Zero Punctuation: Firefall - Proof That Jetpacks Make Everything Better?

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Firefall - Proof That Jetpacks Make Everything Better?

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews the free-to-play MMO shooter Firefall.

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I wouldn't put it past the British Channel 4 to actually put on that show, if I'll be honest.

And that's a shame about Firefall ending up like that. Then again it's free to play, so unlike some other MMOs it's not exactly demanding that you play it for years now is it?

I have to admit I'm really tempted to take a look at this after hearing these thoughts on it, but as soon as that thought enters my head it seems to drag with it all the other time's I've been burned by MMO's (looking at you, NCSoft and Nexon)

Oh dear, this idea of filling waterballoons and getting washing up liquid is getting me hot under the collar.

I'm kind of like Yahtzee, I also spend strictly $0 on F2P games. I also spend strictly 0 minutes with them as well though so I won't be playing this, even if it is fun.

From the sound of it, Firefall hasn't changed a bit since I played it. Kind of a pity, I'd go back to it in a heartbeat if it had some more stuff to do.

This came out of nowhere. I tryed it myself last week, yeah it was alright. Something tells me I should login again soon to see how players abuse the flitters for their names, that and I didn't get very far into it since I just got addicted to gmod at the same time.

Aeshi:
From the sound of it, Firefall hasn't changed a bit since I played it. Kind of a pity, I'd go back to it in a heartbeat if it had some more stuff to do.

From what I've heard the game completely rebuilt over the past year.

Wildstar next plz? i personally found it fun but I'd still like to see you ream it out

No way! I started playing this last week, and am having barrels of fun for free...
And then *you* pick it up and like it too!

*Looks outside to confirm the moon hasn't fallen down*

It's a great game, and I don't find it too repetitive, cause you can do a bunch of different stuff when you want later on.
And you get a damn MOTORBIKE, next to the JETPACK and the GLIDEY WINGS. For free :)
I am allergic to milking stuff for cash that's supposedly free, and have not seen it whine for cash once.
If you think Destiny will be good, just play this for 0 bucks instead. CAUSE OF JETPACKS.

Man, so much capitals in this post, guess I like this game more than I realized!

One nitpick with the review...
They didn't roll "Asteriod" for apocalypse.
It's first few small asteroids with super materials in it, then "Folly of man: building a space folding super spaceship".
Then whoops! We ripped dimensions and now a toxic dimension full of aliens with big guns and monsters is spilling in.

So you have to deal with that; "A literal dimension encroaching on you, aliens and mutants."
Recap: Folley of man, followed by alien dimension. Not too shabby and reasonably original for a video game plot.

So how do Free to Play games stay open? Whose paying for the servers? The maintenance? The staff?
I always thought FTP meant free to join, but everything is a micro transaction.

Seems like a fun game but I'll never have the time/patience to play an MMORPG.

Silentpony:
So how do Free to Play games stay open? Whose paying for the servers? The maintenance? The staff?
I always thought FTP meant free to join, but everything is a micro transaction.

Seems like a fun game but I'll never have the time/patience to play an MMORPG.

Those people who buy the cosmetic items or the VIP boosts or the fancy cash motorcycles or what have you are who keep it running. Even the people who just buy some cash shop currency to trade for the auction house currency to get gear faster, they're also paying for the game so the "I won't ever pay money for a F2P game" people can keep playing.

And even those people are, indirectly, paying for the game, if they're buying VIP or unlocks or what have you from other players who paid real money for those items to sell for the credits.

I'm under the opinion that FireFall deserves as many players as it can fit on its giant instanced server, but I do wish the game did more with its world events than it does.

Right now, you might have to wrest a tower back from the chosen, go over to "OCT" and defend it, encounter the occasional cave full of one of about five or six activities, repair a thumper, repair an LCV, or place your own thumper. That's not a non-existent variety, but still little enough that I have to go scurrying off to a mission board like a WoW apologist who is in desperate need to get his punctuation mark fetish satisfied. They had such plans in beta... but unfortunately they fell through due to mismanagement.

Combat is fun, which is important, but I suspect that the early burnout you're experiencing is less a result of it being too much fun and more to do with the fact you've only about 4-10 abilities per battleframe, weaponry and callsdowns notwithstanding, so good luck grinding 40 levels on that. The only MMO that I can readily recall which gave you less toys to grind with was Defiance.

Funny enough, it seems the end game consists of getting level 40, then starting over with another class and getting level 40 again in order to unlock those juicy "Perks" which are essentially passive bonuses of various kinds, some of which can be slotted on any battleframe. Got all the perks you want? Then you're done, because it's not like the battle with The Chosen is going anywhere anytime soon.

Firefall is undoubtedly a fun game, but the flat out removal of arena pvp killed it for me(it was the only thing I did because running the same aeres missions over and over got boring, and thumping is just a repetitive mess). And also the "lets completely scrap this system" thing that happens every month has left me with terrible gear, and I really don't have the patience to defend thumpers for another 20 hours because my resources are no longer valid >.>

Haven't tried the latest build though, maybe they fixed the "your old amazing gear is now useless" thing that they kept on doing to me, and maybe the open world pvp is exciting enough to keep me playing for a while.

rennagade:
Haven't tried the latest build though, maybe they fixed the "your old amazing gear is now useless" thing that they kept on doing to me, and maybe the open world pvp is exciting enough to keep me playing for a while.

Maybe. Now they have it balanced so that the rarer gear is good for far longer. So white is trash, green is decent for level, blue you'll be struggling to find a decent replacement for 10 levels from now, and you'd better get used to seeing that purple thing you found in your inventory for a long time.

There's not as many overall gear slots as there were in earlier phases now. You've got primary weapon, secondary weapon, a battleframe core, three abilities, one hyperkinetic super ability, and the amps you slot in weapons and abilities. That's it, unless I'm forgetting something.

wow that as an unexpected positive review of a game on pc i never visited. i might actually give it a try on a rainy day. we happen to have a lot of them recently.

I was pretty displeased with Firefall. It looked nice on a first glance but revealed itself as pay-to-play and ultra mega repetitive.

Combat is boring, because it is just a shooter with basically 1 gun and no ammo issues. Special abilities have little impact and cooldowns higher that the Everest. Also once i had my 3 skills all i found later on were diffrent upgrades of the same ability but no new ability.

And also gear etc. didn't really drop that much. After 3 hours of play i found 2 items. A gun and a core.
The crafting system looks nice at first glance because you have: Dismantling items for parts, builiding items out of these parts and a tech tree.
The tech tree seems to put a new twist on the whole crafting system but falls flat - even though i cant fully judge it of course.
Guns for example have an idividual tech tree each and each tree looks like this: Gun X lv 1, Gun X lv 2 .... Gun X lv 99
For each gun. And every class has like 3-4/20 guns they can use. So if you level the plasma gun you can craft awesome plasma guns but you can't switch to another gun because you've not teched it.
And it's useless anyway, because by the time i could craft a certain gun i've gotten a better one anyway. Since the crafted guns aren't really better than the ones i've found.

It felt pretty hollow because all i could do was unnecessary. It didn't felt like i'm getting something out of it i couldn't get otherwise - and that is a big mistake most MMO's make imo.

In the end it was ok but nothing i'd write home about. Kinda like the Neverwinter MMO which did alot right, but just not good enough. Sofar Hellgate London was the most promising Shooter/RPG/MMO combo i've played but even that fell on it's nose very hard.

And i won't start on the horrible F2P-Shop system they have because with the exception of a few games everyone does it wrong, so that wasn't a big surprise.

tl;dr
It's ok, but just not good. And very repetitive even for an MMO.

I played Firefall for a bit, also as the Assault class. The game play reminded me a bit of tribes, combining jet-pack maneuverability and an AOE weapon like the disc thrower into some fun and fast firefights. Unfortunately it appears to have some hp/damage scaling issues, and killing bullet sponge enemies who deal extreme amounts of damage back becomes tedious.

I also unfortunately found myself still doing the same thing twenty levels later and my waning patience for the server instability turned me off. Maybe there's more to see in the other battleframes but after putting so much work into my assault one the idea of retreading the same exact old missions at a lower level is highly unappealing.

Oh man, I love watching stellar bodies go at it.

Silentpony:
So how do Free to Play games stay open? Whose paying for the servers? The maintenance? The staff?
I always thought FTP meant free to join, but everything is a micro transaction.

Some are like that. They're generally called "pay to win." Some make a free game with extras that support the service. Some just run on good will and unicorn blood.

It really depends on the model and the people behind the scenes (assuming their people; I suspect most F2P games are run by goblins).

Zachary Amaranth:
Oh man, I love watching stellar bodies go at it.

Silentpony:
So how do Free to Play games stay open? Whose paying for the servers? The maintenance? The staff?
I always thought FTP meant free to join, but everything is a micro transaction.

Some are like that. They're generally called "pay to win." Some make a free game with extras that support the service. Some just run on good will and unicorn blood.

It really depends on the model and the people behind the scenes (assuming their people; I suspect most F2P games are run by goblins).

I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.

That was a surprisingly positive review considering the generally meh scores its been getting from other sites. Honestly I was expecting him to really tear it a new one though glad he didn't because I do enjoy it and it's free to play so it's not forcing you to make a commitment unlike some games.

"Is this the most interesting period in your main character's life? And if not, why are you not showing us THAT instead?"

As a writer at heart, that's some pretty solid writing advice.

I tend to do this unconsciously already, but it's good to have it be a thing I'm aware of now. Thanks, Yatzee!

geldonyetich:

I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.

The one I saw said that 2% of players were paying customers, but that's been a while so it could be dated or I could be wrong. In any case, yes. It's designed to subsudise the game based on people with a lot of free cash.

Hell, look at how costly battles in EVE Online can get.

geldonyetich:

Zachary Amaranth:
Oh man, I love watching stellar bodies go at it.

Silentpony:
So how do Free to Play games stay open? Whose paying for the servers? The maintenance? The staff?
I always thought FTP meant free to join, but everything is a micro transaction.

Some are like that. They're generally called "pay to win." Some make a free game with extras that support the service. Some just run on good will and unicorn blood.

It really depends on the model and the people behind the scenes (assuming their people; I suspect most F2P games are run by goblins).

I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.

This is why I don't play free to play games, as I'd be in that 95%. That means that the devs aren't actually developing the game for me - I'm not the target audience. Or what they're designing is ways to try and coerce me to join the 5%.

Wow, that's practically glowing!

Thanatos2k:

geldonyetich:

Zachary Amaranth:
Oh man, I love watching stellar bodies go at it.

Some are like that. They're generally called "pay to win." Some make a free game with extras that support the service. Some just run on good will and unicorn blood.

It really depends on the model and the people behind the scenes (assuming their people; I suspect most F2P games are run by goblins).

I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.

This is why I don't play free to play games, as I'd be in that 95%. That means that the devs aren't actually developing the game for me - I'm not the target audience. Or what they're designing is ways to try and coerce me to join the 5%.

Not really true. Any good game that uses the F2P model designs itself to have microtransactions that may tempt you into getting some sweg, not any actual power. There's some examples of convenience that you would otherwise not get if you skipped paying entirely (primarily in single-player games), but it shouldn't ever be a prime thing. The problem is, there are a lot of F2P games that don't establish their actual goal of transactions through their gameplay, so once you hit a wall that takes time and/or effort and it takes you out of the game, it feels like a horrible business decision. Of course you don't want to spend 5 bucks to build something faster or buy some material, nothing up to this point led up to this purchase!
So yeah, they shouldn't be designing much of anything with anyone in mind besides a "player". The microtransaction system can be designed to get money from those who have a lot of it, but it doesn't have to be a pain in the ass. It's all about presentation and implementation.

Ferisar:

Thanatos2k:

geldonyetich:

I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.

This is why I don't play free to play games, as I'd be in that 95%. That means that the devs aren't actually developing the game for me - I'm not the target audience. Or what they're designing is ways to try and coerce me to join the 5%.

Not really true. Any good game that uses the F2P model designs itself to have microtransactions that may tempt you into getting some sweg, not any actual power. There's some examples of convenience that you would otherwise not get if you skipped paying entirely (primarily in single-player games), but it shouldn't ever be a prime thing. The problem is, there are a lot of F2P games that don't establish their actual goal of transactions through their gameplay, so once you hit a wall that takes time and/or effort and it takes you out of the game, it feels like a horrible business decision. Of course you don't want to spend 5 bucks to build something faster or buy some material, nothing up to this point led up to this purchase!
So yeah, they shouldn't be designing much of anything with anyone in mind besides a "player". The microtransaction system can be designed to get money from those who have a lot of it, but it doesn't have to be a pain in the ass. It's all about presentation and implementation.

If getting people to buy things isn't their goal then the game will go bankrupt and be shut down.

Saying that they're not designing for money extraction is wrong. A game that is not free to play isn't designing for this, which inherently makes non F2P games better designed.

Colour me surprised.

I thought Yahtzee would tear this a new one (and was mentally preparing my "but I liked it" armour), and he actually sort of liked it (at least portions of it).

Well that'll teach me to prejudge things.

I've played Firefall and found it boring as fuck after a while. The overworld is barren if you aren't doing a job or "thumping" (I'm surprised Yahtzee didn't mention that). If you aren't doing a Job then the only monsters that spawn are the ones other players are fighting, or are scripted to be there. I guess your supposed to fly around by gliding but I found Gliding extremely hard to control especially since the two arrows on the side will constantly say "Down" even when that means crashing into the damn ground.

I also heard from some of the vets about Chosen Invasions, which were apparently removed in the release version. Chosen would raid a town or Watchtower and players would have to stop them. That was taken out for... what reason? It seems like a fun idea and could add some damn life to the overworld instead of just having nothing in it.

I tried playing Firefall for awhile, and I had several problems with it. For starters the power armor styles are either boring, lame, or incredibly stupid. The Engineer power armor has an entire leg piece and arm piece missing. I'm assuming this is to make it look sexy on a lady, but it just ends up looking insane, like someone forgot how to dress themselves mid way through.

Then there was the micro-transaction problem. It felt like I was constantly being bombarded by the whole "HEY YOU CAN BUY STUFF FROM US" aspect of the game. It got to the point where it was just confusing and annoying and I wasn't sure what was what.

There also was a surprisingly huge lack of direction. I played for a few days and the only thing I really know how to do is use the jetpack.

The whole thing just feels unfocused and is a micro-transaction mess. So I uninstalled it and never looked back.

Well, I wasn't expecting this. Yahtzee saying something nice about an MMO, and a free-to-play one to boot! Now I forget if it was this game or a different one that ran those trailers before every Escapist video last month.

geldonyetich:

Zachary Amaranth:
Oh man, I love watching stellar bodies go at it.

Silentpony:
So how do Free to Play games stay open? Whose paying for the servers? The maintenance? The staff?
I always thought FTP meant free to join, but everything is a micro transaction.

Some are like that. They're generally called "pay to win." Some make a free game with extras that support the service. Some just run on good will and unicorn blood.

It really depends on the model and the people behind the scenes (assuming their people; I suspect most F2P games are run by goblins).

I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.

I know for sure SW: The Old Republic works that way. Players (both free and subscribing) can spend real-world money on this special in-game money called Cartel Coins, which can buy "Illicit goods" from the Cartel Market. Stuff you can't buy with plain old Credits you get from playing the game normally. I spend mine on more Inventory space, medic droids to revive me during Group missions, and Legacy bonuses.

Frozengale:
I tried playing Firefall for awhile, and I had several problems with it. For starters the power armor styles are either boring, lame, or incredibly stupid. The Engineer power armor has an entire leg piece and arm piece missing. I'm assuming this is to make it look sexy on a lady, but it just ends up looking insane, like someone forgot how to dress themselves mid way through.

They fixed that wardrobe anomaly since I last played. They still made the assault female have an exposed mid-riff though. The rest is fine as far as I can tell, boob socks notwithstanding.

Then there was the micro-transaction problem. It felt like I was constantly being bombarded by the whole "HEY YOU CAN BUY STUFF FROM US" aspect of the game. It got to the point where it was just confusing and annoying and I wasn't sure what was what.

Hmmm... I truly can't grasp what you're getting at here. Then again, I know I've paid for the game since I had fun with it. But how did it exactly nag you?

There also was a surprisingly huge lack of direction. I played for a few days and the only thing I really know how to do is use the jetpack.

You might feel that way even now, but like yahtzee said, you can just do quests from a board. Or any other event you find near you.

The whole thing just feels unfocused and is a micro-transaction mess. So I uninstalled it and never looked back.

You must've played in the early beta. They really cleaned up with the version they have now. They've still got a ways to go, bit the vision seems far more clear than it was in beta.

Well, congratulations, Yahtzee. After ignoring your show for several months now due to other priorities, this is the episode that finally gets me to tune in and I just went straight to it, not even playing my usual catch-up when I slip on watching a series. And it's this episode because this game in particular is one I'm pretty damn attached to.

It's so weird to have played the beta on a regular basis for three years, consider yourself more knowledgeable on it than anyone else in your immediate vicinity due to the limited playerbase up to this point, and now Yahtzee's rambling at me about the same game, which to him just came out... and more regrettably: rambling about what he - as a newcomer - has played of the state Firefall launched in. I wish I could say this was the best the game's ever been, but it'd be hard to do so.

I'm glad to see he enjoyed the gunplay because that really is a major strength of Firefall, but Christ if the release version didn't screw the actual narrative and pacing side of things up hard. And it's a shame, because a lot of reviewers are voicing the same complaints and, justifiably, giving it lukewarm reviews. Unfortunately, they're reviews of a worse version of the game I've been playing for so long and it saddens me that these are what'll be coloring public opinion for a long time. But I'm happy that Yahtzee enjoyed what he played for the most part. I'm just hoping that the game recovers from the release slip-ups and continues to improve, because I'd love to see more people give Firefall a chance as it really deserves one.

And in any case, it's still miles better than that other free-to-play shooter about jetpacks turned out to be. What an atrocity that was.

Why do I still feel that Planetside 2 was the only MMO that has a story that make sense within a Massively Multiplayer world? Your not the hero, your not the dragonborn, your not special unique flower who will change the course of world history, your a soldier. One of billions in a conflict so vast that nothing you do will be of any note at end. You lead the charge to get that building, only to immediately lose it when the third faction comes in and wipes the floor with you.

Not G. Ivingname:
Why do I still feel that Planetside 2 was the only MMO that has a story that make sense within a Massively Multiplayer world? Your not the hero, your not the dragonborn, your not special unique flower who will change the course of world history, your a soldier. One of billions in a conflict so vast that nothing you do will be of any note at end. You lead the charge to get that building, only to immediately lose it when the third faction comes in and wipes the floor with you.

To be fair, a lot of the story about you being the protagonist of Firefall is less than a month old. For the longest time, every player in the game was just another soldier among many in the game world, no individual notably significant, and everyone is cooperating towards the same goal. All these new quests they have now that concern the player becoming famous among the NPCs irritate me because every player will be going through those quests. It doesn't make sense, and that's not how the game used to be. Firefall didn't use to have a singular "player protagonist."

VinLAURiA:

Not G. Ivingname:
Why do I still feel that Planetside 2 was the only MMO that has a story that make sense within a Massively Multiplayer world? Your not the hero, your not the dragonborn, your not special unique flower who will change the course of world history, your a soldier. One of billions in a conflict so vast that nothing you do will be of any note at end. You lead the charge to get that building, only to immediately lose it when the third faction comes in and wipes the floor with you.

To be fair, a lot of the story about you being the protagonist of Firefall is less than a month old. For the longest time, every player in the game was just another soldier among many in the game world, no individual notably significant, and everyone is cooperating towards the same goal. All these new quests they have now that concern the player becoming famous among the NPCs irritate me because every player will be going through those quests. It doesn't make sense, and that's not how the game used to be. Firefall didn't use to have a singular "player protagonist."

Wow, that's depressing. I wonder why they changed that.

The illusion of grander works in single player games where there are not LINES for the questboard of the "chosen one."

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