During Gamescom last week, the Red 5 Studios team pulled the cover off its next big Open Beta patch for Firefall. The war against the Chosen is going global, as players will take part in a multi-year, story-based campaign to push back the Melding, unlock currently blocked parts of Earth, and defeat the Chosen. Phase 2 of the Open Beta push is aiming to be Firefall’s most ambitious, and there’s certainly a lot to look forward to if you’ve taken a shining to Red 5’s MMO shooter. And if it’s yet to win you over? Well, maybe there will be something in this next big push to change that.
The players will be in charge when it comes to how this war plays out. Players will choose which warfronts to win back first and in what order. They’ll be competing with each other to see whose favorite area will be unlocked first. Maybe your army wants to open up an area in the US, while another group of players wants to unlock some of Germany. The competition is server wide and affects the story of the game in terms of what places and people are encountered when and how.
The initial release of Open Beta is where players were first introduced to Melding Repulsors. In the Melding Pockets of Diamondhead, Antarctica, and Sargasso Sea players had to mine Crystite to fuel these machines that can push back the Melding and make the areas hospitable for humans again. The next stages of the war on the Chosen will be similar, with players working together across the server to mine resources that power much larger Melding Repulsors. It’ll be a worldwide effort that takes several weeks at a time. Players’ contributions will be tracked on a player and army basis to divvy out rewards to all. But simply peeling back the melding is just the beginning of the process.
One players have peeled back the Melding, the Chosen Fortresses housed within will be revealed. Massive in size, crawling with enemies from the nether, these imposing structures will be no small hurdle in taking back an area. Players will have to invade and destroy the Chosen and their war machines. They’ll seize technology in the process, which can then be researched and unlocked to be used against the Chosen.
What happens once the Chosen are eradicated from an area? Each event has its own leaderboard that tracks player progress throughout the battle, and the armies that fight the hardest. Their characters will be forever preserved in statues stationed in the new territory. Not only that, but each new area will have new tones that are claimed and named by the top players. We’re assuming that “Balls-ville” and “McButtston” will not be permitted past Red 5.
One the fortresses are destroyed, ARES missions and resource warfronts are opened up, directing players to push the Accords forces ever onward. Just because a new settlement is founded doesn’t mean the war is over. There’s more Chosen scum to fight and more melding to push back until a region is completely unlocked. Once a Warfront is completely unlocked, the zone turns into a completely playable zone (much like New Eden is now). This also unlocks a brand new repeatable story instance like Blackwater Anomaly in each area.
“World Changing” is the new buzz-phrase in MMO gaming, and Firefall won’t be outdone in this regard. Each time a new repulsor is built, the change is permanent until the entire zone is unlocked. The shape of the habitable parts of earth are determined by the players and it’s never “reset” as the multi-year story plays out. Some opened warfronts may even be lost if players are defeated in their attempt to take the zone from the Chosen. The zones will come back at a much later date to be opened again, but for a while at least they’ll go back to Chosen control.
What happens to the old zones as these new areas are opened? Firefall’s progression model is unique in that the zone’s content scales to the player. Red 5 intends to make all zones worth visiting and fighting in for players, even as more and more of the world is opened up. Resources, missions, achievements, and other rewards will always bring you back to New Eden, long after it was the only big spot on the Firefall map. Speaking of maps, Firefall’s getting a new world view with the next phase of the Open Beta. The lore explanation is simple: the Accord has managed to reclaim some satellites orbing Earth to take a look down on the world and see where the Melding is and where it’s been pushed back. It rotates and zooms in 3D, shows progress of unlocking the world, and status of warfronts.
That wasn’t all the Red 5 team showed off at Gamescom, either. A brand new Battleframe called the Arsenal will be available this week. Based on the Dreadnaught platform, it’s stocked to the gills with firepower, missile launchers, and speedier overall movement. During Omnicon this week, players can test drive the frame for free and earn 50% extra XP while doing so. All XP on the Arsenal is preserved too, so if you later decide to purchase the Arsenal (with real cash or pilot tokens earned in game), you won’t have to start from scratch.
There’s also a brand new VIP program to replace the Beta starter packs. Not quite subscriptions, but rather pay as you go, you can buy VIP status for one day, three days, seven days, a month, six months, or even a year. Doing so will net you 50% increased crystite earning, plus all frames are unlocked for PVP without spending a dime, and you’ll get additional manufacturing and marketplace slots too. There will also be Vending Machines, which are a lot more like Slot Machines. Using Gold Tokens (purchased in-game with Red Beans) or Silver Tokens (earned in-game through playing), players can take a chance at grabbing four random items from a huge collection. There’s a guaranteed rare item in each “play”, with a chance at epic items. You can get resources, cosmetic items, boosts, vehicles, and almost all of the items will be tradable in the marketplace.
It certainly seems like Firefall’s on the way up. With a fantastic core game experience, the game’s just in need of more content. The next phase of the Chosen War certainly seems to be doing just that. What do you think of these announcements? Let us know in the comments!
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.