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 for the Operation Cryotic Front event, and formally introduced as a standard mission type in Update 14.10. 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.

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


Players will first need to locate dig sites whose positions are located on the minimap by the Lotus every 30 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 PowerCell 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 and Sorties will only allow extraction after 500 units of Cryotic have been extracted.

Similar to Survival missions, the rewards for every successful excavation stack, and players can claim all artifacts that have been recovered upon extraction. Also, multiple 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.


Planet Mission Name Faction Level Tileset
EarthEverestGrineer1 - 6Grineer Forest
VenusKilikenCorpus3 - 8Corpus Outpost
EarthTikal (Dark Sector)Infested6 - 16Grineer Forest
MarsAugustusGrineer9 - 14Grineer Settlement
EuropaValeforCorpus18 - 23Corpus Ice Planet
EuropaCholistan (Dark Sector)Infested23 - 33Corpus Ice Planet
NeptuneDespinaCorpus27 - 32Corpus Outpost
PlutoHieracon (Dark Sector)Infested35 - 45Corpus Outpost
There are a total of Excavation Missions


Besides the bonus amounts of materials, experience, and mods from the increase in enemies compared to normal missions, certain rewards can be awarded at the end of the mission if the mission is a success. Mission rewards will vary depending on the level of the mission's enemies (the starting level; this tier does not scale during a mission as higher level enemies spawn) and also depends on the amount of time spent.

  • Enemy level tier (in average):
    • Tier 1: Level 1 - 10
    • Tier 2: Level 11 - 20
    • Tier 3: Level 21+
    • Note: While most missions obey these enemy level tiers, there are a few exceptions, such as Valefor. Refer to the table above for a more accurate list of mission enemy level tiers.
  • Drop Rotation (the rewards rotation starts again after every 4th successful extraction):
    • Rotation A: 1st, 2nd; 5th, 6th; 9th, 10th; etc.
    • Rotation B: 3rd; 7th; 11th; etc.
    • Rotation C: 4th; 8th; 12th; etc.
  • The easy way to remember the Rotations is AABC with each successful excavation moving onto the next letter
  • Rewards stack the longer you play.
  • The Rewards for Tier 2 and 3 Excavations are identical to the rewards for Tier 2 and 3 Survival missions
View Rewards List

Rotation A Rotation B Rotation C
Credits64 2000 Credit Cache 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Hornet Strike 7.69% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith C6 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 2000 Credit Cache 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Incendiary Coat 7.69% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith D1 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 2000 Credit Cache 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Intensify 7.69% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith D2 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 2000 Credit Cache 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Parry 7.69% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith M5 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 100 Endo 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Serration 7.69% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith M6 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 100 Endo 14.29% FusionCorePackSilversingle Steel Fiber 7.69% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith P3 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 100 Endo 14.29% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith C6 Relic 7.69% VoidProjectionsIronD Lith S10 Relic 11.06%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith D1 Relic 7.69% FusionCorePackSilversingle Arrow Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith D2 Relic 7.69% FusionCorePackSilversingle Cleanse Grineer 3.76%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith M5 Relic 7.69% FusionCorePackSilversingle Pistol Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith M6 Relic 7.69% FusionCorePackSilversingle Rifle Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith P3 Relic 7.69% FusionCorePackSilversingle Shotgun Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsIronD Lith S10 Relic 7.69% FusionCorePackSilversingle Sniper Ammo Mutation 3.76%


Up to date as of Update 29.1.1

Rotation A Rotation B Rotation C
Credits64 2500 Credit Cache 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Charged Shell 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo A3 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 2500 Credit Cache 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Fast Deflection 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo I2 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 2500 Credit Cache 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Hornet Strike 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo M3 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 100 Endo 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Provoked 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo R4 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 100 Endo 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Serration 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo T2 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 100 Endo 16.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Steel Fiber 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo T3 Relic 11.06%
FusionCorePackSilversingle Vital Sense 7.14% VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo Z5 Relic 11.06%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso E4 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Arrow Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso I1 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Cleanse Corpus 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso K3 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Pistol Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso N10 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Rifle Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso N9 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Shotgun Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso P2 Relic 7.14% FusionCorePackSilversingle Sniper Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsBronzeD Meso P3 Relic 7.14%


Up to date as of Update 29.1.1

Rotation A Rotation B Rotation C
Credits64 3000 Credit Cache 25% FusionCorePackSilversingle Flow 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi A10 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 3000 Credit Cache 25% FusionCorePackSilversingle Hell's Chamber 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi A11 Relic 11.06%
Credits64 3000 Credit Cache 25% FusionCorePackSilversingle Hornet Strike 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi B3 Relic 11.06%
Endo64 400 Endo 25% FusionCorePackSilversingle Serration 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi B4 Relic 11.06%
FusionCorePackSilversingle Split Chamber 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi C5 Relic 11.06%
FusionCorePackSilversingle Stabilizer 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi T4 Relic 11.06%
FusionCorePackSilversingle Steel Fiber 6.67% VoidProjectionsGoldD Axi W1 Relic 11.06%
FusionCorePackSilversingle Stretch 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Arrow Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo A3 Relic 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Cleanse Infested 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo I2 Relic 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Pistol Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo M3 Relic 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Rifle Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo R4 Relic 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Shotgun Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo T2 Relic 6.67% FusionCorePackSilversingle Sniper Ammo Mutation 3.76%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo T3 Relic 6.67%
VoidProjectionsSilverD Neo Z5 Relic 6.67%


Up to date as of Update 29.1.1

Excavation rewards follow a similar logic to Survival missions and draw from the same pools of possible rewards, with each excavator successfully deployed counting as a 5-minute interval. This makes Excavation missions ideal to farm Relics, since its reward rotation is quicker than a Survival rotation.

As an example of a possible reward sequence, successfully deploying four excavators in Everest, Earth, could result in players receiving a batch of 1500 credits, 80 Endo, a Lith S8 Relic, and finally an Arrow Mutation mod, in that order.

Dark Sector ExcavationEdit

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 ExcavatorsEdit

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 and Shield Restoration Sources
Healing source Normal effect Effect on all types of static defendable objects (Cryopods, Excavators, etc)
GaraIcon272 Gara's Mod TT 20pxMending Splinters 3 HP per sec for each active splinter Same as normal
HildrynIcon272 Hildryn's Haven130xDark Haven 500 Max Shields
80% faster Shield recharge
Same as normal
ProteaIcon272 Protea's GrenadeFan130xDark Grenade Fan 500 Shield restore on attach
50 Shield restore per second
TrinityIcon272 Trinity's Blessing130xDark Blessing Up to 100% HP and Shield restore Heal for 500 over 5 seconds, can’t stack
EquinoxIcon272 Equinox's MendMaim130xDark 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
Vazarin's Protective Dash 5 seconds invulnerability
60% Heal over 5 seconds
No invulnerability
Heal for 500 over 5 seconds, can’t stack
KhoraIcon272 Khora's Venari130xDark Venari Heal for 50 HP/sec Same as normal
HydroidIcon272 Hydroid's Mod TT 20pxCurative Undertow Heals 30% hp every 1.5 secs when ally stands on it Heal for 100 per 1.5 sec
HarrowIcon272 Harrow's Penance130xDark Penance Heals allies for a % of damage dealt Heals are capped up to 50 per second.
OberonIcon272 Oberon's Renewal130xDark Renewal 125 burst heal
50 health per sec
Same as normal
GarudaIcon272 Garuda's BloodAltar130xDark Blood Altar Heals by % of missing health/second No effect
InarosIcon272 Inaros' ScarabSwarm130xDark Scarab Swarm Heals for damage dealt by Swarm Projectile divided by allies in range. Same as normal
NidusIcon272 Nidus' Ravenous130xDark Ravenous Heal allies standing on it for 20 HP per second Same as normal
WispIcon272 Wisp's Reservoirs130xDark Reservoirs (Vitality mote) Increase max hp by 300 and heal for 30 HP per second Same as normal
VoltIcon272 Volt's Mod TT 20pxCapacitance Grants shields based on 3% of damage dealt Capped at 250 shields, no overshields
TitaniaIcon272 Titania's passive 4 HP per Second for 20 Seconds Same as normal
NLMagistar 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 20pxRejuvenation Heal 3 HP per sec Same as normal
ArcanePulse64x Arcane Pulse 60% chance to heal for 150 HP when picking up a health orb with a 15 sec cooldown Same as normal
Damage Reduction Sources
Damage Reduction Sources Normal effect Effect on all types of static Defendable objects (Cryopods, Excavators, etc)
TrinityIcon272 Trinity's Blessing130xDark Blessing 50% Damage reduction Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
MirageIcon272 Mirage's Mod TT 20pxTotal Eclipse Grants 75% Damage reduction to allies Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
TitaniaIcon272 Titania's Tribute130xDark Tribute (Thorns buff) 50% damage redirected to enemies No effect
GaraIcon272 Gara's SplinterStorm130xDark Splinter Storm 70% Damage reduction Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
EmberIcon272 Ember's Mod TT 20pxImmolated Radiance 50% of Immolates Damage reduction applies to allies Capped at 45% Damage Reduction
BaruukIcon272 Baruuk's DesolateHands130xDark Desolate Hands 80% Damage reduction Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
HarrowIcon272 Harrow's Mod TT 20pxWarding Thurible 40% Damage Reduction Capped at 50% Damage Reduction
NezhaIcon272 Nezha's WardingHalo130xDark Warding Halo Absorbs 90% of damage Capped at 50% Damage Reduction



  • 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 MassVitrify130xDark Mass Vitrify.
  • Lost Excavator health can be restored by using a Warframe equipped with the Mod TT 20pxRejuvenation Aura.
  • KhoraIcon272 Khora 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, 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 can be reliably acquired.
    • While 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. No extraction is provided for void fissure excavation unless one full 100 Cryotic excavation is completed.


  • 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.
  • Despite being a machine, the Excavator has flesh-type health.
  • 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 powercell while equipped with a dual-wield secondary weapon will force single-wield animations, even after dropping the powercell. 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.


  • Scanner. No longer exists as of Update 16.
  • Excavator.

Patch HistoryEdit

Hotfix 29.0.8
  • Fixed certain Excavation spawns not scaling in level with the rest of the enemies.

Update 29.0

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

Hotfix 28.3.1

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


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

Hotfix 27.4.1

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

Hotfix 27.3.11

  • Fixed a script error with Excavator missions.

Update 27.2

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

  • 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

  • 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

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

  • 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

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

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

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

See alsoEdit

Start a Discussion Discussions about Excavation

  • Excavation enemy scaling?

    2 messages
    • Do the enemies' level on Excavation missions scale with successful extractions or over time? Basically, if I stop activating extractors, w...
    • They scale over time. If you don't trigger any excavations at all, you will still find they scale up.
  • Excavation loot table with relics

    2 messages
    • Hi. I started a google sheet document to register the loots in excavations, as I play these missions a lot.Of course my results alone aren...
    • TRUE , many excavation missions  have been changed or altogether dropped since the induction of SOTR . I used to solo these missions when ...
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