[Disclaimer: I downloaded the game just to write this review. I played it for 3 years, many many hundreds of hours I suffered it's buggy grind. No more. I just wish to prevent you from repeating my mistake.]
[Disclaimer#2: This review is LONG. TL;DR version is at the bottom of the review]
I am Megakoresh and this is my story in the game that set out to break the rules and ended up breaking only hearts:
In Novermber 2011 I have joined the beta for "Firefall" that was having all the right ideas for "fixing" the MMO genre, fixing all the things I hated it for. It also was coming up with a revolutionary method of development at a time - community-driven development was not nearly as widespread then.
Game started with a PvP component and sheduled tests twice a week. People would organize, play, provide feedback, the next patch the feedback was directly implemented and fully documented a to what was changed and why. When PvE launched in April 2012, this continued, the game was slowly improving leading up to the major patch in August 2012, when the game opened the cash shop. That patch and the systems that came with it was the biggest and the last long-term imrovement to the game. 2 years ago.
The signs that the game doesn't really know where it wants to be, of mismatch between features, of the lacking gameplay and shooter component, were subtle at first, but community, has picked up fast and warned the developers of the things they needed to work on. These larger warnings were ignored, but smaller suggestions were constantly being implemented, often without considering their "compatibility" with the game's design, but it pleased those who posted the suggestions and created this illusion that the "community-driven" development was still going on, even if by now it was in fact searching forums for issues and solutions that the developers already decided
on, acting them out and then claiming it was "requested by community".
As time went by the development focused more and more on economy, [mostly vertical] progression, adding various stats and senseless enemies upon a barebones stat-driven gameplay system which meant any additional content was suffering from diminishing returns as far as gameplay is concerned. Any extra ability didn't matter because of 30 second cooldown, which, like most things in Firefall, absolutely doesn't fit the fast-paced, spammy combat. Any extra enemies were just extra-buggy reskins of already buggy current enemies and so on, you get the idea.
As time went by, the players, who signed up for a game that promised to be a true MMOShooter, started getting frustrated at the continued focus on the MMORPG grind, economy, progression treadmill and ignoring the gameplay, despite consntantly trying our best and spending a lot of effort on feedback, thinking that the developers still consider it with the game in mind, not their own personal biases.
Wasted effort and continued degradation of the game are sure ingredients for conflict and as the feedback started to be intertwined with [rather reasonable and polite] calling out the devs for them ignoring the feedback on the topics of gameplay and variety, we all have realised who Red5 really were, as they began aggressively defending their philosophies without (unlike the community's complaints) any evidence to back it up. This followed into more negativity from the community, which in turn has followed into.... censorship
Yep, in a totally unexpected display of unprofessionalism, seeing that the threads and voices of the "veterans" and people who wanted the Firefall from 2011, were being heavily supported by the rest of community, Red5 went over and simply banned the people in question, including me, from the forums, where 99% of the feedback is discussed. Following that, as soon as people recognized my name on their devstream in the twitch chat, they immediately banned me from it as well.
After that they proceeded to keep making the same mistakes they were making ever since August 2012. These spanned across EVERYTHING in the game: from balancing:
Weapon X is hit-scan, fast firing, high damage per shot, designed for "skillful marksmen"; too OP. Options: make it projectile, >>reduce fire rate to increase skill level<<, nerf damage. They did: nerf damage. "Skilled marksmen" my ♥♥♥.
Our resource system is too complex, but not deep enough. Options: nerf amount of resources and levels, increased the imprortance of comboing resources for different results to give players more freedom; ADD OVER 9000 RESOURCES FOR MAXIMUM INVENTORY SPAM!!!. Guess what Red5 did. And then they added inventory limits a year later because servers couldnt handle it. Pfft...
Enemies are too easy for leveled players, need to make them harder. Options: add more abilities to current enemies, add telegraphs, high damage attacks, area-buffing, make each enemy a threat and scale spawn compositions OR BUFF ALL THE HP!!!!. Guess what Red5 did.
In addition they highly encouraged fanboish behaviour; screaming and flaming on forums was not punished so long as it was in favour of the dev's point of view. One of the CMs tried his best to try and bring the old spirit back, to be objective and fair, but ultimately his efforts were in vain. Still, he was the only bright spot after Red5 showed their true colours, I hope he quits and finds a good studio to work in instead.
When you were just defending some stupid mechanic like death penalty (which isn't supported by this game at all, and you will see why as soon as you start playing), without insulting anyone, the devs would often "Like" your post, which you can guess what effect it has on a fanboi. The devs eventually hid visbility of "likers", just displaying their quanitity instead.
Eventually most of the older players got ♥♥♥♥ed off at being ignored, censored, screamed at by fanbois, and left. Those that tried to circumvent the game's grind through exploits after months of begging the devs to reduce the grind, were wiped and left too.
The game started dying and the devs started running out of money. So what did they do? Take a wild guess fellas. They started frantically implementing whatever 2 year old suggestions (that were screamed about to them over the course of the beta) they could implement in a short amount of time. But by this point it is much too late. The game was built upon a base design for a shooter with minor MMORPG elements, but the meat and most of the bones that were added in during the development are that of a traditional MMORPG grindfest.
As a result you have a game that is an extremely repetitive and boring ability shooter, with abilities having 30 second cooldowns, adding nothing whatsoever to the variety (they scale down to 5 seconds, which in some cases makes it extremely OP, but it will require you to pay hundreds of $$$ or grind for hundreds of hours and babysit research for months to get to that cooldown).
It's jetpacks, freedom of movement and very lush colourful world coupled with excellent aesthetics and graphical fidelity will provide a high "WOW factor", until it blows off and you realise that the jetpacks are just tools for random bunnyhopping around, with that being the only reliable way to avoid damage. It's MMORPG elements are just as lacking, with a severe lack of content, buggy and grindy gameplay and enemies and the same boring "dynamic" quests, that have to be repeated thousands of times.
A ton of money, tears, wasted effort and broken promises; this game is a testament to the "Never believe in 'ideas'" rule of modern gaming industry. The community is nice though. One of the best out there, so at least that is not a lie. If you are going to play this game, it would be nice if you tried and keep that tradition. It is the only good thing about the game aside from it's looks.