100 Hours into Warframe, and I’ve Barely Even Started

100 hours of constantly new and exciting mechanics and not a penny spent.

I was tentative going into Warframe. It seemed like one of those games where there’s a lot to do, and a lot of ways to do them wrong. Instead, Warframe gives you all the tools to play in whichever way you want, and none of them are inherently wrong. What stuns me the most is just how much there is in Warframe, and how it’s all free. It’s not often that, 90 hours into a game, an entirely new mechanic is introduced to you. Whenever you start to feel like you’re getting the hang of it, along comes something else that needs 20 hours for you to properly grasp.

Come So Far

My PSN trophy list shows that I played a couple of hours of Warfame on PS4 in November 2014, and from the grand total of two achievements unlocked, I’m assuming didn’t get very far. It’s odd because I don’t remember it; I must have written it off as soon as I saw the premium currency strewn across the game. Now I see it as the best business model for any free-to-play game on the market.

It’s unique for a five year old game to only be growing – both in terms of content, and in players. There’s a lot of good will surrounding the game and its developers, Digital Extremes. So much has been vastly improved compared to  early months and years of Warframe. As you play through the game you unlock content that Digital Extremes made further down the line, so Warframe seems to only get better. There’s a constant feeling that the developers were learning every step of the way. Cinematic quest lines are something that I’ve only started in the last 20 hours or so, and I think it will be many more hours until I start the most recent expansion, The Sacrifice.

Not Even a Dent in the Grand Scheme of Things

Setting personal goals is important in Warframe. Any long-term ones tend to spawn other, smaller goals along the way, and eventually the list of goals gets longer with some needing 10+ hours on their own to be completed. There’s plenty of other content to distract you as you (attempt to) progress, but rarely is it tiresome, boring, or monotonous. There are two main reasons for that: one, distractions like alerts are very short, taking two to ten minutes, and two, there’s just so much variety in frames and weapons that it always remains engaging.

Speaking of frames, there are 36 – not including primed versions. I am 100 hours into Warframe and so far have built five of those. Sure, I could focus only on building frames and I’d knock a few more off that list of 36, but those distractions and other goals grab your attention for a while. There’s always something to do. Getting a bit tired of farming that piece you need? Well, there are still twenty other things you could be doing. And there are always new things just around the corner.

Warframe is the  first game in a while I’ve put this much time into. When I look back on my 136 hours of Ark I do so with a level of disdain and embarrassment. My 120 hours of Witcher 3 I look back on with fondly with love. When all is said and done with Warframe, however long that is from here, it’ll be up there with the latter. I’m in it for the long haul.