Warframe has been the partner-in-crime of many a time-sink exercise where I should’ve been doing something far more productive. In return, Digital Extremes have received a good chunk of money from me for in-game cosmetics and moving through their time-gating (which, incidentally, is the way to do micro-transactions effectively, but that is another topic). I fully plan on supporting the studio further when they release Limbo Prime or Chroma Prime. I wasn’t really into the Plains of Eidolon as an expansion because I thought it was either too ambitious and would fall flat on it’s face, or would be so restrained an experience that it would be of little worth.
I didn’t think of a third option, and sadly I feel that, in hindsight, it was the only outcome for someone like me; it’s boring.
The first issue I have is Cetus, the region of Earth that houses the Plains, is open-world. Corridors and close-quarters combat give way to rolling hills and long-range engagement (Archwings don’t exist, DE. Stop trying to make me pretend they do). Immediately, shotguns and short-range pistols are gone. Also gone is the melee unless you plan on putting on Primed Reach and Body Count.
But more importantly, a lot of the ‘frames themselves are now obsolete unless built and played in a specific fashion. Ember is now pretty much dead, as is Frost (unless you have a defence Bounty). One of (if not the foremost) my favourite frames, Limbo, is now all but useless outside of defence incidences and close-quarters combat. I do understand that with some frames losing prominence, others gain it. Zephyr is once again the queen of mobility, as she was always designed to be, along with Nezha & Volt having increased speed on the plains. Spaghetti Nidus can now truly shine, and Titania now makes a lot more sense with her Razorwing ability.
PoE is a grindfest, and that’s if you find the right point to start at. Warframe is outright plagued by a lack of tutorials and guides. It was worse in the past, but even now there’s little to no guidance beyond the very basics of the game (before you can even change planets). When Navigation 2.0 arrived, a lot of us were lost as to why we couldn’t access places we had before, and that was because we hadn’t done any relays. PoE is no different. I had to read up on how to do anything beyond the Bounties, and in a game that is consistently in the top 10 played titles on Steam, that amount of ambiguity is not really acceptable.
How do I get the specific resources? How do I beat an Eidolon? What is an ‘amp’? Why is my focus power not working? All of this (and more!) can be found on the Warframe wikia, as opposed to an in-game codex. It could be argued that since the game is in beta that this can be excused; I would rebut that by saying that it has had a functioning virtual currency store for over four years at this point. The Beta tag is purely to forgive game-breaking bugs (as was recently exposed by being able to buy 20,000 Endo from Maroo), and to convey the rapid development pace.
To me, Plains of Eidolon is just more of the same grind that the game was founded on, only in a new setting. The quest for Gara, the new frame, once again only drops the frame blueprint and not the blueprints for the components; you have to RNG grind for those in daily quests. Amps, the weapons to defeat Eidolons with, are a grindfest. Zaws, the new weapons from Cetus, are obtained by grinding. Thus, there is a strong meta evolving to make the grinding as painless as possible.
All that is before I begin talking about the Operator-centric aspects of the update, but I believe that is a personal issue, not to mention a critical part of the lore.
I haven’t truly enjoyed Warframe in a little while outside of a brief stint when the Plains update dropped and I did the introductory quest. Some of that might be down to the communities I’m a part of now, or whether I’m just running out of things to do now, unless I want to embrace the grind. Forgive me, but my time is at a premium, and I refuse to buy Platinum at full price because I cannot afford it. This is the first update that I have not enjoyed since I first started playing again just before Update 17, and while that is most likely down to personal preferences, I fear that Warframe itself is becoming stale.