The Handy Guide to Warframe‘s Railjack – Part Two

In part one of this guide I talked about how to acquire your very own Railjack in Warframe and how to beat the first and easiest mission with it. Now it’s time to use the spoils of said mission and turn your rookie vessel into a finely tuned instrument of destruction.

Step Four – Pimp my Railjack

At the end of your first successful Empyrian mission you’ll have been rewarded with a lot of stuff you didn’t have before (Railjack-specific mods, resources etc.), and also two new types of XP, labeled Intrinsics and Plexus. All of this will help you upgrade your ship in various ways.

Let’s have a look at the Railjack Configuration console, which is located right where the clan dojo’s or relay’s Dry Dock fast travel option will take you.

This is the default tab, called Components, which you’ll see first every time you use the console.

Shown on the left are the ships’s four main…well…components, responsible for shield and hull strenght, flight speed and battle mod performance (more on those later). They come in different flavors and ranks, and you’ll upgrade them over time.

The better, more specialized parts are acquired by looting wreckage during missions and repairing it afterwards, but for now I’d advise you to use the Research console located right next to this one and research and build the MK III versions of your pre-installed SIGMA parts. You’ll have to research them in order, first MK I, then MK II and so on. However, if you’re in a clan they may well have already been researched and you just need to build and install the MK III’s. These will carry you a good way into the Empyrian star chart.

Later on, when you’ve looted some wreckage parts, you’ll identify them, repair them if they’re good or scrap them for Endo if they aren’t. This is all managed by the three buttons in the upper middle of the screen. The word Capacity there means that you can initially have a maximum of eight repaired/built custom parts. You can buy additional slots for platinum, but unused parts can also be disassembled, returning the bulk of their resources to you.

On the right hand side of the screen you see the ship’s overall stats. If you swap out any parts changes are shown here in green or red, as usual in Warframe.

The second tab, Armaments, works pretty much the same, but for the Railjack’s weaponry.

The first installed turret is the one fired from the pilot’s seat, the second is relevant for the two swivel turrets manned by your co-pilots (you can’t use two different ones for those), the third is the ordnance launcher, also fired by the pilot.

There are many different types of turrets and ordnance. Personally, I like the Talyn as my main turret, the Vort for the swivel turrets and the Tycho Seeker ordnance, but your mileage may vary. I suggest to build and try them all out while repeating the Sover Strait mission a couple of times, see which you like best, and then research and build the MK III versions of those.

The Upgrades tab is practically the same thing as the mods-section of your warframes and weapons, but with some additions.

The first tab, Integrated, provides one slot for an aura mod and eight for standard mods. As you get them, install and upgrade these as usual; this is pretty self-explanatory. The Plexus-XP mentioned above are for leveling this up, increasing the mod-capacity. The maximum rank is 30, and Forma can be used to apply polarities. It really works just like ‘frames and weapons.

The second and third tabs, Battle and Tactical, are kind of the pendant to warframe abilities. Battle mods give your ship offensive or defensive skills that are activated during missions by pressing 1, 2 or 3, have short or no cooldowns and consume energy. Tactical mods are more situational in nature. They are used by clicking the corresponding button on the tactical map (see Intrinsics below). They don’t consume energy, but have very long cooldowns.

There’s three slots for each, and as far as I can tell these don’t consume any of your available capacity, so in theory you can fully rank them all up right away – if you have the Endo and credits, that is.

Intrinsics, while technically being part of your ship, are what I think of as your character’s personal skills to operate the thing.

There’s five skill trees that start at rank 0 and go up to 10. I won’t go into detail about all of them here, you can see what each rank of each tree does by right-clicking them.

The first few ranks cost next to nothing, and even after your very first successful mission you‘ll probably be able to raise multiple, if not all, classes to at least rank one. In any case, my suggestion would be to start with Tactical and Command rank 1.

Tactical 1 gives you access to the tactical map (L to open it on PC), and lets you use tactical mods. Command 1 allows you to hire your first crew member, which helps immensely if you’re a solo player.

If you’re using a main turret that’s not a hitscan weapon I’d go for Gunnery 1 next, as this unlocks a target lead indicator.

Once you have all five trees at rank 1 and accumulated some more Intrinsics XP I suggest to go straight for Tactical 4. Rank 3 lets you click the white icons on the tactical map to instantly teleport to that part of your Railjack, while rank 4 enables using the Omni tool whenever you’re not aboard your ship to teleport back there whithin seconds. These are both immense time savers and huge QoL-improvements.

After that it’s really down to personal preference. Just keep in mind that some higher level missions have an Intrinsics-requirement, meaning that you need to have raised at least one tree up to that rank to do them. That shouldn’t be a problem though as the XP roll in pretty fast.

The Crew tab does exactly what you’d expect it to: it lets you manage your ship’s crew.

Once you’ve raised your Command Intrinsic to at least rank 1 you can hire crew members from Ticker in Fortuna on Venus. You have three slots from the get-go, more can be purchased for 20 platinum each. You can only ever use three at a time though – and need to have Command rank 5 for that – so there’s no pressing reason to have more.

Crew members have five attributes, Piloting, Gunnery, Repair, Combat and Endurance, with values ranging from 0 to 5. Which stats you’d like them to have depends on what role you want to assign to them. They can be Defender, Pilot, Gunner or Engineer.

A Defender roams your ship, looking to fend off any boarding parties. While this sounds good I don’t think it’s necessary. You’ll soon see why.

Pilot and Gunner are self-explanatory. I don’t need a Pilot as I do that myself (and I hear they aren’t too bright upstairs anyway), but Gunners are great for obvious reasons.

An Engineer looks for fires, leaks etc. and repairs them autonomically. I guess I don’t need to tell you how handy that is. What’s more, as an Engineer isn’t glued to a pilot’s or turret seat they roam around the ship, just like a Defender would, and they, too, shoot enemies when they find any.

That’s why I go with one Engineer and two Gunners, and in my experience this works perfectly. Gunners really only need the Gunnery stat, so once you have two with Gunnery at 3 or so (as you can put more points into it when you’ve sufficiently raised the Command Intrinsic) you’re set. The Engineer should have Repair at rank 4 or 5, obviously, and you can invest any surplus points into Endurance and/or Combat.

If you team up with other players your NPC crew members will be replaced from right to left, by the way, which is why I have my Engineer in the first crew slot.

Every crew member can also be equipped with one of your primary or secondary weapons, with some exceptions. I just give them those that do a lot of AoE damage, with the best one going to the Engineer of course.

You can use captured Kuva Liches or Sisters of Parvos, if you have any, as crew members too, but only at Command Intrinsic rank 8 or higher, and only as a Defender. I really like the idea from a flavor perspective, but that last restriction is a big bummer as, again, I don’t see the need to have a pure defender.

Lastly, you can also change crew members’ appearances, including colors, attachments, syndanas, sigils, the whole shebang. The game isn’t often called Fashionframe for nothing.

Speaking of fashion, the last tab is Customization. I really don’t think I have to explain what you can do with this. Just knock yourself out.

And that’s pretty much all you need to know about configuring and upgrading your Railjack and its crew.

There’s one last thing I feel I should mention. When you’re progressing through the Empyrian star chart you will encounter a new type of mission called Orphix. While in space this is a Railjack mission like any other, but once you’re on foot inside the target station you’ll notice that, as you get near your objective, you’ll be tossed out of your warframe and have to continue in Operator form.

While you technically can go on and fight like this, it’s not the intended way to do it and you’ll most likely run out of time. What you’re supposed to do here is to activate your Necramech.

Don’t have one yet? Look around you, just beyond the energy barrier that forces you into Operator mode there should be an inactive Necramech lying around somewhere. Go near it, press 5 and boom, you got yourself a temporary ‘mech. Unfortunately it isn’t very strong and can’t take much beating either – and you will be attacked by lots of sentients, these missions aren’t a cakewalk – but at least for the first such mission on Venus it should suffice.

The goal here is to destroy all Orphix Resonators (shown in red on your map, they all look like the one on the screenshot above), which will render the Orphix itself vulnerable. Shoot its eye until it’s at 50%, at which point it’ll close again and more resonators will spawn. Once those are gone too you can finish the Orphix off, and the Sentient Control meter will go down by a good chunk. If that meter ever reaches 100% the mission will fail. Rinse and repeat the process until you have destroyed enough Orphixes to extract.

And there you have it, this is Warframe’s Railjack system in a nutshell.

Just not so small a nutshell. Maybe it’s a coconut? Anyhow, fly safe!

The Handy Guide to Warframe‘s Railjack – Part One

The other day my Xbox-based buddy told me that he‘d just finished building his very own Railjack in Warframe. I still remember my initial confusion and frustration with that particular piece of content vividly because the game explains jack shit about how it all works, so I intended to spare him that headache and started to give a rundown of the basics.

However, I wasn‘t even halfway through with my explanation when he asked me to slow the hell down. „Jeez, this is another whole game inside the game, isn’t it?“ he asked, pretty much hitting the nail on the head. Warframe‘s nothing if not complex.

Of course all there is to know already exists out there on the interwebs in some form or another, but back when I was in my mate‘s position I had to piece together the info I was looking for from various different sources, and some blanks still remained that I had to fill in for myself. I would’ve much preferred one complete and chronological step-by-step guide for beginners. Since I couldn’t find such a piece I‘ve decided to write one myself, and this is the first part of it.

Step One – Starting the journey

In order to get the quest that has you recover old Railjack parts and build a new ship from them you need to

    • have finished the Second Dream quest,
    • buy the Railjack Cephalon blueprint from the market and build it in your foundry, and
    • have access to a drydock.

Collecting the Cephalon, who goes by the name of Cy, from your foundry will start the actual quest, called Rising Tide, and it will guide you through the process of reconstructing the old Railjack from here on out.

A drydock can be built in every Clan Dojo, so if you‘re a member of an active clan chances are it‘s already been done and you can use the fast travel option from anywhere in the dojo to get there.

Alternatively, the relays around Saturn, Europa, Eris and Pluto all sport a public drydock, providing access to its functionality for players who aren’t in a clan or don‘t want to build one in their own dojo for whatever reason. The fast travel option is available here too.

As you obviously don‘t have your Railjack yet the only thing you can do here at this point is install your freshly built Cephalon into the marked terminal, which will advance the quest.

Step Two – Building the Railjack

You will now be sent on a journey to recover said Railjack parts, six in total. The missions aren’t too difficult, but you should be prepared to fight sentient enemies. Having a good Amp (basically anything other than the Mote Amp) and/or a strong frame should suffice. I just blasted them to bits with Mesa, for example.

After each step you have to finish constructing the part in question, which costs some credits and resources – nothing too expensive after DE did a couple rounds of nerfs (or buffs? Depends on how you look at it) – and takes one hour to finish.

After having repaired and installed the sixth part your Railjack is basically complete and you can enter it, either directly from the drydock (go down the ramp that leads to the ship’s bottom end) or by using the middle platform on your Orbiter‘s lower deck (right outside the Operator room).

However, before you can actually take off a key part for the ship‘s drive still has to be acquired, so you‘re sent on one last fetch-mission. After that your Railjack is finally operational, and from now on you can select space missions (called Empyrian missions) directly by using a new button in the upper right corner of your usual navigation menu.

Step Three – Playing (and beating) the first missions

This is unfortunately where the game fails horribly at guiding players towards a smooth, successful and thus fun start to flying their shiny new Railjack.

First of all, do not try your luck with the Call of the Tempestarii mission that’s most likely marked on your map from the moment your vessel is ready to go just yet. That mission is not meant to be a tutorial or something along those lines. In fact it was added to the game quite a bit later than the Railjack system itself. It‘s a story mission that unlocks access to the warframe Sevagoth, and you‘ll probably not able to beat it with a vanilla Railjack.

Instead, I advise you to navigate to Earth Proxima and select the Free Flight mission first. As the name suggests you can fly around at your own leisure here, and nobody will attack you. Steering the ship and firing your guns doesn‘t really need a whole lot of practice, but you can and should use this opportunity to acquaint yourself with the Railjack‘s layout and functions, because unfortunately this isn‘t something that‘s explained to you at any point, and once you‘re in a real mission you‘ll definitely need this knowledge.

Stern on the left, bow on the right hand side

This is a tactical view of your ship (green stuff added by me, obviously). You don’t have access to it ingame just yet, but this should help you find your way around for the time being. You can ignore the blue numbers, those depict NPC crew members. Here’s the legend:

    1. Bridge – The pilot’s seat is located here, all the way up front where you’d expect it. A bit behind it you have the navigation console, and the forward artillery seat right behind that.
    2. Turrets – In addition to the pilot’s guns you have two turrets that can either be manned by other players or, once you have them, by NPC crewmates.
    3. Airlocks – You can exit the Railjack here and fly around in space with your Archwing. This is needed to board crewships or to get to on-foot objectives. The rightmost airlock is just a floor panel between the turret stations and easy to miss. The two on the left are on the lower deck.
    4. Slingshot – Another way to exit the ship, but with a twist: the slingshot shoots you out like a living cannon ball. The range is about 4km, which helps you get to places faster. Also, if you aim at a crewship that’s in range you are propelled right through its hull and don’t need to use your Archwing at all. Very handy. It’s all the way in the back of the upper deck.
    5. Forge – Used to replenish ordnance and artillery charges, among other things, but this has to be unlocked first. Like the rear airlocks this is on the lower deck.
    6. This is you. Or rather, in this case it’s me.

Once you feel comfortable with all of this it‘s time for some action. The first and easiest combat mission is Sover Strait on Earth Proxima. Select it, and the Railjack will warp into the battle zone by itself. All you need to do here is shoot anything that moves and stay alive while doing so. Easy, right? Well, yes and no.

Blasting regular fighters out of the sky is straightforward enough, but crewships, of which you encounter at least a couple in every mission, are a different matter. When their hitpoints are depleted they shut down and float helpless in space, but they aren‘t destroyed. After a while their HP regenerate, and they start fighting you again.

To defeat them you need to do either of two things: shoot them once with the forward artillery when their HP are low or down, or board them and destroy their reactor from the inside. The artillery is much faster of course, but you have limited ammo for it and can’t resupply during missions yet.

Another thing you need to know is how to repair damage to your own vehicle. Whenever your ship‘s HP hit zero you can‘t maneuver or shoot anymore – just like crewships, basically – an alarm sounds and a countdown starts. You have that much time to find the damaged hull section and repair it; the mission fails if you don‘t. As it’s marked on the minimap it usually isn’t hard to find. But how do I repair it? I hear you ask. Here’s the thing: unbeknownst to you a tool called Omni is added to your first open gear wheel slot every time upon entering a Railjack mission. When there’s damage to repair equip the Omni, “shoot” the fire or leak with it until it‘s gone, and voilà.

If you‘re boarded just kill the bad guys, repair any damage if needed and continue with what you were doing.

If you keep these things in mind it should be no problem to successfully finish this mission. Once the objectives are marked as completed you can use the navigation console to either return to the drydock or start another mission (or the same one) right away.

The really good news is that you’ve now overcome the hard part and things are going to get a lot more fun from here on out. I mean, who wouldn’t want to pimp their very own space-ride?

The second and last part of this guide will show you how to do just that.