Warframe Relays Update Brings Social Hubs

Chillin in the Relay

Oooh – looks like Warframe [official site] developers, Digital Extremes, have made good on their promise of Deep Space 9-esque hub areas with the addition of Relays to the game.

Back when discussing the Archwing update with the studio’s creative director, Steve Sinclair explained the Relays in relation to players coming to Warframe from more of an MMO background:

We have a lot of players who come from that world. They’re confusing and terrifying to us but we want to make them feel at home! One of the things we’re working on and didn’t talk about is a place – we call them Relays – where people can walk around and talk and meet up to go on missions together. It’s a socialisation place but rather than text chat they’re there with their warframe and kubrow and all this cool stuff. We’re putting effort into growing that part of Warframe and, as you say, it has an MMO feel.

This week those Relays have gone live and can be found in Larunda on Mercury, Kronia on Saturn and Orcus on Pluto. It also sounds like the Relays have their own version of Destiny’s Xûr – an elusive trader called Baro Ki’Teer who sells rare artefacts for only a few days at a time. Syndicates sound like factions with whom you can gain reputation (referred to as Standing) by earning medallions and completing missions. There will also be a market as well as places for tinkering with your loadout.

I also need to reinstall Warframe because Sinclair promised me there would be weird-looking space trees and I’m all about that space foliage at the moment.

22 Comments

  1. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    So the DS9-like hub areas make it a Worf-frame?

  2. Subatomic says:

    Actually, the relays have been added to the game quite some time ago (november last year I think?), they’ve just now arrived on the console versions of the game. In fact, about half of the initial relays were already blown up during an event than ran over the christmas holidays.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Yeah. RPS should definitely do some new coverage of the game though, it’s moved forward tremendously since then. It’d be good to highlight the progress, but also perhaps to give some more coverage on the issues that have arisen. Baro Ki’Teer, for instance, is symptomatic of a growing trend towards grinding that should be addressed.

    • Afoxi says:

      Shame about the event, I actually loved it, which is the minority opinion (it was basically promoting a less fleshed out game mode).

    • Philippa Warr says:

      My bad – thanks for the clarification, I’d missed the initial adding of the feature :)

  3. Faxanadu says:

    Never got past “Admin Privileges required to set firewall rules” on warframe. Scoured all the threads on the topic, but couldn’t beat it.

    • Baines says:

      Never got passed the game’s netcode that forced people using certain brands of routers or certain ISPs into Strict NAT no matter what they did, which meant that those players could only play with a small fraction of other players. Don’t know if they ever fixed it. When I quit, they had finally admitted the issue existed but had pretty much decided to not bother trying to fix it.

      Well, that and the terrible master rank test requirements. Those arbitrary tests were not only not fun, but also often much harder than the “real” game. For the icing on the cake, you could only attempt one test every 24 real world hours.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        One of the recent updates completely overhauled the netcode and fixed Strict NAT. Also, just watch Mastery Rank test videos, they’re really not hard – if you think they are, it probably only means you were trying to rush them a bit too quickly.

        • Baines says:

          The netcode overhaul is nice to hear.

          But I really can’t see defending the mastery videos. They fall into an overly common trap with games, where advancement can end up based on things that may be only tangentially related to actually being capable and good at the main game.

          Which do you think is simpler in Warframe, surviving 30+ waves in the first main game wave survival mission, or completing the first combat-based mastery tests? From personal experience, it was by far the former (where even then I would end the mission due to growing boredom rather than difficulty.) The mastery tests simply did not test one’s ability to succeed in the main game.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            Are you sure you’ve played the same game I have? Tests below MR6 are so incredibly easy you can almost do them blindfolded. The first three tests are literally “kill stuff” with a generous timer. MR6+ becomes progressively more interesting, but not particularly hard, and you only need MR8 to get access to every weapon in the game anyway.

  4. ironhorse says:

    I’ve wanted to get into this.. I’ve tried three separate times over the years.
    Is it any less grindy? Does it have any more enemy variance? Are the maps easier to navigate?

    • Afoxi says:

      Semi-regular player here! No, yes, and not entirely. The maps are less difficult to navigate but the GPS still sucks, intentionally it seems – when teammates place a waypoint in another room, you are given a more accurate direction than the one the game gives you, which leads directly to the door you need to go through.

    • HyenaGrin says:

      I feel like DE has really done their game a disservice by making the initial entry to the game so incredibly grindy. A good system ratchets up the grind after they’ve hooked you, but due to various mechanics and the way the game works to unlock things, the first 20-40 hours or so are the grindiest of all, and on top of that, the game is legitimately less fun because by virtue of being a new player you lack the mods that make warframe powers a sustainable option in combat.

      This is all a shame, because once you actually reach a critical mass of having a good warframe with good mods and good weapons, the game is actually a lot of fun. You could classify everything in it as a grind, I suppose, but once you’ve reached that point it’s actually pretty fun to set goals for yourself (I decided to unlock all of the female warframes, for example, and actually pulled that off relatively quickly) and work toward them. And there’s always more stuff to work toward.

      It does require a taste for progress without conclusion, though, since ultimately all you are doing is making progress without that progress really being meaningful beyond the additional options it opens up for doing the same kinds of things you were already doing. But if that doesn’t immediately turn you off, the actual gameplay is genuinely fun, the controls are pretty responsive and the game doesn’t shy from making you feel extremely powerful without making you immortal. Unless you are Trinity. God bless Trinity.

      TLDR; the first section of the game is hard to enjoy, though if you’re willing to throw the cost of a medium-tier game at them (30-40 US dollars) it does a very good job of making the game more fun and lowering the barrier of entry. Once you get past the entry level, it’s legit a lot of fun.

  5. Bassem says:

    It bugs me that Warframe is listed as “most played” on my Steam account, so much so that I now run it as a non-Steam game. Still, I continue to play a lot of it and enjoy the hell out of it, due to playing it for fun and not as a chore – the grind can easily tire you out otherwise.

    When approached this way, the tight and fluid gameplay really hooks you, and the content, while not all that deep, is very varied.
    Anybody want to team up or get tutored in the game, add me, Bassem in-game.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Yeah, I’m seeing people focus too much on the grind and get burned out. This is especially true of people focusing almost to a fault on MR. They’ll take anything, even absolutely awful weapons, and level them up as fodder, but that’s not enjoyable and it really doesn’t give you any tangible benefit beyond MR8, which can be easily achieved without grinding the bad stuff.

      I’m quite enjoying the Spy 2.0 missions (especially with the new reward tables), the occasional Kappa/Kiste and helping new players out in Lith.

  6. granderojo says:

    They’ve had these social hubs in the PC version for months now. Thank you RPS for telling me that the rest of platforms other than PC have social hubs now.

    (this comment is not meant to be snarky, I’m just poking fun)

  7. The_invalid says:

    For what’s essentially a F2P third-person shooter, the learning curve on Warframe is insanely high, and keeps getting higher with each revision, as DE dump more and more systems and content into the game.
    So now we have a ludicrously complex upgrade system for every equippable item in the game, crazy levels of grind for every item in the game, two classes of companion character, multiple story arcs including ‘low-level’ missions that are incredibly confusing for newcomers, entirely separate sets of equipment for Archwing mode, two separate systems of in-game purchasing for entirely different items, and a whole heap of other crazy stuff.

    I really hope the in-game lobbies will do a better job of helping newcomers out, as right now, I’ve been playing the game on/off for just over a year, and it’s still practically impenetrable for me.

    • The_invalid says:

      UPDATE: Just played about with it. Nope, they’ve mainly used it to layer a six-way faction system in there as well. And more traders. Flippin’ crazy.

      • HyenaGrin says:

        To be fair, this was just the initial implementation of the Rails. They have a bunch of other planned features for them, so you never know.

        I agree that the entry level for the game is not terribly intuitive and DE does painfully little to alleviate it. Sometimes I think they should just add an in-game Warframe Wikia browser, for all the time I spend alt+tabbing out to go look up information.

        But for all the missteps in presentation, Warframe is a legitimately fun game and they are legitimately good developers, constantly pumping out content and upgrading the engine (really, they just completely overhauled their lighting engine, their audio engine, and their networking code). They work really hard. They just need to spend more time making the game more transparent in the UI. Which is sort of a shame, because the UI actually isn’t bad at all, it’s a pretty slick UI, it just makes the assumption that you understand it and all of the information it tries to give you (like helpfully referring to armor and shields without ever explaining what these things do and how they are mechanically different from raw health).

        Which is a mistake. And given the complexity of some of these systems (between damage types, health types, different armor types, different shield types), it is almost impossible to have a good understanding of what a new player ought to do to be more effective. Other than ‘increase the numbers.’ I can only imagine how many new players select Mag and then try to slap Steel Fiber on her to improve her armor, not realizing that it is providing no meaningful benefit because no amount of percentage armor bonus from mods is ever going to make a meaningful difference in how much damage she takes. And there’s no way to know that, because there’s no explanation of how armor works. And even the wikia page on the subject is long and convoluted.

        So yes, it is a bit impenetrable. The happy ending, however, is that you don’t need a good understanding of how all of this stuff works to enjoy the game. Inevitably, through trial and error, you find things that work. And there are warframes that have plenty of built-in breathing room (Rhino) and oh-crap-buttons (most frames, really) that can make up for imperfect builds.

        • The_invalid says:

          Heh, I should probably also add that I still manage to have a lot of fun just running around the lower levels chopping Grineer into pieces. It is, in many ways a really enjoyable game. It’s just, for me, tempered with almost equal amounts of frustration that I’m clearly missing out on about 90% of the game’s content due to sheer confusion at the many complex systems the game throws at you.

          • Timbrelaine says:

            Yeah. I’ve probably logged around 40 hours and only today discovered the entire “Syndicate” system, with its classes of exclusive mods and weapons, and Nightmare mode, with more exclusive mods. Which are sortof required to get to higher levels in the game, but nothing will ever point them out to you, and they never come up on the normal path of progression.

            DE needs, more than anything, to organize the game content better. Still having tons of fun in the mess though.

        • SomeDuder says:

          Man, it gets worse. Like, how progression even works. You think there’s a main storyline, after you have done the first mission and get assignments to get your shit back. But, when that’s done with, you’re free to do whatever. So you randomly click nodes around a planet, in the hope that you encounter something new or make progress. But nothing ever happens and the nodes that are greyed out, keep inaccessible.

          Eventually, you will find out that you need to complete a certain number of nodes on a planet in order to unlock the assassination node for that planet’s boss, so that you can visit the next planet.

          But seriously DE, why is it so hard to explain these basic systems to new players?