Warframe: The Duviri Paradox – Story Explained

See through the Decrees and fast-paced missions to understand the story behind the illusion.


Screenshot by Gamepur

Warframe’s The Duviri Paradox was the 33rd update to the game, bringing a colossal new open world to explore with its own roguelite game mode and path for getting into the MMO and joining its community. However, the actual story behind The Duviri Paradox is a tad unclear, hidden behind metaphors and vague cutscenes.

Warframe: The Duviri Paradox Story, Characters, & World Explained

This guide explains the entire story of The Duviri Paradox, outlining each element, how they interlink, and what they mean for Warframe’s overarching plot.

Related: Warframe: The Duviri Paradox Walkthrough – Quests, The Undercroft & Secrets

What is the Story of Warframe: The Duviri Paradox?

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The story of Warframe: The Duviri Paradox, presented to you in the few missions you’ll follow in the expansion, tells the tale of The Drifter. This character is trapped in Duviri, punished daily through various forms of emotional torture before being executed. However, one day a glove falls from the sky, giving The Drifter the power to rebel against those that would punish him and break the cycle. He escapes and finds a Dax warrior called Teshin, who explains that a Tenno sent the glove. This Tenno wants The Drifter to escape Duviri, creating The Duviri Paradox so he can leave.

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Over the course of several runs through Duviri, you’ll encounter various characters that speak about Dominus Thrax, the lord of Duviri. By the end of the story, it’s clear Dominus still acts like a child, seeing Duviri as his plaything. The Drifter slowly grows in strength by piecing together a toy that has been broken and its parts strewn throughout the world. They also break down the walls of Duviri using Warframes, which the glove allows them to control, in The Undercroft of the world, where security is weakest. After gaining control of the Orowym following Teshin’s murder, and taking down the most dangerous foe in Duviri, The Drifter escapes and confronts Dominus Thrax. He puts the final piece of the toy together and gains control over Duviri for himself. With this power, he resets the world to bring Teshin back and then escapes to the Sol System.

As you may have guessed, there’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye. To explain the deeper themes of The Duviri Paradox, we need to outline who each character is and relate them back to Warframe’s lore. Read on below to learn about them all and the major implications for Warframe.

Who is The Drifter?

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The Drifter is the same character Warframe veterans have been playing as since the game was first released. They’re a child who was on a ship called Zariman Ten-Zero. This ship was set to use an experimental warp drive to travel to the Tau Ceti system. However, once the drive was activated, the ship disappeared. When it finally reappeared, everyone apart from the children on board had died, and the children had developed Void Powers. They were then trained to harness that power and became Tenno, capable of controlling the Warframes that give the game its name.

The Drifter is a version of the character you play as in Warframe from another version of the Zariman Ten-Zero ship. They weren’t rescued and instead spent years harnessing their powers to build the world of Duviri. They were the ones that controlled it until another of the children from the ship, who we know as Dominus Thrax, took that control and began to punish The Drifter for some reason. The glove The Drifter gets in the story is given to him by a Tenno, the version of him from an alternate dimension who wants him to escape. We see this in how The Drifter splits himself in specific cutscenes, confirming that he and the main Warframe protagonist you control are the same.

Who is Dominus Thrax?

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Dominus Thrax was a child on the same generation ship as The Drifter. They developed power alongside The Drifter, using them in different ways. Clearly, after growing jealous of The Drifter’s control over Duviri, they wanted to take it for themselves. That’s why when players jump into Duviri, it’s ruled over by the petulant, child-like Dominus Thrax. It’s also why players need to piece together a toy to regain control of the world because that toy represents the control The Drifter had over themselves and Duviri. By giving this toy back to Dominus Thrax at the end of the main story, we see The Drifter handing control of Duviri back to them after learning how to escape the world and resurrect their friend.

Related: Warframe Player Crafts Ultimate Drifter Speed Build in The Duviri Paradox

Where is Duviri?

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Duviri doesn’t actually exist in real space. Instead, it’s a simulation world created by The Drifter in their time working with their unique powers. They build this world because it allows them to experience somewhere other than the interior of the generation ship they’ve been stuck in for years. Duviri was designed to react to its controller’s emotions or has a glitch that changes the world based on those emotions. It’s unclear if this is a deliberate choice. When the controller is angry, fire reigns down from above. When they’re calm, it’s clear, blue skies for days. This is why you don’t find Duviri on the main navigation map. It’s in its own box instead. Players are entering a simulation separate from real space and a dangerous paradox in time and space.

The Duviri Paradox’s Ending Explained

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After completing the initial story in Warframe: The Duviri Paradox, The Drifter can return to Duviri or escape to the Sol System. The canonical ending is that Drifter flees to the Sol System to rejoin his other self. However, you can return to Duviri under Dominus Thrax’s control if you wish because that’s the idea at the heart of The Duviri Paradox. The Drifter is another version of your main character in Warframe, the Tenno you play as everywhere else. Both exist simultaneously, so you can return as your other self, The Drifter, or head out as the other version of that character to continue the other side of the story from where these paths diverge.

What is The Duviri Paradox?

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If you haven’t put all the pieces together, The Duviri Paradox is Duviri and The Drifter’s existence. The moment that the generation ship used its warp drive, it created at least two versions of the surviving children on board. This is a paradox in itself, but it seems as though the universe has converged on Duviri as the main point of contact and conflict. That’s why The Duviuri Paradox is so important because it shows humans from this generation ship can contact their alternative versions and possibly even combine themselves into one. Moreover, it shows that there are multiple other potential paradoxes out there in the Warframe universe waiting to be discovered.

We believe The Duviri Paradox is laying the groundwork for how Digital Extremes’ other title, Soulframe, will fit into the Warframe universe. It’s in development at the time of writing but looks to use many of the same visual themes as Waframe and has combat mechanics closer to those used in Duviri than anywhere else in the game.