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Choose My Adventure: Firefall's content bomb and a missed invasion


In last week's Choose My Adventure poll, I asked the Firefall community one simple question: What, exactly, is there to do in Firefall besides run around and hook up with random thumping squads? Firefall-ers responded with passion, of course, and sent me on my merry way to experience one of the intense invasions suffered by a couple of key New Eden cities.

I return now a grizzled man. My time on the frontlines was as brutal as it was enjoyable. I'm not sure my loved ones will recognize the old me behind the thousand-yard stare that has taken over my face. In short, I've seen things.

Unfortunately, none of those things was an invasion.

We're under attack!

Invasions are something of a unique beast in Firefall. While the game is marked by frequent, random combat occurrences all over the map, invasions are a more specialized type of terror with actual in-game consequences.

The plot is simple: A group of Chosen invaders establishes a major foothold in either Sunken Harbor or Thump Dump, accompanied by massive artillery cannons. It's up to nearby players to rally to the cause and fight off the invasion. If we fail to accomplish this mission, the city in question is covered by the veil of The Melding for three in-game hours, effectively removing it from the game world.

Invasions, like other group-based events in Firefall, do not demand a pre-made group. In fact, all you really need to do to participate is hang out in Firefall long enough for one to occur, then jetpack your way over to the fracas and start firing plasma balls in the direction of any moving object. Invasions give Firefall a sense of scale -- one that is somewhat missing from the smaller, "collect some parts" or "find some data" missions that scatter its open world.

There's just one problem: Invasions, like so much of Firefall's other content, are completely randomly occurring. And unfortunately, no invasions occurred during my play sessions this week. I did my smattering of Ares missions and tornados but never managed to thwart a true invasion force.

Firefall Lightning
Dynamic content is theoretically a cool way to keep a game interesting. It ensures that something new is always happening, no matter where you happen to be on a world map. But there's one big downside when a game hinges entirely on dynamic content: Some players never get to see parts of it because they don't have time to wait around for it to occur. I'm curious to see how Red 5 plans to account for this in the future.

Our final mission

We only have two remaining weeks for this edition of Choose My Adventure. And while Firefall has been fun and its community incredible, all good things must end. Next week, we'll say our tearful goodbyes and toast to fond memories of shooting bugs in the face and accidentally falling off waterfalls. But this week we have a few things to take care of thanks in large part to Red 5's dropping of a massive last-minute content bomb.

Firefall Flight
For those of you who aren't in the loop, Firefall received a pretty big patch last week, so big that it actually broke our ability to play/stream the game for a few hours while Red 5 sorted out the mess. But along with the login troubles and shaky servers came one of the biggest chunks of pure PvE content the game has seen added in a long time.

It would be a shame to run through this CMA without leaping into the new content, wouldn't it?

Melding Pockets: Melding pockets are special openings in The Melding that offer unique and challenging group content (or so I am told). Three have been added as of the patch: Sargasso Sea, Antartica, and Diamond Head. Each pocket is locked off by a key; we'll have to create the right key if we want to explore the depths within.

Blackwater Anomaly: Blackwater Anomaly is Firefall's first PvE instance. It is billed as a "co-op shooter experience" and involves shooting tons of Chosen while presumably reaping wonderful rewards. The instance is accessible through Firefall's PvE matchmaking queue, but requires the aid of a leader with a key.

One thing stands out when it comes to the new content offered by the latest patch: All of it requires keys. There's a key for each individual melding pocket, and each pocket has a chance of rewarding you with a piece of the key to Blackwater Anomaly. As I'm not an expert in Firefall (yet), I have no idea what the drop rates are like or whether my gear can even stand up to the test of being thrown into new content.

Firefall Fight
That being said, Firefall often bills itself as a game where new players can immediately jump in on the action, so it will be interesting to see if this advertising bullet point manifests into an actual in-game reality. I'm ready to tag along in a group if some willing Firefall-ers will have me!

Before we go around forming groups and hanging out in pockets, we'll need to actually decide which of the new things to do. I'm listing each Melding Pocket separately since each one requires the completion of a quest chain to enter:
Finally, since this is our last chance to vote on what's to come, it seems like an appropriate time to write an ending for our noble convict hero. He's fought hard since we enlisted him in the war against the Chosen, and it's time to give him the conclusion you think he deserves:
My time in Firefall so far has been marked by a supportive community, massive gun battles, and tons of explosion-y fun. Despite minor technical snags last week, everything about the game seems better than it was the first time I played it. I'm still curious about the game's longevity and the dedication players can show toward its horizontal progression system, but perhaps leaping into this brand-new content will give me and others an idea of where Red 5 plans to take things as the game moves closer to actual release.

I'm looking forward to our last few days together, Firefall-ers. Be sure to come hang out during this week's livestream, to vote in the polls, and to say hello to TheConvict if you seem him charging around New Eden. He's a nicer guy than you might think, even with the enormous plasma cannon on his hip.

I will catch you folks where the thumpers cry.

Mike Foster is leaving everything up to you in Choose My Adventure, the Massively column in which you make the rules (and hopefully take the blame). Swing by every Wednesday to help guide Mike along this fantastical internet-ready series and to read up on his latest triumphs and gaffes in the game you demanded he play.

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