Unlike most MMOs and RPGs and all that, guilds in Warframe are filled with bossy NPCs who sit in their silly places in relays and absolutely hate each other. Rather than being groups based on how you play, like a Fighters’ Guild or a Mages’ Guild, or more akin to jobs like the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood, the Syndicates are all political groups who hate almost anyone. The only people they have time for are Tenno who pledge themselves and donate money to them.
The way Syndicates work is kinda weird. At first, you have neutral standing with all six groups. Once you sign up with a Syndicate, you can wear their Sigil (basically a hologram of their logo) on your chest or back, and in exchange for free advertising, you get ‘standing’ (basically positive reputation) with said Syndicate. Get 5000 standing and the Syndicate will give you access to some of their equipment and give you a rank, in exchange for some credits and a sacrifice. You can use standing to purchase things like relic packs, new gear, Warframe augment mods that alter your abilities, special weapons, random parts of Archwing weapons and, weirdest of all, new Sigils that increase your standing earned in missions slightly more quickly.
But like everything in Warframe, there’s a catch. Earning standing for one Syndicate will decrease standing for another Syndicate, the enemy Syndicate, by exactly the same amount. Doing jobs for a Syndicate will also earn standing for one allied Syndicate and decrease reputation with the Syndicate that the enemy Syndicate is allied with.
Confused? Yeah, me too. Let’s have an example.
Red Veil is the edgy Syndicate for edgy hipster murderers who just want to kill everyone. They are allied with the Steel Meridian, who are a bunch of Grineer outcasts who try to protect colonies. They are the enemies of the Arbiters of Hexis, who are a bunch of overly dogmatic nerds. The ally of the Arbiters of Hexis is Cephalon Suda, the second bitchiest Cephalon after Cephalon Simaris and will hate your guts even if you save her from being killed by Hunhow.
If you earn 1000 standing for Red Veil, you lose 1000 standing with the Arbiters of Hexis. You gain 500 standing for the Steel Meridian and you lose 500 standing with Cephalon Suda.
Piss off a Syndicate too much, and they’ll start sending death squads after you. These death squads consist of a bunch of Eximus units of a specific type. For example, the Steel Meridian sends Grineer Eximus Rollers after you, the Perrin Sequence (basically charitable Corpus blokes) drops a pile of Eximus MOAs on you, and New Loka (basically Nazi Hippies) sends a bunch of Eximus Ancient Healers. They’re the worst ones because Ancient Healers can be tanky as fuck.
Now, having upsides and downsides isn’t too bad in the grand scheme of things. It means you need to look at which rewards you want to work towards, work out your best course of action to not piss people off and try and not screw everything up like I did at first. The problem is that all these Syndictes just seem like dicks.
Let’s go back to the Red Veil. The Red Veil say to you right off the bat that they want to kill everyone. A cleansing fire. No one’s worth saving in their eyes. They all wear red and black and talk in muffled voices and so desperately want to be edgy and evil.
The Steel Meridian on the other hand, despite their somewhat loudmouthed and bossy leader, seem very nice. They want to protect the people the Grineer are trying to kill. Earlier this year, I spent 2 and a half real-life hours shepherding a colony of Grineer pacifists on the behalf of the Steel Meridian, who desperately needed our help. So why the hell are they allied with the Red Veil, who literally want to watch the world burn?
Then there is the Perrin Sequence, a Corpus Syndicate. The Perrin Sequence believe that the Corpus ideals of profiting from war and exploitation are wrong, and they want to share prosperity and help everyone. You might remember their boss, Ergo Glast, from both the Glast Gambit and Ambulas Reborn. The Perrin Sequence helps people much like the Steel Meridian does.
The problem is, the Perrin Sequence and the Steel Meridian FUCKING HATE EACH OTHER. They hate each others’ guts. They are sworn enemies. Help one too much and the other will send death squads after you. But they could be allies! They could accomplish all their goals if they looked past their racism!
Outside of the Red Veil and maybe Cephalon Suda (who is basically Space GLADOS but without any of the character), these Syndicates are basically screwing themselves over because they can’t see past their own hatred. And what do we do? We just run around, acting like shitty billboards on legs, unable to make any real change and just going with the least bad options.
A bit like politics in real life, I guess…