Meanwhile, in games which aren’t Guild Wars 2, Planetside 2 is going pretty well. Getting the K/D out of the way right now, I seem to be consistently coming in at 0.3 or so, which is similar enough to my six years of on and off Planetside 1 play. Sometimes I finish a night with over 1.0! It doesn’t matter though, because the main reason I loved Planetside 1 was the sheer spectacle of the ongoing massive fighting, which very much exists in the sequel.
The differences between the first and second games are many and varied, but the essential spirit of the game seems intact. The art and engine are both huge improvements on the first game, delivering a very modern feel to basic gameplay, on a par with current console shooters in a way that Planetside 1 never really managed against Counterstrike and its contemporaries.
The class-based model is interesting and new in the sequel, letting everyone have access to all the basic tools from the word go, but avoiding the late-stage pitfalls of PS1’s cert system, which five years in had produced an elite tier of do-everything super-soldiers against which a newbie would have real problems competing. Skilful long-term play and/or enthusiastic cash shop participation certainly helps refine existing classes to be better at their jobs, but you do now have to stick to one job at a time, which seems better. This is balanced by the option to swap class instantly any time you respawn or use an equipment terminal. (Worth noting that the entire thing is truly F2P, no box cost involved. If that enrages you, you should probably not play!)
I’m mostly Engineering. They get a decent enough stock gun, have access to deployable mines, turrets, etc and can also earn side XP repairing tanks and wall turrets if they’re not that great as shooting things, like me!
Vehicle-wise, PS2 is impressive enough. A smaller selection of vehicles made it to the sequel, but they are all a lot more modular now, capable of a few roles each. The large armour columns and air swarms still live on. I mostly use the Sunderer these days, a 12-man APC capable of being deployed as a spawn point, resupply depot and all sorts else. I’m finding the planes a bit tricky; the sequel uses a somewhat different flight model which is hard to come at new, and I was never that great in the planes in the first game anyway. More practice there I think, as although I continue to hate Air Cavalry, the Liberator 2.0 and Galaxy 2.0 are both iconic classics and look useful and fun.
Outside of the game, things look quite progressive too. SOE, or at least John Smedley, clearly love the Planetside franchise and seem to be working very hard in the post-launch phase of it all. They’ve put out a Roadmap which initially made me quite cross, mostly because I came at it tangentially and only saw this thread for May, via Arkenor.
In which the ill-conceived idea of user-customisable death-screen taunts (plus custom background!) are given an extensive short shrift by most of the players of the game. I’ll leave the ‘What could possibly be wrong with that?’ as an exercise to you, dear reader.
I bitched in a tremendously emo fasion on the podcast a bit, but afterwards, calmed down a bit and went to read some of the rest of the Roadmap, which is actually full of a lot of good ideas and exciting future features. A good summary can be found here:
It’s a crazy topsy-turvy world of misrule when The Mittanni.com (Yes, THAT Mitanni) has become my number one go-to site for Planetside 2 news, guides and tips, but they have some very decent coverage over there, with it’s own section and everything. I wonder what that means for Dust 514?
Anyway, it’s a good start for me; I’m enjoying the basic game-play and also looking forward to new things in an MMO again. Quite a few of us in a similar boat, so I went ahead and set up the Nicholas Courtney Tribute outfit; “Five Rounds Rapid” which is also open to people who aren’t Dr Who fans too! If you enjoy our writings here and wordnoises on the podcast, and want to get involved, do get in touch: I’m ‘VanHemlock’ on the Miller [EU] server, and we’re all Vanu Sovereignty, which you will have to be too. It’s quite unreasonable about cross-faction guilds, I’ve found! We play UK evenings, have VERY low standards of ability and coordination, and Mumble is a plus, if only to listen in. I’m get very lazy about typing stuff these days!
Look out for lots of bitching about how OP Light Assault is to come!