Why I Quit Warframe
When the daily grind becomes a grind.
According to my Steam Library my top 3 most played games are Halo: The Master Chief Collection with 136 hours, Dragon Age: Origins with 196 hours and Warframe with 3,632 hours. With the help of a calculator and a Year 3 Maths textbook I figured out that running that time together comes out as just over 151 days. Hell, I've written two articles about in-game events, and even a Valkyr themed D&D subclass on this very website. By all appearances, Warframe is my favourite game.
So, it may come as a surprise to you that I quit Warframe a month ago.
Why did I start playing Warframe?
To talk about why I stopped playing Warframe, I first want to talk about why I started playing Warframe in the first place. Since the game's first trailer was released in 2013 it had intrigued me, and I'd downloaded it to my old computer. Sadly I was stuck on the loading screen of the Liset flying through space for about twenty minutes. A tell tale sign that my laptop wasn't up for it. I'd occasionally look on the wiki or watch let's play videos but at the end of the day? It was just a game.
It wasn't until my third year at university in 2015, where I was studying abroad, when I actually started playing. Eager to make friends I started chatting with another exchange student, Nick, about what he was playing, and he said he played Warframe. I told him I'd always been interested but my computer couldn't handle the game.
Then I remembered that that wasn't true anymore. I'd gotten a new laptop at the start of that year so ... why not give it a go? Honestly, thinking back I don't think I'd have gotten as invested into Warframe as I did if it hadn't been for that group of friends getting together and playing after class and on the weekends.
It's a little strange to think about, but I'm still touched when Nick and I were playing and he said; "Oh, if you like tankier characters, I'll taxi you to Frost so we can get him". Through that I even met other Warframe players and community members through in-game clans and YouTube content creators like Quiette Shy, DK Diamantes and Bricky.
The game itself was fun too, I hadn't really had a chance to play run and gun shooters because, as I said, my old computer didn't really work too well. Aesthetically there was a nice "used future" look, lots of ancient advanced alien technology being repaired and excavated by bulky semi-organic monstrosities. I loved it! More importantly, we were playing this in 2015 when Second Dream and Plains Of Eidolon were released! I got to explore these new quests and games with my friends by my side and talk about the new plot developments and gameplay mechanics as they happened.
Why did I stop playing Warframe?
Now let's talk about the main topic; why did I stop playing Warframe in the first place? There was no one reason, and some of the reasons are related to personal problems that bled into everything else. But a few reasons stick out.
Gameplay wise, I didn't feel like I was making much progress. I was levelling up equipment, farming for new frames and weapon parts but more often than not I was playing missions I didn't enjoy for pieces of equipment I was collecting for the sake of it. It felt almost like I was feeding an addiction, getting a little bit of a good feeling when I got the part or mod I wanted. It was my reward for grinding through a slog of boring missions and difficult bosses. I began to wonder why I was playing this game if I wasn't really enjoying it. I was even writing "Log on reward", "Do Nightwave missions" and "Complete sorties" on my to do lists alongside job interviews, doctor's appointments and grocery lists.
I'd play other games and find stuff I liked about them a lot more, gameplay loops, mechanics, graphics, designs, achievements.
But most importantly to me was that after moving back home I was still playing with my friends, but it gradually got less and less frequent. Especially after we finished university and had to get jobs, move to other countries and drifted further apart. There's something about playing an MMO on your own that feels somehow more isolating than playing it with other people. You know there's real people everywhere around you but there's very little interaction. As more and more mechanics and mission types were introduced I began to realise that I doubt I'd have gotten into the game if I didn't have friends helping me play it. The clan discord is kind of dead. I still chat with everyone occasionally, but rarely is it about Warframe.
A few months prior I'd started playing Mass Effect for the first time. (Yes, it's 14 years old, I'm not up to date on new releases). When I mentioned this to friends we ended up starting really long conversations into the night about how to deal with certain enemies, what mods to try out. Two friends even told me to complete the final quest of Mass Effect 2 again as I'd let Garrus die. It was a long Facebook conversation about how your companions abilities worked that I realised what I was missing from Warframe was that social interaction.
So, as I'd been too busy moving house and starting a new job to log on to Warframe for a week or two I just decided to free up some space on my hard drive and play something else.
Will I go back to it?
Maybe? I'm not sure. I stopped playing Halo for about two years, but I keep coming back to it. Maybe when The New War quest starts I'll jump back in. But if I do, then I don't think it'll be for too long. Just a quick refresher so I don't get bored.