Skip to main content

Warframe's next updates include a secret Necralisk lab, grimoires, and a Headless Horseman homage

"Our first true hub expansion", say Digital Extremes

Artwork of a Warframe mech holding a sword, split into four squares
Image credit: Digital Extremes

Greetings, Tenno! This message comes to you from that primeval epoch known as "Last Wednesday", when Digital Extremes treated RPS to a preview screening of the Warframe update announcements planned for this year's Tennocon - a special Tennocon indeed, coinciding as it does with the game's 10th anniversary and the studio's 30th. Alas, "Last Wednesday" was a regular Dark Age, and we dusty ancients were granted only a partial glimpse of the promised new areas, weapons, cosmetics and story content, Digital Extremes having reserved some of the key reveals for a happier period, "Today" - which, according to our most trusted seers, will be an era of understanding and transparency. Fickle are the winds of history! Still, even with the limited insight of our time, we grasped at some sense of the offering's magnitude. Read on, if you dare.

The bulkiest of the planned Warframe updates - Whisper In The Walls, arriving later this winter - is a new area, the secret laboratory of one Albrecht Entrati, located beneath the Necralisk on Deimos, where you'll help a floating drone called Loid complete/avert something called the Kalymos Sequence, which involves something or someone called the Sleeper.

I confess, I'm not up to speed with Warframe's on-going plot, so here's what it all looks and sounds like to a layman: gold and blue hallways, wide spiral stairs, ominous statues, cosmic turbines hanging from the ceiling, chonky Teslawatsits shooting lightning bolts everywhere, strange banging noises, breakable walls hiding secret chambers, overgrown cats with glowing eyes, suggestive anachronisms such as flip phones, and colossal brains on shelves. The area features new lighting technology, which certainly lends itself to the Mad Science theme. It's sort of an Ancient Egyptian crypt through the lens of Tron.

A shadowy figure walks toward the player in a laboratory in Warframe
Image credit: Digital Extremes

According to Warframe's creative director Rebecca Ford, "this our first true hub expansion - we're taking the Necralisk update, and we're adding a basement". There's an entirely new faction in the works (perhaps you are even now laying eyes on it at Tennocon. We antique scholars can but dream) and expansions for the existing Necramech faction. Oh, and there's a new secondary weapon type, too: grimoires, also known as books. You can actually read the books, I think, but mainly you'll be using them to hoik handfuls of astral energy at people.

The new Nebralisk area aside, Warframe is getting a big Halloween-themed quality of life update in October called Abyss Of Dagath, which includes a new Warframe, the titular Dagath, based on a concept from veteran Warframe concept artist Keith Thompson. The Goth was codenamed "Ichabod", after the jolly schoolmaster hunted by the Headless Horseman in Washington Irving's story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Which explains the missing face, I guess. "She has a very dark past and you'll learn about her story and lore through Grandmother, who is going to be doing another Naberus tale off on the Deimos open world hub," Ford commented. Dagath will also get her own horror-themed Dojo.

On more of a practical note, Digital Extremes plan to revise Warframe's companions or pets so that they don't die, or at least, so that they die in a less irritating manner. "We'll be taking a look at how companions survive," Ford explained. "Can we put them on more of a cooldown rather than permadeath? And making sure that when you're playing, you're not getting spammed with pop ups that [somebody's pet has died]. We're really trying to streamline that and take a look at rebalancing and making the way you interact with pets more reliable, more rewarding. And all companions will be touched by this, which we're working on right now."

Continuing with the more functional stuff, Digital Extremes are committing to the much-demanded introduction of cross-save this year. "Cross-save 2023 is indeed the plan," said Ford. The developers are also planning an iOS version of Warframe to release in 2024, with pre-registration kicking off at Tennocon.

Are you attending Tennocon? Hunched over my quill and parchment in the suffocating chill of Last Wednesday, I can only imagine what marvels you are witnessing, umpteen moments and hours from now. But I do have one final morsel of bygone wisdom to share: there's anniversary-themed Warframe swag in the offing. Digital Extremes have thrown together a Heirloom pack, featuring special skins designed by Warframe's original art director Michael Brennan. These delights will accompany various other Fashionframe-oriented changes, including a new cosmetic tier and attachment slot for halo-type headgear, and new skins for Operators and Drifters. You can find more details on the official site.

Read this next