After being teased in several Dev Streams, the Steel Path is now Warframe‘s patented “hard mode.” Once you’ve cleared the entire star chart (including the Orokin Derelict), you get a message from Teshin asking you to meet him. Visit him at any relay and he’ll talk to you and eventually give you the option to begin the Steel Path. It’s, essentially, the same star chart but enemies are 100 levels than normal. Missions now also have a permanent resource and mod drop chance boost, so there’s that. Is it hard? No. Can it be made easier? That’s what this Steel Path guide is for!
A lot of people will be farming the Steel Path just for this brand new currency. Steel Essence is an extremely rare drop from the new hard mode, dropping at a whopping 2% rate from eximus units. Clearly, they’re a pain to farm, but fear not. Once you clear all the nodes in a given planet, they reward you with 2 essences. This is good, but will only net you 36 on completing the whole chart. If you want to really farm these suckers, all 3 hard mode eidolons have a guaranteed essence drop. So if you’ve been avoiding eidolon hunting but want those Steel Path cosmetics, you might want to study up.
The Right Loadout
Warframe has always benefited from their extremely powerful weapons, letting players be lax when it came to their warframe choice. This has been true about most content in the game. For the Steel Path, there are some frames that have proven to be especially powerful:
Revenant has always been a strong one in the meta, especially if you build him around his Mesmer Skin ability. His ultimate ability’s damage drops off around level 100, which is the baseline for the Steel Path so I don’t recommend building for it. Trinity is still an extremely tanky warfarme with her Link ability, so if you’re comfortable with playing her, you totally should. My currently favorite frame is Baruuk built around Serene Storm. Below there’s a version of the build I’m currently running on him. The thing with the Steel Path is that there are no new mechanics, just bullet sponge enemies. They’re still as exploitable, and as long as you stay invisible while you kill everyone, you’re good.
As far as weapons go, melee weapons are still king. Melee has been overpowered since quite some patches ago, and that is still the case. You don’t need a very expensive build, just know what you’re building for: crit. Take the Kronen Prime, an amazing slash weapon currently able to sweep through the Steel Path. build it for red crits with the Blood Rush/Drifting Contact combo, put a Primed (or not) Reach on there and voila: hard mode made easy. Again, the Steel Path is not endgame by any means, but it can be hard. You should have all your frames and weapons at level 30 and with their respective reactor and catalyst. It doesn’t hurt to have some forma in your loadout, but it’s not necessary. These enemies, if given the chance, will one shot you if you get careless. The Warframe Steel Path can be unforgiving, so be sure to come prepared.
A couple notes on the build suggestions here. If you don’t have the rare version of the mod (umbral or primed), don’t sweat it! Use what you have. The weapons as well, most of the time the normal version is just marginally worse and will still work for you. In the case of the Kronen Prime though, you might want to get another slash crit weapon. The difference between the prime and normal are pretty big, so maybe get yourself a Zaw. Keep in mind that Warframe’s meta gets shaken up very often, so these builds are susceptible to being outdated if anything major gets changed.
Being a veteran player, Warframe’s Steel Path is not what we wanted when we asked for a challenge. It’s the same maps, same enemies, same mechanics, they just take more bullets to kill. The rewards are just cosmetics and honestly, only the operator armor is worth it. Don’t waste your Steel Essence on the rest. Enemy spawns are jacked up, so frames that want that (think a Saryn) can have a blast, but it’s just not that engaging. Hopefully DE can find a way to make this hard mode actually hard while engaging players in a new way. Maybe making the rewards worth it would be a good start. What do you think of the Steel Path so far?