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Firefall reintroduces its open-world PvP

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, MMOFPS, Firefall

In the lead up to Firefall's official launch on July 29th, Red 5 Studios has released a new video outlining the game's open-world PvP.

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]

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Firefall to launch July 29

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Launches, PvP, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Firefall

Firefall's extended beta will soon be over as Red 5 Studios has announced that the MMO shooter will be launching on July 29th.

The free-to-play game has been gearing up for this launch with a series of dev blogs entitled Path to Launch that each spotlight a particular game feature that MMO shooter fans -- and general MMO fans -- may enjoy. "The update we are releasing for launch will be the largest update we have ever had," said James Macauley, CEO of Red 5 Studios. "It will quadruple the amount of world space in Firefall and add roughly 15-times the amount of content we have had previously in Beta."

Be sure to check out our own early impressions of the game and take a look at the official press release for more info on what to expect at launch.

Not So Massively: GTAO's update, Hearthstone's tourney, and LoL's Summoner's RIFT revamp

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Patches, PvP, News Items, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, Community Q&A, Post-Apocalyptic, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Firefall, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, The Division

Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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Firefall introduces personalized missions-on-demand

Betas, Sci-Fi, Previews, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, Firefall

With Firefall's official launch approaching, the devs are in a frenzy proclaiming the new features and systems that players will be seeing when that day arrives. In a new dev diary today, the team highlighted a personalized mission maker, called ARES.

ARES Jobs allow players to create and launch dynamically generated quests during downtime. Players can choose from several story and gameplay options, and the system will pull together a mission that can be completed solo in the game world. The devs promise that ARES jobs will keep mixing it up with objectives and locations to avoid any danger of the missions growing stale. There are reportedly "hundreds" of jobs, and if a player so desires, he or she could level up exclusively through ARES.

"ARES jobs also help to make the world feel more alive: in the current system, it is rare that you run into another player in the world by random chance," the devs wrote. "ARES missions take place in a number of predetermined locations, and dynamic events like tornados or crashed thumpers draw players to them in a predictable manner."

Firefall outlines progression on the path to launch

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Firefall

Yes, there's more to it than just shooting stuff but even more than before.
As Firefall approaches an official launch at long last, the game's design team is taking a look at the game as a whole and trimming up parts of the game that can be made better than they are. The newest development diary on the official site discusses doing just that with the game's progression system, a task accomplished by removing some systems, consolidating others, and generally making progress that much easier to understand all around.

As players go out and fight things in a given battleframe, the frame will level up, with new abilities coming regularly as you level. Frames will visibly improve as you increase in level, unlocking perks as you level up that can be used across all frames, with new abilities and weapons containing module slots for customization purposes. The new frame core equipment replaces the more fiddly systems of before, making it easier to slot in effects for improved jump jets or the like. Check out the full diary for all the details on how progression will be more straightforward for launch.

Ex-Red 5 staffers blast Mark Kern's 'destructive' behavior

Sci-Fi, Interviews, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Firefall

Mark Kern
If you wondered what was going on behind the scenes of Red 5 Studios turbulent past year, then a new exposé on Game Front might illuminate you.

Anonymous former employees of the Firefall studio allegedly came forward to spill the beans about mass layoffs, questionable decisions, and ex-CEO Mark Kern's erratic behavior. One person said that Kern's constantly shifting decisions caused severe stress on the team: "Months of work would be thrown out simply because he would change his mind, or he would have another 'revolutionary' idea."

Another anonymous ex-staffer said that Kern was worse than that: "When he did get involved in the production of the game itself he was simply destructive. He would swoop in one afternoon and berate a series of features several teams had spent months on, declaring they begin again and LISTEN to what he told them to do. He'd be back in a few days to see if it was done. This crushed morale, and forced people into spontaneous, isolated crunch mode. He would shout and scream his perspectives."

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip! Part three of the expose is now live as well.]

Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #10-1

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Lineage 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Ultima Online, LEGO Universe, Runes of Magic, Miscellaneous, Firefall, Jukebox Heroes, Music

We're finally here: my top 10 MMO theme tracks. I anticipate that out of all of the weeks, this will be the most controversial, since not only am I proclaiming the 10 best, but you'll realize which of your favorite games I've left out of the top 40 entirely.

A final reminder as to my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game. I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed earlier parts of this series, check out themes #40-31, #30-21, and #20-11. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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Firefall patch takes us to the kingdom of the Crystal Skull Pirates

Sci-Fi, Patches, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Firefall

A small update for Firefall is now live on the servers and with it comes a slew of small adjustments and additions including faster melee combat.

Patch 0.8.1745 reduced the cooldown of melee attacks from three to two seconds, while also making significant tweaks to the Electron battleframe. Get your Indiana Jones jokes in while you can, because the team has included Crystal Skull Pirates with this update as well. The pirates are rare enemies that offer up a special helmet if you can track them down and deliver a plasma-laced punishment.

Not So Massively: LoL update blocked by porn filter, Firefall's story campaign, and PoE's summoning skills

Betas, Video, Business Models, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Firefall, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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‚ÄčStar Citizen hit $37 million in crowdfunding this week, unlocking the strange new Tanga solar system in a rectangular planetary nebula. In the latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter, developers revealed plans for the upcoming multiplayer alpha stage, the travel and trading alpha, and the eventual full beta release. Red 5 Studios secured $23 million in funding for additional development on Firefall and revealed plans to launch in 2014 with a full story campaign.

Several League of Legends players in the UK have reported that innocuous game files in the latest patch are being inadvertently blocked by the new country-wide internet pornography filter. Heroes of Newerth indulged lore-hounds this week with a new content website for artwork and game fiction. Diablo III's latest public test realm patch doubled the drop rate of legendary items, and developers clarified that XP gain for players grinding paragon levels will be drastically increased in the next update. And Path of Exile revealed the four new summoning skills coming in patch 1.0.6 that will make necromancer Witch builds a lot more viable.

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Firefall developer secures $23 million in funding

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Legal, MMOFPS, Firefall

Bright skies might be ahead for Red 5 Studios: the Firefall developer announced today that it secured $23 million in additional funding. Red 5 said that it entered into share purchase agreements for the funding from Shanghai Oriental Pearl Culture Development Co. and shareholders.

Red 5 Acting CEO James Macauley pointed to the influx of cash as a sign that the battle-worn company is moving forward: "This additional round of funding will offer us the means to execute on our plan for successfully launching Firefall in 2014. This is the year Firefall takes flight. The entire Red 5 tribe is focused on creating top quality content that will take Firefall to the next level and we are excited for this next stage of development."

The studio has plans to create a new story campaign for Firefall, take the fight to the Chosen, and reveal some of the burning secrets that have been in the game.

[Source: Red 5 press release]

Free for All: My three favorite MMOFPS games have a shoot-out

Sci-Fi, Video, Culture, Game Mechanics, PvP, PvE, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, Casual, MMOFPS, Humor, Free for All, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Defiance, Firefall, Buy-to-Play

MMOFPS screenshots
I love a good MMOFPS or MMOTPS. A good one. Currently, I have three favorites: PlanetSide 2, Defiance, and Firefall. I have enjoyed other shooters in the past, games like Mechwarrior Online and APB: Reloaded and even a handful of standalone titles. There's something in a shooter that satisfies on a primitive level, some sort of textural quality that when done right can generate a good gaming session of zoned-out, open-mouthed pleasure. There's something even cooler about a multiplayer version of the same genre. I don't mind killing baddies alone, but blasting the face off of a monster is a lot more fun with dozens of other players around.

As you can see, I have a problem. Let's forget the fact that I play way too many MMOs as it is because between these three games I can easily kill a weekend and leave no room for games that I need to write about. That means I need to pick a favorite. Let this be a shootout to determine which MMOFPS will be my home. My awesome, loud, deadly home.

I've nominated three categories and will pick a winner for each. May the best shooter win!

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Jukebox Heroes: Firefall's soundtrack

Sci-Fi, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Firefall, Jukebox Heroes, Music

There's something about militaristic science-fiction shooters that brings out the piano in the composer, isn't there? That's what I was thinking when I first heard one of the Firefall themes. Not that the track was bad, just that it made me wonder why these simple piano themes have been linked to such games. Oh, it's probably because of Halo, but I'd like to think that there are greater reasons than that.

So this week we're going to be taking a crash course on the Firefall soundtrack. As far as I know, composers Michael Bross and Boon Sim's score isn't available to buy or download anywhere, so the avid video game score collector is going to have to do a little digital yoga to coax those files out of the library. I think it's worth hunting around for it, as Firefall's music is an obvious labor of love and a desire to create a quality product.

"Initially, we experimented with something that was mostly synth-driven and atmospheric," Bross said in an interview, "but then there was a desire from the team to have something that leaned toward the orchestral. Over time, though, we settled into something that combined both orchestral and modern elements that lend very well to an epic but atmospheric feel."

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Firefall getting 'rare legendary weapon drops,' lots of other stuff [Updated]

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Firefall

Did you catch Red 5's dev round table on Twitch earlier today? I didn't either, but fortunately the Firefall Twitter account susses out several of the more interesting tidbits.

The team mentioned the MMO shooter's revamped progression curve, which has changed to the point that "you will feel the difference." In-game mailboxes, separate chat channels, "rare legendary weapon drops," and clicking-on-player-names-to-whisper are just a few of the features in the works. The game's HUD is now drag-and-droppable, and the crafting UI has a new and less confusing layout.

There's more where that came from, too, so click through the links below to read all about it.

[Update: The official site has updated with a dev blog outlining the Q&A!]

Free for All: The confused state of Firefall's first few hours

Betas, Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Casual, MMOFPS, Humor, Free for All, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, Firefall

Firefall screenshot
As part of my research for an upcoming article about MMO shooters, I have been playing a lot of Firefall. There are definitely worse assignments in the world. I really, really enjoy the game; I love the fact that I can do almost anything I want even within a short play session and feel as if I accomplished something. Of course, the current enlightened state I am in does not reflect the game's non-newbie-friendly designs. As a matter of fact, the only place I was able to turn for reliable explanations and non-stop answers was a reader of Massively who recognized my name in the chat.

This reader and I have played together several times, and he went out of his way to answer all of the newbie questions that should have been answered by the game. I know that the developers have said (through Tweets to me and in other places) that a better newbie experience is on its way. There are also friendly little helper robots sprinkled throughout the game and a handful of helpful videos that can be found as well.

So why are so many new players still confused about Firefall?

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Not So Massively: Diablo III's Nephalem Rifts, PoE season six, and Firefall's ex-CEO comes under fire

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Casual, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Firefall, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Path of Exile

Not So Massively title image
There's just one day left to sign up to Star Citizen's Next Great Starship game modding competition, and 198 teams have signed up to compete. Following the recent delay of the dogfighting module, players who missed the livestream got an early peek at the delayed and buggy combat gameplay when the full video was uploaded to YouTube this week. League of Legends was hit with its own scary bug this week that appears to make players on the other team teleport across the map toward you.

Blizzard has now confirmed that the Nephalem Rifts feature coming to Diablo III will now be exclusive to Reaper of Souls expansion holders rather than the free update accompanying the game. Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games announced that its sixth race season will begin on January 10th, and players have recently discovered some odd stats spawning on fishing pole items originally thought to be worthless. And Firefall's ex-CEO Mark Kern defended himself on Twitter this week, stating that he wasn't fired but instead resigned after losing his status as CEO. Developers working under Mark have been writing about their discontentment with his command style this week on Glassdor and Reddit.

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