In my previous C-Blog, I went into the basics you need to know to get started on Digital Extreme's PC/PS4 free-to-play Canadian Space Ninja co-op action game, Warframe. Now I think it's time to move on to the advanced tips and tricks you'll need if you plan on thriving in this strange-but-addictive game. There's a surprising amount of systems in place and not much in the way of hand-holding, so getting the most out of the game may require a little help. I'm currently playing the game on the PS4 which is a few updates behind the PC version, so PC gamers may find some of this information to be old news.
Addendum and Errata: A couple of days after publishing my Beginner's Tips, a new update for Warframe went live with a number of different tweaks and improvements that addressed some of the issues I had written about. In addition to a couple of new bosses, new weapons and a new Warframe, they also streamlined the previously clunky slide and wall running.
The slide no longer ends with you in a crouch but is also much more controllable, allowing you to go into and out of the slide whenever you like simply by holding or releasing the L1 button during a run. You can also start your slide in mid-air for an additional flourish, which is useful for advanced platforming.
Wall running can now be activated simply by holding in the jump button at a wall, which makes it much more intuitive. While you can shoot or stab in the midst of a wall run, it's still hard to pull off given the cursor's default position when you start the run. Luckily, the only time shooting while wall running is mandatory is the Rank 8 test which can be cheated with the Nova or Loki. Hopefully some additional patching will happen to make this a little less frustrating.
The update also added a Trading Kiosk for clans. So now you have the option of trading mods, keys or platinum between clan members which, in addition to a number of clan exclusive weaponry, makes joining a clan a practical decision rather than an optional one. (Clan Destructoid. Hint, hint.)
Capture and Rescue missions also got a little more complicated. The targets in Capture missions now fight back and run from you meaning you can lose them if they get too far ahead of you. Enemies will also now attack the person you release in Rescue missions, so simply opening their cell and bolting to extraction isn't always going to work.
Also, I neglected to mention that some stages (usually when fighting the Corpus faction) have lasers blocking the doorways that can cancel your shields if you run headlong into them. You can shoot out the cameras to drop the lasers but you can also powerslide or dodge roll through them. Which is handy if you're bolting through the stage in a hurry.
Also, enemies in Survival missions get stronger on a timer not due to starting new Life Support modules. That's what I get for listening to the guy yelling at people in game instead of checking the wiki.
Clans: There are several bonuses that come with joining a clan. In addition to the labs that build gnarly clan exclusive weapons like the majorly OP Ignis flame-thrower and Ogris rocket launcher, there is an obstacle course for training your platforming, a dueling room for duking it out, and a Trading Kiosk. Only the Warlord can add or destroy new rooms to the Dojo but everyone in the clan can contribute to the cost.
Building labs to research new gadgets and weapons is a great idea and anyone in the clan can contribute resources towards starting the research, which is nice as it can be pretty expensive to do. Once research is finished, anyone in the clan can buy a blueprint and start building their new weapon.
Trading Kiosks allow you to trade mods, keys or platinum between clan members. Alternately, you can invite non-clan members to your Dojo to make trades there. You can barter or negotiate theses trades in the Social Menu (more on that soon) and then, by temporarily making them clan members, invite them to your Dojo to make the deal.
Some of the very rare mods can sell for as high as 200 or even 500 platinum right now, so while you can't make real money from it, your grinding efforts can pay off in lots of in-game cash.
(Insert shameless plug for the Destructiod clan here.)
The Social Menu: On the PS4, the social menu activates when you press the Option button. The first tab that pops up allows you to access a public chat room for talking, trading or recruiting. The second is your in-game friends list and the third is your clan.
If you want to initiate a trade or recruit for your clan, this is where you'll go. Once the game goes cross-platform, this will be your only way to contact PC players. The main draw to using the social menu, beyond inviting friends to your game, is to join or ask for help with Tower Key missions and Orokin Derelict missions, which are where all the really sweet high level loot can be found.
Scrolling through an exhaustive list of every single Warframe player logged in for the one guy who wants to join you is a pain in the ass, so if you need to talk to or invite someone to your game, simply type this: /invite Username or /talk Username. It will save a ton of time, I promise you.
Tower Keys, Orokin Derelicts & Nightmare Mode: Looking for some rare mods or some fancy-schmancy Prime weapons or Warframes? Don't mind an extra challenge to get it? Then you'll want to look into these options:
Tower Keys: Tower keys can be bought in packs in the Market or can be found as prizes in Survival or Defense missions for lasting a certain length or time or number of rounds. You access your keys through the Keys listing on your main menu. There are keys for every mission type with three different degrees of difficulty.
Tackling these Tower missions will require maxed out Warframes and weapons with a full crew. If you don't have enough friends online, recruit from the social menu. Seasoned players may be able to handle a few of the Tower 1 mission types solo but, by and large, you'll need help. The risk is worth it, though. Just be aware that the frame rate, especially on Survival and Defense, will drop precipitously towards the end. You may require a Tylenol after a Tower 3 Defense.
Orokin Derelicts: A step above the Tower Keys are the Orokin Derelicts. The blueprints for these are available for cheap from the Market but creating them is only part of the issue. These levels feature advanced platforming and harder enemies but most also have hidden rooms with high level loot that can only be unlocked with a specific Dragon key.
These Dragon Keys are also available for sale in the Market but require a Tower Key to be made, making them much more valuable. There are four Dragon Keys in all and equipping each gives you a different negative status effect: no shields, cripplingly low health, reduced movement or reduced damage to enemies. The hidden door in these levels can only be unlocked using one of these four keys meaning you will need four players with maxed out weapons/Warframes to survive, each equipped with a different key, if you want to find that loot.
Nightmare Mode: If you're still craving the risk vs. reward of super tough enemies for the chance at rare loot, you can also try Nightmare Mode.
Nightmare Mode is represented on your mission map by their skull icon. Once you complete a stage, it may pop up again with a skull on it denoting it as a Nightmare difficulty level. (You retain the ability to play it again at normal difficulty, though.) This could mean anything from level 40+ enemies, to no shields, low gravity, slowly dwindling health, a ridiculously short timer or any combination of the above. The upside is that the chances of finding better loot are increased (but not guaranteed).
So there's plenty to do in the game even if you beat every one of the nearly 200 individual missions in the game.
Weapon Tips and Suggestions: Being currently unemployed, I understand the desire to save some money so I wanted to take the opportunity to make some suggestions about weapons and Warframes that will hopefully save you some time and money. I have not bought a single weapon in the game outright. My entire arsenal is built from blueprints. There's genuinely no need to waste money buying a weapon, just grab the blueprint and farm for some resources.
Choose weapons that best compliment how you're building out your Warframe. If you're tanking, you should really look into the Galatine sword. A Rhino with a Galatine can hold out for a long, long time by himself. Support classes might be better served with a sniper rifle or another mid-to-long range, high accuracy weapon like the Paris or Latron. If you don't have to be in the thick of it, don't.
I wasn't a fan of most of the primary weapons until I hit Rank 6. That's when the Soma unlocks. If you're in the game for the long haul, get the Soma as soon as you can. Between the accuracy, the clip size and the ridiculous critical hit chance, nothing beats it. I modded mine out with Point Strike and Vital Sense for increased critical hit chance and damage and it now has a 75% crit chance for 6.6 times the normal damage. In a clip with 120 bullets. I almost feel bad using it for how quickly it mows everything down.
The Soma: When you absolutely, positively got to kill every mothertrucker in the room. Accept no substitutes.
If you're more of a casual player or haven't hit Rank 6 yet, join a clan and pick up the Ignis flame-thrower from the lab. It. Is. Amazing. The damage output is crazy and even at level one any enemy under about level 10 will die instantly. Modding it with additional fire damage only makes it more ridiculous. A must have weapon. Similarly, the Ogris rocket launcher does amazing damage. The drawback is that you can blow yourself up with it via splash damage so be sure to watch where you shoot.
Beyond that, if you can luck into finding a Gorgon blueprint via the daily log in reward, it's a solid choice. It's got a slow wind up time but once it gets going, it can be very punishing.
Out of the primary weapon blueprints for sale in the Market, the Braton and MK-1 Braton are the workhorses. Standard assault rifles, to be sure, but reliable. There are burst-fire options like the Hind and Burston if you prefer accuracy over rate of fire but fully autos are more useful by far when things get heavy. The Boltor is well worth your time once it unlocks.
Shotguns aren't as useful as I'd like. Between the long reload times and tiny clip size, the damage they do doesn't really even out versus fully autos. That said, if you need a shotgun, the Sobek is a solid choice. Your enjoyment of shotguns will improve a lot if you can find the Tactical Pump mod that decreases the reload time.
For secondary weapons, similar problems arise. Single shot weapons do good damage but the rate of fire and the fact that every shot requires a button press means that on higher difficulties it becomes a pain to keep up. You even risk tiring out your trigger finger against bosses and higher level enemies. The first boss in Mercury drops parts to a single-shot pistol called the Seer which should be your go-to for the first couple systems. It's equivalent in other games would be a Magnum or Desert Eagle. Do yourself a favor and start farming that straightaway.
If you want to carry a single shot secondary, be sure to dual wield. Aklato, Akbolto and Dual Vastos are all solid dual wield options. Otherwise, Twin Vipers or Kunai should be your first stop.
Melee weapons are more or less a dealer's choice category. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses, but the close range necessary means that ultimately it boils down to what character you choose and how you play.
There's a reason about 50% of the Rhinos you see will be carrying the big, two handed Galatine swords. Turn on your Iron Skin ability and the ability to attack multiple targets in one swing will get you through just about any problem you face. Dual Ether swords, Fragor hammers and Scindo axes also advertise the same ability but the Galatine remains the most efficient and brutal choice.
I prefer ultra close range combat so I like the comically large Furax gauntlets, if only for the charge attack where you pull back and punch something in it's stupid, ugly face. There's also the Obex and Kogake if you want to look like a futuristic Muay Thai warrior.
There's a plethora of different swords with different abilities, so there's no shortage of options based on usefulness or aesthetic pleasure to choose from. However, it's pretty remarkable to me how much fun I have had with the Glaive. And not just because Krull was my favorite movie as a pre-teen. You can use is as a melee weapon or you can use it's charged attack to throw it and augment it with "punch through" and "bounce" mods to send it flying through multiple enemies and bouncing off of walls. Always a joy. There's also the Kestrel boomerang which will ragdoll enemies it strikes. Including humanoid bosses (at least until they patch it).
There's also a handful of different weapons available in Prime form by doing Tower Key and Orokin Derelict missions. Just be mindful of your inventory limit. You can buy two additional weapon slots for 12 platinum but if you're playing on the cheap you may want to go into a buy/level/sell loop for weapons you're unfamiliar with and keep a few slots open for your favorites.
Warframes: The important question with Warframes is: how do I get more? Luckily, all frames can be farmed in game without the use of platinum, to varying degrees of difficulty. Some bosses drop parts which, after buying a blueprint in the market for credits, can be built in the foundry. Others are a little trickier. So, here's a comprehensive list of where to find which Warframe as of Update 11:
Warframe - Boss (Location, System) Ash - Tyl Regor (Titania, Uranus)
Banshee - Very rare random drop from Capture, Spy & Defense Missions or Orokin Derelict Defense missions. Blueprint can be given as a Daily Login reward.
Ember - General Sargas Ruk (Tethys, Saturn)
Ember Prime - Random drop from Tower Key Capture or Defense missions.
Excalibur - Ambulas (Hades, Pluto)
Frost - Lt. Lech Kril (Exta, Ceres)
Frost Prime: Tower Key Exterminate missions
Loki - Hyena (Psamathe, Neptune)
Mag - Sgt. Nef Anyo (War, Mars)
Mag Prime: Tower Key Survival missions
Nekros - Lephantis (Orokin Derelict Assassinate)
Nova - Raptor (Naamah, Europa)
Nyx - Phorid (Infested Invasion - currently located at Naeglar, Eris)
Oberon - PS4: Not available yet. PC: Councilor Vay Hek (Everest, Earth)
Rhino - Jackyl (Fossa, Venus)
Saryn - Kela De Thaym (Marrow, Sedna)
Trinity - PS4: Councilor Vay Hek (Everest, Earth) PC: Capt. Vor & Lt. Lech Kril (Illiad, Phobos) [Placement will change with the update that introduces the Oberon warframe]
Valkyr - Alad V & Zanuka (Themisto, Jupiter)
Vauban - Random Alert Missions
Volt - Random rare drop in Survival missions after minute 20.
Your next question might be: which ones are good? Well, that depends on your play style. Different Warframes represent different styles from tank to support and in-between.
If you want to be a full-on damage dealer, your best bet is picking Excalibur as your initial frame. He's a melee-focused frame and since the Rhino can be found by farming the boss in the second system, Venus, you can fill your two initial Warframe inventory slots up straight away.
Between Rhino's Iron Skin ability, which grants temporary invulnerability, and his Stomp, which instantly kills lower level enemies and puts stronger ones in stasis for several seconds so you can pick them off afterwards, he's really the perfect tank. Paired with the massive two-handed sword, Galatine, he becomes a big, lumbering death machine.
Ember and Nova Warframes have stronger offensive abilities than the Rhino at the cost of being more fragile. As glass cannons, you're going to want to upgrade their health and shields as much as possible and be a little pickier about where you choose to make your stands. Ember's World On Fire ability allows her to push forward through a stage very easily as anything touching the ring of fire around her will likely die before touching her. Nova's Molecular Prime is devastating as well, turning a number of enemies into walking bombs. Killing one starts a chain reaction that explodes everyone else in the vicinity.
If you prefer a more passive support role, you should start with the Loki frame and try to farm the Trinity from Vay Hek in the Earth system as soon as possible as it is going to be moved to the much harder to get at Phobos system in the next update or two. Trinity's Blessing ability is the only one in the game that allows you to heal and effects all allies regardless of range. It also offers invulnerability for a short time, which can be upgraded with the right mods. My main frame is a Trinity and it's Blessing currently lasts for 22 seconds and can be further upgraded to just under 30. If you're in a problem that 30 seconds of invulnerability can't fix, there's just no helping you. There's also the Enegy Vampire ability which allows anyone shooting a particular target to regain energy, which is a godsend in boss fights. The downside is that you don't have any direct damage abilities.
Loki is an often underestimated warframe. Most players don't seem to know how to use him correctly. His cloaking ability allows him to help up KO'd players without being seen, his Decoy can draw enemy attention away from Defense targets and his Radial Disarm makes any enemy in it's area of effect unable to fire weapons (also excellent for Defense). Paired with a sniper rifle or bow, you can control the battlefield from afar, helping your teammates and picking off enemies without risking yourself.
The hard-to-find Vauban warframe is another great support option if you're lucky or obsessed enough to watch every alert mission for parts. Like Loki, he's all about battlefield control and smart players can even use seemingly silly abilities like Bounce to their advantage to keep enemies at bay.
Nyx is must have frame for any high level Defense mission as the Chaos ability pits all enemies in a radius against each other... and even unaffected enemies will attack the controlled enemies as the AI will go after anyone who attacks it. It has a couple of direct damage abilities as well, making it a good mix of offense and defense.
On that topic, if you're looking for a good split between attack and defense, your first choice of frame should be the Mag while looking to get a Frost, Saryn or Volt later on. The Mag is a very basic, unfussy frame that isn't particularly flashy but definitely gets the job done. It's generally best to whip it out when fighting shielded enemies but it's Crush ability is pretty lethal against anything. Saryn is the polar opposite of Mag in that her poison abilities work best against the Infested.
Even more than the Mag, Volt is particularly well-suited to Corpus and Grineer missions. I was lucky enough to get a Volt frame before it became a pain to find and people seem a little down on it but it is perfect for Survival and Defense missions against Corpus or Grineer and it's Overload ability can be especially useful in a pinch.
You're going to have to go pretty far out into the universe to find a Frost frame, but he is certainly worth the trip. Snow Globe is great for slowing down enemies so you can pick them off (very useful when defending a target) and Avalanche is a great high damage option if you mod its radius.
I don't see a lot of people playing Ash but as a stealth frame, it could be seen as a step above Loki for those who like distracting enemies but want some direct damage options as well. It's best to use this frame on a team with at least one character tanking, though, so he can flit in and out of battle with his Smoke Screen and Teleport without getting hammered with damage.
The only frames I would caution against using (at least at the beginning) are Nekros, Valkyr and Banshee. Banshee, in addition to being hard to find, has been made somewhat obsolete. Her Silence ability isn't as useful as it could be and the aura mod Enemy Radar has rendered her Sonar pointless. Her marquee ability, Sound Quake, does solid damage but leaves her stationary while it's active.
Nekros is a style of over substance frame. He looks pretty cool but his main ability, Shadows Of The Dead, is only useful for cluttering up a battlefield and hindering enemy movement. It doesn't do much in the way of actual damage. Desecrate is very useful for farming resources but otherwise there's not a whole lot to recommend it.
As far as the Valkyr goes, it seems like she was misconceived from the outset. Like Nekros, she looks cool but as a front line fighter her lack of shields make her a paper tiger. Compared to the Rhino, she's subpar in every respect. The idea, a berserker melee fighter, is solid the game doesn't really reward ultra close range fighting so you could spend most of the duration of her Hysteria ability whiffing at enemies who are just out of reach.
Good teamwork will be key to any mission so it's always best to find some reliable players and pick frames that best suit the situation and roles (offense, support, etc.) that give you the best chance at success.
In Closing: That was a lot of words. I hope some of them help you find your way through this strangely addictive free-to-play shooter. The promise of regular updates and new frames is sure to make this a regular stop for me. I hope to see you out there in universe, Tenno. Good luck.