Planetside 2: Eve-Style Skills, No Instancing

Speaking to SOE Creative Director Matt Higby, we have learned that Planetside 2 will be PC-only, and that it will be a straight remake of the original game with modern technology. There will be no instancing, and Higby says: “we’re only limited by how many can physically fit into a small area.” The territory capture is now far more detailed, featuring more than just towers and bases: “All of our maps are completely hand-crafted so that every square inch supports gameplay. The size of our environments is completely unrivalled.” Combat is now powered by a generative mission system, filling in some of the biggest holes in the original game.

Skills too have radically changed: “It uses an offline time-based learning method – if you’re familiar with Eve Online, how they unlock skills, it’s similar to that.” No word on pricing or release date yet, but I am so excited I might burst. Go read the full preview.


  1. ArcaneSaint says:

    As long as they don’t start asking 70$ for a monocle it’s all fine by me.

  2. Kdansky says:

    PC-only, but according to the trailer earlier, we should bring our XBoxen pads anyway?

    Also: Get the pricing right. I’m not going to pay 15$ a month when I can instead play TF2 for 0$ (with 20$ spent three years ago).

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Which part of TF2 has massive playercounts on a single, shared, persistent world with player-defined faction borders, again?

    • coledognz says:

      Don’t forget the skill trees for every weapon, and vehicle.

      Time based skill leveling system (comparable to Eve Online).

      Squad leaders advancement trees.


    • Bhazor says:

      One pricing idea that might work is the (ugh) Zygna click harvest system. Essentially in a week you unlock say 4 hours of free playtime or you can pay a fee for unlimited playtime for a month.

      I think that would bring in decent revenue without unbalancing the game with microtransactions and offer no unfair restrictions for the freeloaders who might end up paying the monthly fee if they get involved in the clans or community.

      Certainly I think Jims idea (from the last Planetside thread) of seperate high tier weaponry for subscription members is bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Don’t ever make a game.

    • aircool says:

      Did you ever play the original PS? It was worth every damned penny. There’s never been anything like PS. TF2 etc.. are nothing at all like PS. Even games with large maps such as the Battlefield series are nothing like PS.

      Despite the originals faults (which weren’t suprising considering how advanced it was at the time), it was the best online game I’ve ever played.

    • DrGonzo says:

      A persistant shard sounds great. But in practise I doubt it will be any different from a 128 player server. The persistant world in the original was completely pointless. Work your arse off all night to capture somewhere, the next day it’s all gone.

      Still, excited!

    • Dreamhacker says:

      @Aircool: I beg to differ: Battlefield 2 incorporated many of Planetside’s concepts along with later BF- and PS-clones.

    • Davee says:

      Maby I got it mixed up with a completely different game, but I thought it was said PS2 was going to be free-to-play with optional premium-style payments?

      This would obviously not be set in stone or official though, since the game dosn’t even have a release date yet.

      I won’t personally care though – I’ll be going for the subscription or premium options anyway, like the PS fanboy I am. :)

  3. Okami says:

    How many hats will there be?

  4. Jake says:

    It’s difficult to look dignified in shiny purple spandex but that fellow really pulls it off.

  5. Schiraman says:

    I realise this is probably just a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of them changing anything about the original Planetside – but EvE-style offline skills? Seems to me that goes totally against one of the things I loved about the original – that even beginners could get the good gear right from the start, and thus compete with the experienced players from day one.

    Also: that rather suggests a sub-based payment model, don’t you think?

    • djbriandamage says:

      Yeah, this really rubs me the wrong way. In Eve I pictured massive CPUs chugging away furiously towards some sort of technological breakthrough, but in a shooting game I figure you’d get better as you actively use your tools of the trade.

      snoooore…. zzzzzzGRENADESzzzzzzz…. snooore…. boobies… zzzzzHEAVY ORDINANCEzz…

    • Bremze says:

      Beginners won’t be able to pilot vehicles and use some more advanced pieces of gear for a while, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to go head to head with someone more experienced. Sure, they’ll have less options, but it isn’t even close to the traditional model of a level 1 character doing less damage than a max level character regens per sec.

    • DK says:

      Yeah it’s not like there’s any actual “upgrades” in Planetside. Everyone with a rifle will do the same damage with the same rifle, regardless of level. The only real progression is in the hacking, where higher level people can do more things with their hacking tool, but pay for that being the only thing they can do (and the options that overlap with a beginners hacking tool they do just as well).

    • ZephyrSB says:

      Honestly, I don’t really see how this is THAT much different from the re-cert downtime of the orignal PS. To start with, if you wanted to change your skillset, you had to remove your certs and wait 24 hours before you could re-assign the cert points to a new cert. That time gradually got cut down as the game aged – but it really seems to be the same kinda thing to me….

  6. Srekel says:

    Can someone explain the skill system?

    • Alexander Norris says:

      You pick a skill to train. The skill takes X minutes, hours, days, etc. of real time to train. When X is reached, you have the skill. Repeat. This means that if you set a skill that requires two hours to train and log off for two hours, when you come back in the skill will be trained.

      Time required to gain the next level of a skill is proportional to how “complicated” the skill is – the first level of firing small lasers takes a lot less time to train than the first level of piloting frigates (the smallest ships in EVE) takes a lot less time than the first level of piloting interceptors (advanced derivative of frigates designed to go really fast and not be incredibly inaccurate/useless while going very fast) takes a lot less time to train than the first level of firing capital ship lasers. Same thing with skill levels, i.e. Frigate I takes a lot less time to train than Frigate V.

    • Bhazor says:

      It’s quite an elegant system that allows (in theory) people who play only an hour a week to remain competitive against the hardcore 5 hours a night crowd.

    • Fiatil says:

      Except in practice it just sort of makes it impossible to catch up to anyone who’s been playing longer than you. Hopefully it’s more geared towards unlocking vehicles and weapons in planetside 2 than “+5% fire rate each level!” The former is easy to deal with, the latter makes it a game of catch-up the entire time.

    • ribidons says:

      FPS skill development can be worked in nicely or badly. In Gunz, upgrades, which were rewarded mostly on the basis of micropayments plus total playtime, translated directly into significantly increased damage and damage resistance. Therefore, ignoring skill, people who had played longer had a massive standard bonus against newcomers. A player with a new account had to be much better than a player with an old account in order to win. In an otherwise similar game, S4 League, upgrades generally translated into having a broader arsenal in storage, but the actual damage/resistance upgrades were very marginal, less than ten percent IIRC. Additionally, only one equipment swap was allowed per match, so the effect on gameplay was minimal. A new account’s weapons would work just fine against the old account’s stuff. Additionally, most of the upgrades had usage decay, so people that had paid for the top-of-the-line items mostly didn’t bring them into every single match.

      My hope is that PS2’s skills are of the “quantity,” not “quality” type. Let old hands have more flexibility, let them be “jacks of all trades,” but let new players be masters of their particular niche in short order.

    • Davee says:

      @ribidons: That’s exactly the kind of skillsystem approach PlanetSide uses. With only a few minor exceptions (like implants), higher-ranking players have access to more gear, weaponry, specializations and vehicles – No extra damage upgrades, skills or the like. It’s only one of the reasons why I like PS so much.

      Just like your example; a skilled new player can easily take down a lesser-skilled, higher-ranked player. Your rank does not nessecarily make you a more powerful player. Everyone’s pretty much always on the same level of difficulty.

      I hope SOE manages to keep to this approach even with the new skill system.

  7. El_MUERkO says:

    If I read it right before, this is going to do micro-transactions, so you might get skill speed increases and the like. In a game like PS that wont be game-breaking though :)

  8. MuscleHorse says:

    I thought this was going to be free to play, did I dream that?

    • Kazang says:

      Yes. Although if it doesn’t contain micro-transactions and/or some form of alternative payment system I will be very surprised.

  9. Moni says:

    I find those pecs to be quite sexual.

  10. McDan says:

    You’re damn right squee, this looks so good.

  11. Nick says:

    Is that the doctor from Babylon 5? I thought he died =(

  12. coblenski says:

    Eeeeeeek! So much excite

  13. Dave says:


  14. lijenstina says:

    That purple suit just screams a ruthless warrior. :P Nano suit on the Friday’s night out disco.

  15. DOLBYdigital says:

    Count me as interested but I really hope they don’t go with a subscription based payment model. I just don’t have the time to invest in something like that. Maybe if it was like 4 hours a week of free time and then pay for unlimited. I could handle that but would rather prefer to just pay once and then be able to play whenever. I just don’t have the consistent amount of free time to feel good about paying a monthly fee. I would also feel like I had to get my moneys worth by playing it anytime I did have time to game…

    I’ll try not to get my hopes up but it sounds like a great game that is needed on PC…

  16. D says:

    Jim just blew my mind by linking to the future. In a blog post!

  17. dsi1 says:

    I am very worried about classes, vehicle upgrading, and spawning on teammates, hopefully they explain these and/or flat out remove them.

  18. Fierce says:

    It’s like they took the Lost Planet 2 Logo and turned it clockwise a little bit. Or they just ripped off the Lost Planet 1 Logo and changed the location of the horizon bloom.

    Given Sailor Moon already called dibs on the 12 o’clock position with her forehead, I predict a shortage in crescent moon logo positions available for sci-fi shooter marketing rights in the near future.

    (Looking forward to Planetside 2 though… before I forget to mention it)

  19. Mayjori says:

    i hate the time based skill gaining :/ and i was sooo excited for Planetside 2 before hearing this :(

  20. Protagoras says:


    “Real” skill based gameplay
    Fast action
    Single shard
    Player actions have an impact on the world

    We’re just missing extreme meta-gaming, and this will be the ultimate EVE killer.

    Oh god I’m so excited right now.

  21. Derek Smart says:

    “The size of our environments is completely unrivalled”


    link to

  22. Antsy says:

    Not sure about this training over time but it’ll be interesting to see just how many skills there will be and how they will influence gameplay.

  23. Bobic says:

    Lord, imagine tf2 as a persistent mmofps.

  24. Zombat says:

    Err skills?
    Me no likely, one of the best bits about planetside is that it didn’t limit your abilities through playtime.
    Playtime just made more options availible to you at any one time (on a character, nothing stopped you making alt characters so you could be a pilot/driver/cloaker when you wanted to be).

    The cert system was perfect for a MMOFPS, changing that to a skills system worries me a lot, especially if they end up being giving you an advantage over someone who’s played less.

  25. BobsLawnService says:

    If I can play it for free with basic weapons and then pay 5 bucks or so every month or two to play with a new more specialized weapon and style of play then I’m in. Too many people on RPS seem to forget that developers need to feed their families too. Micropayments are a great way of ensuring that everyone wins except for the freeloaders who want free pudding with their free starters and mains.