It’s Not Pay To Win, It’s Pay To Save Time

An article on a different gaming website has brought up the question whether Warframe is Pay to Win or not, and frankly everyone is arguing over the nuance of the question, about what ways Warframe is or is not Pay to Win.

First off though, we have to define Pay to Win. The phrase generally implies that you can spend money to get an advantage over your team mates, but there are variations of this. Can you buy things in Warframe that you can’t obtain by playing that affect gameplay and give you an advantage? Not really, no, all Warframes and weapons and companions and all that can be earned by doing various things in the game itself. Does Warframe offer items for sale that are much easier to get by buying them than by farming them? Yes. Does that make Warframe Pay to Win? I don’t know.

I mean, if you went and bought every item in the in-game market, that would be an absolutely massive amount of money wasted, but I don’t think you’d actually get very far. Because even if you do buy everything, everything you buy comes at level 0, and if you’re MR0 you can’t fit any mods into any of your new things until you level up, and the mods you bought (via the new mod packs) are all at rank 0 meaning you need endo to power them up. A lot of endo. And all your Warframes will be at rank 0 so you’ll have to unlock all their abilities and then be able to mod them appropriately.

Simply put, you probably wouldn’t even be able to deal with Jupiter, let alone end-game content, just by buying things from the in-game market. You still need to put effort in yourself, all you’ve done is given yourself a ton of things you need to level up. You got things without farming for them and building things in the foundry, but farming for items and building them in the foundry is only half the battle, you need to upgrade and mod your items to make them actually do things.

“But Medic, you can just buy a ton of platinum and go and trade for everything from other players!” Yeah no. You gotta get to MR2 first. And even that leaves you with only 2 trades per day. You want more trades, you have to work for them, you can’t buy them. You have to put some effort into playing.

And even then, there are systems that are outside the Market that you can’t spend any money on to directly obtain. The entire Focus system can only be obtained by doing quests and only leveled up by playing the game. You have to do missions to obtain most important mods and you have to get 1 million credits per primed mod if you want to trade for them. And you can’t really obtain any Operator stuff by buying it, you have to do Quills and Vox Solaris missions for those, which require you doing quests and bounties.

Warframe IS a case of paying to get things done faster, but that’s about it. You can’t just buy everything and automatically be better off for it. You need to put extra effort to get things done.

But frankly, the Pay to Win definition is so stretched sometimes that you can call anything Pay to Win. Team Fortress 2 is Pay to Win, because you can buy all the weapons in the Mann Co. Store for real money. Doing so is a retarded thing to do, but you can do it. Is Team Fortress 2 Pay to Win? If you go and buy everything from the shop, you’d say yes, but that’s on you for being an idiot with your money.

Really, what we need to do is properly define what Pay to Win is, but if you define it as being able to buy an advantage over other players with no way to get that advantage by playing for free or forcing them to do huge amounts of work to even get close to that advantage, then that’s Pay to Win. Warframe and Team Fortress 2 don’t go quite that far…


Medic, also known as Phovos (or occasionally Dr Retvik Von Scribblesalot), writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF since she doesn't have anything better to do. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Phovos has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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