State of the Game is a series where we look at the recent changes and updates brought into a game and the effect those changes have had on the meta of the game. In a day and age of Early access, game changing updates are becoming common place and it pays to know what they do.
Whilst it hasn’t been classed as a Beta for some time, Planetside 2 has been in a constant state of development since it supposedly became a full release. Go to the Planetside website and you’ll find a roadmap of the planned updates and content patches Sony Online Entertainment plan on rolling out over the course of the year making for some interesting reading.
As it currently stands the major Hossin continent update has been pushed back again and again thanks to certain performance updates that were mandatory to make the game playable, in it’s early days Planetside 2 was notorious for being demanding on a systems processor putting even the most high spec PC builds through their paces to the point where placing the graphics settings on ultra was impossible. After the aptly acronym-ed Operation Make Game Faster, Planetside is now a more processor friendly place allowing the developers to focus on the introduction of new content and balance patches.
So what has been Changed in the latest wave of patches. Well in terms of actual new content we have seen a selection of new weapons introduced to freshen up air combat along with the introduction of faction specific heavy carbines to give Light Assaults and Engineers a more viable mid range weapon. The biggest update by far has been thew complete redesign of the continent of Amerish which has been the last of the three existing continents to receive an overall performance update following O:MFG along with tweaks and some overhauls on Indar.
Designed with mobility in mind, the lightweight alloys that make up Auraxis Firearm’s AF-A4 Bandit allows for faster movement while aiming without compromising on stopping power in close to medium ranges. (What are the alloys? Nanites. Stop asking questions and get back to shooting.)
TR HC1 Cougar
The Terran Republic’s Heavy Carbine project resulted in the HC1 Cougar. Utilizing a higher caliber cartridge than its LC cousins, the Cougar possesses unparalleled stopping power amongst other Terran carbines up to medium range. (If you are curious how far medium range is, it’s like not really far away but close enough to render. If you are loyal TR you are going to use it regardless).
VS Zenith VX-5
Vanu Labs’ close-to-midrange Zenith VX-5 uses advanced crystalline structures to significantly reduce weight without compromising on strength. It features both precision hipfire and increased movement speed while aiming. (To that guy who actually attached the gun to his hip and shot at people, this is not what was meant).
New nose cannon for each faction
TR- M18 Locust
NC- M20 Kestrel
VS- Antares LC
These weapons feature a larger magazine that reduces how often they need to be reloaded. This allows for fewer missed opportunities when engaging fast moving targets.
New wing mount weapons for all ESFs
Coyote missiles fire a volley of small, light damaging missiles. If they get close to a hostile aircraft then they will lock-on and seek towards that aircraft.
These laser-guided missiles will fly toward the pilot’s crosshairs.
The new ESF weapons I don’t think are really going to affect the air meta game that much. As it stands the current style of mid air hover battles is too dominant to see any changes. The coyote missiles may be able to work their way in to the meta, offering a middle ground between the existing choice of dumb fire air to ground rockets and the lock on air to air missiles, but I don’t see the new nose cannons replacing the usual rotary cannons we see in play any time soon. As for the new carbine category, on the TR side at least it will be nice to have a heavier hitting weapon to go up against the NC’s standard weapons
Whilst we have yet to be given Hossin as a new battle ground, SOE have finished revamping Amerish, to bring it into line with the updates bought to the two other continents Indar and Esamir. Admittedly it has changed a lot, with some bases being unrecognizable in the new update, meaning you will have to relearn base layouts. Apart from the initial confusion Amerish is now a much better place to fight. the Lattice system has finally been implemented thus controlling the flow and direction of engagements across the continent and overall performance has been improved right down to the quality of the roads, needless to say despite silky smooth roads your Flash will still somehow roll over and explode.
Vanguard Shield Update
Arguably the best balance change in the latest patch has to be the nerfing of the New Conglomerates Main Battle Tank ability. If you play Planetside then you will have no doubt come across the Vanguards over shield ability which pre patch gave the tank 3000 extra HP. Post patch has reduced this down to 2000HP thus making the NC’s insta win button in tank battles far less effective. The duration of the shield has also been normalized across all ranks to be 6 seconds (when it is not destroyed via damage) meaning the shield has to be used more tactically in combat situations, as baiting out the shield activation is now a more viable tactic when facing a Vanguard.
Game Client Update
Other notable changes have been the attempted upgrade to a 64bit game client. Twice SOE has attempted to upgrade the game to run on a more modern and faster client and twice they have had to roll it back due to comparability issues and multiple client side crashes. Currently the 64bit client is an optional download as some system can run it without crashing, until SOE can iron out all the bugs a system wide adoption of the new client will be delayed.
Arguably Planetside 2 is still in need of some work, I myself have experienced several client crashes over the course of a week, but this may be just down to the attempted move to 64bit. SOE do have a lot planned for this game and if you want to check out what’s coming next and wish to discuss said changes just visit http://www.planetside2.com/roadmap for all the details. As I have said in my 2013 awards post, Planetside may not be perfect, but it has a great community and I’m eager to see what further additions and improvements SOE can bring to a great and unique game