Controversial Changes for Firefall

Abandoning da PvP

If you hadn’t heard already the developers of Firefall, Red 5 are going to be shutting down the arena PvP side of the game for an indefinite period of time. There is a forum post on the matter including the reasons behind it and surprisingly most people are acting quite reasonably about the decision. I’m actually supportive of what they are trying to do as well.

Firefall has been through many iterations of its base game over the years, so many in fact I think even the developers would have lost count. I think the original inception started out as a sort open world territorial pvp mmo kind of like Planetside; then it became a competitive multi-player arena; then it had open worlds as a side project; and finally it is what you see and play now. There are a plethora of other noteworthy changes but those where the big paradigm changes.

You can see this troubled past reflected in the game as there are a lot of mechanics and systems that aren’t polished or just don’t fit in with the current focus and how the game is growing. Unfortunately that is the position the arena PvP side is in. The vast majority of resources are going into expanding the scope of the open world experience, and rightfully so considering the vast bulk of players are focused on this one aspect. This leaves the pvp side kind of languishing in a limbo between its broken mechanics, need for balance, and want for new content (skills, frames, skins, maps). They also never really reconciled the issues from when the competitive PvP side was using crafted gear to now when it is based on standardised sets either, so much so that it is lacking a substantial reason to play now.

In a way it actually does the people who enjoy it a service. They’re not being strung along for months on the bare minimum of updates, hoping that the content they love will see improvements they desperately need. No, the mode has been shut down and they can now move on from it into new parts of the game and not have that insidious tick infecting their experience.. Or they can try out anything else. Red 5 does plan to bring it back eventually but only when they have the time, resources and plans to make it the experience their players deserve.

In many ways I wish a few other game companies would also do this. It is the right thing to do in many ways in terms of respecting your players and giving honest and direct communication. I kind of wish Rift, many moons ago had done the same thing with its PvP mode. It was so badly planned in terms of progression, mechanics, and updates that it ended up being more of a negative experience that might have ruined the whole for me. I played a lot, prayed for decent updates and was usually disappointed. If they had dumped that mode I would have just focused on the rest of the game that I did like.

I tend to think that is what Arenanet should have done with their SPvP mode. It’s quite obviously broken and needing of more balance changes then the pages of skill fact updates it gets. It doesn’t need a greater sense of inclusion into the core game like Ravious says, there are plenty of purely multi-player games out that can attest to that, it just needs to be improved as a stand alone experience.. Much like Firefall and being taken offline probably enables that in a more reasonable time frame as well as allowing bigger core changes to occur.

The Great Gambling Debate

I am deeply upset that Red 5 decided to go the route gambling as a way of making money. I was content in buying these items and skins off the shop for a defined price but it was not to be. Customisation is a big part of my enjoyment in mmo’s and the items I’m interested being locked behind ridiculous random chance is a catastrophe.

Many others are very upset with this direction as well. If you had been following certain people in the community on twitter over the previous week’s you would have seen a lot of rage and disappointment surrounding the fact. It feels like an abandonment of the majority of people playing and paying for the fame in favour of a minority of players with more money then sense. I know of a couple that have spent a lot of money already in this in game item slot machine, just as I did in GW2 at the beginning but it’s not a long term model as people eventually avoid this sort of trickery. gambling

Now I don’t think Firefall’s gambling model is as bad as others I’ve tried *cough* gw2 *cough*. The probability of getting the items you want is pretty reasonable, each try gives you a decent cosmetic out of it, there isn’t a collection of crap padding it out and the market is very useful for buying and selling these. It’s possible in a reasonable time frame to avoid using it and just playing the game in order to get enough credits to buy it outright. I’m close to getting the bunny ears myself. But it is an abandonment of the ideals they started with which shouldn’t be happening. It’s also that no matter how well you mask the mechanic in fun and awesome loooootttz it is still a system designed to manipulate and get people to spend more than they are willing to and more than an item is really worth.

The People Purge

In recent news it has been confirmed that Red 5 has also layed off some of its developers in the usual sort of reorganisation that goes on near, or just after release. Firstly, even though I am pretty sure none of the affected visit this site I still want to extend my deepest regrets and a hope that they can find new jobs and positions soon. I have to admit that this news took me by surprise. Red 5 have lasted this long on what must be a very tight budget, through many iterations and failed endeavours as well as a rather rocky beginning.It hasn’tt been, and still isn’t a hugely popular title but it looked like, until now, that they had budgeted accordingly and would whether the usual people purge that goes on. Maybe profits margins are lower than expected right now and the need to align costs has arisen, maybe its just removing the positions that are no longer needed… PvP maybe. A couple of the managerial and writing staff lost their position but such roless wouldn’t have a huge effect on the product.

hmm, I reckon it’s an unusual and tense time for many still there now too; how will the progress and popularity of the product turn out and will there be any more layoffs to compensate. I hope the company and employees can weather this ugly turn of events and that the MMO can continue to grow into the future.

2 thoughts on “Controversial Changes for Firefall

  1. I am a bit pissed off also that they have introduced the lottery mechanic and also made a number of items available only through this mechanic. They are a bit more gentle than some other games, but it is still sad to see that they are going this route.

    City of Heroes was perhaps the most tolerable version I have seen so far – most items was a decent chance of getting, with a few exceptions and most items could be bought directly from the shop as well. The lottery part was just a small piece of the whole offering they had.

    I value the transparency and predictability of costs that many “free-to-play” business models offer – the lottery systems turns those things upside down. I do hope that Red 5 will start to put some of these items in the regular Red Bean stores – they won’t see me spending money on the lottery machines anyway.

    The layoff information was a bit of a surprise, although if these people were mainly working with the Stage 5 TV stuff it may make sense from a corporate level – it may not have been considered core business. But if 10% of your staff is let go, it certainly will affect the rest of the company in different ways, whatever the PR spin is.

    • i hope it isn’t going to be an exclusive way of getting these, there is still the marketplace but they really should have these consumable able to be purchased for a flat price. That’s the thing, Ftp was meant to be about greater transperency and enabling the player to determine how much and when they would want to spend but we get costs that spiral higher than needed and time limited deals. CoH sounds ok.. I’d rather their not be gambling at all but oh well.. welcome to the future of ftp

      I think we will know in the month to come how much the layoffs affected Red 5. 10% isn’t much, it’s higher than you would want for an already small company but not croppling that’s for sure. It does come across as focused on the stage 5 part, a few that I saw in the land of twits and twats were writer/ production manager types so that makes sense. I kind of liked the stuff they did there though but I guess it wasn’t creating the exposure it needed to in order to justify cost.

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