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To me, it's all about family, and finding out who you really "are".


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I just finished The New War, and had a few observations I wanted to share.  Maybe somebody else has said something similar, but I don't visit the forums much.  I'm a longtime Warframe player, ever since May of 2013, back on the old star chart, with the original Liset design, and just a few tilesets to play.  But I saw a lot of potential, and really liked Dark Sector, so I kept playing as the game evolved and grew.  For the past couple of years, I haven't played Warframe much.  I wasn't a big fan of the additions of the open worlds and Railjack, at least in concept.  However, I had to come back when I heard about The New War, however.  I loved The Second Dream, and enjoyed playing the cinematic quests I had missed in the interim to lead up to The New War.  And the Railjack was actually great, and so were the open worlds.  I shouldn't have been so quick to judge.

I finished The New War tonight, and I was really impressed.  Sure, there's a few hitches here and there, but I was really struck by a through-line in Warframe's story from the beginning of when DE started adding narrative.  Warframe is about family.  The family you choose, the family you rebuild, or the family you lost... Whether it's the Entratis, the Lotus and her "children", or the kids on the Zariman, or Kahl and his "brothers"...  even the Sentients are a family,  That's the big-picture through-line I see in Warframe, which seems like an unusual and poignant subject matter for a FTP loot-shooter with a name like that.  And I'm pretty sure it's deliberate on the part of DE.

The second major theme I saw was discovering "who you really are".  In The Second Dream, the player discovers they're really the Operator, and the player gets to design their character after playing for many, many hours in most cases.  It's a bold choice on DE's part.  In The New War, it's about the Lotus, or Natah, or Margulis becoming who she really is, and again, the player gets to interpret who she really is through their own lens... At first this seemed like an odd choice to me, given the tendency to choose her persona based on aesthetics and the fact the story culminated in a rousing bout of self-determination, but after reading some posts here, I'm convinced it had the affect for many that DE probably intended:  To make the player *think* about what they felt like the character's true persona is.  While I feel it's the persona she "chose", The Lotus, I've seen some pretty cogent rationales for the others.  

This, along with some powerful writing in the opening vignettes involving Kahl and Veso, as well as the entire Drifter portion... To me, The New War is a triumph of emotionally-driven storytelling in an action game.  Especially when another big sci-fi shooter franchise known for its lore and narrative basically tried to pull off kind of the same thing at the same time with arguably less impactful results.  "Dream, not of who you are, but of what you want to be".

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Yeah the concept of Family and concept of Sacrifice has always been a major part of the lore. Though I was disappointed with the quest aside from Duviri setup, as the WAR was all about Lotus-Ballas having couple issues... But the Wally and Duviri teases were very fascinating and made me think back on the debate how Einstein defined Relativity compared to philosophical concept of Eternalism, they both just seem so same but different (ha, paradox).

 

The reality being collection of all possible outcomes and probabilistic view of universe just as the sub atomic world has always fascinated me and I appreciate how DE encorporated these mind boggling stuff into the new narrative of WF.

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Yep, some hardcore sci-fi in there also... And making us take a test on it!  I'm an interactive training designer, so I was basically like, "holy crap!" when I saw that.  I like how DE pulls from a lot of sources of inspiration (Frank Herbert, philosophy, physics) yet manages to make something unique.

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26 minutes ago, BigBlueDinosaur said:

Warframe is about family.  The family you choose, the family you rebuild, or the family you lost... Whether it's the Entratis, the Lotus and her "children", or the kids on the Zariman, or Kahl and his "brothers"...  even the Sentients are a family...

involving Kahl and Veso, as well as the entire Drifter portion... To me, The New War is a triumph of emotionally-driven storytelling in an action game. 

27 minutes ago, BigBlueDinosaur said:

The second major theme I saw was discovering "who you really are"...

I'm convinced it had the affect for many that DE probably intended:  To make the player *think* about what they felt like the character's true persona is. 

I never thought about these story elements this way before. Thank you for sharing your insights! This is a excellent review of the "big picture" of Warframe's storytelling.

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17 minutes ago, AkatsukiNo07 said:

But the Wally ... teases (I'm sorry, I know I'm using your quote out of context)

I forgot about that too! During the Chains of Harrow, Wally said he didn't want to be alone. It lends itself to the family we choose theme too.

  • "But the in-kids don't care about the invisible outs. If you were alone in that drift... you'd need a friend... even like me."
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I was left emotionally empty from the New War. At the end of the story I felt "OK?" I suppose. Zero choice, emotionally manipulative sections (and yes, the Kahl and Veso sections are exactly such) with a sprinkle of timelines converging for muddled storytelling.

This is how I felt. I really see no reason to challenge my emotional response to the quest with logical arguments.

It's good that the New War worked for some people on that level, but it didn't for me.

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Le 25/01/2022 à 08:39, rastaban75 a dit :

I was left emotionally empty from the New War. At the end of the story I felt "OK?" I suppose. Zero choice, emotionally manipulative sections (and yes, the Kahl and Veso sections are exactly such) with a sprinkle of timelines converging for muddled storytelling.

This is how I felt. I really see no reason to challenge my emotional response to the quest with logical arguments.

It's good that the New War worked for some people on that level, but it didn't for me.

Logical arguments would only reinforce your current view of the story.

It's cool if people find some form of resonnance within the themes and such, but looking at the story objectively, it's a mess. Barely anything from the past 7 years has any relevance, what little does has extremely poor payoff, motivations all around are nonsensical, the balance of power between Ballas and Erra is switched without any rhyme, reason nor explanation, more than half the quest is a contrived mcguffin hunt, the heavily marketed war part is barely explored, the sentient invasion is instantly entirely resolved by the death of one man, all the events in the quest are barely, if at all, aknowledged, and eternalism is introduced just to pre-emptively excuse anything that wouldn't make sense (aka everything).

Of course, if you decide to willingly ignore every and all factual components of the story, you might find some emotionnal resonnance, but come on... themes are so subjective, with enough mental gymnastic, you can find any theme into any media there is. I could say TNW has a theme of loss, we lost our space mom, Ballas lost his humanity, Erra lost control of his people, Hunhow lost his daughter, WF's story lost my respect... anything goes ! This is the same way that people will defend disney star wars and the last season of GoT as great pieces of art because they saw (made up) a theme they saw in it, as if that overshadows the absolute mess that the story is.

Again, I don't wanna take away from people's enjoyment, if you got good vibes from the quest, good for you. But no amount of themes could ever justify the clusterfudge this story is for me.

So yeah, all that to say, rastaban, themes are not logical arguments, quite the opposite. I would say, challenging your emotionnal response is not something you should consider, because it's emotionnal, subjective, it's yours. Even if the media in question is objectively dreadful, you can still enjoy it (and inversely). Just don't ever speak of themes as "logical arguments" XD.

Went on quite a tangent here, wasn't my original intent, just getting fired up when I see themes brought up.

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48 minutes ago, Fallen77 said:

Of course, if you decide to willingly ignore every and all factual components of the story, you might find some emotionnal resonnance,

TL;DR: The story isn't perfect, but I don't think Rastaban is imagining the family theme.

Were there holes in the story and broken plot elements? Yes. Is "because: multiverse" instead of retconning content a bit of a cop out? Yes. Do I agree with some of your other points? Yes.

Overall I have to disagree with you. My mother calls meatloaf "a battle between the butcher and the baker", and Warframe is no exception to this. The writers are presenting one story, the Devs have ultimate control over the story board, and the management (the lead directors, not Tencent) get to dictate what the end result will look like.

The sense of protecting people who are important to you can be found, not in the plot points, but in the reactions. You may need to remind yourself of what Warframe was like when you were a baby tenno.

  • The Hidden Messages quest is full of Lotus' regret over past failures.
  • In The Sacrifice we welcome Umbra into our family.
  • *Entrati Family waves*

New Player Experience:

  • What has he done to you? I can't lose another Tenno. I am surging your Warframe's power systems."
  • "Quick. Use your power. Defend yourself."

Natah:

  • (Distorted) "Good. I'm putting the stream together now. It is... it is an Oculyst. That means... I'm sorry Tenno, stay safe-" (Fades to static)
  • "Teshin! You don't have the authority. You are endangering the Tenno."
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il y a 14 minutes, LillyRaccune a dit :

TL;DR: The story isn't perfect, but I don't think Rastaban is imagining the family theme.

Were there holes in the story and broken plot elements? Yes. Is "because: multiverse" instead of retconning content a bit of a cop out? Yes. Do I agree with some of your other points? Yes.

Overall I have to disagree with you. My mother calls meatloaf "a battle between the butcher and the baker", and Warframe is no exception to this. The writers are presenting one story, the Devs have ultimate control over the story board, and the management (the lead directors, not Tencent) get to dictate what the end result will look like.

The sense of protecting people who are important to you can be found, not in the plot points, but in the reactions. You may need to remind yourself of what Warframe was like when you were a baby tenno.

  • The Hidden Messages quest is full of Lotus' regret over past failures.
  • In The Sacrifice we welcome Umbra into our family.
  • *Entrati Family waves*

New Player Experience:

  • What has he done to you? I can't lose another Tenno. I am surging your Warframe's power systems."
  • "Quick. Use your power. Defend yourself."

Natah:

  • (Distorted) "Good. I'm putting the stream together now. It is... it is an Oculyst. That means... I'm sorry Tenno, stay safe-" (Fades to static)
  • "Teshin! You don't have the authority. You are endangering the Tenno."

 

You assume the story is the result of both writers, devs and management each pulling in their own direction. Even if that is the case, that would just be a sheet job, that wouldn't excuse anything, the story is still just as broken. If the baker tells me the meatloaf is bad because the butcher had a hand in it, I'm not gonna go "oh ok, it's fine then", I'm gonna go "well you two are both complete incompetent morons".

I don't care what process they go through to write their story, if it sucks, it sucks, I'm not gonna give points for participation.

Oh wow, the theme of protecting people... I'm not convinced. Anyone can pull a theme out of their rear, as I just did in my previous post, it proves nothing.

Those things don't constitute a theme, those are just things that you cherry picked across 7+ years of quests to string together an idea that the story is about protecting people. But in reality, those are just random bits and pieces that happen in the story without any plan in the grand scheme of things.

Moreover, let's say that you got it right, that the writers, during all this time, had the intention to make a story about protecting those we love, ok... what does that change ? What does that fix ? Nothing, the story is still just as broken, contrived and nonsensical.

Again, if you liked the story for this reason or another, it's fine, it's your tastes and your prerogative. But what were you trying to say by waving this theme of protecting and stuff ? Are you getting at something more / else than I already covered ?

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I don't think most works of fiction in any medium would withstand such objective criticism.  Was Frank Herbert a genius or his use of prescience and "gholas" just narrative crutches?  Was Tolkien daft with the Scouring of the Shire, and was The One Ring just the ultimate McGuffin?  Most folks think highly of the original Star Wars trilogy, but "From a certain point of view" is probably the retcon of retcons.  Not that Warframe (or any other video game) is really on those levels, of course, but I hopefully make my point.  A game's narrative always have to service the gameplay, so there's usually compromises other non-interactive works for fiction don't have to deal with, but compromise they often still do.

That said, the game's story definitely has chinks in the armor...  and I think we can all agree something (TNW or otherwise) either "speaks" to you or doesn't, or maybe meets whatever expectations you have, or doesn't.  I give props to DE and Warframe because an online shooter doesn't have to be "about" anything, they can be like the arcade games of old and have nothing going on but a little pew-pew fun.  And there's nothing wrong with that, either.

At least to the point of folks being dissatisfied with the scale of the "war" in TNW:  For me, the opening two "levels" and the large-scale space battle that immediately followed "sold" me on the idea of it being a large scale war.  One that "we" lost, and spend the rest of the quest recovering from.  If I play a WWII game, just because my character isn't personally involved in every major battle doesn't mean it's not a big war.  Enemy Front is a pretty good example of that (if not a great game).  The story never says exactly how much time passed between the operator's defeat and where things pick up with the drifter.  I interpreted it as at least months, if not years.  Characters say things like "back in the day" to talk about the time before Narmer.  You don't normally say that if it just went down last week.  

I'll just say this... That song on the radio you hate and change the station every time it comes on?  It's somebody else's favorite.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Fallen77 said:

ok... what does that change ? What does that fix ? Nothing, the story is still just as broken, contrived and nonsensical.

Your points are valid, but your responses and position are aggressive and negative. Part of warframe being so open to interpretation is to allow us, the audience, to explore the narrative. As we start to fill in the blanks with our hypothesis, we become part of the narrative.

You say Warframe is broken, I say it is growing.

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il y a 18 minutes, LillyRaccune a dit :

Your points are valid, but your responses and position are aggressive and negative. Part of warframe being so open to interpretation is to allow us, the audience, to explore the narrative. As we start to fill in the blanks with our hypothesis, we become part of the narrative.

You say Warframe is broken, I say it is growing.

Agressive : I won't deny that I've often been on the corrosive side of things, I don't sugar coat my words for strangers on the internet. But here, this wasn't the intent. Story-telling is an art very dear to me, one I feel is gradually being lost, and one I can get very passionate about.

Negative : well yes, if I have nothing good to say about something, I'm not gonna twist my own mind in order to be positive. Not everything is sunshine and butterflies in life, can't always have happy exchanges about everything.

Some things are open to interpretation for sure, even more since eternalism-gate, but I'm talking about the facts, the undeniable things we've been presented with, and those are broken, they don't make sense.

You can convince yourself that we can interpret the story back in a place where it functions, but I just can't. Before this quest, when a lot of things were still unknown, I could very well headcannon a lot of things, but now it's just impossible. We've gone from a vague interpretable base to a very defined and broken base, and my sense of imagination cannot fix it in good faith.

The story is broken, factually. "The story is growing" doesn't mean anything concrete, it is just a vague statement with no foundation in anything, it may be pretty to say, but it amounts to nothing.

I don't have anything more to say, you may have your hopes, I won't try to take them away from you.

Peace

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3 hours ago, LillyRaccune said:

TL;DR: The story isn't perfect, but I don't think Rastaban is imagining the family theme.

 

I just want to make one thing perfectly clear: I'm not attacking anyone's emotional response to the New War. But I would also like to address the "family" topic.

Essentially, every work of fiction in any sort of medium (books, movies, video games, theatrical plays, music and what not) that explores relationships between people is "about family" to a lesser or greater extent. It doesn't matter if it's between people with relationships born out of biology (parents, kids, siblings) or born out of legal decisions (e.g. adopted kids) or born out of friendships (because friends are the family you choose, as the saying goes); all these are varieties of a "family" - In this sense, I don't find anything special about the exploration of such relationships in the universe of Warframe.

On the contrary, I felt that many of those were forced by the narrative and the eventual destination of the plot. The tenno rushes to save "mom", but we never really get that scene where their broken relationship is addressed. Daddy Teshin rushes to the Sentient ship for no reason other than so we the players get to play as him and not because there is an actual need for him to protect the tenno (who, let's face it, have an order of magnitute more powerful arsenal than him and plenty of training). And to me, there is no better example of fake emotional manipulation than the opening segments of Kahl and Veso (which is a pity, cause they functioned well otherwise): for some inexcplicable reason, the New War tries to "humanize" Grineer and Corpus so we can feel bad for them when they die by the Sentient threat... which makes zero sense because these are the exact type of characters we kill daily by the hundred/thousand whenever we do a Grineer or Corpus mission. From the point of view of Kahl of Veso it would make zero difference if they died by a powerful Warframe or a powerful Sentient. So why the emotion?

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TNW as as story was middling at best, so many holes it could grate cheese. TNW as a quest was a huge let down, probably because of the way DE chose to hype it. "Prepare yourself for war" was in reality "Prepare yourself for playing hide and seek for 80% of the quest". The first two acts (Kahl and Vespus) were interesting and what I thought was the pre-cursor for actual war; but no, it was just building up to a big let down of DE doing what DE does to create "challenging" content: take everything away and make you sneak around. It reminded me of an extended mastery test. There was no War at all, we missed the whole thing.

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On 2022-01-25 at 7:58 AM, PolkHP said:

moments GIF

100% this, and that's why the descent into Fortuna with For Narmer playing absolutely destroyed me. That was the biggest 'you fk'ed up, big time' moment in the game so far 😭

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4 hours ago, AltheusVI said:

Who you are doesn't matter, what you are doesn't matter, it's what you do that is important.

I'd say what you do helps define who you are, but identity matters, as anyone who has struggled with it could tell you.

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