Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Realistic Preview - Planetside 2

I'm not sold on MMO-FPS as a sustainable genre.

There has been a lot of hype recently about the second coming of what can only be described as a complete and utter failure. Planetside was a game that had a lot of flashy ideas in a time where flashy ideas weren't technically plausible due to hardware constraints.

Well they're back from the past to remake a game that was progressive 8 years ago. It is probably safe to assume that they'll bring the same level of creativity and boundary pushing to a landscape completely saturated with largely multiplayer first-person shooters.

Nope.

They appear to have taken their original formula of packing thousands of players in a battle shoulder to shoulder colonial warfare style and added what everyone always wanted: Tedious superficial Halo-Style customizations and upgrades!

On top of that, they boast that it is "100% PVP and 100% open world combat", but to me that resonates that they made half a game, and made their battlegrounds one-hundred times larger. We all know how I feel about Battlegrounds.

But it is Free to Play! Strike two.

I don't want to sound like a one trick pony, but I can't emphasize enough how the F2P model spits in the face of fair play and common sense. Specifically for this game there are a few truths that must be acknowledged prior to establishing a business model.

First-Person Shooters can only be fun if the exchange of data between clients and servers is instant and accurate. This means that unlike a traditional MMORPG that cut corners on character location and updates (cough WOW cough) a MMOFPS has to ensure that the shooter and the victim both register their location, speed, and direction identically or you have a broken game. That means expensive servers doing calculations and bandwidth out the ass.

You also have to entertain the idea that they claim thousands of individuals can participate in the same fight. That implies that they have the infrastructure to transfer data to and from everyone about everyone at the same time. Expensive.

The idea that they could run this as a F2P without providing high-impact and balance destroying items to purchase is impossible. Therefore it will either be pay-to-win or they will shift it to a monthly cost.

Theory aside, why not just play Halo?

Do we have any reason to believe that the engine and mechanics of the game will be sound and competitive with any similar products? Valve, EA, and even Microsoft have the history to support their ability to make an action-packed shooter. SOE? Planetside was about as action packed as a turtle-fight.

I hope that I'm wrong, but historically I wouldn't bet on it.

32 comments:

  1. What an ill-favored, poorly perceived damn right shitty preview.

    Someone in a forum said you have "no clue." And you really don't

    stfu and gtfo.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I feel like you're almost forming a coherent sentence. Would you like to expand on exactly what you think I'm clueless about? Random people on forums are often pillars of insight and logic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. OH NO HE IS TALKING BADLY ABOUT MY FAVORITE GAME WHICH NO ONE HAS EVER PLAYED BEFORE

    ReplyDelete
  4. Not entirely sure why you've compared PS's gameplay to battlegrounds, considering they are nothing alike?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm only going off the developer-released information that states, "Persistent conquest warfare is facilitated by territory control where you will earn resources to unlock weapon add-ons, vehicle customizations, and more." Basically the model is a large world with repetitive goals where you can earn performance based rewards.

    Sounds a lot like a gigantic battleground. You can't call it 'Open World PvP' if there is no PvE, otherwise its just a cookie cutter FPS. Sure, it isn't a traditional battleground with short-term matches, but there certainly are numerous similarities.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How could you create a game that isn't "PvP's Autistic Cousin" without having PvE; is it a requirement for you to have unimaginative A.I that receives a health bonus as compensation (and isn't PvP) for it to be an acceptable game?

    It sounds like you're just perpetually mad about Trammel and can't analyze other games properly. It's meant to be futuristic warfare and if they deliver what they've presented, it will be such.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think it is unrealistic to compare PS2 to a MMORPG because it isn't one. I'm merely saying that the no-risk model of pvp that rewards time over ability is paramount to the battlegroundsesque model.

    Is there anyone who knows about trammel who isn't infuriated by it? Just sayin'

    ReplyDelete
  8. The rewards over time model of PS2 is based on the fact that people will continuously join the game and leave (so far as I understand). A veteran will therefore be more qualified to operate certain vehicles and be entrusted with more advanced weaponry (from the perspective of the in-game faction).

    For the individual player I agree that the game is rather low risk. But to enjoy the game to a greater extent (just like any other game with FPS elements) people join clans, which have the power make significant advances for the faction. Taking over a base makes new vehicle spawns accessible, adding another tactic and angle for not only your faction to use, but your clan as well. Obviously if the base provides advantages to the owner, losing it is of consequence.

    Although this may not be stat loss; losing only worsens your situation as no one enjoys it. Many public players (especially in a F2P model) with underdeveloped accounts will switch sides in frustration. In a warfare model with no auto-balance mechanic, this only compounds the situation. Eventually clans may be forced to admit their failure along with the faction (regardless their effectiveness compared to others) and this is awful for morale. These clanned people are also more likely to have better accounts, making a entire clan faction switch unattractive and the clan may fall apart. More competent clans will likely last longer, based on their individual skills and teamwork; their perseverance will only help them improve and increase their recruitment standards. Failure breeds failure.

    Just because consequences aren't immediately debilitating doesn't mean they're not significant.

    Also, there are people who defend Trammel on the Darkfall forums and have stated that it's easiest way to fix Darkfall's population. It may ruins the game for most of the current players, but that's beside their point.

    ReplyDelete
  9. First of all, Darkfall doesn't appeal to me because there are no skill caps. Ultimately they run a system that rewards grinding to infinity above all else.

    I don't think stat loss is a good risk system when compared to wealth redistribution (full loot). The only reason PS can't run with that type of risk is because of their F2P model which puts a dollar value on equipment, and the lack of a capitalist player economy.

    Its obvious that they're not trying to appeal to me, and I accept that, however I still contend that a pure MMOFPS can't sustain a competitive population without sandbox elements and other traditional accomplishment mechanics. I'm rambling.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm not sure if you even read my comment. The Darkfall comment was simply saying that Trammel increased the population of UO (it's more complicated than that, but it's a statistic that allows people to still advocate the duplicity).

    I'm not suggesting stat loss in PS2, I was simply contrasting it's consequences with one of Ultima Online's. My point was that the wealth redistribution wasn't on a individual player basis, but on a faction and this was influenced by the actions of clans.

    Furthermore, it's been hinted that the PS2 F2P model is similar to LoL, which allows quicker progression and is primarily for casual players. The only annoying part of their model is that there is a cycling group of free heros; hopefully this doesn't play out in PS2.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I read it. I was just on my phone and wanted to keep it short. I'm not sure about the statistics behind Trammel increasing the UO population, but they definitely threw all of their current subscribers under the bus on that one.

    I suppose the goal of a F2P release like this is to sell copies and not necessarily to maintain hardcore gamers (which is my demographic). In reality a game like this would be most successful if people only played long enough to make their in game purchases and then quit until the next expansion.

    Kinda bleak, but this is another reason why I tend to appreciate the subscription model as it encourages continued development over the life-cycle of a game.

    This is beginning to sound hokey and conspiracy-theoryish, but its hard to argue that the LoL F2P model does incentivize players to advance as quickly as possible so they can reach their boredom threshold faster and move on to some other product. The faster people quit, the higher profit margins are.

    I feel like I'm rambling again.

    I just don't think MMORPGs or MMO(insert more letters) will ever be exciting again until they stop trying to hold my hand and punish me for sucking at them.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This blogger just hates anything with "MMO" in it and obviously never played Planetside. Another idiot with a microphone.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm not sure I get the reference... Can microphones type now? I played the original PlanetSide and found it technically lacking, and its obvious that I have liked a multitude of "MMO"s based on the fact that I've played enough of them to hate them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You're a fucking moron

    That is all

    ReplyDelete
  15. They mostly come at night... Mostly...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Actually, since there's software that allows for dictation I imagine that a mic could type. Wonder if you could type with the kinect using sign language. Probably.

    Anyway, the only point you've made that sticks out is the server infrastructure one. I too am interested to see how that works out during open beta but the dev's have said that the engine runs fine with those high player counts. Still, we'll see how it plays out in beta.

    The speed of PS's current gameplay vs something like Halo is the difference between an inappropriate fart and a stand up comedian. Halo gives that short laugh or smile but it's not really anything you can write home about. Planetside gave build up, tension, and delivery. Most fps don't really create unique lasting memories as at the end of the map (similar to battlegrounds) a magical fairy rewinds time so that nothing mattered and you do it all again. All of PS's veterans have a book's worth of stories because the fights, while they may cover the same territory occasionally, don't repeat in remotely the same way.

    As for buying winning tools they've stated that their goal is to have min/max cap out at +20% with an emphasis on trade offs. Not sure how that will work out but it's better than most systems I've suffered through.

    You mentioned that the ideas that were used in the original were interesting 8 years ago. I don't see how that matters if no one has done anything with those ideas in the years in between. The only game I know that has a player count close to PS was Mag with 256 and that was limited to a few of Mag's maps. Planetside's current max is 399 players regardless of map. That's 8 years with no other game reaching the same scale of Planetside. I'd say it's time that idea was revisited, after all you'd think we'd have better tech by now.

    You said that the problem with F2P is that microtransactions don't pay enough to run the servers? I know of several games that became far more successful by dropping their subscription. The point about pay-to-win being required doesn't work either. Global Agenda is an TPS of sorts with emphasis on PvP, it manages to be successful by selling convenience where the best stuff is only marginally better and can be gotten through a bit of PvP grinding. One's actual skill at the game counts for far more.

    I just hope they don't sell thematically inappropriate gear and hats in their store otherwise I can live with it if I get my giant team-based war fix.

    And that's enough text that I'm sure I've put something random and incoherent down somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'd mostly like to address the part about microtransactions specifically. I wasn't implying that they couldn't pay for the servers, I was merely saying that as costs increase (with popularity) they find ways to turn up the dials on what players can buy. I also have zero faith in the integrity of SOE to not ultimately create a P2W model.

    You would think that the subscription model would favor publishers over players, but it is actually quite the opposite. The F2P model was invented to maxamize revenue and minimize overhead. By giving players the ability to "max" their characters out faster, they're encouraging you to quit faster (once you've paid all you're willing to pay).

    And I wasn't seriously suggesting that Halo was a viable alternative. I was just trying to think up the most generically boring game possible to twist the knife on fanboys a little bit :D. The one comparison between Halo and PS2 would have to be the mind-numbing accomplishment-based equipment progression. I'd much rather have equipment be temporary and lootable to keep the game more organic feeling. (IE: Kill a rocket-launcher guy, get a rocket-launcher until someone else kills you, or sell the rocket launcher and put the money in the bank for restocking later.)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Tikuto said...
    What an ill-favored, poorly perceived damn right shitty preview.

    Someone in a forum said you have "no clue." And you really don't

    stfu and gtfo.

    September 15, 2011 11:07 AM



    I couldn't agree more. Planetside was way ahead of its time. And is still here now. If you would have listened to the interviews, instead of reading as little as you could to make a negative half ass review. You would know that what you saw is just a teaser. Showing you as little as they can to draw some attention. Visit Planetside2.com and watch the Q&A

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3THiEGpSbIU

    Im sure you will eat your words in a few months when the beta comes out.

    ReplyDelete
  19. So specifically what do you think is wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Disappointed is a genius.

    Besides that, he's correct about this POS game.

    Do you know what genius + correct = ???

    The answer is: Unbiased review plus jokes.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Far too late, but the premium items will all be aesthetics, hence the marketing strategy revolving around concept art.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I understand that they think that's going to support the game, but when finances are tight people do unscrupulous things.

    ReplyDelete
  23. OMG! Your site is hilarious and spot-on. I'm an MMO noob, have been playing SWTOR and STO for about two months, and have definitely come to the conclusion that I don't like MMO's much. I've just cancelled my SWTOR subscription, and am probably not long to STO. Concerning STO, I'm amazed at all the people who take that game so very, very seriously. I guess they're being stereotypical Star Trek nerds. Thank god Sid Meier's major Civ5 update is just around the corner so I can get back to the saner world of single player games. ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Glad you're enjoying it. Most people just come here to rage at me.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love this blog and yes I'm sick of these freaking games.

    and yes trolls I've tried half of them.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Where did you find me? Most of my readership is word of mouth.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I googled "I hate MMORPGs" on a whim (yanno because I actually do hate them and that's after playing several of them)after having a short but friendly discussion with a friend who just HATES it when I dare to call every fucking MMORPG (AAA or otherwise) a "Clone".

    "Oh but SWOTOR is totally innovative".

    The fuck it is. They just added in the EAWare conversation wheel from another genre that EA has managed to rape corporate style.

    Same waste of time. Calling them CRPGs is an insult to CRPGS.

    We started at Bards Tale, Moved to Wasteland, then to Fallout 1 and 2 and Planescape Torment. We got Baldur's Gate I and the AWESOMENESS that was Baldur's Gate II and then...well then we get this grindy shit with the depth of the aftermath of Taco Bell on dysentery. To boot it's just one massive money grab.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Who said it was innovative? SWTOR was 100% recycled. They took KOTOR and made it worse in literally every non-superficial way.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Friend of mine. Very nice person, no dummy, and a veteran gamer from the days of Pong. (she's got 10 years on me and had way more quarters back in the day.) Her fault as a human being: TOTAL FAN GIRL FOR THIS CRAP. It's Star Wars + WoW. Her two fav things.

    She doesn't see the forest for the trees. That it's WoW + KOTOR (and as you said lacking the good stuff of KOTOR.)

    But that's EA for you (and the company formerly known as Bioware). Take a great game and dumb it down and mass produce it for the stupids.

    Just like Baldur's Gate II begat the somewhat-palpable Dragon Age Origins and then turned into mighty morphin' Power Rangers dumbfuckfest grab for cash in DLC that was Dragon Age II. EA knows how to take an idea and dumb it down for the stupids.

    Quad Eram fucking Demonstrandum: Compare it to Alcohol companies marketing to binge drinkers instead of those of us who like good beer in measure. If it weren't for microbreweries and Harp/Guiness I would be a damn teetotaler but what do the stupids drink??? Natty Lite BABY!!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Women tend to look for different things in MMORPGs, but SWTOR is unique in that it has taken deliberate steps to remove the necessity of the social component.

    "Why play a multiplayer game if you're not playing with people?" One might ask. Well, because they think that they ARE playing with people since they see people on occasion.

    I don't think people even realize that they're paying a monthly subscription for a game that deliberately cuts the necessity for subscription income and charges them anyway. It appears to have been designed for a F2P model, but this is an article about PlanetSide 2...

    ReplyDelete
  31. Aye, so it is an article about PlanetSide 2.

    Regardless agreed with you on everything (nearly) and keep up the great work.

    Uff da trolls.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.