Why Not? – PlanetSide 1 Kinda Free Now, F2P Soon

REVELATORY NEWS. Did you know that PlanetSide 2 – free-to-play titan and king among first-person Jimshoots – had a prequel? That’s right: the two in the title isn’t just for show like everybody clearly assumed it was. There is another. It’s still about refreshingly colorful spacewars and shootouts with more moving pieces than an upturned ant hill, but the graphics are worse and wobbly netcode is a mightier enemy than any mecha tank. Also, it still costs money for some reason. SOE’s not crazy, though. It sees the writing on the wall. Soon, PS1’s subscription fee will be extinct just like all the others, and it’ll join the F2P era.

For now, however, anyone who’s ever played PS1 or PS2 gets access to the original free of charge – for six months, no less. A more robust F2P update, meanwhile, will come sometime after that period. SOE’s John Smedley explained via Twitter:

“We did a mass grant of anyone who has ever played PS1 or PS2 with free time in PS1. We weren’t ready to announce it yet because the database grant is still ongoing and won’t be done till tomorrow morning. So please if you didn’t get flagged chill. We are trying to do something cool for everyone, and we were going to tell people when it’s done. But people saw it and others broadcast the info.

“This also gives us more time to make it F2P. So enjoy starting tomorrow late morning.”

So then, that’s that. If you’ve been wanting to jump back in or see where all the shooty-bangy-tanky-planey-splodey madness began, this is probably the best time to do it. Free with hardly any strings attached is quite a proposition. Also, while we’re here, PlanetSide veterans: PS1 or PS2? SOE’s latest is obviously orders of magnitude shinier, but is the young up-and-comer also more smartly designed than its age-wizened counterpart?


  1. mondomau says:

    I played this once, in it’s heyday, and it murdered my machine. Considering the number of people on the PS2 forums that are convinced that the balance & gameplay in the original were/are far superior, it will be interesting to have a look at it’s current state.

    • MrEclectic says:

      I find it amusing that people at the most in their mid-30s reminisce about “the good old days”

  2. Spoon Of Doom says:

    So, is there any reason to play this over Planetside 2, when that is also free? Is there anything that sets it apart? And even if so, is it worth putting up with the apparently horribly netcode that’s mentioned in the article? Not trying to flame the game, but genuinely asking – never played the first one. I was under the impression that PS2 was basically a prettier iteration of the first game, and would make the prequel all but obsolete.

    • P7uen says:

      It’s a different game, and when it’s free it’ll be free so doesn’t hurt to give it a try. You might similarly ask is there any reason play Half Life instead of Half Life 2? Part of me would love to go back and play PS1, but I think I will stick with PS2, just in case my memories are rose tinted and it ruins them.

      Now I wait for someone to tell me my comparison is wrong because of the storyline and it’s like comparing the issue of over-fishing to Nazis.

      • Spoon Of Doom says:

        I’m not going to go into nazi-fishing territory here, but yes, in a story heavy game the story, atmosphere and similar stuff are an important factor.

        In a multiplayer shooter, the most important thing is game mechanics, and those often end up basically the same – just look at Call of Duty, Halo, etc., which are basically always the same except for improved tech. Now throw in that the older games always lose a lot of players once a new iteration hits and public games often get overrun by hackers, cheaters, glitchers and stuff and there’s often little reason to buy ManShooter 14 when you can play ManShooter 17, unless ManShooter 14 has some feature, gameplay mechanism or something else to make it stand out in spite of its older tech. Hence the question if this is the case for Planetside 1 or if it’s just an uglier version of Planetside 2.

        Judging from the other comments, PS1 seems to have a lot more depth to it, so it might be worth a look. I played a bit of PS2, but it felt like an overrun public Battlefield 3 server with some kind of sci-fi mod when you get into a battle, and while that sounds nice in theory, I couldn’t really get into it.

        • 0positivo says:

          I just joined in. Before PS2, I didn’t even know the game existed… and oh boy what have I missed. It’s a treat, definitively. In a few hours of play, I had more amazing moments to share than 450 hours spent in PS2 (which is still better on a pure gameplay view, the gunplay is better, the physics and flight mechanics are better, and the world design/exterior design (not base design) is still better, but PS1 is just so much more deep it’s not even funny)

          Like, doing something that sounds as innocent as driving a truck of supplies into a base. Except the truck is cute, the base was under heavy siege, and the defenders were minutes away from having the base supplies run out which would spell their doom.

          If I have to be honest, being 3 hours into the game, and being called “hero of the republic” in general and global chat, with people calling my name, DOES make me now kind of partial towards this game

          Ohh siege of Dagon. I will remember you

          • Tssha says:

            Ahh, good ol’ ANT runs.

            I still got my CR5…I can still Global with the best of them…

            …I’m a terrible shot with an OS though.

        • hotmaildidntwork says:

          I’m definitely going back for a bit just to fly the Liberator as it always should have been. How I miss conducting actual bombing runs instead of sitting at max altitude/distance. :'(

          But yeah, the games are almost night and day in terms of mechanics. The capacity for very large scale conflict still underpins everything, but the pace is much more measured and deliberate. A hotly contested base may be under siege for days. Some, like Leza, can hold almost indefinitely and may be under constant attack for a full month.

          All assuming there’s enough people to create a decent fight, of course…

    • Asurmen says:

      I’m going to make a bit of a bold statement, but objectively the strategic depth of PS1 blows PS2 out of the water. All the options you have for taking an enemy base, even potentially behind their lines, are greater than PS2’s. A lot of the other differences, like TTK are largely personal preference.

  3. Intrinsic says:

    I certainly know that i’ll be back in PS1, there were just many aspects that kept me coming back over the last 10 years and i was playing it up until i joined PS2 beta back in July last year. PS2 on the other hand, i haven’t really played it in months, just doesn’t grab me like PS1 does.

  4. DarkLiberator says:

    Planetside 1 had more strategic depth, but the netcode is absolutely awful and the gameplay consists of lots of grenade spam.

    • phelix says:

      So the final stages of cp_dustbowl would have lots of strategic depth, according to you?

  5. Yargh says:

    I think the only remaining Planetside 1 server(s) is based in the US, so that won’t help with the weaker netcode.

    PS1 has a number of very different game mechanics that make it quite a different game to the sequel.

  6. skyturnedred says:

    My PC can’t run PS2 properly, so I might just give this a go.

  7. Skhalt says:

    The european server has been merged with the NA one (Gemini) a while back. That means that your old characters will be waiting for you on Gemini, but that you will have to deal with a 150+ ping. You can clearly forget about doing any serious gruntwork, but if you like playing support you’ll be fine, and hopefully you can learn to compensate when gunning in a vehicle. Still the better game in terms of depth, if you ask me, PS2’s three continents feel like mock arenas in comparison.

    • Asurmen says:

      I can’t remember whether the servers had been merged back in August when I last played, but grunt work was perfectly possible.

  8. Dana says:

    YUSS ! That’s what I’ve been waiting for.

  9. tnzk says:

    I was hoping the fine writers at RPS might’ve dodged the common mistake of calling preceding entries “prequels”, it’s a cancer!

    The term ‘sequel’ finds its roots in the Latin verb sequor, meaning “to follow”. Prequel is a portmanteau that denotes an entry that follows an established work, but whose narrative takes place before said work.

    So to cool off my grumpy gripe for the day, here’s two linguistically better version of the sentence.

    “Did you know that PlanetSide 2 – free-to-play titan and king among first-person Jimshoots – was borne upon an antecendant?”


    “Did you know that PlanetSide 2 – free-to-play titan and king among first-person Jimshoots – had a prevenient cause for its existence?”

    Uffa. My soul is satisfied.

    • sinister agent says:

      I heard that RPS did a joke once. Didn’t believe it, mind.

    • jondare says:

      I think an even better, and certainly simpler, phrasing would be to simply exchange ‘prequel’ with ‘precourser’.

    • Werthead says:

      My favourite version of this discussion is with regards to THE HOBBIT: the book is not a prequel to LORD OF THE RINGS (it was written earlier, so is simply the natural predecessor/precourser) but the movie is a prequel, as it was both made after the LotR movies and also features new elements specifically designed to set up the LotR films.

  10. Kaminnozh says:

    Is Planetside 1 actually a next game in series, like Xbox One?

  11. Wedge says:


  12. AaronLee says:

    Longtime vet of PS1 here, I believe I was playing since 01 or 03 (edit: checked my account history. First logged payment was in 04) or somesuch, can’t remember as that was in the awkward fourteen year old days of my gaming career or so.

    I’m a huge fan of that old game, and I have a few grand stories I’d love to tell someday. PS2? I tried to get into it with some friends, but we all ended up kind of burned out after varying lengths of play.

    And it wasn’t the new physics that did it in, either. I had just gotten out of a spate playing with a small fleet of Russain light assault tanks in WoT so I felt like an old, grizzled veteran driving my Lightning. I don’t know how many MBT kills I got against them anarchist space ‘murricans by just swinging my turret sideways, all the while streaking by a tank, taking advantage of their slow traverse by hitting the brakes after I passed and hammering their flanks or rear (giggidy?)

    Nor was it the graphics. Beta was glitchy, but everything looked great. The ragdoll stuff on death was a nice touch (especially with the deathcam following your soldier’s eye view down flawlessly.) Definitely a step up from watching soldiers standing on the rails of outposts in Planetside flop flat onto thin air then disappear in a green miasma of legos. And again, colorful! Thank god they kept that part of Planetside. Grimdark is too common elsewhere.

    But I just can’t get over the ‘new’ (read: completely fookin’ different) cert system. PS1’s genius was in the certs, IMO. You started out with enough points to cert the kit to do one thing as well as anyone else. As you advanced, you could spread your specialty out, which was a nice way to soften the difficulty curve. You only had one thing to learn when you started as everything was LOCKED.

    Now you have access to everything from the start in PS2. Wow, sounds better, right? I’m really not sold. The stock gear is pants. Absolute pants. Sidegrades are a good concept, but the game is FULL of them. When you need to grind for lord knows how long before you can get anti-air in a battlefield full of warplanes… something’s wrong.

    At least in PS1 you could do one thing, whatever thing you wanted. In PS2, everything is locked down, even though nothing is. It’s maddening.