(If you can't be bothered to read it all, feel free to just focus on the bold text, it highlights the major points I'm trying to get across)
Yeah, this is going to be about what warframes and weapons are the best. Brace yourselves for the butthurt. As usual, I'm going to focus on very high level defense, because there's no point in using soloing as an argument when you can solo anything besides high level defense with any frame. Perhaps someone will find this information useful for helping decide what warframes or weapons to spend their orokin reactors, catalysts and forma on.
I'm going to start off by trying to save you some trouble and point out a bunch of stuff that people usually feel the need to point out when I write things. I know they will still do it, but this way I can at least just ignore the least constructive replies.
- 1: All frames and guns are viable. All of them. Once you have good gear, you can complete any mission, and most missions can really be completed with a naked warframe with a properly modded gun. I'm not talking about what is GOOD ENOUGH, I'm talking about what is the BEST. Admittedly, some of the guns are so much worse than others that it might be a bit of a challenge, and you will need a few ammo boxes simply because you are going to be shooting a LOT to bring down the heavies.
- 2: I know that minmaxing is not how most players play the game, and that a lot of people think it's boring and just play with the warframe and gun they think is the coolest. And I think that's great. I do too, to give myself a challenge and variety now and then (Like running tower 3 defence with only starter frames, or 4 of the same frame and no frost, or just not using Acrid because I think it's boring and I hate all the clicking...)
- 3: I know that there's currently no real "point" to playing defense missions until enemies are way into the 200 level range. But here's the thing: new content means higher level content. When I started playing, the highest level enemy you could find was on the last Pluto missions, and they weren't even level 50. Now you fight level 130 enemies in the last waves of Tower 3 Defense, and the last pluto missions are in the level 70 range. That's very likely to happen again, and if they keep using the same kind of scaling and stat increases for high level mobs, high level defense is the only real way we have of testing to see what works, and what is the best against very high level enemies. That's the only real way to make sure what guns and frames are really the most likely to stay useful no matter how long you keep playing. Hopefully the developers will address a lot of the balance issues by then, but we can't really make any decisions based on what might or might not happen.
- 4: "But omg, captain hindsight you noob, if you are skilled you can be the best with any gun!/Warframe!" Well, yeah, sure. But that means you would be even better with the best one, so it's a pointless argument.
Now, with all that boring stuff out of the way...
Best Warframes.1: The Auto-includes: Frost and Vauban. Frost is currently the most important frame for keeping you alive against Corrupted, Corpus and Grineer, Vauban is the equivalent against infested. This is not really up for discussion, even if these frames aren't exactly overpowered when it comes to damage, they have the only 2 abilities that will let you keep playing for multiple waves beyond the point where every enemy is so high level that they oneshot you or the pod, that is Snow Globe and Bastille. You don't make a party with 4 frosts or 4 Vauban, but you don't really make a party without one of them either. They both have auto-include status for their preferred enemy when making groups for very high wave defence.
2: Bringing the Pain: Rhino, Nova, Saryn. I'm going to assume that everyone in the party actually have good weapons, more about those later. Roar and Molecular Prime are the best and easiest to use damage buffs and keeping them both up doubles the damage the whole group does. On top of that they both make the early waves flash by super fast. Rhino Stomp is not really worth the energy compared to Roar when you get into the ridiculously high level range, but it's still a useful ability because of the airtime on enemies, and since it ignores armor unlike a lot of other ultis it doesn't end up doing no damage. Nova is really a walking ulti here, but her ulti is so good it would still be viable even if it was just the debuff (halved movement speed, double damage taken) but since they for some reason decided that it also needed to blow everything up, it's nothing short of crazy good.Saryn is a chapter all by herself, and I completely undervalued her despite having played her tons a few patches ago. Saryns Venom, the least useful ability ever in normal missions, turns absolutely insane on defence missions and is probably the most damage you can do for the least energy. The easiest setup for this is using a Dethcube with Shred or Metal Auger if you don't have Shred, the punchture and insanely high firerate is amazing for popping the venom spores and spreading them, but any high rate of fire or shotgun will do the trick if you mod it for puncture. Cast Venom on the front mob and in seconds you have so many enemies with venom spores on them that you can't see the infested for all the poison tick numbers. This gets less useful against Corpus, Grineer and Corrupted who are less numerous and not as prone to piling up. Miasma is obviously great too, since it has armor ignore like all poison damage, but when enemies start having so many hitpoints that killing them is a real drain on your energy and ammo, Venom is king.
3: Alternative picks: Banshee, Nyx The following are all frames that are good choices for the fourth slot, even if they overall are slightly below Novam Rhino and Saryn. Banshee: Sonar is a good damage buff and better than the buff from Roar or Molecular prime in theory, but the problem is that since you have to spend time actually aiming for the weak spots, in practice it's a lot worse. Molecular Prime and Roar both let you keep blasting without wasting time doing anything different to what you usually do so you should probably not pick her over Rhino or Nova. If you already have Rhino and Nova in the party though, Banshee is a great pick since you get another damage multiplier, and her knockback and stagger abilites are both situationally useful even if she doesn't have any spells that do a lot of direct damage.
Nyx: Walking Ulti. The only real reason to include Nyx is that Chaos will always be good no matter what level you are on, but it's a complete anti-combo with Bastille, so to get the most use out of it you need to leave the bastille and cast it near spawn entrances and so on, and unfortunately the other abilites aren't realistically useful (yes, it's cute to Mindcontrol heavies, but in the time it takes you to cast that spell you could have just shot it dead instead. Keep in mind that Nyx gets better and better if you go for the ridiculously high waves. When enemies start getting hard to kill, making them hit each other doesn't hurt.
4: Those frames noone ever asks for: Basically all the rest, meaning Ash, Loki, Mag, Ember Volt, Excalibur and Trinity. Any frame is a guy with a gun at the very least, so of course they don't ruin the party or anything like that, but there are frames in this category that are better than the others, the ones that stand out at all are Excalibur and Trinity.
Excalibur: All that mobility is likely to end up getting you killed if you try to use it around enemies that will oneshot you right through your maxed Redirection and Vitality, but at least Excalibur has a crowd control ability in Radial blind, and 2 Damage abilities that Ignore armor. Excalibur also has the benefit of being incredibly good at the lower waves, Slash Dash is very Spammable for how powerful it is against the non-heavies, but once it's time to stay inside the Snow Globe or Bastille until the whole wave is dead, he doesn't contribute much.
Trinity: Just a girl with a gun most of the time, she's sadly not as useful for keeping anyone alive as Frost or Vauban is. At very high levels, it's more about pinning enemies with crowd control or keeping the group safe while nuking down the enemy than about having to watch your life total. Healing spells don't have much use once everything oneshots you. Energy Vampire is situationally useful for the times where killing the waves start taking so long that your Vauban or Frost starts running out of energy, but the sad truth is that you might as well just bring another Vauban or Frost isntead of Trinity to avoid that.
The rest will always at least be a frame with an aura and a gun, but the ones that haven't been mentioned so far are all limited by lacking meaningful buffs or damage abilities that ignore armor. Some of them are cute or useful for quirky little niche scenarios, but really, most examples people bring up where Switch Teleport, Decoy, World on Fire or crush "totally saved the day when we played Xini" or whatever, ends up being situations you wouldn't have gotten in if you had another frame in their spot.
So, with warframes out of the way, how about some weapons?
Rather than listing ALL the weapons, I'm going to focus on some of the most important things to consider when picking weapons, making some recommendation for those with or without access to dojo research.Sniper rifles and bows are not as good as you want them to be. Lanka/Snipetron Vandal, Miter and Paris Prime all have great damage types (serrated blade, Armor Piercing and Physics Impact) but the sad part is that no matter how cool it is to oneshot heavies with your super jacked up Lanka, or how ridiculously big numbers you get on headshots, sniping things on defense missions is slow. You might win on damage done on random pickup groups or lower level missions, but really, you are going to be falling behind a LOT when everyone else is at the same gear level as you or you have a party that's really optimized for the enemy you are facing, including what guns they bring. It doesn't matter if you do more damage per hit if the guy next to you simply kills more enemies in less time. The objective is not to do the most damage per hit, the objective is to kill everything as quick as possible to save Vauban or Frost from running out of energy.
damage output of melee weapons is really, really low when you count damage done over a whole fight. Of course you can still kill stuff with it, but the fact that you have to walk up to each enemy or wait for them to come to you makes it incredibly slow and unwieldy compared to guns. If you still rely on charged attacks to kill ancients or gunners you probably don't have a good enough gun yet, and to say that it's a bad idea to walk up and stand next to something that can oneshot you and jab it with something sharp is a huge understatement, so it's a big no-no for really really high waves. Sure, it saves you ammo on lower waves but so does having better guns, and ammo boxes are so cheap that there is no reason not to use them. The only useful options at very high levels are to either get the heavy melee weapon with the biggest knockdown radius just to have an extra free crowd control ability, which means something like Scindo, Fragor, Gram or Hate/Reaper, Or to use Dual Zoren for the mobility. Some of you might be going "Dual Zoren, what is this guy on about" and some of you know exactly what I'm talking about, so I'll just explain it briefly: the slide-attack of dual zoren is super fast. It gets even faster if you have modded it with Fury. When you perform a flying spin attack (jump, slide in the air, attack) the spin attack will launch you a long distance, really, really fast. For those who don't use it or haven't seen it, it's really hard to understand how fast you really become. Just picture a Rhino flying from one end of the Main room on Xini to the other, and you might get a feel for how ridiculous it is.
Melee damage is terrible. I know, a lot of people love their swords and axes and hammers and whatnot, but the
So what weapons should you actually use? Short version? Acrid. This silly looking and boring to use little pistol pretty much has all the rifles beat on dps against high, high level enemies. It's boring, everyone knows it, but there it is. The mods for pistols put the acrid over the top of things like Flux Rifles and Lankas on single target dps, dumb as it might be. If you have it, and use it together with fire-rate mods like Gunslinger or Lethal torrent, try binding your scroll wheel's downscroll as a secondary fire button. Scrolling down rapidly is a lot easier than clicking mousebutton 1 until your finger bleeds.
If you don't have access to dojo-weapons, there are some good alternatives to Acrid, mainly Despair, Kunai and Twin Gremlins. The main point is that they all have damage types that are good against enemies with tons and tons of armor, so they all work against the big uglies like Gunners and Ancients. Against the light enemies you don't really get the full use out of Acrids poison-dot anyway, so they are just as good or sometimes better. Acrid beats them on the big enemies or bosses though. A lot.
But what about main weapons? Again, the Dojo-Weapons are king here, guns like Ogris, Torid and Flux rifle are all great choices because of damage types or raw dps, and are really unbeatable against Infested, where the combination of Bastille and large heaps of enemies make short-range, high damage weapons or weapons with area damage the most useful. If you are going for raw effiencincy and staying power, There's no competing with the ammo efficiency of Torid or Ogris.
Ogris is an amazing all round weapon for defense as long as you can avoid being that guy who kills himself 10 times per game and I urge anyone who likes sniper rifles to give Ogris a try, it's often a bit of a "whoa I feel silly now" moment since the damage per shot is huge, but comes with the benefit of hitting a ton of guys instead of one.Remember to aim for the floor or walls whenever you can, since enemies block the explosion from each other. If you put a rocket in a guys chest, the guy behind him won't feel a thing. Shoot between them or beside them and get them both instead.Torid really shines when you can stack the poison clouds on enemies that are standing still. So it's an amazing choice for Vauban against infested where it pretty much kills whole waves by itself. Torid has the advantage over the Ogris in that there's no real limit to how many enemies you can hit with one shot. No matter how many enemies are are piled up on each other, the Torid's poison cloud will hit as many as can fit inside it, while enemies shelter each other from the Ogris explosions. This means that your dps goes through the roof when enemies are clumped together, and makes a Vauban with a torid a bit of a 1-man xini group.
If you don't have dojo weapons, your best bet is high damage, high rate of fire weapons, or armor ignoring weapons. Sobek is one of the best options because it has really, really high dps and like all shotguns can be modded for 150% armor piercing damage (Flechette and Accelerated blast) Sobek gets incredibly good if you get your hands on the Blaze mod. Boltor is perfectly passable option as well.
My recommended loadout: Ogris and Acrid if you have clan guns, Sobek and Twin Gremlins if you don't. When I run low level missions or tower solo runs I only use Sobek, because it's just so convenient to oneshot everything and have 20 shells in the mag.
But what about other stuff? Like mods and Sentinels?Getting into every mod loadout would take another blog as big as this one, and I might do it if there's a demand, but basically, keep the following in mind: For guns, put armor piercing mods on everything. EVERYTHING. It's the best type of elemental damage since there's almost no enemies that don't take 100% damage from it (the curren't exception being MOA walkers if you shoot them on the gunbarrel) if you don't have enough forma to max out all your slots, the priority list should usually be: Extra base damage>Multishot>Fire rate (only on guns that have big magazines and full auto)>Armor Piercing Damage> Whatever other element gives the biggest bonus, if they are equal, the order should be Ice Damage>Electrical Damage>Fire damage. If you know you will be fighting a specific enemy like infested, always swap out your last slot for bonus damage against that type of enemy. Magazine capacity mods are not worth it on their own but the combo versions, Ice storm and Wildfire are good if you have a weapon that benefits from them. Having to reload less means more shooting and more damage.
Never use Ammo Mutation or extra ammo mods. Use Ammo boxes from the marketplace instead. It's NOT worth wasting a slot on your gun that could have been more damage just so you can save a few thousand credits. Youll end up having to shoot more to make up for the damage loss anyway.
Crit is really bad on almost everything. Most guns have really low crit, and wasting a whole slot to give something 12,5% crit instead of 5% is not better than more elemental damage. Remember that 5% crit chance +150% Point Strike crit chance bonus does not give you 155% crit chance, it gives you 12,5% crit chance. Put more elemental damage in that slot instead. There are exceptions, but not many.Use a Dethcube. The Wyrm is less shooty, and you don't need the stealth from Shade when you are standing in the snow globe or bastille. Elemental damage mods and Puncture mods lets your deathcube stagger or freeze several enemies at the same timem but really, the most important sentinel skill is Guardian. It turns out that dying less really ups your damage. If you have the spare platinum or blueprints, put a Catalyst and some Forma in the sentinels rifle. It's a small difference, but it's something you can use with every new warframe so it's never wasted. Unless they release a new and better sentinel of course...
Feel free to leave a comment below. I know that my point of view is probably different from a lot of other players, but if you have an argument or opinion, feel free to back it up with something. There are great tools here on the wiki like the Damage Calculator if you feel I'm simply wrong about something and want to rub it in my smug face.