On the surface, Warframe looks like a fast-paced action title. To an extent, that’s exactly what it is, and that may just explain why it has consistently placed in Steam’s most-played titles for several years now. Warframe is an exciting, balls-to-the-wall action shooter that is immensely satisfying to play, with silky smooth movement and great combat.
If you dig a little deeper and you’ll find an intricate network of systems that offers a surprising amount of choice and rewards, patient planning and careful deliberation. If you’re intimidated with all the complicated functions and have no idea where to start, check out this list of the 10 things every beginner should know.
1. Spend Your Start Plat Wisely
Platinum points (or Plats), is the premium in-game currency of Warframe that is used to purchase skins, slots, and special gear. Each new account is given free starter Plats to help kickstart their first few hours in the game.
Later on, as you progress, you can to trade for Plats. However, for the first several hours, these Starter Plats will be all you have (unless you purchase more with real-world currency). Though some of those weapon skins and shiny Frames might look super cool right now, it’s important to spend your Plats properly at the beginning to accelerate your progression.
We suggest investing your Starter Plats into Warframe Slots and Weapon Slots. This allows you to pick up more weapons and Frames earlier in the game and allows for greater freedom of choice in selecting your loadout before a mission. Nothing is more annoying than crafting a new weapon on Warframe only to be told you can’t claim it because your slots are full. 🤦♂️
2. Get Through Stages Quicker with Bullet Jumping
Are you finding it difficult to keep pace with your squadmates? You’re sliding and running as hard as you can but, somehow, it’s like they’re almost flying through entire stages. You might have chalked that up to Frame mods and upgrades. While it’s true that upgrades and mods can increase your movement speed to an extent, a strong command of the various mobility skills available in Warframe is the real secret behind players’ speedy navigation.
The in-game tutorial does a decent job at teaching you the basics of movement, such as slides and crouch jumps, but in order to maintain high speeds as they make their way through a map, players use a slightly more advanced technique, known as Bullet Jumping.
To perform a simple Bullet Jump, hold Crouch then Jump. This launches your Warframe in the direction of your reticle, an explosive move that results in your Warframe extending and twisting its body. Bullet Jumping allows you to leap over large distances or quickly reach high points in the map, giving you the freedom to skip some stages.
The end of a Bullet Jump can be transitioned into any of the different mobility skills. A Bullet Jump into a double jump guarantees extra height. Sliding into a Bullet jump and back into a slide preserved maximum momentum. Experiment a bit with using different combinations of movement skills for different situations. With some practice, you’ll be speedily squeezing through tiny gaps and across massive chasms with ease.
3. Squeeze Every Mastery Point from Your Gear
Your Mastery Rank is an indicator of your account’s overall experience and is separate from the levels of your individual gear. Increasing your Mastery Rank unlocks more loadout slots and access to better weapons and Frames.
Pretty early on in the game, you’ll be tempted with the option to replace your starter weapons with stronger, upgraded versions. It’s natural to want to make the swap to maximize your potential damage output, but we recommend holding on to your gear a little while longer.
You gain 100 Mastery points each time you level up a weapon and 200 Mastery points for each level of your Warframe, and maxing out the Mastery levels on your gear also offers a Mastery experience bonus. Make sure you’re squeezing out every possible Mastery point from your items by keeping your weapons or Warframe equipped for long enough to reach the maximum Mastery level of 30 before deciding to swap them out or sell them.
Keep in mind that even a maxed-out gear, still receives a distribution of the experience you gain from a map, so you should consider swapping it out once it hits level 30. This also means that if you want to focus on leveling a single item to the max you should remove all other equipment in your loadout, ensuring that the greatest portion of experience goes into that item.
Of course, walking into a stage with a minimal loadout will make it much harder to complete it, so consider this when determining how you want to level your Mastery.
4. Pay Attention to Mod Drops
Mods, short for Modules, is the way to upgrade the gear in your loadout. Essentially, they’re cards that drop at the end of each stage that provides your items with various powers, such as passive stat bonuses and active abilities. The base game comes with nearly 1,000 different Mods that you can mix and match to create a loadout that matches your style of play.
Not all Mods are created equal. Many are immediately more useful than the rest, and you’ll quickly learn to pick and choose which mods you want equipped to get the best output from your gear.
Within a few hours, you’ll find you’ve amassed a significant collection of unused Mods. You can sell your Mods for Credits or dissolve them for Endo. Better yet, stockpile your unused Mods for Fusion or Transmutation.
Fusion is the process of upgrading your Mods by combining multiple cards of the same type and tier. The bonuses a Mod provides improve as you upgrade them. With Mods and Endo (another randomly dropped item you pick up on missions) you can upgrade your Mods and reap significant gains.
A general rule of thumb is to remember that equipping a single ranked Mod, is far better than having multiple unranked Mods in your loadout. For example, upgrading a Vitality Mod provides greater survivability than having an un-ranked shield, armor, and health mods.
Transmuting your Mods lets you recycle your unused Mods. As the in-game description explains, Transmutation involves combining four unranked cards for a chance to get a rare Mod. Even if you find yourself unlucky with the drops you get at the end of your missions, there’s always a chance that you can recycle them into something better.
5. Complete the Star Chart
The Star Chart is where you select your missions. From the Star Chart screen, you can view what missions are available to you, the kinds of drops you’ll find, and the recommended level range. As you progress, you unlock new missions, new equipment, and new Frames, so working your way through the Chart is vital if you’re looking to get good at Warframe.
New players should make it their first goal to reach the end of the Star Chart as quickly as possible. Simply speaking, Warframe’s base campaign is a 70-100-hour long tutorial that gradually familiarizes you with the game’s complex systems, and by the end of it, you’ll be ready to play Warframe proper.
As you progress through the Star Chart, you also unlock new Relays, massive structures that function as social hubs for players. It’s here at the Relays that you can meet and speak directly with other players. More importantly, certain markets are only found in certain Relays. Relay markets often offer deals for weapons at greatly discounted prices – some as high as 90% off – and keeping tabs on which markets are running sales can save you a lot of Plat in the long run.
An argument could be made for stopping at certain planets to farm resources, though we don’t recommend it. Exploring new planets and spending time to accrue materials is great, but don’t waste your time farming so early in. Later on, you’ll find Mods that provide you with a radar that displays the locations of loot and resource nodes on your map. Also, many faster farming methods are only available after you’ve unlocked everything and completed the Star Chart.
6. Change Matchmaking Settings to Solo
The default matchmaking setting for Warframe is “Public”, meaning every time you start a mission you’ll be thrown into a new or ongoing session with up to three other random players. Playing with Public matchmaking is fine for a majority of your game time, though there are specific situations where it’s preferable to go it alone.
Changing your matchmaking settings to “Solo” blocks other players from joining you. There are a few advantages to this. First, you can pause in Solo matchmaking by pressing the Esc button, a feature unavailable in other matchmaking modes.
The second, and more important, is that mission difficulty scales to the strength and number of Warframes in the stage (to an extent). This is most evident in Warframe’s open-world zone, Plains of Eidolon.
New players will often experience a spike in difficulty at about the time they hit the Plains of Eidolon content. This is because a single server instance of Plains of Eidolon can contain up to 50 other Operators, and the game’s automatic scaling system adjusts the hit points and damage-dealing properties of the beasts that inhabit this area to the strength of the other Frames in your instance.
If you’ve been dropped into an instance with a disproportionate number of high-level players, you’ll find it difficult to make any significant progress farming, exploring, or doing any of the other activities in Plains of Eidolon. Switching to Solo allows you to freely roam in Plains of Eidolon without fear of encountering enemies beyond the capabilities of your Frame and loadout.
7. Nitain Extract and Alert Missions
Alert Missions are special, randomly-generated missions that occur every few minutes. You can see what Alert Missions are available by opening the Alerts tab in your Star Chart. Alert Missions expire and are replaced about every half hour.
Don’t feel forced to participate in all Alert Missions. Most can be safely ignored as they don’t offer many rewards beyond Credits. This early on in the game you likely won’t have access to many of the Mission Nodes where these Alert Missions take place. However, keep your eyes open for a special Alert Mission that appears once every 4 to 6 hours called Nitain Extracts.
Nitain Extract is a valuable late-game resource used to craft some of the higher-level gear. As we mentioned above, it’s vital to get through the Star Chart as early on as possible because this allows you to access Mission Nodes where Nitain Extracts may take place. The more you collect, the bigger the head start you’ll have once you hit the late game.
8. Join a Clan
Once you’ve completed the Star Chart and all main quests, you may be left confused as to what to do next. It’s at this point that you’re going to want some more direct guidance, and a Clan is where you’ll find it. Warframe can be played alone, but it’s an experience best enjoyed with others, not least because joining a Clan provides you access to some sweet gear that you won’t find anywhere else.
Check out your in-game chatbox. There’s a special tab there for recruiting; this is where Clans send out messages inviting new players to join. Most of those recruiting will be from smaller Clans containing, fewer than 10 people, but ignore the temptation to want to build a Clan from the ground up.
You’re looking for one of the bigger, well-established Clans you can have their Dojo set-up and many of the bonuses that will be unlocked. Big Clans are also filled with experienced Operators who have accumulated several years’ worth of knowledge, and they can help you begin to really work towards optimizing your Warframe and loadouts.
9. Get the Rhino Warframe
Rhino is widely considered the most newbie-friendly of the Warframes that you can build early on. Rhino, as its name suggests, is a tank Warframe that offers a great defense, an important trait for newcomers who have yet to master the intricacies of Warframe’s combat.
You can purchase Rhino’s blueprint in the Market for 35,000 Credits. Constructing it requires you have collected three components: Rhino Helmet, Rhino Chassis, and Rhino Systems. These can all be obtained as drops from Jackal, the boss on Venus. If you’re out of Credits, sell your unused Mods.
Rhino is a versatile Frame that can be built in many different ways. You can find the best Rhino builds here, which will take you through the next several dozen hours of your time in Warframe. Investing the time and Credits to building Rhino early on guarantees you’ll have an easier time getting through the base game.
10. Build the Sentinel Taxon
Sentinels are little mechanical companions that hover around your Warframe and assist in combat. Each Sentinel is its own unit with its own health, shield, weapon, energy, and armor. They can also be upgraded through the use of Mods.
Sentinels are invaluable, especially in the early game as they help to accelerate the speed with which you kill enemies. The Taxon is generally considered the Beginner’s Sentinel as its Blueprint becomes available early on when you first complete the Earth-Venus Junction. From that point forward, keep your eyes open for opportunities to get the resources necessary to complete Taxon.
Once Taxon is available, don’t forget to equip it with Mods. With smart use of Mods, Taxon should be able to last you through to the end of the Star Chart. Other Sentinels also become available on the market and can be purchased for Plats, or you can buy their Blueprints for 100,000 Credits.
A Few Words
Warframe is a huge game with multiple confusing elements that can be intimidating to a new player. Hopefully, we’ve provided you with a basic outline for how to get started learning this wonderful shooter. Remember, Warframe is a game that rewards patience and skill, and if you put in the hours to learn, you’ll find yourself engrossed in an action shooter universe unlike any other!