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Warframe Beginner’s Guide: Navigating the Menus

December 6, 2013

NOTE: This article was current as of Update 12, and is currently outdated. I do not plan to update it any time soon.

The user interface for Warframe can be confusing for new players. While most can figure out how to enter missions fairly easily, it takes some time and experimentation to learn how to equip and upgrade mods, as well as create objects in the foundry.
This is my “general information” Warframe Beginner’s Guide. Check out the Wiki beginner’s guide for more details.

The Basic Menu

Here’s a labeled picture of all the basic menu stuff. For brevity’s sake I’m only going to focus on the Arsenal and Foundry in detail, but here’s a brief description of everything else:

Mastery Rank: You get this by leveling up weapons and completing missions. It lets you unlock higher-tier weapons and frames.
Visibility: Lets you set who can see your games when you host.
Arsenal: See below. This is where you equip stuff and access your inventory.
Foundry: See below. You make things here.
Store: Buy things here. Anything with a silverish circle costs Platinum, which you have to pay real money for, while blue and white boxes are Credits, which you can get from missions in game. Anything with a solid background is the actual thing, whereas things with blue and white grids in the background are blueprints.
Messages: Occasionally you’ll get messages from in-game characters during events. They show up here.
Codex: Information about enemies. If you purchase codex scanners from the shop, you can scan enemies and get information on them here.
Keys: Clan Key, Orokin Derelicts, and Orokin Towers can be accessed here. You won’t have any when you just start out, but can build a Clan Key and Derelict coordinates in the Foundry, and get Tower keys as mission rewards.
Options: You can set display options, key bindings, and audio stuff here.
Logout: Logs you out.

The Arsenal

The Arsenal is where you equip and upgrade your Frame.

For your Frame, Weapons, Sentinel and Sentinel Weapons, you have the following options:

Equip: Lets you change which one you have equipped. When you start out, you won’t have choices. You can make and buy new weapons and Sentinels as you play. You can purchase more equipment slots in this screen with Platinum, which is highly recommended as it means you can have more Frames and weapons to choose from as you play the game more.
Upgrade: Detailed below. This lets you equip mods. This is very useful.
Appearance: Lets you change your colors and equip skins, non-default helmets, scarves, badges, and accessories. Most of these cost Platinum, but don’t have any in-game effects. However, all players do get the option to change their colors, though you have a limited palette without spending platinum. Non-default Frame helmets often come with special effects.

Other screens in the Arsenal:

Inventory: Lets you access your item inventory, including blueprints and built parts. You can sell things here as well.
Mods: Lets you upgrade mods. I will go into this below.
Gear: This lets you equip usable items, such as Codex Scanners and Health and Ammo regens. You can also purchase these through this menu. The usable item menu can be accessed by pressing Q (default) during a mission.

Equipping and Upgrading Mods

Here’s what the upgrade screen looks like:

The only difference between the upgrade screen for Frames and all other screens is that Frames come with an Aura slot. More on that later.

The bar at the top is the mod points you have remaining. Each mod has a value in the top right corner. If you have enough points, you simply drag the mod to an open slot and you’ve got it equipped.

You can rearrange and unequip mods at any point. You can equip several frames with the same mods. Using the A, B and C options at the top, you can have up to three configurations of mods that you can rapidly switch between.

Good so far? Great. On to Mod Polarity.

In the upper right corner of each mod, there is a symbol that denotes its polarity. You will notice that some of your mod slots in your Frames and weapons have the same little symbols. If you match the symbols, the mod costs half its points to equip. If your symbols don’t match, it’s twice as expensive. If there’s no polarity, it’s the same cost. If you have a slot with the right polarity, use it!

Lastly is Aura Slots. Sometimes you will get Aura Mods, which will have a little up arrow next to the Polarity symbol. Aura Mods go in the Aura Slot, which is shown in the image above. They follow the same rules for Polarity. However (and this is the most important thing about Aura Slots), Aura Mods add to your total points available to spend on mods. Even if you have an Aura Mod you never use (such as a Scavenger mod for a weapon you don’t have), equip it! You still get extra points.

The pips on the left side of the mod denote the mod’s level. Mods can be combined to level up. This means that the mods get more powerful, but the cost to equip them goes up. For example, each level of Redirection adds an additional 20% to shields, but the cost increases by 1.

To combine mods, get to the Mod screen by either selecting it in the top-level Arsenal menu or clicking the Mods button on the Upgrade screen. Here’s what it looks like:

To upgrade a mod, select it by clicking on it, and then select the Fusion button. You can then select one or more mods to fuse your current mod with.

Generally speaking, you should only fuse mods with Fusion Cores or mods of the same name, otherwise fusion is inefficient—you can still upgrade your mod, but it takes more mods to fuse it with. Fusion costs credits per mod you fuse, so avoid wasting too much if you can. Fusion Cores are common now, and can only be used to upgrade your other mods with fusion, so feel free to use them as soon as you get them (and if you have enough money).

You can also transmute mods here, but it isn’t terribly useful so I’m not going to go into it here.

The Foundry

The Foundry is where you make new equipment. You can get blueprints by running certain missions or purchasing them in stores. Here’s what it looks like:

The Foundry is fairly straightforward as far as using it goes, but it is very important to advancement so I am emphasizing it here. All the blueprints you own will be listed, as well as their costs to create. If you have the right number of parts and the credits necessary, you can build the part you want.

You can tell what resources a mission might have by hovering over that planet in the mission select screen and looking underneath the name. Some areas are better to get certain resources than others, so it might be useful to look up drop tables on the wiki if you are in a hurry.

Some things, such as Frames, require several pieces that must be constructed separately. Generally, the bosses in each sector will drop blueprints for Frame parts, though you must purchase the Frame’s blueprint from the store. However, most weapons can be made using resources and Credits.

Feel free to check out the Warframe wiki for more detail into any of these topics–this is meant to be a top-level guide for new players, so I don’t go into a whole bunch of detail. If you have any questions, feel free to comment.

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