FireFall

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FireFall is a 3D, open world Sci-Fi MMO Shooter with team based gameplay. Set in a persistent world, Firefall takes place 200 years in Earth’s future. Players must stop the Melding and fight for humanity’s survival against the alien armies of The Chosen. With stunning visuals and a great development team behind it, Firefall promises to transform the MMOFPS genre.

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Publisher: Red 5 Studios
Playerbase: Medium
Graphics: High Quality
Type: MMO Shooter
EXP Rate: Medium
PvP: Open World PvP Zone
Filesize: ~15 GB

Pros: +Lead by a proven development team. +A shooter with a persistent world. +Unique graphic style. +Cooperative and competitive gameplay. +Complex class customization with freedom to swap between them. +Detailed crafting.

Cons: -Repetitive dynamic quests. -Slightly cartoonish graphics may deter some players. -Many good ideas existing in pockets that need more content to flesh them out.

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Overview

Firefall Overview

Firefall is set 200 years in Earth’s future where (and when) humanity is on the brink of annihilation at the hands of an insectoid alien race. Several persistent world MMOFPS games like PlanetSide, Global Agenda, and Tabula Rasa have come and gone but Firefall has put in the time and development effort to transform the genre. With a stellar development team whose members include the team lead of World of Warcraft and lead designer of Tribes, Firefall promises high production value and a sleek, original art style. Players will be able to work cooperatively to overcome alien forces, or take part in a variety of competitive multiplayer game modes. Choose from among many specialized battleframes (classes), customize them with specific loadouts that can be swapped on the fly, and then battle forward in dynamically changing content with allies at your side.

Firefall Screenshots

Firefall Featured Video

FireFall – Refresher

Full Review
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)

 

This last week I spent my time playing a long awaited game by the name of FireFall. FireFall has been in development for almost four years now publicly, and its actual beginnings stretch back even further than that. After many years of beta testing with tons of rollbacks, content implementation and removal, and other intensive reworks, today marks the day that Red 5 Studios finally puts the seal of approval on a full launch. Because of the extended development time and pre-emptive Founder Pack sales, FireFall’s history is a rather rocky one with a hype train appearing as more of a series of waves rather than a steady build up. As such I went into my launch coverage expecting them to need to nail it out of the park if they want to build enough momentum to regain the spotlight in the extremely competitive MMO field today. In essence it’s nearly a metaphor of the fall of human ambition and rebuilding from near total destruction that is found in the game’s storyline. So begins our review.

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One thing you can be sure of when a game has had a long development stage, is that the story usually is better than the average localized MMO ported from Asia. FireFall goes above and beyond the call of duty, going so far as to pair its story with an outside high quality e-comic. In terms of the built in story, you find yourself as a fresh recruit following the crash of the Arclight, an enormous space ship meant to allow humans to traverse the stars, yet ironically opening a gateway that brings beings from far beyond our realm to Earth with the intent of extermination and terraformation of the planet.

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This terraforming comes in the form of the Melding, the most genius idea devs have yet produced as a replacement to MMORPG’s invisible outer walls, but in terms of story acts as a poisonous miasma trapping the human survivors in an isolated area where the alien creatures can pick at them without much fear of counterstrikes. While for the most part these are unintelligent beasts only looking for a meal, the intelligent life forms known as The Chosen are mirrors of humanity, packing similar technology and a goal of claiming all of Earth as their own. Got a problem with that? Then it’s time to strap yourself into a robotic type of armor, pick your weapon of choice, and bring back peace to Copa Cabana and New Eden with the ultimate goal of pushing the Melding back to begin a campaign to reclaim Earth.

In the colorful Brazilian landscape you will be able to take control of several battleframes consisting of five battleframe categories. Dreadnaughts and Assaults are ideal for players able to keep cool under pressure, as they act as the tank and melee dps of this shooter respectively. If you’re more of a support minded player, you can grab a Biotech, a series of battleframes specialized in healing and buffing techniques. But no worries, even medics in this game can carry machine guns for solo time fun. Tactical minded players will find joy in the Engineer frames, offering plenty of chaotic deployables ideal for holding down an area or ambushing unsuspecting foes. Finally if you have a steady hand and prefer to keep it clean, you can suit up as a Recon to kill your foes before they ever know you’re there. When you first are thrown into the tutorial simulation you are shown what each battleframe is capable off and what their role in the war is. While you can only obtain one of the starter suits for free, as you continue playing you can eventually unlock them all and plenty more without having to pay a dime into the cash shop, and switch classes to enjoy all the thrill of an Alt without the social connectivity mess that comes with making new characters.

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FireFall clearly stands out from the MMORPG pack due to its heavy emphasis on shooter mechanics. Controlling your character is standard fair that any experienced online gamer will pick up immediately, with WASD keys combining with your mouse and a series of hotkeys for the majority of controls. Instead of simply clicking on your enemies and using one of your skills, you will have to aim everything as skill shots, and FireFall is not forgiving of sloppy conduct. Combined with your signature battleframe jetpacks, landing consistent damage on a foe while staying one step ahead of their attacks can be an exhilarating and challenging experience. Unfortunately this is also the first point against FireFall I have as the majority of PvE objectives involving hovering above hordes of foes shooting down at them with relative immunity. Later on a few foes have counters to this tactic, but it renders a large majority of the game easier than it should be.

The combat is fun, though may not be for everyone. The over emphasis on bunnyhopping (bunnyhovering?) may appeal to some shooter fans while putting off others. MMORPG gamers used to gaming systems to advance on the other hand will be in paradise with the creative ways you can tackle objectives and confuddle the AI long enough to take them out before your shields take a beating. At the same time, as you progress foes seem to be scale up in power unexpectedly fast to compensate for the player’s ability to game the systems. Trying to reclaim earth by bunnyhopping around is an odd way to do it, but if it works why not.

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Previously a major issue with FireFall was the overemphasis on Thumping for resources to constantly craft better gear with no real purpose. Thankfully the launch has introduced a massive amount of new jobs to break up this monotony, and give players a new reason to team up. After only an hour of playing you are already thrown into a group quest that automatically puts you with other players in an instanced world to experience how much more fun it is playing this game with others rather than alone. The challenges you will face get harder, and the more you take control of an area, the stronger the enemies get. And in no time you will be teamed up with other players taking down the monsters that are a few sizes bigger than the biggest battleframe available. Trust me, there’s some pretty massive Dreadnaughts out there and seeing them getting dwarfed can be an intimidating experience.

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A second issue addressed in the launch was FireFall’s lack of end-game content and namely lack of PvP. What’s the point of leveling and obtaining the best gear if you never have any chance to test it on another thinking human player? Well now there’s an entire gigantic continent of lawless bliss for you to go hog wild. Here players can ignore the looming extinction of humanity for a while as they blast each other down harder than even the Chosen could dream of. Within Broken Peninsula, players are grouped into teams tasked with guarding resource transport facilities as well as venturing into the frontier to secure valuable resources via Thumping. This is more accurately described as PvPvE as all the dynamic world events you’ve come to expect in your travels will be present to ensure that even an unopposed Thumping session may result in some excitement. Players can even build base defenses, or assault and capture multiple bases from rival teams to make Broken Peninsula into one of the most profitable end-game ventures in the game, assuming your team can prove they are the top dogs online at the time.

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When you need a break of fighting against each other or The Chosen, and your bank inventory is filled to the brim with rare resources, you can dive into the expansive world of crafting. Throughout the game you will find craftable resources that can be used to make yourself a new set of tools as well as upgrade your existing equipment. Change your battleframe with different components, weapons, and abilities and make yourself unique over the rest. Getting a rather rare set of gear and hitting various achievements to unlock special passives can go quite a ways towards ensuring that even two players utilizing the same battleframe have quite a bit of individuality in playstyle and strengths. Crafting is streamlined and mostly a matter of waiting for timers to tick down (which you can be offline during or enjoying the action of the gameplay during) and as you level, you can unlock the ability to craft more objects at once/research new recipes. Crafting is nothing new in the perspective of the MMO industry as a whole, but when comparing it to other online shooters, FireFall is breaking new ground in customization.

The final piece that’s breaking new ground with the launch is the addition of some serious PvE challenges into the game. If you want to shine among your friends and guildies, the Campaign system will add more scripted gameplay action with plenty of tough objectives and tricky bosses to the mix. Teamwork will be tested greatly in these five man gauntlets. On the other hand larger groups of twenty can showcase their individual skill against Titan Raids, such as Kanaloa, where even the environment around you will be out to kill you! Fat loot of course is waiting to reward your dedication and risk taking.

 

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Conclusion: Great

FireFall is a game that seriously mixes the shooter and RPG genre into one game and does this extremely well. Right off the bat you are thrown into a war packed with action, and addiction sets in whether you’re a fan of either genre. Since the game is completely free to play, there are a few ways of spending money that will help you out, though roughly 90% of the cash shop is focused on making your appearance more unique. You will also be able to buy cool looking mounts, awesome and cute pet companions, and some custom paint jobs to pimp your battleframe ride. Overall FireFall is hitting all the points they set out to achieve with launch, and its only weakness remaining is it just needs more of what it’s pushing. More Titans, more PvP methods, additional fully voice acted Campaigns, and the promised expansions by pushing back the Melding should come with time, and eventually up our rating of FireFall to our highest level. If you are a big fan of MMOs and like the way this game is played then I can definitely recommend you to check it out, because it truly is an action packed game that was worth the wait. And now it needs a steady playerbase to continue its development to reach the potential we’ve waited four years to see realized.

Previous Write-up:

Firefall Version 1 Launch Preview

By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), Omnidyne Biotech Lobbyist

 

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It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been promised the moon by Red 5 Studios and sat by idly (or quite actively for some of the diehard fans) waiting for delivery of what we envisioned as a true MMOFPS/TPS delivering all the content we love in MMORPGs with the crisp visceral feel of a shooter. Yet year after year, I looked into FireFall and found the same old Thumper Simulator Online waiting for me. Go out, gather resources, build towards progression that didn’t matter as it would be deleted and reworked a few patches later in a game that showed no signs of stepping out from the eternal abyss of the melding that trapped its own game world.

And then all at once, there was nothing. Rumors of a CEO change. Radio silence on updates. If you weren’t willing to dig into their forum for side comments from a developer, you might have worried that FireFall was finally fizzling out. Yet within the cocoon, the Tribe was busy at work building out the launch ready version. To make one last and loud surprise marketing push to bet the bank on. Suddenly the invite to visit Red 5 Studios arrived in my inbox after an almost unnoticed Youtube teaser series of major updates to come. I went expecting to see what a team of disheartened tired developers would look like, and instead found enthusiasm on levels rarely seen in the MMO industry.

Does this guy seem broken and jaded to you? That’s passion in dem eyes!

 

So what did I see behind those closed doors? It’s time to break down the 4x world size expansion and 15x content expansion that’s set to finally push this rocket into orbit.

 

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New Player Experience

If there’s one thing everyone in gaming today can agree on about Red 5 Studios, it’s that they have a knack for cinematic flair. Finally FireFall’s new player experience reflects that flair with a new simulation tutorial that throws you straight into the heat of a new public instance called Wages of Sin. Expect the high quality chatter of fully voice acted NPCs shouting in your ear as the signature city of FireFall, Copacabana, burns to the ground from a Chosen invasion. It’s in essence a brilliant reformation of an old dynamic public quest rescripted into an awesome and informative tutorial instance that keeps all the glory of being an MMO intact. I saw HP bars dropping fast even with the devs playing as well, so new players should be jarred into realizing that this isn’t an auto-combat MMO they just dropped into.

While it’s not technically part of the newly added new player experience, those that have touched the game in the past but haven’t in a few months or years, will notice the stark improvements in graphics. While the game still carries its distinct art style that has persisted since day 1, the textures, draw distance quality, battleframes, and explosions have all received ample amounts of love. We’ll see how optimized it is for the masses in our launch review but on the high-end machines on hand at Red 5 Studios, maximum graphics saw no slowdowns whatsoever.

Perhaps the best part of the new player experience though is the dynamic feeling of picking your first battleframe. Like meeting Professor Oak in the middle of the warzone, this time you will go in prepared with information that you didn’t need to glean off outside websites beforehand. All five base battlesets are available from the start to, so you can custom craft your tutorial experience by matching it with your chosen playstyle from the start.

 

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Going Beyond Thumping

Once through the tutorial, you will find the Ares initiative to have grown beyond most MMO’s questing offers. No longer will you feel lost in a world of endless thumping for random resources as beginner quests with Ares will lead you to new zones and challenges, whether alone or with friends. All the RPG elements are present now from proper and simplified advancement systems that make each time you level a battleframe feel rewarding, to fleshed out reputation systems that at times may make you face the tough choices in who you really side with in the final days of humanity.

Of course these are just the rails set out before you to guide you towards action. Once you’re outside the (relative) safety of towns, you will find a constant array of randomly spawned events tickling your ADD into straying off the beaten path. But the FireFall team seems to despise the idea of scripting randomness. W + X + Y = Z seems to be a more apt description.

Say the random event is a drop pod flying out of the melding and crash landing in a zone. Suddenly monsters swarm around it and start feeding off its fuel, distorting into monstrosities that need to be dealt with. Only problem is if you want to take out the drop pod, you’ll have to deal with the Chosen patrolling the landing site trying to keep their foothold down long enough to cause some real havoc. The drop pod is W. It happens at a set interval. The location is lands is X, and terrain changes can be a serious matter in a game involving line-of-sight shooter mechanics and plenty of rocket powered jump questing. The actual monsters that spawn is Y, as the dynamic event will evaluate where said event happens, and spawn creatures (out of sight to feel realistic) to match the difficulty level and type of creatures in the area, making Z overall feel quite refreshing and not at all immersion breaking.

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This method of design applies to even the Ares quests as well, as locations and order of events can change each time you play the same quest on a different battleframe. Ideally this prevents sites from offering perfect guides that let you sleep through the content, as new tweaks in the challenge will be present each time to make you think dynamically. And the game is not forgiving, so be sure to pay attention to context clues. If your superiors feel seismic activity beneath your feet, you best move if you don’t want to be part of an epic landslide. If your foes are taunting about a bomb, it’s time to go. Don’t be a standard MMORPG plebian and wait till there’s a timer ticking or you will find yourself very dead. This merging of skill-based combat, hardcore design challenges, and smart dialogue come together to provide a themepark I don’t mind buying a speed pass for.

 

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Campaigning with Meaning

While this feels meaningful and fun as a method of progression, Red 5 Studios takes the formula and turns it up to 11 with the introduction of story driving Campaigns. In a nutshell, they’re story-driven MMORPG style epic dungeons that are there more to explain the world around you than existing to progress you to end-game. But to be clear, we’re talking about pistachios, not peanuts. From start to finish its clear that everything from the lore to the mechanics were well put together as this is a key feature meant to sell new and old time players on the launch.

To my surprise, version 1.0 is packing a full 8 part campaign that will take players straight into the melding to discover the dark side of not only the Chosen, but of people in a post-apocalyptic world. If you love settings like Walking Dead more for the human interaction than the gore, this game is going to appeal to you. And of course if you just want to show you’re the hottest shooter west of the melding curtain, you’ll have your chance as campaigns are going to push you to the limits. Well maybe not as hard as the upcoming raid content will, but it’s certainly a training ground for the horrors to come at end-game.

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Though the key difference here versus the raids I’ll get to in a moment is the choices offered. Even in this scripted world, you will have a few challenges available to you to impact the outcome of levels. If you’re pugging on Mission 6: Power Grab for instance, you might just rush straight into the enemy’s base as quickly as possible. But if you have a coordinated group that can handle a 50/50 split, you can showcase your small group skills to disable some of the enemy’s defensive technology, to ensure an easier final fight. And when you see Chronus at the end of Mission 8, you’ll be glad to have pushed your limits as that monster won’t be going down easy.

 

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Raiding – It’s not done right if you’re not sweating

Now lately I have been a little bored with so-called raiding. Why? Well in a word, WildStar introduced the challenge and complexity that raids should be. So imagine my surprise when Red 5 Studios brought us six members of the press into a room on the fifth floor to team up with the developers on a 20 man raid, and half an hour later my heart was pounding out of my chest like it hasn’t in months! The giant lava worm Kanaloa is no joke, and it will take some skill and well-crafted gear to bring the beast down.

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So what’s the deal? Well you’re in a volcano with a floor made of lava. No the lava doesn’t instantly kill you, but it’s certainly something you don’t want to spend more than six seconds in. The surrounding walls of the arena are filled with jagged, sloped, and otherwise inconvenient rock sculptures put together by a designer huddled in a dark room somewhere that enjoys the taste of tears. Oh and as if it wasn’t hard enough to stay on solid ground as things are, the lava rises as the fight progresses.

Too simple you say? Ok how about playing a team-based game of Asteroids while you hop and skip out of range of the ever rising lava? Yup Kanaloa spits giant lava rocks all over the place. Now shooting them can slightly change their direction, but eventually they explode into more rocks just like in Asteroids. And if any of those rocks manages to strike the side wall of the room, they go off like a bob-omb in Smash Bros, decimating your health and likely sending you into a tricky momentum filled struggle as you burn every last ounce of your energy trying to rocket back to solid ground.

Final piece of the puzzle to singe your hair is of course Kanaloa’s fire spray. See you need distractors to take agro on this beast, but if the worm faces you it means you have roughly five seconds to jet away before he sprays a solid stream of fire across roughly 1/6th of the room. I enjoyed watching a quarter of our raid group go down in flames in the first thirty seconds of both attempts against Kanaloa from this attack alone. Granted agro will constantly flip around as his only weak spots are on his back, so expect to play a hot and heavy game of musical rock sculptures the whole way through the fight.

 

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Broken Peninsula – The PvP Realm

Now perhaps the most controversial, but in my opinion most awesome, piece of version 1.0 is the PvP realm known as Broken Peninsula. Although we didn’t get a chance to personally test it, the concept is simple enough that it has to work as intended. Players simply hop on a drop ship and get assigned to a major faction fighting in the area. From there it’s only a matter of spotting a nice material deposit, gliding out of the drop pod, and thumping up some of the best resources in the game to make your crafter friends grin.

The difference is you won’t only be defending yourself from the dynamic horrors of FireFall such as melding tornadoes and Chosen assaults, but from rival corporations as well. If another group happens upon your thumping operation, you’re fair game to kill and rob. Players will not only have to carry their loot back to their team’s base of operations for storage, but will have to ensure the resources are intact for a period of fifteen minutes when cargo evacs arrive to finally take your precious resources to safety. At this point, resources are split between all members of that team, meaning supporting your fellow group members earns big dividends.

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This tug of war consists of three sanctioned teams, but as server population and demand to enter rises, FireFall may smartly create additional teams to keep Broken Peninsula manageable. Also small groups wanting to go full rogue can queue together as a group and wreak havoc where they please, perhaps even taking over an enemy base if they are a legit enough force.

Bases themselves have quite a bit of interesting choices within them for each team to decide to spend resources on. These benefits are distributed by key buildings that (as makes sense) are lost when said buildings are destroyed by attacking forces. Barracks can be constructed to supply NPC guards to bolster defenses and give you a bit more leeway to send soldiers out to gather new resources. The Power Station offers shields to protect you from ranged fire as well as power to keep your other buildings operational. The Armory allows you to repair damaged pieces of your base. And finally the Command Center is a base’s heart, and whoever occupies the center controls all functions of the base.

If a rival group manages to infiltrate the Command Center, a hacking minigame begins. Those familiar with Goldeneye 007 will appreciate the thrill of defending your hacker while the streams of enemy soldiers flood into the Command Center attempting to prevent this hostile takeover. A single team can own and operate multiple bases, meaning if your forces can handle fighting on multiple fronts, your band of mercenaries can make a pretty penny fighting long battles in the Peninsula. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out on the live servers soon!

 

TorturedSouls

Closing Thoughts

This is not the FireFall I knew. The FireFall I had written off as a dead franchise. Somehow Red 5 Studios got their act together and have finally produced the game they always wanted to. All the months of balancing changes and reworks to progression are now showing fruit. My only disclaimer is I haven’t had enough time to test everything for myself to confirm just how real this fruit is.

But now we won’t have to wait long. Version 1.0 hits beta servers tomorrow and fully launches to the world on July 29th. If this is real life, no one will have to wait long to confirm it. JamesBl0nde will be in-game in the coming weeks to see for himself and share his experience, so be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel for an upcoming Refresher on the launch state of the game.

Screenshots

Firefall Screenshots

Videos

Firefall Videos

FireFall – Refresher

Firefall Cinematic Trailer

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Firefall Gameplay Footage

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Links

Firefall Links

FireFall Official Site

System Requirements

Firefall Requirements

 

Minimum Requirements:
OS: Windows XP (32/64-bit)+
CPU: Dual Core @ 2.2 Ghz (Core 2, Core i3, Pentium Dual Core), Dual Core @ 2.6 Ghz (Athon 64 x2, Athlon II x2, Phenom II x2)
RAM: 4 GB
HDD: 15 GB Free
Graphics Card: DirectX 9 compatible AMD or Nvidia video card with 1GB RAM (AMD/ATI Radeon HD 4550 or Nvidia Geforce 8600)

Recommended Specification:
OS: Windows Vista / 7
CPU: Quad Core @ 2.4 Ghz (Core 2 Quad, i5, i7), Quad Core @ 2.8 Ghz (Athlon II X4, Phenom, Phenom II X4)
RAM: 4 GB or more
HDD: 15 GB Free
Graphics Card: AMD/ATI Radeon HD 4850 or Nvidia Geforce GTS 450

FireFall Articles

  • Firefall Hosting Chosen Offensive Dev Event on September 21 - Posted on September 19, 2014
    Firefall has announced a new developer event, the Chosen Offensive, hitting the servers this Sunday, September 21, from 11am to 3pm PDT.
  • Firefall: Elemental Destruction Update Available - Posted on September 16, 2014
    Red 5 Studios announces Update 1.1: Elemental Destruction for the open world MMO shooter, Firefall, introducing powerful new weapons and damage effects, five exciting dynamic encounters, and an excruciating Hardcore Mode for Kanaloa the Destroyer. This extensive update follows recent additions to Firefall which greatly increased the number of dynamic events spawned around the world as well as significantly improved ARES job rewards.
  • FireFall Launch Review - Posted on July 29, 2014
    FireFall has been in development for almost four years now publicly. After many rollbacks, content implementation and removal, and other intensive reworks, today marks the day that Red 5 Studios finally puts the seal of approval on a full launch.
  • Firefall: F2P MMO shooter now available - Posted on July 29, 2014
    Red 5 Studios, Inc. announced today that Firefall, the open-world, massively multiplayer online (MMO) shooter, is officially available in North America, Europe, and Australia for the PC platform through Steam and Firefall.com.
  • Weekly MMOHuts Stream (7/25): Firefall - Posted on July 25, 2014
    JamesBl0nde streams every Friday for MMOHuts on Twitch!

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