My Experience Playing Warframe in 2024

Warframe might be the best Free-to-Play game out there, but its over-reliance on lengthy grind sessions threatens its returning player base.

My Experience Playing Warframe in 2024

Years ago, while I was at university, one of my friends recommended that I play Warframe. At the time, we had no disposable money to buy games. So, free games were pretty much our lifeblood back then. One of those games was Warframe. My entire group of friends were sucked deep into Warframe's lore, intense grind, multi-hour mission raids, and beautiful fashion frame end game, which we all collectively decided was the actual point of Warframe. But that was then. I tried playing Warframe over the past couple of weeks, and it all felt so overwhelming and meaningless.

Don't get me wrong; it is so satisfying to completely kit out your favourite Warframe, upgrade each of your weapons, customise its colours, place trinkets on yourself, and change skins; it's all amazing. Then, take that machine out on missions with a movement system that can only be described as the most outstanding movement system any FPS game has ever or will ever have. If you have never played Warframe before, you'll have a blast and sink hundreds of hours into it like I did.

My playtime, according to Steam.

I spent about a week recently inside the game, and I couldn't commit to the extreme grind that the game wanted from me. As you can see, I already spent an obscene amount of time in Warframe. Warframe was one of the best fair, free-to-play games when I had no choice. With a glut of free-to-play, gatcha-type, live-service games with budgets soaring in the hundreds of millions, Warframe is starting to show its age. It may have been an industry leader for nearly a decade, but others have closed the gap, with some exceeding and consuming Warframe's market.

The natural progression of a game's lifecycle isn't the only thing Warframe has going against it. I will take a section here to describe what went wrong with me as a returning player to Warframe in 2024.



Immediately as I returned to Warframe, I realised I had to complete a new open-world section of the game. I had previously completed enough of "Plains of Eidolon" and "Fortuna" to know that I intensely disliked the open-world aspects.

It was filled with repetitive, boring missions that often gave minuscule rewards, forcing me to fish, hunt for animals and mine for rocks. Imagine my surprise when I was told I needed to complete all of those tasks - some multiple times - to receive tokens, which I could then exchange for standing with the NPCs, which would allow me to rank up and eventually be able to purchase particular crafting materials to build out then an armour set that is a requirement to access what many consider to be one of the greatest quests in the game. Not only that but it was required for me to progress the story!

I was initially excited to get to this quest and prepared to grind, but I was no closer after a week.

This is something that I quickly felt; I felt as though my time could have been spent better playing a single-player game or even another always-on multiplayer match.

The Necramech must be crafted after an extraordinarily lengthy and multi-location grind—image from Warframe Wiki.

Playing Catch-Up

Having not played Warframe for a few years, it was easy to see all the game's changes during its continued and ongoing development. I was surprised to see the new open world, frames, upgrade paths, and cosmetics.

What made everything more stressful was trying to figure out what had changed. I had to watch multiple YouTube videos, consult the wiki numerous times, and completely ignore an entire system because it got reworked. I still don't understand it.

I do not doubt that if I spent the next month, I could probably get back into gear with Warframe and return to the days when I knew Warframe inside out.

But that's the problem, though.

I have to invest so much extra time into a game I poured over 800 hours in to get back to an average state where I can enjoy the average experience. The experience is fantastic - don't get me wrong.

The game's systems underwent so many reworks and additions that it felt like reading and learning from a textbook. Had I been following and playing the game throughout the years I was away from it, I am sure I would not have had any issues.


Which is unfortunate because I like Warframe. I like running around and using my weapons to clear entire levels simultaneously. I remember when I first started, and there would be this one person who would perch on top of some vantage point and, once the wave began, would melt all the enemies on the screen. This dumbfounded me. I strived to create a Warframe build that was that cool.

That brings me to my final point—the Meta. I had spent a significant amount of time building out my loadout. A Saryn Prime with an Arca Plasma with loads of Radiation damage as the default. The other three loadout slots were meant for the other enemy types. She was glorious, capable of soloing most of the things I wanted her to solo. It was so much good fun.

Saryn Prime. Not the Saryn Prime I had. Image from

I jumped back into the Heart of Deimos with her, and she was annihilated at every turn. The weapons seemed to be doing reduced damage despite once being able to crowd-control everything. Saryn's toxic abilities did nothing. I later learned that Digital Extremes rebalanced the faction's weaknesses and strengths, which is fair. I understand that.

I retooled my mod setup and swapped out my Arca Plasma with something else, and the Deimos open-world became a bit more tolerable. However, once it was solved, the sheer amount of grind set in.

It was at that point that I stopped playing.


This isn't a hit-piece against Warframe or Digital Extremes; this isn't me saying that you should stop playing or not give Warframe a chance. If you're a new player, you can follow through with everything and have a better time. This was my experience as a returning player.

I still did enjoy my week with Warframe, but the extensive list of exceptionally great games being released and my own limited time, paired with Warframe's less-than-player-friendly grind, has made me put down Warframe for the time being. Perhaps I can revisit the game in a year or two when and if I have the time to do it. In the meantime, carry on, Tenno.

From Steam Page