Taking it nice and easy in New Eden
Taking it nice and easy, Boss?
This is a comment I get from time to time my operator Aero in Firefall when I login, after she first has commented that I haven’t been around for a while. Everyone seems to have an opinion about her. She will get repetitive after while, but so far I am ok with her.
I have been playing Firefall for a bit over two weeks now and things are still looking good I think. I like the foundation and while there are progression mechanics with XP, gear upgrades etc that simply are stuff that I don’t think so much about. Pretty much everything that is in the game today is available to you and as long you do stuff togheter with others you can participate in everything.
The sort of exception here are the melding pocket zones – Diamondhead, Antartica and Sargasso Sea. One needs to craft certain devices to get to these areas, which require a fair amount of resources, of certain types. So far I have unlocked access to Diamondhead and are not far away from unlocking the other two.
These areas, at least Diamondhead, are smaller than the main zone New Eden and a substantial part is blocked by the Melding. It is possible to make more space accessible temporarily for certain events. I have not done any of these yet, only explored Diamondhead a bit. J3w3l at Healing the masses has played more there, worth a read to see what it is all about.
There are three battleframes I have played during the past week, my Electron and also Dragonfly and Raptor. I very much enjoy both Electron and Dragonfly. None of them are played with the default setup of abilities, instead I have mixed in with the Accord abilities as well.
Electon uses his default gun (quite fun to play) and also the Boomerang Shot ability, plus the HKM ability Electric Storm. Accord engineer abilities used are the Supply Station and Heavy Turret, plus the Accord nanites passive ability. I did not know it when I started playing Electron, but realized later that Electron as a default frame seems to be PvP oriented – the abilities fits much better in a PvP match context. For the PvE play this mix of abilities works fine for me.
The Dragonfly is kind of the “healer” battleframe of the game. I put the healer part in quotes, because to me it is more like the “healers” in Age of Conan, which are more like DPS classes that can heal also. As with many abilities in this game there is a somewhat long cooldown – you cannot spam healing. With the gun it would be possible to do that, but then one would run out of ammo quickly. Also, all the abilities and the weapon are dual-purpose – heal allies and hurt enemies.
On my Dragonfly I have picked Healing Wave from Accord Biotech and the passive ability that provides a lifesteal feature. Weapon and the other abilities I use are from Dragonfly itself – Healing Ball, Healing Pillar and Healing Dome. In particular Healing Ball can be a bit tricky – you essentially shoot a bouncing ball at high velocity, which will explode if it hits an ally or enemy. With everyone moving around and bouncing it can be a bit tricky to hit what you want – but also feels more rewarding and fun when it actually works out! The ball can also be detonated prematurely, so can one time it well you can make it explode near allies or enemies – perhaps after bouncing off a wall to go around some obstacle. I really like playing Dragonfly, it is good fun.
The Raptor, my third battleframe, is the most recent as is not at the same level of fun and enjoyment as the other two at this point. It feels perhaps a bit more situational than I first thought. However, it is still quite early in its development – most abilities unlocked and frame upgraded to partially equip stage 1 equipment.
For me, playing a battleframe have essentially had two stages – the first is essentially when starting out, my focus as then been on unlocking the various abilities and some base battleframe upgrades – which needs a bunch of XP. After I have done that part it gets more relaxed for me, I more enjoy things for what they are and play around with my abilities, explore and just do stuff.
XP gain and advancement of gear and stuff is there, but I do not think about it so much – I just play whatever feels to be fun to do. I like it.
That first phase is a bit tricky though, with the XP focus. XP gain can be very slow, unless are able to do events at the same time as a few other people. With more people around and in particular in a team it can be the difference between night and day than trying to do things solo.
When I am out thumping for resources I often invite people who stop by to help defend the thumper, if they seem to stick around and not just pass by. They can get the completion bonus as well and we can run bigger thumpers, everyone wins. For most other events everyone who participates gets some XP when an event is completed, but for thumping they need to be part of the team it seems.
I also caved in and bought the bike from the store. It looked quite nice and I thought it would be nice with another travel options. Contrary to some other games with “mounts”, getting the LGV bike will not make you travel universally faster. It really needs somewhat flat and smooth surfaces to work well, e.g. proper roads, beach areas etc. A lot of the landscape in New Eden is quite rugged through – you cannot use the LGV everywhere. So getting around is essentially a mix of the different travel options available – running & jump(jet)ing, use gliders to soar through the skies, drive the LGV or hitch a ride with a dropship.
The explorer in me loves to have all these options available whenever they are useful and just getting around in New Eden is also part of the fun itself. The explorer in me also wants to see the Melding Pocket areas, so I am working on getting these unlocked.
The game is still in development though and a number of features are just some minimalistic implementation. But that is also the idea with iterative development – release often and release stuff that can be used, in some way. Then over time and with feedback from those using it it gets improved.
So I am quite ok with that. If there is one thing that annoys me with this game though is the kind of “lag spikes” that seem to happen every now and then – everything freezes for maybe 5 seconds and then continues. Most of the time when I have played it happens fairly seldom, but there are times when it happens somewhat often. Those are not my most joyful times.
But overall I still like the game a lot and want to see how it develops.