Warframe

Abandoned Plot-Threads: The Stalker

Warframe10 - Abandoned Plot-Threads: The Stalker
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Over three years ago, DE delivered The Second Dream. This quest took everything we thought we knew about the Warframe-universe and threw it out the window. I still applaud DE for the experience this quest delivered, and while The War Within was a bit weaker (especially with how long that took), the Sacrifice, in my opinion, again came very close.

As the writing focus has shifted, however, I've come to realize that there is an unfortunate casualty of this quest: The Stalker.

The Stalker started out as this enigmatic assassin, complete with a unique Warframe and a full arsenal of weapons. Possibly a rogue Tenno, or even a group of them, trying to murder us for crimes we no longer remember (and killing Phorid, for some reason, because that somehow isn't a net benefit for every non-infested being in the system). No character, not even the Lotus, acknowledged Stalker's existence, and even DE didn't at first. Not until the What Stalker?-Pack came out, was discounted by Darvo, and then caused Darvo to become a target of the Stalker himself.

Now enter The Second Dream. First change, Stalker suddenly has a normal voice, though not one I can actually take seriously. Either have him remain silent (communicating mostly via body language, making him difficult to read), keep his hissing (but not with readily understandable words), or give him a voice that would actually support the threat he is meant to pose.

Also, Lotus now SUDDENLY gives a damn about the Stalker despite never having acknowledged his attacks on us before. Meanwhile, she did warn us about the G3 and even tells us to abandon whatever mission we happen to be on when she detects them. I know the G3 were the greater threat for a while, but honestly, who would win: An individual / a creature that regularly hunts Warframes with some measure of success, OR three Grustrag bois whose only accomplishment is wiping out their own platoon?

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Then he gets a full set of armor and a new weapon. OK, so far, so good. Except that the end of the quest does imply (maybe nothing conclusive, but there is evidence to support the notion) that Hunhow controlled Stalker at the end. After the quest, whenever we encounter the Stalker, he has his Shadow-gear – in essence, trading in much of what made him unique. If he was controlled by Hunhow, why would he keep the armor? Not only that, but the Shadow-gear doesn't really make him more formidable. When he does win, it's through sheer Sentient cheese, which we've been able to counter with our own Void-devilry-cheese since War Within. And while he still drops the blueprints for his unique gear, he doesn't actually use any of it. It's all replaced by War (which our Warframe broke at the end of the quest).

All this would be fine by me if DE had actually done something with the Stalker, story-wise, after the Second Dream. They haven't. Instead, we got the Acolytes, aka the Maiming-Strike-Farming-Chore-Event. So the Stalker now acts via proxies who are even edgier than he is, and with bad designs, too (you can't just slap Stalker's head on everything! The proportions don't fit every frame equally).
Where did his fan-club come from? Where were they before? Are they like the Stalker (whatever he actually is)?

Again, three years and we still haven't learned anything new about these guys. They just reappear once a year with no explanation, and apparently spend the rest of the time doing fuck-all. Stalker himself hasn't been involved with anything since Second Dream, either.

And no, I don't expect DE to resolve every single mystery in the game. The mystery is part of the fun. But when you go full J.J.Abrams-mystery-box style, stacking one mystery after the other while never resolving any of them, I simply stop caring at some point. Even the stuff we do know is ultimately pointless – like, we know that Stalker was a "lower guardian", whatever the hell that actually is and how it relates to anything else. This writing style becomes particularly problematic when the writers themselves don't know (the audience doesn't have to know and understand everything, but the writers must know the rules of their universe), and I don't think DE's writers actually know the answers to the questions I posed. At least not all of them.

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And thus, the Stalker has become one of many abandoned plot-threads that linger in the game.

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