I first tried this game shortly after it launched. It felt like a mess and definitely looked like pay to win, so I quit it hours after first trying it.
The developers are amazing and the game is a solid 9/10, but my run-ins with support/moderators and the fact it game gives paying players a considerable advantage lowers my scores.
I tried this game a long time ago, and quit it thinking it was pay-to-win (prices on pretty much every menu). A friend got me to try it again. I joined looked at it and it STILL looked like pay to win. The game does a poor job of explaining that ANYTHING can be earned for free and instead on every corner shows prices in platinum for various items/features. If that friend hadn't explained the basics to me, I would've quit a second time.
So I was convinced to stay and I am glad that I did. I earned most of the stuff available in game at this point. Essentials (most weapons, warframes and mods) are really easy to get, while commodities such as cosmetics require grinding for platinum (selling stuff to other players), which takes considerably longer. With that said I was having fun as long as I had stuff to do, because gameplay is fun.
So here are a few pros:
- Free to play* - There's not too much to say about this, other than paying players will reach max levels (and peak progression speeds) faster, but free players can get almost everything (only exceptions are few cosmetics).
- Evolving game. It's one of few games on the market that actually changes mechanically and that speaks a lot.
- Great (also evolving) graphics. For comparison, look at an old warframe video and a new one and and the difference should be obvious. They keep improving models, skins, entire maps, and visual effects (such as lighting).
- Interesting progression. Warframe's is unique because you get to play many "classes" and are rewarded for doing so. Each frame/"class" you level up to maximum for the first time gives you experiences towards mastery level (think of it as account level), which comes with it's own perks.
The game has some flaws (the list is long, but the flaws aren't as strong as pros):
- Not as great on weaker PCs. Due to a lot of motion in the game aiming is close to impossible on choppy/laggy frame rate and low resolutions.
- Awful introduction to the game. Region chat is filled with question about completely basic stuff, because NOTHING is explained properly. Some warframes have amazing synergies between their skills and the chances of you finding them on your own are about the same as finding a perfectly ripe avocado on first try.
- Lack of content. They release warframes regularly, but the actual content is lacking. There's about 2 month worth of content going at a slow pace and about 8 more if you choose to grind to unlock all weapons/warframes (including primes). If you choose to go for cosmetics and other stuff, it can be extended to about 2 years, but this is mostly content for the sake of playing, not because rewards are worth it.
- Not Pay-to-Win, but.... You can earn almost ANYTHING in game for free (with a few cosmetic exceptions). Mods aside (which vary in platinum and upgrade prices) you can setup the most expensive warframe with decent weapon set (all upgraded to fit full weapon set) within a week, but due to way progression works in the game, somebody who gets an early boost will progress much faster in other areas. Just for a reference, my friend who joined when it first started has about 5k hours playtime and rarely bought platinum. I bought platinum for cosmetics and upgrades (on average 50 platinum per weapon or warframe) and I surpassed him in almost everything (exceptions are the events I missed) in 1.5k hours.
- Silly bans and support issues (non issue for most). A lot of unnecessary bans and strikes on accounts could be avoided if they gave people warnings and communicated properly. They don't , though, so you're essentially end up navigating a minefield. Feel free to look into reasons for bans in Warframe.
- Chat bans.The game is 18+ AND has a profanity filter on by default, so people have to go out of their way to disable profanity filter. You would think this means it's a mature audience chat, but no - make an adult joke or post a meme that moderators don't like and you get a week long chat-ban. By the way, most of these bans are done by a bot based on a list of "illegal" phrases, that they could either warn about, apply profanity filter to or remove from chat (they have the tools to do all of it).
- Bans for illegal software. I had cheat engine opening in the background (not iterating with the game and support confirmed that ) so I got a ban, which got lifted. It would be fine, but that counts as strike on my account and if it happens again it stays permanent... If I noticed it (or if the game reminded), I would have no problem closing the cheat engine.
- Bans for trolling people, intentionally or not. I didn't experience this first hand, but I've heard of plenty of people getting banned by using game mechanics (not bugs or glitches) against players and getting bans for it. One example would be radiation mechanic, which temporarily enables friendly fire. Often times people with flamethrowers kill anybody nearby and if it gets reported, well - good luck!
- Cold dry Support. I've contacted them on 4 occasions, each of which had a chain conversation. I was fed with dry, confirmations that the issue will be looked into and/or vague non-answers each time. The way they talk isn't robotic as some companies, but they don't stray from their policy even if they end up creating casualties in doing so. For instance one of the people I used to play with had an issue connecting to squads (i.e. he could not connect to others and other could not connect to him directly, but random matchmaking worked). He wrote support multiple times, explained the issue and that the issue is not present when connecting through VPN. They told him they are working on a fix (for context: this is a 4 year old issue, without a fix to date) and that he should use VPN for time being. He got banned a few months later for using 3rd party software with the game (they refused to clarify, but presumably it is VPN). Again it's a ban that got lifted, but he got a strike and was told he should not use 3rd party software again or next ban would be permanent. He showed me pieces of that conversation and it looked similar to my personal experience.
Overall, I would recommend checking this game out and staying patient at least until you unlock the 2nd warframe (just so you know how easy it is). It's a great game and my biggest problem with it is with support and chat moderation, which you might not have to deal with.
If you like mature chat, join a large clan to avoid getting banned for memes.