Warframe’s next update, Heart of Deimos, shown off recently at this year’s annual TennoCon fan event, will take players to the game’s third open world. Where previous open worlds – 2017’s Plains of Eidolon and 2018’s Orb Vallis – pitted players against Grineer and Corpus enemy factions respectively, Heart of Deimos unleashes the players in an environment plagued by the game’s Infested faction.
As you may have guessed by the name, the new open world is situated on Deimos, the smaller of Mars’ two moons. While Mars and Phobos were already part of the Warframe’s many environments, Deimos is a new addition, but it doesn’t appear without explanation.
The facility that players will be tasked with protecting on Deimos, named the Nekralisk, was once the Void Research Enclave during the time of the Orokin. After the Old War, there were no longer any Orokin Dax soldiers to protect the location, and so it slowly became overwhelmed by the Infested. It isn’t completely understood at this point whether Deimos was hidden in the Void as part of its research, or if this was during the Old War, but it has been returned to the star chart in order to prevent a catastrophic disaster at the hands of the Infested.
The Research Enclave has existed under the watchful eye of the Entrati family. Now, it seems, only the one referred to as Mother is left (although I do believe there are other family members hiding), and while she does seem to LOOK like an Orokin-Infested hybrid, she seems to talk about the Orokin as if she was not of their kind… She does speak fondly of her father, though, who was the first to research the Void… as players progress, they will unlock the lore based on his research – it looks like this one is going to be chock full of very cool stuff for the loremasters!
The TennoCon demo also introduced players to a new Cephalon – one who seems to suffer from a split personality. Loid, as he character appears to be known by (his other personality is Otak), guides players around the new environment, at least initially, but it’s not known the extent of his interaction with players. That said, Digital Extremes did mention that there will be two factions within this new environment with which to build standing. Grinders, rejoice!
While the previous open-world environments were massive spaces, Deimos is designed to feel somewhat different. DE described it as being compact and densely populated – and with far more verticality. Beneath the surface of Deimos is a series of Orokin Vaults – these are ancient locations where individuals would once travel to after entering the Void… to regain their sanity. Guarded by ancient Entrati mechs that no longer can distinguish between friend or foe, these sojourns effectively form the escalated enemy difficulty – at least at launch. Making things even more difficult, these underground areas are highly toxic, and players need to reduce toxicity levels before they can progress. We also saw mirrors or portals into the void within these underground vaults, but their function is unknown for now…
Upon the surface, though, enemy activity is based on the appearance of one of two wyrm monsters in the sky. Under the cool white of the Moon monster, enemy activity is subdued and reduced. However, when the bright yellow Sun monster regains its strength, its form appears in the sky to smite its nemesis, who will eventually rebuild itself and do the same, in an endless battle for sky supremacy… Needless to say, it looks very cool, and under the heated light of the Sun monster, Infested power increases…
Interestingly, there are fast travel methods when underground. Infested flower-looking devices can swallow players from deep within Deimos and deposit them back on the surface – a quick, easy retreat, if required. In a similar way, Mother herself appears at various locations upon the surface to provide players with bounties, so it can be assumed that she, at least, will be the primary contact for one of the factions, likely the Entrati themselves.
And is there a point to leveling with the Entrati? Of course there is! Strewn about the surface are old, partially destroyed Entrai Necromechs, not unlike those still functioning in the vaults. These can be collected by players, who can build and customise their own mech, which can be used on the surface of Deimos by the players Operator. These come with their own weapon-based abilities, and are fast moving and look like a great deal of fun. And did we mention there are giant Dragonflies that players can choose to ride on the back of, if they like? Because there are.
While out and about performing bounties in the demo, we didn’t notice any new resources being collected – although we could have missed them, I did see a reference to a Xaku warframe – likely the new “broken” warframe designed by the community. So we do know that there is no quest for that frame, and that it will be acquired from bounties – although it could be tied to the main Deimos Questline.
So… another place to collect resources. What is a long-term player to do with all of that salvage? Feed it… to the Helminth.
Being an Infested expansion, this was the perfect time to upgrade the Helminth room on the player’s Orbiter. To date, this room has simply functioned as a place to remove Helminth Cysts from players’ necks. However, Heart of Deimos adds a massive new reason to use this room – although it is not known at this point how the transformation takes place.
Now the Helminth Chrysalis, and looking not unlike Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors, the Helminth can be fed, which produces secretions within the Helminth. These secretions are used to customise the player’s chosen Warframe – but this is more than decorative customisation. For the first time in Warframe history, players will soon be able to change warframe Abilities.
By feeding a built warframe (non-Prime) to the Helminth, players will harvest a single curated Ability from the frame. There is only one per warframe, and the decision was that it can’t be either an ultimate or a signature Ability. That Ability can then be implanted into any other Warframe – at the cost of one of their abilities (which can be an ultimate, if the player so chooses). This can only be performed ONCE per warframe, and players can choose to keep the original configuration as well as the new configuration (there are currently three slots, so perhaps a future update will allow a second config to be added).
This is a massive addition that fans are very excited for – with more than 40 warframes currently in the game, the potential is enormous. And more than that, DE has added another long-requested addition – the ability to fire a weapon while riding K-Drives (and the Velocipod as well)! This only allows for the Secondary weapon to be used, but it’s better than nothing, and this will bring a new element of gameplay to a game already teeming with content.
Lastly, and certainly not least – Heart of Deimos will be released simultaneously on all current platforms on August 25th, 2020. Mark your calendars, Tenno.