Warframe of Mind: Massively OP’s guide to finding your ‘Frame

    
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When I first tried Warframe , I found that I enjoyed the movement system, and I discovered that I really loved headshots with a bow. (Trust me, either of those two elements was surprising enough separately!) I was having a fun time. I thought I liked the game. But that was before. Before I found The One. My Frame. And my Warframe life changed forever.

You might think I am sounding a bit melodramatic there, but I am telling you the difference was that pronounced when I started playing a frame whose abilities clicked with me. I went from enjoying the game to really loving the game. In this frame I wanted to play more! And because I loved being in this frame so much, I started playing enough to discover which weapons I preferred. (Who knew I’d ever really love melee?! But that’s another story.) I even began taking an interest in mods. Now, if you know me, you know that mods are my least favorite thing of any game, so this was huge! I loved my frame that much.

That how I got hooked: It came down to finding a frame with abilities that I have a blast playing with. For me, that first love is Frost Prime. For you, it could be any of the 39 warframes or 24 prime warframes. Now you can’t necessarily know which frame you would enjoy playing until you actually play it; some intriguing frames have ended up not really clicking with me, and I’ve gravitated back to my favorite. But you know you, so you might have a good idea which abilities will gel with your playstyle and you can start from there. Here’s a quick guide on frames to help you find a favorite or two. (When starting the game, you choose between three available frames for your first one: Excalibur, Mag, or Volt.)

Regular frames

All frames have four abilities that unlock as XP is earned. The abilities, as well as the stats of the frame, might predispose them to certain types of playstyles. In no way, however, does that mean that is how they have to be played — especially once you start considering mods and weapons. But that very leaning might be just want you need to lean more in favor of checking one out. I’ve separated the frames loosely into general traditional categories, though some very easily overlap into others. For exact details on all four warframe skills, be sure to check out each link to the official site.

Damage

  • Gara: Attacks with glass and mirrors; creates shield of glass
  • Inaros: Sand elementalist; quicksand traps and enemy health drain that goes to allies
  • Khora: Comes with kavat pet; uses whip and traps
  • Nidus: Fights with fungus; creates parasitic links and maggot swarms
  • Wukong: Melee staff-centered skills; can evaporate into mist and float around as well as escape death by getting influx of health when killed

Tank

  • Atlas: Third-highest base armor; earth elementalist
  • Hildryn: High shields and armor; can shield allies and create energy orbs

Support

  • Baruuk: Can put enemies to sleep
  • Garuda: Blood-based; takes life from enemies and health from self to fuel damage and also heal allies
  • Harrow: Can heal and boost allies’ energy; roots enemies
  • Nezra: Cleanses and heals allies; stuns enemies
  • Octavia: Fights with music; buffs allies and charms foes
  • Revenant: From Eidolon; enthralls enemies (that can enthrall others), stuns, and leeches shields and health
  • Titania: Flying shrinking pixie that buffs allies; can mesmerize foes with swarm of razorflies

Stealth

  • Ivara: All about the bow; can guild projectiles and becomes invisible

Prime frames

Some of the frames have both a regular and a prime version. The primes are not necessary to play the game, but they do add a few extras to the frame, such as more polarities (so you can add more mods), higher base stats, and a unique passive when played in the void. The primes also have a different aesthetic. Prime versions have been given away as Twitch Prime rewards (that’s how I got some of mine, including Frost Prime), but mostly they are built by farming relics, by trading in game, or bought from the cash shop. Primes are not always available in the shop, however, and you have to wait until frames come out of the Prime Vault before you can nab them. The following are the frames that also have a prime version.

Damage

  • Chroma: Elementalist whose damage type changes by color; armor and damage increase as shields and health are hit, respectively
  • Ember: Fire elementalist — that says it all; watch the world burn
  • Excalibur: Highly mobile and great for new players; can blind enemies
  • Hydriod: Water elementalist; summons tentacled water beast and has water trap to drown enemies
  • Mesa: Geared toward guns; rapid shot, reflects damage, jams enemy guns while buffing allies
  • Nova: Glass cannon that harnesses electromagnetic energy and anti-matter; creates wormhole for fast travel
  • Saryn: Plague and poison attacks that spread; molts skin to form decoy
  • Vauban: Focuses on traps; can crowd control
  • Zephyr: Air elementalist; attacks from above and can shield self from projectiles

Tank

  • Rhino: Low stats but charges enemies and gores enemies, knocks enemies down, and can become invulnerable to all damage; buffs allies’ damage

Support

  • Equinox: Switches between day (damage) and night (defense/support) forms; can sleep targets and heal allies
  • Frost: Ice elementalist; can place stationary shield blocking weapons fire from allies and objectives; great for defense missions
  • Limbo: Crowd control using rifts to alternate plane; freezes enemies and their weapon fire
  • Mag: Crowd control; uses magnetic energy to stun, move, and snare enemies
  • Mirage: Uses booby traps, distracts enemies with clones, and blinds enemies
  • Nekros: Fears enemies and raises dead enemies as shadow minions; grants extra loot
  • Nyx: Crowd control with psychic attacks and mind control; uses confusion and charms enemies as pets
  • Oberon: Heals allies as well as damages foes; can spawn health orbs
  • Trinity: Most dedicated healer; also replenishes ally energy
  • Valkyr: Almost tanky with highest armor and a hook that pull enemies to her or propels her forward; buffs speed (faster allies, slower foes) and can stun
  • Volt: Elementalist harnessing electricity; chain damage, paralyses enemies, and buffs ally speed

Stealth

  • Ash: Very stealthy with smoke screens and teleports; great for spy missions
  • Banshee: Sonic attacks, including a silence that stuns and sonar; also damage and support
  • Loki: Favored by advanced players; uses invisibility, holographic decoy, and teleportation switch
Pick a ‘Frame, any ‘Frame! The Warframe galaxy is in danger, Tenno, and Space Mom needs help to combat it. Are you in the right Warframe of Mind to join in? MJ Guthrie has enlisted; she suits up in her favorite ‘Frames biweekly to fight the good fight, blasting the Grineer and Infected into smithereens.
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Anton Mochalin

If one really needs a guide this is a much much better one

However 95% of players just craft the frames that are available to them (i.e. they have the parts for them) and then try them.

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flatline4400

The thing that annoyed me (and it may have changed, it’s been a couple years, but I dont think it has) is that you basically *can’t* just stick with one favourite frame or weapon setup and still gain any mastery ranks (aka levels). You’re more or lesss forced to keep changing out things in order to progress.

So it’s all well and good to find a fav, but you wont really be able to stick with it. Sure, I suppose you could drag it out if you come to some really difficult mission, but then you dont get any xp progress, so what’s the point?

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Anton Mochalin

You can raise MR by leveling weapons and companions so it’s possible to play just one frame only and still get MR levels. You can also level other frames and then return to your “main”. I’m MR 15 now and I played ~70% of the time with Frost.

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xpsync

This is the kinda guide/article i wish was available when i got into Warframe. May have never ended up being a Nova 4 life. Overall this is helpful for anyone noob or vet, gj MJ!

You want to start playing Warframe?
Start here!

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Alex Willis

I wish I had this guide, too! Still, there is something wildly entertaining about discovering it the hard way. My first week with Warframe was (to give an analogy to another MMO) like flying Minmatar ships in EVE Online: “Flying Minmatar ships is like barreling down stairs in a rocket-propelled wheelchair while firing two Uzis duct-taped to the arm-rests.”

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Thank you MJ. Very informative article and your enthusiasm is contagious:) Glad you were able to find the “One”. :P

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Danny Smith

The most commonly agreed path for beginners i’ve seen is:
Step 1: One of the first two or three bosses drops the blueprints and parts for Rhino, get him and use him as your tank to get through the map and open all the points you can.
Step 2: Get Gara and Revenant off PoE for very easy defence or sanctuary runs to power level weapons fast and get your MR up
Step 3: When you are comfortable with that Inaros, Saryn and Octavia are i win buttons
Step 4: with a small roster of frames to let you power level and farm the map for everything else pick a frame from the list on the equip page that looks cool and aim for it while making any you can with spare slots.

Personally i use Nidus as my main but when i started the ‘Get Rhino and a Hek’ made getting through the map a breeze after my starting Volt got too squishy too fast. After that around neptune i was told a Tigris with its insane elemental build is like a wall of hitscan sniper range damage of all element types at once and they weren’t wrong and i’m using a tigris prime to this day, while Gara in particular is only getting really noticed now for being a frame you can cheese out fast that has some absurd ‘kill the entire map at once’ aoe potential.

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Alex Willis

Gara is only weeks away from the NERF GARA forum calls that used to be the sole domain of Saryn.

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Danny Smith

It went under the radar for ages till that brozime video. But i guess “make giant glass wall, break glass wall, murder whole map” had a good run.

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Randomessa

Mmm, I think it depends on the beginner. If this had been presented to me as the ideal path to level or advance, I would never have stuck with the game. I’m much more like MJ and really needed to find “my” frame that made me want to venture out into the world with it.

Also note that Revenant is locked behind several tiers of Quills rep and higher Ostron bounties which requires a Warframe component that beginners REALLY won’t have access to. Not to mention use of archwing for the bounties, which is locked for beginners too, etc. I mean if we are talking “easy” clears, I obtained that ability long before unlocking Revenant (which I still haven’t)

I grudgingly stuck with Rhino because he “got the job done” but some of us don’t see Warframe as merely tools to use to acquire all there is to own on the map. I came into Warframe seeking experiences and wonder, and my path from Mag to Rhino to Trinity to Ember to Titania and Limbo and so on made the journey more than worthwhile, even if it wasn’t “efficient”.

And hey, now I have Octavia and a Tigris Prime but I still would rather take Titania out for bounties.

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Alex Willis

You could clear the star-map with Rhino alone and just along the way pick up all the parts for Oberon and Ash without even trying to do so. And for all that people ruthlessly pursue mastery fodder, most of us will end up using a rotating series of maybe 3 frames. So yeah, once you find what you like, stick with it and explore the map!

Zephyr for open-world is also a blast!

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Tobasco da Gama

I agree, I think the worst thing to do to a newbie is to give them the standard Rhino/Hek advice up front. If they’re flailing and can’t deal with the enemies, then fine, but it really getting started on a decent mod collection should be a MUCH higher priority.

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Alex Willis

I’ve had love affairs with lots of frames — Nidus, Saryn, Nekros — but the one I will always come back to is Oberon Prime. Oh boy do I love this frame. It’s got it all. I can handle almost any scenario with my Broberon. Also, the Feyarch skin is so incredible, I’ve dreamed about it. It’s a perfect fit of playstyle and aesthetic for my game.

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I would definitely put Vauban in the “Support” category — it’s not good for much else right now.

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wratts

Oberon Prime has been my favorite too. I love the look and the individual survivability. I’m only MR7 and get kind of laughed at with higher level players (one of the downsides of the community imo) but it is a great looking frame and very versatile

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Alex Willis

I’m MR20 and I use Oberon Prime all the time. It’s not meta for hunting Eidolons but it’s still a Top 10 frame in terms of group support, so those players are full of sh*t. Also, with Phoenix Renewal, you’re functionally immortal, and WAY more fun to play than “Hey-I’m-Immortal-Too-Guys” Inaros.

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MassivelyMacD

My “most liked” warframe changes on a more or less monthly basis, but I always come back to my Oberon Prime with the Feyarch skin. I really like how distinct his skillset is. It is easy to understand and start with and has enough depth for advanced applications.

Add to that an Opticor Vandal for range and a Catchmoon for close-up and this is what I switch to again and again.

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Alex Willis

Sounds like you and I run ours very similarly! Opticor Vandal (holy crap, so much good to say about this weapon) and Rattleguts is my preferred setup. I have a wildly wicked Riven for my Rattleguts that more or less turns it into a continuous beam weapon with about 4x the damage output (it kills things faster than anything besides my Tigris Prime or my Synapse with crit Riven). I feel like a frickin’ Sylvari Space Marine with that setup.

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MassivelyMacD

I find it remarkable how DE has managed to transport a different feeling of use for so many weapon kits. That is definitely one of the entertaining factors of this game.

When it was released, I immediately liked the feel of the Opticor Vandal. It replaced the Arca Plasmor quite quickly.

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Tobasco da Gama

Nezha’s fantastic after his rework. A little hard to get if you’re not in an established clan, but totally worth the investment in time and materials if you want to start your own Ghost Clan to unlock blueprints. (Or you could just buy him for Plat, I guess.)