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Warframe's Messy Lore


Khevor
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This has been brought up before, I know.  However, it never seems to be addressed and actually gets worse as the time progresses.  I've been playing a long time and a friend of mine even longer yet and the original framework for the lore was interesting and compelling.  This was before there were such a thing as 'Operators' and children called 'Tenno'.  After all, the idea of 'Tenno' came from a misread of the ID on the Zariman when it returned to the Origin System from the Void.  Were there children on the Zariman? Well, probably, but the chance of them surviving were negligible.  After all, there used to be flavour text on the warframes... Rhino, for example.  The things that frame did on the Zariman are chilling... but DE up-ended the entire lore shortly after the flavour text disappeared from frames.

So, operators.  Yeah.. sure.  I understand why operators were added.  People were asking a *lot* of questions about who the player was.  We had all of these frames and could switch in and out of them at will but was the player the frame or were the players a frame's consciousness that slipped from one to another like putting on a new suit (hence Ordis' comment 'your warframe suits you').  The best way to address that concern as the warframes started to pile up was to basically make them just that - outfits that came with ability enhancements.  This also helped answer the question regarding defense missions (further enhanced by a slight rework of the initial tutorial mission back in the day) - who were you defending: another operator's pod salvaged from the Zariman.  (This is supposition on my part since it did look like another operator was in the pod.)  This does not, however, explain survival missions since Warframes clearly don't need to breathe and the operators aren't really there... so...

While some questions were answered (for the most part) by additions to the existing lore, rewriting the lore or ignoring it (insert words 'retcon' and 'shoehorn' as descriptors) have done nothing to clarify much about these space ninjas and their operators.  Orokin created the warframes; that much is clear during the glimpses of the horror of what happened to Umbra.  The story of Yureli and Inaros both indicate they each had sentience as well (since operators didn't exist until the Zariman jump accidental/on purpose event) so nothing answered the question about how we're recreating warframes as empty husks operators can jump into and out of.  At least with Umbra, that relationship is somewhat symbiotic.  So we've created an arsenal of empty flesh golems based on horrifying Orokin experiments that we inhabit from a neural Professor X chair in the back of the orbiter ...

Stopping myself before I put too much thought into *that* train.

So, we're special children/operators that the Void made special. These are former humans of the Origin system that have been made virtually immortal with psychic powers the like no one and nothing has ever seen...  or so we think... then Cetus comes along with the Quills (and the equivalent of a primitive tribal village of humans) who suddenly not only know about the operators but their abilities to the point where they mysteriously know how to develop and build weapons for them to use to harness their void power?  Um... what?  Ok, does your head hurt yet?  But wait, there's more.

The Heart of Deimos... yeah... that is evidently the source of the Warframes' power... um... what? Ok, whatever.  I'm skipping over that headache inducing mess.

Now, let us reintroduce the ship that was already brought back from the Void... except it wasn't because now it's stuck between the void and space like a cork.  As for what happened on that ship... yeah, all earlier history is out the window.

Just before COVID started, I decided, out of curiosity, to ask a popular Warframe streamer what the lore of Warframe was just to see if I would get anything that might be a cohesive answer to this disjointed, nonsensical mess.  The answer I got surprised me.  He said he didn't know and that any time he tried to figure it out, it made less sense so he gave up on it.  Then he rhetorically asked if anyone really knew.

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Hello Khevor,

To lighten your headache a bit : Remember that almost all Orokin technology is made with/Work with Void energy (Ship reactor, Necramech, Orokin cells).

  • Cetus and the Quills just only have weapons developed to use Void Energy (Notably for it to be used against Eidolon roaming earth). just Old War's stuffs.
  • The Heart of Deimos is just a gateway, Void energy can be use by reactor or Tenno if there is some around; The heart is a Solar-system-scale Well of Void Energy.
  • The Zariman's duality existence is part of the SF trend which warframe. Lot of SF books and novels read by the author also use it as basis.

In the 80' most peoples hear about the Chaos theory but as thay did not understand it, the create some Chaotics universe like Warhammer/Elric. Today the Quantum mechanics is the front of Sciences research and the new trend in novels and scams; So people are inspired by the duality and mysteries of quantum's world. A bit like some olders/Classics TV series "Quantum Leap" or "Sliders"...

"Then he rhetorically asked if anyone really knew" : Yes and this is the very definition of What a Mystery is !

In Lot of game and RPG (Like Glorantha/Cthulhu), the creator does not need to know everything; Having some unknown elements add a bit of spice to the history and even if they know, the best way is not to reveal it like some Agatha Christie's revelations but to dilute it in lot of element and let the reader the pleasure to find the answer by themselves... Some hate this but people who love enigma n' mysteries will prefer it this way.

 

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Thats what I like about warframe lore. They give you the basic and you can imagine the rest.

Like the quills. He could be an adult tenno that escaped the paradox and is helping us to prevent something really bad to happen in the future.

And if Vor learned how to use void/orokin stuff... anyone can.

 

Edited by DarkSkysz
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So, allow me to help you out with this.

DE made Dark Sector, the game that was released was heavily, heavily changed by the publishers to be a completely different story and the only things that were kept were some of DE's weapons, the character design and some of the naming.

We have had interviews, DevStreams, and multiple commentary notes from the original Dev Team about what they wanted Warframe to be originally. And do you know something?

Almost everything story related that has been added in is something that DESteve wanted to include from the very beginning of Dark Sector. The Zariman, for example, is the ship from the original pitch trailer for Dark Sector, it included early models of Grineer, and even the original Jackal. We see the first Liset, and talk with Lotus.

The Operators were planned to be in the game that became Warframe since before the closed Beta, but the Dev Team couldn't put them in. The original update to give you a Liset, instead of just menus over the backdrop of your Warframe kneeling in front of the map, was planned before the Closed Beta.

Railjack, or at least the original pitch of Railjack (where you had an actual solar-system travelling craft that would allow you to fly around in space and start ground missions interactively), was planned before the Closed Beta.

I know it seems weird, considering that you think there's so many holes in the lore, but it really was planned to be like this. The execution? Not so much. But the plan was to have these things happen, and we're still not done with that original story that Steve and Scott wanted to tell. It's not over until we find out who The Man In The Wall is and fix whatever it is that story thread leads to.

Only then are we beyond what the original story plans included.

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The main issue here is that you have misunderstood quite a few piece of lore.

So let's correct some of those

First let's give a very rough timeline of what happen before the game time period (note: there is still many hole in the lore so i will also be making some assumption)

 

A long, long, time ago the Orokin realized that they had completly #*!%ed the origin system (exhausted it's ressourced and polluted most of it ). So they decided to find themselves a new planetary system to colonize and ruin, they set their eyes on Tau and ordered their archimedians to find a way to go there, this give rise to a bunch of projects.

 

Project one, send a colony ship to Tau using a certain void relic to achieve an interstellar void jump. That (or one of those) ship was the Zariman 10-0, they load it with whole famillies (children included) and send them on their merry way. The jump was a failure stranding the ship in the Void, exposure to the Void drove the adults into madness and gave power to the children (TNW imply that it's actually more of a faustian deal but that not the subject here). After some time and for unknown reasons the Zariman returned to normal space at which point the Orokin discovered the "insane dead civilian and Void touched teen" situation and quickly sweept it under the rug. The kiddos were stored away somewhere on Lua in what i assume was cryosleep (the rhino prime codex describe the area as a "morgue").

 

Project two, send autonomous drones to build a solar rail between Origin and Tau. (note i'm putting it at number two but we have no information if this project took place before, after or as the same time as the colony ship one). That one was a success but the issue was that the drones had evolve and achieve sentience, an heresy for the Orokins who quickly decided that a genocide was not that big of a price for a brand new planet to ruin... The sentients disagreed on that point starting the old war.

 

Said war quickly turn in favor of the sentients as they were able to adapt and take over the Orokin tech. Our dear Ballas came up a solution: "since machines don't work let's go biological". Using a special strain of the Infestation he started turning Orokin best warriors into biodrones, the warframes. At first it worked well but quickly the warframes were consummed by the Infestation madness, turning them into ravenous monsters. Ballas and his team tried everything to get control back (drugs, torture...) without succes, until one one of those proto-frame escape it's holding cell and start murdering everybody in view (that the rhino prime codex btw)... until it came across the sector were the "reject" from the Zariman were stored, at that point the frame became passive and the silent, passified by the Zariman childrens.
Ballas brought his lover Margulis in the project and together they deviced a new system, the children would be kept in stasis but their mind would be linked to the warframe, "taking their pain away" and forming a symbiotic duo with the child as the mind (the operator) and the warframe as the body. The result was so efficient that the warframe ended up being used for more than just fighting the sentients (Infestation purge, rebellion suppression, Orokins official and ally bodyguard...) leading them to be recognized as their own autonomous entity/clan, choosing the monicker Tenno (for 10-0).

But not everything was peachy in ethics-violation-land as Margulis as came to see the Tenno as potential saviors for the Orokin... an heresy who got her branded as an apostat and executed by the Seven (including her lover Ballas). Ballas being the totally sane and rational being he was decided that the best way to grieve was to destroy the whole Orokin empire. He made contact with the leader of the sentient Hunhow and strike a deal with him, giving him the secret of the warframe and planning to use the Tenno to remove the Orokin

I will stop there but after that came Old Friend uncovering Ballas plan, the day of the naga drum, Lotus double betrayal and the hiding of the moon.

 

With that in mind lets correct some of your misconceptions

Il y a 7 heures, Khevor a dit :

Rhino, for example.  The things that frame did on the Zariman are chilling

Rhino never stepped foot on the Zariman, that scene take place after the return of the Zariman from the void, in an Orokin research center

 

Il y a 7 heures, Khevor a dit :

who were you defending: another operator's pod salvaged from the Zariman.

Nope, the guy in the pod is a Lotus operative (like the guards in the relay), at this point in time most of the Tenno are in cryosleep in Lua Reservoir

 

Il y a 7 heures, Khevor a dit :

Were there children on the Zariman? Well, probably, but the chance of them surviving were negligible.

Yes, as comfirmed by the Angel of the Zariman update, as for survival we are going back to wally and his deal with us

 

Il y a 7 heures, Khevor a dit :

The story of Yureli and Inaros both indicate they each had sentience as well (since operators didn't exist until the Zariman jump accidental/on purpose event)

That one is the biggest misconception, the only autonomous warframes were the original one before the madness set-in, and during that time period they were most likely only used to fight the sentient as it was their purpose (not 100% sure since we lack lore on that time period).
All the story where you see a warframe being heroic, is actually a Tenno acting thought it (the only potential exception being Titania but there is a few other explanation to her behavior in the silver grove).
Remember that most story in the lore are told from the subjective point of view of people who didn't know about the Zariman children since the Orokin hide the truth. Those witness had no idea that what they saw was a biological puppet remotely controlled by a child sleeping somewhere in the bowel of Lua, for them the warframe and the Tenno were one and the same. Inaros didn't save Baro ancestors, a Tenno controlling the Inaros frame did it, same with Yareli, Gauss, Styannax and all the other.

 

Il y a 7 heures, Khevor a dit :

then Cetus comes along with the Quills (and the equivalent of a primitive tribal village of humans) who suddenly not only know about the operators but their abilities to the point where they mysteriously know how to develop and build weapons for them to use to harness their void power?

Most of the Cetus inhabitants don't know about the Tenno, only the Quills do because they are connected to the Unum who is some kind of Orokin device operating the Cetus tower (my personnal theory is that the Unum is the tower neural sentry but no real info on that for now). As an Orokin era "entity" the Unum seem to have access to knowledge on who the tenno are and how their power work. Creating a device capable to harness our void power is nothing special for her/it as most of the Orokin tech was void based anyway

 

Il y a 7 heures, Khevor a dit :

he Heart of Deimos... yeah... that is evidently the source of the Warframes' power

The Heart is syphoning power from the Void and channeling it over the whole system, powering every Orokin tech, including the warframes skills and shields but most likely every solar rail, still standing orokin towers and who know what else. The Heart is just the electric central powering the Orokin Power grid that our frame are plugged in, nothing complexe.

 

Il y a 7 heures, Khevor a dit :

Now, let us reintroduce the ship that was already brought back from the Void... except it wasn't because now it's stuck between the void and space like a cork.  As for what happened on that ship... yeah, all earlier history is out the window.

Nope, thanks to Eternalism. Time, rationality and causality don't work in the Void, every possible timeline exist simultaneously in the Void.
Our Zariman (from the Ember codex) is from one timeline where we took wally deal.
The Zariman stranded in Duviri is from another timeline where our kiddo refuse wally deal (my theory 100% not canon) and became the drifter.
The Void cork Zariman is (maybe) from a third timeline where everybody died/turn into void angel
It look complicated but it's simple alternate timeline/univers overlapping trope.

 

Il y a 7 heures, Khevor a dit :

so nothing answered the question about how we're recreating warframes as empty husks operators can jump into and out of.  At least with Umbra, that relationship is somewhat symbiotic.  So we've created an arsenal of empty flesh golems based on horrifying Orokin experiments that we inhabit from a neural Professor X chair in the back of the orbiter ...

How we are recreating warframes? Good old cloning (or some similar synthesis based shennanigan)
Are the one we remake sentient ? a good question,i can see 2 options

a) they are rebuilt with their mind (or what's the infestation left of it) after all Umbra memories seem to be "genetically" coded as he still have them after we rebuild him from his scorched remain... so our warframes may too be still be somewhat sentient, at which point we connect with them and take their pain and rage away and form the same symbiotic link we have with Umbra

b) the copies are empty, just an amalgam of infestation and Orokin tech
 

What option is the less morally wrong i let that you XD

 

to close that horrendous wall of text some thing to keep in mind:
-Warframe story is shown from a subjective viewpoint, everything that a PNJ say can be a lie, the result of mind control (Natah/Lotus) or them misunderstanding what happen, never took the codex/leverian/transmissions as absolute truth.
-The lore is fragmented and intentionnally vague. Never assume that your headcanon is 100% true be always ready to change your worldview, if two informations seem to clash don't overthink it and just try to think how they could fit together if you just look at them from a different angle. The beauty of that is that even when DE is actually retconning something they are not, they are just changing how we should be interpreting the old lore.
-Eternalism allow for different timeline to coexist, this open a lot of leeway to explain apparent incoherence  like the multiple instance of the Zariman, or how some frame that should not have a prime have one (as long that there is a possible timeline were Titania or Revenant did live long enough to have their imprit save into a relic then the void allow us to reach and get our hand on the shinies). Praise the timey wimey wibbly wobbly

Edited by Ombretrone
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19 minutes ago, VieniSu said:

There are lots of little story pages hidden all over the zariman if u choose to interact with them they give a nice bit of detail of what happened behind the scenes.

Yep, Sabotage... Hundred bucks of Coffee it's the guy we trashed into the Sun. 😈

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10 hours ago, Ombretrone said:

The main issue here is that you have misunderstood quite a few piece of lore.

So let's correct some of those

First let's give a very rough timeline of what happen before the game time period (note: there is still many hole in the lore so i will also be making some assumption)

<snip>

 

I appreciate the time you took to put all of that together.  You included a few bits I purposely left out (i.e. Lua) and were able to explain away a good number of things in a sensical way.  :)  You're right, there were things I wasn't aware of (the friend I mentioned in my post also told me that Rhino text didn't happen on the Zariman whereas I assumed it had).  The only part that no longer fits into the story (which is unfortunate as it was all completely changed) was the Captain Vor storyline and the void keys.  Ah well.  Can't have everything.

I did completely forget about the solar rails (via clan dojo) because that was introduced and removed from the game before I ever realized they existed outside of the system map (before it too was changed).

I also forgot about relevant details like the Old War and Orokin Tower Neural Sentries (which the Lotus even talks about the first time you enter a mission in the Void).  As such, I never considered the Unum actually being a more... intact, shall we say... tower neural sentry.  I say good call on that.

As for the return of the Zariman, while I did mention that, it wasn't intended to disparage it as much as show it didn't appear to make sense.  (Frankly, I think the ship is a very interesting place and the tidbits of lore scattered around it are enough to make me stop and listen in the middle of a mission if only to shake my head at the sheer callus nature of the 'powers-that-be' that ran the ship (I'm assuming they were Orokin since that kind of callus disregard for life seems to be well in their proverbial bailiwick)).  Returning to a non-open world environment is a nice change of pace (outside of the old missions, of course).

As for the man in the wall... perhaps some things are better left not known.  After all, you look into the Abyss long enough, it eventually looks back.... and says 'Hey, Kiddo.'

 

(Aside: However, I still don't see Margulis as a 'good' person, in the grand scheme of things.  She always seemed to me to be more of a person of logic and science who wanted to keep the kids for research whereas everyone else wanted them exterminated, but that is another story entirely.)

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@OmbretroneHigh chance the Zariman we visit is the very same Zariman we made the deal with The Man in the Wall. Reason I say this is that Hodum and Calvario both make statements regarding Tenno specifically, the empowered Tenno. Hodum was killed, incinerated, by a Tenno when trying to help the children, and the children just thought she was another crazed adult. The kids have no weapons, and the insanity just began, don't think they would have been able to just make a flame thrower outta nowhere that quickly. Calvario makes a couple of comments about how well the children handled themselves during the incident, doing better than he, an actual veteran.

@KhevorThere is nothing about Void Keys no longer being something we Tenno use discounting Vor having one. Because of the Tenno's position in the Orokin Empire, we have access codes to the Void Towers since we used to defend them in the old era to begin with. Grineer and Corpus were never allowed access so would need a key. One of the reasons we don't just get nuked out of orbit when in space above earth or jupiter is that our ship is hidden in the void until we are ready to depart. 

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