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Warframe Beginner’s Guide

September 20, 2013

The Wiki’s Beginner Guide is good. I have tried to cover areas they do not.

What Starting Frame should I get?
Any of them are fine, and you can get all of them eventually. Don’t agonize over the choice; each warframe has advantages and disadvantages, but they are fairly balanced.

Excalibur is a balanced frame. His first ability, “Slash Dash”, causes him to shoot forward killing everything in front of him. Radial blind is a good crowd control ability and Radial Javelin is an AOE damage power. He’s got the best durability of the starting frames, although he is not durable enough to be a tank.
Excalibur build guide.

Mag has the best offensive powers of the starting frames. In update 10, she received a good buff, and so is now viable even in late game play. If you want to play a “mage type” character, she is your choice. Her first ability, Pull, ragdolls enemies and is a cheap crowd control ability. Shield polarize depletes the shields of your enemies and recharges them for you allies and is an excellent support ability. “Bullet Attractor” increases damage to one enemy and makes them easier to hit, making killing bosses easier. Crush is an AoE damage ability.
Mag build guide

Volt is a speedy electricity based Warframe. His powers are fairly diverse. Shock will kill a handful of enemies. Speed makes your team run really fast for a few seconds. Electric shield blocks enemy shots and makes you do more damage when you shoot through it. Overload does a lot of AOE damage to everything around you, boosted by lights, panels, and other objects. He has a good amount of shields, medium health, but low armor.
Volt build guide.

What Starter Weapons Should I get?
The game currently offers new players a choice between 3 primary, 3 secondary, and 3 melee weapons. Overall, I think each choice is fairly well balanced. Youn can buy the other starter weapons in the market for credits, so don’t worry about picking the wrong weapon too much.

Primaries:
Mk1 Braton – Fast firing, accurate, but low damage assault rifle.
Mk1 Strun – Semi Automatic shotgun, good against Corpus, bad at long range.
Mk1 Paris – A bow with low rate of fire. Good against Grineer, silent and accurate, but arrows have travel time and drop over distance.

Secondaries:
Mk1 Kunai – Silent throwing daggers. Powerful, but hard to hit with.
Lato – Semi automatic pistol. Accurate, but low damage.
Mk1 Furis – High rate of fire, low damage, medium accuracy, poor ammo economy. Good against Grineer at mid-close range. The best starting secondary, in my opinion.

Melee:
Skana – Single handed sword. Medium speed, medium range, medium damage.
Mk1 Bo – Slower swinging, but higher damage. It can stagger and ragdoll enemies, which is useful in 1 on 1 fights. The best starting melee weapon, in my opinion.
Mk1 Furax – Tenno boxing gloves. High damage, but limited range.

The starting weapons aren’t nearly as powerful as weapons you can get later in the game.

Primary
Any of the “second tier” weapons are fine:
DPS is listed at the basic unmodded level.
Braton (126 Damage Per Second) – A more powerful, but less accurate version of the MK 1 Braton (85 DPS). Average against all factions, and can be purchased for only 25,000 credits.
Boltor (161) – Fully auto bolt rifle. Good vs. Grineer.
Burston (195) – A balanced burst fire rifle.
Latron (152) – Semi Auto precision rifle. Good against Grineer.
Strun (114) – Semi auto shotgun. Good against Corpus, and can be purchased for 75,000 credits.
Hind (206 DPS)- Burst fire weapon average against all factions.
Grakata (154 DPS) – High rate of fire SMG average against all factions.

It’s not a big deal to try a weapon out for 10 or 20 levels and sell it if you don’t like it. Although it will cost you in terms of materials and credits, you’ll build up some mastery rank, which will unlock better weapons.

Secondary
The Sicarus (115) is powerful considering it only costs 20,000 credits, although the bullet spread is pretty substantial. You can drag the mouse down while firing to increase accuracy. The Bolto (158) shoots bolts which pin enemies to walls and is good vs. Grineer. The Bolto can be upgraded to a dual version, the Akbolto (253).

Melee
The Amphis and Dual Kamas are the best mastery rank 0, non-Prime weapons. The Dual Heat Swords are also good and are cheap to make.

Sentinels
A Sentinel is a floating support robot that gives you various buffs while you are playing. Shade gives you temporary stealth, which is great in a pinch. Carrier is the best if you just want extra damage, and it also picks up items for you. The other three Sentinels are not as good. Kubrows are extremely expensive and less effective than Sentinels.

What should I buy with Platinum?
Free players: Get one warframe slot and 4 additional weapon slots (2 purchases of 2 slots each), for a total of 12 weapon slots. Since each faction is weak against different weapons, this will allow you to have a set of 3 weapons for each and have 3 extra slots for weapons you are leveling. To buy weapon slots, go to your inventory, click on Arsenal > Inventory > Buy Slots. Don’t bother with catalysts, reactors, or forma, since you can get these through alerts and log in rewards. The extra slots will allow you more versatility and room to expand into the higher tiers of equipment.

The 170 Platinum pack is $10 and 370 Platinum is $20, which can be reduced by coupons. Personally, I would wait for a 50% off coupon or sale, which happen fairly frequently. If you get the 75% off coupon, you should get the 1000 Platinum package for $12.50, which is a great deal.

Get Catalysts and a Reactors for your favorite Warframes and weapons. Don’t put Catalysts on starter weapons, but starter frames are fine to supercharge. Get plenty of Warframe and weapon slots; I recommend having at least 4 Warframe slots (Tank, stealth, caster, support), and 18 weapon slots (60 platinum worth). If you have Platinum left over, get some cosmetic accessories or color palates. Sentinels are also a good deal for 75 platinum each.

In addition to the stuff above, get lots of Catalysts, more warframe and weapon slots, a Sentinel, some cosmetics, such as more colors, attachments for your Sentinel, syandanas, etc. You can go to trading and buy prime parts as well.

Steam packs are not a good deal unless they are on a significant sale (50%+). If you want to throw a lot of money at the game (as I have), just buy a ton of Platinum.

What are the best next Frames to get?
Get Rhino first. He’s versatile and extremely durable, and you can get his blueprints on Venus (Fossa) almost right away. He requires Mastery Rank 2, but by the time you’ve ground out the parts and gotten your starter warframe to level 30, you should be there.

Try to get a variety of Warframes. Go on youtube to watch some gameplay of a warframe before you buy it, if you are unsure about which to pick.

Other Tips
Remember to fuse and equip new mods you get to increase the power of your weapons. Check out my build guides if you need help determining how best to modify a weapon.

You can buy prime weapon parts from other users in the trading chat. Prime weapons are better and less expensive than buying a similar weapon in the market (30 platinum instead of 150+). You will have to buy weapon slots and a catalyst for it separately, but even after that it should still be cheaper. The Latron Prime, the Burston Prime, or the Boar Prime are all good options.

Mod testing website – Try out various builds even if you don’t have the mods.
The Official Quick Start Guide
Which weapons are the best?
Archwing Weapon Guide

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78 Comments leave one →
  1. GRAYGHOST06 permalink
    September 25, 2013 12:38 am

    Thanks for a good guide. Though I have Nova and am at close to mastery 4, I wish I found this article far before. Still useful for my beginning friends. I’ll definitely show them this. Good luck, space ninja.

  2. pedring permalink
    November 21, 2013 8:09 am

    does loki and shades are compatible in combat? Specialy in invicibility skill??

    • November 21, 2013 11:30 am

      They are, and when I’m doing stealth, I usually use both. Loki’s stealth is on a timer, whereas Shade uses stealth if there are enemies around and you haven’t attacked any of them. If you want to attack while remaining hidden, you need Loki or Ash. If you just want to run past enemies, Shade is enough.

  3. John Somebody permalink
    November 22, 2013 10:52 am

    When should you start using orokin catalysts on your warframes?

    • November 22, 2013 12:22 pm

      You should get your third warframe to level 15 or so to see which one is your favorite. Don’t potato Mag (or any unprimed version of a primable warframe), since there is a Mag Prime available, but other than that, it’s all dependent on personal preference.

  4. DrChampion permalink
    December 4, 2013 12:55 am

    Why do you need to “get the Skana to level 30 (for mastery rank purposes)” before selling and moving to Cronus?

    • December 4, 2013 6:33 am

      Every weapon gives you Mastery Rank when you level it up. Weapons give you 100, Warframes give you 200. The higher your mastery rank is, the better weapons you can buy. Most heavy melee weapons, for example, require Mastery Rank 2, as does the Rhino.

      You don’t have to use the Skana non-stop until you get it to level 30. In fact I would recommend against it, because it’s a long time to grind one weapon. However, if you sell it and decide later to buy it again, it will start at level 0, and you won’t get mastery rank for leveling it back up to where you had it.

      One of the reason I recommend buying so many weapon slots with your free Platinum is to allow yourself to experiment with a bunch of new weapons and not have to sell them right away if you can’t decide if you like them, or if you don’t know if you want to use them for mastery rank. I am currently Mastery Rank 11, which pretty much means if I want to level up again, I have to level every weapon I can get my hands on to 30 whether I like it or not.

  5. MuggaMugga permalink
    December 6, 2013 2:54 pm

    So I just started playing, and have decided somewhat arbitrarily that I really want a Saryn. Do you have any suggestions on the most efficient way of doing this?

    • December 6, 2013 4:05 pm

      Just grind Kela de Thaym on Sedna. If you run in Online mode, there are usually plenty of hardcore players just grinding the boss for parts, so even if you aren’t leveled up, you shouldn’t have any trouble as long as you find a good group to run with. 10 runs should be enough to get the parts. Never spend platinum on buying a warframe outright; it’s too expensive.

  6. Drews permalink
    December 20, 2013 4:16 am

    I’m thinking of build Oberon next. What do you think about him? I already maxed Volt, Mag and Rhino (they all in order from first to last), and Rhino so far is the only one for me. I mean, sure Volt and Mag damage is not something to overlook, but I love being invincible than killing (I’ll leave killing to weapons.)

    Oh and Skana is a pain in the ass to level up, which is why I found your article, just hope I could find some way to level it up faster. All my weapons is currently now max, so I can’t run away from Skana anymore but to level it up now.

    • December 20, 2013 6:42 am

      I don’t buy the new Warframes with platinum, so for me, Oberon’s still in the foundry. I’ll let you know in about a week when I’ve had a chance to level him up to 30.

      To level crappy weapons, I’d recommend doing survival and just staying near your most powerful teamate. As long as you’re in the room with them and attacking with it,their kills will share xp with you even if you don’t get any kills.

      To be honest, if it’s that much of a pain, just sell the darn thing. Unless you plan to try to get to Mastery Rank 14 or something, it’s fine. You can always rebuy it.

      If you like durability, I’d recommend getting Frost or Ash next. Frost is the most durable Warframe in the game, if you account for Snow Globe, and Ash is less durable than Rhino but can turn invisible.

  7. Drews permalink
    December 21, 2013 4:17 am

    Yeah, I was actually thinking of getting Frost, but then reading from all the comments online, they said on higher level, the only ability that Frost good at is Snow Globe.

    Another thing is people in the team usually blame the Frost guy if he don’t know how pop Snow Globe and I hate that. Which is why I hesitated to farm Frost.

    • December 21, 2013 1:13 pm

      Those things are true. Being a Frost can be somewhat of a thankless task, but you can solo defenses better than any other frame, hands down.

      • Drews permalink
        December 26, 2013 1:55 am

        Btw, what do you think about Nova? Her shield and defense may not be the best, but her damage output is ridiculous. In defense mission, all she does is running around and blow things up before my rhino can even aim. But everyone crying for nerf, so I don’t know how she is now. If you got any information on her, let me know.

      • December 26, 2013 9:29 am

        She is very fast, and has extremely high attack power against crowds of enemies. The more enemies, the more tightly packed, the higher her damage. Having said that, I never take Nova on solo runs because if she runs out of energy, she’s dead, and none of her abilities are defensive. Very much a glass cannon, but a fun warframe to play.

  8. XIIRikuRulzIIX permalink
    February 6, 2014 7:11 am

    Love this ! im currently trying to get a master lvl 2 for rhino … but my warframe(excalibur) is just a lvl 15 o.0 is it gonna take time to get rhino? i have all the other blueprints already (helm,chassis and system)

    • February 8, 2014 3:03 pm

      Leveling the Excalibur and all starting weapons to 30 will get you to Mastery Rank 2. It takes 12 hours to build each part for a Warframe, and 3 days for the Warframe itself to build.

      If you need some more weapons to get you there, you can get the Cronus sword from Captain Vor. The Aklato are only 25000 credits. The Boltor is good if you are having trouble with Grineer, because it does primarily Puncture damage.

      • XIIRikuRulzIIX permalink
        February 9, 2014 8:34 am

        Thanks,just one more question … does the warframe blueprint come with the weapon?

      • XIIRikuRulzIIX permalink
        February 9, 2014 11:32 am

        does the blueprint also come with the mods?(abilities)

      • February 9, 2014 12:40 pm

        The blueprint allows you to build the weapon in the foundry. You need to collect materials from various planets in order to build it, which you can look up in the wiki.

        Weapons don’t come with any mods. The best place to get mods are from Mobile Defense and Survival missions.

  9. Shawn permalink
    March 18, 2014 12:04 am

    What about getting things for Volt Im sick of Moas and the Corpus

    • March 18, 2014 1:17 pm

      Volt is a pretty good frame. His first power will kill about half a dozen enemies and is cheap and spamable. If you like to rush, Speed is a good power, and his ultimate is reasonably powerful. You can get him in the Clan Tenno Dojo.

  10. Arcadio permalink
    October 14, 2014 2:34 pm

    So fucking awesome dude, good job for offering us all this stuff!!

  11. Kosta permalink
    November 28, 2014 1:42 pm

    Hi, I just started playing again with a new account, last year when I played before the game changed so much (WOW) I got bored with Excalibur but kinda loved the melee shooting combo.

    Now I chose volt But I think I made a mistake with the started weapons. I chose Paris as primary, Kunai as secondary and the Stick (mk1-bo).

    I liked the stick more than the skana and I think it’s better for multiply enemies but I keep reading that’s a speed frame and I get the impression that with a bow I won’t be that fast. I also read somewhere that although a bow+shiled helps a lot it cuts your mobility?

    Does bolt should be played with automatic rifles etc..??

    Also, does everybody need to get a rhino to getter materials? I always wanted to get ash, it was my goal 1 year back and still is. I chose volt because everybody said it was the best frame to start with. I think that playing with Excalibur was easier but maybe it’s because I used a lot of melee..

    BTW when I switch to a melee weapon and press on fire button it glows, does it make the attack stronger?

    As for the 50 platinum plates. as far as I understand I need to buy 1 warframe slot and everything else spend on weapon slots, is that correct?

    P.S=sorry for the long post, just wanted to get some info since I’m starting fresh and I don’t know anything about the game after all of these updates…(when I started playing you could still choose loki as a starter frame)

    • November 28, 2014 2:22 pm

      I don’t think you necessarily made a mistake with those starter weapons, although I would recommend getting a Sicarus fairly quickly. The weapons you carry does not have any impact on how fast you move, so don’t worry about that. Any frame can be used with any weapon, it’s all personal preference. If you like automatic weapons, get the Braton.

      The only Warframe that gets a bonus to the material it gets is Nekros. Every other frame gets materials at an equal rate. I personally love Ash, so go for it if you want to get him.

      When you equip your melee and press the fire button, it does +50% damage, but uses 5 energy per hit. Mods can make that better as well (it’s called “Channeling“)

      I agree that you should get 1 Warframe slot and 4 extra weapon slots. There is a 50% off platinum sale for Black Friday, so if you want to buy platinum, now is a good time. Also, there is a Devstream today, so there will be a Catalyst alert later today, so don’t miss that either.

  12. Lumberj4ck permalink
    December 30, 2014 5:40 am

    Hey m8, first off thx for the guide it helped me alot.
    Second: where to get the %off coupons for Platinum?

    • December 30, 2014 10:32 am

      Log in rewards. 20% offs are pretty common, 50% are maybe once a month or so if you log in every day. I’ve gotten a couple 75% offs in the two years I’ve played, but they are very rare.

      • April 4, 2015 2:15 pm

        And I just wasted a 75% off yesterday, thinking about using it the next time I get one… Great…

        Anyway, thank you a lot, for this guide and many others!

  13. zaney boy permalink
    April 30, 2015 9:53 am

    Why wont it let me pick up prime weapons is it because im only mr 2? Pllz help if you can:)

    • Shaikan permalink
      April 30, 2015 11:56 am

      What do you mean by “pick up”, prime weapon’s parts and blueprint are drops which can be picked up by everyone, so you should have no problem there (unless it’s a bug, or maybe your host lagging)

      • zaney boy permalink
        April 30, 2015 1:58 pm

        Everytime i find a prime weapon on the ground i walk over it and it doesnt let me pick it up it pisses me off cause someone else will see it and walk over it and they pick it up idk whats the problem but it bothers me haha if you have a solution to fix the bug let me know shaikan plz d appreciate it

      • May 1, 2015 10:10 am

        You can only pick up your own weapon. You can’t pick up weapons that another Tenno drops.

      • May 1, 2015 10:11 am

        I think he means if they are disarmed.

    • Shaikan permalink
      May 4, 2015 1:46 pm

      Sorry for the late reply, but yeah, I think what you are seeing are weapons which other people dropped (there are greneer guys who can pull your currently used weapon from you, and you have to run over and pick it up) and you can’t pick up those

  14. May 14, 2015 11:45 pm

    Can’t get my loadout weapon. To do the Den of kubrow? What am I doing wrong?

  15. June 18, 2015 8:16 pm

    I got my 75% Coupon Discount 2 Days ago and now it still has 21 hours left. Luckily i found this site and you said “Get 1000 Platinum when 75% Discount”. Thank you very much 😀

  16. Mike permalink
    October 2, 2015 1:20 am

    Hey new player here with a couple of questions. Im assuming you play on the computer? Do you think they have coupons for those of us who play on counsoles? Also ive been reading some of your build guides trying to find out what frame to build and wanted to know what is the term CCs that you use in some of your descriptions? Final question are prime parts extremely hard to come by, by farming? Ive yet to do a void mission but heard thats what to do to get them. Is there a better way to go about this? Thanks for all the feed back in advance and great job on all your lists!

    • October 3, 2015 5:30 pm

      I play on the computer. I don’t know if there are coupons on other platforms, but you could check the wiki.
      I think all new players should get Rhino as their second frame. All you need to do is play Fossa on Venus a bunch of times. Many youtubers do video reviews of the various warframes. I have almost all of them, and there’s no limit to how many you can have, except warframe slots which only cost 20 platinum.
      Prime parts are hard to get, and you get them by playing the void. If you are rich, you can buy Prime Access packs, but they are like $100 so I don’t get them.
      CC means crowd control, like stuns, blinds, and disarms.

  17. Daniel permalink
    January 20, 2016 12:56 pm

    Still space in the clan?:D

    • January 20, 2016 4:53 pm

      Sure, I’ll email you.

      • Daniel permalink
        January 23, 2016 11:52 am

        Hey i didnt get any mail hope i can still join :O

  18. fargove permalink
    September 2, 2016 3:43 am

    thx for the great read. just starting out and enjoying the knowledge i’m gaining.

    • September 2, 2016 8:41 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I have not updated it in a long time, but most of the advice is still good.

  19. Noah Ruston permalink
    January 29, 2017 10:07 pm

    Hey invite me too clan I’m Kurosawa Mifune

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