A different kind of Internet Spaceships

Every time I pick up Warframe after a bit of a break I try not to get immediately overwhelmed by the vast amounts of content and systems. Why not just focus on one or two specific things at a time and leave it at that?

Yeah, fat chance.

I’ve already talked about how one thing very quickly leads to another in this game as most types of content are somehow intertwined with one another. Which is great, because pretty much nothing ever becomes obsolete. But, again, it can all feel a bit overwhelming at times.

This time around my plan was to just focus on vanquishing my current Kuva Lich, which had become one of my favourite activities once I’d made myself familiar with how it all works sometime last year. What’s more, I’d recently read that the last big update brought a new version of these baddies into the game, and I wanted to tackle those next.

However, as it turned out said update also changed the last step of defeating any kind of lich: after having kicked their butt the old fashioned way players additionally need to complete one final mission now, and that one is a Railjack mission.

Well, bugger me.

Railjacks were added to Warframe about two years ago. They were basically Digital Extremes’ answer to many some a few Anyone? Bueller? err…an unspecified number of players’ requests for proper space combat in the game.

Joking aside, I personally didn’t mind the idea, I just found the execution quite lacking at the time. The ship was very expensive to build, its systems not well explained and, frankly, it wasn’t much fun to fly. It has been overhauled twice since then though, so I thought I might as well give it another chance.

Unfortunately my second first impression wasn’t much better. Once a mission had started I didn’t really know what to do aside from wildly shooting at things. Things that were shooting back, I might add, and at some point my Railjack’s hitpoints were depleted and a countdown started ticking. I was supposed to repair the damage before the timer ran out, but I had no idea how to do that and the mission failed.

Dear Digital Extremes, if you’re reading this, the Railjack system desperately needs some kind of tutorial!

Anyhow, I wasn’t going to give up just yet. I want those liches vanquished, dammit! So I looked for some guides and/or videos explaining all that stuff, and, unsurprisingly, I found plenty. Armed with that knowledge I tried again, and lo and behold, it actually isn’t all that hard. Even more importantly, with the first successes also came the fun. What else is new?

Now that I know what I’m doing playing Railjack missions feels a bit like a throwback to the Wing Commander series, which isn’t a bad thing at all in my book.

The main difference is that a Railjack is meant to be piloted by a full group of people. There’s the pilot’s seat, two gunner seats (the Millenium Falcon says Hi), a forward artillery seat, and in case damage has to be repaired, ammo to be restocked or enemy boarding parties to be repelled someone has to take care of that too. Fortunately solo players can hire up to three NPC crewmates and assign some of these tasks to them, but with other players it’s obviously more effective and also (potentially) more fun.

As if that weren’t enough each and every mission also requires someone to leave the Railjack at some point and board enemy ships or stations to do some stuff there. As NPCs can’t do this a solo player has quite a lot of hopping around to do, so getting other players aboard (pun intended) is definitely preferable.

Which is just as well, because the biggest new feature that was announced at this year’s Tennocon a few weeks ago is cross-save and crossplay across all platforms, and it’s supposed to arrive before the end of this year!

I’m extremely happy about this as my console-devoted buddy and I are still looking for more opportunities to get camp PC and camp Xbox together. Ever since I recommended Warframe to him and another pal of ours a couple of months ago they play it all the time, and it really bugs us that I can’t join them. Soon™ this intolerable situation will be remedied, and until then I’ll make sure that my Railjack is up to snuff and ready to go.

As I alluded to in the beginning this will still require a lot of “work” though, not all of which directly related to the Railjack itself. More on that next time.

Blaugust 2021 post count: 3

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