There are a bunch of long awaited MMOs just over the horizon. En Masse’s true-action MMO, Tera as well as ArenaNet’s highly anticipated Guild Wars 2, both of which have me squealing with joy. Although it’s not an MMO, Blizzard’s long-awaited Diablo 3 is getting closer and closer, most of its eager fans can almost taste it. All these games are looking great and each bring something cool to the table. But there’s another game out there that kind of just flew way over my radar till just recently, when I heard more news about it during GDC 2012.
Sony Online Entertainment’s upcoming MMO, Planetside 2, is rather different from the rest, being a straight-up online first-person shooter title with some of the features of a standard MMORPG. From different classes, customization options for your character, and vehicles to large-scale PvP battles as well as real-time control of in-game territories, this might the game all of you shooter fans have been waiting for, MMO fan or not.
What we know about Planetside 2 is that it is indeed an MMO and not just another shooter with large scale combat, like M.A.G. According to devs present at GDC, each server will hold up to one-thousand players each. I’m not sure if characters will be stuck on whatever server you choose like in World of Warcraft or if they act like different game lobbies except on a larger-scale.
There will also be three factions players will get to choose from, each with their own back-story and weapon technology:
Terran Republic - An authoritarian government that leverages military might to maintain strict control over the colonial citizens. The Terran Republic is obsessed with the preservation of law and order and are thus seen by some to be an oppressive and dictatorial force, but many view the TR as the only hope for lasting security on Auraxis.
New Conglomerate - Rebels, freedom fighters or terrorists? The New Conglomerate operates as a loosely organized band of dissidents, vehemently opposed to the stranglehold that the Terran Republic has on Auraxis. Led by an unusual quorum of outcasts, industry titans, pirates and former military leaders, the New Conglomerate is unwavering and prepared to achieve their goals by any means necessary.
Vanu Sovereignty - Vanu has taught that only through technology can humanity evolve it's next state of existence. The Vanu Sovereignty is extremely advanced, employing powerful alien technology on the battlefield. Their singular purpose is to uncover the secrets hidden away in ancient artifacts scattered over the surface of Auraxis and they will annihilate anyone who interferes.
These factions in the game are constantly in conflict trying to control territory. This means players will always be in combat or some sort of action and never just sitting around waiting for a party. Battles over territory are said to last for days, even weeks before a victor is decided which means there’s always a battle to partake in. No details on how a territory is captured have been unveiled but I’m sure it’s going to involve a system of capturing command points or objectives similar to that of Battlefield 3. Capturing territories benefits your faction with resources which I assume might be involved in some sort of item crafting of some kind or overall faction success.
The next big thing about the game is the vehicle warfare. There are a number of vehicles both air and land that can be used to help win battles. I’m not entirely sure how this will work in-terms of limiting the battlefield because in the demonstration, the player was able to take control of a helicopter instantly. However, vehicles, especially aerial ones, look extremely difficult to use so utilizing them to lay waste on your opponents won’t be an easy task.
Also, there are no set classes in Planetside 2, but there is an extremely extensive skill tree that allows you customize skills based on what you want to do. Let’s face it, a lot of people enjoy a good shooter, but not all of them are good at it. The developers thought ahead and those who may not have the best aim, won’t be left in the dust. They say you can level up to max rank/level just by playing a support or leadership role and quite possibly, never kill another player, ever. So maybe you don’t like to shoot guns like I do. Well, maybe you’ll be the most gifted medic on the battlefield, dodging bullets like R2D2 or only ever repair broken turrets to let others do the dirty work for you. It’s up to you.
That’s not to say you won’t be shooting guns just because you’re not good. You can enter into a squad at anytime and pretty much do what you will to complete the objectives. When you die, you spawn at the closest allied facility so really, what’s there to lose?
The game is schedule to open closed BETA in a few more months so sign-up here on their website. The game is looking great and if they can pull it off, it will go down as one of the greatest overall shooters, and I do love my shooters. Now I just have to wait for Call of Halofield 4: Future Soldier to come out.
Planetside 2 doesn’t really have a release date but it’s scheduled to launch on PC sometime this year. Stay-tuned for more information as I’ll be following this game till the moment of its launch.