Warframe: A Complete Guide To The Steel Path

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  • What Is The Steel Path?
  • Unlocking The Steel Path
  • Steel Path Incursions
  • Steel Path Rewards
  • Steel Path Tips

Warframe is no stranger to game modes. Dozens of mission types, dailies, and alerts provide a great deal of variety to the game's core space looter shooter rhythm. Out of all of these unique modes, Steel Path is the most interesting, acting as a sort of New Game Plus for veteran players.

Originally pitched as "Hard Mode" for Warframe, Steel Path is a difficulty setting that makes the Star Chart substantially harder, tuned for an endgame player's arsenal of multi-Forma weapons and Warframes. Completing the Steel Path can be arduous, but the rewards available are more than worth the trouble. Here is a complete guide to Warframe's Steel Path mode.

What Is The Steel Path?

The Steel Path is Warframe's version of New Game Plus. Toggled from the Star Chart menu, Steel Path is a drastically harder version of the standard Star Chart that comes with its own daily missions, Acolyte minibosses, and dedicated rewards. These modifiers are active while Steel Path difficulty is toggled on:

  • Enemy Level: +100
    • Archwing Enemy Level: +50
  • Enemy Health: +250%
  • Enemy Shield: +250%
  • Enemy Armor: +250%
  • Resource Drop Chance: +100%
  • Mod Drop Chance: +100%
  • Additionally, Steel Path missions also contain a new miniboss type: Acolytes. These enemies are variants of the Shadow Stalker that use certain Warframe abilities and weapons. Acolytes spawn every five minutes in Steel Path missions. You won't find Acolytes in Archwing or Assassination nodes. Defeating an Acolyte drops a Weapon Arcane and two Steel Essence, a currency type exclusive to this difficulty mode.

    Steel Path only affects core Star Chart missions and daily Incursions. You cannot toggle the Steel Path for Sorties, Fissures, Syndicate dailies, Nightmare missions, Sanctuary Onslaught, Alerts, or Railjack.

    Why Play The Steel Path?

    The Steel Path has plenty of unique endgame rewards, notably Weapon Arcanes. Acolyte enemies that spawn in the Steel Path drop Weapon Arcanes that grant up to +360% base damage for your weapons, drastically increasing your total damage output. These Acolytes can also drop Steel Essence, a currency that can be exchanged for cosmetic items, Arcane Adapters for your weapons, and Kuva.

    Unlocking The Steel Path

    To unlock the Steel Path, you must complete every node on the Star Chart. This includes Dark Sectors, Archwing nodes, and the Zariman Ten-Zero. Railjack, Golem Assassination, and Mutalist Alad V Assassination nodes are excluded from this pre-requisite. Once every node is cleared, Teshin will ask you to visit a Relay to speak with him. This unlocks the Steel Path difficulty mode, toggled on the right-hand side of the Star Chart menu.

    Steel Path has its own Star Chart progression. When you toggle the Steel Path for the first time, your only accessible nodes will be on Earth. You must clear a planet's nodes and subsequent Junction to access other planets, same as how the standard Star Chart works. If you need to access older Star Chart nodes, you may toggle off Steel Path at any time. Incursion dailies bypass this restriction.

    Steel Path Incursions

    Steel Path Incursions are daily missions that award five Steel Essence on completion. Steel Essence is a currency tied to purchasing certain endgame rewards from Teshin, so completing your daily Incursions is a good source of Kuva and Weapon Adapters.

    Incursions can take place on any Star Chart node, including Archwing missions. The mission plays out the same as your typical Steel Path mission. As with standard Steel Path nodes, Acolytes can spawn during these Incursions, allowing you to gain even more Steel Essence from the mission. Incursions serve as your main source of Steel Essence and should be completed as often as possible.

    Steel Path Rewards

    There are two notable rewards tied to the Steel Path:

    1. Weapon Arcanes: Primary and Secondary Arcanes that grant up to 360% base damage alongside other quality-of-life buffs.
      1. Drops from slain Acolytes.
    2. Steel Essence: A currency type that can be exchanged at Teshin's shop.
      1. Drops from slain Acolytes and daily Incursions.
      2. Acolyte Weapon Arcanes

        All Acolytes can drop Arcane Merciless, Deadhead, and Dexterity. There are Primary and Secondary versions of each Arcane, so the Acolytes have six Arcanes in total. Defeating an Acolyte has a 100% chance of dropping an Arcane. You'll need 21 of the same Arcane to create an R5 variant.

        We cover these Arcanes in-depth in your Galvanized Mods and Weapon Arcanes guide, but here's a quick overview of what each Arcane does. Primary and Secondary versions of each Arcane have the same stats:

        • Merciless: +30% Damage for 4s on kill. Stacks up to 12x. +30% Reload Speed. +100% Ammo Maximum.
        • Deadhead: +120% Damage for 24s on precision headshot kill. Stacks up to 3x. +30% to Headshot Multiplier. -50% Weapon Recoil.
        • Dexterity: +60% Damage for 20s on melee kill. Stacks up to 6x. +7.5s Combo Duration. +60% Holster Speed.

        Teshin's Steel Essence Shop

        Teshin has a weekly rotating item and static rewards in his shop. Weekly missions rotate every Sunday at midnight UTC, while his static rewards are always available for purchase. You may only purchase Teshin's weekly offering once while it's available. Cosmetic rewards also cannot be purchased more than once.

        Rotating Rewards
        Umbral Forma150
        50,000 Kuva55
        Riven Mod (Kitgun)75
        3 Forma65
        Riven Mod (Zaw)75
        30,000 Endo150
        Riven Mod (Rifle)75
        Riven Mod (Shotgun)75
        Static Offerings
        *Veiled Riven Cipher20
        Bishamo Pauldrons Blueprint15
        Bishamo Pauldrons Blueprint25
        Bishamo Pauldrons Blueprint20
        Bishamo Pauldrons Blueprint25
        10,000 Kuva15
        Primary Arcane Adapter15
        Secondary Arcane Adapter15
        Relic Pack15
        Stance Forma Blueprint10
        Trio Orbit Ephemera3
        Crania Ephemera85
        Counterbalance (Mod)35
        Noggle Statue – Teshin35
        Gauss In Action Glyph15
        Grendel In Action Glyph15
        Protea In Action Glyph15
        Orokin Tea Set15
        Xaku In Action Glyph15

        Steel Path Tips

        • Complete Incursions: Incursion missions are your best source of Steel Essence, providing 5 Steel Essence per mission. That's 25 Steel Essence per day.
        • Killing Acolytes: Acolytes have a hard cap on status proc stacking. Use hard-hitting weapons over rapid-fire status weapons to kill Acolytes.
          • Heavy attack builds on melee weapons work great against Acolytes, so long as your Warframe is tanky.
        • Armor Strip: Be sure your loadout has a way to strip armor if you're fighting Grineer. Helminth and Focus can help with this.
          • Hildryn's Pillage, Ash's Shuriken with its augment, Corrosive status, and the Unairu Focus school can help combat enemy armor scaling.
          • Galvanized Mods: You unlock Arbitrations and Steel Path simultaneously. Farm Arbitrations first to get your hands on powerful Galvanized Mods, giving your weapons enough firepower to tackle Steel Path content.
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