Choose My Adventure: Firefall is finally a real game

Forgive me, Massively readers, for I have sinned. It has been six months since my last Choose My Adventure. Luckily, absolution is readily available via a 50-pound desktop computer, a mostly stable internet connection powered by one of the most hated companies in the United States, and three or four Hail Proudmoores. In summary: I have stared into the face of an eternal offline purgatory, clenched my teeth, and growled, "Not today."

No, today I'm going to play Firefall. And you're coming with me.

Since I spent the bulk of my Massively hiatus sulking in a mountain cabin growing a wicked Walter White beard and learning to live off the land (read: playing Dota 2), I would consider myself to be out of the loop when it comes to games with the words "Fire" and "Fall" in the title. We did feature the game in a rousing edition of Choose My Adventure back in 2013, but Firefall, a game known for changing rapidly and occasionally being completely redesigned, has changed rapidly and occasionally been completely redesigned in the time between then and now. Go figure.

Besides, 2013 was the year in which we sang about our grandpa's clothes, watched Super-Man spend two hours going from interesting to Super-Man, and created Google alerts to monitor Kate Middleton's contractions. Surely we've all become better people over the last 12 months? People with more refined tastes, more sensitive palates, and a broader vocabulary through which we can express more vibrant and innovative ideas related to the games that we play?

Also, Firefall is like, actually a game now. It came out and has a launch trailer and everything. So there's no time like the present to jump back into it, see how the title has grown, and investigate whether it really is something an average gamer would consider a "final draft." New features have been added, old features have been changed, and once-removed features have been surgically reattached. Firefall has gone from old Coke to New Coke to Coke Classic, and it's up to us to figure out which one is best.

What's come before

After spending six weeks in Firefall last year, I reached the conclusion that the game packed quite a bit of fun into a relatively shallow package. The Firefall of 2013 was gorgeous and the shooting engaging, but there wasn't much going on that made me feel connected to my character or Firefall's overarching narrative. In fact, there wasn't really any overarching narrative to speak of; Firefall's story-focused campaign had yet to be implemented in any meaningful form. The game was just a collection of shooting activities that had no cohesion, impact, or importance.

My primary concern with Firefall was that the lack of story engagement would foster a revolving door community of players who hung out for a few days, got bored, left, and came back weeks or months later. The passionate players I encountered were friendly and wonderful, but I wasn't certain that those players represented the main bulk of people one sees floating around Firefall's jungles and coasts. Are the majority of Firefall players people who have stuck around since the game's initial reveal in 2010, or are they MMO tourists stopping by for a little light entertainment?

The choice to revisit Firefall for this edition of Choose My Adventure, then, seems pretty obvious. If marketing hype is to be believed, the Firefall of today is a much more complete package than the Firefall of yesterday. This Firefall is the full-featured, mature game with characters, story arcs, PvP, and a consistent vision for the future fans were promised, not the directionless pile of half-implemented ideas fans have been playing. "Mark Kern is gone," Red 5 seems to say, "and we've finally finished."

This CMA seeks to answer one simple question: Is this the "new" Firefall we hoped for and dreamed of, or is it the very same product that once had its full developmental focus shifted to e-sports just before jettisoning its PvP system? The only way to find out is to dive in and to explore all of the new features for ourselves.

Making decisions

This is, of course, Choose My Adventure. Where we go and what we do is entirely up to you. Without further ado (and much ado has been made), let's get into the brass tacks of this adventurous adventure. If you recall our last foray into Firefall, you'll remember that the community elected a convict as its representative in the game and that I spent the bulk of my time winning New Eden's many moustache contests. This is a new day and a new CMA -- we don't have to begin where we ended.
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Last time around we went with the jack-of-all trades assault battleframe. We can do that again if that's what you're into, or we can shake things up a bit. Your call.
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Things have changed in Firefall since our last visit. In addition to the dynamic events and ARES missions of the past, there's also a campaign to complete and open-world PvP. Which should we investigate?
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Get your votes in by Saturday, August 16th, at 11:59 p.m. EDT and we'll get this party started. And don't forget to join me on Thursday, August 14th, at 7 p.m. EDT for a "Back to Firefall" livestream; I'll be re-learning controls, investigating changes, and revisiting my characters. Assuming I can remember my account name.

Rocket boots, away!

Mike Foster is putting you in the driving seat of Choose My Adventure, the Massively column in which you make the rules, call the shots, and take the blame when things go horribly awry. Stop by every Wednesday to help Mike as he explores the ins and outs of games big and small and to see what happens when one man tries to take on a world of online games armed only with a solar keyboard and the power of spellcheck.
This article was originally published on Massively.