The mid-game wall (difficulty)

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#1 Posted by caleums (67 posts) -

Hi duders. I mostly lurk on the forums but wanted to post my problem here. I’ll make this quick.

I’m in the middle of completing all the planets, but I seem to have run into a difficulty wall that I can’t get past. I’m working on Europa and find that any mission that is Level 20 or above means I’m going to get destroyed by enemies, even though I have almost 1,000 shield and 1,000 health.

What are the GENERAL things a player can do to overcome these difficulty spikes? Because I can assume this won’t be the last time the mission levels will get higher.

Sometimes these questions are answered by “just use X warframe and X weapon” but that doesn’t really help me engage with the game systems and understand the overarching problem of why I’m failing. I have plenty of Level 30 weapons and frames and sentinels but I’m still getting stomped on missions.

And then I watch players on YouTube who are getting 15,000 headshots with their pistol and thinking to myself “How?! How in the world are they doing that but I can’t...”

Am I not pursuing rare and powerful mods? If so, where do I find them? Am I not doing enough Fissure missions? Does the game only return to “doable” once you get prime weapons and frames?

I’m asking all this because I feel like the game is squeezing me into putting more money into it, which isn’t off the table for me, but I thought the whole point of this game was that you could always make progress without paying.

Thanks guys and gals.

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#2 Posted by WhatsHisFace (745 posts) -

Europa is the ice planet with the ship wreckage, right? Well, there are a few things I would mention:

  • First of all, the wikia is very useful, so you should check it out
  • From time to time, you can buy mods, weapons and other stuff from the special vendor dude, but he shows up every 2 weeks (if I remember correctly) and he has a random selection. Still worth to check it out
  • Try to use weapons with high Impact damage. Impact is generally good against the Corpus
  • Depending on the mission type, try to avoid alreting the enemy or at least hack the alert fast or else a Bursa will show up and those fuckers are bad news
  • Use a warframe that's suitable for the current mission type. For example: Frost is good on Defense missions because of its bubble
  • And lastly, Tigris. This gun will take you to places

By the way, what is the reason you are getting destroyed? There are too many enemies? They deal way too much damage with each shot? Or you're not dealing enough damage?

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#3 Edited by OurSin_360 (6158 posts) -

I haven't played in a long time but i remember having to grind for specific cards in order to handle higher difficulty. And yeah the wiki and online info was abundant to help out new players in what yo grind for and upgrade etc

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#4 Posted by caleums (67 posts) -

@whatshisface: The main reason I’m getting stomped is I’m not killing enemies fast enough (even with Level 30 weapons) and because of that they tend to surround me and just dump damage on me. The missions I’m running aren’t popular enough to matchmake with so they feel very tough solo.

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#5 Edited by Tennmuerti (9460 posts) -

As a relatively new player myself, for survivability, one thing you want to quickly learn is that outside of a very few cases of tank frames and tank setups, no matter your health or shields certain enemy types will chew through that in seconds if left alive and active and if you're stationary.

By far the biggest survivability in WF in my opinion comes baked into every setup, its universal and applicable at all times. Either kill enemies fast, or keep moving. (Unless you have a tank setup). While you are jumping, rolling, bullet jumping and sliding etc the amount of damage you take on average can go from 100% to 1%. You can be comfortably fine in even some of the super squishy frames in all but the highest level content (past 50) for 99% of the time if you just keep moving and killing. But your health can also drop in an instant as soon as you stop vs. those dangerous enemies.

Sure you can absolutely build frames that can just stand there and take all the damage in the world, but they aren't really necessary in order to do well in most of the games content. And if you want to go down that rabbit whole you can learn about armor, shield, and stuff like Quick thinking etc on the wiki, for those real tough boys.

Remember all the talk from GB staff about them having difficulty with last years Wolfenstien? While a bigger portion of people playing on PC were having a much easier go of the combat? That's because of TTK - time to kill. When enemies do a lot of baseline damage to you, killing them faster creates a feedback loop of you taking much less damage to the point that if you kill fast enough your damage intake can decrease to almost 0. And since WF is also partially a dungeon crawler like say Diablo and relies on stats on top of that, this concept is even more accentuated. If something can kill you in 1 second, but it takes that enemy 1 second to start shooting you, your life expectancy is 2 seconds. However if you kill that enemy in 1.5 seconds you only took half your health in damage. And if you kill that enemy in 1 second or less the damage you take is 0, you are now immortal congratulations. That's the extreme end, boiling down of the concept.

Barring those 2 above tactics like killing stuff faster, or moving there are also frames that can provide some crowd control abilities so that again enemies don't shoot back.

So how do you kill stuff faster?

You don't need Prime warframes or weapons to push into more difficult stuff, that gear is nice to have but way not necessary until you hit the endgame proper. Even then there are plenty of regular options available some of the really good weapons are just plain old regular stuff you can craft yourself.

What matters far far more is using orokin catalyst/reactors on your mainstay weapon or warframe. Lookup some of the recommended gear on one of the popular channels (like tacticalpotato or brozime for example) settle on one or two or 3 and then upgrade them with those orokin thingies. Doing so doubles the mod capacity, which can double, triple, 10x or just shoot the damage of a weapon into the stratosphere. A lvl 30 weapon without a catalyst has 30 mod points, with a catalyst it has 60!

Which brings us the the most most most MOST important part of WF. Mods. Mods are essentially how you grow, progress and measure your power in WF they are your ceiling. Understanding how damage in WF works is super duper important. And i don't mean damage types. Damage types like elemental procs is a fine thing to understand eventually but it's not the real underlying basic core of the WF dmg model, it's what comes after.

The very basic shit is this:

  • Damage boosters in WF that are of the same kind are additive, so say you have two elemental mods that give you +90% dmg each, like fire+ice, together they give you a +180% dmg boost on your weapon at the very base level, (not taking into account elemental dmg types and resistances of enemies)
  • Damage boosters that are of different types are MULTIPLICATIVE, this is insanely important to understand, like you cannot really play this game without this knowledge type of stuff, you will hit a wall. What does this mean? Well for example lets say my base dmg mod Serration gives me +150% dmg boost, I also have +120% multi shot, then +180% of the elemental dmg from example above. Now my gun actually does: (1+1.5)x(1+1.2)x(1+1.8)=15.4. That's about 15 times the damage of the base version! And this is just peanuts, that's the surface layer example, before you factor in stuff like criticals or elemental effects. (napkin math obv.)

This is why you are seeing videos of people doing such high damage, because they understand how the numbers multiply from that base example I gave, times the crits, times head shot multipliers, and with a bigger mod capacity of 60 instead of 30, that with Forma cutting the cost of installed mods that match the polarity in half. They are essentially using weapons with 70, 80 or a 100 effective mod capacity with every mod trying to multiply every other mod effect.

This is also why it's important to really try to level up those base damage mods, because from there they multiply the rest of the damage. Then throw in a couple of leveled up base elemental damage mods. Then something with multishot. Then depending on your weapon either a couple of crit chance and crit damage mods, or a few more dual stat elemental mods like say Scorch, if the weapon has a higher % elemental chance rather then crit. But first find a few trusty old guns that people do recommend for starting players to do that to. Like a Grakata or a Hek.

You do want to start looking into the more mid tier mods and how to get them soon. Stuff like multishot or dual stat elemental mods that give +elemental damage and +elemental chance in one for example are important for weapons with a higher % elemental status chance. And yes looking up how damage types work, how procs works, how elemental effects work and how crit works. Or how armor/health/shields work on your own frames for survivability. Eventually in order to progress with WF you do need to engage with it's systems and learn them, god only knows the game itself does not make it easy or obvious so you do have to rely on outside resources like the wiki or video guides. Which is a bit rough. Want to progress? Learn. But are you personally at the point with the game where you like it enough to put in the time to learn all that shit? If yes, awesome.

How to get those kind mods? Some are easier some are harder then others. That you would need to look up on the wiki on a mod by mod basis. A few are easy to get yourself, some are just getting lucky, some have a bit of grind involved, some a couple of hoops to jump through. Some are also just incredibly cheap to buy from other players, for the instantly beneficial effects they can provide. You can do it in parallel, try to get some yourself, some that you don't get you can try to buy, there are things out there for 5, 10 or 15 plat that is essentially a pittance, we are talking cents here. There were some mods I bought for example where I could immediately see the benefit, but would either have to grind hours for if I wanted them specifically or just do the math and realize the price to get them was 10 cents. I could have also always started selling my own stuff by doing research to see what sells and spent time doing that if I were completely puritanical about putting in 0 money into the game, but eeeeeh, minimum wage is 10x more efficient, and a price of a full game can set you up with more then enough plat for useful gameplay relevant gear for months if you're a little smart about spending it.

Eventually, yes, there is the higher tier of maximizing all your cool toys. Be it prime warframes and weapons, forma'ing your gear to the nines, getting higher end mods that you can afford, like meme strike or primed mods, maybe even looking into rivens if you're lucky and/or got the plat for it. But that's waaaay down the line from lvl 20 enemies I think.

PS: starting to look into some of the easier to get prime weapons and how to get them is also not a bad idea at this point, like your Braton Primes etc.

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#6 Posted by tbk (293 posts) -


From what I understand you don't deal enough DPS. Post a picture of your layout for current standard primary you use. Makes it easier to spot stuff.

For primaries: Mods called Serration and Multishot are your next big goal. You need those and you need to start leveling those up, Serration has probably priority over multishot, till you get +100% damage or so. Somewhere on the internet a nice person did the math on how to maximize damage for resource strapped players.

Against corpus mod for Magnetic (electricity + cold) and Toxin damage, or just plain Toxin.

Wiki and the in-game codex show you how enemies react to certain damage types.

Most weapons fall into certain archetypes - crit weapon, status, crit/status and just pure damage.

Avatar image for caleums
#7 Posted by caleums (67 posts) -

@tennmuerti: This was unbelievably helpful and enlightening. Can’t understate how grateful I am for that wonderful breakdown.

Thank you all so much for the very thoughtful advice. You’re right - it’s about understanding builds and starting to invest in mods and mod capacity so I can solve these problems from a more thought-out approach.

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