Operation: Scarlet Spear isn’t that bad

Although it’s obviously a well-known truth that people’s opinions and standpoints on any kind of topic can and do differ wildly, I’m still flabbergasted from time to time by the amount of rage such innocuous things like a new event in an online game can cause.

Enter Operation: Scarlet Spear, an event that’s running in Warframe right now.

Warframe_Scarlet1
Event-themed loading screen included

The event started on March 20th, and saying that the community isn’t satisfied with it would be a huge understatement. The gameplay is much of the same, the rewards are crap, it takes too long, it’s buggy…you name it, I’ve heard it.

To be fair, it was pretty buggy at release, and it still isn’t perfect. Digital Extremes haven’t been twiddling their thumbs though; until now they’ve released ten (!) patches that, as far as I can tell, squashed most bugs, at least the obvious ones. They also buffed payouts of event-currency significantly and prolonged the event by a week to make up for the less than ideal start. Needless to say though, many folks still aren’t happy.

Me? I’m pretty satisfied. The gameplay is ok and actually quite fun and efficient to run with Mesa (what a coincidence), and the rewards are tremendously generous from where I’m standing.

Warframe_Scarlet2
Ground-mission’s big bad…one of ’em, anyway

You see, despite having played the game for quite a while now I’m still far from having achieved, leveled and done everything. Very far indeed. I guess that affects my perception of how rewarding the event is quite a lot.

First off, there’s the event currency itself, Scarlet Credits. Players can buy two new weapons, a bunch of fluff items and arcanes with those. The weapons are not very good (or so I hear) and fluff doesn’t interest most progress-oriented people. Which leaves the arcanes.

Arcanes are augments for your warframes which, until now, could only drop from Eidolons.

Warframe_Scarlet3
These little fellas…

Hunting those is one of Warframe’s endgame-activities, if you will. I assume many high-end players have all the arcanes they’ll ever need. In contrast, I haven’t killed or captured even one of the buggers yet, hence I didn’t own any arcanes whatsoever before Scarlet Spear. Some of them are really strong though, so for me it’s a godsend that I can just buy them now.

Warframe_Scarlet4
My Mesa Prime’s mod section, arcanes on the right

I’ve talked about mods and Endo before. To upgrade the former to the highest ranks you need huge amounts of the latter. Whatever you’re doing in the game, mobs sometimes drop small amounts of Endo – to the tune of 15 or, if you’re lucky, 50 or 80. Some missions reward 200. The biggest single source is the sale of Ayatan sculptures, but those are rather hard to come by.

Each wave or phase of Scarlet Spear’s ground missions rewards something at the end. Usually it’s a tier 1 or tier 2 relic, but there’s also a chance of about 25-30% that you get this:

Warframe_Scarlet5

That’s a lot of Endo for not a whole lot of ‘work’.

You can do up to 17 waves per ground-mission before you have to extract, which takes a good group about 25 minutes, and every time I take two to three thousand Endo home with me. That’s huge.

Those relics I mentioned are great too. Even if their loot tables don’t contain Prime blueprints that I want, one can never have enough Ducats (another important currency), which they can be sold for.

There are even more drops and currencies that these missions yield, like sentient cores and lots of Focus, but suffice it to say it’s very worth it for me to do them.

The gameplay, like I said, is ok in my opinion. I’ve heard people dub the ground-mission a ‘glorified mobile defense mission’ (a mission type that’s been very long in the game and thus nothing new), and there’s some truth to that. No one needs to carry an item around though, which is a big plus in my book. And, well, you basically shoot and hack and slash until everything’s dead, then you move on. If you don’t like that gameplay loop, well, Warframe isn’t really the game for you, is it?

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Ground- and space-squads hard at work

There’s also a space mission, which I haven’t done yet. The event’s big and advertised novelty is that the ground-squads need to cooperate with the space-squads to get things done. In practice you don’t really notice it much though. There are on-screen messages informing you that you’ve done your thing and that player xy’s squad can now do their thing, but that’s about it. Since I’m not in a clan I’m quite fine with that to be honest. The thought of having to somehow coordinate two pick-up groups of four makes me shudder. I can really do without that kind of stuff.

So, let’s draw a bottom line. Is Operation: Scarlet Spear the best thing since sliced bread? No, it’s not. To me it’s definitely fun enough to play a round or two a day though, and the rewards are huge at my current point of progression.

If you play the game and don’t consider yourself to be a have-it-all, done-it-all-player I highly recommend not listening to the naysayers and giving the event a try. It runs until April 28th.

Blapril 2020 post count: 4

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