‘Warframe: Specters Of The Rail’ Update Now Available: New Star Map, Relic System, Kavat Companions, And More [Spoilers]

Warframe— the popular third-person shooter from Canada’s Digital Extremes — has been in an updating frenzy lately, with a series of three major updates being released in succession. The Inquisitr already covered the first, Warframe: Lunaro, along with our predictions for what was coming next. And while we may have dropped the ball a bit, we’re still one for three, and the third of our predictions — Excalibur Umbra — is all but assured in the next update, Warframe: The War Within.

Did somebody say Excalibur Umbra? Because we heard Excalibur Umbra.
Fair warning, this article will contain spoilers.

But today we’re talking about Warframe: Specters Of The Rails, which dropped earlier this week and completely revolutionized the game. If you thought The Second Dream was big, prepare to be surprised all over again. While Warframe: Specters Of The Rail doesn’t hold any new lore quests, as Gamasutra notes, it turns everything else upside-down.

The first thing players are likely to notice is the new star map. While the basic structure won’t be unfamiliar, each planet now has an actual progression path through the various nodes. Nav segments are out, too, replaced with Junctions — end-points on the progression path which require players to complete a series of challenges before they can travel to the next system — tasks such as completing a certain mission node a set number of times, killing a certain number of Eximus within the system, completing quests, and so on. The Junctions also grant rewards for completion, including the new Void Relic Segment awarded by the Earth to Mars Junction — but we’ll get to that in a moment.

It's also just visually stunning, particularly compared to the old star chart.
While the challenges can get a bit tedious, it is quite nice to have a concrete set of tasks to perform and goals to achieve, and a genuine progression path through the planets — a lot of the unnecessary excess has also been stripped away from the planets in the process. And, yes, completing Junctions awards a significant amount of Mastery.

Next up is Void Fissures and Void Relics — probably the biggest change ever to come to Warframe. In one move, the old system of void grinding has been completely wiped away — no more 20 minute survivals to get a single Prime part.

Gone, too, are Void Keys — replaced by Void Relics. Now, this system seems a little complicated at first, but it’s really not so terrible. Bear with us as we explain.

Void Relics come in the same four tiers as keys, although they’ve been renamed Lith, Meso, Neo, and Axi; supposedly, this corresponds to the four Orokin Eras. They also, like keys, have subclasses. In this case, instead of mission types, they’re classed something obscure like D1 or V2. And each relic has its own set of potential drops: three common, two uncommon, and one rare.

Still following? Ok. At any given time, on the star map, there will be some 4-6 Void Fissures active, each corresponding to one of the four tiers. The Void Fissures occur in otherwise regular missions, and you still have to complete the mission to get your Prime part — this significantly chips away at the boredom factor of constantly running the void and ensures that players actually get to see other tilesets.

The fissure itself is scattered somewhere in the level (and usually not especially hidden) — upon finding it, you can opt to start the Void Fissure event, exposing your Void Relic and giving you three minutes to “seal” the fissure by bringing “reactant” dropped by Corrupted enemies which spawn regularly back to the fissure.

If that sounds complicated — find the fissure, kill the things, pick up ten reactant (which works just like an excavator power cell) and run it through the fissure, and you’re done.

Once you finish off the mission, you get to see your reward, or — and this is the best part — choose to take a copy of someone else’s reward in the group. So that’s, potentially, four chances for the part you’re after on one key, and you get to see the potential drops listed before you go. On top of that, it’s much faster than previous. And finally, there’s the Void Relic Segment, which lets you use Void Traces, dropped from sealing a Void Fissure, to “refine” a relic to have a better chance of a rare drop.

Unsurprisingly, some have complained vociferously about the new system — but we found it to be far easier to get the drops we wanted and begin building new Prime warframes and weapons, to the tune of completing three Prime warframes in one day.

There is so much more to Warframe: Specters Of The Rail, including Kavat companions, free-roaming companions in the Lander, new Archwing mechanics, a completely redesigned marketplace, that we can’t possibly cover it all in one article.

We’ll be back with more later. But for now, check out the Warframe: Specters Of The Rail trailer.

There’s never been a better time to get (back) into Warframe.

[Image via Digital Extremes]