Firefall

Firefall Open Beta Preview

Firefall is a team-based action shooter MMO from Red 5 Studios. It is currently in Open Beta and I have been enjoying it ever since they opened their doors to gamers everywhere. The game has been developed in secret since 2006 and is still undergoing construction.

From my limited Open Beta experience of the game, it’s already quite good. I have no idea how much better this game is going to be once they officially call the game “finished” and quite frankly, I’m excited about it.

That giant wall is the Melding. You fight that.

The Fall

In this future, mankind has found a new energy source called Crystite and is what made the technology for arcfolding possible. In order to get more of this resource from Alpha Prime, humanity developed the CMS Arclight, an interstellar ship with the ability to jump in space.

During its maiden voyage, the Arclight crashed consequently unleashing the Melding onto our world. The Melding is an alien energy storm that almost entirely engulfs our planet and mutates life and the terrain as we know into something almost inhospitable for humans.

From the Melding comes a race called the Chosen who wish to subjugate the last remaining members of the human race. You take on the role of an Accord ARES Operator and it’s your job to fight against the Chosen and push back the Melding at all costs.

Humanity’s last hope lies in your garage

As an ARES Operator, you get access to high-tech suits called Battleframes which all give you an amazing array of skills and deadly weaponry. You get a fair amount of customization at the start when it comes to your looks and gear.

The game also takes you through some brief and intuitive sets of tutorial missions before leaving you smack-dab in the middle of Copacabana, the seeming heart and starting point for everyone who begins their life in Firefall. The controls are pretty easy to grasp and you basically come out guns-blazing almost immediately.

I’m a very sexy man.

Your Battleframe will determine the skills and weapons you can access and each frame you wear can garner XP. The game itself doesn’t have a traditional leveling system but in lieu of that, it has skill progression and item development. You can only access the higher tier abilities of your frame if you manage to spend the XP to unlock it and have the equipment and resources necessary. It won’t take you long believe you me because the game can really get you engrossed. At first, you’re just shooting down the wildlife then you’ll just see yourself mowing down wave after wave of Chosen in no time.

The class system in Firefall follows the five basic Battleframe types: Assault, Recon, Medic, Engineer and Dreadnought. The frame you pick also changes the way you look in the game. And by the way, Firefall is awesome at maximum settings. The aesthetics along with the depth and quality of the gaming environment is way more than what you’d expect from something that’s touting itself as Open Beta and Free to Play.

 

In certain angles.

Besides walking, players get to move around the map via gliders provided in towns and watchtowers, dropships in the major towns and if you have the cash to burn, your own personal bike. I don’t have it since I don’t plan to spend any real money playing this game so it’s going to take me a long while to save up the crystite to buy it and have it made in the Molecular printer.

You’ll be seeing this screen a lot.

Premium Packages

The premium packages in this game mostly consist of buying access to higher tier armors, XP and resource bonuses, additional customization options and the ever expensive personal bike. Given that the game is still in Open Beta, it doesn’t necessarily have to follow that you buy premium in order to have a good time. Sure it will make a lot of things easier but if you’re patient enough, you can get all those goodies too. Minus the customization options. Those you really have to pay for.

PvP? No, more power to PvE

Last September 12, 2013, Mark Kern – the CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Red 5 Studios issued a statement regarding their PvP system. That same day, they suspended the PvP aspect of Firefall in order to re-think their current situation.

Nobody puts baby in the corner. Or so I hear.

Firefall, I think, always had PvP in mind. Featuring fast-paced gameplay and being an action shooter, it’s easy to imagine players staging duels and re-enacting their cowboy fantasies onscreen. People loved fighting each other in Halo like that, so why can’t it work in this MMO? The challenge they found was in the fact that people much preferred the world events to any PvP instance. According to the team themselves, even during their last attempt at a PvP eSports mode named Jetball, only less than 3% of players participated.

For now they’ve only suspended the system but they are thinking of pulling it offline altogether so that they can relaunch that aspect of the game when they feel that it can properly represent Firefall at its best. You can read about it more on their official site if you so wish. Red 5 is quite generous when it comes to their announcements about the game.

The fight for Firefall

Firefall is an amazing game overall. What clinches it for me however is when you play it with your friends over voice-chat. The experience is simply joyous. For now, the missions that you undertake for the Accord vary only slightly per instance. The levels do get harder as your battleframe progresses and the PvEs become even more challenging as the days pass by. There is something to be said for the story so far and that it’s still lacking quite a bit.

But the game itself is fun enough for you to be able to let that bit slide for now. Playing Firefall with friends over voice-chat is to me an aspect of the game that I can’t do without. A big part of the game is grinding out XP points for your equipment and collecting resources via missions and thumping. All of that is pretty boring if you’re doing it alone.

But in a group? Or in your army? Ah. You can feel invincible. Especially since they’re the ones who will revive you if the enemy swarms you. It’s a real chore to keep repairing your equipment or replacing them when they get broken. Having friends watch your back is the best way to enjoy this particular game.

Uhm. A little help?

Red 5 Studios is also doing their best to address all the issues that the players raise about the game’s bugs and glitches as well as take into consideration their suggestions as to how to improve player experience in the game. This aspect is what I believe will push Firefall into becoming one of the best MMOs of its kind ever made. And if they pull it off, Firefall may have the distinction of being the only one of its kind.

You can argue that buying into what they are selling as premium items is the only way to play the game right but from my experience, you can enjoy this game fully without ever spending a dime. As it is anyway. My only real nitpick with the game is with the operators that you get. The ones that narrate everything that’s happening the game world to you.

They can start grating on your ears the 1000th time they tell you that you need to clean out an Arahna nest. I’m hoping that later they’ll give us the option to either just mute them or change them up. If they fix that, I can even forgive the logic behind my hi-tech suit giving up on me when I get into a little bit of water. Couldn’t we have developed watertight suits by this time?

Jumpjets. Supersuits. Teleportation technology. Waterproofing? Nah. Copa everybody.

Firefall is a game that will survive until its completion. People are enjoying it and are waiting for the incoming wave of new instances that the developers have promised. Once the storyline for this game gets moving, who knows how the finished product will affect its playerbase? It might even spawn a whole new line of games based on this particular world.

Even in Open Beta, Firefall is a game I would heartily recommend to anyone looking for action and excitement. Best played in co-op. Cheers! Visit the game page to find out more.