Warframe allows you to traipse across the universe as a deadly, void-infused ninja-pirate with a spaceship. For all the fun and joy that Warframe brings, and there is quite a bit of it, by no means is it a shallow game. Even the systems have systems, and for a beginning player, it can be a bit overwhelming. Even I stopped playing for a while because I didn’t understand how to properly mod my Warframe and arsenal of weaponry. So this little guide will hopefully bring solace and joy to players new and old as we seek to battle our way through the solar system. After all, we all lift together.
A Hostile Solar System
So I won’t delve into the nitty-gritty of the story and all the enemies that you’ll face because it is better to discover that for yourself but here is a brief overview of the hostile universe you have found yourself in.
There are essentially three major factions that you will be battling against throughout your time in Warframe, complete with their large numbers of variants. The Corpus are the technologically-obsessed capitalists of the game, utilising energy weaponry and AI. Grineer are aggressive clone soldiers controlled by twin Queens. The Infested are parasitic organisms who tend to favour melee-style combat and who can be quite irritating if you aren’t prepared for them.
Your job as a Tenno is to try and bring order back to the Solar System, which is done by unlocking and completing nodes/missions on the Star Chart. Completing one node will unlock the next one or next couple in a sort of guided pathway. To get to new planets, you will need to complete the Junction, which has its own set of requirements to enter, for example defeating the assassination target for that planet.
The Junction will require you to take down a Warframe Specter which is basically an imprint of a particular Warframe. Eliminate it and you will gain access to a new planet, more missions and more Frames.
Your source for all things crafting, and since Warframe is a game about grinding for and collecting parts you will be spending a lot of time at your Foundry. Each item in Warframe is comprised of several parts, in the case of the Frames themselves, it is a Blueprint, Chassis, Neuroptics and Systems. Each part needs to be found and created (aside from the Blueprint) in the Foundry and once all the parts are crafted you are able to build the big item itself.
Each part has its own resource requirements and build time so expect to do a fair amount of waiting.
Unlocking New Warframes
Upon starting the game you will be offered the choice of one of three different Frames – Volt, Mag or Excalibur, and while each of these is powerful in their own right, you are eventually going to want to acquire some new ones. If you want to acquire new Warframes without the grind then you can utilise the in-game premium currency, Platinum, to purchase them straight from the Marketplace.
If you are ready for the grind, Warframe parts can be earned as random drops from boss battles/assassination nodes on different planets. Most bosses will drop parts for Warframes but how quickly you acquire the four unique parts is a completely different story.
Directly across from your Foundry is the mod station, your one-stop shop for all your modding needs. Mods are special cards that can be applied to your Frames, Weapons and Companions to beef up their strength and bestow upon them certain properties. For example, Hellfire provides a 90% increase to the fire damage of a given weapon at its max level.
Mods can be earned throughout the game either as random drops, purchased from vendors such as Baro Kiteer or acquired from Alerts. Each mod can be levelled up, requiring a special currency called Endo as well as Credits (generic currency) to rank it up. The higher the level, the more powerful the mod’s effects, but the more points it costs to equip.
Each Frame, Weapon and Companion has a point total assigned to them, which will go up as they increase their level or when certain items are applied. Since each mod has a point total, applying a mod will occupy some of that space, and you cannot exceed the total amount of points available.
While on the subject of points and mods and the like, mod point totals are affected by small little symbols known as Polarity. Think of Polarity as a mod’s trait. A Polarity slot is assigned to certain mod slots on Frames, Weapons and Companions and if a matching Polarity mod is assigned to it, it halves the required point cost, allowing you to fit in more mods.
There is an item you can find and build known as Forma, which can only be applied to max level Frames/Companions/Weapons. Forma allows you to bestow a chosen Polarity on a mod slot without Polarity, however, it will reset your level to 0. Not a huge deal but the grind must always continue.
Companions come in three forms (four with the addition of Moas in Fortuna) – Kavats, Kubrows and Sentinels. Sentinels must be constructed in the same fashion as Weapons and Frames, but Kubrows and Kavats must be bred through the Incubator.
Companions can serve a variety of combat and support roles and each one can be modded to your heart’s content.
Mastery Rank is a special level that tracks how much of Warframe‘s content a player has experienced, sort of. Each Weapon, Companion and Frame will start off at level 0, and each level they gain, up to 30, will contribute to increasing your Mastery Rank. When you have maxed out your MR bar, you will be able to undertake a Mastery Rank test to increase your max rep, provide you with a new title and allow more weapons to be unlocked/built.
Each successive Mastery test will be more difficult than the last and will focus on aspects of the Tenno way, such as parkour, stealth, raw offensive power, defence etc.
The factions of Warframe, of which there are six, are known as Syndicates and can be levelled up by wearing Syndicate Sigils once you have pledged your allegiance. These Sigils can be equipped via the Regalia menu in your Arsenal. Each Syndicate has differing relationships with the other Syndicates – Allied Syndicates will receive a portion of experience that you earn (effectively allowing you to level up two Syndicates at once), Neutral Syndicates won’t care either way, and you will lose experience with Enemy Syndicates.
If your experience with a Syndicate gets too low, they will start sending crack squads of enemies against you at random times in random missions. For example, New Loka will send an Ancient Healer Eximus Platoon to eliminate you.
Each Syndicate has a spree of rewards, the most valuable being Augment Mods and Weapons, which vary from all the other Syndicates. Upon joining a Syndicate and equipping their Sigil you will start to earn experience in their name. This experience will cap at a certain number – from Neutral to the next tier is 5000 Syndicate experience/points. You will then need to find and provide a specific offering to the Syndicate in order to rank up.
Upon ranking, you will be given the option of choosing a reward from them. Now I am not going to tell you what to do but if you want to rank up your Syndicate as quickly as possible, choose another Sigil, as it will gift you with additional Syndicate experience gain.
(Not My Dojo but I cannot remember the name of the amazing Clan who created it)
To preface this, it should be said that newer players should join a clan as soon as possible. Clans are groups of Tenno that share a clubhouse also known as a Dojo, which serves as a base of operations and a supplier of Weapon and Frame Blueprints and parts. There are a large proportion of Weapons and a few Frames that you can only earn by joining a Clan and gaining access to their Labs.
To elaborate a bit more, Clans can build special rooms devoted to the research and construction of certain items. The Tenno Lab can be utilised to build some Warframes and Tenno-based weaponry, Energy Lab for energy weapons, Chemical Lab for chemical weapons, Bio Lab for bioweapons.
Aside from providing a player access to a plethora of powerful weaponry, a Clan allows you to join with other new players and veterans and learn how the intricacies of Warframe work.
So how do you join a Clan? The easiest way is to jump into the Clan tab of the chat and simply put LF (looking for) a Clan. At the same time, other players may be advertising their Clans and you can request to join. If they invite you to their Clan, you will need to craft a Dojo Key to enter, which can be found and built in your Foundry.
While on the topic, the Chat in Warframe is a delightfully multi-faceted tool for all your in-game needs. Let’s break down each tab.
- Squad: When you enter a match with a group of up to three other Tenno you have formed a Squad. This can be premade or created through the matchmaking system. The Squad tab simply allows you to communicate with your Squad via text.
- Clan: Similiar to how the Squad chat works, Clan allows you to communicate with any and all online members of your Clan. Or if you don’t have a Clan, it allows the advertising and/or searching for a Clan.
- Region: A general chat for the area that you are in (North America, Oceania etc). You will discover random discussions that are sometimes about Warframe, guidance, jokes and tomfoolery
- Recruitment: A special tab for finding other Tenno who want to complete the same activity as you. You will see a lot of random numbers in the Recruitment tab, this is so players can easily find and respond to each other.
- Trade: One of the busiest chats in Warframe, the Trade chat is where players buy, trade and sell mods and Primed items. The Trade chat is a good way to accumulate the premium currency, Platinum, without spending any real-world money. However, only Primed Weapon parts and Prime Warframe Blueprints can be traded.
Void Relics And Platinum
Void Relics are special items that will drop randomly as you play certain missions. Each of these holds different rarities of items that can be awarded when Relic missions are run and the Relic cracked upon by collecting Reactant. Don’t worry if that sounds complicated, you will see the Reactant all over the ground. Relics come in four varieties, Lith, Meso, Neo and Axi, each successive one opening up a higher degree of mission difficulty.
The Relics provide an avenue for acquiring special Primed parts. Primed Weapons and Prime Warframes are special variants which look cooler and have additional Polarity slots. But you will first have to collect all the parts for them, which are spread out across different Relics.
Now in terms of trading them for Platinum, there are certain factors which affect the value – being Rarity and the type of part/weapon that it is. You can request a specific price or players will message you with offers, and you can initiate the Trade either through Maroo’s Bazaar on Mars or from your Dojo. Although you will need a Trading station for that.
Given how large Warframe really is, it is impossible to cover every single subtlety about the game in one guide but hopefully, this has helped in some regard. Happy space ninjaing Tenno.
Also, if you think something else needs to be added, please let me know so we can make this the best Warframe beginners guide out there.