In our first sample episode, Piper and I recieved digital loot for Firefly Online. It was a code on a postcard-sized print of concept art from the game. The concept art could vary from crate to crate, but the loot was the same. An exclusive ship.
The code is redeemed through the Firefly Online companion app, The Cortex. The Cortex is free, with in-app purchasing. It can be downloaded via Steam, Apple app store, or Google Play onto Mac, PC, Andriod, and iOS.
Checking out different things in the app earns BP or Brownie Points to increase levels. Different levels gain in-game items. These items don’t seem to provide an advantage to the upcoming game, but they are things that fans of Firefly/Serenity will want. Examples include Jayne’s Fighting Elves shirt for you and your crew to wear, an Independent’s Wall Flag to decorate your ship’s walls, and so on. Some of these items can only be unlocked by becoming a Big Damn Hero.
In addition to the Overland, there are other exclusive ships, like the Kepler, which was a free reward to anyone who signed up for a Firefly Online account early on. Some exclusive ships are paid DLC (DownLoadable Content). Some of the ships even come from the fan project Bellflower.
Ships can be painted and named in the Ship Viewer located under Loot in the main menu. Some ships come with alternate paint patterns, some only have the one pattern, and others can get additional paint patterns bought as DLC.
By paying $4.99, players can gain the Big Damn Hero package. It includes The Crappy Town Where I’m A Hero. There, players have a clay statue of their captain a la Jaynestown. Also, Big Damn Hero players get access to the Map of the Verse. This allows players to view all of the planets and moons in their respective systems from the Firefly/Serenity universe as well as completing trade routes for BP and rewards. Big Damn Heroes also gain access to Serenity in the Ship Viewer. However, Serenity is a unique and non-playable ship in the game. You can view and paint, but not rename. There are other perks as well, too many to name.
The last menu option is the Trading Post. Here, players can purchase DLC for the upcoming game, card packs containing digital trading cards (complete sets earn rewards like Jayne’s Hat or a Leather Captain’s Chair), or even buy the complete series Firefly to watch. The Trading Post is a Big Damn Hero exclusive.
According to the official Firefly Online Twitter feed, there will be an initial charge for Firefly Online, but no subscription fee. This model has been used on other MMOs, most notably Guild Wars.
So far, the available DLC is desirable without supporting a pay-to-win system. Hopefully this continues.
According to the official news, Firefly Online will be available on both standard and mobile platforms. Mac, PC, Android, and iOS will all be supported with apparently little difference between mobile and desktop.
All in all, I love the app. The Overland looks like it’ll be a promising addition to my gameplay, and I am definitely looking forward to Firefly Online.