Thursday, August 08, 2013

Is It Pay To Win? - Warframe

Welcome to the first "Is It Pay to Win?" article. Warframe will be our first game in the series as it's currently a game that I play a lot and one that some people think is Pay to Win. Let's explore Warframe's business model and decide for ourselves whether it really is P2W.

To buy stuff from the Warframe market, players would need Platinum. Platinum rate is about $5 for 75 Platinums with some bonus for more expensive purchases. Compared to the stuff available in the store, 75 Platinum is a really small number unless of course if you only want to buy Warframe and Weapon slots(20 Plats for 1 Warframe slot and 12 Plats for 2 Weapon slots).

The first tab you'll see in the in-game Market is the Bundles tab which essentially sells various packs. There are Avatar Packs which are purely cosmetics, giving the player more avatar options. Alternative helmets are also sold in the Market which give the player alternative looks for their frames. These helmets have statistic changes, however they are only sidegrades that doesn't offer clear advantage over the default helmets. Players can also get these alternative helmets from Alerts.

Another thing available in the Bundles tab are of course, bundles. These contains various stuff like Warframes, Weapons and Color Palettes. Color Palettes are of course only cosmetics but buying Warframe and Weapons might be seen as Pay to Win by some people. The same can also be said for the next 2 tabs, which are Warframe and Weapon.

This is where I will talk a bit of Warframe's gameplay. The whole point of Warframe is to collect and try out the different Warframe and Weapons. Players buy or craft the ones they like and put mods to make these equipment suit their playstyle. The key here is that collecting these Warframes and Weapons are the focus of the game. Buying them to get these equipment faster are actually bad to your gameplay experience. You skip out on all the material farming and crafting time, essentially halving the game for yourself. Besides that, every Warframe and Weapons that the player can buy at the Market are also available in-game through crafting.

Crafting will of course take a lot of time when compared to just buying the Warframe and Weapons. Warframes will take around 3.5 days to craft(not including the time spent to gather the materials) while Weapons usually take around 12 to 24 hours to craft. We can conclude then that the Market doesn't sell more powerful weapons, but instead just offer a way to cut the time needed to get some equipment. Also, Weapons sold in the Market are only around half of the number of available Weapons in Warframe. The rest of the Weapons are only obtainable from Alerts or Clan Research, which can't be bought with Platinums.

The Equipment tab in the Market sells various alt helmets, color palettes and skins for Weapons and Sentinels. Just like I said before, these skins are mostly cosmetics with some offering slight shanges in statistics. These changes are minor bonuses and all of these skins(except for the purely cosmetics Sentinel accessories) are obtainable through Alerts. Again, it's just a case of paying to save time which is clearly not Pay to Win.

Page 3 of the Equipment tab is where people usually get angry. Players can buy materials and fusion cores from the Market with Platinums, essentially nullifying the need to farm for materials. However, just by reading that last sentence you should already realize why doing so would actually be detrimental to your own experience. Like I said before, buying materials cut off the need to farm, which is the focus of Warframe's gameplay. And why anyone would want to buy materials instead of just buying the Weapons(which includes bonus Orokin Catalyst or Orokin Reactor) is beyond me.

The fact that these materials exists in the Market worries me however, that Digital Extremes actually expect that the less informed players would spend their Platinums here. That is definitely a bad business practice and this needs to be changed. The fusion cores are also somewhat predatory just like the materials. Players can easily get lots of fusion cores just by doing 1 or 2 Defense Mission runs. Putting Fusion Core packs which costs quite a lot for only 3 cores is just ridiculous. The inclusion of materials and Fusion Cores are definitely a bad mark for Warframe's microtransaction system.

The last tab in the Market is Gear which sells stuff like ammo boxes, cipher, health pack and shield restore. These are consumables and most of these are bought using in-game credits. The ones sold for Platinums aren't really important but just like the Materials and Fusion Core packs are a bit overpriced for stuff that could be considered "useless".

In conclusion, Warframe's Market offers nothing that can be called Pay to Win. Not one thing can give one player the edge over other players. in fact, buying most of these things actually have the potential to make the game more boring. Players expecting to play Warframe without having to spend even a dime can do so without any real difficulty. Is it Pay to Win? definitely not.


  1. thats bs we have to bust are asses to get all the parts and anyone with some cash can just buy it just like that u can buy the best things with platnium only thing u cant do is pay to level up but sence they have better gear ther gonna have better stuff find better stuff level faster cuz we have to work hard to get are stuf even if they dont pay to level there paying for butter weapons and looks also sentinals that help them so yea thats my opinion on that it my not be fully pay o win bt the sure restrict the hell out of you

    1. Pay to save time is never pay to win. Besides, the whole point of the game is the grind. By buying weapons, you skip the grind and will get yourself to the point of boredom more quickly. And the game doesn't restrict anything, you get access to every weapon available, it takes time to get them but definitely not resttricted. Besides, the best weapons are those from clan research anyways, which can't be bought with Platinum. :)