When I started my “Tales from a Newbie” article series last month, I totally spaced on the holidays. Given that, I haven’t played Warframe as much as I would have liked, but I haven’t been able to play anything as much as I would have liked, of course. I have made some progress and have some thoughts, and wanted to update everyone and get Warframe veteran feedback … so let’s recap the last four weeks!

Remember my disclaimer though, please: These articles are written from the perspective of a new player working their way through the game, looking up YouTube videos and written guides when needed. It is not written from the perspective of a journalist doing a ton of research to make sure something I write is 100% accurate. This means that I may get something wrong and I mean to leave those things in this record. Why? It shows how I progress as a player and gives Warframe veterans and new players alike a chance to liven up the comments section with suggestions, corrections, or new information that I may not have come across in the game yet simply because I haven’t reached a certain point. That said, if my opinion on something changes later due to progressing in the game, I’ll certainly state as much in future posts.

Disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to my progress update, my thoughts on cash in Warframe, and my new current favorite weapon!

Where am I now?

From a top level, I have reached Mastery Rank 10. For those that don’t know, allow me to explain my understanding of the Mastery Rank system at this point and Warframe veterans can chime in with additional information in the comments, if needed. Mastery Rank is basically your “overall level.” It doesn’t really mean much but it does give other players an idea of how long you’ve been playing the game, though it doesn’t indicate skill. Yes, leveling up your mastery does come with perks (Warframes being given more starting mod slots, more daily trading allotments, and others), but more importantly this rank is what locks certain weapons, equipment, and even content.

How do you gain Mastery Ranks? Play the game. Literally. Clearing nodes on each planet or location nets you Mastery Points (referred to as “affinity” in game) upon the first clearing. Leveling up each Warframe to max rank (rank 30) gets you Mastery Points. The same happens with weapons and other equipment. Use them, get them to max rank to get the most Mastery Points from them, swap to another weapon/Warframe/sentinel and rank that up to rank 30 to scoop the Mastery Points.

With that formula, you can already see the benefit to unlocking as many weapons or Warframes as possible … but let’s talk more about that in the cash portion of today’s recap.

In addition to making Rank 10, I now have nine Warframes at max rank. They are a mix of Warframes that I crafted from scratch or bought with platinum. (Disclosure: I had platinum left over on my account apparently from Digital Extremes adding some plat in the past so I didn’t pay cash for that particular plat.) I still don’t have my first prime version of a Warframe, but I’m close! I have crafted the systems, neuroptics, and chassis for Nekros Prime. I didn’t pick Nekros in particular; I just happened to have received the blueprints for its components while playing. I still don’t have the blueprints for Nekros Prime itself, though. I had a relic that had a chance to drop it, I boosted the relic to up my chances … but of course RNG wasn’t on my side so now I’m back in a Prime holding pattern until I get another relic that could contain the blueprint again as I don’t want to buy it from someone. Such is life.

On the map side of things I haven’t made a ton of progress there as far as advancement goes. I’ve opened Saturn but I still cannot access Uranushaven’t opened up Uranushaven’t gained access tonone of these sound right … haven’t gained the ability to travel to the planet Uranus. This isn’t a difficulty thing, I’ve just been busy visiting all previous planets and locations to clear every node on the maps for the mastery and for the ability to send extractors to planets to get resources for me. Now that I have no blue nodes on any planets, I’ll be pushing forward some more … and hopefully getting to the quest (The Second Dream) everyone keeps telling me to get to as soon as I can.

Money and Warframe

Most people, even non-Warframe players, know the basic gist of how the cash shop in Warframe works. I certainly did going into the game but I wanted to point out a few things for other new players here, and maybe veterans can chime in with their thoughts below.

In Warframe, you can pay cash for a currency called platinum. Plat can be used to by a lot of things, from access to Warframes, to certain weapons, to resources, to blueprints, to slots that even allow you to have more weapons and Warframes, and beyond.

So, wait … if you can buy weapons with cash straight out, how is this not pay-to-win? Fair question, and there are actually a few reasons why I personally don’t have any pay-to-win feeling from Warframe.

First and foremost, while Warframes are not Mastery Rank-locked, weapons and other equipment can be. This means that you must reach certain Mastery Ranks before you can buy them with plat. You could farm up the materials for the new weapon at any time but you can’t even buy the blueprint to build the weapon until you reach certain Mastery Ranks. The point is, the gating of better equipment is based on gameplay, whether you buy said weapon with plat (cash) or in-game — not to mention that some weapons are only available in-game and could require advancements through your clan on top of materials to obtain.

So, Magicman, then the grind becomes the issue for non-paying player, right? Well, technically yes, which leads to my second point. The better an item is the more likely it is that you will grind for the materials in-game. Even this, at least in my experience so far, isn’t all that bad. It certainly doesn’t come anywhere near the mobile-type grinds you see for non-paying players in other titles.

And, damn, the feeling at payoff when you’ve grinded out those materials and blueprints for a Warframe or weapon feels good! I feel rewarded when I have crafted things ready to claim, not the feeling of “thank god that’s over.” It’s a delicate balance and, in my experience, so far Warframe pulls it off almost to perfection. Plat should, in my opinion, primarily be used to buy Warframe and weapon slots to hold the things you build. Even then, plat doesn’t have to be bought with cash as you can sell things in-game directly to players for plat. To me, Warframe’s monetization comes down an instant gratification thing. I don’t feel the need to buy something to “keep up” in any way. I would buy because I want to and don’t want to farm or wait for crafting.

A small note here, by the way. While I personally don’t think Warframe is pay-to-win, it is because of the reasons above. Often, I have seem Warframe and other games tout that you can’t be pay-to-win when the game is largely/all PvE. I reject that notion entirely. I feel that a PvE-centric game can certainly be pay-to-win. Yes, I’ll agree that it isn’t in the more common “competitive” nature that the label is usually used, but in a PvE aspect, the pay-to-win shifts to paying players being able to enjoy a game versus non-paying players having a bad or sub-par experience. That’s just as bad as competitive disadvantages in a PvP-based game to me. Luckily, in my opinion, Warframe doesn’t fall into that bucket yet either.

But before we move on … are there loot boxes?

Simply: yes. But not in the way you’re thinking. Not in the way of “spend cash, get a random prize” which has become the norm in modern-day games. In fact, Warframe’s loot boxes aren’t cash-related at all.

In Warframe there are relics, which are basically loot boxes. There are different types and different categories, called “Eras.” You gain these randomly as rewards through gameplay. Viewing a relic will show you all the items that could drop from that relic. They even show the odds — well, not the odds as in a direct number, but a visual bar indicator of the rarity of each potential item.

To unlock these relics, you simply visit a location that has a Void Fissure event currently running (they cycle randomly all over the galaxy map), complete the quest there while having the relic equipped and … BLAMMO … relic opened. You can even “upgrade” these relics with Void Traces to increase the chance of getting the more rare loot while decreasing the chance of receiving the more common loot available in the relic.

And guess what, new tenno? Even the Void Traces are divorced from cash purchase through plat. Gotta farm that up too. So, yes there are technically loot boxes of a type, but nothing that requires cash.

Wrapping it up with my favorite weapon

Last article I mentioned that my favorite weapon was the Boltor rifle. That’s changed this time around, as I’m sure it will often. KineticFetus recommended the Arca Plasmor to me in the comments on my last writeup and I’m still working on that (gotta do some Dojo research to get the blueprint at the moment), but I stumbled upon the Phage Infested shotgun. This wacky bastard fires off seven wavy Ghostbuster proton pack-like beams that eventually narrow and focus into one point while aiming. While the range kind of sucks and it isn’t great against said Infested, I have had a blast running around with this thing that feels like it has infinite ammo compared to other weapons. SO much fun!

That’s where I’m going to wrap it up with this recap. Feel free to help out in the comments clarifying things I may have said based on your experience or chiming in with recommendations for me.

Thanks to everyone that commented last article and gave me codes to grab some freebie emblems and items. Much appreciated!

All images courtesy of Warframe Wiki and Warframe Forums

the author

Mike "Magicman" Byrne has been a part of the MMOBomb family for years and serves as the site's current Editor-in-Chief. His love for MMOs and gaming in general has led him to covering games for numerous websites including Gamebreaker TV and XIV Nation where he proudly displays his fanboy flag for FFXIV:ARR.

17 Readers Commented

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  1. Kethus on April 3, 2018

    I wonder what happened to Magicman’s Warframe adventure, was the Second Dream too underwhelming to write about? Did he get that far? Was the grind too much?

    • Kethus on April 3, 2018

      I meant to write that under the f2p cast article, oh well, I’ll try the next one.

    • Magicman Author on April 3, 2018

      HAHA! No, I just haven’t had a moment to really sit and play Warframe with a thousand other things going on and I didn’t want to write an article that was just “no progress, just farmed shit” so I’ll get to it eventually 🙂

  2. Squeeezy on February 5, 2018

    “And, damn, the feeling at payoff when you’ve grinded out those materials and blueprints for a Warframe or weapon feels good!”
    Hahaha! It sure does. We(Warframe community) even have a reddit page for clans that have researched the Hema – /r/RESEARCHEDHEMA

  3. Waternyte244 on January 21, 2018

    From what I have seen when it comes down to using plat, people tend to buy for the more annoying frames like equinox, which can take about 6 to 7 days to build. Though there are cases where people can’t wait to get they’re hands on the new suits, so they buy them immediately, but a majority of the players I’ve come across only buys cosmetics with plat.

  4. me on January 14, 2018

    log in every day

  5. GoblinGraphx on January 13, 2018

    Love the series Magicman, what are your companions like? There is some real fun when you get a Kavat or Kubrow. They are very different from sentinels. Love t see that part of the next update article.

    • Magicman Author on January 15, 2018

      I love my Kubrow 🙂 I have the blueprint for something Kavat related but cannot craft it yet 🙁

      • Waternyte244 on January 21, 2018

        If you ever come across a player with a Nidus warframe, the infested suit, you can get this pink cyst that grows on your neck and spreads to all your warframes, you can use the cyst after its fully grown which takes about a week, and inject it into a kubrow egg to get an infested companion known as the helminth charger.

      • GoblinGraphx on January 27, 2018

        Definitely worth getting the Kavat to try out. Looking forward to the next animal based companion they come put with.

  6. LeiHngWei on January 12, 2018

    The Nekros Prime blueprint drops from Lith N3, Meso N3, and Axi N3 relics (Mesa and Axi ones are vaulted, so stick with the Lith relic).

    Each relic has its own loot table. If everyone on the squad has a different relic, the loot table is increased, and therefore lowers the odds for the BP to drop. If you join a premade squad and everyone has the same relic, the loot table is limited to that one relic. This way you can control the RNG to a degree.

  7. TheArchAngel on January 11, 2018

    I stumbled upon your newbie article and am glad that you are enjoying the Warframe experience. The ‘randomness’ to relics you talk about may not be as random as you think, there are specific loot tables for each mission and you can actually find the exact percentages of said relics here : https://n8k6e2y6.ssl.hwcdn.net/repos/hnfvc0o3jnfvc873njb03enrf56.html#relicRewards

    It is an Official list of the drop percentages of almost all mission rewards given to us from DE themselves, from the measly 1500 credit cache to your most sought after relic or mod. If you ever want to go for a specific relic give it a go.

    • Magicman Author on January 15, 2018

      I will CERTAINLY check this out! Thank you!

  8. Manipulator on January 11, 2018

    for one of player with overall 2399 hours, + hours before transfer onto steam, I simply cannot give up this game “thank god that’s over.” you really hit a critical point there, it is what makes it addictive, moreover you get to look ‘crystal clear’ of what you crafted, unlike some of new games these days with a bunch of weapon trail fx that makes it look like a cheap certain region game with a full rainbow every swing and skills alike

  9. Ghestly on January 11, 2018

    Mounted!!! Warframe is game i like to come back time to time and every time there is new content to explore. Even if i have 500+ hours on steam i play/grind casually it still feels rewarding, not to mention for returning players they give 75% on plats as login reward, something that i have noticed. And i agree that it don`t feel pay to win at all (first few years there were no pvp at all) and available pvp was locked behind some kind gear/warframe point/rank if i remember right and if you still think pve is pay to win then some one who have bought something on market and is on your team you should WIN if you really are on that mindset. I paid and my friend did not for some time and he did not felt left behind, it really gave me some variations in warfremes and weapons, and he crafted few clan/dojo weapons before me and was overpowered w/o paying… and now there is trading in game so it is not so grindy at all… good game, love to return to warfreme time to time.

  10. Kineticfetus on January 10, 2018

    Even though I give DE shit for some of the choices they make I still enjoy Warframe even after…what 4 years or so? I currently have all the frames except the primes for Hydroid and Mirage and I can tell you that grind will start to wear on you. I think about 2 years ago I finally buckled and started buying the parts that just wouldn’t drop. As for the cash shop, I bought a couple skins but most of the money I put into are for warframe and weapon slots. With that said, as a “vet” I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the game.

  11. rickshaw on January 10, 2018

    Nice write up, I do want to get back to warframe i’m low level too i got bored by it last year as I couldn’t understand why things were so repetitive & the poor animated cut scenes to the planet was a bit disappointing seeing this game is so well liked. At the moment I’m currently locked into playing mad max, an 8buck buy during chrissy period lol, still, your inspiring me to usb my external ssd with warframe in it, great stuff magicman cheers

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