Published on September 19th, 2011 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder

Firefall: King of the Free-To-Play MMOs?

The Firefall Booth at PAX 2011

When I think of Free-To-Play MMOs, I typically think of low-budget affairs that used to be the cream of the crop. Games like Asheron’s Call or Everquest that used to be the best there was to offer. Things have seemingly changed though, and it was more than proven to me in 15 minutes at PAX ’11.

The Introduction

When walking through the floor of PAX, there was no way to deny the blue glow of the Firefall area. And I absolutely mean “area” because they had a massive booth set up with oodles of PCs. Regardless of where you decided to get in line, the wait was crazy. There was a rep from Red 5 holding a box with figurines, so inevitably I asked:

“What are those for?” with a confused look on my face.
“These get handed out to anyone who tries out Firefall!” He said it with a smile, so I was kinda stoked about it and decided to hop in line.

There was a video crew there recording people’s reactions to the game, and they interviewed me before I got to play. Having never heard of the game before, I didn’t know what to expect, but it was still pretty cool that they’d want to interview me. This is when I found out that it was a Free-2-Play MMO shooter, which got me more than a little intrigued than I already had been.

Surely by now, you may be aware that I’m a big fan of shooters.

So I made the obvious choice: I started waiting in line. There were three or four people in front of me, so I thought to relax and settle in. That’s right about when I found out that the demo time was somewhere in the range of 10-15 minutes, but I’d already invested time so I figured to finish strong. Watching the flat screens give out little snippets of info and looping trailers was a pretty decent way to pass the time, and it seemed like a pretty neat game. It reminded me of Starcraft: Ghost a little, and that’s a great thing considering how stoked I was for that game.

While waiting, I couldn’t help but to notice the looks of the game. Great graphics, an expansive color palette, science-fiction elements and just an overall look of fun. Everything was so well put together that it still hadn’t sunk in that I was waiting to play a free game.

Free to play has been quietly known to mean “garbage” to many gamers, but Firefall looks to change that. By that point, I was both impressed and anxious to get my hands on it.

Time to Play

So cut time forward about an hour and I was at the front of the line. I created my character, then started the tutorial. The controls were simple and familiar – as they should be – and I felt comfortable after a couple minutes of training.

There were four classes to choose from: Assault, Medic, Recon and Engineer. Being the fun-loving sniper I am, I figured to start with Recon. While that was fun, I quickly switched over to Engineer and didn’t look back. Engineers have the capability of building turrets as in other squad based shooters, but they also have the capability of raising shields and upgrading both types of emplacements.

Right after getting comfortable with the controls, I grabbed a couple of quests and started shooting. After a couple minutes to get the quests down, other players rushed out and joined the fray, jump-starting a pretty good PvE battle.

Little did I know that this initial PvE battle was just the beginning. The demo ended with a major PvE battle with all classes joined together to battle off an attacking force with massive ships. To say that tensions were high would be an understatement, and it was then that I noticed my teammates coordinating attacks all around me. It was a blast.

The End..?

When all was said and done, we lost the battle, but my expectations of Firefall had been set. Free-to-Play has a new player in town, and it’s a fun, great looking addition. I can say without a doubt that Firefall is the most impressive free game I’ve ever seen. And I can’t wait for more.

In the meantime, check out the Firefall site and Red 5 Studios site / Twitter.

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About the Author

Deejay has been a gamer since the Atari 2600, has wrestled–and defeated–alligators with only his toes, and once aligned all the planets in the Solar System by uttering the words "Coo Coo Ka-Choo". In his sleep. He currently bides his time behind the scenes here at, streaming at and teaching.

2 Responses to Firefall: King of the Free-To-Play MMOs?

  1. Lightninstrikr says:

    Firefall and Skyrim are my number one most wanted games! Can’t wait for these bad boys to come suck my time away! 😛

  2. tk44 says:

    Been waiting for this since they popped their head out of their hole at PAX last year. This is the most excited I’ve been about a game in a long time (back to when I was a kid and anything excited me). They took every game type I like (except competitive puzzle-games… but I’ll forgive them this) and are taking the best of each into Firefall. Stylized art, Persistent world, character-building, epic PvE encounters, PvP, engaged developers and community and you throw in skill-based FPS at its core. COME ON. Come on… Every other game is just an appetizer at this point until the real meal shows up.

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