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Introduced as part of the Angels of the Zariman update, Gyre is the 49th original Warframe to grace the Origin System. Armed with the power of conductivity and coils, she strikes a delicate balance between her ballerina aesthetic, and the devastating electrical damage that defines her unique Abilities:
Launch a Gyratory Sphere that will deal high damage on impact and periodically deal electrical shocks to nearby enemies. Hit multiple enemies at once with the initial launch to enhance damage.
Throw forward a Gyratory Sphere that will implode after a few seconds or can be manually triggered.
Gain a brief burst of increased Critical Chance and Energy Regen, with each kill extending duration of Cathode Step. Casting is on a cooldown.
Gyre’s mechanisms spin at incredible speeds, generating an Electric Field that shocks nearby enemies. When Gyre gets a critical hit, a large electrical discharge will chain from the enemy that was hit to nearby enemies.
Digital Extremes Senior Designer Pablo Alonso, who developed Gyre from concept to final Warframe, spoke about the creative process and took questions from Tenno on Instagram Live on May 2, 2022. If you happened to miss it, check out highlights from the conversation below!
PABLO: Generally, whenever we're going back to an element, it can be a little tricky. In this case, we were going back to electricity, which hadn't been touched since Volt back in the day. So it's been a while since we've done an electricity-based one, but we've had a few other examples; Ember and Nezha are both fire, we have some overlaps like that. It's always kind of interesting to try and find ways to separate the kits of Warframes when they're using the same element. So a lot of work - at the beginning - for Gyre, was kind of like finding a way to get her own identity.
I remember talking about how we wanted lightning, but it had to be “softer” lightning, you know? Not as bad and powerful or as scary as a lightning bolt - which is a bit of a weird thing - but I do think it worked out. A lot of the reference came from things like Tesla balls. I remember - and this a bit of a segue - but back when I was a kid in Mexico in Acapulco, my uncle used to live there. And he had one of those Tesla balls. And I remember going to it when I was like, eight years old or something like that, and it was this crystal ball that you would touch and the little electricity things would follow your fingers...
And I remember I had this kind of magical feeling. It was, you know, like a magical sort of thing when I was a kid. So it was really cool to use that as part of the inspiration for how she, visually, would work. It's like a different version of electricity that's a little more controlled and less chaotic than just the straight-up lightning that Volt brings together. So that was a really cool part of developing how she would work to begin with.
PABLO: So generally how it works is… well, there’s two paths on how we make Warframes in general. Sometimes we have an idea from the “gameplay” side. For example, with Nidus, I had an idea of what I wanted the kit to be. And then I talked to one of our concept artists and I discussed the ideas with him, and then from that he made the Warframe. So that was kind of like starting from the “gameplay” and going into the “design.”
But often what we have is - literally, we have - a folder with like 25-30 different Warframe concept arts. And they’ll have an illustration and maybe a little blurb of what the concept artist was thinking at the time. Then I’ll basically look through that folder - or you know, whoever else is designing Warframes - just looking to see if something catches our eye or gets us going in terms of the inspiration for it.
And basically this one was there, and it was already called Gyre! She was there with the skirt, and she had the idea of turning into an electric generator and the skirt went up and stuff like that. So that was where it started. But she was always called Gyre, mainly because - and this is kind of funny, because this didn’t actually make it to the final implementation - in the original concept, the skirt opened up and then started spinning! So basically, that was like a gyration, aka “Gyre”.
Sometimes, once you go from a concept to the reality of implementing, it’s not something that really works… Mainly because, here, the skirt used to be a full, all-around skirt. I think we showed the concept of that at some point in a Devstream. The problem there is clipping. Essentially, because the skirt would go all the way around, whenever you slid and stuff like that, the skirt would just go into the ground or clip into you. So basically, what the character artists did, once they actually started implementing - they cut the front. If you see her skirt now, the front has an opening, and that opening allows the skirt to move around and fit a little better without clipping into things.
And then once we changed that, we decided that the gyration didn’t make as much sense. For the gyration to work, we had to kind of slow her down when she cast her 4th, and stuff like that. She just didn’t make a lot of sense compared to how she actually played in the end.
PABLO: I don’t think so. I think I went into electricity pretty early on and I went into, you know, her sphere nature pretty early because of the name “Gyre.” You know, gyre, gyrations, spheres… it had a lot of that kind of feel. I think those were the main two things that inspired her. And you know, ballerinas allowed for her movements. We talked very early on about making her really graceful and all that, and obviously about electricity being the core of her Abilities.
PABLO: It was mainly to try and synergize. I like to try and find some common mechanic that ties things together in a kit. In this case, it was the fact that her passive granted you that extra crit chance with four Abilities based on electrical procs. So there’s that, her 3rd Ability boosts her crit, and then her 4th has a dependency on the crit. It just kind of tied it all together to be more of a kit, and not just four separate Abilities.
And that, generally, is the biggest challenge when making a Warframe. Coming up with random Abilities is not very hard, but coming up with some that work together and make an actual kit for a Warframe… that really is.
PABLO: I think she’s pretty balanced. She does need a little bit of everything, like, she needs power strength to build the crit buff from her 3, and build the damage… You also want some range so that the balls reach out quite a bit and so that the lightning chains together. So you kind of want a little bit of everything, I find. I guess the main thing that you can probably cut down on is… maybe Streamline… but you probably don’t need Fleeting Expertise in my opinion, because with her 3 you have that passive energy recharge.
So I think in general - at least, the way I’ve been using her - I’m mainly not going for the 75% efficiency. I’m generally going with Streamline, and that’s as far as I go in terms of efficiency. Even Flow… I’ve used her with and without Flow and I don’t know that she needs it. But yeah, I do have a build with Flow and - my brain is failing me right now - the one that takes energy when you take lethal damage. With that, she can stay alive quite a bit longer.
PABLO: Ah, the physics of the ball! I was totally aware that it was going to be a little controversial, but I kind of love it. And I know that’s kind of weird but we haven’t done it before; a physics object on an Ability. It’s something we haven’t really tried and it just felt really fun for me while playing. Now, I can definitely see someone a little more meta wanting to get more predictable behavior from it. It can be kind of annoying but at the same time, to me, that’s part of what makes her kit different and why her 2 is not the same as Nidus’ 2, for example. The differentiator there is in the casting rhythm and the casting feel and the fact that it energizes with electricity, you know, it has other stuff going for it. So yeah, even though it’s a little weird (and I will totally admit that), I do think it’s fun and is part of her feel.
Generally, whenever we make a new Warframe, we try to give that Warframe one or two new things that are different from other Warframes. I think with Gyre, maybe we did too many different things. Her Abilities can crit, that’s a new thing that we haven’t tried before. Her 4th Ability has supplemental damage that triggers from your Weapons, but in a cool-down, which is a mechanic that we haven’t really used before. Then we have this physics ball that we haven’t done before. We had a lot of little things that were maybe a little different, but I do find that she ended up, in my opinion, really fun to play. I’m very happy with where she ended up.
PABLO: I don’t know… Honestly, when I first asked for it, I got a bit of a crooked-eyed look from one of the programmers. He was like, “that’s kind of weird, we’ve never done that.” It seemed like a new thing. I think I’m going to wait and see how it lands after a while. I feel like some players will find it fun, just like I have, but other players will also find it annoying that it’s not as predictable as other Abilities tend to be. You know, I tend to say “everything in moderation.” And the biggest value - for me - when designing sometime in a Warframe is: “is it different?” That’s my main preoccupation: “does this feel different than using another Warframe?” We have a lot of Warframes that are super effective and we could almost just do clones of their kits - but with different elements - and it would work, it would be good for playing and stuff. But it wouldn’t be as fun because it’s not different and generally that’s what I’m aiming for.
[Gyre] was different in that we used physics. I don’t know if it’s something we should pursue on others, but now we know the option is there. We know the drawbacks that are there because, you know, we know it’s less predictable than other things. But we also know that some fun can come out of it… that it’s unexpected, or different from other things.
PABLO: It depends. Obviously, everyone uses… what’s it called? Gloom? Everyone uses Gloom because that kind of helps you with survivability in general. I don’t know… I feel like there are some Warframes where you can definitely change the playstyle by subsuming an Ability, or maybe there’s an Ability that you just don’t use generally. So with some Warframes it’s easier to just get rid of one, but I feel like [Gyre’s] Abilities work so well together. If you replace her 2 or her 1, you’re reducing the amount of electricity procs that you’re dealing. And by doing that, you’re basically lowering the damage of your other Abilities that require those electricity procs to have the crit chance. So that kind of makes it complicated for you to take off an Ability. I feel like her Abilities are tied together pretty well.
Actually, talking about survivability, one thing I have tried… I replaced her 1st Ability with the Ability from Garuda. So basically I can do the healing totem thing. Whenever I feel I am getting overwhelmed or destroyed, I can just do that, which heals like crazy. That definitely helps a lot.
PABLO: I am pretty happy with it. It can get pretty crazy in terms of AOE, but I think it’s in a fun place. It’s not like you’re seeing damage in the millions, but you are seeing a lot of damage instances. And generally, whenever I’m playing Gyre, I feel like I’m making a big impact in terms of how many enemies I’m killing and stuff like that, how much I’m CC’ing. Because it’s not only the killing, it’s also the fact that - for example with your 1 - you can close paths toward objectives so that when enemies come, they get immediately electrified so that you basically CC them in the funnel points. So it can have a lot of use there that is not only just DPS.
PABLO: Yeah, I go through them (Abilities) quite a bit. But over time I’ve gotten better at getting a good kit working on paper… my mental simulator of how something will play works quite well! We don’t waste a lot of Abilities, thankfully.
PABLO: We don’t have any plans at the moment. I don’t generally like doing changes this early on unless something is very clearly broken. In general, I like to give it at least two to three weeks for people to kind of play around with it, and find out everything they can about how to build and stuff like that. And then if I still see that there are some problems, then we can touch on those. But generally I like to wait a little longer before we change anything.
PABLO: It depends on the Warframe! Sometimes we start from the art side. In the case of Gyre, it was like that. I saw the concept art and I was like “hmm, how could she play?” It was similar for Yareli. Yareli was actually from a concept that a fan artist had made. I was looking at his concepts and they were super cool. He had like, I don’t know, six or seven different Warframe designs, and those were nice. I started looking at them and I was like “hmm, how could she play?” (laughs)
But sometimes you start from the other side (gameplay). Nidus, specifically, is the one that comes to mind where I designed the Abilities first, and then we made the concept after.
PABLO: I do, I do! But those plans shall not be revealed today. It’s well underway… well underway…
Thank you to all Tenno who tuned in to the Live Q&A and submitted questions! We hope this provided some additional, fascinating insights into the creation of a truly unique Warframe. If you haven’t yet taken Gyre for a spin, there’s no better time than now to jump into Angels of the Zariman! Warframe’s latest update features a new Quest, three new game modes, reworks, evolving Weapons and of course, Gyre.
Until next time, Tenno!