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Warframe Progression Guide for New Players

Warframe Newbie Progression Guide

Warframe Newbies' Guide to Progression

Warframe is a free-to-play expansive third-person shooter MMO. You take the role of a Tenno, an Operator with mysterious origins, which you can find out through playing the game. Because of its age (around 9+ years!), it has grown to have multiple systems and activities you can try. Still, it can become overwhelming for new players, especially casual players.

The Beginning: Choosing Your First Warframe

While this choice is only significant initially, it still defines much of your early-game experience. Veteran video gamers can choose which one they prefer, as later they can make the others through blueprints.

For those who have less experience in gaming, Excalibur is the beginner's option. Mag and Volt, in comparison, need a bit more experience and know-how to be used effectively in the beginning. Excalibur is a balanced fighter (though slightly skewed to prefer melee). Mag requires careful energy management, and Volt can be squishy without the proper mods.

Once you get the hang of the game, you get more frames to choose from.

After the Tutorial

The Star Chart

The tutorial spans about 2 quests, after which the game leaves you to your own devices. Again, the game offers several activities you can do, but first, you must unlock them. The most important task is to open the whole Star Chart.

It is where you choose your missions and where most of the action happens. Each node is a vast area to explore and where various tasks must be completed. Unlocking everything means you have several choices for farming materials, which you'll need when you start crafting.

Each planet (plus some moons and other points of interest) has about 12 (on average) nodes to complete. One location has as few as 5, and one planet has 17. At the end is a 'Junction' which leads to the next planet/point of interest and is typically guarded by an AI Warframe. In most cases, you won't get the blueprint of that frame by defeating it in a Junction.

Mastery Rank (MR)

The MR is the sum of all your progress in the game. It increases as you complete the above and level up your gear. To move on to the next rank, you have to pass a Mastery Rank test. You can only retake it after 24 hours, whether you pass or fail.

MR goes up to 30, after which it becomes Legendary Rank. Of all methods to raise MR, equipment will become the most reliable source of points. Still, you can't reuse weapons to farm them. Only un-mastered equipment will provide the experience to raise it. These ranks are required for unlocking new activities or quests to further progress in the game.

Crafting Equipment

Speaking of equipment, the only way to get new ones is to craft them. Blueprints can be found everywhere. Get them by doing quests, completing Junctions, and trading or buying from the market. Each one will list the necessary materials for their construction.

Veterans recommend unlocking the star chart for this reason. You can only farm for the resources you need to craft if you open specific areas. You can only get mastery points if you can make new stuff. Remember that MR is a requirement for future activities and quests.

In the beginning, you'll only have a few slots for weapons. Keep some of your preferred ones and throw away the rest so you'll have space to level up more. When you get more Platinum, you can open up more space in your arsenal to keep everything you want.

While most gear will only have one blueprint, Warframes and Archwings typically need four: three for components and another to combine those three. Interestingly, Equinox has a whopping 9! You need to craft both of the Warframe's aspects which already require 8 blueprints. One needs 3 components and another blueprint to form it, and then you need the primary blueprint to combine those two.

Prime variants are more potent forms of Warframes and weapons. They usually have boosted damage and stats, but blueprints come from relics that can only be opened through Void missions. Also, Prime weapons have parts like Warframes, so you need 4 different blueprints to make one.

Some Primes can always be farmed, but the majority are 'vaulted' and are only made available in limited periods. As a beginner, you don't have to concern yourself with this, though the knowledge is helpful if you want to sell some prints for Plat.

Your Arsenal

Your Warframe can hold two ranged weapons (one Primary and one Secondary) and a Melee weapon. More than that, they can bring along a companion, whether mechanical, biological, or a mixture of both. That means you can level up 5 things in every mission: your Warframe, three weapons, and a companion.

Primaries are rifles, shotguns, and other 'heavy' guns such as snipers and bows. Secondaries are the 'smaller' guns such as pistols, SMGs, and throwing knives. Melee weapons are what it says on the tin, but there are some throwable ones. Also, some others can have an increased range due to their length (staves and whips).

Your companions can include various Sentinels with different capabilities, combat pets, or robots. You can earn or buy Sentinel blueprints, but the pets must be captured or bred. You can create the robot after doing some quests in a specific area and finding the proper blueprints.

At any rate, if you go on missions with a full arsenal, it can be an excellent farm for mastery points to increase your MR. That is if all of them are ones you haven't mastered before. It's mentioned above that un-mastered ones will give points to raise MR. This ensures that you can't just hoard blueprints of your favorite weapons to master repeatedly.

Allow yourself to explore new weapons and arsenal combinations! That will also give you mechanical proficiency and versatility for various situations.

Best Starting Weapons:

  • Hek (shotgun)
  • Mk-1 Bo (staff)
  • Vectis (sniper)
  • Lex (pistol)
  • Atomos (flamethrower/beam)

Best Starting Warframes

  • Rhino
  • Loki
  • Volt/Mag
  • Atlas

However, you can craft whichever you prefer and feel you'd enjoy playing.

The Nightwave

It is Warframe's answer to a Battle Pass. You do some objectives to get rewards. As much as possible, do as many tasks as you can to get the most out of it. You can get a free Warframe slot, among other significant prizes! Ensure that you get the important stuff because you'll need it eventually.

It typically has a long cycle, so there should be more than enough time to achieve everything you need to before it resets. You also earn Nightwave Credits, which can be exchanged for even more goodies.


You can add improvements to your frames, weapons, and other gear through mods. They also have a ranking system and can be powered up by Endo. Depending on the equipment you can slot them in, there are several types. Some are even exclusively for specific companions.

Near the beginning, you'll receive Broken Mods. They're not worth upgrading as you'll eventually get better options. You can slot them in as placeholders or transitory mods but always replace them as soon as possible.

The best mods are Riven or Archon mods. The former requires you to complete a task before using it, exclusive to a specific weapon. The latter is super rare Legendary mods. As a beginner, you'd be fortunate to get them early, so you shouldn't mind these rare ones.

All gear has a Mod Capacity that limits how many you can pile up on them. It increases as you level them up, and matching polarities can reduce how much a mod takes up. You only have to match the symbol on the mod and the slot. Mismatching increases the load taken up by the upgrade.

All equipment has 8 general mod slots. Warframes have additional ones for Aura and Exilus. Most weapons also have space for an Exilus mod, while melee weapons have spots for stances. Companions have 10 slots, etc.

This gives you the flexibility and versatility for any mod combination you want. However, to get the most out of your equipment, here are some handy tips:

  • You want to increase the damage of your weapons, so multishot, elemental mods, and crit or status (not both) are your best bets.
  • Elemental Combos: You can combine two elements to further the ante. The combinations are:
    • Blast (Heat+Cold)
    • Corrosive (Electricity+Toxin)
    • Gas (Heat+Toxin)
    • Magnetic (Electricity+Cold)
    • Radiation (Electricity+Heat)
    • Viral (Toxin+Cold)
  • Enemies have weaknesses to one or a few of those elements, so you can gear up appropriately.
  • For Warframes, you want to add survivability and energy efficiency. Add mods that increase shields and HP. Then something related to energy, and leave the rest of the slots to increase that frame's primary stat (Ability Strength, Range, or Duration)

Later, you can use Forma to add or change the polarities of the slots for even more mod combinations.

You'll receive mods even if you're not actively farming for them, so there will always be fodder if you need extra Endo.

Join a Guild

This will give you access to a Trading Post for item exchanges with other players (enable 2FA first!). You can also get some exclusive blueprints that are otherwise unavailable. Warframe's general community is quite helpful. Joining a guild means you have easy access to veterans you can ask for help when you have further questions.

Setting Goals for Yourself

Now that you've got the basics down, it's time to set a goal for yourself. Why do you want to play Warframe? Do you want to collect and use all of the frames and weapons? Trade with others? Show off your 'Fashionframe'? (It's a super-customized frame owed to the extensive options the game gives players.) You can even set completing the open-world, free-roam maps as your goal.

It also lets you prioritize which activities to go to first because there are many. You can go questing, doing Railjack missions, open-world missions, farming eidolons, and that's not scratching the surface. Give your gameplay a direction, and you'll start to enjoy the gun-toting, parkouring robot ninjas of Warframe.

Enjoy Warframe!

Warframe can be overwhelming, but once you've gotten the hang of it, it becomes an enjoyable game you'll sink hours into. With great gameplay, potential friends, guns, and action moves straight out of a movie, there's much to play around and have fun with.

Sure, the game gets grindy somewhere in the middle, but what MMO isn't grindy at some point? Find what you can enjoy the most, and have fun playing Warframe!

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