I’ve been spending a little bit of time with the semi open beta of Firefall from red5 studios. It’s an open world class based MMO FPS with some interesting concepts and a lot of promise.
The game is still very much under heavy development and story content is light on the ground, but more is being added regularly.
When you first login you go through a quick character creation screen, and then pick your first battleframe which determines your class. Unlike regular MMOs you are free to purchase new frames at any time, and are actively encouraged to maintain several frames to fit yours and your squads needs. You will need to acquire resources to buy new frames, so it’s a good idea to review the classes and see which one suits your general play style the best.
I chose the engineer for my first foray, with the ability to drop up to 3 turrets and a shield it definitely looks like a squad support class, but is capable of some quite reasonable damage on his own. The other frames include the usual mix of assault, recon (sniper), biotech (medic) and heavy. Mechanics will feel instantly familiar to any FPS player. Combat is fast and the controls are responsive. If there are any dice rolls going on in the background then they aren’t at all obvious. So you jump New Eden, and are run through about an hour of story content to get you used to the world and your chosen character.
The world itself is under threat from an alien race known as the Chosen. This forms a large part of the world events. The map is has various strategic positions scattered around, and these will be under constant threat. Your job as players is to fend of this alien invasion. These missions really can’t be solo’d so it’s worth finding a group if possible. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be an LFG menu yet, so you’ll have to use the chat channels to find people to take on the Chosen with.
As you explore you will get notifications of world events, at first these were just Chosen invasions, but they have recently added threatened supply ships, crashed thumpers and even bike races to keep you occupied.
One of the most interesting things about Firefall is the leveling system. As you gain XP you don’t go through linear levels. Instead you spend your XP on skills and battleframe upgrades. After you’ve spent enough points you will increase your tier, and gain access to more skills. Each frame has 3 skill trees, which you can pick and choose skills from. I find it very refreshing to play an MMO that doesn’t force me down a particular route, and where the leveling feels much more organic than usual.
To attain resources you can use a scan hammer to show you resource deposits, you then call down a thumper to start extracting them. At this point you will draw attention from the local fauna so it doesn’t hurt to have a few other players at your back. This resource collection system basically allows you to create a world event and gather resources.
Once you’ve seen what the world has to offer so far, there is always PvP. You can join queues easily, and I had no difficulty finding a game. PvP is currently the usual selection of team deathmatch and basic objective based games, but I suspect these will be padded out in time.
Oh yes, and there are jet packs, and as we all know, jet packs are awesome.