The latest major update to PlanetSide 2 has landed, bringing some sweeping changes to the balance and design of the game. The most significant overhaul for "GU09" is the trialling of a new map system, that replaces the previous Hex-based conquest path with a "Lattice Link" of criss-crossing attack avenues. So rather than expanding out in any direction, now your invasion is going to rely on somebody in your squad being able to read a map.
Sony Online Entertainment
Dragons. Let's face it: the poor beasts are generally woefully misrepresented in video games. Dragonborn's dragon-riding feature was decidedly underwhelming, and the Sims 3's attempt at beastliness doesn't look capable of roasting more than a marshmallow. To top it off, WoW's Vial of the Sands simply transformed you into something dopey-looking and vomit-colored, and people would demand to ride on your back. That's why we're hoping that Sony Online Entertainment's next free-to-play MMO, Dragon's Prophet, will restore badassery to the serpentine beings when it opens for beta at the end of this month.
PlanetSide 2's Game Update 8 rolled out this morning, and rolling in with it came the Harasser, a three-seater buggy spacious enough to accommodate a bulky MAX suit in the rear passenger seat (though he'll look hilarious). After that, the patch just kept on rolling...and rolling, and rolling—be cautious of scroll wheel fatigue while digesting the patch notes.
Planetside 2's test server has been updated with some big additions and overhauls, ahead of their eventual introduction into the main game. It's also good news for fans of tooling around a battlefield on bouncy buggies, with the introduction of the three-man Harasser. It's also good news for fans of giant stompy robots: the MAX suits are being buffed with faction specific abilities. And that means bad news for fans of not getting blown up by giant stompy robots.
The sharp flap of leathery wings signals an incoming message from GDC: SOE have released a trailer for Dragon's Prophet, a free-to-play fantasy MMO that seems to have been developed with the design philosophy "more dragons = better". It's a theory that didn't do Skyrim any harm.
February was a difficult month for the battle-locked soldiers of Planetside 2's Auraxia. During the four week period, over 100 million soldiers fell in glorious war - before subsequently respawning and presumably dying again. And SOE have provided a slew of other stats celebrating their bloody conflict. Among them is the revelation that 42.31 recruits are dying every second. If that rate holds steady, it means 380.79 players saw their end while I typed that last sentence. Only a sentient torso remains.
The original EverQuest released nearly 14 years ago, and its quest and class structure helped define a genre that would soon explode in popularity with World of Warcraft. It's still active to this day, and last week, its community celebrated (via Polygon) the return of Brad McQuaid, one of EverQuest's principal designers, back onto the original EQ team after over a decade apart.
It's been a while since SOE provided a big update for PlanetSide 2's ongoing war for Auraxis' precious resources, so it's filling the fourth major patch with an extra armory's worth of re-balances and additions for release on Wednesday. Creative Director Matt Higby outlines the patch's contents in a forum post, and some interesting features are set to arrive after the base-tweaking focus of the last update.
Do you know what the ever-wars of Auraxis needs? More wars. SOE seems to think so, at least, and Creative Director Matt Higby posts word of a few server merges taking place next week to help supersize battles raging in low-population realms during peak hours.
Whenever something big happens in PlanetSide 2, you'll probably hear a dramatic score swelling beneath the bullets, bombs, and aaarghs of combat. That's thanks to SOE's audio team and its efforts to pack an aural punch into the super-scaled battles of Auraxis, as shown in this brief behind-the-scenes look at the game's soundtrack.
Soldiers of PlanetSide 2's Miller and Connery servers might've noticed they're spotting other mudfoots at a greater distance. Though we can't totally rule out the possibility that everyone's goggles received a secret spit-polish overnight, the more likely explanation is that SOE is testing out a range increase for infantry rendering.
Right now, you'd be forgiving for thinking "what the hell is Bullet Run?" Browsing through the game's site tag, it seems we've only mentioned SOE's free-to-play FPS once before. That was for my review. I gave it 32%. Perhaps not a huge surprise to hear that it's being shut down, then.
The war for glorious balance continues in PlanetSide 2: the latest major patch released on Friday Gal-dropped new fixes and adjustments first outlined by the team last month. Among the significant changes are the addition of a few precious seconds of invulnerability when spawning, defensive boosts for bases, and a finer-tuned spotting system.
In a pair of tweets (via VG247), SOE President John Smedley triumphantly announced the banning of "a whole bunch of idiots" caught hacking in PlanetSide 2, including one player who apparently spent $230 on in-game items.
Three unspoken bylaws lie at the heart of PlanetSide 2's army-against-army battles: Always wear arctic camo for added coolness. Thou shalt watch where you drive that thing. And lastly, whoever controls The Crown controls the fate of the universe.
Perched atop a rocky outcropping square in the middle of the arid canyons and blasted deserts of Indar, The Crown is Auraxis' version of a quintessential fortress. It's prime fodder for last stands, blazes of glory, and intense stalemates lasting weeks at a time. Many avoid it for its costly price of victory. But despite a pursuit that inevitably involves funneling into a rocky rampway for vehicles or a precarious switchback path snaking along the base's rear, many more flock to The Crown for the advantageous position it bestows upon its victors, who are able to then strike outwards in every direction.
We wanted to find out more about The Crown's genesis and future, so we got in touch with SOE Facilities Designer Corey Navage and Creative Director Matt Higby for some answers.
As part of SOE's focus on factoring player proposals into PlanetSide 2's major updates, the PlanetSide 2 Reddit group's Community Design Meeting draws suggestions and feedback directly from players for direct submission to SOE. As PlanetSide 2 Creative Director Matt Higby stated: "I see our role on the development team as curators of the game, not necessarily the wellspring of all ideas."
We've been warring over PlanetSide 2's continents for a little over a month now, and we're big fans of its super-scaled warfare. On the flipside, some players are highlighting a need for balancing improvements to keep the war machine turning. One particular player, BuzzCutPsycho—currently the world's leading Terran Republic soldier and ranked second overall in the leaderboards—wrote a lengthy post on the official forums criticizing some of PlanetSide 2's mechanics, including kill/death ratios, vehicles, and territory control.
Playing PlanetSide 2 is like being eight and riding a bike without holding on to the handlebars. Mum! Are you watching? Did you see that sniper shot? Were you watching when I jumped off the roof of that building, clamped C4 to a tank’s hull, jetpacked over a cliff edge, and pressed the detonator? Did you see the time I spawned a Liberator gunship and picked Chris up at a base south of a bio lab being taken by the New Conglomerate? He hopped in the gunner seat, mum, and together we destroyed the enemy’s only Sunderer! We blunted their advance mum! Mum! Are you still looking? Keep looking, mum, I’m going to do something cool now!
The launch of Guild Wars 2 had the energy of an election night. The candour of ArenaNet’s original tradition-defying mission statement gave way to a year of rising expectations, tempered by the trickle of information from the beta and the gloomy subscription forecasts battering its rivals. It was a relief when the game turned out to be something special.
PlanetSide 2's "12 Days of Holidays" promotion has been offering daily deals on in-game items for a week, but today's takes the secular fruit cake. Buy Station Cash or redeem a pre-paid card on PlanetSide 2's site and you'll get triple the SC you normally would, today only. That's $5 per 1500 SC.