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

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.

Renaissance FPS

Earlier this week we gave away a bunch of keys to the Renaissance Heroes closed beta. If you've been following this column for a while, you might recall that I mentioned it in a previous news roundup edition as something of an odd curiosity. It's clearly not an MMO given that it features 12 players, but it is an online multiplayer shooter built on Unreal 3 and featuring a unique 16th century setting (as well as uniquely appropriate weapons).

Changyou released another teaser video this week, and if you didn't manage to snag one of our beta keys, fear not! I did, and as such I'll be bringing you a detailed preview of the title in the very near future.

DUST 514

CCP released a new DUST 514 dev diary video this week. Part two of the Welcome to New Eden series is again aimed at newcomers to EVE Online's expansive universe. This time around we get a bit of backstory on DUST's mercenaries. Most of this stuff will probably go in one ear and out the other when it comes to the target console shooter audience, but I've always appreciated CCP's attention to detail when it comes to EVE lore.

The firm took the time to explain cloning, faster-than-light travel, and even universal timekeeping in EVE, and that tradition continues in DUST 514. The video also touches on DUST's fitting system, which differentiates the game from traditional role-based shooters by allowing extreme flexibility when it comes to kitting out your character and adjusting to a dynamic battlefield.

Finally, the clip pays a bit of lip service to DUST's weapon design, which again departs from the conventional shooter wisdom that seeks to replicate real-world weapons. CCP says that DUST mercenaries are basically immortal, and are thus more reckless with both their lives and the gear they're willing to throw at the enemy. "Any normal human, just picking up the [plasma] gun and shooting it would light them on fire," says art director Richard Dimond.

Tribes Disco

I don't know if John Travolta plays Tribes: Ascend, but the game's latest update could definitely use him as a spokesman. Staying Alive is bringing a host of changes to the free-to-play shooter, including three new weapons for the Brute class (the Gladiator, the plasma cannon, and the survival pack).

Also new in the Staying Alive patch is the ability to watch pro Tribes gameplay without leaving the client. Under the "play now" tab, you'll see a "watch now" button which leads to training videos, community videos, and livestreams. This last bit is particularly cool because Hi-Rez is going to stream live coverage of various pro tournament events as well as gameplay from some of the community's foremost players.

If you missed it

I've run out of slick videos to share, but there were a couple of other noteworthy pieces of shooter news this week that you may have missed. First up was the official confirmation of Bungie'sDestiny IP. According to documents leaked by the Los Angeles Times during its coverage of a game industry lawsuit, Bungie is hard at work on its sci-fi shooter followup to the venerable Halo franchise.

Details on the first game are practically non-existent, but there is plenty of fodder for speculation both in terms of its payment models and general MMO pedigree (is it or isn't it?). Bungie says the game will launch on the Xbox 360 next year, and it will be sold at retail. It will also feature subscriptions, microtransactions, and DLC in some form. Note that I said "first game" up there. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Destiny is that it looks to be some sort of long-running series.

Stay tuned.

Finally, updated its insider blog with a Q&A session focused on World of Warplanes. Highlights included editable aircraft skins (though for now, the changes will only be visible to you due to server-side issues), the lack of an in-cockpit view, and the potential for heavy and medium bombers (likely as NPCs, probably not in terms of player-controlled aircraft).

And that's all I've got for you this week. As I mentioned, I'll be heading to E3 in a couple of days, so look for some hands-on impressions with PlanetSide 2 and other shooter goodness over the next few Firing Lines.

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.