PlanetSide 2's beta is up and running (and flying and shooting and doing whatever tanks do), and it has many things. Jim, of course, has chronicled a large number of them in his characteristically handsome fashion. But, if you believe SOE's rhetoric, that's only the tip of the iceberg. And it's not particularly difficult to believe, seeing as it's getting ready to drop an entire continent on us. And then another continent after that, but probably not until much, much later. Also headed to our side of the PlanetSide planet: performance improvements, gunplay tweaks, and, well, maybe a delay - if need be. According to SOE, this one's launching "when it's ready, and not before."
SOE's John Smedley took to PlanetSide 2's official forums to give beta players a status update. Then he pulled out a fine oaken pipe, inhaled deeply, and began an address for the ages.
"We are working hard on Esamir. It's getting closer and closer to a finished state where we want you guys to play on it. It's pretty awesome and very different gameplay wise than Indar. After that Amerish will go back to being worked on. These continents are taking longer than we expected and it's possible we end up launching with two and delivering the 3rd shortly after launch. We're working super hard but we have some resource bottlenecks. We also are going to see how the game plays with two continents before making any final decisions, so please do us a favor and don't judge any of this before you play the game with two. Too many people knee jerk react to things. There's no point. Just wait till Esamir is live and let's all see how it goes."
"We are showing with Planetside 2 a strong dedication to launching this game when it's ready, and not before. But that also means we need you as our playerbase to understand that this is like riding a wave that we have an idea where it's going but aren't precisely sure. Actually, that's kind of fun to tell you the truth. We've been seeing gameplay you guys are coming up with that we sure are having fun watching and being a part of."
Performance issues also got substantial attention, with Smedley noting that both CPU and RAM are big targets right now. He added, however, that "I believe this game is always going to have higher spec requirements for a machine to really play well than most other PC games. I want to be up front about that. At some point the size and scale really does cost. But we're getting it better every day and every patch."
Gunplay's also up for major changes - both in the next patch and beyond. That especially, Smedley stressed, is an ongoing process that'll solidify as players clash and hammer it into shape. Shooting is, after all, a rather important part of first-person shooters, so SOE's attention to detail is much appreciated.
Continent-locking and spawn changes, meanwhile, are on the table, but Smedley's not making any guarantees just yet. "I make no promises here about what our designers are going to come up with - just that the conversations are happening. Please be patient. you can see we're working super hard to deliver a really fun game. We're also playing the heck out of it ourselves, and we see and feel what you see and feel."