I hate to admit it, but I’m going to have to eat some crow today. For the last couple weeks I’ve been dogging on Firefall. Firefall is a game that I’ve played over the last couple years off and on. It has always been a game that looks to do things a little differently than everyone else. That being said however, I’ve played a ‘beta’ in Firefall at least three times in the last two years. When I saw they, Red5, had launched another ‘open beta’ I was on my last nerve.
I bought the founders pack last December. I looked at it then as a smart investment. I was getting a great deal which included a lot of permanent items and bonuses. Even now when I see the ‘starter packs’ they are selling for the same price as the old founders pack, I know I made the right choice.
Firefall has ‘gone back to the drawing board’ on several occasions but its current iteration with some 15 battleframes seems to have hit the sweet spot on both upward mobility, with respect to leveling, and cutting out much of the vertical gear grind. Battleframes can be tweaked to fit your play style, each class of frame has a starter level frame to clue you onto how a class will play and then button downs and gives you two very different frames that tweak the major strengths and weaknesses of the class.
For example, this time around I am playing around with the Recon class of Battleframes. Much like the Mass Effect class Infiltrator, I started out with a sniper rifle and submachine gun. I moved to the Nighthawk Recon frame to give me the best damage versus distance from the enemy. Another Recon frame gives me a more mid-distance frame with several abilities to decrease threats but with a slightly weaker damage output.
Firefalls’ crafting system is intense and works on many levels especially since the economy tends to based on player-made gear for the most part. Item decay and breakage lends itself well to the system in-place. The cash shop is mostly the usual and is closer to the end of the spectrum of cosmetic and experience boost based goods. Though you can buy currency to speed up the process of gaining new battleframes, the cash shop doesn’t artificially strength the battleframes themselves.
Everything about Firefall comes down to you getting out what you put in. The game is at first glance simplistic, but perhaps because the system is mostly transparent you can find a lot of depth in the game. FPS MMO’s are still mostly limited to the PVP variety. It’s what the fans want and it’s what the developers give them. With respect to Defiance, there aren’t a lot of FPS MMO’s on the PVE side worth the salt. I won’t make the pronouncement that Firefall will stand the test of time, there is far too little information about expanding the world and all that entails, but the beta is certainly, finally at a stage where Red5 should be proud of the house they’ve built.