Warframe’s Unique Weapon Design

Last Updated on October 16, 2022

Warframe, as a game thrives on the unorthodox. The game is the best example of a successful free to play model, is based on unique ideas, and has a very rich lore.

However, it’s the way Warframe does its weapons that sets it very much apart from all other PvE games. 

This distinctive take at developing a huge arsenal has paid off for Digital Extremes.

Whereas for most other games, the most outrageous thing would be an explosive launcher, a devastating shotgun, or some poorly disguised variant of the BFG™; Warframe 1-ups and quite literally dwarfs all other game arsenals with its genocidal tools.

The game sports rocket shooting bows, massive railguns, bullet hoses, shockwave shotguns, laser cannons, and a personal favorite nuclear rifle, Stahlta, whose alt-fire propels a nuclear rod to devastate in an area of effect. And then there’s also the crap shooting Stug.

Over time DE have kept adding better and better designed weapons, which better suit the game’s fast paced room clearing nature. This however, has led to quite a lot of power creep.

The effects of this arsenal, it’s tweaking, and its effects on the meta are best summarised as follows

The Good

Free to Play games rely on a continuous stream of content to keep their player bases engaged. Warframe’s greatest form of content is the weapons it has. 

There’s nearly 150 primary weapons, and every other one is an absolute joy. 

There are weapons that fall in similar niches though, and one may be replaced by the other, but DE has managed to give each weapon an identity.

The sound design, animations, and unique quirks of weapons give each one a separate sort of personality.

The sound design, specifically, is so well done that no other game comes close to the diversity offered by Warframe. 

There’s the subtle differences, which one notices over time, such as the difference in the noise produced by weapons, depending on their damage types, and the slightly hollow rattle made by bullet hoses as you’re about to empty a magazine.

If this wasn’t enough, there’s an equally impressive arsenal of secondaries.

From classic revolvers, to hand cannons, DE has managed, yet again to make them stand out, even in an absolutely huge arsenal, as is offered by Warframe.

For Example, there’s the Euphona Prime, a slow traditional slug shooter, which absolutely wrecks enemies; and then there’s the Cyanex, a small launcher that shoots homing explosive projectiles.

There’s nearly 150 other others, and then there’s also the Arch-guns.

Arch-guns are what you want if you want to live your Rambo fantasies. Huge, lumbering guns that are airdropped for use during missions, these take Warframe’s absurd WMD designs up a notch.

You’ve got the Grattler, a massive gun which looks more like an anti-aircraft weapon, and shoots explosive munitions. There’s the Velocitus, which is a literal railgun; accelerating projectiles to wreak havoc on single targets. You get the idea.

So, if you want to experience an overpowered, and absurd arsenal which has no respect for Physics, do play Warframe. 

But again, all is not always good.

The Bad

Warframe has evolved over time from a somewhat mildly paced, methodical shooter, to a very fast-paces slaughterfest.

This evolution has seen weapons rise and fall. One day, you’re seeing everyone using the same couple of weapons, with trade chat swarming with demands for its rivens, and then the sun sets, rises, and the weapon is forgotten.

There’ve been quite a few instances, where a weapon was found to be nearly game-breaking good in very specific setups. For example, the Sancti Castanas, used by a Link build Trinity were the go-to choice for DPS for quite a while.

Another example would be the previous state of Shotguns. Shotguns used to have a collective status chance, where if you hit 100% SC, all the pellets would proc status effects. This made shotguns that could hit the magic number, such as the Tigris Prime, absolute fool wreckers.

DE have ‘fixed’ this situation in the most DE way possible. By changing the Status Chance to be per pellet, without reworking the stats. So now we’re left with a large number of has-been shotguns that have been relegated to nostalgia inducers.

Then there’s the biggest, most glaring issue of the game; how melee weapons overpower nearly every other weapon.

And The Meta

Obligatory DE bad, nerf everything, poor Maiming Strike. 

The modding system in Warframe, is the true source of every weapon’s power. 

  • Primaries have the weakest mods, so big numbers are needed on the weapon itself for it to be good.
  • Secondaries have stronger mods, in the form of better Primed and Multishot mods. So there’s more room for a weapon to be improved.
  • Melee weapons have stupidly overpowered mods. There’s Condition Overload, Blood Rush and Weeping Wounds. These 3 mods mods are the reason the numbers are so much skewed in the favor of melee. They are evolutive, meaning they get stronger as the weapon is used.

Melee in other shooters is a last resort, or a risky maneuver. In Warframe though, for most content there is no concept of cover.

You charge in and spam melee, butchering everyone not only in your vicinity, but with most weapons, the whole room. There’s no hassle of aiming, no exhaustion of brain cells, as even a monkey can spam the E button, just as every Warframe veteran prefers ( To be fair most use macros, as even spamming the button seems like a chore when you’ve played the game for so long).

Thus, you have a game with amazing weapons, which go unused because the game has been broken for so long, any attempt to fix it actually causes outrage. 

Fun game, bewildering weapons, but a broken meta caused by years of power creep, weak AI and quite a few bad decisions by DE.

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