Published on November 19th, 2012 | by James Kulas
Countdown To Planetside 2
Throughout their MMO history SOE have been criticised for a lack of precision in their balancing process, often swinging back and forth when perhaps a more measured approach was required. With so many layers, it’s easy for changes to have unforeseen or undesirable consequences, programmers probably have nightmares about replacing character’s heads with random objects or accidentally deleting gravity. Such are the burdens of a virtual deity.
Testing has been a somewhat turbulent ride, extended periods of instability frustrated many, and I was even unable to launch the game for a few weeks at one point. On a different day, with a different game I might be more damning, but this is Planetside and I am unashamedly biased. From the ashes a stronger, more engaging experience emerges that a more conservative developer might never have uncovered. Sony’s willingness to overhaul key systems like capture mechanics at the eleventh hour seems like a questionable decision at best, but despite conventional wisdom I believe the end product is surprisingly robust.
Being a free-to-play game it’s extremely important to find a balance between convenience and power, too much of the latter strays into a pay-to-win minefield while not enough of the former means no profit. Something SOE can’t afford in its current financial situation. As such micro-transactions have been a hot topic. Experience gain and weapon prices have been frequently adjusted in pursuit of that sweet spot, in addition to a recently unveiled subscription option.
Announced October 1st, 2012 the following items will be contained within the PlanetSide 2 Membership and cost $14.99 a month. Membership will also be included in the SOE All Access Pass 25-50% increased Resource gain. 25-50% increased XP gain. 25-50% increased passive Cert point gain. Note: Each of the above start at 25% and increase by 5% per month of sustained membership up to a total bonus of 50% each at 6+ months membership. The above bonuses are passive and are stackable with boost implants. Priority login queue Early Access to new cosmetic items on the Store 500 per Month Price will be $14.99 / month A couple notes on this revised plan:
- You’ll notice that we’ve removed the previous membership benefit of “increased Resource pool caps”, this was as a direct result to community feedback. We thought about this a lot and decided it did give a potential gameplay advantage to members. We removed this benefit and added 500 SC to the membership offering to compensate for the removal.
- Several of the benefits have an increasing value the longer you maintain your membership. If you buy a multi-month sku you will be automatically elevated to the bonus value for the last month of that sku, so if you bought a 6-month membership sku you would immediately receive the 50% increased Cert gain. If your membership lapses you will have 30 days to reestablish your membership to retain the increased bonus amounts.
Percentages are surprisingly high, but all you’re really gaining is time so I can’t blame Sony for trying. And while it’s important everyone perceives an even playing field, paying customers also need to feel they’re getting value for money. $14.99 is roughly equivalent to any other MMO subscription, but in this context seems pretty steep for a leg up. In the end it boils down to being able to unlock certifications sooner, or remain competitive with less playtime. Given that many of the unlocks are sidegrades or personal preference decisions, I expect the impact to be minimal in the long run.
We’ve enjoyed Planetside 2 immensely so far and we’re looking forward to entering the fray. If you find you can’t wait, SOE have curiously decided to purge everything with fire from orbit. Forums have closed, the website redirects, even the image hosting for their emails has been deleted or moved. Your only option at this point is to stare longingly at their countdown page for another day, no information for you. There’s also no sign of the release client for preloading. Hopefully something will be available shortly, otherwise tomorrow is going to be a bit of a mad dash, would we expect anything less of a Sony MMO? Probably not.
Update: SOE via twitter have confirmed there will be no preload due to last minute changes. Let’s hope everything goes smoothly.
Unfortunately preloading won’t be possible, we are doing a ton of bug fixes before we officially release the client.
Update: The countdown is up, and the client is available for download on Steam. Suit up soldier!