Firefall’s New Equipment System: an Introduction

Patch 0.8 has revamped the way equipment levels work in Firefall. Here are the changes, in a nutshell. We’ll have a more detailed Equipment Guide coming up, but in the meantime we wanted to cover the milestone’s changes as soon as possible.

Item Stages and Quality

Items no longer have “stages” once they exist in the world. There’s no such thing as a Plasma Cannon I or Plasma Cannon IV any more; all Plasma Cannons are simply Plasma Cannons. The difference in power level between a low-level item and a high-level one is now reflected entirely by the item’s quality. This applies both to crafted items and loot & event reward items.

Item stages still exist for the purposes of crafting, and they dictate the maximum quality level a recipe can produce, and the number of customisable components on that item.

  • Stage I recipes are capped at Q125
  • Stages II and III are capped at Q250 and Q500 respectively
  • Crafting anything over Q500 requires the Stage IV recipe.

(These recipes are obtained via crafting research; see our research guide for more information.)

If you use resources that are over the quality maximum for the stage of the recipe you’re using, they’re treated as if they’re at the maximum instead. For example, if you’re using Q400 resources in a Stage II recipe, they’ll be treated as Q250 resources.

You can still make a lower-quality item using a higher-stage recipe; for instance, you could make a Q100 item using a Stage IV recipe. It wouldn’t be any better than a Q100 item made using a Stage I recipe, although using the higher-stage recipe does allow you to adjust more stats because it involves more components.

There are no prerequisites to equip items based on their quality or the stage of recipe that made them; the only limitation is whether you can fit the item within your battleframe’s constraints.


ConstraintsConstraints work similarly to the pre-milestone system. Your frame has Mass, Power and Cores allowances based on how far it’s progressed, and each piece of gear costs a certain amount of these constraints. You can’t equip gear with higher total constraints than your battleframe can handle. So far, this is all the same as the pre-0.8 system, but there are also three major changes:

  1. Your equipped Mass no longer affects your movement speed. (Previously, you could increase your movement speed by equipping less Mass-using gear than your frame could handle.)
  2. Surplus Power can no longer be allocated to increase the damage of your weapons and damage-dealing abilities.
  3. As well as the individual caps on Mass and Power, each frame has an Equipment Resource Pool equal to 75% of your total Mass and Power, and this is the total you can spend on either constraint.

For example, a fully-progressed frame has 5120 Mass and 5120 Power to spend, with a Resource Pool of 7680. If you equipped lots of Mass-heavy items, using a total of 5000 Mass, you’d only have 2680 left to spend on Power (even though your Power constraint is 5120). If you then wanted to upgrade an item which would cost an extra 200 Mass you wouldn’t be able to, because that would exceed your Mass total.

Or, in other words:

  • The total Mass costs of your items can’t exceed your frame’s Mass constraint.
  • The total Power costs of your items can’t exceed your frame’s Power constraint.
  • The total Mass + total Power costs of your items can’t exceed 75% of your frame’s total Mass + Power constraints.

Existing Battleframes and Gear

All pre-0.8 Equipment, with Stages, was de-equipped from player battleframes and can be found in your inventory. It can no longer be used, but you can salvage it for research points, crystite, and a chance at other crafting items and recipes. (If you’ve got a lot of gear to salvage, you might want to check out Thehink’s Salvager addon, which will salvage items in batches for you.)

Naturally, this means you’ll need to replace your battleframe’s gear. As a short-term solution you’ll get a crate of non-repairable replacement gear for any battleframe you’d progressed to Stage II or beyond, pre-0.8 — for Stage III and IV frames, these crates contain two sets of gear, so you can mix-and-match your gear levels to stay within your constraints. You can find these crates in your calldowns menu in the “Rewards” section.

About Siha

Siha is a longtime gamer and game blogger. She writes her own gaming blog at Siha Games! and has been enjoying Firefall ever since she scored a beta key.

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9 Responses to Firefall’s New Equipment System: an Introduction

  1. Nigel February 3, 2014 at 02:22 #

    Thanks for the clarification. The game led me to believe that it worked differently, by expressing mathematical concepts, like “ratios.”

    In the game, the mass + power constraint is expressed as a ratio. It makes sense if it is expressed as mass/power or M/P ratio, or it P/M ratio. The difference between these is huge.

    My personal experience with severe limits because my battleframe power was higher than mass led me to believe that the ratio is M/P.

    Now, if your battleframe advancement has more mass than power advancements, then M/P is greater than 1, meaning you should be able to equip anything as long as it does not exceed EITHER power or mass. If your battleframe power is more advanced than mass, then M < P, then the ratio is less than 1, meaning that your total cannot exceed some percentage of the two combined, such as 75% mentioned in this article.

    The result: increase Mass first, then Power to keep the ratio as close to 1 as possible.

    If, however, this article is correct, then it is a total rip off. If you only get 75% of your stated power and mass capabilities realized, then the game should only display the useable mass and power capacity, instead of the imaginary mass and power capacities from which 25% is automatically deducted, like a tax.

    • Siha February 3, 2014 at 02:58 #

      Which parts of the new system are expressed as ratios? I may have missed a reference, but from the way things are currently working in-game (and based on the way they worked on the PTS, the way they worked prior to the 0.8 milestone, and the devs’ explanations in the Dev Roundtable livestream) I’m fairly confident that constraint calculations are all straight addition/subtraction maths.

      For example, I’m looking at my Nighthawk right now, which is a Stage II frame (it’s at 13/13/13 at present). From the battleframe garage on the live server I can see the following:

      * I have 624 Mass, 624 Power and 15 CPU total constraints.
      * My Equipment Resource Pool (ERP) is 936, which is what we’d expect (75% of 1248 (ie 624+624) is 936)
      * The 10 pieces of stock gear currently equipped to the frame all have 1.5 Mass and 1.5 Power each, totaling 15 Mass and 15 Power.
      * The ERP is currently at 30/936; the 30 matches up to the total mass and power of my equipped gear.

      Now, I replace the Nighthawk’s stock gear with a mixture of the Q125 and Q250 gear I’ve been given:

      * Its Mass usage goes up to 422 of 624
      * Its Power usage goes up to 390 of 624
      * Its ERP usage goes up to 812 of 936
      * 422 + 390 = 812

      So, from that, we can see that ERP usage = Mass usage + Power usage.

      Just to confirm that ERP total = (Mass total + Power total) x 75%, let’s take a look at a couple of other frames:

      * All my 30/30/30 frames have 5120 total Mass and 5120 total Power, with ERPs of 7680. (5120 + 5120) x75% = 7680, so that works.
      * My lowest-progressed frames are all at 8/8/8, which gives them 156 Mass and 156 Power, with an ERP of 234. (156 + 156) x75% = 234, so again, the formula holds up.

      Unfortunately I don’t have a frame with uneven progression (ie where Mass and Power aren’t equally progressed) to compare, but I suspect they’d behave the same way.

      It occurs to me that you might be seeing the garage’s display of constraints as a ratio where in fact it’s meant to mean “X of Y”. For example, on the Nighthawk I used as an example above, once it’s fully equipped the ERP shows as “812/936”. This isn’t an expression of a ratio, though; it means “812 out of a total of 936”, rather than “812 divided by 936”.

      I hope this clarifies the explanation in our guide. If not — if I’ve missed your point, or you’ve still got any questions — please let me know!

      Edit: I just noticed, in the garage, that the mouseover tooltip for the empty portion of the ERP bar describes it as “Ratio of mass and power that you can safely use on equipment and mods for your frame”, so now I see where you’re getting the “ratio” thing from. I’d characterise that as an unclear tooltip or an incorrect use of the word “ratio”, though, because as we can see based on the way the system actually works, it’s not a ratio at all. I’d suggest submitting a bug report or posting on the forums to give the feedback that this is a very misleading tooltip, since it clearly causes some confusion!

      • jimmy February 3, 2014 at 11:34 #

        Siha about the image I requested the original image of the black water melding anomaly without any txt words on it

    • TLock February 8, 2014 at 03:43 #


      I believe you are a bit confused, based on this statement: “If, however, this article is correct, then it is a total rip off. If you only get 75% of your stated power and mass capabilities realized, then the game should only display the useable mass and power capacity, instead of the imaginary mass and power capacities from which 25% is automatically deducted, like a tax.”

      ^^This isn’t the case.

      You can use 100% of your mass OR 100% of your power, but not both at the same time.

      Your combined mass+power is limited by your “equipment resource pool” which is 75% of your total available mass + total available power. The system is designed to make players choose carefully which stats they go all-out on when crafting new gear. Something like this: Do you want to be super fast and agile, or do you want max damage? You will have to choose the right balance for you. This is why the game does and MUST display the full mass and full power of your progression unlocks.

      An example for clarity:

      My Recluse has mass and power unlocked to equal amounts (both ~800). I am equipped right now at 99% (~800) of my mass allotment (because my servos and mass-intensive abilities serve my playstyle the best, so I pushed them to the max that I could). Because of this, however, I can only utilize 51% (~400) of my power allotment to fit within my “equipment resource pool,” 1200 (75% of [800+800]).

      I could easily craft new gear to do the opposite with max power and 50% mass, or I could find balance (75%/75%) or a nuanced weighted mix of the two.

      When viewed this way, we can see the designer’s intentions that the equipment resource pool is a balance feature which leads to players needing to make tough decisions about how they tweak their gear to fit their playstyle (certain stats within an ability will affect mass or affect power, and the quality of the resources used will boost or limit the stat its related to, proportionally to how much constraints it will cost). Without these features, all players would eventually be the same, with identical (maximum) stats for mass and power, and given the resources, identical (maximum) stats for every aspect/stat of every piece of gear they make.

      The beautiful truth is that if you go above 75% on mass or power, you can think of it as an additional bonus, one which you have to make a sacrifice on the other constraint to achieve, if it is worth it to you.

      Hope this helps clear things up.

      Thanks Siha for the great write-up!

  2. Wyntyr February 11, 2014 at 01:09 #

    What’s Astrek’s opinion regarding the current power/mass curve? What I mean by that question is that it seems as though stage 2-3 gear is over constrained v/s the power/mass you have available to use by the battleframe at those levels.

  3. Mr Phixt February 11, 2014 at 05:57 #

    Is there a Perk Cheat Sheet as yet ??

    • Siha February 11, 2014 at 10:07 #

      We’re working on perks stuff now, in fact! We hope to have it out ASAP.

      • Wyntyr February 12, 2014 at 00:53 #

        Very cool!

      • NeoXonE February 12, 2014 at 02:49 #

        If you or Kristakis need someone to test the perks with, I’ll be your guinea pig :3

        You can pm me when I’m ingame or with mailbox. :)

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