I Know You Planned It: PlanetSide 2 Gets Mission System

By Nathan Grayson on March 31st, 2014 at 8:00 am.

OK everyone, we have a very delicate mission. Now remember, stay in formation, follow my orders, and SHOOT THE THING SHOOT THE THING SHOOT THE THING.

PlanetSide 2 has been very good (or at least very impressive) for quite some time, but no one can deny that it continues to be a work-in-progress. It’s a massive, multicolored jelly bean bowl of coordinated carnage, yes, but when you’re not rolling with friends or a full-blown outfit, the whole experience can be a bit aimless. The solution? Well, SOE seems to think it’s a mission system, but that too is a work-in-progress. The imposingly named Phase One is now live.

Here’s what PlanetSide 2′s new mission system (currently) entails:

  • Two types of Missions, which are automatically created by the system:
    • Attack missions are always created at any capturable enemy facility.
    • Defend missions will be created if there is significant enemy presence at a vulnerable friendly facility or a friendly facility is being contested. They will not end until that enemy presence has been removed and the facility is fully resecured. (The guy who keeps accidentally TKing you with C4 is not technically an enemy).
  • Mission Assignment
    • Missions are automatically created and assigned based on proximity to capturable/contested facilities. Players wishing a different mission can go to the region of choice and the appropriate mission will be automatically assigned.
    • The closest mission to the player’s region by lattice-links is the primary selection logic, then action scoring if there is more than one. (If you didn’t understand this, it’s ok. It just means we are always going to point you in a direction that may get you killed.)
    • Players in vehicles (especially aircraft) will experience delays in mission assignment as a convenience to avoid rapid re-assignment spam while travelling around a continent. (Your Outfit leader however may continue to yell conflicting orders more quickly.)
  • Squads & Missions
    • Players in a squad always inherit their squad leader’s mission. No action by the squad leader is necessary for this behavior.
    • The rules for squad leader mission assignment are the same as players not in a squad.
  • Mission Rewards
    • Players in a squad that are in the area of their squad’s mission will receive a 15% experience bonus for staying together and participating in the squad’s mission. (Once again TKing the guy in the squad for improper C4 use does not get a bonus.)
    • There is currently no reward for completing a mission for this phase of the system.

No rewards! Hurrah! Seriously though, it’s a pretty simplistic system at the moment, with waypoints guiding you to various locations for good old-fashioned blasting and capping. In the future, SOE hopes to add different rewards, more specific mission objectives, and maybe even class-based goals, but this core foundation is meant to keep players from eternally wandering the grim expanse that is confusion while muttering, “What do I do now?”

If all goes according to plan (hint: it often doesn’t), SOE will upgrade the mission system based on feedback in April. What would you like to see out of it. SOUND OFF, SOLDIERS.

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38 Comments »

  1. Armante says:

    I’ve always liked their patch and update notes. A little humour goes a long way.
    Will be interesting to see how this plays out. I encountered confusing mission messages while flying, so I guess that’s explained by their notes.

    Anything for some co-ordinated Barney and Smurf stomping fun.

    • scatterbrainless says:

      You dirty Nazi-Communist amalgam. Our spandex clad warriors shall prance upon your grave, PRANCE I tell you!

  2. Kollega says:

    What would I like to see out of it? Sabotage, definitely sabotage. I can’t stand it when you’re not allowed to throw a wrench into the gears of enemy war machine and set it straight with your opponents.

  3. varangian says:

    Don’t know for sure whether it’s an effect of the mission system or just a bit of randomness but on Miller at least it seems to me to have made a change for the better. Been in a few to-and-fro battles where we (the cuddly NC in tasteful blue) have been attempting to expel garishly tinted villains from some location, fail, then they throw in a counter-attack to drive us from the base we launched from, we defend valiantly and drive them back and mount another capture attempt. And so on. So you get the rather neat effect of two well defended bases launching attacks at each other turning the ground between them into a battlefield across which troops advance and retreat, instead of a 100 guys in tanks rolling into a base defended by nobody then leaving it to its fate (captured by another 100 guys in differently coloured tanks 10 minutes later).

    Anything that makes the combat less about base sieges and more about mobile warfare in open ground is all to the good in my opinion and even in its current form the mission system does seem to be helping bring that about.

    • Guvornator says:

      What’s also good is the way it gives structure to folks like me who can’t/don’t want to always fight in a platoon or squad. It might just be luck, but I’ve seen a lot more co-ordinated pushes on mission objectives over this weekend. If it stays this way, it’ll really enhance those wonderful moments in PS2 when you feel like part of something bigger than yourself.

    • chris1479 says:

      Whilst I think that sounds perfectly reasonable and I in fact agree with you, you would be amazed at the number of people on SOE’s forums who will go batshit crazy at anyone who thinks PS2 – which has the fundamentals of an awesome game – could do with a little more polish and variety vis objectives or at least some overarching aims in the game.

      PS2 is a great game but it suffers from incoherent gameplay, e.g the way you will probably get more XP per hour and walk away with much more goodies at the end of a session by simply steamrolling empty bases all night long than if you actually attempt a heroic base defense against insurmountable odds.

      Which, personally, kind of feels like it’s back to front.

      • varangian says:

        Personally I don’t usually enjoy base sieges much either as the besieger or the besieged. On smaller bases with no defences to speak of they end up as 30 odd dudes stuck in a room firing out through the shields and, all too often, each other’s heads. Once the opposition is in close with armour it’s virtually impossible to step outside and live more than a few seconds. Even on the larger bases the defences are so easily overwhelmed it soon reduces to the same situation. It’s a bit daft that fixed defences, which should be like bunkers on Omaha beach in terms of how easy they are to suppress, can be knocked out with a few tank shells or shoulder launched rockets. But your point about the lack of reward for base defence (though you do get the odd bonus) compared to just capping places and running away is sound, maybe that’ll be corrected when they start attaching some kind of reward to completing a mission.

        I’m hoping somewhere down the line there’ll be a ‘Relieve Siege’ type mission to steer people away from redeploying into the besieged base itself but instead to form up at a nearby base then roll in to take out the besiegers.

        • P.Funk says:

          The classic rule is 3:1.

          3 attackers to every defender minimum if you want to carry the day, in real life anyway. In gaming? Somehow they must make it so that you can 1:1 because… reasons. Ultimately this is why I don’t enjoy games like this. They nerf the most logical aspects of fighting: defense.

          Contrast that with say… oh Arma with lots of mods. In human PvP once I had 5 or 6 guys advancing on a decimated enemy side who were holding a bit of high ground. We’d surprised them (always useful) because they were dumb and skylined themselves so we popped them with lead and other kinetic goodies. As we advanced in loose skirmisher line to confirm the corpses. Suddenly a volley of automatic fire ripped into our left side. 2 guys dumb enough to get close together (I SAID SPREAD OUT!!!) were down, one wounded, one for good. Great, I said to myself.

          With all of us now firmly planted breast bone against terra firma,
          “Anybody see where that came from?”
          No is the resounding reply. Extra great.
          “You 2, circle around to the right side of the hill and try to get some enfilade on the forward slope, the rest of us will cover you and inch forward and try to put some eyes on.”
          We just went from 6 unhurt to 2 advancing and 2 encircling. We’d lost the initiative because we were brash and weren’t in enough cover.

          More automatic fire ripples the serene quiet. I holler into my radios to the two flankers. No answer. Wonderful.
          “I think I saw him”
          “Where?”
          “Just ahead, see that rock on the right side of the forward slope?”
          “Yup, alright, you hit it with some HE from your 203, I’ll bound up. Keep his head down and I’ll try to get in close enough to keep him from breaking around left or right. If we’re lucky we can drive him off the high ground”

          The satisfying pop then boom of the grenadier finally answering this invisible foe brings the first smile to my face in 10 minutes. He must be on target because I hear no reply from his automatic rifle as I break cover and advance. I think I see a figure dart between some bushes and I double my speed in the direction he’s moving. The HE is accurate enough to keep him from even trying to shoot back, he’s just running. I angle off just enough, find a good rock and settle in looking in the general area I think he’s at.

          “Bound up” I bark into my radio. I keep my eyes peeled as my last remaining battle buddy makes his perilous move forward. He comes up on my position and takes cover 10 meters to my right. We’re now just to the right of the hill and at its base. Our quarry is nowhere to be seen. He’s somewhere in front of me, I think. Alright, same dance.

          “Cover me, I’m gonna try and zip for that bundle of rocks to our front”
          Just as I break cover more automatic fire, this time its from my right though. It zips past my head as I madly ignore it desperate to reach the rock. I hear an M4 answer back. Just as I hit the cover everything goes quiet.

          “Got him”
          I feel a sense of relief wash over me. Turns out he’d flanked us, got behind us without me seeing. I was so sure he hadn’t, luckily by buddy was being sharp. He was actually enveloping us about to get behind when I broke cover. Luckily he wasn’t settled and his fire was erratic and not the deadly accurate that a prone AR is. He was it, he was the last of his 6 man group to live. We’d killed 5 without breaking a sweat, but we lost 4 taking the last individual. He’d taken 4 of us just by sitting behind 1 rock and being patient.

          He showed us a great lesson. He had the high ground. He had surprise. 6 guys trying to take it couldn’t do squat without being smarter than I was being. He also showed how dangerous not being a defender is because ultimately thats why he died, he wasn’t in cover and wasn’t staring down his sights. I learned never to underestimate how smart my last battle buddy was. All that tension was about 15 minutes of gameplay and more fun than I had in hours of PS2.

          At least in Arma defending makes sense. I could never deal with PS2 because it made no sense to me, but the above summary should tell you everything you need to know about how I think.

    • scatterbrainless says:

      I think SOE is very aware of this problem and have been doing quite an admirable job of mitigating it. I’m not sure if the mission system will work to deter the predominance of boring zerging, but with the increasingly complex base design, such as that displayed by their Amerish remodeling, they have shown a great willingness to add variable complexity to the process of base capture that involves multiple elements of the combined arms schema of gameplay. Here’s hoping they keep on moving in that direction.

  4. chris1479 says:

    But… but… Planetside 2 doesn’t need any aims or direction, and when I compared it to an endless, aimless, washing machine of pewpew going round and round and round eternally with very few lines of demarcation or differentiation between one battle and the next, the PS2 fans on the forums went ballistic at me. Presumably they’ll be cancelling their sub any minute now…

    • Guvornator says:

      I think if you’re part of an outfit and are lucky enough to be able to play often with them, then really you’ve got all the structure you need. I can see that for those people, the mission structure could actually be a downside if rewards come online, as it could force them into fights they don’t want just to keep up with other outfits.

      • scatterbrainless says:

        At least on Briggs, admittedly smallest of the servers, most people in outfits will agree that giving direction to the flow of pubs is ultimately for the good of the game. This update is clearly not for those in outfits, but it will definitely benefit them.

    • meepmeep says:

      This surprises me, given that the SOE forums and the Planetside reddit are 90% repetitive whingeing.

      Not that you don’t have a point, but after the 4 millionth post about the lack of a metagame (whatever the hell that actually means) I think they’ve got the message.

    • The Random One says:

      Why would you compare it to [SUCCESSFUL YET REVILED FIRST PERSON SHOOTER FRANCHISE]?

  5. SomeDuder says:

    Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo… How IS PS2 shaping up? Is this a game one should play or risk missing out on THE multiplayer gaming experience (that isnt TF2) of 2014? Any virtual epic stories of deceit, theft, drama etc between outfits/players as in Eve Online?

    Or is it mostly a forgetable experience as in, log in > shoot bullets/get a vehicle stuck on a barely visible pebble > log off without any lasting impact?

    Seeing as how D3 is actually good now, I’m wondering if this game is worth dedicating time to.

    • 0positivo says:

      I’m not sure if I’m unbiased enough to answer this properly (steam says 890+ hours spent on this. And it doesn’t count the time spent in Beta), but the game is GOOD

      So good, in fact, I regret playing it. It has basically killed the multiplayer FPS genre as a whole in my eyes

      I wasn’t even a planetside 1 player. Tho, after trying it during the 6 months they made it free for subscribers, I rather wish I did play it when it was big. I was a long time Battlefield afficionado, with 2142 definitively my absolute favorite. I had suffered the massive pile of dongus that was BF3, the small scale of BFBC2, and was desperately looking around for some more combined arms action. And that’s when I stumbled upon PS2 in its late beta.

      I still remember my first hour. I stumbled in (there was no introduction back then), looked around confusedly, only knowing that yes, that’s the trigger, and yes, the gun shoots stuff from where I expect it to, and no, those were not enemies oh god I’m so very sorry I had no idea friendly fire was on. Then this massive thing, a breed between a swywhale and a gunship from 2142, landed almost on top of me, and the guy on board, who had probably been doing this for who knows how long, just enticed me over his microphone “come in! get the big gun, bomb stuff!”

      And so I did. I bombed stuff. Possibly, as much allied stuff as enemy. I had no idea what I was doing, as I more than once shouted in my mic as some sort of excuse, but damn was it a ride. Until our ship was taken out by a drop pod, after which I learned that you could be dropped from orbit from a drop pod.

      The remaining 9-10 months were a blur

      Now, I’m actually burned out. I’m going to give the game a bit of time to change, to get new stuff I DON’T know the inside outs of, refine some of the annoyances out. But I’m 97,8% sure that I will come back to it, and it will be another months-long session
      In the meanwhile, as I hinted, I can’t touch another FPS without feeling sorely limited, and always thinking back to “how does it compare to the Planetside Experience?”
      And the answer has, so far, never been positive

      If that’s enough, well, good. Otherwise, whatever, I enjoy writing things anyways

    • meepmeep says:

      If the spectacle of 100s-per-side class-based FPS battles in a huge open sci-fi setting appeals, with ground and air vehicle warfare, then no other game does it quite like this one. It’s technically and visually astounding.

      On the other hand, it pushes a lot of technical boundaries in gaming, and if you’re the sort of FPS addict who gets hung up about the intricacies of weapon balancing and input lag, then you’ll find plenty to moan about.

      Similarly, if you’re expecting a high-strategy metagame, you’ll also be disappointed. But as a hybrid of all of the above there’s nothing else like it.

    • CMaster says:

      It isn’t the “be there or be square” experience of 2013 or 2014. It’s not got the perfect, classic design of 2007-2010 TF2. It’s not got the huge playerbase, universailty and competetive scene of early 2000s CS, mid 2000s WOW, or modern DOTA2/LOL. It’s not going to get everyone talking about it like Day Z. It isn’t the phenomena of Minecraft.

      However it is pretty much unmatched for scale. About the only other place in gaming you will see as many players in once place is a highly populated Minecraft server – none of the other “MMOs” come close. It can be spectacular, and in a significant outfit (if you live within a few hours of GMT, join up with the RPS outfit) you can build your own epic war moments.

      • mickygor says:

        Don’t forget EVE, with proper prior notification EVE can have more in 1 system than an entire continent on PS2 can support ;)

        • CMaster says:

          True, was silly of me to not bring up EVE.

          Although it will happen at about 1/10th speed if you make it busier than a PS2 server.

          • jaguar skills says:

            “Biggest non-spreadsheet simulator that doesn’t literally slow down time to support its max playerbase”

    • Cooper says:

      It’s free. So just hop in to the next ‘Call to Arms’ event that RPS hosts. These events are when you get to experience the absurd scale that PS2 offers which is it’s unique point.

    • TWChristine says:

      Well, I’m not someone who particularly cares for either FPSes or multiplayer games but I’ve been having quite a bit of fun. Might I also add that the other day some of the guys on RPS comms were talking about liking to keep their kill/death ratio around 5-8 or some such. Mine is 0.0613. 13 kills and over 200 deaths. Normally that would make me give up in frustration ages ago, but I still have a lot of fun. At the very least, it’s free so absolutely worth a try!

      • Sinomatic says:

        Due to the nature of the game, kdr doesn’t really count for all that much in PS2 – it’s too much of a team, objective-based thing. I’d wager that the outfit average kdr is closer to 1 most of the time anyway.

        • TWChristine says:

          Oh yea, I don’t actually care about it, I just thought it was funny :) The way I see it is I’m more concerned with healing as many people as I can before I get killed (again), so even if I die for every heal, it’s worth it for me to be helping out in some way.

    • Sinomatic says:

      It’s free, so I’d thoroughly recommend at least trying it. The scale of the battles has, in some ways, ruined me a bit on other shooters. It’s epic, and fun, and comes into it’s own when you join an outfit – we have two very active outfits available to join on the european Miller server (check out the PS2 sub-forum here on the RPS forums for info). Playing in squads and platoons…particularly when it scales up to outfits playing in alliances in co-ordinated ops….it’s just not something you can get in any other FPS.

      I won’t lie though – the game isn’t perfect. There are sometimes bugs, server issues and, as it stands, there isn’t an overarching ‘point’ to the war built into the game – you win bases, you lose them, you win them again ad infinitum. Any sense of meaning is currently derived from the metagame and arranged competitions between the outfits, but the general day-to-day of the game comes down to: ‘fighting, just because you love to fight’. If you can get on board with that and like the idea of large-scale combined-arms battles, then I can’t recommend PS2 enough. (But seriously, join an outfit)

      • scatterbrainless says:

        “(But seriously, join an outfit)”
        All the seconding in the world. SERIOUSLY, join an outfit. Not flippantly. Seriously.

  6. Mabswer says:

    :D SEO is a d!ck to C4 guy XD

  7. Duke of Chutney says:

    the currently implementation if the system is very lame. Your mission is always just to attack the next base along the lattice system irrespective of the wider strategic situation. The game takes no account of what players are actually doing. Secondly, and this might be a bug, you cannot see the base capture info for a base you’ve chosen to attack if it is not your mission. So the system actually hamstrings you. Do what SOEs system says or else!

  8. Stuart Walton says:

    My one hope for this mission system is supply transport missions. First, change the rate at which resources are gained by players by taking into account how far from main friendly base they are. Add a new supply vehicle, make it big and slow. Add loading and unloading ramps to bases.

    Park a supply vehicle on a loading ramp and it will fill up, this will diminish the resource tick for the area but if taken from a big base, it will be negligible. Drive the supply vehicle to the unloading bay at a base near the front line and deposit the resources there. Everyone in this area now gets a boost to resource gain until those extra resources get depleted.

    large scale attacks would need a supply chain, escorts, and fighter cover. A surge through the lines that over-extends risks getting much needed supplies destroyed in hit and fade attacks.

  9. hurrakan says:

    I might try this again, I need to play a decent online FPS. But when I last tried it, I couldn’t even get the installer to install the game – gave up after a few hours of trying.

    Also there were some serious problems with the graphics (scaling, FOV, aspect ratio) on widescreen/multi-monitor/abnormal resolutions, or something – did they ever fix that? There was a thrid-party mod to fix it but using it got you banned, apparently.

  10. RanDomino says:

    I haven’t played since this patch but I don’t like it. Join a squad and pay attention to your orders and it’s the same thing except way less stilted and artificial. Some of the generalship I’ve fought under has been inspirational. I’d much rather have an “I sure hope the brass knows what the hell they’re doing” moment than follow a computer-generated waypoint.