Next For PlanetSide 2: XP Revamp, SMGs, Acronyms

By Nathan Grayson on January 10th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

PlanetSide 2 is quite good. We’ve actually pointed this out on a couple very rare occasions. But it’s by no means perfect. What puts it head and shoulders and a bottle of Head and Shoulders above the rest, however, is the fact that SOE acknowledges this. Constantly. And instead of trying to cover up fundamental flaws with new features no one asked for, it (usually) rallies its development legions in an effort to tackle glaring flaws. So then, what’s next on the docket? How do GPU performance fixes, a total XP system revamp, and the addition of an SMG weapon type sound? Probably not like anything, because they’re just bullet points on a list right now. But soon. Soon.

SOE didn’t really detail the GPU enhancements or the breadth of its SMG selection, but the XP revamp’s sounding quite tasty. Here are the main points:

  • Dynamic XP system for player kills, players who have more kills on their current life are worth more XP. Freshly spawned players will be worth a fraction of the current kill reward.
  • Partial damage XP for dealing damage to vehicles that you don’t end up killing.
  • Population XP / Resource bonus moved over to continent population instead of global.
  • Better display of XP sources for things like defensive bonuses & population bonuses.
  • Rebalancing of XP rewards to help support tasks.

Other highlights of the patch include a brief invincibility for freshly respawned players, a “Hot Spot” system that points out active battles on the map, spawn buildings that are allegedly “less campable,” and anti-air buffs.

So basically, it’s a bunch of much-needed tweaks – at least, on paper. Granted, a new weapon type brings potential imbalances, and that magical respawn bubble could be exploited under the right circumstances. So who knows what people will figure out when it drops? But it certainly seems like another large step in the right direction, and – somewhat astonishingly – SOE’s hoping to have all of it implemented on January 30th. Granted, creative director Matt Higby added the usual “game development is messy” disclaimer, so nothing’s set in stone.

For now, though, there’s quite a lot here. Are you happy with the changes? And really, are you happy in general? As in, with life? You’ve been looking kind of down lately. Come here. Let’s have a hug. There you go.

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66 Comments »

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  1. Koozer says:

    Other lovely stuff includes tunnels in the bigger bases for the defenders to safely travel around the base, making a prolonged defence easier, and changing spawn rooms to be less campable (that is now a word). Can’t wait for this patch!

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  2. f1x says:

    a hug? ok… but don’t use your kung-fu on me allright

  3. Curry the Great says:

    The game is fun, but it falls short in longevity. I haven’t played Planetside 1, but the higher number of continents, and especially the ability to lock down a continent that serves as an ultimate goal worth fighting over for more than an hour seems like something Planetside 2 lacks. This results in XP being the primary drive to fight for. I’ve read the ambitious views of SOE, and I hope they can implement a long-term drive for fighting.

    Right now, PS2’s fighting goes back and forth over the map in a matter of hours, making gains feel unrewarding and larger scale tactics feel useless, since you’re just gonna lose the territorry in half an hour anyway. The low amount of continents means that they’re all just seperate arena’s, unable to be controlled by a faction cause that would simply cut the game by a third. The result is that each faction gains a population advantage on one of the continents and farms their XP there. Why play on the other continents when you’re just going to get outnumbered and murdered, and you could gain more XP outnumbering the enemy and farming them?

    These changes are just responses to this failure of providing a longer-term goal for players. I hope SOE recognizes this.

    • Vorrin says:

      ‘Why play on the other continents when you’re just going to get outnumbered and murdered, and you could gain more XP outnumbering the enemy and farming them?’

      FOR THE GLORY!!!

      Aside from that, I kind of much prefer ps2 gameplay when in a challenging mode, rather than ‘picnic in empty bases/ camping underpowered enemy spawns’ mode. It’s actually one of the problems I have with it, especially when playing with an outfit in the wee hours, it’s just this sluggish procession of sitting on your arse, and getting some xps (which I don’t care all that much for). Obviously, being in a situation in which you’re hopelessly spawncamped also isn’t fun, but yeh, I’d rather fight a losing battle than be bored on a winning streak :)

      This said, I quite agree with you about the game’s lack of a sort of ‘higher’ agenda/motive, and very much hope they will find something to make it feel more meaningful.

      This said though, this game is my favourite FPS in many years, maybe kinda ever, it’s basically what Battlefield always should have been, in my opinion.

    • stillunverified says:

      I agree, I played PS1 for the first time a few months before PS2 came out and had the same thoughts once I got into the beta.

      Another thing to think about: PS1 maps had a lot fewer bases, but they were consequently a whole lot more important, their names were all easily visible on the map, you easily memorized them all very quickly.

      The cold, faceless boundary map in PS2 just doesnt have the same effect, and I think that makes one of the biggest differences, my reaction to someone calling for help at a base in chat is “OH SHIT”, instead of “Wait, where was that again? I don’t want to have to mouse over every hex on the map trying to find it, I guess I’ll just pick one of the big explosion icons and hope thats where the fight is”

    • xKryptik says:

      I hope that you dont let the lack of a “meta game”, for lack of a better term, deter you from playing. It is generally believed that they will incorporate the lattice system as was implemented in planetside 1 after it had similar issues. Here is a little info on what it does, and you should be able to determine how it will affect the way the game is played. It will encourage more “zerging”, but it SHOULD (and thats a big should) be more “Zerg-on-zerg” as opposed to “zerg” on squad(s) because you will feel compelled to stop their push as it will affect yours.

    • Poliphilo says:

      I only played PlanetSide (1) for a bit, but I distinctly recall having fun. Having played this for a few days before uninstalling, I found only the first 30 minutes of discovery or so to be any fun at all, once you get to know the systems that govern the game, I lost interest. Because it’s just one big XP circle-jerk, mainly, but also because all of the disparate parts which make up the game seem unfinished and don’t really fit together all that well. It’s like the game tries to be all things to all players, and ends up being nothing to anyone, at least to me.

      I suppose I’m not the same eager team-player I once was, but then, nothing in the game encourages team-play, just zerging and keeping away from enemy zergs. I’m very surprised how much good press it’s getting despite being such a broken game (of course, most of that only becomes readily apparent after a player would have spent 100 bucks on it, so depending on your perspective it’s a clever business move).

      It’s funny, I thought Tribes: Ascend was pretty bad with its pointless classes, unimaginative broken maps (excluding the remade Tribes 1 & 2 maps) and horrible unlock and loadout system. Compared to this though, it looks like Hi-Rez actually somewhat tried to keep out the more horrible excesses of contemporary design mentality. Not that it helps much, Ascend seems almost designed specifically to annoy and deter old Tribes players while trying desperately to cater the CoD/Battlefield crowd. PS2 suffers from much the same problems, on a much larger scale. No thanks.

      • sinister agent says:

        Honestly, I don’t understand this. What’s broken about it? Yes, it does a terrible, utterly terrible job of explaining itself to new players, and I’m amazed this still hasn’t been addressed. But beyond that I really don’t see what’s “broken” about it, and I’ve neither spent money on it or unlocked any significant items.

        • Barnaby says:

          First, the thing that I’d say is most broken is that the game is absolutely pay to win. You can unlock very useful unlocks with money. Simple as that, it’s part of the game. I feel it is more balanced than Tribes Ascend as the base weapons are actually pretty damn decent, but it still is an issue. My second biggest complaint is the lack of incentives for defending a base. You can take a base, and because you don’t get XP (as far as I could tell) for defending, the best strategy is to just move on to the next base to continue getting XP. In some ways it seems like defending should give you MORE XP than attacking. Another issue, (and something I think they are planning on addressing based on the article), is the ability to tell where the fights are occurring and the density of your factions players versus theirs. Just because a tile is blinking red doesn’t mean that’s a fight you can go into and do something useful. When I play with friends I spend the majority of my time spawning and trying to catch up to my damn squadmates. This usually ends up in me dying before I reach them and just respawning to do it all over again. The game definitely does some things well, but after a week or so the experience felt very hollow and grindy to me.

          A top rated (and often hated it seems) player on one of the factions made a post detailing what he thought was wrong with the game. I’m sure this was posted somewhere on RPS before, but regardless it’s worth reading and does a good job of detailing some of the problems. http://forums.station.sony.com/ps2/index.php?threads/problems-with-planetside-2-as-i-see-them.73820/

          • Jhoosier says:

            It’s absolutely not pay to win. Yes, you can unlock things with money. You can also unlock them by playing the game and getting certs. I haven’t spent a cent on the game yet and have a moderately upgraded sunderer and liberator. If I had people to play with regularly, I’d probably have even more.

            The only unlocks that are station cash only are cosmetic, so in my book that’s not pay-to-win.

          • 0positivo says:

            except it’s definitively not pay to win. Just look at the default guns, the vast majority of times they are actually better than the sidegrades – like the shotgun for the reaver is pure garbage conpared to the standard cannon, Anti-air machineguns perform much worse than the standar basilisk, the standard issue TRAC-5 carabine and the CARV/Orion LMGs are some of the best guns out there

          • Barnaby says:

            How is it then that when in one on one air combat, the guns of my opponents seem to be almost twice as powerful as the default guns I’m using? What about the surface to air rocket launcher that is heat seeking?? That is something that I believe takes 1000 certs to unlock, that somebody could instantly unlock if they paid money. If paying money gives you quick access to weapons that are more powerful than the default guns, how is this not pay to win? Like I said, it’s definitely not the worst instance of it, but paying for guns that have clear advantages over the base weapons is pay to win in my book. Maybe we are operationalizing pay-to-win in different ways. Just because you can unlock all the same things without paying any money, that doesn’t mean (in my book) that the game isn’t pay-to-win. If purchasing items gives you a gameplay advantage (instant access to more powerful weapons) over those that don’t pay money, then the game qualifies as pay-to-win for me.

            @0positivio
            Just because you can highlight some instances where the upgrades aren’t better than the base weapon, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of instances where paying money gives you a clear advantage.

  4. Jhoosier says:

    It’ll be nice to have support get a little more love, since that’s mostly what I do. The tunnels and reworking of the bases will be interesting, but until we see how it plays out, can’t really judge. Hopefully it makes it easier to hold the bases.

    And if the server transfer token is what I think it is, that might actually get me to spend cash on this.

    Oh, and I also hope they improve the squad/platoon coloring scheme. I keep following the wrong people, and when the squad leader leaves it often gets automatically transferred to someone who doesn’t know they’re actually the leader (like me) and we spend a while running around before anyone notices.

    • Premium User Badge

      LegendaryTeeth says:

      I believe they actually mention the ability to customize the squad colours is coming.

      • Jhoosier says:

        I’m not sure if I want “player configurable”, as that’s more work for me. What I want is for platoon members to be properly marked. They are in the minimap, but when I look at someone, they only show up as green. I often get into the wrong galaxy and wind up going with another squad somewhere, while my platoon goes off in the other direction.

  5. NeuralNet says:

    Hopefully they will be able to reduce the lag a bit as well. It’s been really bad on Woodman this past week with warping and rubber-banding players.

    • AshRolls says:

      I think it might be you? My outfit has been playing all week at peak time on Woodman and we haven’t had any latency troubles at all.

  6. SuicideKing says:

    Planetside 2’s performance problems are more to do with the CPU…

    • fish99 says:

      Yup, almost everyone is CPU bound in PS2 so GPU improvement aren’t really going to help a lot of people. To get a consistent 40 in big battles you really need something like an I5-3570, which is a lot considering (according to the last steam survey) half of games are still on dual cores.

    • MrEclectic says:

      Very much this.

      The problem stems from the fact that (simply put) the CPU has to keep dynamically calculating the position and actions of everyone within the render distance, which is dynamically determined itself. Then it can request the GPU and the sound chip to render them. Especially sound. One of the performance tweaks that can be applied to improve FPS, is to lower the amount of voice channels, and to lower the Windows sound quality from 48000 Hz (DVD) to 44100 Hz (CD).

      The graphics rendering can be improved by porting PS2 to DX11, as to take advantage of multithreaded rendering. But that is a feature that only a handful of games have implemented. And as for sound, that is even harder.

  7. Mr Bismarck says:

    I’m happy to see ground based AA get XP based on vehicle damage rather than purely a portion on kill. I can usually land a few good shots with my dual-blaster MAX, but then the smart ESF or gunship pilot retires to their nearest base, fixes up and comes straight back. I’m doing a moderately valuable job in temporarily driving them off, but no one else wants to join in and help because kills are rare.

    With the XP switch we should see more MAX on the field now, with the balance that the enemy will be better able to see them from further away.

  8. gritz says:

    Balance and XP tweaks are fine, but the exploits, hacks and crashes need to be the one and perhaps only priority for the foreseeable future.

    • Danarchist says:

      My favorite are the aimbotters sitting in Liberators at the flight ceiling perfectly sniping guys running around below. There is a youtube video of a guy killing people below that he cannot even see. Literally just pulls the trigger and it tracks the closest guy and kills him.
      Or the light assault that RAN up next to my Mag (going down-slope mind) and attached an explosive to my hull.

      Lots of little things like this have driven away temporarily.

      • Asurmen says:

        If he can’t see them he can’t damage them, and at the flight ceiling nothing but vehicles will be rendered.

        • Danarchist says:

          Ya, that’s exactly what I was pointing out. Having been killed by one myself I know it’s possible.

  9. Irregular Peanut says:

    I would say that the improvements to the buildings that include less spawn camping and more defensible bases are just as, if not more important than the main points about XP listed. The PS2 community has been complaining about base design that is biased towards the attackers for a while now.

    • sinister agent says:

      Definitely. Far too often a battle is brought to an end when some bore just sits in a jet three miles up over a spawn point, rendering defence impossible, so there’s nothing for it but to endlessly spawn and die and hope to get a lucky rocket in before another one and/or more tanks arrive, or give up and start again somewhere else, and hope it doesn’t follow you.

      I don’t understand the appeal of doing that either, to be honest. Where’s the fun in sitting there invincibly nuking the same spot, waiting for a counter to run down?

      • fish99 says:

        It’s because they made the main motivation in the game XP and gaining certs. It also pads your KDR.

        • sinister agent says:

          But this is what I don’t understand. XP and points arent’ te main motivation for playing. The main motivation for playing is a bizarre concept I read about once called FUN. I have over 600 points sitting around right now, and haven’t even upgraded anything other than unlocking one or two grenade options and a silencer. Even the 1 point shield/health/whatever bonuses I’ve not bothered with yet, because it’s not a big deal.

          I just don’t understand it. If you’re playing to get xp, you’re not playing to have fun, so why even bother?

          • Danarchist says:

            Well whenever an online game gets any bit of popularity farmers will appear:
            http://www._____.com/planetside-2-accounts-buy-sell-trade/announcements.html (removed the domain to make it harder to actually go there hehe)
            There is already big business in leveling characters to 40+ without spending certs and selling them.

          • Kdansky says:

            The thing is, the points are a very strong drug. It’s well designed to make you crave more of them, and most people easily fall prey to it. And secondly, the only measure of winning is gaining these points, for the simple reason that there is no other tangible reward. Let me reword: The game explicitly rewards you for some things, and not for others. Of course people will do whatever it takes to get the rewards! And in this case, spawn camping gives you ten or twenty times as much rewards as capping a base, at the very least.

          • fish99 says:

            (reply to sinister_agent)
            You say that, but certs unlock new capabilities, new roles, and make you stronger. A LA with double C4 can take out a sunderer on his own. A HA with fully upgraded nanoweave has 25% more health versus a non-upgraded one. An Inf with proximity mines get loads of free kills. An ESF with flares, or fire surpression, has a lot more survivability. How about an NV scope, that makes a big difference too.

            As other people have said, taking bases just doesn’t seem important when 10 minutes later, they’re retaken. At least you get to keep character progression, and KDR is there for bragging rights.

        • derbefrier says:

          XP, unlocks, KDR, these are the bane of modern shooters. It’s all people are worried about. Winning is the farthest from thier minds. If only developers could wrap thier heads around this. I cant tell you how many times I have suggested in a fps game to storm the gates to take a capture point amd the response I get is “nah, that would hurt my kdr.” I hate stat tracking I hate having to unlock weapons, I hate modern shooters because the focus is no longer, teamwork and wining, its leveling up amd getting a high kdr to strut your epeen.

          • P.Funk says:

            Its because modern Massive Multiplayer doctrine is wrapped up in the idea of progression. The idea of achievement through visible status symbols like unlocks and unique gear and new toys. The very best teamwork shooters I ever played were 100% focused on achieving victory within a conceit that put little to no emphasis on KDR or abstract accumulated points of achievement (ie. XP). The goal and the excitement should come from winning and well within a strong team dynamic. Shooters of the past tended to really do this well.

            The very last great online shooter I can remember really is Team Fortress 2. They did it so well, with basically 2 tiers of weapons to unlock, and then only after more than a year of release. The achievements existed but they had little to no effect on the game as you couldn’t achieve them alone (achievement servers aside) and they had cute goals in them like being a Heavy Weapons Guy and being the first person to start capping a point in a battle for instance. It promoted individual achievment but did nothing to detract from the teamwork necessary to win and you still had to have the mindset of mutual support at every juncture.

            Modern games that try and blend these RPG individual character progression concepts with teamwork oriented games usually lose the mark for me because you’re just confusing the issue. Is it about winning, or is it about just progressing to get a cooler toy? Is the fun in winning or in just being a rape machine on a map where the goals are largely meaningless and you only go to a flash point of battle because thats the best place to pad your KDR?

            It also incredibly annoyed me in PS2 when a big clan of mine tried to play it and found out that many of the Platoon Leader abilities are locked and require unlocking to use. Why should teamwork be an unlock? Seems pointless.

          • Kdansky says:

            Yeah, the last AAA shooter that was actually a competitive shooter first and a mmo second really is TF2, which was released in 2007. There is literally nothing newer with a solid player base. Sure, Nexuiz is a decent shooter, but you’re lucky if there is even a single game going when you log in. The competitive shooter players are still playing UT, Q3 and CS. And there are some scrubs who think they are competitive who play TF2, but their version is house-ruled to hell and back, and nothing like the actual game everyone else plays. In essence, they are not playing TF2, they are playing a mod that favours them. That’s so sad.

      • Barnaby says:

        It’s confusing to me that you stated “Honestly, I don’t understand this. What’s broken about it?” in an above post, and yet agree that the base design is poorly thought out. You might even say that it’s “broken”. :P

        Not trying to be a dick here, just pointing out that there are more than a few problems. Check my post above for an interesting link and also a list of some of the things I think are problems with the game.

  10. Lev Astov says:

    Yes! Anti-air buffs are desperately needed for the Skyguard. Most importantly, the camera needs to move unimpeded when controlling the turret. The current negative mouse acceleration makes tracking a moving target exceptionally difficult.

    The AA Max suit is still pretty pimp, though.

    Actually, I really like what they said about AA changes:

    “AA improvements, notably flak changes for turrets and skyguards, giving them some better ability to aim, although not drastically impacting their DPS.”

    That’s exactly what was needed.

  11. TormDK says:

    I’d like them to look into the command structure, and prehaps add a commander cert tree that requires a full Squad leader tree.

    I’d also like it to be more rewarding to follow orders, and we really should be able to set attack points on other Things than simply “flags” (The cappable points named A,B,C).

    I like the rally smoke, it brings a nice touch to PlanetSide 2, but we need better squad leader/commander facilities to really bring the multiplayer aspect to life.

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      I suspect this will be a lower priority until a decent percentage of players are getting close to maxing out the squad cert tree.

    • Barnaby says:

      I completely agree with you here. Thinking about BF2 and the way the commander could direct squads and control the battle was extremely useful. Some of the infrastructure to communicate and work together is there, but the incentives to do so are not. This game really does have great potential, I’m just worried that because these things should have probably been addressed earlier in development, that a lot of people will move on and never look back.

      @RaveTurned
      I don’t think they could add this too soon. There always will be super enthusiastic people that would fill these roles. While there are a few issues that need solving before this, it really should be handled sooner rather than later as it could have tremendous impacts on the way the game is played (for the better).

  12. Svant says:

    TL;DR: Make bases important!

    What the game needs is to make bases more important, influence needs to affect more than just the cap timer. High influence should mean faster spawns in the area, low influence slower spawns. Suddenly its important and very useful to help the main zerg by capping side bases.

    Resources or access to spawns should also be more important, something like how the techplants provide heavy tanks there should be a way to limit enemy access to aircraft. So a commando raid inside enemy territory could help cut off the enemy air etc.

  13. fish99 says:

    I still think they shot themselves in the foot by launching so early. The game still needs a very strong CPU and good GPU, it still has no in-game tutorials and is largely baffling initially for the new player, it still dumps you into the world before you even get to tune your mouse sensitivity or graphics settings, it has hackers and exploits, and several aspects badly need balancing, especially anti-air and base design.

    They could have fixed all that by extending the beta another 3 months and launching in february, and they’d have retained more of the initial wave of players by doing so. I’m guessing Sony wouldn’t pay for another 3 months of development, but ultimately that’s a short sighted decision financially if the bad launch means a much smaller player base.

    I’m still having a blast with it though.

  14. Kaminnozh says:

    …instead of trying to cover up fundamental flaws with new features no one asked for…
    Tribes: Ascend exactly, sad face.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Tom De Roeck says:

    Love!

  16. AshRolls says:

    SOE have pretty much addressed the easily fixable and most glaring troubles of Planetside 2 with this list, it’s a really promising response from them.

    The game is good (my sleep deprivation attests to this) and after a few patch cycles it should hopefully be great. The long term plan will be coming out within the next few weeks where we get to hear SOE’s plans for the next 6 months. I’m really hoping for some good meta-game proposals to give the war some more overall purpose.

  17. Droopy The Dog says:

    Wait a minute, this Planetside 2 post isn’t by Rossingol? Sacrilege! What have you done with Jiim?!

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      He’s been sent back to the polygon mines for Sir, You Are Being Hunted.

  18. Shooop says:

    My big issue is how completely unfair the game is to anyone who doesn’t have a vehicle. Anything being done about that?

  19. Kdansky says:

    I wish they would get rid of the “flinching” you suffer when you get shot. So many fights devolve into spray & pray because you and your enemy both get hit, and the winner is determined by the random number generator. That is what broke the game for me. It’s not like this mechanic is needed to ensure the flanker can win more easily. In fact, if anything, it hurts flankers, because one in five times, the other guy gets a lucky flinch-hit on you while you flank him, and then kills you because your aim is completely thrown off by that.

    I won’t go back before they fix that. I’d rather play a game where I can win by means of reaction, judgement, strategy and planning, not one where I just need to park my spawn vehicle in the right spot and get lucky with the flinching mechanics.

  20. noodlecake says:

    There is XP? I just died repeatedly for an hour and a half without getting one kill. Planetside 2 reminded me why I don’t play FPS games on the Internet.

  21. Etheric42 says:

    So, umm… where’s the acronym? Surely it isn’t XP or even SMG. If it’s the AA updates, then it sounds like you have a stutter. Maybe it’s the MAX render distance? Yeah, I’m going to just have faith and assume you mean the MAX.

  22. absolofdoom says:

    Have they fixed the “infantry render distance” issue yet? (I know it’s not actually render distance, thus the quotes)

  23. Fallward says:

    There are two main flaws with the game. The first is that there is no over-arching goal at hand, rendering the game fairly meaningless. Second, capped points are just lost 10 minutes later, which voids that supposedly ‘epic’ battle you had to cap it in the first place. This all frustrates me because I really like the core concepts and gameplay, the game just has so much unrealised potential. I must also say that the game engine is quite impressive considering it’s a F2P title. Sure, it’s a bit heavy on the rig, but with a little more optimisation it will be fine (but not butter-smooth for mid range computers, not with that many people in a consolidated area).

  24. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    Um, the spawn rooms *should* be campable, in this game. That’s the point when you either decide you are going to regroup at another base, or just thickheadedly attempt to punch the shark.

    If they make that line a little less clear I think there will ironically just be more cooperative spawn camping from the types of people that roll around banding together to camp spawns currently (ie for profit rather than to lock down the spawn while the base caps).