As of writing, the latest Warframe is Inaros Prime, a golden upgrade to the infamous health tank that is normal Inaros. Inaros’s acquisition is quite simple: you buy a blueprint from Baro Ki’Teer and do a quest, which hands you Inaros parts at the end. The Sands of Inaros quest isn’t very difficult, nor is it very long. But it is a pretty nice quest with some nice side-lore.
Inaros Prime on the other hand, you can just get him by opening relics. Like every other Prime, his parts appear in specific relics. So you farm up the relics and open up the relics until you have all the parts.
Farming relics is a lot easier than a quest.
Sands of Inaros isn’t a difficult quest. But opening relics is far easier. You don’t even need to actually OWN any relics for Inaros Prime. In fact, I managed to get Chroma Prime entirely from other people’s relics. However, even if you fail to get the parts you want, you can sell off your extra primed parts for platinum. And then you can use that Platinum to trade for the parts you do need.
Sure, you still need to wait 3 days for your Warframe to build, but if you have platinum to spare, you can just buy a set as soon as possible. Generally for cheaper than it costs to buy the base Warframe from the market.
You can also buy Primes via Prime Access, but, personally, I don’t think they’re worth the money.
Farming relics is a LOT easier than some Warframe farms.
Quests are one thing, farming Warframes elsewhere is another. Take Chroma for example. You need to complete a bunch of junctions and get components from a multitude of frames to build Chroma. Or you can just open some relics and get Chroma Prime. How about Equinox? You need to farm the Day and Night aspects of normal Equinox, which consists of 4 parts (blueprint, chassis, neuroptics, systems) each, and then combine them to make Equinox whole. Or you can just open some relics and get Equinox Prime that way.
The grind will be even stranger later on. Baruuk and Hildryn require max rank with Solaris United. But their primes probably won’t.
Clearly, relics will always be the way to get Primes.
Inaros Prime isn’t the first frame to have a quest to obtain his normal self. Limbo and Mirage Prime were released ages ago, so long ago in fact that Limbo Prime is now vaulted (but still insanely common in relics). Limbo’s quest is nothing more than some Archwing and some Excavation, but he still ended up in relics. Mirage’s quest was doing missions on specific nodes based on clues from a riddle. She’s in relics too. Titania is exactly the same. Titania’s quest, the Silver Grove, was actually quite a large update, and brings some new lore to New Loka.
There were hopes that quest-based frames would have new, interesting, lore-based ways of obtaining them. But no, everyone was just shoved into relics, no matter where their original frames came from.
The biggest loser at the end of the day is the lore.
You see, these quests kinda don’t make sense when you have Primed frames. You go to the temple of Inaros and you see normal Inaros. That makes no sense. Primed Frames have always been touted as “the original” or “the first”. But that can contradict what you see in quests and while you farm.
And then you have frames like Valkyr. Sure, Valkyr has no quest, but she does have lore. She was torn apart by Alad V and used in grotesque experiments. She has a deluxe skin, the Gersemi Skin, that states this is what Valkyr may have looked like before Alad V tore her apart. But Valkyr Prime looks much, much more like normal Valkyr than that deluxe skin.
Future frames will have the same issue. How do you really design a Nidus Prime? If that infested mass was the original, how did the ‘original’ original look? How do you add gold trims to a lump of muscle and bone?
Is this a bad thing though?
I’ll be honest, I don’t know. While it’s great that players can get nice, shiny, powerful frames with ease, is it all a bit too much too soon? Probably not. Because having a Primed weapon or frame doesn’t automatically make you better at the game. You still need the right mods, the right Forma and everything else leveled up. And sometimes, relics and make you avoid a long grind, like with Equinox.
While yeah, sure, the difference between a quest and relic farming is jarring, it’s not exactly a bad thing.