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PlanetSide 2 introducing side-switching mercenaries

The endless open-world war of PlanetSide 2 will add a fourth faction who switch sides, mercenaries who will fight for whichever proper faction has the fewest active players on the battlefield. The robotic Nanite Systems Operatives sound a neat idea, keeping the war lively while also reducing faction queue times and giving lone wolf players an option to always play on their back foot and fight fight fight. You’ll need to pay the MMOFPS’s optional subscription service to play as a mechanical man, mind.

The robos have no faction goals of their own, existing simply to help the three main factions. Daybreak explain that “each Operative that enters a new zone or continent is assigned to assist the faction with the lowest active personnel count on the field of battle.” The NSO only have access to the factionless “common pool” of weapons, vehicles, and items (not the fancy unique faction toys) but they’ll get the variety of fighting alongside all the others.

In theory, their presence makes the game better for everyone.

“Because they’re assisting the lowest-populated faction,” a Daybreak fella explained on last night’s announcement live stream (which also doubled as celebrating the game’s sixth birthday), “fights should be more fair across the continent and the wait times for members are going down.”

Those waits will be zero if you’re playing as the robomen, natch, and you not joining your native faction queue will speed it up for your factionmates.

The robos are now live on the test server, where they don’t require a membership to play as them, if you fancy a crack.

Daybreak also announced that a DirectX 11 support should hit PlanetSide 2, in test form at least, by the end of the year. That will boost framerates (by about 20%, their test results say) as well as fixing some microstutter problems, speeding up load times (which matters most to the PS4 version), and generally enable them to optimise more and add new features.

You can watch the whole stream archived here:

PlanetSide 2 is one of the best first-person shooters, or so some website founded in 1873 will tell you.

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