Warframe is probably one of the best free-to-play games ever made. For years it’s sat near the top of the Steam charts just chugging along quietly. Like most games that don’t charge an entry fee, Warframe has other monetization methods. They primarily come in the form of purchasing Platinum, the game’s premium currency. But Warframe is somewhat unique. It’s not new player friendly in the slightest. The game has an abundance of complicated systems and it’s easy to accidentally waste your Platinum early on. Our guide here will walk you through the best ways to spend, earn, and purchase this crucial part of the game’s economy.
You can spend Platinum to purchase Warframes, weapons, equipment, sentinels, mod packs, and cosmetics from the in-game marketplace. You can also use it as a currency to buy from other players.
All of these things can be earned in-game and do not need to be purchased with Platinum. Most can be purchased in the form of blueprints and then built with credits and various resources over a certain period of time. After grinding for all of the materials, a full Warframe takes three days to complete. But you can spend a small amount of Platinum to speed up the process.
The only Platinum exclusive items are most color palettes, cosmetic items, and inventory slots. So, in general, Warframe is “pay-to-progress faster.”
How to Earn Warframe Platinum
Platinum can be earned by selling well-rolled Riven mods, parts you get through opening relics or any other valuable items you might have. In general, these come from endgame activities. You won’t acquire them during your first hundred or so hours in Warframe.
Sites like Warframe.Market and Riven. Market are fantastic tools when it comes to trading Platinum between players. Both sites will give you a general sense of what your late-game drops are worth. You can also shop for specific items, and find good prices, directly through the site. But in general, only very rare mods, Rivens, cosmetics, and prime parts are worth anything of significant value.
Trading with other players is the only way to get premium currency for free, short of Twitch Prime or other Digital Extremes promotions.
Should I Buy Platinum?
A good percentage of players will likely just drop some cash into the game to support Digital Extremes. And, at a glance, the exchange rate feels pretty unforgiving.
Ash Prime, the premium version of the Ash Warframe, costs around 170 Platinum. That’s $10 USD with no discounts. The official (and only) purchase page shows a bunch of different options, giving emphasis to the largest bundles, which cost as much as $200. That’s pretty intimidating!
The good news is that semi-randomized daily login rewards net you anywhere from 20-75 percent off your Platinum purchases. In general, most players wait until they get a decent discount and then buy huge bundles of Plat. The game also seems biased towards giving discounts to players who haven’t logged in for a while. Although those 75 percent discounts are exceptionally rare.
There’s the Prime Access route. This will let you buy a bundle that includes a souped-up Warframe, powerful weapons, cosmetics, and a bunch of Platinum to boot. The rub is that you can’t pick which Prime Warframe you want. They rotate in and out over time.
Long story short: if you’re just after Platinum, hold off for a discount. Otherwise, the game can get expensive fast. You only have so many slots for Warframes and weapons and unless you want to get rid of old ones, you’re going to have to pony up some Plat.
Here are some other price comparisons:
- 12 Plat for two weapon slots
- 20 Plat for one Warframe slot
- 208 Plat for a bundle of color palettes (90 colors each)
- 240 Plat for one weapon (Veldt)
- 540 Plat for a bundle of vignettes for your ship (plus 14 stands to put Warframes on)
- 640 Plat for a bundle containing the latest Warframe and some cosmetic goodies
If you’re a completionist, just having enough slots for all the Warframes and weapons in the game runs about 3000 Platinum, or about $170 USD.
A lot of transactions in Warframe take place with relatively small amounts of Plat, but it can add up fast. With the cheapest bundle, you get 15 Plat per dollar spent. With 75 percent off, buying the largest bundle will net you 4300 Plat for only $50, giving you roughly 86 Plat per dollar. That’s nearly six times as much Platinum per dollar spent!
My tip? Make a rule for yourself whenever you get a discount! My rule of thumb is only to purchase if I get at least 50 percent off. The amount I purchase scales with how big the discount is.
What Should I Spend Platinum On?
As mentioned earlier, there are some items in Warframe that can only be purchased with Platinum. Most of those are cosmetics, but there are a few that have a genuine impact on your experience playing the game.
At the start, you can only hold so many Warframes and weapons in your collection. You only have so many slots in your inventory, after all. As you play the game, you’ll undoubtedly want to collect and try new ones. Unless you purchase more slots, you’ll need to free up the ones you do have by discarding that gear. You can re-obtain that equipment of course, but it’ll cost you credits, resources, and time all over again.
If you’re going to play Warframe we highly recommend you spend your starting Platinum on Warframe or weapon slots.
Orokin Catalysts and Orokin Reactors are another good choice but use them wisely. These items double weapons’ and Warframes’ mod capacity—effectively raising how powerful you can make a piece of equipment. Reactors and Catalysts do drop in-game, but are fairly rare, and require more rare resources to build. So they’re best used on gear you know you’ll use for a long time. A good rule of thumb is to save Orokin boosters for Prime equipment—rather than the weaker, standard variants.
You can also buy color palettes and cosmetics, but those won’t have as big of an impact on your experience. Try to buy the essentials first! You can always kick a couple of bucks to Digital Extremes for extra goodies later.