Warframe is one of the better games I have played and has held up well over time. Unfortunately, it has its flaws too, which more or less stem from the game’s free-to-play model. It is one of the better free-to-play models but no system is ever perfect. The model relies on extensive grind to retain the player base and to keep them logging in over and over and over again. It’s quite exhausting once you realize the absolute gargantuan amount of grind the game sometimes requires.
Rewind a few years, and whenever DE would drop a new update, introducing fancy new weapons and Warframes, veterans could grind out the blueprints and go straight to crafting the newly added warframe weapons and warframes. They didn’t have to farm much for resources as most had accumulated quite large stockpiles over time. This would lead to player count spiking around every major update and then falling down during the consequent content droughts.
The game itself was quite unforgiving when it came to farming resources. Rewards from objectives were meagre at best, with few reliable farming methods. High-level enemies did not have any improved drop chances so there’s little incentive to raise the stakes.
Early on, the Atterax Spin-to-win Meta was utilized for quite a few years. Players would go into survival missions and take turns hiding in corners and melee attacking through the walls for hours. The idea being that once you’ve accumulated enough you wouldn’t need to mindlessly farm again.
Plains of Eidolon
Then came Plains of Eidolon —a new massive open world update—and along with the new zones, they introduced a few dozen new resources, including gems and fish. If that wasn’t enough, fish spawns were time gated with the day/night cycle introduced for the Plains.
Then there was the new boss-fight, the Teralyst. Another time-gated event for which you needed a dedicated squad to take down. This lead to people looking only for the most optimized builds, with no room for error or creativity.
Generally, the Warframe community is one of the best online communities I have been a part of. It’s helpful and friendly, but when it came to these raids—due to the complexity and difficulty—most people were absolutely unforgiving. The addition of two more similar bosses, the Gantulyst and the Hydrolyst, made matters worse.
Progression was locked behind these fights, but the time gated nature meant that every time the night cycle came, the Recruiting chat would flood with people only looking for experienced players with the most optimized builds. It was rare to see someone willing to teach others early on.
A few patches were dropped to make the grind easier, especially considering the early bounty model. Youtube videos were made to explain the boss fight, and it went fairly smoothly.
The second open world map Fortuna, which was released in November, 2018,introduced more new resources and more grind. Another boss battle was added, but DE learned from their mistakes and eased up on the time gating. Again, most Fortuna content was locked behind large amounts of resources that needed their own pre-requisites.
More gems and fish yay. /sarcasm
Can you see the pattern now? With every major update, DE adds a few dozen more resources that are usually a pain to farm. Then there’s time gating, or the equipment needed to farm them was locked behind a separate grind.
All in all, if you wanted the new warframes, weapons or mods, you either bought it with the premium currency, Platinum, or you spent hours pointing a laser at rocks to cut out gems.
Railjack and Cambion Drift
Another huge update with promising content, locked behind abysmal drop rates and more new resources. Railjack had so much potential. Huge space battles, with your own ships, or ‘Railjacks’, against hordes of enemies. On paper, seems fun right?
Crafting the Railjack required a huge amount of resources, even for veterans. It was later patched to be half of what was previously needed. Once you had done that, another new batch of resources was needed to progress.
Cambion Drift is the most recent open world map. Again there’s like 50 more resources.
The Resource Solution
DE needs to realize that the game is now way beyond saturated with resources. Most games make do with less than half the number of resources present in Warframe.
The best course of action now for DE would be to stop adding any more ‘bloat’ resources. We already have open world areas for all three factions, so re-using their resources for further expansions can somewhat remedy the problem .
DE needs to look into economy related issues, like abysmal drop chances, and meagre milestone rewards, to make the game feel more rewarding. The current system incentivizes players to opt for ‘braindead’ strategies like camping in corridors for hours, which makes the game less fun.
The game needs to reward creativity and more fun-focused gameplay, than the current extreme grindfest. Of course, the same argument can be made for several other game issues like very rigid modding setups, but the extreme resource saturation the game currently faces is much worse in the long-term.
Warframe needs to focus more on fun and creativity, as those are the best aspects of the game. With highly-customizable cosmetics and an abundance of amazing weapons, Warframe is already equivalent to a massive playground. A playground that currently has too many restrictions and pre-requisites in place. Any more and the game will only scare away both new and old players.