I’ve been having a surprisingly fun time in Firefall lately, its current beta form is quite lean on content but I always seem to find something that amuses me. It’s a world full of events already in motion or ones just waiting for you to start. Also there is a lot to work towards within the system too, through doing many of these events you gain resources and crafting items that enable you to spawn bigger and harder experiences.
And all of this is within an open world, a sandbox to explore with others or by yourself. It’s a game where I feel that notion of “just go do stuff” that games like Minecraft or Skyrim embody. Sure it doesn’t have the breadth of content the elder Scrolls has, or the unparalleled creativity of Minecraft but that very valuable essence of exploration is there.
It’s a feeling as well that I’m not being bound by any artificial leveling systems either. There is no set path to feel constrained by or checkpoints to halt your progress, anything that happens in the world you can be a part of. Hell on my second day of Firefall I participated in an advanced thump along the melding at a very high resource node (melding = weird blue stuff, thump = the machine you drill resources with). That is a combination that creates one of the most extreme events involving waves upon waves of monsters that keep pounding the team… so hectic but so much fun. The thing is that I was able to participate in this with a group or even if I had been tagging along I could have. More importantly though is that in my noob tier 1 battle frame I could contribute and be a vital part of the group during the encounter.
Just last night I got involved with a large group of players.. Possibly around 30 to take on a monster that pretty much equals a raid boss but in the open world. Baneclaw, the epitamy right now of the toughest content and I already got to be a part of it. Sure I died heaps but not because I was underlevelled or underpowered but because I was an ignorant noob standing, running, and jetting into aoe (it was funny seeing my dead body bounced around though). Still I got some heals off, resed people, shot some bugs and got rewarded handsomely for my efforts.
Every time I play Firefall I get kind of depressed regarding GW2. This is what the could have been, this is what their vision was but somewhere along the line they chickened out and crammed the standard mmorpg leveling experience and cliches into it. In Firefall it just feels natural yet every time I try to level in GW2 it is just ticking off the check list of stuff to do so I can progress to the next zone. Fill in that heart, see that vista, find that..it nauseating. I know there’s a great system somewhere underneath their just waiting to come out but it is just so constrained by artificial gating and silly allowances to appease a broader audience. The silly hearts don’t need to be their just more events and why oh why do the zones need level ranges… seriously. It could have been an amazingly large, open and complex world but now it feels entirely compartmentalised.
The way Firefall has done its progression system is perfect for this. You constantly feel your working towards something. Unlocking new utilities, a new weapon, a weapon with different variation of stats, crafting these upgrades with a variety of different resources to specialise even further, and a whole tech tree working towards a certain specialisation. Then through completing certain content in the open world you’re unlocking more content for everyone else to enjoy with you. It’s a broad all-encompassing system that rewards play, making your own goals and being social with others.
It’s funny that I originally intended this to be a Firefall post about my progress and experiences but as usually everything comes back to GW2. Why am I so enraged and enraptured at the same time.