The Problem With The Steel Essence Farm

With the upcoming Deimos Arcana update, there’s going to be a lot of changes to a lot of things. Part of the changes include one to Steel Path. Particularly how you get Steel Essence.

The Steel Path overall is a bit tedious. It’s the normal star chart but everything is way, way tankier. There’s only two reasons to do it: Mastery and Steel Essence, which can be traded in to Teshin for various rewards. But unless you go looking, Steel Essence is hard to come across. Currently, on the Heart of Deimos update, it has a chance to drop Eximus enemies and Eidolons. You also get 2 Steel Essence for completing a planet.

But this is soon to change. If the Test Cluster is anything to go by.

First though, how most Steel Essence farming works.

Simply put, by doing normal Steel Path activities and just doing the missions, you get very little Steel Essence. Most non-endless missions won’t drop a Steel Essence because Eximus enemies are rare and the drop chance is low. The best way to get Steel Essence is to spend a LONG time in endless missions, where more and more enemies spawn as Eximus.

Originally, the best farm was Infested Survival, which had the most enemies and thus the most Eximus spawns. They’re also weaker and easier to kill. But the ability to use loot frames like Nekros on Steel Essence was removed, so people sought other areas to farm. Defense was a good place for a while, but the current best spot is actually on Mercury.

Odin is an Interception map that uses the same tileset as Hydron and Helene defense, and, because it’s Interception, you have a constant stream of enemies. Not as much as a survival, but because the map is smaller, the enemies get to you more quickly. With a Resource Drop Chance Booster, a Resource Booster, a Smeeta and a TON of luck, you can get about 100-150 Steel Essence in an hour. Without all of those? Well, it’s closer to 50 in an hour. If you’re lucky.

And you do need to wait a while. Even on Odin, the Steel Essence drops don’t pick up until after the 4th or 5th round. It’s a great farm, but for maximum results, you tend to need to spend at least an hour in one mission. Not everyone can do that.

In Comes the Test Cluster.

The test cluster is basically a copy of Warframe for, well, testing. There’s not THAT many people testing it, but there’s enough. And in the test server, Steel Essence no longer drops from Eximus Units. Instead, you get it from two places: Alerts and Acolytes that spawn in missions.

The Acolytes are Stalker’s little buddies, and it’s not been determined how regularly they spawn. It seems to be somewhat close to the coin keepers on Corpus ship missions, that drop Granum Crowns. The downside however is that this can mean waiting around in missions hoping that they spawn. And because the Acolytes will have Steel Path modifiers and Warframe abilities, they’re going to be a pain to take down. But that’s assuming they spawn. If the Acolytes spawn pretty regularly, or can be forced to spawn, then they’d be an okay alternative. But if not, well, that just makes them a nuisance. Especially since some Acolytes are way, way tougher than others.

The alerts however seem fine, but they don’t seem to be boosted in any way. So you do your alert, get your Steel Essence and that’s it. But the daily alerts are a guaranteed source of Steel Essence AND a way to unlock nodes on other planets at the same time. Alerts, personally, seem fine.

Overall, this seems like a nerf to the amount of Steel Essence you can get.

At first, you’d think that, between the Alerts and the Acolytes, the average player can get some guaranteed Steel Essence. But alerts are one-off missions and Acolytes are sporadic. There’s no real guaranteed way to farm Acolytes. Okay, sure, there’s no guaranteed way to get Steel Essence from Eximus either, but Eximus spawns are more common than Acolytes are.

Really, the problem is Kuva and Umbral Forma.

The large amounts of Steel Essence are only really necessary for two things. On the current patch, you can buy LOTS of Kuva for not a lot of Steel Essence. With the right setup, you can farm way, way more Kuva by turning in Steel Essence than you can with direct Kuva methods. Steel Essence farms beat out Kuva Survival and Siphons in a big way.

On top of that, you’ll soon be able to buy Umbral Forma with Steel Essence via Teshin. But some people have thousands of Steel Essence. So clearly there’s a desire to keep both Kuva and Umbral Forma semi-rare. They’re supposed to be luxury goods, after all. So the Steel Essence nerfs are designed to make these items harder to get.

This makes no sense though. Surely it’d be quicker and easier just to increase the costs of Kuva and Umbral Forma? And, perhaps, at the same time, make Kuva Siphons and Kuva Survival give more? If you don’t want people farming Kuva by farming Steel Essence, then you need to make proper Kuva methods more desirable.

My question is, why not both?

I don’t see why we should get rid of Eximus drops completely. Some might argue that the current Odin farm is very silly and maybe even too strong. Maybe it IS a bit too strong. But removing the drops from Eximus just takes away player options. Rather than having multiple ways to farm Steel Essence, we have two, and only one of them is reliable and only one is repeatable.

So why not keep both? Give the casual player a way to get Steel Essence if they want to, and let the people who have hours of free time farm Odin and Survival missions? After all, isn’t that the whole point of the Steel Path, a place for people to test their endurance and strong builds?

Guess not, now that Umbral Forma are now a buy-able thing…

Of course, this isn’t all set in stone.

This is just what people have seen in the test clusters. It might all change when the Deimos Arcana update comes out. But, knowing DE and their feedback, it probably won’t.


Medic, also known as Phovos (or occasionally Dr Retvik Von Scribblesalot), writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF since she doesn't have anything better to do. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Phovos has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

2 thoughts on “The Problem With The Steel Essence Farm

  • December 11, 2020 at 4:14 am

    This is a lot more professional and good for the future of the game. Grinding on Odin with Khora was stupid.

    • December 11, 2020 at 10:39 am

      I understand nerfing the Odin farm a bit, but I think taking away all other options isn’t the way to go.


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