Excavation is an Endless Mission type introduced in Update 14.5 (2014-08-28) for the Operation Cryotic Front event, and formally introduced as a standard mission type in Update 14.10 (2014-10-08). This game mode tasks players with searching and then extracting various artifacts buried deep within a planet's surface. This mission is the primary source of Cryotic.
Players will first need to travel to dig sites whose positions are located on the minimap by the Lotus every 60 seconds, with a maximum of 4 potential dig sites being available. Dig sites will not spawn near a freshly-excavated area, necessitating constant relocation as the mission progresses. Once players walk within 20 meters of a dig site, an Excavator will drop in on the location and start digging. An Excavator requires 100 seconds to accomplish its task, and must be protected from enemy fire during the duration of its operation in order to receive additional rewards. However, each Excavator only has 20 seconds worth of energy when deployed, thus players will have to locate Power Cells which are carried by designated Power Carriers. Killing a Power Carrier will drop a Power Cell, and each cell adds 20 seconds worth of energy to the Extractor and restores its Shields. Holding a Power Cell will limit the player to their Secondary weapon or Melee weapon, identical to a Mobile Defense datamass, and is automatically consumed once the player walks within 5 meters of the Excavator. Extractors will only accept Power Cells if it lacks the necessary amount of energy to complete the task or if its shields are depleted.
Regardless if the Excavator is successfully defended or not, all players will receive Cryotic for every second the Excavator was active (thus awarding 100 Cryotic for a successfully-defended Excavator). Additionally, if the Excavator survives to complete its digging, all players will receive a random reward. Once at least one Excavator is defended, the mission's extraction point will be revealed, allowing players to complete the mission if they choose to. However, Alert Missions (Including Syndicate Alerts and Nightmare Alerts), Invasions, Kuva Lich Controlled Territory Missions and Sorties will only allow extraction after 500 units of Cryotic have been extracted; Void Fissure and Kuva Siphon/Flood missions unlock extraction after 200 units of Cryotic have been unearthed; and Mine of Karishh (Grendel Systems Locator) requires 800 units of Cryotic before extraction is made available.
Similar to Survival missions, the rewards for every successful excavation stack, and players can claim all artifacts that have been recovered upon extraction. Also, up to three Excavators can be active at once if desired, limited only by the squad's ability to defend them. While survival works by a reward every 5 minutes, Excavation is per extractor. With the ability to run multiple extractors simultaneously, and taking far less than 5 minutes each, Excavation missions lead to more frequent, and usually more numerous rewards.
Arbitration Excavation missions, in addition to using Arbitrations reward tables and rotations, differ from standard Excavation missions as follows:
- Excavators work more slowly, requiring 180 seconds (vice 100 seconds) to complete a dig, but retain the same power requirements (1 Power Cell per 20% progress) and Cryotic reward (1 Cryotic per 1% progress).
- Mission rewards are granted for every 2 completed digs, rather than for every completed dig.
|Earth||Everest||Grineer||Excavation1||1 - 6||Grineer Forest|
|Venus||Kiliken||Corpus||Excavation1||3 - 8||Corpus Outpost|
|Earth||Tikal (Dark Sector)||Infested||Excavation1||6 - 16||Grineer Forest|
|Mars||Augustus||Grineer||Excavation1||9 - 14||Grineer Settlement|
|Europa||Valefor||Corpus||Excavation2||18 - 23||Corpus Ice Planet|
|Europa||Cholistan (Dark Sector)||Infested||Excavation3||23 - 33||Corpus Ice Planet|
|Neptune||Despina||Corpus||Excavation3||27 - 32||Corpus Outpost|
|Pluto||Hieracon (Dark Sector)||Infested||Excavation3||35 - 45||Corpus Outpost|
For Excavation missions that use the tier rewards table (i.e. excluding Arbitrations and other special mission types), players will earn one reward for every 100 Cryotic excavated (not factoring Resource Boosters). This means that players can earn rewards as quickly as they can successfully defend an extractor to completion, or more slowly from partially defended excavators.
For Void Rifts, relics will be cracked open after every 200 Cryotic excavated.
Reward tiers are based on the starting level for enemies within the mission:
- Tier 1: Starting level 1 - 10
- Tier 2: Starting level 11 - 20
- Tier 3: Starting level 21+
Excavation missions uses the standard AABC drop rotation for rewards, with the first and second excavations dropping a A-rotation reward, the third excavation dropping a B-rotation reward, and the fourth excavation dropping a C-rotation reward, which then repeats indefinitely.
- Rotation A: 1st, 2nd; 5th, 6th; 9th, 10th; etc.
- Rotation B: 3rd; 7th; 11th; etc.
- Rotation C: 4th; 8th; 12th; etc.
The rewards for Tier 2 and 3 Excavations are identical to the rewards for Tier 2 and 3 Survival missions. As successful excavations can take as little as 100 seconds, Excavation missions are significantly more efficient.
Excavation missions also have one of the highest enemy densities of the standard mission types, which lends itself to more quickly acquiring resources, affinity, and mods relative to the planet and type of enemies.
|Rotation A||Rotation B||Rotation C|
|2000 Credit Cache||14.29%||Hornet Strike||7.69%||Lith A4 Relic||11.06%|
|2000 Credit Cache||14.29%||Incendiary Coat||7.69%||Lith B8 Relic||11.06%|
|2000 Credit Cache||14.29%||Intensify||7.69%||Lith G4 Relic||11.06%|
|2000 Credit Cache||14.29%||Parry||7.69%||Lith I1 Relic||11.06%|
|100 Endo||14.29%||Serration||7.69%||Lith K6 Relic||11.06%|
|100 Endo||14.29%||Steel Fiber||7.69%||Lith P5 Relic||11.06%|
|100 Endo||14.29%||Lith A4 Relic||7.69%||Lith T4 Relic||11.06%|
|Lith B8 Relic||7.69%||Arrow Mutation||3.76%|
|Lith G4 Relic||7.69%||Cleanse Grineer||3.76%|
|Lith I1 Relic||7.69%||Pistol Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Lith K6 Relic||7.69%||Rifle Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Lith P5 Relic||7.69%||Shotgun Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Lith T4 Relic||7.69%||Sniper Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Rotation A||Rotation B||Rotation C|
|2500 Credit Cache||16.67%||Charged Shell||7.14%||Neo A5 Relic||11.06%|
|2500 Credit Cache||16.67%||Fast Deflection||7.14%||Neo B7 Relic||11.06%|
|2500 Credit Cache||16.67%||Hornet Strike||7.14%||Neo D3 Relic||11.06%|
|100 Endo||16.67%||Provoked||7.14%||Neo N15 Relic||11.06%|
|100 Endo||16.67%||Serration||7.14%||Neo P2 Relic||11.06%|
|100 Endo||16.67%||Steel Fiber||7.14%||Neo T4 Relic||11.06%|
|Vital Sense||7.14%||Neo V10 Relic||11.06%|
|Meso C6 Relic||7.14%||Arrow Mutation||3.76%|
|Meso D6 Relic||7.14%||Cleanse Corpus||3.76%|
|Meso I1 Relic||7.14%||Pistol Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Meso P4 Relic||7.14%||Rifle Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Meso P5 Relic||7.14%||Shotgun Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Meso T5 Relic||7.14%||Sniper Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Meso Z4 Relic||7.14%|
- Valefor, Europa
|Rotation A||Rotation B||Rotation C|
|3000 Credit Cache||25%||Flow||6.67%||Axi A13 Relic||11.06%|
|3000 Credit Cache||25%||Hell's Chamber||6.67%||Axi C6 Relic||11.06%|
|3000 Credit Cache||25%||Hornet Strike||6.67%||Axi G6 Relic||11.06%|
|400 Endo||25%||Serration||6.67%||Axi I1 Relic||11.06%|
|Split Chamber||6.67%||Axi N7 Relic||11.06%|
|Stabilizer||6.67%||Axi O5 Relic||11.06%|
|Steel Fiber||6.67%||Axi T7 Relic||11.06%|
|Neo A5 Relic||6.67%||Cleanse Infested||3.76%|
|Neo B7 Relic||6.67%||Pistol Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Neo D3 Relic||6.67%||Rifle Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Neo N15 Relic||6.67%||Shotgun Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Neo P2 Relic||6.67%||Sniper Ammo Mutation||3.76%|
|Neo T4 Relic||6.67%|
|Neo V10 Relic||6.67%|
As an example of a possible reward sequence for successfully defending and powering four excavators on Everest, Earth: 1500 credits, 80 Endo, a Lith Relic, and finally an Arrow Mutation mod, in that order.
Dark Sector Excavation
Healing Interactions With Excavators
- Main article: Defense Objects
Only static defense objects can be healed or receive damage reduction from other sources in accordance with the tables below.
Healing over time only takes effect when the defense object's natural health regeneration is active; taking damage from enemies briefly disables both the natural regeneration and external regeneration effects for a few seconds.
|Healing source||Normal effect||Effect on all types of static defendable objects (Cryopods, Excavators, etc)|
|'s||3 HP per sec for each active splinter||Same as normal|
|'s||500 Max Shields
80% faster Shield recharge
|Same as normal|
|'s||500 Shield restore on attach
50 Shield restore per second
|Same as normal|
|'s||Up to 100% HP and Shield restore||Heal for 500 over 5 seconds, can’t stack|
|'s||100 HP/sec + 1% life steal||100 HP/sec, no life steal|
|'s (Mend)||25 Shields for each enemy killed
Burst heal based on how much damage was dealt
|Shields per enemy killed and heal for 500 over 5 seconds, can’t stack|
|Vazarin's Protective Dash||5 seconds invulnerability
60% Heal over 5 seconds
Heal for 500 over 5 seconds, can’t stack
|'s||Heal for 50 HP/sec||Same as normal|
|'s||Heals 30% hp every 1.5 secs when ally stands on it||Heal for 100 per 1.5 sec|
|'s||Heals allies for a % of damage dealt||Heals are capped up to 50 per second.|
|'s||125 burst heal
50 health per sec
|Same as normal|
|'s||Heals by % of missing health/second||No effect|
|'||Heals for damage dealt by Swarm Projectile divided by allies in range.||Same as normal|
|'||Heal allies standing on it for 20 HP per second||Same as normal|
|'s (Vitality mote)||Increase max hp by 300 and heal for 30 HP per second||Same as normal|
|'s||Grants shields based on 3% of damage dealt||Capped at 250 shields, no overshields|
|'s passive||4 HP per Second for 20 Seconds||Same as normal|
|Heals for damage dealt in an AoE||Heal for up to 500 over 5 seconds, can’t stack with other players. Going from a burst to Heal over Time.|
|Ancient Healer Specter||Heal for 100 HP every 20 seconds||Same as normal|
|Heal 3 HP per sec||Same as normal|
|60% chance to heal for 150 HP when picking up a health orb with a 15 sec cooldown||Same as normal|
- On their own Excavators cannot regenerate health but can replenish their shields. An Excavator's shields can also be replenished by delivering a Power Cell to it or using Warframe powers like 's Shield Polarize.
- can use her Splinter Storm to give up to 50% damage reduction to any excavator and is also able to reset the timer of the ability with .
- Lost Excavator health can be restored by using a Warframe equipped with the Aura.
- can directly heal an Excavator by using Venari's Heal posture while having it in the reticle.
- Lost Excavator health can also be restored by using Protective Dash in the Vazarin Focus tree. Prior to Update 27.4 (2020-05-01), this previously made the Excavator invulnerable for a short time as well, but now heals flat HP/second.
- Power cells can be more easily picked up by keeping your Use control (default ) held down while running over one (or standing under one as it falls to the ground). As with datamasses, they can be dropped by switching to your primary weapon.
- Excavation is the one of the few missions from which Cryotic can be reliably acquired.
- 4 Power Cells are enough to complete one excavation.
- During a Void Fissure on an Excavation mission, fissures will appear and spawn enemies even when an excavator is not powered, or has not been placed. Squads with players who are low on Reactant may wish to temporarily halt excavator progress until they have enough to open their relic.
- The upper limit on rate of Cryotic and mission reward gains from a non-Arbitration Excavation mission, based solely on dig site spawn rates and excavator dig times, is 120 Cryotic and 1 mission reward per minute (600 Cryotic and 5 mission rewards per 5 minutes).
- For Arbitration Excavation missions, this upper limit is reduced to 100 Cryotic and 0.5 mission rewards per minute (500 Cryotic and 2.5 mission rewards per 5 minutes).
- Despite being a machine, the Excavator has flesh-type health.
- Sometimes when a host migration occurs, Power Carriers will stop spawning and the ones that were already spawned in the area will not drop a power cell when killed. However, any Power Cells left on the ground before the migration occurs will remain.
- The excavator's hitbox is larger than the size of the excavator itself. This can be seen if the player attempts to shoot an enemy near the excavator as the shots will not hit the enemy because the excavators' hitbox is in front of them.
- Attempting to pick up an energy cell immediately after climbing up will cause a player to fall out of the map.
- After approaching an excavation zone the excavator may not spawn. This can always be fixed by eliminating existing enemies in the map.
- Picking up a Power Cell while equipped with a dual-wield secondary weapon will force single-wield animations, even after dropping the Power Cell. This causes both weapons to clip since single-wield animations have both hands together, among other graphical problems. No effect on gameplay.
- Occasionally the dig site's location will not be marked on the mini-map, causing the dig site to not activate.
- Any players who join after the mission has started (even if an extractor has not been started) will not receive any reward (besides Cryotic) for a full extractor.
- Power Carriers may stop spawning making it impossible to proceed. Allowing enemies to destroy one of your Extractors should fix this and trigger Power Carriers to appear again.
- Operation Cryotic Front, which introduced this mission type.
|PvE||Standard||Assassination • Capture • Exterminate • Hijack • Mobile Defense • |
Rescue • Sabotage (Assault, Deception, Hive,
Orokin, Reactor, Sealab) • Spy
|Endless||Defection • Disruption • Defense • Excavation • |
Infested Salvage • Interception • Survival
|Free Roam||Bounty (Isolation Vault • Heist)|
|Arena||The Index • Rathuum|
|Special||Granum Void • Junction • Recovery • Sanctuary Onslaught|
|Archwing||Exterminate • Interception • Mobile Defense • Pursuit • Rush • Sabotage|
|Empyrean||Skirmish • Defense • Exterminate • Orphix • Volatile|
|PvP||Conclave||Cephalon Capture • Annihilation • Team Annihilation • Lunaro|
|Other||Frame Fighter • Duel|
|Arbitrations • Crossfire • Dark Sectors • Environmental Hazards • Invasions • Kuva Siphon • |
Kuva Lich • Nightmare Mode • Nightwave • Sorties • The Steel Path • Void Fissures