N.O.V.A.: Elite, The Facebook FPS Where Paying Is Winning

Gameloft takes its iPhone Halo clone to Facebook with N.O.V.A. Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance: Elite, a competitive first-person shooter that eschews balance for the sake of getting paid.

It's a common practice in social games; the more people pay, the better they play. But having a larger farm than the next guy isn't quite the same as having a larger gun. Money isn't everything in N.O.V.A. Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance: Elite, but it's a large percentage.

Mind you anyone can log into the game's Facebook page and hop into the stuttering, shaky mess of a first person shooter without paying one red cent. Players earn levels by cheaply killing opponents that haven't begun to move or are too lagged out to defend themselves. They also earn coin, which can be used to purchase modest equipment upgrades. Some items require a certain level or number of friends playing before purchase.

But the best stuff requires Facebook cash.

That includes game maps, as you can see in the image above. I was forced to stop playing with the folks I was shooting at when the map changed to one requiring 19 Facebook cash to purchase.

Along with the maps, weapons and armor are available that make opponents noticeably harder to dispatch in the game, at least when they aren't locked in place due the game's latency issues.

But hey, it's all free, and who knows? Once the lag issues are worked out, taking down a fully buffed paying player with your free one could be considered a point of pride. Take that, you disposable income-having bastards!