PlanetSide 2 creative director Matthew Higby wrote a lengthy forum post (opens in new tab) on Monday detailing Sony Online Entertainment's planned benefits package for paying members. He also addressed concerns over purchasable items and weapons granting unfairly lopsided advantages to players spending actual cash "to instantly blow up someone's tank."
"As much as I want to give you the definitive answer that PlanetSide 2 is not pay-to-win, it turns out it's actually a fairly personal question, and people define what exactly pay-to-win is in their own way," Higby stated.
Higby emphatically declared that not a single component of PlanetSide 2's hefty vehicle armada or weapon armory will be restricted to free players, saying, "No weapon, vehicle, attachment, continent, class, or certification is unavailable to you as a free player. Everything and anything that can affect gameplay is available to unlock through gameplay. This is a big deal."
"Our goal is to make it so that any fight you have in the game with another player is entirely won or lost based on that player's skill, rather than how much money they've spent or how much time they've invested in the game," he continued. "We want a player who is badass at shooters and has just jumped into PlanetSide 2 for the first time to kick ass at it without spending a dime, and they will, because the ultimate arbiter of your success or failure in the game is your own personal skills (be they driving, firing, teamwork, tactics, etc.) and not which gun you bought."
Membership bonuses received elaboration, as well. Though carrying a subject-to-change caveat, subscription incentives include cosmetic accessories and a passive 50 percent boost to offline/online certification accrual, XP, and resource rates. Higby revealed subscribers get priority positioning in the login queue as a new feature.
"What these benefits don't do is give the guy who spends money on this game some overwhelming advantage that a free player has no access to," Higby said. "Yes, members and players purchasing boosts or weapon side-grades from the store will be able to in many cases (although not all, since time played and skill still counts for a lot in cert and resource accumulation) unlock items or certs faster than non-paying players. To us, the competition isn't who unlocks all the weapons first. It's who uses them most effectively, and that is entirely up to you."