Zero Punctuation: Firefall - Proof That Jetpacks Make Everything Better?

Jan 27, 2011
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"Is this the most interesting period in your main character's life? And if not, why are you not showing us THAT instead?"

As a writer at heart, that's some pretty solid writing advice.

I tend to do this unconsciously already, but it's good to have it be a thing I'm aware of now. Thanks, Yatzee!
 

Something Amyss

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Dec 3, 2008
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geldonyetich said:
I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link [http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/192899/Heres_how_much_whales_spent_so_far_this_year.php] about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.
The one I saw said that 2% of players were paying customers, but that's been a while so it could be dated or I could be wrong. In any case, yes. It's designed to subsudise the game based on people with a lot of free cash.

Hell, look at how costly battles in EVE Online can get.
 

Thanatos2k

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geldonyetich said:
Zachary Amaranth said:
Oh man, I love watching stellar bodies go at it.

Silentpony said:
So how do Free to Play games stay open? Whose paying for the servers? The maintenance? The staff?
I always thought FTP meant free to join, but everything is a micro transaction.
Some are like that. They're generally called "pay to win." Some make a free game with extras that support the service. Some just run on good will and unicorn blood.

It really depends on the model and the people behind the scenes (assuming their people; I suspect most F2P games are run by goblins).
I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link [http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/192899/Heres_how_much_whales_spent_so_far_this_year.php] about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.
This is why I don't play free to play games, as I'd be in that 95%. That means that the devs aren't actually developing the game for me - I'm not the target audience. Or what they're designing is ways to try and coerce me to join the 5%.
 

Ferisar

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Thanatos2k said:
geldonyetich said:
Zachary Amaranth said:
Oh man, I love watching stellar bodies go at it.

Silentpony said:
So how do Free to Play games stay open? Whose paying for the servers? The maintenance? The staff?
I always thought FTP meant free to join, but everything is a micro transaction.
Some are like that. They're generally called "pay to win." Some make a free game with extras that support the service. Some just run on good will and unicorn blood.

It really depends on the model and the people behind the scenes (assuming their people; I suspect most F2P games are run by goblins).
I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link [http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/192899/Heres_how_much_whales_spent_so_far_this_year.php] about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.
This is why I don't play free to play games, as I'd be in that 95%. That means that the devs aren't actually developing the game for me - I'm not the target audience. Or what they're designing is ways to try and coerce me to join the 5%.
Not really true. Any good game that uses the F2P model designs itself to have microtransactions that may tempt you into getting some sweg, not any actual power. There's some examples of convenience that you would otherwise not get if you skipped paying entirely (primarily in single-player games), but it shouldn't ever be a prime thing. The problem is, there are a lot of F2P games that don't establish their actual goal of transactions through their gameplay, so once you hit a wall that takes time and/or effort and it takes you out of the game, it feels like a horrible business decision. Of course you don't want to spend 5 bucks to build something faster or buy some material, nothing up to this point led up to this purchase!
So yeah, they shouldn't be designing much of anything with anyone in mind besides a "player". The microtransaction system can be designed to get money from those who have a lot of it, but it doesn't have to be a pain in the ass. It's all about presentation and implementation.
 

Thanatos2k

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Ferisar said:
Thanatos2k said:
geldonyetich said:
Zachary Amaranth said:
Oh man, I love watching stellar bodies go at it.

Silentpony said:
So how do Free to Play games stay open? Whose paying for the servers? The maintenance? The staff?
I always thought FTP meant free to join, but everything is a micro transaction.
Some are like that. They're generally called "pay to win." Some make a free game with extras that support the service. Some just run on good will and unicorn blood.

It really depends on the model and the people behind the scenes (assuming their people; I suspect most F2P games are run by goblins).
I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link [http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/192899/Heres_how_much_whales_spent_so_far_this_year.php] about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.
This is why I don't play free to play games, as I'd be in that 95%. That means that the devs aren't actually developing the game for me - I'm not the target audience. Or what they're designing is ways to try and coerce me to join the 5%.
Not really true. Any good game that uses the F2P model designs itself to have microtransactions that may tempt you into getting some sweg, not any actual power. There's some examples of convenience that you would otherwise not get if you skipped paying entirely (primarily in single-player games), but it shouldn't ever be a prime thing. The problem is, there are a lot of F2P games that don't establish their actual goal of transactions through their gameplay, so once you hit a wall that takes time and/or effort and it takes you out of the game, it feels like a horrible business decision. Of course you don't want to spend 5 bucks to build something faster or buy some material, nothing up to this point led up to this purchase!
So yeah, they shouldn't be designing much of anything with anyone in mind besides a "player". The microtransaction system can be designed to get money from those who have a lot of it, but it doesn't have to be a pain in the ass. It's all about presentation and implementation.
If getting people to buy things isn't their goal then the game will go bankrupt and be shut down.

Saying that they're not designing for money extraction is wrong. A game that is not free to play isn't designing for this, which inherently makes non F2P games better designed.
 

MrFalconfly

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Colour me surprised.

I thought Yahtzee would tear this a new one (and was mentally preparing my "but I liked it" armour), and he actually sort of liked it (at least portions of it).

Well that'll teach me to prejudge things.
 

BoompigXD The Ork

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I've played Firefall and found it boring as fuck after a while. The overworld is barren if you aren't doing a job or "thumping" (I'm surprised Yahtzee didn't mention that). If you aren't doing a Job then the only monsters that spawn are the ones other players are fighting, or are scripted to be there. I guess your supposed to fly around by gliding but I found Gliding extremely hard to control especially since the two arrows on the side will constantly say "Down" even when that means crashing into the damn ground.

I also heard from some of the vets about Chosen Invasions, which were apparently removed in the release version. Chosen would raid a town or Watchtower and players would have to stop them. That was taken out for... what reason? It seems like a fun idea and could add some damn life to the overworld instead of just having nothing in it.
 

Frozengale

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I tried playing Firefall for awhile, and I had several problems with it. For starters the power armor styles are either boring, lame, or incredibly stupid. The Engineer power armor has an entire leg piece and arm piece missing. I'm assuming this is to make it look sexy on a lady, but it just ends up looking insane, like someone forgot how to dress themselves mid way through.

Then there was the micro-transaction problem. It felt like I was constantly being bombarded by the whole "HEY YOU CAN BUY STUFF FROM US" aspect of the game. It got to the point where it was just confusing and annoying and I wasn't sure what was what.

There also was a surprisingly huge lack of direction. I played for a few days and the only thing I really know how to do is use the jetpack.

The whole thing just feels unfocused and is a micro-transaction mess. So I uninstalled it and never looked back.
 

Darth_Payn

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Well, I wasn't expecting this. Yahtzee saying something nice about an MMO, and a free-to-play one to boot! Now I forget if it was this game or a different one that ran those trailers before every Escapist video last month.
geldonyetich said:
Zachary Amaranth said:
Oh man, I love watching stellar bodies go at it.

Silentpony said:
So how do Free to Play games stay open? Whose paying for the servers? The maintenance? The staff?
I always thought FTP meant free to join, but everything is a micro transaction.
Some are like that. They're generally called "pay to win." Some make a free game with extras that support the service. Some just run on good will and unicorn blood.

It really depends on the model and the people behind the scenes (assuming their people; I suspect most F2P games are run by goblins).
I seem to recall that some F2P developer released the stats of their F2P game (not FireFall), and it's something like 95% of the players don't pay anything, but the remaining 5% of the players end up paying so much that they more than make up for it. Here's a link [http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/192899/Heres_how_much_whales_spent_so_far_this_year.php] about an example of a cell phone game microtransaction model, which is a similar situation.

It would seem F2P games work because of wealth disparity. For some people, they have so much money that the idea of dumping $250 on micro-transaction goods has no impact on them. Microtransactions are flexible in this regard; monthly subscriptions alone can't exploit that market.
I know for sure SW: The Old Republic works that way. Players (both free and subscribing) can spend real-world money on this special in-game money called Cartel Coins, which can buy "Illicit goods" from the Cartel Market. Stuff you can't buy with plain old Credits you get from playing the game normally. I spend mine on more Inventory space, medic droids to revive me during Group missions, and Legacy bonuses.
 

hickwarrior

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Nov 7, 2007
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Frozengale said:
I tried playing Firefall for awhile, and I had several problems with it. For starters the power armor styles are either boring, lame, or incredibly stupid. The Engineer power armor has an entire leg piece and arm piece missing. I'm assuming this is to make it look sexy on a lady, but it just ends up looking insane, like someone forgot how to dress themselves mid way through.
They fixed that wardrobe anomaly since I last played. They still made the assault female have an exposed mid-riff though. The rest is fine as far as I can tell, boob socks notwithstanding.

Then there was the micro-transaction problem. It felt like I was constantly being bombarded by the whole "HEY YOU CAN BUY STUFF FROM US" aspect of the game. It got to the point where it was just confusing and annoying and I wasn't sure what was what.
Hmmm... I truly can't grasp what you're getting at here. Then again, I know I've paid for the game since I had fun with it. But how did it exactly nag you?

There also was a surprisingly huge lack of direction. I played for a few days and the only thing I really know how to do is use the jetpack.
You might feel that way even now, but like yahtzee said, you can just do quests from a board. Or any other event you find near you.

The whole thing just feels unfocused and is a micro-transaction mess. So I uninstalled it and never looked back.
You must've played in the early beta. They really cleaned up with the version they have now. They've still got a ways to go, bit the vision seems far more clear than it was in beta.
 

VinLAURiA

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Well, congratulations, Yahtzee. After ignoring your show for several months now due to other priorities, this is the episode that finally gets me to tune in and I just went straight to it, not even playing my usual catch-up when I slip on watching a series. And it's this episode because this game in particular is one I'm pretty damn attached to.

It's so weird to have played the beta on a regular basis for three years, consider yourself more knowledgeable on it than anyone else in your immediate vicinity due to the limited playerbase up to this point, and now Yahtzee's rambling at me about the same game, which to him just came out... and more regrettably: rambling about what he - as a newcomer - has played of the state Firefall launched in. I wish I could say this was the best the game's ever been, but it'd be hard to do so.

I'm glad to see he enjoyed the gunplay because that really is a major strength of Firefall, but Christ if the release version didn't screw the actual narrative and pacing side of things up hard. And it's a shame, because a lot of reviewers are voicing the same complaints and, justifiably, giving it lukewarm reviews. Unfortunately, they're reviews of a worse version of the game I've been playing for so long and it saddens me that these are what'll be coloring public opinion for a long time. But I'm happy that Yahtzee enjoyed what he played for the most part. I'm just hoping that the game recovers from the release slip-ups and continues to improve, because I'd love to see more people give Firefall a chance as it really deserves one.

And in any case, it's still miles better than that other free-to-play shooter about jetpacks turned out to be. What an atrocity that was.
 

Not G. Ivingname

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Why do I still feel that Planetside 2 was the only MMO that has a story that make sense within a Massively Multiplayer world? Your not the hero, your not the dragonborn, your not special unique flower who will change the course of world history, your a soldier. One of billions in a conflict so vast that nothing you do will be of any note at end. You lead the charge to get that building, only to immediately lose it when the third faction comes in and wipes the floor with you.
 

VinLAURiA

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Not G. Ivingname said:
Why do I still feel that Planetside 2 was the only MMO that has a story that make sense within a Massively Multiplayer world? Your not the hero, your not the dragonborn, your not special unique flower who will change the course of world history, your a soldier. One of billions in a conflict so vast that nothing you do will be of any note at end. You lead the charge to get that building, only to immediately lose it when the third faction comes in and wipes the floor with you.
To be fair, a lot of the story about you being the protagonist of Firefall is less than a month old. For the longest time, every player in the game was just another soldier among many in the game world, no individual notably significant, and everyone is cooperating towards the same goal. All these new quests they have now that concern the player becoming famous among the NPCs irritate me because every player will be going through those quests. It doesn't make sense, and that's not how the game used to be. Firefall didn't use to have a singular "player protagonist."
 

Not G. Ivingname

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VinLAURiA said:
Not G. Ivingname said:
Why do I still feel that Planetside 2 was the only MMO that has a story that make sense within a Massively Multiplayer world? Your not the hero, your not the dragonborn, your not special unique flower who will change the course of world history, your a soldier. One of billions in a conflict so vast that nothing you do will be of any note at end. You lead the charge to get that building, only to immediately lose it when the third faction comes in and wipes the floor with you.
To be fair, a lot of the story about you being the protagonist of Firefall is less than a month old. For the longest time, every player in the game was just another soldier among many in the game world, no individual notably significant, and everyone is cooperating towards the same goal. All these new quests they have now that concern the player becoming famous among the NPCs irritate me because every player will be going through those quests. It doesn't make sense, and that's not how the game used to be. Firefall didn't use to have a singular "player protagonist."
Wow, that's depressing. I wonder why they changed that.

The illusion of grander works in single player games where there are not LINES for the questboard of the "chosen one."
 

Optimystic

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Yay, an MMO review! Now do WildStar!

I've been following Firefall since beta and I find it a lot of fun, and now that it's been released I'm seeing a lot more polish. As Yahtzee rightfully pointed out, the combat is actually fun because it's a shooter instead of an autoattack number generator.

I'm surprised he didn't like the Engineer though - they get a splash weapon like the Assault does AND a bunch of turrets who don't give a crap about his Australian latency issues. And they can even heal and refill their own ammo in the field. They're the perfect class if you have a bad connection, slower reflexes or you're just new.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Well, here goes nothing. 13 hours to download a game that may or may not run properly, if at all. How I missed you, PC gaming.
 

Under_your_bed

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Johnny Novgorod said:
Well, here goes nothing. 13 hours to download a game that may or may not run properly, if at all. How I missed you, PC gaming.
Do you know what your system specs are? If you post them, I might be able to give you some kind of guess as to whether it'll work or not.

Also, internet speed. I've been in Firefall since the early Beta and, whoah boy, internet speed. If you've got bad internet.....

 

Canadamus Prime

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Well that was a surprise. I was expecting you to review something else. Don't know what, but I wasn't expecting Firefall. Doesn't sound like a game I want to play though.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Under_your_bed said:
Johnny Novgorod said:
Well, here goes nothing. 13 hours to download a game that may or may not run properly, if at all. How I missed you, PC gaming.
Do you know what your system specs are? If you post them, I might be able to give you some kind of guess as to whether it'll work or not.

Also, internet speed. I've been in Firefall since the early Beta and, whoah boy, internet speed. If you've got bad internet.....

It's just a shitty laptop.



RAM = 4