Warframe Missions: Part 1 – the Basic Missions

There are a large variety of mission types in Warframe. This series of articles is intended to cover the most common types of missions in the inner planets so new players know what to expect. In this post, the first of the series, I will cover navigating nodes and the three most common mission types and their variations. Additionally, I will provide some advice for the beginning player regarding how hard a mission may be and if it solo-friendly.

Each planet, dwarf planet or moon has a set of nodes named after things associated with it. Usually each node has one mission assigned to it. However alerts, invasions, syndicate missions or nightmare missions may share the node with the original. When selecting a shared node, you will be presented with a menu of all the available missions to choose from. Nodes can appear normal, outlined with a glow or shadowed/faded. The normal appearance means you have completed the node previously. All nodes connected to that node will be outlined with a glow unless you have also completed them. This means they are unlocked and available for you to complete the mission located there. Finally, there are nodes that are not unlocked, and therefore unavailable to you. These are displayed shadowed-out without a border and indicate they are locked.

When you hover over a node, a card will display information about the mission. On the left side of the card is the Faction icon, mission icon or boss indicator depending on the type of mission or alert taking place there. On the right side will be an icon representing the tileset for the mission or boss you will need to assassinate. In the middle will be text stating what mission type, the Faction and the level of the node. As mentioned in the FAQ, the level is the enemy strength and does not directly relate to your Rank.

Endless vs. Non-endless Missions
At the most basic level, there are two varieties of missions. Endless missions are ones that after a certain event (number of minutes or waves generally) a reward is given and you can continue playing. The enemy difficulty increases and all rewards are lost if you fail before the next reward. In non-endless missions, you will have a specific goal and can extract once that is completed. In many cases, enemies will continue to spawn, but they do not become more difficult nor do you get better rewards for continuing the mission. Endless missions are generally more rewarding, but carry the risk of losing everything if you overextend yourself.

Exterminate, Crossfire and Corpus/Grineer Invasions
These are some of the most basic mission types in Warframe. Your goal is to eliminate the enemy units. The UI will display the enemy count on the left side of the screen as well as the number you have killed. Once you have killed the required number, you can go to extraction to complete the mission. Crossfire missions, which currently only take place on Mars, changes the formula by including both Grineer and Corpus units that must be defeated. Invasions are random events, generally in outer planets, where one faction attacks the other. After you select the node, you are presented with the rewards each side is offering and you chose who you wish to support. You are often joined by friendly units from the side you allied with to defeat the other faction. To get the reward they offered, you must complete the mission for the same side at least 3 times.

Usually these missions are the easiest for a given level and are very solo friendly. The only way to fail this mission is one common to all missions: die and not be able to revive. Most maps allow you to move from room to room at your leisure, giving you a better chance to control the engagements and a generally safe path of retreat. These missions are very good ways to learn new weapons and Warframes, but lack the rewards of other mission types. The main tactic is simply to completely clear an area before moving on and focus on killing the tougher foes first (specifically ones with special abilities or very damaging attacks) while not getting overwhelmed by the weaker ones.

Defense, Mobile Defense and Excavation
Each of these missions have the same basic idea of going to a specific location and defending a target against many enemies that are trying to destroy it. Mobile Defense has you take a datamass to two or more locations. While carrying the datamass, you are limited to your secondary weapon and melee. Once you arrive at a location, you insert the datamass into a terminal and you are required to protect it against foes for a certain amount of time. If the terminal is destroyed you fail the mission. Once you have completed all the locations, you go to extraction to complete the mission. Defense and Excavation are “endless” missions – unlike Mobile Defense you can choose to continue for as long as you can for better rewards. In Defense, there is a specific object (generally a cryopod) that must be protected from waves of enemies. Once all the enemies in a give wave are killed, the next wave begins. Each time you complete 5 waves you are given a reward and the choice to end the mission. In Excavation you go to a “dig site” marked with a waypoint, which deploys an Excavator you will need to protect for 100 seconds. Excavator start with 50% power and consume 1% per second. You increase power by killing the Power Carrier unit, getting the dropped power core and returning it to the Excavator – which restores 20%.

These missions all require you to prevent a large number of enemies from attacking a target. While simply killing a quickly as possible may work at the lower levels, denial and crowd control (CC) are more effective when your opponents are more powerful. Several Warframes have abilities that prevent the enemy from attacking the target and almost all have area of effect (AoE) abilities that serve as crowd control. It is important that you stay near the target. Even if it is tempting to “guard” a particular approach away from the target, enemies come from several different directions and it is harder for your teammates to rescue you if you get overwhelmed. In Excavation, you can deploy multiple Excavators which get rewards faster, but unless they are near each other become very hard to defend.

In both versions of Defense, if the target you are defending is destroyed you fail the mission. Excavation is an endless mission type, so if an excavator is destroyed, you can find another spot to deploy a new one. Therefore, in Excavation the only way to fail is the general way – die and not be able to revive.

While it is possible to solo some of these missions as a new player, I do not recommend it. The number of enemies does scale with the number of players, but the multiple approaches makes it difficult past the first 5 waves or first few Excavators. Due to the focused nature of defending the target, these are missions that can be successful and rewarding with a public group (PUGs or Pick-up Groups) even without voice chat. Defense is particularly PUG friendly, as every 5 waves each player has a choice to extract or continue.

In this mission type your goal is to stay for as long as possible as every 5 minutes you receive a reward. The challenges are an endless number of enemies who become more powerful with time and the life support slowly drains from 100% about 1% every 1.5 seconds. After the first reward at 5 minutes, you can extract, but it requires at least half the squad to be at the extraction point. Life support is restored in two ways. The first way is by grabbing “personal life support” modules that drop occasionally when you kill enemies or break containers. These modules restore around 5% each, but can be very unpredictable due to their random drop chance. The Lotus will also deliver life support capsules, which restore 30% when used.

If life support reaches 0% you can no longer increase it and you begin taking damage. At this point, the timer will stop and you will not receive any further rewards. The damage stops when you hit 5 health, but that is low enough that any attack will kill you. If any person reaches the exit at this point, you will extract. If no one is able to reach extraction (all squad members are down) then the mission fails.

The best tactic for Survival is for the squad to stay near a specific life support capsule together. Being near your teammates allows the ability to better support each other, getting quicker kills and being on hand in the case one member goes down. Early in the mission concentrate on getting life support from enemy kills so the capsules provided by the Lotus stack up to their maximum of 8. The general rule of thumb is to not use the capsules until life support drops to around 40% to prevent two players from hitting life support around the same time and wasting any. It is generally possible to solo Survival, but the lower spawn rates and the resulting reduced personal life support drops can make it hard to stockpile capsules. PUGs, especially without communication available, can make coordinating the extraction time difficult. Pay attention to how fast you are killing your opponents. When you are no longer effectively clearing rooms of enemies, it is a good indication that you will need to consider extraction. Not only does that reduce personal life support from kills, but also indicates the enemy will soon be able to overwhelm you.

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