Why Warframe Players Are Losing Trust in Digital Extremes

Love Warframe, but hate the let-downs? You’re not alone.

Summary (TL;DR)

Digital Extremes (DE), makers of Warframe, have a concerning pattern. They introduce exciting new content (“love bombing”), only to make drastic changes post-release that disappoint the community (“devaluation”). This happened recently with the Warframe Dante, and similar situations in the past make their actions feel less like mistakes and more like deliberate manipulation (“the discard”).

This cycle erodes trust and makes players reluctant to invest in future content. Contrast this with companies like Blizzard, who have improved their responsiveness to player feedback. While DE could turn things around, they’ve benefited from this problematic pattern for so long that significant change might not be a priority for them. As players, it’s important to spend your time and money wisely, and hold DE accountable for delivering consistently enjoyable experiences.

I recently published an article on the changes Digital Extremes (DE) made to their new Warframe, Dante. The response to their changes has been largely negative, and it highlights a deeper concern I have about DE’s communication with its player base.

Growing up, I experienced the challenges of having a close family member with narcissistic tendencies. It’s taken time and personal work to understand those experiences. While I don’t want to diagnose anyone at DE, I do see patterns in their behavior that cause similar feelings of confusion and frustration for me and many in the community.

One common pattern in such dynamics is a cycle of initially building excitement (“love bombing”), followed by actions that seem dismissive of concerns (“devaluation”), leaving dedicated players confused and hurt. This can lead to a sense of needing to repeatedly try to regain that earlier positive feeling.

It was disheartening to observe this potential pattern emerge with DE.

The Love Bomb

Let’s use Dante as an example. DE introduced Dante with an exciting feature set that genuinely resonated with the community. When he arrived on March 27th, 2024, as advertised, the enthusiasm was infectious. In a way, we haven’t seen this kind of positive buzz around a Warframe in years.

Of course, with such powerful abilities, some balance tweaks were expected (which many players understand). Players anticipated a reduction in the range of Tragedy (an area of effect ability) and perhaps a change to Overguard sharing. In that first week, aside from those potential tweaks, the community’s excitement was high, and the positive energy was palpable.

Unfortunately, this initial wave of excitement wouldn’t last…

Devaluation

During the April 2, 2024, DevShort, DE acknowledged they were looking at Dante, mentioning “a little bit of a nerf to not make him so dominant.” Given DE’s history, many players expected the previously discussed minor changes: reducing Tragedy’s range and removing Overguard sharing.

However, the timing understandably confused the community. Why change Dante a mere week after release, without sufficient data to confirm he was overpowered? This atypical rush to adjustment breaks the usual pattern of waiting 6 months or even a year to assess balance.

This lack of transparency breaks the established pattern of excitement followed by disappointment, making the initial ‘love bombing’ stage feel less genuine. It raises concerns about whether newly released Warframes will receive similar hasty treatment.

The Discard

It quickly became clear that Dante’s release hadn’t met DE’s internal expectations. The “little bit of a nerf” they implemented went far beyond the community’s suggested changes. To address interference with other Warframes, they fundamentally altered Overguard and added Line of Sight (LoS) restrictions to his Tragedy ability. For many players, adding LoS to Tragedy felt like more than a minor adjustment.

During the April 9, 2024, DevShort, DE offered an apology, acknowledging “mistakes were made.” However, the apology struck many as lacking in sincerity, leaving a sense that the consequences of their choices were being downplayed. The extensive list of fixes needed in subsequent patches reinforces the perception that these changes were not merely accidental oversights.

This cycle of overpromising at release, followed by significant alterations that undermine the initial excitement, echoes the disillusionment often experienced by those who have dealt with narcissistic behavior. This pattern of behavior fuels distrust within the community and undermines players’ willingness to support DE financially.

The Love Bomb — Again

DE is already shifting the focus to TennoCon merch pack, Warframe 1999, the latest hotfix, and Protea Prime. Their April 16th DevShort excitedly hyped these new offerings without addressing the Dante situation.

This raises a crucial question for the community: after a drastic and disappointing change like Dante, what reason do players have to invest time and money in future content? Will the cycle of excitement and disappointment simply repeat itself?

The fight that didn't happen.

The New War update provides another example of this pattern. As you can see from the above screenshot, the official cinematic trailer hinted at an epic battle. However, this didn’t fully materialize in the actual update. Additionally, the quest’s mandatory completion structure, with no option to pause, creates accessibility barriers and potentially locks players with disabilities out of the core game until the quest is completed.

The Duviri Paradox is yet another update that, while initially hyped, fell short of expectations. This further highlights that these disappointments aren’t isolated incidents, but point toward a concerning pattern in DE’s approach.

The Warframe community deserves the same level of consistent quality and respect. Imagine if respected studios like Larian or FromSoftware handled Baldur’s Gate or Elden Ring with this lack of clarity and follow-through.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Like many others, the Dante situation and the pattern it highlights have significantly diminished my enthusiasm for Warframe. Rebuilding trust takes time and consistent effort. Right now, it’s difficult to envision significant change on the horizon. DE’s ongoing struggle seems to revolve around releasing thoroughly polished content on time. While unforeseen bugs are understandable, many of their fixes address fundamental issues that should have been addressed prior to release.

It’s worth noting that companies can evolve. Blizzard, with World of Warcraft, is an example. They’ve faced similar criticisms for out-of-touch management and disappointing releases. Their recent Dragonflight expansion shows promising changes: more frequent content, transparent roadmaps, and even revisiting beloved past content. This demonstrates a level of player responsiveness that builds excitement.

Can Digital Extremes follow a similar path? It’s possible, though their expansion across multiple platforms adds complexity to testing and quality control. Focusing on streamlining those processes might be crucial for meaningful improvement.

While it’s disheartening, let’s not lose hope entirely. If enough voices within the Warframe community respectfully express their concerns and desire for change, it could be the catalyst DE needs to re-evaluate its approach.

As players, it’s important to be mindful of where we spend our time and money. If ongoing changes erode your trust in DE, it’s okay to prioritize your enjoyment elsewhere.

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