2022 for Warframe was filled with ups and downs. From the Angels of the Zariman update that while I did not fully enjoy the initial experience, all of its content offerings brought me back to the game fully. To Veilbreaker and Lua’s Prey closing the year, there was a lot of great content to enjoy. But something felt missing, like one plate shy of a full meal. Warframe, similar to a lot of games, suffered at the hands of the Pandemic. Where a lot of projects either came out rushed or had to be put on the back burner. So much so that one of the most important expansions Warframe was cooking had to be pushed out of 2022, and into last year.
This led me to believe that it would just be the year of The Duviri Paradox. But I was very wrong. Digital Extremes cooked up a delicious four course meal with two of those courses being massive. Which was very surprising but let us go through each one individually and see how the year was!
Citrine’s Last Wish
After leaving 2022 behind with Lua’s Prey, there was a bit of a lull period until Citrine’s Last Wish came around. This update was pretty similar to Lua’s Prey. It offered a new and inventive take on the usual Defense game mode. That being Mirror Defense, a very interactive and fun version of Defense. Alongside two new weapons and Citrine herself to farm from that activity. I had no problem sitting myself down for days and grinding this activity out. Mirror Defense is so fantastic, and Citrine and her weapons were worthy rewards. They synergized well together with Citrine’s singular purpose, and that being defense itself.
She is honestly one of the strongest warframe’s in game right now and her weapons are not too shabby either. This update overall kept everyone interested while we waited for The Duviri Paradox. However, Duviri itself was very contentious for a variety of reasons.
The Duviri Paradox
To say I was let down by The Duviri Paradox initially would be an understatement. The gameplay revealed from 2022 was not representative of what we would get with this expansion. It seemed so intense and experimental in the reveal. A mix of rogue-like, open world and souls-like combat in Warframe? With epic bosses and a giant metal serpent and flying horses? We were not in the Origin System any longer. But something changed between that reveal and the release. As the very curated experience initially shown was just a trailer. Considering the initial experience felt disjointed and underwhelming. Expectations were set with Duviri, and it looked ready to go, but we did not get the experience they showed, and it is still very disappointing to me, because the experience after the story? Was and still is fantastic.
Everything else from the reveal remained in Duviri, so we cannot say we were misled entirely. Duviri has to be up there next to Dreamscaper and Hades as my third favorite rogue-like experience. That being the case because Duviri has one of the densest open worlds in Warframe. While also being stuffed to the brim with new and exciting activities to do in each run. Not to mention some of the more epic stuff, like the Orowyrm takes down which are still very fun. As well as the new souls-influenced combat system with parrying, and dodge rolling while fighting skeletal knights.
Duviri as an open world also had this emotional element to it. Where it would spiral into different emotions that start new stories with interesting character of Duviri. Like Lodun the Angry causing the sky to rain down meteors, or Luscinia the Sorrowful causing a bleak and cold skybox with her crying face and enemies dealing ice damage. The open world felt like a living breathing thing, and they just kept building onto it.
The Seven Crimes of Kullervo
The Duviri Paradox went on to have a few really cool updates that fleshed it out more. The expansion launched without a warframe, and Kullervo remedied that with this update. While also bringing with him his own incredible and challenging boss fight. It was very intense and seriously satisfying when you take him down. Kullervo himself is nothing to sneeze at, because his kit brought in a new shielding mechanic to Warframe. That being Overguard, which can only be earned with specific abilities across warframes like Kullervo. This new shield makes you immune to normal damage and prevents crowd control from affecting you. Kullervo can rack up a lot of Overguard for himself while also raining down knives upon his foes. He is a spectacular warframe, and one that influenced so many new and interesting tank builds for other warframes that can earn Overguard, like Rhino or Styanax.
This update also added additional challenge runs in the Undercroft, a new warframe-centric activity into Duviri. These would grant players more lucrative rewards. While also adding a new room to The Circuit. A whole new activity that lured in veterans and new players alike for weekly rewards. For new players in the normal version? You can earn specific warframes and weapons each week. While veterans on the Steel Path heroic version could earn Incarnon adapters. These adapters turn specific older weapons into power houses and really shifted the meta around. The Circuit was a homerun for Warframe and tied together The Duviri Paradox well into its final update.
The Echoes of Duviri
Warframe always does an “Echoes” update for expansions of any kind, and this was pretty interesting. It added another new room into The Circuit. As well as a new boss fight in it against the Jackal from Venus. It is pretty much a copy and paste, but it does not break the flow at all. Captain Vor also shows up in The Circuit during extermination rounds as an added bit of challenge. There was also a new Drifter melee weapon added into Duviri to earn. Argo & Vel is a very fun mace and shield type weapon that adds some spice to the Drifters arsenal. As well as the ever-growing Arsenal in Warframe.
With all of this said, The Duviri Paradox was a really good expansion, especially after the updates. It was very experimental, but I still feel disappointed from what could have been if the initial experience was anything like they showed us. I wanted the story to be something that pushed the narrative further with a strong emotional core to it that was dedicate to the Drifter. I wanted boss encounters like the one we saw with Denphius. That boss fight would have worked better as the tutorial in my opinion, but I can respect Digital Extreme’s decision to cater it to new players, while also giving veterans like me something to enjoy.
But when it comes to setting expectations, they did an absolutely stellar job with that during last year’s TennoCon.
TennoCon 2023 was a major home run for Digital Extremes this year. It not only gave everyone the first real look at Soulframe, the upcoming new MMORPG from them. But three major reveals for Warframe. The first was Abyss of Dagath, which we will talk about shortly. As well as the first new cinematic quest for Warframe, Whispers in the Walls. This expansion showed off a new direction for the game’s narrative. With so much cinematic flare and amazing new enemies to fight. But the most surprising reveal was Warframe: 1999. This reveal came out of nowhere with an amazing action-packed trailer featuring the Nine Inch Nail’s song, “Into the Void”. I was in awe seeing so much amazing stuff coming to the game in such a short amount of time.
Abyss of Dagath
The Abyss of Dagath update was similar to Citrine’s Last Wish. A pretty standard update with a new activity, Dagath herself and an amazing new melee weapon with Dorrclave. Dagath as the star is one of the best crowds killing frames we got. Her fourth ability summons a wave of horses to kill enemies infront of her, and her first and second ability synergize to slow enemies down. While also featuring a self-revive ability that also gives her an invulnerability state. Suffice it to say, Dagath is incredible, and Dorrclave flows well with guaranteed status effects after killing so many enemies. But this is not all the update brought with it.
The Abyss of Dagath changed so many systems in Warframe. A lot of it is on the backend, and the pet rework and hydroid rework were so fantastic for the game. But when it came to content delivery, Warframe ended the year with a big bang.
Whispers in the Walls
I was not entirely sure Digital Extremes was going to launch this expansion last month. Considering The Duviri Paradox was pushed back at the last second in 2022. But it did launch, and it launched very well. It was one of the most polished expansions we had ever gotten. If there was one way to describe this expansion, it would be “The Extra Mile“. As it not only did everything the community wanted to see. A fantastic new zone with so much variety and challenge to it. With an amazing story quest that invokes the same level of quality seen in The New War. As well as a whole slew of new and interesting endgame systems, like Vosfor and earnable Arcane packs, Tennokai and Archon Shard fusion.
It also did everything that Digital Extremes set out to do, where they wanted to finally start progressing the story in a new direction they wanted to, and it hit. Every single character was amazingly written and voiced. It had so many strange and epic moments. While also including the playable teaser for Warframe: 1999 they showed during TennoCon. This was just one example of Digital Extremes going above and beyond for this expansion, they did so well, and I could not be happier with it. My sentiment is also echoed with the community, as the discussion surrounding it has been overwhelmingly positive.
There was even a new clan operation that is still ongoing at the time of writing this that is allowing players to earn lucrative Arcanes and great cosmetics. But I know they will be adding onto it before moving onto the next great update this year.
Warframe Year in Review Grade
This was Warframe’s best year to me and I feel like I would be disingenuous if I gave last year anything lower than an A+. I initially felt very down early in the year because of how that initial experience in The Duviri Paradox felt. But the large amounts of support it got, and all of the fundamental system changes and amazing warframe’s we got throughout the year. Not to mention Whispers in the Walls really solidified this as a foundational year for the game. I can only hope this year can keep up with it!