With the recent release of Firefire open beta, an FPS style MMORPG I decided to signup and check out the game. I was impressed with the GUI, albeit somewhat traditional, it was also intuitive and clear, for the most part.
Three things brought me to the game.
- It's action based, like a first person shooter, yet still an MMO.
- It was reported to have open world PvP. From watching videos of the game, it looked almost identical to Global Agenda, right down to the battleframes. However, in Global Agenda I lost interest simply because it didn't really have much of a world. There were a few zones you could travel to for PvE and then the rest was spent in instanced zones for team PvP, so no open-world PvP.
- It was reported by many as having a "huge" world.
After playing for roughly a month now, I'll comment on the three things that brought me to Firefall.
It's an MMOFPS
The game plays just like a shooter. You can zoom all the way in to a first-person perspective, or zoom out to a third person view with your character off to the side (it has literally taken me years to get used to the off-center 3rd person view). Even though it's a shooter, you still earn XP, just like an RPG. XP is then spent to upgrade your battleframes (high tech armor) and unlock battleframe abilities. The only thing I didn't like is that there is no actual character development; no stats to improve, no attributes, no skills, etc. All development is linked to your gear only. If you were able and willing to remove your gear, you would have no stats.
Open World PvP?
One of the first things I did after logging in was attempt to attack other players. Of course nothing happened, it was a newb zone right? I had to move out of the town, or so I thought. So I headed out away from the starter town (Copacabana) to see how PvP worked. I was still unable to engage players. After running around for 30 minutes I finally found a tiny little area near a town called Sunken Harbor that was marked as a PvP zone, wow. That is not open world PvP. I went back to Copacabana and noticed that there was a terminal one could use to que up for PvP so I tried that. After 15 minutes in the que, I gave up. Other than myself, not one other person had qued up for PvP. An MMO that plays like a FPS should be perfect for PvP, but there is none to be found. In the latest patch, the PvP arenas were removed and the developers said that they were going to redesign them. Most players expect this to be done in a year.
A Huge world?
Well this was a huge disappointment. The world is in fact, super tiny. I love to explore and sadly, you'll have very little left to explore after day 1. To be fair, there are some other zones you can get to but they are effectively instanced areas and are specifically thought of as daily type quests. How small is it? You can traverse the entire realm in 9 minutes; here's a video of me doing that:
This isn't the only game I've tried that claimed a huge world. A recent PBBG I tried called Eldevin claimed to be large, however I was able to traverse in 6 minutes and that is why I stopped playing it. I've even heard people claim that Morrowind was large; but those players never played the single player predecessor to Morrowind called Daggerfall. Asheron's Call, one of the first 3 graphical MMORPG's took a couple of hours to traverse (depending on your run skill) but mobs were very aggressive and this would slow you down quite a bit. As the MMO genre gets larger, the worlds get smaller, for some reason.
I think Firefall is in survival mode right now. What I've seen looks polished and with the recent patch there were a lot of bug fixes. But I think two things need to be done to move it into a thriving state.
Make it larger
The potential is there, there is a mechanic that allows for pushing back the "melding" (map border) of the game. I think the melding should be pushed back far enough to make New Eden at least twice as large.
Add open world PvP
One potential way to do this is to allow players to go beyond the melding border. This could be done with a new set of battleframes for each class that protect the wearer from the melding energy field. New Eden would be for PvE and everything beyond the melding would be for PvP and for rare and hard to get high quality crafting components. If the engine does not allow for one large seamless world (even though engines 14 years old could handle it) then the melding wall could be used to define the PvE zone from the PvP zone.
The major error I see right now, is that PvP has been placed on the back burner. That means that PvP and hence the end game, will not be the central mechanic and will instead have to be implemented within the existing PvE aspect of the game. This will make for some hellish balancing issues.
The game is fun, but the success of an MMO is based on how long it can retain a player and as it stands now, the limited game-play make it more of a short time mmo.