If imaginative fiction has taught us anything, it's that the fun doesn't really begin until the world ends. Post-apocalyptic games are all the rage these days, from Earthrise to Fallen Earth, so it's not surprising to see another company throw its hat into the ring. Burda:ic may not be a household name, but it's hoping that its upcoming MMO, ARGO Online, will be.

Achim Kaspers, the managing director at burda:ic, was overflowing with information about ARGO's unique look and business model. ARGO is planned to be a free-to-play title, although Kaspers is well aware of the stigma that typically goes along with that. He admits that many F2P games are lacking in content or are grind-heavy, fates he hopes ARGO will avoid with thousands of quests, fluid combat animation and plenty of places to explore.

Billed as a "post-apocalyptic steampunk MMO," ARGO features a futuristic Earth divided between nature and technology. The Noblians are all over cool-looking steampunk devices and vehicles, while the Floresslah have united with nature to become its champions. We've been following ARGO since last year, so we're excited to hear that the title is scheduled to start its open beta tomorrow.

Hit the jump for more of the good word on ARGO from GDC as well as a special treat for Massively readers!
Because ARGO is mostly PvP-centric, the studio is placing a strong emphasis on faction pride to foster the conflict. As a result, once you pick a faction, you're bound to that faction across your account (you'll have to create a second free account to play the opposing faction).

Another effect of the competitive nature of the game is that players will find themselves competing with the enemy in PvP dungeons, likened to Dark Age of Camelot's Darkness Falls. Some areas will reward winners by turning local mobs hostile against the opposing faction -- and friendly toward yours.

However, ARGO will safeguard newbies for a while, offering them a PvP-free starting area to get their game-legs and figure out the game. ARGO has six classes divided between traditional MMO roles -- tanks, support, healing, magic, pets and ranged -- and will take players up to level 50. Players also have the option to engage in side professions, from fishing to potion-making, to enhance their play.

This ravaged vision of Earth is quite expansive and will require special mounts to traverse. Unlike many other MMOs, ARGO features mounts that can seat up to 11 players and have combat options (such as side machine guns). Because of the nuclear fallout, many of the monsters that players encounter in this world will be mutated versions of real-world animals or even fused creations that combine two or more creatures.

If you're an achiever or an explorer, ARGO has a couple nifty features that should please. Every time a player hits a significant goal -- reaching level 20 or getting their first PvP kill -- the game automatically takes a screenshot and saves it to their profile. Players can also earn special titles for unique achievements, and unlike many MMO titles, these come with small but significant stat bonuses attached.

And as for that special treat we mentioned? Tomorrow morning on Massively we'll be giving away scores of beta keys for any and all who want to check out this game, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out some in-game footage below:

This article was originally published on Massively.