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The Firing Line

The Firing Line: DayZ, Forge, and Rapid Assault

Betas, Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, The Firing Line

The Firing Line On DayZ, Forge, and Rapid Assault
A couple of interesting items came across The Firing Line desk this week. One of them was the fact that PlanetSide 2's beta will be cranking up inside of a month.

And there was much rejoicing.

OK, now that that's out of the way, the other items concern games that are decidedly smaller in scale but no less interesting. Join me after the break for a look at the latest from the devs behind World War II Online (or Battleground Europe, if you prefer), and a new title called Forge. Oh yeah, and 500,000 of you are playing something called DayZ.

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The Firing Line: Heroes & Generals dev talks planes, boats, and massive FPS action

Historical, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, Browser, The Firing Line

The Firing Line - Heroes & Generals interview
I've become fairly obsessed with Heroes & Generals lately. The browser-based World War II shooter-cum-strategy game is still in beta, but it's wicked fun to play (and to watch). If you missed our previous coverage, you'll need to know that H&G is the brainchild of Reto-Moto, a firm composed of Hitman franchise veterans based in Copenhagen.

Reto-Moto game director Jacob Andersen was kind enough to field a few of my questions regarding the title's claim to massive FPS action. He also talked at length about the merits of connecting with the fan community as well as the game's aerial, amphibious, and ground-based aspirations. Join us after the cut.

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The Firing Line: Three reasons to love PlanetSide 2

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, The Firing Line

The Firing Line Three reasons to love PlanetSide 2
So you've heard of this PlanetSide 2 thing, and you're fairly sure that some significant buzz is building. You know that Sony Online Entertainment wowed a lot of people with its demo at this month's E3, and you know that the game is a high-dollar sequel to one of our early genre stalwarts.

It's a shooter, though, and you're either not very good at shooters or not very enamored of their gameplay. The good news is that there's still room for you on the PS2 bandwagon, and there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the title even if it falls a bit outside your comfort zone.

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The Firing Line: Zomg it's almost time for PlanetSide 2 edition

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Opinion, Free-to-Play, DUST 514, Sandbox, World of Warplanes, The Firing Line

The Firing Line - news roundup edition
It's taking all of my willpower to avoid reducing this week's column down to four words: PlanetSide 2 hands-on. I guess technically that might be three words, or even two, depending on how you classify numbers and hyphens. The point, though, is that this time next week, I will have gotten my grubby little paws on Sony Online Entertainment's MMOFPS, and I'm so excited that little else matters.

OK, some stuff still matters, namely the interesting shooter news that happened this past week. Join me after the jump for a recap.

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The Firing Line: PlanetSide 2's Matt Higby on the MMOFPS revolution

Sci-Fi, PlanetSide, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, The Firing Line

The Firing Line interviews PlanetSide 2's Matt Higby
Sony Online Entertainment has begun carpet-bombing media outlets with publicity relating to its upcoming PlanetSide 2 MMOFPS. The game has been in development for quite a while now, but up until very recently the devs have kept a low profile. Now the title's Twitter feed is exploding on a daily basis, awe-inspiring alpha gameplay videos are finding their way into the public eye, and interviews abound.

I managed to get creative director Matt Higby's attention for a few moments, and he's got some interesting things to say about PS2's upside. Would you believe that MMOFPS is about to become a new industry buzzword? Read on after the break.

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The Firing Line: Epic SOE memories on PlanetSide's ninth anniversary

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, PlanetSide, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Opinion, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, The Firing Line, Anniversaries

The Firing Line - Epic SOE memories on PlanetSide's ninth anniversary
So PlanetSide is nine years old this week (nine!), and Sony Online Entertainment is journeying down memory lane to look back at its ground-breaking MMOFPS. The firm is of course hard at work on the sequel, but some of the devs have taken a time-out to share their favorite memories with us.

Though the word "epic" is overused in MMO discourse, it's a recurring theme here. Due to the size, scope, and sheer ambition on display in the original PlanetSide, it's actually appropriate too. While you're reminiscing with the devs, take a stroll through our side-by-side gallery that compares vehicles and equipment from the original PlanetSide with their counterparts in PlanetSide 2.

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The Firing Line: Hands-on with Heroes & Generals

Historical, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Hands-On (Massively's), First Impressions, The Firing Line

The Firing Line - Hands on with Heroes & Generals
During the first 10 minutes of my time with Heroes & Generals, I killed once, died twice, and drove a tank, a jeep, a half-track, and a bicycle (not necessarily in that order). I also rode shotgun on said tank and said jeep, manning a nifty vehicle-mounted machine gun in the process.

I marveled at the visuals, took way too many screenshots of my squadmates looking at the blow-away badass in-game map (it's the little things, amirite?), and generally had a helluva good time. Did I mention that all of this happened in a browser?

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The Firing Line: World of Warplanes producer talks matchmaking, progression

Betas, Historical, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Interviews (Massively's), World of Warplanes, The Firing Line

The Firing Line - World of Warplanes producer interview
Last week I talked a bit about a couple of flight sim shooters coming soon to a PC near you. One of them is World of Warplanes, the followup title to Wargaming.net's ubiquitous World of Tanks hit.

The World War II action MMO masters are slipping the surly bonds of earth with a new lobby-based battler that's currently flying through the early phases of its global alpha test. I had a few burning questions for the devs, including specifics on the matchmaking system, progression, and the possibility of historical scenarios. Producer Anton Sitnikau was gracious enough to answer those and more, so head past the break to see what he had to say.

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The Firing Line: 16th century fragging edition

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, The Firing Line

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What do War Thunder, World of Warplanes, Leonardo da Vinci, and Tribes: Ascend have in common? Not a whole lot aside from their respective appearances in this week's edition of The Firing Line.

Won't you join me after the cut for a rundown on some recent and notable online shooter news? If you're feeling particularly ornery, you can point and laugh at the fact that I'm still not in the War Thunder beta.

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The Firing Line: Hands-on with Firefall's beta

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, First Impressions, The Firing Line, Firefall

The Firing Line - Hands on with Firefall's beta
I'm dying on the beautiful beach outside Firefall's starter town. As I lay bleeding from a hundred holes and generally making a mess of my shiny new bumble bee-colored battleframe, my avatar collapses to the sand and says the funniest thing I've heard in a while.

"Grandpa!"

This is delivered in his best rural Georgia twang, and it lessens the sting of my latest newbie move. The whole scene is Firefall in a nutshell: It's fun, frustrating, and funny all at once.

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The Firing Line: Five reasons to love Tribes: Ascend

Historical, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, DUST 514, World of Warplanes, The Firing Line

The Firing Line - Five reasons to love Tribes: Ascend
Oh, Tribes: Ascend, if only you were an MMO.

Actually, wait a minute. When I think on it, if Hi-Rez Studios' new free-to-play sci-fi shooter were an MMO, I probably wouldn't like it as much. There's something to be said for frequent updates and instant gameplay gratification, and Tribes provides those things (and more) in spades.

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The Firing Line: World of Tanks first-anniversary retrospective

Historical, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, World of Tanks, The Firing Line, Anniversaries

The Firing Line - World of Tanks anniversary retrospective
We've been hearing about World of Tanks for so long that it seems crazy to think the title is just now celebrating its first anniversary. Sure enough, though, Wargaming.net's lobby-based multiplayer title is barely a year old. Well, OK. It's almost two years old if you count its summer 2010 beta release, which we won't since the title up there says first anniversary.

Anyhow, what's even scarier than the passage of time is the fact that World of Tanks (and the company behind it) is showing no signs of slowing down.

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The Firing Line: Firefall, Defiance, John Romero, and more

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, DUST 514, The Firing Line, Defiance

The Firing Line - Shooter news roundup
Dude, there was a ton of big shooter news this week!

I mean, this isn't terribly unusual, particularly since the genre is expanding at a rapid rate, but when I've got to cut interesting items out of this column for length reasons, you know it's been an eventful few days.

Join me after the break for a recap on everything from Firefall to Defiance to John Romero and beyond.

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The Firing Line: Can you hate EVE and love DUST?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Free-to-Play, DUST 514, Sandbox, The Firing Line

The Firing Line - Can you hate EVE and love DUST?
Hoo boy, CCP and EVE Online.

Wait, what? Isn't this Massively's shooter column? Well, yes, yes it is, and if you weren't already aware, CCP has made a shooter called DUST 514 set in the EVE universe. I bring this up for two reasons. One, I'm really looking forward to the game (as I might have mentioned last time). Two, CCP has taken some lumps in the PR department over the past couple of weeks primarily because of its annual alcohol-fueled sausage-fest.

I'm not going to rehash cyber-bully scandals today, but since e-thug players will undoubtedly have some sort of DUST presence, and since DUST shares certain unforgiving gameplay tenets with its sister title, should those of you who love sandbox shooters but hate EVE Online even bother with the game?

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The Firing Line: DUST 514 newsplosion edition

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, DUST 514, Sandbox, The Firing Line

The Firing Line - DUST 514 Fanfest 2012 highlights
Oh man, this back and forth between PlanetSide 2 and DUST 514 is going to be the death of me. I feel like I'm cheating on one game every time I get excited about the other, but I just can't help it since both titles are drawing a bead on my personal sweet spot.

This week's Firing Line is all DUST all the time, thanks to the massive info dump at last weekend's Fanfest 2012 event. I didn't get to go to Iceland for the hands-on, unfortunately, but I did log into PlayStation Home for the keynote livestream (which is archived after the cut in case you missed it).

And I'll go ahead and beg your forgiveness for my fanboy breathlessness in advance this week. I've been an EVE Online player for a number of years now, so I'm already enamored of both the DUST universe and CCP's propensity for sandbox mechanics. What I didn't know prior to Fanfest, though, was just how deep the rabbit hole's going to go.

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