Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Firefall: First Impressions

Firefall went into open beta recently. I downloaded it and gave it a whirl.

Firefall is a third-person shooter, done in an animated cell-shaded manner. The class system is bound up in these battleframes, which your character can equip. Example battleframes are the medic, recon, assault, etc. You can change your battleframe fairly easily. Each battleframe gains experience separately, and is upgraded separately. So it's like being every class, but you can only equip and level one class at a time.

The setting is a somewhat post-apocalyptic setting, in the lush jungles of South America. Firefall gives your character jumpjets, and the game plays a lot with this. There are large cliffs to scale, and fights often involve you jumping while shooting.

The game that immediately jumps to mind as a comparison is Defiance. But the differences are instructive. Defiance has the vehicle game, Firefall has jump jets. Defiance features dropped loot, while in Firefall you accumulate resources and then craft loot. In fact, I think Firefall takes a lot of its gear and crafting inspiration from Eve Online, more than anything else. Except you can't trade, so it's like an Eve where you had to mine and craft everything yourself.

I tried the medic for a bit, but switched to the recon after a while. The recon seemed to be a much simpler playstyle, so I decided to use that while learning the game.

The game is very open, you can go anywhere and attempt anything. In combat, when you're at an event, the game is a lot of fun.

My current issue is that I seem to be having a hard time "finding the fun" in the game. I open my map, see an event or mission I would like to try. So I jump my way to area, running into cliffs and having to backtrack and find my path to the area. Then I get there, and the mission has been finished or is almost over. Then it's time to repeat the process.

Or they have these "melding tornados" large-scale events. I've joined two of those, but they ended abruptly, and everyone disappeared, and I didn't get any rewards. I'm still confused by the everyone disappearing bit. There must have been 20 people at the event, then the tornado disappeared and there was only me and one other guy there.

I see other bloggers raving about the game, and how they moved from event to event, getting stuff done. I think that I must be missing something.

I can't help but compare it to Defiance. In Defiance, events were very dense. You couldn't swing a cat without hitting something to do. In Firefall, events seem very sparse, and I seem to spend more time traveling than actually doing something.

All in all, Firefall is a pretty good game. Its combat is fun and handles well. I like the progression with the crafted gear and the different battleframes. I just need to figure out how to "get to the fun" faster.


  1. Hey there.

    There is indeed a marketplace squirelled away within the calldown menu. Near everything is sellable and the main currency form is the crystite..aka tiberium. It only went up a couple weeks ago so the prices are still fluctuating widely. It also suffers from the same menu curse as the rest of the game.. bit buggy.

    An easy way to get around is by finding a high spot and using a glider. If you connect to all the sin points you should get one gifted to you. Until you get an LGV (motorcycle) that's the fastest way

    If that fails just drop your own thumper, the stock thumpers are pretty easy but the get pretty crazy from then on.

  2. This is one of those MMO's where bookmarking and using the wikis are an absolute must.

  3. I'm probably one of those raving; I've been having a lot of fun but I also primarily play with friends so we can Thump (mine for resources, basically a "defend the point" activity).

    I think the density of events is going to improve; they recently had a post on their forums asking for player feedback about that sort of thing. I think the Defiance comparison is fair but I also enjoy the Firefall combat more so...take from both worlds!

    As for Tornados, I might be able to explain some. A tornado shows up with 4 "shards" orbiting it. The goal is to kill them, once you do the Tornado's Core opens up and you kill it. When that dies, you get a bunch of loot and xp. It also leaves a "melding portal" which takes you to a pocket deep in the melding where you basically have a few minutes to grab some resources and then escape before the walls close in. The pocket is completely optional, I don't really see it as worth the time.

    To get loot and XP from Tornados you usually have to do some appreciable amount of damage to the shards/cores. Sometimes it can be finicky.