Warframe has gone from a barebones alpha to a full fledged contender to Destiny in the few years that it has been out, so if you never tried it before, there is probably no better time than now to take a look at it. I've compiled some tips from my two years of playing that should help you kickstart your way to one of Playstation 4's and Steam's most popular F2P games.
Before we begin, if you don't know much about Warframe, here's a quick video of some of the early game gameplay on the PS4:
Mastery of the Frame
The game has a very in-depth tutorial, but it doesn't touch you the specifics of each warframe. At the start you can pick one of three warframes, but there are many more available. Understanding how to play each specific warframe is all-important to overcoming the challenges that Warframe throws at you. Some frames are designed for heavy melee combat while others are designed for ranged gunplay. For instance, Excalibur focuses more on melee than Volt, which focuses on ranged "magic" play.
Stealth Can Be Rewarding
When you stealth kill an enemy, it doesn't really matter how much health it has - it's gone. Some enemies, like Wardens, have substantial health pools that can take a lot of melee and gunplay to take down. Stealthing is crazy easy, just crouch and sneak up, enemies often patrol in rather simple patterns, so wait until their back is turned and take them out.
Stealth can work for gunplay. In a room, especially heavily fortified rooms, search for the strongest enemy in the room (heavy > medium > light) like a Grineer Naplam or Comannder and then unleash hell with your gun on them. Heavies don't take cover and with the strongest out of the way, the rest become much easier to deal with.
A few things about stealth - there are control panels everywhere that'll stop an alert, this is good or bad, depending on the mission since you can clear out other rooms in one single room with the alert. They can be turned off very quickly. Stealth attacks do insane damage, as a percentage of your weapon damage (1200% to 2400%) and for high level missions will not one hit kill enemies. Stealth gameplay is considered MUCH harder to do on a full map, but taking out lone enemies is often recommended.
Secret Caches & Tiles
Warframe maps are randomly generated with various tiles glued together with entrances / exits connecting one tile set with another. You'll run across the same tiles over and over again as you play Warframe, but the entrances and exits will usually be different. In addition to the random tile sets, often there are secret rooms / compartments with loot inside of them.
These rooms often won't show up on the map and may contain special lockers with rare loot inside, but more often than not you'll find 3 or 4 crates with loot, credits, health, and energy inside.
Tileset Confusion - Follow the Marker
When playing online you'll undoubtedly see someone run in the wrong direction for no reason (no loot, no enemies) and get lost often. The issue with random tilesets is that they're glued together randomly, so you have to follow the marker on the mini-map to know where you should go. Don't forget that you can have a room that's absolutely huge with all kinds of doors, but the only place you need to go is where the marker is.
Leave Enemy's Behind
Enemies will rarely move between rooms unless an alarm has been sounded and even then, they have to be within range of an alerted enemy / doodad in order to come running. Often you can just skip over combat by taking a zipline or stealthing to the next segment. Combat is important to farm experience, but it also can bring risk - if you die, you don't get all of the rewards from the mission and a quest will fail (meaning you have to restart the map).
This only works in solo play, when with other players the right thing to do is work together, if everyone wants to kill everything, it's easier to help, and the XP is good too. Sometimes though, running is more tactical, especially if there is a timer on your escape.
Don't Let the Store Intimidate You
For new players, you may immediately see the things for sale for platinum the premium currency, but most everything in the game can be crafted and the entire fun of the game is completing random missions where the maps are different each time to farm components, mods, resources, and blueprints to make really cool things.
You use the premium currency to hurry things up, like getting into the warframe you want really badly, but otherwise I wouldn't even look at the store. There is ways to conserve platinum too, some players buy components stacks from the store for platinum to help get them too their new warframe faster.
Remember - the fun of Warframe is after you've finished the 12 planets, it's all about farming new gear for the challenge worlds (accessed through keys and events). Embrace the grind.
Starting Weapons Suck
Once your starting weapon is level 30, sell it off and replace it with anything, or if you can afford too earlier on, buy something else to replace it. Remember that everything expect some cosmetic items can be farmed / crafted, so after the first tutorial, start planning on crafting a new weapon for yourself. The game becomes so much easier after that new weapon. Starting weapons are only for the start, there is a lot cooler and more awesome weapons out there.
Weapon blueprints CAN be bought with credits, so again, remember that's a major component of the game and acquiring new / better weapons is critical.
Mastery Rank != Level
Your mastery rank is the collective level of everything you have leveled. Don't focus too much on it at the start, you'll want to focus on leveling your warframe and your weapons. Mastery unlocks access to specific weapons, increases the number of extractors, and is used in matchmaking to find players at around your progress in the game if possible.
At the start just focus on leveling your items, then focus on expanding past that.
Don't Fret on your Starter Warframe
Which warframe to pick? Excalibur is suggested for everyone, but both Mag and Volt are great starters as well. You'll craft additional warframes as you play through the game and can either buy Mag or Volt for 75 platinum OR craft them for some rather cheap resources.
Polarity is Important
Matching mods to polarity is important. You learn a little about this in the tutorial, but basically each mod slot has a symbol on it (maybe). The cost of a mod is reduced by 50%, meaning if you match the polarity then you can get much higher leveled mods in an item. Later on in the game you can use Forma to switch polarity.
The entire point of the game is to have fun blasting away in a co-op space adventure. As you go through the game you'll learn lots of cool tricks and techniques. Hopefully these have gotten you started on an adventure through the solar system and beyond.
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