Red 5 Studios announces this Friday will be the first of three planned public beta weekends for Firefall, offering a 48 hour opportunity to play the upcoming MMOFPS. This will be open to all users, no key required. "After successfully completing a few controlled stress-tests late last year, we’re excited to move into the next phase," said James Macauley, Vice President of Development, Red 5 Studios. "This will be the first time that we’ve opened up Firefall’s servers to everyone. We’re really looking forward to gathering a bunch of new feedback and data that will help us build up to launch this year." This new trailer offers a look at gameplay, this page has all the details on the beta, and here's an itinerary for the beta weekend:
Skillshot Contest (Video) – Record and submit an epic skillshot video for a chance to win a prize pack filled with Firefall SWAG and Razer™ gear
Skillshot Contest (Screen) – Screencap a stylish skillshot for a chance at being featured on the official Firefall Facebook page
Community Unlock – Play during the weekend to unlock an exclusive, customized Battleframe decal
Livestream – Join a special episode of Firefall Live on TwitchTV to see Athene and Reese owning the competition with their own skillshots
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Well I say fuck the haters, Firefall is awesome. Not to mention the fact that it is still very much in development, with major things changing all the time. This is most definitely not one of your pseudo-betas of a near-complete game that you can treat like a demo... You're supposed to expect things to be in flux and rough around the edges while you play and TEST things, meanwhile the devs are very active on the forums and feedback is actually taken into consideration. They may be talking about moving into open beta this year, but it will be a while yet before they've implemented all of their incredibly ambitious ideas (such as the game world being a 1/10th scale replica of the planet Earth) and polished it to a sheen.
To give y'all some examples of major developments that have happened in the past year: Last spring they took out the traditional MMO leveling system of linear progression and replaced it with a more lateral system that offers more choice of what you unlock and when by treating XP earned as a currency. Then just recently they decided to separate PVE and PVP modes completely, meaning you won't be bringing your PVE gear into the PVP arena... So in addition to avoiding the usual MMO trapping of uneven stat advantages in what's supposed to be a primarily skill-based game, not having to worry about balancing skills and attributes that will be used against AI monsters so that it's all fair and equal for competitive multiplayer will save them a lot of headaches. Plus they will have a lot more freedom in creating fun and useful things to have for PVE.
I will grant you that there's not a whole lot of content right now beyond exploring the existing 10 square miles and blasting baddies, a handful of dynamic events, and thumping for resources, but rather than complain about that like a lot of the newbies on the forum lately, you should see my first point above about our role being playtesters and bug reporters. (Plus currently on deck are monthly content updates.) Not to say that I don't have plenty of fun when I play, and that's because this is a solid FPS first, with the MMO/RPG elements added on for flavor. As a fan of both genres, Firefall is really the only existing game that gives you real-time twitch shooter combat in an MMO PVE setting. That it's free to play with none of the bullshit restrictions or long grinds meant to encourage you to spend money, is just a bonus.
I was quite happy to buy the Commander founder's package last month (I might have otherwise gone with Lieutenant, but I couldn't resist the 25% off) just to support these guys, but the perks that come along with that are very much worth it if you're one to play a lot. I got $120 worth of red beans (the pay currency) to use on cosmetics and convenience items and a permanent 15% XP bonus that stacks with boosters. Anyone in my squad also gets a 10% bonus if they aren't a founder. Those are supposed to be going away sometime soon, too, so now would be the time to get in on it if you've been thinking about it. You definitely do not have to pay to get beta access, though, there are plenty of free invites people give out on the forums or elsewhere. I think I still have 5 of those myself, and they multiply exponentially because each new account gets 5, too.