Firefall and Fading Interest

After proclaiming that I could probably call Firefall home I’m left thinking at the moment why I haven’t logged in for nearly a week. Of course there have been other games I’ve been playing and shows I’ve been watching in but it is a game I’ve remained interested for a while and thought this would keep me hanging around.

I do have a main character but there is still a lot I could do to progress my account and character. Levelling up other frames gives certain trait bonuses that are quite awesome and they all have an interesting playstyle. I have still yet to enjoy all the new content; no hard modes of the campaign missions yet and I’ve only had one go at the new boss encounters like Baneclaw. I also haven’t spent much extra time within devils tusk or the PvP just yet.  There is a lot there that interests me but a few issues ad concerns that tend to be ruining my experience.

Inactive world

I guess this is just because of my previous beta experience but the difference between now and then in terms of dynamic events is enormous. There is no where near as many events in the world and Job boards just doesn’t fill that gap in the same way, sure it’s more content but it isn’t the same style of gameplay. I have talked about this point before but it really has become an issue as to level up frames, a thing you will do multiple times for traits and such has become repeating the same job board quests or repeating missions over and overagain in the same path because that’s really the only reliable way to do so. And these things aren’t even that well designed; they are buggy, disconnected from the world, create a boring linear experience and do a poor job of creating conflict.

They are a throwback to modern mmo design that really didn’t need to be pushed so heavily. Red 5 had the next evolution in design of the dynamic events style of content,  an increasingly popular style that they improved on very well by making it far more dynamic amongst the world. It was a living world in the way I thought Guild Wars 2 should have been. Sure they needed a greater variety of events and enemies, some large zone wide events and just more space but it was an excellent foundation they now only seem to use as decoration and that’s a shame as it’s this element that created the open world feel I enjoyed so much.

Also, call me crazy but I liked exploring and thumping for resources.. keeping many and selling others, that was my game and I enjoyed it. There was a stage there where I was doing a thump a day for weeks just because I enjoyed that style of content. Sometimes I’d just afk a stock or P1 other times I’d go for the hardest I could. It was something in the world that also drew players to it, others wanted to get these rewards, to gather good resources to sell or craft with but now it is a mostly irrelevant task with meaningless restrictions.

End game gearing

Another legacy that links back to modern mmo’s is their design to end game gearing. An incredible grind through minimal ways in order to obtain the best weapons and armor, just running the same boring required shit with weekly lockouts while praying to the right RNG deity. I really don’t like this design.

Now while they do rely partially on RNG with running hard mode missions or boss runs to obtain certain items the others are place within crafting which has become a truly mind numbingly massive grind to obtain. Even the cost of researching the purple tier  is rather extreme. Before most gear was rather easy to obtain, you could craft your own, pass stuff along to friends and buy off the market for a reasonable price. Even the better purple quality gear was reasonable as it just meant a little extra exploration. Now it will probably take all but the more hardcore of players a couple months.. To craft one piece.

See, without the style of crafting and progression it was previously you miss out on a lot of the community aspects in the marketplace. Guild members researching certain crafts and then sharing with others or even just giving out free stuff to new players which I actually did quite often. Now there was item loss due to the durability but I would actually much rather have that far more manageable style of item progression and eventually have to craft it again with the added social and economy bonuses then this style of immense grind for one item that will probably be obsolete with a future patch.

Then there is the whole battleframe progression that seems far less nuanced. You get stuff, maybe upgrade it and whatever. Oh the traits part is interesting but the only time I really look at the garage now is to put in new shiny weapon. before it was this grand research path to get through that unlocked new abilities and skills, a progression system of power, speed and.. and that other one to work through that while giving a sense of advancement didn’t fuck up the balance of the universe and a crafting system that in combination with frame tweaking was a min maxers wet dream. It had depth but now I’m left skimming over it.

Community progression

I was initially rather impressed with the communal aims of the Devil’s tusk end game area, the goal being to unlock an area piece by piece through group effort seemed like it would be a strong social point of the game. To group up together in this new space, to gather collect and create what is needed and band together to push back the chosen threat. The reality is quite different though.

As an end game zone there is still a decent amount of activity around it and it seems far easier to get groups here. A quick say in chat and you’re off doing stuff with others and this is how I filled up my contacts list quite a bit during early access. But, the reality unfortunately falls rather flat. The Content seems much the same as the other spaces, endless running of job boards, a minimal selection of ares events and well.. thumping.. i guess. A zone I thought was going to be some massive warzone where you are pushing and being pushed by the chosen is actually less interesting than the other zones.

Overall it’s a very insular experience here at times. Some people get together for the bigger events but the one-shot kill tornados mostly go uncontested and the other events like incursions are no where near challenging enough to matter. The rest seems to be small group mission running and lots of solo or duo people thumping around and not wanting to share resources. Oh, the Baneclaw instance is reasonable fun but I liked it a lot more when it was the open world boss you had to summon… just felt more natural.

The activity to open up these new spaces is rather ridiculous as well. The first few were a time of great community presence with everyone being rather excited to get involved and open up these spaces. Exuberation upon doing this and completing the next wave of activities. For the stage it is now it is asking for 1 million.. that is probably going to take over a month to accomplish now, maybe more considering that people are a little fed up with it. It really  doesn’t give you that much extra content, not enough to be interesting anyway and the land mass is pretty irrelevant.

The Rant

It was a fun game.. was and maybe still is a little but that fun element is slipping so drastically for me. Faster than I thought possible. Every time I start playing and trying to progress I get a big kick to the lady bits of familiarity as it’s more become the same experience as every other mmo out there.. just poorly coded with colourful but washed out textures and guns. Even the jet packs have been screwed with… I mean seriously, the jetpacks!

This isn’t release. This is another phase of Beta for Firefall and a phase I don’t seem to be that interested in. It’s just as untested as most of their other big changes but far more directed and repetitive. It’s getting slammed in reviews right now and I mostly agree with them. To play it now as a new player without all the experience from past events and knowledge of systems gone makes this look like a poor imitation, and not a very good one. The experience is far more linear, the combat not as fast past and drags on due to ability and damage nerfs, and wow does near every mob love moving in an erratic fashion. Hell in the state it is now I can no longer even say it has potential.

I think all most people playing during the beta wanted was some more content: new land to explore, larger more interconnected events, just polishing the systems they already had instead of leaving them in some perpetual state of buggy flux. Sure, create some guided quests like you have been for the newer players or just to add options but place in a tonne more dynamic ones. Create some ways that players can truly change the world over time; things that you work for but also have to defend and BAM, long term potential but no, lets recreate this game again and fuck it all up with more untested, unfinished, half-baked design choices. I seriously thought they’d learnt there lesson after being under the ruling of Mark Kern.

sigh… There are better shooters out there, I wonder what defiance is doing.

#Firefal #Rant #Themepark

9 thoughts on “Firefall and Fading Interest

  1. Same thing happened to me. I don’t have any high level frames and the low stuff (say under 20) turns out to be mostly single-player running of Ares quests over and over. And Ares quests tend to be lots of running (I don’t have a vehicle) then a bit of shooting. Gets old fast, and I rarely see another player.

    I think it’ll be a game I just jump into every once in a while when I feel the need to jumpjet and PvE.

    • the shards you get assigned can sometimes be rather vacant .. an addon called boing helps as your able to see the population of shards and jump between them

  2. It is always tough to hear these critiques of MMOs, especially ones stuck in development hell. I am amazed how other games (like Terraria) do such a better job at feeling new and re-energized with just the tiniest additions of new content, yet these larger-scaled games feel bland and boring almost immediately. The genre really needs to re-prioritize how it handles content deliver, focusing on content that feels fresh more often and promotes cooperative play and socialization. Events are a solid step toward that goal, but there still are pieces missing, it seems.

    • terraria just got it right though. The base game is enough to keep people and groups interested and the additions keeping adding things that are personal and group goals. We need people looking more to these kinds of games, minecraft and such and trying to understand exactly what it is that drives this kind of long term commitment

      • Yeah, my big concern about Terraria 2 is that it will pile on the complicated. I really like how simple the game is, even though it also has a ton to do.

  3. I’m with you… it hasn’t held my interest much either. I started playing Diablo 3 again last night. That was more engrossing despite being a mindless click fest.

    I’m probably going to buy GW2 next week and give that a whirl. If that fails to grab me, it’s getting to the point that there aren’t any MMOs left. There’s ArcheAge, and I’d still like to try ESO, but it still feels like I’d be better off playing a smaller scale game.

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  5. Well, shiiit. I was only just getting started, too. I’ll probably still dip into it occasionally or if my friends want to play but otherwise it sounds like there isn’t much to look forward to…

    • well if your own send me a message somewhere and ill pop in.. still fun for that kind of play just not a long term interest I was kind of looking for

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