UPDATE: Sign ups now closed!
We're going to war! Yes, it's time to see who is hardest out of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, BoingBoing Offworld, and The Escapist, via the medium of Planetside. Naturally we're favourites to pwn, but we're going to need you lot to pitch in. The devil, of course, is in the details, so cry havoc, and let click the jumps of war. (Did that work? Details below, anyway.)
Right, first things first. Planetside is an MMOFPS, now rather old, but still capable of fun times. We do have some keys that will allow people to get a free month in the game, but they're limited to just seventy, and we're giving first dibs on those to current RPS subscribers. (Subbing now will not guarantee you a key.) Once that's sorted out over this weekend we'll distribute the remained among interested readers. If you are interested please mail me here. Then keep an eye on the site over the next few days and I'll post when all the keys have been distributed. If you apply and don't get a key, I'm afraid you'll have to sign up to Planetside for the month if you want to participate.
Each site's readership will join one of the Planetside factions, and SOE will log all relevant kills, hacks, heals etc during the period of 19th January to 13th February. We'll be setting up some specific dates across the weekends for people to form up en masse, so that we get to taste that sweet Planetside mega-war with dozens of our fellow bloggerteers. The overall winner will be able to claim to the Strongest One There Is On The Internet when the dust settles, and the stats are counted. It's all in good humour, but ultimately we must vanquish our foes, and we can't do that without you lot. Hopefully this will be an exercise in unique videogame entertainments for the readers of all three sites, with Rock, Paper, Shotgun being the best of the lot.
These are the factions:
Rock Paper Shotgun - The New Conglomerate (NC)
The New Conglomerate (NC), a separatist faction determined to remain free of the controlling and domineering Republic, as well as to liberate the rest of humanity from the Republic, whether or not they share the Conglomerate's theories. Unlike the authoritarian and technocratic TR and VS governments, the NC are fighting for democracy, freedom, and human rights. As a rebel group, their leadership lies with the Revolutionary Command, a visible co-operative of military experts and leaders who direct the liberation efforts as a whole. They feel that any form of control is oppression and that a miserable free man is better off than a contented slave. Consequently, they view the Vanu technology as a potential tool of control, and the Vanu Sovereignty as technocratic tyrants, would-be dictators like the Republic, only under the banner of science and probably much worse. Their view of the future is one of freedom and self-government, where every man elects his own path and flourishes in what ways he sees fit. They rely on ponderous vehicles and slow-firing heavy weaponry, foregoing mobility and tactical flexibility for heavy armour and superior firepower. The NC's democratic philosophy is often their achilles heel militarily, as they lack the iron-fisted leadership structure of the TR and VS. From the New Conglomerate's point of view, however, theirs is the only moral and just cause.
The Escapist - The Terran Republic (TR)
The Terran Republic (TR), a conservative, authoritarian, collectivist nation who strive to regain contact with the homeworld and reunite the warring factions. Their leadership is a public oligarchy known as the Overwatch, composed of various representative officials and their associated Ministries, who regulate allotted portions of society in accordance with their own expertise and the collective will towards favourable outcomes. They believe that authority is the bastion that protects humanity and that in a truly free society, with no Big Brother to guide and watch over citizens, misery and suffering would quickly be visited to all. Furthermore, they regard the Vanu technology as dangerous and disruptive, a chaotic force threatening the stability of their righteous order, and only begrudgingly do they utilise it in warfare. Their vision of the future is one of peace restored through their benevolent rule, and humanity reunited by the reopening of the wormhole. They stand by the view that the Vanu went extinct by meddling with power on the orders of magnitude which was to be found in their artifacts and technologies, and they fear groups such as the Sovereignty will drive humanity to a similar fate, causing as much damage to reality as possible along the way. Their ordinance is characterised by its high rate of fire and correspondingly great ammunition consumption.
BoingBoing - The Vanu Sovereignty (VS)
The Vanu Sovereignty (VS), a loose transhumanist cult of academics, intellectuals, and technology worshippers who believe that human destiny lies in the further development and exploitation of the alien technology. Their leadership is the clandestine Sovereignty Council, the composition of which is unknown without itself and the existence of which is obscured to those outside the Sovereignty. They see the Republic as pedantic and outmoded, a used-up idea and restriction on the continuing ascendancy of the species through the synthesis of man and machine. They also see the New Conglomerate as a savage, ochlocratic band of thugs who have repackaged old mistakes in new dressings and are desperately afraid of new concepts which they cannot grasp, and the future these promise to the far-sighted. Their view of the future is one of scientific perfection and purity: they believe that the Vanu used the power of their advanced technologies to transcend their physical limitations and the mundane world, ascending to a superior state of being, and ultimately, a higher plane of existence. Scientists and intellectuals through-and-through, they see this path as an enlightened ascension and hold the Ancients up as a shining example for mankind to follow. Hopefully and eagerly they envision humanity imitating this metamorphosis, firstly through the enhancement of the human condition via "hypertech" (foreseeable technological breakthroughs which have not yet quite arrived), and eventually, by the replacement of human beings altogether; from there, not even they can imagine yet. They are most reliant on alien science and technology, and often more than compensate for their shortcomings through the superiority of their engineering, utilising mind-bending physics, high-energy arrays, and other exotic weaponry to defend themselves.
Strangely apt, no?
(And here's our previous tale of Planetside heroics.)
Fighting will occur across several weeks to give everyone a chance to chip in, and we'll obviously be joining in with the existing Planetside community, so please be courteous and lovely as you play. You must also respect our foe and be sportsmanlike at all times, lest you incur our terrible wrath.
I've probably forgotten something vital, so please ask in comments if you have any other questions.
Other than that: FIGHT! WIN!