Nominative Determinism: PlanetSide 2′s Battle Islands

By Craig Pearson on July 1st, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

I'd have called it 'Nap Island' and covered it in beds.
Like Snake Island, Pulsing Wart Peninsula, and Angry Infected Monkey Lake, I can’t help but feel that PlanetSide 2′s upcoming Battle Islands have had their fate decided for them. You know what you’re getting into when you visit Snake Island, and the same goes for the newest chunks of Auraxis. The Battle Islands have twin purposes: giving the game smaller maps that are separated from the larger continents for e-sports purposes, for events and the like, but for the live game they’ll also act as mid-point maps that link the continents together. The name that’s been given to this first lovely, foresty chunk of land: Nexus. Want to see it in action?

It is very pretty. Tank battles through forests, ice-caves for infantry battles, valleys of ice to ambush people in. When you take part in a live server you’ll be fighting for more than just continental control. This is about world domination: the islands connect continents together, turning the meta-game into something bigger and more meaningful. It won’t be three separate continents, anymore, but a linked world. Though that notion will only work with capture warp-gates, which is on the horizon in a November update.

For e-sports, specifically the MLG, the map will hold 48 vs 48 fights, but expect to see over 250 players in live games.

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27 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Liudeius says:

    I have a few problems with the shown gameplay in that trailer, it wasn’t MLG enough.
    -The sniper was awful, and the bullet drop on that bullet was so huge he must have been using a silencer. (I don’t know the general opinion of silencers, but I see them as useless because the drop they add makes a sniper bullet travel more like a grenade launcher.)
    - They were playing with foliage turned on, great way to get your tank mined.
    - No infantry, even two at once, would be able to take out a Mosquito so easily with their carbines. The Mosquito would win that.
    - The tanks just didn’t care that aircraft with missile pods were shooting them, even though a single salvo can destroy a tank.
    - The Prowlers didn’t notice the Vanguard first, even though the Vanguards were moving in the open and the Prowler was hidden and stationary.
    - Everyone had lumi-fiber, which is a great way to get shot.
    - Some idiot was using a revolver as a long-range weapon to charge head first into carbine fire.
    - The heavies didn’t use nanite defense mesh.
    - It actually looked pretty cool.

    And most importantly,
    - They didn’t sit around doing nothing for 7 minutes after the video ran.

  1. Discopanda says:

    Playing Planetside 2 reminded me of Battlefield 2, in a good way. But then after awhile it felt like a giant single round of Battlefield 2 that lasts forever, where nobody ever wins or gains permanent progress.

    Shame, that :(

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      I kind of know what you’re getting at, the lack of over-arching stuff is somewhat disappointing.

      I prefer to look on it like playing a BF game that isn’t interrupted by lobbies, Battlelog or loading times though.

    • Tei says:

      Alerts fixed that somehow by providing a existential reason why people get cloned in this planet to fight using weapons made by nanites.

      Games like Planetside can never have closure. Its more obvious in the planetside gameplay than in other games, but really its all other games (except singleplayer games) where theres a neverending war. Somehow people don’t have a problem with “losing” or “winning” cs_office or el_alamein again and again, but losing and winning Indar again activate these sentiments. Its weird.

      The pull to fight and conquer bases in a planetside game, is to free territory and kick the ass of your hated enemies. You hate the Vanu and Terran soo much, that destroying his stuff, and conquering his bases is enough. Even if the Terran ghostcamp these bases again in the night.

    • Moraven says:

      They need to add some metagame closure like there is in Shattered Galaxy. Reward the team for winning. Be it cosmetic points, maybe a slight free point boost. Next round they will have the advantage but gives more reason for the other 2 teams to work together slightly.

      • mwoody says:

        If your team takes an entire (actually, recently patched to be merely “most”) of a continent, your entire faction gets a continent-specific bonus until another faction takes your crown.

        Also, as was mentioned above, they’ve recently implemented “alerts.” These are basically 2-hour missions for your entire faction, and consist of things like “hold the most territory on this continent,” “hold all the Biolabs on this continent,” or “hold all Tech Plants on all continents.” At the end of the 2 hours, the faction in the lead gets a huge cert (points used to upgrade characters or buy items) bonus, with the other two teams getting considerably less.

        The former never really felt impactful, but the more recent latter has been outstanding in generating player agency. Especially effective are the alerts that are all on one continent, because those tend to fill the map to the player limit. Which doesn’t sound like a big deal, except that a full map lets in new players based on current faction numbers. In short: for once, it actually makes for balanced teams numerically. And yet, queues to switch maps during these alerts are rarely more than 30 seconds (for subscribers; don’t know about free players).

        There’s also the upcoming player missions, but I can’t comment on those yet.

        Also upcoming is the mention of being able to capture warpgates, which would actually push a faction off the continent altogether until they could scrabble their way back on, I guess. But again, I don’t know enough to comment.

  2. Brun says:

    Hail Vanu? What is this heretical nonsense? Vanu is a fraud, you rebel scum. For the Republic!

  3. chiablo says:

    I want to play Planetside 2… but my aging Q6600 dies whenever I try. :(

    • TheMick says:

      I feel you on that one my friend, I also ran a q6600 until this past winter when I upgraded to the i5-3570. If you plan on putting some serious time into the game then I can’t recommend the upgrade enough. The game certainly ran better but my enjoyment of it increased overall as well.

      P S game runs better as vanu and you’ll be considered sexier and more intelligent for it.

      • Mr.Snowy says:

        There is nothing sexy or intelligent about being in a purple bug suit, crushed into the earth and sporting a large Terran Republic boot-print on your face. Such is the fate of all the Barneys I come across.

    • povu says:

      Running on a E8500 3.16 ghz dual core here. In large battles I get 20-25 FPS and lots of stuttering, at any graphics settings. And I have a HD7870 2GB graphics card. :P

      I should get a i5-4670k next week though, that should finally eliminate that massive bottleneck. It’s not a problem in most games I play because they’re mostly GPU intensive. Maxed out Bioshock Infinite and Arkham City without problems. But Planetside 2 murders CPUs.

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      I’ve got an i7-2600K running at 4.6GHz and it still drops to 40FPS in big battles due to the CPU hogging.

      They’re apparently working on a multi-threaded version (they’ll need to if they’re putting it out on the PS3), so hopefully there’ll be some improvement at some point, even if it’s yonks away.

  4. nimzy says:

    I’m disappointed that the trailer missed an opportunity for a Fantasy Island reference.

  5. bit_crusherrr says:

    Waste of dev time they could of spent on adding in an actual new continent, which the game badly needs so they can implement a similar metagame to planetside 1.

    • Brun says:

      What sort of metagame was that? I was unaware that PS1 had anything mechanically different that gave it more of a metagame than its sequel.

      • bit_crusherrr says:

        You could actually lock conts. Out of the 10, 6 were home conts (2 each). If you locked down both home conts of an enemy faction you could use their vehicles. It felt more satisfying locking a cont down then moving on to the next one rather than pushing the perpetual fights on the 3 conts we get now. All these “battle islands” are is a way for Sony to push Planetside 2 into eSports.

        • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

          As I said below, these are what’s going to allow the continents to be locked – they’ll be the intermidiary in the lattice between continents.

          At least one other continent is pretty much finished, but due to everyone screaming their nuts off about putting in the lattice system (because, shock, “we need metagame”) it got held back. Shouldn’t be too long until it’s in, but they’ve needed to delay it to sort the lattice system on it, Amerish and Esamir out first.

          Can’t be arsed writing an essay on the division of labour between artists and designers, but sufficed to say this will have been far more involving for the artist than the dev team, so it has pretty much bugger all impact in terms of robbing us over metagame development time. Not denying their disappointing attempts to break into MLG will have been a big factor in pushing this out the door, but I don’t think it’s had anywhere near as big an effect on delayed continents as some of the more vocal netizens.

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      They’re working on that, implementation of the lattice system has reasonably held it back. No idea how simply adding another continent would improve the metagame, as it stands it’d just be yet another one most people would ignore in preference to Indar.

      The introduction of the battle islands, and their use as links between continents, should make the implementation of fully cappable continents much easier.

      Could “have” by the way. I don’t normally give a crap about bad grammar or spelling, but this one really gets on my tits.

  6. Liudeius says:

    I have a few problems with the shown gameplay in that trailer, it wasn’t MLG enough.
    -The sniper was awful, and the bullet drop on that bullet was so huge he must have been using a silencer. (I don’t know the general opinion of silencers, but I see them as useless because the drop they add makes a sniper bullet travel more like a grenade launcher.)
    - They were playing with foliage turned on, great way to get your tank mined.
    - No infantry, even two at once, would be able to take out a Mosquito so easily with their carbines. The Mosquito would win that.
    - The tanks just didn’t care that aircraft with missile pods were shooting them, even though a single salvo can destroy a tank.
    - The Prowlers didn’t notice the Vanguard first, even though the Vanguards were moving in the open and the Prowler was hidden and stationary.
    - Everyone had lumi-fiber, which is a great way to get shot.
    - Some idiot was using a revolver as a long-range weapon to charge head first into carbine fire.
    - The heavies didn’t use nanite defense mesh.
    - It actually looked pretty cool.

    And most importantly,
    - They didn’t sit around doing nothing for 7 minutes after the video ran.

  7. aircool says:

    Nooooooo. Not more snow. I can get that by just stepping outside for nine months of the year (Northern England. Not fake north england, but proper north of the A66 north england).

  8. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    Ugh. I feel like I’ve just had my face spat in.
    OR
    Waiter, there’s an e-sports in my MMOFPS soup.

  9. El_MUERkO says:

    I gave up on PS2 shortly after launch when they nerfed the draw distance of most everything in the game, being killed by enemies you can’t see who are standing 800m in front of you sucks balls, add to that the tendency of people to join the winning team and you have unbalanced irritating shitfest that rarely feels ‘massive’.

    PS2 could have been great but isn’t and so it’ll die and SOE will learn nothing.

  10. Muzman says:

    The screenie looks like Planetside 2 is introducing hats.

  11. Foxygamer says:

    Ooohh, bet this will be pretty bad ass! :D

  12. Ergates_Antius says:

    “Nominative Determinism” – I wouldn’t have pegged RPS as New Scientist readers.

  13. fish99 says:

    Can RPS please get rid of the top comments thing? With no way of up/down voting it’s just repeating every comment. And please don’t add up/down voting and turn RPS comments into reddit.

    As for PS2, the ship has sadly sailed. All this stuff should have been in at launch, especially threaded optimization, meta-game and tutorials. They released 6-9 months too early and the game will never get those 95% of players back, no matter how good it eventually gets, which is sad because it could have been big. I can’t see the game getting any traction on PS4 either.

    • Frisky Dingo says:

      I thought it was something with my browser and the site code. It’s odd. I will ignore it and it will go away.

    • lowprices says:

      But it’s so convenient for leaping straight to the busiest argument without having to read through other comments and establish any context for the argument! It could take whole minutes to read enough to be able to add a considered opinion otherwise.

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