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Tuesday 6 May 2003

Planetside: Is it teh one? [slim]

We love our FPS's in EED, its what brought us together, and it's the one thign we have in common. Well, we're all gay too, but apart from that we love our shooters more than our women. Many of us are also treehuggers though, straying from the path of destruction of each other to a hey nonny nonny world of faries and faygots. Many of those that crossed over into that jaffa cake loving land have not returned, and we long for the day a game will come that will bridge the gap between the worlds of 'lfg' and 'j00 sux0r'. Planetside is here. It is massively multiplayer like the treehugging games. It is twitchy fraggy like our fps's. Is it the one?

It might be. It really is massive, play takes place on a world devided up into eight or so continents. Each of those contenents takes about ten minuets to drive from end to end in the average vehicle (oh yes, it's got lots of vehicles!). Each of the continents has its's own look, but they all share the common 'lumpy landscape' theme that we all remember from Tribes 2. There's not much in the way of landmarks sadly and most of the interiors and buildings look like they came from the same pile of bits. The various bases and towers scattered around the continent are linked with a series of roads, and the whole thing is linked to your teams starting area, the sanctuary, buy a jumpgate. The jumpgate is also mysteriously your teams source of power, the bases you capture must be powered to generate gear like guns and planes, and this power must be delivered to the base on a truck from the jump gate.

To take a base a team must hack its central control panel and defend the base for a resupply of juice. It's a pretty tense time, with the announcement that the base has been taken going out continent wide, alerting the other team that they've got work to do. If a team gets all the bases, the continent get's 'locked out', and the only means of entry (I think - not too clear on this) is the warp gate.

And that's really all there is to the gameplay. There's a few other jobs to do, like deploy mobile stations which allow players to resupply their guns and ammo, and also contains a transporter tube so new players can beam in our out at that point. Problem is, this goes completely unrewarded apart from players gratitude, so I can't see many people bothering. You can drive the various vehicles around, both airbourne and land based, and they're the expected mix of light fast and weak or big hard and slow.

The treehuggery part really doesn't seem to get in the way much at all. You earn battle experience for killing people, taking bases, filling up a bases fuel tank and all that. When you gain a level on these points, you get to buy certifications that allow you to drive cetain vehicles or use a particular bit of kit. It's a nice enough system, although you're going to run out of stuff to buy pretty quickly. It doesn't seem to be that a higher level player is that much tougher than a newbie, I certainly killed plenty of folks on my first night in who had some pretty flashy gear on.

Team work is kind of essential though, and with the experience points duplicated, not devided up between your teammates, you've got a very compelling reason to team up. Lots of things just aren't possible without a large number of players, and the support vehicles in particular are vulnerable without some heavy backup.

So is it the one?

Na probably not. It is very good though, and it's still in beta so praps the things that niggle me about it will be fixed up, but it's very, very, awfully very like Tribes 2. And tribes 2 flopped. Why did it flop? Because people suck. And people suck in this too. Vehicle generators near the action are often crowded with players who buy huge multiplayer tanks then drive off in them alone. People often don't want to do the support roles or defend a base, but always want to be on the front line, so often a game consists of taking a base, moving on, and watching it get taken back again half way through the next battle. And there's the balancing bleating too, which of course in a pvp game like this will never ever fucking end! It'll probably be a minor success this game, but I sadly can't see a long term appeal. It's not really that much different from previous attempts at large numbers fps!'s like this, Taranus and 10-six, where the guilds with the big numbers just clean up, and if you're not in a big guild, you just won't be able to compete. Hope I'm wrong though, I am enjoying it, and I'm going to play it a bit more to confirm my prediction that the problem with massively mutliplayer games are the players.


  1. It's a nice enough system, although you're going to run out of stuff to buy pretty quickly

    Don't forget you can only get to Level 20 maximum so you have to actually make a decision as to which skills you'll have and which you'll never have. I like that.

  2. Bah, it's added extra slashes for some reason and doesn't want to remove em. We'll have to wait till lurks gets back from watching men in shorts to fix it.
    Ans, that's true, but you can just unlearn skills and learn other ones once you reach 20.

  3. Yeah the whole unlearning stuff makes it really just specialist roles ala Team Fortress than any sort of RPG aspect of it. Which is no bad thing really.
    Oh, I fixed the links. Hmm did you use the web form to submit the blog? I suspect it's more of that php escaped character lameness.

  4. Yeah web form. Well, I've put some more time into pside, and I've gotten my first implant. You can only have three of these, and you can't unlern em, but they don't appear to make a massive difference either. They clearly don't want uber characters pooning newbies, so none of the certifications or implants really make you that much more wafty. They give you more options about how you'll deploy for a given battle, that's all. It's quite nice really, if I'm delivering ANTs I can suit up in some half decent armour and guns. If I'm sneaking in a base to haxor it on the sly I can go in with a stealthed wraith and backstab mediums quite easily.
    I've also gotten a bit more of a handle on how the whole linked base thing works, and it's pretty smart, making a strategic difference which base your lads go for next in their conquest of teh continent. I've also found it to be bloody addictive, damn thing! I like it more as I play it, not less. Still not convinced it's worth a sub though.

  5. I'm a bit more hooked too. The bottom line was that running around in the agile armour ended up me getting one-shotted all the time and it was all a bit crap. I had a brief stab at being an engineer but not being able to easily swap out the huge repairer thinggy and a weapon with the agile suit was a huge pain so I've 'unlearnt' that.
    I picked myself up an anti-vehical cert and I've got this seriously bad ass stinger missile. I'm having a riot with it because like all other games like this, you've just got millions of people that want to drive vehicles - lots of them with no gunners. Time for payback, fucktards!
    I still need heavier armour but there's no real docs on what armours can drive what. They say reenforced allows you to drive open top, unsure if that means I can drive an ANT or not. No-one ever gets in my Deliverer so I'm thinking of picking up a Sunderer cert so I can take Maxs to the front line. I suspect I wont be able to use proper armour though.
    All in all, it is damn addictive. I like the squad controls but sadly the built-in voice comms is broken at the moment. I've had a chance to play with some folks that really knew what they were doing which is dead cool. I'm warmer on the game now and I find myself wishing the servers were up again. Worth a sub? Probably not long term but it's fun here and now.

  6. Is this thing on an open beta now then? I fancy giving it a go if it's easy to get into.

  7. It was for about 3 days. We did post it to the list etc but as usual everyone has been slack and the signups closed before most people got on.

  8. Apparently more keys have been added, Am is leeching it now.

  9. The answer to "Is it the one" is no you fucking retard