Oceans Apart: Planetside 2 Region Locked?

By Jim Rossignol on February 24th, 2012 at 11:27 am.

Hi, I'm Gary from the Vanu Sovereignty.
This is big news for all SOE games, actually, including EverQuest II, DC Universe Online, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, and Free Realms. PCG points out that SOE are signing a European publishing deal with Germany company ProSiebenStat. According to SOE’s proposals this could mean that SOE customers will no longer be able to play on both American and EU servers, and in fact existing European players are going to be asked to create an account with the new company to transfer characters and continue playing. Of course, people aren’t too happy about that, what with them having relationships with real people outside international boundaries and so forth. The inevitable internet shouting resulted in this response from SOE, indicating that they are “listening”. The upshot of the current proposal would be that Europeans would not be (easily) able to play Planetside 2 with American chums. The RPS Planetside 2 outfit would be divided! Those are tears running down my cheeks.

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67 Comments »

  1. Dana says:

    Thats SOE for you.

    -Hey, Planetside 2 is going to be awesome ! Lets give it to a TV station and split the playerbase !

  2. TimA says:

    Really hope they sort something out. Some of my fondest memories in PS were invading US servers with the Halibuts.

  3. jplayer01 says:

    Well, this might be a reason to skip the game. Personally, I wouldn’t exactly make use of the functionality, but I know that other people might and it simply rubs me the wrong way when a developer unnecessarily inconveniences or limits their own customers.

  4. mondomau says:

    Ahhh, I was waiting to see what Sony were going to do to torpedo an otherwise promising release. I’m fairly sure it’s actually in their development / marketing strategy:

    Step 1. Create genuinely promising new game / piece of hardware
    Step 2. Hype the shit out of it.
    Step 3. Once everyone’s excited, shoot self in foot with obnoxious marketing or design decision e.g. proprietry interfaces, nonsensical/gouging pricing structure, bizarre release date – it’s all good.
    Step 4. Profit!
    Step 5. When step 4 fails, blame Piracy / economy / fans/ wolves.
    Step 6. Repeat from step 1.

    • bwion says:

      Every wolf attack is a lost sale.

    • Optimaximal says:

      You missed ‘drop to F2P and let fade into obscurity’. Seems to be a required MMO business model these days.

    • Premium User Badge

      tomeoftom says:

      bwion: thanks

    • LuNatic says:

      You wouldn’t chase a car,
      you wouldn’t chew on a handbag,
      you wouldn’t jump on a television,
      you wouldn’t howl at a movie.

      Downloading pirated films is lycanthropy,
      lycanthropy is against the law,
      PIRACY IT’S A CRIME

    • Premium User Badge

      TeraTelnet says:

      And this is the reason I keep reading RPS comments. Nicely done, you lot.

    • Geen says:

      You just explained the entire history of Sony. Well done, good sir.

  5. er910 says:

    This sucks. As an American, I like the fight the world. Boo SOE.

    • Bork Titflopsen says:

      As the rest of the world, I like taunting Americans over the internet.

      Have at you, scoundrel!

    • Geen says:

      I’m American but I like playing on EU servers because EU has (somewhat) less retarded fps fanboys. Also, I love your accents.

    • fish99 says:

      We noticed.

  6. ghling says:

    I believe you mean the german company “ProSiebenSat1″ which is mainly one of the biggest television broadcasters in Germany.

    • fionny says:

      Pedantic Pat and that is that. :P

    • Hisui says:

      Faultless research is a base requirement for journalism. Nothing wrong with pointing this out.

    • His Dudeness says:

      Think Channel 5 (UK). Now, imagine that dumbed down…..no, no, I mean really, really, really dumbed down for their target audience that communicates by pantomime and grunting.

      So, that’s PS2 of my wishlist then.

  7. fionny says:

    You just got to hate Sony, they are a horrible company.

    • rockman29 says:

      SOE, not SCE who is involved with Playstation.

      SOE pretty much determines their own fate (re: runs themselves into the ground).

      This is bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad.

      I have no idea how this is even allowed. Just launch in one or two territories after the other. Bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad.

      They literally just cut communities of PS players in half. What the ***k is wrong with them…?

  8. Teronfel says:

    Isn’t this because of lag?Makes sense if you have such huge battles.

  9. Firkragg says:

    As someone with no technical knowledge on how servers work, is there any technical advantages to splitting up servers into regions? Just curious.

    • ghling says:

      Indeed there is: the further away you are as player from the server, the longer the communication between your pc and the server take (noticeable as so called ‘lag’ ingame) and the higher the chance that communication packets are lost on the way to the server / back to your pc.
      If you play on an american server from germany, you normally have much more lags and a higher ping than if you play on a server located in europe.

      tl;dr:
      the longer the distance to the server, the higher your ping / lags.

    • Eskatos says:

      Planetside 1 had servers in different regions, and while you couldn’t move characters between them you could log on to any one of them and make a new character. All done for lag reasons of course.

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    Anthile says:

    At this point I am almost certain that SOE are running some sort of Springtime For Hitler scheme.

  11. Magus44 says:

    Man what a Joke. Something as huge as this, you’d want to fight everyone around the world. World sized game.. world sized playerbase?
    Somewhat related. I live in Australia. Did anyone play PS1 from here with stable pings etc? Or was it impossible?
    I just want to play this so much. With everyone. From around the world.
    Would they put everyone in Oceania onto a separate server as well.. OH LORD.

    • Torgen says:

      Yes. Apparently we Yanks will get the HUEHUEHUE Brazilians, and you will get the Koreans and Chinese.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      Yeah I also want to know about this too. I’ve had some good times playing on Australian FPS servers… but this type of game might be different.

  12. caddyB says:

    Isn’t it better for them to have all the people in the same servers, so that there’s some amount of action at prime time of every timezone? I’m probably too stupid to answer that.

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      RaveTurned says:

      From a technical standpoint there are performance benefits for splitting the player base – EU players will be closer to the EU servers, they’ll have less load on them and so on. In theory this means they’ll expericne less lag, leading to a better game experience.

      From the perspective of a massively multi-player experience of an endless war, you’re completely right. If you log on when the majority of players on the server are in bed or at work, there’s not so much fighting to be had.

      Alas I think this decision was probably made because bringing on ProSiebenStat makes a big chunk of money for SOE, rather than for whatever gameplay benefits are being touted as an excuse.

  13. arrjayjee says:

    As an Australian, playing on international servers is goddamn painful in the first place. I hate being on the ass-end of the world.

  14. diminish3d says:

    Just Sony’s usual standard I’m afraid. Presumeably so they can hold their hands up with a ‘nothing to do with us’ smile, when the Euro Hamster-powered server falls over.

    Expect the ability to transfer….for a fee

  15. Premium User Badge

    RaveTurned says:

    I was massively excited by news of PS2 when I first heard about it.
    Then I heard about Firefall and was torn between the two.
    Now I’m thinking Firefall will probably be the more inclusive experience.

  16. CMaster says:

    You’d think people would learn.
    Almost always when the running of an MMO in another territory is handed over to a third party, the territory run by the third party does substantially worse, is disliked by the players and ends up either ceasing operations or being folded back into the original operator. (The most high-profile example probably being LOTRO and the taking back by Turbine of Codemaster’s (rather shoddy) european concession.

    • Jerusahat says:

      LOTRO was the first thing that sprung to my mind too. EU always lagged behind in features, and some stuff (like my.lotro.com) wasn’t available at all. It’s been a lot better since they look it back.

    • Everyone says:

      Considering that SoE have gone through that exact cycle more than once you’d think they’d have learnt by their previous fuck ups. But nope.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      Yes, this.

      Man. PS2 MUST be good, why are they trying to make things difficult for themselves?

  17. bit_crusherrr says:

    I hear that the guys operating it in Europe have a policy where they delete your account after 90 days of activity. No source for this was ever provided but there is a lot of people complaining about it. I hope thats not true as it pretty much makes spending any money on the game pointless as it will all be gone if you stop playing for a bit then go back to it.

    • Rusty says:

      I suspect you probably mean “inactivity” … but given SOE’s track record, maybe you don’t.

  18. ComradeDom says:

    I think you boys are forgetting a huge benefit of this. Let’s say that eventually, in a particular area there are 2 top tier, highly organized guilds like to fight for control of said area. Turns out, one of them is made out of dirty Swedes while the other guild is composed solely of dirty Yanks. The effect here is two-fold: lack of people to fight against during primetime, and territorial gain while the other is sleeping. Otherwise, you have one or the other guild trying to stay on top by completely wrecking their sleeping schedule, not to mention the ping pong going on because they’ll keep tearing out territory without on time opposition. Plus, lag etc.

  19. Kazang says:

    I don’t know how people expect have a consistent gameplay experience with 150+ ping.

    Region locks are a technical concern necessitated by the limits of physical networks. Playing Europe to Australia, or Poland to California is just going to lag like a motherfucker there is no way around that.

    • TormDK says:

      But shouldn’t we, the customers, deside where we want to spend our time and our money?

      for instance, I play Battlefield 3 in tournaments, most of which are hosted in the US, on US servers. I typically have ping of about 120.

      Yet I can continue to dominate just fine. Sure, there are some firefights which I lose due to ping – but for a MMOG having 100 in Ping will not, and should not, matter what so ever.

      SOE was one of the few remaining MMORPG publishers that did not create silly region walls on the internet, and had in my mind previously been a bastion of the global village thought.

      But now it seems everyone other than the US will get to be second rated customers that are expected to pay a higher price for a lesser service.

    • affront says:

      “Region locks are a technical concern necessitated”
      Nope.
      Emphasis on locks, here. If you (and anyone else with the same point ITT) were talking about regional servers and the choice where one wishes to play and whether or not one wants to accept bad ping or not open to the user this would make sense.
      Arbitrarily locking it down because of publishing agreements and forcing one to play wherever, and ONLY there, does not.

      Additionally third-party publishers for MMOs have historically always ended in huge clusterfucks from a support and patch standpoint, if not even a stability one too. This combined with Pro7Sat1 having no fucking clue about what it is that they’re doing because all they’ve so far done were shitty little browsergames, as far as I know, this sucks like explosive decompression. Was really looking forward to PS2, now not so much.

    • Kazang says:

      “But shouldn’t we, the customers, deside where we want to spend our time and our money?”

      You can. This is the same as with with WoW, WAR, SWTOR and most other mainstream mmo’s.

      If you want to play on different region servers the option will be there, just not standard.

      “But for a MMOG having 100 in Ping will not, and should not, matter what so ever”

      That is a ridiculous statement. It does matter, not in every situation but in any game where reaction time is a factor it will matter and telling yourself it “should not” wont change anything.

      Secondly the fact that it is a MMOG doesn’t suddenly make ping less of a concern. The opposite is true in fact, the more players the more it matters.

    • orcane says:

      You’re still wrong. It’s not a real choice when it requires purchase of a 2nd client and/or jumping through hoops to get access to an account for the other regions’ service.

      There’s nothing wrong with eg. adding servers in Europe for European players, but everything wrong with outsourcing your operations to some questionable third party and lock out Europeans from accessing the main US service unless they pretend to be Americans.

      This “they’re doing it for your own good” logic is moronic.

    • jalf says:

      So what you’re saying is that in the last 6 years or so, the speed of light has gone down?

      Because a couple of years ago, it was not a “technical necessity”. I played Planetside on US servers. I’ve played countless FPS games with friends in australia. I was in an American TFC clan. And I live in Europe.

      It’s not a “technical necessity”. I can live with having 200ms ping instead of 50, if it means I get to play with my friends. You may feel otherwise, and luckily, no one is forcing you to play on servers located on a different continent.

      But hey, let’s play along with this logic. Because this game is so big, we’ll need to send a lot of data between players, and clearly that’s a technological limitation.

      Sure, and it’s one at which I’m willing to bet that my symmetric 60mbit line in Europe is going to tackle *a hell of a lot* better than some hobo in the US with 128kbit, even if we’re both playing on a US server. Because if the problem is the amount of data, then bandwidth, not latency, is king.

  20. Wreckdum says:

    lol @ how unreasonable everyone is being… This game is going to be HUGE… And I mean players in one game huge. I for one do not want some douchebag in Europe lag rubber banding around my game because he thinks it’s “fun” to annoy Americans. It makes sense what they are doing. Get over it. If the only thing you have to keep you in touch with your foreign friends is Planetside 2 maybe you should re evaluate your friendship. =)

    EDIT: I just saw something in the comment above my post I didn’t agree with. Choosing a server and “accepting” bad lag doesn’t only affect you. It affects everyone you are playing with. So no it should not be YOUR decision to play with lag. Just because you buy a game doesn’t give you the power to ruin others play experience.

    • affront says:

      It’s been years since client-side prediction was so bad that a player with a typical 100-150 ping without huge packetloss was having a noticeable impact on people shooting at him.

      Especially in a game as slow as Planetside.

    • aircool says:

      Oh, there will be lag, but no-one else online to notice. Region Locking isn’t a big deal for me, we’re bound by European Law to choose a Euro server anyway.

    • orcane says:

      Thank you for telling everyone else how they’re allowed to play.

    • Phantoon says:

      Please ignore him, he clearly does not speak for all of us.

      I don’t know if I want an MMO game that I can’t go out and find RPS chums in.

    • jalf says:

      I for one do not want some douchebag in Europe lag rubber banding around my game because he thinks it’s “fun” to annoy Americans.

      Don’t worry. Few people are going to be stupid enough to want to play with someone who calls peoples douchebacks simply because they (1) have friends, and (2) live on a different continent.

      It makes sense what they are doing.

      How come it wasn’t a problem for PS1?

      Choosing a server and “accepting” bad lag doesn’t only affect you.

      Yes, if the developers are incompetent. Which isn’t a given.

      I don’t know if you realize, but quite a few games are able to handle this pretty well.

      I’m sorry that *you* don’t have friends, but some of us do, and we’d like to be able to play games with them. Especially games which are *designed* for multiplayer action, and especially when we were able to do it on our ancient 56-256k lines the better part of a decade ago.

      So no, I’m sorry, but it’s not the “laggy Europeans” who are being douchebags.

      Of course, *if* you were right, and the speed of light has slowed so much that even though we have faster computers and faster internet connections, we can no longer play against the people we played against 8 years ago, there is one completely crazy solution which venerable old Guild Wars implemented: international servers.

      You want to play only with good low-latency non-douchebag Americans with the fine and friendly attitude that you display, join the US-only server. You want to play with your friends who, due to their exceeding douchebaggery dare to live more than 500km away from you, join the international server.

      Bam, “technological limitation” begone.

      It even has the added advantage that those of us who have friends don’t have to play with asses like you.

  21. Hisui says:

    Not only are those TV channels terrible, now they also ruin video games!

    • neolith says:

      That might be on purpose – maybe they are trying to get us to watch their lame TV shows.

  22. diamondmx says:

    One step forward, two steps backwards.
    Region locking can f*** right off. It severely messed up my SC2 experience.

  23. Goronmon says:

    Damnit SOE, why are you so bad at what you do?

  24. aircool says:

    Mythic –> GOA –> Fail, seems to spring to mind. It’s easy to be cynical about these things, usually because the cynics tend to be proved right.

  25. Unaco says:

    This is a shame. Was sort of looking forward to this game… now, not so much. Splitting the player base like this, and limiting player groups to only 1 region is bad, mmmmkay.

  26. SexualHarassmentPanda says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is. Planetside is an MMOFPS, one of the hardest MMO genres to write netcode for. Limiting players to their appropriate region is going to keep their pings low enough to not effect other players. If you start tossing in 200 pings from Europe it will be very difficult to keep things smooth. I have no problem with region locks if it means I am going to have a smooth experience. Lets not forget that the original Planetside had to remove locational damage(headshots) because it was too calculation intensive for the netcode and would have caused excess latency.

  27. moarage says:

    I know for some it doesn’t matter because of ping issues and such but I miss the times where playing meant playing with people all over the world

  28. diminish3d says:

    Oh, there will still be lag, its just that Sony have absolved themselves of any responsibility for it. TBH, its probably what they think of as a shrewd business move, spinning off a significant proportion of the playerbase ( the section which would need most support in terms of multiple languages etc.) in exchange for a wad of cash.

    Oh, and as a Day1 player of the original PS, i’m honour bound to point out that PS never had locational damage. There was never such a thing as a headshot.

    The only reason I can possibly hope that they’ve done this is that all the game calculations would be run server-side instead of client side (and thus vulnerable to tampering). Its a faint hope, I know, but I do love to see how much Sony is capable of disappointing me.

    I’ve rounded up 10-15 of my old Outfit mates, and I know this regionalisation is causing some of them to reconsider their interest.

  29. Captain Hijinx says:

    Oh well, as long as we have enough players in each region, it won’t be that much of a problem.

    Also, nice to see you around Jim.

  30. DK says:

    Hey, Games Media. You did this. You did this by fellating Blizzard and ignoring the fact they’ve been doing this for years. You allowed it to spread.

    This is you YOUR fault.

    • Unaco says:

      Really? It’s the media’s fault? Entirely, with no one else to blame? Like the customers who still bought Blizzard’s games, and thus validated their region locking?

  31. eclipse mattaru says:

    That’s the problem with these large oceans we have. If only there were some kind of computer network that could be used to connect people from remote countries to each other in a sort of virtual space that ignored physical boundaries and distances… man, that would be *some* invention.

    Seriously, though, I wish this kind of shit would happen more often, so that you first world types started making more of a fuss about region-locking. Me, I have to deal with retarded crap like this in every third game or service that comes out, and noone would seem to give a damn about it (and “we’re adding new regions every day so check back often!” my f’ing ass).

    Arkham Asylum -a f’ing 2011 release- would crash to desktop every time I started it (when it made that DLC checking thing) because by preordering it I inadvertently tricked the system, and ended up playing a game I wasn’t supposed to be able to buy at all. Oh so clever me, finding such crazy ways to give my money to publishers.

    And then they complain about the high rates of piracy in third world countries. Bleh.

  32. Bassem says:

    I’m in the Middle East. I wonder if I’ll be able to play, and on which servers.

  33. dragonsouce says:

    All I got to say is Guildwars 2 here I come! As for dc online there champoins.