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Warframe / Tropes T to Z

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This page covers tropes in Warframe.

Tropes A to D | Tropes E to H | Tropes I to M | Tropes N to S | Tropes T To Z


  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Steel Meridian and Red Veil may be working together as two parts of La Résistance against the various despots, madmen and abominations causing suffering in the System, but Operation: Rathuum seems to indicate that this works only barely. If your primary allegiance is to the Red Veil group, they will demand you turn over the Grineer defectors rescued from Kela De Thaym to them, even though it was their allies, Steel Meridian, who asked you to intervene in the first place. The Veil promise to release them to Steel Meridian if they find the defectors to be "honorable" but does anyone really believe that?
  • Technicolor Ninja:
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    • The colors available to the Tenno to customize the appearance of their Warframes and weapons range from pure black to pure white. So you could be stealthy, with muted tones and subtle colors... or you could be lime green with hot pink highlights and dark blue glowing bits.
    • Deeply entwined with the meta: Fashion Frame is very much a thing.
  • Teleporters and Transporters:
    • The Loki Warframe can unlock an ability that allows it to instantly switch places with enemies, teammates, or the Hard Light decoys it can create. Creative players have learned to use this to teleport across large rooms and thus easily bypass hordes of enemies, or annoying/time-consuming map segments, amongst other things. The Nova skips a step and just creates one-way portals between locations. The Ash Warframe may also teleport himself into melee range of an enemy.
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    • When Spy missions were first introduced, Loki's Decoy/Switch-Teleport allowed cunning players to bypass 98% of the alarms, scanners, and trip-wires. This has since been patched so that Switch-Teleport still triggers alarms if its use runs a line through detection areas. The developer suffered much complaining from certain quarters, considered the facts, then added the scanner bypass ability back into the game, as an official "augment"... for a completely different warframe: Ivara. There was much hilarity.
    • High-tier Grineer melee troopers can teleport close to get the drop on you, and Grineer Captains can do this to the player — often to dump them in a room with a Heavy Grineer or in the middle of a pack of shotgunners.
  • Temporary Online Content: As the game is beta and thus under constant development, all of the below is subject to change at the whims of the developers; for now, there's a significant double-whammy:
    • There are elite, one-of-a-kind versions of various weapons (Dex for celebrating the game's anniversary, Wraith for supporting Grineer during events, etc.). Once the relevant event to acquire these weapons passes, they're gone, and barring a future event by the developer, new players can never obtain them. These versions are flatly superior to their normal versions, so it can miff some players that they may be stuck with inferior versions of their favorite weapons. Fortunately, the anniversary weapons return each year, and old event weapons have slowly been making their way back into the game through Tactical Alerts, Sorties, and Baro Ki'Teer's wares.
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    • Prime weaponry are similar to the above, being upgraded, gold-and-white trimmed versions of existing weaponry. Unlike the event weapons, these weapons can be obtained by any player with persistent farming for the blueprints and components (or, for the lazy, they can just buy them from other players); however, starting with Volt Prime's release, the oldest Primes get shelved with each new Prime Access. Items do get brought back occasionally, but at a much slower rate than items going away in the first place, and they only come back for a month at a time. Specters of the Rail alleviated some of the frustration with the overhaul to Void, since players can still use existing Relics to farm vaulted items, but you're out of luck for items that were vaulted before the change, and the Relics can start to become Too Awesome to Use over time as the supply diminishes.
    • Played dead straight with the very first Primes: Excalibur, Lato, and Skana. These were part of the Founders' Package during the earliest parts of the game's beta; as part of the deal, now that those packages are no longer available, those Primes are out-of-reach for any player that doesn't already have one (and DE has confirmed they WON'T be coming back).
    • To a lesser extent, played straight with the events themselves. While some of them (Survival, Excavation, injecting and defending toxins from the Cicero Crisis) remain in the game in some form, many of the original, unique maps and gameplay modes, and ALL of the unique dialogue, lore, and character interactions, are gone, with no way for new players to experience them (short of brief text blurbs in the Codex.)
    • Ghoul Bounties are a Downplayed example — they offer different rewards from normal bounties and are the only way to fill out the Codex entries on ghouls, but they are only around for a limited time. Unlike the other events, though, the enemies introduced with the bounties contined to spawn even after the bounties ended, and they have the blueprints for the weapons as part of their drops. Furthermore, Ghoul plagues return every so often, and so do the bounties related to them. The devs eventually just added the codex fragments on the ghouls as drops from the ghouls themselves, due to complaints.
  • Terraform:
    • Corpus outposts on Venus and Mars are set in snowy areas, strongly implied to be due to the Orokin, while Phobos is now an arid environment; all have breathable atmospheres. Earth itself was turned into a gigantic jungle to preserve the cities underneath the flora. You are also sent to missions on Earth to stop the Grineer's attempts at terraforming Earth for themselves by destroying their machines being used to poison the jungles.
    • Apparently, Venus was terraformed by dumping giants amounts of coolant onto its surface, which ended up turning its heat-scorched surface into a frozen wasteland. The still viable coolant is harvested by the Corpus, explaining their presence on Venus.
  • The Tetris Effect: Players who have had an encounter with the Stalker, the Grustrag Three, or Zanuka will feel a chill run down their spine at the sight of flickering lights — whether they're still playing the game or not.
  • This Cannot Be!:
    • Defeating the Stalker (fairly hard for new players, but far from impossible) yields quotes such as this;
      Stalker: No!? This is not... possible.
    • Alad V. is quite unhappy when you destroy his precious Zanuka pets.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Two available secondary weapons are the Talons and the Castanas, which are fistfuls of throwable remote explosives in Kaboom and Zap flavors, respectively.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works:
    • Stances for Sword and Shield weapons often include a combo wherein you throw your shield to hit enemies out of range of your sword. (Of course, it always comes right back.)
    • The reward for your 700th daily login is the Sigma and Octantis, a special sword and shield with this trope built into the weapon — if you are in the air, your standard aerial melee attack is substituted for flinging your shield to stagger enemies, lining them up for a Finishing Move.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works:
    • The "Crossing Snakes" Stance for dual swords has one combo involves flinging both weapons a short distance forward, embedding them into the ground before your Warframe jumps forward, grabs them out of the ground and finishes the combo with a circular slash.
    • The "Carving Mantis" Stance for dual swords has the Biting Mandibles combo, which involves throwing both of the swords like boomerangs — they even return to the Tenno afterwards.
  • Time Travel: Running spy missions on Lua involve trying to infiltrate Orokin data vaults that are still functional, but badly damaged. Obstacles can be bypassed by going through rifts that throw the Tenno back through time, somehow, to a point where the vaults are in pristine condition... and all of their defenses are still working. How this works is chalked up to 'Void stuff.'
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    • Warframes aren't the true Tenno. The REAL Tenno are Orokin (read: human) children, given psychic powers through exposure to the Void, hidden in a secret place and remotely-controlling the Warframes.
    • In a double-whammy for the trope, judging by the player Tenno's reaction, even they didn't know they were Orokin/human, and not actually the Warframes themselves.
    • To pile it on, the specific purpose of the Tenno and the Warframes is to create a "dream" or simulation to keep the children focused on fighting the Orokin Empire's enemies so that they didn't wake up a wreck havok on society. Now compare that to the players who put in hours and hours each day playing Warframe rather than thinking about social issues, reading the news, etc.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Alad V. has shades of this. From provoking the Grineer into open war to insulting Tenno who are willing to support him to tampering with the Infested, including on himself. All resulting in the Trauma Conga Line detailed below.
  • To the Pain: Hyena packs are programmed with rather brutal defense and offense mechanisms, as they'll be glad to announce to you. Close-quarters combat? Evisceration.
  • Touched by Vorlons: The Tenno are granted their supernatural powers by the Void. It happened when an Orokin ship called Zariman Ten Zero was lost within the Void after a jump accident. When it emerged years later and was recovered, the only survivors of the passengers were the children, who had gained uncontrollable and frightening powers.
  • Tron Lines: Corpus ship exteriors. Hacked friendly Moas also have these to distinguish them from the hostile ones.
  • Turned Against Their Masters:
    • If the Stalker is to be believed, the Tenno killed the Orokin.
    • According to some of the lore revealed by Cephalon Simaris's Sanctuary, the Grineer were originally worker drones created by the Orokin. While the details of the betrayal are still unclear, it's evident they resented getting pushed around and being treated like garbage.
    • Yet more Sanctuary lore heavily implies that the Orokin created the Sentients to colonize the nearby Tau system. The Orokin really had a bad track record with this trope.
    • And with the Natah quest, it turns out the Lotus is this to the Sentients.
    • Everyone's favorite Grineer, Clem, was cloned with a mutation that allowed him to disobey the Twin Queens.
    • In the Sands of Inaros quest, it's heavily implied that the "golden skymen" who'd periodically abduct the inhabitants of Mars were the Orokin, which would make Inaros this.
  • Tyke Bomb: What the Tenno originally were.
  • Undesirable Prize: Formas are instrumental in a number of functions, such as building middle- to high-tier equipment, polarizing equipment to fit more and higher quality mods on it, and building additional rooms for your clan dojo. However, prior to Specters of the Rail, when you were farming the void for prime parts to build that gilded masterpiece you've had your eyes on, receiving a forma blueprint after a void mission could be seen as this. Their presence as a common reward in nearly every void mission's drop table made them very easy to stock up on if you were looking for them... but if you weren't, receiving one could make a completed void mission (often no small feat) seem like a total waste of time. The Void Relic system that Specters introduced means that, when playing with a full party, you have four potential rewards to choose from, so now you only receive Forma if you actually want them.
  • Unfriendly Fire:
    • Done indirectly through the usable lasers in Orokin Tower Defense. In fact, it's fair to say that most Tenno casualties in T1D are caused by someone activating a laser.
    • Proccing the Radioactive status effect on an enemy will make him turn on his allies very quickly and vice versa. The same goes with Nyx's Mind Control and Chaos abilities. Note that Radioactive works in reverse as well; if you're hit with it, YOU can inflict Unfriendly Fire, so make sure you watch your shooting!
    • Mag's Bullet Attractor causes this as well. Anything affected by it becomes a giant magnet that pulls in any nearby projectiles, including ones fired by the victim's allies. Enemies won't hold their fire even if one of their own is affected and in the line of fire.
    • Infested Alad V uses this. One of his attacks lets him possess one of the player Tenno, turning them on their allies temporarily.note 
  • Universal Ammunition: There are four ammo types — pistol, rifle, shotgun, and sniper — Color-Coded for Your Convenience. How universal is it? All sidearms/secondaries share the 'pistol' ammo type. Aside from actual pistols this category also includes shotgun pistols, SMGs, throwing knives, crossbows, laser guns, handheld rocket launchers, small flame throwers, remotely detonated sticky bombs, and bits of mutated flesh that burst open on impact to release toxic gas. A Grineer Assault Rifle and Corpus Plasma Rifle can even run off the same rifle ammo pack. Despite the fact one shoots bullets and the other shoots plasma bolts.
    • Sniper Ammo is probably the most ridiculous, given that it's used for everything from actual sniper rounds to railgun shots to grenades to rockets to electrified stickybombs to toxic gas canisters.
  • Unobtanium:
    • Common materials seem simple enough — for example, "Ferrite" just means iron in real life, so it could be some kind of future iron alloy, while "rubedo" seems to be ordinary uncut rubies instead of anything related to alchemy. But then you get into Detonite, Fieldrons, Orokin Cells, Neurodes, Morphics, etc. The weird thing is that Detonite and Fieldrons are actually pretty cheap in-universe — the former is an common explosive chemical and the latter is a plasma storage unit (and the plasma isn't hard to find either) — yet the Tenno have tremendous difficulty reverse-engineering them, and are forced to scavenge most of the time.
    • Worst off are the Mutagen Samples; between Update 10 and Update 14, they could only be obtained from the Orokin Derelict missions (now they come from Eris as well).
    • Argon Crystals only rarely drop in the challenging Orokin Void and are needed for many unique and powerful blueprints, but most importantly, they disappear if you don't use them for 24 hours. This means that you can't just stockpile in your downtime, and if you need a large sum of them and can't afford to farm them all at once, you can be in for a VERY painful time.
    • Orokin Cells. Although not THE rarest material, they still drop infrequently except from bosses that are either 1) damage sponges with only strict conditional vulnerability or 2) only appear at periodic intervals. What makes it worse is that most of the most powerful crafts (such as the majority of Primes) require at least one and sometimes several Cells. It got bad enough that DE released a blueprint that lets you craft Cells (although at insane amounts of more common resources, far more than most players can grind in any reasonable period of time.)
    • The aforementioned Nitain Extract (which could be bastardized 'methane) is only available from alert missions. The game's files apparently refer to it as "alertium" under the hood.
  • Unorthodox Reload: Many weapons don't actually swap magazines/batteries/whatever when reloaded; the Boltor has a lever that apparently reloads an internal magazine, the Synapse is tickled, the Ogris has a pair of buttons to be smacked in, et cetera.
  • Used Future:
    • Grineer galleons, their space vessels. They're spotted with rust, are grimy, and dirty. It's stated they rely on ancient technology over and over, which is why their weapons also look so old.
    • Their factories on Ceres aren't much better, consisting of rusted, crumbling metal structures that look like something out of an OSHA nightmare, complete with collapsed metal walkways, desolate rocky outcroppings, lakes of deadly toxic sludge, and permanent acid rain.
  • Useless Accessory: In-universe, the masks that Nakak sells in Cetus are used to protect against "gilded lung", a condition that results from the Ostrons harvesting the Orokin tower. In terms of gameplay, they're pretty much just accessories for your Operator, with the exception of Revenant's Mask.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Update 7 introduced Back Stabs. However, there are enemies that are either outright Kung Fu Proof or otherwise too durable to be One Hit Killed with them, which thus leads to the attackee in question setting off an alert. Furthermore, at the time there was no exp bonus for doing stealth kills or a full Stealth Run other than an occasional challenge. As of Update 15, however, there is a huge multiplier bonus for stealth kills, making stealth-oriented Warframes far more viable. In addition, stealth becomes an important component in the Spy and Rescue missions, which as of Update 15 require the Tenno to get to a secure server or holding facility inside a well-guarded area, evading guards and sensors (unless you've brought a bunch of Ciphers and have a particularly durable Warframe that can just blitz the secured area, although once the alarm trips, you'll have a strict timer to contend with that results in instant mission failure if it expires.)
  • Variable Mix: The game uses this approach with the mission background music. Each environment has a default/"stealth" music sequence that is used when the Tenno are not detected, and a combat sequence used dring fights. The game seamlessly transitions from one track to another, going into combat mode when Tenno get into an open fight and returning to the stealth mode once the enemies have been dealt with. In addition, the combat track features the "light" and the "heavy" variation with the latter used when the combat gets especially intense — the music dynamically transitions from one to another, intensifying when the combat escalates and slowing down once the fight gets less thick.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Update 14 included the ability to breed and raise Kubrows, which are essentially large alien dogs. Players are allowed to pet their Kubrows when they're inside their ships (and required to, to build a strong enough companionship to take them into the field). Specters of the Rail added in Kavats, their feline counterparts; ironically, Kavats always stay at maximum loyalty, while Kubrows need constant attention to stay that way.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: The Ignis has been through quite a rollercoaster. Originally one of the more powerful weapons in game, it was nerfed to become one of the weakest primaries. As of 17.8 it's been buffed back up to usable status, with almost triple its prior base damage, increased range, innate punch-through, and innate multishot.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: There are countless Warframe and weapon combinations, many of which have a variety of alternate skins and fully-customizable color palettes, and can be further customized with a wide variety of accessories, idle stances, melee holster styles, and more, allowing you to create anything from an appropriately-stealthy ninja assassin with badass-looking Iaijutsu Practitioner katana and bow comboes, complete with a Badass Armfold... or a neon-pink-and-orange eyesore whose idle stance consists of pelvic-thrusting and who attacks by spinning around in circles with a giant purple-and-banana-yellow battleaxe. In short, there's a reason the game's Fan Nickname is "Fashion Frame".
  • The Virus: The Technocyte Plague, apparently a weapon from the old war, something unleashed by the Orokin to end it. It evidently escaped their control in some fashion and worked too well. Cue Body Horror.
  • The Voiceless: The Tenno never vocalize at all, no matter what happens to them — not even on death. Valkyr is the notable, and very noticeable, exception. Averted after you complete 'The Second Dream' and customise your Tenno, including selecting their voice pack.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: The Lotus. She provides information on your target during Assassination missions, and helpfully warns you of incoming enemies and such.
  • Wave-Motion Tuning Fork: The Corpus Dera rifle has a distinctive tuning fork-esque design to its barrel, though it fires bolts of plasma as opposed to beams.
  • The War Sequence/Big Badass Battle Sequence: The Gradivus Dilemma, featuring many-squad battles between large hordes of Grineer and Corpus, with the Player in the middle, fighting for one side or the other. Subsequently, any Invasion mission is bound to have similar fierce fighting.
  • Was Once a Man: The Infested are the victims of a horrifying plague, twisted beyond recognition into mindless beasts. The Cephalon Fragments reveal that the Cephalons are not actually AIs, but rather human minds forcibly converted into a tool for the Orokin.
  • We Need a Distraction: The rationale for Survival missions — the player's cell has to distract the stage enemy while another group of Tenno, "Alpha Team", conducts a raid offscreen.
  • We Will Wear Armor in the Future: The Grineer make heavy use of this trope, preferring physical armor in place of energy shields. However as many players will tell the armor is quite effective and high level Grineer tend to bullet sponges because of it.
  • Walking Spoiler: YOU can become one at will after completing "The Second Dream", spoiling a crucial reveal just by using the new combat mode unlocked by that quest in front of players who somehow don't yet know the twist.
  • Weapon of Choice:
    • All of the Syndicates have unique primary, secondary, and melee weapons. Gain enough reputation with them and they'll allow you to buy them.
    • Many warframes have specific weapons associated with them; this is more common for later 'frames, which are usually heavily advertised with all three.
    • The Stalker has Dread (his bow), Despair (his knives), and Hate (his scythe). After joining forces with Hunhow, he discards them in favor of War.
    • And then there are the ones that players can wield:
      • An Axe to Grind: Scindo, a gigantic double-bladed axe — the head is wider than the torso of most Warframes. Also, the Dual Zoren; a pair of smaller axes. The Ether Reaper, despite its name, resembles a great axe much more than a scythe. The Dual Ichor are considered axes by lore, but they resemble heavily cancerous bone shaped into short swords. The Ack and Brunt is an axe and shield combo.
      • Cool Sword: Skana, Dakra Prime, Machete, etc. — there's about a dozen or so options to choose from. Sometimes paired with a knife.
      • Blade on a Stick: The Orthos and its Prime variant, the Tonbo halberd, and the Guandao, which doesn't even bother with fancy naming convention.
      • BFS: The Gram, which is a massive greatsword with laser edges; and the Galatine, a massive claymore-style sword taller than the Tenno who wields it.
      • Drop the Hammer: Fragor, a gigantic hammer — like Scindo, the head is almost as big as the wielder's torso! It also comes in a spiked version, used by the Grineer — and by one of their commanders, Lech Kril, a brute obsessed with with own hammer. Now featuring the Jat Kittag, as a Jet Hammer. If you're craving something a bit more high-tech, why not try the Heliocor, which can scan its victims into the Codex for you, or the Arca Titron, which builds up charge that is dispersed explosively on a slam attack.
      • Dual Tonfas: The Kronen and its Prime variant, which are massive and bladed for extra fun. The Boltace are designed after (and crafted from) the Boltor rifle, and as such come with massive spikes to deal the Puncture damage that the line is so well-known for. The Corpus-designed Ohma tonfas are, of course, electrified.
      • Flaming Sword: The Silva sword bundled with the Aegis shield. The blade is made of fire, after all.
      • Knife Nut: Various flavors of dagger, either alone or in pairs. Variations includes cleavers and throwing knifes.
      • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Aegis shield bundled with the Silva sword. There's also Tyl Regor's Ack and Brunt, a shield and axe combo with the former being his headdress when he's not using it.
      • Machete Mayhem: The Grineer Machete — exactly what it sounds like.
      • Power Fist: Furax, Kogake, Obex, Ankyros, and Tekko. The Furax in particular are an uncomplicated demonstration of this trope. The Kogake and Obex are a little more subtle, whilst the Ankyros are much more ornate and flashy, and the Tekko are bladed. There's also the Knux, a pair of gigantic mechanical fists (not gloves) normally wielded by Tyl Regor when he's not using Ack and Brunt that are so big you can only wield them when you're using your Archwing!
      • Shear Menace: The Lacera, Jat Kusar, and Mios scissor-blades, with added chain (weird rope/tentacle/thing for the Mios) and hook for extra Whip It Good antics!
      • Simple Staff: Bo, whose simple appearance belies its ability to send enemies flying. There's also the slightly less simple Amphis, which has extra electrical effects, and the Tipedo, a monk's spade with a distinctive sci-fi flair.
      • Sinister Scythe: The Hate, Reaper Prime and Ether Reaper — though the latter two look quite the opposite of sinister. The Hate, on the other hand? Totally sinister; it's used by the Stalker. The Kama (and Dual Kamas) is a much smaller scythe. There's also the Anku which, while not quite as intimidating as the Hate, at least looks less silly than Reaper Prime or Ether Reaper.
      • Whip It Good: The Lecta is an electrified whip of a distinctly Corpus design, the Scoliac is the Infested's take on a whip, and the Grineer Atterax is less a whip and more a flail with multiple spinning sawblades.
  • Weapon Twirling:
    • The staff weapons feature a bit of this, but the scythes are the king of this trope. Every attack is followed (and sometimes started) by your Warframe spinning the massive weapon around in one hand.
    • The Jat Kittag brings this trope to a new extent: the weapon is twirled around by the Tenno several times before spinning around with the weapon itself, at great speed. This is due to the jet engine built into the back of the head.
    • The Fragor gets in on the fun with the Crushing Ruin stance, giving the player an attack that lets them charge forwards twice, each time launching into a massive whirling hammer attack.
    • One of the most powerful melee strategies involves combining the Galatine or the Scindo Prime with a stance that involves spinning around and around repeatedly.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: With the rise of the Syndicates, each opposing the Grineer and Corpus and each with wildly different ideologies, it's inevitable they'll start clashing.
    • Steel Meridian and the Perrin Sequence, ex-Grineer and ex-Corpus, respectively, are opposed, as the former prefers protection through force and the plight of the weak and innocent, while the latter prefers peaceful solutions and profit through the strong and influential working together.
    • The Arbiters of Hexis are a group of Tenno worshipers who reject the "Tenno are bloodthirsty assassins and nothing more" concept, instead asserting that they can excel in other areas and grow beyond what is thought of them, and avoid violence except when it's necessary to uphold justice; they want to keep the Solar System in balance, and only turn to violence when it's necessary to maintain that balance. The Red Veil are fanatical, bloodthirsty (but intelligent and professional) warriors who believe that, in a Solar System full of brutal tyrants with armies of clones, world-sundering factories, and scorched-earth military tactics, corrupt profit-hungry CEO opportunists who backstab anyone and everyone to make a quick buck and spend all their resources and creative power inventing new ways to kill things, and vicious monsters that can't be reasoned with and kill anything that moves, the best (or only) solution is to Kill ’Em All and start over.
    • Cephalon Suda is a super-intelligent AI with a passion for the unique and the unknown, devoid of emotion but focused on learning as much as it can about anything. It detests close-mindedness of any kind, as well as those who refuse to learn or change. New Loka are a group of pre-war Earth worshippers who treasure the pure, unchanged Human form and clean, whole Earth above all else, and abhor any form of knowledge or technology that could threaten to change or corrupt these images, such as the Grineer's cloning or the Corpus machinery, and it's implied that the very concept of the Cephalons, sentient machines with intelligence rivaling or surpassing that of humanity itself, is offensive to them.
  • We Have Reserves:
    • The Grineer's philosophy; due to their cloning technology they'll just keep hammering out more clones to send into the meat grinder against any kind of resistance or insurrection against them, Corpus, Tenno, or otherwise. When they find a ship adrift that's been attacked by the Tenno, they simply mark it for repopulation.
    • The Corpus are not far off either, since most of their troops are either mass produced walking turrets, flying drones or brainwashed slave workers.
  • Whale Egg: Despite being mammalian, Kubrows hatch from eggs. Justified, due to the fact that they're animals created by the Orokin.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The Eyes of Blight event at the end of 2014, involving Vay Hek's Balor Fomorian invasion of Tenno space, which resulted in the destruction of four of the seven Tenno relays. This was especially shocking because the players had every chance to save these relays.
    • The Natah quest that debuted with Update 17, which revealed that the Lotus is actually a Sentient who abandoned her species to care for the Tenno as their mother. Unfortunately, the Sentients were just hibernating, and they're coming back to finish the job, which includes wiping out the Tenno like the Lotus was supposed to and Mind Raping the Lotus herself to bring her back into the fold.
    • And with Update 18, The Second Dream tops all of those. The Tenno are Child Soldiers, operating the Warframes remotely from the safety of the Earth's moon — which has been hidden in the Void for centuries by the Lotus. The Sentient has hired the Stalker in an attempt to permanently kill all of the Tenno by destroying the moon before they can wake from stasis and the quest ends with you shunting the moon back into normal space, the Stalker breaking into your Liset, and there's a control unit for the Tenno to continue operating the Warframe from their ship. And The Lotus arrives in person to speak to your Tenno about their past.
    • The War Within: Revealing that the Grineer Queens are actually Orokin, that Teshin, the faction leader for the Conclave, is enslaved to their will, and showing just how the Orokin achieved immortality. The Operator is forced to relive the events on the Zahriman Ten-Zero, has their body hijacked by the Grineer Queens, and ultimately becomes powerful enough through battling their own demons and memories that they escape and slay the Queen attempting to control them.
    • "Apostasy". Not only do the Acolytes return, but Ballas, the Orokin executor who made the Tenno, is alive. He also "frees" the Lotus, who leaves behind her helmet and disappears with him.
    • "The Sacrifice": The revelation that the Warframes are not just suits of armor and Infestation, but that they're malformed bodies of Orokin warriors controlled by Transference. Ballas also revealed that he was working with the Sentients, and also reveals that the way the Tenno control the Warframes is through empathy and kindness over any unique Void powers. Finally, the Lotus appears in her true Sentient form, cradling Ballas' body and rejoining the Sentients.
  • Wham Line: Several in a row from the Natah quest, that blow away everything we thought we knew about Lotus and the Tenno:
    Teshin: Pupil, what is your Lotus hiding? Who is Natah?
    Lotus: My name, my old name.
    [...]
    Unknown: Natah, why did you betray me? Why did you not finish the sequence you started? Why did you stop at the last?
    Unknown: My own daughter. The last of my womb. How can you do this?
    [...]
    Lotus: There are gaps. I had my mission and I completed it. All but the last sequence.
    Teshin: To destroy the Tenno.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In earlier versions, taking a mission on Earth and seeing the desolate, red-streaked, polluted hellhole in the brief moments before you flew into the target ship could be a bit shocking for a new player. Now, however, the planet is closer to Gaia's Vengeance and doesn't look as bad as it once did, but there are still horrifically desolate, Ceres-like polluted areas caused by Grineer industrial activities. Permafrost also seems to persist at high altitudes, such as the Himalayas.
    • The first sight of the thing that escaped when Tyl Regor opened the Tomb of the Sentient in the Natah quest line—when you take a good look through the signal distortion obscuring its character portrait, you can see that it resembles nothing so much as a horrifically charred and burned version of the Lotus.
    • The hidden Apostasy Prologue quest has perhaps the biggest since The Second Dream. Ballas, an Orokin and previously The Ghost, appears out of thin air.
    • The very end of the Sacrifice turns a triumphant moment of victory on its head when we see Lotus' true form as a Sentient.
    • From Tennocon 2019 the reveal trailer for the game's 3rd open world area, The Duviri Paradox, contained a huge one when a mask-wearing Operator is incapable of channelling their void power, causing them to be knocked to the ground by a strange being on a strange horse, dislodging the mask from their head... to reveal the face of an adult man.
  • Wolverine Claws:
    • One of the weapons introduced in update 13.9.0, Venka, is this.
    • The Ripkas are basically Wolverine Claw chainsaws.
  • You Are Too Late: During the 4th stage of The Second Dream, you are sent to the Moon with the mission of stopping the Stalker from initiating a Void Collapse, which will destroy the Moon and take the Reservoir with it, killing the Tenno. Less than a minute into the mission, the Stalker announces "It is done" and the Moon starts to collapse, forcing you to instead safely pull the Moon out of the Void again and back into realspace.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Happens in some very specific circumstances - if you perform a stealth finisher from behind on a quadruped enemy (i.e. an Infested Charger) while having sparring-type melee equipped (such as Obex, Kogake, Hirudo etc.) your warframe will suplex them.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • The Grineer apparently rely on this in war. Due to overuse of cloning technology their troops are degrading biologically, and it's mentioned in the backstory that once they rediscovered cloning they conquered Earth through sheer numbers.
    • The Corpus Moa robots are another good example. Their favorite tactic is to bunch up into a nice little horde and then charge across the battlefield and pour plasma bolts into you in full auto at point blank range. This is made significantly worse if there's a Shockwave Moa to knock you to the ground or a Railgun Moa to repeatedly throw your balance off.
    • Infested come in massive numbers, more than the usual squads of non-Infested.
    • Expect any defense mission to turn into this, regardless of Faction.
    • Solo missions tend to send hordes of enemies barreling your way.
  • You Will Not Evade Me:
    • Several enemies (such as Grineer Scorpions or Infested Ancients among others) posess an attack where they launch a grappling line at you that they use to knock you off your feet and drag you to them. It can be deflected by blocking in melee, and mods that reduce the knockdown recovery time also help to get up faster from this.
    • On the Tenno side, the Helminth Charger pet has an ability that works identical to how enemies do it. Valkyr's first ability also works by firing a line that, if hitting an emey, yanks them towards you — but because of how the game's physics works, rather than pulling them to your feet it is more likely to violently hurl them over you to the opposite end of whatever room you're in.
    • Terra Shock Moas found on Orb Vallis provide an inversion — they also fire a grappling line at you that they use to launch themselves to you, delivering an electrified dropkick to your face in the process.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The Sergeant is an extremely easy boss to beat, being essentially just a Corpus Sniper with the ability to turn invisible — but the objective marker still tracks him while invisible — and is susceptible to most crowd-control abilities. Back when he was still the same character as Nef Anyo, he was often nicknamed "Derf", "Derp", or "Nerf" Anyo because of how pathetic he is at combat. Part of a later boss rework included patching the objective marker over the Sergeant so that it no longer shows when the boss uses his invisibility power.
  • Zombie Apocalypse:
    • The Technocyte Plague, a biological superweapon unleashed by the Orokin during the war against the Sentients. Anything exposed to it is mutated horribly and becomes a mindless monster that attacks anything nearby. There are known Corpus and Grineer strains of Infested, along with Infested Ancients which are the bodies of Orokin. The Zombie Apocalypse is most visible in the Infestation mission types, wherein the Infested invade en-masse. The Corpus and Grineer factions will pay the Tenno well to come in and help fight off the Infestation, and throughout each mission, you'll get to see the local troops getting slaughtered by the stronger, more numerous Infested.
    • Also, a Grineer flavor: Ghouls, the superpowered remains of dead Grineer resurrected by a project of Vay Hek, threaten to overrun one of the major human settlements of Earth every so often.
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