As you probably know, I am a huge fan of the game Warframe. From its gameplay to its community to its unbelievable support from the developer (weekly updates… what other game is doing that?), in my mind it stands in a class all its own. If there is one knock against the game, it is probably its rather steep learning curve for new players. It can feel a bit overwhelming when you first start. Here are a few tips that can help ease you into the game.
When you begin the game, you are going to have an option of 1 of 3 Warframes to start with, Excalibur, Mag, and Volt. This is your starter frame. Just to be clear, every frame in the game is pretty viable. You could get through the star chart and all the story content of the game with just about any of them.
When you are starting out, choose Excalibur. All three frames are acquirable ingame. Mag is a frame you can get fairly early on. Volt you can get by joining a clan that has researched the Volt blueprints. Excalibur, however, you cannot get until a good bit later in the game. So either you wait until you are many hours into the game to get Excalibur, or you get him immediately from the start.
Excalibur is also one of the most versatile frames in the game. Some would argue if built out correctly, one of the best. He has an excellent crowd control ability that stuns all nearby enemies, and allows you to perform finishers on them while they are stunned.
In order to unlock new planets to explore, you will have to beat a boss at a relay after completing certain objectives. These boss fights are not real difficult, but Excalibur’s stun ability works on these bosses. You can literally stun them, and then hit a finisher. Boom. Fight over.
He also has one of the best 4th abilities in the game with his Exalted Sword that can lay waste to huge numbers of enemies in your path, while being extremely efficient on your energy drain.
Mag and Volt are great frames in their own right, but are a little more challenging for a beginner to master. Also, some of the mods that will help them to shine are not so easily achievable early on. Both are a little more squishy. You can choose one of them as your first Warframe and be successful, but you will have an easier time by choosing Excalibur.
Platinum is Warframe’s premium currency. When you start out, you are given 50 platinum. In the market, you will find weapons and Warframes that are available for platinum. Do not buy any of them. You will be able to find them out in the wild.
What you do want to spend your platinum on is Warframe slots. When you start the game, you only have room in your inventory for 3 frames. Additional slots cost 20 platinum each. You are going to want to acquire a lot more frames. They are a very large part of the fun of the game. Save your platinum for this, especially early on.
There are two ways you can acquire more platinum. You can buy it in the marketplace for real money or you can trade gear in the game for platinum, which I will talk about later. Before anyone says this is pay to win, no it is not. You can acquire almost everything in the game without ever spending a dime, and there are a lot of people that have done just that.
Have you ever bought platinum, SkySoldier? Yes, I have. Not because I needed it, but because I wanted to support the developer. They are amazing. I want to encourage them to keep putting out great content.
But you do not ever need to buy it.
Learn the mod system. It is not very complicated, but can seem so at first. You can add mods to your Warframes, weapons, companions, and Archwings.
Think of mods just like attachments for weapons in other games. Mods on weapons can increase damage, add damage types, boost your fire rate, increase your ammo capacity, and so much more. This is why on many forum threads you will see people asking about the best weapons in the game, and many of the responses will say it really depends on how you mod them.
With your Warframes, mods can increase your health and shields, give you more energy for your abilities, increase your ability energy efficiency, duration, and range, boost your resistance to knockdowns and status effects, and a ton of other things.
Each item has a certain number of mod slots. Most start with 30. In the top right corner of a mod, you will see a number indicating how many mod slots that mod will take up.
Mods can also be put through a process called fusion. You will find this ability at your mod station in your ship. This upgrades a mod. Each mod will have a number of upgrades it can be put through which will cost you credits (not platinum) and Endo. Both of which you will get by playing the game, completing missions, breaking open chests and containers, etc. Upgrading a mod will increase its ability.
For example, a Vitality mod will increase your Warframe’s health by 40%. However, if you bump it up 1 level through fusion, it will now increase your Warframe’s health by 80%. At level 2, it increases your health by 120%. This mod can be bumped up to a rank of 10. At rank 10, it increases your health by 440%.
Early on, there is one other thing you need to understand about mods. That is polarity. On some gear you will see a symbol in the upper right corner of a mod location. The symbols represent Madurai, Vazarin, and Naramon. In the game, players more commonly refer to them as V, D, and Dash. These are polarities. Your mods also have this symbol in the upper right corner. (There is also a 4th one, Zenurik, but you won’t see this one much.) If you match polarities, it reduces the mod slot cost by half.
If you chose Excalibur, he has one of each of these polarities. An unranked Vitality mod has a mod slot cost of 2. It has a D polarity. If you put it into Excalibur’s D polarity slot, it will only cost 1 mod slot instead of 2. Not a huge difference. However, when you start to really rank up your mods, it will make a big difference in how you can equip your frame. A rank 8 Vitality mod costs 10 mod slots to equip. If you match polarities, now it is only 5.
This does get rounded up. There are no decimals or halves. So if the mod slot cost for a mod was 11, matching polarities would reduce the cost to 6, not 5.5.
There is something in the game called Forma which you can find blueprints for and craft. Forma can be added to any mod location to add a polarity (if it doesn’t have one) or change an existing polarity. You will be doing a lot of this with your favorite Warframes and weapons to really maximize them and their abilities. You do not have to worry about it much early on, but I would start crafting Forma and collecting it when you can.
A quick note on that. When you add Forma to a mod location, it reduces that items level back to 0. You have to level them back up again. You can only add Forma to items that have reached a max level of 30. So to add 2 Forma to your Excalibur Warframe, you first have to level it to 30. Then you can add the first Forma. This will take it down to a level of 0. Then you have to level it back up to 30 and add the second Forma. It reduces Excalibur back to level 0, and you would want to max the frame out again back to level 30.
The same goes for any weapon, companion, or Archwing you add Forma to.
Might seem like a pain in the butt, but as you progress, there are some pretty quick ways to level up gear.
I’m not going to provide a detailed list of where you can find every single mod. There is already a great wiki for that, and a lot more, at warframe.wikia.com. There are a couple of mods you will want to try to grab early on.
For your Warframes, you want Vitality, Redirection (shields), Flow (increased energy), Streamline (energy efficiency), and Stretch (ability range). There are a ton of other great mods out there, but these will help you the most with survivability and ability usage early on.
For your weapons, you want Serration. Serration increases weapon damage for rifles and bows. This is a standard mod you will be using pretty much forever. If there is one mod you are going to rank up early on, this is the one. It will greatly increase your weapon damage.
A little later, Point Blank is great. It is the Serration for shotguns.
Mastery Rank, often abbreviated MR in the game by players, is your overall level of achievement. Each item has a max rank of 30 on its own, but your Mastery Rank is sort of an accumulation of all of those. Some gear is locked behind Mastery Rank levels. For example, the Hek is one of the best shotguns in the game and requires an MR of 3. The Tigris Prime is an even better shotgun, and it requires a MR of 13.
The way you increase your Mastery Rank is by leveling up your gear. Each time your gear hits a new level, this contributes to your Mastery Rank.
Note: This only counts for the first time you level something. If you add a Forma to Excalibur, leveling him up a second time does not contribute to your Mastery Rank.
For this reason, you want to acquire and build every weapon you can. Even if you do not like a weapon, do not get rid of it before max leveling it. You have a limited number of weapon slots, like Warframes. If you find a weapon you do not like, max it out and then sell it to free up that weapon slot.
A quick tip for leveling weapons faster: The experience you gain in a mission gets divided up among your Warframe and equipped gear. If you have a sword you really want to level up fast, jump into a mission you feel you can handle reasonably well with nothing but your Warframe and sword equipped. Instead of your experience being divided up among all of your gear, it will now be divided between your Warframe and sword.
Each weapon delivers different types of damage. There are 3 main categories that most weapons will provide, Impact, Puncture, and Slash. The majority of the weapons will deliver all 3 of these at varying levels.
For example, the Bratin delivers 6.6 Impact damage, 6.6 Puncture damage, and 6.8 Slash damage. The Paris bow, on the other hand, delivers 9.0 Impact, 144.0 Puncture, and 27.0 Slash.
I am not going to go into a long explanation of the damage types. That has already been done exceptionally well here: Damage 2.0. I will give you a quick rundown for those that want to just jump right in.
Impact damage is most effective against shielded enemies (Corpus). Puncture damage is most effective against targets with armor (Grineer and some Corpus). Slash damage is most effective against flesh (Infested and Grineer).
Some mods will increase these damage types. For example, Rupture increases Impact damage on rifles and bows. The increases are always a percentage of the base damage. Looking at the Paris mentioned above, an unranked Rupture mod increases the Impact damage by 5%. The Paris delivers 9.0 Impact damage, so it would only be an increase of 0.45 (9.0 x 5% = 0.45). On the other hand, Piercing Hit, increases Puncture damage by 5% when it is unranked. On the Paris, that would be an increase of 7.2 (144.0 x 5% = 7.2).
They both take up the same amount of mod slots, so you are getting a bigger bang for your buck using Piercing Hit.
This is what makes a mod like Serration so great. Serration increases all of a weapon’s damage type. Unranked, it increases it by 15%. So you would get an additional 15% Impact, Puncture, and Slash damage by equipping it.
Through mods, you can also add elemental damage to your weapons. There is Cold, Heat, Electricity, and Toxin damage. These all have different effects on different enemy types. You can also combine them for different effects. Combining Electricity and Toxin damage creates Corrosive damage which wears does bonus armor damage to armored targets.
Read the Damage 2.0 link above to get a better understanding of them.
Lastly, I want to briefly touch on trading. I say briefly because I could write for an hour about trading in Warframe. It is one of the things I enjoy the most.
Players can trade among one another for gear, weapons, frames, and more. Not everything is tradable. Resources are not tradable. Sorry. You have to farm them yourself just like everyone else. For the most part, only Prime blueprints and parts are tradable.
Most Warframes and weapons have a boosted variant called a Prime. For example, there is the Loki Warframe and there is the Loki Prime Warframe. Prime versions have slightly higher stats than their non-prime version, different aesthetics, and have an polarity or two in mod locations.
How do you get Prime blueprints and parts?
In missions you can find relics. The most common way to get relics is in Excavation and Defense missions. They are often the rewards for completing an excavation or after each 5 waves on a standard Defense mission.
When you have relics, you can do Void Fissures missions. They show up under your alert missions in the navigation. These are just like standard missions except that some enemies will drop reactant when they die. You need to collect 10 pieces of reactant to “crack open” your relic. Then when you complete the mission, your relic will provide you with a Prime blueprint or part.
Before you begin the mission, you will be prompted to choose your relic. You will see a list of what the relic can possibly reward you. There will be a bar to the right of each item. A full bar means that item is commonly rewarded. Smaller bars indicate more rarity.
At the end of the mission, your relic provides you with a possible item as do the relics of everyone on your team. If you have a team of 4, you will have 4 items to choose from, assuming everyone successfully collected the 10 pieces of reactant. You can only pick 1 item from the 4. You do not get all of them.
This is why you want to run these with full teams. It will give you more variety and a better chance of getting rarer items.
Once you have acquired stuff that you want to trade, you have two options. You can go to Maroo’s Bazaar on Earth. This is a relay that has a room for trading. It is an okay option, but there are only going to be 30 or so players in there, so you have a very small audience. Many of them are going to be looking to sell stuff too, not necessarily buy.
The best place to make trades happen is to use the in-game trade chat. If you find a willing partner, you either are going to need to meet up at Maroo’s Bazaar to make the trade happen or one of you need to be in a clan with a trade relay. It is really easy to join a clan, and I recommend it. There are always clans recruiting in the recruiting chat. Join one. There are a lot of options that clans open up for you later on in weapons and gear.
7 Tips for trade chat:
1- Post what you are selling. You cannot spam chat. You can only post every 2 minutes. When the timer runs out, post again. Use ‘WTS’ for Want to Sell. ‘WTB’ would be Want to Buy.
2- Use brackets around what you are selling. You will notice items in the trade chat that show up in blue. Brackets do this. Typing [Loki Prime] will make it show up in blue. You can only put actual game items in the brackets. Typing [Cheap Loki Prime] will return an error.
3- Look for buyers. Do not just post your WTS message and wait. Look for people that are posting that they want to buy what you are selling. I would say that probably 50-60% of my trades happen from me sending a message to someone that posted a WTB message.
4- Negotiate. If you list a price in your initial message or someone messages you and asks for a price, start a little higher than what you really want. I sold a Nekros Prime set today for 80 platinum. I wanted 75-80 for it, so when someone asked me the price, I said 85. They countered with 75, and I asked for 80. They agreed. I got the price I really wanted all along. If they agreed to the 85 I started with initially, even better.
5- Complete your sets. When you start building up some platinum to play with, look through your inventory for sets you can complete. Sets are usually easier to sell. If I have 3 of the 4 blueprints I need for Valkyr Prime, I’ll post a message to buy the 4th one. Then I’ll turn around start working to sell the whole set. It’s a much more efficient use of your time than trying to farm the right relic you need to get the blueprint, and then farming the Void Fissure missions while praying that the RNG gods are nice to you.
6- Always thank the other player after a trade. You will be surprised how often you will find yourself trading with the same player again.
7- Get a keyboard. You are going to be typing a lot of messages about what you want to buy or sell. You are going to be negotiating prices and deals back and forth. Do yourself a favor if you are on a console and plug a wireless keyboard into your console. I don’t know how I would trade without one.
Keep Playing and Ask For Help
If there is one final tip I can give to new players it is to just keep playing. Things that seemed overwhelming at first will just start to click as you play more and more.
Also, ask for help. The Warframe community is amazing. I would put them right up there with any gaming community on the planet. I have never seen so many players so willing to help new players. Ask questions in chat or if you are struggling with a mission, go to the recruiting channel. I guarantee if you ask, someone will join up with you and help.