If you’re keyed into the Warframe group, you’ve an countless supply of content material to debate, whether or not that’s speculating about upcoming content material or going again and rehashing the little particulars of older marketing campaign moments. If you’re exterior of Warframe, nevertheless, it’s all incomprehensible.
But there’s one story twist in Warframe that deserves a highlight, even for many who aren’t serious about the whole recreation. The Second Dream is a wildly intelligent story that grapples with the real-world challenges of creating a dwelling on-line recreation and makes use of them as a place to begin for an unimaginable second within the recreation’s narrative.
[Spoiler warning: this article contains major spoilers for Warframe’s quest The Second Dream]
What makes a twist?
The finest twists usually are not those that change the essential actuality of a state of affairs (i.e. “it was all a dream”), however somewhat reshape the prevailing narrative in refined, fascinating methods. It’s why folks nonetheless talk about BioShock or Silent Hill 2. Both video games had twists that compelled the player to place every part that occurred earlier than into a brand new context.
But Warframe isn’t a conventional recreation, with an instantly accessible marketing campaign. It’s a dwelling on-line recreation that’s been slowly constructed up through the years. It took me 100 hours to succeed in The Second Dream quest, as a result of I took a convoluted, Family Circus-style path to get there, and repeatedly doubled again to assist pals with early-game content material. Even a devoted player aiming straight for this quest would possibly spend 20 or 30 attending to it.
There are bits in that 20 or 30 hours which can be genuinely nice and are well worth the journey in their very own proper. But a big chunk of that point is spent listening to the Lotus, your NPC information and house mother, give some easy directions for fundamental duties earlier than you ninja flip and homicide a ton of dudes.
And that’s why the last word reveal is so damned efficient. The Second Dream quest manages to take the whole batch of content material as much as that time and work it into the twist itself.
Who’s behind the Warframe?
Up till the Second Dream, the character of a Warframe isn’t actually questioned. The fits of armor are instruments, identical to the weapons I equip. Other characters discuss with me as “Tenno,” which I assume is simply one other title for a Warframe. The bigger framing across the universe itself barely issues.
Or not less than that’s what I used to assume.
Throughout my missions, I discover the ruins of an empire constructed by a folks referred to as the Orokin. I discover out, over time, that the Orokin lived in what was basically house Rome, blended with a wholesome dose of Warhammer 40ok’s Imperium. They tried to increase, generally violently, after mining our star system to close exhaustion.
The empire launched residential ships into the Void, a mysterious realm that connects house, hoping that the ships would land on the “other side” and discover new techniques to colonize … however the ships have been misplaced.
They additionally created the Sentients, a race of AI creatures who might additionally head to new techniques and begin constructing contemporary foundations for the empire. Surprising completely nobody, that failed too. The AI ended up rebelling, and the Orokin empire crumbled.
These story quests grow to be denser as the sport goes on, exhibiting up extra often between stretches of murdering and pillaging numerous house capitalists.
In one quest, I discover out that the Lotus, the mysterious information who’s been encouraging me, is a Sentient. She betrayed her folks as a way to defend the Tenno, the warrior caste of characters who’re managed by gamers. Her father, Hunhow, is chief of the Sentients, and he exhibits up with a scary sidekick: the Stalker, a creature that appears like a warped and ruined Warframe. The Stalker additionally occurs to be bent on my destruction.
Which, I gotta be trustworthy, doesn’t appear optimum.
Apparently Hunhow realized eradicate the Tenno and their Warframes. With the Tenno out of the way in which, the Sentients would full their objective of taking up the system.
For the primary time in Warframe, I really feel susceptible. This isn’t an influence fantasy anymore. There’s abruptly a official menace in opposition to me, and I don’t absolutely perceive what to do about it. The Stalker is greater than my equal; I’ve to tug out every part I can simply to outlive his assaults. Actually successful a battle in opposition to them to the purpose the place I’d be left alone appears unimaginable.
The high quality of Warframe additionally ramps up significantly at this level. The fight is identical, however quests grow to be extra complicated, the brand new voice actors are doing unimaginable work, and the environments are extra elaborate. That jumpy, flippy, wildly enjoyable gameplay is being put to a goal now, and I’m shifting by way of environments and encountering characters that matter in a method they didn’t earlier than. Now there’s a story that adjustments the sport’s stakes, and I’m afraid of what which means for my survival.
Lotus lastly, reluctantly, reveals a few of the data she’s been hiding from me. She hid the important thing to defending the Tenno on the moon. And then she hid the moon, which is barely unveiled to me now. I’ve to seek out the Tenno’s energy if I’m to battle again in an efficient method.
But as a substitute of a weapon, I discover a pod. Inside the pod is a baby. Then my Warframe breaks, and my UI is scrambled. My perspective abruptly shifts, and the opposite shoe drops in dramatic vogue.
I am the kid. I’ve met myself.
From right here on out, I’m able to play because the Operator, the kid who controls the Warframe. I’m, in some ways, extra susceptible now. I’m deeply afraid for the Lotus and Teshin, companions I’ve grown to genuinely like all through these quests. The world remains to be a harmful place, and I haven’t saved the system. I additionally now have a really actual physique on the earth, and that physique may be destroyed.
The inhuman, distant design of the Warframes is smart now. Lotus’s detachment, and the truth that I felt like I used to be going by way of a shallow world with out a lot increased thought or focus, is smart now.
I’ve gotten different pals into Warframe, and I relish being on voice chat with them once they attain The Second Dream. Their response is at all times a shouted “WHAT?!”, adopted by extra incredulous, amazed yelling.
The Tenno have been all youngsters aboard a residential ship launched into the Void. The Zariman Ten-Zero didn’t survive the voyage; it was caught between dimensions. While the adults went mad from the Void energies, the youngsters survived, and have been finally discovered and recovered. “Tenno” is a shorthand for the Zariman’s designation; we had by no means began as a noble warrior caste in any respect.
These youngsters had highly effective, uncontrollable energies, and it took a excessive rating Orokin named Margulis to plead for us to not be destroyed. Margulis was a mom determine who sang to us, whilst our powers lashed out and blinded her, earlier than we realized to manage them. She taught us dream and, from there, we might management the Warframes.
The Orokin empire executed Margulis, and the Tenno fell asleep for 1000’s of years. Finally, we awoke, the Lotus discovered us, and we began the sport.
We are, all of us, misplaced youngsters. And we’re abruptly studying what we’re for. The gamers, up till this level, weren’t the one ones unaware of the larger that means of the work they have been doing. The characters they have been controlling have been simply as misplaced. But now, after this mission, either side of that equation are seeing clearly. And the result’s worry.
It’s a improbable, completely executed twist. The motion and narrative continues to escalate from there, enhancing even additional for quests like The War Within. However, I don’t assume something will prime The Second Dream’s reveal for me. It made the earlier hundred hours value it for me, and made me wish to attempt 100 extra.