You can play all star chart content of Warframe without ever thinking about Forma. But the later game content (sortie, arbitrations, ESO) requires you to use and to farm Forma constantly. The most reliable farming place is still doing regular fissure missions. But there are a handful of alternative ways to get your hands on Forma.
For the longest time Forma could be described as an item that allows you to change the polarity of a mod slot. Lately two new forma types, known as Umbra and Aura Forma – added exceptions to that old description. That is, why it is useful shortly look at what “classic” Forma does and where its limitations are. If you are only interested in the farming of “classic” Forma feel free to jump in the middle of this article.
Usage of “classic” Forma, Umbra Forma and Aura Forma
Every rank 30 weapon, companion, vehicle or warframe can make use of Forma. Forma changes the polarity of a single mod slot and resets the weapon, companion, vehicle or warframe back to rank 0. All mod slots except the aura mod slot can be forma’ed by using “classic” Forma. All polarities, including stance or no polarity can be the result of using a Forma. The only exceptions to this rule is the umbra polarity. To add an umbra polarity an Umbra Forma is needed and to change the aura polarity of a warframe an Aura Forma is needed.
If you want to change the polarity for multiple mod slots on an item, that items has to levelled again to rank 30 for each forma applied. It is not possible to forma multiple slots at once.
The actual process of using forma requires you to be in your arsenal with the weapon, companion or warframe opened through UPGRADE. In the lower right corner you will find an ACTION button. After hitting that button you are presented with another menu where you have to choose POLARIZE.
Next you can choose the forma type of your choice. If you only own “classic” Forma there is not much of a choice. But if you also own Aura and Umbra Forma, make sure to pick the right one.
Aura Forma can only forma the aura mod slot of warframes. Umbra Forma can only be used to add umba polarity to a warframe slot. Once you applied the forma, a reset to rank 0 takes place and you have to once again level up that gear to rank 30.
The best spot to farm Forma blueprints
For “classic” Forma the best farming spot in terms of reliability are fissure missions. Most relics have Forma blueprints in its rewards. The drop chance is between 11-25%. A few fissure runs will reward you with at least one Forma blueprint in a reasonable amount of time invested. With a building time of 24 hours it is more than enough to farm a single Forma blueprint per day.
The best indirect way of farming Forma
Personally I think selling prime parts or mods to buy Forma directly from the marketplace is the best indirect farming strategy. Not only will you save credits and resources required for building in the foundry, you also cut out the 24 hour waiting time for a single Forma to be built.
A bundle of 3 pre-built Forma does only cost 35 platinum in the marketplace. The simplest ways to get credits is still selling prime parts, syndicate weapons or rare duplicate mods you have come across to other players. If you do not know what to sell, I prepared a long list of 20 things that always sell for platinum on Warframe.
All places that drop Forma blueprints
If you want to try other methods of getting hold of Forma blueprints there are a few more places other than fissure mission rewards with a drop chance of 11-25%.
From time to time Forma pops up as battle pay reward for invasions. Best use a tracker like tenno.tools (https://tenno.tools) to regularly check invasions.
Another rather unknown location is Orokin Derelict Defense (ODD) rotation C at the 20 minutes mark. ODD rotation C has 22.56% drop chance of a Forma blueprint.
I have a few other places for you but the drop chance is ridiculously low. I only add them here to give you a complete picture but not for actual farming.
Earth sabotage missions have a 2% drop chance of a Forma blueprint if you get all 3 caches (rotation C).
Senda arena missions on have 0.34% Forma blueprint drop chance on Nakki, 0.40% on Undine, 0.50% on Vodyanoi. PvP conclave has 0.25% drop chance of a Forma blueprint at the end of the match.
And finally there are rare Orokin storage container in the Void or on Lua that contain Forma blueprints.
All places that have pre-built forma
If you want to circumvent the 24 hours building time of Forma, getting your hands on pre-built Forma is the only way. The marketplace with its 3 Forma bundle for 35 platinum is what most players think of when talking about pre-built Forma. Luckily this is not the only source for pre-built Forma.
Daily tribute occasionally gives a single Forma as reward. After 400 login days this reward is double to 2 Forma occasionally. After 1050 days there there is a chance to get a 3 Forma bundle every 50 login days. That might seem far ahead into the future but it might keep you motivated to log in regularly.
Nightwave as a replacement for the old alert system also has single Forma and a 3 Forma bundle in the reward list as you progress through the ranks in each season. Season 2 of nightwave had a 3 Forma bundle at rank 25 and season 1 had a 3 Forma bundle at rank 7 and rank 27. Keeping up with nightwave is generally a good idea for Forma and all the other rewards it offers.
If you enjoy Lua then solving the music puzzle might be a viable option to get a pre-built Forma. The music puzzle has a good chance of spawning in all current Lua missions but defense. Solving that puzzle has a 20% chance to drop a pre-built Forma. Do not get fooled by thinking 20% means every 5th mission. It is more realistic to think of it in terms of 10 missions are expected to get a Forma. I have a drop chance calculator for you can use to understand what 20% drop chance means. (https://xplainthegame.com/dropchance-calculator/?percent=20)
Sorties also have pre-built Forma in their reward tables but the chance of getting a Forma drop is only 2.50%.
Finally there are caches on Earth sabotage missions. If you find all 3 caches (rotation C) there is a 0.50% chance to get a pre-built Forma. These are the same sabotage mission I mentioned before because they also have a 2% Forma blueprint drop chance on rotation C.
All places to get Aura and Umbra Forma
Aura Forma blueprints have been around since April 2019 as arbitration rewards. They have a 1%, 2% and 4.5% drop chance on rotation A, B and C of arbitration missions. They are expensive to build because they require 4 pre-built Forma and 10 Nitain Extract as building material.
Pre-built Aura Forma is a very rare reward. So far it only dropped in the first nightwave intermission as rank 14 reward and in not-to-be repeated operation Hostile Mergers. You can also buy a single pre-built Aura Forma for 80 platinum or a bundle of 3 pre-built Aura Forma for 150 platinum in the marketplace.
Umbra Forma is the rarest of all forma and can currently only be obtained pre-built through nightwave. It was the rank 29 reward of Nightwave season 1 and rank 26 reward of Nightwave season 2. There is no Umbra Forma blueprint currently in the game.
Forma building time and requirements
Forma and Aura Forma both have a building time of 24 hours each.
A “classic” Forma requires 1 Morphic, 1 Neural Sensors, 1 Neurode, 1 Orokin Cell and 35’000 credits to be build. An Aura Forma requires 4 Forma, 1 Argon Crystal, 10 Nitain Extract and 100’000 credits to be build.
Do not forget: Forma is also a resource required to build weapons and other a few other items
It is easy to forget that Forma is not only used to change mod polarities but also needed a requirement for weapons and other items in the game. To build an Exilus Adapter you need 2 pre-built Forma. And to build an Aura Forma you need 4 pre-built forma. All syndicates require a single pre-built forma as sacrifice for rank 2. And if you want to build any Greater Lens, one Forma is part of its rather excessive building requirements.
If you want to build one of the 70+ weapons from the dojo labs, almost all of them need a forma as part of their building requirements.
History of forma
Forma as a way to polarize gear was introduced in 2013 as part of the “Rise of the Warlords” Update. 2019 saw the rise of two new forma types: Umbra Forma and Aura Forma.
Holistic forma on Youtube
This youtube video gives you a complete overview of “classic” Forma.