I pretty much represent the extreme other end of the spectrum at Mastery Rank 16. Sorry, I realize this post will be a bit mechanically heavy... so feel free to let me know if you need further explanation for something. Also, it's not strictly necessary for you to understand all of this fully just yet, so don't panic! (also, I'm rank 16... so you'll get the complicated answer :s )
The others have explained "capacity" on [Warframes/Sentinels/Weapons/etc], and I feel that is pretty much spot on. Normally, every rank your [item] gains will give you 1 capacity to use on mods PER rank of that item. So at rank 1, you'd have 1 capacity, at rank 30, you'll have 30. This works the same on every Weapon, Warframe and companion in the game. (mods can also be ranked up, but that's an entirely different story).
Worth mentioning also, is that Warframes (and melee weapons) have a 9th slot that other items do not have. This is the Aura slot (Stance for melee weapons). What's interesting about these is that they actually don't COST capacity, but rather PROVIDE capacity. Unfortunately, it may be a while before you get access to Auras (as I believe they are only available from Alerts).
For completeness sake, I want to mention 2 "advanced" concepts related to capacity, though: supercharging and polarity.
- Supercharging is the act of consuming Orokin Catalyst/Orokin Reactors into your weapons, warframes and sentinels. Doing so doubles your capacity per rank - Rank 1, you'll have 2 capacity, rank 30 you'll have 60 capacity. (veterans will often refer to an orokin reactor or orokin catalyst as a "potato")
- Polarity is... well, some items have slots with a little icon in the top right (you may not have encountered this yet). Putting a mod with a matching polarity (icon turns green) in that slot will consume HALF the normal capacity it would (so a mod with a cost of 10 would only cost you 5 capacity) - allowing more/higher ranked mods. However, if you place a mod in that slot which does not have a matching polarity (icon turns red), you'll pay an additional capacity fee of 25% (so a mod with cost of 10 would be 13 - rounded up).
(You will eventually be able to alter polarity on items...but let's wait with that...)
In regards to your "account rank" ("Mastery Rank"), @dudeglove was just missing a minor component from getting it all right :)
When you gain affinity (Warframe's name for experience) you will eventually level up items. Every time you level up an item you gain Mastery. Mastery is your "mastery rank" affinity - and is only awarded from each unique weapon once. So once you've earned rank 30 with your Braton, you've earned all the mastery from Braton's that you can gain. Even if you buy another Braton from the store or reset your existing Braton's rank, you will not gain more mastery for it.
However, Braton-MK1 and Braton Prime would still give you mastery until you hit rank 30 with them.
Mastery Rank is primarily Warframe's method of gating users from more powerful items ("having something to work towards").
As for the multiplayer... I feel like you need to have different mindsets going into a multiplayer game vs playing on your own. Explore on your own, but conform to the team when you are in a group.
Personally, I play a lot of solo - even some of the most difficult current content I'm challenging myself to play solo (it's possible, but difficult), but really, Warframe, like most games, is at it's best when you mix in other players - especially when something goes wrong (oh, it still goes wrong in veteran groups ;) ), but Warframe in group becomes a lot more about blitzing down corridors at breakneck pace - almost in a competative nature.
Exploring is really best left for solo-play, certain sabotage missions (earth, I believe) and void missions (though don't worry about void for now).
Hope that helps more than it confuses :)
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