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I’m being stalked by a passive-aggressive lich

I don’t deserve this. I’m a good person

Warframe - a Grineer general render from Warframe Image: Digital Extremes
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Warframe recently introduced a new system: the Kuva Lich, a nemesis who stalks you from planet to planet and can only be permanently ended via complex secrets held by powerful minions in the lich’s territory.

That sounds pretty great on paper, but so much of Warframe is about lateral progression. Instead of moving from mission to mission, I tend to bounce around the Origin System. Sometimes I’m in the Void, farming Argon Crystals to make some neat new Warframes. Or sometimes I’m on an older planet because I need to get a whole bunch of nano spores to build beautiful plants in the dojo I share with my friends.

And so, while I’ve spawned my very own Kuva Lich named Halidd Sorr, I haven’t progressed too far down the path of beating her. From her perspective, that’s pretty rude. I show up, gank her larval form with a very impressive and lethal stab, and then when she revives as a dark wraith of vengeance and takes over an entire planet as revenge, I just kind of leave her on read. In the Warframe universe, this is the ultimate neg.

Am I the baddie?

The Grineer are kind of a tragic bunch. They were once the working class of a vast, galaxy-spanning empire run by a bunch of expansionist sociopaths. When that empire was overthrown, the Grineer rose up. The only problem is that they were genetically modified by the empire, and without easy access to that technology, they are continuously deteriorating. The Grineer salvage whatever tech they can, clone themselves en masse, and swear allegiance to a pair of evil queens.

At this point in Warframe, I’ve mowed down thousands of Grineer. In general, I haven’t thought too much about it. With the exception of Tyl Regor, an absolute daddy of a Grineer general, and the noble Steel Meridian faction, the Grineer are nothing to me. They may have a tragic backstory, but the world of Warframe is grim. Nobody’s doing well! It’s no excuse for trying to murder me!

a Kuva Lich spawns and sends the player a message in Warframe
Hey ... I’m really sorry about setting you on fire and stabbing you. My bad.
Digital Extremes

Because I am in the state of having a nemesis yet not having triggered her higher aggression levels, the two of us are caught in a little bit of a cold war. Here’s how a day of playing Warframe goes now that Halidd Sorr is all up in my business:

I log in, and Halidd Sorr sends me a little bon mot, calling me her Adversary. It’s usually something about how she’s going to destroy me, and crush my weak, brittle tin skull. I go adventuring on some completely unrelated missions, chuckling to myself about her idle threats. Then, she steals a chunk of my quest rewards!

C’mon, what the hell? Am I not entitled to the sweat of my brow?

At this point, I’m not afraid of Halidd at all. I wish she would stop calling me at work so much, because that’s unprofessional, but she stays on her side of the system and I stay on mine. Everything’s fine, up until it changes.

Halidd Sorr shows up in one of my missions to beat my ass.

Warframe - a Khoura Warframe aims her weapon
How could you possibly want to murder this robot and her nice cat?
Image: Digital Extremes

I am being bullied online

I’m not going to lie: It was a humiliating encounter. I’m on voice chat with my friends, and I’m in the middle of explaining the way a certain kind of upgrade works when I cut myself off with an “OH NO!” My Kuva Lich has arrived, and her health bar takes up a massive chunk of my screen. She’s screaming at me, I’m trying to get out of the elevator shaft I’m currently in so that I can start a fight, and my friends are reassuring me that everything will be alright.

We chip her down to about a third of her health, and then Halidd Sorr grabs me, breaking my spine over her knee à la Bane. After I revive myself I complete the mission, she steals even more of my loot! I haven’t experienced such a vicious act of bullying since high school.

I can’t stress enough how alarming this is. Warframe is a power fantasy where I can spin-jump 80 feet into the air, slide down a catwalk, and murder a dozen dudes without breaking a sweat. Now I know how those guys feel, because that’s how easily Halidd Sorr dispatches me.

Suddenly I realize that the day that I immolated and stabbed a Kuva larvling on Saturn was the most important day of Halidd’s life.

I don’t deserve this

The worst part about all of this is that Halidd Sorr sees me as an enormous threat to the Origin System and the Grineer way of life. She’s technically correct, but I’m not killing Grineer out of a mission or set of ethics or anything. I just need Nano Spores and Plastids so I can build koi ponds in my dojo. But then my day is interrupted by an immortal nightmare demon. It’s a little distressing, and I’d like to issue a formal apology to Halidd Sorr. I’m really, really sorry about the time that I detonated an explosive barrel, shot you in the face, and then stabbed you to death.

Please be nice to me. I have so many individual shrubs to build, and a big space dog to feed. At the very least, can you stop calling me every day to tell me how much you’re going to relish murdering me?

The next level of puzzles.

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