Welcome to my Warframe notes as of mid-2023, when the Whispers in the Walls story quest is released. This isn’t comprehensive, but trying to lay out a set of goals to help people move from starter to mid-game and then end-game. This isn’t a step-by-step guide, so I’m not calling that, but a collection of notes and my thoughts on goals.
I played Warframe a fair amount a long time ago, but I never really engaged with it besides chasing primes and getting MR. So now, taking another attempt at getting into the game, I’ve compiled everything I’ve needed to learn and re-learn from taking a long break. I hope you find this useful.
So why play Warframe? It’s a genuinely free-to-play looter game. There are no seasons to buy, no expansion to buy, no battle pass to buy. You can earn Platinum in-game by trading with other players, which will enable you to buy everything in the Market except the only part I don’t like about Warframe so far, the Prime Resurgence (vaulting of Primes), which its currency Regal Aya can only be bought for cash.
Warframe cracked the Looter loop. It’s incredibly satisfying to loot, gain power, and merc high-level enemies. Each Warframe is unique; weapons are satisfying and complex, and unique builds are possible. Movement is S-Tier, and you can do the “in and out 15 minutes” gameplay that’s impossible in The Division or Destiny nowadays.
There is probably one of the best Science Fiction game stories in Warframe as well. It kicks in on Uranus on the Star Chart (Natah Story Mission). Outside of the Heart of Deimos story quest, which is pretty foundational, everything up until Uranus is world-building.
It doesn’t have PvP (to speak of) or defined end-games of Division 2’s Incusions and Raids or Destiny 2’s Dungeons and Raids. But it’s by far the best looter loop outta all of those.
- Warframe Wiki: https://warframe.fandom.com
- Build Guides for everything: https://overframe.gg
- Tenno Tools (tracking for in-game stuff): https://tenno.tools/
- Find out Platinum prices for all tradable items: https://warframe.market/
- Warframe Handbook: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Cf7nTYpru7teilY_2OR2vVicGXNH3eqD/edit#heading=h.gjdgxs
- Warframe Reliquary (select what blueprints you want, it tells you what void relics it’s in, and where to farm them): https://wf.xuerian.net/#welcome
This is 100% optional; if you want to take it slower and don’t mind more of a grind, then I recommend only needing the Initiate Power Pack, and you could buy a small amount of Platinum as needed.
Initiate Power Pack $50
Current Prime Access Large Pack $130
This gives you a ton of Platnium, plus a prime frame, weapons and equipment to level for Affinity and 90 day boosters. The amount of plat given is usually worth around $100.
1 10 Regal Ayra $70
1 6 Regal Aya $30
In the Market, buy 2 Dual Prime Warframe packs in the Prime Resurgence area. Warframe values Void Relics, which is how Prime Frames/Weapons blueprints are acquired, and the only way to get them is via this Prime Resurgence system or buying the blueprints from someone who still has them. These packs will come with prime frames and weapons to level.
Total about $280
Always ensure you have Affinity booster active. I would also recommend resource and drop boosters.
Play the story missions it gives you; you will unlock Earth, Venus, and Mercury. After that, for the star map, you are trying to open up every Junction; each Junction has requirements for it to open; those will be story missions as well. Work to every Junction, complete the requirements, rinse, and repeat.
Change your group from Public to Friends Only. Hit escape, the box next to your name at the top; it’s a drop-down. If you end up in a squad and want to leave, escape, click your name, and then leave the squad. You can do almost all mission types solo. The exception is Interception missions, which are public.
Speed is the name of the game in Warframe; in early games, this prevents you from exploring and getting used to your frame and equipment. So, don’t do most missions with pugs. They aren’t being rude while speeding through missions, but it can detract from your experience in the early game.
The exception here is if you are Affinity farming. Like on Helene on Saturn, you want a group for the affinity bonus, but this requires you to be close to people to get it. So defense missions are best for that.
For Spy missions, I recommend Wukong. Wukong, just clouds all over the map, mod for the duration. This requires spending Platinum. If you don’t, then get a Loki leveled up. I recommend a bow, the Paris, as you’re the main weapon for those missions. Spy missions can be frustrating at the start if you don’t set yourself up for them. Once you learn the patterns where the objectives are they get a lot easier.
Early Game Goals:
- Do main story missions
- Unlock Junctions to each planet
- Do side missions
- Finish all Star chart nodes
Main Story Quest Order: https://lootrecon.com/warframe/quests/
During this, never do a mission with any level 30 (max) level stuff if you can avoid it. Never sell mods for credits; never level a mod past 6. Endo cost is exponential and costs too much > rank 6.
Do your Master Ranks every day. Always practice first. Change your frames out to max-level stuff for the MR practices and tests.
At MR3, select a syndicate to pledge with, you will level 2 simultaneously, and 2 others will hate you. You can research this, but it doesn’t matter a ton, just pick what vibes with you.
If you don’t have any frames, weapons or companions to level, buy them for credits or plat. Don’t bother with the blueprints. Don’t get intimidated by modding; under actions, you can select “Auto Install,” which drops some mods in. The good ones for the Star Chart are Serration (damage increase) Vitality (Health), Redirection (Shields), etc. Pick flat increase ones.
If you run out of spots for Frames or weapons, buy slots from the Market. Keep Frames and Weapons as they may be needed for blueprints down the line.
While leveling, learn movement and combat:
- Movement Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNlOZmRlDlw
- Modding Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLAXsUwS-wA
- Forma and Polaritites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3BhY950ss4
- Crafting Guide: https://youtu.be/N1dajgPQ-0o?si=woYVNwJDfyffu0Tx&t=115
- UI Theme Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGgkV59JGko
- Settings Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taVO7jZrUV4
- UI Icons Explained: https://thenerdmag.com/warframe-icons-symbol-and-their-meaning-explained-for-new-players/
- Ayatan Sculptures & Stars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfxH08VLQog
- Archwing Launcher Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3wst4V7ulA
Keep an eye on your Syndicate Rep, make sure to Rank Up, and choose a reward when it’s full; the screen two over from the Navigation console in the orbiter will rotate through your Syndicate reps.
Join a clan that has max research complete, I usually filter by Beginner Friendly, Casual, Max Research. You need a clan to get blueprints for some powerful gear.
Before the new war MSQ buy a Necromec and Railjack from the Market. If you don’t want to spend Platinum, you need to grind out the Railjack and Necromec, not a ton, just get NM crafted and both the Railjack and it upgraded a bit.
For the final boss of New War story quest, lock your FPS to 30Hz. Change it back after the encounter is done. I am trying to be spoiler-free, but you have to damage the boss using your Amp. The default one is not very powerful; locking your FPS to 30 increases its damage, so you can do enough to make the checkpoints in the encounter.
After the Star Chart is unlocked, you get a Steel Path invitation from Teshin.
Continue to level up frames and weapons. The Defense mission on Saturn, Helene, is a quick way to level; 3 waves with an Affinity booster will level a frame and weapons to max. Hydron on Sedna is another Affinity farm defense mission performed by max-level players.
Mid Game Goals:
- Do all the Warframe missions to get those unlocked to level up.
- Level up Reputation with Syndicates (the pledge ones and the new ones like the Cavia and Kahl)
- Do the Duvari Circut and Steel Path Circut every week (Steel path may be out of reach here, but try I have it as an end-game goal too)
- Start creating builds for Warframs by applying Forma, Orikin Reactors.
- Level up your Amp/Operator and Focus Schools
- Do Railjack missions and level up your Railjack
- Do Archwing missions to level up your Archwing
- Level up your Necamech.
- Get companions via Incubator (Kavat and Kubrow Breeding) Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfxH08VLQog
- Get to MR16+ (Gain affinity with Warframes, Weapons, Missions, etc)
If you are targeting specific primes, look at your void relics and search for the name of what you’re wanting, for example, “Mesa Prime.” The list of void relics will filter down to those containing those blueprints. If you need to farm those relics, because you don’t have enough use the “Warframe Reliquary” site from Resources.
Void Relic Prime Farm Guide:
Go to the Cambion Drift and gain standing with the Entrati until Associate (Rank 3), get the Helminth Segment blueprint, and craft it. Feed it materials and Subsume/Inject to level the Helminth up.
Do the Lone Path mission for Duvari. Do the Circut and Steel Path circuit every week for frames, arcane, and mods. Steel path circuit gives you arcane and the best weapons in the game. Concult a tier list as you can only pick 2 per week.
Do the Kahl quest every week, this unlocks Archon mods and Archon Shards.
Level up the Cavia/Wispers rep. This gives you the melee arcanes.
Fabricate the Archon shard section for the Helmiuth. You should have the pattern in your foundry from the Vilbreaker side quest.
Archon Shard Guide:
Get the Coalescent Segment from Bird 3 of the Cavia and craft it to be able to combine shards. Rank 2 Researcher is required.
Once you have Repped up with the Cavia, work backwards through the story quest and level them up. Holdfasts, Entrati, Cephalon Simaris, Conclave, etc.
Level up your Amp, work with Quill Onkko and The Quills faction to get leveled and craft new amps.
Level up your Focus school, Zenurik is a good starter one. You can change any time. You need to socket a focusing lense in max rank gear to earn Affinity toward the school and unlock nodes. You get lenses from Plains of Eidolon, Orb Vallis and Deimos and the Lua Disruption mission.
Focus School Guide:
Necramech and Railjack Guide:
MR16+ is the goal, seeming you can only do 1 test every 24 hours this Weill take at least 16 days. Higher MR’s require more Affinity so it takes longer. Anywhere you can, try to use something to ran up. Note, applying forma and resting to unranked does not generate Affinity when you have to level it up again.
There is no one defined end game. Farm frames, weapons, mods to create builds to tackle the hardest challenges. Base building, fashion frame.
You need to understand shield gating and armor stripping. Armor stripping opponents is important at end-game, so find a combination of abilities or weapons that give you that ability. Shield gating is part of your survivability toolkit, and shield recharge or lengthening the shield gate time can be important.
Shield Gating Guide:
Mechanics (DR, CC, etc) Guide:
End Game Goals:
- Duviri Steel Path, create Incarnon weapons and level them up/upgrade them.
- Steel path missions.
- Arbitration Missions for Vitus to buy Galvanised mods.
- Sorties for Riven mods.
- In-Game Events (a event tab, look like a head, when one is active).
- Upgrade your Helmiuth and gain more abilities for it to subsume.
- Kuva Litches for Kuva weapons and gear
- Archon Hunts and Netracells for Archon shards to apply them to your Warframes.
- MR 30+
Kuva Litches. Spawn and hunt litches. Requiem Relics and Kuva Siphons to get Requiem mods to do the hunts. I believe there is a “Kuva Lich Hunter Bundle” that you can buy for plat to make this easier. You can also buy Requiem Relic packs from the Market as well.
Kuva Litch Guide:
Durvari Steel Path circuit, to get Incarnon Weapons, can only get 2 a week. Also a good source of Arcane Mods. Note to rank up an Arcane you need a lot of that same type of Arcane.
Sorties for Riven mods. Riven mods can also be traded and from Teshin as part of Steel Path rewards. Cephalon Simaris also sells one a week.
Arbitration Missions for Vitus to buy Galvanised mods. Guide:
Steel Path missions on the Star chart. (New Game+ kinda). Good source of Arcanes from Acolytes as well as currency to buy from Teshin.
Steel Path Guide:
Netracells (Cavia) Launch from Tagfer (weekly) for melee arcanes and archon shards. Guide:
Archon Hunts for Archon Shards.
Eidolon Hunts, Profit-Taker and Ropaloyst (raid style bosses)
Eidolon Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkTaEOAJW20
Profit-Taker Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIGlepeFWqs
Ropaloyst Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U35-qOFKzQo
Earning Platinum by collecting Prime blueprints and riven mods and selling on https://Warframe.market
Create and Level up a clan. Clans can have massive Dojo spaces and are also required to take part in some of the best events and activities to gain mods, arcanes, etc.
Collecting all Prime frames and weapons, Kuva weapons, Tenets, mods, arcanes, etc. you never know what may get buffed or nerfed so having a breadth of options is important. Nerfs only really seem to come when things are fundamentally broken; otherwise, they might change just because of re-works.
Old content or not, the latest content is rarely ever removed or made irreverent. They are usually a good source of mods, arcanes, archon shards, materials or blueprints for other stuff.
There is significantly more to the game than what I posted above. There are other Syndicates, Nigthwave, open world, systems, k-drive, base building (ship, multiple domicile zones). The above is the track I feel is the most standard and straightforward progression in terms of gaining power and fighting more difficult enemies.
You can have multiple of the same frames that have different polarities mod slots applied to them, different Helminth abilities, and different mods/arenas/shards for different activities. If you really like a frame you can min/max versions of it for different activities.
Each frame has a different playstyle. Although there is no triad, there are shield tank frames, health tank frames, and shield gate tank frames. Melee focus frames, ranged. Stealth, support, etc.
There is no rush in Warframe to get into end-game. The only rush IMO is to get to MR16. For everything else, pick a goal and work toward it.
There really isn’t a truly bad frame, some meme ones. But every frame with enough work can clear most, if not all if worked on and played well.
This is a lot, but I feel the game does not do a good job of guiding you through things. There is a terrific experience in Warframe, but you have to push through the early-game wall. I guess there is a mobile game coming out that is the full game on the phone (that’s pretty wild). I’ve played Warframe on my Steam Deck, and it runs pretty well there. Having a game you can fall back on and play with all those possibilities is quite cool.
As I said at the start, there is way more to the game than what I laid out here. Once you hit the solid mid-game, then it’s easy to branch out and do what you want, when you want.