Remember Firefall? After years of development hell, numerous changes of direction, high-profile firings and a slide into obscurity, Red 5's massively multiplayer shooter is finally coming out of beta on July 29th. The patch notes are very promising indeed, adding new 'open world PvP,' campaign missions and enemies into the mix.
However, it also appears that Red 5 have finally corrected the one major flaw holding back their jet-boot enabled cooperative romp, which previously crippled the experience in a profoundly damaging way.
To explain, Firefall's economy is based almost entirely on crafting. Though you'll occasionally find a traditional loot drop, most enemies drop material resources that can be refined and assembled into new weapons, armour suits and components. This system was already a little tedious seeing as every item and even refinement process required lengthy wait times, seemingly designed to encourage users to pay real money instead, while the entire procedure was flow-breaking and overly complex. What could have worked well in an MMORPG felt totally out of place in a game billed as a shooter first and foremost.
Red 5 have now substantially simplified the economy, but that's not the good news. Instead, they've finally removed the painfull item degradation mechanic, which led to all manner of misery. Previously, after spending hours and hours creating a new weapon, it would permanently degrade every time you pulled the trigger... and eventually break forever. Meaning that a shooter constantly punished you for shooting your gun.
This was unacceptable, not least because once again Firefall seemed to constantly push players towards spending real money. Thankfully degradation is no longer permanent, with easy repairs still available in towns. About time too, and proof that Red 5 aren't afraid to make big changes to improve the user experience.
Firefall's beta had other problems as it constantly floundered for direction, both in terms of the limited activities and enemies present in the PvE open world and PvP that was actively removed following major issues. With luck, v.1.0 will allow Firefall to finally fulfil its potential.
We'll let you know. Until then, enjoy the new PvP trailer, which takes place in an expansive zone separated from the main PvE map.