Updated: 17 October 2013 for Patch 0.7.1714
There’s some amount of confusion in the community about how resources appear and where and when you’ll see them, so we wanted to take a look at some of the mechanics behind resource spawning.
Resources of different qualities don’t just randomly appear in the world spontaneously; there are a number of conditions that determine what resources are offered to players, and that follows a pattern that’s easy to understand once you know those conditions. (It’s also worth noting that resource shifts are generated based on the game’s mechanics, they’re not deliberately spawned by the devs.)
The short, short version: Each resource is available at a specific current quality, and all rewards of that resource will give the same quality until it shifts to something new. These shifts are based on how much of that quality has been given out already, and how long it’s been around for. But there are complicating factors, so read on for the details.
A Summary of Resources
Although there are a number of gatherable items you’ll need to advance in Firefall, here we’re specifically talking about harvestable resources. These appear in three overall groups of resources – Minerals, Gases and Organics. Each group is divided into two families, and each family contains two or three specific resources. These are as follows:
- Reactive Gases
- Inert Gases
Each of these resources will have a quality, which indicates how high the resource’s attributes are, and these qualities change over time. The combination of a specific resource at a specific quality is called a resource type by Red5 – so Iron 500 is one resource type, and Iron 501 is a different resource type.
The Global Pools
When a resource of a given quality (i.e. a resource type) first appears, it does so as part of a global pool, a behind-the-scenes reservoir of this type with a limited lifespan based both on quantity and on time. Pools have a maximum quantity, which limits the amount of that type that will spawn before a new quality pool appears, and an expiration date when the pool will shift if it hasn’t been depleted before then. Pools do not all have the same lifespan or starting size, and higher quality resources have smaller pool sizes and shorter lifespans. 1 Pools can contain tens of millions of resource units.
Resource rewards from dynamic events (ARES missions, Chosen defense and recaptures, crashed thumpers, etc) all draw from the current resource pools. So do surface deposits and supply crates.
Resource veins also draw from the current pools, but there’s a difference there: the vein draws from the current resource pool at the time it’s created, and then persists in the world until it’s thumped dry or until it times out. (Veins have a time limit, and will eventually despawn if they’re not thumped out.) This means that you can find veins of a given quality even after that resource has shifted to a new global pool with a different quality. 2
So the total quantity remaining in a resource pool is reduced every time a dynamic event reward pays out some of that resource, and every time a new vein of that resource is spawned. When a pool approaches the end of its lifespan or its quantity nears depletion, a new pool is generated as a backup, and this backup goes live as soon as the original pool disappears. Each pool’s lifespan is independent of the other resources — just because one resource shifts to a new quality, that has no bearing on the lifespan of the other resource pools.
As you’d expect from the name, global pools aren’t shard-specific – they’re available in every shard, although based on population and activity a new pool may take longer to show up in some shards than in others.
Different Sets of Global Pools
Previously, there was one set of global pools, and all resource rewards from every activity were drawn from these pools. However, patch 0.6.1637 in May 2013 introduced separate sets of global pools, which provide resources in different situations.
Each different set includes a pool of every resource. This means that at any given time, there will be five currently available qualities of each resource – New Eden, the Melding, Antarctica, Diamond Head and Sargasso Sea.
New Eden global pools
These are used within New Eden for thumper resource veins, surface deposits, supply crates, creature resource drops, and all dynamic event rewards except Melding Tornados.
Melding global pools
These are used for thumper resource veins that are centred within or near the Melding. They’re also used for Melding Tornado completion rewards, the resources available within the Melding Tornado portal/pocket and the rewards for successfully exiting the Melding Tornado pocket alive.
PvP global pools
These were used for resource rewards from PvP activities. As PvP has now been disabled, these resource pools are not currently in use.
Melding Pocket global pools
These are used for resource rewards from the melding pockets – Antarctica, Diamond Head and Sargasso Sea – introduced in Patch 0.7.1665. Each melding pocket has a separate set of pools.
Within the melding pockets, thumpable resources are drawn from the Melding Pocket pools for that pocket, as are the rewards for the major mission in each pocket. There are also large coloured crystals (similar to those found in melding tornado pockets) which give melding pocket pool resources when you destroy them.
Other resource rewards in the pockets, such as ARES missions, surface deposits, rare supply crates and Raider Squad events, are all drawn from the New Eden resource pools.
Resource Quality Distribution
The rules governing quality distribution are different for each set of global pools. Here’s what we know about them so far:
The New Eden pools span the entire quality range; they’re a bell curve, but they skew slightly towards the lower qualities (white and green resources) to maintain the overall rarity of blue and purple resources. (They may not produce Q1000 resources, however.)
After the melding pockets were introduced New Eden pools stopped producing resources over Q800, until patch 0.7.1714 when Q800+ resources were sighted again. The 0.7.1714 PTS also had Q900+ resources in this pool, so this may also be possible – we’ll update with more information when we know more.
The Melding pools skew higher in quality than New Eden resources; they appeared to produce resources within a Q400-850 range, with a weighting towards higher qualities, although information from Red5 tells us that these pools were always able to produce Q900+ resources. Since the 0.7.1714 patch, this pool is confirmed to provide Q900+ resources.
The PvP pools, when in use, only gave resources in the 400-600 quality range as regulation PvP did not allow crafted gear upgrades, so resource quality was irrelevant.
From their introduction until patch 0.7.1714, the Melding Pocket pools followed some fairly clear rules:
- Each pocket spawned high quality resources in one group, medium quality in another group, and low quality for the third group, as per this table:
Quality Distribution Mineral Gas Organic Diamondhead Medium High Low Sargasso Low Medium High Antarctica High Low Medium
- The high-quality resources were blues, with regular spawns of purples, and a few very rare brief spawns of Q1000 resources.
- There was an issue where Carbon’s quality distribution matched the Gas group, rather than the Minerals group, as per this thread. This meant Carbon spawned high in Diamondhead rather than Antarctica.
Since patch 0.7.1714 these rules do not appear to apply, as resources are currently spawning at low and average qualities across the board, even in each pocket’s “specialty” group. We don’t currently have enough data to identify the new distribution rules, and we’ll update this article as soon as we have more information.
Some Red5 posts on the subject of resources:
Resource: a harvestable material such as Iron, Xenografts, or Nitrine.
Pool: a reservoir of a single resource at a specific quality level, which supplies rewards for player activities.
Shift: The point at which a resource changes from one pool to another, visible to players as a change in the available quality.
Vein: a subterranean “node” of a resource, found via scan hammer and extracted via thumper.
- Virgil: “Purple resources are intended to be rare. Not all nodes are intended to last the same amount of time.” Also see Virgil’s FFL interview in our “Further Reading”. ↩
- When a specific vein is thumped dry, it immediately triggers a new vein to spawn in that instance. The new vein may be of any resource type, and may be anywhere on the map. ↩