Warframe: A Complete Guide To Railjack Intrinsics

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Warframe is known for its fast-paced gameplay, fair business model, and a myriad of mechanics that would make any player's head spin. Railjack was a prime example of this when it was first released.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Warframe In 2021

While Digital Extremes have streamlined Railjack over the past few years, some of its mechanics are still rather complicated. The best example of this was the Intrinsics system, a sort of permanent progression system for your Railjack. It might look intimidating on the surface, but Intrinsics are far easier to understand once you understand how they work. For those looking to get the most out of Railjack, here's how you can get the most out of Warframe's Intrinsics system.

Updated July 20th, 2021, by Charles Burgar: Railjack has seen a few new additions and changes since we last wrote this guide. Rank 10 Command is finally available, Corpus Liches exist, and Liches are now tied to the Railjack sandbox somewhat. We've updated this guide to give better, more concise information about all five Intrinsic roles and explain what rank 10 Command does.

What Are Intrinsics?

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Intrinsics are unique passives that enhance your effectiveness in Railjack missions. These passives range from increasing your Archwing stats during a mission to enabling the use of Necramechs in any Railjack mission. Needless to say, they have a dramatic effect on your playstyle. Intrinsic are tied to your account, meaning you will benefit from these passives regardless of what Warframe, Railjack configuration, or lobby you are currently in.

There are five Intrinsic trees you can invest in:

  1. Tactical: Improves the strength of Tactical Mods, allows for the deployment of Necramechs, and allows you to teleport to the Railjack at will.
  2. Piloting: Unlocks additional maneuvers for the Railjack. Improves the speed of your Railjack, Necramech, and Archwing.
  3. Gunnery: Enhances the capabilities of your Railjack's turrets, unlocks the Archwing Slingshot, and enhances the effectiveness of your Necramech and Archwing.
  4. Engineering: Allows you to forge items faster, repair malfunctions quicker, and increases the defensive stats on your Nechramech and Archwing.
  5. Command: Unlocks the ability to hire NPCs to fulfill certain tasks, taking the place of real players.
    1. Command does nothing in a four-player squad.
    2. Liches can also be used as Defense Crew members.

There is no limit to which Intrinsics you can invest in. Each Intrinsic has ten ranks. Before we talk about what each Intrinsic type does, let's first go over how to level your Intrinsics.

How To Level Intrinsics

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All Intrinsics are found in any Railjack customization menu. The two most convenient ways to access this menu are the Dry Dock and your Orbiter's Plexus terminal (located to the right of the Syndicate terminal).

To rank up an Intrinsic, you must first have Intrinsic Points. Intrinsic Points are acquired by earning Affinity—Warframe's term for XP—during Railjack missions. The more Affinity you earn, the more Intrinsic Points you'll receive. One Intrinsic Point is earned after you earn around 10,000 Affinity. Only 10% of Affinity you earn in Railjack missions goes towards Intrinsics. As with most Affinity farms, Affinity Boosters will enhance your Intrinsic gains.

Higher Intrinsic ranks cost more Intrinsic Points to allocate, scaling the same way Endo does with respect to leveling Mods. Intrinsic ranks cost the following Intrinsic Points:

Rank Intrinsic Point Requirement
1 1
2 2
3 4
4 8
5 16
6 32
7 64
8 128
9 256
10 512

As you can see, obtaining the last three ranks requires significantly more Intrinsic Points than the first seven. Unless you're heavily specializing in a certain Intrinsic, it's recommended that you don't allocate the final rank in a given Intrinsic until the rest of your Intrinsics are rank nine. If you're new to Railjack, try to reach rank four in all of your Intrinsic types except Gunnery; rank two in Gunnery is all you'll need unless you want to use the Archwing Slingshot. In that case, reach rank four Gunnery.

Related: Warframe: The Most Powerful Warframes, Ranked

Let's go over what each Intrinsic grants. We'll cover Intrinsic farming tips in the final section of the guide.

Tactical Intrinsic

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The Tactical Intrinsic tree is focused on increasing the effectiveness of Tactical Mods, Battle Mods, and providing some excellent quality of life improvements. Every player will want to reach at least rank four with this Intrinsic.

Related: Warframe: Must-Have Arcanes

Here's what Tactical Intrinsics give you with each rank:

Intrinsic

(Rank)

Description Notes

Tactical System

(Rank 1)

Deploy Tactical Mods and access Crew tracking systems via the Tactical Menu. Default "L" on PC

Ability Kinesis and Overseer

(Rank 2)

Warframe abilities can be deployed as tactical support. Enables crew chase camera. N/A

Command Link

(Rank 3)

Fast Travel within your Railjack. You can now coordinate squad members with the command interface. Done from the Tactical Menu

Recall Warp

(Rank 4)

Omni gear can be used to warp aboard the ship from anywhere. Can be used anywhere, both in space and in an enemy ship

Deploy Necramechs

(Rank 5)

Deploy Necramechs in all Railjack missions. N/A

Tactical Efficiency

(Rank 6)

Reduces Energy Consumption for all Battle Mods by 25%. N/A

Tactical Response

(Rank 7)

Reduces all Tactical Mod cooldowns by 20%. Stacks multiplicatively with other cooldown reduction effects

Archwing Tactical Blink and Necramech Cooldown

(Rank 8)

Reduces Archwing Blink cooldown by 25%. Reduces Necramech summon cooldown by 25%. N/A

Swift Tactics

(Rank 9)

Further reduces Tactical Mod cooldowns by 25%. Stacks multiplicatively with other cooldown reduction effects; Tactical Mod cooldowns are 36% shorter

Join Warp

(Rank 10)

Warp from the Railjack to any crew member. N/A

Recall Warp, the rank four upgrade, is by far the best part of this Intrinsic type. The Omni kit can teleport you from anywhere, not just while you're on the Railjack. This is an amazing quality of life improvement that makes soloing Railjack missions much more viable. It also lets you return to your Railjack in an instant if a critical malfunction occurs. Deploy Necramech is also a great upgrade due to how powerful Necramechs are currently. Join Warp isn't worth the Intrinsic Point cost, so get that one once you've grabbed Piloting and Engineering's rank ten upgrades.

Piloting Intrinsic

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Virtually every player will want to invest in the Piloting Intrinsic. This archetype focuses on making your Railjack and Archwings more maneuverable. Your Archwing becomes faster while your Railjack unlocks additional movement options.

The Piloting Intrinsics grant the following at each rank:

Intrinsic

(Rank)

Description Notes

Boost

(Rank 1)

The sprint key now boosts your Railjack's Engine Speed. Firing pilot guns interrupts boosting. N/A

Vector Maneuver

(Rank 2)

Double-tap your movement input to dash in a given direction via your Railjack's Directional Thrusters. N/A

Vectored Evasion

(Rank 3)

Nearby enemy projectiles lose lock-on during Vector Maneuver. Dashing breaks enemy lock-on

Drift Maneuver

(Rank 4)

During Vector Maneuver, press and hold the sprint input to drift in your Railjack. N/A

Boosted Scavenger

(Rank 5)

Boosting, drifting, or dodging triples your Railjack's loot pickup radius. Hidden derelicts are now marked. Increases the Railjack's pickup radius from 1,000 meters to 3,000 meters

Ram Jammer

(Rank 6)

Incoming Ramsleds have a 25% chance of having their targeting systems jam, causing them to overshoot and explode. N/A

Necramech Haste

(Rank 7)

Necramech Movement Speed is increased by 10%. Stacks additively with other sources of Movement Speed

Aeronaut

(Rank 8)

Archwing Speed is increased by 20%. Stacks additively with other sources of Movement Speed

Ramming Speed

(Rank 9)

Reduces incoming damage by 25% while Boosting. Ramming into enemies while Boosting will deal 2,000 Impact damage. N/A

Railjack Blink

(Rank 10)

Double-tap jump to teleport the Railjack forward, leaving a trail of turbulence that slows nearby enemies. N/A

Unlocking the first four ranks of this Intrinsic is downright mandatory for players that want to fly their Railjack at all. The ability to boost, drift, and dodge in your Railjack makes it feel much closer to an Archwing than a sluggish spacecraft. Even after rank four, Tactical still has some fantastic Intrinsics to grab—Aeronaut and Railjack Blink being the most notable. When your other Intrinsics are reasonably ranked, consider ranking Tactical to rank ten first; Railjack Blink is a fantastic upgrade.

Gunnery Intrinsic

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Gunnery is arguably the worst Intrinsic type in Warframe. It allows for the use of 360-degree turrets and the Archwing Slingshot, which is more of a novelty than a desired tool in most situations. The passive bonuses to heat recovery time and damage are fantastic, although these are unlocked so late in the tree that you're better off investing in other Intrinsic types first. Grab the first Intrinsic, then focus on upgrading the rest of your Intrinsics to rank four.

Related: Warframe: Top Prime Weapons, Ranked

Gunnery grants the following passives at each rank:

Intrinsic

(Rank)

Description Notes

Target Sync

(Rank 1)

Enemies have a white marker indicating where to lead your shots. Ordnance can now lock onto targets. N/A

Phantom Eye

(Rank 2)

Railjacks turrets can now be turned 360 degrees. N/A

Archwing Slingshot

(Rank 3)

Allows you to launch yourself into Archwing combat via the Railjack's Archwing Slingshot. Fighters in your trajectory are damaged while crewship hulls are pierced. Impacting a crewship will cause you to enter, similar to entering via Archwing

Archwing Fury

(Rank 4)

Increases Archwing Attraction Range by 25m and Melee Range by 0.75m. Archwing damage is also increased by 20%. Buffs are additive with other sources of the same buff type

Necramech Fury

(Rank 5)

Necramech weapons deal 20% increased damage. Additive with other damage buffs

Cold Trigger

(Rank 6)

Reduces Turret Head Accretion by 20%. N/A

Advanced Gunnery

(Rank 7)

Reduce overheat recovery time by 50%. Extends Slingshot range by 50%. Extends the range of Slingshot to 2,775 meters

Vengeful Archwing

(Rank 8)

Increases Archwing power:
  • Damage +25%
  • Ability Strength +20%
  • Ability Range +20%
  • Ability Efficiency +20%
Additive with Mods

Flush Heat Sinks

(Rank 9)

Reloading when weapons are overheated will cool weapons to 0 in 0.5 seconds. N/A

Reflex Aim

(Rank 10)

Turret aim will snap to lead indicator for 3s, but the Turret overheats 20% faster. Once purchased, all Turrets heat 20% faster permanently.

Yes, the final upgrade for Gunnery has a negative tied to it. Flush Heat Sinks can counteract the overheat increase, but the fact there's a caveat to Reflex Aim makes this easily the worst rank ten upgrade in the Intrinsic system. Target Sync is a must and should be obtained immediately. The rest of the upgrades range from mediocre to solid. Due to the game-changing additions the other Intrinsics provide, it's safe to invest a single point in Gunnery before ignoring it. Invest in this after your other Intrinics are in a place you're comfortable with.

Engineering Intrinsic

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Engineering is focused on keeping the Railjack well maintained and operational under severe stress. You'll be able to repair hazards faster, forge items faster, and bolster the defensive capabilities of your Archwing and Necramech. While not the flashiest Intrinsic, Engineering is a must for every team. At least one person in your squad should have points in this tree.

Engineering grants the following effects:

Intrinsic

(Rank)

Description Notes

Applied Omni

(Rank 1)

Accelerated hazard suppression and hull repair. N/A

Rapid Support

(Rank 2)

Decreases cooldowns for Air Support Charges by 50%. N/A

Ordnance Forge

(Rank 3)

Replenish combat Ordnance while deployed. N/A

Dome Charge Forge

(Rank 4)

Resupply the Forward Artillery cannon during combat. N/A

Optimized Forge

(Rank 5)

Increases Forge yields by 25%. You can now craft Hull Restores. N/A

Forge Accelerator

(Rank 6)

Increases Forge processing speeds by 25%. N/A

Full Optimization

(Rank 7)

Further increases Forge yields by 25%. N/A

Vigilant Archwing

(Rank 8)

Increases Archwing defenses:
  • Health +30%
  • Shield +30%
  • Armor +30%
Additive with other defensive buffs

Vigilant Necramech

(Rank 9)

Increases Necramech defenses:
  • Health +25%
  • Shields +25%
Additive with other defensive Mods

Anastasis

(Rank 10)

Remotely repair onboard hazards. N/A[]

Dome Charge Forge is a great upgrade to shoot for when starting out. This will let you craft nearly everything tied to your Railjack. Optimized Forge is also a useful Instrinic, allowing you to craft Health Restores for your Railjack that you can use anywhere. Anastasis is also a fantastic upgrade if you don't have any Engineers in your crew. Get this rank ten upgrade first or second, depending on what your team looks like.

Command Intrinsic

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Command is the newest Intrinsic type in Warframe, allowing you to replace a real player with a trained NPC. These NPCs are specialized at certain tasks, ranging from repairing the ship to piloting your Railjack. Managing NPCs has its own unique system we'll cover in a minute. First, let's go over what this Intrinsic type does.

Intrinsic

(Rank)

Description Notes

1st Crew Member

(Rank 1)

Unlocks the first Crew member slot and the ability to hire them from Ticker. Each Crew member costs a varying amount of Credits (discussed in the next section)

Competency Gain

(Rank 2)

Allows you to give 1 Competency point to your Crew members. A Crew member's Competency in a certain role cannot exceed 5

2nd Crew Member

(Rank 3)

Unlocks the second Crew member slot. N/A

Competency Gain

(Rank 4)

Allows you to give 1 Competency point to your Crew members. A Crew member's Competency in a certain role cannot exceed 5

3rd Crew Member

(Rank 5)

Unlocks the third Crew member slot. N/A

Competency Gain

(Rank 6)

Allows you to give 1 Competency point to your Crew members. A Crew member's Competency in a certain role cannot exceed 5

Competency Retraining

(Rank 7)

You can respec a Crew member's assigned Competency points. This costs nothing. You can only reassign allocated points from the Command Intrinsic

Unusual Crewmates

(Rank 8)

Reduces Archwing Blink cooldown by 25%. Reduces Necramech summon cooldown by 25%. N/A

On Call

(Rank 9)

Converted Liches become available as Defense Crew members. Liches cannot fulfill the Gunner, Pilot, or Engineer roles

Elite Crewmates

(Rank 10)

Stronger crew members become available for recruitment from Ticker. Elite Crew members each come with one randomized passive that ties with their highest-rated Competency

It's important to note that Crew members are only active when there are open slots in your squad. For example, if you are in a squad of two and have three Crew members, only two Crew members will appear.

Solo players will want to reach rank five whenever possible to have a full Railjack squad in their missions. Let's go over how these NPCs work.

How NPC Crew Members Work

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All Crew NPCs come with five randomized stats that determine how well they perform under certain conditions. Those stats are:

  1. Piloting: Improves your Railjack's speed.
  2. Gunnery: Improves their accuracy and heat management with turrets.
  3. Repair: Increases their efficiency and heal rate with Omni tools.
  4. Combat: Improves their damage output.
  5. Endurance: Dictates their Health and Shield Capacity.

Each stat has five tiers of effectiveness. If a Crew member has a stat at rank five, they're exceptional at it and should be assigned to that specific role.

All Crew members can be acquired from Ticker in Fortuna on Venus. Ticker will give you a list of Crew members you can hire for Credits or materials. Your Syndicate reputation determines the hiring cost of each member. Having a positive affinity with a Syndicate reduces recruitment costs by 50% for certain members. If you have a negative affinity with a Syndicate, Crew members from that Syndicate cost twice as much.

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Once you have a Crew member, head to any Dry Dock to customize your Crew. In the Railjack customization menu, there will be a tab that is dedicated to Crew members. From here, you can select the Crew members you wish to run with, give them any weapon from your Arsenal (this carries over your Mods on that weapon as well), and assign them the role of Defender, Pilot, Gunner, or Engineer.

To upgrade a Crew member's stats, you must have obtained a Competency Gain Intrinsic from the Command tree. Once you obtain one, head to the Crew member menu, select a specific Crew member, then enter the "Train" menu. From here, you can allocate points to any of their five stats. A given stat cannot exceed a rank of five. With the Competency Retraining Intrinsic, you can respec these points at will.

Elite Crew Passives

Reaching rank 10 in Command will unlock Elite Crew members. Unlike normal Crew, these NPCs have a random passive that ties with their highest-rated Competency. The passive they can roll with is listed below:

Competency Passive Notes
Pilot +25% speed for [engine family] engines. Chooses Lavan, Vidar, or Zetki at random
Gunnery +50% damage for [turret family] turrets. Chooses Lavan, Vidar, or Zetki at random
Repair Gain 50% Movement Speed for 10 seconds after repairing. N/A
Repair Heal all teammates for 1000 Health when this crew member drops below 30% Health. Has a 5-minute cooldown
Combat Increase Critical Damage by 300% while Health is below 50%. N/A
Combat 150% Critical Chance with [weapon family]. Chooses either Rifles or Pistols
Endurance Activates a protective shield when taking near lethal damage. Has a 60-second cooldown
Endurance Killing an enemy heals all nearby allies by 500 over 10 seconds. N/A

How To Farm Intrinsics

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Intrinsic farming can be a tedious process, but a few specific grinds do exist. We'll only be recommending one strategy for this guide, as most alternatives are either time-consuming or frustrating to pull off without practice.

Firstly, Intrinsic Points ultimately come from Affinity earned, so you'll want to run as many Affinity-boosting items as possible. Affinity Boosters, Smeeta Kavat's Charm buff, and Naramon's Affinity Spike passive all grant bonus Affinity. Stealth multipliers also grant an additional 500% Affinity, but these stealth farms are so time-consuming and monotonous that we don't recommend doing them. If you aren't interested in doing any specific farms, run as many Affinity-boosting effects as possible while you're playing Railjack.

One important tip: if you're farming Intrinsics, don't have any Gunners in your Crew! Gunner kills don't grant Affinity, although Engineer repairs and ground units killed by AI Crew do grant Affinity. Focus on killing all of the Fighters and Crew Ships yourself to gain as much Affinity and, therefore, Intrinsics as possible. Any repairs done by your Crew will grant Affinity, so it's best to let them deal with any malfunctions mid-mission.

Skirmish Farming Method

If you can't stand stealth gameplay, you'll want to farm Intrinsics at any node that has the "Skirmish" game type without any side objectives. High-level Skirmish missions work best, preferably those against Grineer. Corpus missions are fairly time-consuming.

As for the general strategy, bring Tether as a Battle Mod, then tether all of the fighters that head your way. A few rounds from your Railjack should tear them to shreds, giving you tons of Affinity. Kill every enemy in the area, repeat the mission, rinse and repeat. You'll want an upgraded Railjack for this strategy, especially if you're a solo player. Don't bring any Gunners, as they don't grant Affinity when destroying Fighters.

Next: Warframe: A Complete Guide To Railjack

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