A modern first-person shooter without a slow-burning, arsenal-amassing progression system is like a clown without big, poofy pants. The absence is glaringly noticeable, and then someone gets arrested for public indecency. PlanetSide 2‘s equivalent of that is the cert system, but in a game that’s just as much an MMO as it is a shooter, that poses some continent-sized content issues. This isn’t Call of Duty. There isn’t a new treadmill to hop onto every year. SOE, then, wants to get off the oh-so-trendy gear-and-guns train entirely with additional, entirely separate means of progression.
Creative director Matt Higby explained in a Reddit AMA:
“This is a tough design challenge, we want to provide meaningful character customization, long term goals and maintain a fair environment for new players who aren’t ‘geared out’ as well as not having too severe of a ‘grind’. Right now the cert system is basically THE thing we have to provide for that, which is problematic. At a certain point people will run out of things to unlock; we’re not trying to run a non-stop gear treadmill game.”
“One thing we’re working on is adding additional personal progression systems that aren’t tied to gear or player power – this will allow us to provide those long term ‘reach’ goals without having to either price new players out of important gear, make a punishingly steep grind for advanced upgrades or continuously inflate the number of upgrades at the end of the treadmill like most MMO games do.”
It’s an incredibly lofty goal, but PlanetSide 2 isn’t exactly an unambitious game to begin with. In the near term, however, SOE is still grappling with basic issues (that, frankly, should’ve been addressed ages ago) like optimization for all PC spec ranges. The first patch came out a few weeks ago, and a second is set to launch soon.
In light of all that, how are things going for you on the inside of PlanetSide’s planet sides? Did the first optimization patch do its job? And are you inching ever closer to running out of enticingly shooty bits and bobs to unlock?