So you've decided to pick up one of the most popular free-to-play games available on Steam. You are in for a treat, and there is more to this game then perhaps you were aware. It seems deceptively simple, space ninjas, what more do you need?!
Well, underneath the simple structure of choosing a character and weapons, then going out and kill baddies, there is an interesting, enigmatic story with some deep lore and a plethora of hidden content. While Warframe is an amazing game (I’ve put nearly 3k hours into it), it doesn't teach you everything there is to know. There is a great deal you must glean from playing the game or finding out from other players.
My hope with this series of articles is to lessen a bit of the learning curve and to give you some better insight into the game so you can make more informed choices from the get-go, in the hope that you will have a better experience.
Some basics first.
Levels in Warframe can be…confusing, so I’ll try to give a decent summation of how it works. All “equipment” in Warframe has a Rank that ranges from none to 30. These Ranks are easily filled by using the item to kill enemies mostly, or by getting residual “experience” from other items or completing objectives.
Getting Ranks on an item does two things; first, it increases the mod capacity of said item which affects your ability to augment the item, to increase its stats or give it additional powers, etc. The second thing Ranks do is earn you Mastery Rank. This is gained only after the first time you level an item. Mastery Rank can be thought of your character level, like in an MMORPG. And like character level, there a perks that come with higher Mastery Ranks: access to better weapons -and mods in one particular case-, additional loadout slots, and a few other things. Also, like character level, the higher Mastery Rank you achieve, the harder it is to obtain the next level.
Currently, the max Mastery Rank is 30, but nobody can reach that yet as there is not enough equipment in the game to level to reach that, so the realistic max rank is 25 at the time of writing this.
What this means is that you are going to want to eventually get your greedy hands on every piece of gear, to at least level it once just for the mastery rank. Yes, this will mean slogging through a painful grind from time to time, but there are tricks to lessen that burden as well that I'll cover in a later article.
Warframe has a number of currencies that are used for a number of things.
Credits - These are the standard currency, used for purchasing the majority of in-game things such as paying the cost of crafting items and accessing certain special missions. Credits cannot be traded with other players. Credits drop of enemies are awarded for completing missions and often are additional bonuses for completing certain missions.
Platinum- This is the biggie, Platinum -sometimes referred to as plat or just P- is purchased with real-world money and is basically the universal currency in the game. With plat you can buy fully assembled weapons with bonuses -Orikin Catalysts, which doubles mod capacity and a weapon slot, for example, or a fully assembled Warframe with the same bonuses or even bundle packs of weapons and Warframes, sometimes with additional skins for these items. Practically anything in the game can be purchased with Plat one way or another. Plat CAN be traded with other players. Plat can only be bought with real-world money or traded from other players. Pro tip: If you are trying to avoid spending money on the game, I highly suggest using the 5o Plat that you start with to buy an extra weapon and Warframe slots, as the only way to get more of either is to buy them with plat. If you are willing to put in a little extra effort (or have some amazing luck) you can get by without paying any real-world money.
Kuva – Is a special case. Some may not even consider it a currency but rather as a crafting material. Either way, Kuva is required in order to “re-roll” Riven mods, which I will get into later as that is an endgame thing. Kuva like most other crafting materials cannot be traded with other players. Kuva is earned mostly through doing specific Kuva missions but is also a reward (in small amounts) from other kinds of missions.
Endo - Endo is much like Kuva, somewhere between crafting material and currency. Endo is only used to level up mods. Endo is generally not tradable to other players. Endo is earned as drops from enemies, rewards for missions and bonus rewards from specific kinds of missions. You can also “generate” Endo by breaking down surplus mods at your mod station.
Void Traces – Again similar to Kuva and Endo, Void Traces are not used to purchase things per se, they are used to refine Void Relics, which are items you need in order to have a chance of getting some of the best weapons and Warframes in the game. Think of Void Relics as Loot packs that you earn in game and have to complete missions to open.
In the next part of this guide, I will cover your choices when first starting, your choice of beginning Warframe and starting weapons, as well as delve further into the intricacies of this fine game.
As pointed out to me, I did in fact miss one currency.
Ducats - Ducats are rewarded for trading in Prime parts (Parts of the best items in the game, that are earned through "cracking" Relics in Relic missions). Ducats are only used to purchase things from a Vendor that shows up every other weekend and sells some hard to acquire items (mods usually) and some items that are only available through him (generally "fashion frame", aesthetic items, but also things like beacons to summon specific special "mini-boss" enemies that drop parts for items) .