GamesBeat

The top 5 MMOs of 2012 — and what they’re doing differently

Top 5 MMOs 2012

2012 will see some of the biggest releases ever in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game genre. GamesBeat has rounded up the most promising titles and asked their developers, “What makes your game unique?

You’ll also find beta information, minimum system requirements, and preorder bonus/collector’s edition details if applicable. Let’s begin!

Firefall

Developer: Red 5 Studios
Release date: TBD, 2012

Firefall MMO Beta 2012

Developer Red 5 Studios, which includes former Blizzard employees who previously worked on World of Warcraft, is self-publishing Firefall. Blending first-person shooter and real-time strategy aspects into the usual massively multiplayer formula, the game first left a “Borderlands MMO” impression; though, just leaving it at that would be selling the game short.

Firefall sets itself apart primarily via its sci-fi setting — a stark and all-too-rare contrast to the high fantasy-riddled MMO genre. Sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card has assisted with the game’s fiction while the former World of Warcraft team lead and Tribes lead designer have directed the gameplay. Set 200 years into the future, classes in Firefall are called Battleframes and can be switched out at set places, allowing any character to use any class in the game (similar to Final Fantasy XI). The Tribes influence comes by way of jetboots, which allow players to fly about exploring areas or killing giant, Starship Trooper-esque alien bugs.

To sweeten the pot, Firefall will be completely free. The game is already enjoying a closed beta that runs 24/7 with more and more invites constantly going out. Eventually, the closed beta will become open, and then the beta status will just drop off completely. It’s a brave way of introducing a game to market but one that has worked well for indie iOS developers and may pay dividends for Red 5 as well.

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What’s unique?
“[Firefall] takes the premise that a triple-A game can be given away for free and that an e-Sports quality shooter can be turned into a massive, persistent, online world experience,” says Red 5 Studios founder Mark Kern. “It represents a new experiment in online gaming, challenging nearly all the conventions of traditional MMOs in the relentless pursuit of fun.”

Preorder Bonuses:
Since Firefall will be free for everyone, there won’t really be a preorder bonus. But Red 5 plans to monetize the game with a microtransaction item mall and may award devout “testers” when the time comes.