Warframe: Tennocon 2020 predictions and what we know

Digital Extremes
Digital Extremes /
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Expect some surprises at Warframe’s Tnnocon 2020.

With Tennocon 2020 being only weeks away, I wanted to not only look at my previous coverage and predictions from last year’s Tennocon, but use that as a basis of what may be shown this year, along with any new developments along the way. August 1 will be the fifth Tennocon. Originally, it was to occur on July 11, but given the global pandemic, it has been scaled back to a digital event.

It’s fitting that Rebecca Ford, community director at Digital Extremes, themed this year’s event as “From the heart”. In her forum post regarding this year’s Tennocon on the Warframe website last Saturday, she wrote:

"We have had 1 year of Updates, experience, and very important lessons since our last TennoCon. We have to do something different – not just literally because there’s a pandemic, but also ambition wise because we are separated. We are not ready to deliver on literal expectations of The New War or The Duviri Paradox just yet with no studio, so we develop something that is not intended to be a Demo, but intended to be shipped closer to Tennocon (when it’s ready).  We put all our energy, love, and care into making something special and just hope that it will work, because we want Warframe’s community to be proud."

Those “important lessons” were undoubtedly the backlash the dev team has gotten following the Old Blood update and onward, given that the updates started to feel rushed, half-baked, imbalance, and buggy. What we were shown last year set unrealistic expectations for the small team at Digital Extremes.

The kingpin system, now titled as the Kuva Lich system, was an amazing idea that would be some kind of personalized Stalker who adapts to your combat and abilities. Instead it was a loose version of that, but a tedious grind to get a Kuva-themed weapon that made their base counterparts obsolete.

Then the meat of it all was when the Empyrean update launched. This was the most ambitious update yet, but it came with all sorts of issues. Resource costs to build your own railjack were ridiculously high. If you didn’t have the resources you could hitch a ride from a friend who has their own ship, but that meant you can only play railjack missions when they decided to play. Or you could test your luck to see if there were any open groups on the star chart.

There were several more notable bugs plaguing this update which launched so close to the end of 2019 that left players with overall negative impressions of it. The team at Digital Extremes spent the first quarter of 2020 doing a lot of damage control and fixing everything that launched from update 26 and onward.

Warframe’s creative director, Steve Sinclair, spoke in an update video earlier this year setting the expectations. “What we’re going to try to do this year is not show you a demo that we ship months and months later. We hope to ship what we show.”

Do not expect the Warframe team to showcase some grand reel like they did last year with The New War, Empyrean, and Duviri Paradox. If I had to guess, we probably have to settle for the classic style Warframe updates like the recently released Deadlock Protocol or last year’s Jovian Concord with perhaps a bit more flair. I came up with my own speculations on what could possibly be shown as well as things I’m hopeful for.