Planetside 2 Paid-For Buffs Rebuffed

The only buffs I want to see are helmet polishers
The news that Planetside 2 was about to introduce Implants slid past me, like a stealthy and handsome Vanu sniper. The time-limited buffs would have slipped into a new loadout slot, enabling non-class based powers for a brief time. They could be bought with both Station Cash and certs, which is where the problem lies. Lets take a look at one of the powers that SOE had planned to implement, that anyone could buy: “Enhanced Targeting – Enables an enhanced targeting HUD that displays the health of any spotted enemy that you target; it also increases the range of the IFF system from 8 meters to 25 meters”. Other buffs included auto-spotting enemies that damage you, and being hidden from enemy sensors. WHAT? People can buy that? Luckily, that was the same reaction that a lot of the community had, and Sony heard their outcries. The Implants have been yoinked from the next update.

I’m surprised that it went so far as to be announced for inclusion in the game. It goes pretty much against the not pay-to-win ethos that Planetside 2 claims to have. Game-changing addons that could be bought with real money is the definition of that, but at least they saw sense. The benefits of having a public test server flows in both directions: the developers can tweak the game before making things live, and the gamers can point out massive, hare-brained flaws that make no sense to anyone.

Here’s some rare footage of the implants in their natural habitat, pre-yoinkage.

Via Eurogamer.


  1. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    This is what politicians do though. They have an idea of what they want to achieve that will be unpopular so go totally OTT then reign back and just introduce what they wanted to. People think ‘well it worked us complaining’ and unpopular measures slip under the radar!

    • TheMick says:

      That strategy makes sense, but what are you suggesting SOE is going to switch in after having successfully baited the masses?

      • Berzee says:

        I hope it’s a Half-Life 1 Bee Gun

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        I don’t play PS2 so don’t have any ideas what is what. All I do know is that F2P is about moneterisation of a product that costs millions to develop and maintain.

        I’m more interested in what they slip in under the radar as far as pay to win goes or what you now have to pay to maintain what you regarded as a given as a F2P player previously.

        • hotmaildidntwork says:

          The “advanced targeting” the article mentioned may actuall fit that description. Until a patch or two ago you could see enemy health bars at any distance.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          “I don’t play PS2 so don’t have any ideas what is what”
          So, you’re just talking out of your hat then. Unless you have evidence to suggest that SOE are using this as a ruse to slip through another change, that is a totally unfounded accusation.

    • Lord Byte says:

      It’s called Fixing. By putting something out there that’s way over the top, people, wanting to appear moderate, are much more likely to accept the something if is noticeably less over the top than the “fixing” offer. They do it in retail and everything (that’s why you get those massive discounts all the time).
      Even if the other offer is still over budger / over the top than what they would’ve accepted before the fixing offer.

    • Cooper says:

      Nothing in all the exeprience I’ve had with SOE suggests they are anywhere near as competent enough to plan in this way.

      This is what it is; a really bad decision (SOE make manY) they decide not to hammer through this time…

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

  2. Tom De Roeck says:

    true but this was foolish from the start. maybe implants for different builds of classes, yeah, but no “omg u just get betar!!!111”

    in reply to the first comment.

  3. mondomau says:

    > I’m surprised that it went so far as to be announced for inclusion in the game. It goes pretty much against the not pay-to-win ethos that Planetside 2 claims to have.

    1.) It has been on the cards (rumours anyway) for a while now in main forums and it’s worth noting the community have been almost unanimously hostile toward it every step of the way.

    2.) It’s becoming blatantly apparent that SOE’s ‘no pay-to-win’ message is as hollow as all their other PR. The frequent daily sale discounting of items right before they got nerfed was a running joke until people realised there actually was a bit of a correlation and got angry – hey presto, denial issued, practice stopped. The endless cycle of nerfing/ buffing means that there is always a (perceived) OP weapon to invest in that is almost always demoted or replaced by another.

    • Reefpirate says:

      > The endless cycle of nerfing/ buffing means that there is always a (perceived) OP weapon to invest in that is almost always demoted or replaced by another.

      It serves you right for trying to buy an ‘OP’ weapon. People always come up with this argument that SOE is hamstrung by the fact that they can’t nerf weapons that people spend money on, but that’s clearly not the case. There’s been a lot of weapons that have been nerfed and it’s a damn good thing.

      I’m aware of SOE’s ‘troubled history’ (although I think some nerds really need to let SWG go after all these years), but so far with PS2 I think they’ve done a fantastic job delivering value to their customers. The PS2 community is full of people running around screaming about how shit this game is and how good it could have been, but I think they’re very short sighted. PS2 is there for the long haul. The game they have right now is great, but what the game will be in another 2 or 3 years should be fucking fantastic.

      • mondomau says:

        Woah there, judgy judgerson. I never said I bought any, nor did I say it’s actually a bad thing that such weapons get nerfed.

        But I don’t buy for a second that it’s necessary to have to constantly alter the balances so often, or that there’s absolutely no consideration of the financial benefit of creating a (perceived) rise and dip in intrinsic worth of certain cash-bought weapons. Me personally, I ‘m loving the game, I just wish they’d sort the ****ing population problems out.

        • Reefpirate says:

          In saying ‘it serves you right’ I was referring to a hypothetical person not you. Sorry for the confusion.

          I think it is necessary to make frequent updates to the strength of different weapons, unless you’re going to propose some sort of god-like balance team that never gets anything wrong. As more variables and different weapons and vehicles are entered into the balance equation, things are inevitably going to go out of whack. I’d much rather see a high frequency of adjustments with little or no regard for the SC price.

          • mondomau says:

            No worries, I wasn’t being wholly serious. Yeah, i guess there’s some mileage in the ‘never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity’ approach and I agree they shouldn’t pander to big spenders, but I’m not entirely convinced – too many of the OP buffs were called out during testing but still slipped through, only to be nerfed shortly after. Usually in the wake of a massive upsurge in use. Phoenix and EVE being two prime examples.

    • darkChozo says:

      Is there legitimate proof behind 2? Excuse the skepticism, and I honestly don’t know any facts on the matter (don’t play PS2 often enough to follow its balance), but I play LoL, and there is a significant portion of the LoL community who sees every single balance change as an attempt to scam people out of their money.

      • hotmaildidntwork says:

        Most of this is unresearched hearsay, but my understanding is:
        Despite the sale item supposedly being random, there have been a couple of instances where an item went on discount while it was expected to be nerfed in a coming patch. I’m aware of two prominent incidents, one being a vehicle mounted grenade launcher that had it’s damage very markedly reduced. I can’t recall what the actual item was in the second case, but I remember people complaining about it…
        It’s hardly damning evidence, but the two cases occurred in close enough proximity that some started complaining in /yell.

        I don’t buy it, myself. I mean in the case of the grenade launcher the sale was weeks ago and I think it only took the nerf last week or so. It was also entirely deserving of a nerf, although maybe not to the extent it got one.

        • flumps says:

          iirc they did something like that to the Mercy’s for TR max’s, had them on sale and in the following weeks patch nerfed them.

          The one that I remember was the introduction of SMGs (sub machine guns). I bought the Armistice for my Infiltrator (TR) and within the week (possibly less) they introduced a second set of SMGs for people to buy. Its arguable whether the second TR SMG was better, i thought so, but even if it wasn’t the case, i’m sure people would agree that they should have been introduced at the same time so i could have chosen.

          I don’t buy station cash outside of triple or double weekends, normally 1000sc costs £8. The SMG cost 700sc, that’s £5.60. I’m not going to drop another £5.60 on another SMG within week and probably never again, i’d probably run without implants had they been implemented in their original state.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            “iirc they did something like that to the Mercy’s for TR max’s, had them on sale and in the following weeks patch nerfed them.”
            It seems as likely that having an item on sale will significantly increase the number of people using it, which will make any balance problems with it more obvious, and attract a nerf.

            Items get buffed/nerfed regularly, items are on sale regularly, there is going to be some degree of cross over.

  4. Snidesworth says:

    I quite like the sound of the implant system, but paying for a buff and making it time limited is absolutely pay2win. That’s asking for a periodic expenditure to maintain your effectiveness, since player with no implant will be at a disadvantage. This doesn’t seem impossible to salvage though; just make unlocks permanent. That way they’ll function much like the utility slot does. You don’t start off with anything to equip in it, but you can unlock something with 100 certs or so.

    That said Utility slot items couldn’t be bought for Station Cash (or at least they couldn’t last time I checked), so maybe they should also give everyone one as standard. That way they work like weapons; you get your basic guns for free but can spend real money or certs to unlock alternatives which are (in theory) sidegrades. Awareness seems like a good pick for a starting implant as it’d give new players an edge (makes it easier to discover who is shooting them) and lets them help their faction as they die in droves (spotting is shared with nearby players).

  5. cunningmunki says:

    Does PS2 still have the vision obscuring chat window you can’t turn off and the UI with tiny writing?

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      The chat window is small, in the top left hand corner of the screen, and disappears when no one is speaking. I’ve never noticed it obscuring my vision.

      Some of the UI text is pretty small, but I guess that’s probably a subjective measure, so I don’t know.

      • cunningmunki says:

        It disappears when no one is chatting? Hmm, maybe that’s new, because I’m sure I used to see it all the time. Ok, no, it didn’t obscure my view, but it was very distracting. I generally don’t like any hud elements in the top corners in any game. Huds should know their place!

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          If you’re just floating round on your own, then it’ll be set to global chat – which is never silent

          If you’re in a platoon/squad, it’ll be set to platoon/squad chat, which is usually much quieter.

  6. Flappybat says:

    link to

    This is topical but what I actually took from it is that people will pay money in a situation that in no way benefits them.

    • Misnomer says:

      Somehow I had never seen that Flappy bat, but it doesn’t surprise me. I was a part of the L4D2 boycott and the MW2 boycott. I eventually bought L4D2 for 5 bucks on sale over a year later when I was ready for a sequel… thought I have barely played it. It is not surprising to me that most people whine on forums and dish out cash in the privacy of their own purchase screen.

      It is another great reason for me to avoid any game that is free to play. It is not worth complaining about the Pay 2 Win mechanics in them or the placement of the Pay Wall, because that is what those games need to survive. Even World of Tanks is pissing me off now that I hit its wall. I wonder how long DOTA 2 will last as F2P.

      I need to just accept that F2P is not for me and avoid them like the plague just like I avoided subscription based games.

  7. Jools says:

    I’m honestly more annoyed that SOE continues to focus on things like this over giving the metagame the attention that it deserves. The sense of scale is what makes PS2 unique and it’s one of the only reasons to play it. Even if they manage to improve the core shooter mechanics to FPS perfection, it still won’t matter since they’ll still have a game where fights can be completely lopsided by design. I’d accept any number of pay to win measures if it meant things like continent locking, a sane resource system, and more persistent territory control actually made it into the game. The fact that SOE has held off on implementing core features like this for over a year is shameful, especially when the game is otherwise pretty good.

  8. AlienMind says:

    As always the reason is money.
    Now that it’s popular it’s time for the switch tactic.
    Please have no illusions about the thruthfulness of anything a pr guy says.
    Please buy games which are released in a state the developer can’t take it away from you anymore. The only newer example I can give you is the upcoming ROTT HD (custom servers etc.).

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      “As always the reason is money.”
      The reason for what? Not releasing these?

      “Please have no illusions about the thruthfulness of anything a pr guy says.”
      I think people will notice if they release these despite having said they won’t – it’d be quite obvious.

      “Please buy games which are released in a state the developer can’t take it away from you anymore.”
      You’re suggesting that people should only play games that have been abandonned by the developers? Why? Why is a fixed/static game inherently *better* than a game still in flux?

  9. Asurmen says:

    Did they ever announce the cert price? Without that information I’m not exactly sure how it can be classed as pay2win as long as the in game method was reasonable.

  10. McTerry says:

    Can I haz immortality?

  11. Stick says:

    So… Either 1) they don’t understand what “advantages-purchased-for-realbucks” actually means, or 2) they’re trying to sneak crap in under the radar? Neither option bodes well.

    (The “we’re just testing!” argument is, of course, pure nonsense. Why even test things that go against your explicitly stated design intentions?)

    I’ll admit to being rather frustrated with PS2. Partly because of frequent slideshow-level-fps and constant crashing. Which might be teething problems and probably my hardware’s fault. But.

    Seemed to me, the base xp progression was just… Korean MMO evil. In a can. Insult to injury, trying to Get Stuff Done with a one-bus group really didn’t help your cert gain. (Compared to milling around as a Medic or Engineer in the useless clustershag at the Crown. Or nuking oblivious people from orbit, I suppose.)

    Feel free to tell me this has changed. Because I shouldlove this game. I really should. I don’t know anywhere else you can ram a badly piloted fighter into an AA tower, bail, C4 the gun, jetpack to safety, cheerfully shoot the gunner and his two pals in the back, dodge a galactic crapton of tanks and then zip off towards the next inadvisable and entirely doomed escapade.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I’d go for option 1) – some kind of collective brain-fart. It’d be damn hard to sneak such a change under the radar – especially as they’d have to advertise the buffs if they wanted people to buy them and/or know what they were for.

  12. aircool says:

    I spent real money on funky vanu shemagh’s. They double your damage and increase your accuracy whilst looking super cool. Worth every penny.

  13. jkz says:

    can I pay to improve my k/d???1!?!?

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