Warframe | Beginners Guide (Updated to 2022)

If you played any type of FPS, you certainly didn’t have any difficulty adapting to other games of the same kind after all. Practically all the mechanics of these games are the same. There are very few changes and they are learned quickly. Unfortunately, not all games are like this.

Warframe is one of those games in the second category. It’s a game that has been played for a long time and over the years the mechanics have been refined and expanded. But many details are not explained in any in-game guide.

This is exactly the purpose of this guide, to show and explain to you the most basic Warframe mechanics. Let’s start?

What is Warframe?

At the time it was released, the Warframe game was focused on the cooperative play of up to four people, where several mission events are made throughout the solar system.

You control a Warframe, an armor that has unique characteristics, from a robust tank capable of withstanding a lot of damage to a powerful ‘mage’ that makes everyone around you on fire.

How do you level up?

The experience, popularly known as XP by RPG lovers, works in an unusual way in this game. Here we have affinity and mastery. I’m going to show you the difference between them and how it affects your gameplay.

Affinity

In an RPG game, we usually gain experience using powers or killing enemies, right? In this game, this also happens, but here the term Affinity is used.

You also gain Affinity in this game by completing objectives and collecting Affinity Globes.

It’s possible to gain additional affinity by doing a streak of kills without being seen. To do this, use weapons that don’t emit noise and kill an enemy that is not looking at you, preferably with just one shot or blow. Bonuses are progressively added, from 100% to 100%, up to a maximum of 500%. Also, kills have a 30-second timer to continue or maintain the maximum bonus. Bonus is canceled if time runs out or if any enemies are alerted.

All Warframes, Archwings, weapons, and companions (Kubrows or Sentries) can level up to a limit of 30.

During a mission, at the top right of the screen, next to the name of your Warframe is presented its level as well as the progress bat indicating how much experience you need to the next level.

Mastery

Mastery indicates how much the player has experienced the game’s available content. This is the “level” number that represents you to other players.

You can see this information by pressing Esc and holding your mouse cursor over your character. Your level will be written in front of your name – for example, MThread [17]; and your progress will be represented as a bar right below your avatar, similar to the bar that indicates affinity. It is also possible to see the level by accessing the profile of the other players.

To earn mastery points, you need to:

  • Leveling up with each Warframe, Archwing, and Companions will earn you 200 mastery points.
  • Leveling up with each Weapon, Weapons for Archwings, or Weapons for Companions will earn you 100 mastery points.
  • Completing each mission in the game. It’s possible to earn up to 14,796 mastery points by completing all 260 missions.

Every time you reach the required amount of mastery to go to the next level, you will need to take a test to test your skills in the most varied situations. 

This test can be done by pressing Esc and leaving the mouse cursor over your character, and soon you will see the option to increase the level. Be aware that this check can only be taken once every 24 hours, regardless of whether you failed or advanced to another level. 

If you are unsure, you can use tools like Warframe Wikia or Youtube to view the test before taking it. You can also use Simulacrum in the Sanctuary to prepare yourself before the real test, but we won’t go into details for now.

Note that if you fail the test, you will not stop gaining mastery. It is accumulated. Right after you successfully complete the test you will see the next level bar already proportionally filled.

What are Mods in Warframe?

Mods are items that make up the entire system of game modifications, which can increase the damage of your weapons, your Warframe’s abilities, provide passive abilities, among many other functions.

Mods, when collected during missions, resemble the image shown above. They can also be picked up as rewards between missions and also by trading with other players.

When you collect a Mod, what you got will appear on your screen. The Mods will be represented to you as playing cards, as shown in the image below:

What information will you find in a Mod?

1. Module name: It is the name of this module, just below the name it explains what the module does. Be careful because at the beginning of the game you will get several modules with the information: Damaged.

This means that this mod will yield much lower than expected. You should replace it with the normal version as soon as possible.

2. Capability and Polarity: Right below there are details of what Polarity is.

3. Rank: How ‘upgraded’ your module is. We’ll talk about fusion in another section, for now, it’s worth noting that the gray dots show ranks that need improvement, and the blue dots show ranks you’ve already improved. The more blue balls, the better your card is, and consequently, the greater the drained capacity (or increased when we talk about auras or fighting instances).

4. Conclave Ranking: How much this module will “weigh” for you when playing PvP, as the game seeks to balance player rankings.

How does a Mod’s Rarity work?

Modules can be classified by their rarity. Being progressively classified as common (bronze), uncommon (blue), rare (yellow), and legendary (white).

Note that it is not because a module is common that it is bad, and it is not because a module is legendary that it is good. The life and shield modules for sentry, for example, are common modules and there are no variations of them in other rarities. 

How do I Level Up my Mods?

As we stated in the previous section, merging is the path we must take to improve all modules. Just remember that each improved rank in a module also increases how much it will drain capacity.

To perform the fusion go to the Modules Console at the back of the ship to the left. Then choose the module you want to improve. Then click on the ‘Merge’ button.

During the Fusion process, you will see your Mod’s rank and a progress bar indicating the next rank. To raise its rank, it is recommended to use the fusion cores, which serve only for this function, the rarer the fusion core (common, unusual, or rare), the more it will improve your module. You can use the filters (the bar that is on top of the modules) and choose the fusion cores.

It is also recommended that you use the same Mod to raise the rank, especially the common ones, to avoid wasting fusion cores.

Note that you can use any Mod to improve rank, but this is not indicated because you spend credits for each module added, and modules that are not the same improve very little.

To merge, just click on the button that will be available at the top right of the screen, note that credits will be needed to merge.

How does Polarity work in Mods?

Polarities help to abruptly increase the number of mods you can put on your items. Most regular Warframes follow three polarities, two in the normal modules and one in the aura. Weapons and other components vary a lot.

When you put a module in an identical socket (let’s say a naramon polarity in space – or socket – also naramon), you will halve how much it drains. If this socket is a Warframe aura or weapon instance, the capacity will be doubled.

The shape (shown in the screenshot in this section) greatly helps the player to improve his items. It can be purchased ready-made on the market, through platinum, as a daily reward, in alert missions, or revenue can be obtained in various missions in Void (or Void).

When you reach level 30 of affinity with anything, just click on the “Action” button that will be available at the bottom right of the screen and choose to use the form. You can change any existing polarity or add a polarity on a socket that you don’t already have. It’s worth noting that the item you use the form will go back to level zero and will need to be upgraded again.

Reactors and Catalysts are not lost when you use the form, but remember that, as we talked about earlier, this won’t earn you more mastery points.

How can I get new Weapons and Warframes?

To get new weapons or Warframes, you will use a segment of your ship called Foundry.

In order to build something, you will need a Blueprint. Blueprint can be obtained in many ways: purchased from the market (which is also a segment of your ship) or as a reward for a mission and some of them drop from enemies.

All Blueprint have a cost to manufacture and a construction time.

All Blueprint require some type of component to be manufactured. These components can be raw materials found in the game, such as circuits, neural sensors, etc.; others can be other weapons; others may require another component that needs to be manufactured in advance (in the case of Warframes), and some require a mix of these options.

Just remember that you get the materials mentioned above in the missions you do. Whenever you open a planet’s map, you will see to the right of it which components you can obtain during missions in this location. When materials appear during missions, they resemble a gear, having three variations, common materials (yellow), unusual materials (blue), and rare materials (green).

How to get Warframe Blueprints?

Before we go any further, I would like to inform you that every Warframe, without exception, will always have three subcomponents: system, chassis, and helmet. You will have to make these three components so that you can build the Warframe. There are seven possible ways to get regular (non-Prime) Warframes.

1. Assassination missions: Most regular Warframes like Ember, Equinox, Excalibur, Frost, Hydroid, Loki, etc. are a reward for assassination missions (planet boss missions). I suggest checking the Warframe Wikia to verify the correct locations. Note that in this case, the blueprints of the three parts of a Warframe drops from the same boss, being randomly rewarded once for each time you successfully complete the mission. For example all parts of Excalibur you will get from the boss called Ambulas, in Hades stage, in Pluto. The blueprints to build the Warframes you have achieved in this way will always be available on the market.

2. Quests: Some Warframes, like Chroma, Inaros, Limbo, Mirage, etc. they are quest rewards. Most of these quests you buy at the market and build them in your foundry. Once completed and collected, these missions are accessible through navigation. It’s worth noting that some of these missions have minimum mastery requirements. Most missions reward you at each “step” with a part of the Warframe or blueprint, but this doesn’t apply in all cases. Some missions provide everything to build the Warframe, others provide all the parts but not the blueprint and require the player to buy the blueprint from the market. Note that it is currently not possible to redo missions, so you are advised not to discard Warframes built in this way.

3. Dojo: Being part of a clan has many benefits in this game, one of them is the possibility to build Warframes like Banshee, Volt, Wukong, or Zephyr. The blueprint of all these Warframes, including the parts, can be acquired after researching in the Tenno lab inside the Dojo.

4. Alert missions: So far this only applies to the Vauban Warframe. The three parts needed to build it are only possible through alerts. Interestingly, there is the rare possibility of getting his pieces through the daily reward bonus.

5. Drop: So far this applies to two Warframes: Ash and Oberon. The three parts to build the Ash drops from the Grineer Manics and the three parts to build the Oberon drops from the Eximus enemies. Note that the chance of getting these components is far from 100%.

6. Sortie: Sortie quests appear as the last option at the top right of the screen when you are viewing maps. So far this is the only way to get the Nezha Warframe components. It’s worth noting that the sortie rewards are random and they can only be done once a day.

7. Regular Quests: The Ivara character can only be acquired through regular spy quests. The system will be a random reward for rank 1 spy missions (level 1-15); the chassis will be a random reward from rank 2 spy missions (level 16-25); the helmet and main blueprint will be random rewards from rank 3 spy missions (level 26 or higher). Note that we are talking about a possibility, it’s not guaranteed.

How to get Weapons Blueprint?

Typically, weapon blueprints can be purchased from two places: the market and the dojo. In these two places, you’ll get most of the weapons available in the game.

There are some exceptions, for example, alert missions; special events throughout the year; Boss Quest rewards; sortie reward; etc.

What are Prime Weapons and Warframes? and how to build a Warframe Prime?

The Primordial versions (commonly known as Prime) always have something better compared to the regular version, be it some increased stats, additional polarities, or both.

You get the blueprints or parts ready, always in Void. To do these missions you need to use a special key, which is obtained as a reward for several missions, it is also possible to buy these keys: in the market through platinum or in syndicates with reputation. Every mission someone on the team needs to start, and that person will lose the key.

In Void, so far, there are four difficulty ranks, ranging from 1 to 4. The closer to 4, the more difficult the mission tends to be.

Unlike the traditional way we are used to taking, the “Prime” components will always be rewarded at the end of the missions, after successfully completing the missions. Each part has a fixed map to drop, so always have the Warframe Wikia handy for reference, both to find out where the parts drops and where you can pick up the keys.

Note that for prime pieces there is the primordial vault (or Prime Vault). From time to time the prime items are kept in a vault and are no longer available to the public for a while. Eventually, these items become available again, but if you want them right away, you’ll need to turn to other players, as we’ll talk about in another section. Right now, for example, the prime versions of Ankyros, Boar, Boltor, Dakra, Ember, Frost, Glaive, Latron, Mag, Reaper, Rhino, and Sicarus are inside the Vault.

Note: The Warframe Excalibur Prime and Lato Prime and Skana Prime weapons are no longer obtainable. They were part of a package for players who are now considered the founders of the game and are no longer available.

Let’s mention the Volt Prime example: The main blueprint drops into either Capture 2 or Capture 4; helmet drops on Slayer 2 or Survival 3B; the chassis drops into Survival 3C; the system drops into Survival 1C.

Important note: These letters A, B, C refer to map rotation. In the Warframe, we always have the sequence A, A, B, C at each checkpoint in the survival, defense, and excavation missions. In defense missions, the checkpoint is every five waves of enemies; in survival missions, the checkpoint is every five minutes survived and in excavation missions, it is every successful excavation.

For example: In a survival mission, rewards would be given every 5 minutes, as follows: 5m (A), 10m (A), 15m (B), 20m (C), 25m (H), 30m (A), 35m (B), 40m (C), etc. Note that at each checkpoint we are going to see the sequence A, A, B, C. Returning to the Volt prime example, the helmet would only drops in rotation B, that is, 15m, 35m, 55m, etc.; the chassis, on the other hand, would only drops in rotation C, that is, 20m, 40m, 60m, etc.

I believe for now this concludes our beginners Warframe tutorial. Thanks for your time! If there are any suggestions or criticisms, leave them in the comments below.