cover.
They're more likely to try and rush and mob you or just straight out stand out in the open and shoot at you.
Only the heavy units, like Grineer heavy gunners might ground slam to knock you over.
Compared to a game like Destiny 2, where I've encountered bosses who weave back and forth behind cover or even dodge your rocket launched missiles, Warframe's enemies are like dumb walking bullet attractors or sponges.
As I said, this game has a lot of game modes to give you repeatable, grindable content.
What it lacks is more main quest stories and side quest stories.
It doesn't take more than a handful of hours to get through the quests in Warframe.
After that you have to wait for the devs to come out with new story.
Which happens, however not fast enough.
The story to me is interesting however it feels like they'll never actually get to the good parts of the story of the main quest.
This is no Mass Effect, the choices you make during main or side quests seem to have little impact on your playthrough.
Warframe is a hub based looter shooter.
If you're a fan of open world zones from WoW you'll be sorely disappointed.
There's only 3 open world "zones" in Warframe.
Compared to the 10+ open world zones in games like the Elder Scrolls Online, Guild Wars 2 and others, this is like a drop in the bucket.
If you're looking for amazing vistas or just to explore all the nooks and cranny's, you'll likely be disappointed with Warframe.
The devs have had no plans to further expand current open world zones.
They did however add Deimos (the latest or 3rd) open world zone not too long ago.
As I said above, the game modes and missions are where you do all the grinding for materials you need to craft your warframes, weapons and gear.
And you'll be doing a lot of grinding if you want to get all the guns, warframes, mechs, archwings and more.
Or if you want to hit and pass Mastery Rank 30.
You'll need a lot of grinding void relics if you want to get enough platinum for convenience items and cosmetics - without whipping out the credit card.
If you're super casual and don't want to grind you can get away with it, just don't expect to have many warframes or weapons to work with as you complete the star chart.
Warframe's been around for a while now and it's no longer the new kid on the block.
The game however is still worth checking out as it is free to play and you can get things that cost in-game currency such as cosmetics by grinding prime parts.
Its gunplay, melee, fast and smooth parkour movement system and the variety of frames, weapons, mods and mission types make it a highly replayable action looter shooter mmo and thus worthy of being recommended to those who are looking for a free game with little up front investment.
If all of those things are what you want then this game is likely for you if you're a new player.
This game also works well if you're a casual player as it's unlikely you'll burn through content at a rapid pace because there's a lot to do and collect.
For hard core gunner players, this game is probably not going to be the main thing for them.
If you hate any kind of needed grinding/farming, this game likely won't be for you.
Otherwise this game is great for a casual 20 minute pop in and out sort of thing during breaks.
I likely wouldn't class this as your main looter shooter unless more story content is provided regularly.