I’ve referred to Mastery Rank several times now, but I still haven’t explained what it is. Mastery Rank is essentially your Account Level, and pretty much just reflects how much of the game you’ve played. You rank up by gaining XP from levelling your weapons (all Affinity applied to weapons is transferred as XP to MR), and when you hit a certain amount, you are invited to take a Mastery test. So far, I’ve done four of these, and they’ve all been EASY, but I expect they’ll get harder eventually. Increasing in MR rewards players with a few things – many of which will mean nothing to you at the start of the game. Most importantly, though, increasing MR will increase the initial mod capacity of your items, and unlock equipment of increasing power. On top of this, increasing MR will increase the amount of Void Traces you can collect, Syndicate reputation you can earn, the number of extractors you can deploy, additional loadout slots, and access to trading.
All of this does a few things – primarily, it provides some gating, so players can’t buy their way to power. It also gates access to various later-game benefits. Some of the benefits I’ve mentioned above will mean nothing to you as a beginner, but as you progress, you’ll begin to understand their importance – considering players can choose NOT to switch weapons once they’ve maxed their level, there needs to be some impetus to increasing MR… Lastly – and this is actually my favourite part – once you’ve maxed out a weapon, for example, you can apply a resource that will reset its level and increase the mod capacity. This means that you can continue to improve your favourite weapons and turn them into a powerhouse. However, once maxed, you can no longer gain XP from them. This system ENCOURAGES players to try different weapons and different warframes and means that you have a damned good reason to try out all the toys.
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