Warframe New Player Tips
Pick Stuff Up
You're going to need crafting resources to make new equipment, so it makes sense to start collecting them effectively from the outset. You're also going to need mods to upgrade your gear.
Probably the single most effective way of increasing your ability to gather resources and upgrades, will be to craft or buy a sentinel companion, as these can be equipped with the Vacuum mod, which allows them to pick up loot for you, within a greater range than your own pickup radius. The first sentinel you are likely to gain is the Taxon, whose blueprint is rewarded for completing the Junction from Earth to Venus.
Once you have a sentinel with Vacuum, make sure to smash crates and open lockers, and also pay attention to waypoints that other players may place, to mark where rarer resources or mods have dropped. You can also use mods like Loot Detector or Thief's Wit on your warframe, or better yet Animal Instinct on your companion, to show the location of breakable containers and dropped loot on your minimap.
Improve your damage
The easiest way to increase the damage you do early on, is to make sure you have non-damaged versions of the mods Serration, Point Blank, Hornet Strike and Pressure Point (for rifles, shotguns, secondary and melee weapons respectively), and fuse Endo into them to increase their level. Improving these mods will have a much greater impact on your ability to damage early on, than gaining other weapons (at least once you have something better than the starter Mk1 weapons).
The second most important mods, for ranged weapons, are Multishot mods, like Split Chamber, Hell's Chamber and Barrel Diffusion (rifle, shotgun, secondary), although these may be harder to obtain (clan members may have spares though).
Next are the elemental damage mods for fire, cold, electricity and toxin damage:
- Rifle - Hellfire, Cryo Rounds, Stormbringer, Infected Clip.
- Shotgun - Incendiary Coat, Chilling Grasp, Charged Shell, Contagious Spread.
- Secondary - Heated Charge, Deep Freeze, Convulsion, Pathogen Rounds.
- Melee - Molten Impact, North Wind, Shocking Touch, Fever Strike.
Pairs of these combine to form 6 more elemental damage types, depending on where they are place in the mod loadout:
- Blast = Heat + Cold.
- Radiation = Heat + Electricity.
- Gas = Heat + Toxin.
- Magnetic = Cold + Electricity.
- Viral = Cold + Toxin.
- Corrosive = Electricity + Toxin.
Using the correct elemental damage type for the faction you are facing can significantly increase the damage you do against them.
This is explained in full on the official Warframe Wiki, here.
Improve your Survivability
The 3 basic survival mods are Vitality, Redirection and Steel Fiber, which increase Health, Shields and Armor respectively. Which you choose will depend on the stats of the warframe you are using, as some warframes have higher base health, shields or armor than others, and benefit more from some of these mods than others. Fusing Endo into the correct mods to increase their level will increase your survival more than fitting lower leveled versions of all three (in high level missions most players favor Vitality though, as at that level there is more toxin or bleed damage, which bypasses shields, meaning you could die very quickly if you have low health).
Your warframe may not have enough capacity to fit a high leveled Vitality, Redirection or Steel Fiber though, especially if it is at a low level. However, it's possible to increase the available capacity, even on a rank 0 warframe, by fitting an aura mod into the warframe's aura mod slot, such as Energy Siphon, Corrosive Projection, or Steel Charge. These mods can be obtained through alert missions (or clan members who may have spares).
Improve your Mobility
Playing warframe well depends on being able to move quickly through the levels, or moving to avoid incoming damage (you also take reduced damage while airborne). The movements are as follows:
- Jump - Tap the jump key.
- Double Jump - Tap the jump key, then tap it again to jump further (wait until you're at the apex of the first jump to gain the most height or distance from this).
- Short Bullet Jump - Hold down crouch while tapping the jump key.
- Long Bullet Jump - Tap the jump key, then hold down crouch while tapping the jump key again (wait until you're at the apex of the first jump to gain the most height or distance from this).
- Aim-Glide - Hold down the aim button on the mouse while in the air to slow down your descent speed, and to cover greater distances.
- Slide - Hold the crouch key while moving to slide, which will give you a short burst of speed, and also allows you to change direction quickly if combined with the strafe or move backwards keys. It can also be used in the air with a similar effect. If you slide shortly before hitting the ground after a long jump or fall, you can avoid stumbling as you land, allowing you to keep up your momentum. It is possible to reload while sliding.
- Roll - Tapping the roll key allows you to change your direction, much like sliding, except a roll covers more distance before it ends or slows down to below walking speed, and you are also immune to damage for a short period during a roll (this can be used to roll through laser barriers, or to avoid being knocked down by certain enemy's abilities). Rolling does however interrupt reloading.
Fast movement through levels is done by chaining long bullet jumps, aim-gliding to bypass wide gaps, and sliding to land cleanly. It may take some practice to understand how to aim your character through small gaps, as the game's 3rd person view and camera position can be confusing.
Leveling in Warframe is far more complicated and convoluted than in other games.
Mastery Rank (MR) is like character level in other games. Increasing it will allow you access to more weapons (Mastery Locked ones), let you go to certain places like relays, start certain quests, and let you perform more trades per day. It will give you more loadout slots, so that you can save configurations of warframe plus weapons for quick selection. It will also give your weapons and warframes a higher starting capacity to fit mods, without first having to level them.
Mods are what makes your equipment better. There may be better or worse weapons, but the majority of a weapon's capability will come from the mods that are fitted in it.
Leveling a weapon or warframe increases its capacity to fit mods. You can also increase their mod capacity by fitting Orokin Reactors or Catalysts, which doubles whatever capacity they have, or using Formas on a mod slot, to set or change its polarity, so that mods that match that polarity use half the capacity (using a forma does reset the item's level back to 0 though, so you have to level it again to regain capacity, and can only be done to items at level 30).
Leveling a mod increases the effect of the bonus it provides, but also increases the amount of capacity it takes up when fit in a weapon.
- Weapons are leveled by killing enemies or completing missions, which rewards Affinity (like XP).
- Mastery Rank is increased by leveling weapons, but only the first time (not after using a forma on them, or by selling a weapon and buying the same item to level again). This means that to increase your Mastery Rank, you have to level up a lot of equipment (it also means that the maximum possible MR is determined by the amount of equipment that it's possible to level). When you reach the threshold between Mastery Rank levels, you have to complete a test to actually increase your Mastery Rank.
- Mods are leveled by fusing Endo into them, which is a resource that drops from enemies, or as a mission reward.