I’ve never really liked Nova. She’s the one single Warframe who was designed by the community, and it shows. She’s insanely strong in a multitude of ways, fulfilling multiple niches and just generally being really, really good. Nova is also a very popular frame, an attractive frame and one that has received a huge amount of Tennogen cosmetics. But I really just don’t like her.
It’s not even because she gets in the way of Volt and my other favourite Warframes. Volt’s not the fastest Warframe, Nova is because she can instantly teleport. Ivara’s one of the better Warframes for Spy missions, but oh look, Nova’s equally as good and genuinely better if you don’t care about setting off alarms. When she’s not outpacing Warframes literally, in terms of damage, Nova can outpace a lot of frames with Animatter Drop and Molecular Prime. The only thing Nova doesn’t have is any real tankiness, but she can still get up to 90% damage reduction with Null Star, her first ability, based on the number of little orbs floating around her.
Actually, Nova did get in the way of other frames in other ways too. She actually got her Prime version before original, official-release Warframes Ash, Volt and Trinity, and before Vauban, Banshee and Saryn who were all released before Nova.
As to how people play Nova, there tends to be two main loadouts. I have always called these builds NOva and YESva, because they are based on Molecular Prime.
Molecular Prime, Nova’s 4th ability, slows all enemies down in a wide radius and also charges them with energy. This means that not only are enemies forced to walk at a snail’s pace, but they also explode on death, which admittedly is insanely satisfying. To get the maximum slow, you only need about 140-150% power strength, meaning just Intensify and Power Drift are enough to get a nice, powerful slow going. That gives you plenty of space to cram in as much range and duration as you can, creating a standard Slow Nova or Slowva build. Or what I call NOva.
On the other side of the scale is Speedva or what I call YESva. You see, if you put negative Power Strength on Nova (by using Overextended for increased range at the cost of power strength), when you use use Molecular Prime, enemies aren’t slowed down. Instead, they run faster. They zoom towards you at high speed. While that doesn’t sound very useful, it actually is, forcing enemies to charge at you so you can clear Defense missions far faster than normal. Also works nicely in Survival and Exterminate missions when you just want to kill more things than normal.
I call those builds that because it’s either “No you can’t run fast” or “Yes you can run as fast as you like.” You can see why most people prefer Slowva and Speedva.
Be careful though, as people can complain about Slowva. Using a Slowva build in a defense mission will definitely get you a lot of funny looks.
Anyway, other builds generally consist of high speed Wormhole builds with Nova’s portal-based Wormhole ability, or creating nuclear explosions with Antimatter Drop and having it absorb more and more damage.
Nova really is insanely versatile though. And unlike other versatile frames, Nova also brings good looks and a great body with her. Really, the only ugly thing about Nova is the helmet on her Deluxe skin, and that’s completely optional.
But you know what? You can have too much of a good thing. And Nova can be too much of a god thing.
Also I can’t work out how to use Wormhole efficiently. Damn thing always seems to spawn a few feet behind me, even though they’re supposed to spawn directly in front of me. Also fuck trying to use wormholes on allies. Especially you, Plague Star drones.