Game Reviews, Play

The Dream that was Firefall

I mentioned back in January of 2013 that Firefall by Red5 Studios was a game that I was looking forward to being released hopefully that same year. At this point I don’t know if it will ever launch, or if it does, that it will be worth playing.

To be fair, Red5’s acting CEO, James Macauley, has indicated that the game will “take flight” this year. However, based on what I’ve seen from the game’s last “Milestone” patch, I don’t believe this is likely.

Where to start?

When Regina first introduced me to Firefall, I loved it. Even though it was pretty bare bones in September of 2012, it was still great fun to bound across the world on jump jets with my friends destroying any hostile alien life we came across. At that point there was only an introduction quest or two, thumping for resources and PvP as far as in game content went. It was still enough to keep us entertained for a week or two. Based on that experience I was willing to support the game in the hopes that it would help get the development completed sooner and purchased an Ensign level Founder’s pack.

It would be about another 6 months (March 2013) before a Milestone patch would be implemented. (A Milestone patch being one with a lot of major changes and additions to the game.) I didn’t play daily while waiting, but did jump back into the game from time to time to see what had changed if anything. When the patch finally dropped it brought some new content and also changed the way you upgraded your combat chassis and how resources were distributed. While it seemed like a long wait and I did lose hope at one point, this patch felt like it was definitely a move in the right direction.

Skip ahead 4 months to July of 2013 and there was a new Milestone patch for the game to switch to open beta. Again some new content and, if I recall correctly, another change in resource distribution as well as a controversial durability system on gear. I was encouraged that another major patch had come quicker than the previous one and that the game was shifting to open beta. This to me seemed like the game development was gaining steam and that we were getting close to the home stretch.

Then came the news in September 2013 that the PvP element was being pulled from the game so that development could focus on PvE tuning and content. I’m not a big PvP gamer anymore and was happy that development was moving toward a PvE focus. That being said, I found that this was really unfair to all the PvP players who had taken the time and spent their money to support Firefall. Sure there was a promise that the PvP system would be reworked and brought back at a later date, but when the part of a game you love the most is removed from said game you are not going to be happy. This was troubling to me. Despite the fact I should have been happy from a PvE player’s point of view, I had this niggling sense of unease.

Mid December of last year brought the news that Mark Kearns was no longer CEO of Red5. Again I felt uneasy.

Finally, the latest Milestone was released late last month. While it did bring perks to the game, which I liked. The developers changed the way chassis constraints worked and how your gear was upgraded to such a degree that I, and many other people were very disappointed. Also, there was the promise of more PvE content. While there was more, I certainly wouldn’t call it much. Certainly not as much as you would think given that Red5 dropped PvP from the game to concentrate on it. Three new world quests were added as well as some introductory quests for the campaign that is being created. Introductory quests that were so bugged I had to wait a week before I could play them and then they were over in a few minutes. The Chosen war was supposed to be heating up as well, but I haven’t seen anymore Chosen activity than I did prior to the latest patch. (The Chosen are the PvE bad guys intent on invading the Earth.) Basically, I was very underwhelmed.

Where am I going with this?

Don’t bother with Firefall. I honestly get the feeling that they are just flailing at this point and that anything that might get an official release would be so rushed and ham fisted that it would be even worse than the current state of the game. I know some would say that the game is still in beta, but the game has been in beta for almost two and a half years now and has been receiving funds from customers for a year and a half of that time. At some point you can’t hide behind the term “beta” anymore. I think with Firefall that point has come and gone.


Remember the Athenians.

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