Red 5 Studio's FireFall Enters Open Beta: A New Day, A New Complaint
“I think the last thing they need is more people clogging up this game right now...”
Things are happening over at Red 5 Studios. Their flagship game, FireFall, which has been in closed beta for ages, enters open beta today!
As a celebration of finally making it to open beta, FireFall is holding another FireFall Fest. Over the course of two days (July 9-10), the FireFall crew is going to have four streams running on Twitch with “some of your favorite online celebrities!” During each show, the celebs will have an opportunity to play through the game and also talk to the devs about the game.
Furthermore, the community team will be giving away AMD and Razer gear, as well as some unreleased in-game items available on July 9. Players who log in during FireFall Fest will also receive a special Open Beta warpaint.
What is this game?
Heralded as the game for Global Agenda orphans due to their very similar class styles and use of jetpacks in combat, FireFall is a massive multiplayer online team-based game attempting to merge the MMORPG and MMOFPS genres into one, picking up the slack when GA started dying off. They have been going full steam ahead ever since, taking into serious account the massive amount of community feedback to constantly improve class balance and good gameplay.
Set 200 years in the future, the game is an oddball mix of the usual glowy sci-fi technology and survival story against alien monsters with the traditional exotica of a Brazillian landscape. Tikki masks, warpaint, and in-game currency called the Red Bean help round out the uniqueness of having so much real life in so sci-fi a game.
FireFall’s class system, called Battleframes, are broken down into five distinct builds (although they retain the option of unlocking ten advanced Battleframes). Fans of Hi-Rez Studio’s Global Agenda originally took so kindly to this game because of these class similarities to the now essentially dead spy-fi. Players can choose between:
- The Assault, a balance in offensive and defensive fighting with different types of plasma cannons;
- The Dreadnaught, possessing unrivaled defenses and large, powerful, if slow, miniguns;
- The Recon, a medium- to long-range combat support capable of resupplying teammates and sniping;
- The Biotech, capable of healing and reviving teammates and engaging in offensive chemical warfare; and
- The Engineer, provider of battlefield support with resupply capabilities, gun turrets, and energy barriers.
While the ability to both fly and run while shooting, healing, and setting up turrets is not a new one, it is still relatively unique in the field of MMOFPS gameplay, and the resulting gameplay is both fascinating to watch and incredibly intuitive once you realize you can move up as well as left, right, and forward.
But how are they handling open beta?
In spite of an exceptionally long closed beta period (where they gave away beta keys like candy), FireFall has not managed to enter its open beta stage without its fair share of hiccups and player frustrations.
In the first case, Red 5 Studios initially released Founders’ Packs for longtime closed beta players looking for extra perks. They were available for a limited amount of time, and were discounted briefly during PAX, allowing players to choose between three different tiers. The last day to purchase one of these Founders’ Packs was on July 8, ending with the close of closed beta.
(prices shown reflect PAX 25% off discount)
Today, players were shocked to see new Starter Packs available for purchase for $20 and $100 denominations featuring perks that are at once both better and worse than those available in the Founders’ Packs. While this may not be such a big deal for those players who sprang for the original $20 option, those who paid $100 have not been happy to see stuff they want costing them another $100 in a free to play game that hasn’t even made it to official release yet.
On top of that, things in game have not been running smoothly. Players signing in yesterday and today have been plagued with a number of game-breaking glitches, including:
- 7-8 minute loading screens, even for those players who are well above minimum requirements;
- Login issues, where some users are unable to log into the game;
- Chat issues, where the chat servers went down, affecting players’ ability to chat, squad up, and access their friends list;
- Issues with Crafting, Inventory, SIN Synching issues, and “Error 500” messages continuing to pop up;
- Battleframe Garages and SIN network issues, which meant new players are unable to complete the tutorial stage; and
- Issues where players simply fall through the map.
The Red 5 team is well aware of many of these issues, and have been scrambling ever since to fix them (with some modicum of success, as of 4:00PDT many of the login issues appear to have been resolved), but remain puzzled by many of the remaining issues. Chances are, it’ll be some time before a lot of these issues get fixed.
Growing pains. Every game has ‘em. The secret is in how the studio reacts to them, and keeping open lines of communication seem to be the best form of damage control so far. It all remains to be seen.
Now, about those Founders’ Pack perks...
I have a vested interest in this, Red 5. I'll have you know I paid good money for my cat ears.