Warframe is a complicated game, there are a lot of things to understand which might overwhelm a new player. There are damage types, different factions that have a different vulnerability, different elements and a lot of other stuff.
Before breaking down everything, let’s read a funny story
My Funny story – When my friend was new, I took him to the Kela De Thaym boss fight, back when it was introduced. We were doing pretty well, the boss had a fraction of health left, I and one other squadmate were already dead. So the new player was only one left, I asked him why it is taking him so long to kill her when she has only a fraction of health left, he said he isn’t able to deal damage and I asked the numbers, he told me an absurdly small vanilla number (without any elementals).
So I asked him what build he was running?
He said he didn’t have any elemental mods installed on his Soma Prime. So that is how much of a difference a right build can make. We failed that sortie mission, but he learned his lesson.
Enough about the story, let’s jump right into understanding Warframe and it’s damage types.
Warframe Damage Types
Damage dealt by players will show up on the HUD, this number is a combination of both primary damage and elemental damage. The damage indicators are as follows:
- Default damage is white.
- Critical hits and stealth attacks show up as yellow.
- Orange crits are a stronger variant of the yellow crits.
- Red crits are a stronger variant of the orange crits.
- Damage against shields is blue, whereas damage against over shields shows up as purple.
- Damage against invulnerable enemies shows up as grey
Warframe has two damages: Primary and Elemental. I am going to cover both of these in detail below.
Most weapons in the game have a combination of three damage types – Impact (hammer), Puncture (a pin puncturing a wheel), and Slash (a blade). The overall damage dealt by a weapon is a sum of all these damage types. The base damage can be increased with the usage of Serration mod (+165% damage).
One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot add physical damage to a weapon that deals no physical damage. Some weapons such as Glaxion or Phage can deal no physical damage.
Primary Damage Types and Weaknesses
- Impact: Strong against shield enemies. Weak against flesh. Proc deals short stagger effect.
- Slash: Is strong against flesh-based enemies. Causes a bleeding effect dealing damage over time. Weak against shields. Great against infested, once procced ignores shields and armor and deals true damage. Considered the best in the game.
- Puncture: Strong against flesh. Weak against armor. Puncture proc reduces incoming damage by 30%, not really useful when there is damage type such as Slash in the game.
Best Damage type: Slash. I have explained above why it is the best.
A weapon that deals physical damage can deal elemental damage with the usage of Elemental damage mod. Creating these elements requires the mixing of two different elements. The Elemental damage can be buffed further with the usage of mods or dual stat mods.
Elemental Damage Types
A weapon can have innate combined elemental damage type such as Blast for Lenz. But if the weapon does only physical damage, you can add elemental damage using an elemental mod. These elemental mods can be combined to deal damage such as Blast, Corrosive, Gas, Magnetic, Radiation or Viral.
The order in which you put your mods in also matters. The hierarchy is from left to right (top to bottom). You can put multiple combined elemental damages types in a single weapon.
For example: If you put Hellfire and Cryorounds on Soma Prime, it will deal Blast damage.
Now adding Infected Clip to the combo, the weapon now deals Blast + Toxin damage as shown in the image below:
Now, swapping Hellfire with Infected Clip gives us Viral damage as shown in the picture below:
More about elemental combinations and what combination is best for what faction in the article below. The above explanation was just to give you an example of how modding works.
Elemental Damage Combinations
|Damage Types||Result of Combo||Status Effect|
|Electricity + Toxin||Corrosive||Corrosion: Reduces current armor by 25%.|
|Blast||Heat + Cold||Knockdown: Creates a 5 meter knockdown area. Knocks enemy whens procced.|
|Gas||Heat + Toxin||Toxin Cloud: Creates a 3m radius cloud dealing toxin damage overtime (8 seconds)|
|Magnetic||Cold + Electricity||Disrupt: Reduces enemy Shields by 75% for 4 seconds.|
|Viral||Cold + Toxin||Viral: Reduces health to 50% for 6 seconds.|
|Radiation||Heat + Electricity||Confusion: Confuses enemies. Enemies start attacking each other.|
Best Elemental Damage type: There’s no best element type, it can vary on what faction you are fighting with. I mostly run a Corrosive build at all times since it’s an all-rounder.
Weapons that already have innate combined elements such as Penta (Blast), Nukor (Radiation) and Detron (Radiation) will always deal their own damage type. This cannot be changed by tweaking around with mods, though you can add another combined elemental damage type. For example, I can add Blast damage on top of the radiation damage to my Nukor as shown in the picture below.
Understanding Enemy Weakness
Now all the knowledge we’ve gained from the above information can be combined to form the right build for each faction. Let’s find out what is the best damage type for each faction.
- Grineer – Grineer enemies generally have huge armor. A corrosive build is what you should be running for all grineer tileset missions.
- Corpus – Corpus have shields, magnetic damage takes away 75% of their shield. Running a magnetic build along with viral damage would be great for these missions.
- Infested – Infested enemies can get way tanky as the mission’s progress. Running a weapon with Slash + Corrosive damage will be great for Infested missions.
- Corrupted Enemies – These enemies are mostly found in Void and relic opening missions. It’s best to run a corrosive build for this.
The below image from Aahz will help you understand it better, this was made way back in 2013 but it’s still relevant:
Click on the image to zoom it
As you can see in the picture above, Slash damage is good for enemies with high flesh health, corrosive is good for enemies with high armor and so on.
Unique Damage Types
These are a few unique damage types in the game that are not offered by any typical weapon.
- True damage: True damage is a damage type that completely ignores armor and health. True damage can be only applied through slash procs, finishers and a few warframe abilities such as Ash’s Blade Storm.
- Void: Void damage can only be dealt by Warframe’s Operator. You can gain access to the operator once you have completed the War Within Quest.
- Tau: Tau is a sentient energy attack damage.