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A Beginner’s Guide to Warframe Mods (2024)

Whether you’re new to Warframe or you play the game casually on the regular, you’re probably looking for new ways to help tackle all the content the game has to offer with minimal issues. One thing that you may have overlooked in Warframe is the mods system, so we’re putting together a beginner’s guide!

While the weapons and warframes themselves may be the first features you think of for increasing your power, mods play an integral part to boosting your stats and augmenting your playstyle. Hopefully by the end of our beginner’s guide, you’ll know everything you need to start optimizing your build in Warframe with mods!

What Are Mods in Warframe?

The Codex shows all obtainable mods and their sources in the game. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

Simply put, mods are augments for your equipment to enhance their performance in different ways. There are over 1200 mods in Warframe, and they’re essentially the lifeblood of any build for your equipment in Warframe. They can very easily make or break a build. You can slot mods into warframes, weapons, archwings, necramechs, railjacks, and even companions from the arsenal.

You slot mods into your equipment to modify and boost the function and effectiveness of the equipment. Being able to add more critical damage and multishot to your weapons or giving your warframe more shield and health values is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possibilities that come with mods.

In some cases, mods are even able to completely change the function of equipment (e.g. mods that affect or morph warframe abilities). Mods vary in rarity from:

  • Common (Bronze)
  • Uncommon (Silver)
  • Rare (Gold)
  • Legendary (Platinum)
  • Riven Mods (Purple)

Along with the general Flawed and Normal mods, there are also special variations of mods such as Primed, Amalgam, Galvanized, Umbra, and Archon. These have similar functions to their normal variants, but usually with an additional twist. It goes without saying you’ll definitely want to get your hands on some juicy mods to enhance your gameplay.

Mods Overview

At first glance, you will be able to distinguish a mod’s rarity just by looking at the color of the mod’s border. 

The mod’s name and function is clearly displayed on the card along with item compatibility underneath (e.g warframe, rifle, shotgun, railjack, etc.). 

The number and symbol at the top right of the mod will indicate the mod’s polarity and drain. Matching a mod’s polarity to the polarity of a mod slot in an equipment will reduce the mod’s drain by 50%, essentially taking up less drain and making more capacity available for more mods. Mod capacity of equipment increases with equipment level and can be doubled by using an Orokin Catalyst (weapons) or Orokin Reactor (warframes). Alternatively, slotting a mod into a mod slot with a polarity that doesn’t match the mod will increase the capacity the mod will take by 25%. 

The rank of the mod is indicated by the gray circles at the bottom of the mod. Mods start at Rank 0 (all gray circles) and can be upgraded using endo and credits until they reach their maximum (all blue circles). Maximum rank for mods may vary mod to mod and will not all have the same upgrade cost.

How to Acquire Mods in Warframe

The occasional mod in the midst of combat. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

Up next in our beginner’s guide to mods in Warframe, we’ll go over how to actually obtain them. As you play through the game naturally and complete missions, you may have already noticed that you’ve been getting mods. This is simply because you can obtain mods as a drop from any enemy in the game.

Granted, the mods that drop may not be the best mods, but they’ll be more than adequate for the time being. At least until you get the better or “meta” mods, which we’ll touch upon later on in this guide. Here are the other various ways to get your hands on mods:

Mission Rewards

Normal missions with a definite objective required for completion such as Extermination and Capture missions may reward a mod on completion. Defense and Interception missions will reward players with random items from a designated loot pool after a certain number of rounds or rotations are completed, mods being part of that loot pool in some cases. Nightmare Mode is also a source of obtaining mods. You can only find these rare mods in Nightmare Mode missions, Hammer Shot and Blaze being the most elusive with a 1% drop chance.

Syndicates

Swear your allegiances for rewards. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

Assuming you’ve already pledged to three syndicates, you are able to grind standing and raise your reputation with them. A higher standing reputation with syndicates will allow for more available options within their respective syndicate shops. These syndicate shops will have ranging items that include mods. More often than not, syndicate mods will augment a weapon or warframe ability in some way. Some of these syndicate mods are in high demand. You can even use some as a staple for warframe builds (e.g Accumulating Whipclaw for Khora).

Market

We often forget this is even an option due to how underwhelming the return value can be. That being said, you can purchase mod bundles from the in-game market with platinum, though this is not usually recommended due to the amount of real life money you would have to spend.

Daily Login Reward

Been waiting a long time for this. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

The game rewards you with some extremely useful primed mods just for logging into the game! At 200, 400, 600, and 900 day logins, you are able to choose from four primed mods: Primed Sure Footed, Primed Fury, Primed Shred, Primed Vigor, eventually being able to obtain all four by your 900th login day.

These mods are nothing to scoff at. Some of them, notably Primed Sure Footed, are used in various different builds for higher level content. We recommend grabbing that specific mod at your 200th login. No other mod in the game can compare to what Primed Sure Footed does.

Transmutation

You can sacrifice four unranked mods to receive a random mod. The random mod will be one from a specific select list of mods that can be obtained through transmutation. Transmutation takes place at the Mod Console in your orbiter.

Trading

Aside from the login reward mods mentioned above, simply trading mods with other players is technically the quickest and easiest way to obtain them. Players are usually seen selling mods of all kinds. Whether it be through the in-game trade channel or through verified trading websites such as warframe.market.

While being the easiest and least time-consuming method, trading can be pricey. The highly-valued mods may fetch prices in the ballpark of hundreds of platinum. This may be a stretch for someone just starting the game with not many opportunities to make platinum. 

Staple Mods in Warframe

With over 1200 mods in Warframe, you may be a bit overwhelmed when it comes to which mods you should be on the lookout for. Worry not — we’ve got you covered. Here are a few staple mods that we guarantee will always be useful for their respective equipment types in no particular order:

Damage Mods

Damage Mods - Warframe Mods Beginner's Guide
Bigger bullet. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

Damage mods are essential for any weapon build in Warframe, so they’re the first up in our beginner’s guide. Each weapon type has their own main damage mod (e.g Hornet Strike, Pressure Point, Serration, Point Blank). Mods that give your weapons a damage modifier and amplify it over 100% are obviously going to make a big impact on how effective your weapons are.

Critical Damage Mods

Critical Damage Mods - Warframe Mods Beginner's Guide
Right in the squishy bits. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

With crit builds being one of the two mainstream builds for weapons, mods that boost critical damage are going to be a common sight. Each weapon type has their own critical damage mod (e.g. Target Cracker, Ravage, Vital Sense, Organ Shatter). You can’t go wrong with more critical damage, especially if you’re running a high critical chance build.

Multishot Mods

Multishot Mods - Warframe Mods Beginner's Guide
MORE DAKKA! | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

Imagine having stronger bullets from your damage mods. Now imagine multiple instances of bullets per shot. This is the beauty of multishot mods and is exactly why they work perfectly in any weapon build. There’s no downside to shooting more bullets, usually.

This also gives more chances to proc any status ailments or even buffs that require you to shoot enemies to gain stacks for. There are even instances where multishot may even be more valuable than raw damage mods. Make sure to throw one on your weapons!

Adaptation

Adaptation - Warframe Mods Beginner's Guide
Adapt, improvise, overcome. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

If you’re finding yourself having issues with survival while on your mission to clear the Star Chart, you may want to give Adaptation a try on your warframe’s build. This mod can instantly make any warframe feel tankier, with a max rank Adaptation providing 90% resistance at full stacks. Enemy attacks will merely be tickling you as you stroll through the Star Chart.

Elemental Damage Mods

Elemental Damage Mods - Warframe Mods Beginner's Guide
Wield the elements. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

Elemental damage can put in some serious work when it comes to making weapons even more deadly. As the title suggests, there are mods for each individual element (e.g. electricity, cold, heat, toxin). Alongside damage mods and multishot mods, you can combine elemental mods to create some of the most lethal status effects in the game, such as Corrosive and Viral.

The Corrosive damage status ailment will corrode armor by up to 80% at ten stacks, which is extremely useful against Steel Path enemies with ferrite armor. Meanwhile, Viral will inflict a virus on enemies that increase all damage done to their health by up to 325% at ten stacks.

We highly recommended putting either Corrosive or Viral on your weapons. The general consensus is to try to use Corrosive against ferrite armored enemies. Viral + Heat against just about everything else should make for an easy time.

Rolling Guard

Rolling Guard - Warframe Mods Beginner's Guide
Dodge roll too strong. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

This is another very popular mod pick for survival in a warframe’s build. You primarily want to use Rolling Guard for the 3-second invulnerability window. This pairs perfectly with shieldgating, which is when you get a short window of immunity after your shields break.

Rolling Guard’s immunity paired with shieldgate should be enough time to regenerate to full shields. This is especially effective on builds that use shieldgating as their main source of survivability. Doing so also lets you save precious mod slots instead of having to waste them on health/shield mods.

Flow

Flow - Warframe Mods Beginner's Guide
UNLIMITED POWER. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

Most, if not all, warframes are in need of a healthy energy pool to function at their best optimal performance. Having a bigger energy pool means less time needing to scavenge around for more energy orb drops. Just be mindful of your efficiency, as a high energy pool with low efficiency will just cancel each other out. Especially if you’re not using something like Arcane Energize to help remedy the efficiency issues.

Health/Shield Mods

Health/Shield Mods - Warframe Mods Beginner's Guide
The equivalent of vitamin gummies for Tenno. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

If you’re fairly new or not completely familiar with a warframe, there’s nothing wrong with having extra health and shield — you know, to pad the bullets (e.g. Vitality and Redirection). They may seem like minor mods at face value, but the amount of survivability that can come from a few extra hundred health and shields can go a long way.

Having more of a cushion to work with will ultimately make your experience noticeably more comfortable. You’ll have more time to react and learn as you progress. You can see these mods as training wheels (fitting for a beginner’s guide) for initially augmenting your warframe, as you’ll most likely replace them at higher levels when you’re more experienced.

Handspring

Handspring - Warframe Mods Beginner's Guide
Off the ground and off death’s door. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

Ideally, you would want Primed Sure Footed to ensure you aren’t getting knocked down at all. Handspring works very nicely as a substitute until then. The less time you spend on your butt is a major increase to both your overall survival and effectiveness in missions.

Vacuum/Fetch

Vacuum/Fetch - Warframe Mods Beginner's Guide
For your Roomba with a gun. | Image: Digital Extremes via HGG / Andrew Oli

These companion mods open up a whole new quality of life for your Warframe adventure. These mods allow your companions to pick up loot from the ground in a radius around you. No long do you have to manually walk over to the loot!

This helps immensely when it comes to looting rare drop, such as Argon Crystals, that you may not catch at first glance. As long as your companion is alive and kicking, you no longer have to worry about looting.

Join the High Ground

Hopefully our our beginner’s guide to Warframe mods helped you grasp a better understanding of them and how you want to build your equipment for battle! Think we missed out on something important or want us to go over something in more details? Let us know in the comments, and subscribe to the High Ground for the latest news, guides, and articles on all things gaming. Stay safe out there, adventurers!

Happy gaming!

 

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