Warframe: Freemium Done Right

Warframe, the space-robot ninja experience, has become my latest piece of free-to-play poison that has gone from a tentative toe-dip into a near on addiction. Digital Extreme puts the Evolution engine to good use in this amazingly crafted co-op third-person shooter, and in my opinion, has finally nailed the freemium model.

The Fandomentals

The game has you play as a “Tenno”, tasked with performing various missions throughout the solar system, playing on the various planets and moons that are currently inhabited with all manner of pirates, PMCs, and infected. The missions range from spying to performing exterminations, and offer some of the most fun space-based combat I have experienced in a game.

With all this in mind, it’s almost impossible to think that this game is free to play, let alone able to avoid the pay to win model that so many freemium games fall victim to. The game starts you off with 50 Platinum (the in-game premium currency), which I would recommend you save for opening more slots and for progression’s sake, as I believe I needed 5 Platinum to perform mod fusion to travel to another planet. Regardless, the game manages to avoid having you shell out large sums of cash by having premium lock-out aesthetics and some of the more unique weapons. All progression and resources can be found naturally within the game, with higher drop rates on specific planets or moons, giving you an excuse to level up your Warframes, and yes, I intentionally use the plural, as the aim of the game—aside from questing—is to collect and build all the Warframes and available weapons, raising your in-game level, known as “Mastery”.

The game a co-op game by nature, but it would be relatively easy to solo it. So if you’re like me, don’t be put off by the multiplayer tag. I find that I often just play with my partner, with us constantly competing to get the coolest stuff first. The game is always online, but it does have a solo play mode which allows you to pause the game and has a rather large and active player-base comprising numerous clans. The one and only nitpick I have with the game is how much time I spend jumping back and forth between the game and its wiki, but I view it like reading the player handbook in a tabletop game; it’s the manual for an era that doesn’t do manuals.

If you find yourself strapped for cash and looking for something to satiate your desire for a new gaming experience, I recommend jumping onto Steam and picking this up. Don’t spend your starting Platinum on a skin like I did, and I would recommend the Excalibur frame as a great starting point for new players.

Good luck, Tenno!