Pax East: Firefall PvE demo
I’ve been able to follow Firefall since I first saw it at Pax Prime back in 2010. I thought that this more shooter oriented, free to play MMO was bringing something else to the table for someone who is more into shooters or just even sci-fi. It’s been great to see how Firefall has changed and developed over the years, and this year at Pax East I was able to play a bit of the PvE that will be in the game and experience a bit of the beta.
I first was shown an intro video by Lead Designer Scott Youngblood, which sets up the story for Firefall. In this cinematic, we are shown the maiden voyage of the Arclight and the events that took place to get the world to as we see it in Firefall. It’s a very well done cinematic that sets up the story quite well and gets you excited to check out the game.
After this, I was able to play some PvE objectives in Copa Cabana on the live beta server. Having checked out the PvP aspects already at Pax last year, it was great to see this part of the game. Quest objectives are set up quite nicely and you can easily see on your map where you need to go. I especially liked the interface on your main screen where you can see the waypoints displayed as if you were looking at a computer screen overlay within a visor on your armor.
Gameplay wise, it’s super easy to pick up the controls and fight against the aggressive mobs within the world itself. Before heading out into the world you are able to choose which battleframe you would prefer to play as: Medic, Assault, Dreadnaught, Engineer or Recon. I played as Assault, which plays as a pretty strong utilitarian class that can provide powerful attacks and good evasion when needed. It’s a great class to pick if you’re someone who likes to be able to charge in and hold your own. I had a great time going through and completing objectives for some of the beginning quests for the area.
I was also shown how the material farming would work as well as crafting. I actually enjoy how the mat farming would work. You do a questline that will teach you the basics for using a thumper to gather mats. The thumper is an orbital piece of machinery that you can call down to the surface after you locate a good mineral rich area. The thumper will then bury itself into the ground and begin to mine. This machine is quite loud though, so while it’s mining it will catch the attention of any enemies in the surrounding area. This means you will need to use strategy to defend your thumper and then send it back with materials that you can then access and use for crafting back in town.
Once you complete this quest chain, you are given your first thumper to use. You will be able to get larger and better thumpers down the line, but the larger and better the thumper the trickier it can become to defend. I was shown one that drew powerful enemies that meant you would need to do this with two other friends in order to successfully defend the thumper from attacks. This makes gathering resources a bit more fun since it adds this bit of strategy into the game.
The crafting system also seems rather nicely developed. You go back to terminals in any major town and you can then access everything that you’ve gathered while out with your thumper. You can then refine the materials and use them in recipies for new pieces for your battleframes. The crafting times will also vary depending on the material, and this is one area where I was told would be one thing they would address with their cash shop. In their marketplace, Red 5 will plan to have items you can buy that will not only expand how many crafting slots you have to work with (you initally start off with two and can go to a max of 4), but there will also be items that will help you decrease the time that crafting can take. I was also assured that they have no plans to sell items that would cause any imbalance in game between users who choose to purchase items with real money versus people who choose to be strictly F2P.
Lastly, we talked more about PvP in the game. Scott said that he is very excited about the upcoming Armies aspect of the game. Armies will be like guilds in most other MMOs, and Red 5 plans on having large Army vs. Army PvP battles in the game. They also plan on having special missions that are specific for Armies. It sounds very promising and anyone who’s a big PvP fan will probably love this aspect.
Right now, Firefall is in beta and Pax East attendees were able to sign up to join in on the beta. I signed up myself so I’m looking forward to playing the game myself more extensively to bring you all a first look. Firefall is slated to go live in late 2012.