A Beta View Of MechWarrior And PlanetSide 2

What do MechWarrior Online and PlanetSide 2 have in common? Well, they both have robots, guns, cold levels that affect gameplay, free-to-play options, explosions, planets, sides, walking, death, life, founder’s programs, other kinds of robots, rocks, trees, smoke, and battles that tickle fancies and funny bones. Also, war.

Oh, and they’re both in beta. I knew I was going somewhere with this. Anyway, videos!

First up, there’s MechWarrior. It’s bringing a quick blast of open beta footage, but it all looks nicely impressive. PlanetSide, meawhile, gets a much meatier reel in the form of some extremely explodey highlights of the Black Widow Company, a player group so good that SOE’s decided to briefly give them the spotlight. Apparently, this is set to become a regular thing, so email the derisively named fanspam@planetside2.com if you think your company’s up to par.

Also, related: PlanetSide 2’s Australian servers are live now. If your virtual existence was a spirit-crushing, boot-eating marsh of lag before, you might want to have another go at it. Anyway, this evening’s special feature is about to begin. So dim the lights, put the kids to bed, and– oops, they’re already over.


  1. Taidan says:

    While Mechwarrior:Online has had a lot of problems, the latest patch (06/11/12) has cleared up a lot of the worst offenders. Net code appears to be reasonable again. The Trial Mechs are a better selection.

    Of course, it’s also introduced some real clangers at the same time, such as the ridiculously over-powered LRMS, and the extremely dubious benefits of the new “Double” Heatsinks, but overall it’s an improvement. If you had a crack at Open Beta already and were put off, it may be worth a second look now.

    • wtf says:

      Sadly, those LRMs make the game currently more unplayable than the broken net code…

    • Phantoon says:

      Look, can I put nothing but PPCs in a 20 ton mech and shoot one person’s leg off instantly and then overheat?

      This is a dealbreaker, here!

    • Jandau says:

      At the moment LRMs are utterly broken. Not just the damage, not just the insance accuracy, but rather the firing arc, whereupon the missiles go in a very high arc and then drop at a 90 degree angle straight down, completely negating any cover and almost always hitting the center torso and/or the cockpit. “LRM boats” were pretty strong before this patch, now they rule the game.

      • TCM says:

        Negating all cover except for, you know, all those areas with overhead cover.

        LRM Boats rule Caustic Valley, to be sure. The other maps? Not with proper play, no.

        • HisMastersVoice says:

          Because one obviously wins the match by staying under a roof for the whole duration…

          • nanowired says:

            Implying, of course, that once fired LRMs pass through all matter to hit you, regardless of where you end up.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            As already pointed out LRMs have an extremely vertical descent path, making it very hard to lose them in terrain.

          • Jengaman says:

            Apparently they’ve said the flight path is a bug. Seems fishy but as long as they fix it. I never thought lrm’s were op before but now they’re killing me with one salvo from like 300m away. It makes it extremely hard just to rush them.

      • Amun says:

        For people who don’t know, LRM’s went like this: UP->OP->UP-> and now you’re saying they’re over powered again.
        PGI has no idea what they’re doing.

    • Yosharian says:

      I’m having great fun with the game, although it’s little more than a team deathmatch game at the moment. I have to say, you really must take the time to buy your own mech, playing with trial mechs is really pants.

    • magicwalnuts says:

      The DHS’s aren’t at TT value and they never will be. The benefit of the DHS upgrade is small, but that is reflected by it’s price. I have managed to use them in one of my build’s and they are definitely useful in some cases.

  2. Captchist says:

    Played both Betas for a while now and I think they are both pretty good.

    Both somewhat turning me off because of their F2P implementation though.
    I don’t like playing games when there are little flashing things sitting there saying “you could have more shit…..”
    I play Magic: Duel of the Planeswalker because I can pay a couple of unlocks and I’ve got the whole game and I can just not think about payments. It’s not a constant niggle.
    I played WoW because while I was playing it, I had access to all the stuff, no “why not buy a…” hanging over me.

    I just really hate seeing little “pay for more” icons flashing away at me, they break immersion and they make me feel crappy. Even if I can eventually get all the stuff eventually through unlocks. I’m at an age where I have the cash, I’d rather just buy the game and enjoy with everybody rather than the meta game of who’s unlocked what stuff.

    Something like Planetside the total cost to just “buy the game” would be astronomical, so their is no escaping the F2P aspect. I don’t think I’ll play despite playing the beta for a long while

    • Phantoon says:

      Why not buy a sparkle pony unicorn that gives you flying training on all characters for free? Why not buy a non combat pet that actually has unique powers for the pokemon battle game now? How about a character transfer/race change/name change?

      It’s kind of ridiculous you compare Warcraft to these other games, at this time of writing, I’m pretty sure I’ve spent more than one thousand dollars on that game (not that the number will ever go up again, and I’m counting in the subscription fee and expansions), but I could buy EVERYTHING in League of Legends for less.

      • Jenks says:

        The issue for me is not the cost, but that there is a cost after you are in.

        I don’t want to think about a cash shop when I’m are playing a video game. I’d like to pay to get in, and then play. Even when a game isn’t “pay to win,” just knowing that you could be breaking out your credit card to buy a new color gun is annoying and immersion breaking.

        A sub like WoW for everything is absolutely fine by me. A sub like PS2, where they give you “station cash” every month to spend in the store, isn’t all that fine by me. I have enjoyed the beta and will play it at release, and I played Tribes Ascend a bunch, but I’d much, much prefer to just pay $60, or $15/mo, and not deal with microtransactions.

        • Shralla says:

          So just pay what you said you’re already willing to pay an spend that on stuff you want. Welcome to free-to-play, where you get to pick what parts of the game you want instead of spending $60 on something that you only want 25% of.

          • Gnoupi says:

            Exactly what I did with Tribes Ascend. I paid what I would have wanted to pay if the game was not free, and thanks to that I had my main class fully fitted, and a bit more. And I never worried about grinding or anything like it.

            It really helps, when you’re struggling with the “why paying for something which I could get free by grinding”, and increases the good feelings from the game, that way.

      • Captchist says:

        None of that was implemented in the game. Nothing saying “…hey, that sparkle pony, just click me…”.
        I was playing WoW, not juggling my current progress against what I could get if I paid some money.

        In a F2P like PS2 I’m thinking: Fuck I wish I had rockets like that guy.

        I’ve not played LoL so I won’t speak to it. I confess I did very much enjoy HoN though and I liked the fact that once I’d paid my $30 I just had everything for a year and a half.

    • Yosharian says:

      Yeah but the game is free, can you really argue with that? I have no problem with the microtransaction implementation in MWO, I’ll say that.

      • darkChozo says:

        I think the problem is that there’s never an option to go the traditional route and buy everything at once for a reasonable cost. If I wanted to play Planetside 2 with all the buyable content unlocked, I have to pay at least $150, probably closer to $300 (weapons are going to cost 2.50-7, and there around probably 50-ish unlockable weapons in the game, and that’s not including cosmetics). LoL, probably the best example of a mature F2P with lots of content, costs about $600 for champions alone, and about $3000 for everything. For comparison, Battlefield 3 costs $110 for all content, including cosmetics and future updates, and that’s if you’ve paid launch prices.

        If PS2 had an option to “buy” the entire game, I think that’d be great. Mark it up, sure, to offset the cost of true F2P players, but make it an option. I’d put $100 or a decent subscription fee into it in order to unlock everything right at the start and play it like a traditional FPS. I’m fine with F2P, but I can imagine how much it must suck to not be able to really play good games because you don’t like their business model. I know that I pretty much can’t get into any game that uses the weapon rental model, even fair ones, which means I’m locked out of games like APB or Blacklight.

        • haradaya says:

          I haven’t touched APB after losing mission #1000 to griefers. So I can’t speak for how imbalanced it is now.
          I think in Blacklight however, the rental system works great because of the insane weapon customization. It encourages you to keep trying new combinations.

      • Rhuhuhuhu says:

        It’s the problem of having a cash register at every corner. It is immersion breaking for sure, giving you a poor sense of achievement if your achievement can also be bought, but it’s also a matter of not being bagged for money all the time.

        I would prefer a 60 Euro one-time payment over a system which interface and gameplay puts a lot of focus on a cash register.

        • frightlever says:

          You, quite reasonably, want a game with a one time ever cost, but that’s not the game they’ve made. Either learn to ignore it or don’t play the game – you’re going to get nowhere hoping to change Sony’s plans for PS2, so why worry?

          Even GW2 with an up front price for the game, still subtly pushes you to buy fluff from the Black Lion Trading Post – and yes, you can buy Gems for gold, but there’s still the looming possibility of paying more real money.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      See, I dunno that it’s astronomical. I just bought the founders package and some of their “Station Cash” at a x3 sale price and (they’ve just now announced indicative pricing on twitter) I reckon I’ve *more than* bought the game at $60.

      I’ll be able to unlock everything I want (that you can pay for) plus extra magical sparkle ponies immediately on launch.

  3. Unaco says:

    Obligatory links for the RPS PS2 Outfits, for those who don’t venture into the forum. There’s a general thread which I haven’t linked here, and some others for more region specific sessions, but these are the two biggest, most active groups.

    The Vanu Outfit, and their Wednesday night sessions (staring in 50 minutes or so tonight)…

    link to rockpapershotgun.com

    And, saving the best to last, Rock Traitor Shotgun, the NC Outfit, and their Freedom Friday sessions…

    link to rockpapershotgun.com

    Check the ends of the threads for updates, if the first post is looking outdated. Also, if you’re interested in joining the NC Outfit, a lot of the members idle in the RPS Group Steam Chat room.

    • imperialus says:

      I suspect that the outfits are going to make the big difference for me in PS2. Things are a bit rough around the edges right now, with what the player base has termed a “zerg horde” basically playing follow the leader smashing into base after base but I think after the game goes live, the character wipes stop, and things have a bit of time to settle down we’ll see some really well organized outfits emerge.

      A lot of them will let random people drop in and tag along too. I ended up randomly joining up with a really well organized Vanu outfit the other day and having a blast.

  4. Phantoon says:


    • Rusty says:

      My Vanu friends and I will be happy to install one, though.

    • MrUnimport says:

      Wait, you mean it’s not “there’s no quittin’ the TR, soldier”?

      That makes a lot more sense, I mean apparently 2/3rds of the TR DID quit the TR.

  5. S Jay says:

    MWO looks cool. What is the deal with Planetside? Isn’t it a standard battle with lots of people?

    • Unaco says:

      Not really… there’s a fair bit more to PS2 than just a ‘standard battle’. The map (of which there are 3 currently) is split up into Hexes. Hexes are grouped together into Regions, large or small… a region could be 3 Hexes or 9 or 12 or whatever. Each Region has something to capture it, a control point, or multiple points, and maybe some objectives (kill the Generators etc), and you also need adjacency (territory around the Region, other Hexes touching the Hexes of that Region). The more adjacency your faction has, the quicker you can Capture or Defend a Region.

      Each Region also has some sort of Facility in it… from just a Spawn room (so people can spawn there) to Vehicle Spawning facilities, Air Spawns, or big complexes with usable turrets and AA guns. Each Region also provides the faction that holds it a bonus to one of the 3 resources. Each map also has a Warp Gate for each of the 3 factions, which is uncappable, and has all the facilities (air/vehicle spawns, turrets).

      In addition, there’s organisation into Platoons and Squads, with Squads getting some bonuses like spawning on the Squad lead, squad spawn beacons that let you drop in at the location, things like that. Encourages teamwork and organisation. As do the vehicles available… there are air and land troop transports, air fighters, air “bombers”, and tanks… and pretty much all of them have an obvious weakness (so you need something to cover that for you), and more than 1 seat.

      With all of that there is the scope and the potential, and in some situations there has been the actuality of a lot of Strategy and depth to the game. But, there is nothing to enforce a Global strategy for a Faction, and the systems and agreements for that haven’t quite come about… but they were quite prevalent in the original, and will come about for this.

      • S Jay says:

        Cool! Thanks :)

      • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

        Some of the emergant gameplay that comes out of it is fantastic though.
        For example my outfit was holding a small base for some time when a huge armour column hit us and eventually we had to respawn back out our next closest base. Happily the terrain meant that once they took that base the next they would be coming to was the one we all fell back to – and the road was at the bottom of a narrow ravine… So we rolled a couple of tanks to a choke point to keep them busy and everyone else spawned as Heavy Assault – with rocket launchers and we ambushed them in an utterly lovely fashion.

        • MrUnimport says:

          You lost a base and defended the next one, and that’s emergent gameplay?

  6. Eukatheude says:

    Metal Gear?!

  7. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:


  8. kzrkp says:

    they’re also both FANTASTIC :D

  9. Erithtotl says:

    I’m rather pissed that they started the clock on the founders packages for MWO at the beginning of open beta, when the game is still a poorly balanced deathmatch at best. I can’t even bother to log in it’s just frustrating and pointless.

    Planetside sounds more interesting to me at this point because it sounds like the non-deathmatch elements have been integrated from the beginning rather than something to be tacked on a year later.

    • Ishbane says:

      The timer will actually be reset in a few days. Your premium time will then freeze at the amount you originally should have and will only start ticking again when you want to.
      The premium time currently running is to be considered a gift to founders. Had to check the forums to learn about it. :P

      • Erithtotl says:

        That’s very good. I honestly hadn’t been paying attention because I was so disappointed about it in the first place. Hopefully that means then I can start the clock ticking once more content and game modes get put in

  10. kombatunit says:

    What sort of trickery is going on in that PS2 video? I have a EVGA 680 cranked to max and my game doesn’t look that good. PS2 is going to kick major ass come Nov. 20th.

  11. kaffis says:

    I’ve been playing both betas since mid-summer.

    I’m still playing MechWarrior Online, though, which would have surprised me if you’d asked me which I’d choose back in the Spring. PlanetSide 2 is a well-executed game, sure, but it lost me as the beta went on and it became clear that it was not a fulfilling game to play as me and my friends. I suspect it’s going to go on and be the same thing that PlanetSide 1 has been, recently — a niche game that is awesome for the people who buy into it as a lifestyle game, but an uninspiring game for people who aren’t looking to join a hundred-man strong outfit and play every night.

    MWO, on the other hand, works great as a “game with buddies” game. I get home from work, call up my brothers, and we log in and blow up giant robots together. The 3 or 4 of us function fine together without having to seek out another twenty guys to go toe to toe with the other side.

    As such, it’ll be interesting to see whether PlanetSide, despite being free to play, manages to fall into the same patterns PlanetSide 1 did, where the same thousand guys log in religiously and moan that populations are lousy because they can’t keep the willing participation of the less hardcore. I suspect it may, but it’s a shame, as I like the devs and wanted the faith Smed put into the game to pay off.

    I’ll admit, the smaller scale focus is a big part of what’s got me excited about Star Citizen. Squadrons, not fleets. YES!

    • tomek says:

      kaffis says: “I’m still playing MechWarrior Online, though, which would have surprised me if you’d asked me which I’d choose back in the Spring.”

      Same here.