Mods and Modding refers to the Upgrade Modules in Warframe which are used to enhance your equipment. Modding is the act of installing one of these Upgrade Modules into a piece of equipment. The general rule of thumb when it comes to Modding is to plan for the maximum capacity and use what is available along the way.
For more information, visit the wiki: Mods 2.0
Upgrade Modules are the means by which a player can empower their equipment in Warframe. Mods come in the form of cards which are acquired through gameplay and are applied to equipment via the Arsenal > Upgrade system. The Mods themselves can also be upgraded to increase their effects by fusing Mods to increase the rank (more on that below). Mods can be shared freely on different pieces of equipment, but the same Mod cannot be equipped on multiple items in your current active loadout (which will only ever be a problem with Sentinel modding). For example, you could equip the same Rank 4 Serration on your Braton and your Burston without any problems.
Some Mods are restricted to certain equipment types. For example, warframe Mods which increase Health and Shields cannot be equipped on companions such as Sentinels. Instead, Sentinels have their own Mod card for that purpose. Likewise, Primary, Secondary, and Melee weapons all use different Mod types. Beyond that, a primary Shotgun will use different Mods than other primary weapons.
Each Mod card comes with a drain value and a polarity type shown on the top right of the card. The drain value indicates how much capacity is necessary to equip that Mod (except for Aura Mods). Modding Capacity is determined by equipment rank. A rank 0 weapon will have 0 Modding Capacity and gain 1 additional capacity per rank for a maximum of 30. This can be doubled by installing an Orokin Reactor or Orokin Catalyst which will give 2 capacity per rank for a maximum of 60. Polarity determines drain bonus/penalty values.
When the symbol on the Mod card matches the symbol on the Mod slot on the equipment, it will only drain 50% of the value (rounded up). If there is no symbol, it will simply charge the amount displayed on the Mod card. If the symbol does not match it is still possible to equip the Mod to that slot, but suffer a penalty of an additional 25% of the Mod’s drain. Furthermore, it is possible to add, change, or remove polarity by using Forma.
Your initial Modding Capacity on an unranked piece of equipment is determined by your Mastery Rank (a change introduced in Hotfix 18.13.2). For example, a player with a Mastery Rank level of 15 will have 15 Modding Capacity available on a Rank 0 piece of equipment. If an Orokin Catalyst or Reactor is installed, the amount will double. Once the equipment rank exceeds the Mastery Rank, the capacity will increase with equipment rank up to the standard maximum of 30.
New players do not begin with a set of free Mod cards. Instead, new players can earn a scattered handful of Damaged Mods by completing the tutorial missions in the quest Vor’s Prize. These Mods are inferior versions of the Mods they represent and will possibly be the first mods you encounter in gameplay. For example, take a look at Serration:
The Damaged version of Serration provides less Increased Damage at every rank, but also has a slightly lower Mod cost. Try to replace the Damaged versions with the standard versions of the Mod as soon as possible.
A quick checklist of Mods to obtain as a new player:
- Serration (Primary weapons excluding Shotguns)
- Hornet Strike (Secondary weapons)
- Split Chamber (Primary weapons excluding Shotguns)
- Barrel Diffusion (Secondary weapons)
- Lethal Torrent (Secondary weapons)
- The Uncommon quality Elemental mods — Toxin | Heat | Electricity | Cold — Note: A different set for each weapon type. Note: The order you equip these mods determines the combined elements. The order is top to bottom, left to right.
- The warframe staples: Strength | Duration | Range | Efficiency | +Energy | Shields | Health | Armor
After acquiring these core mods and ranking them up, consider working on the Corrupted, Event, and Primed Mod collections.
For more information, check out the wiki: Mod Fusion
Players can increase the ranks of their Mods by infusing them with Endo. This is done from your Orbiter systems via the Menu -> Equipment -> Mods section.
Mods come with different possible maximum ranks. Some Mods will reach maximum strength at Rank 3, some at Rank 5, and others at Rank 10. The higher the rank, the higher the Fusion cost. The higher the rarity, the higher the Fusion cost.
Prioritize ranking up Mods which improve damage sources and ability to survive such as Serration, Hornet Strike, Redirection, and Vitality. The jump from Rank 8 to 9 is almost as expensive in regards to Endo as it is from ranking up 0 to 8. The jump from Rank 9 to 10 is almost as expensive as ranking up from 0 to 9. Players should not fuse up to Rank 10 on Mods early on. Focus on getting your most valuable Mods up to Rank 6-8 first. Don’t feel compelled to reach Rank 10 just because you see a guide recommending it; your goal will always be Rank 10 but it is fine to stay below that as you work your way up.
For more information, check out the wiki: Mod Transmutation
Transmutation works by combining 4 Mods (as well as a Credit fee) to create a new, random Mod. It is strongly recommended to only use this system after after collecting an excessive surplus of Mods and Credits. Transmutation is a way to potentially acquire rare Mods. Note: Not all Mods can be acquired via transmutation. Augment, Aura, Corrupted, Drift, Nightmare, and Primed Mods are examples of Mod types which cannot be transmuted.
Some Mods only have one method of acquisition via gameplay and stand out among the more standard Mods. These Mods are generally far more powerful or provide unique utility relative to the standard Mods. These Mods are all available via trading as well.
Players can only equip these Mods on the specified items they are associated with (with some leeway for non-syndicate variants). These are only available via Syndicates. They are not readily available to newer players but they are available for trade if desired. The list below will not include every good augment because that’s a much longer list. These are focused on ones that either make less popular frames more useful or provide powerful and easy group synergy.
Priority Warframe Augment Mods: Resonance (Banshee’s Sonar), Pilfering Swarm (Hydroid’s Tentacle Swarm), Irradiating Disarm (Loki’s Radial Disarm), Vampire Leech (Trinity’s Energy Vampire), Repelling Bastille (Vauban’s Bastille)
Aura Mods are only used by warframes and provide squad-wide benefits in game. In addition to that, these special Mods will add Modding Capacity to the warframe. If the polarity matches, the bonus Modding Capacity is doubled. If the polarity does not match, only 75% bonus capacity is gained based on the Aura Mod’s base value. These Mods can only be acquired by randomized alerts or trading.
Corrupted Mods come with a penalty. For example: Blind Rage can provide an incredible amount of Power Strength, but at the cost of terrible Power Efficiency. Players can obtain these Mods by opening Dragon Key Vaults in the Orokin Derelict.
Drift Mods are only usable by warframes and provide minor movement and utility bonuses. Players can acquire these Mods by completing The Seven Principles challenges on the Moon Missions.
Nightmare Mods are acquired by completing Nightmare Alerts or Nightmare Missions. These mods provide two benefits as opposed to the standard one stat improvement. Pick a mission type well suited for speed running such as Deception or Capture when farming for these mods. Note: As of Specters of the Rail Update 1, Nightmare Missions are now alert-only.
As the name implies, these are more powerful variants of other standard Mods. This type of Mod is considered a luxury and provides raw power at much more expensive capacity drain requirements. Primed Mods fall into the category of “Legendary” Mods which have a much higher fusion cost for ranking up (and require 1,000,000 Credits to trade). Players can purchase Primed Mods by exchanging Ducats with Baro Ki’Teer. Baro’s inventory changes every two weeks and not all Primed Mods are available each time.