Warframe's Prime Resurgence Is Coming Back Permanently, And With Welcome Changes
We chat with Warframe community director Megan Everett about how Prime Resurgence is being updated based on player feedback.
Warframe is approaching its 10-year anniversary as a live-service game, and it continues to evolve in numerous ways. With new weapons, Warframes, and quality-of-life changes, Digital Extremes has continued to focus on community requests to aid in bringing about an ever-changing, but a flourishing experience for players while providing more options for newer players to earn Warframes, weapons, and accessories without spending real-world currency. We spoke with Warframe community director Megan Everett, who has been with Digital Extremes for nine years, about the return of the Prime Resurgence event and the feedback the team has taken from last year's version.
Prime Vault and Prime Resurgence History
For those new to Warframe, Prime Resurgence allows players to gather Aya through Bounties Missions and then trade it in for specific Void Relics that can be used to unlock Prime Parts for Warframes, weapons, and gear. Primed versions of these items are much more powerful than their original counterparts.
Digital Extremes debuted Prime Resurgence last year. When it first launched, it was still trying to figure out the best methods to obtain Prime items by taking into account the firsthand experience of players. "We were upfront about this and it was a learn-as-you-go experience the first time doing this in the world's Prime Event. We took a lot of the feedback from last year, we really looked at the stats, we wanted to take out time making sure that when we brought it back, it's in its best shape possible," Everett told GameSpot.
Since 2015, Warframe has had the Prime Vault, an archive of Prime Warframes and weapons that can still be obtained with real-world money but will not appear as rewards in missions. "At the time [in 2015], we had less Prime Warframes, fewer Warframes, less everything in general. [Prime Vault] was our way to introduce more excitement and urgency around those Prime Warframes. And as the years went on, we found ourselves in this cadence of vaulting Primes faster than we were unvaulting them. Which was not ideal, and has led to the situation now that players don't have access to a bunch of Prime Warframes, their accessories, and weapons," Everett had said.
"It doesn't have a very good in-world explanation as to why these things aren't accessible--[outside of] other players telling others they're 'metaphorically' behind this vault, gate, that no one can access until we open it," Everett continued.
Unvaulting things--such as with the current Prime Warframes, Chroma, and Zephyr--is not as simple as clicking a button. The developers have to go back to ensure this content works on different platforms.
"To make those packs available, you have to go through the console certification process, and in order for that code to exist, you have to make [an immense amount] of assets for each platform--they are all unique," Everett said. "It became really difficult as the game progressed and evolved, trying to balance those two, wanting to do more Prime Vaults and making those accessible, but also focusing on the game to time the releases of those sorts of missions."
Everett continued: "Prime Resurgence really allows for the dev resources that we needed to do with Prime Vault to be off of that program, and [have developers on things like] Veilbreaker, Duviri, and everything in between we have planned. It is less dev-intensive; it's driven purely by people who can flip the switch, and [as long as] QA verifies it is good to go."
Aya and Regal Aya
Aya itself was tough for players to farm last year due to low drop rates in bounty missions. With Resurgence being permanent, drop tables will be updated with Aya rewards. "We did have to take out Aya from stage one of the Deimos bounties just because we saw a bit of exploitative behavior when we did Ghouls. We bumped up [Aya] to stage two, but we have also [increased] the amount of Aya you can get. It is worth it [with the new changes,]" Everett confirmed.
Aya comes in two forms. Without spending any money, Aya can be obtained to trade for Void Relics, but Regal Aya can be purchased for real-world money and used to buy the completed Prime version of a Warframe, weapon, or accessory outright without having to buy individual Prime parts. You cannot find Regal Aya just by playing.
When Warframes such as the recently released Khora Prime become vaulted, she will then be added to the rotation. "Except for Excalibur Prime," Everett quickly interjected with a laugh, since Excalibur Prime was only for players that had purchased the Founder’s Pack. A running joke about how the community asks for Excalibur Prime often for those who have missed that chance.
The team will continue to look at which Warframes have not been available for a long time, and will order the list based on factors such as player requests and how long they have been vaulted.
Player Feedback and Implementation
With only limited Prime Vault access available since last year, Digital Extremes wants to course correct by having Resurgence as a monthly rotation to provide players with more options to obtain their desired Prime Warframes, weapons, and accessories. When choosing the specific items to Prime or allow for Prime Access, there is a decision-making process on what Digital Extreme can or cannot Prime. "All of the weapons are Tenno weapons, you can't Prime an Orokin weapon. It doesn't fit into the lore," Everett said while laughing.
When figuring out how to improve the Prime version of a Warframe, the developers will look at certain abilities on a Warframe. Seeing which ones are used less frequently in the vanilla version can lead to it being made stronger in its Prime version. "We only have a few eligible weapons that can be Primed, and that makes sense with the Warframe they are being Primed [alongside]. When we do Prime a Warframe, we look at the kit, the stats in terms of how many people have [a specific Warframe]. That's not going to change them being Primed; there is an order for [items] to get Primed, and we will Prime it no matter what."
Due to Prime Resurgence now being permanent, players will have rotations throughout the entire year, but Digital Extremes' plans are not set in stone. "[Prime Resurgence is here to stay], but we have the ability to change it on the fly, or after a few months look at the feedback again. [For example], maybe a month is not long enough, maybe it needs to be two-month [rotations]? The excitement of doing 11-12 rotations a year rather than two Prime Vaults a year is very exciting," Everett said.
Feedback from last year's version of Resurgence has already been implemented for this new system. Everett said, "There will be an exchange of Aya for Void Traces. When we first launched it, we didn't have that option, but everyone was confident [and pushed], so [we decided] to add this as an option. A lot of it will feel familiar with a few exceptions [such as it being] monthly now."
Everett reassured, "We are still going to be looking at the feedback. Because [Prime Resurgence] is coming back permanently, things could feel different a year or two years from now. We will look at the stats, [for example,] are people getting enough Aya for the [number] of rotations that we're doing? Do we need to extend the rotations? Do we need to bump up the Aya drops? There's a lot that we can play around with over time, and that we will because we need to be making sure we're not offering [items] people cannot get again. We are fully open to changing things as [they go on]. It is still a new program for us. We are still open to feedback as it goes on."
Updates in between last year's Prime Resurgence until now such as the Zariman tileset being added with its own bounty system. Now, players will be able to earn Aya through Zariman bounties, providing another method to farm Aya for Void Relic exchanges. With continued updates to this massive world, Digital Extremes also wants to feature easier ways to trade your Aya, which previously involved a multi-step process to speak with the Dax soldier Varzia. "You had to manually go to Navigation, go to Mars, go to Maroo, and you had to go through all of those steps to get to her. We've [now] added a couple of shortcuts to the game now. There is a button that is a 'Visit Varzia' button. It will quickly take you to Varzia."
One challenge Digital Extremes faces is weighing feedback from veterans and new players--feedback that can sometimes be diametrically opposed. "A veteran player might have feedback [that might not] apply to a new player," Everett said. "You do have to take that into account, and balance out the program/experience so that it does apply to everyone. [You want] everyone having a good time, and you are not leaving new players to struggle."
Everett continues: "We've learned to take more time with [criticism], and definitely look at it with all different angles, new players, veterans, mid Star Chart players, people who play a [specific] Warframe excessively. There is a lot to consider, but Warframe has been thriving for 10 years based on community feedback. We will always encourage constructive feedback over the 'you suck' comments."
With the number of Primed exclusives and events, the original versions of these Warframes or weapons can sometimes be left behind. Primed versions of Warframes offer better stats or abilities than the vanilla versions, but Primed events can leave players not ever having these vanilla versions to complete their Master Ranks. "There was kind of friction there that it is great that [Ash and Oberon] are in Railjack with that incentive, but they're so deep into Railjack that new players can't get to them very easily. We [then] switched that up," Everett said.
Everett continued, "It is important to us that vanilla, original versions of [Warframes are options.] You can do a lot with [vanilla Warframes], with Veilbreaker giving Styanax for free was honestly really exciting and cool. And Styanax is a powerful Warframe. [Styanax] is not a joke. Having [Styanax’s] power at the beginning of a [new player's] journey, and how they're going to progress through the Star Chart. They are going to be able to do quests easier, get [resources] easier, do Railjack easier."
"We're always looking at what people are saying about acquiring the vanilla Warframes. And those are the Warframes you can subsume, so not only do people want one of them, they want two of them. We want to make sure we are not scurrying people out of their vanilla Warframes," Everett ended the interview.
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