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Warframe: Fortuna Takes the Concept of Open-World Warframe to New Heights
Post by AdrianHaas @ 05:23pm 16/01/19 | Comments
We take a deep dive into the Fortuna update for Warframe, available now on console, to bring you these impressions and thoughts.

Fortuna is the latest content update for Warframe, and the name of the new underground city on the Corpus controlled planet Venus -- the place where Tenno around the world can now launch themselves into Warframe's second open-world area, the Orb Vallis. Also included in this major update is the 37th Warframe Garuda, four new weapons, a new Sentinel, and a new means of fast transport in the open world - the K-Drive Hoverboard. Think Back to the Future II, and you get the idea. Oh, and there's a stack of new mods and arcanes too, including the long-awaited Vacuum-type mod for Kubrow or Kavat companions, appropriately called Fetch.

With Fortuna, the first thing that becomes immediately apparent is that developer Digital Extremes learnt a lot from the first open-world Warframe expansion The Plains of Eidolon. And it shows throughout this glorious update. The city of Cetus, Fortuna's Earth-based Eidolon predecessor, was mostly a confusing, jumbled, and unnecessarily large mess. Fortuna is eminently more compact and user friendly. The merchants and NPCs are easily locatable thanks to the logical and austere city layout. The transition from city to open-world exploration is accomplished by a simple box elevator, instead of the overly long tunnel leading from Cetus to the Plains.

That said, the city of Fortuna offers the same basic services found on Cetus; a mining and fishing trader, weapons construction (for secondary weapons called Kitguns), and so forth. You can now assemble and build your own pet MOA - a friendly companion based on the bipedal Corpus robots. Get in tight with the Ventkids and they'll provide access to the components necessary to build your own custom K-Drive. The Ticker will sell you Debt Bonds (tradable for faction standing), and the Biz will hook you up with tranq guns and baits for all your open world fauna-hunting needs. It’s a vibrant location that’s brimming with life and things to do.

The drab, oppressed refugees of Cetus in the Eidolon update had a tale of woe to tell, but truth be told it was hard to be sympathetic to their cause. The citizens of Fortuna have it a lot harder mind you, what with the loss of limbs as payment for defaulted debts, but their outlook is supremely brighter than their Earth-based cousins. Hell, they even made their own song and it's so damn catchy you too will find yourself whistling it at odd moments. The sense of community and the struggle to merely exist makes completing Bounties for Eudico feel like you're actually accomplishing something good for these guys; and you're happy to do so!

As expected, crafting components for the new gear and frame can be obtained by mining, fishing, and completing Bounties in the new open-world, a gelid wasteland of icy cragged mountains, glacial rivers, and deep ore-laden caves. The process of mining ores and gems from special nodes has been updated. No more painstakingly tracing obtuse shapes on the rock. Simply aim at the 'hot spots' and mine until the temperature hits the requisite zone. Super fast, easy, and not even that grindy. Well, maybe a little. This is Warframe after all.

Fishing has been simplified too. That thing in videogames that we keep telling ourselves we won’t bother with or have no interest in. But then slowly, become our own little Digital Rex Hunt. Bait no longer needs to be crafted using low level components for higher tier fish, but simply purchased with Standing from the vendor. Bait isn't entirely necessary either - all fish can be caught without using any, however their chances of appearing are significantly reduced. Using the Shock Spear is basically the same as the regular spears but in Orb Vallis there's a little timing mini-game after a successful throw.

As before, mining and fishing can be helpful in raising your Standing with the new faction, but I found the new Animal Conservation to be particularly beneficial. At present there are four animals you can track, lure, then tranquilise to capture (additional beasts will be added in the upcoming Fortuna Part 2 update). Each successful capture nets you Standing, and the highest tier animal will allow you to max out your daily cap quite quickly. It's more enjoyable than fishing or mining, and certainly more challenging. As a bonus, you can trade their tags for Floofs; plushie versions of the animals with which you can decorate your landing craft. Again, this is Warframe.

When it was released a little over a year ago, the Plains of Eidolon was a huge achievement and proof of concept that Warframe could consist of more than a bunch of highly weaponized kids in power armour fighting weird Cronenberg-esque creatures and not-quite human enemies in tightly enclosed rooms and corridors. The open-world era for the popular free-to-play title had begun. And now with Fortuna and the Orb Vallis, this open-world version of Warframe has quite literally been taken to new heights. The new playable area has traded the mostly flat areas of bushes and the occasional tree of the Plains for massive, soaring snow-capped mountain peaks in a vast map full of detail. The Corpus built structures are not only visually striking, but also more elaborate and varied than the Grineer efforts. Incorporating bunkers, farms, a spaceport, and the largest Nef Anyo statue ever made in all the history of time and space at the Temple of Profit. Ahem.

Note: At the time of writing, the second half of the Fortuna update has yet to be released for consoles. Which means I'm eagerly awaiting the opportunity to take on the Orb Mothers - giant spiders that can be seen roaming the Vallis - in Eidolon-style full squad battles called Heists.