Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon expansion recently made its way to consoles and I took the time to refamiliarise myself with the game and then get to know the expansion area and everything that came with it.
The first thing that hits you with Plains of Eidolon is the sheer scale of the size of the area! Most veteran Warframe players are used to tight corridors from enemy flagships or installations, seeing magnificently designed landscapes in the background but never getting to slide-dash their way across them. Since the early days newer and wider areas have become available, but nothing like this. The Plains of Eidolon are quite simply massive, so much so it’s kinda overwhelming at first and then once you get moving you realise just how big the area really is!
Without the Archwing Launcher consumable item the Plains would be insufferable, that’s just how vast they are. Calling your Archwing down is pretty much the only way to travel. Once unlocked you can craft 50 at a time and obtaining the items necessary isn’t too tricky, just doing a couple Plains missions will give you plenty of them along the way. Fish Oil is the only item I’ve found that you need to go out of your way to find but otherwise you should obtain enough of them simply from being out there.
Archwings make it massively easier to travel the expansive plains quickly, slide dashing will get you from A to B eventually but a lot of the missions will have you travelling across large areas for each objective, so utilising the Archwing Launcher across the long distances is highly recommended.
Sadly amongst my play time I was unable to obtain the component blueprints for the new frame, Gara – The Glass Warrior, so I can’t give any advice on how she operates or what her skills are like. Whether I just got unlucky in my mission rewards or I was doing something wrong I couldn’t tell you, but it makes it seem like the old grind of Warframe is still very much present.
Missions on the Plains of Eidolon make your trips out onto the plains much more worthwhile but they’re no means necessary. You’re able to just set out on your own and explore. Wanna take the time to go fishing or material gathering then go right ahead, there’s nothing to stop you. Often as you pass through the loading gate area you’ll get teamed up with ther Tenno setting out on whatever excursions they’re looking to complete.
Once you complete the “Story” mission you gain access to a list of missions that change daily and involve fulfilling a number of different objectives that are all familiar to any old hands. Rewards range from common materials and credits to rare blueprints and other similar items, but naturally the drop rate of the rarer gear is exceptionally rare. Depending on your team and the availability of Archwings the missions don’t take too long so you can blitz through them pretty quick to maximise farming rewards.
The real challenge of Plains of Eidolon comes from dealing with Sentients, or Eidolons, these giant enemies are a mission in themselves to defeat. Having only run across one twice, they’re not for the fool hardy or the unprepared. They only appear at night on the plains and bring a formidable arsenal to bear on any operatives in the area. Taking one down solo is assuredly possible but incredibly difficult and bringing a full squad is recommended. Naturally they drop some of the rarest and most desirable loot in the area, but the battles can be more of an endurance test than anything.
Sentients aren’t the only issue you have to face though, as you journey further from Cetus, the enemies become increasingly more difficult to kill. Grineer forces start spawning more and more elite and specialist units while the wildlife become more aggressive too. You can quikcly get in over your head on longer expeditions onto the plains and the further you get from Cetus.
One thing that the Plains expansion could really do with is changing the way the map behaves. The whole sceen-wide expansion of the transparent map doesn’t really aid navigation all that much and the inability to select waypoints or place map-waypoints is rather frustrating. Given how large an area the Plains cover, it’s very easy to lose your way while exploring and getting back to Cetus while on the ground can be quite the issue when you’re unable to scroll the map and Cetus itself doesn’t have a permanent waypoint.
Aside from that rather minor, if somewhat annoying gripe, Warframe‘s Plains of Eidolon update is a huge addition to the game and paves the way for some serious changes and expansions. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more open areas like them arising on different planets for exploration. Warframe has a massive solar map, so a large Plains-esque area on each world could really change the game. Not to mention the potential to add some huge overarching story involving the Sentients and really fleshing out the already expansive lore.
For disclosure, Warframe publisher/developer Digital Extremes did give our reviewer Platinum to use in-game.