Mods are used to improve the stats of your weapons and Warframes. In the beginning you only have a few weak mods but as you progress through the Star Chart you will acquire more mods including some more powerful mods.
Mods are usually divided into Warframe, Rifle (incl. Sniper Rifle), Shotgun, Pistol and melee mods. Most Warframe mods may be used on all warframes but others (e.g. Syndicate mods) may only be compatible with a specific Warframe. This also applies to weapon mods.
Mods drops from enemies when running your missions; however some mods only drop on special missions e.g. Riven mods can be rewarded from the daily Sortie, some dual-stat mods can only be aquired from Nightmare Mode missions, Orokin Derelict missions, Sortie (Riven mods). If you have unlocked Lua there are also some special Drift mods to be acquired by completing the random Halls of Ascension challenge rooms. The Void Trader Baro Ki'teer will also sell some random Primed or dual-stat mods when he visists a relay station.
You can use the Codex on your Orbiter to see all the available mods and where they drop - or you can search the Warframe Wiki.
Mods can be updated to make it stronger (more on how to do that below) - at the bottom of the mod are a number of dots, as you upgrade the mod these dots will turn light blue to display the current rank of the mod. As an example the Pressure Point mod at rank 0 will give you 20% extra melee damage - when fully upgraded to rank 5 it will however give you 120% extra melee damage as displayed in the image to the right. Notice that as you upgrade a mod, it will also drain more of your mod capacity when equipped.
Each Warframe and weapon has a certain mod capacity, that is usually the same as the rank of the warframe/level or your Mastery Rank whatever is highest. A rank 30 (max) warframe/weapon will have a a mod capacity of 30. However, you may double the mod capacity by installing an Orokin Reactor or Orokin Catalyst respectively; these can be rewarded from special missions and can also be bought for Platinum at the market. It is highly recommended that you upgrade your favorite Warframes and weapons with an Orokin Reactor/Orokin Catalyst in order to make them as powerful as possible.
All mods have a certain "polarity" which is displayed with a symbol in the upper right corner of the mod next to the capacity drain number. If your warframe or weapon has a mod slot with a specific polarity you should aim to equip mods with the same polarity as that will case cause the mod capacity drain to be reduced to 50% (rounded up), i.e. if you have a mod with a drain of 15 points but with a matching polarity, it will only drain 8 points of your mod capacity. If you have to mods with the same polarity but only one mod slot has the specific polarity you should equip the mod with the highest drain into that slot and equip the other mod in a slot without any polarity.
You can add or change the polarity of a mod slot by using a Forma - however this can only be done on max level (30) Warframes/Weapons. When you equip a Forma then the Warframe/Weapon will be reset to rank zero and must be leveled again - once it is rank 30 again, you can equip another Forma in another mod slot if you need to increase your effective mod capacity further.
Aura mods are a special kind of Warframe mods that will not use mod capacity but instead increase the mod capacity. If you equip an Aura mod with the same polarity as displayed on the Auro mod slot you will gain twice as much mod capacity, e.g. an 5-point Aura mod will give you 10 more mod capacity if it matches the polarity of the Auro mod slot. For this reason you should always try to equip an Aura mod with the right polarity and make sure to upgrade it to max rank in order to increase your mod capacity.
Most Aura mods will provide a passive buf not only to you but to the entire team and these will usually stack. For instance, if you equip the Corrosive Projection mod the enemies armor will be redused with 30% but if 3 members in your team has this mod equipped it will stack and reduce enemy armor with 90%!
Stance mods are another special kind of mods that will increase the mod capacity of your melee weapon and also provide some unique attack combos (similar to Aura mods).
Upgrading mods: Fusion
When you loot a new mod it will have some week stats but you can upgrade it to more powerful stats using the Mods station in your orbiter. Activate the Mods station, select the mod you wish to upgrade, then click the upper left Fusion button. On the image below you can see the current stats as well as the upgraded stats in the upper left corner. In the upper right corner you can see how many credits and Endo the upgrade will cost. Endo is a special currency used for upgrading mods.
If you do not have enough Endo (or credits) a red cross will be displayed as in this example - in this case you must farm some more Endo before you are able to finish the upgrade. In the top middle section you can click the plus and minus button to add or remove upgrade "points" in order to find the biggest upgrade you can afford.
How do you get Endo?
You will likely have duplicates of some of your mods - you can sell theses duplicates for Endo at the Mods station in your Orbitor: Start by setting the Sort button to the right to "Sort by: Duplicates". Next select one of the mods you have duplicates of - a dialog opens where you can select how many you want to sell. Be careful not to sell all - I recommend you keep at least 4 of each as you might need to upgrade them differently to fit different builds later on. You can select more mods if you have more duplicates. When finished selecting mods click the Dissolve button.
You can also get Endo just by doing missions - most missions will only reward you with small amounts of Endo and you need lots of Endo to upgrade e.g. a Riven or Primed mod to max stats. The daily Sortie has a chance of rewarding a decent amount of Endo - or an Ayatan treasure, which you can then equip with Ayatan Stars using the Mods station at your Orbiter - when fully updated with Ayatan Stars, the Ayatan treasure is worth a lot of Endo.
Travel to Maroo's Bazar on Mars to sell your Ayatan treasures. Maroo also offers a weekly mission where you will get an Ayatan treasure if you are able to complete a parkour test successful; some of the random maps are easy but others are more challenging.
You may also be lucky and find Ayatan treasures when you are doing your normal missions but there is only a small chance they spawn. They tend to spawn at the same location where you will normally find a Syndicate medallion.
Most of the mods you get are drops from normal missions. However, each 14 day a NPC named Baro Ki'teer will arrive at a random relay station - check your star map, there will be a small white symbol next to the Relay Station where he is currently visiting. Baro Ki'teer can be found at the central part of the relay - go talk with him to see what he is selling; each time he arrives he will have some random mods or cosmetic items for sale.
Baro Ki'teer will usually have either some 60/60 and/or some Primed mods for sale. Primed mods are simply improved versions of standard mods - e.g. the standard Pressure Point mod gives you +120% Melee Damage but the Primed version gives +165% Melee Damage.
Before you can buy anything from Baro Ki'teer you must first acquire some Dukats to pay for them as Baro Ki'teer will usually ask for both credits and Dukats for his items. Dukats is a special currency that is only used to buy items from Baro Ki'teer. You earn Dukats by selling Prime blueprints or components to the Ducat Kiosk, which is located close to Baro Ki'teer. You can farm Prime parts running Void Fissure missions and have a Void Relic equipped during the mission. For more information on Void Relics, Void Fissures and Prime parts see this guide.
A mod may usually cost 300-400 Dukats and 100.000 - 300.000 credits so besides farming for Dukats you also need to farm some credits! One of the most efficient ways to farm credits is by running The Index on Neptune - I recommend you run the Medium risk Index as this is the most time efficient way to earn credits - the High risk Index have a bigger reward but also takes longer time to complete and has a bigger risk of failure, in which case the invested credits are lost! There are many guides on the Internet and on YouTube about how to run The Index. If it is your first time I recommend you take Rhino with a decent tank build and equip a powerful shotgun e.g. the Arco Plasmor. The Index can be hard to solo but when Baro Ki'teer is visiting there is usually many players that need fast credits, so you should not have trouble getting into a full public group.
The standard Pressure Point mod gives you +120% Melee Damage. The Primed version gives +165% Melee Damage.
Riven mods are a special kind of mods that can only be equipped in a specific weapon but it comes with some extra powerful stats. When you first acquire a Riven mod, its stats are veiled - only after completing a random challenge will you be able to see which weapon the Riven is compatible with and what stats it has. Riven mods will often have 3-4 stats but in some cases not all stats are positive, e.g. you may get a Riven that give you more damage but cause reload to take longer.
If the stats on the Riven mod is not what you wanted, you may use Kuva to roll for other random stats - however you can not change which weapon it is compatible with. For each roll it becomes more and more costly to change stats (up to an upper limit). You can farm Kuva from the daily Sortie, at the endless Kuva Survival mission on Kuva Fortress or by doing the Kuva Siphon missions on the two planets closest to the Kuva Fortress.
Riven mods can be acquired from the daily Sortie mission or as a special Gift From The Lotus mission after a DevStream has been streamed on Twitch - check the News panel in your orbiter for when next DevStream is coming up! You can also acquire Riven mods by trading with other players for Platinum but be warned: Unveiled Rivens for popular weapons can be very expensive!
For more Riven mod related information see these guides:
When you upgrade your Warframe with mods always consider what do you need most? Do you need more strength, range or duration for your abilities? Or do you need a bigger energy pool + more efficiency to spam your abilities more often? Or do you need more health/shield/armor for a more tanky build? Or do you need more sprint speed or longer wall latch or longer bullet jump or....
If you are a new player, you don't have many mods to choose from yet - just try to get the best out of what you have. And remember: It is better to equip a few powerful (fully upgraded) mods than a lot of weak (not upgraded) mods. Try to add mods using these priorities:
- Start by picking the right Aura mod - make sure to choose one that matches the polarity of the Aura slot and also make sure it is fully upgraded in order to get more available mod points for the other slots!
- Next, you may need more health, shield and/or armor to keep you alive during harder missions: Vigor, Vitality, Redirection, Steel Fiber.
- Study your Warframe abilities and see how you can improve your abilities by adding more Strength/Range/Duration: Intensify, Stretch, Continuity, Primed Continuity.
- In order to cast your abilities more often you need more efficiency and/or a bigger energy pool: Streamline, Flow, Primed Flow.
If you have any mod slots left you can use it to stack more health or strength or whatever you need - or add some utility mods. Consider adding e.g.:
- Fast Defection for faster shield recharge
- Augur Secrects for more strength + shields
- Augur Reach for more range + shield
- Augur Message for more duration + shields
- Rush for more sprint speed
- Armored Agility for more armor + sprint speed
- Speed Drift for more casting speed + sprint speed
- Enemy Sense, Stealth Drift or Vigilante Pursuit for enemy radar
- Rage, Hunter Adrenaline converts damage on health to energy
Augment mods change the behavior of Warframe abilities. For example, the Frost's Chilling Globe augment will give a 50% chance of freezing enemies that walks into the Snow Globe, which can be a great help in e.g. defence missions. Some augments are very good, others are highly situational.
Augment mods can be aquired from the Syndicate vendors by earning Syndicate standing. On the Syndicate page you can see which syndicate provides Augment mods for the various warframes. It is also possible to buy Augment mods for a few special weapons.
Remember to take the following as a general guideline and ALWAYS look at the stats of your current weapon when deciding how to mod it!
For weapons you should generally prioritize your mods as:
- Damage mods: Hornet Strike, Point Blank, Pressure Point, Serration.
- Multishot mods: Barrel Diffusion, Hell's Chamber, Lethal Torrent, Split Chamber.
Your next priority depends on the stats of your current weapon:
- If your weapon has high Critical Chance and high Critical Damage, you can increase the damage of your critical hits with these mods: Blunderbuss, Pistol Gambit, Organ Shatter, Point Strike, Ravage, Target Cracker, True Steel, Vital Sense
- If your weapon has high Status chance (~25% or more) you should prioritize 60/60 dual stat Elemental + Status chance mods: Malignant Force, High Voltage, Thermite Rounds, Rime Rounds, Toxic Barrage, Shell Shock, Scattering Inferno, Frigid Blast, Pistol Pestilence, Jolt, Scorch, Frostbite, Virulent Scourge, Voltaic Strike, Volcanic Edge, Vicious Frost.
- If your weapon has both high Status and Critical Chance, you can make a dual Critical/Status builds - in this case also consider using the Hammer Shot mod.
Fill up the rest of your mod slots using this priority:
- Elemental Damage mods
- Fire-rate / attack-speed mods: Fury, Gunslinger, Shotgun Spazz, Speed Trigger.
- Physical damage mods (Impact / Puncture / Slash) - mod your strongest physical damage only.
- Ammo conversion mods ***
*** Some weapons e.g. sniper rifles and shotguns have a small ammo capacity and you may run out of ammo against high level enemies (especially if you have equipped some fire-rate mods). In this case you may need to use an ammo mutation mod - however this will cost a mod slot that may be better used for boosting your damage. Instead consider using the Carrier or Carrier Prime sentinel to assist in restocking your ammo or if you are a member of a clan, you can also buy a blueprint for Ammo resupply kits.
In general, physical damage mods (Impact, Puncture and Slash) are weaker than the elemental damage mods. However, if your weapon already have a lot of e.g. Impact it should scale well if you mod for extra Impact. If you play Nekros you should pick some weapons with large amounts of Slash damage and mod for even more Slash, as this will cause your Desecrate ability to drop even more loot!
Status chance mods are not important in early game as most enemies are easy to kill, but when you are up against harder enemies with lots of shield and armor Status becomes more important as the Status effect procs can do massive amounts of damage-over-time (DoT) or reduce the shield/armor/health of the enemy making them easier/faster to kill.
Hint: Once you unlock the Simulacrum by earning syndicate rep with Cephalon Simaris, you can test different weapons and mod configurations against various enemies and see what works best for you.