At the start of the mission, objective markers will appear showing the location of Excavators.

Travel to these points, and use Power Cores to activate the Excavators. Defend the Excavator until it can unearth what it was looking for. Up to three excavators can be activated at the same time.
—In-Game Description

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 Cryotic.

Excavation game modes appear as outdoor Tilesets on Venus, Earth, Mars, Europa, Neptune, and Pluto, including available Dark Sector nodes.



A Power Cell

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 Cryotic for every second the Excavator was active (thus awarding 100 Cryotic 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 Cryotic have been extracted; Void Fissure and Kuva Siphon/Flood missions unlock extraction after 200 units of Cryotic Cryotic have been unearthed; and Mine of Karishh (Grendel Systems Locator) requires 800 units of Cryotic 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 Mechanics[]

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 (versus 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.


Planet Mission Name Faction Credit Reward Addtional Credit Reward Wiki's DropTableAlias Level Tileset
Earth Everest Grineer 1,000 0 Excavation1 1 - 6 Grineer Forest
Venus Kiliken Corpus 1,200 0 Excavation1 3 - 8 Corpus Outpost
Earth Tikal (Dark Sector) Infested 1,500 12,000 Excavation1 6 - 16 Grineer Forest
Mars Augustus Grineer 1,800 0 Excavation1 9 - 14 Grineer Settlement
Europa Valefor Corpus 2,700 0 Excavation2 18 - 23 Corpus Ice Planet
Europa Cholistan (Dark Sector) Infested 3,200 16,000 Excavation3 23 - 33 Corpus Ice Planet
Europa Mines of Karishh Corpus 3,400 0 25 - 30 Corpus Ice Planet
Neptune Despina Corpus 3,600 0 Excavation3 27 - 32 Corpus Outpost
Pluto Hieracon (Dark Sector) Infested 4,400 20,000 Excavation3 35 - 45 Corpus Outpost
There are a total of 9 Excavation Missions


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 completed dig.

For Void Fissures, 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.

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.

Drop Tables[]

This section is transcluded from Excavation/Rewards . To change it, please edit the transcluded page.

Credits x2000 Credit Cache 57.14% Mod TT 20px Hornet Strike 7.69% LithRelicIntact Lith A6 11.06%
Endo Endo x100 42.86% Mod TT 20px Incendiary Coat 7.69% LithRelicIntact Lith C11 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Intensify 7.69% LithRelicIntact Lith G10 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Parry 7.69% LithRelicIntact Lith P8 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Serration 7.69% LithRelicIntact Lith P9 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Steel Fiber 7.69% LithRelicIntact Lith R5 11.06%
LithRelicIntact Lith A6 7.69% LithRelicIntact Lith T12 11.06%
LithRelicIntact Lith C11 7.69% Mod TT 20px Arrow Mutation 3.76%
LithRelicIntact Lith G10 7.69% Mod TT 20px Cleanse Grineer 3.76%
LithRelicIntact Lith P8 7.69% Mod TT 20px Pistol Ammo Mutation 3.76%
LithRelicIntact Lith P9 7.69% Mod TT 20px Rifle Ammo Mutation 3.76%
LithRelicIntact Lith R5 7.69% Mod TT 20px Shotgun Ammo Mutation 3.76%
LithRelicIntact Lith T12 7.69% Mod TT 20px Sniper Ammo Mutation 3.76%

Drop tables outdated? Readers can update Module:DropTables/data and cross reference with official drop tables on https://www.warframe.com/droptables.

Credits x2500 Credit Cache 50% Mod TT 20px Charged Shell 7.14% NeoRelicIntact Neo A11 11.06%
Endo Endo x100 50% Mod TT 20px Fast Deflection 7.14% NeoRelicIntact Neo A12 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Hornet Strike 7.14% NeoRelicIntact Neo M5 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Provoked 7.14% NeoRelicIntact Neo O2 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Serration 7.14% NeoRelicIntact Neo P6 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Steel Fiber 7.14% NeoRelicIntact Neo S18 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Vital Sense 7.14% NeoRelicIntact Neo Z10 11.06%
MesoRelicIntact Meso B9 7.14% Mod TT 20px Arrow Mutation 3.76%
MesoRelicIntact Meso G6 7.14% Mod TT 20px Cleanse Corpus 3.76%
MesoRelicIntact Meso G7 7.14% Mod TT 20px Pistol Ammo Mutation 3.76%
MesoRelicIntact Meso H5 7.14% Mod TT 20px Rifle Ammo Mutation 3.76%
MesoRelicIntact Meso V9 7.14% Mod TT 20px Shotgun Ammo Mutation 3.76%
MesoRelicIntact Meso W4 7.14% Mod TT 20px Sniper Ammo Mutation 3.76%
MesoRelicIntact Meso W5 7.14%


Drop tables outdated? Readers can update Module:DropTables/data and cross reference with official drop tables on https://www.warframe.com/droptables.

Credits x3000 Credit Cache 75% Mod TT 20px Flow 6.67% AxiRelicIntact Axi A17 11.06%
Endo Endo x400 25% Mod TT 20px Hell's Chamber 6.67% AxiRelicIntact Axi A18 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Hornet Strike 6.67% AxiRelicIntact Axi B8 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Serration 6.67% AxiRelicIntact Axi F2 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Split Chamber 6.67% AxiRelicIntact Axi G11 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Stabilizer 6.67% AxiRelicIntact Axi L6 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Steel Fiber 6.67% AxiRelicIntact Axi P7 11.06%
Mod TT 20px Stretch 6.67% Mod TT 20px Arrow Mutation 3.76%
NeoRelicIntact Neo A11 6.67% Mod TT 20px Cleanse Infested 3.76%
NeoRelicIntact Neo A12 6.67% Mod TT 20px Pistol Ammo Mutation 3.76%
NeoRelicIntact Neo M5 6.67% Mod TT 20px Rifle Ammo Mutation 3.76%
NeoRelicIntact Neo O2 6.67% Mod TT 20px Shotgun Ammo Mutation 3.76%
NeoRelicIntact Neo P6 6.67% Mod TT 20px Sniper Ammo Mutation 3.76%
NeoRelicIntact Neo S18 6.67%
NeoRelicIntact Neo Z10 6.67%

Drop tables outdated? Readers can update Module:DropTables/data and cross reference with official drop tables on https://www.warframe.com/droptables.

Dark Sector Excavation[]

These Excavation missions have a higher level range than the planet they're found on, but yield greater Affinity and Credits due to the inherent bonuses of Dark Sectors.

Healing Interactions With Excavators[]

Only static defense objects can be healed or receive damage reduction from other sources in accordance with the tables below. Mirror Defense defense objects are exempted from effects that heal, give shields, or give health. They can receive damage reduction effects as outlined in the table below.

Note that Eidolon Lures are not static and are exempt from the rules in the table 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 and Shield Restoration Sources
Healing source Normal effect Effect on all types of static defendable objects (Cryopods, Excavators, etc)
GaraIcon272 Gara's Mod TT 20px Mending Splinters 15 HP/sec for each active splinter Same as normal
HildrynIcon272 Hildryn's Haven130xWhite Haven 500 Max Shields
80% faster Shield recharge
Same as normal
ProteaIcon272 Protea's GrenadeFan130xWhite Grenade Fan 500 Shield restore on attach
50 Shield restore per second
Same as normal
TrinityIcon272 Trinity's Blessing130xWhite Blessing Up to 100% HP and Shield restore Heal for 500 over 5 seconds, can’t stack
TrinityIcon272 Trinity's WellOfLife130xWhite Well of Life 100 HP/sec + 1% life steal 100 HP/sec, no life steal
EquinoxIcon272 Equinox's MendMaim130xWhite Mend & Maim (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
FocusLensVazarin b Vazarin's FocusProtectiveSling Protective Sling 5 seconds invulnerability
60% Heal over 5 seconds
No invulnerability
Heal for 500 over 5 seconds, can’t stack
KhoraIcon272 Khora's Venari130xWhite Venari Heal for 50 HP/sec Same as normal
HydroidIcon272 Hydroid's Mod TT 20px Rousing Plunder Heals allies for 50 HP Heal for up to 500 over 5 seconds
HarrowIcon272 Harrow's Penance130xWhite Penance Heals allies for a % of damage dealt Heals are capped up to 50 per second.
OberonIcon272 Oberon's Renewal130xWhite Renewal 125 burst heal
50 HP/sec
Same as normal
GarudaIcon272 Garuda's BloodAltar130xWhite Blood Altar Heals by % of missing health/second No effect
NidusIcon272 Nidus' Ravenous130xWhite Ravenous Heal allies standing on it for 20 HP/sec Same as normal
WispIcon272 Wisp's Reservoirs130xWhite Reservoirs (Vitality mote) Increase max hp by 300 and heal for 30 HP/sec Same as normal
VoltIcon272 Volt's Mod TT 20px Capacitance Grants shields based on 3% of damage dealt Capped at 250 shields, no overshields
TitaniaIcon272 Titania's passive 4 HP/sec for 20 Seconds Same as normal
SanctiMagistar Sancti Magistar 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
Mod TT 20px Rejuvenation Heal 3 HP/sec Same as normal
ArcanePulse Arcane Pulse 60% chance to heal for 150 HP when picking up a health orb with a 15 sec cooldown Same as normal
CitrineIcon272 Citrine's passive 5 - 25 HP/sec while in Affinity range Same as normal (based on player testing)
Damage Reduction Sources
Damage Reduction Sources Normal effect Effect on all types of static Defendable objects (Cryopods, Excavators, etc)
TrinityIcon272 Trinity's Blessing130xWhite Blessing 50% Damage reduction Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
MirageIcon272 Mirage's Mod TT 20px Total Eclipse Grants 75% Damage reduction to allies Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
TitaniaIcon272 Titania's Tribute130xWhite Tribute (Thorns buff) 50% damage redirected to enemies No effect
GaraIcon272 Gara's SplinterStorm130xWhite Splinter Storm 70% Damage reduction Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
EmberIcon272 Ember's Mod TT 20px Immolated Radiance 50% of Immolates Damage reduction applies to allies Capped at 45% Damage Reduction
BaruukIcon272 Baruuk's DesolateHands130xWhite Desolate Hands 80% Damage reduction Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
HarrowIcon272 Harrow's Mod TT 20px Warding Thurible 40% Damage Reduction Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
NezhaIcon272 Nezha's WardingHalo130xWhite Warding Halo Absorbs 90% of damage Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
CitrineIcon272 Citrine's PreservingShell130xWhite Preserving Shell 25 - 90% Damage Reduction No effect (based on player testing)

Source: https://forums.warframe.com/topic/1189247-warframe-revised-railjack-revisited-part-1-update-274/


  • 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 MagIcon272 Mag's Shield Polarize.
  • GaraIcon272 Gara 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 MassVitrify130xWhite Mass Vitrify.
  • Lost Excavator health can be restored by using a Warframe equipped with the Mod TT 20px Rejuvenation Aura.
  • KhoraIcon272 Khora can directly heal an Excavator by using Venari's Heal posture while having it in the reticle.
  • If KhoraIcon272 Khora has the Mod TT 20px Pilfering Strangledome equipped in her loadout, killing a Power Carrier trapped inside the Strangledome130xWhite Strangledome may result in an additional Power Cell dropping.
  • Lost Excavator health can also be restored by using FocusProtectiveSling Protective Sling in the FocusLensVazarin b 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 X ) 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 Cryotic can be reliably acquired.
    • While Cryotic Cryotic is also a cache reward in Bounty, Hive and Uranus Sabotage missions, gathering this resource in those missions is not nearly as efficient as in Excavation.
  • 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.
  • A one minute failure countdown begins if 15 minutes pass with no active excavator - the only way to end it in mission success is by extracting, as even spawning an excavator does not end the countdown.


  • 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 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.


Patch History[]

Update 36.0 (2024-06-18)

  • We’ve improved enemy spawn logic in Excavation missions to decrease the wait time between completing Excavators.
    • This addresses the player reported issue that it often would take far too long for enemies to spawn when moving from one Excavator to another.

Update 32.3 (2023-02-15)

  • Changed some mission types to display information related to your mission success in the end of mission screen. This change applies to the following mission types:
    • Excavation
      • Previously a small icon would display the amount of Excavators successfully defended for these missions. This icon wasn’t always clear in terms of what it indicated, and it appeared in rewards despite not being one. Adding this information to the top of the end of mission screen should make this more clear.

Update 31.6 (2022-06-09)

  • Fixed case of an Excavator not visually touching the ground on Mars.

Hotfix 30.9.2 (2021-11-11)

  • Fixed Excavation HUD formatting appearing squished.

Hotfix 30.9.1 (2021-11-11)

  • Fixed a script error when playing Excavation in relation to number formatting.

Hotfix 30.7.3 (2021-09-10)

  • Excavation missions will now timeout like many other game modes if Excavation progress is not being made. This addresses an exploit within the Steel Path, and Excavation itself for AFK gain.

Hotfix 29.0.8 (2020-09-10)

  • Fixed certain Excavation spawns not scaling in level with the rest of the enemies.

Update 29.0 (2020-08-25)

  • Fixed script error after host migration in an Excavation mission that could result in the mission not progressing.

Hotfix 28.3.1 (2020-08-12)

  • Fixed script error after Host migration in an Excavation mission that could result in the mission not progressing.

Hotfix (2020-05-27)

  • Fixed a script error that could occur when joining an Excavation mission in progress.

Hotfix 27.4.1 (2020-05-01)

  • Fixed a script error that could break the Excavation HUD.

Hotfix 27.3.11 (2020-04-09)

  • Fixed a script error with Excavator missions.

Update 27.2 (2020-03-05)

Excavation Health/Shield Scaling Changes

Excavation missions have had the same property since launch: all Excavators have 500 Shield, 2500 Health no matter the mission level. As of our coming PC mainline update, both Health and Shields will scale following the same formula as Mobile Defense Terminals. Shield Regeneration of Excavators will be a percent of health vs. flat value to deal with scaling shields.


Why: This change will bring Excavation in line with existing mission types that have scaling properties after several years of having flat values. True to our initial goal of fixing inconsistencies, we are making these mission objectives scale in a consistent manner to other mission objectives.

Update 25.7 (2019-08-29)

  • Excavation used to use the base node for enemy count scaling, now difficulty properly scales alongside current enemy level - meaning that the higher the enemy level, the more simultaneous enemies you’ll have to face!
  • Fixed auto-dropping the Excavation Power Cell when picking up Primary Ammo with only a Primary weapon equipped.
  • Fixed towards enemies pursuing the cold, dead corpses of players in Excavation missions.

Update 25.0 (2019-05-22)

  • Non-Endless Survival/Excavation/etc missions (i.e. Alerts, Sorties, Syndicate dailies, etc) now disable individual extraction as it leads to unnecessary Host migrations

Update 24.4 (2019-03-08)

Individual Extraction - Non-Wave Endless!

You are now able to extract from Survival, Excavation, and Defection missions independent of your squad.

  • Once the 'mission complete' interval is met, players can head to extraction any time they choose (i.e 5 minutes for Survival).
  • Any player at extraction triggers a countdown timer.
  • If all players leave the extraction zone, the countdown timer is cancelled.
  • When the timer is up, the extraction ship arrives and any players in the extraction zone leave.
  • Anyone still playing can extract later any time they choose.

Update 22.15 (2018-03-07)

  • Excavation UI displays 'Power: FULL' when the Excavator no longer needs more Power Cells to run to completion.
  • All Lotus transmissions will appear on the right side of the screen as to not obscure the Excavation UI.
  • Added a subtle blue Shield charge FX (similar to Warframe Shield charge FX) to the Excavator when its Shields are recharged by a Power Cell.

Update 22.14 (2018-03-01)

Excavation Objective UI Changes

In the simplest of terms, UI for Excavation missions has been cleaned up and simplified!

  • Endless Excavation missions now display ‘Digs Completed’ instead of ‘Total Cryotic Excavated’. The number of ‘Digs Completed’ is what counts towards the tiered Rewards in the Endless modes, and this change saves you some mental math!
    • You can still see the total Cryotic Excavated on the Mission Progress screen.

Hotfix 22.13.4 (2018-02-22)

Invasion Changes

With the precedent already set from Fissure missions for rewarding per normal endless cycle, Invasions felt strenuous due to their lengthy mission completion requirements. Considering there are other “faster” mission types available to get your reward and get out, it was time to cut back a bit on the way 'endless' variants work within the system. As a result, the following mission completion requirements have been scaled back:

  • Excavation from 1000 Cryotic to 500 Cryotic.

Update 16.0 (2015-03-19)

Excavation Mission Changes
  • The Excavation scanner has been removed from the Mission instead giving 3 dig sites at once.
  • Dig sites will appear in an order that gives players a reasonable tour through the map starting at the closest dig site.
  • Added a small ramp-up to the spawns so that players don't get jumped right away when entering the Mission.

Update 14.5 (2014-08-28)

See also[]