Formal PvP takes place in a separate zone called Broken Peninsula, where players are divided into corporate teams to beat the crap out of each other over resources, territorial bases, and a series of outposts and watchtowers that grant their holders special bonuses. NPCs called the Chosen do their best to interfere with players along the way.
How soon can a newcomer participate? "Firefall's open world PvP is primarily intended to be end-game content," says the studio, but skilled lowbies can "make an impact" at their own peril. Check out the video after the cut.
[Source: Red 5 press release]