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My personal perception of the Orokin's ancient origins in the Warframe universe has changed


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When I first started this game years ago, I thought that the Orokin were this ancient mysterious precursor race that left behind relics of their greatness (which is still true) like the Forerunners in Halo or the Dwemer in The Elder Scrolls. Very little being known about them other than their impressive structures and advanced technology. I thought that all of the other factions in the current day were younger groups all fighting each other for the scraps of this ancient super power as a means to overthrow the others and seize power over the system. (also still true)

But what I didn't realize is that every faction is just as ancient as the Orokin. The Grineer, Corpus, Infested, Sentients, Tenno, and hell after watching the Naberus event cinematic  I realized even the Ostron were all around back in those days. To me at least the mystical Orokin empire of the past doesn't seem as impressive and ancient anymore, it just another faction among many, many others that have always and will always exist together. Its almost as if the whole ancient part of the plot didn't need to exist, there's no reason why we occupy this point in time in the Warframe universe as far as I can tell if all the pieces on the board are still set.

Edited by xcrimsonlegendx
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You want to get your Mind Blown a second time?

The Corpus arose near the end of the Orokin empire, and the modern Grineer sometime just after it. However, the Orokin are immortal, and even in modern-day Warframe, a Corpus nobleman's lifetime can be centuries. Darvo is over 100, and still considered a young adult. Ballas apparently had lifetimes to plan his defection, and he only decided to defect partway through the war. If we consider the (unlikely) prospect that Orokin lifetimes were the same as Corpus, and Darvo is in and around the first third of his, and that Ballas noted lifetimes plural - that means we're potentially looking at the old war lasting for centuries. And that was the very, very end of the empire, which had been in effect for enough generations that the Orokin were viewed as gods.

It's entirely possible that the Orokin empire, in its entirety, may have lasted more than current recorded human history.

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2 minutes ago, Corvid said:

Fun fact: Both humanity and the San 'Shyuum (Prophets) were space-faring civilisations in the Forerunners' prime.

True.

Difference being that the modern day humans and covenant aren't really aware of that, at least not until the events of the later games.

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Well technically the story goes something like: 
"Oro" arrives on Earth, or crashes into Earth, we don't know what Oro is. 
First humans to contact Oro became super intelligent, super strong, and lived longer. 
These Oro-kin (descendants from the Oro) launched Humanity into a campaign to colonize
the solar system, and created the Grineer and the Corpus along the way. 
Then created the Sentients to colonize the Tau System (the IRL closest solar system to ours, the Alpha Centauri)
Then created Infested, and then the Tenno to fight them. 
So technically Orokins are super humans, and Operators, Ostron and the people you see in Relays are technically, pure human.

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23 minutes ago, Roble_Viejo said:


Then created the Sentients to colonize the Tau System (the IRL closest solar system to ours, the Alpha Centauri)

Possible clarification:  I don't think it's ever been specified what star the Tau system is around.  Except that it's a dangerously long trip, and even the immortal Orokin apparently weren't thrilled with the thought of traveling there in person without a Solar Rail to enable Void travel.  Building the rail and terraforming the planets on the other end are literally why the Sentients existed.  And *protecting* that world from the Orokin is what the Sentients were willing to die for by using the unfinished Rail to return to the solar system.  Attempting to reach it *without* a rail is also what caused the Zarriman Ten Zero accident, where a colony ship of unknown size attempted to make the trip with a self-contained Void Drive.  An attempt that ended in total disaster as the drive failed catastrophically and stranded the ship and crew in the void for years.

It's also unclear when the Infestation appeared.  It may have been something that existed before the Old War.  The only certain thing is that the Orokin tried to weaponize it against the Sentients.  Possibly by first attempting to infect them with it, which failed utterly since the Sentients just adapted to be completely immune to it.  Then by using it to create weaponized life-forms that the Sentients couldn't hack into the way they apparently can with anything even remotely mechanical.  (The Corpus and their army of robots are going to have a bad time as soon as any of the surviving Sentients decides to actually attack them.)

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4 hours ago, xcrimsonlegendx said:

When I first started this game years ago, I thought that the Orokin were this ancient mysterious precursor race that left behind relics of their greatness (which is still true) like the Forerunners in Halo or the Dwemer in The Elder Scrolls. Very little being known about them other than their impressive structures and advanced technology. I thought that all of the other factions in the current day were younger groups all fighting each other for the scraps of this ancient super power as a means to overthrow the others and seize power over the system. (also still true)

But what I didn't realize is that every faction is just as ancient as the Orokin. The Grineer, Corpus, Infested, Sentients, Tenno, and hell after watching the Naberus event cinematic  I realized even the Ostron were all around back in those days. To me at least the mystical Orokin empire of the past doesn't seem as impressive and ancient anymore, it just another faction among many, many others that have always and will always exist together. Its almost as if the whole ancient part of the plot didn't need to exist, there's no reason why we occupy this point in time in the Warframe universe as far as I can tell if all the pieces on the board are still set.

All of those factions were components of the Orokin empire. SPOILERS AHOY. The Grineer were slave laborers. The Corpus were their merchant caste. The Infested were a bioweapon. The Tenno were pet psykers. The Dax were their warrior caste. The Sentients were the offspring of a failed AI colonization expedition. They were each and every one tools of the Orokin.

The setting is (and for the most part always has been) one of the long, slow recovery of civilization in the ruins of the old order after its sudden and dramatic collapse. We knew less (and frankly DE probably didn't have as good an idea as to how everything fit together) five or six years ago, but the tone of the setting in this regard has been one of the most consistent pieces of lore. It's also not been all that long since the collapse, maybe a few centuries if my vague memories are accurate?

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4 hours ago, xcrimsonlegendx said:

To me at least the mystical Orokin empire of the past doesn't seem as impressive and ancient anymore, it just another faction among many, many others that have always and will always exist together. Its almost as if the whole ancient part of the plot didn't need to exist, there's no reason why we occupy this point in time in the Warframe universe as far as I can tell if all the pieces on the board are still set.

some pieces on the board are worth more than others though. the Orokin are still around, but there's very few of them left, yet there was a time they ruled literally everything. all the colonies, all the planets, all of chartered space:  all had to bow to the golden lords or face eradication. every faction that exists in the game now exists because of them, and their failures. if the game were set during the golden age, it wouldn't be nearly as intense as it is now, as none of the other factions had any real power or influence. about the only real war that took place was The Old War, which was more of a collective effort, as the Sentients were a common enemy that wanted to wipe out humanity as a whole, not just the Orokin themselves.

the remaining Orokin don't really count as much of a faction now though, as they can't regain what they lost: there isn't enough of them left; the Entrati are stuck on Deimos, where they have limited and dwindling influence over the Infestation, Ballas is part-sentient and his motives are not as clear, Nihil is stuck in a glass bottle and all the other Orokin are dead or haven't been discovered yet. meanwhile the Grineer, Corpus Infestation and now the Sentients are all a very real threat, with the Sentients possibly poised to try an dtake over the entire Origin System again, assuming the hype is to be believed.

 

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1 hour ago, (PS4)Shelneroth said:

What's this from?

Nowhere, as far as I'm aware.

Oro is mentioned in Conclave as a 'binding force for an enemy who like the Tenno can survive death' - there's no mention of what it looks like, where it came from, it's mentioned only in Conclave to my knowledge, and all we know is that it 'binds' people. It's entirely likely it's some kind of soul that everyone has, or what happens to your soul when you drink Kuva - bear in mind it's not stated that the Tenno themselves have it, since even though supposedly claim it in conclave, the conclave is a training exercise. A simulation.

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3 hours ago, FlyingDice said:

It's also not been all that long since the collapse, maybe a few centuries if my vague memories are accurate?

I had the impression that it's been closer to milinnia.  Long enough that even the "live for a thousand years" Corpus Elite are several possibly several generations out.  Citation:  Nef Anyo attempting to find genetic evidence that he is a direct descendant of the Corpus Founder.  Said founder turning out to be a possible Sealed Evil in a Can who has been watching the Origin system from a pocket dimension since the Orokin were destroyed.  And now might have decided that the best way to unite humanity to face the Sentients might be to start by ending the fighting between the remaining factions.  By destroying them all, if necessary.

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The entire warframe universe was a lot more mysterious without the story. I still find the orokin kinda scary and mysterious tho. Like what's giant worm? Or the stuff in the void? What kind of weapon is the spear? Apparently the sentients are afraid of it. 

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9 hours ago, Roble_Viejo said:

Well technically the story goes something like: 
"Oro" arrives on Earth, or crashes into Earth, we don't know what Oro is. 
First humans to contact Oro became super intelligent, super strong, and lived longer. 
These Oro-kin (descendants from the Oro) launched Humanity into a campaign to colonize

All this is complete conjecture from virtually nothing.

9 hours ago, EmberStar said:

Possible clarification:  I don't think it's ever been specified what star the Tau system is around.

Tau Ceti is a star that is relatively close to our solar system, at a distance of 12 light-years. There is evidence of multiple planets in the habitable zone.

6 hours ago, (PS4)robotwars7 said:

all the other Orokin are dead

You are forgetting the Worm Queen.

7 hours ago, FlyingDice said:

It's also not been all that long since the collapse, maybe a few centuries if my vague memories are accurate?

Lotus says that Lephantis was created to fight in the Old War millennia ago. Other characters have said centuries, which is a subset of "millennia". That's as close to concrete as we have.

3 hours ago, JackHargreav said:

What kind of weapon is the spear? Apparently the sentients are afraid of it.

If you're referring to the "Golden Spear" that Natah mentions, it's likely the Orokin term for their navy or a division of their navy, since she follows her question up with "How many battalions?"

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12 hours ago, xcrimsonlegendx said:

But what I didn't realize is that every faction is just as ancient as the Orokin. The Grineer, Corpus, Infested, Sentients, Tenno, and hell after watching the Naberus event cinematic  I realized even the Ostron were all around back in those days.

If it helps at all, just know that this is only half-true.

Part of what makes the Orokin mythical precursors is not just how long ago they lived, but how long they were alive for. In fact, it's entirely possible that the Orokin were alive for longer than they have been dead, if that makes sense. The Orokin were so ancient that they effectively wiped out all history before them. Imagine how ancient they would have to be, to wipe out everything before them. How many thousands of years they were able to stand before finally rotting and getting themselves killed

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14 hours ago, EmberStar said:

 Attempting to reach it *without* a rail is also what caused the Zarriman Ten Zero accident, where a colony ship of unknown size attempted to make the trip with a self-contained Void Drive.  An attempt that ended in total disaster as the drive failed catastrophically and stranded the ship and crew in the void for years.It's also unclear when the Infestation appeared.  
 

Are you sure about that? 

Ember (or its Prime) has a codex entry that explicitly states the ship was a military ship with an experimental void drive "lost while making the fold between Saturn and the Outer Gates" and then  recovered later:

The old woman gestured for the officer to take Kaleen away. The meeting was over. When Kaleen reached the door she twisted out of his grip and shot back, 'Why would you do that? Why did you put children on a military ship?'

'We didn't. That would violate procedure.'

As for the Infestation, It was created by the Orokin a long while before the Sentients were even an idea.  They initially tried to use it for terraforming the by-then toxic atmosphere of Earth. It was later adapted for use as a weapon against the Sentients before they turned to the Tenno, which is why the Warframes are made from a strain of the infestation. 


 

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9 minutes ago, Reitrix said:

The old woman gestured for the officer to take Kaleen away. The meeting was over. When Kaleen reached the door she twisted out of his grip and shot back, 'Why would you do that? Why did you put children on a military ship?'

'We didn't. That would violate procedure.'

That quote has two possible meanings.

"We didn't put children on that military ship, so we don't know where the children came from"

Or

"We put children on that ship, because it wasn't a military ship"

Remember, the Orokin did a major cover-up procedure on the Zariman, and it's as likely as anything else that the soldiers were lied to about the role of ship for the Orokin to save face.

13 minutes ago, Reitrix said:

As for the Infestation, It was created by the Orokin a long while before the Sentients were even an idea.  They initially tried to use it for terraforming the by-then toxic atmosphere of Earth.

Source for this?

The Saryn Prime trailer appears to indicate that the Infestation is what turned the Atmosphere toxic, with the Silver Grove happening after it's been cleansed, but still toxic due to the effects of the Infestation

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18 hours ago, xcrimsonlegendx said:

But what I didn't realize is that every faction is just as ancient as the Orokin. The Grineer, Corpus, Infested, Sentients, Tenno, and hell after watching the Naberus event cinematic  I realized even the Ostron were all around back in those days

Ehm I'm sorry what.

How do you use the word "as ancient"?

The Grineer, for instance, originated as a slave race engineered by the Orokin. They were elevated to warriors in the initial parts of the Sentient War, which is the absolute last historical moment of the Orokin species. As far as we know, the Orokin might have ruled for a million years before ever creating the first Grineer.

Same with every single other faction you highlight. The Tenno originate after Albrecht Entrati, their Warframes date to the Sentient War. The Corpus derives from a guy who was alive during the Sentient War. The Sentient emerged as a species just before their War. All of these faction coexisted with the Orokin. But the Orokin was enormously more ancient.

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3 hours ago, Loza03 said:

That quote has two possible meanings.

"We didn't put children on that military ship, so we don't know where the children came from"

Or

"We put children on that ship, because it wasn't a military ship"

Remember, the Orokin did a major cover-up procedure on the Zariman, and it's as likely as anything else that the soldiers were lied to about the role of ship for the Orokin to save face.

Source for this?

The Saryn Prime trailer appears to indicate that the Infestation is what turned the Atmosphere toxic, with the Silver Grove happening after it's been cleansed, but still toxic due to the effects of the Infestation

Its to be taken as they say it, It was a military ship so no children should have been present. Doing otherwise would have violated protocol. If they wanted to cover it up in its entirety, They never would have allowed an investigation into the ship in the first place, But it returning from the void was unprecedented even to the Orokin. 

AFAIK, The Wiki takes its info from official sources https://warframe.fandom.com/wiki/Infested#In-game_Lore_Description 
Click Silvana and read her story too. 

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47 minutes ago, Reitrix said:

Its to be taken as they say it, It was a military ship so no children should have been present. Doing otherwise would have violated protocol. If they wanted to cover it up in its entirety, They never would have allowed an investigation into the ship in the first place, But it returning from the void was unprecedented even to the Orokin. 

Are you sure? Every other source indicated it was a more traditional colony ship, after all.  The Tenno's own memories support this - they remember their childhoods aboard Zariman.

Like you say, it returning from the void was unprecedented. So the sequence of events could go like this:

 

Sentients get sent to Tau to terraform for arrival.

Some time later, Zariman gets prepared to go. The Solar rail fails, and it gets dropped into the void and lost.

The Orokin, unsure of what happened, cover up the incident. They may have even prepared for the eventuality by registering the ship as a military, since this was an unknown venture. Perhaps, since we know Ballas and Margulis was involved (remember, Ballas was the one who wanted the Sentients created in the first place), and we know Ballas has military ties, it was even funded by the military in the first place, hence technically being a military vessel - just one not used for military purposes.

Years later, the Zariman drops out of the void. The Orokin, concerned, send an investigative team to search for survivors/salvage, under the false claim that they are searching a Military vessel. They find the Tenno survivors, and one of the team finds them, attempts comfort, and the Tenno blind them by accident or out of fear (since Adults were a threat for years to that point).

The investigator is interviewed for her breach of protocol, but when asked, the interviewer gives her the cryptic response.

 

47 minutes ago, Reitrix said:

AFAIK, The Wiki takes its info from official sources https://warframe.fandom.com/wiki/Infested#In-game_Lore_Description 
Click Silvana and read her story too. 

Silvana only mention's she's an infestation specialist. It's never made clear whether she's there because she's using the Infestation to try heal Earth, or using her expertise to try revert the terraforming done by the Infestation. What we do know however, is that at some point during the Old War, that the Infestation took over Earth.

"You used to dream of Old Earth, didn't you, bathed in gold and solemn blue. I intend to reclaim it now, from the spores."

If we assume it's Silvana-infestation-modern earth, that poses some issues - namely, the Silver Grove's survival. If Silvana, and others, were using Infestation to reclaim Earth from a previous ecological collapse, then she'd have had to survive the Infestation taking over. And it's implied the last time any Tenno, or anyone showed up to help her was after the Orokin attacked her. We also have no idea what could have collapsed Earth's biosphere, especially considering how effective the Orokin were at maintaining them. Bear in mind, the Vallis appears to have something similar, and it's unmaintained and it's working unmaintained, against a far worse environment. They had infrastructure for that, granted, but if it was a modern-day style slow decline, they could have built it in time on Earth too.

However, if we assume she was there to try and heal earth from a post-infested biosphere collapse (we know Infested do sometimes produce toxins and terraform their environments, after all, and that it's much harder to clean up), then that timeline adds up. Old Earth gets infested, likely due to the amount of life making it easy for spores to take root and start spreading. Ballas develops Saryn, who alongside other suitable frames (probably Ember), and a host of Cascade Bombs, go on a planet-cleansing mission that wipes out all life remaining on the planet, but can't deal with the existing biological collapse. Unsure of how to reverse it, they send Infestation specialists in. Ballas then retrieves Silvana, who had proven one of the better ones (At the time. Who knows, maybe their old expert got turned into Nidus? Ballas never specifies that 'our best' was limited to just soldiers) to help develop Titania, and she then uses the transference tech to create the Silver Grove, which re-seeds the Earth, alongside some potential assistance from the Unum (who seems to have used her vast and vaguely-defined powers to protect the Plains region, hence the biodiversity in that area). 

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5 hours ago, Reitrix said:

Are you sure about that? 

Ember (or its Prime) has a codex entry that explicitly states the ship was a military ship with an experimental void drive "lost while making the fold between Saturn and the Outer Gates" and then  recovered later:

The old woman gestured for the officer to take Kaleen away. The meeting was over. When Kaleen reached the door she twisted out of his grip and shot back, 'Why would you do that? Why did you put children on a military ship?'

'We didn't. That would violate procedure.'

As for the Infestation, It was created by the Orokin a long while before the Sentients were even an idea.  They initially tried to use it for terraforming the by-then toxic atmosphere of Earth. It was later adapted for use as a weapon against the Sentients before they turned to the Tenno, which is why the Warframes are made from a strain of the infestation. 


 

And the flashback comic for Rell was *set* on the Zarriman Ten Zero, and specifically implied it was a colony ship.  The scarred officer *assumed* it was a military ship.  The "old woman" specifically said it *wasn't.*  The Orokin lied to their minions.  A lot.  About basically everything.  If "Kaleen" was told it was military, that might have been part of a simple cover-up.  "Oops, lost an expiremental military destroyer.  No big deal.  Definitely not a massive colony ship carrying millions of colonists and a Void Drive big enough to push a small moon into the void.  Nothing to worry about.  Nothing at all."

In any case, I'm not going to argue about it.  DE is wildly inconsistent about sharing the lore, and has apparently completely retconned things in the past when they changed directions or simply because they felt like it.  It's entirely possible that the Zarriman has been directly called a military ship *and* a colony ship in different places.  Because the lore was written by different authors who didn't bother to doublecheck.  It's a *frequent* occurance in TV and comics that the audience cares *way* more about such details than the authors do.

(As an irrelevant example:  I just got a Zatanna graphic novel by Paul Dini, from a storyline that was apparently abandoned when DC decided to reboot their entire comic universe.  In the first few stories Zatanna is shown being able to specifically transform other people.  Turning a rival into a talking sloth, turning some annoying women at a party into pigeons, transforming an enemy into a giant lump of gold as an act of bitter mercy to spare him from eternity as a "Soul in a Jar" in a demon's collection.  And then out of nowhere has a story that hinges on her bloodline's magic being "unable to affect living people."  Whoever wrote it didn't check, and the editors either didn't catch it or didn't care.)

Edited by EmberStar
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