Musings on the Future of Firefall

It’s hard to really think were Red 5 is going to be taking Firefall in the future. They have their plans of course but, as with most mmo development schedules these things rarely work out the way they are supposed too. There are so many variables to account for that sometimes aren’t apparent until either bugs pile up or players descend on it. Beta is Beta and all that but so far I don’t have the trust enough in Red 5 to follow along with their plans as there have been a lot of very dramatic changes over its development cycle that would have set it back in terms of content.

I like many of the changes that did happen but it’s still a worry that important updates will be delayed due to the whims of a few. They are a rather small company as well which will make the development cycle a little longer and where short development cycles on updates are becoming almost a standard in the industry you’re going to be compared to that regardless of your company’s size. In a war of content that all new mmo’s face it seems the games that churn out the most, regardless of quality will prosper.

In saying that I am mostly happy with the game as it is now. The combat is fun, the world invites exploration like none other I’ve tried, and the crafting system is both in-depth, complex, and encouraging of an economy. It has a very solid base of a sandboxy game. I’m not delusional though as I’m well aware that Firefall has a lot of issues in its current state. Bugs, lag, content lacking, excessive grind, lack of direction and a lot more other complaints and mostly these are all pretty true. These things may get worked out in time, they may not – it’s all an unknown at the moment.

These things don’t worry me too much though. Mmo’s often take a decent amount of time to mature and are always a bit sparse on content at release. Mmo’s live and breathe more on their mechanics and while Firefall may be a bit less developed than most it definitely has more potential built into it. The part that worries me is that it will always be a niche title. In the great world of mmo’s I don’t imagine there is that much demand for a mmo fps crafting sandbox… That’s more than just being niche.

I’m more than ok with Firefall being a niche product as it is tailored toward specific interests rather than being some sort of watered down approach to appeal to more. Weirdly enough it fits my tastes rather well with its cell shaded aesthetic, shooty gameplay, focus on events and interesting crafting but it’s always going to have only a smallish population. Now there is nothing wrong with being niche as long as you align your perceptions of it during development. There are plenty of niche mmo’s out there doing reasonably well but there is also a rather large graveyard of titles that dreamed too big.

I don’t know which category they fall into. Firefall has been in development for a long time, the graphical qualities are quite high which might mean their development costs are too much to recoup in a reasonable time. Are the developers, company and investors comfortable with it being more a long-term investment to recoup their money or are they after a short-term boost to funds and earning a better return on their investment elsewhere.

If it was a subscription mmo I would be happy it could pull in 50-100k players as that would probably be a enough to recoup costs, pay overhead, and look to the future but as a ftp title I think it’s future is far more unknown. It doesn’t have any mainstream appeal as it is so aiming for the whales in an already small pond isn’t going to work so I really wonder how a sandbox this small will sustain itself over the long-term. If I see lockboxes in any way shape or form though….

I hope Firefall does do well. It offers enough that it feels different from the pack which really is something to praise in this age of mmo gaming.

2 thoughts on “Musings on the Future of Firefall

  1. I was a bit disappointed with Firefall : I try it 1 year ago, while waiting for GW2, and find it fun, but GW2 take all my gaming time in the few months after.
    Now that I still play GW2, but sometimes play other games, I retry Firefall. I am a casual player, with 6-8 hours a week of play, en enjoy discovering things and world. I have played three sessions of 3 hours each. My reference in FPS is Team Fortress 2. This is only my first impressions.

    Gameplay :
    I really enjoy the first few hours in Firefall, discovering every class/armour. But when I start to have understood what each abilites do, I did not find what new thing I can learn. I did not find that tactics is really complex. Feeling of the weapons is not very good, without punch. Each events are a bit too long, and all feel the same : push back vagues of enemies without moving, or go into a Dungeon.
    Exploration :
    There is a lot of things in Firefall, but not a lot strikes me as that much interesting. I never stop to check what was around me or admire a beautiful scenery. And Night is faaaar tooo long for me. You pass a long part of your time running without any fight, and you do not see anything in night. I have the feeling that 80% of my time is during the night – even if it is 50%.
    Progression :
    Too nebulous. Except for buying new abilities, and, maybe later, new armor, I just do not understand the goal of all these parameters. From my understanding, there is not a real power progression, – and this is perfect for me – so I do not understand all those options. And as the progression is slow, I cannot play with option to see their effect. So I just stop worrying about progression, playing it a bit like PlanetSide2 or other typical FPS.
    Crafting :
    Far to complex ! I do not understand what I can do, how do I do it, and the link between the button, the ressources and everything else. All thing I can do are too high level for me, and I do not understand how I can built them, and when something is mysterioulsy available, I have not the good ressource/component. Even if my inventory have a lot of different ressources. And as all those things seems useless – see the Progression part – I do not care.

    At the end, I am a bit disappointed. Not enough depht in the gameplay, not enough interesting place for exploration, no visible progression, and so, the very complex crafting seems useless. The game may change at high level, but the dev need to have very strong 10 first hours if they want player to try the higher level.

    • This is pretty much most new player experiences which is why I call it a niche game, it’s never going to appeal to a large population. I like it for a few reasons and will try and detail.

      The frames are your classes but your very flexible with them. I would consider it more like an e pa dex Rift wherein you only need one character but have a variety of classes you cam switch too. The skills are minimal but I think for an fps overloading with too many abilities wouldn’t work either. Planetside and tf2 have less I believe.
      The basic beginning frames are restricted in customisation, the advanced frames can mix and match a little but it still does feel extremely limited. They are working on more for each class but no time frame.

      The events do have that similiar combat style. Shoot the mob, then shoot more but when I look at most mmo’s their quests are pretty much the same thing too… I actually think gw2 has less diversity as that’s mostly about control points. They do have a few interesting mechanics but yes, if you don’t like the combat and aren’t enga mechanicsged in the game then it’s very samey.

      The world actually invokes more exploration than most linear mmo experiences. I think I’ve explored near every inch of the word at this stage. I roam around regularly collecting the best resource races I can find for crafting but if your not invested you probably won’t worry about that.

      The crafting.. Well, love it or hate it. I think it has a meaningful place in the game which you can’t say about most. It’s very complex and the re working at making it easier to use.. Still. I think this is the area of the game that will continue to see the most iteration.

      Thanks for the comment, rest assured that your thoughts are the norm.. I’m abnormal in my interests.

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