Over the past several months, the name “Update 18.0” has taken on a monumental power for fans of Digital Extremes’ cooperative third-person shooter Warframe. And to the delight of those fans, Update 18.0 has finally arrived. With it comes a slew of new additions and changes to Digital Extremes’ galactic romp, which places player in the role of powerful beings called Tenno, who don power suits called warframes and slice and dice their way across a war-torn solar system inflected with stylings from both Eastern and Western sci-fi genres.
First among these additions is a new questline called “The Second Dream,” which explores the enigmatic nature of the Tenno and their warframe suits. This new quest introduces fully-cinematic cutscenes to Warframe, complete with motion capture animation and voice acting.
A trailer for The Second Dream can be viewed below:
The quest also introduces a new tileset on Earth’s moon, which contains the ruins of the ancient Orokin civilization that created the Tenno. Completing missions in the lunar ruins will reward players with new mods through which they can further upgrade their warframes.
Secondly, Update 18.0 introduces a new warframe: the elusive Ivara. Ivara’s name is derived from an Old Norse name “Ívarr,” which is composed of two elements: “ýr” (yew tree, bow) plus “hariar” (warrior). Essentially, the moniker means “the bow of the warrior,” and Ivara lives up to every part of her namesake. Her toolkit includes an arsenal of specialty arrows which can be used to put enemies to sleep, create tightropes to walk across, distract enemies, and cloak allies in invisibility. She can also control projectiles fired from her weapons, turn invisible and pickpocket enemies for loot, and summon a legendary bow to rain death on her enemies. Her abilities can be seen in action below:
Ivara can be acquired from Spy missions, where her warframe parts will be awarded as part of a loot table.
Ivara is not the only frame in Update 18.0’s spotlight. The brutish Rhino warframe has also undergone some tweaks, which will allow him to better clobber and decimate his foes.
The following changes have been made to Rhino, and are available for all players immediately:
• Rhino has been given a passive: Heavy Impact!
• Rhino Charge has received the following changes:
– Rhino Charge can now gore enemies caught in his path!
– Rhino Charge now has a re-cast combo counter (mechanically identical to Valkyr’s Ripline and Atlas’ Landslide).
– Duration mods no longer affect Rhino’s Charge.
– Range mods will now affect Rhino Charge’s distance.
– Rhino Charge’s distance is now based on his Ability combo counter.
– Rhino Charge will now result in a Blast proc on targets if Iron Skin is active while Charging.
– Rhino Charge will deal double damage against targets affected by Rhino Stomp.
• Iron Skin has received the following changes:
Iron Skin has damage absorb period at beginning and is affected by armour, like Snow Globe and Tectonics.
• Rhino Stomp has received the following changes:
– Fixed ‘double getup’ when enemies affected by Rhino Stomp get ragdolled.
– Rhino Stomp is recastable now and picks up new enemies in range.
The Tenno’s armory of guns and blades will also be seeing some new changes with U18. In addition to several new weapons and cosmetics, sniper rifles have been completely overhauled. Their changes can be read below:
The following changes have been made to all Sniper Rifles:
• Sniper Rifles now have a variable zoom that can be adjusted in two ways:
– Firstly, your right mouse button is a ‘held’ aim.
– Secondly, your middle-mouse button (alt-fire) adjusts zoom levels.
• Each level of zoom will provide a stat bonus that is applied to each shot. These bonuses are specific to each Sniper Rifle and will be indicated in the scope.
• Successive kills with a Sniper Rifle will apply toward a combo counter, which will apply a damage bonus for each successive kills.
• The Sniper Rifle’s combo counter will reset after a delay or when the player misses their next shot.
Sniper Rifle scopes have received a visual overhaul.
But the Tenno’s enemies have also re-armed themselves in anticipation. The Tenno’s natural enemy, The Stalker, has received reworks to his combat abilities. A faction of mysterious cyborg entities called the Sentients, for which the Tenno were presumably created to fight, have also re-appeared from the solar system’s past. Their relationship to the Stalker will be revealed in the new questline.
U18 also introduces many new changes to Warframe’s system mechanics. The first of these is a questing system called Sortie Missions. Sorties are designed to be challenging endgame missions for experienced players, and will act as a kind of ‘daily quest’ like those seen in other MMORPGs. Sorties will manifest as three distinct missions, each of which will possess their own unique restrictions (i.e., only melee weapons, lowered energy shields). Sortie mutators will change daily, and will possess loot tables that rotate every 15 days as part of a Sortie Season. Players will be required to complete three of these Sorties to receive a random reward drawn from each season’s loot pool. Some of these rewards will be quite valuable, meaning players will be rewarded for building up a versatile arsenal of warframes and weaponry to tackle as many Sorties as possible.
Digital Extremes has also reworked many of the loot tables for other endgame missions, like those belonging to the Survival and Excavation game modes. The game’s login reward system has been completely reworked, and will now reward players for consecutive logins each day. Players with higher Mastery Ranks (which represent the total amount of experience gained from leveling your frames and weapons) have higher chances to receive better rewards through logins. Players will no longer have to pay real money or wait 24 hours for additional Revives in missions. All four Revives will be refreshed upon returning to the player’s Liset, or main ship.
Digital Extremes has not shirked its Player vs. Player modes, either. In addition to numerous balance tweaks to weapons and maps, the Nekros (necromancer), Limbo (space distortion), Vauban (engineer/trapper), and Mirage (jester/trickster) warframes are now available for PvP play. Digital Extremes will be monitoring and adjusting these new changes in the coming months.
Finally, U18 introduces a trading post called Maroo’s Bazaar. Here, players can advertise their wares and coordinate deals with other players for valuable gear, modifications, and the like. The Bazaar should be a massive quality of life improvement over the current trade system, which requires players to organize trades in a busy global chat and undertake them in one of the players’ Dojos, or guild residencies.
Update 18 may be bringing many welcome changes to Warframe, but it is also a sign of the level of effort Digital Extremes is now putting into improving their evolving project. U18 released at 7:00PM EST on Windows platforms earleir today, and will release on Playstation 4 and Xbox One platforms in the coming months after the update receives certification from each of their respective companies.