Planetside: is it worth it?

This seems to me to be the toughest gaming quesion I’ve had to answer for myself in a long time. I’ve truly enjoyed the beta the 3 or 4 times I’ve played it (last night I discovered the joys of the punisher grenade launcher), and I know this is the type of MMOG I would want to play. But 50 and then 13 a month is so steep for something a lot of people are saying is fairly shallow after awhile. Who here is planning on signing up and paying after beta?

I’m still stuck on the Form Filling training mission. No matter how many times I try, it…refuses…to…work. I’ve jumped through more hoops than in Pilotwings, but I’ve yet to be given a gun.

Personally I don’t think it offers enough for a 13 a month fee. If it were 5 a month it might be worth it. The combat is a mixed bag. I found myself dying too many times to things I could not see and running up against things I had no chance against. Plus the downtime is pretty bad if you are not in a base that is being attacked. And I never saw battles that were any bigger than BF1942 battles. Never more than 16 on 16.

Pluses:

Big continents to fight over.
Weather effects.

Minuses:

Arbitrary leveling system in a shooter.
Long downtimes.
Confusing unbalanced combat.
Battles no bigger than BF1942.

I think I will take a pass.

– Xaroc

It’ll depend on how much the monthly fee is, of course, but I’m enjoying the game and plan on signing up unless the fee is outrageous. I think 10 a month would be a reasonable number; 5 would be great. Close to 15 and I probably wouldn’t play.

I’ve definitely seen battles larger than 16 on 16.

I won’t be signing up. The primary problem it the expense when compared to other games on the market. I think other games do multiplayer battles better, and they don’t require a monthly fee.

PS has taught me that larger battles are not necessarily a better gaming experience. In most cases, they are just more chaotic and more one-sided if only one team is properly organized. Just like in BF1942, the better battles are found with 20 or less on a side. Larger battles have lots more random death - didn’t see that sniper, or that fourth MAX, or that tank coming over the ridge.

That leads to the down time problem. The down time is like an awful chore to me - I don’t like spending five minutes to get into a single firefight, then either dying or having to seek repairs & equipment.

The lack of locational damage still bothers me a lot. It seems like they are trying to reduce the effectiveness of a skilled player.

Overall, I give PS a 7 out of 10, which is not enough to make me keep spending money on it.

I find the beta to be a blast, and I really have no issues with a monthly fee. I’d purchase in a heartbeat if not for one factor… My PC is only a 933 mhz and the game runs like ass on it. I don’t have the disposable income right now to upgrade (about to put a down payment on a house while looking at getting a new car)

If the game ran better on lower end systems like mine… I’d be all over it.

I have quite a few more positives in favor of the game.

*there are much larger battles (whether you like them or not, they do exist). I’ve watched my radar and seen 30+ of my own guys and been outnumbered! It is hard to see the whole thing with your own eyes, but using the radar you can get a good feel for the numbers.

*The squad system is pretty good. I like that the squads aren’t bigger than 10, and that you can see everyone on your minimap and strategic map. One squad I was in was on an island, and we lost the city. The squad was split up all around the island, and we had a good time coordinating everyone back together to re-assault the island.

  • I can’t say the whole game is balanced, but some of what might be construed as unbalance may actually be more of an RTS type of balance. Cavalry beats archers beat infantry beat cavalry type of balancing. I’m not saying that’s great, but it isn’t exactly unbalanced. Personally, I play a medium grunt, and when I see a max I run. I don’t get annoyed that I can’t kill it, I just take it for what it is…and run like hell.

*There are some battles that can’t be done in BF1942. I came across a huge air fleet, maybe 20 reavers and 5-10 galaxies, all hovering over a tower they seemed to be seiging. It was an awesome site, and it reminded me of the battles in the John Carter of Mars novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs (sorry if isn’t John Carter… can’t quite remember). All these cool hovering craft filling the sky. Nice.

Finally, there are times, especially in hallway battles, when there are lasers in use, that I think, “Man, this is what a Star Wars game should look like.” The armor just seems stormtroopian. I dig that aspect of the game. And I have to say, with a game like this around, how could you submit yourself to being tortured by that slow turnbased style game that will be SW Galaxies. Man, Fck SW Galaxies.

That is all. I’m damned tempted to buy the game.

PlanetSide is the best fun I’ve had in multiplayer since I first got into BF1942, but whether it is worth paying for every month I am still having my doubts over. I have experienced some massive battles, and they have been great fun, but they also seem to be accompanied by massive lag, and, as Supertanker pointed out, lots of random and inexplicable deaths. I’ll probably by the game, just for a month of shallow blasting fun, but I highly doubt I will pay the $13-15 a month that I have heard touted to continue playing. I would pay $5-10 per month for a smooth and stable server, a permanent and accurate stats record, and some RPG character leveling, but it does seem a bit much to ask me to fork out $15 a month when I can play BF1942 for free.

What I can’t quite get my head around, is paying for the privilege of building up my character from nothing so I can play with all the weapons and vehicles, when in all other FPS games, I get these weapons and vehicles straight away, and don’t have to pay a penny for it!

Yeah, I agree, good game, but too expensive compared to what else is available. But darn I’ll miss it.

Also, I think the downtime is overblown. In a hotzone you can remain in the battle with nearly no downtime, just respawning in a tower or mobile transport (love the cloaking shield). And, as long as you have a vehicle or a squad mate with a vehicle, getting to a hotzone is easy.

I’m not disagreeing with you, but what exactly makes a game like EverQuest worth ~$13 a month that PlanetSide lacks? Is it just the more detailed character development? I’m honestly curious, not because I necessarily think that $13 a month is a good price to pay for PlanetSide, but because I think that it’s odd that people are so willing to accept that sort of fee for MMORPGs that don’t really offer (in my opinion) anything more than PlanetSide does. In fact, I’m having more fun playing PlanetSide than I’ve had with an MMORPG in a long time, simply because the combat is more entertaining.

Again, that doesn’t make the game worth $13 a month, but it does make me question whether other MMORPGs are worth that price.

I’m not disagreeing with you, but what exactly makes a game like EverQuest worth ~$13 a month that PlanetSide lacks? Is it just the more detailed character development? I’m honestly curious, not because I necessarily think that $13 a month is a good price to pay for PlanetSide, but because I think that it’s odd that people are so willing to accept that sort of fee for MMORPGs that don’t really offer (in my opinion) anything more than PlanetSide does. In fact, I’m having more fun playing PlanetSide than I’ve had with an MMORPG in a long time, simply because the combat is more entertaining.

Again, that doesn’t make the game worth $13 a month, but it does make me question whether other MMORPGs are worth that price.[/quote]

All of the PvE content is a big draw for people who like MMORPGs. You get to slay dragons and fight other mythical creatures. There are also additional skills/spells you get at higher levels where as in most FPSes you get everything up front. People who play RPGs tend to expect a leveling scheme of some sort since that is what makes the game. An RPG without leveling is an adventure game basically. RPG people value their characters getting stronger over time and the experiences they went through to get there.

– Xaroc

Yeah, I get that. But as with the PlanetSide/BF1942 comparison, there are plenty of great RPGs that have multiplayer with no monthly fee (BG 1 & 2, NWN, Diablo, etc.). And yet people don’t seem to have a problem with fees on those games. I just don’t don’t grok why PlanetSide is any different.

PlanetSide does have some benefits over BF1942, after all:

More strategy. Sure, there is more downtime, but the game also has a strong squad-based structure that encourages communication and planning. It’s something you don’t see a lot of in BF1942 (which, to be fair, is a different sort of game).

Easier to meet up with friends. The best BF1942 servers are always very crowded, making it tough to get a group of people all in one place (usually I sit and refresh the server list until a server drops down to 63 players, then join as fast as I can).

More variety. More weapons, more vehicles, and more fine distinctions between different characters.

The command system. BF1942 could really use something like this. Squad commanders can set waypoints and even draw on the map at higher Command Ranks. It seems much easier to coordinate group efforts in PS than it is in BF1942.

No cheating. At least, not that I’ve seen.

Larger battles. You may not always find them, but they are there. The NC had an army of about 50+ players beseiging a heavily defended Wele base this morning on Emerald, and then three Galaxies flew in with reinforcements. There was an entire player squad of Reaver pilots there. We had more players just on our side than you can fit on a BF1942 server, and it was still a tough battle (not sure how many players the Terrans had, but it must have been at least as many). Lag problems seem minimal–the game plays fine with that many players on the battlefield.

Character persistence. The character building aspect of the game is lighter than you’d find in an MMORPG, but it’s there.

Yeah, I get that. But as with the PlanetSide/BF1942 comparison, there are plenty of great RPGs that have multiplayer with no monthly fee (BG 1 & 2, NWN, Diablo, etc.). And yet people don’t seem to have a problem with fees on those games. I just don’t don’t grok why PlanetSide is any different.

What BG, NWN, Diablo, etc… all lack is a persistant world. There are persistant world NWN servers, but the game itself just isn’t designed with a persistant world in mind. Planetside’s persistance may be a draw, but only for the strategic aspect. From what I’ve seen, there isn’t much in the way of character building and item accumulation.

And not all pay per month RPG games are worth paying for either. DAoC and AC2 were both games that I purchased, played for a while (45 days for AC2, 3 months for DAoC), and then deemed them unworthy of a $12+ per month bill.

Planetside may be worth paying $13 a month for, but I’ll never know. I’m not planning on spending $50 to find out that the game is just a standard FPS with a few more weapons and vehicals thrown in.

If they offer a 15 day free trial with a downloadable version of the game, I’ll give it a try. And I may end up liking it enough to purchase it and pay $13 a month. But after not enjoying DAoC and AC2, I realize that buying an online only, pay per month game, is such a waste of money unless you KNOW you’re going to be willing to pay that $$$ every month. My DAoC disk might as well be a $45 coaster. (managed to get AC2 for free. Sent in my 4 year old EQ disk and got their $30 rebate for a game I paid $28.80 for after tax. And you get the first 45 days free).

Yeah, I get that. But as with the PlanetSide/BF1942 comparison, there are plenty of great RPGs that have multiplayer with no monthly fee (BG 1 & 2, NWN, Diablo, etc.). And yet people don’t seem to have a problem with fees on those games. I just don’t don’t grok why PlanetSide is any different.
[/quote]

Yeah but how many people can you get in a BG game? 8? In EQ etc. there are thousands per server and far more areas to explore. Plus you don’t have to setup a server. You build up a big set of friends which you get a chance to interact with on a regular basis and there is a real investment put into your characters as opposed to PS where they are jamming a square peg (leveling) into a round hole (FPSs).

If you put a big value on playing an FPS with your friends then Planetside might be worth something but for me I just want to hop in and frag so it isn’t really worth much to me. In an RPG I value knowing who I am playing with and knowing they may be around later.

– Xaroc

They are sort of offering that right now. You can download the beta (from FilePlanet) and play for free until the game goes live on the 19th. It’s a really big download, though (1.3 GB).

Planetside handles the “I just want to get in and frag” thing pretty well, actually. At any time you can hit Escape and select “Instant Action” from the menu, and you will be dropped into a randomly selected hotspot, where if you set your “Looking for Squad” tag you will almost certainly get picked up by one of the squads fighting for/defending the area.

That said, I’m still not paying the monthly fee if it’s more than $10. I will have to think hard about it if it’s more than $6.

To expand on something Ben said, one of the things the game offers that others don’t is the large number of “class” options. I have 3 or 4 character templates that I think would be a real blast to play, and it’s hard for me to decide which one I want to go for. (Fortunately, the game will let me do one, then “unlearn” those skills and try another.) Unlike stuff like RTCW or BF1942, it isn’t just soldier/medic/engineer/heavy weapons/sniper. There are lots of tradeoffs and choices to make, and a lot of variety possible. I like that a lot.

They are sort of offering that right now. You can download the beta (from FilePlanet) and play for free until the game goes live on the 19th. It’s a really big download, though (1.3 GB).[/quote]

And this file decompresses to 2.8GB on the C: drive before installation, so make sure that bad boy has plenty of room. You will also be downloading for another half an hour once you get the client launcher set up with both your Sony Station account and Planetside beta account info. Took me about three hours all told, including Fileplanet queue time.

The game may lock up your system every once in a while, forcing a hard reset. When this happens to me, my HUD and screen resolution are all messed up upon returning, but this is always fixed by relogging and sometimes by readjusting in-game resolution.

And one map tip: You can right click anywhere on the map to create a personal waypoint that only you can see, no matter what your level. But you can only make one waypoint at a time. It will show up as whitish-purple, instead of yellow like squad waypoints. I find this very useful for marking where I leave my cloaked Wraith :)

I can’t comment on if the game is worth it or not as I’ve not played it. Most of my guildmates have ditched Shadowbane for PlanetSide, one of our guys is running an internal contest to get rid of his Shadowbane acct. and everyone is laughing at him.

(The contest is "Slam Div for taking us into Shadowbane, best one get’s a full paid one yer Shadowbane acct.)

Anyways, Rayvn is running a simple PlanetSide contest on our site (www.gamerifts.com) where were giving away a copy of PlanetSide on release. So if ya want to not pay the 50 bucks, go jump into the contest. It’s just a "makes us laugh screenshot contest) which we didnt advertise all over as we only have one copy to give away.

Div

That is a very good question, Ben, although I’ve never been completely certain about whether paying money for those games is worth it, and I’ve not paid more than a few months for any of them. An interesting point, though, was raised by Xaroc, on the issue of FPS gaming with friends. One of the things that I pined for in BF1942 was a sense of community, or being able to play with friends, but this was very difficult to achieve. Even though I knew plenty of people who played it, finding them on the vast numbers of different servers, many of the best of which would often be full to bursting, would be very difficult. If these guys are all playing on one of a small number of very large servers, then the job will be a lot easier. I know that playing with my friends, or simply with friends made online, would enhance the gaming experience substantially. That would persuade me to part with a monthly fee.

One of the problems, although it is not really a problem for people who like blasting things, is that there is no real chance of talking to people as there is often so much going on. MMPORPGs have a much slower pace, in general, and allow, and even force people, to communicate with each other during quiet spells. In PlanetSide you can’t even talk when you are dead, although the long waits while moving from battle to battle may allow for some kind of community building. It is these communities that build up in and around games like EverQuest that keep the punters coming back for more. I’m wondering whether PlanetSide will be able to develop that kind of community atmosphere, and if not, will people still be willing to pay the fees?