For those that don’t know Cavern Blogs are pretty much my end of/start of the week post (depending how you look at it) that wraps up the previous weeks news highlighting a selection of the posts. There is also a final thoughts section on the bottom where I’ll briefly discuss my own thoughts about select stories from the week or my own gaming experiences.

This Week in Gaming News

Heroes of the Storm Junkrat Spotlight – Junkrat made an explosive entrance into the Nexus in Heroes of the Storm and Blizzard has shared an overview trailer for the character showing off his playstyle.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War Launch Trailer – Middle-earth: Shadow of War has officially launched and is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One both physically and digitally.

Assassin’s Creed Origins: Post Launch & Season Pass Trailer – Ubisoft has shared their future plans for Assassin’s Creed: Origins after the game arrives later this month on October 27th.

ELDERBORN “The Tomb” Gameplay Trailer – Indie developer Hyperstrange has shared a new trailer for their game ELDERBORN, a labeled “Hardcore First-Person Slasher” which is emphasizes its focus on melee.

Overwatch Halloween Terror 2017 Trailer – Overwatch’s Halloween Terror event has returned this year bringing in new cosmetics and the return of the Dr. Junkenstein with a brand new endless horde mode.

Super Mario Odyssey Musical Ad – Nintendo shared a fun little musical ad for Super Mario Odyssey that will likely get you even more excited for the 3D platformer sequel.

The Evil Within 2 Red Band Launch Trailer – Ready for some spooks?  Then check out the Red Band launch trailer for The Evil Within 2, which launched this past Friday.

Oculus GO Stand-alone VR Headset Unveiled, Oculus Core 2.0 – Oculus has officially unveiled their previously announced budget priced stand-alone VR headset, which is now known as the Oculus GO.  A new version of the dashboard UI was also announced.

DRAGON BALL FighterZ Majin Buu Trailer – Majin Buu joins the fight in a short new character trailer for Dragon Ball FighterZ.

Spintires: MudRunner Gameplay Trailer – Things get a bit messy in the gameplay trailer for Spintires: MudRunner, an ultimate edition of the offroading simulation game that will be available on consoles for the first time.

Need for Speed Payback Story Trailer – Drive into the story of Need for Speed Payback in a new trailer that teases a bit about this story of vengeance against The House, a cartel who controls Fortune Valley’s underworld.

Respawn Entertainment Working on Major VR Title – Respawn Entertainment (Titanfall series), have revealed they are partnering with Oculus to develop a major VR release planned for 2019.

Pokémon Ultra Sun Moon New Z-Moves Trailer – The Pokemon Company and Nintendo have shared a new Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon trailer covering some new Z-Moves and a new feature of the Rotom Dex.

Warframe Plains of Eidolon Update Live – Warframe’s perhaps most expansive update to date, Plains of Eidolon, has officially launched.

Hunt: Showdown Steam Trailer – Crytek’s PVP bounty hunting game Hunt: Showdown received a new trailer along with the announcement that it will be launching initially as a Steam Early Access title.

South Park: The Fracture But Whole Season Pass Announced – Unlike the first game, South Park: The Fracture But Whole was announced to have a season pass that will be delivering new content both this year and next.

Street Fighter V Zeku Reveal Trailer – Street Fighter V’s second season of content was revealed to be concluding with Zeku, Guy’s former teacher, who taught him to master Bushinryu, a style of ninjutsu.

Final Thoughts

With the big new update to Warframe this week the thought of playing again did cross my mind, but it didn’t take me long to brush aside the idea.  While Warframe is typically a game that is easy to love and praise nowadays with its slow burn success and tight-knit community of loyal fans, I just always have a hard time sticking with it.  I’ve come back to the game several times, but ultimately end up dropping it after a couple weeks max due to a few key reasons.

First up I hate the game’s leveling system.  Warframe uses a nontraditional leveling system where in order to earn XP for what is called your Mastery Rank, you need to level up Warframes, weapons, and companions.  This becomes frustrating as it occasionally asks you to swap out your max level weapon for a much weaker level 1 option so you can continue earning Mastery Rank XP.  This would be forgivable maybe if weapons and warframes were something more easily available, but the player is required to either craft them or fork over real money for instant access.  Crafting itself is a length process too, with weapons taking upwards of a full 24 hours to craft and warframes requiring several days to create all the parts and snap them together.  Of course you can rush these crafting processes with real money as well.

The microtransaction and questionable pay to win systems in place are a problem.  While Warframe doesn’t lock anything behind real money that gives you power, many of the items or gear you’ll be seeking will be a lot easier or faster to get with a cash purchase.  As a free-to-play title, they need to make some type of microtransactions ideal to players, and the game constantly encourages it through its core gameplay loop.  There are plenty of cosmetic options as well to buy, but in a game like this they probably realized that most players wouldn’t be drawn to them.  While I do take issue with the current free-to-play setup, I also don’t really know how they could easily fix it for this type of game.  I think they should at least offer a one-time purchase that will essentially function as a retail package for the game, eliminating the crazy long crafting times and perhaps include some other in-game bonuses as well.

Lastly, I was not a fan of the Mastery Rank test system.  In order to level up once you hit the XP bar cap, you had to complete a test of some sort.  This sounds like a cool concept on the surface, but the annoying thing is that if you fail or disconnect then you have to wait 24 hours to try again.  These tests range from silly easy to annoyingly difficult and I never really found myself having fun or looking forward to do them.  Thankfully earned XP still goes towards your Mastery Rank at cap, it just sits there waiting for you to pass that test.

To get me to play again they need to introduce a heavily overhauled progression system that doesn’t make you feel like you have to constantly change your weapons or warframe.  If I settle on a Warframe and a pair of weapons that I love using, I don’t want to have to give them up to keep leveling.  Imagine if World of Warcraft had a separate level above your individual characters and once you hit cap if you wanted to keep progressing your power you had to make a new character.  You would never reach a comfortable end game until you leveled up every single class and could finally settle with your favorite one.  In Warframe it feels like you just are always trying to work towards this comfortable endgame which is nonexistent because of the sheer amount of gear in the game that needs to be leveled up to progress your account.  Don’t get me wrong, the action-packed gameplay of Warframe is polished and very fun, but you’ll find yourself hitting frustrating walls far too often.

Maybe this new open world zone makes for a much better experience, I won’t rule that out.  Some day I may give Warframe another shot, but right now I’ve got too many games on the horizon and out right now to find time for it.

See you all next week!  Have a good one.