Updated: 04 July 2013 for Patch 0.7.1666
Thumping is one of the major sources of resources in Firefall, and if you’re looking for a fight it’s one of the quickest ways to find one! We’ve put together this Firefall thumping guide to help you get started and get the most out of your thumping. Thumping is a multi-stage process, where you use your scan hammer to find a subterranean resource vein, and then place a thumper to extract those resources from the ground.
Some basic facts to know:
- An active thumper attracts nearby hostile wildlife, who are aggravated by the drill noise – if you don’t intervene, they’ll attack your thumper and eventually destroy it. (In game terms, that means that anything nearby will attack, and waves of new monsters will also spawn regularly.)
- Thumpers drill for five minutes; when they’re 100% complete, the drill stops and the mechanism folds away. Enemies will stop attacking it. If unattended, the thumper will send itself back two minutes after it reaches full capacity.
- You can send your thumper back at any time, by holding down E when you’re near the thumper and facing it. When you send it back, you’ll receive your thumper back in your inventory, and your share of the resources it gathered.
- If your thumper is destroyed before you return it, or if you’re not in the same instance (if you’ve joined your squad elsewhere, for example) then when it returns, you won’t receive it back. Any resources it gathered will also be lost.
- A completed thumper on a resource vein also provides an XP reward to everyone in the squad.
- There’s a cooldown on your thumper calldown which is shared across all your thumpers, which means you can’t run multiple thumpers at the same time. However, this cooldown is less than a full thumper cycle, so you won’t be locked out unless you lift your thumper early.
Scanning for Resources
This is the first, essential step in placing your thumper. To scan, you’ll need an item called a scan hammer – you may have received one as part of the introductory missions; otherwise, you can make yourself one quickly at the molecular printer in any major city.
You can find the scan hammer in your calldowns menu, in the Resource Collection sub-menu. When you use it, it sends out waves in the direction you’re facing, testing to see if there are any resources under the ground. These waves will help you find a resource and narrow down areas with a high concentration. You’ll also see a “SIN card” pop up in mid-air, showing more details of what you’ve scanned.
- Red waves mean that this area cannot be thumped – it may be in town, or the terrain is inappropriate. (In particular, you generally can’t thump on rocks or steep slopes.)
- Grey waves mean that there’s no thumpable resource here. (Note that at present, the inert gas Radine also shows grey waves, but the SIN card will tell you it’s there. This is likely to be fixed soon.)
- Coloured waves mean that you’re getting a signal for a resource – the colours correspond to the resource family.
- The height of the coloured waves will increase near the peak of concentration.
- There are brighter rings of colour moving across your scan result; these rings move towards the point of highest concentration.
- Orange rippling waves mean that you’re within the effective area of another thumper.
The SIN card will show you the concentration of each resource at the point you used the scan hammer; the remainder is taken up by Sifted Earth. Sifted Earth can be refined to yield small amounts of crystite, but thumpers full of dirt do not yield XP, and are not worth the effort.
You can find multiple resources in one area, which happens when nearby resource veins overlap for part of their areas. Several different veins can overlap at once. At present, resource veins are approximately circular with a diameter of about 500m.
Thumper Sizes and Yields
Thumpers come in eight varieties. There are personal thumpers and squad thumpers, and each type comes in four sizes: stock, thumper I, thumper II, and thumper III.
Personal thumpers are intended for solo or duo play, while squad thumpers are designed for a group of up to five players. The bigger the thumper, the more resources it can recover during its five minute drill cycle, but the harder the enemies it attracts. Squad thumpers also attract more (and bigger) enemies than personal thumpers. The names refer to the gear stage for which the thumper’s tuned, so if you’re a newer player you’ll want to stick with Stock Thumpers and Thumper Is until you’ve geared up a bit.
There’s also a difference in the way thumper yields are handled for squads of multiple people. Personal thumpers split their capacities between the number of people in the squad, whereas squad thumpers give their yield to every squad member. So in a four-person squad, a personal thumper with 300 resources would give 75 resources to each member, whereas a squad thumper with 300 resources would give 300 resources to everybody.
|Thumper||Capacity (Split)||Capacity (Shared)||Recommended Players||XP Reward|
(Note that since Patch 0.7.1665 the XP rewards for thumpers seem a little inconsistent; these are the current in-game values, and we’ll keep this updated if they change again.)
Thumper Completion Bonus
Thumper yields are complicated somewhat by the fact that thumpers that reach full capacity before being lifted yield a 100% resource bonus. This is not split among squad members; everyone receives the full 100% bonus (which means that the impact of adding extra players to your squad is relatively small even for personal thumpers).
|Squad Size - Yield Per Player|
|Thumper||Capacity (Split)||Capacity (Shared)||1||2||3||4||5|
You can use our handy Thumper Yield Calculator to see the impact of changing thumper types and squad sizes.
Bear in mind that for your squadmates to get their share of the thumper’s yield, they will need to contribute to the thumper’s defense. This means they’ll need to be near the thumper, and they’ll need to participate in combat for the thumper. Killing nearby enemies who aren’t going to attack the thumper doesn’t count, but it does seem that just shooting the thumper itself a few times is enough to give credit.
If your squadmates don’t contribute enough to qualify for their share of the rewards – for instance, if they’re AFK or on the other side of the map – they’ll still reduce the thumper yield by their share, they just won’t receive it.
All resource veins are finite, and each thumper will remove resources from the vein until it is depleted (referred to as ‘dry’ or ‘thumped out’). There’s no way to tell in advance how close a vein is to depletion, until a scan hammer shows trace results or your thumper returns more Sifted Earth than it should (or is entirely full of Sifted Earth). 1
Note that the extra yield of a squad thumper and the 100% completion bonus are both drawn from the resource vein you’re thumping. Thus, running bigger thumpers and thumping to completion will increase the speed at which you deplete a vein, rather than creating more resources out of nothing. A full team using a heavy squad thumper can drain a typical vein in just a few thumper cycles. 2
Thumper Helper Bonus
If you assist a thumper that doesn’t belong to you or your squadmates, you’ll receive a helper bonus from the Accord. This bonus is given when the thumper is lifted, and it’s equal to 30% of the yield each thumping player receives – however, this 30% is shared evenly among the out-of-squad helpers.
This bonus is not drawn from the resource vein, so you’re not costing a thumping squad anything by helping them. (However, please do be considerate and move on if they ask you to stop helping – some people thump for other reasons, such as XP or loot drops, and helpers can interfere with that.)
Creating a Thumper
Thumpers are crafted at the molecular printer; the recipes can be found in the Thumpers menu.
|Thumper||Crystite||Crystalline Crystite Engines||Polymorphous Fibers||Advanced MPUs||Time to Craft|
|Stock Personal||200||15 mins|
|Personal I||500||1||1||30 mins|
|Personal II||750||5||5||30 mins|
|Personal III||1,000||15||15||30 mins|
|Stock Squad||500||15 mins|
|Squad I||1,000||1||2||30 mins|
|Squad II||2,000||3||5||1||45 mins|
|Squad III||5,000||15||15||5||45 mins|
Tiki Thumpers are available as a crafting option for players who have purchased a Founders Pack (which was available during Closed Beta). Tiki Thumpers are a purely cosmetic difference; they cost the same resources to craft, and have exactly the same stats as non-Tiki thumpers of the same type. Their models are substantially bigger, as you can see from the size chart above, but this doesn’t affect their stats.
Location, Location, Location
Your location has two major effects on thumping.
The first is that the enemies attacking your thumper will vary depending on where you’re thumping. For instance, If you’re near the coast, you’ll get a lot of skivers and nautili whereas inland you’ll see more aranhas, hissers and threshers. If you’re near the Melding, you won’t see any ‘normal’ enemies at all – instead, your thumper will be attacked by the Chosen and their minions (Tortured Souls, Grunts, Melded Hissers, Melded Scorchers and Melded Culexes). This is called “meld thumping” by players, and it’s a lot more challenging than normal thumping.
The second effect of thumper location is that of positioning. You can make a thump a lot easier for yourself by placing your thumper so that enemies can’t attack your thumper from all directions. For example, you can use trees and rocks to protect the thumper from some angles of attack, and channel the enemies into more predictable patterns.
Just be careful – if your thumper is placed so that most of the attackers can’t get to it at all, that’s generally considered an exploit, and taking advantage of that is frowned upon. 3 However, the devs do encourage us to use the terrain to our advantage – there’s no moral obligation to plonk your thumper in the middle of a flat plain with no cover whatsoever.
An active thumper prevents anyone from putting down another thumper within 100m. The locked-out area shows up on a scan as pulsing orange waves. However, resource veins are much larger than the area a thumper covers, which means you can fit several thumpers on one vein. In this case, all the thumpers will draw from the same resource vein, which will deplete it much faster. Be aware that it’s very possible to be out-thumped by a nearby squad if they’re using a much bigger thumper than you, even if you’re on a point of higher concentration.
The thumper lockout lasts for 30 seconds, which gives you a chance to place another thumper before somebody else comes along and thumps in the same spot.
Defending Your Thumper
At present, when you thump you’ll face a number of enemy waves of increasing difficulty; the majority will be weak and normal enemies with sporadic larger enemies. These waves spawn based on the thumper’s progress, so you’ll need to deal enough damage to keep the enemies under control. Larger thumpers spawn proportionately more hostiles, but the pattern remains approximately the same.
Note also that higher-level thumpers spawn the same kinds of enemies, but they’re scaled up — you can see this by the progression of their difficulty colours (yellow, orange, pink and red). Scaled-up enemies deal more damage to you and the thumper, and require more damage to kill.
- Weak enemies include skivers, shell-less hissers and worker aranhas. They’re particularly susceptible to AoE, and a single grenade can clear a whole swathe of them.
- Normal enemies include regular hissers, culexes and aranhas.
- Larger enemies include stormer and sieger aranhas, threshers of all types, and nautili.
- Meld thumping triggers entirely different attackers, but they follow the same pattern.
In addition, every type of thumper will spawn several waves of Explosive Aranhas regardless of the terrain, and there will be a big wave of boss-level enemies at around 70-75% completion. For non-meld thumps, this boss wave will include some combination of terrorclaws, rageclaws and giant culexes; on the biggest thumpers you can be facing half a dozen terrorclaws, which can ruin your day fast if you’re not ready for them. 4 Bigger thumpers will also spawn a wave of enemies at 100% completion, which can interfere with sending back your thumper safely.
It’s also worth noting that hostiles in the vicinity of your thumper will attack it, even if they’re not spawned as part of the thumper encounter. This is potentially a problem when you have Chosen Strike Teams wandering past to attack a nearby tower; other enemies like Tanken bandits are also dangerous, but a group of Chosen can half-destroy a small thumper before you get the chance to save it.
Beyond this general advice, each frame approaches thumper defense differently, and it’s outside the scope of this guide to tell you how to play your battleframe. We recommend plenty of practise, by assisting other people and dropping your own thumpers.
With good equipment and plenty of experience and skill, it’s possible to complete a Heavy Personal Thumper solo. This is definitely high-end play and you shouldn’t worry if it eludes you for a while, but it’s a good example of what’s possible. You might find the following resources useful for refining your approach to placing and defending your thumpers. (The videos are frame-specific, but they also include strategy discussion that’s applicable to every frame.)
- BadlyBurned shows how to solo a Heavy Personal Thumper as a Bastion.
- BadlyBurned shows how to solo a Heavy Personal Thumper as a Raptor.
- BadlyBurned provides commentary while Silenciaco solos a Heavy Personal Thumper as a Firecat.
- Rawr4Firefall’s Guide to Tactical Thumper Placement.
- Rawr4Firefall’s Guide to Battleframe-Specific Thumping Tactics.
Thumpers and the Melding
Thumpers do not play nicely with the Melding. Like most in-game equipment, the Melding causes serious damage to thumpers. If you manage to place them beyond the Melding wall, they’ll be destroyed extremely quickly. Be careful when you place thumpers in the very north of New Eden; if a Repulsor Amplifier is currently active and pushing back the Melding, your thumper will be destroyed if it’s within the Melding once the Repulsor Amplifier deactivates.
Melding Tornados are drawn to thumpers, and can move towards them quite fast if they’re within a few hundred metres. As it approaches, a tornado will throw out blasts of melding energy at your thumper and nearby players, and if the tornado gets close enough to come into contact with your thumper, it’ll destroy it immediately. 5
Thumpers and Melding Pockets
You can thump for resources in the three new melding pocket zones, Diamond Head, Sargasso Sea and Antarctica. (Note that each of these zones has their own set of resource pools, so you can find and thump for different resource qualities there.) Check out our guide to accessing the melding pockets, and our article on resource pools and how they work, for more information.
Each of these zones has a range of unique new enemies to fight, as well as some familiar creatures from New Eden. Because of this, thumping can be quite different in each zone. In addition, the heavy attack waves don’t follow the same pattern as New Eden thumpers, so you’ll want to get some practice before deploying advanced thumpers in the melding pockets.
If you use addons, we recommend Thumper Monitor by Granite. It will display a small panel on your screen showing your thumper’s health and completion status. This is very helpful when you’re dealing with hectic fights and can’t keep your eye on the thumper’s SIN card all the time.
So that’s thumping in a (very large) nutshell. We’ll keep the guide updated as changes happen to thumping, and if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch!
- When a vein is depleted, a new resource vein will appear somewhere in the world. Thus it’s not impossible to have a new resource appear in the middle of a thumping session, on top of the vein you were previously thumping. Similarly, once you deplete a vein, you may find another one underneath. ↩
- Note that this means an AFK or absent player will contribute to faster node depletion without receiving any resources in compensation. There’s some community speculation that this may be a bug, but until it’s changed it’s probably a good idea to remove non-contributing players from your squad before you thump. ↩
- Red5 are also actively removing exploitable spots, and very much appreciate player assistance in identifying them. If you find a thumping exploit, please send in a report! ↩
- If your frame has a damage-oriented HKM ability, many people will recommend you save it to use on this wave to get the most dangerous enemies down fast. ↩
- You can sometimes temporarily lure a tornado away from your thumper by using other deployable items as bait — primarily engineer gear like turrets, supply stations and other placed equipment. Glider pads may also work. This doesn’t work for long, but it may give you enough leeway to complete your thumper and rescue it before it’s destroyed. ↩