It was only a matter of time until Unusual Effects started fleeing Team Fortress 2 and infecting other games. In fact, Unusual Effects have been doing so for years. First these sparkly effects began infecting other nearby Valve games and before long everyone was getting into particle effects. But then everyone switched over to skins on guns and the world hasn’t been the same since. Sure, there were Unusual Guns, but they never really had the same effect that Unusual Hats did.
Actually, right off the bat, I’ve kinda made a mistake here. Ephemera aren’t really Unusual Effects at all. They’re more like the beloved Halloween Spells. Actually, they’re exactly like the Halloween flaming footstep spells that we got in Scream Fortresses of the past. Those amazing spells you could obtain for free via gift boxes that spawned on Halloween maps that were infinitely better than the paper bag hats from the first Scream Fortress. But Valve refuses to bring the Halloween Spells back in any way what so ever and these days, all we get are some cosmetics in a Halloween crate, a couple of Community-made maps and some new unusual effects that only 0.1% of the TF2 population will ever actually see.
Oh, and Halloween items are invisible for most of the year. Just like the bunny rabbit ears in Warframe.
I get it, they’re silly items that are a bit out of place, but surely we can’t have a toggle so players have the OPTION to see them or not? If I can be a bright pink Scout or a bright pink Rhino, why can’t I have my zombie Archimedes or my bunny ears on Ivara?
Seasonal cosmetics aside, Ephemera are nice little unusual effects that players have to grind forever to obtain. Unless they buy the limited edition Easter Egg Ephemera from the Warframe market for 5000 credits. But that’s a one-off freebie that disappears next week. Most Ephemera can only be obtained via absurd drop rates in long, grindy things.
As it stands, there are two Ephemera with a tiny drop chance in the Exploiter Orb‘s loot pool, there’s a couple hidden in Arbitrations, there’s some hidden in Elite Sanctuary Onslaught and the Stalker has a chance to drop one. By far the easiest one to obtain is the Bleeding Ephemera, which can be bought with Vitus Essence directly from the Arbiters of Hexis themselves. It’s about a 1-3% chance to get any of these aside from the Bleeding one, about the same chance as getting two rare parts from two intact relics. Which has genuinely happened, but still, the chances aren’t great.
Oh, I forgot to mention, you have to build these Ephemeras. When you get the drop, it’s a blueprint. You have to make the unusual effect yourself before you can actually use it. Each one costs 1 Vitus Essence, which requires one complete Arbitration (and the completion of every single node in the star chart) and 1 million credits, plus some Orokin Cells for good measure.
Each Ephemera also requires a Warframe Systems part to build. The aforementioned Bleeding one requires Garuda Systems, and parts for Oberon (Seeding Step), Frost (Freezing), Volt (Shocking Step), Ember (Blazing Step) and Ash (Smoking Body) are required for the other ones. You can guess what Ephemera is what based on the obvious Warframe part.
Once you have your Warframe systems (which takes 12 hours to build), you then have to wait THREE DAYS for your unusual effect to build!
And what do you get for your hard work? Some very small effects that are coloured based on your Warframe’s main energy colour. Or, if you’re using the Bleeding one, an effect that would make TF2 Unusual traders proud and can easily be made to look like your Warframe is pissing or doing other, more gross things. Out of all the current effects, the Smoking Body Ephemera (dropped by the Stalker) is probably the most visually appealing one, but personally, I like Shocking Step the most. Then again, I’ve only managed to obtain Shocking Step and Smoking Body so far…
I’ll be honest, I rushed the building of Shocking Step. Because I got it on my birthday and I’d spent the week beforehand farming Exploiter Orb for it with my buddy Inquizitor. I mean, I HAD to get the Shocking Step Ephemera. I HAD to be the best shocky boy. I needed that thing for my Volt and I worked my ass off to get it.
Are the Ephemeras worth it? It depends on how much you care about Fashion Frame, really, even more so since the step ones are only visible while moving and the Smoking Body one is very faint. Then again, these are end-game cosmetics, and there’s bound to be a lot more coming soon. There’s news of some Eidolon-based ones, so it might be worth farming up some Warframe Systems in advance. or at least doing some Arbitrations if you can.
At the same time though, there is a cheaper option. There are four Bullet Jump Eximus mods you could use for a pretty similar effect. But that requires you to bullet jump all the time.
Then again, we do that anyway…