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Tearjerker / Warframe

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You'd be surprised at how many sad moments there can be in a game about space ninjas.

Spoilers Off applies to all moments pages, so beware of unmarked spoilers.


  • From the tutorial missions, there is Ordis' desperate pleas for help when Vor's Ascaris seemingly takes full control of you.
    Ordis: Lotus... Lotus, do something! Save the Operator!
  • The whole Mirage quest.
  • Orokin Void Sabatoges that have the Grineer involves a battle with a pair of Grineer sisters. The more immature sister, Sprag, will make emotional pleas to "Wake up... Ven'kra, wake up..." if Ven'kra Tel dies first.
  • As The Second Dream quest showed, while they were amoral, it's sad to think that the grand Orokin Empire has been reduced to just a handful of children in a galaxy mutated beyond their comprehension.
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    • When The Stalker learned the truth, he stopped to look at himself for a moment...
  • The end of the Sands of Inaros quest, particularly the flashback of young Baro Ki'Teer hiding away, clutching a few grains of sand and praying to Inaros for salvation that wouldn't come as Grineer soldiers break into his house and execute his mother.
  • Ordis turns out to have one of the most tragic pasts in the game. He's a Virtual Ghost of a soldier who was so fatigued by war, so broken by the things he saw and the things he did that he, upon being offered immortality, proceeded to massacre the Orokin offering him the gift so they would be forced to execute him. Instead, the Orokin turned him into a then-mindless Cephalon out of spite, locking away his memories so they could use him as a resource later. When Ordis unlocks those memories he immediately erases them, because he doesn't want to remember. And from the way he phrases it, the dominant emotion in Ordan Karris was self-loathing.
    • In Octavia's Anthem, Hunhow is revealed to remember Ordis's past as Ordan Karris. He is not happy to hear this. Which stinks, because this is right before Hunhow actually does capture Ordis.
  • Near the end of Octavia's Anthem, Hunhow finishes corrupting Cephalon Suda. Ordis goes in to rescue her, but seemingly dies with her as well. The final message he automatically sends to the player is absolutely heartrending:
    Operator, if you are hearing this, I have failed to revive Cephalon Suda. That self-righteous Simaris was correct. You should probably try to isolate Hunhow, that data-murdering Sentient, before he claims more of my kind.
    I hope you can forgive me, Operator, for leaving you. There were times, like Suda, I wish I could have forgotten you. That grey ache of loneliness. Being without you was the greatest pain I have ever felt.
    Do you still remember that glorious day when you returned? So selfless and heroic, engaging all of my missing segments like that! I was ashamed of the mess, but you didn't care. You made me whole again!
    Or... or what about that time you returned - covered in blood - from that awful Grineer ship? I wasn't even mad at the gory mess you left behind.
    How could I be, when you are so perfect, Operator? You will always be.
  • The life and fate of Rell in Chains of Harrow. Even before the catastrophe which gave all the Tenno their powers he was an outcast, struggling with autismnote  that made it hard for him to understand emotions and experiencing sensory overloads from even the most mild of sensations. After the void incident Rell started to see and hear a being called "The Man in the Wall" and was completely ignored, with even Margulis - the only person who truly cared for the Tenno - refusing to believe him. Becoming an outcast all over again he left to form the Red Veil and serve as a ward against this "Man in the Wall", sealing himself via Transference into the Harrow Warframe and becoming the only Tenno who didn't go into stasis and thus was not found by the Lotus. Living on through his Warframe for centuries after his body died, the Red Veil restrained him to prevent him from lashing out. None of the other Tenno would discover him until his transference link begins to decay, and by that point he's under the control of The Man in the Wall and has to be given a Mercy Kill by destroying his Warframe to finally put his spirit to rest. In a shocking bit of Fridge Horror, the player Tenno was with Rell on the Zariman Ten-Zero when it went through the Void and after when they became the Tenno, which means they might have forgotten about Rell or ignored him like everyone else. Who's to say they weren't one of the ones who picked on or made fun of him: Rell himself is the only one who knows.
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    • Even worse is that it's highly implied Rell was right.
    • One of the last things Rell asks before he finally gets his rest is who will protect the rest of the Tenno from the Man in the Wall after he's gone. Even now, after all these years trapped inside Harrow and after what the other children did to him, he still cared.
  • Chains of Harrow is a giant dose of Adult Fear for the Lotus: When she found the Tenno and took them as her own there was no mention of Rell. The realization that she missed one of her "children" who's been suffering for centuries alone hits her hard. It's obvious from the way she speaks of stabilizing Rell's transference link that she's desperate to help him out of guilt for not being there. She becomes noticeably silent after Paladino suggests a Mercy Kill, and does not appear for the rest of the quest. Perhaps refusing to watch the child she lost pass on.
  • The Apostasy Prologue. Where. Do we. Begin? After completing Chains of Harrow and building the new personal quarters on the Liset, Palladino sends you a gift. It's an orb of light that transports you to the moon. After a short walk where you follow these orbs, your operator comes face-to-face with the Lotus... Only for Ballas, the Orokin who weaponized the Tenno, to reveal himself, alive and well. Mistaking her for Margulis, he's followed by the Lotus, who removes her helmet and willingly holds his hand as they leave through a portal. The operator slowly picks up the Lotus's discarded helmet and hugs it, having never looked more like an orphaned child than they do now...
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    • And just to add salt to the wound, With The Lotus gone, Ordis is now Mission Control, but instead of appearing as himself, he instead creates a virtual version of The Lotus. So now, every time she gives you directions, every time she congratulates you, every time she worries about you, it'll just remind you of what you lost.
  • Collecting Ghoul fragments while out on the Plains of Eidolon provides a bit of backstory for the warframe Khora. It's a doubly heartwarming and tearjerking anecdote by Corpus scientist Sigor Savah. While collecting gene records of Orokin-era creatures, he happened upon "Specimen VK-7," an intact kavat preserved since the Orokin era. Savah, being a Corpus, had initially intended to offer a kavat like VK-7 to the Corpus elite for a large fortune. However, after VK-7 willed herself back to life, Savah had a change of heart away from he profit-driven Corpus doctrine. He and VK-7 formed a bond of trust, leading to VK-7 bringing the hand of her master, Khora, to Savah in hopes that he could find her. This eventually lead to the Corpus trying to capture VK-7. Savah defiantly held off Corpus hunters sent after her, ensuring her escape, but leading to his own arrest. As he's about to be executed, Savah was saved by VK-7, and the two attempted to escape from Venus, where Savah was assigned. In order for him to escape, VK-7 closed his ground-to-orbit pod door and lunged at the enemy, ensuring he got off of Venus.
    • This part is especially sad when listening to Savah telling the story. You can hear him fighting back tears as he recounts the loss of someone who possibly his closest friend.
  • Meta example: Prime Time #209 was expected to begin as planned, but immediately cut to Megan and Rebecca trying their damnedest not to cry followed by the equally immediate cancellation of the show. This was in response to the news of the death of John "TotalBiscuit" Bain. TotalBiscuit was noted as having contributed to a major part of Warframe's popularity through both of his videos on the game, enough that when graphed, one could actually mark the time at which Bain uploaded the original video on Warframe based on sight alone. Coupled with him actually dying, seeing Megan and Rebecca absolutely heartbroken came as a major shock to everyone watching the stream.
  • Excalibur Umbra has the personality of the Dax it was transformed from. It has only one memory, that of its transformation into a warframe and then murdering his own son because Ballas forced him to. And it's been forced to relive it, over and over, for who knows how long.
    • What's even worse is that, the "Sacrifice" may refer to Excalibur Umbra's son. As Ballas puts it, "all miracles require sacrifice".
      • Umbra's consistently seen at the base of a cherry tree, howling in what seems to be fury - but it's actually loss. And closer examination suggests that the scenery surrounding the tree is full of memorial stones. Umbra's grieving in the graveyard of his family - the family that, true to his threat - Ballas had killed.
    • The one thing that makes the impact that much stronger, is that we can see how strongly his son loved and idolised his father. As well as his reaction of complete shock and fear when Umbra lashes at him.
    • Continuing from Apostasy Prologue, Ordis' desperate fumbling to cheer up the Operator after their Heroic BSoD, and failing badly. It's like watching someone who's never had experience being a foster parent trying to connect with their new ward, and it's painful.
    • The very end of the quest. Thought you were going to save the Lotus after killing Ballas? Nope. When you finally see her again, she's reverted to her original Sentient self, in both appearance and seemingly personality. To twist the knife further, you get to see Lotus - or rather, Natah - take Ballas's body and disappear to parts unknown once more, with the implication she's going off to rejoin her Sentient brethren.
  • Since the start of The War Within, the Operator has been slowly spiraling the path of insanity, mostly because of the apparition, The Man in the Wall. Especially after Rell's passing, they slowly seem to become unhinged, frequently seeing dark versions of themselves, taunting them in the comfort of their own orbiter. The poor Operator's grip on sanity slips even more after The Sacrifice, when they adopted Excalibur Umbra's memory as their own, fully believing that they had killed 'their son, Issah' in a dialogue with the said dark apparition. Without Lotus to comfort and keep the Operator grounded, they are treading down a dark path where they might lose themselves, just like Rell did.
  • Ballas is a callous monster, willing to sacrifice anyone and engineer the fall of an entire civilization. It is still hard not to feel pity when you come across the Chimera.
  • As of the Fortuna update, the entire concept of Fortuna is this. Crapsack World doesn't begin to describe it. The Solaris are enslaved to an offshoot of the already greedy and amoral Corpus, leading to a what is effectively a chain-ganged Slave Race who regularly replace parts of their bodies with equipment and machinery just to stay solvent. That same crushing debt can be passed from parent to child as a damning inheritance, an all too real Adult Fear. Notably, almost every NPC has had their head and face replaced with some kind of sensor pack, lending them a deeply disturbing feeling. It's an exceptionally depressing place, even with flashes of hope in the form of brilliant subversives like Ticker or well-meaning conservationists like The Business.
    • Ticker's shop, where the player purchases debt-bonds, is a constant stream of people who are heavily in debt. Each case file is unique, and their punishments can be anything from "10 years hard labor on the Orb Vallis" to "Total bodily repossession and permanent brain-shelving. Debt passed to dependents". While it's possible to pay off the debts of some of these people, as Ticker themselves puts it when you exit their shop...
    Ticker: Check back in a little bit. New merchandise all the time. All the damn time.
  • The story of Ticker's Memory Fragments is a terrible tragedy. Ticker had a loved one that they cared about deeply, and that loved one ended up getting brain shelved. Ticker sold nearly all their body to pay back that debt and buy a body for that person, only to find that they didn't remember Ticker or almost anything at all about their former life. What worsens it is that before those events, they seemed to have a fairly rough dispute, and that was possibly the last time they interacted. It drives home how terrifying the idea of being in debt to the Corpus is.
  • During the Ropalolyst boss fight it's under the control of Natah, who contacts you, and reveals that her transformation into the Lotus was Heel–Face Brainwashing; now that she's been found by the Sentients, her program's been reverted, and she's not happy with what the Orokin did to her. The Lotus, adoptive mother of the Tenno, by all appearances, is gone - the only thing left in Natah is Natah, a deeply angry and bitter person who was forced to love the murderers of her species, and now hates them with equal intensity.
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