Firefly Online: The “Little” MMO That’s Gonna

Even though I don’t play online games these days, Firefly Online has had me intrigued every since I heard there was an official game underway. Oddly enough, no one from any PR firm contacted me about covering it, so I assumed that was some sort of warning sign or worse, someone not wanting to do the hard work of getting the word out on something they thought was going to be too niche for its own good. Well, I was wrong on both counts as I found out when I bit the bullet and signed up for Firefly Online Cortex, the companion pre-game app currently available on Steam, Google Play and the App Store.

firefly online cortex 

There’s not much to do in Cortex other than collect digital trading cards and points playing mini-games on a map of The Verse or reading news updates. That said, the cards are cool, there’s a second series coming soon and you can also score some even better bonuses by ponying up five bucks to attain Big Damn Hero status. This status will get some some great perks for the main game when it launches this spring on Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android OS. What kind of perks? Well, exclusive gear for your crew mates, access to items non-BDH players won’t have and some other neat stuff. Hey, they got my five clams without hesitation. I’m not here to babble about anything you can read in the FAQ here other than to add I like where this is all going and if you ever were a Firefly fan at some point in the past, you may want to think about signing up yourself.

What I like about the game based on the descriptions and video above it that it’s NOT at all forced social interactivity. You can play along with your virtual crew as you rise up in the ranks, taking your customized ship into charted and uncharted territories for fun and profit. The game is in fact, a single-player experience that just so happens to have some social elements added in like the ability to create and share quests with others. As it’s also powered by Unity, this means there’s a slim chance it may end up on other platforms (as in consoles) if it does well enough on the initial platforms it launches on (and there’s enough demand for a port in every port, of course).

Right now, my own personal choice will be what to play this on when it does ship. I’ve been eyeballing a few inexpensive tablets recently (primarily for gaming purposes) as well as dinking around on devices owned by a few friends while I decide to make up my mind. I suppose I could just run the game on the laptop just fine. However, I want to keep it freed up to write and have something else dedicated entirely to FFO. So, it may be a mobile platform after all that’s bigger than a phone and smaller than a breadbox. We shall see, but whatever I choose, Firefly Online will be played. At my own pace, of course.

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4 thoughts on “Firefly Online: The “Little” MMO That’s Gonna

  1. WHAAATTTT?!!!
    OK, this is one to keep an eye on. We all need more Firefly!
    Looks like it will be point and click with turn-base combat like the Shadowrun Returns.
    I hope this one really get the treatment.

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    • You should definitely check out FFO Cortex just to sign up early and have that card collecting to do. Earning Brownie Points and trading cards is easy and fun at this early stage, but that’s only the meta-game and not the actual game experience. You do level up pretty darn fast in Cortex, too. I’m at around level 84 already and I’ve only dinked around with the trade route stuff for a handful of hours on and off since I signed up. I love that it’s running on Unity and isn’t going to need a new PC or super expensive upgrade to run.

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  2. Here’s what I’ve learnt from Andy Gore, Executive Producer of FFO:

    Game’s similar to old school “Fallout”
    There’s three game modes:
    1/ Flight sim – like “Freelancer”
    2/ Economics/Logistical/Shipyard/Personnel – Like “Masters of Orion”
    3/ Main play will be “Encounter engine” – a 3D procedurally generated system, creates towns etc where you visit bars etc and this is where combat takes place – “X-Com” turn based style.
    Crew training, equipment, morale etc will be important.
    Isometric view but you can have a first person view if you want but game is more suited to isometric.
    They decided not to make a FPS game as Firefly is about more than pew pew pew.
    There is only one scenario where you cannot “talk your way” out of a battle if you want.
    Lots of humor in the game
    You’ll have a “GTA” type garage for your ships where you can swap them. And upgrade them.
    You can finish the story of the first release (where the original cast appear – the script was over 100 pages just for the cut scenes by the way) in about 20 hours if you really want to concentrate on it, or “120” hours (ie as much time as you want to take) if you just want to do parts of the main storyline slowly and just fly around doing jobs in the ‘Verse.
    You will have to do the first few parts of the main storyline first to get set up then it’s up to you.
    The game gets tougher as you progress. (naturally)
    In flight sim mode you can either fly yourself from planet to planet or system to system or you can “fast forward” if you like.
    If you fast forward you still can run into random events such as being boarded by pirates, attacked by reavers, the Alliance can stop you and search your ship etc.
    If you’re boarded the battle takes place within your ship (obviously).
    If you win a battle you loot the enemy. You can take their boots if you want.
    Any weapons you loot you can “dis-assemble” and remake into something better.
    You will need a “gunsmithing skill” to do that.
    You can craft weapons and equipment.
    Each part of the inside of your ship is fully customizable.
    The game has the “personality” of the show.
    Joss is happy with the game but doesn’t have any input as such.
    Voiceover complete for initial release with the exception of Wheaton. Very soon.
    Adam and Alan have more than their original characters.
    Couldn’t get Gina as she was too busy but should be in Part Two of the game.
    Badger may be in Part Two.
    The Kelly Wu character is the “Badger” of the first release.
    You don’t have to use Courtney or Wil as your character’s voice if you don’t want to.
    They are approximately 90 days from release, aiming for end of May if possible.
    There may be an “early access” release.
    Release will be worldwide across all platforms.
    The are using the Cortex roll out as the template for actual game release. Ironing out bugs so release goes smoothly. Apple caused the first two week delay, Android the current two week delay due to change in download management software.
    You can play on your mobile device on the way home, for example, fire up your PC and start from where you left on your mobile device.
    Cortex and the full game use the same database so again using Cortex to “test” game code live before release.
    Premium game, may have a two day free start on Steam, for example, though.
    There will be 4 DLC’s (already done), new storylines etc, don’t need them if you don’t want them though.
    Premium price will be “dramatically low”. The reason is because you will need to buy it for each platform you want to use it on.
    QMX (developer) has made a lot of money on Firefly merchandise over the last 10 years and they decided to do the game as a “gift” to Browncoats as nobody else has successfully made a Firefly game. Another reason the price will be “dramatically low”.
    When you do trade routes on the Cortex your “ship” is being tracked by the actual game servers.
    There are “tens of thousands” of people doing trade routes at any given time.
    You can interact with other players, you can build a group of “friends” (other captains) who you can call on to assist you in jobs, you can see your friends (only) statues in the Crappy Little Town (that answers that question), you can give jobs to other players on the “Job Board”.
    You can end up fighting other captains if you run the same job, such as “salvaging the same derelict”.
    So there will be PVP, sort of, but when you fight the other crew they will be AI.
    Players at certain high levels can create storylines which will be on the Cortex.
    You can create “real social connections”.
    They want to, eventually, long term, enable players to crew a ship together.
    Guilds will come.
    They have enough upcoming content to last 1.5 years so far.
    They don’t want to make a profit, as such, but want the game to be self sustainable for new content etc.
    For that, they need 100,000 active players.
    The next big thing they have planned after the initial release is a “Independence War Module” where you can fight the Unification War. That’s after the 1.5 years.
    Shorter term they want players to be able to play a ‘Bounty Hunter” character instead of Ship’s Captain.
    They see the game is a platform to tell new Firefly stories, and to that end all of the original cast are extremely willing and able to come back and voice more content.

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    • You, sir (or madam, or alien), are a Big Dam Hero here for posting all that helpful info. I’ve already committed myself to this game as my first big MMO experience in over a decade, but I hope anyone who reads that meaty response who was on the fence or has never heard of the show previously will hop on board and sign up for their own account.

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