Planetside 2: My Favourite Game Of The Past Two Years

There have been so many beautiful and clever games appear in the past two years that I find myself surprised to be saying this: Planetside 2 is my favourite game of the past two years. Sure, I’ve practically lived off Teleglitch at times, and actually been made to like an adventure game via KRZ, but Planetside’s bright and sparkly sequel has truly colonised my PC. Can a sci-fi shooter sequel really have been the game that held my attention for the longest? There have been prettier games, there have been smarter games, games which were more innovative, moving, or simply better designed. But SOE’s giant red-blue-purple MMOFPS has been the one for me. It’ll be two years old in a couple of months, and I like it more now than I did when it launched.

What’s going on?

I’ve not been playing the game for the entire two years it’s been around, admittedly. I had a crack when it started, enjoyed it very much, got buried in work and swore I’d go back as soon as I could. I returned a couple of times, and have thereafter been playing it almost daily since the start of the summer.

The breadth of the game is perhaps what I found most appealing. It is huge in every sense. The maps are kilometres across, which appeals to my love of virtual landscape, as well as helps me avoid the claustrophobia induced by decades of corridor shooters. But it’s not really about physical space, it’s about the space to muck about with tactics and explosioneering. Planetside 2 is crammed full of stuff.

The character classes are sort of predictably diverse, from the invisibility-cloaking Infiltrator to the stomping MAX suits, but it’s when you multiply these by numerous weapon and ability unlocks, and then again by a range of vehicles that it really comes alive. Thanks to the huge scale of things, the inclusion of off-road jeeps, dropships, light assault aircraft, tanks, bigger tanks, APCs (which act as tactical spawn points) isn’t just convenient, it’s downright necessary. It also means that in a single stretch of a few minutes you can be hurling grenades into enclosed spaces and grinding down chokepoint corridors, and then striking out across rolling valleys to see wide-open tank battles supported by air and infantry.

It is the grandest of combat operas.

It has improved dramatically, too, with SOE burning in new layers of detail to the four continents. While there are some cut-and-paste identikit bases on the unfinished Hossin map, others have grown and evolved to be exquisite puzzles for attack and defence. The odd moment when you find yourself underground, waiting for a force-shield to come down, makes you realise that what Planetside 2 has done is create a huge template which can be pushed and pulled back and forth over a long period of development. I’m hoping it’ll see another two years, too, because despite the need for server merges, it is alive and vibrant every evening, with battles everywhere at almost any time of day.

Aside from all this, the game appeals to my “let’s just mess about with my loadout” needs. There’s something deeply satisfying about tinkering with optimal set ups, or unlocking a new gun and seeing how that fits with my style of play. This, like the best MMOs, provides for a sort of journey within the mechanics. I began as a determined medic, and in time have drifted first into anti-armour specialisation, and then through to experiment with vehicles, particularly enjoying the harasser (a jeep which requires a passenger to man the gun) and its high-speed antics.

There’s something about a “flat” level up structure, which just unlocks more stuff – rather than making you unassailably buff – that really appeals to my mechanistic heart. It’s a system I wished games would adopt for years, at least when they’re dabbling with PvP. It feels less “unreal” than the vertiginous ladder of a million hitpoints.

Planetside 2 has also plugged straight into that bit of my brain which needs team work. Yes, the game doesn’t really come alive with random play, as much as I do like to just jump in and run around with the sprawling “zerg” of the front line. What it really craves is a squad, no a platoon of squads, co-ordinated in their actions and even in their class choices. Spearheading an assault as a heavy, knowing you have a sniper covering and medics ready to pull you back to your feet, that’s a distinct and rewarding kind of play. Not unique to PS2 by any means, but it’s delivered in robust fashion, and two years of tinkering have only made that more focused.

The odd character of PS2’s huge, open conflicts means that you face weird mixes and dynamics in the numbers you play against and with. In a game of Battlefield, if there’s 32 on your team, there’s probably the same number on the other team. Here it may be equal numbers, or it might be that you are ten and they are twenty. What if they are fifty? What if you still win?

It’s a fluid sort of thing, and basically unlike anything other than its own original incarnation.

At risk of repeating myself, though: this is sci-fi war on a grand scale. While I do love the moment to moment gunplay, I’m aware that there has and will be better on the precision and “gun-feel” side of things. What there isn’t a lot of in other games, however, is cresting a ridge and seeing hundreds of people all engaging at once. Watching rockets fly against lasers, while tanks churn in smoke and dust, and explode in towers of fire and black debris.

But what about the lack of a win state? Well, it sort of has that now – because factions can win “alerts” and capture/lock entire continents off – but for me it’s always been about the small victories: the defence of a base, the amazing capture against the odds, the perfect deployment that wins the day. It’s an experience, and an overall strategic process, that has benefited from many months of live development. There are still rough edges all over the place, perhaps there will always be. It regularly introduces new bugs, and things don’t always work as intended. Balance is… a work in progress. But I can’t bring myself to care. I can leap in, and I can immediately find action.

That immediacy is another reason why it works for me. As a young man I would idle in IRC channels to get Quake 3 games when pickup teams formed. I lurked for hours in Eve’s silent star systems, waiting for the action to kick off. I am patient, but I also had a lot of time. I have a lot less of that latter resource now, and being able to drop in (and out) without a care in the world (or more importantly without the worry that I am letting team-mates down) has become all important.

Perhaps that’s the most important bit, actually. That I’ve been able to enjoy playing with a team – the fantastic RPS Vanu outfit – and not have to feel like I am shouldering a huge burden. I’ve relished those burdens in the past – leading guilds and corporations, training with clans on a regular basis – but what I’ve got with Planetside 2 is candy. Instantly pickup and put-back-downable. And it’s delicious.

There are so many reasons why Planetside 2 has brought me back, held my attention, and even seen me spend a bit of money on space helmets. But the most important one is that it’s a game that RPSers can and do enjoy on a daily basis.

Feel free to come join in.

104 Comments

  1. mR.Waffles says:

    Reading your passion for this title just deepens my annoyance with myself for not being able to enjoy it. I wanted to love it. I anxiously anticipated its release from the moment of announcement. Finally, the dream game. Unfortunately, the basic moving and shooting mechanics are just so inferior to every other title in existence, I simply cannot get into the larger more thrilling experiences Planetside 2 offers. I know it seems silly to not enjoy a larger work for a very basic complaint, but in an FPS, if your mechanical moving and shooting is poor, it doesn’t really matter what other innovation you have to offer.

    • Cross says:

      I kind of second this, along with a deep feeling that my contribution (Or indeed anyone else’s) doesn’t matter. There’s no metgame, no progress that can’t be undone in half an hour while everyone’s asleep, and in the end it usually just comes down to who brought the bigger zerg.

      • mR.Waffles says:

        I agree, but I also think a lot of complaints about “meta” derive from issues with intangible details. It’s much easier to point towards a lack of “progress”, however defined, than it is to articulate deep rooted mechanical problems. Think about the success of Counter-Strike for example. We’ve run around the same de_dust2 for 14 years, shooting at each other for individual rounds. There’s no larger goal other than self improvement and having fun in the moment. Counter-Strike’s root mechanics are so damned good, that no one ever questions “meta” or end states. Every single round is its own game, and when it’s over all the pieces are set back to their starting positions, only to be unleashed again.

        If Planetside 2’s core mechanics were better, I think casual players and core players alike would enjoy it more. They just keep searching for some dream meta change when in actuality it is the failure of moment to moment core moving and shooting which dissatisfies them, even if they are unware.

        • aircool says:

          Whilst a member of the Purple Giraffes, I very rarely join the group (I have problems with comms, and my colourblindness is too severe for me to rely on custom colours), but I still have a great time. You’ll often find yourself hanging around with a group of solo players who’ve just gathered for an objective, and you’ll find everybody on a similar wavelength. You’ll also get a lot of tank/bomber drivers/pilots who want gunners.

      • Jim Rossignol says:

        I think this is hard to see if you solo it as part of the larger zergs, but playing with a squad on comms and you definitely notice when that heal you did rezzes the guy who cleared out the badguys, that spawn you placed revives the attack, etc etc.

        • Leb says:

          Not sure what the new strategies are… but at launch I ran with an outfit so vast with such complex strategy. We’d have a coordinated armor, infantry, and air squads working in similar areas. With “ghost” or spec ops teams doing crazy stuff like galaxy drops on the roofs of tech labs or setting up guerrilla warfare style road blocks at key points.

          Biggest downside of the game for me is every time I want to play it I have another 10 gigs in updates to download. It’s great they’re adding stuff but its hard for the casual player to keep up!

        • scatterbrainless says:

          Going to participate in/report on any of the server smashes Mr. Rossignol? I would love to see a narrative account from the ground of one of the community organized events.

          • DXN says:

            Seconded. Would *love* to read some RPS After-Action Reports on the main site.

      • fish99 says:

        Fighting with (or against) the zerg is a decision you make. There are always smaller, more fun, more tactical fights available with lower numbers at other bases. It’s up to you to pick the kinda fight you’re after. The smaller the fight, the more difference you can make, and the more you can use your wits.

        That’s probably PS2s biggest strength – the variety of combat available. Big battles are fun for a while but they do get repetitive.

    • fish99 says:

      The strafing speed always bothered me, but otherwise the on-foot combat was pretty decent I thought. Certainly nothing that stopped me from putting 250hrs into the game. I stopped playing because it got very samey, but I’ve been meaning to go back to try the new continent (and the updated one).

      • mR.Waffles says:

        It’s funny you mention the strafe speed. I campaigned for an increase strafe speed for months in the beta forums. I wrote extensive analytical diatribes on this topic. I pushed and shoved and kept arguing, only come release the game’s movement still suffered. As a fairly competitive Counter-Strike player I’m passionate about FPS mechanics. Planetside 2 is one of the rare games that decouples your lateral motion from your view control. Most shooters allow full range of motion so players can look and move in any direction at any time. By separating lateral motion into a separate, slower command, the game effective neutered mechanical flow. Some games can get by limiting motion, for example Natural-Selection 2 reduces marine backpedaling to prevent kiting their melee alien opponents, but for a true non-asymmetric shooter this is unacceptable and counter-intuitive to most players.

        The other result of poor lateral speed is the binary nature of “peeking” in PS2 and its relevancy to the skill ceiling, but that’s probably a longer winded conversation than is appropriate here.

        I, through a proxy, asked Matthew Higby if the limited motion was a conscious design decision, or a limitation of the networking code. He said it was a deliberate design decision and not the result of a technical limitation, and as such I just don’t feel he has a good grasp on how the FPS genre works.

        • MrUnimport says:

          I’m not totally clear on what you mean by this. Strafe speed is just fine and learning to hit ADAD over and over again is a key skill in the game.

          • fish99 says:

            The strafe speed is about half what you see in a typical FPS. Now it may be realistic to restrict strafing speed like that but it’s not a natural feeling after playing so many other FPS. It feels especially limited while running, it feels like it barely does anything.

            I’ve asked about this on the forums and was told it was changed (i.e. slowed, pre-release) because people used to ADADAD to exploit the network code.

          • MrUnimport says:

            Well, let’s not act like strafe speed is some fixed constant of the universe here. Already there’s a lot of complaints going around about .75 ADS movement modifier weapons and the advantage those give.

          • fish99 says:

            Is that a new feature, maybe only on SMGs or something? I quit playing around the time the first SMGs were released (although I did buy one and didn’t remember anything about a movement modifier). Either way though, the strafe speed is too low for all the classes I played with the weapons I used, and I tried pretty much everything. In most FPS you can move either the same speed sidewards as forwards, or nearly as fast, but PS2 it’s a lot slower.

          • Asurmen says:

            Vanu LMGs have the 0.75 modifier.

          • DXN says:

            I think I get his point. In typical FPS’s, the fact that you can strafe or backpedal at the same speed as walking makes up for the fact that your view is coupled to your movement direction. In reality you can run along while looking in (almost) any direction but in games you can only do that if you have an Arma/flight-sim style ‘freelook’ button.

            So by making strafe slow and effectively restricting you to ‘forwards-based’ movement, they’re actually making you experience more of the ‘crippling’ effect of only being able to look in the exact same direction you’re moving (and aiming).

            Makes sense to me, although I’m used to it after playing a buncha Arma! Still, given the arcadey style of the game I do think freer/faster strafing would help make it more accessible and probably a bit more fun, along with a slightly less ‘mushy’ sense of contact with the terrain (higher gravity?).

            I personally wish there were more logistics in the game or that they were more strictly enforced, but I’m a huge logistics nerd so. :P

        • hotmaildidntwork says:

          The only complaint I have about the movement system is the lack of apparent momentum. The fact that someone can change direction more or less instantly without any loss of speed gives the game a very strange feel when trying to shoot somebody that knows how to exploit that property.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I don’t really agree that PS2’s move/shoot stuff is fatal. It’s not as good as some others you could point to, but I think it strikes a good balance, and I’ve always like a pacey game.

    • DrollRemark says:

      Hey, maybe it’ll improve one day. Battlefield 1942 had atrocious “gunplay”, but somehow it thrived enough to become what it is today.

      • Misnomer says:

        Battlefield gunplay was improved only when it had to compete against COD. It was really only on the level of competing with whichever was the most influential infantry gameplay out there. When it was competing with CS, it was just a shadow of that.

        Recently it got popular enough as an infantry title in BC2 that it had to go out and make an effort to be better than COD infantry.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Yeah I’ll agree with this too. I love the Sci-fi setting and the art style, I love the idea of the game, I’ve tried on several occasions to get into it, hoping something would click, however, I always run into the same personal issues with the game.
      The 3 major issues with it that I have are:

      1- Too much wasted time spent travelling around not really doing much, the amount of actual combat compared to the time you spend in the game is too little for me.

      2- There is no real goal you are trying to achieve while playing the game. It’s an endless back and forth with no real winner. While I understand the counter argument of “the point is to have fun”, I personally think that some of the most fun moments I’ve had in FPS games are at the end of a really close game, the adrenaline starts going, everybody goes all out to try and get the win.
      Examples of this being,
      9-9 in rounds at Counterstrike, it’s all down to the last round, it has a very different feeling to when you just first joined the game, you are invested in the match now and what you do in the next 2 minutes decides whether the last hour becomes a win or a loss.
      1 minute left in a game of Red Orchestra and you need to capture one more point, EVERYBODY has to rush that and try and somehow pull it off, when you manage to win with seconds left, it is an amazing feeling
      <20 tickets each left in a map of Battlefield, you are losing by one control point and managing to take the point you are fighting at means you win, suddenly the fight you are in becomes much more important.
      Planetside to me lacks these memorable moments that you find in other competitive FPS.

      3- The gunplay is inferior compared to other games. Especially Red Orchestra, which has the best gunplay imo, but also compared to Battlefield, which is it's most comparable title to Planetside being large scale and vehicle based, it's just not as satisfying to shoot people in that game. The feel of the weapons in an FPS is not completely tangible and is also quite objective but I just do not enjoy shooting the guns in that game as much as I do in others, they feel weak and lack impact.

      • Alckatras says:

        1- Too much wasted time spent travelling around not really doing much, the amount of actual combat compared to the time you spend in the game is too little for me.

        That’s just a failure to understand movement in the game, tbh. As a matter of fact, most of the playerbase WANTS more time between battles for things like logistics and troop movement. As it stands, you just teleport to battles and it really sucks. Not that your failure there is by any means uncommon, the game does lack proper tutorials.

        2- There is no real goal you are trying to achieve while playing the game. It’s an endless back and forth with no real winner.

        Alerts are basically two hour “matches” similar to a game of Battlefield or such. I’ve had far more intense moments in alerts than in any other shooter.
        Two minutes left, and we hold the point on Eisa Tech Plant. No other Tech Plants will be in contention long enough to make an impact on the alert. 1:56 seconds left on the capture. The enemy destroys our spawn, and we are cut off completely. For two minutes we had to hold off hundreds and hundreds of Terran soldiers. That’s just one poorly written example of awesome moments in this game.

        Partial agreement there, though. We need better metagame.

        3- The gunplay is inferior compared to other games.

        NO SHIT THERE’S LIKE 1000 PEOPLE.
        It’s not going to handle the same way as one with 64. It’s the sacrifice you make to have huge battles.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Nothing about the scale of the multiplayer says the weapons have to all feel like Super Soakers.

          • Graerth says:

            …Does every gun have to be 1-shot kill?

            You can kill 2-3 people with one clip in most guns and time-to-kill hovers between .5 and 1 second depending on gun and range if you land those bullets. There are some problems i feel in the game, but the more i’ve played the more i feel the guns can do.

          • Gindjurra says:

            My preferred light assault loadout is definitely not supersoakerish. Pump action shotgun with 4x scope & slug ammo, crossbow with sensor darts, C4. Like a flying sniper. Pick a tree near a vehicle terminal and let the one-shot kills roll in.

      • Graerth says:

        Not to say the problems can’t be there, but to give my POV on the issues you mentioned:
        1: There is some downtime, but you can usually redeploy to some battle if you so desire (takes 10 seconds) or buy a cheap vehicle to take you there (the new Valkyrie is pretty nice for it, as Ejection seat is cheap for it and the vehicle is cheapest flying vehicle in the game so just buy one, fly the direction of map you want to be and jump out).

        2: Alerts are the matches. I do remember pretty vividly the feeling when enemies were capping 2 of our Tech Plants in an alert about those facilities. Timers are ticking and we just need to stop the cap for a minute or 2 to win the alert. Other outfits (there’s cooperation between quite a few of the outfits) combined their forces to brute force the other, while we took a flock of galaxies as RPS and dive straight through enemies camping our spawn with air superiority to crash land on top of the tech plant and storm the cap, there is no spawn options if you die as spawn was impossible to leave, but regardless we manage to flip the point and hold it for that precious minute until we’re killed to the last man. Yet, when the enemies finally cap the point it is meaningless, the alert ends full 20 seconds before they cap the base and because of these 2 tech plants, we win the alert.

        Sure, it’s just an alert as any other, but then again the “19th match” is is just a match as well. I don’t remember most alerts, just as well as CS players probably don’t remember most their matches.

        3: Weapons….i actually felt they were weaker at first as well. Some of them really do want specific attachments (they’re all pretty cheap though) but overall the default weapons are quite good. All weapon do have a range you want to use them though and oft seen mistake is to just pew pew at wrong range when you should rather try get to the optimal range instead. My only real gripe for new player as far as weaponry go is the lack of good Anti-Air (the AA lock on launcher for heavy is pretty cheap luckily), but rolling with other people can alleviate it as they can use those weapons instead (unless it’s the random zerg, in which case zerg’s gonna zerg and not think of AA).

    • mikmanner says:

      I’ve also found the game difficult to like, impenitrable almost. I did play one night in an RPS platoon and that was more fun, but after a few hours, I still don’t know what I’m doing in the bases, at all. Very confusing UI with a million tiny icons, hard to read. I guess it’ll become more natural with time, but it’s very difficult to like initially.

      What’s also annoying is that I got 3 friends to download it and play it with me on the promise that ‘it’s supposed to be great!’ but we didn’t know what we were doing and nobody liked it, I remember saying ‘it’s probably better in a platoon’ but that play session was enough to put them off the game completely.

      This article makes me want to give it another shot though.

      Actually, another feeling I felt when playing it which I didn’t expect was that it highlighted the repetitive nature of multiplayer games more than even smaller arena shooters. Everything lacked meaning because the scale is so massive, fight for hours taking a series of bases, for what? Unlocks are very slow, I guess this came out more because I wan’t enjoying the confusing moment to moment. Again, I’m sure if it finally clicks with me, all these feelings will melt away. And I really hope it does click because I’ve wanted to like it since it came out.

    • HellcatM says:

      I played Planetside 2 since beta. I stopped for a while because I was playing other games, but I got a friend into it and we’ve been playing it and having fun.

      I do wish it had a cover system which would make it more tactical. I also wish you could create your own type of character. If you want a medic that wears heavy armor and caries a sniper rifle you should be able to have it. For a small thing I would like to be able to make the machine guns also single fire (I have a scope on mine and would love to accuracy snipe with it).

      Other than that its a fun game.

  2. SophiaButler says:

    I have to agree with this 100%. Thankz for this.

    Let me know when someone makez a scenic video of a large-scale battle with an orchestral soundtrack so I can drool over that too. :D

  3. Dog Pants says:

    Hooray! I love PS2. I think I’m unusual in that 90% of the time I lone wolf it though. It can be enjoyed that way, you just need to be able to read what the people around you are doing and know how to contribute. Follow behind an attacking force as a medic, or watch over them as a sniper. Flank the big fights as a Light Assault, or cover your troops from air attack as a Heavy or a Max. Team play is still great fun, but you can synthesise it alone if you know your tactics.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yeah, you deffo can go it alone, but I think it shines best with a bit of co-op co-ordination.

      That said, I’d probably not have stuck with it if I couldn’t jump in occasionally and just join a quick fight.

    • Schiraman says:

      Yep, that’s the way I play PS2 as well.

      Sadly I don’t seem to have the patience for organised play – waiting around for large forces to assemble, travelling slowly to the front in a convoy, waiting to ambush or repulse another force, or taking on ‘strategic’ objectives where there’s no actual fighting – I just want to jump in where the fighting is right now – and that’s a lot easier when playing solo.

  4. fuggles says:

    Spare time is the killer. I find myself trapped in old games such as dawn of war (10 years old) or gog stuff as I find I have so little time and a now underpowered pc that I have not time or processors to play a new title, 1 hour a month.

  5. gabrielonuris says:

    The only problem I had with this game – that actually made me uninstall it for good – was the patch sizes. I mean, you download a 16Gb hog, and everytime that the client try to update, it downloads a 8-10Gb file, like I’m downloading the game again from sketch. And also, I’ve played the Steam version, so it could very well use the Steam update to keep the game… Up to date, instead of forcing me to “redownload” everything everytime I wanna play.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Agreed, the constant patching is insane.

    • Oooch says:

      The patch sizes aren’t much bigger than 2-4gb unless they do a continent patch which isn’t that often and the steam copy is kept upto date now, these complaints were valid around the release of hossin but aren’t true these days, I haven’t opened it in a few weeks and I have an 87mb patch to download, big deal

    • Chuckleluck says:

      I really hate it when Steam games do like you say and push their updates through their own launcher (I’m looking at you, War Thunder). Yes I know there’s probably some logistical reason, but nothing’s worse than getting an itch to play a game after it’s laid dormant for months and you have to download a patch the size of the Moon.

    • Duke of Chutney says:

      i don’t take much issue with the patch sizes but the content can be a bit of a slot machine. The general trajectory of the games development is up, things are better. But in terms of performance, and some times game balance a patch can sometimes feel like a step back as much as a step forward. I love PS2, but the testing/QA lacks something to be desired sometimes.

  6. phelix says:

    I have two problems with this game, despite wanting to enjoy it very very much:
    -download size, as mentioned above
    -GLARING optimisation issues that makes the game unplayable on a variety of CPUs. Feel free to correct me if, say, a Phenom II X4 is now able to play at minimum settings with more than 20 FPS in remotely stressful situations, in which case I will gladly re-download all them effin GBs through my 550kb/s download connection.

    • Awesomeclaw says:

      When did you last try it? While the game has had some famously bad performance in certain situations and on certain setups, some time ago SOE ran the “hilariously”-acronym’d Operation Make Faster Game, which fixed a lot of performance problems in most areas of the game. If you can spare the bandwidth (the download size is still huge), you should give the game another try.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      I had that processor, and my fps only got that low during massive battles.

      I only played once after the first of several optimization patches, but my fps was hugely improved. Like, 45 fps average, at least. You can improve fps by changing some settings in the .ini.

  7. jpm224 says:

    Always nice to see Jim back in the mix. Can we have any hints as to when we might see SYABH multiplayer?

  8. Awesomeclaw says:

    I came back to this quite recently and have been enjoying it, although it seems that SOE have let the PC version slip back a little in terms of bug fixes (and a few fairly major new bugs have been introduced) while they churn out a PS4 version.

    • Utrooperx says:

      I really love this game…I have a BR95 on Emerald and a BR83 on Connery…however, since the Labor Day Disaster, I’ve been totally unable to play. Somehow, when they did the PS4 merger, they completely broke the “Toggle to Sprint” feature so that no matter what button I mash, my toon just s-l-o-w-l-y walks. As dcarey (PS2 producer) commented, this has been directly caused by the PS4 integration (see: link to ps2issuetracker.com ). As other posters here have pointed out, “mobility is key to survival in a FPS”…and I can’t move at any other speed then a s-l-o-w walk. I’ve posted on Reddit (link to reddit.com ) and sent numerous Tweets to Mat Higby (PS2 Creative Director) (link to twitter.com and link to twitter.com ) and have gotten no replies/responses. I paid my sub on Sept. 5, but if the game is still broken for me on October 1st…well, there’s no point in continuing to pay for something I can’t play, is there..?

      I wish they would just fix it…I really miss playing…or at least respond…meanwhile, two 90-day XP “boosts” (that I paid cash for!) just tick away…wasted…because SoE broke the game… :(

      • Morphious says:

        Thats strange, it works fine for me. Must be only affecting certain users. Maybe a reinstall would fix it, or binding different keys. I use shift.

        • Utrooperx says:

          I have deleted the User_options.ini, Planetside 2_x64.exe, InputProfile_user.xml, re-validated the game files via the Launch pad and still no Sprint/Run. As I indicated, at link to ps2issuetracker.com , dcarey (Planetside 2 Producer) stated: “dcarey7761 added a comment – 29/Aug/14 4:47 PM This wasn’t intentional, it’s due to the PS4 integrate causing input issues.” The issue is known and tracked (see: link to forums.station.sony.com ), so I am far from the “only person” adversely affected…

          I received this response from SoE Customer Service:
          Greetings Utrooperx2,

          I’m very sorry to have to let you know that there is currently a bug with the Sprint system in PlanetSide 2 affecting a large amount of players.
          The development team is currently working on a hot fix that is of utmost priority and it should be deployed to the servers very soon. We apologize for the inconvenience this is causing you in the meantime.

          Please keep an eye out on the launcher update and hot fix notes as this should be noted there when the fix goes live.
          Once again, we apologize for the trouble and should you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to let us know. Thank you for your patience and understanding and for playing PlanetSide 2!

          Sincerely,
          GM Exerege

          It has been 14 days since the Labor Day Disaster (when the PS4 integration was done) and over 193 individual bugs have been reported because of it. Many are totally “game breaking” that result in people not being able to play at all…I have tried every means from posting on the official SoE PS2 forum, to posting on the PS2 Facebook page, Reddit, and sending Tweets, and still have no reply/response as to when this will be fixed.

  9. Wedge says:

    I played it reliably a couple times for few month spurts with whoever we could get from an old TF2 clan. But yeah, the game really takes a time and schedule commitment to get the best things out of it, and that’s sadly not something I can give, at least without giving up all the other gaming interests I have. And ever since they nerfed the max draw distance range of AV turrets, being a solo engy that snipes from obscure locations half the map away stopped being a fun thing I could do on my own.

  10. Quiffle says:

    Is there a NA oriented outfit going on? The game has potential, but lone wolfing it on biolab zerg points and roaming around for trouble has its limitations.

    • jonfitt says:

      There is/was a north american RPS outfit I think. I definitely joined either the RPS one, or the PC Gamer one. I don’t recall the name though.

      • jonfitt says:

        I found it, it is/was Rock Paper Scythe. I don’t know how active they are any more. It’s been ~1.5 years since I played with them.

      • Premium User Badge

        Aerothorn says:

        Sadly, Rock Paper Scythe died a few months after launch; there just weren’t enough players. I can’t tell if RPS’ readership is just overwhelmingly British (which seems hard to believe, since it is the preeminent PC gaming site and the US has more PC gamers than the UK by virtue of population numbers) or if Americans just hate organizing in forums.

        • stoopiduk says:

          As an outfit Rock Plant Shotgun isn’t overwhelmingly British, but we are overwhelmingly European.

  11. jaguar skills says:

    Nah, it’s shit mate.

    Blah blah blah metagame blah blah blah gunplay in a game for 2000 players doesn’t have gunplay as tight as one for 32 players blah blah blah.

    I think this is how you’re supposed to comment on anything about Planetside 2.

    • MrUnimport says:

      Nah, you have to complain about the PPA a few times as well.

    • Rizlar says:

      I believe what you meant to say was

    • stoopiduk says:

      I’ve not played since before the Hossin patch, but here is my opinion as if somehow an 18 month old opinion is of value:

      Higby please fix ZOE
      Higby please metagame
      The last player to die near you before you sent a tell to PyroWulf was named “PorkWaffle”

  12. EBass says:

    I’ve found as I’ve got older I’ve got more and more disillusioned with multiplayer games, particularly “endless” ones.

    That isn’t to state that the games I play now are somehow more “mature” or “better” than those I did before, it’s just how I feel. I used to spend endless hours playing Quake, Counterstike, or DoD, and the only reward I needed was the tactile knowledge that my skills were sharp, that I was, to use a slightly cliched term “p0wning”.

    But these games just don’t work for me anymore, the endless fighting without any distinct progress or reward simply doesn’t do it for me. Whereas I used to live off competitive games the only ones I ever play now are the occasional RTS where there is a clearly defined win-state, and mostly I play single-player RPGs or FPS-RPGs.

    Maybe i’m getting old.

    • Awesomeclaw says:

      The developers have been trying to insert temporary win states into various parts of the game – alerts and missions being the most prominent. One popular counter argument to this is that these win states are only temporary and that in a few hours the gains you fought for are undone, but this is true of practically all multiplayer games. There are a few exceptions, such as EVE, but in these cases the battle lines tend to move fairly slowly.

      • EBass says:

        Yep, and I respect and applaud that. But it still seems, I dunno meaningless. Sure when you win an RTS game it’s equally meaningless in an ultimate sense, but then it’s more like winning a game of chess. You win “the game” you can play a billion others but that win is yours.

        I’d ideally like a game like Planetside when you can win a “campaign” every base you take dimisheses their ability to fight in a real way, and ultimately you can crush them and then it resets, not just a battle in a continuum of an endless war.

        • MrUnimport says:

          The thing is, in PS2 the winning team generally doesn’t need any assistance. This is a war without attrition, where a small advantage in macropopulation translates into a dominating advantage at the microscale.

        • hotmaildidntwork says:

          I think WWII Online was like that. Or an online WWII game of similar naming. Ultimately it’s still just as pointless, the average battle in most games fits that description. One opponent slowly loses the will, means, and momentum to fight the other until a victory occurs and things start over somewhere else. Whether it’s destroying spawn points, or capturing inventory stations, or depleting tickets, or destroying valuable equipment. WWII Online though I’ve seen held up as the example of how to do this at a Planetside scale through a period of several months. I’m not sure what state the game is in, mind.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      I agree. I wish the winning/losing could be more organic. Allow teams to take over continents or what have you. Play the game out until one team has *won*. Then reset the world to a fair playing field. Sure, that may never happen, but allow the possibility for RPS headline “Vanu conquers entire world, everyone else goes home to have a drink”.

      • MrUnimport says:

        Teams can take over continents. It’s generally no fun when it happens though, because it means one team has hugely outpopped the other two on that continent and nobody wants to show up for the beating.

  13. Christo4 says:

    “What’s going on?”
    Better optimization.
    It ran as smooth as sandpaper on a volcanic rock when i started playing it.
    I stopped since and afaik the performance has improved so i might give it another go.

    • Duke of Chutney says:

      this can vary quite a bit between one weeks patch and the next depending on your hardware i’m afraid.

  14. DarkMalice says:

    I’ve never been fond of shooters, particularly the online variety (I’ve played a bit of Rust and DayZ in the past year and that’s about it). The past couple of months however, I have been hooked on Planetside 2.
    It’s quite something as a lone wolf, to drop a Sunderer (spawn point) or take out nest of heavies with your mortar-launching Maxx-suit, and then watch the entire battle of some 40-200 people shift and sway as a consequence.
    As an organised team, hell, the satisfaction of directing whole sections of the map is incredibly exciting. Clinical (or sometimes, hilariously farcical) execution of drop-in cap operations; battles you can just drop into for a half hour at a time, combined with the ease in which you can switch between battle roles (sniper, full-on assault, recon, air support to name a few) just give it a real fluidity that feels… that just feels great.

    Sorry I didn’t mean to fap but I’ve been so surprised at how enjoyable the damn thing is, and I’m saying this as a turn-based, have-a-cup-of-tea-while-pondering-how-to-proceed, kinda guy.

  15. AshRolls says:

    I agree, planetside 2 is pure joy and the best game I have played in the last few years. Recently they have toned down the effectiveness of vehicle tank spam which I think has really improved the balance of the game, especially for new players. Whilst I miss going on rampages with my HE lightning I recognise that slaughtering new players who don’t really have their bearings was destructive to the overall health of the game.

    I’ll be interested to see how the PS4 version affects the PC title, if it’s a great success we should be seeing improvements for another good few years.

    Hopefully I’ll shoot you in the face soon Jim, it’s always a pleasure to meet RPS on the battlefield!

  16. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Just wanted to add, speaking as a realtive noob who drops in and out of Planetside 2 at awkward and haphazard times, accidently blowing up squadmates, spawning the wrong vehicles, standing in lines of fire, unable to turn my mic on, accidently broadcasting vital tactics on ‘all’ rather than ‘squad’ chat, and generally noobing all over the place: the Giraffes, aka RockPlanetShotgun, are the friendliest, funnest, funniest and most patient guild of MMO players I’ve ever had the pleasure of fighting with. And they seem to ALWAYS be online, whenever I log on there’s a squad to join. So, yeah, if anyone was worried they don’t have people to play with just jump in, they’re lovely.

  17. TWChristine says:

    Holy crap, those pictures are great! I knew the game looked good on higher settings (I’m stuck on low, and even then I crap out if there’s too many people), but wow.. Makes me more excited to finally get a new comp in the next few months!

    • stoopiduk says:

      My experience with the beautiful graphics was that they were indeed beautiful, and I kept a steady 60+ fps.

      Then I turned them all off and reaped the enemy-spotting rewards of uber-low settings.

  18. Misnomer says:

    I keep reading things like this and thinking, I really should try that again. Then I remember it is free 2 play and, sigh, grind.

    I dropped my $120 on BF4 a while back and keep going and playing that with the DLC releases. It is quite enjoyable by myself and much more enjoyable with squads and voice teamwork. Maybe it is not as large a game, but that initial cash purchase has meant that I can access pretty much whatever I want in a pretty small amount of time comparatively to a F2P game.

    Someone did a $60 in Planetside 2 here a while ago (maybe Jim) that just depressed me too.

    So I think I will stick to my BF4 until Star Wars Battlefront rolls around. (BF: Hardline interests me not in the slightest unless the entire thing is revamped, even then the super armed cops and robbers bores me to think of grinding through).

    • Chuckleluck says:

      I agree completely (including the bit about robbers with military-grade weaponry). With the notable exception of TF2, I’ve tried to keep my distance from F2P games. Just knowing the paywall is there is enough to turn me off. If PS2 had a deal where you spent a traditional amount of money ($60 or whatever) one time and it dropped the price of everything to a remotely reasonable level (like Battlefield’s unlockables), I’d seriously consider tossing money SOE’s way.

    • Rolfski says:

      Believe, this game is not p2w. It’s not even grind-to-win any more. XP is ridiculously easy to come by nowadays, many guns have been drastically lowered in certification prices and your default guns have always been amongst the best allround guns in the game.

      Many top players have never invested a single dime in this game because you really don’t need to.

  19. aircool says:

    It is a bloody fantastic game. I quite like the fact that there’s no real win state, it’s just fighting. Maybe tank hunting in an aircraft, or (my favourite), aircraft hunting in a tank. How about finding the perfect camp spot in a tree, or hanging with a pack of tank killing infantry. There’s so much to do, and something for every mood.

    However, nothing looks as beautiful as an open battle around Quartz Ridge/Indar Excavation; multicoloured tracer fire, explosions, rockets, aircraft, tanks. You make a break for the next bit of forward cover and realise you’ve just led a charge into the enemy line. Next thing you know, there’s a few sundies being deployed and you’re that little bit closer to kicking the enemy’s arse.

  20. Asurmen says:

    I’m actually playing PS2 less since the main Giraffe night moved from Thursday to Wednesday (for perfectly valid reasons) as Thursday is my agreed gaming night with the better half.

    That, and I’m not getting bored as such, but I’m wanting more meat than it currently provides. To go about beating a dead house, more PS1 mechanics and atmosphere.

  21. P.Funk says:

    I’m too much of a Project Reality or Arma nerd to be able to get to grips with this game for some reason. I am very picky about how my avatar handles in a shooter. I either want super tight traditional high speed high skill shooter control like say in CS or TF2 or I want something so punishing to idiot rushing that it requires you to take it slow and steady, like Arma. I find the Arma scope in a game where the gunplay feels crap just turns me off. I’m about as thrilled firing a gun in PS2 as I was with the main rifle in Halo.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      I wouldn’t even be that generous, but maybe you disliked the Halo assault rifle more than I did. All the weapons in PS2 look and feel like Nerf guns.

      • P.Funk says:

        Yea, its that lack of a substantial bearing to them that really puts me off. I’m used to firing an M4 at a human target at 50m and seeing him go down in 1 shot, 2 at the most. I’m also used to hitting a spy in the face with a Rocket and watching him gib all over the place.

    • Rolfski says:

      If there’s any thing that turns me off from Arma series it must be the horribly sluggish gun play. Other “serious” shooters have long proven that “realistic” doesn’t need to be the same as “clumsy”.

      As for PS2, while definitely not realistic, it has very decent gun play, especially considering the size of the game. It’s better than COD Ghost on PC and BF4 in it’s current state on PC for instance.

      • Volcanu says:

        Have you handled and shot many assault rifles before? Because the “sluggish gunplay” in ArmA is actually pretty close to how quickly you can point a weapon and shoot it in real life. Being able to whip your rifle about equally in any direction and being able to spin 360 degrees on the spot, like you can in most FPS is decidedly unrealistic.

        Genuine question, what are the “serious” shooters that do realistic gunplay/weapon handling better?

        • Rolfski says:

          RL doesn’t have hit detection issues, low frame rates, lag, hitching, low thick rates, poor optimization and bad net code. Not to mention a horrible UI. And it’s specially these issues that Arma series are notorious for. If you want a shooter that plays more realistic but without all these bullshit issues, go play Insurgency.

  22. PikaBot says:

    I’ve dabbled in Planetside and whenever I’ve managed to find myself an organized group that’s acting someone in concert, it’s a great experience. Unfortunately, such experience is few and far between, and life as a solo player is lonely and frustrating.

    I also cannot wrap my head around the advancement mechanics or the gun store, both of which seem tremendously poorly designed.

  23. OmNomNom says:

    Rant post incoming:

    I played heavily for a period as part of GOON so I had the full outfit experience, the guys in there are dedicated and experienced.
    Even with this tbh the shocking engine brings it down every time. The hit reg is god awful and the graphics optimizations are pretty non-existent. Minimum and maximum will run about the same no matter what your system. 99% of people disable shadows just because its the only setting that seems to make any difference even if it makes the game look gash.

    Vehicle handling is awful too, land and air but of course they all have spam weapons so you can just spam spawns with impunity. Skill shot weapons on vehicles are non-existent.
    It was fun for a while especially once they focused the battles a little with the lattice system etc but ultimately zergs still win.

    There is minimal sense of achievement too since the scoreboards are all meaningless no matter how you sort them and it’s very hard to get a sense of your own achievement even compared to your own previous performances. The best you might get is when your clan tag flashes up when you capture a facility. It may not always matter who has the best K/D but it really would be great to know who affected the battle with a more thought out scoring system.

    It’s such a shame since PS1 was one of my favourite games ever until SOE castrated it with awful expansions. I waited so long for PS2 to get better but it improves at a snails pace.

    To add salt to the wound the recent ‘redeployside’ update has lost PS2 more players than ever because it seems to be an attempt to make the game more like the deathmatch style of BF and COD but in reality just detracts from the tactics and strategy that makes PS2 any fun and makes it look like an inbred sibling instead.

    Guns are way too similar.

    Heavy assault = best class in 90% of situations.

    TL;DR Disappointed as it is still a very ‘casual’ game and hasn’t improved much in two years. The 11 year old PS1 with a little polish in the graphics and controls department would be a better game hands down.

    I Wish there was some competition in this genre. :'(

    • mickygor says:

      Changing your graphics settings didn’t improve your performance because you’re bottlenecked by your CPU not your GPU, which is also why disabling shadows helped.

  24. El_MUERkO says:

    I played the beta with friends and enjoyed it, but after launch SOE kept lowering the view distance for infantry and vehicles, I may have been able to see clear across the map but I couldn’t set the AA Max 300m in front of my Galaxy, and what you cannot see you cannot hurt, so even when my missiles landed where the MAX was I couldn’t hurt it. It however could see me.

    This just stripped the game of the epic scale it sold us and left me feeling cheated by the engine time and again. Until I can see the draw distance to 10km and know everything in the game within 10km of me is on my screen I just don’t want to know about PS2.

  25. Paradukes says:

    Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me how good the rest of the game is; they won’t allow me to do something as simple as rebinding the flight controls to something more comfortable (i.e. binding yaw to the mouse and roll to the keyboard). That’s bad, but what really pissed me off was one of the main developers publicly calling everyone who was actively requesting the option, “A bunch of whinging little b****es.”

    F***. That. S***.

    • MrUnimport says:

      Yaw is really slow though. I don’t think it would be worth it.

    • Asurmen says:

      While options are great and they should allow every control scheme to be rebound, I can’t say how anyone could want to reverse those bindings. Having an analog roll is far more important in PS2 flying than analog yaw.

  26. Jhoosier says:

    Dammit, Jim! I’ve been thinking of getting back into this, and have successfully resisted until this article. And I’ve got classes starting next week!

    My problem is being over in Japan. When it started, it seemed the RPS team was training about 4am for me. Occasionally I found some Aussies to play with, but nothing organized that I could get in on.

  27. securitywyrm says:

    I tried to like Planetside 2 over a long period of time, but what drove me away was that it was the same battle over and over. Admittedly I am rather bad at shooting games, but I can still enjoy them when they have variety. The three sides have no significant differences. It’s less of Starcraft’s Terran vs Protoss versus Zerg and more “Blue terran vs Purple terran vs Red terran.” The proof is that, assuming the number of opponents is the same, you’d attack a base held by faction 2 the same as you’d attack a base held by faction 3.

    I think the game focuses so hard on making every side “perfectly balanced” in every little element that it missed out on the opportunity to be something great. Once you’ve attacked a base and defended a base, you’ve played the entire game and there’s little variety after that.

  28. scatterbrainless says:

    Ah, Mr Rossignol, you truly were the games journalist made for me. Your tastes are so perfectly suited to my own that I can almost be guaranteed satisfaction with any game you recommend. Planetside 2 has been my obsession over the past few months: it just has so many more layers of consideration, from the macro to the micro, than any other shooter that I can think of. Join now fellows, don’t be put off by the intimidating complexity, find a team of nice/funny people, load up and move out.

  29. Lobotomist says:

    I agree with this.
    Its kind of Battlefield 2142 , but on supper massive scale and with no mechs. (BTW Sony should really add mechs.)
    You can automatically tell the game is good if it has jetpacks !

  30. Rolfski says:

    Once you get the hang of Planetside 2 and joined a decent outfit, games like COD and BF series suddenly feel very shallow, tiny and limited.
    The game is still miles away from where most players want it to be though, especially if you’ve ever played Planeside 1. But it did come a long way since launch. It’s way, way better now. And it’s still heading in the right direction, albeit very slowly.

    I’m very curious how this game will hold up on PS4, especially against a game like Destiny, that claims to be a FPS MMO, but so far has proven to be more of a small scale shooter, without much MMO.

  31. PopeRatzo says:

    Jim, please stay.

  32. bylXa_KoCMaTa says:

    The first year the game could not be played because of insanely bad optimization.
    Second years after many patches is playable.
    After two years of patching missing any basic communication in outfits, management of flying machines is 100% made ​​for a gamepad , use mouse or joystick can be achieved maneuverability when using a gamepad. Huge maps do not contribute to diversity, battles occur monotonous, and they getting worse again because of missing text communication in teams.
    New continent benefit mostly flying machines, not only because of the terrain but also because of the inability to keep the sight on the target without going through the trees….
    Lock continents is really very clever solution to population.

  33. sinister agent says:

    I still love playing it solo, to be honest, it’s where I clocked the vast bulk of my time in it. Dropping in and out of battles, teaming up with those temporary friends with barely a word said between you, just quietly pitching into an assault, or probing out enemy flanks, or ambushing reinforcements with a few stragglers. Violence begets violence, and in Planetside 2, the smallest skirmishes you initiate can pick up passers by, and an hour later flare up into something gigantic. Or you can just peck away at the fringes, or throw your lot in with a larger assault, backing up the groups that seem semi-organised – even just literally watching them sometimes, and intervening if someone’s giving them trouble, or distracting enemies who are about to zero in on them.

    That said, one of my fondest memories is of a night with the RPS giraffes, who were instrumental (and for once somewhat competent) in defending and holding off an unprecedented mass Terran Filth assault that, at the start of the night, had aimed to take over a whole continent, but by the end, was reduced to trying to show off about having captured a mere handful of areas. And they only did that with the cheapest, boringest tactic available, too.

    It’s a great game.

  34. manticore912 says:

    I just wanna say, fuck you and all you Vanu players. You’re playing the most bullshit faction of the game, being the favorites of the game developers and need a serious nerf. Tanks that hover and practically climb mountains? Bullshit. Weapons that have little to no bullet drop? Go fuck yourself. The Vanu have been filled with babies that cry when they think something on the NC or TR side is too strong and get their stuff made better or, in most cases, the other factions get nerfed to shit.

    Lately the game has been taking an even bigger nerf route with the TR faction, effectively making all of their weapons not only have shit accuracy but looks like they plan on nerfing even some of the rocket launchers. Before long this ‘game’ is going to be called Vanuside 2 with no one but the Vanu populating the servers and enjoying a massive spandex circlejerk. This game can be fun but the factions need to be balanced or its going to be a massive bust if SOE doesn’t get their fucking shit together and fix the unbalanced bullshit caused by their Vanu loving dev-team.