You’ll very likely want to subsume Warframes shortly after unlocking the Helminth system during your time with, well, Warframe. The goopy, grody mouth straight out of Little Shop of Horrors is your best (and only) way to share powers between your character classes. The process is somewhat limited; you can only move one, preset ability from any given frame to all your others. However, the ability to mix and match these techno-spells is one of the best ways to power up! First comes the sacrifice, however, which means you need to know how to subsume your Warframes. Let’s take a look at what that means!
Note that you must first reach the Necralisk and Cambion Drift on Deimos by completing the quest “Heart of Deimos” to unlock the Helminth’s greatest powers naturally. By doing so, you can buy a “Helminth Segment” upgrade from the NPC called Son inside the Necralisk. This becomes available for purchase after you reach Rank 3 with the Entrati Family Syndicate — by completing tasks for the group and turning in their tokens in exchange for Standing. You must also reach the region of Deimos, of course, which requires completing the Earth to Mars Junction on your Star Map (which isn’t actually that late into the game).
Installing the segment comes with two functions. First, it allows you to open the door to the Helminth Infirmary (the infested, fungal-looking section of your Orbiter) without requiring a Cyst or Nidus to use as a “key.” The door will at this point function like any other room on your ship: allowing you to enter and exit at will. Second, the segment provides full access to Helminth and most of its major functions. This includes feeding it and, of courses, subsuming Warframes.
The slightly confusing bit is figuring out where to subsume them. It’s not terribly clear, but you actually need to sit down in the chair inside the Helminth room. This allows you to interact with Helminth and boost your Warframes in various ways — usually by attaching Helminth abilities to them or giving them temporary “invigorations.”
While it’s not actually a buff or an ability, in the literal sense, “Subsume” can be found among the list of Helminth powers on the left-hand side of the screen after you sit down. It should be the very first option among those listed. For whatever reason, subsuming doesn’t come with its own menu or special station. It’s just on the list as if it was a regular ability that you could equip.
Just the opposite is true, however. Rather than equip anything at all, this will permanently destroy whatever Warframe you have equipped while seated. Though it must be a “standard” variant; Umbra and Prime Warframes are not available to subsume. Because this is a serious investment that can potentially lock you out of entire playable characters, the game will also force you to confirm that you want to subsume a Warframe by literally typing out the word “CONFIRM” first. This makes it very difficult to delete one of your favorites by accident.
As such, subsuming old frames is a great way to clear them out of your inventory after you acquire their more powerful Prime and/or Umbra versions (though there’s of course only one Umbra in the game at the time of this writing). It’s much more cost-effective than simply selling the old models, because subsuming any particular character class will make its Helminth available to equip on any other frame in the game. Forever.
For example, subsuming Saryn will allow you to equip the ability “Molt” to any other Warframe of your choice — replacing whichever natural power of that Warframe you so choose. You could for instance replace Khora’s “Strangledome,” or “Whipclaw,” and so on. The choice of subsumed skill that you can take from each Warframe is preset by the developers at Digital Extremes; the choice of power that you replace on another character is not. Just try to use common sense and avoid dropping very useful, powerful skills in favor of much weaker, more niche ones.
The last thing to note is that subsuming Warframes, just like using most of Helminth’s functions, requires you to “feed” the creature resources. The various types of food it requires are split into six categories, but the game will tell you exactly which you’re missing if you need more to subsume something, so it’s not hard to track.
The bigger issue is that Helminth can be quite greedy — requiring very large quantities of resources to keep satiated if you use its abilities quite often. Though most veteran players will likely have plenty of spare crafting materials sitting around.
And those are the very basics of subsuming a Warframe! The sooner you start, the sooner you can start making completely wacky builds out there via your Helminth abilities. Better get to it quickly, Tenno.