Planetside: The 1%

By Quintin Smith on September 5th, 2008 at 10:16 am.

Since I'm posting this, I probably should share my memories of Planetside in the tags
Planetside, then. Do I have any veterans in the audience? At ease, gentlemen.

It might not have dredged up the subscribers Sony were hoping for, and you personally might have found it a disappointment, a bully, a bastard, or most unforgivably, a bore. The developers were perhaps overambitious, and in any case they managed to screw up both on paper and in practice. But their game has achieved one beautiful thing, and that’s the creation of the same invisible veterans’ club that results from a real life war. If you played Planetside you might have already encountered this phenomenon- the mutual respect that instantly exists once you find out someone’s an ex-Planetside player. Since I can’t think of a name for this whole process, I’m going to dub it “I WAS THERE, MAN” syndrome.

And you’d better believe I was there. Me and my friends fought for the Terran Republic against the Barnies and Smurfs from June to November ’03, and I won’t hesitate to say that we made up one of the better tank squads out there. But whichever side you fought on, or, God forbid, are still fighting for, that shared experience with every other subscriber still exists. It doesn’t matter that the entire virtual war that made up the game was (and still is) about as meaningful as a non-contact armwrestling match. If anything that just gives you more to talk about.

“Planetside? Yeah, I was there. God, what a fucking mess. One of my commanders was this unbelievable dick. Ostekate, his name was.”

“No way! I fought under him too. That guy would not shut up.”

“Yeah. You know the patch that let commanders draw on everyone’s map? I remember this one time he started drawing sea monsters and compasses and stuff. What’s your name, by the way?”

“Oh, I’m Wakle Skade, candle salesman.”

“Good to meet you, Wakle. I’m Chip Lick. So, as I was saying…”

Well, the first thing is trying to play it without a gig of RAM. That was messy.

And then before you know it you’re into the awesomely masculine business of swapping war stories. I reckon this is what makes Planetside age so well in the heads of its old subscribers. You’re not going to vividly remember that time you spent forty minutes looking for a decent fight, or the time you finally scraped together a crew for your bomber only for the lot of you to get shot down and drown in a river. Or at least, if you do remember those things you sure as Hell won’t be talking about them. You’ll talk about the day you brought a tank to a huge infantry battle and scythed down 20 soldiers in under a minute, triggering a mass retreat, or the time your fighter craft got shot down behind enemy lines and you drove back home in a hacked enemy buggy, scoring some entrenched snipers as roadkill.

It’s strange from a sociological perspective because “I WAS THERE, MAN” syndrome is so rare in games. I guess it’s because in offline games or, in fact, other MMOs, everyone’s off and doing their own thing with zero guarantee of ever working directly with or against someone else. With Planetside there were only ever a few servers, they were all locked down by region, and everyone on each server was either fighting with or against everyone else on the entire server from the second they first logged on. It’s like how you always have something to say to your friends after a great twenty minute multiplayer game. Planetside was sort of like one endless, resolve-eroding multiplayer round with the frag limit set to infinity and the time limit set to MONEY!

It made fighting a little tiring, sometimes.

But I always tell the same war story when Planetside gets mentioned. I always tell the same story because it’s a really, really good one. And I totally encourage you guys to share your own tales of daring do in the comments, but just let me get this one off my chest first.

(It’s probably best if you imagine this whole thing spoken in a tone of voice that exists somewhere between a throat cancer patient and That One Fucking P.E. Teacher You Had.)

Ahem.

Putting aside that... well, those glorious moments when something first happened. Like the time when I was in a fighter. We'd just taken a base. I looked up and... there was a full wing of enemy bombers, in perfect formation. Seemed like a dozen of them.

Now, this wasn’t some Princess Diana shit or anything. I don’t remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news.

I do remember I was with my boys, Pyrrhic and Boff, and we were in our Prowler just trying to make a difference, same as always. Prowler’s a battle tank, ‘case you’re unawares. Looks a little something like this. It takes three men to get it up to full strength, which I remember a lot of guys on our side thought was outrageous. They never understood, see, but I reckon they’d have had something of a revelation if they ever spent some time on the other end of its guns. Shit, on some days seemed all anyone on any side could do was whine like a dying dog about the weapons made available to them, but I never complained. Hell, I was grateful. It always was a lot easier to get my knife in the belly of a typin’ man.

Anyway, we were fighting on some continent or other when we started getting all these mad messages in our chat ticker. People were saying our Sanctuary had become locked and no one could get into it.

A little explanation’s probably called for here. Each of the three sides in Planetside has a Sanctuary, a home island full of shooting ranges and long distance dropships that no other side can even set foot on. A lot of players meet up there before shipping off to a fight, and most players log off there when they quit fighting for the day so when they come back they can grab a seat on an outbound ship and drop back into the action, wherever it is, via a drop pod.

The other thing you should know is that a landmass only becomes locked to a side if they don’t have a foothold in any adjoining continents. If a player logs off outside the sanctuary and then the territory they’re in gets conquered and subsequently locked, when they log on again they’re spawned back in the sanctuary. So you can see why the idea of our sanctuary ever becoming locked would make as much sense as… well, as this war. If you compare Planetside to that there Sisyphean struggle to roll a huge boulder up a hill, our sanctuary becoming locked would be like the bottom of that hill turning into a cliff edge.

They hung in the sky beautifully and I just gawped. And then the bombs begun to fall, and me and my fellow fighters swept upwards to meet them, curling into the sky. Clearly, the base was annihilated, but it was deeply gloriously.

Back in the tank, I took us off the road and into a ditch so we could ask a few questions and check our maps. Sure enough, we were locked out of our own God Damned HQ. Word was coming in that those dirtnibblers over in the Vanu and New Conglomerate were having no such trouble with their own sanctuaries, and were continuing to merrily kick our ass as if nothing was wrong.

Heck of a bug, I said to my crew. Heck of a bug. Nothing else for it, I pulled us back out of the ditch and resumed our course for whatever the Hell base we were headed towards at the time, and Boff resumed swinging our chainguns around in a search for any Top Gun wannabes. The trick there if you do see a bird is to slap the guns to the front and centre of the tank, getting the enemy pilot to think you’re missing a gunner. You want to get them nice and close before you open fire.

I honestly had no idea just how fucked the TR was until the messages starting coming in from our commanders telling every single member of the Terran Republic to quit the game. Not to fix the bug or anything. We were to stop playing as a form of protest. They figured if our entire side vanished, the devs would hurry up with the fixing of this bullshit.

So already between the TR soldiers who’d done as they were told and all the soldiers on our side who couldn’t log on, our side was in a bad place. ‘/who teams’ informed us that we were in fact fighting with just 14% of the world’s population, meaning we were a couple of thousand soldiers short of a fair fight. Not only that, word of our situation was spreading through the Vanu and NC. Barny bastards and Smurf bastards were at that moment messaging their friends and telling them to log on and grab their gear, because for the first time in the history of the game here was an opportunity to wipe one side entirely off the map. Those sodsucklers figured they had a chance to fucking win! And here’s our commanders telling us to quit!

Boy, there was a lot of cursin’ going on inside our tank as we figured all this out. Then again we’d only ever treated orders from the higher ups as advice from a crusty, crumbly grandparent anyway. Our path was our own, and the decision to keep fighting despite the bug came easily. If the enemy wanted us off this cliff then they were going to have to pry our fingers up one by one. Maybe we’d be able to spit in a few deserving eyes in the process. So I kept driving along that road, and we went to war with one o’ them renewed vigors.

Funny thing is, this situation the TR was in was only ever a dumb accident that resulted from a technical snafu, right? With Planetside the devs chose to create a war no one could ever lose, and in doing so they sacrificed the chance for anyone to win. But those of us that chose to stay on that day fought harder, cared more, and had more fun than we’d ever done before. For the first time it all meant something. Course, from a monetary perspective I guess you’ve got to take into account all the thousands of subscribers who threw their toys out of the pram as ordered and did quit in protest. Guess some folks just ain’t go the stomach for war.

The other real moment was playing Commando. Mostly, the zerg was in effect, with masses of people moving to one area. We tooled up into a small group of friends and decided to take something - a small outlying fort, behind enemy lines.

There’s no glory in lying, so I’ll come out and admit that under the circumstances the TR didn’t last long. In maybe half an hour we were down to 4% of the server population and a handful of bases. The good news was that one of our commanders managed to locate his penis and blow the dust off it in time to send a global message ordering our scattered soldiers to relocate to the island of Forseral for a last stand. If every one of us crammed into just a couple of bases our hilarious number problem might be diminished.

What we weren’t counting on was the enthusiasm coming from t’other sides.

And this is where my memory starts to get a little better- the defense of our very last base. It was on the flat, leafy coast of Forseral, and a sunny day to boot. We, the few, the proud, ‘The 4%.’ The base was built in the shadow of the shadow of the big ol’ warpgate there. Ordinarily, that warpgate acted as a direct path between Forseral and our sanctuary. Course, it was as useful as knock-kneed whore right about now.

Base defense in Planetside is pretty simple. The defenders get a big compound with high walls, on which sit some mean automated turrets. They also get a few respawn tubes that everyone can use, plus the vehicle pads and airpads that spawn vehicles and aircraft. It’s all done with nanotechnology, I think. Amazing what science can do these days. Anyway, those doing the assaulting have to get a hacker into the command room, who in turn has to spend a couple of minutes getting acquainted with the central terminal. Once that’s done, the base changes hands instantly.

The attackers can also starve the place of power in the event of a stalemate, but what with the sanctuary bug potentially getting fixed at any moment our opponents on that day weren’t in what you’d call a patient mood. I’d probably go as far as to call them a downright ravenous bunch’a mudlovers.

And we did it. Stormed it, turned it and then waited for the inevitable counter-attack. We were few. They were many. But they were also stupid cowards, and despite their enormous strength in numbers, they never stormed it. Eventually, the rest of the army noticed the tiny beachhead, and started to use it and pressed towards it. The battleline changed via our sole actions. It was kinda special.

It should be pretty easy for you to understand the severity of our situation if I just tell you that it felt like we were the ones doing the damn assaulting. We were so outgunned that just trying to man the walls got you shredded by lasher and sniper fire before you’d even lined up a shot. It was wild. Those forests around us were more purple than green. I’ve got no idea how it was we lasted as long as we did, but I’d hazard that those guarding the doors ended up pulling off some real Battle of Thermopylae shit.

My own chosen course of action was to get up on the walls and crawl between the turrets with my repair gun, bringing them back online at about a half of the speed they’d get blown up again. Sometimes I’d drop an EMP grenade into the courtyard below me if whatever got through our gate was big and scary enough, but most of my time was spent with my face buried in the guts of a turret. I couldn’t even see what we under attack from, let alone whether we were holding it back. All I could do was read the mess of capital letters that filled my chat ticker.

I’ve got no idea what it was that finallly killed me. Sniper, grenade, stabbed by someone in a stealthsuit. Could have been anything. There was too much commotion and graphical effects to pinpoint what did me in as the camera rotated around my corpse, repair gun still in hand.

Problem was, I couldn’t respawn in the base again. Someone must have gotten in and wrecked our spawn tubes, so from that point me and everyone else spawned (very… slowly…) in the support tower just outside it. Yeah, that’s a pretty surefire sign you’ve lost. The base changed hands and became Vanu a couple of seconds after, making this tower the last structure in possession of the Terran Republic and our last spawn point in the entire world.

‘/who teams’, I typed again.

‘Vanu Sovereignty 51%, New Conglomerate 48%, Terran Republic 1%.’

Confident that in a situation like this I could get away with showing a bit of brass without some spoilsport calling me a douchebag, I set my chat to broadcast locally. “ALRIGHT EVERYBODY”, I said. “We are officially the top ONE PERCENT of this planet. Let’s SHOW THOSE VANU C***S WHAT WE CAN DO.”

But what was heartwarming was that I wasn’t even the only person with that idea. The local broadcasts came thick and fast. We, the fifty or so soldiers defending that tower, knew exactly what we were facing, and we knew we were in this together.

[ripper]fight to the last man!!
[pyrrhic] HOO-RAH!
[mrblister] f**king vanu f**kers f**k

Of course, along the way Walker did a lot of whining about not understanding how to jump out of the plane.

I managed to push my way through the crowd gathered around the equipment terminal and get myself some landmines, then went sprinting out of the front entrance to the tower. The structure was located on a curling strip of land with our base in one direction and the sea in three others, so I could at least be guaranteed that the /most/ of the Vanu force would be coming from that direction. Goddamn hovertanks.

Already I could see the eagerest soldiers of that horrible purple army pouring out of the base and running in our direction. I armed mines with a few other engineers until the first sniper potshots at us arrived, then we ducked back inside. The fighting proper started when we were down in the basement, swapping our gear for heavier armour and bigger guns. On a whim I brought up my map. If this was a movie then our sanctuary would get unlocked again right about now, the cavalry would arrive through the warp gate not a hundred meters from us, and we’d all get enough medals to break our backs.

[pyrrhic] WE NEED ANTI ARMOUR RIGHT NOW

Course, if Planetside teaches its loyal subscribers anything it’s that war is not a movie and that war really, really fucking sucks for 98% of the time. So we didn’t get medals. Instead we got multiple incoming Vanu hovertanks, spawned fresh right out of the base we just lost.

I wasn’t trained to use anything resembling anti armour weaponry, so I just loaded an armour piercing clip into my assault rifle as I ran up the stairs to the roof. On the way I passed the front door, which we hadn’t lost control of so much as we were choosing to avoid it. Every time anyone on our side passed close enough for it to open automatically a haze of that dumbass blue energy shit the Barnies use in their weapons was let into the tower like freezing air on a cold day.

The scene from the roof was absurd. It wasn’t even that there were that many guys visible from up there. I’d just never seen enemy forces moving on a target with such purpose before. Planetside, for all its scale, never really succeeded in getting everyone working together. Squads, teams, cliquey brotherhoods, sure. But never armies. But these Vanu descending on our tower were positively galvanized. From the roof you could see scattered infantry and vehicles right up to the engine’s draw distance, and every one of them was jogging, hovering or flying straight towards us.

Walker is a terrible paratrooper as well as a terrible healer.

Not that I was impressed. My blood was up, and I was just angry. I quickly emptied my pockets of EMP grenades directed at the Magrider doing laps of the tower below me then swapped to my rifle. Didn’t those bastards coming towards us know this wasn’t fair? Couldn’t they see that? What were they hoping to achieve coming over to stomp on the only brave men our side had?

With my clip now empty I moved back into the middle of the roof to reload, crouching behind an anti-air MAX who was busy dissuading enemy planes.

I mean, did this make them feel big? Couldn’t they see that they were children next to us? We were giants! And if they killed us then we always would be! Clip empty again, move back in, reload.

I remember my kill ticker popping up at that moment to show I’d got a landmine kill. It gave me a mental image of an enemy so hungry he never took his eyes off the tower to spare a glance at the ground in front of him. It was when I went back to the lip of the roof to see if anyone had even gotten past our minefield that the sniper got me. Pop, one in the head. Simple as that.

Much as I’d like to say the subsequent wait to respawn was the longest minute I’ve ever had in an MMO, it never actually came to a minute. They got a hacker in and wrestled the tower from us before I ever got the chance to come back.

I wanted that on the record, you understand.

And that was that. We lost. The game was over for the TR. The last 1% had been painstakingly scrubbed from the face of the planet.

An hour later our Sanctuary got unlocked again. There was apparently some kind of apology given from a GM and everyone on our side got straight back into the important business of fighting endlessly without ever being able to win. They’re still fighting to this day, you know. To my knowledge, they still haven’t won.

And here’s me, eternally grateful for just having had the opportunity to lose.

, , .

259 Comments »

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  1. Masterdog says:

    Yup, twas a great game with some epic matches. Although I have to say I enjoyed the general farting around getting to a match as much as the games themselves.
    Bring on Huxley, though even that game now seems to have set its sights lower than Planetside did.

  2. sigma83 says:

    Best.
    War story.
    Ever.

  3. Tinkergirl says:

    That was truly epic. Congratulations, and well done – you’ll have that story for the rest of your days, and chances are, you’ll never get another story quite like it. Maybe you can find the 1% online?

  4. Bursar says:

    I played as NC before the expansion pack came out. Had some great times.

    I used to fly the small fighter (forget it’s name) behind enemy lines to take out transports and the heavier gunships before they hit ‘the front’

    My best memory (and I still have a screenshot somewhere) was coming through a warpgate and flying towards a base only to see that the TR were really massing just over the hill (as in more tanks and aircraft than i’d ever seen).

    At least 10 of their aircraft chased after me as I hightailed it back to our nearest tower. With afterburner and some mad weaving and a lot of luck I managed to get back to the tower without being shot down.

    No time to land though, so bailed out of the ship and landed on the tower roof. At this point Global chat was starting to wake up to the fact that there was a serious TR incursion on the way. Nothing attracts players like the thought of an epic fight.

    Anyway, those flyers will still zipping about around my tower scouting ahead of the main advance. I rushed down to the spawn bit and equipped my AA Max, the Sparrow. (Some people may remember how awesome (i.e. overpowered) the Sparrow was in the beginning. I got to the roof and managed to down 4 or 5 enemy aircraft before the rest caught on and moved out of range.

    I got reinforced by a few random people and we had a go at defending the tower but to be honest we were just steamrollered when the TR ground forces arrived.

    Still goes down as one of the best online experiences i’ve had though.

    Managed to get through that without one comment about Lasher spam ;-) Damn Vanu.

  5. Sideath says:

    I never got round to playing Planetside, although I had always wanted to. Although yeah, it does seem like an endless war, the story you just told was pretty awesome. Although it would be interesting to see the story told from the other side…

  6. Bursar says:

    On a side note Planetside was unfortunate in being released about 2 to 3 years to early. For the time the system requirements were pretty steep.

    It needed at least a gig or ram and a DSL connection. I was lucky as I had both, but at the time 512m was ‘standard’ and most people were on 56k dialup without the option of a ‘cheap’ broadband package.

    With solid hardware and a broadband connection it was a brilliant game and i’m still waiting for a ‘modern’ MMO that’s takes some inspiration from it. (Warhammer 40K would work).

  7. Quinns says:

    Haha. The fucking era of Lasher spam.

    NON PLANETSIDE PLAYERS: The Lasher was a heavy energy weapon available only to the Vanu side that a lot of people believed to be overpowered in the early game. Think a very slow moving rocket launcher which lashes out at anyone who comes with a few metres of the projectile, therefore enabling it to fire around cover etc.

    Bursar: My own theory is that people always saw the projectile (since they were so slow) and hid, which is the worst thing you can do since it FIRES AROUND COVER. Hence its legendary status. If people could have just learned to strafe like madmen, they’d have been fine.

    Although I guess Sony nerfed it in the end, which is either a sign that I’m wrong or they’re weak.

  8. rob says:

    I read that it in the voice of Sam Elliott and it was perfect.

  9. Bursar says:

    The Lasher was funny. It was one of my first ‘cookie cutter’ experience.

    People died to the Lasher. The word then got out that the Lasher was ‘overpowered’ so more people joined Vanu and took the Lasher. Which meant more Lasher spam in a vicious cycle.

    I was on the receiving end a fair few times but it was funny how often battlefields got covered with those purple blobs.

    Still, I had the Sparrow in my locker so couldn’t complain

  10. affront says:

    TL;DR, but: his name was actually Ostekake – I thought he was quite funny :P

    But yeah… good times, definitely. I switched over to NC from TR a bit later and got into the “tower whore” / resecure playstyle.
    Great, great, fun dropping with a few guys in Mossies on busy towers and killing everything running up (got to love third person view & Jackhammer in staircases). Re-securing hinterland bases was also great, as mostly you ran into the same guys all the time there that all loved that particular play style and had some really great little fights / duels.

    Best moment though was probably back when I was still TR.. VS trying to take a tower on Amerish, me in a Mossie and not one of them had AA max or even AV cert, so I racked up some 37:0 stats – in a goddamn Mossie. Oh, and all the resecures with <10 seconds left – and the hacks that went through after the enemies were already swarming in the CC and all of us were dead.

    By the way, if anyone is thinking of re-subbing and is not American.. don’t. The euro server (Werner) is nearly completely empty these days.

  11. sbs says:

    Brilliant story Quintin, really enjoyable read.
    I remember looking forward to Planetside and even talking to friends about forming a clan, years before it was released, just based on the awesome sounding previews. Sadly we never got around to even touching the game.

    Bursar: Warhammer with it’s Realm vs Realm stuff has certainly some potential regarding this. The whole Orcs, Dwarves and Elves shit is just putting me off.

  12. Bursar says:

    Yeah, I might try WAR.

    40k though in a Planetside style, i’d pretty much pre order now :)

  13. Paul Moloney says:

    Damn, my generation missed out on that noble conflict. When Planetside was at its height, my PC couldn’t handle it. And when I upgraded and went back to try it, I found that everyone had left the party. Surely Planetside 2 is a possibility?

    P.

  14. Feet says:

    “Best moment though was probably back when I was still TR.. VS trying to take a tower on Amerish, me in a Mossie and not one of them had AA max or even AV cert, so I racked up some 37:0 stats – in a goddamn Mossie. Oh, and all the resecures with <10 seconds left – and the hacks that went through after the enemies were already swarming in the CC and all of us were dead.”

    I have no idea what you just said, but FUCK YEAH.

    I do feel I missed out with Planetside, didn’t get a broadband connection worth a dime till alot later.

    EDIT: “worth a dime”? Man, the lingo from the post is contagious…

  15. Quinns says:

    Affront definitely wins the Bastard award for Most Google Searches Necessary for a comments post, 2008.

    I may be underestimating RPS’ readership but I’m pretty sure most people are going to think you’re talking about having trouble using a jackhammer on mossy staircases.

  16. affront says:

    Hooray, an award! \o/
    But, yeah, I didn’t really expect many people that never played it to even read the comments, sorry.

  17. Bursar says:

    For people that missed it, it was a game that had some spectacular gameplay.

    The comment Quintin makes about rose tinted memory is true though.

    I could tell you stories of taking 40 minutes to get 10 people into a dropship, only to have the dropship pilot disconnect causing us to crash into the ground killing us all. This without even seeing an enemy player!

    Other ones where you chase an incursion all over the map only to realise it’s one stealth suited dude in a mosquito (thanks whoever remembered the name) zipping between the empty towers hacking them all.

    • Squeejee says:

      Man, I remember this game – I played it at about the same time I stopped playing Star Wars Galaxies, and then after they introduced giant mechs I resolved never to touch a SOE game again :P Great story, as a VS player I would have enjoyed knifing you in the back had I been there :D

      Most of my memories of it involve hopping around solo in a stealth suit, humming splinter cell music to myself, and hijacking the tower out from under the enemy. Good times, I died a lot, but good times nonetheless.

  18. Quinns says:

    Dude it’s cool. Do you have any idea how smart I felt reading your post.

  19. Baltech says:

    I have never been interested in Planetside. Until now that is.

    That’s the problem I have with many MMOs. I’d want epic episodes like the above but you just cannot plan for these things. For example, the most fun I had in WoW were the random massive raids on enemy towns in the beginning. And they basically sucked due to technical limitations.

  20. Jim Rossignol says:

    We should have some exciting Planetside news coming up in the next couple of weeks.

  21. affront says:

    Mossies: Mosquito – small, fast, “recon” aircraft with a weak MG – weak vs armor, that is, it RIPPED through infantry

    third person view: to see them running at you while not being able to be seen yourself, so you jump out of cover once they enter your desired range to shoot them in the face point blank.

    Jackhammer: short-range high-damage gun, used in close quarters, especially staircases, to take maximum advantage of the weapon’s strengths and weaknesses – that is, if anyone was farther than about 10 meters away he would almost definitely kill you first if he was any good. But below that, you could completely own with it.

    re-securing: to take over a base you have “hack” an enemy control console (CC) and keep it that way for 15 minutes, if an enemy comes before that and “hacks” it back (=re-secures), it instantly reverts to fully functional for the original owner.

    AV certification: so you could use anti vehicular guns, of which the VS variety (the Lancer) was pretty powerful against aircraft if used by someone with a clue.

    Now extra readable with bonus explanations ultra deluxe 2008!

  22. MacBeth says:

    I could never play a war-based MMO where there’s no way to lose. For my shame I went to a few LARP events that had a similar problem – to keep everyone happy, the consequences of any victory had to be neutered. It works in the endless conflict of TF2 etc. when the battle between RED and BLU is never meant to mean anything, but in a larger scale game I’d really need to feel I was making a difference to the eventual outcome of the war.

    Sure, there’d be balance issues (winning-team-joining, for one) but I would think there could be workable systems to encourage people to join and fight for weaker sides (greater rewards, cheaper subscriptions even?)

    Just saying I’d love to play an MMO where the war was going to be won (eventually) by one side or the other. WH40K would seem to be ideal for such a scenario… we can dream…

  23. Surgeon says:

    Ah yes, I’d forgotten when they managed to screw up the Sanctuaries.
    I’m not sure that was even a bug you know Quintin, I think it may actually have been by design.
    For a week until they rolled it back, logging in basically revolved around spawning at Sanc, realising it was locked, logging out and then trying an hour later in the hope the lock had cleared.
    In the history of bad decisions by PS devs, that certainly was the most ridiculous.
    It’s all a bit hazy, but after they fixed that debacle, isn’t that when the Broadcast Warpgates got included?

    I’ve only just recently started playing again after playing for about 2 years straight from release, and then playing sporadically.
    And yes, it is just as pointless as before, but nothing else sates the desire for massive online battles like PS.
    Sometimes it does get a bit tiring fighting for 5 hours for one base. But when it falls, it is all the sweeter.

    I don’t have any epic stories, just a couple of memories/sights :

    Running cross country from one base to another with about 3 guys from the Outfit, and a shout for Incoming Aircraft went up.
    I looked up and saw a Gal, straight down into a crouch position and started reeling off the Lancer shots from long range.
    Cue satisfying explosion, plenty of XP, charred bodies falling to the ground and rounds of ‘Great Shot’ emotes.

    Being in the middle of The Bending in a Sunderer and enjoying the view as hundreds of meteorites started falling from the sky.
    We were in the middle of a battle at the time and the Chat window was scrolling up at a frantic rate as both sides were crushed to death.

    Wandering into the caves for the first time and wondering what the fuck was going on with the zip lines.

    And just the other month, sitting on top of a hill watching four Galaxy Gunships constantly circle the court yard of the base we were attacking, killing everything that moved.

    I WAS THERE, MAN!

    And I still am :)
    Although now on Gemini, not Werner. Bah!

  24. schizoslayer says:

    My best ever day in Planetside provided the material for this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k-7kYs6PX0

  25. Janek says:

    Awesome.

    Goes to show how important it is that conflict actually means something, though. The main thing that turned me off Planetside during the free trial was how it was just such a ridiculous, endless war of attrition. There were some sublime moments running around in our Prowler, but ultimately it was mostly pretty futile.

    And then suddenly because of a bug, it actually means something. Your faction is on the line, you actually have something to lose, and you get so much more out of it.

    It’s a shame that only one MMO dev seems to realise that.

  26. Kelduum says:

    This echos the fun I had too – somehow I ended up on the US server, Emerald, with a group named ‘Terran High Command’, who were mainly military and police officers.

    There were only a handful of us, but we would consistently take and hold some base in the middle of enemy territory, while wave after wave of hostiles were mown down, and other TR members used out foot in the door to

    I spent so many hours, flying around solo, taking bases offline and hacking towers, just to redirect the zerg, and make the enemy commanders think there was a larger force there than there was.

    I eventually worked it out, and could swap a base over from hostile to friendly control in 15-30 minutes, which was great, as I could then take down two bases at once, which got loads of attention from the enemies.

    The standard thing would be to start a small incursion, get their attention, then fall back while we take the bases behind them as they are busy with the other TR on the front lines, restiling in us taking the whole continent.

    I was there man… I was there.

    The only thing to beat than buzz is Eve.

    Oh and Jim, I can’t wait – sounds promising. (And I dunno if that Navy Augoror setup in the EG Eve Politics thread is any good in practice, but it should do a half decent job.)

  27. Lenny says:

    Awesome story !
    ah, the memories of battles fought….

    2003-2005 years VS / Werner
    Cheers to the good folks of Purple Valor !

  28. Surgeon says:

    The Planetside news certainly sounds intriguing.
    I wonder if this has anything to do with the roadmap announcements from the Fan Faire?

    If any old vets are thinking of coming back, here’s what they want to do/add/change in the future :

    http://forums.station.sony.com/ps/posts/list.m?topic_id=88000020046

    Whether or not any or all of it will happen is questionable, considering past announcements of this sort. (Redesigned bases anyone?)
    But fingers crossed.

  29. Spindrift says:

    I came to this site looking for TF2 information and left with a tear in my eye. (Well, not really, but that sounds nice and dramatic.)

    I wasn’t part of that 1%. Wasn’t even part of that 4%, but I still fought for the Red and Black, brother. Salute!

  30. Kommissar Nicko says:

    Brilliant story.

    To me this is just proof that the only time an MMO can be fun is when there’s some real oh-fucking-god-severe consequences to really losing.

    That’s why EVE is pretty fun, just so long as you don’t get blown up.

  31. Thelps says:

    If there’s one MMO that sticks in my mind as a real possibility to return to, it’s Planetside. The shame is that the game has been effectively deserted for a very long time, at least on the European server. More so than any other MMOG, I found PS to have a real casual/hardcore dichotomy that allowed a player to become a recognised force in the game without sinking days and days each week into the experience. All you really needed was enough XP to outfit your soldier as you saw fit and you could get straight in there. The time taken to learn the game’s concepts was very little, and of course the potential, in a free-ranging FPS environment, for unorthodox strategies and tactics was vast. On top of all this, the TR Cycler is probably the most personally satisfying mid-range weapon I’ve used in an FPS, period. Short bursts, aimed at the head, and the unassuming little baby could clear a path through anything.

    I’d definitely return to PS, since my old rig only had 512MB RAM and kept lagging up every time I left/entered a building. If even a small number of people are regularly active on Werner, I’ll seriously consider rejoining, and have quite a few friends who’ll probably come along, too.

  32. Fashigady says:

    Epic, truly epic.

  33. Jay says:

    I don’t no much about Planetside but that was a great story.

  34. Nilocy says:

    Very well written. I myself am a Planetside Veteran, under the name Nilocy (shockhorror). I used to be an expert Gal Pilot for the TR i might add, man i loved those babies. Flying in, kicking everyone out when they weren’t ready, getting assist kills. It was magical. I do remember a time when the TR sucessfully held the entire world by themselves. It was a sight i’ll never forget. Everything, and everyone Red, not just from the blood on the walls, but the maps, every single cont’ gone red, apart from ofc the sanc’s. It was the most defining online experiance in my online life. It was probably the best MMOFPS there will ever be, shame it died and they never made a second one.

    One of my favourite memories was the instance of the Cyssor battles, with the massive bridge epics that took hours to conquer. The Vanu were held up in their shield capital, the timer going down. The NC were pouring in from the north, us assaulting the south. Me and a few outfit friends manned a Raider (The TR varient of the APC). That day we took down 7 BFR’s, countless tanks, and a hellovalot of infantry. It was a day to be sorely missed. I loved that game. And its true, no-one who hasn’t played the game can truely know what its like. I was there man, I was there.

    Elite Terran C.A.L.S for ever.

  35. Ging says:

    Isn’t there an asian company that’s bought the rights to PS and are remaking it?

    My fondest memories of PS are doing full squad hot drops from a Galaxy into a base and taking over an entire continent with just 8 reavers (we lost it about 30 seconds later, but it was amusing).

    Also, being called a cheat because I spotted a cloaked guy who was taking pot shots at my reaver – it turned out he was chasing us in an AMS, deploying it then firing at us from a nearby treeline while we were taking a base… I found him and his AMS, he never came back while we were there!

  36. MetalCircus says:

    I remember playing reserves a while back and it was great. The feeling of “oh shit” you get when you’re sat in a bunker with someone you don’t know, but you look at them and know they’re ready too, and then you look to the horizon and watch swathes of tanks and those massive walking robot things stomp over the horizon… well, it’s a special feeling. You really do feel like “Bring it on” even if you are staring defeat in the face.

  37. The Hammer says:

    We should have some exciting Planetside news coming up in the next couple of weeks.

    Mmm, yes?

    I missed Planetside, firstly because I didn’t have a PC, and when I finally did, because I didn’t have the Internet.

  38. MisterBritish says:

    Haha, brilliant! Got a Firefly feeling reading that, like I was listening to a Browncoat reeling off war stories :P

  39. Akyan says:

    I too can say I was there! In fact I was in Ostekake’s outfit under the name of Yoshi2486. I loved planetside way back, must have played it for years.

    It would be awesome for them to revamp the whole game and make a Planetside 2, because you just know that they could make something so much better with todays technology.

  40. Cope says:

    Planetside was an epic game for the first year of its release. Tons of fun. Maybe the most fun I’ve ever had in an online game. Then they introduced that expansion pack and everything went downhill from there.

    Still sometimes I wish I could climb back in the cockpit of a Reaver and do some strafing runs on enemy armor columns, or maybe play the silent cloaker and hack peoples vehicles out from under them when they stop to reload. Or even just sit on a base wall lobbing plasma grenades at the enemies main AMS in the area. Good times.

    Hell I think I might have been there as one of the barneys in that battle :D

  41. Talisker says:

    Do NOT fucking tease about a Planetside sequel, JR.

  42. Surgeon says:

    Ging says :
    Isn’t there an asian company that’s bought the rights to PS and are remaking it?

    Hey Ging, apparently a Chinese team are using the same engine that was used for PS. It is in Beta at the moment and is called Welkin 4591.
    There is a good FAQ about it on the Azure Twilight site :
    http://azuretwilight.org/index.php?welkin

  43. schizoslayer says:

    I was also in Ostekakes outfit. name of TheMajor. It’s like a reunion!

  44. Grey_Ghost says:

    “exciting Planetside news”? You certain your not suffering from head trauma?

  45. Hober says:

    The “I was there” feeling not only gives a strong bond to those who share it but also a strong bond between player and game.

    Where most people who quit, say, World of Warcraft, look back on it as this horrible life-ruining experience and wish for the hours back, everyone I know as well as the folks in this comment thread remember the time spent for what it was: brutal but excellent.

  46. Torgen says:

    If you’re looking for massive battles like this, with the same sort of gritty war experiences, BUT one side actually does get to push the other off the map, check out WWII Online.

    Yeah, yeah, I was there since before the beginning, and remember all the trouble it had too, but you’d never recognize it as the same game now. Many new vehicles and infantry “classes”, each in-game division has it’s own shoulder patch/vehicle badge, mortars, anti-tank guns, armored cars, light tanks, heavy tanks, fighters, bombers, STUKAS!

    No more riding 20 minutes to a battle, if your side gets a truck close to the enemy town. Now, a truck can “deploy” into a mobile spawn point that infantry can use.

    Damn, I got myself so worked up that I’m going to have to make time to snipe some Krauts tonight. :)

  47. Winged Nazgul says:

    Planetside was the game that finally got me to break my long-standing antipathy towards subscription-based MMO’s. Previously, I was a FPS player mainly playing Tactical Ops and BF1942.

    I got into the closed beta and played mostly as TR. When the game went live, I switched sides and joined Sturmgrenadier. If you look at the infamous recruitment video, you can even catch a quick glimpse of my nametag somewhere in there.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8528794350199871147

    Looking back on my experience, I’d have to agree that the memories do take on an almost RL war vet feeling. Much more than any random FPS fragfest I ever played. While the game has faded to a bare shadow of what it once was, I am still glad to have played the game at the height of its popularity.

  48. aquazombie says:

    My god, a WH 40k mmo? That would probably be the greatest thing every (exaggeration). Seriously, I would be preorder it the day it was announced and play it in my dreams until release. As long as you can win, I’m fine then. Although the 40k universe is well suited to an endless conflict, imo, something like temporary victories would be great.

  49. Ging says:

    Surgeon: That’s the one I was thinking of! Just couldn’t remember the name!

  50. Quine says:

    Man, I was there too. I must have spent a couple of years solidly shooting people up and listening to ragga. Wonder what my neighbours thought?

    So many good memories- like the tower assault that took half a day to conclude, my first guided-missile experience during a base defence, and the awesome time all three sides converged on the base we were defending- never has a grenade launcher been so much fun.

    The fact that the world was huge and the overall winning conditions so vague (or nonexistant) that made you make up your own objectives- so much more satifying than something spme quest NPC dishes out. When your squad decided to take and hold a base virtually by themselves to move a front forward, and you ended up in closely fought battles with identifiable enemy squads before more guys from your faction arrived and a strong ad-hoc outfit bonded over their little victories.

    Still the #1 game experience for me, all these years later.