In The New War, they are equipped with the Amp pistol and the dagger. They also possess healing injections, smoke screens, and target radars. In the climax of The New War, they lose their other abilities and can no longer use melee weapons, becoming functionally equivalent to the Operator.
After the quest, the player can be changed to play as either the Operator or the Drifter via a toggle button on the top right corner when accessing the Operator menu. Most of their armor cosmetics are not shared.
The Drifter comes from a timeline where they were not rescued from the Zariman Ten Zero, survived aboard for many years, and were not given the powers of Transference and Warframes. It is speculated that all other Tenno aboard Drifter's Zariman may have shared such a fate. Some of their lines mention being in Duviri, before they somehow made their way into the universe of the Operator's timeline and helped carried out the events of The New War.
- Healing injection: Heals for 50 health and removes status effects. 15 seconds cooldown (could be considered to be a 19 seconds cooldown though, due to the cast taking 4 seconds despite the very short animation).
- Smoke Screen: Renders the Drifter invisible when inside the smoke. Smoke lasts 10 seconds. The smoke bomb can alert nearby enemies when it explodes. 30 seconds cooldown.
- Target Radar: Shows enemies and Ostron prisoners within 40 meters (at the time of the cast) on the minimap and through obstacles for 10 seconds. Anything getting farther than 40 meters from the Drifter while the radar is active won't be visible anymore, even if brought back within range. 20 seconds cooldown.
Players can customize the appearance of their Drifter under the Customize Tenno button accessible at the bottom right of the Focus Menu screen, or through Customize Tenno under the Operator option under Settings when the Drifter is selected.
There is no option to change the Drifter's gender, but a male or female voice and body shape can be selected independently from each other through the "Face" and "Voice" options.
The following options are available for customization in the Customization menu:
- FACIAL ACCESSORIES options:
- Facial Accessories - Add ornamental accessories to the Tenno's face. If not used, the option will read No Accessories Selected.
- Ear Accessories - Add ornamental accessories to the Tenno's ears. If not used, the option will read No Accessories Selected.
- Eye Accessories - Add ornamental accessories to the Tenno's eyes. If not used, the option will read No Accessories Selected.
- Primary Color - Change the accessory's primary color.
- Secondary Color - Change the accessory's secondary color.
- TRANSFERENCE SUIT options:
These options mainly affect the oversuit models and colors, as well as some colors of the undersuit. Options that are left blank will expose the basic undersuit. By default, the Operator wears the Drifter Transference suit over the base undersuit
- Hood - Add headgear to the Tenno's bodysuit. This will appear draped over the Tenno's shoulders and chest. If not used, the option will read No Hood Selected.
- Hood Opened - This option determines whether the Operator's hood is opened, or closed to cover the entire head. The Operator's hood is opened by default, and clicking on the slider to turn it on closes the hood.
- Lining Color - Change the color of the Transference suit's linings, mainly covering the inside of the player's hood.
- Body Suit - Change the appearance of the Transference suit's torso and lower body. If not used, the option will read No Body Suit Selected.
- Sleeves - Change the appearance of the Transference suit's arm sleeves. If not used, the option will read No Sleeves Selected.
- Leggings - Change the appearance of the Transference suit's legs. If not used, the option will read No Leggings Selected.
- Waistband - Change the appearance of the Transference suit's waistband. If not used, the option will read No Waistband Selected.
- Primary Color - Change the Transference Suit's primary color, as well as the color of the undersuit's arms and legs parts.
- Secondary Color - Change the Transference Suit's secondary color.
- Tertiary Color - Change the Transference Suit's accent color, as well as color of the undersuit's fingernails.
- Suit Energy - Change the Transference Suit's energy color, which also affects the color of the Operator's Focus and Void abilities, and the Operator's worn Sigil if any is equipped.
- SIGIL options:
- Sigil - Equips a selected Sigil.
- Rotation - Change the rotation of the Sigil.
- Width - Change the width of the Sigil.
- Height - Change the height of the Sigil.
- X Offset - Move the Sigil left to right to change the position to the designated location.
- Y Offset - Move the Sigil up and down to change the position to the designated location.
- Alpha - Change the alpha of the Sigil.
- Default Properties - Resets the Sigil's appearance to its default state.
- Primary Color - Change the Sigil's primary color.
- HEAD options:
- Face and Secondary Face - Customize the Tenno's head and face shape. Primary face defines which face-texture is being used, secondary face only influences geometry via face blend. Primary face also switches the Operator's general body shape to male or female depending on selected type of face. The secondary face is restricted to the gender selected in the first option. It can be left blank if desired.
- Face Blend - This slider is used to determine how much of the chosen Face 1 and Face 2 appearances are visible, with the left side showing more of Face 1, and the right side showing more of Face 2. Face blending allows the player to create a completely different face from the default templates by combining two preexisting ones. Due to restrictions it is not possible to blend male and female faces.
- Skin Color - Change the Tenno's skin color. This option uses its own unique color palette instead of the player's standard palettes. (NOTE:While they share the same color palette, Drifter skin tones are darker than Operator skin tones.)
- Lip Color - Change the Tenno's lip color, as well as the corners of the eyes.
- Accent Color - Change the color of the Tenno's accents, visible as a color shade beneath and around the eyes.
- HAIR STYLE options:
- Hair Style - Change the Tenno's hair style. If not used, the Tenno will revert to the default buzzcut hairstyle, and the option will read No Hair Style Selected.
- Hair Color - Change the Tenno's hair color. This option will also change the color of the Tenno's eyebrows and eyelashes.
- Hair Highlight - Change the secondary color of the Tenno's hair. It does not affect the color of eyebrows and eyelashes.
- Hair Tips - Change the tertiary color of the Tenno's hair. I does not affect the color of eyebrows and eyelashes.
- Hair Part - Modify the appearance of the Tenno's hair style, oriented either to the left or the right.
- MARKINGS options:
- Markings - Add visible Somatic Link implants to the Tenno's face, with different implant appearance styles available. If not used, the option will read No Marking Selected.
- Primary Color - Change the markings' primary color.
- Secondary Color - Change the markings' secondary color.
- Metallic Color - Change the color of the metallic parts of the markings.
- EYES options:
- Inner Eye Color - Change the color of the Tenno's inner part of iris.
- Outer Eye Color - Change the color of the Tenno's outer part of iris. The chosen color also affect the slim ring between the inner and outer eye colors, which may not blend perfectly with saturated colors.
- Eye Glow - Change the color of the Tenno's eye glow, referring to the light coming from their eyes.
- VOICE options:
- Voice - Choose the Tenno's style of voice. There are currently 4 different options available: the Drifter Owl and Drifter Heron options are male voices, while the Drifter Falcon and Drifter Raven options are female voices. Clicking on the chosen voice option will play a sound preview of the chosen voice.
- OPERATOR ARCANES options:
- Install Arcane One - Equip the first arcane for your operator.
- Install Arcane Two - Equip the second arcane for your operator.
- AMP options: This option is only unlocked upon visiting the Quills for the first time on Cetus.
- Equip Amp - Select the Amp the Operator can equip.
The following features are only available on Gilded Amps:
- Focus Lens - This option allows players to install a Focus Lens on the Amp.
- Arcance - This option allows players to install an Arcane on the Amp.
- Primary Color - Change the Amp's primary color.
- Secondary Color - Change the Amp's secondary color.
- Tertiary Color - Change the Amp's tertiary color.
- Accents Color - Change the Amps's accent color.
- Energy Color - Change the Amp's energy color.
- Copy Suits Color - Copies the colors of your suit.
- Equip Amp - Select the Amp the Operator can equip.
The Drifter can be customized with various cosmetic appearance options under the Transference Suit section.
Drifter Suit - Unlocked by default
Drifter Zariman Suit - Unlocked by default
Drifter Grineer Suit - Available from the Market ( 110 As a bundle, 30 for the hood, vest, sleeves, pants sold separately, and 25 for the waist/gear)
Drifter Templar Suit - Available from Harrow Prime Accessories
- After the The New War quest, The Drifter plays functionally the same as the Operator. However, they use a standard roll that goes slightly further than the Operator's slide when using the roll button. The distance travelled by rolling 3 times is roughly similar to an Operator sliding 4 times.
- The Drifter can use Operator Arcanes that grant enhancements to Drifter survivability.
- All Amps equipped by the Drifter use the model, even if the skin itself is not equipped.
- Even though the Drifter does not have the power of Transference, Ordis still wishes to call them 'Operator' and they are called 'Tenno' by Hunhow, a term that was given to the Zariman survivors by the Orokin after they were rescued.