Warframe Guide – Introduction to the story, combat and your ship

Warframe is an online, shared-world game developed by Digital Extremes. As it features elements of MMOs, shooters, dungeon crawling looters, PvP, crafting, RPGs and more, we’ve put together a collection of guides to help new players get to grips.

With Warframe having just launched on Switch, it’s the perfect time for players to learn or get a refresher course. 

Warframe Guide


You play as a Tenno, a race of awesome warrior beings recently awoken from cryosleep to find a system at war (which is a gross oversimplification, but still).

Enemies are numerous; there’s the Corpus, an advanced corporation represented by both human and robot combatants; the Grineer, a militarised race of cloned humans; the Infested, disfigured and diseased humans; and the Sentients, a powerful race of synthetic beings, who have returned after centuries of absence.

Initially, the story is somewhat unclear, and you will learn more as you progress through the campaign, but it takes time to wade through it all.

As a Tenno, you control a kind of avatar known as a Warframe, essentially a biomechanical suit of varying designs and capabilities. There are around 35 of these at present, each with their own unique abilities: 4 active powers and 1 passive.

On top of this, each Warframe can wield a variety of weapons, and has unique parkour abilities, enabling them to ninja about the player environment with ease. Think of your Warframe as a character class. Some of them are tanky, others are focused on damage, others are heavily geared towards crowd control or healing, and others are a combination.

You will start with a single Warframe and acquire more over the course of the game and they are equipped from your inventory, much like any other item.


In addition to your Warframe, you will have access to three weapons and a companion (which you will unlock later in the game). In your primary weapon slot, you will find what can be essentially referred to as high-DPS (Damage Per Second) weapons.

These include auto rifles, snipers, bows, and shotguns (among other weapon types), and will be the weapons you will likely find yourself using the most at least initially. The secondary slot is reserved for back-up weapons, many of which can still deal a solid amount of damage.

This can include pistols (ranged, automatic, and more are available), throwing knives, mini shotguns, and so on. The third weapon slot is for melee weapons, you are a magical space ninja after all. Here, you’ll find a bunch of swords, axes, poles, warhammers and so on and given the amount of movement ability in the game, you will find yourself using melee weapons far more than you do in other games with weapons of this type.

I also mentioned companions earlier. While they aren’t necessarily something you will have a lot of access to in the early game, I’ll cover them quickly. Companions come in the form of pets (which can be incubated on your ship, but this is unlocked later towards the mid-game) or robot drones.

You will get access to a basic drone fairly early on, these can be attack drones or support drones, so they can essentially help you by attacking your enemies, or by collecting items from the environment, healing you, charging your shield, or a combination of these.

Companions are useful, but they do take time to come by. 

Lastly, there is also the Archwing. This is a device that is unlocked two or three Quests into the game and essentially provides your character with the ability to fly in certain locations. It has its own weapons (a ranged and melee attack), and is only used in specific missions, noted on the map as “Archwing”, or on the Plains of Eidolon

Basically, Archwing is your “Gundam” mode, providing 360-degree mech-like warfare. It’s fun, for the most part, but it has its annoyances. Like it or not, you will need to complete Archwing missions in order to progress through the core game, and it is extremely useful on the Plains.

Your ship – The Orbiter

After the first training mission, you’ll find yourself in your orbiter, which acts as your home base. Note this is NOT the same as the ship that drops you off in missions – this is your landing craft, and you’ll start out with the Liset.

When playing with friends, you will see their landing craft out the front window, give them a wave. In the centre front console, you’ll find Navigation, which will take you to your Star Chart and allow you to choose missions.

To the left, you’ll find access to the Syndicates and to the right, the news console and the Conclave, which provides access to PvP. People don’t really play Warframe for PvP. Feel free to ignore it though this is a little sad, because it’s not really that bad to play, it’s just impossible to find a match.

A little further back in the ship, you’ll find the Codex to one side, where you can access to a list of Quests, and learn some lore, as well as find access to training. I primarily use the Codex for Quest information, but I can see the lore info becoming more important to me as you get deeper into the game.

On the other side of the ship, you’ll find the Market. Don’t make the same mistake I did and think that the market is just for microtransactions. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Most of what you use the Market for will be for in-game transactions using in-game currency.

Just behind these consoles is the Scanner. I’ve turned it off. It’s annoying and does nothing of any importance, as far as I can tell, unless you are really keen on lore, but even then, I’d suggest you switch it off until you have more of a grasp on the lore.

Deeper into the ship, there are a bunch of other consoles. Several of these won’t be unlocked until later in the game, but the most important for now is the Arsenal console towards the back. This is where you can choose your Warframe, weapons, companions, and so on, as well as customise virtually everything. You’ll find yourself here quite often. 

Make sure you check out our other Warframe Guides to help get you started.

This post first appeared on Cephalon Squared and has been republished here with permission.

Greg Newbegin
Greg Newbeginhttp://genewbegin.com
Gamer since the early '80s. Dad. May or may not be terrible at video games. Also a writer of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror - see what I'm working on at genewbegin.com!

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