Planetside: The 1%

By Quintin Smith on December 30th, 2011 at 7:32 pm.

Next up from the dusty annals of prehistoric RPS is a 2008 barnstormer of a tale from our all-too-quickly-departed gentleman caller Quintin Smith, and probably the best thing you’ll ever read about the one-time greatest videogame in the history of existence, Planetside.

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.


Originally published in September 2008.

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40 Comments »

  1. Stijn says:

    The best thing ever written about Planetside indeed. Loved it when I read it first, and it’s still tight.

    • McDan says:

      Indeed sir, one of my favourite ever articles from RPS. thanks so much for putting it up again guys!

    • Syra says:

      Wow, incredible article indeed!

  2. Snarfeh says:

    God damn Ostekare was annoying, even if he was an effective CR5.

    • Nilokey says:

      Ostekake* And he was probably my favourite CR5. Raged a little, but damn people listened to him.

  3. thetruegentleman says:

    “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.”

    Good lord is that ever true, as anyone who’s ever tried to hold back an invasion in the game can attest. Never have so few fought so many for so little.

    • rayne117 says:

      “Never have so few fought so many for so little.”

      This spoke to me.

  4. Sobric says:

    Goddamn hurry up with Planetside 2

  5. DogKiller says:

    I have many fond memories of Planetside. I also seem to remember finding a lot of the CR5s to be annoying. Maybe I was too insubordinate to like being ordered around by anybody who wasn’t in my outfit. Great game.

  6. Bahoxu says:

    Nice read :-)

  7. Hunt0r says:

    i was there man! i was outside the base fighting, then inside the base fighting then outside the base again fighting, then being push up that fucking hill fighting, then finally the last stand!! I took as many as i could with me!!! and your so right people that weren’t there wont understand!

    • Torbin says:

      I WAS THERE MAN!

      Well, kind of. I remember the exact day you were speaking of. I remember logging on and seeing a lot of chatter over the Barney commandlink about how TR was locked out of Red Sanct.

      It was an odd day, indeed. See… I’d like to think of myself as an honorable fighter. I remember several of us Vanu gathering to keep the smurfs from flipping what TR bases we could while the devs worked out what ever kink was jamming TR sact respawn tubes. And we managed to hold off a couple war parties. But then other Vanu came and joined in. And then even more. Suddenly, a CR5 that came in from one of the splinter groups decided that it was about time we took what we could before the Elmos logged back in and cleansed the galaxy in fiery-red wrath.

      I didn’t stay for much after that. Me and a few other guys went off and captured a couple NC towers on Esamir before we just got tired of nothing to do beyond supporting the Zerg of Greifers. So we logged for the day.

  8. Chockster says:

    Don’t forget, Beta signups are open for Planetside 2. I’ll certainly be heading back in.

    http://www.planetside2.com/

  9. mechabuddha says:

    Beautiful words.

  10. dontnormally says:

    OCCUPY AURAXIS

  11. Dominic White says:

    If Sony have any sense, they’ll crib some of the ill-fated Chrome Hounds’ design for the campaign stuff. That had a similar three-way war over a persistent world thing going on, but it was geared so that it would eventually be won by one of the three sides after a few weeks. Well, that was the plan – NPC kill grinding meant that most wars were over in a day or two, but it was a solid idea.

    Making it possible for one side to win every few weeks would be pretty great, so long as they could keep things going so that the losing players had somewhere to go.

    • AndrewC says:

      I assume that awesome things that aren’t done in most games aren’t done because they are horrendously difficult, not becase devs are just too dumb to think of them.

      Maybe it is down to design documents being made by those only looking at past successes, not future glory but STILL: my explanation for not getting awesome feels less depresssing.

      Anyway: i’d like what you suggested! I always get freaked out by the inifnite now of multiplayer games.

    • strikerRD says:

      I just want to point out that in Chrome Hounds, wars didn’t just last weeks, it was more like a month or two, depending on how active it was. NPC grinding was never an issue and never ended wars in “days” like you said because you received far less capture points for fighting NPC’s.

      But… chrome hounds was good times. At the end their there were a few wars that lasted a long time. We played for the middle east side when I had a group in that game. All the best players choose the american/eu faction in that game, so we struggled hard for weeks defending our bases, taking ground in some respects but eventually we were beaten down to our capital city where we made the final stand and finally lost.

      Games need more interesting design. I’ve always felt faction based multiplayer combat is 100x better than jumping into a multiplayer “server” and playing a few “rounds”. i’d rather be airdropped into the action.

      We all need more “you weren’t there!” also, wouldn’t it be nice if PERSISTENCE meant more than unlocking guns titles and badges?

  12. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Just as good as when I first read it.

  13. boffinboots says:

    That brings back some goddam memories. I miss those chainguns.

  14. dsi1 says:

    Still my favorite article, must be because it’s about the best game ever :p

  15. Feriluce says:

    This phenomenon is not exlusive to planetside though. Its something that happens with eve as well.

  16. rockman29 says:

    Wow, this is some serious Holiday gift giving from RPS… look at all these awesome articles!!!

  17. DigitalSignalX says:

    Brilliant! You were all winners, the glorious dead.

  18. Muzman says:

    I was thinking about this article the other day and how its title has acquired unfortunate class warfare implications. If it all goes to hell I think I’ll try to be gaming as the masses come for our first world shit. And given my usual online MP performance, probably losing in grand style.

  19. DOs says:

    Oste was great to fight under. He had his downs like all the cr5s but he always felt honest. Best 3 years of gaming of my life. I can still hear Total Biscuits voice drone on in my ears and see Morgys nonsense about his latest birds, and feel azk’s superhuman accuracy and ESP sting. Yeah, I was there all right. Good days.

  20. bear912 says:

    That was quite a read. It makes me mighty sad Quinns had to leave.

    On a completely different topic, does anyone know how I can access my WordPress profile settings for RPS? I used to get booted to a settings page every time I logged in to comment, but either through the inevitable, dubious progress of mankind or through my own incompetency this no longer happens. I think now that I would like to visit with it for a while, and wiggle some settings back and forth for old times sake. Does anyone know how I could go about this?

  21. Dowr says:

    I miss Planetside…. great, now I’m depressed! AGAIN.

  22. DougieMonster says:

    Awesome article. My abiding memory of Planetside is of defending a base that was under heavy attack. Maybe not to the scale in the main article but we were slowly being pushed back and we all knew it was only a matter of time before those red/black TR bastards took control.

    For 30-40 minutes we manned those walls. We miraculously fought off wave after of wave of infantry and vehicles bravely respawning to run forward to take the place of our fallen comrades.

    Then the giant Mechs started arriving.

    Soon we were being pushed back into the base itself. It wasn’t long before our spawn tubes were destroyed. We were on our own from this point on and we knew it. It was at this moment that the chat channel started filling witjh messages suggesting we pull out and regroup to attack someplace else.

    I’ve no idea who said it but in response to a comment aong the lines of:

    “We should just bail, we’re never gonna win this place back”

    Someone answered:

    “Who cares? This is a great fight!”

    And it was. We held out for another minute or two before we died to the last man defending that insignificant, no-hope base. God i miss Planetside…

  23. mechastreisand says:

    Fantastic article. The only other game I can think of that gives me the same kind of memories as those I have from Planetside is EVE. I suspect that it’s a byproduct of games which provide persistence through conquest. I remember fighting for 49-, E-O, VFK-. Big, huge campaigns that came to a head in single systems in battles that lasted for days. Shit is memorable. “I was there, man” syndrome is a very appropriate name for it.

  24. psaldorn says:

    My bread and butter was Sniper/AV/Adv. Medic for New Conglomerate with my small, incoherent Outfit, Looking For Trouble. But one of my fondest memories is as a cloaker.

    I’d joined the side of a large base battle when PS was at it’s height, large numbers of players were besieging a Vanu Sov. base, magriders were roaming freely and no Vanguards were around to mop them up.

    I was wandering around the base walls/enemy held outside areas planting boomers (C4) behind snipers or unwary combatants.

    I noticed one Magrider would take AV fire from our troops then retreat to the same spot behind the base to repair, both gunner and pilot would alight to speed repairs.

    I waited in this area for a little while until it next came back. After a few minutes of holding myself back engaging the odd foot soldier for fear or having them respawn and hunt me down with darklight implants, I was beginning to get impatient.

    Just as I turn to leave it dutifully rolls up, gouting smoke and sparks.

    I creep up, gambling on which side the repairs will take place, luckily for me they both choose teh same side, next to each other they get the reapair tools out.

    I place a Boomer just behind them, but close enough that they are in the kill zone.

    Quickly switching to my secondary weapon in case they heard the distinctive sound of something being placed. Having played a majority of my time as a sniper I’ve had it happen before, your first instinct becomes turning on Darklight, drawing sidearm and sprinting away.

    They haven’t heard me.

    By this time the tank is nearly repaired so I retreat a little and just as I deem the tank repaired enough to be able to survive a close range blast I check for nearby troops.

    I detonate.

    The enemy troops are killed instantly.

    When I first devised this plan, I had contacted one of my outfit (or random squad member, I forget) who had the Advanced Hacking and Cloaker certs. They’ve been on standby for me, without knowing why. They quickly find their way to me, their shimmer not noticed in the heat and exposive cacophony of battle.

    They go about their work hacking the Magrider, flipping its colours to the glorious Blue and Gold of the New Conglomerate.

    I patrol the area in case the previous owners decide to come back for their ride, but by now our forces have pushed into the courtyards and tunnels feeding the base, so their escape is unlikely.

    Neither I nor my friend had the ability to drive tanks at this time, so we informed out “superiors” and carried on our way.

    At the next base along the battle starts anew, lo and behold Magrider in NC livery cruises onto the scene, cueing much screenshot taking and posing by it when it pulls over for repairs.

    I have no way of knowing if this was our hacked tank, but on Werner server at least, hacked tanks were fairly infrequent, so I like to think it was, how my actions meant that some other player got to spend a little while driving the much envied Magrider and feeding the VS a taste of their own plasmadeath.

    I have many other stories I like to share with other Veterans. I only hope PlSi2 keeps the same feeling of freedom and bonhomie as it’s predecessor managed.

    • Davee says:

      This. The Infiltrator suit was/is so much fun. I hope for SOE’s sake they implement it PS2 as well!

  25. Jezebeau says:

    I was there, a Magrider gunner, vaporizing the trash from your walls. Respect is definitely due for how long you held out, particularly restricted to one tower like that. How could we not fight with everything we had? We, too, had the opportunity to do something never before possible.

  26. PlayerofGames says:

    I was there, and it was glorious. To this day I list Planetside as the best game I’ve ever played, not because of the game itself but because of the people I played it with, and for those memories, those moments when you were truly in the fight. I ran with a squad of older players, mostly armchair tacticians and Ghost Recon/tactical shooter vets, and we played the game with that mentality; squad movement, breach and clear, fire discipline, structured ops. It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but my god it was so much fun. I’m still looking for the game that can create that feeling again. PS2 maybe, but my faith in SOE is almost nonexistant after what they did to the original.

  27. JustAchaP says:

    I hope Planetside 2 will be the same as the original, I never played Planetside so I hope the sequal will give me the same experience as the original

  28. Docslapper says:

    The veteran analogy is soo true. If you weren’t there, you missed out, and if you were there, you’ll never forget.
    I was one of the first few Smurf CR5′s and had the incredible gaming experience of playing a FPS as a RTS. For a few of the battles I didn’t even shoot things, I sat in a tower near the gateway in and just talked to people.

    “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I will be your CR5 for this continent battle. If you’re flying a Gal with no cargo, please let me know and I’ll find some passengers for you. If you feel like capping some towers we’ll be taking the western side first. We are currently zerging -basename- , if you’re somewhere else and having a hard time you may wish to head there. If you spot large numbers of enemy, please let me know”.

    And for the record, I had no problem with being treated as a crusty, crumbly, grandparent, or being ignored, but getting abuse from idiots who didn’t see why I got to boss people around got a bit annoying; I worked hard for my CR rank. Luckily most people were accepting if not outright thankful that someone was in the chair. Getting a screen full of ‘good job!’ messages after a continent cap was extremely gratifying :)
    It got a bit ridiculous later when there were more CR5′s and it got noisy on the command channel, but for a few glorious weeks that was the best gaming experience of my life.

    I have my own stock of war stories, but the sight I still remember is a huge battle over a river in the first couple of weeks. The sheer amount of ordinance flying around the place was amazing, death happened utterly at random because the lag meant you never saw the incoming artillery until too late.

    For anyone I served with, or against, thank you, it was a blast :)

  29. Varryl says:

    This is fantastic! I was hardcore into shooter gaming back then but i was so focused on Quake and UT I missed the Planetside boat completely.

    Now I wish I hadn’t. This sort of experience is all I ever wanted out of a game.

    I’ve signed up for the Planetside 2 Beta. See you there.

  30. OmniscientQ says:

    I was there, man.

    When you run around Auraxis in that endless conflict for as long as I did, you wind up with a fair number of stories. I could tell you about the time my outfit jammed as many Flails under an AMS bubble as we could and then unloaded on an NC base with one scared, panicking Infiltrator on the ground lazing for us. I could tell you about the time we loaded up into six Liberators and carpet-bombed the courtyard of a TR base. Or the time I almost got my account banned by firing off just a few, innocent little Radiator grenades… into a crowded CC packed with my fellow Vanu. Perhaps the day I met the Sons of Vanu, my future outfit, in the middle of enemy territory with enemies all around. Or I could share any of dozens of other stories.

    But the one that stands out above the rest is still my very first day on Auraxis. It was launch day; the first day for all of us.

    I had signed on with the Vanu Sovereignty, mainly because I liked lasers and the color purple. I made my first character, logged in… And had no clue what was going on. I had read the manual, of course, but the manual prepared you for Planetside about as well as a field manual prepares you for firing an M16 for the first time. (Hint: It doesn’t) I stepped out of the spawn tubes in the Vanu Sanctuary, and walked out into the open. I saw the huge HART building off to the side, and a vast open courtyard where a bunch of other players were piling into a Galaxy dropship. Off in the distance, there were even more people loading up to throw themselves into one breech or another. It looked like a busy place, and I had no clue where I should start.

    My newbishness must have been pretty obvious because, as the Galaxy took off, someone pulled up next to me in a freakin’ hover-car. He got out, equipped in the heavy REXO armor, all shiny and purple, and asked if I wanted a tour. I gladly accepted, and hopped into the passenger seat.

    This soldier, whose name I can’t even remember now (And I feel real guilt for not being able to remember the name of this helpful person) drove me around to the aircraft deployment pads, the vehicle pads. He took me inside the HART building and showed me the certification terminals. I had read about all of these, of course, but it’s not the same as having a guided tour. He recommended the Medium Assault certification; I picked it up and never dropped it the rest of my career. I loved my Pulsar, more than any other single piece of equipment.

    In the end, I certed up, geared up, and he directed me to board the HART shuttle, which would take me up to orbit for a hotdrop into any combat zone I chose. Once I was presented with the map, I saw a bunch of little orange-colored explosion icons which could only be interpreted as the site of some combat. In fact, one continent was covered in them. I checked the name: It was Amerish.

    My fellow Planetside veterans will know Amerish as the one continent the Vanu would frequently drop everything else to defend, and I was no different. Not after that first day. I remember picking a drop site right in the middle of the explosion icons on the northeast corner. It was at a tower outside the Dropship center. I was treated to a third-person view of my drop pod as it descended, and I could see the terrain spinning wildly below me. I was too high to see any soldiers or vehicles at first, but I could see plenty of yellow and blue tracer fire crossing EVERYWHERE. I was stunned by the sheer scale of it all. I could see that the tracer fire had to be originating from well over 30 players; more than I had seen in any game before. My pod landed, and before the walls had finished falling away to let me out, a passing Reaver had unloaded it’s rockets into me. I was dead before I had taken my first step. Not a good start.

    The rest of that night is a blur. I have vague impressions of having fought off first the NC, then the Terrans. We nearly lost Amerish a couple of times, but that just made the victory all the sweeter when we finally cleansed the continent of the red and blue infestations. And that victory changed me. From that point on, I thought of Amerish as being mine. You know that scene in the Starship Troopers movie, where Ricco says, “A citizen makes the survival of the human race his PERSONAL responsibility”? That’s how I felt about Amerish, and the entire Vanu Sovereignty, after that night. A smurf or an elmo taking even a single step onto Amerish was a direct, personal insult, and one that must be immediately remedied.

    I spent years on Auraxis, through the Core, the Bending, and the horrible BFR’s. I stuck through it all. I got better, even excelled, at driving a Galaxy or a Liberator. With my trusty Pulsar, I could trade shots with snipers and stand a decent chance of coming out on top (*minor* exaggeration). I’d like to think I made enough of an impression that the NC and TR would groan when they saw my name come up in the kill spam. But for all my adventures – for all the stories that came after- that first day started it all.

    I was there, man. Some part of me is still there, on Amerish, even years after I finally walked away from the battle.

  31. SnipeGrzywa says:

    I was there, man.

    Veteran from day 1 for little over 3 years, and on and off after that. This article hit it exactly. Ya, the game was cool with the player vs player 1000 person battles, but graphics sucked, and enough bugs to make playing tedious at times. But what made it memorable was the comradeship with the people you fought with.

    There are way to many stories to tell, when talking with my buddies about Planetside 2 I never have to re-use a story to promote it. From conducting Anti-sniper Ops, joint outfit Galaxy drops, tank packs, air squadrons, behind enemy lines gen drops, The Beam Team!, MAX rushes, being a lone Infiltrator in a heavily populated enemy base . . . the list is endless.

    For me the thing that stand out most in my mind is the following. . .

    I started on a Friday morning, had the day off from school. Did the usual wasting time just taking and defending bases. By the time night came around, we held every continent but 2. I was thinking of logging, when BAM, CR5 message flashed on my screen “Vanu soldiers! Stay and fight, Auraxis will be ours by the morning!” I talked with my outfit leaders (the 3rd and 4th CR5′s on our server if I remember right) and sure enough, they had a plan. I stayed. *For those that don’t know, the fewer the bases the enemy had, they obviously get stuck at the last few bases, so you pretty much have to fight their entire empire*

    Persistence won the day. Grueling fight after grueling fight, we were pushing the TR and NC back. Approx 0330 on Saturday morning, we owned all but 2 bases. I was fighting the NCs, and we had just breached the court yard when the TR base fell. It took us 30 minutes to even get NEAR the CC, let alone hack it. The CR5s were doing an outstanding job defending the counterattacks, whether full assaults or someone trying to drain a base, so it looked like we might be able to do it.

    After 2 failed hacks, we finally rooted the NC from the base, and shortly later the continent. Spent the last 5 mins of the hack celebrating. All 300+ of the Vanu were shooting in the air, throwing jammers, launching OSs, waiting as the clock ticked down . . . 5 . . .4 . . .3 . . . 2 . . .1 . . . Base was capped, Continent was locked, and the world map was purple. Planetside first for an empire to do a world lock.

    Props to the TR and NC on that night, they fought till the end, and soon as we capped and players started logging they stormed back, taking 3 continents before the late night/early morning VS players were able to set up a defense.

    To all those Planetside players out there, no matter the empire, thank you for the good times and the great memories. I know we all left a little bit out there on Auraxis, waiting to go back in. I hope to see you all in PS2, continuing the ever pointless fight.

    Tech = Might!
    Loyal Son of Vanu for life!

    SnipeGrzywa
    Meddic
    lovleytpilot

  32. Hun73r says:

    Its Ostekake and he still playes and im in the same outfit and he has a background in the Militery
    and when he lead we win 90% of the time.

    What do you have to show for it ????