Planetside 2: Esacalation (opens in new tab) launches today, which developer Daybreak is touting as one of the MMO shooter's biggest updates in its seven-year history. It focuses on Planetside 2's clans, Outfits, with a new armament system, a new battlefield for three-way Outfit fights and, more important than any of that, massive ships they can deploy in the skies above Auraxis.
The Bastion Fleet Carrier is a beast of a warship and takes a bit of work to summon, so it's not something you'll be calling upon on a whim. Instead, your Outfit will need to work together to gather the required resources by capturing and holding onto territory. These resources can then be crafted into ship parts, and when you've invested enough resources, you can bring the carrier into the fight.
Every ship needs a captain, who in this case manoeuvres the ship, while other players can control the turrets or catch a ride to the next fight. You can cram up to 48 players into it. Bastions contribute Empire Strength when they're flying over contested territory, act as a spawn point for the whole outfit, come with artillery systems and an interceptor launch platform—they're not messing around. They're also limited to one per faction, so you won't be able to summon your own Bastion if another Outfit on your side has already called one in.
To take a Bastion down, all of its eight weak points have to be destroyed, which can be done with any anti-vehicle weapon. Weak points can be repaired, though they're protected by a regenerating shield.
Outfits can also duke it out off-world. Outfit Wars let players get in three-way fights in a map in the middle of an asteroid belt. Before that, though, you've got to enlist and then qualify for the battle by claiming territory and getting the most points, and then you'll have some time to prepare your Outfit for the confrontation.
Escalation also introduces a new neutral hangout zone, Sanctuary, complete with a marketplace, a rare weapons and item vendor, Outfit services and more things to browse when you just need a break from the constant war. Speaking of the constant war, Daybreak's tweaked how Empire Strength is gained as the war progresses, and you can see the new numbers, along with a list of fixes and improvements, in the patch notes (opens in new tab).
The EU servers went down at 4 am GMT and are expected to be down for 16 hours. The North American and Asian servers will follow suit at 9 am PDT, though they should return four hours later. When they're back, you'll be able to start fighting over resources and summoning warships. It's been years since I last died over and over again in the fight for Auraxis, but the allure of big floating fortresses bristling with guns is extremely strong.