In Warframe, there are fancy versions of normal things. For example, there is Volt, and a fancy version of him called Volt Prime. Volt Prime is slightly better than normal Volt – he has slightly more armour and an extra V slot in his mods. He also has bright, shiny gold bits, exclusive to Prime items. All Prime items have these shiny gold bits, as well as either a black and gold or white and gold colour scheme.
Now, Prime items are obtainable in-game, like most things in Warframe. You can buy new Prime sets as they come out if you have a LOT of spare cash. For example, the new Valkyr Prime set, complete with Valkyr Prime, Venka Prime and Cernos Prime, costs €71.99. I kid you not. But you don’t need to spend that money. Using time and luck, you can get these items for free!
Small problem, you need a fuck-ton of luck.
Enter Relics. Relics are rewards from various missions. As you play, you’ll see a few of them. There’s four types – Lith, Meso, Neo and Axi, and the Relics all contain parts of Prime items. Most relics generally contain 3 common items, 2 uncommon ones and one rare part. For example, the blueprint for Tigris Prime is in the Axi T1 relic, but the three other parts – the barrel, stock and receiver – are all scattered in other relics.
To unlock a relic, you need to go to a Void Fissure. These are set in normal missions across the solar system. The missions always start off as normal, but randomly, the aforementioned Void Fissures open up, turning the local enemies into ‘Corrupted’ enemies. Corrupted enemies (which are versions of normal Grineer, Corpus and Infested with gold bits attached to them) have a chance of dropping Void Reactant, which you need to collect 10 of to open your relic.
You will most likely get a common item.
Now, there is a way of improving the chances of getting a rare part. When you finish your mission to open a relic, you’ll also get Void Traces. You can use Void Traces to increase the chance of getting rarer items. There’s still only about a 20% chance of getting the rare parts, but you never know. It’s often best to group up with people using the same relic to increase your chances further.
Thing is, it wasn’t always like this. Before relics, people used Void Keys. People spent their resources and credits to make keys, then they’d do missions in the Void to use the keys, where they’d get Prime parts for finishing said missions. Of course, people tended to do endless missions (e.g. Survival) because you’d get way, way more Prime parts than by just doing a Spy or Exterminate mission. Hour-long missions were the norm, but it was still very random what you’d get, and everyone would just play Void missions and ignore the rest of the star map.
People weren’t fond of the new system at first though. Despite the ability to increase your chances, people wanted to open more relics more quickly. When the relic system came out, it used to be that you could only open one relic per mission (regardless of mission length) but a recent update made it so you can continue to open relics as long as you continue doing endless missions.
There is one downside. Some items eventually get put into the Prime Vault, meaning you can’t get the relics containing them any more. You can still open any relics you have, but this means that prices will most likely shoot up. Occasionally some items will come out of the Vault, but it’s always for a limited time and there’s still a rush to get those pieces – specially the rarer parts.
As to how I feel about it? I’m not sure. Getting the majority of parts isn’t that hard, and you can always trade for the bits you don’t have. But there’s always a panic that you won’t be able to get all the parts of an item before they go into the Vault. Plus, getting the right relics in the first place can be very, very tedious.
Oh well. I’m half the way towards getting Frost Prime. After that, maybe I’ll get Valkyr and Ember Prime, but otherwise I’m not fussed.