Planetside: is it worth it?

Even typing, I find that the game is slow-paced enough that there is plenty of time to chat. People complain about the downtime, but the downtime is a good time to discuss strategy and just talk with your squad mates (much like resting time in MMORPGs). People chat it up when they are riding on vehicles (a Galaxy en route to a drop zone, for instance). You’d be suprised how much time for typing you sqeeze out of the game.

Tough to type in combat, though. Most of the chat you get then is warning messages from dead players (“MAX in the courtyard,” etc.). Which is fine, because you don’t have a lot of time for reading, either.

Plus, they have now implemented built-in voice chat. All you need is a headset, and you can chat via voice with any of your squad mates. As soon as I find what the hell I did with my headset, I plan to try this out… ;)

“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.”

Yeah, I agree. You play EQ or DAoC or SB because of the persistent world. Planetside has some of this, but I’m not sure it has enough. If I’m logging on for instant action most of the time in PS, why not just play BF1942 for free?

Another observation – if players aren’t paying a monthly fee now to play a game, Planetside’s monthly fee may be enough of a disincentive to keep them from playing PS. We’re talking about a slice of the gaming market that has opted out or of or never been attracted to the MMOG market. And if PS is going after MMOG players, those games aren’t twitchy like PS. It may just be a tough sell regardless.

That’s sort of like saying “If I don’t care about having a persistent world, why not skip EverQuest and play NWN for free?” Which is a perfectly valid opinion to have, but it doesn’t explain why EverQuest is any different, value-wise, than PlanetSide. When you log onto a BF1942 server, you are playing with a small (by MMO standards) group of random people. In PS you can be a part of a squad, or a part of an Outfit (basically a clan/guild), hook up with people you know, play against people you know, just like you would in a MMORPG. The world is persistent, your character growns in skill and is persistent. The levelling is faster than it is in most RPGs, and you do max out eventually, but don’t you have the same issue in ShadowBane? How is PlanetSide less persistent, or less anything, than any of these games?

If nothing else, Planetside reveals why Sony bought Psygnosis: so it could pinch the name from its amazing (but never-released) CDTV game. (The Planetside technology wound up being used in Microcosm and, in a more advanced version, in Novastorm.)

Sorry. I haven’t played it yet, so this is the only thing I can contribute. :)

Peter

About half of the players I knew that were interested in Shadowbane and quit were hardcore RTS players from StarCraft, C&C and some other game similar in nature who left because Shadowbane did not produce these elements that they offered.

One of my guildmate’s prefers PS as a Casual gamer becuase he doesnt have to go throguh the leveling grind, if does not need to advance once he has his certification in a skill(?) and can log in and compete where he is.

It could be an alternative to what others do want, but have not been given yet.

That’s sort of like saying “If I don’t care about having a persistent world, why not skip EverQuest and play NWN for free?” Which is a perfectly valid opinion to have, but it doesn’t explain why EverQuest is any different, value-wise, than PlanetSide. When you log onto a BF1942 server, you are playing with a small (by MMO standards) group of random people. In PS you can be a part of a squad, or a part of an Outfit (basically a clan/guild), hook up with people you know, play against people you know, just like you would in a MMORPG. The world is persistent, your character growns in skill and is persistent. The levelling is faster than it is in most RPGs, and you do max out eventually, but don’t you have the same issue in ShadowBane? How is PlanetSide less persistent, or less anything, than any of these games?[/quote]

EQ and other MMORPGs offer huge amounts of content and challenges to be faced. Tons of classes with complex unique advancement trees. 100s of monsters to be faced and quests to complete. NWN, BG, Diablo, and other RPGs pale in comparison to the amount of content offerred.

In PS you have what 10-15 continents which for all intensive purposes are just different maps in a single player fps. Larger but in reality you are fighting over a set portion of them making them no larger than tribes maps. Finally, you have a completely and utterly contrived leveling system put into a genre that doesn’t have leveling.

The only thing PS provides beyond BF1942 and Tribes 2 is somewhat larger battles, a tactical interface, and very very mild persistance at the lowest level. It is really really thin IMO.

To sum up I think EQ offers more of the types of things people who like RPGs want than PS offers for people who play FPSs.

I will be stunned if PS lasts a long time if it is $13 a month. Someone can dig that up and throw it in my quote thread and say I am wrong a year from now. ;)

– Xaroc

I’ve played nearly every MMORPG out there, and I disagree. I think that in general, they tend to have less meaningful content than most solo RPGs, and less content overall than some solo RPGs. They have a lot more filler and superficial content–large landmasses and lots of monsters, but little in the way of detailed setting or narrative or characters or story. Diablo II probably beats most MMORPGs in terms of the sheer amount of “stuff” (items, quests, monsters) in the game. Baldur’s Gate 2 has far more content (of all kinds) than any other RPG I’ve played. The Morrowind world is as large (and more detailed) than most MMORPG landmasses. We’ve discussed this in other threads–if you took away the massively multiplayer parts, most MMORPGs would be pretty unimpressive.

The justification for simpler game structure is the “massively multiplayer-ness” of these games. In exchange for narrative and depth of setting, you get to play with thousands of other people. But, as with PlanetSide, if you don’t care about that, you might as well play something like Might and Magic IX.

I’d argue that the things that distinguish MMORPGs from their solo bretheren are the exact same things that distinguish PlanetSide from games like BF1942. And like I said, that still doesn’t mean that it’s worth $13 a month. But if it isn’t, then MMORPGs arguably aren’t worth that, either.

I’d argue that the things that distinguish MMORPGs from their solo bretheren are the exact same things that distinguish PlanetSide from games like BF1942. And like I said, that still doesn’t mean that it’s worth $13 a month. But if it isn’t, then MMORPGs arguably aren’t worth that, either.[/quote]

We will have to agree to disagree. What PS offers is really thin in comparison IMO especially in the content and persistance area. Not worth much of a fee if any at all.

– Xaroc

I’m with Ben on this. Take Asheron’s Call 2 for example. Without the massively multiplayer portion, you are talking about one very boring game. What a freaking snooze fest that is even with other people. Give me Diablo 2 or Morrowind as a worthwhile ‘game’ any day. They have way more interesting stuff. But, I’m biased, since I can’t imagine spending money on the established games. Planetside is the only one I’d consider paying for.

AC2 banked on new content each month and made the mistake of starting the game with a somewhat blank slate and blank world. AC2 also looks like a sales disaster. If anything, it shows that MMOG players demand more content. I wouldn’t judge the content in MMOGs by AC2. That’s a poor measuring stick.

One of the hooks MMOGs have is attachment to your character. You invest time building up your character and value it as a result. Is Planetside going to require that kind of investment from the player? I like creating and developing my character in MMOGs.

Let me ask this – is Planetside better than BF1942? Right now you don’t have to pay to play either game (besides the initial cost of BF1942).

It’s also a bit odd that Sony hasn’t announced the monthly fee for PS yet. They’ve announced a release date, but haven’t set the fee yet.

But didn’t you also say that you liked the fast advancement that ShadowBane offers? That’s what Planetside is like. There is no newbie-level drudgery. You can get to level 5 or 6 in a few hours. After that it slows down a bit, but you have enough certifications to hold your own on the battlefield.

What they don’t do is keep increasing the power of your character exponentially. Given the nature of the game, I don’t think they could–this isn’t an RPG, after all, it’s a competitive shooter. A 10th level character is not twice as strong as a 5th level character. More levels earn you more certifications, but there is a limit to how much equipment you can carry at one time, so what you are really adding is flexibility. You can outfit yourself differently for different tasks. The game has no element of accumulating items. Again, it’s not an RPG.

But accumulating items and building a character are not features that, in and of themselves, I would pay a monthly fee for. Every non-pay-for-play single-player RPG that I’ve ever played lets me accumulate items and slowly build up a character that I grow increasingly attached to.

Let me ask this – is Planetside better than BF1942? Right now you don’t have to pay to play either game (besides the initial cost of BF1942).

I haven’t played enough to say. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. But again, these two games are not entirely similar. Battlefield 1942, as good as it is, does not offer some of the things that PlanetSide does by virtue of its MMO nature. That doesn’t make BF1942 a worse game, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I wouldn’t pay to play PlanetSide. I think Morrowind is a better game than DAoC, but I don’t regret playing DAoC, even with the monthly fee.

It’s also a bit odd that Sony hasn’t announced the monthly fee for PS yet. They’ve announced a release date, but haven’t set the fee yet.

I’m sure they are gnashing their teeth over the issue, because whether it’s justified or not, a lot of people would bitch about a high monthly fee.

I can’t imagine the operations cost of planetside is anywhere near an ORPG. There has to be far fewer support/CSR issues, and nowhere near as much character/world data being stored on the servers. Bandwidth costs may be slightly higher, but I think that may be a minimal factor.

They will not get nearly as many subs at $14/mo as they would at $5/mo, but from a business point of view, it may make more sense to have 1/3 of the subscribers at the higher fee because of the lower operations cost of a smaller customer base.

I seem to remember Allegiance failing with a montly fee of only $6.95, but Allegiance was simply too far ahead of it’s time.

Well, I’m thinking of buying PS. I rarely play any game more then a month, so the fee don’t bother me that much.

My big problem with PS is the fact that my current comp is a wee bit under the recomended specs (I have a p800 w. 256mb ram). Funny thing is that I played PS just fine on it. On the lowest settings possible and with some massive stutters while stuff was loaded from the harddrive.
‘Just fine’ is perhaps not the right words, but I had fun…

I’ll be picking it up. Aside from the usual beta issues involving tweaking and stability, I’ve really enjoyed it and for what I’m looking for I think I’ll enjoy PS and what it has to offer. I simply want to be able to log on, form or join a squad and get out into the field and start fighting. If you have an outfit, it’s even better because you can link up with your outfitmates.

So far as battle size, I remember a fight between VS and TR over a bridge that had to have involved 200 players. The fighting went on for over an hour and half with VS pushing across the bridge, TR rallying and pushing back and finally breaking through the VS side.

I expect that as time goes on, squad level tactics will be refined and will be help to take the game to another level.

Last night, my squad was fighting on Ceryshen. We dropped in to support a base (Keelut) that was being attacked by NC. Standard procedure, secure the tower, set defense around the tower, move on the base. As we were moving on the base I sent one of my reaver pilots to flyover the NC base (Tarqaq) to the west. Before he got shot down, he radioed that there were at least 3 mixed (Max + Medium Inf) NC squads heading east towards our position. I asked him to recall to sanctuary and /broadcast for reinforcements. 4 hours later, my squad and the reinforcements had fought off attack after attack after attack on Keelut and had pushed them back into Tarqaq. Nonstop fighting with all kinds of ebbs and flows, working with your team. It was awesome and that’s why I’ll be playing PS.

Seeing stuff like this is even cool when you aren’t involved. I was riding a Galxaxy to a target base with my squad over a hot continent (Amerish) last night, and we passed over a couple of big battles on the way. I’m continually impressed with the number of players this game can throw in one spot without choking. Whatever technical tricks they are using to pull that off, I hope EverQuest 2 uses them as well.

SOE announced an option that may end up having me playing Planetside.

For $21.99 a month, you get access to EQ, EQ2, Planetside, EQOA, and some of the other Sony Online games. So, for someone already paying $13 a month for EQ, that makes PS a $9 a month game. It also opens up EQ2 later this year.

Sooooo, if PS is still kicking when EQ2 is released, I will likely pick up EQ2 and PS at the same time and switch to a $22 a month subscription plan. Still more than I had planned to pay for online gaming, but 3 games for $22 a month isn’t bad.

This is the model EA.com was shooting for…but Sony actually has a successful lineup to base it on.

(on a side note: the page mentions that Planetside carries a $12.99 a month charge. Looks like it’s officially announced now).

www.SOEAllAccess.com

$13 for PS…that’s a shame. I’m guessing lots of folks have $10 as a walk-away price point. I just don’t see how you can justify charging the same amount for a shooter as for an RPG–the RPG games have a lot more hands-on content (new stuff being added by the developers, CS problems, etc.). I’m going to keep playing the beta, but it’s going to have to really, totally wow me to get me to pony up $13 a month when I can play BF1942 for free. 1942 isn’t as good, but $13 is a lot to get an improved version of what I already have. $5? Sure. $10? Probably. $13? I dunno.