To Infinity, And Back Down: Firefall’s Beta Weekend

By Nathan Grayson on February 20th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

I suppose it's only fitting that Firefall's been in various states of alpha and beta testing since the dawn of time, given that it is, in fact, a game about squashing bugs.

Someday, Firefall will come out. Maybe. Or perhaps it’ll forever lurk in the bug-riddled shadows of beta, only emerging on weekends for a refreshing hover about town. For now, we can only hold out hope for the former, but at least take solace in the latter, given that the gravity-loathing MMO’s penciled in the whole of humanity for a quick flying lesson this weekend. Get an idea of what you’re in for – set to music that suggests you’re both flying and winning a gold medal in every Olympic sporting event at once – after the break.

This is a fully public beta weekend, so getting in is as easy as going here and filling in the blanks with whatever strange conglomerate of squiggles forms your personal information. After that, the skies will be your oyster. Unless you’re allergic to oysters, in which case they’ll be something that doesn’t threaten to kill you upon extremely brief exposure. Red 5 explained:

“Take to the skies to explore every canyon, cave, and crater throughout New Eden, or use your jetpacks and gliders to get the drop on Chosen patrols all weekend long. When you aren’t soaring over Sunken Pass, or raining down fire on Centauri Foray, test yourself against fellow players in fast-paced PvP!”

“This weekend is also a chance for us to continue optimizing our servers to allow even more players the chance to enter New Eden and enlist in the fight for Earth.”

Firefall’s charted a course for an interesting first few months of 2013, too, which you can see in detail on Red 5′s blog. The short version, though, is better social features, matchmaking, and balance for PvP, and new progression, crafting, world events, and Chosen (humanoid baddies) combat options for PvE. Also, Red 5′s working on kicking it all off with a, well, existent new player experience, which should smooth the curve for first-timers instead of unceremoniously booting them out of the nest.

But a lot of that is still on the horizon. For now, the beta weekend begins on February 22nd and ends on February 25th. Do you plan on enlisting?

__________________

« | »

, , .

14 Comments »

  1. Shakes999 says:

    I played this last year at SXSW and it was surprisingly fun. Not a big MMO fan but id give it a chance

  2. MentatYP says:

    Progression systems needs big time revamping. They talk about “iterating on the existing progression system to create something that is easier to understand and more fun to use overall”, but what it needs is an overhaul. Played the game for a few days and the mechanics of the game are pretty fun, but the abilities you unlock never feel rewarding.

    • j3w3l says:

      i actually kind of like the progression system they have. There is no dramatic power creep but your still slowly unlocking many things that provide more options. the way you progress with your tech tree goes towards a certain specialisation of your class too, be it better damage healing or survivability. Due to this the world is far more open ended and without artificial gating

      progression feels much better once you get your tier 2 frame and begin to craft your own gear.. different resources types and qualities allow you to upggrade gear in different ways during the crafting process.

      the game is still quite content light and the world very small though

    • Megakoresh says:

      True enough. For the abilities anyway. Though it’s hard to tell if them not being satisfying is a result of progression or lack of physics and polish. It may not be in line with what you said, but I’d go with the latter, seeing as how those abilities which are not affected by the two issues (e.g. Healing ball) feel very cool and satisfying.

      What progression fails at is providing both visual and gameplay variety due to… well, progressing. It sticks to the MMORPG principles of number crunching below the hood, which doesn’t work in a shooter. Though judging by the blog, this is precisely what they plan on fixing.

    • po says:

      You’re not going to see much of the game in a few days playing, you really need to get into tier 2 and unlock and craft the equipment that matches your play-style. Only then can you feel that you’ve settled into a frame, and work with it. Some of the frames are downright painful to use before that point. Many of the tier 1 unlocks (especially the basic accord equipment) are very poor upgrades.

      Progression is kind of given by the kind of mobs you avoid early on, unless you’re in a big group, because they’ll tear you apart, while you’ll have no problem taking them on solo once you’ve got better gear. There are already things like meld thumping, chosen incursions and the baneclaw event, that simply aren’t viable content for a tier 1 frame. Hopefully once new areas of the map are opened up, there will be harder mobs, that will need groups to take on even with the better crafted gear.

    • The_Mess says:

      It’s getting completely revamped in 3 weeks or so.

      Dev’s are splitting PVP and PVE progression so PVP now uses regulation gear, along with changing the crafting system + adding back in constraints so PVE gear will have a lot more vertical progression to it.

      • MentatYP says:

        Thanks everybody who responded. So basically it doesn’t really start picking up until Tier 2, and check back in 3 weeks when they revamp the progression system. Got it. I’m pretty close to getting to Tier 2 but I think I’ll wait just a bit until they unveil the new system.

        Still, it feels pretty shabby to sink that many hours into the game and unlock a number of abilities that don’t feel like they really boost your character much. It’d be nice if they would revamp Tier 1 as well.

        • j3w3l says:

          try exp valley… and you should be in a tier 2 frame within an hour.. it’s the valley a little north of sunken harbour 02. People drop advanced thumpers there constantly so there is heaps to kill.. and the respawn point is very close too. Grab a group for it to go really quick

          @po.. the funny thing is I was doing all those harder events the first weekend and completed (died a few times on Baneclaw).. the progression system won’t hold you back when with a group but the tier 2 frames do add a lot to the experience

        • Grimlar says:

          The new progression system supposedly gets rid of the tiers making all battleframes available from the start. The prices may be a bit higher for some (I suspect) but its not hard to earn money with a bit of mining.

          I would also suspect that since what are now tier 1 battleframes will no longer be the ‘entry level’ options they are now, we might see the progression available for them being expanded to match what are now the tier two battleframes.

          The idea as I understand it is that battleframes are supposed to be a choice about how you want to play. One assault class battleframe (Tigerclaw say) being different to another assault class battleframe (eg Firecat) and presumably looking slightly different.

          On top of that, the new crafting system should give you a lot more opportunity to customise the performance of the battleframe to your taste. Whether that will include visual differences or not I cant say.

          Although of course there are also options to colour the battleframe, change the paint pattern etc and add some cosmetic touches like visors etc. Some are free, most would need to be bought though.

          • MentatYP says:

            Does that mean there will be a character wipe coming with the update?

  3. sinister agent says:

    I really enjoyed the last weekend, and I usually hate MMOs. Nice atmosphere, colourful and quite interesting setting. Decent feel to the weapons I tried (though the shotgun I unlocked was bloody useless).

    There’s a good crowd, too. Some randoms came together and one of them gave everyone else a permanent 10% XP boost to thank us for helping out.

    It’s still got some of the usual MMO trappings, though it’s sort of relegated the shitty combat to powerups, with most of the time spent shooting and jetpacking around instead. A step in the right direction, I think.

    Oh, and free jetpacks. For everyone.

    • TormDK says:

      Sounds like you grouped with a Founder (Commander variant, 100$ cost).

      It’s fun enough, but they need to add more dynamic content, as thumping gets boring really fast.

      The crafting system is nice though ,not since StarWars Galaxies have I seen a MMO that has *dared* to try with a shifting ressource system, where the bismuth of today is not the same bismuth in two weeks time.

      • po says:

        The best PvE content by far is retaking towers from the chosen, but the huge problem with that is that their spawn rates aren’t adjusted to match player activity, so at peak times there aren’t any towers to take back.

        The same goes for a lot of the other dynamic content. Last night 2 of us from the RPS FireFall Steam group took on a pair of chosen incursions that spawned right next to each other, and because it was taking us longer than usual to clear the first one, due to all the spawns coming in from the second, we had a much harder type of mob spawn, the Chosen Siege Breaker. With the normal number of players present, they go down so fast that you never see the content scale up and become more interesting. If anything, if there are more players present, those mobs should be spawned to make things harder, instead of it being the other way round.

        The crafting system is going to be completely reworked, but it looks like it will be a major iteration on what is already present, rather than a completely new system.

  4. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Expected more wub wub and less oddly designed clothing. Still looks like to me like it has: decent. Could be boring, could be fun. I’ll probably wait until it’s out before having a go.

    Also, I am reminded of this trailer here (which has wedged itself firmly into my cerebral cortex, it seems): http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/03/31/voiceover-dude-is-scaring-me-black-prophecy/

    -edit- Also found here: http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/5yqkoj/black-prophecy-cinematic-trailer