Sony Online Entertainment is pushing the limits of developer sweat, blood, and tears as they crank out update after update for Planetside 2. With just 34 days left until SOE Live, one might think that the developers would be saving content for a “big reveal” but not this crew.
Recently hitting the Test Server are sweeping changes to Esamir and bases across all continents and these changes are more than just aesthetics.
In With The Future: Force Fields Abound
The largest and possibly the most game changing is the installation of near-Bio Lab shields over Amp Stations, Towers and Tech Plants. These shields were first teased a few weeks ago on Friday Night Ops (Planetside 2‘s weekly live-show often hosted by Margaret Krohn and guests).
These shields were first revealed to be similar to the shields protecting the Auraxian soldiers in their Warpgates. The shields were to be installed over outposts in order to provide more areas that were only accessible to infantry. This move was the result of many player complaints about being farmed by liberators and aircraft alike. Vice Versa, aircraft would be safer from anti-air fire due to the fact that the shields block fire from both sides.
This first iteration of these domes was rough around the edges, but it seemed to be beneficial for both sides of the air/infantry problem. Not only would infantry have access to a more traditional FPS experience in these areas, but air could also fly around these areas with less caution as anti-air would not be as prominent.
[Dome Screenshot courtesy of:http://babagra.pl/2013/05/ps2-esamir-pelen-niespodzianek/]
With the newest iteration of these shields on test server this week, the developers have shifted course. As a response to community outreach in regards to base benefits lacking meaning, the developers seem to be installing these anti-air dome shields as full force fields, not only blocking fire from each side, but blocking aircraft and infantry from moving through it. Whether or not this is fully representative of the final product is unlikely but, with it being pushed to the test server, a similar version should be expected.
Images Courtesy of ( [OpEG] Cmushi):
The Potential Benefits and Consequences of The Force
Via a Tweet from Matthew Higby, Creative Director, these new shields will be tied to a base benefits (perhaps by capturing the Amp Station). Upon the capture of one of these facilities, the connected bases would receive the benefits of these force-fields.
The immediate benefit from these shields is the ubiquitous call for a better first-person shooter experience. These shields, when active, will keep liberators and ESF (Empire Specific Fighters) from constantly bombarding areas inside bases, allowing for infantry to focus on more ground tactics such as room clearing, load out choices, and sticking together. Tanks are still viable when these shields are active if the assaulting forces are able to down the vehicle generators and keep their tanks safe from the violent and heavily armed forces pushing towards them.
The second benefit of squad objectives is currently being bashed by some in the community as these shields have the possibility to remove the immediate benefits of running liberators and, supposedly, limits further objectives within the game. Personally, I think this will have the opposite effect. These shields do not cover the majority of the facility (unless you are at an Amp Station) so liberators will still be viable, especially when it comes to open field battles (a place where Planetside 2 really shines). These shields cannot be destroyed via a generator but this does not mean there is no objective to them. Since the metagame is still currently limited to a continent by continent basis, the addition of real base benefits could add additional importance to securing and holding specific bases. This can not only provide more objectives to the continental race, but can give outfits another reason to keep an eye out and defend a certain facility despite certain death. (Alamo time!)
The Potential Consequences:
These new shields have the possibility to put a strain on the sometimes iffy combined operations gameplay. The raising of vehicle costs has already had an effect and this could add to the controversy of what role air is meant to actually play. SOE may have an answer to this with the upcoming ESF revamp (scheduled next game update) but we have yet to see what major changes are in store for the aircrafts.
Another potential consequence of these shields is the potential bugs that abound. As any Planetside 2 player can testify, updates are so frequent that they are often not bug free. These major bases have spawns for aircraft that are fast paced and ready to shoot you into the action. Will there be a problem with how these aircraft spawn and the shield, or will these shields be faction specific and allow for friendly aircraft to enter and leave? Of course I may be going out on a whim here to find potential problems but we should all be sure to move to test and get these force fields ready for implementation!.
What to Expect from MLG Anaheim This Weekend!
SOE’s partnership with MLG is well known by this point and SOE has already given teasers to their 48v48 MLG ready map but it has yet to be revealed. We have a very good chance at seeing the first battle island called The Nexus this weekend so be sure to keep an eye out!
The map itself is based off of Esamir but is optimized for platoon vs. platoon battles (the natural choice for Planetside 2‘s competitive front). In a recent GameSkinny interview, Maggie revealed a bit of information regarding these maps and how they will play into the world, be sure to check it out!
A great article to read on the amazing possibilities that MLG and Planetside 2 can produce together can be found here courtesy of the Hostile Takeover outfit.
Recently uncovered in the game files is what appears to be a Thumper. The Thumper in the original Planetside was a go-to choice for grenade launching fun. Be sure to check out the images below and don’t forget that its [EDIT] Double XP Weekend (Starts July 5th) for Planetside 2. Grab yourself a new Heroic Boost and crush some enemies! We can also expect to see a finalized version of the Esamir revamp soon(tm). The second I get a chance to run around I’ll be sure to post the beautiful frozen tundra!
Below are pictures of the Thumper?, the soon-to-be NS SMG, and more recent items uncovered by the persistent and loyal redditside community!
The Possible Thumper:
New Patriot Camo (Vanu Version):
The New Nanite Systems SMG:
Big Things are Promised for SOE Live!
SOE always keeps some big surprises for their annual SOE Live convention, whether or not the features they reveal come true are debatable but its fun nonetheless. One big feature we are guaranteed to see is the new continent Hossin.
Hossin has been in the works since the last continent, Amerish, was released at launch. The extended development time and the implementation of the lattice system across continents promises to differ from the previous continents. The developers have teased a beautiful swamp full of interesting and unique combat situations from giant trees to some beautiful water.
Hossin will also bring us a new facility type: Interlink Facility (an underground base the size of a tech plant). The Interlink facility will provide new base benefits and will boast new infantry situations. The development team has promised a quality we have yet to see in Planetside 2 and, being part of Black Widow Company and a soldier on the front-lines, I am ready for some new scenery!
Do you think these additions are good for Planetside 2? How would you create better infantry areas? These soon to come updates are promising to further expand the already massive game that is Planetside 2 and, at the rate SOE has been producing updates, we can expect a lot more in the future.
Be sure to keep your eyes tuned to GameSkinny for all of your SOE Live exclusives as we delve into all of SOE’s titles including: Planetside 2, DCUO, Dragon’s Prophet, Free Realms, Everquest II, and as we fight tooth and nail for the skinny on the black-boxed EQ Next! Also, be sure to tune into MLG Anaheim this weekend at the official Planetside 2 stream right here! For the full schedule of events, follow the link here.