Warframe's Empyrean expansion is pulling me back in

Empyrean is the largest expansion Warframe has seen; it has been 7 years in the making and is almost here. But this isn't a typical expansion and Digital Extremes doesn't want you calling it such. Where most games expansions, previous Warframe expansions included, send you out into a new part of the world — isolated from previous content, keeping new separated from the old — Empyrean gives you that new content but instead ties it into the old.

From the start of this addition, more fondly known as "Railjack" when was first teased at Tennocon 2018 and again at E3, players knew we would be getting ships (the Railjack itself) and space combat. Little did we know just how in-depth this new system would be and how it would draw in the world around us. Such as the ability to recruit non-player characters as crew members for your ship, each of whom will provide upgrades and benefits as they work with you.

Along with this, you will be able to upgrade the ship itself in a similar manner as setting loadouts for the warframes you play. Each person's Railjack can be made unique with these loadouts, paint jobs, even the name of your ship can be printed along the hull. Some of this customization will come from resources you earn during missions on your Railjack.


Warframe (Image credit: Digital Extremes)

While this new content is designed as end game content, players who have unlocked Empyrean content will be able to invite lower levels to take part as a member of the team, much like we have been able to escort lower level players to maps they have not yet discovered in Warframes base content. But the real ties between new and old content come with the addition of Squad Link beacons; A "police scanner" for the Tenno.

Through these beacons you can find friends, clan mates, and alliance members who have sent out a distress call from their Railjack; they are in need of assistance from across the system. If you accept, you and your team are sent on a mission as ground support to assist. This style of mission, according to the developers, drew inspiration from Return of the Jedi in that it follows two independent stories of two separate squads as they converge to complete a shared goal.

This new system truly adds to the sense of community Warframe is already well known for. However, don't lose hope if nobody answers your call for aid. No mission is impossible as failsafes have been built in. And the developers are aware that not all their player base join large clans or even any clan, the lone wolf player is not ignored. It is because of this care and thought Digital Extremes puts into meeting the needs of their players that I am returning to Warframe.

I have always been a fan of the space ninja's style of play and the ever-growing cast of warframes you can pick from, each with their own unique skills. And I -love- that fashion framing is indeed the "true end game," especially with the new graphics renderer. But it is because Digital Extremes is one of the only companies who have made a free-to-play game successful in the long term, and I truly believe it is in part due to how the developers and community team treat their player base that allows it to thrive. There is no money grab with loot boxes or pay to win aspects. All paid content is purely for convenience and esthetics. Either of which can be ignored but the players -want- to support the game. It drives this sense of community which draws out the best of people.

And so, I will return, as I always dim to Warframe and its community. See you out there, Tenno.

Kelly Peirce