Firefall PvP Gameplay Basics

Firefall PvP Gameplay Basics by raary

Introduction: I’ve been waiting for a better player from the community to write one of these, but with open beta fast approaching, figured it was time to get some of this content out in the open. That said, I believe my knowledge of PvP is sufficient to provide basic information that should be able to help some up and comers. I welcome and will consider any suggestions for improving this guide. It would be great for the game and community if some of the top players would share their knowledge as well.

As a brief disclaimer, the information provided in this guide is generally speaking correct for most situations, but like anything else there may be cases where it is not applicable or there may be other options that are better. This guide is not intended to go into specific strategies for each frame type, but rather provide information that is useful to gameplay in general, independent of the players choice in battle frame. For many the information provided in this guide is nothing new, but perhaps there will be others who will benefit from it.

Mental Preparation: A large part of entering into and improving at PvP is preparing your thoughts in advance. This game experience is quite different from anything in PvE, and many other recent MMO’s, and as such one shouldn’t get unrealistic expectations that things are going to be easy or that improvement will be noticeably measurable in short periods of time. Like anything else, time & desire is required to improve. Make no mistake, frustration can be quite common initially, but with practice, satisfaction will be as well.

Homework: Sounds fun right? By homework I mean taking the time to not just play the game, but to spend quality time learning from others. If you desire to improve as fast as possible, it is quite necessary to learn from others. Simply put, and to a certain extent, any starting (or even intermediate) player will learn much faster (provided they have the right mindset) by watching the best. Let the hours they put into the game work to your advantage. Check out the latest tournament or league bracket, right now the Mustang League is the current competitive avenue for the game. Watching the top few teams, especially the players that opt to use the same frame you do will help considerably in improving your game. At first you may not understand the reasons behind each of the decisions the players are making, but with time things will make more and more sense. If nothing else you pay close attention to their positioning, weapon selection, and movement vs. different opponent frames. Using the leaderboards feature in game you can find many of the players, and actually view their most recent games. PvP is as much (likely more) about good decision making as it is simply being able to aim and shoot at targets (although this is obviously important as well).

Along the same lines it is very important for you to review your own gameplay from time to time. Learn from the decisions you made, good and bad, and adapt as necessary. Following each game, you can easily copy the match ID by opening the queue menu, going to the bottom where it provides the option to watch matches, find yours, select it and press control-A. This will copy to the number and you can then paste it into a document for later viewing. Additionally, the leaderboard will display your last 20 matches IIRC and that is another way that you can view them. Sometimes following major patches you may not be able to view the matches, so don’t let too many pile up.

Objective: Independent of the game mode you are playing, every player should consider the constant objective of staying alive. Easier said than done right? There are so many decisions a player make that influences their survival it would be a difficult, if not impossible task to capture them all, but the following sections attempt to detail some of the most core aspects of the gameplay that are controllable. Remember, if your fragged, your likely waiting another 10-20 seconds (depending on whether you were stomped or not) before you can assist your team in whatever they might be doing. There are situations where it might make sense to trade frag for frag, but generally speaking that is seldom the case.

Positioning & Movement: In terms of staying alive, positioning & movement are perhaps the most important things in keeping you away from the respawn timer. At all times players should consider the target they are presenting to their opponents. The worst case is when you are out in the open (in-flight), and in a position to take fire from multiple, surrounding locations. As much as possible, you should attempt to avoid the low ground (open to fire from adjacent and above players), and try to engage in situations where:

  1. You have an escape route should it be needed. Ideally this route should get you to a health pack. Speaking of which, these items respawn at 25 second intervals, and as with other similar games people do tend to mentally time them when needed. An easy way to do so is to break the 25 seconds up into two parts by first subtracting 20 seconds, then 5 seconds from the game time to know when the health/ammo will be back.
  2. You have limited the locations where you can be engaged from. For example maybe there is a wall adjacent to you to prevent fire from that direction, you have high ground so that you will not be targeted from above, and an escape route that you can keep in your peripheral vision.
  3. The odds are in your favor. As best as possible, avoid fighting more than one opponent at a time. Follow a teammate, or teammates around to create 2v1, 3v2, etc. situations where you and your team have a better chance of success.

Jetpacks are fun, but… you must be careful in using them. The thrust is relatively weak which means that sharply changing directions in the air is not feasible. Why is this important? Well every time one chooses to fly, they are basically a straight line target for their opponents. Flying straight up is a very bad idea in most cases. As much as possible one should also ensure they are using sprint key for takeoff to assist in getting up to speed, and have a fair amount of in-air horizontal and vertical movement to present a more difficult target to their opponents. Against frames that have splash damage (accord assault, accord engineer, firecat, frames with alternate grenade launches, etc..), flying in combat is an important part of dodging. However against frames that have hitscan like weapons (electron, recluse, tigerclaw, accord biotech, etc..) you are much better off by just strafing back & forth (running left and right in short strides) to try and dodge opponent fire.

Fights that start as 1v1 in many areas can and will quickly gain more attention, and as such knowing when to back away or improve your positioning is very important. As an example; you may start off in an engagement where you find that you have to fly to avoid the spam attacks from an AOE frame, but while doing so a hit-scan like frame, maybe an electron or accord biotech from the opposing team join the fight, and now you when you are in air you are a prime target for newly engaged opponent. These types of situations occur often and as a result it is crucial you have positioning yourself with an exit (maybe a choke path like a doorway, etc..) where you can back away, and maybe spam behind yourself to cover your tracks and attempt to deter them from continuing to follow. Even in cases where they do choose to follow at least you have done a good amount of damage, making the subsequent engagement more favorable you.

(1) Hover sprinting is in game now. It is a movement mechanic that allows players to move faster than just sprinting (running with the sprint key held down). Most frames get a 25% or so speed boost from this and it is crucial in jetball play especially after the latest speed nerf. There is a video tutorial below that I highly suggest everyone watch, it shows the technique (with a button overlay on the screen) which imo is much better than trying to explain it in words. 

Basically it goes like this though. At all times the player has the forward run key pressed (W), and the sprint key pressed (shift). The player makes a short jump, just a quick button press (space), just before landing from the jump, press either right or left strafe (A or D key) along with the jump key again just before landing. Release the strafe key and jump key, and repeat again just before landing again. This technique stops working when your out of energy. 

Aim: Aim comes with time and practice, and most weapons are different enough that it takes time with each to be pretty effective. That said, learning to predict your opponents is a key part in improving your ability to aim. There are only a limited number of choices for where an opponent can go in a given situation. So the sooner you begin to think in terms of their constraints, and experience, the easier it becomes to predict their movements and therefore have your shots ready for them.

Battle frames: As with any game that has different options for the players to use, there are some that will be better / more effective than others. Right now the most effective frames are Electron (very high firerate & DPS, good range, good alt fire, nice abilities) and Accord Biotech (high DPS, good survivability). Following those the most popular choices tend to be Firecat (good AOE, splash), Recluse (good primary and alternate fire main weapon), Tigerclaw (great alpha & mobility), and Accord Engineer (good AOE, area control). For players that do not have any unlocked frames other than the defaults, Biotech & Engineer are probably the most effective, following those the Dreadnaught, Assault, and Recon are about the same and really up to the individuals preference, with the Recon being the most difficult to play effectively of the five. Any frame can be effective with the right player, but some are simply much better suited to certain maps, and the gameplay than others.

Stomp-Executing & Reviving: Should almost never been done. Yup, I said it, significantly much more often than not players should leave their teammates to respawn, and shoot to execute opponents, rather than stomp (even though it gives an extra 10 seconds). This is without question the most often cause for frags against new opponents in the game. The above comments are directed more towards public play than competitive scrims or matches where the situation is likely entirely different. Now I am not saying never revive, or never stomp but before one chooses to try there are some things that need to be taken into consideration to ensure your still alive after the attempt!

  1. How many opponents are fragged at the moment and waiting on respawn? Tab key can show this.
  2. Are you in an area where you are out in the open?
  3. Are there any other opponents near you?
  4. Do you have an escape skill and route ready in case things go bad?

The above considerations apply to any frame, even the accord Biotech with Triage. Just cause this frame has a faster revive doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ensure first that the area is clear, and it is safe to do so!

(1) With the addition of Jetball stomping becomes much more important. In general in that game type you should stomp often, but remember to pay particular attention to the above list of considerations first. It is still not usually worth taking a frag over.

Closing: As mentioned in the introduction, it is my hope that other experienced players will chime in and expand upon this, maybe provide additional insight, and perhaps correct any thing that I may have misstated. My game nickname is raary. I’ll gladly answer any questions, and provide assistance whenever possible.

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