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Return to FireFall

October 10, 2014

Geldarion~Sep-25-2014~New Eden~1~p1

I thought it would be fun to revisit a post I made about Firefall a little over a year ago. In it, I talked about 25 things you needed to know about the game, and was generally pretty excited. I’m generally still pretty excited. There have been a lot of changes, some that made me leave the game for a while, but I wanted to talk about them, perhaps sort of review it here. I will be quoting things from the article and responding to them.


So recently, I have been super swamped with my masters work. For stress relief, I play games, usually at night while monitoring my computer jobs while they run on the supercomputer cluster.

Had to address this first haha. Oh I am so glad this is over. Working on Ph.D work now, but the masters is well in hand and over! No more supercomputer, because you know what they say, “With a computer, you can have problems. With a supercomputer, you have super problems.” Okay, back to Firefall.

For those who don’t know, Firefall is a combination between a First Person Shooter and an MMO. It is a sandbox-style game that has crafting as the main form of upgrading weapons and your armor.

Okay, so this is not really true anymore. It is more like a themepark with guns. Don’t get me wrong, the dynamic events make it a heckuva lot more like a sandbox than, say WoW, but still…it lost a lot of its sandboxiness when they added questing and lowered the emphasis on crafting late in the beta process.

FireFall is currently in open beta, is free-to-play, and seems to keep experience points through server wipes. Making progress in the beta will probably give you a head start at launch, even if your character is deleted.

It is now launched, of course! It is still free-to-play, and it has a great F2P system.

The game feels like a combo of Halo, The Secret World, and Mass Effect.

This is still actually pretty true. There is the shooter aspect, like Halo (though the removal of arena-style PvP lessened its “Halo-ness”). The ability to learn different skill sets and abilities all on the same character makes alts redundant, much like The Secret World. Finally, the class archetypes interplaying with the shooter aspect has a very Mass Effect feel.

Your “class” is defined by what suit of armor (called “battleframes”) you are wearing, though all classes get a jetpack (kinda unrelated, but awesome!).

This is still true.

You upgrade your frame in a number of ways, through uses of items, experience points, currency, and resources. Upgrading your frame also unlocks fancier versions of the five basic frames.

This is sort of true, sort of not. The old system had direct upgrades to the frame, through use of the above items. That being said, there weren’t really “levels” like there are now, or at least they were hidden better and had less impact on your performance. To unlock an advanced frame, you could hit various milestones on any frame, even if you didn’t max it out, and you would get the 10 Pilot’s Tokens individually for hitting them. Now, to unlock the advanced frames, you have to max out a frame completely to level 40 to get the 10 Pilot’s Tokens.

You don’t have to stick to one class. It is much like The Secret World in a way, because at any time, you can switch frames to try something new, but you will start from scratch on the new one, though the old frame’s progress is saved. Theoretically, it is possible to work on all of the frames and be able to switch to any role at any time, though there are frame-specific items and upgrades.

You are given three power slots, plus a special HKM (Hyper-Kinesis Module) skill that does a lot of…something. Depends on what your frame is. For example, the Assault frame does a huge shockwave, while the Engineer frame creates a usable gun platform.

There are special weapons for each frame, but there are some weapons that are common and able to be used by every frame.

Weapons run off a basic ammo/reload system. Monsters drop ammo, health, and currency, so you shouldn’t run out unless you are out of the fray (i.e. sniper).

This is all still in the game, except for the last one. Monsters don’t typically drop enough health and ammo to not need consumables on occasion, which is a reasonable change.

The game is really easy to get into. It’s very easy to learn what to do, it’s fun to shoot things, and you can feel useful right away. It also has many layers of customization past the initial glance, providing a lot of underlying complexity after you get used to the simplicity of it.

While true in the case that you can get in and play pretty easily, there is no way in hell that you are useful. A level 1 better not venture past the area around Copacabana until level 6 unless they want their face kicked in by a bug. This is a far cry from being able to venture all over the map when you first created your character. I joined a team with people with fully upgraded frames when I first played a year ago, when I had only played for about 20 minutes, and we went to the now-level 13 area to do stuff. That wouldn’t fly now, unfortunately. Gotta pay your dues now!

That being said, your frame is artificially lowered in level to the max level of the zone (so 24 for the first zone) so you can still play with friends and not just dominate too easily, which trivializes the content.

There is a very complex and compelling crafting system. Your best upgrades come from crafting.

This is sadly not really the case anymore. The crafting system has been drastically simplified and made much more expensive. Part of this was due to Red5 deciding to do away with item decay, which made items break and become unusable if you died too many times. Because of this fact, good weapons were fine, best weapons weren’t needed, and things were relatively cheap because it was temporary. Customization came in the form of deciding which comp0nent to put your best materials in, then combining your components to create the final items, and the qualities would be averaged to produce the quality of the item. Now, the quality is determined by the level, and there are drastically simplified resource pools, so the cost is much higher.

Also, with raids and vouchers from questing now giving good quality weapons, no one in their right mind would attempt to craft best-in-slot weapons, as the cost would be astronomical!

Currently, most of your time in the world is spent gathering crafting materials (resources) in two phases, scanning and thumping. Scanning uses a hammer that gives you mineral deposit information about quality, percentage, and type. After you pick a spot to excavate, you use a “thumper,” which starts mining that area. Since the thumper…well…thumps, it attracts a lot of local wildlife. With a bigger group, you can use bigger thumpers, increasing the payload and increasing the challenge by bringing in more and bigger wildlife.

Now, thumping is really only used for attracting large amounts of critters to kill for their drops. Since resources are really not at a premium, no one really thumps much anymore. Also, since the drops are dependent on actually killing everything, it is actually rude to come help people with their thumper.

Sprint is a good way to get around, though the best way (if you don’t take a shuttle from one place to another) is to use gliders. There are even portable glider stations you can put up on high mountains to really decrease running time. Careful though, one wrong move and you plummet to your death. Let’s just say I’m 4 for 12 on successful glider flights.

I am proud to say my successful glider runs ratio is a lot larger now. Also, though in Beta it was difficult to obtain the motorcycles (called Light Ground Vehicles or LGVs), now that the game is launched, you can get one at level 25 by doing a quest to get a recipe that is very easy to craft.

PvP is all standard frames that are not impacted by gear earned in the open world. It takes your skill and weapon setup from your current frame, then it boosts it to max level and power.

There is only one faction, so no open world PvP at the moment, but they do plan on making a free-for-all server. Think Blood and Glory ruleset in Age of Conan.

This is sadly no longer the case. About 3 months after I started playing in the Beta, Red5 removed Arena-style PvP from the game. This was bewildering, as the system was really pretty polished. Without that, I lost interest pretty quickly, and I quit the game until launch. Now, they have an OWPvP system with a PvP zone called Broken Peninsula, and it is a level 40 zone with PvE gear being a large factor in your success. Due to generally low populations, there is usually no one there. There are also some balance issues that need to be worked out, and people stack bonuses to become pretty overpowered, such as Recluses that don’t even have to hit you to kill you.

The story is actually really intriguing, and there are plans for episodic story content soon.

The Chosen are the main bad guys and they are…something. Not really sure what. The game isn’t super clear about why they are attacking, but the episodic story content will probably help that.

The Chosen are still a large mystery, but the episodic story content is pretty good. Not nearly as good as say, Wildstar or SWTOR (and certainly not as good as The Secret World), but it is still good.

The first thing to do in the game is to get all of the areas unlocked by accessing towers that open up the Fog-of-War. Doing so also rewards you with a portable glider platform on an astonishing hour-long cooldown. This also gives you a boat-load of XP, probably 50,000 total, which keep in mind, a lot of the initial unlocks for a suit are around 3k-10k.

This might still be true, as it is tied to an achievement, and it isn’t too bad to get started on XP. The unlocks are no longer a thing though.

Texas is its own country again after the US falls to pieces. Y’all are still welcome to come hang out though.

Texas was its own country before the Melding covered the planet. Here’s hoping we push back the Melding so we can go back to Dallas or something.

You can pick your voice at character creation. You can also change it if it is annoying.

Painting your frame is easy, though cool colors are locked behind a pay-wall.

I love the customization in this game, and these are two really cool factors. Something that may be new is the fact that maxing out a frame gives a new paint color that can be used on other frames (all the basic Accord frames just unlock the Accord color once). I really like the way the Raptor paint looks on my Recluse, for example.

There is only one zone at the moment, which can make the game feel small (even though it is a large zone), but there will be more zones soon. They are just focusing testing right now.

This is definitely not the case anymore. The game feels pretty large now, with three large leveling zones, several instances that are fairly large as well, and the level 40 OWPvP zone that is also huge! The first zone, Coral Forest, is now just the level 1-24 zone, with the second zone, Sertao, spanning 25-36, and the last zone, Devil’s Tusk, taking 37-40.

ARES Missions are quick little random events that everyone can participate in. These, in conjunction with Thumping, are the main ways to earn XP right now.

ARES missions were largely replaced with ARES Jobs as the primary XP source. The ARES Jobs are obtained from Job Boards at major hubs, and they are akin to questing in other games, with standard “kill ten Melding-enhanced rats” quests, “escort idiot-soldiers-that-shoot-at-everything-moving” quests, and “deliver this to that lazy guy over there who will shoot at you afterwards” quests. What they lack in originality, they generally make up with fun. Except for the ones where they take away your weapon and abilities. Those suck.

There is a substance called Melding, which is like a large energy field that is covering most of the Earth after a time-space continuum calamity. Don’t get in it or it kills you. It can be pushed back with a series of Repulsors to access certain areas that are normally Chosen territory.

This was taken and made into a major factor in Devil’s Tusk’s development. Basically, the Melding covered the last zone, and to push it back, everyone had to contribute to the cause by crafting stuff out of a currency that dropped in the zone. The people who helped push it back were memorialized in the plaques that exist at the major hubs. My name is on the last one now, since it took me a bit to get to 40 when I started playing, and I missed the first few. It was an interesting mechanic, one I hope they keep going in future updates.

There is a random event where a Melding tornado spawns, and it is an insane sequence of events. I was completely confused when I did it, though that could have been because I had only been playing for about an hour. My group did finish it, though I died, so I got a pretty sweet purple weapon for a different frame that I might try.

These are still present, and they are a great source of resources, if you go through the portal at the end. They are also great XP. It is really fun with a tornado spawns on top of a big event that is already going, as the chaos can wipe an unprepared set of players.

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