Firefall’s Daily Drag

Dear mmo developer, for today’s lesson we will be looking at how not to do end game dailies with the wonderful hosts Red 5 and their game Firefall. First we have a large zone focusing on completing events as a group being the strength of the game but instead of using that effectively lets create some constricted types of events that focus on singular actions.

The first type of daily I’d like to highlight are the collect kind. These are boring at the best of times but the worst kind is here. The kind where you have a set area to collect in where certain items spawn periodically over the entire area. Let’s make it dangerous too and also have everyone competing over the same resource nodes. The Coupe de gras though is having it being quite a large collection quest with 100 items needed so you are there waaaaayyy to long.

Firefall

But no, lets kick that up a notch more and have you kill a huge number of Elite mobs that don’t spawn very often at all, and mainly in the same space and once again make it a giant competition for completion by only having the killing blow on these elite mobs count. And screw those support classes in this case who will never be able to actually get that killing blow.

And finally, out of all the events that go on lets also make one of the rarer ones that doesn’t happen very often on the server. Like the 3 hours i was playing one of the events that’s needed for one of the dailies too.

Fun Event, but not the right even

Fun Event, but not the right even

Of course these dailies are on of the ways to get some end game components for your frame, and you need rather a large amount to complete in order to get enough reputation but, at the rate of actually being able to complete them it seems rather restrictive. Now there are other dailies to do that you can complete rather easily with some time that are in line with general gameplay but they are far in the minority here.

I’ve come to terms with dailies even if I don’t really like them but when you make them so restrictive, time consuming and so frustrating then they fail to serve their purpose. When you make them so certain classes have an advantage (killing blow, dps classes) or requiring a style of play that is vastly different than usual. If you make some of them so that during the course of play they won’t be completed than it is an issue. Dailies are something that should be manageable in a small daily allotted time people have, not all time consuming. They are the quick reward to gain from daily play before you go on to other activity, and not the entirety of play because when you do that you start changing play behaviours away from what people want to do, what is actually fun and enjoyable.

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Amazonian Antics in Firefall

BIg changes ahead for Firefall.. AGAIN you say! They are still working on a new crafting system to once again make that aspect more import as well as bring back the usefulness of crafting but they’ve also been working on a lot more it seems. And that is Update 1.3, War in the Amazon.

The biggest part of this update is a vast new land to explore that you can get to using the usual arcporters. It seems just as big as the other maps and also focuses on the Chosen warfront once more with a map aim approaching that of the earlier (like beta) battles for land in New Eden. There is a lot happening on this map at all times with a level of constant conflict that makes the map feel incredible active and gives a constant activities to try for.

Firefall amazon map

So far I’ve actually been enjoying it quite a bit. I forgotten how much I missed this more aimlessly style of play but a lot of defined actions and activities to choose from. For those actions to even feel a little more important and community driven as you are constantly defending and capturing many of the map points as a group. You are building up the strength of the watchtowers through other events and just constantly fighting around the map. There is also a bit to do for the solo or small group player as well which makes for a lot of options.

This area is tough at times. Enemies take more of a beating and I think have had a few upgrades to their ai and movement abilities. A huge amount of them will also spawn for the outpost captures and defence phases as well which is just another way to get players involved as a group. The muti-stage nature of these also seems to make them more enjoyable as well; more to fight, more team work required and it’s just fun slaughtering hordes of chosen.

Social Shooting

Social Shooting

The area is rather nicely designed too, far better than devils tusk. It feels more open with easy paths for traversing the zone, or at least the main parts of it. There is a lot of difference in the height and verticality of the zone but as usual they’ve played around with the style and design of the rocks, walls and ledges to make the best use of the jetpacks and gliders. I kind of like the aesthetic this time as well, not as nice as the Sargosa Sea style murky forests but the large trees, swamps and general greenery is just nice after the desolate wasteland that was Devil’s Tusk.

Firefall amazon

Overall It seems to be once again getting back to the strengths of what made Firefall fun was and the style of gameplay I’ve been waiting for. Large, open and well designed map with a focus on events and group goals.

The other big change with this update was removing a lot of the separate tower currencies and making it a flat reputation style mechanic. This is a good thing. Before it was just grinding out a lot of the job board quests, for a single item. This way you get reputation from an area by also doing nearby events, and once you have the reputation gear is bought with crystite. This might help with alternate frames too as you’ll have the reputation already built up.

There are a few other things to check out with the patch. New rare mob style bounty hunts to complete in each area that look fun. New battleframe items that have specific abilities and can change how things work.

Being Firefall there is a few bugs though. One major one seems to be the endless spawning of a lot of chosen from a certain part of the melding which has basically turned into a large scale area for target practice.

and that was just a fraction

and that was just a fraction

There were a lot of people there and you were killing 100’s of chosen but it seems there is no reward but experience. It still runs like donkey balls for me too, pretty sure it’s the way the client sends and receives data as it’s using a lot of my bandwidth at a time, which isn’t much but adequate for ever other online game.

Pretty Impressed though so it seems I’m going back to shooting stuff again.

Listmas 2014: Times of the MMO Tourist

This was an absolutely huge year for mmo gamers. Say what you will about the games but it’s not often we have a calendar that is this packed with huge releases. I might bitch but each was great in their own ways, providing some amazing experiences and of course lots of amazing environments

So to celebrate their I thought I’d do a top three in a couple categories.

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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 but, it is a game I’ve remained interested for a while and thought this new big change 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 and concerns tend to be ruining my experience.

Inactive world

I guess this is just because of my previous beta experience as the difference between now and then in terms of dynamic events is enormous. There is nowhere near as many events in the world and Job boards just don’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 over again 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 by 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. In beta 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 month.. 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, CPU  to work through that while giving a sense of advancement didn’t fuck up the balance of the universe. Then, with a crafting system in combination with this frame tweaking it 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.

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 their 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

Progress Report: Movies and MMO Madness

WHAT A WEEk.. Blaugust continues with another exciting posts and there are so many more flooding into my feedly everyday. I’m finding so many more bloggers that I’d either skipped over, missed or that have returned form the grave to write once more and it is a great thing to see. For me, it’s starting to wear a little. I don’t write this often and kind of have my own schedule for a reason and that is so as to not burn out… mainly because I like playing games too instead of rambling away.

For the week it it’s been busy as usual. Exciting times at the kindy as we are planning a lot of sensory type activities which means being able to get messy and have fun during the day…messy is awesome. Goop (cornflour and water) to play with one day, painting with jelly for another ooh and pretend cooking with rainbow spaghetti and scented rice. So many more fun things as well.
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Progress Report: Going Back to GW2 and Firefall

Come listen to a story about a blogger named jewel,
a poor little gamer always looking like a fool.
Then one day when grinding on some mobs
and up from neglect came a lot of boring jobs

cleaning that is, Study time, boring stuff.

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Open World Adjustments in Firefall

It seems I was a little wrong in my Firefall post the other day. I was excited to get back in and some of it just isn’t apparent if your higher level and running around with a group. It just isn’t as open as it used to be any more and I’m slowly finding more restrictions on play as I go. Things that kind if stop you from going some where or changes to the way things operate. Some of these changes I do think are more of a negative but others I’m a lot more impartial about. I’m still positive about the experience but change.. tis a scary thing.

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Firefall and more of the same

Jumping in it Firefall again has been rather illuminating. I keep wondering around the mmo landscape searching for that mmo home, a place to settle down in and maybe become a part of it. Firefall, and New Eden feels like it could be that place. Before the update I felt this way as well, there was just something about the game that really entranced me.

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Firefall and the Revamp for Release

Firefall is officially releasing on the 29th of July.. Why are you laughing?
And it seems it will also be releasing with a lot of new content.. Why are you still laughing?

Oh I get it. Firefall has been in development limbo for the better part of a decade now. It’s been in beta for, I think a few years now and it seems like very little has really been added. A lot has changed, whole entire systems reworked countless numbers of times and, in fact, if you look at the development I can see many completely different games there. Because of this there are many of us that are rather sceptical and view their posts as a bit of a joke.

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Tales of Transition for Firefall

Since I began playing I’ve always had a soft spot for Firefall. The game and mechanics just appealed to me in a fundamental way, enough that I’ve been following its development now for…hmm.. a year? It honestly feels longer. And that’s the thing, It has so many wonderful mechanics but much of it feels unfinished. Some lacking the polish to make them great; a restricted variety of events, mechanics, items and things; or just areas that haven’t been completed yet. It of course was still in Beta but it’s been in beta for a long time now and we should have been getting closer to something resembling a finalised product. Instead we get aimless updates in unrelated areas, constant iterations on previously completed parts and even the removal of areas. It’s development that more resembles a dog chasing its own tale.

Earlier in the week we received news, first from Gamefront  in the form of a leaked in-house memo and later on many other sites that The9, the parent company for Red5 and many of the board of directors had voted to remove Mark Kern from his position in charge of Firefall. To effectively make him a puppet in the company with no control over its direction. This news was later confirmed when Red 5 released their own press statement of the event stating the facts and wishing Mr Kern on his Merry way.

If that was all that had happened during this transitory period than it wouldn’t be an interesting, CEO’s of large and influential companies get dumped all the time. However over the last week the plot has thickened dramatically and wow it’s getting goooooooood.
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