jsmedley (john_smedley) wrote,

What Planetside Next means to me

We all have our vices. For some gamers RPG's really do it for them. One of the things I've always loved about SOE is that we built our company on the core idea of making games across many genres, and that includes the world's first MMOFPS, Planetside.

I love Planetside. I really do. It's an amazing game. you won't find any other FPS where you can have a 100 vs. 100 battle raging. And we pulled this off 5-6 years ago.

There's a great description of a Planetside battle here:


I really couldn't sum it up any better than that. To me the idea of a massive firefight on that kind of scale is why I'm a gamer. 

Planetside had a lot of really great things about it, but it also had some frustrating things. The whole Sanctuary concept is something that slowed things down too much. We also didn't get people back into the action quickly enough.

But the core of Planetside - massive battles with vehicles and infantry was something we nailed really well.

To me, Planetside Next means we get a chance to take the essence of everything that was fun in Planetside and make it a lot better. Massive battles on a scale no other FPS will touch. None of this 64 player stuff. REALLY MASSIVE. With much better organization, and a tight focus on making sure the action is always going on, with awesome graphics.

Damn I love Planetside. I really do.


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In the field Artillery would be good, but not too much! make it a several man or squad sized asset, the piece is devided into parts in the Corp locker (the pieces are paid for by the corp using the XP/CP points already earned - thereby preventing mass spawning of artillery etc...) Each member of thee squad has to carry part of the artillery that takes up a portion of his loadout, thereby preventing a an artillery squad that can swann into the thickest part of the battle or survive independantly for long without the main boody of the army. The Artillery is placed, several squad members stay with the piece. Now the Artillery, it can only fire when the Squad Observers are in place to eyeball the target, maybe a mini-map on the artillery hud to show the area arround the Observer Squad.

This makes Artillery a specialised function, with several player having to opperate as a group, There would never be an overwhealming ammount of artillery as to do so would so diminish the force they are supporting that the enemy would locate the artillery and destroy it/steal it.

One of the greatest aspects of the game was being part of a team, a couple of Maxxes supported by an engineer, a Medic etc... had a really good feel to it.
Being Lone-Wolf also had its rewards, i remember heaps of times when the saving grace of the battle was one infiltration adv' hacker in a mossie that took a tower that then resulted in another battle taking place in an unexpected quarter.
Or the special ops squads sent in to "destroy only the generator" or destroy every terminal etc... The Standing Orders shuld be decided by the territorial commanders etc... and available for the squad/platoon leaders to action.

Everyone likes something different, everyone has Faction Loyalty, be it VS, NC or TR. Some like vehicle battles, some like infantry CQB or open battleground work, one think that didn't seem to be in place for planetside that was much needed was something for the head sheds, those who love RTS games. Empires Mod for Half-life 2 did a good job of merging this with FPS.

My ideas for a reival of Planetside are numerous, because i have missed it with a passion and longing that is simply WRONG for a computer game, but that is what Planetside was, it was the best game ever made. Now it just needs remaking. Please just don't make a game like every other piece of crap that i have played since, make a game for gamers, not for the corporate purses. I don't mind paying, i don't mind ads, but in return i do want a well made game that hasn't had half its budget blown on Cutting Edge graphics. Make it look nice, doesn't need to be spectacular, the more you try to make it LOOK amazing, the more resources/higher spec the platform will need to be, and more limited the potential buyer, and therefore the smaller the market and smaller the interest... not to metion it will probably lagg to high heaven!

In spite of what was done wrong with planetside, It was EPIC, and no doubt has a cult following. Redeem yourselves in the next step, make us Believe again...

And the most important point last - HAVE PROPER HIT BOXES, the cone of fire was a good idea in principle, but it should never have been practiced!

Good Luck. I will be waiting and talking to all i know about it.

Hi John, Nearly 2 years after your first journal entry regarding planetside2, I have popped back to say I am very excited with the announcements regarding this game, it appears that the community are being listenned to, and that I am going to be blown away by the sequel as much as the first!
I hope Smeds dedication to his blog isnt a mirror to the future of his dedication to a planetside remake =/
Yeah, That wouldn't be good for the game...
I have been playing PS for 6 solid years. And what really makes me profoundly angry is the lack of support for this game. There are no devs and there are no GM's for this game.

You have been "working" on cheat detection for a long time and we hear nothing from you. Nothing has been done and there has never been any sort of communications to the players about what is going on in the game and what you are doing. All the angry posts on the forums have been ignored for years without as much as a peep.

If you removed the Trial accounts you could have stopped this cold until you bothered to fix the situation—but you have done nothing. You have been bleeding out players nonstop who can’t take this level of total apathy. We see nothing being done on the surface and we all want to jump ship.

there seems to be a fundamental flaw somewhere in the communication of information within SOE, only 1-2 weeks ago I saw Raijinn post in a thread that he was "unaware" about a problem with the Reaver even though there is a 30 page thread about it in the main Planetside discussion forum and its been there for 5 months.

You have staff like Brewko who used comet’s on the VS and ruined a battle one night and gave the TR total access to vehicles when the VS pop was 40% yet every night the TR pop is now 40% the other teams get nothing. The people involved here are biased and use this game for a playground with the thought it will be dead soon. Any patches that change weapons seem poorly implemented with little player input and you people will never say you were wrong.

You know 90 percent of players want old Oshur and hate BFR’s and you never removed them. You refuse to fix or even do anything to save this game you “love”. Your actions show the entire community you don’t gave a damn about us.

If you do, write a comment (without the standard CEO speak) and actually do something about this game and the staff that attends to it. I don’t want the hollow words about how you will fix this in the next version of the game. It is SOE’s total lackluster support that kills games after release. Fix something now if you want people to stay on. Show us some sincerity and save this game you say you care for…

Thank you,
Brian (FiLLdirt in game)
At the end of the day these are just my opinions. I played PS since release for 5 years before I finally gave up on it. Mainly due to cheaters or at least the perception of cheaters.

But I list some of my quibbles, the more deep rooted issues that stopped me from returning.

Weapon Balance, I found this to be inherently unbalanced. Take Heavy assault weapons, time after time people proved that they were balanced or not by using TTK and crunching the numbers but I never once saw a discussion based on where the weapon would be used. By this I mean the environment, in simple turns if your defending a long corridor JH is useless, MG and Lasher far superior. Essentially the balance issue where you JH gave you a good advantage on twrs, but not great one on base offence or defence. And considering the main point of the game is to capture bases. JH wasn't appropriate for more common situations.

Lasher was unbalanced in respect to visual spam that cause graphical lag.

My point is no matter how the numbers match up you can't compare a shotgun to a heavy machine gun, they are dependent upon the situation. But as an empire it was your only choice, the best HA was the one that was the most generic in terms of combat situations (basically the MG).

My other major issue was the one man army the agile armour mossy dropping MG user. What essentially happen is the best combination of speed, manoeuvrability and damage was found and then copied. Yes Max could counter them but time to deploy Max vs Mossie/wasp user is drastically different. From spawn to deployment in terms of defence and attack is faster than a Max. Through in COF hacks and you got an uber army.

Finally, generalisation of players. That is a hard one, tanks need to be tougher because lots of troops carried AV, if it was more expensive to carry AV (be it in class cost or time to change equipment) tanks could be easier to kill per rocket but would survive just as long. The lack of any effective AA for infantry meant that mossie farming was common. Had you given a GtA missle launchers to infantry it would effectively killed of flying aspect of the game. Because everyone would carry such a weapon.

I suppose I am getting at Roles of squad members by specialising as a player you are put yourself at a disadvantage in others areas. By been the guys who can keep mossies of your team as them make a 100m dash to base then been useless for then next 20mins inside the base is disheartening.

There is a lot to be said by a lot of players with there preferred playing styles. I just hope some thought will go into what makes MMOs good, my outfit is what kept me playing PS for so long, my friends (who become real life ones) working in roles to achieve something you cant do on your own.

We never mossie whored, we brought wings of reavers, tank columns and liberators. We knocked out generators held twrs. brought need AA. We felt like we made a difference to the battle by bringing organisation. Whilst the zerg cranked up the K/D we made sure that the base they attacked didn't have Advanced Vehicles. Or faster respawn. Thats what made me play for 5 years, not BFRS, not DM zones, not Medals and hats not K/D.

Planetside allowed this, it wasn't its main focus from a players perspective, but it was there and it made a difference though we hardly got recognition for it.

FordPrefect Fight Club Werner/Gemini NC
Holla Mate,

nice to meet your here. Supporting your views 100%

Skiz (FC Fight Club Werner / NC)


PS: I doubt this reaches you.
It is with great regret that my small outfit has quit Planetside. We asked for an explanation as to why the Reaver was changed, when there was not a single patch note about it for the past 8 months. We asked several people at SOE, Brewko and Raijinn many times specifically, what they thought about the Reaver and if it could be looked into. Brewko never replied, Raijinn ALWAYS said he had no idea and would pass it on to Q&A.
And I still ask for a reason why the Reaver was changed. We quit as a unit because a comment was made OUTSIDE of the reaver thread stating that the Reaver was staying the way it was, in other words the Buff that nobody admitted to was staying.
I know SOE is a gaming company with busy deadlines and hard working individuals but last I heard the customer should be regarded highly. We pay for this game, sometimes an explanation would be nice and I believe me and my outfit are owed one.
Whether it was a mistake that could have been remedied easily or it was purposeful we will never know, but it has caused us to take our money elsewhere and it's too bad.

We did not make a large impact on the game and did not care to, but the fact that there is an in-game entity that was already far superior, the "swiss army knife" of planetside that was buffed unnecessarily and without explanation AND was discovered by players who pay for the game every month for over 5 years, this fact does indeed warrant explanation of some sort. I know it may only be 100.00 per month SOE is losing on us, but it was our money and we believed in this game so much we supported it for 6 years.
I look forward to an explanation, however petty you may think, but I deserve on.
do the next Planetside fast ASAP it will be great
Planetside was very innovative in the MMO games not just for being the first MMOFPS but for some of the concepts it had that other games just seem to lack.

1. New players are useful. How many games are out there where day 1 newbies can actively participate and assist with seasoned players? In all the other MMO games I've played, I've always had to wait for friends to level up in order to play alongside them in a meaningful way. Sometimes this could take months but in PS, the day a friend joined up is the day he was playing in my squads.

2. Level = versatility not power. Nobody likes getting killed in a game by some guy a bajillion levels higher than you where you stand no chance. In PS, a day 1 newbie could kill anyone regardless of their level. As a newbie leveled up, it didn't make him more powerful, it just made him more capable of adapting to different circumstances.

3. Negligible grind. CR5 was the only real grind I saw in the game but it wasn't essential to your game play. The battle ranks went fast because one's natural gameplay would level the character. No grinding on boars or petty delivery quests.

4. Objectives that actually had an impact in the game. I could run modules that would give my entire faction an advantage on a continent/planet for hours or capture a cave and influence the outcome of a battle. This in contrast to other games where the combat just resets or has no lasting impact beyond your character.

Planetside was brilliant and innovative. I would compare it to a cult hit movie that didn't do as well in the box office but had a lasting impact on everyone who did see it. I really look forward to Planetside NEXT.
I thought of one more...

The merit system to give players objectives to accomplish and badges to collect. We've since seen many other games copy this concept such as WoW achievements or X-Box achievements.

PlanetSide motivated me to use voice (TS/Vent) to play; teamwork really mattered.

I played beta and then for the first year or so into release. I quit because of the content that was subsequently added; Core added Flails and then came the BFRs. Study the behavior of the players; I'll bet you can correlate the loss of players to certain content introductions.

Below I explain what went wrong and what to do instead;

What went wrong:

Indirect fire (Flail.) The real world has lots of indirect fire. Not having indirect fire is not realistic. Does realism matter so much that we must have indirect fire? Emphatically -> NO <-. What matters is fun. Getting killed at random by a glitzy mortar is not fun. Losing a battle to a well timed satellite strike that wipes out dozens is fun for few and frustrating for many. Rockets or tank rounds are about as indirect as should exist.

I've heard over-and-over again that BFR balance has been fixed. Unfortunately most of the player base was gone before it got fixed. Balance is absolutely crucial. If testing can't ensure good balance then you have to do it live; dedicated staff that listen and act quickly. Roll back if tweaks don't fix it. Don't watch the player base evaporate.

The later content involved 'leveling' of one kind or another... Point accumulation stratifies players into tiers; the hardcore and the rest. The rest don't enjoy getting pwned while they catch up.

There were lag issues but that didn't keep me or my friends from playing. Limit the number of players in a 'zone' to some reasonable level; hundreds or thousands.

For my part that's what went wrong. Not much but it was enough to drive many players away.

Try these instead:

The temptation to add some kind of point accumulation to unlock stuff must be very strong: all MMOs do it, right? Please don't. There are many other dimensions that can be used to extend the game WITHOUT any sort of point accumulation:

New environments. Navel warfare. Zero-G warfare. Day/Night. None of these were explored in PlanetSide.

Really good voice coms. PlantSide players brought their own. Vent and TS are weak; no 'command' channels, no way to prevent users stepping on each other, etc. A good voice com system would make scaling for commanders easy through a hierarchy where certain channels are 'listen only' for most subscribers and have a queued broadcast that doesn't get stepped on. Audio bulletin board for newly arriving players. This is a dimension hardly explored in MMOs that emphasizes teamwork.

User modifiable terrain. PlanetSide bases/towers were immutable. Players ought to be able to build and destroy structures to some degree.

Customizable vehicles/weapons. I am playing Eve Online at the moment. In fact I've been playing it since I stopped playing PlanetSide. You know what occupies the mind of an Eve player? Rigging (fitting) his ship. People dwell on the arrangement of ship components. What could players be permitted to customize? Vehicles? Structures? Weapons?

Goals. As I recall a feature appeared that allowed certain players to draw on the map to direct their team. This needs to be explored to a much higher degree. Strategic goals, tactical goals, etc. The players know who to follow (read that several times please); allow them to formulate their own view of goals.

Unique "planets" (for lack of a better term.) Combine procedural generation with minimal editing for start content. Let the players do the rest through building/destroying activity. Planets have a life-cycle measured in weeks or months that ends with a victory. History, memories and meaning.

Media/News. Some people thrive on reporting events. Something micro-blog like that appears in and out (web) of game to report on significant events. I should be able to hit a URL before I log in and find out whats happened so I have a clue. The players can figure out what to publish/consume.

Your target audience is a FPS player that dreams of escaping the 16/32/whatever limit of his FPS server. Those players don't play to accumulate levels. The games have no 'economy.' The only score they care about is kills. The only lasting product is their relationships with their fellow players (clans, et al.)

I would like to add my support to every suggestion made by the above poster.

His analysis is sensible, accurate and his feature requests are logical and innovative.

I haven't seen such good ideas in discussions on mmo design before. I'm particularly impressed by the idea of procedurally generated persistent levels and the persistent history of closed levels.

I want to be able to look at a map of a hill that no one can get to anymore and say to myself "Two years ago, I captured that".

I want this more than any other feature in any game I am currently watching/waiting for.

Please consider the request.
In talking to my old outfit, the two things that came up in discussion regarding a sequel to Planetside were:

1. Stabilized compensating vehicle turrets. This is something that exists today in modern tanks and is certainly not outside the scope of imagination to have such a thing in a futuristic vehicle. Until the turret reaches the limit of it's movement window, it should compensate for main vehicle body pitch, roll and yaw.

2. Better outfit command and control interface. For outfit leadership and assignee's, the ability to view a 3D rotateable map and drag/drop outfit members onto objectives assets, be presented with a hierarchical menu of actions/options and then have the game report out when that action is accomplished would be a nice benefit to the burden of command.

Just our thoughts, thanks for listening and looking very much towards a sequel.
Base ownership by outfit was something put forward back in 2004/2005 and well received, this is something that has worked well in other games, tie it into boosted resources.
Customised vehicles etc from the use of Outfit points. Customised outfit armour.
Keep it so a BR1 can kill a BR40 just as easy.
Some form of in-built team speak.
Better command chat and structure, it sucked in PS.
Less Vehicle side, the balance pass boosted Infantry AV for a reason.
Battle Islands were a good idea badly implemented.
Battle not tied to bases, its fun fighting outside.
Massive gal drops were the best thing this game had to offer.
Player events 2003-2005 were some of the best things going on at Werner, in fact that server was more fun to play on than the other 2 because of the tighter knit community.
Hacking - its killed PS1 now, for god sake lock down the code and ban cheaters by ISP and account, no mercy and you will get the respect of the gaming community.
...PS was my first MMO and nothing has ever come close; everything else for me fails because:
1. Its not massive, PS was the only game where you had 400 players all fighting each other, not 20 or 40 at a time.
2. Its not fair; PS is one of the only MMOs where a new player can fight a veteran on even terms, the cert system MUST stay for the sequel.

What are my thoughts for PS Next?

Check out my website based around it:

Don't forget that the Planetside Idealab is also still around, where Hayoo made some amazing concepts and even made some stunning visuals to back them up (Hayoo is the one that suggested the multicoloured REK beams for starters): http://www.planetside-idealab.com/index.shtml

As has been suggested in some of the other comments here, for the sequel to succeed it must have decent post release development as it was we had two expansions which did not provide anything the players wanted; Core Combat was meant to be urban combat... it ended up being a horrible combat experience in the caves; confusing and frustrating. BFRs, well, I think they could have been great if they had been balanced; requiring 3-4 crew and giving them the option of EITHER shield, turret or flight pack. Check out my website for more of my thoughts on this and everything else. After the expansions waiting 6 months for even balance changes was ridiculous; I was frankly amazed that the gal gunship and phantasm ever made it into the game (they were what, 3 YEARS between first announcement and release), let alone the engineering and hacking extensions.

Aside from that there is the obvious influx of hacking, but my outfit thankfully has not witnessed this; we all left after the outfit wars when THREE of our victories were taken from us due to the GMs not knowing what they were doing and declaring the game as draws, either because of poor time keeping or not knowing the games rules.

Planetside hit during a time in my life where I had very few obligations, tons of free time, and a competitive nature. I LOVED Planetside from the date it was released until Core Combat.

If you did nothing more than update the models, skins, maps, and made a handful of the original features a little easier to use/navigate, I don't think you'd need to add a single other thing.

> Huge Battles

Planetside achieved hundreds of battles 5-6 years ago -- just get it back out there and the people will come.

> Role-Oriented Customization

No more one-man-armies -- force people to specialize and feel like they actually add something special to their outfit/squad. I remember when people would shout, "Need gal pilot, 2 MAX, Heavy Assault!"

Bring this back.

> 3 Empires

Keep the original 3 empires, improve the story, improve the graphics, add a few extra flavor pieces and empire-specific air vehicles and you could launch this thing tomorrow and take the MMOFPS world by storm.

> Keep Support Roles Important

One of the things I loved most is that you REALLY made room for support roles -- gal pilots, infiltrator hackers, combat engineers, medics, AMS deployment -- there are tons of us that LOVE to support battles without being good at FPS games.

Planetside was hands-down the absolute best MMOFPS on the market ever for the first few months of its release. Empire balance was decent, populations were high, battles were insanely awesome, and I have so many good memories tooling around with my outfits.

I was the 3rd CR5 on Emerald back in the day behind RavenUSC and Malorn for those that remember them. Bring back the old game with a fresh face and only a handful of new things and you will eat everybody's lunch.

NC, Emerald
Mr Smedley,

I know this is beating a dead horse and this post was done a long time ago, but I feel like I need to allow my thoughts on planetside to flow freely, especially considering the announcement of Planetside: Next!

I came to Planetside in 2004, and joined Liquid Courage on the NC. I have never played a game like Planetside before, nor have I found its equal. Massive battles, so much going on at once...looking up and seeing 20 liberators and 20 gals dropping people and bombs at once....it was breathtaking.

Sadly, the game has lost its base over the years...but I still subscribe. Me and the guys in teamspeak still sit around and talk about the amazing TOD (Tower of Death) battles...and the time we did that gen hold on ishundar and got 60 VS kills...

Please make this game for the players Smed. We have been loyal for so long...and have waited so long for Planetside 2...this is truly a one of a kind MMO experience that none of those pansy WOW players...or those guys playing Modern Warfail 2 could ever understand.

Also, in addition to listening to what the players want....please for the love of all that is holy and sacred...DON'T DO MICRO TRANSACTIONS. PLEASE.

Thanks for listening!
... you will make a good job. I played PS1 from the very start and will definitely be back, like a lot of other guys i know from PS. PS1 was awesome and unique. Can't wait for the next step.
... why? Because I frigging loved the first one. I played it for many years (on Werner) as Vanu and I couldn't get enough of it. As someone stated earlier, there are so many games that pretend to be "massive fps" which is bullcrap. A fight of 100vs100vs100 over a frigging base is just as epic as it could get. I loved to sneak into my stealth suit and place boomers or just grab my lasher and go nuts!
Mr. Smedley, I would like to thank you for continuing A game which over the years has meant an awful lot to me. I have been coming back to Planetside off and on since it was released. It is truly the only game out there that I have given up (due to other reasons) and always come back to.

When I heard that you had decided to continue with another Planetside I dropped a tear and so did Chuck Norris. I guess all I am trying to say is thank you for an awesome game, truly one of a kind.

<3 MilitiaMan - Johari NC Foverever!
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