The Tenno: monuments of an ancient warrior caste.
For generations you've slept, with no call to wake you.
Awakening is the first part of the introduction and tutorial for the game (the other part being the longer and subsequent Vor's Prize). The quest begins automatically when a new player logs into the game for the first time. Upon logging in, a cutscene will immediately start.
[A swooping panorama moves throughout star-studded space, passing through nebulae and galaxies as it zooms out. The Lotus speaks in a disembodied voiceover.]
Lotus: "For generations, you've slept. No purpose. No call to wake you."
[The view continues to zoom out, revealing that it was not a view of space, but the pupil of a human eye. As it zooms out, a girl is revealed, floating underwater, eyes open but seemingly unresponsive. Suddenly, she comes to full consciousness, blinking and letting out a trail of air bubbles as she gasps. She holds her breath and looks around, treading water to stay in place, then sees light above her and swims for the surface. She hauls herself out of the water and turns around to look behind her. She is crouched in a shallow lake within a verdant forest. A village sits on the opposite shore, but is burning. Corpses of the villagers fill the lake, floating on the surface of the water and almost completely blanketing it. The girl tearfully looks at the scene of death and destruction, before her gaze is drawn to a large group of soldiers wading in the lake shallows, wearing bulky armour and wielding assault rifles.]
Lotus: "Grineer. Seeds from the ruins of the Old War. Swallowing colonies whole."
[The girl adopts a look of determination and pulls the hood of her brown cloak over her head, then dashes off into the forest, away from the burning village and the invading Grineer. She looks back as she runs, seeing the Grineer cross the lake and continue into the forest after her. She emerges from the trees into a wide valley, and looks on with wonder at a grand but crumbling Orokin Tower, framed in the light of the setting sun.]
Lotus: "But there's still… hope."
[The girl slowly, almost reverently, ascends the stone steps into the main chamber of the Tower. The large, circular room is open to the sky, its ceiling having collapsed long ago. The girl's footsteps echo on the stone floor as she crosses the chamber to stand before three kneeling statues. Dust, cobwebs, and moss cover each one as they sit in an eternal vigil.]
Lotus: "The Tenno. Monuments of an ancient warrior caste, scattered across frail worlds."
[The girl approaches the first Tenno statue, a muscular warrior with a horned helmet. This is EXCALIBUR. The girl reaches into her satchel and withdraws a large purple flower, laying it down in front of the statue. Suddenly, a flashback shows an Excalibur warframe, kneeling in the same position as the statue, on top of a grassy hill. A large brown-and-white kubrow licks Excalibur affectionately, and the warframe scratches it behind the ear. The sound of roaring engines distracts them, and they both look over to see a large Orokin dropship (bearing considerable resemblance to the Grineer Bolkor ship) fly overhead, landing in a distant canyon next to several other identical ships. Excalibur and his kubrow survey the military camp being set up at the landing zone before looking at each other. The scene then cuts to a pair of Orokin-era Grineer, standing watch in the meadows surrounding the canyon. Unlike modern Grineer, their skin shows no evidence of genetic deterioration, and they are clad in white armour with gold detailing. Excalibur ambushes one of the Grineer and slays him with his Nikana. The other Grineer raises his assault rifle at Excalibur but is tackled by the kubrow before he can fire a shot.]
[The view then cuts to the military camp in the canyon. Three Grineer are unloading equipment from the dropship. Excalibur lands in their midst and engages all three with his Nikana and Kunai, striking all three repeatedly in quick succession until they drop to the ground. The commotion causes all other Grineer in the camp to turn and notice Excalibur, and they grunt to each other in alarm, readying their weapons. Acting first, Excalibur sprints, slides, and rolls through the camp, taking out Grineer soldiers one by one with efficient strokes of his blade or accurately thrown Kunai as he dashes from cover to cover, never staying in one place but instead making a beeline towards the canyon wall. He pauses behind a tall stack of supply crates, while the Grineer fire on him from all angles. His kubrow barks to draw attention, then hides behind a barrel of combustible fuel. Some of the Grineer turn and reflexively fire, rupturing the barrel and causing a large explosion. Excalibur takes advantage of the chaos to emerge from cover, sprinting up the near-vertical rock wall of the canyon before backflipping off it. While in midair, he summons his Exalted Blade, a sword made of blue electric energy. He lands on the ground, planting his Exalted Blade in the earth as he does, and a ripple of blue energy radiates outwards, instantly killing all Grineer, knocking over crates and machinery, and detonating other barrels of explosives. As the dust clears, his kubrow trots up to him, carrying one of his thrown Kunai. The beast drops it at Excalibur's feet, and the warframe takes it as he stands up.]
[The scene cuts back to the girl in the Orokin ruins. She steps towards the next statue, a slender, feminine figure with a smooth helmet and spiral patterns on her arms. This is MAG. The girl takes out another flower and places it before the statue. The view cuts to a Mag warframe, flying high above the battlefield using an Elytron Archwing. A guided rocket streaks across the clouded sky and hits her, destroying the Archwing. Mag falls to earth, dodging thick anti-air fire from both small arms and rockets before holding out a hand and summoning a small field of green energy. The energy field catches the incoming bullets and redirects them, containing them within, preserving their momentum as they trace tight circular paths within the field. The brightness and size of the field grows as more bullets are added to it. Mag lands gracefully on the canyon floor, one hand still outstretched to sustain the field. She rises to one knee and uses both hands to guide the captured bullets into a large grid formation, facing outwards, towards the hostile Grineer. The bullets tremble with contained kinetic energy, and with a swooping motion, she sends them hurtling into the Grineer troops, who are mowed down en masse by their own projectiles.]
[Back in the Orokin ruins, the girl wipes the dust from the Mag statue's helmet, revealing a mirrored surface underneath. She then moves over to the last statue, which is slim with angular armour plating. This is VOLT. She lays another flower before the kneeling figure, and the view cuts to a pitched battle on the grassy fields outside the canyon, now later in the day. Hordes of Grineer troops can be seen firing their weapons, ships hover in the air to provide support, and explosions bloom in the background. However, all of this is happening in agonisingly slow motion, due to Volt's accelerated perspective. Volt is running at breakneck speed across the battlefield, and all others are essentially stationary in comparison. He sprints past bullets, which seem to hover in the air due to his pace, and even knocks some aside casually as he moves. He vaults over and slides under obstacles as he approaches Excalibur, who is surrounded by a group of Dax soldiers fighting alongside the Grineer. Volt swings his Bo staff at a Dax's legs, knocking him off his feet. Volt casts Electric Shield to protect himself from incoming gunfire, then somersaults away. The focus turns to Excalibur, skilfully engaging multiple Dax simultaneously as they attack with their nikanas from all sides. The warframe takes a running detour to kill a nearby Grineer who is shooting at him, and throws his sword at another. A new group of Dax charge the now-unarmed Excalibur, but he summons his Exalted Blade and impales the first Dax to reach him. The rest are suddenly caught in a magnetic field and pulled up into the air and across the battlefield. Excalibur watches them tumble through the sky and join another group of Dax, floating before Mag, suspended by her power, until she clenches her fists and the Orokin soldiers are crumpled into spheres of broken bones and magnetised armour, which then drop lifelessly to the ground. Nearby, Volt electrocutes a squad of Grineer with a sustained cast of Shock from his outstretched hand. The Dax and Grineer are now retreating, and some of the Orokin dropships begin powering up and lifting off. Mag looks up and sees that the nearest ship has taken off without even closing its cargo ramp, such is its hurry to depart. She reaches out a hand at the Dax within the ship, and pulls them out with magnetic force. They hurl through the air until Excalibur bullet jumps into their midst, his Exalted Blade spinning as he cuts them down without slowing his spiral trajectory. Excalibur lands on the steps leading up to the Orokin Tower, and pulls out his Paris bow in a fluid motion, nocking an arrow and firing it at the departing ships. It lands true, destroying one of the engines and causing the ship to destabilise and crash into the two ships next to it. All three are rocked with explosions and begin to spin out and crash. One of the dropships careens directly into the front façade of the Tower, and collapses on the steps of the Tower before exploding in a fireball. The three warframes walk briskly up the stairs and into the damaged Tower, taking care to avoid the burning wreck.]
Lotus: "Together they fought back… bringing an end to an empire."
[All the Grineer and Orokin ships are now fleeing the area in a mass retreat, even as the warframes withdraw into the Tower. The view dollies back through the valley floor, showing the burning wreckage and countless corpses that are the aftermath of the confrontation with the Tenno. Some of the Grineer still writhe on the battlefield, wounded, abandoned by their brothers in arms. Inside the Orokin Tower, fragments of masonry and metalwork rain down from the shattered ceiling and cracked walls, as the damage from the battle begins to manifest on the ornate building. Some of the rubble strikes a statue of Albrecht Entrati, causing its arm to crumble. The three Tenno stand at attention in the centre of the chamber.]
Lotus: "Then, they left…"
[The Tenno cross their right arms over their chest and bow in unison at the waist, before a cloud of blue energy leaves each warframe in swirling, ephemeral wisps. The warframes, now inanimate and bereft of any colour or light, drop to the ground in kneeling positions, as the dust from the crumbling Tower swirls around them. The view then cuts to the exact same perspective in the present day, showing the three warframes now covered in moss amid the overgrown ruins of the Orokin Tower, each with a large purple lotus flower placed before them. It is now apparent that the "statues" of the Tenno are actually the warframes themselves, abandoned here for countless centuries until the dust and decay managed to completely conceal their original provenance. The girl kneels reverently before the warframes, head bowed and hands clasped.]
[A large group of Grineer enters the Tower, having followed the girl from the village. The girl, unconcerned, raises her head and pulls back the hood of her cloak, exposing for the first time Tenno somatics on her forehead and ears. There is also Void scarring on her left jaw. She stares forward, away from the Grineer, facing the warframes, and vanishes into a cloud of the same blue energy seen earlier.]
Lotus: "…like a dream."
[The Grineer walk through the cloud of energy as it dissipates and look around in confusion. Storm clouds roil overhead, visible through the still-shattered ceiling. Thunderclaps echo throughout the Tower, amplified by the stone walls, and the Grineer step back in apprehension. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning flashes down from the sky, through the hole in the ceiling, splitting into three and striking each kneeling warframe with a sustained stream of electricity. The Grineer, startled, raise their rifles at the warframes.]
Lotus: "Wake up, Tenno."
[The hand of the Mag warframe suddenly jerks, throwing off the dust of ages as the fingers flex, then curl into a fist.]
Lotus: "Wake up."
First Mission: Awakening (Earth)
The player now has the opportunity to choose their starting warframe: Excalibur, Mag, or Volt. Each warframe is shown with all their abilities and a short Codex description. When the choice of warframe is confirmed, the cutscene resumes.
[Lightning arcs down from the sky and strikes the chosen warframe. The Grineer soldiers recoil at the thunderbolt. As they recover, they see the player's warframe walking unsteadily towards them. The Tenno is weak from their long stasis, and the warframe drops to one knee, head bowed. The Grineer approach cautiously, assault rifles at the ready. A new Grineer in brown armour strides forward confidently, pushing aside the other Grineer with a grunt. He is older than most other Grineer, with coils of tubing hanging from his armour, and extensive prosthetics. A golden Void key is embedded in the armour over his left breast. He walks up to the kneeling warframe and looks down at it.]
Vor: "I see the Lotus has tried to wake you… pity she's too late!"
[Vor walks behind the warframe and bends down to affix an orange device to the warframe's left ankle.]
Vor: "You're my prize now, Tenno."
[Satisfied, Vor walks away, but whirls around when he hears the Grineer soldiers raise their weapons at the warframe.]
[The Grineer lower their weapons. Vor turns around and resumes walking away, speaking as he does.]
Vor: "We are taking this one with us."
[The other Grineer regard the warframe curiously.]
Lotus: "What has he done to you? I can't lose another Tenno. I'm surging your warframe's power systems."
[Ripples of blue energy wash across the warframe, and it jumps up to hover about a metre off the ground as the energy is released in a radial wave, knocking the Grineer to the ground. The cutscene ends, transitioning smoothly into gameplay as HUD elements appear on the screen.]
The player begins with their chosen starting warframe, unranked, with no weapons. Two Grineer soldiers remain in the room.
Lotus: "Quick. Use your power. Defend yourself."
The player is prompted to use their first ability to wipe out the Grineer. As they use energy, it is immediately refunded, and thus they can use their first ability as frequently as needed (other abilities are locked, as the warframe is unranked).
(if the Tenno idles) Lotus: "Use your power, now!"
More Grineer will enter the room, and they must all be killed. Once done, the Tenno can proceed out of the ruins, into the forest beyond.
Lotus: "An extraction ship is waiting for you. But the Grineer will be hunting you. Arm yourself."
Outside the Orokin structure and down the main staircase is a small Grineer encampment. The player is prompted to sprint towards it, and to jump inside a Grineer prefabricated structure. Lying on a table is a pair of Tenno melee weapons: a Skana sword (described as "Slice through enemies with this agile warrior's blade") and a Bo staff (described as "Shatter armour with heavy blows"). The Tenno is prompted to pick one up, which will add it to the Tenno's inventory and equip it as the active weapon. The Tenno is waypointed to continue through the camp and into the forest. Along the way they will encounter additional Grineer soldiers, and are prompted to kill them with their new melee weapon. A Firbolg dropship will drop off another small group of Grineer, who must be killed.
The path leads to a wooden bridge of Ostron construction spanning a ravine, but the bridge has been severed. The player is prompted to double jump over the gap. Past that, the way is blocked by a makeshift barricade, with a gap at the bottom occupied by a Grineer fan blade. The player is prompted to destroy the fan (and two adjacent Grineer storage containers) with their melee weapon, then crouch to continue through the hole in the wall. On the other side of the wall is an unalerted Grineer soldier facing away, and the Tenno is able to stealth kill him. A fallen log lies across the path, and the Tenno is prompted to slide underneath it.
Beyond the fallen log is a wide river valley that meanders through the woods. An Ostron village is situated upon the river, with wooden causeways spanning the water and linking the huts. The village is burning, and dozens of Ostron corpses lie face-down in the water or on the ground. Grineer soldiers occupy the ruined town, and dropships will arrive to deliver reinforcements.
Lotus: "There's a cache of weapons ahead. Grab what you can."
(if the Tenno delays) Lotus: "Tenno. Pick up a weapon. You are running out of time."
On top of some Grineer supply crates are two Tenno sidearms: a Lato pistol (described as "Forgo stealth with this rapid-fire, semi-automatic pistol") and a set of Kunai (described as "Silently puncture flesh and metal with these deadly throwing knives"). Once again, the Tenno must choose one to wield, upon which it will be equipped and the Tenno will be prompted to fire on the Grineer occupying the village.
Lotus: "Good. The extraction point is up ahead. Hurry, before Vor finds out you've escaped."
The village continues up the bank of the river and up the side of the valley, and the stone-stepped path will lead the Tenno to a tunnel through the rock wall of the valley. The tunnel entrance is guarded by two more Grineer. Once the Tenno is past them, it becomes apparent that the tunnel was used by the Ostrons for mining or other activities, with Ostron decorations and architecture present within. The way is blocked by a stone cliff that rises in front of the Tenno; a wooden bridge that would have formed a ramp to the top dangles from the cliff, broken.
Lotus: "A Tenno flows like fire over the battle terrain. Do you remember how to dash up walls?"
The Tenno is prompted to wall dash up the cliff. Beyond the cliff, the tunnel opens out to a cavernous space. The Tenno is prompted to wall dash up to a wooden platform, then bullet jump across a series of rocky ledges, until they come to a Grineer tunnel that bores the rest of the way to the mountain and leads to the valley beyond.
Vor: "Salvage team, why have you not reported in?"
As the Tenno exits the tunnel, a cutscene plays.
[The Tenno looks up to see a Liset-style Landing Craft descend towards the valley floor.]
Lotus: "You made it. There's the extraction ship!"
[The Landing Craft's flaps open as it begins to stabilise its descent. Suddenly, a golden beam of energy lances through the ship, burning a hole clean through it. The Landing Craft bucks, scattering pieces of the hull, and completely loses power, dropping to the ground like a stone. A fiery explosion marks the crash site. Vor, wielding his Void key, turns from the burning wreckage to look directly at the Tenno.]
The cutscene ends and the Tenno will be prompted to fight Vor. Vor will attack with both his Seer pistol and his Void key, teleporting frequently to stay out of melee range. He can also occasionally use his Void key to fire a beam into the sky, which will arc down to strike the Tenno's position after a delay, although this ability is easy to dodge due to the long delay and obvious signals. The Tenno must deplete Vor's shields, though their unranked weaponry and abilities will do little damage to Vor past that point, and he will teleport away.
Vor: "My decrepit heart is pounding! This one is stronger than the rest. Lock the area down! This Tenno is mine!"
Lotus: "Quick, get to the console, and release the lockdown. Do that, and I will guide you to your old ship. It's your only chance."
The Tenno is waypointed to a Grineer computer console nearby. Grineer reinforcements will arrive via orbital drop, and the Tenno must defeat them. The lockdown can be lifted by interacting with the console.
(upon lifting lockdown) Vor: "The Queens want to destroy you, but I need to know more."
The Tenno will be directed to enter a large Grineer facility nearby, fighting any Grineer troops they encounter. Inside a large chamber are two primary weapons lying on Grineer crates: a Braton (described as "Open fire with this highly versatile automatic rifle") and a Paris (described as "A charged shot from this bow will silently kill unsuspecting enemies"). After equipping one of them, the Tenno will be waypointed to continue. Along the way, they will be instructed how to aim glide with their weapon.
Eventually, the facility will open up to a hangar-like facility, with a landing pad extended over the canyon edge. Upon the landing pad is a Tenno Liset, guarded by several Grineer. After killing the Grineer, the Tenno must hack a nearby console to activate the Liset.
(upon hacking the panel) Ordis: "Stop touching me, you— what? Are my sensors deceiving me? Operator, is that you?"
Lotus: "Enemy reinforcements are here! Ship Cephalon, we require immediate extraction."
Grineer troops will begin assaulting the landing pad from multiple angles. The Tenno will have to hold out for 1 minute.
Ordis: "The Operator is in danger? I will need a few moments to cycle the engines!"
Vor: "Tenno, are you afraid? You cannot hide from these old eyes. I've marked you. You will return to me."
Once the ship is ready, the Tenno must kill all remaining enemies. Then a brief cutscene will play where the Tenno boards and the Liset takes off, ending the mission and the Awakening quest.
As the player loads into their Orbiter, they will receive their first day's login reward. Upon claiming it, the Vor's Prize quest will immediately begin with the Tenno in the Orbiter.
Next story quest: Vor's Prize