Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

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Archmage144
 

Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby Archmage144 » Sat Apr 26, 2003 6:11 pm

As some of you know, I recently received the Planetside beta in the mail, and I spent some time playing it this morning after hang-ups through the week made it kind of difficult to get any real experimentation done.

When I first logged in, I had to download patches for 9 hours. That kind of arrested my ability to play the first night--then again, with a beta, I expected things like that. I tried it last night, but the servers were down, and then other things got my attention, so I finally got to play this morning.

Planetside, at first glance, seems like a pretty good game. Lag isn't really a problem with the relatively few people on the server, but that might change when the game goes retail. The best way to describe the MMOFPS is Halo combined with Everquest or something. It's a bizarre concept, but it seems to work. You choose one of three factions (the Terran Republic, the Vanu Sovereignty, or the New Conglomerate), each with their own equipment and specialties, though a lot of weapons and whatnot are common to all three of them. I went Vanu, because they have alien technology and energy weapons, despite the fact that there's currently a very, very small XP penalty (-1%) on the server I'm on for playing a Vanu since they're outnumbering the other factions.

The interface is fairly good--it has the feel of Halo or Counterstrike. The game utilizes a "cone of fire" system which reduces your accuracy if you sustain fire with automatic weapons or try to fire while moving or jumping. It's not extreme, like in CS, but it does make a difference. The targeting reticle, as you might expect, changes size to show how accurate your aim is--a smaller reticle area equals more accuracy. Crouching makes you more accurate, and being a CS player, it came naturally to me to crouch before firing. The game plays more like Halo or whatever in the sense that you can take a few hits before going down, unlike in CS, where being shot usually means you're pretty much dead. I'd compare the rate at which you lose life when shot to Perfect Dark (possibly a little slower), or maybe Goldeneye without the obnoxious damage delay. The game handles grief players by causing you to accumulate "grief points" whenever you damage allies with friendly fire. If you hit someone on accident every once in a while, your grief points will dissipate, and it won't really matter, but if you make a point to shoot your own friends often enough, and on purpose, your weapons will stop working, or you may even be banned.

The FPS element definitely overshadows the RPG element. Combat is the first order of the game. Squads can be formed, much like the party system in an MMORPG, and it's definitely advantageous to be in a squad, as there is no XP sharing--each squad member gets full XP for kills made by the others. There are no stats other than health, armor, and stamina, so "leveling up" is less important than player skill. There are no NPC monsters--it's all about PvP action. Leveling up provides you with more "certification points," which are spent to learn specific skills, such as how to pilot certain vehicles or use various weaponry, in addition to improving skills such as hacking, repairing, and combat medic-type abilities. In addition, you can "unlearn" all the skills you've learned, get the points back, and spend them in a totally different way, from what I understand, so you aren't locked into a character class or skill tree. Some skills do have prereqs, though.

The global war aspect of the game takes place in the form of a Dark Age of Camelot-esque territorial capturing system. Players can use tools and skills to hack into enemy facilities and outpost towers to capture them for their own team, expanding the influence of their side. Capturing a base takes time, and generally requires a concerted team effort, though I'm sure lone-wolf hackers will be able to make a name or themselves capturing outposts on their own--however, they've done some changes to the way XP is awarded, and you don't really get much of a reward for capturing an oupost unless you or your squad has to fight through hordes of enemies in the process, because the XP value of a capture is reduced if you didn't actually have to kill something like 20 unique enemy soldiers.

Personally, I like the equipment system. By eliminating the MMORPG "phat lewt" type system where equipment is dropped, and removing money from the equation, acquiring a gun and getting into the battle is quick and easy. You simply step up to an equipment terminal--the terminal can produce any type of weapon or armor you're certified to use (which is determined by how you spent those points). You're only limited by what you can carry, which is determined by the type of armor you're wearing. The biggest infantry suits can carry two rifles, two pistols, and a fair stock of ammo, medkits, grenades, whatever. There are also battlesuit type armors with build in weapons called MAXes--they come in different varieties, each equipped with different stuff. As far as "phat lewt" goes, you can loot enemy soldiers' corpses, which basically means you can restock your ammunition or pick up their weapons if you want them.

There are a wide range of vehicles to drive, none of which I've had the chance to actually pilot. Light, single-man tanks, dune buggies with machine guns, fighter-bomber type hover jets, heavy assault transport ships, and portable bases (which allow you to respawn closer to the action and restock your ammo supplies, and they cloak themselves for protection) are all on the roster. Vehicles are requisitioned the same way weapons are. You walk over to the appropriate platform and spawn whatever you're certified to drive.

My only beef with the game so far is that I thought it was pretty hard to find any action, and I spent a lot of time walking around looking for things to shoot at. I think that'll be mitigated somewhat when I learn to drive a vehicle instead of traveling on foot everywhere. It may also have to do with the current player density--the game is huge, areawise, and the servers have less than 2000 people apiece on them at any given time. Other than that? Assuming they can keep the lag under control, it looks very promising.

Before you ask, no, I can't send you a pirate copy of the game. It's 3 CDs, which would result in my having to transfer some 2.5 GB of data to someone over AIM or upload it (an impossibility).

o.o Any questions/comments/suggestions? <p>--------
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Jak Snide
 
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Re: Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby Jak Snide » Sat Apr 26, 2003 6:47 pm

Firstly, I'm awfully tempted to give you my address, and the money needed to mail me copies of those CDs.

And no questions, really. However, from the Beta journals I've read elsewhere, the developers organise big attacks at certain points. If you can find out about those, you should be able to get into the action alot easier. Or you could try and hook up with an established group, and go along with their raids.


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Re: Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby Endadelta » Sat Apr 26, 2003 8:28 pm

This sounds like a great game, though I can't really say I've ever played CS or Halo.

Shame I'll have to wait to actually be able to buy it. <p>

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Re: Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby FlamingDeth » Sat Apr 26, 2003 9:10 pm

It seems I'll have to bug my fencing coach about it. He also owns a videogame store, so needless to say that when he applied for the beta, he got picked. <p><center><table border=0><td>Image</td><td valign=CENTER><table bgcolor=#FFFFFF border=1><tr><td>
<font color="maroon">I am an arrogant bastard.


And now, since I want to be unique like everybody else, quotes:

"People don't seem to realize, it wasn't a powerful ass poke. It was a powerful poke, to the ass!" ~ Lord McBastard
"So what you're saying is that Nintendo and Sony are in league with each other, and possibly the Red Skull?" ~ EKDS5K</font>
</td></tr></table></td></table></center></p>

Archmage144
 

Re: Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby Archmage144 » Mon Apr 28, 2003 10:50 am

While this technically isn't a beta journal, it'd be interesting (I think) to use it as a space to keep those people interested or possibly interested in PS updated with regards to my beta experiences, so I think I'm going to make posts to this thread on occasion with regards to my play sessions.

Yesterday, I actually got involved in a squad that did something. I was wandering around the main base (the Sanctuary) for the Vanu, and I noticed a huge clump of people and vehicles gathering on my map, so I ran over to see what was going on--people were forming up to go on missions or whatever. I managed to find a group sitting in a Galaxy transport that hadn't taken off yet, and asked if I could join them--despite a protest from a squadmember, since they already had a hacker, I was allowed to join. Yay! Anyway, we flew over to another continent via a warpgate, and we managed to capture a relatively undefended enemy facility. That was all well and good, but we didn't get any XP for it as a result of some changes to the way XP for hacking facilities is awarded. That done, we decided to pick up and move west to another facility--where we actually encountered moderate resistance. I managed to score three or four kills, if I remember correctly, and one of those was an enemy MAX armor suit, so I was pretty pleased with myself, not to mention the fact that our group earned a lot of XP for all the enemies we managed to take down (I ended up being promoted to BR 4, and can go get that vehicular certification I wanted). Unfortunately, due to what I think is a bug, we didn't get the XP bonus for capturing this facility, either, which was kind of disappointing.

So far, the verdict on PS is this: If you can get into a squad that's going somewhere where you can get some action, the game becomes a whole lot more fun. I suppose that's to be expected from an MMO game. <p>--------
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Re: Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby Jak Snide » Mon Apr 28, 2003 11:31 am

*makes a note to get more RAM, a better 3d card and get this game ASAP*


Archmage144
 

Re: Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby Archmage144 » Mon Apr 28, 2003 12:41 pm

And it seems my "stay home sick and play Planetside" (yes, I am legitimately sick XP) plans are going to be cut into by server downtime, but I did manage to get my Reaver certification after experimenting with it in a simulator area where you can try out different vehicles and weapons. I also experimented with the Basilisk and Wraith, and a Vanu-specific mag-lev tank. However, I decided it was the pilot's life for me.

Once I figured out how to get the thing off the ground (the Reaver is a single-seater flying gunship), and once I figured out how to actually fly in a straight line, I had a blast just crusing around the training course area, strafing trees with my 20mm recoilless chainguns for fun and laying down rocket fire on unsuspecting rocks. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go on any actual missions into enemy territory as a result of the server outage until 7 PM CST. Perhaps I'll check things out in more detail then--maybe even earn enough experience to get my next certification, which I think will probably be the ability to carry heavier weapons or improved hacking capabilities. <p>--------
The Archmage: Sadistic GM or handsome bishounen? You decide!
RPGWW! Beware of GM!

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Jak Snide
 
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Re: Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby Jak Snide » Mon Apr 28, 2003 2:03 pm

Brian gets a cookie for becoming a pilot. He gets another for choosing a gunship.

Also, if it all possible, I'd like to know what Dropships are like to fly. Strangely, I have my heart set on flying one, even if it isn't the most glamorous role out there.

Oh, and what is flying like in general? I've played Tribes 2 before, so I know what piloting is like in that.


Archmage144
 

Re: Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby Archmage144 » Mon Apr 28, 2003 2:53 pm

The main flying dropship is the Galaxy, an armored transport with a set of chainguns (mostly for defense against intercepting air units, such as Mosquitos or Reavers). Galaxy pilots are always in demand, from my observations, because you can fly a Galaxy right over an enemy installation, have the passengers bail out (and you can carry like 8 people, including 2 MAXes), then land it somewhere and join the fight yourself.

Flying was something that took me a minute to get used to. I had to rebind a key because I thought it was awkwardly placed, actually. Unlike real life airships, apparently due to the invention of repulsors of some sort, it is possible to hover indefinitely (so far as I'm aware). Pressing one key makes you ascend and another makes you descend--your forward and backward movement are controlled by your forward and backward movement keys, and turning is done basically by pointing the mouse where you want to go (my Reaver will pitch back and forth depending on where I'm effectively "looking"--it's kind of hard to describe). My primary difficulty at first was that I was trying to use the A and D keys (strafe keys) to turn left and right like in a ground vehicle when in fact the mouse is used for steering--the strafe keys actually move you laterally at a fairly slow pace. Must be the repulsors again, or something. If you need more speed, hitting the thruster key gives you a boost until you run out of thruster power (they recharge).

Despite the oddities as far as physics go, which I think can be attributed to technological advances for the most part, flying is a lot of fun. It's not the most realistic thing ever, as previously mentioned--for that, get a flight sim, or a dedicated fighter combat type game. I'm itching to get to fly into a battle situation... <p>--------
The Archmage: Sadistic GM or handsome bishounen? You decide!
RPGWW! Beware of GM!

Sometime soon, I will have a new sig.</p>

saberlock
 

Re: Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby saberlock » Mon Apr 28, 2003 6:00 pm

I've been waiting for this game for some time now, and it sounds like great fun. There's one thing that's been bugging me, though...

Quote:
In addition, you can "unlearn" all the skills you've learned, get the points back, and spend them in a totally different way, from what I understand, so you aren't locked into a character class or skill tree.


Does this mean you can, for example, be a stealthy guy, sneak into an enemy base, then change into a hacker to gather information, then change into a pilot, steal a gunship, and shoot your way out?

Maybe not the best example, but you get the point I think. <p>

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Archmage144
 

Re: Planetside: MMOFPS Beta

Unread postby Archmage144 » Mon Apr 28, 2003 6:01 pm

You have to unlearn things at a certification terminal. As in, within a base you control. And you can't spend the cert points again until you wait 24 hours. <p>--------
The Archmage: Sadistic GM or handsome bishounen? You decide!
RPGWW! Beware of GM!

Sometime soon, I will have a new sig.</p>

Ronin
 

weeeeeeeeee

Unread postby Ronin » Sun May 11, 2003 2:31 am

Almost done dling the open beta!!Image


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Re: weeeeeeeeee

Unread postby Jak Snide » Sun May 11, 2003 8:53 am

Y'know you've got less than a week till the beta ends, don't you?



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