Animation sets in Warframe are a neat way to give individual Warframes a bit of personality, rather than them all being mindless heaps of metal and flesh. It’s not really a personality but something that makes them more relatable. The very feminine frames like Ember and Mirage will stand with hands on hips, in a vaguely seductive manner, more masculine frames like Rhino will stand tall and proud and some frames will toy with the immense power at their fingertips. In fact, the newer the Warframe, the more personality they seem to have in their animation sets alone. The newest Warframes, like Gauss, Revenant and Harrow, have very distinct looks, and Wisp has a brand new floating animation made especially for her, replacing her running animations.
In fact, every Warframe comes with not one but two animation sets, a Noble set and an Agile set. Agile animations are more hunched and ready for combat while Noble animations are much more dramatic and proud. Each animation set then goes on to have custom animations for idling with every weapon type and without a weapon. Sadly these animations are only really used when idle, the second you start walking, bullet jumping, whatever, everyone goes back to using the same animations.
The nice thing about Warframe is that you are not stuck with a Noble animation set, an Agile one and ‘none, you can pick and choose animation sets. For example, Gauss has a bouncy, energetic, springy Noble animation set which would look really nice on perhaps Volt or Nezha, other fast-running frames. For the small price of 50 Platinum, I can but the Gauss Noble Animation Set and stick it on Nezha to make Nezha look like he is ready for a run.
There is also a free animation set: the Excalibur Umbra Noble and Agile animation sets, which are frankly among the best in the game. Okay, they look a bit weird on smaller, more nimble frames, but the Excalibur Umbra sets work great on pretty much every male character.
But I often run into a problem when looking at animation sets. Two, actually. The first is that you can’t preview the idle animations easily. You can see the stance when browsing through your Arsenal but you need to see the 3-second flavour animations (the animations in which your Warframe sort of looks around or does something oncce you’ve been idle for a bit) in the Market, and you can’t see ANY of the weapon animations unless you buy the animation set or have the Warframe already and can preview that Warframe with the weapons of your choice.
The second problem is that, although every Warframe shares the same skeleton and can use the same animations, doesn’t mean that the animation sets work well on every Warframe. Despite sharing the same skeleton, some Warframes are taller or shorter or bustier or smaller or, well, different. Which means an animation for Rhino won’t look great on, say, Octavia. Clipping issues are a problem as well, since a hands-on-hip animation won’t work well on a frame that has thicker hips or belts or anything like that. Sometimes the stretching and clipping is huge and weird, but sometimes it’s a minor thing. I was considering getting the Nekros Noble animation set, but when previewing it on other frames, I noticed how their fingers would move and stretch in pretty freaky ways.
Even the most popular animation sets have this issue. The Harrow Noble animation is used all the time as a strong, silent, no-nonsense pose. But the flavour animation involves swinging Harrow’s holy incense, which is only ever present on Harrow’s model. Other Warframes will just swing their hands weirdly, as if shaking a very large sausage. The Titania and Wisp animation sets are also popular because they make your Warframe float, but then you have a weird disconnect between walking and standing still. Limbo’s animation sets involve lifting his top hat, but no other Warframes have a top hat so it looks weird.
And heavens forbid that your Warframe of choice has a codpiece. Because said codpiece will do very weird things. In some animation sets, the codpiece will stick out awkwardly. In others, the codpiece will be bent and misshaped. This is particularly noticeable on Zephyr and Volt, who have older models and longer codpieces. While frames like Rhino and Nidus look permanently turned on, Zephyr and Volt look like there’s something wrong down there. This seems to happen in more sets than you’d think – even the Nidus animation set, animations for a codpieced Warframe, look weird on other Warframes with codpieces.
Then, finally, there’s the infamous Limbo Agile animation set.
You can see why picking an animation set can be so damn hard.