The Firing Line: All the shooter news that's fit to print

Jef Reahard
J. Reahard|11.18.11

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The Firing Line: All the shooter news that's fit to print
The Firing Line - header graphic with various shooter avatars
Welcome back to The Firing Line, folks. I'm still putting out a few flames from last week's how-dare-you-call-this-an-MMO smackdown, and rather than fuel that particular fire by telling you that I've been playing a lot of World of Tanks (oh, did I say that?), I figured I'd take a high-level look at what's been happening with a few of the larger MMO shooters (and quasi-MMO shooters) over the last couple of weeks.

Despite my best efforts, we're still stuck with lore updates and insignificant PR when it comes to PlanetSide 2, though we did snag a few new screenshots recently. Things have also been quiet when it comes to Global Agenda and a few of my other favorite titles. Not to worry, though. Hi-Rez is moving right along with its Tribes: Ascend beta, and you can read about that and more in my news roundup after the break.

PlanetSide 2 - New Conglomerate Vanguard tanks
PlanetSide 2 banner
The past few days saw Sony Online Entertainment's marketing department focus heavily on PlanetSide 2's New Conglomerate faction. Gameplay details were scarce, but we did get a one-minute video clip featuring some revolving shots of various in-game assets including the Vanguard, Reaver, gauss rifle, mag shot pistol, and various pieces of NC armor.

Massively also sat down with creative director Matt Higby for a brief chat on NC-related minutiae. Though we were restricted in terms of what sorts of questions were allowed, we did manage to find out that the devs are looking to allow cross-faction chat. Finally, we snagged a few gorgeous screenshot exclusives (including the Vanguards above), which you can see in our PlanetSide 2 gallery.

DUST 514 banner
The last few weeks have been pretty quiet when it comes to DUST 514 news. While CCP has been churning out EVE Online press blurbs on a daily basis (and gearing up for the recently dated Crucible expansion), the New Eden shooter news has been limited to a couple of vehicle-centric teasers and a brief techhead article on the game's scaling issues.

The most interesting bit of DUST-related news dropped just before I started writing this column, but it's worth highlighting here again in case you missed it: Develop hosted a lengthy interview session with CCP's Thor Gunnarsson in late October, and the piece plays up DUST's revolutionary symbiosis with EVE. Also noteworthy is Gunnarsson's acknowledgment of the fact that shooters are generally casual/accessible games, while the universe of New Eden is quite the opposite.

DUST remains one of the more interesting MMO shooters coming down the pike for a variety of reasons, and the Develop interview is required reading if you're even the least bit curious.

Firefall banner
Firefall has had a similarly low-key stretch of late, with the devs (and those lucky enough to be in the game's beta) focusing squarely on getting the title ready for a wide release. The most recent dev update hinted at ongoing work on the title's open world aspects, and Red 5 also released a new trailer at last week's G-Star gaming convention in Korea.

Tribes Ascend banner
Hi-Rez's Tribes reboot has been in closed beta since November 4th, and yours truly has been logging a fair amount of playtime ahem, testing time since then. The first significant patch came our way on November 10th, and the big news was the removal of speed caps on the game's signature skiing mechanic. As a result, Ascend plays a lot faster, and Hi-Rez is on the road to addressing one of the major complaints of Tribes franchise veterans.

The patch also introduced two new maps. First up is a night version of a zone called Drydock for the title's rabbit game type, followed by a day version of the same Drydock map for the capture-the-flag game type. A second major patch debuted yesterday, and added yet another map (Bella Omega) as well as the ability to test all of the game's classes via the roaming maps feature on the training menu (regardless of whether you've actually unlocked/purchased the class or not).

Tribes' closed beta is more open than most, and you can basically buy your way into it by pre-ordering the game. It'll set you back $29.99, but you'll get a lifetime VIP account as well as a 30-day booster and 3,000 gold for your trouble (which can be spent on various class unlocks and upgrades). Did I mention that all of your beta character progression will be retained when the title officially launches?

Combat Arms Zombies banner
Continuing off the beaten MMO path for a bit, Nexon came out with an interesting piece of news regarding a mobile version of its popular Combat Arms shooter. Combat Arms: Zombies is coming to Tegra 3 Android devices, and the company also released a cinematic trailer that makes use of the game's Unreal 3 engine.

I'm still rather puzzled regarding the ongoing cultural fascination with brainsucking undead, but I do want to get my hands on this title, if only to see how it stacks up to its desktop predecessor.

And that's all I've got for you this week. Join me in seven days for another peek inside the world of MMO shooters (and a few detours into those pesky this-isn't-an-MMO titles as well).

The Firing Line's Jef Reahard has a twitchy trigger finger, a love of online shooters, and an uncanny resemblance to Malcolm Reynolds. OK, maybe not, but at least if he ever kills you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing him, and you'll be armed.
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