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Not to be confused with Armor, a cosmetic item for Warframes.

Armor is an attribute of characters which reduces incoming damage towards this character’s health. 

All warframes have a certain base armor value. Warframe armor does not scale with level, but can be permanently increased by the warframe mod Steel Fiber, and temporarily by Valkyr’s Warcry and Rhino’s Ironclad Charge.

Some enemies are armored as well, namely most bosses, all Grineer, Grineer-based Corrupted and some archwing Corpus. Enemy armor does scale with level, but can be permanently decreased by the aura mod Corrosive Projection and Corrosive damage procs, and temporarily by Nekros’ Terrify.

Armor does not apply equally to all types of damage. There are two types of armor, Ferrite and Alloy, with specific resistances and vulnerabilities against certain damage types. How this affects damage calculation is explained in the Damage article and further below.

Introduction to Armor


When damage is inflicted to a target’s health, that damage is mitigated by the target’s armor value, so that the target’s health can absorb more points of gross damage than its nominal value. Therefore, there are two ways how the armor functionality can be imagined: either as a reduction to damage, or as an increase of (effective) health.

Armor as Damage Reduction

Damage inflicted to health points is mitigated according to the following formula:

Net damage = gross damage / ( 1 + net armor / 300 )

This asks how much net damage is inflicted, if a certain amount of gross damage is applied.

An armor value of 300 will divide the gross damage by ( 1 + 300 / 300 ) = ( 1 + 1 ) = 2, so only half of the gross damage is inflicted as net damage. At 900 armor, damage is divided by 4, so only a fourth of the gross damage is inflicted as net damage, and so on. 


Armor as Effective Health Increase

The alternative way to think of armor transforms the above equation to the following:

Net damage * ( 1 + net armor / 300 ) = gross damage

And asks how much gross damage needs to be applied, until a certain amount of net damage is inflicted. As this is rather from the target’s perspective, it makes sense to speak of health rather than damage. Net damage thereby means nominal health, and gross damage means effective health.

Effective health = nominal health * ( 1 + net armor / 300 )

An armor value of 300 will multiply the nominal health with 2, so the effective health will be double the nominal health. At 600 armor, it’s three times the nominal health, and so on.

Armor & Damage Types

The influence of damage type modifiers on net damage cannot be regarded independent from that of armor, they are linked:

Net armor = gross armor * ( 1 – type armor modifier )

Apart from this armor value modification, type damage modifiers against the armor and health type of the target also affect the damage as independent factor. Therefore, all put together, the formula for damage modification considering armor and damage types is:

ND = GD * ( 1 + TAM ) * ( 1 + THM ) / ( 1 + AR/300 * ( 1 – TAM ) )

Where ND is the net damage, GD the gross damage, TAM the type armor modifier, THM the type health modifier and AR the armor (before type modification). 

Conversely, the effective health of a target against a certain damage type is:

EH = NH * ( 1 + AR/300 * ( 1 – TAM ) ) / ( 1 + TAM ) / ( 1 + THM )

Where EH is effective health and NH is nominal health, other abbreviations consistent with above.

When calculating exact net damage or effective health values for more than one type of damage being applied at a time, most notably for weapons which usually apply more than one damage type, TAM and THM are the weighted averages of the individual participating damage types; weighted by their relative amounts:

TMtotal = TM1 * GD1/GDT + TM2 * GD2/GDT + TM3 * GD3/GDT + ...

With these formulae, accurate damage calculations are possible. 

Warframe Armor & Effective Health

The armor type of warframes is Alloy and their health type is Flesh. While there is no such thing as a general effective health value, since effective health depends on the damage type the health is subjected to, a reasonable benchmark to compare the durability of warframes is their effective health against equally distributed physical damage, i.e. equal portions of Impact, Puncture and Slash, since the vast majority of enemy damage against players is comprised of these types. Inserting these assumptions into the previous formula, we get:

EHIPS = NH * 60/53 * ( 1 + 67/60 * AR/300 )

As a meaningful PvE benchmark. For actual values, see the figure below.

EH compare

High Nominal Health vs High Mitigation

Although the two scale with each other, one may have to decide between increasing nominal health or damage mitigation (i.e. armor or the strength of some damage mitigating abilities) in some builds. There are a few things to consider apart from the total gain in effective health:

  • Higher Mitigation will increase the amount of effective health you regain from heals that restore a fixed amount of nominal health points, e.g. red orbs, blue orbs with Equilibrium and lifesteal from Life Strike or Well Of Life .
  • Higher Nominal Health will increase the amount of energy you get out of the depletion of your health pool with the warframe mod Rage .

Steel Fiber

Steel Fiber is currently the only mod in the game that increases a warframe’s armor, and it does so by a percentage. Therefore, warframes with higher base armor have a higher benefit from it. Neglecting damage type modifiers, the relative increase is in effective health from this mod is SF * (1-1/(1+AR/300)), where SF is the effect from Steel Fiber. For example, for warframes with the common base armor value of 65, the benefit of a maxed Steel Fiber is only about +19.6%, whereas the benefit of a maxed Vitality at level 30 is +246.7% (though keep in mind, the +19.6% apply to red orbs etc. as well). More on Steel Fiber can be found on the respective article.

Enemy Armor & Level Scaling

Enemy armor works exactly the same as Warframe armor in terms of calculations, but scales to the enemy's level.  Enemy armor will only be applied if the enemy has armor, as indicated by a yellow health bar. Most enemies of the Corpus and Infested factions do not apply armor to calculations, while most Grineer do.

Scaling of enemy armor values uses the following formula:

Armor = base Armor * (1 + ((current Level - base Level)1.75 / 200)) *¹

  • base Armor: Base armor value for the enemy.
  • current Level: The level of your target enemy.
  • base Level: This is the initial level an enemy can spawn. This is important because certain enemy types, such as Heavy Grineer, will not spawn until certain levels (like level 8 for Heavy Gunners), so while they may be level 30, their armor has scaled up less than 30 times

As mentioned before, this formula causes high level Grineer (lets say up from level 50) to be very hard to kill, as you can see in the example of a level 108 Heavy Gunner:

500 * (1 + (((108 - 8) ^ 1.75) / 200)) = 500 * (1 + (3162 / 200)) = 500 * 16.81 = 8405 mitigation multiplier = 1 / (1 + (8405 / 300)) = 0.0345

In result your damage is dramatically reduced as you are only causing ~3.45% of your "original" damage.

some mathematical facts; (due to different looking formulas):

  • base Armor * (1 + is equal to base Armor + (base Armor *
  • / 200 is equal to * 0.005
So e.g. Armor = base Armor + (base Armor * 0.005 * (current Level - base Level)1.75) gives the same result as the formula above.
Grineer Armor New

This graph shows the amount of armor for Grineer Heavy Gunner up to Level 120.

See also

Start a Discussion Discussions about Armor

  • Diminishing Returns

    12 messages
    • With these calculations, they never show that the theoretical shield health uses the recharge, yet theoretical health/armour health can only...
    • Starfreak911 wrote:With these calculations, they never show that the theoretical shield health uses the recharge, yet theoretical health/arm...
  • Grakata + Corrosive Proc

    13 messages
    • oh ok
    • If 1 or more people in your party were to use the Corrosive Projection Aura, all enemies would start off with less base armor. So for those of ...

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