I’ve talked about Excalibur, the poster child and best choice for your first Warframe. I’ve talked about Mag and how I don’t really understand how she works. I’ve gone on and on about Volt and you’re all probably sick of hearing about him. But none of these three are truly the best starter character.
After you defeat Vor in the tutorial quest, you’re left to wander around. You can only really go to Venus, the path to Mars is locked off behind things on Venus and Mercury, and the moon is missing. Venus is a simple and inexplicably cold planet. The first actual boss you fight is the Jackal at Fossa and defeating this boss gives you access to the Mercury junction. It also drops parts of the Rhino Warframe, the first character you can get parts for and build yourself.
Rhino is this other other other starter frame. He’s absolutely perfect as an early character. He’s the best second character you could ever have. Rhino introduces you to repeatedly doing bosses to get that one part you’re missing, gathering resources that you were sure you had enough of and remembering to buy the blueprint on the market because only newer frames lock their blueprints away behind awkward quests.
Unfortunately, not everyone will build Rhino first. This is mainly because the ingredients you need to build Rhino involve going quite a distance. The earliest you can build Rhino, assuming that you’re not being taxied across the solar system, is by reaching the Void via Phobos. By the time you reach the lower levels of the Void, you’ll have done two other boss fights – Lech Kril and the Sergeant, who drop Frost and Mag respectively, and are probably on your way to Ceres and Jupiter, which give the components needed to build most other frames, and have bosses which give far more… interesting and useful characters – Trinity and Valkyr.
And of course, by then, you’ll probably have grown attached to your current Warframe, whoever they are.
I’m one of those people. I ended up building Frost as my second starter character and for reasons unknown left Rhino behind. But I came back for Rhino, then worked my ass off to get Rhino Prime because I realised just how useful Rhino is.
Really, with a name like Rhino, you expect a big, heavy, unstoppable, stampeding monstrosity, and that’s pretty much what Rhino is. He walks slower than most other frames. When he falls from a great height, he creates a shock wave on the ground. He has a charging attack where he stampedes forward and smashes enemies. He has Iron Skin, which makes him immune to damage until Iron Skin wears off. He has Roar, which boosts allied damage for a short amount of time. And his crowning ability, Rhino Stomp, makes a shock wave so powerful that it disrupts time and freezes enemies in midair before letting them crash into the ground.
So you have a mobility/damage ability, a defensive ability, a support ability AND a crowd control ability. All on one frame. A frame that is easy to get.
What makes Rhino even better though is that he doesn’t even need many mods. Throw an Intensify mod on him, a Vitality (health), a Steel Fiber (armor) and maybe a Redirection (shields) if you lack an easy way to regain health and you’re pretty much good to go. None of the starter Warframes, not even Excalibur, are that viable with bad mods.
The best thing about Rhino though is that even if your weapons and everything is shit, you’ll always be useful. He’s the second most useful character to take into Sorties (after Trinity – because free heals and energy are just so powerful) because all his abilities are useful. Roar will help in literally any situation, particularly augmented enemy armor missions, giving a nice damage boost to all your weapons. Rhino Stomp is a super powerful ability that even some bosses can’t avoid – the boss Lephiantis for example will remain slowed and vulnerable for a good long time if Rhino Stomp is used correctly. And Rhino Skin means you won’t die constantly – as long as you keep an eye on it and refresh it as soon as it runs out.
Compared to everyone else, even other characters with invulnerability, Rhino is miles ahead of in terms of easy usefulness. You can’t really go wrong with him.