Over the last week I have gotten a chance to spend some more time with Firefall. Leaping back into the fray for hours a day during my wife’s post wisdom tooth removal naps. After the time I spent with the game last week, I was eager to get back into it. There is just something about the game that made me want to get back to it as soon as possible after the first week. After the great impression it left me with the first time around, could it hold up for the second week as well?
Firefall Week 2
In general my experience from week one to week two is almost entirely unchanged, but not in a good way. The only thing that is different is that I have finally figured out how things function for the most part. Thanks to the lackluster tutorial I didn’t really have much of an idea about how I was supposed to go about doing anything in the game. Luckily, I figured that out for myself through week one, and week two was really more about utilizing what I have learned to maximize my experience. While my week one impressions were about getting familiar with the game, this article will be about my issues with continuing through it.
Mission icons populate the in-game map known as SIN. In Firefall you don’t go talk to an NPC to get a quest so much as you just walk to the area where the icon is. This is a great system that is reminiscent of how Warhammer Age of Reckoning and Guild Wars 2 handled public quests, just on a smaller scale. The thing is, most of these quests are easily done by a single individual with no help at all. Since everyone gets the same markers though, I often ended up with other people attempting to complete the exact quest I was. This would be fine except you get rewards based on your contribution, so more people generally means less reward for you. Or even more annoyingly, someone would often finish the quest before I even had time to get there.
I often found myself sprinting around the map to try and get to a quest before other people, or barreling through enemies so I could grab the quest items first. Otherwise my progression would be greatly slowed by having to split the rewards with others. This system is rewarding in games where you feel like the help is a welcome relief. In GW2 I was always happy when people would show up to lend a hand against a tough opponent, we would both get to finish our quest for the same rewards. Since the rewards are based on how much of the quest you yourself complete though, I just got aggravated when others showed up.
My other gripe with missions is that there just isn’t enough variety to keep you from getting bored. The list is pretty much limited to: Fix a thumper, fix a bike, destroy magic tornado, destroy invading forces and some ARES missions. In the first week I was glad that the ARES missions at least had some variety within them, but sadly that was short lived. I soon discovered that just about every ARES mission was either collecting items to dump into a machine outside or taking a datapad to a bunch of terminals. As it stand this leads the missions in the game becoming very stale very quick. If they just added some more variety to what you can complete in the game, there would a whole lot more to keep you logged on.
The developers of Firefall have already come out and said that they are focusing on horizontal progression and an open access world for the open beta of Firefall. In other words, they want you focus on increasing your warframe and skills rather than obtaining really great gear. As of two weeks into the game I think I have only had 3 items drop from monsters for me to use, all of them secondary weapons. This works well enough, I almost never think about what gear I should be aiming for. Instead I focus on maximizing the levels in my warframe so I can get stronger and have more extra power to allocate.
The open world idea means that you do not have to hit a certain level in order to access areas. Any MMO players who have spent time in the genre have wandered into higher level areas than they should have an been in and were swiftly mashed into pulp by the surrounding mobs. According to the developers, Firefall enemies and areas scale directly with the character as they get more powerful. While events like the critters popping up when you thump will scale with the level of thumper you are using. I’m not entirely sure if this is the case. If it is then the game appears to be shooting for, “just stay easy.” As I get more powerful I don’t really feel all that more powerful, and the game also has not gotten any more difficult.
When it comes to ways to horizontally progress, I feel like I have hit a wall. When it comes to the story quests, I suddenly have a quest where I need to buy an item for fifty pieces of a currency I can only obtain a few of every day. My warframe has hit a similar wall where it suddenly seems to cost a lot of experience in order to level up. This is frustrating since I felt like that early levels for the frame were flying by too fast. This seems like it could use some leveling out so players don’t just lose motivation when they hit the walls.
Currently the thing that is still motivating me to keep playing is the resource system. I for some reason can not get enough of locating rare resources and dragging them up for my own use. Thumping is one of the only things in the game where I don’t end up aggravated that other players show up. It unites a group of players into helping each other, while most of the other quests make you feel like you’re competing with one another.
Firefall has a lot of promise, but I don’t see it gaining huge ground anytime soon. Maybe things will change once I’ve managed to get myself a new warframe. I guess we will find out next week, seeing as I’m right on the cusp.