PAX 2011: Hands-On Preview of Firefall Co-op Mode

A bold project with the potential to be the one of the most innovative shooters of all time, Firefall debuted it’s co-op mode at PAX 2011. How many times have you been playing Team Fortress and thought to yourself: “You know what this game needs? Jetpacks! And insect aliens! And massive space ships!” What? You never think these things? Why the hell not? Well the creators of Firefall had the vision and sheer audacity to think these things and the world is a better place for it. Let me tell you about my experience with Firefall.

Firefall takes place in the year 2233, after a disaster called “The Melding” rendered most of the Earth uninhabitable by humans. The parts of Earth that are still inhabitable are under constant attack by a humanoid race known as “The Chosen,” who were created by The Melding. In co-op mode, you fight alongside other players in an attempt to drive back the Chosen and eventually reverse the Melding.

Scott Youngblood walked me through the world of Firefall and I must admit, I was thoroughly impressed. Despite being set after an apocalyptic catastrophe the world of Firefall is lush and bright with alien foliage creeping across the land. I happened to join the world just as a Chosen dropship began an attack on the human settlement of New Eden. These types of attacks can happen at anytime and players of all skill levels have to join in to drive back the attackers. After a quick look at my class options, I selected the assault class and charged into the battle.

I could see at least eight other players, running around New Eden and engaging various enemies. Unfortunately for me, I ran smack into a Dreadnaught, a big Chosen with a lot of health and a bad temperment. On Scott’s advice I initiated my jetpack and jumped over a hut to take me out of his range, while my more experienced teammates hammered him with plasma fire. Meanwhile, I busied, myself killing some of the bloodthirsty insect enemies that had spawned. Apparently the Melding was also responsible for these abominations and the Chosen had somehow learned to control them. A brief burst from my jetpack sent me into the air and my special ability brought me crashing back to earth like a meteor, smashing the pesky attackers. I mentioned that the creatures reminded me of the bugs in the movie Starship Troopers and Scott said that the movie was definitely an inspiration.

The dropship that was spawning the Chosen let down it’s shields as unleashed another round of drop pods. As the dropship became vulnerable, everyone in the area had to concentrate their fire on the ship before the shields returned. This type of event can end one of three ways. If we did enough damage to the ship we could destroy it. If we killed all the drop pods but not the ship, the Chosen would leave. The third possibility is that the Chosen would take the town, making it impossible for players to spawn there and rendering the quest givers useless until the town was taken back. As it happened we were able to defeat all the drop pods but not the massive ship.
After the invasion was over, I got down to the bulk of the game. I made my way over to the first quest giver and got my assignment to locate a water valve. My jetpack made getting there an enjoyable experience but when I arrived I found myself faced with more insect creatures. With no teammates in the immediate vicinity Scott advised me to use the F key to mark the locations of the creatures. With the creatures marked, other players are informed of their locations on the map. Moments later, help arrived in the form of an engineer, who set up a turret and a force field to help me squash the bugs. With these obstacles removed I was able to complete my first quest.
Other quests involve harvesting Crystite, a rare mineral that can be used to purchase upgrades and equipment for you various classes. You can also gain access to new upgrades by leveling up. Of course being a F2P game there will be micro transactions that will allow a player to purchase gear with real money but Scott assured me that these items would not tip the scales in PvP battles. He said that you could use real money to purchase upgrades that would make Crystite harvesting go faster or other time savers. This put my mind at ease as I always fear games like this might allow the player with the biggest wallet to possess the biggest gun.

Alright, so I’ve only been at PAX one day but so far, this the game I enjoyed playing most. It has jet packs, Starship Trooper inspired enemies, class based team combat and no subscription fee. That right there is a recipe for awesome.

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20 Comments on PAX 2011: Hands-On Preview of Firefall Co-op Mode

AbsoluteVirtue

On August 27, 2011 at 11:18 am

sweet, new screenies *drool*

Hoder

On August 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

Glad you loved the coop mode of Firefall. I had the chance of getting my hands on the new PvP at GamesCom. I love the fact that despite all the pve they’re still pushing for an e-sport so balance is being finetuned every step of the way to insure nicely setup matches for viewers to enjoy and players to play.

OurLastDawn

On August 27, 2011 at 11:25 am

The most promising game in recent time…
really looking forward to it…

Manuito

On August 27, 2011 at 11:28 am

This is the first preview I see from the co-op open world, and it sounds great, thanks very much :) . Together with the PVP, I think Firefall will deliver something that we haven’t seen before in any other game. Please keep us informed and upload videos, we really want to see how the open world plays!

Warstratigier

On August 27, 2011 at 11:45 am

Wow this is the first time I ever heard of a Chosen dreadnaught and he sounds like the last thing you’d want to bump head on to of all Chosen. Its also amazing to hear the win conditions of the Chosen dropship and wonder if it has a part in the dynamic effects like for example if it leaves it could simply return again soon to invade with more troops and if it got destroyed if it seen as a major blow to the Chosen and it would cause them to not invade again for quite awhile. If this is true, the possibilities would be virtually unlimited for PVE gameplay!

JBWill

On August 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Oh man, that sounds awesome! Been following this game for awhile but this has several things I hadn’t heard about yet. Thanks for the article, I’m always ravenous for more info on Firefall :) Definitely wish I could have gone to Prime to try it out.

SoulOfOrigin

On August 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm

To bad I can’t come to PAX, I would really like to try this game out. It looks really nice, and I’ve been looking at this game’s website every day since the start of March, when I first saw a video of this game. These screenshots here look really nice, also glad to see you enjoyed it cuz that means I’ll enjoy it too :p

Alx223

On August 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I agree with Hoder its not often that a developer goes out of their way to fine tune an esports type of pvp with extreme amounts of balancing and fine tuning then turn around and almost make another entire game with the PVE aspect. It looks like Red5 put their heart and soul into this game and I’m hoping it will succeed. I am just blown away every time I get new information about this game, I just hope I get a chance to try it out myself soon.

Ghost778

On August 27, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I dont think actual gear can be bought from the cash shop, only appearance and convienience items. Wish I could be at PAX tryin it out. Oh well, Ill just wait till it releases or for a beta invite.

Uz3r013

On August 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm

oh wow a chosen fight right off the bat! i wonder if they increased how often those attacks ocur just for the convention? This is cool to hear, I love these lvl1 stories, gives a decent idea of what to expect early on. I wouldnt mind being part of a team that starts at level 1 and walks right into a chosen fight :D
good stuff sirs! And i am glad to hear we can expect bugs invading the city as well as enemies with guns. I wouldnt mind seeing an all-bug attack on a city too. like a migratingbug colony or something :D

Dave Moss

On August 27, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Thanks for all your comments guys, I’ve been busy running around PAX but I’m glad to hear you’re all as excited about this game as I am!

IanCoves

On August 28, 2011 at 12:13 am

Nice pics, the PvE sounds awesome. The idea of flagging enemy creatures to call for player assistance is brilliant, your experiences give me much to look forward to in early game. I hadn’t heard of a dreadnaught before, they sound pretty fearsome.

I’m getting really curious about the Chosen’s plans and incentives, I wonder how they are controlling the insects and if this will ever be possible for players. If you do destroy the invasion ship and not just the pods do you think the chosen will stay away for longer?

rammstein812

On August 28, 2011 at 5:02 am

Nice preview about the PVE side of Firefall and nice screenies! Enjoyed reading it.

ImOnTheRadio

On August 28, 2011 at 9:46 am

The first picture where the engineer looks like he’s about to kick that aranha looks really cool :D Really nice to see a more in-depth preview about the PvE since that’s the big thing on pax prime about Firefall this year (also).

iLLuSioN

On August 28, 2011 at 9:46 am

Great article, It was nice to learn about some stuff I had not already known. Those chosen invasions sound so awesome, and a great way to bring everyone together. From what I have seen in the previews so far, the chosen invasions can be very tough and I’m sure win from time to time.

Hrockle

On August 28, 2011 at 10:19 am

David Moss, I’m loving this article. In my opinion, it contains the beginner’s experience in a nut shell, and I love how you portray your excitement. The screen shots are amazing, and you describe the events well. I didn’t know you could ping your map to show the location of enemies! Thanks for the inclusion of Scott’s commentary, it helps me confirm some of my own suious! I have only a couple questions; Did you use all of the frames, or just play as an Assault? If you played multiples, which one was your favorite?

Al Coholic

On August 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

Every time I think about a Chosen invasion I get so pumped. Can’t wait to play Firefall, and beta is starting really soon too.

Thanks for the description of the battle, that sounds really fun.

Glowbeans

On August 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I’ve been following this game for months and I am still learning new things!

I love the fact that there is “spotting”, and the fact that it is included is news to me. I’ve had lots of success spotting in Bad Company 2, and playing games without it (L4D) is excruciating. L4D is actually worse, because the spot button is switch weapon!

Hrockle

On August 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

@Glowbeans

Yes! Spotting adds such an amount of cooperation, it’s unbelievable. I don’t have to press anything, just have to see it and suddenly “Sniper!”

TheJayde

On August 29, 2011 at 1:30 am

I really hope they open a zone that allows us to really just go at it like idiots without a 5v5 ruleset, or a goal. Just a place where there are higher rewards, and higher danger due to pirate armies playing around in there. Pvp Zones man! I want to be the scourge of these places. Reknown for my cruelty in the face of our struggling civilization. Ya know… as long as it’s intended… and not just trolling like a jerk.