The early parts of Warframe are weird. Everything is either too hard or weirdly easy, and difficulty jumps are all over the place. One minute you’re fine, slowly going around shooting the helmets off Corpus grunts, capturing targets who like to teleport and very, very slowly doing Spy vaults, the next you’re being overrun by hordes of Grineer and watching helplessly as they kill your Taxon and destroy that Cryopod you had to protect.
Most of the time though, you’ll be fine, apart from the fact that everything is slowly getting harder and you’re not quite sure why. Okay, the enemies are higher levels but there’s something else that’s bothering you. Your guns don’t do enough. Eventually, you’ll realise that you’re not killing things because you need to level up your mods and use your abilities more.
Except you can’t.
See, I was playing on my old, old Warframe account, good old Phovos, and he’s just hit Mastery Rank 3. He’s slowly, slowly making his way across the solar system. But he’s got to go slowly, hiding behind cover.
There’s two reasons why. Phovos the Excalibur has no Endo and almost no energy. So he can’t use abilities most of the time and he can’t level up his mods either.
The ability issue isn’t too bad. Normally a gun is quicker at killing anyway, especially at early levels. You’re more reliant on abilities to get you out of a bad situation, rather than using them to mass-murder enemies and rack up kill counts. But energy can be insanely sparse, to the point that you might see one energy orb in the entirety of a mission. On top of that, you almost certainly don’t have the ability to use things like Zenurik energy regeneration, because you haven’t unlocked that yet, and you probably won’t have access to the credits and polymer bundles to be able to make lots of energy restores. Heck some people might not even know they’re there, I went until Mastery Rank 7 before I started using them. You’re basically reliant on luck, breaking every crate and opening every locker you see and random Trinities that you might end squading up with.
Using abilities might be easier if you have the mod Streamline, which reduces the energy that abilities use. But that brings us to our next problem. There’s not a lot of Endo lying around.
You need Endo to be able to level up mods, and this comes from three places: random drops in levels, dissolving duplicate mods and Ayatan treasures and end-of-mission rewards.
Endo from random drops often isn’t very much. You might get 40-80 Endo if you’re lucky. The only time you can rely on Endo drops from enemies is if you are playing Rathuum, located on the very last planet you unlock.
End-of-mission rewards can be very hit and miss. Bounties on the Plains of Eidolon can give you 200 endo, Excavators on Hieracon can give you 400 Endo. But some missions, for example five waves of defense on Io, can give you 80 Endo. Alerts are the worst offenders, because they could be anything from a capture mission to 10 waves of defense, and for no more than 150 Endo. But a lot of these areas are a bit out of range of a newbie, aside from PoE missions. Even Bounties might be a bit too much though, if all you have is an MK1-Braton.
Sure, you can dissolve Ayatan treasures, but you won’t have any at first (unless you get lucky). You also need to be able to access Maroo’s Bazaar on Mars, which is doable somewhat quickly, but you don’t get much out of treasures unless they are fully filled.
So you’re left with dissolving mods. But even then you don’t get THAT much out of them. 5 Endo for common mods, which is all you’ll have at first.
Luckily, it’s not a vicious circle. The more you play, the more Endo you get and the more you can level up your mods, meaning the more you can use your abilities and the better you can make use of your guns.
It requires quite a bit of patience. Maybe Warframe would feel better for newbies though if there was more energy and more Endo available earlier on?