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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You know what ticks me off?

All of these upcoming MMOFPS titles are really muddying the waters about what constitutes "Massive" (Global Agenda, Huxley, Parabellum, I'm looking at you). It seems like half of them are just 16v16 or 32v32 games of Unreal Tournament with a virtual lobby tacked on. Please don't do that with PSide Next.

While I was eagerly waiting for my closed beta discs for Planetside to arrive, I had imagined a lot of terrain fighting. I thought of tanks and Sunderers, Galaxies roaring overhead, an AMS backbone and a slew of support vehicles rolling across thundering plains to ultimately take some bloody hill.

But instead what I saw basically boiled down to two types of battles: Tower fights, and Base fights. Still, you guys had managed to create a _very_ fun core game, so I wasn't disappointed. But after a while, it became sort of monotonous. That's probably why I ultimately quit. There wasn't a lot of variance aside from those half dozen-ish base types and 2-3 tower types. I have particularly fond memories of some bridge battles but there was no real reward for them. I'd much rather be fighting for 2 hours on a bridge and getting no major reward than hacking a base and sitting around for 8 minutes with 60 other players while the Hack goes through, only to move on to the next, probably boring, base stomp.

For me, it's all about the meta-game. I want to see better organization on the player side of things. It seems like the current state of the game has waaay too many folks giving conflicting commands in global chat. I'd like to see some in-game mechanism for global commanders to collectively decide where to attack next, or where to defend.

Don't get me wrong, I love Pside too. Heck, I resubbed last Sunday just because I'm psyched about Planetside Next.
(deleted and recommented when I wasn't distracted [playing PlanetSide :P])

I read through that awesome RPS posting (didn't they play with us that one time for outfit wars? Good times 'I was there!') and it was one of the best reads I've had lately, I'll certainly share it with my outfit. (GotR)

I especially enjoy the hatred for opposing factions he conveyed. The line "Every time anyone on our side passed close enough for it to open automatically a haze of that dumb___ blue energy ____ the Barnies use in their weapons was let into the tower like freezing air on a cold day." touched me and made me realize the TR and NC hate me just as much as we hate them.

Fostering virtual hate for an opposing gaming faction is an amazing thing to achieve and PlanetSide does it far better than games like WoW or Huxley or what have you, ever could.

Most of my "I WAS THERE, MAN"'s come from events with my PS outfit (most of which are captured on my youtube/xfire)

_I'm glad you see your game just as I see it, the first and still only true MMOFPS. I'm nothing but optimistic for PS Next. I had no idea staring at one thing for 15 minutes could be so fun until I played this.

Well...I think Hossin is dying down, time to gear up for Cyssorside for a few weeks. :D

Yumil - VS - GotR
Also: Sorry for hijacking your blog with a comment bigger than the original post, I just get so passionate when someone mentions PlanetSide. :P
I was playing Planetside from very close to the launch playing as VS on Werner, and even though it's been over 6 years since then I can't think of a single Multiplayer game that has come even close to matching PSide when the game was at it's height.

Which makes it all the more sad to see how the game has dropped in both player population and support from SOE. I understand why the game doesn't receive as much support as say EQ, but PSide firing on all cylinders is something utterly unique as the articles you posted shows and that alone deserves more support in my eyes.

About PSide Next, the one thing I hope for beyond all other things is that SOE listen to the players before making massive utterly game changing decisions, Core Combat and BFR's being the prime examples. As a player when these things were launched it seemed to me that the developers had decided to do them regardless of feedback from the playerbase and as a result they resulted in further reducing an already decreasing player population.

Planetside is special. Anyone who's played it has some story to tell, what other game can say that? Keep what makes PS1 special and support the game and PS Next could be a huge hit.
With respect to Core Combat, I completely agree. It was the wrong direction. At that time we were dealing with a new game and we thought we had the direction right. In hindsight, we didn't at all.

BFR's are another story and I think more debateable. They were in our heads for a long time. Friggin Giant Robots :)

The 20/20 vision that comes with hindsight is often the best prism to plan for the next thing. Hopefully we get it more right this time, but I'm still pretty happy overall.



11 years ago

A few things I'd like to say:

The reason why that The Glorious 1% Battle was so cool and epic, was because something was at stake.
Perhaps it could be possible to make PS2 so that there's something at stake. But I think you'll have a hard time doing that and still have PS2 differ from mmorpg's.
Because PS2 SHOULD differ from all the standard stuff out there.

An issue that I might have with getting to the "MASSIVE" stage you're aiming for (and rightly so) is that players might become to anonymous. Feel insignificant.
Ideas to counteract that:
-Make sure an individual can still have some impact on a battle.
-Compensate with increased options and focus for outfits. Give them their own identity/specialization. Like real life units have. But don't decrease Empire Fundamentalism of course. (TR FOREVER!)
I love massive to the point of being anonymous.
It should take two or three people at least to do ANYTHING. :P
Then all you are really is your group or outfit.
Most people already have that down already in PS, by putting their group tag in their name...I don't know them specifically, but I know their group.
Good to hear! I never thought about PS without the Sanc, but waiting for the Hart sure gets frustrating sometimes. Its like waiting for the subway.

PS Next is on its way to being bigger than before. I picture bigger battles, bigger vehicles and more of them with grunts obviously being just as important. Can't wait hear of its creation process and hope it begins soon.
I eagerly anticipate any news regarding a new PlanetSide game, Mr. Smedley. SOE's PlanetSide is one-of-a-kind and I love playing it to this day. I believe that the community shares the same passions as you do about the game and we will try our best to give you positive feedback regarding how to keep the game fresh and as good as possible. Please dont let the developers for PlanetSide Next release a concept like BFR's into the game without the players' input first. It seems to me that that drove away a majority of the original PlanetSide's population.
I have to agree with what everyone else says when they dont believe that you "love" PlanetSide. This game REEEEEALLY got the shit end of the stick, and I do blame you. But I forgive you if you can make things right again, by starting to give PlanetSide the attention it deserves while PlanetSide 2 is in development.

You should consider removing BFR's for a short period of time as an "old-school" event. This will also give everyone a clear indication of whether or not BFR's are better or worse for PlanetSide. I first played PlanetSide long after BFR's had been out, but I can see why they had a major negative impact on the game. You guys also HAVE to update the PlanetSide game engine, the performance is just unacceptable for a first person shooter. DirectX 9 please. There are plenty of efficient game engines for FPS'es that already exist that you could use.

PlanetSide Reserves should ALWAYS be around. Honestly, I dont think that alot of people want to pay to play an FPS when there's so many hundreds of thousands out there for free already. PlanetSide, in it's current state, is most definitely NOT something that I'd consider paying money to play, let alone $15. Also, raising the price on a monthly fee for a game that already received little to no development was just STUPID. This game needs actual developers again, dont fire them!

If you love PlanetSide, I'm sure you'll agree that alot of the ideas presented are for the better. I really hope that you are planning on giving this game the treatment it deserves. You can bring it back to life, you're the head-honcho, and I hope you do what's right for your paying customers.
PS2 would indeed be a good thing, but I do have a few concerns.

  • Massive must mean up to 300+ people in a battle.

  • Must have 3 teams, anything less will be a shortcut to mediocrity.

  • Don't annoy us with an alt revenue stream of ingame advertising. (we would already be paying a monthly fee to support the game)

  • Don't annoy us with an alt revenue stream of micro-transactions.(we would already be paying a monthly fee to support the game)

  • Don't try to make this for tomorrow's computers.(EQ2 and VSoH come to mind)

  • Do consider hosting a site like the new Cosmos coming out for DUST514 where clans can plan upcoming events. Include a clan event calendar.

  • I mightily disagree with this statement: "Don't annoy us with an alt revenue stream of ingame advertising."

    If in-game McDonald's billboards mean I pay less (or nothing) per month to subscribe, then bring on the adverts!

    Re: Concerns


    11 years ago

    See subject.

    "Damn I love PS"

    If that were true, if you really loved the game and wanted to see it prosper and grow the way we - your paying subscribers who anguished and nerd-raged for years over the piss-poor treatement Planetside received, you would have ensured that Sells Only Everquest (SOE) did a better job of marketing and promoting the game instead of stealing away resources from Planetside and sending them to EQ.

    How dare you. You can sell your thick line of crap to the kiddies who were 12 when the game came out and are just now able to buy their own cigarettes, but we grown folks who were (and still are) absolute die-hard fans of this game will always remember the sub-standard treatment the game got.

    How it came out that things couldn't be put into Planetside after Core Combat flopped because developers and artists were pulled away to go work on Expansion #37 for AwfulQuest. How we fans had to create "Grassroots Marketing" so that the game would continue to see new players and have a pulse. How we saw maybe two magazine ads for the game, one announcing beta and one announcing BFRs. How the marketing rep at SOE Fan-Faire 2006 said he'd done more for Planetside in 6mos than anyone had ever done (still not enough).

    For shame, John Smedley.

    I just hope that you don't repeat the same mistakes with Planetside 2.
    That article almost moved me to tears.

    Whenever I talk to another gamer about some game that we have played together, like Call Of Duty or whatever, we both can relate and say how it is an enjoyable game and etc. However, when I meet someone who really played PlanetSide, I feel like we have know each other forever, and that it is a glorious reunion of the few and proud warriors of Auraxis. We have fought together, lived together, and been neglected together.

    PlanetSide is a war for a planet, not a game where you shoot at each other.
    PlanetSide is where you play the role of you, not of a level 52 night elf.
    PlanetSide is where every action you make has some sort of consequence for real people on all three armies, not an incrementation of some experience point field in a database.

    "He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
    And rouse him at the name of Auraxi'.
    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
    And say 'These wounds I had on Forseral.'
    Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
    But he'll remember, with advantages,
    What feats he did that day.
    This story shall the good man teach his son;
    And PlanetSide's Auraxis shall ne'er be forgot,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in the Aukland Fluxfields now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon the day of the one percent."

    TR forever!

    Seriously, the sanctuary comes at pos. no. 78 on a list of problems, that starts with downloadable hacking tools, CSHD, Warping Chinese Players, all the 'Brewko-incidents', the total lack of marketing and, not to forget, every single patch in the past few years that would always ruin the game a bit more.
    Even the bad content somehow manages to keep people coming back (even if as many go)and Planetsides pulse above flatline. BFR's had to happen, the attraction of that "Big Friggin Robot" is just to good for marketing - did it have to be as overpowered when it came out? No. Just like anything else though, the dry tests usually come up short because the lack of skilled players involved with the development and/or testing. Even though the issue of favorites might come up (even though they already do with merits and benefits for some players while others get banned with no warning for routine c chat) there needed to be an outreach to those who can PLAY the game not just write about it (as those who post these exceptionally long posts about events, play styles, or other players are typically the ones victim of skill-set deprivation. Most of the content was as much communities fault as the devs however. The deafening roar of people who are just whining because they cant get an air-to-air kill is as much to blame as those who developed the content. Personally i have to appreciate that they even touch this game as it is so incredibly outdated in so many areas.

    tl:dr? Planetside is a great game, but it's shortcomings are as much a result of time as it is anything else. It's outdated, but as a previous poster said it's the meta-game that is so impressive as the dynamic environment and the incredibly SOCIAL aspect of this game leave any round based or even some RPG's in the dust & have, honestly, created a few real life friendships.
    Man so many good comments, i just wanted to say I was so happy to hear the news of PS2 BUT and a BIG BUT dont F-it up PLEASE!!!!!

    Planetside too this day was the best gaming experience i have ever had in my 15 years of gaming and would love to have that feeling again!

    I loved you Planetside!


    Planetside to me was a game that had an incredible potential, and actually DID live up to that potential in brief, fleeting moments of awesomeness. The rear line raids I did with Black Widow Company, and the epic battles I was on the front lines for with 666th Devil Dogs (shout out to EvilPig, you rock man!) was the stuff of legends. No other game I have ever seen comes close to the experiences Planetside had back in its hayday.

    I won't lie, I was very upset over how PlanetSide turned out, and pretty much swore off anything to do with SOE. But just this afternoon, I was over at a Thanksgiving dinner with some family friends, and their boys had a copy of PlanetSide installed, that was recently bought. Being the vet I was, I gave them some pointers on the finer arts of sniping, load outs, and even lightning driving. Then it got me thinking back to the good times PS was, and the fact that no other MMO or FPS has done (or come close!) to the great fights and raids that happened in PlanetSide.

    Despite all the balance problems, the lag warping, the glitches, and the other problems (ie Core Combat, BFRs, etc), I realized what PlanetSide's biggest problem was: it was too ahead of its time. Had we had had the video cards and bandwidth we do now, PlanetSide would have done much better than it did. Unfortunately, a very ambitious idea was squash due to a combination of bad timming, bad politics, and some very stiff competition at the time (World of Warcraft is a juggernaught), and therefore PlanetSide never really got its chance to shine.

    Well, let's hope that PlanetSide: Next REALLY lives up to what it should be. I'm rooting for it!
    The point of Planetside, at launch, was it's simulation of mass military engagement. It was having to manage armor columns, air support, resource management, and all other aspects of a military engagement. Players had to keep an eye on what continents they held, and where they were going.

    And SOE dropped the ball, big time, in Planetside. The game went from a campaign MMO to a session based MMO... and lets face it, when all the game is doing is session play, that's putting it square in the targets of Unreal and Quake.

    Building another Planetside and completely skipping the military simulation aspect is just going to keep all the older players away. Everybody who left in disgust after BRF's. Everybody who stared at the Caves and went "what was Sporkfire smoking and was it legal?" Everybody who went "Empire specific vehicles would have been nice... 4 years ago."

    Oh, and don't forget to actually keep updating the game. It's a little disgusting that Planetside, despite being launched after Windows Xp launched, has problems running under both Xp SP3 and Vista / Win7. It's a little disgusting that there's still no Linux client. Most other MMO's (World of Warcraft, WarHammer, City of Heroes, and Eve Online for example) have figured out they need to support the Linux segment, even if it's just paying Transgaming to make a Mac port against Cedega / Cider.

    Would I be interested in another Planetside?


    Would I be interested in another Planetside that has learned nothing from the past years?


    "you won't find any other FPS where you can have a 100 vs. 100 battle raging."

    don't you work for Sony? im sure you heard about MAG.

    and can we have a list of your characters in game in planetside, because none of us veterans remember you.
    You've got me for the next one. I still talk to my old "Skull Squadron" and we still tell war stories.

    I actually liked some of the travel times though. The anticipation of waiting to drop, or driving to the next base made the battles feel better. Maybe I'm in the minority and I'd happily give it up for another war story about a three hour long tower defense.
    Ahhh! The look has changed! And all the comments have been wiped away. ^_^ It's quite surprisingly different, yet still nice.

    Anyway, been reading your blog for a little bit John. Very excited to hear about the Planetside revival and the movement towards the sequel. It's kinda scary, as I just wrote a post about how people should pick up Planetside on Direct2Drive because it was included in the 5 dollar sale. :D

    PS really offered a very unique take on the MMO, and it really is the only game in its genre right now. So many games have gone the MMOFPS route, but none have done it in the way Planetside has chosen to do it, which makes me very excited to see what the team will come up with for the next game.

    The renewed focus on action and getting back into the fray will be very fun, to say the least, but it does make me concerned about possible issues like zerging. The respawn buffer was a nice deterrent against that type of play, to a degree. Obviously, zergs will occur no matter what you do, but a constant stream of reinforcements jumping back into the battle quickly might lead to sides simply brute forcing an area. The death buffer system at least gave the side with fewer numbers an advantage as long as they didn't keep losing men at a rapid pace.

    Either way, very much looking forward to the game. Excited to see how far you can push the concept with today's technology behind you.
    Or the comments were hidden from me until I posted a comment. -_-; Silly LiveJournal...
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