June 19, 2014 7:22 PM   Subscribe

Waterson and Mattherson, the only two US east coast servers for the MMOFPS Planetside 2, are merging this month. On hearing the news, players from each server began talking smack, smack that quickly escalated to a call for a Server Smash, a 240 vs 240 campaign lasting 2 hours on one of the Planetside continents, to decide the surviving server name.

The devs responded.

The MergerSmash will begin June 20th, tomorrow night, at 8:00 pm, EDT. In addition to the main Server Smash stream there will be several individuals streaming their deployments and positions in one of the many platoons present and fighting for the Waterson name (and the individual streams may not be work safe). Complete details of the event were released last week with several very contentious meetings taking place. Some people on both Waterson and Mattherson attempted to limit attendance to only the best guilds (outfits) each server had for what was ostensibly a community event and certainly for an event that would decide the name for all players, not just the most skilled. The drama was dealt with, each server assembled their (inclusive) roster, and are still scrambling to make last minute preparations happen in game.

The general mood is one of apprehension and extreme hype.

Have no idea what Planetside 2 is? Well, this completely-lacking-in-game-play trailer SOE put together sure isn't going to tell you, cool as it might be. This collection of player perspectives offers a much better idea of what goes on in game.

Background wise, the game is set on a planet far from earth, with the exiles from this wonderful blue marble split into three factions and fighting a war on primarily ideological grounds. In game the combined force of air, armor, and infantry push to capture one of three (soon to be four) continents in game. The eventual goal is to the opposing factions out of each continent. The end goal, for the devs at least, is for eternal war.

Enjoy air combat? The three empire specific fighters join the common pool Liberator gunship and the Galaxy troop transport in the current roster of air vehicles available. Soon to arrive: the Valkyrie light gunship.

Tanker? Three empire specific main battle tanks, a light utility tank, a gun bus, an armored buggy, and a cloakable ATV (UT sound effects not included) round out the current options with a universal heavy tank to arrive sometime this summer.

A member of the Poor Bloody Infantry? Five main classes and a deployable armored suit are available to all with empire specific and shared weaponry for each class.

Do you like hats? You might not want to play this game. This game has many hats and hat-like cosmetics. Many hats that are mostly $10 a piece. You have been forewarned.

Do you like free? This game is also completely free. You can pay for a monthly membership for a 50% XP gain boost (amongst other things) but the game does a very good job of avoiding the pay-to-win pitfall. The starter Sovereignty light machine gun is considered the best in the game, as an example.

Do you like helping hands? Maybe wait for a week. There is currently no way to select an outfit or platoon based on how friendly to new players it is, though that will change next Friday.

What are we, the players, expecting in the next few years? Big things.
posted by Slackermagee (8 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Ersonerson would've been the most natural choice, but noooooo...
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:35 PM on June 19, 2014

Or Walter Matthauson
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:58 PM on June 19, 2014

I'm not familiar with Planetside 2 at all, but this is like a somewhat relatable EVE Online post. I haven't gotten through all the links yet. How many people actually plays as engineers or combat medics? Is there a difference between people who play air combat and people who go infantry? Do players swap around or do they specialize in one unit of the game? Can someone who plays this drop in? Is there a Planetside 2 ryanrs out there?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:11 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Very nicely put together post. I don't game, but this looks cool.
posted by smoke at 10:26 PM on June 19, 2014

Can someone who plays this drop in?

I play, mostly as an engineer for the Vanu Sovereignty. There are typically plenty of medics floating around battles because reviving and healing people is an easy way to get lots of experience points in a short period of time. Additionally, the Terran Republic's starting gun for the medic is actually very good, so there tend to be many more TR medics than you'd otherwise expect. However, changing class is very easy to do - every base will have at least one terminal in the spawn room where you can do so, and mobile respawn vehicles (the Sunderers) will also allow you to do so - so the actual class percentages can change over time as a battle rages. If a lot of tanks and/or aircraft show up, more people will switch to heavy assault (for rocket launchers) or MAX units (sort of like mini mech suits that are very durable and can battle infantry and vehicles well).

As for vehicles, there are definitely players who will primarily fly or drive tanks and will mostly avoid infantry combat if possible. You always spawn as an infantryman, but many bases will have at least a terminal where you can spawn ground vehicles, and certain types of bases will also have terminals where you can spawn aircraft. As of right now, base capture points are only accessible to - and can only be captured by - infantry, so if you actually want to take a base you will have to go in on foot, but there's still plenty to do in a vehicle.
posted by Noms_Tiem at 10:35 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I invested waaay too many hours into Planetside in college and was pumped to love Planetside 2. Even poured money into a stellar rig to run it on high settings.
The joy (for me) of Planetside was that the game encouraged you to play as scenery. As a grunt. As a meat-shield. The game was fun for entry-level characters and that's what I enjoyed most. I kind of despise most MMOs because they seem very ego-driven, showy, there's no love for the dude who's just a normal orc with a shitty sword whose sole purpose in life is to get pointlessly slaughtered by the sweeping arc of a Paladin's giant two-handed mace.

I am that orc. I want to blend in to the battlefield, die a thousand meaningless deaths, and rejoice when I plink a single hitpoint off some towering opponent.
Planetside made this a reality. Sometimes I would airdrop out of a Galaxy and get crushed by a tank before I even checked my bearings. Awesome. Respawn. Provide covering fire. Shoot harmlessly toward the blue guys. Die in a great wave with the rest of your comrades.

Planetside 2 kind of ruined this. Everything is needlessly complicated. To provide just one example - it took me twelve hours of game-time to develop any confidence in differentiating between the uniform colors of the blue team and the purple team. They look alike from a distance. That's bullshit. "Oh, but, Balrog, in a futuristic planet-scale terrestrial war, the soldiers wouldn't wear a lot of brightly colored insignia calling attention to their rank and allegiance." I don't give a shit.
Also, I don't want to be on a team of eight, or twelve. I want to be a part of a wave of forty or fifty. I don't want to talk to anybody. I just want to shoot my gun at the bad guys.
Planetside 2 is too hard. The learning curve is too steep, and everybody is expected to want to work and grind to become an uber-admiral-sniper-gundam-pilot. Certs used to be a handy way to gain greater mobility. Now you spend more time shuffling your certs then you do shooting your rifle.

The final straw was when I was on the blue team, running around a building with the rest of the grunts, and a sneaky-looking purple dude popped out behind a wall and I popped him one, real good, right in the head. "Ka-pling!" And he stopped and looked at me, and I realized he was an officer on the blue team wearing purple fucking clothes. And he got mad and opened his mic up on me, "You stupid asshole!" and then he shot me dead on the spot.

I quit the game and never went back. But I suppose the love is still there. this friday was supposed to be a day of great deeds and accomplishments. i... might... reinstall planetside 2...
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:04 AM on June 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


They changed a lot for new players. You start with the starting rank (which is something like 50% of max rank benefits) for all the suit slot upgrades. New players start with the most accurate faction shotgun. There's a short quiz that gives you a free gun based on your answers. The instant action button (which drops you into a large fight where you are needed) is mostly fixed. Instead of choosing a location, as before, you get sent somewhere the system chooses. No platooning-up, no squading-up, just you dropping in to a massive battle somewhere.

The differentiation is a huge hurdle, I suggest turning the IFF HUD settings (the color of the little dorito) to Blue or Yellow for your dudes (the New Conglomerate), Purple for the Vanu Sovereignty, and Red for the Terran Republic. This way, you will be able to q-spot a target you are unsure of and see the dorito marker, the enemy colors on the map will be different (if you're in a three-way fight), and every else around you will always show their friendly dorito color.

I think the friendly IFF render range also changed, so you shouldn't ever see someone now and not see the little blue dorito over their head demarking them as friendly.

Performance updates went through a while ago, improving graphical everythings. Lattice was put in place, sheparding lone-wolves from fight to fight along a lane. Esamir and Amerish got AMAZING base redesigns from top to bottom. Generally everything has been improved.

To be honest, the super-elite people aren't relying on certifications either. I'll roll up a rank 1 soldier on an enemy faction on a different server and be topping the leader boards at each fight. The gunplay in Planetside 2 is waaaaaay different and all the little things (hip vs aim CoF per gun, CoF recovery per gun, sway & wiggle per gun, etc) you just have to pick up after hours of play. Helps to have a medic around so that you can learn for consecutive hours and not 30s on, 10s waiting to redeploy.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:31 AM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Baby_Balrog: your description of fighting in huge waves reminds me of my experiences with Realm of the Mad God. There's a mechanic in that game that points out the direction of the closest enemy that it thinks you should be trying to kill. They get progressively bigger and tougher as you level up and before very long (maybe around 20-30 minutes of gameplay? It's been awhile, so I'm not sure) you get pointed to the center of the map where the biggest creatures spawn.

Everyone else in the game world above a certain level is there too, trying to fight the same set of enormous bad guys who hit really hard. Once certain criteria are met (all of these groups of enemies have been killed), the boss fight triggers and ever single player in the game is transported to a different map where you stream down a path filled with enemies that leads to the titular Mad God, who everyone pounds on. Lots of people dying all around. Once he's defeated, the world resets and everything starts over again.

I never lasted very long once I got sent to the godlands in the middle of the map, but it was a lot of fun for pretty much the same reasons you're describing, especially the endgame phase, where the key to surviving was largely "stay in the middle of the group".
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:57 AM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

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