A Lapse in Judgement: A noob's guide to Arbitrations

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A Lapse in Judgement: A noob's guide to Arbitrations

Endo you say? Well, you've come to the right place. Warframe is the home of Hexis Arbitrations. You need merely unravel it's mechanics. But where's a newbie like yourself to begin? Easy, with a bit of Arbitration knowledge of your own.....but first, you'll need a Guide....[Wheezing laughter]

Okay, now that that silliness is out of the way, lets actually get on with this. So, what are Arbitrations? Arbitrations are a game mode you unlock once you have cleared every node on the star map. If you haven't done that yet, that is your first step. If you need to know what is left, either look for the blue flashing nodes or ask at the Arbiters of Hexis chambers on a relay.
Now, instead lets assume you've done that. Why would you want to do Arbitrations and what makes them tricky?
Arbitrations are one of the best sources of Endo in the game and also have some unique drops all their own; most importantly Adaptation, the Grass Ephemera and now Aura Forma. Given Adaptation tends to sell for around 40-50 Plat a pop and some frames would really appreciate the flexibility of an Aura slot that anything can go in, these may well seem temping to you. So what is the catch?
Well, for one thing, Arbitrations are high level content. They start scaling at lvl 60 and scale up faster than other places. In addition, there are new Drones that buff nearby enemies, making them immune to damage and --------. Not only that, but death is also more punishing here. You don't get a number of revives here, instead when you fall your allied have to make the risky decision of picking up items that debuff them until they have 5, which lets them revive you. This can cause even more deaths if things are getting chaotic.
If that wasn't bad enough, there are other complications. There is only ever one given Arbitration mission active at a time, and you don't get to pick it. In addition, rewards are given at half-rate. These add up to some pretty hefty drawbacks for the mode that many players consider make them not worth doing. Note, however, that changes are currently in the works, particularly on the rewards front so expect this part to be altered later.
With all this in mind, I'm going to break down the current Arbitrations into sections.

Section 1: Mission Types

Arbitrations can only appear in endless mission variants. This means Defence, Survival, Interception, Defection, Excavation and Infested Salvage. Most of these can then come with all enemy types, so lets go through them first.

Corpus: Corpus are rough in Arbitrations. They were already hard hitters with their advanced firearms, but the rapid scaling here makes it worse. Plus, Arbitration Drones escorting clusters of Nullifiers is often just a run-ender. I would not suggest this.

Grineer: Grineer come with a different problem to Corpus; armour scaling. IF you bring a team with 100% Corrosive Projection levels, this stops being a concern and the Grineer become startlingly killable, but this takes a coordinated team. While they don't have Nullifiers, you still need to be careful of Heavy Gunners, Noxes and Bombards, but they are much more manageable.

Infested: Far squishier than their rivals and more focused on melee, the infested scale much more manageable than anyone else. The only things you really need to worry about here are Ancient Healers and Toxic Ancients. Getting jumped by a Toxic in particular can be a quick road to death, so be wary of that. Otherwise though, Infested are by far the best targets here.

Corrupted: Don't. Take all the worst parts of the above 3, mix them together and buff them. That's Corrupted.

With that out of the way, lets go over the mission types:

Defence: Unfortunately, these are the Sortie type of defence missions where you have to babysit some suicidal dickhead around while he tries his best to wander off and draw aggro. Add in the 10-wave cycles and the usual pathing problems of this mission type and this becomes a mission type I would not suggest.

Survival: No changes here other than the 10-min cycles. Doable, but a slog as there is no way to speed this up. An okay mission type. Just be wary of life support drops screwing you.

Interception: I've not done this one too much, but if you do this you WILL want a 4-man team who can each solo their nodes. Area denial and CC frames are a godsend here., with Oberon and Nidus quickly coming to mind Can't judge until I've tested, but seems like it could be a decent mission type to use.

Excavation: If you have a strong team, this is by far the fastest game mode. But that requires you having at least 2 diggers active at any given moment. This splits the group and requires well-coordinated defensive setups. If you can do that though, highly recommended, especially against Infested.

Defection: Harrow farming PTSD flashbacks aside, I' have heard Defection can actually be a very efficient mission type to do. While the warm-up period is very slow, once you constantly have 2 convoys being escorted it speeds up dramatically. The suggested setups for this are 2 duos of a damager and a healer, so something like a Trinity/Mesa pair could work well. Oberon also works wonders here due to his Hallowed Ground being able to stop you being chased while being able to heal.

Infested Survival: The rarest mission type due to only being on a single node, Infested Survival is actually pretty damn fast with at least 3 people. 4 is preferred so you have an extra support player to help out where needed, but 3 will do. Think of this like 3 little excavate missions going at once, but instead of power cells, you get antitoxins to keep the computers running. There is also the issue of being outside of the safe zones eats away at your armour. What a lot of people don't notice is in the middle of the map is a device that fixes your armour in return for an item that commonly drops in this mission type. Use it. Overall, I highly suggest this one as a second-best to Excavation, but much easier.

Overall, what this leads to is a general advice of focusing on Infested maps and keeping an eye out for Excavations and the infuriatingly rare Infested Survival.

The other thing I have not mentioned so far is the map buffs. Any given Arbitration will give a decent buff to the power of a random weapon or frame. Largely, due to the erratic nature of these buffs, I would ignore these. Treat them as a tie-breaker on your gear more than something to focus on, because no amount of power strength is going to make Banshee able to survive an Arbitration. And I say that as someone who likes Banshee.

[Next post will be part 2: Frames]


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