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Choose My Adventure: Saying goodbye to Firefall's New Eden


For the last five weeks, I've plasma-rifled, jet-booted, and resource-thumped my way through the exotic world of Firefall's New Eden. I've killed many bugs. I've fallen from many waterfalls. I've drowned in many deeper-than-expected bodies of water. And most of all, I've had many funs (I assure you that is the proper way of saying it).

Sadly, all good things must end. And while this edition of Choose My Adventure comes to a close this week, our own Shawn Schuster will be leaping into the fray next week to ask for your input on which game we should play next. Time has a way of rolling on, after all, and there are so many games worth playing!

But that's next week. Today, let's talk final thoughts.

Distilling the experience

I went into this Choose My Adventure knowing very little about Firefall. I played it briefly early in the closed beta period and generally liked what I saw, but the game I've been playing for the last few weeks is so far removed from that early build that making a comparison isn't even worth the text it would take to say it and the time it would take to read it. Suffice it to say that the game has come a long way since I first cast eyes on it and has been improved in almost every possible way.

My expectations for Firefall were simple: a shallow game focused primarily on shooting things in the face. For the most part, this expectation was met. Firefall is very much a game in which you shoot things in the face, and it still feels a bit on the shallow side. There is crafting, sure, and new content, sure, but the great majority of the game's interactivity comes in the form of pointing a weapon and pulling the trigger. Some people will like this and some people will not.

For me, the mechanics of flying around on jet-boots and crashing through the jungle were rewarding enough to encourage continued play. I never found myself bored playing Firefall, even if the missions didn't offer much in terms of narrative "oomph" or character-driven story. Chasing Ares missions across the map, crushing whirling Melding tornadoes, and thumping for resources never got less fun, only more so as my skills improved and the number of players involved increased. Still, I can't imagine the existing content being enough to keep me in the game longer than a few weeks.

Over the course of this CMA, I've expressed doubts about the game's longevity, or rather about how long players will want to play it. For me, these questions still stand. I know it's "beta," I know things are being developed, and I know there's more content on the way, but I've yet to see any indication of the type of overarching, cohesive narrative gameplay that hooks into players and keeps them pushing along through the dry spots. Maybe it will come -- Red 5 certainly claims it has plans in this particular area -- but right now compelling content is a bit thin on the ground in New Eden.

That being said, I'm excited to see how Blackwater Anomaly, Firefall's first official group dungeon-thing, changes up the day-to-day grind (running this encounter will be the focus of our stream this week, thanks to last week's poll). Perhaps it will be exactly the type of experience that demonstrates Red 5's vision for the game moving forward and will give me answers to the questions I've had since my first early days with the game. If not, well, there are still months of development ahead.

Finding peace

Our story started with a convict looking for redemption. And thanks to who I assume are the most morose or vengeful voters on the planet, his story is destined to end in heartbreak. We had a chance to give him love, happiness, and the life he wanted, but we instead chose to send him down a path to ruin. Here, then, is his utterly depressing "saddest ending ever written":

The Convict stared into the night sky. Smoke drifted from the tip of his cigarette. The fight was over; The Chosen were vanquished. Earth, it would seem, was safe. And he, once an inmate and now a hero, was free of his bonds. But the chains that keep men are not always made of steel, and freedom is a burden to those with no home, no family, no purpose, and no fight. His actions in the war had secured his release -- it was only now, staring into the inky black of New Eden's tumbling ocean, that he realized how little any of it meant. Nothing would bring back the life he left behind.

He flicked his cigarette into the tide, adjusted his rifle, and walked back toward the allied barracks. In the soft glow of the moon, the towering barbed wire fence surrounding the perimeter was indistinguishable from the prison walls he once dreamed of escaping.

Also, his puppy died.

Whew! Sad enough for you?

Anyway, that's all the time we have for this edition of Choose My Adventure. Thank you so much to the Firefall community for showing me the ropes, sharing these posts, and participating so enthusiastically in our polls. You've shown me what a real community can do when it loves its game and wants to invite the world into its toybox, and I had an immense amount of fun sharing your world with you.

Stay tuned this week for our final CMA Live stream on Friday night, and don't forget to check in next week as Shawn ramps up for a new game, new adventure, and new everything else.

Catch you in New Eden, Firefall-ers!

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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