PlanetSide 2’s ‘Alpha Squad’ Grants Instant Beta Access

That man on the far left looks incredibly uncomfortable. Maybe he's a contortionist?

Thus far, PlanetSide 2 has proven to be pretty great, but it’s definitely not perfect. The main issue, as I see it, is that it’s not currently being played by everyone on Earth. But then, it is only in beta, and that’s simply the nature of the beast. It doesn’t have to be, though. Not anymore. SOE, you S-O-see, just kicked off a new “Alpha Squad” program. Yes, it’ll run you $40 for a planet-sized shooter that is – technically speaking – free-to-play, but this is actually a pretty nice deal. Allow me to explain.

In short, Alpha Squad’s a founder’s program. Happily, in addition to immediate beta access, you’ll also pocket the Sony Spacebuck equivalent of – yep – $40. On top of that, you’ll nab a special title (“Founder” – imagine that), a six-month 10 percent XP boost, and 12 weapon unlocks. Admittedly, it’s still something of a leap of faith (I mean, how are you to know whether or not PlanetSide 2’s items will even be worth purchasing?), but you’ve got a pretty solid safety net beneath you, all told. Also, SOE Starbucks (note: maybe not their real name) can be spent in any other SOE game as well, so that’s always an option. And if you’re still not feeling it, the page notes that PlanetSide 2 will officially launch “on or before December 31, 2012.”

The program’s available in both North America and Europe, with one weapon for each combat class (per faction) rounding out your arsenal. So basically, you get three assaults rifles, three carbines, three LMGs, and three snipers. That’s nearly enough guns to stack on top of each other and build a gun fort.

Even if you’re already in the beta, you can still snag an Alpha Squad membership. Unfortunately, you can’t give away your extra beta key. Everything in this package goes straight to your account, and none of it is transferable. Sorry, friends. But here, I got you all these rocks. You can pretend that they’re – I don’t know – Vanu space artifacts or something. Or, yeah, I suppose you could raise them in a very threatening fashion, as if to pelt me relentlessly. In retrospect, I suppose rocks weren’t the best idea for a consolation prize.



  1. Magnusm1 says:

    I don’t know about you, but I think they should probably lower the price to something like $20. (And include $20 of in-game currency)
    This will make some people buy it for just Beta-access, and it feels less like a jump of faith.

    • Vandelay says:

      Agree. $20 would be an instant buy. $30 I would probably less eagerly go for it, but $40 seems like quite a lot. That is pretty much the maximum amount I would spend on a regular game, let alone a free to play one.

      Think I’ll probably hold off to find out what those starbucks will actually be able to net me or for a lower a price point to be introduced.

      • rapier17 says:

        I agree, $20-$30 (£12-£18) and it would be an instant purchase for me, but $40 (£25) is pushing it just a bit I think.

        • Alexander Norris says:

          It’s £30, actually, because regional pricing. That is definitely too much for me to bother with.

    • SaVi says:

      Champions Online, APB, Warhammer AoR, Star Wars, Rift… I have sworn I’ll never pay 40€ Launch MMO which will go free to play only months after launch. And here we have Planet Side 2, a game for which I am way more thrilled to play then I ever was for the other titles. And it is fair enough to tell me that it’ll be free to play from the get go, packs in a lot of stuff including REAL Beta access and also fills my station wallet with an equivalent amount of money. I guess I shouldn’t argue if its 40, 30 or 20 now, considered how much money I really lost on other titles. I’d love to know about any possible pay2win mechanics and how expensive things will be in there, though . I mean it is Sony, which made Playstation home and Playstation Store plus.

    • Lagwolf says:

      Yep $40 is a bit steep… I agree that at $20 it would be an easy sell.

    • Shooop says:

      For $20 I’d be throwing a Jackson at my screen. That’d be an incredible deal I wouldn’t pass up, but $40? For a free-to-play game? No.

    • Shivoa says:

      Note that Station Cash is both often discounted (so $40 of SC may only cost the diligent purchases $20 of real money by buying during a sale) and also being removed from some real-money sections of the SOE MMO ecosystem (both monthly game time and expansion packs are moved to cash only, SC can not be used any more).

    • jkz says:

      I think Smedley has said there could be a Aussie server for our antipodean cousins at launch.

    • says:

      Everything is ok now we should enjoy the game
      link to

  2. tehsorrow says:

    I’m interested in this game, but I’m worried that as an Australian I’ll have to pick between very low population (read: dull as hell) local servers or play with the Americans/Europeans while warping around the battlefield.

    If any Australians are in the beta please do tell me how it is, latency wise.

    • Diving Duck says:

      Afraid that I have no answer for you, but thought I’d chime in to say that I’m in the same position as you. I’m currently sitting across the ditch in Kiwiland so would be really interested in the opinions of any other players in the area too.

      • Ritashi says:

        Can’t speak for Australia, but as an American I could play without noticeable issues on the EU servers. Lag was actually overall better on the EU than US servers, though that was almost certainly a fluke in my internet connection and not some sort of space-time manipulation device.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          In all fairness, connections across the Atlantic don’t really compare with Australasian – European connections, as they are significantly more numerous, better maintained and higher quality. I hope you guys get a decent server to play on though, it’s nice to be on a server when you get to play, you always bring your stereotypically good attitudes and humour with you in my experience!

    • TurquoiseTail says:

      I live in NSW and report very little latency issues but your mileage may vary, they are currently installing Australian servers at the moment so i would imagine by launch everything will be smooth.

      I am playing the EU Beta 01 server so I can’t tell if the US servers has any latency issues but If the EU servers are fine then I doubt US servers will have any problems

      • Mattressi says:

        This is my experience. There’s no lag/delay in movement or shooting, though you obviously will have to lead running targets.

    • Elektroshock says:

      I’m in SE QLD and I can say I haven’t experienced many issues, although when the servers are full around Midday you can get some latency issues but it isn’t too bad. Other than that it is fine enough to be able to shoot on target and hit.

    • MadMatty says:

      Easy Peasy question. Way too much lag for an FPS, no matter what the game. If you have no servers near Australia, dont bother, coz the Ping will be at around 450-500 ms…. way too much lag to have any chance at those gunfights (i think anything over 150 ms is a waste of time). I can still play RTS´ with the Aussies, but no chance with FPS´ – sorry guys!

      The game is looking cool tho, and i´d hand them 40$ upfront if i had a job, because PS1 was one of my favourite games of the decade.

      Also, i got into Beta, and Framerate optimization has been done so well now, it will now run medium battles on my AMD rig… and its looking completely gorgeous

    • says:

      You are right dear but lets concentrate at over the Game

      link to

  3. wspray85 says:

    The scale of this shooter really appeals to me as a “military man”. The capacity for teams of people to clamber into vehicles and work in huge groups to get an objective. Hope I’m not busy in December.

  4. Jayson82 says:

    The biggest problem PS2 has at the moment is accessibility and i don’t mean that please outside the beta can not play it. I mean that for a free to play game to succeeded it must be accessible to as many players as it can be not just those with the best rigs, at the moment if you have a old but decent system and you go into a major fire fight with lots of players which is what planetside 2 is all about the frame rate drops down to single digits. Yes it is in beta and there improving it all the time but if there releasing it in December this year they will have there work cut out making it accessible for all by the time it launches.

    • Eggy says:

      I’m kinda glad it doesn’t look like all the generic MMO games which are developed with the most shitty hardware config in mind. Planetside 2 is graphically up to par with almost any shooter out there today (excluding maybe Crysis 2 and BF3) and in terms of scale it’s way beyond anything currently available. This is also a real beta not some demo so any real optimisation still has to be done.

      • socrate says:

        This isn’t graphic intensive at all trust me,shooter look usually quite horrible and the graphic in Planetside 2 look extremely similar to lets say halo…which isn’t much at all,even then im generous because i often see low texture

        I really doubt you have played much MMO to think they don’t also go for the top end PC out there with this in mind also…just like how im pretty sure SOE being the money hungry company that it is that they won’t try to get more customer by making lower rig actually work better on this…that said SOE is bad but so far hasn’t been as bad or well they have just been less screwy then all the other like ubisoft,activision,EA,etc…..

        This game as really low texture,so maybe they just limit graphic right now to test it but it does look quite crappy for what power it demand….but that i wouldn’t care that much as long as i feel it look ok…ive never been a graphic whore and never will be and in MMO i can understand how FPS are getting more and more important and lag also since now they get alots more interactive then before and people tend to want alots of smooth play on that and its understandable

        The game itself IMO is wayyyy to much overhyped….to me its just another FPS capture this and that and rinse and repeat and ive seen alots of people that had the same idea and weren’t impressed…i mean when the first Planetside came out we already had battlefield 1942 so i didn’t really see any real appeal for it and it died pretty fast with only few server active and no real point in even making it an MMO in the first place…MMO need to have something to them…if they do the same thing or worst then server game like capture the point or destructing the building and such stuff it just not enough and not unique at that.

        Yes now they are F2P….but really i don’t mind paying for good FPS and TF2 as an horrible community since it went F2P and most F2P game community have horrible problem….south america for example are always griefing other player(not all of them,but from what i can see a HUGE majority)they also tend to not speak english even if they can(i don’t care if your english is bad just look at mine it can make eye bleed,most team game require coordination and teamwork) and dota2 did a really smart thing by allowing us to just not play with them cause the community knew what happened with that in LoL and HoN and wanted this to actually not be a problem

        Then add to this that they tend to not IP ban and then you are stuck with griefer coming back over and over again and then claiming they have a gazillion active member

        An horrible banning system most of the time corrupted as hell,in LoL for example they have been shown that people could get banned with tons of false report from many people doing false accusation and the new system is as worst if not worst then before,many good strategy guide maker have been banned because of false report and people even tested to see if it was true and created alt account and made their friend report them and it showed that they didn’t even check the report,so saying that they will deal with that as SoE and F2P leave me extremely sceptical.

        Don’t get me wrong an FPS MMO would be just awesome….but it does need to offer quality and more then other server only FPS offer right now…i really never cared if my faction win or not unless it offer me something in the process that is extremely fun and nice,good FPS and Lag free even in intense combat situation…also a balance on population for each side which so far as never ever worked on any MMO…in the end way to much going against it for me to care at this point and join the over hyped train wreck…sure it can change….but so far from my personal experience its just not interesting at this point

    • MrWeed says:

      SOE have stated that they are only now beginning to optimise the game for a wide range of PCs.
      Yesterday’s update was the best example of that.

      First optimisation update so far and gave most people (me included) 10 to 15 FPS more in all situations except those really MASSIVE battles with hundreds of explosions and people.

      All in all it made the framerate much more consistent and some of the people I play with who were complaining about unplayable framerates before can now play the game properly.

    • Torgen says:

      I have Win7 64 bit, 8GB RAM, but:

      It’s only DDR2 RAM. That’s how old my system is; and my CPU is a Core Duo E7500. Even if my OCed 550Ti is enough, according to specs I need a quad core at the least.

    • Ciber says:

      This was a problem with ps1. When it came out it had great reviews but my PC was far below the minimum spec required. Even 2 years later when I had a PC that ran unreal tournament 2004 with ease and I got in to ps1 it did not run well.

  5. AmateurScience says:

    All right, King. You just made a deal: one princess for one million spacebucks.

  6. DJJoeJoe says:

    If their site accepted Paypal I’d do this.

    • tanith says:

      Wait, their site does not accept paypal?

      Pfft… then I don’t even need to think about that anymore. And there I was maybe looking forward to some new weapons, skins etc. but looks like it will be vanilla PS2 all the way for me.
      And it really takes a hell of a lot of time to unlock something with Auraxium.

      • Puny says:

        They stated on Twitter that Paypal support would be added at a later date.

  7. Ciber says:

    I can’t get past of my knee jerk reaction of ‘that’s pay to win’ and already trying to sell me virtual items (read: sounds like nothing of value as it not even real).

    Or I’m paying the price of a game for a free game but I get some play money and some items I might never use.

    Not convinced. Maybe I need to play the game more.

    Incidentally I’ve played a bit but it’s not clear to me how to get the striker or equivalent AA/AV weapon or is it TR only again?

    • Cooper says:

      Free to play =!= Pay to win.

      Pay to win is when you can purchase, for money, -benifits- that other, non-paying players, connat get.

      That is not what happens here. Anything you can buy you can also get simply by playing the game (and more clearly and openly than something like random TF2 drops…). You just have to wait longer.

      You can also buy cosmetic things through money only. But that’s just cosmetic…

      • dontnormally says:

        You can also purchase sidegrades which arguably could be called pushin’ it as far as pay-to-win is concerned.

  8. Strutter says:

    I’m so bad at this game I don’t even know what’s going on at all.

  9. CletusVanDamme says:

    Picked up this package this morning after failing so long and so hard at getting a beta key.

    I’ve played the game before of course so I knew it was something I was happy to throw money at on faith, but I do think, like a poster above, that there should be perhaps another level for this around the $20 mark. That said, I’m happy with my purchase (even though the servers aren’t up yet).

  10. deimonian says:

    “* Notice to European players — Balance will be converted into ProSiebenSat.1 Games’ Seven Cash currency when PlanetSide 2 launches.”

    Well that sucks :/

    • Chaz says:

      Yeah, could get messy for Euro players. Not sure why SOE felt the need to farm the Euorpean opperation out to a third party.

  11. AlwaysRight says:

    Eddie: ‘Go A-squad?’

    Richie: GO A-SQUAD!

    [A-squad break in through window]

    Richie & Eddie: ‘Oh Shit!’

    link to

    • mondomau says:

      LOOK! I want half a curly-wurly and a packet of love
      hearts, and that’s me final offer!

      • fish99 says:

        This is no time for being an ugly, ignorant, no brain, arse head from hell !!

  12. Tuimic says:

    Is this worth it? I can’t for the life of me find what the $40 worth of game credit will be useful for. I’m going to hold off until I can find that out.

  13. razgon says:

    RPS (And any other Europeans) I’m confused – How are you getting these deals? SOE has sold out the european playerbase to Prosieben, meaning every SOE game will eventually run through them – Can you get the deal then? Because according to SOE, they will turn over the game as soon as possible to Proseiben, like they have done with DCUO?

    Oh, and Prosieben is the company that advertises on their site for volunteer help to handle forum issues and CREDIT CARD issues…yes, volunteer people found through the net will handle your credit card information.

    EDIT: To explain further – Prosieben cant handle the DCUO playerbase’s subscription right now- if you look at their forums (Which US people are prohibited by IP block to do) you’ll notice that the largest amount of posts is in the Account issues area. Its been a farce so far and thats why I’d be pretty wary of signing up with SOE only to have my information handed over to Proseiben soon

    • Tritagonist says:

      That sounds rather bad. Bad enough for me to steer clear from this for a while to see how things pan out. I do however hope that this becomes something worth putting some time into. I remember being quite fascinated by the first PlanetSide back in 2003 or so when it got quite a bit of attention in the local gaming press.

    • fish99 says:

      Doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. Sounds like we’re heading for a 2nd rate service in the EU. Certainly makes me think twice about a £30 up front investment in a F2P game anyway.

      Also Totalbiscuit mentioned the other day only getting 30-50 fps on a 680, and I notice some really ugly low res textures on his footage, to the point where the game was actually looking kinda bad, so what chance has my 560 TI got (and if it’s going to be much better optimized in the future, I may as well just wait for launch).

    • orcane says:

      I wanted to play Planetside 2 really bad, but ever since they sold out their European customers all my interest is gone. Paying 40 bucks for a game that will also be sold off to PSS1? Hahahahahahaha.

  14. remoteDefecator says:

    This is cool. I think I’m going to take the leap, based on the unanimously glowing opinions I’ve read of PS2. Since I still can’t purchase Guild Wars 2, I guess SOE will get my disposable income this week.

    • AlwaysRight says:

      I’m in exactly the same boat as you, nice in here is’nt it?

  15. Gap Gen says:

    The only thing that can stop guns is a fort made of guns.

  16. Tei says:


  17. Cooper says:

    We are organising both Vanu and NC outfits on the EU Beta 01 servers if anyone is interested:
    link to

  18. Ezhar says:

    So wait, I still have to buy the actual game when it comes out after buying this, right?

    • Dominic White says:

      You don’t have to buy anything. It’s a fully F2P game. This is basically just buying $40 of cash-shop credit early and getting a beta key as a perk.

      • Ezhar says:

        Oh, didn’t realize it was F2P, figured it was a one-off like GW2. Thanks for clarifying.

        Now they just need to stop that ProSieben/SAT1 nonsense.

  19. Thurgret says:

    Payment error. After I checked, double-checked, and triple-checked my details, and balance, and then made a new account to try with, too.

    Not very reassuring.

    Edit: it would be remiss of me not to mention that I put in a support ticket, and that this issue was resolved all of 24 hours later. Over a weekend. More reassuring, really.