Interview: Warframe’s Rebecca Ford on the biggest features of Angels of the Zariman

Angels of the Zariman, the latest major content update for Warframe, is almost here. It’s a special event that takes place right after the events of the culminating New War quest that rocked the community, and introduces another hub for players to socialize and explore. What secrets lie in the dark corners of this long-lost ghost ship? I have no idea. Nobody would tell me. We need to find out when it goes live later this week on April 27th.

To get us through this limbo phase without leveling up new weapons and farming Warframes, I sat down again with Rebecca Ford, Live Operations and Community Director for Warframe, to review some of the key additions to this new player hub, alongside some of the more intriguing aspects of the Angels of the Zariman update.

VG247: What lessons has the team learned from previous hub areas, and how has that impacted this latest addition?

Rebekah Ford: Well I can say that this is the biggest challenge we have had to face. Because as far as we know, the Zariman is a ghost ship. So how do you populate a node if there is no population? So we had to focus on bringing it to life in other ways. After the quest you will see that there is something like a population there.

In terms of the lessons, we had to make sure that the roles the characters were playing were essential to the gameplay they would be playing. So we really wanted to work on three main pillars for our hubs. First is standing, we wanted it to feel better and learn how players like to use standing systems. The second is guns – everyone loves our gun offerings. And then bounties, which is an important open world hub thing, but how do you do that in a non-open world? So on the Zariman there are a lot of new additions and a lot of combinations of things that worked from previous hubs.

VG247: Tell me about the parts of the zariman ship that are not in the safety of the hub? Where players will complete missions and such.

Rebekah Ford: The Zariman is a huge colony ship. What will happen is that a player actually gets in the elevator and this time chooses the floor they want. In Orb Valis you go in and walk across the earth, while here you can make some kind of selection and all have a lot of world that creates a lot of flavor depending on which floor you choose.

You’ll learn a lot about the ship as you circle it and how the Orokin would go about building this colonizing ship filled with essentially experimental guinea pigs! What did the ship have? What didn’t it have? Who were the colonists? How were they chosen? What luxury did they get?

It’s also a bit ironic, but we’re giving Lunaro a backstory, you know, I don’t know if you’ve followed our attempts at PvP over the years. But yeah, there are some fun little Lunaro nods towards where it would have come from, so keep an eye out for those too!

VG247: What are these new missions about? It’s been a while since we had a new type of mission to play around with.

A Warframe standing in the destroyed Zariman ship

Rebekah Ford: We need new gameplay. I love the game modes I play but we’ve been playing them for years. And as we took the opportunity to expand the Zariman, we knew we had to provide new ways to actually interact with your moment-to-moment missions. We still have some of the classics there, like Eradicate isn’t going anywhere, it’s a good way for players to speed themselves up. But nonetheless, we’re adding three new game modes, which is possibly more than we’ve added together in the last two years.

It has to happen, you need new ways of dealing with the world. It’s definitely necessary so that we can bring new ways of playing the game, because you can’t just keep doing the same missions.

VG247: Since new missions are something the team has identified as a minor issue, can we expect the new missions added to the Zariman to be spread across the system to different planets? Or at least new twists on traditional missions in the future?

Rebekah Ford: I think so. But for this particular update, they are so deeply involved in the state of the Zariman that it would be very difficult to take some of them away from this ship just because they are somehow narratively connected to it. I mean if they end up somewhere else that means very bad things happened!

VG247: Let’s talk player accommodation! Since someone I know has an Orbiter filled with stuff, can you shed some light on whether like minded players will be able to transfer all of their stuff to their new homes?

A shot of a dorm room with a tiny dining table and shelves. Your home away from home!

Rebekah Ford: We made a very careful decision to ensure that anything that can be decorated on your orbiter can go here, so players can pull from the same library, same inventory, anything you can put on your landing craft, you can also put at your place.

VG247: Are there any plans to expand this feature to different regions of the Warframe universe so players can get additional pads for all of their stuff?

Rebekah Ford: For now it’s very contextual and intended to be limited to the Zariman experience. It’s part of the quest. It’s all connected. I definitely started looking for an apartment. I got a house the hard way on another game that I won’t name and I couldn’t use my hand for about a day because I had to click so much.

VG247: The last major addition to the Zariman ship is, of course, weapon development. How exactly do you develop these weapons and how challenging can we expect them to be?

A shot of an evolving melee weapon that changes appearance as challenges are completed.

Rebekah Ford: Yes, that’s what matters. In terms of intensity, if this was a yard of hot sauce, we’re not super hot. We’re at the most at the Jalapeno. We don’t really want you to fail, but we do want you to know how to use the weapons. It’s not as simple as you know, get 100 XP with this weapon because that’s passive. They require active participation, but they are not Carolina Reapers.

VG247: Are there any challenges in the plans for systems like the evolving weapons, maybe one that you can only unlock at max reputation with the Syndicate in Zariman? Something for players who want a long-term grind for special rewards?

Rebekah Ford: One thing we looked at is a way for a player to demonstrate some level of commitment or skill. We have flavors of it, but there’s nothing quite like a few emotes for Steel Path.

But we haven’t really perfected performance-based gear or gear that hides behind such things. There are some ways that we’re exploring that a player can feel like they deserve something that puts them in a, you know, not a category because we’re not a competitive game, but we just want people to are able to express themselves a bit more through other things they have achieved in the game. So there will be more in this direction.

If you want a full rundown of everything coming with the Angels of the Zariman update, check out our Warframe Devstream 161 roundup, which covers everything coming in this week’s update. Interview: Warframe’s Rebecca Ford on the biggest features of Angels of the Zariman

Fry Electronics Team

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