At a time of uncertainty for the future of the company, Digital Extremes launched the Warframe Open Beta on March 18, 2013. Regarded by fans as the spiritual successor to the game Dark Sector, Warframe became a burden of love for Digital Extremes which was meant to be everything they had wanted to be in Dark Sector but could not accomplish. In an interview earlier this year at PAX East 2016, Warframe’s Creative Director Steve Sinclair spoke briefly on the origins of Warframe and the struggle to find a publisher for the game. One of the publishers had essentially told him “You guys will fail. You guys will make a beautiful game and you’ll never update it. You won’t be able to update it.” The developers were faced with rejection and grim projections of their future as they approached different publishers and yet three years later Warframe is still alive and well with a vigorous update cycle. This article provides an analysis of Warframe’s Update schedule for the PC platform by visualizing the data from the past three years of updates.
The aforementioned interview was conducted by Tom Marks, Associate Editor for PC Gamer, and a followup piece was written a few months later which gives a more in-depth look at how Digital Extremes had struggled to survive, let alone publish Warframe. You can find the full story on PCGamer.com: “The story of Warframe: how a game no publisher wanted found 26 million players“. If you’re interested in learning more about Warframe’s history I would highly recommend reading the article.
As we await the arrival of The War Within, we have an opportunity to reflect upon the three years of updates Warframe has seen. With nearly 150 Updates and Sub-Updates combined, Warframe has delivered new content to players on a regular basis. You can click to scroll through the timeline or to learn more about each individual update.
Factoring in Hotfixes brings the total number of Warframe updates to over 600!
I’ve compiled data on all of Warframe’s Updates and Hotfixes across the past there years and put them into this Google Spreadsheet for anyone to access. This data was sourced from the Official Warframe Forums. Thanks to the efforts of /u/dk_data (Twitter: @DavidKuo22) I was able to visualize the data collected for this article. Enjoy!
- Update 18 lasted 195 days and is currently the longest base update to this day. For contrast, the second longest update was Update 15 which lasted 146 days and the shortest Open Beta update was Update 8 which lasted 51 days. Update 19, the current base update has lasted over 80 days at this point.
- The longest sub-update was Update 18.4 which lasted 42 days. The average length of a sub-update, including #.0 updates, is 11 days.
- The majority of updates and sub-updates take place on Wednesday. Half as many updates have been released on Thursday or Friday.
- The majority of hotfixes take place on Friday. Half as many hotfixes have been released on Wednesday.
- In 2016 there have been 19 updates and 82 hotfixes.
- Though it was rare, Digital Extremes would sometimes add in new content such as cosmetics or equipment within hotfixes as opposed to updates. Examples of this include:
- Hotfix 15.7.2 which added the Itzal, Fluctus, and Centaur archwing equipment.
- Hotfix 17.4.3 which added the new “Man of a Few Words” quest for Clem.
- Hotfix 17.4.5 which added the Spira weapon.
- Hotfix 17.9.1 which added The Jordas Verdict Trial mission.
- Hotfix 18.0.4 which reintroduced Frost, Latron, and Reaper Prime.
- Hotfix 18.4.12 which added Saryn, Nikana, and Spira Prime.
- Hotfix: Lunaro 6 which reintroduced Mag, Boar, and Dakra Prime.
- Hotfix: The Silver Grove 3 which added Nekros, Tigris, and Galatine Prime.
- Several Events and Tactical Alerts.
To celebrate its third anniversary, Digital Extremes published an infographic on the official Warframe Twitter account:
Unfortunately I was unable to acquire additional statistical information such as the concurrent player counts across given time periods. Though the steamcharts.com page for Warframe can be a useful indicator for trends in player activity, it is by no means a complete source. The console versions and standalone PC client would have to be taken into consideration as well for a more accurate picture. For a historical timeline of all equipment and resource-related gameplay changes, head on over to the TCN Warframe Release and Prime Log and Warframe Resource Cost Log!
Feel free to leave a comment here or on the subreddit post for suggestions or to ask requests on any other Warframe historical data you’d like to see!