What is the Free-to-play Game ‘Warframe’? (2019 Beginners guide)

So you’ve heard of Warframe? But what is it? Why do so many people play it?

I know what a lot of you guys are thinking. I tried it but I’m lost after the first mission. Looks cool, but idk what I’m doing? I know it’s free-to-play, but is it pay-to-win?

This guide is made for people are new to Warframe and just need to know a few things before embarking on this vast game. For the basics, there are five things we should go over.

  1. Playing and Unlocking the Star Chart
  2. Upgrading and Mods.
  3. Acquiring Blueprints
  4. Foundry
  5. Platinum

What is Warframe?

Warframe is an Action RPG free-to-play cooperative third-person shooter. The game is sometimes compared to Destiny. But trust me, it is nothing like it. The game is playable on PC, PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. I currently play on PS4, although I started on PC back in 2013, I’ve only just recently got hardcore with Warframe in 2016, so two years.

Starting the Game

You will choose from three different warframe: Volt, Mag, and Excalibur. I don’t want to explain who they are and what they do at this time. Just know that all warframes are good, it’s all about playstyle. So choose whatever you think is best. Trust me later on you will be grinding for all the warframe just to experience what they are like. The more you play, the more you will understand which warframe is best for you.

1. Playing and Unlocking the Star Chart

Once you complete Vor’s Prize (which is basically the first mission), you can start to play missions on Earth. You will need to progress through the star chart to unlock quests and events in Warframe. Progressing through the star chart will also show you the story and lure, and well as some badass cut scenes. I usually tell people to start Warframe like a single player game. Let the game naturally open up to you. This will make the game much more enjoyable and you will understand why the Warframe community is so loyal to the game. Warframe is more than a game, it’s an experience you discover.

Warframe is more than a game,

it’s an experience you discover.


You are ready to leave a planet and go to the next one, once you’ve reached and completed the goals of a planet’s junction. The tasks that each junction has, are designed to show you the game and teach you things about the game. If you need help with progressing through the star chart, either go online and google it, OR use your warframe chat system to ask for help.

Asking for help

You can do this by interacting with your chat box in the bottom left of the screen, then tab over to the recruitment chat, and type something like “Hello everyone, I’m new to Warframe, I’m stuck on ‘insert star chart nod name’” can someone please help me?” I guarantee that someone will help you. The Warframe community is all about helping new players because you gotta remember us older players have been in your shoes too.

2. Upgrading and Mods

Modding and upgrading is a crucial piece of any warframe playstyle. Whether it’s playing alone or in a party, modding allows you to play how you want to play.

Modding Warframes

To mod a warframe, head to the arsenal station on your ship. Once there click on the upgrade tab. To upgrade your Warframe, just drag an available mod into one of the available/empty slots above. You will notice that equipping mods drains your capacity. Each mod has an icon in the top right, this icon tells you the polarization type for that mod. By placing the mod in the matching polarized slot of your warframe, you will reduce the capacity drain by half, allowing you to equip more mods. If you are still lost on how to mod, you can always ‘auto-install’ mods by clicking actions or right-clicking your controller and selecting “Auto Install” on the far left.

Auras and Exilus Adapter slots

There are two slots on the top of your mod slots. The left one is for Auras, and the right one is an Exilus mod slot. Equipping the matching mod to your aura slot will increase your capacity max.

Polarizing a mod slot

Once you understand how modding works, you can start to adjust the polarize slots on your warframe. Let say you want to make a specific mod slot a certain type of polarization so you can equip a strong mod for your build. You can click actions or click in the right-stick on the controller and select the ‘Polarization’ option. Note: to use this option you must have a rank 30 warframe. Also once polarized, your warframe’s rank will drop to rank 0. Think of it as ‘Prestiging’ in Call of Duty.

Orokin Reactors

In the “actions” menu will notice an option for doubling mod capacity. You will need an “Orokin Reactor” to do this. These blueprints can be obtained in one of five ways:

  • From Alert missions, Gift Of The Lotus alerts in particular. (which always appear after a Friday live stream from the devs)
  • From Invasion battle pay.
  • As a potential Daily Tribute.
  • As a reward for completing a Sortie.

3. Acquiring Blueprints

Acquiring blueprints is going to be a major part of Warframe. This is how to get more weapons, warframes, and items. To get blueprints you will need to head over to the Market console on your ship (in the front near navigation). From there you can use the menu system to find the thing you want.

Once you find something you want, let’s say a warframe, click on the warframe, then click on the build tab on the top right, then finally click on the purchase blueprint button at the bottom right. Once you have a blueprint you are ready to build it in the foundry.

4. Foundry

The foundry station is where you will go to build your blueprints. If you look at the blueprint, it will have a list of materials it needs to start building. Once you acquire those materials, you can start to build. Note: Blueprints will take a long time to build. Warframes usually take 3 days (real-time) to build, and weapons take about 24 hours to build. You can rush building time by using platinum.

Mastery Rank Locked

You will notice that there are blueprints that are mastery rank locked. You will need to increase your overall mastery rank to start building that blueprint. To level your mastery rank you will need to use weapons, warframe, or other items with rank to increase your mastery. Each time you rank up something, you are adding mastery rank points to your level. Think of mastery rank as your overall account level.

5. Platinum

Platinum is Warframe’s in-game currency. You can use platinum to purchase warframes and weapons (although this is not recommended, they are priced really high and you earn a lot of these blueprints easily), Cosmetics, weapon skins, rushing building blueprints, and more.

Trading platinum for blueprints

You can trade platinum (that you have purchased) to other players in the game for blueprints.

For example, if you go into the trade chat, you can see people posting offers. WTB = Wanting to buy. WTS = Wanting to sell. If you want to buy something you see posted. PM the person by clicking on their name and then click talk. Tell them you want it.


To conduct the trade you must either be in a clan to access the trade station or be invited to the other person’s clan to initiate the trade. So either join a clan or have the other person invite you to their clan for the transaction to take place.

Note: you can only trade platinum that you have purchased with real money or platinum that was given to you by another person. You can not trade platinum that was given to you for free from the game.


I think that about sums up everything for the average beginner. Please reference the Warframe Wiki or other YouTube guides online to find out more information on specific things you’re curious about, that were not covered in this guide.

This was a beginner guide to Warframe. I tried to leave out the more advanced stuff, but this should help you understand the very basics of the game. It’s a lot at first, but it will make sense the more you play. There is so much to do in Warframe, you will be playing +8 hours a day and still want to continue playing. It’s a very addicting game once you get into it. Remember, let the game expose itself to you, you will be surprised at how much work was put into this free-to-play game.

Also if you play on PS4 and need a clan to join check out my clan “Knights of Defiant”, we meet up every Wednesday night at 7 pm pst. Also if you have any questions feel free to message me online, my PSN is “BaRbQUe”. Remember to share or comment on this post if it helped you in any way. See you guys next time. Later.

Written by: Christian Galvez

Christian is the founder of The EXP Grind. He is interested in Indie musicians, Video Games, Anime, and just about anything in Arts and Entertainment. He tries to find art with true meaning in the new and upcoming artists and hopes to reach more creative professionals.

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