Is Stealth-Play in Warframe Worth Learning?
Author's Update - 3.15.17
I wrote a follow-up to this article about the changes that have been made to the game and how they affect stealth play! Go check it out over here!
Warframe. A game primarily about massacring Sontaran clones and Cyberman rejects with lasers and explosions, this online third-person shooter is the follow up to Digital Extremes' "Dark Sector". Regarded by many to be one of the most under-developed games ever produced, Dark Sector had many people wondering what happened to Hayden Tenno after the end of the story... And what happened to the Technocyte menace?
Well, my attentive readers, it's not entirely clear what happened to our good friend Hayden. But many people think that he's out there, still, hunting down and murdering his namesakes for the sake of his own Dread, Despair, and Hate...
Speaking of the Stalker, what about those weapons, eh? Dread, the decapitating bow; Despair, the OP-as-crap kunai; and Hate, the 360-degree-swing scythe. The number one reason I was so keen on getting my hands on these pretty little gems is quite simple: silent but deadly.
In other words, stealth potential.
When I think of Warframe, I think of loads of guns, manic solo runs through Apollodorus with unranked gear, and the funny things that the Grineer say when they aren't aware of the crazed Ash with god-modded kunai aimed at their tiny, armored heads...
But, more than anything, I think of stealth. Creeping up behind a Grineer Lancer and gutting him with flame-imbued daggers, chucking an electrified kunai into the skull of a Corpus Crewman, that well-aimed longshot from a magnetically charged bow that pins that Infested Runner to the wall like some crack-head's idea of a pinata... Nothing feels better to me in Warframe than clearing an entire mission without being detected ONCE. I've collected huge loads of enemy intel, taken out an entire platoon of Grineer marines, and even assassinated the biggest Corpus Proxy, to date... And nobody even knew that I had been there.
But, realistically speaking, is stealth play really worth it? What do you gain from not being detected throughout an entire mission? Why not just wipe everyone out and be done with it?
The answer to that question can be easily found by answering another: how "okay" am I with sitting on my ass for 10+ minutes between kills?
Stealth play in any game is anything but exciting; you tend to sit in one spot, watching and waiting for your target to turn their back so you can stick a knife into it. It only ever gets "exciting" when you fail at it and end up gunning everyone down like the guy from Falling Down. But there's something redeeming about the boredom and the stagnancy of being a silent, deadly shadow. You can only really feel accomplished and awesome for clearing an entire Grineer galleon of its crew so many times before it starts feeling like a grind. You need something to spice things up and offer a challenge after so many mind-numbing runs through the same missions.
So rather than ask if stealth play is worth it, ask yourself this: why not give it a shot, first?
In the interest of reducing the amount of ragequits involved with your experimentation, let me outline some basic tips for you...
The TIPS of Warframe Stealth Play...
- TIMING -- You have to pick when and where you strike VERY carefully. Attacking too soon or too late could alert others to your presence, result in a failed attack, or worse.
- IMPROVISATION -- Never go into a mission thinking you know exactly how to go about remaining undetected. Even areas with which you are familiar can require a multitude of different strategies depending upon enemy presence, current loadouts, etc.
- PATIENCE -- You will likely have to sit in one place for extended periods, learning each patrol's patterns and waiting for the opportune time to strike, resulting in what would normally be a 5-minute run through a Sabotage mission becoming a 1-hour camp-fest.
- SILENCE -- No matter what gear you bring into a stealth mission, silence is key. Inherently silent weapons, (bows, kunai, rocket launchers...), or silencer mods, (Suppress for secondaries and Hush for primaries), are required for stealth play. I can't promise that you'll stay undetected should you bring a Soma with you...
Not all mission types are good for stealth. In fact, there are two that are utterly impossible to actually stealth, and one that is so rage-inducing that I wouldn't recommend it to my most vile of enemies.
Defense missions, (and, similarly, Mobile Defense), are based upon the idea that your location is known and you must survive as the enemy throws wave after wave of their "finest soldiers" at you in an attempt to end you. So, logically speaking, it is impossible, from the start, to be stealthy; you've essentially been detected, already. Just go crazy and kill everything. Simple enough.
Survival missions are even more illogical to think of as "stealth-able" than Defense and Mobile Defense. You are supposed to cause a scene, so, again, logically speaking, you should be detected, from the start. You are there to wreak havoc and mayhem so that your "fellow Tenno operative" can steal crap from the people you are ruthlessly slaughtering. Not trying to be stealthy makes sense to me.
The third and final mission type is not IMPOSSIBLE to stealth, per se. It's just really annoying, difficult, and stupid to try. This mission type is Capture.
The problem with Capture is simple: these suckers bolt at even the slightest possibility of violence. If you kill a guy in the same room as them, even if you're across the room and did so silently, they freak out and start running. What makes this even worse is that shooting them is not only a huge breach in stealth, but it's completely illogical, seeing as it does almost no damage, at all.
The only way to actually succeed at stealth play during a Capture mission is to get right up close to the target and stealth-assassinate them with your melee weapon. The problem then becomes if anyone will hear them scream when you assimilate them into your hand. These idiots scream at the top of their lungs when you capture them. For those who are confused, let me just say that screaming is a whole crapload louder than a kunai to the throat. It alerts EVERYONE that something is awry, making progress a bit difficult should you desire to continue being a silent, deadly ninja.
Sadly, because of this, it is damn-near impossible to successfully pull off a full-stealth Capture mission. It is entirely possible, but even I lack the patience to get it right.
All in all, stealth play is time-consuming, annoying, and actually results in less EXP, items, and other rewards than simply going postal and killing everything you see. However, as a complete game-changer and refreshing change from the norm, it can still feel redeeming and fun, should you have the patience for it.
So go out there and be all ninja and awesome! Play Warframe! Stab aliens! Get money! And always make sure you stay all farty out there; silent but deadly, FTW!