PlanetSide plans for the future

SOE reveals blueprint to revamp its massive multiplayer online tactical shooter.

Late today, Sony Online Entertainment sent out a list of planned updates for its massive multiplayer online shooter, PlanetSide. In the company's own words, "the game is getting a makeover." Judging by the long list of gameplay improvements--available below with designers' comments--that is most definitely the case.

Core Combat Improvements:

  • Adding Geowarp Redoubts for more respawns.
  • Adding Equipment Terminals to Redoubt buildings.
  • Benefits for locking all six buildings in a cavern. If a Cavern is locked, then any friendly surface facilities connected to that cavern (via the lattice through the geowarps) will act as if it had ALL SIX MODULES INSTALLED. (The same rules as "sharing" a Module ability or FLB across the lattice, using the cavern as the origin point for determining which facilities are affected.)
  • All cavern hack timers will be increased to 10 minutes, to balance the power of the new lock benefits.
  • Increasing Ancient Module life span to 28 hours.
  • The Spiker will now charge up to the maximum and remain fully charged. However, it will begin consuming ammo every second it remains at max charge before firing. The ammo clip will be increased from 25 to 50 to compensate for this.
  • Modules may no longer be attained at any time from the Module Cradles in the Module Buildings. Instead, Modules spawn randomly and periodically depending on player population. More players = more modules = more fights in the caverns because more players are available to fight there then...and the modules are more common at those times.
  • Module runners will no longer be trapped in the caverns due to Population locks.

Design Comments: As you can see, this takes the Caverns and makes them a vibrant part of the global war. Cavern locks are powerful, the modules will (by nature of their spawn timers) be available only when lots of players are available, so Module fights are more likely to occur because players have to go for them at those times, and the respawn issues are improved. Should be a lot of fun.

Dynamic Warpgates and Population Indicators:

  • The Sanctuary warpgates will be restructured as "Broadcast Warpgates". These modified warpgates allow connection only to warpgates on continents that are connected to continents over which that Empire has Dominion.
  • Allows broadcast warpgates from Dominated warpgates, thus improving continent-to-continent travel for forces on the move.
  • Relative population listings will allow players to find the best fights more easily.
Design Comments: This is all about changing the focus of the game from "spread outward from the Sanctuary" to "spread outward from your chosen base of battle". It keeps the gameboard fresh by changing it occasionally, while still allowing the players to make impacts of their own on the world.

Continental Dominion and Capitol Buildings:

  • Take the Capitol to Dominate a continent. (Get broadcast sanctuaries via any warpgate on that continent.)
  • Take all facilities on the continent to Lock the continent. (Stop drop pods, stabilize the global links, and flip the towers to your control)
  • Creates a grand new battle game type with the combination of sub-capitols and capitols. Many new ways to play the game and adding variety to the rest of the map by making the play experiences more varied. See the In Concept Article for more information.
Design Comments: This will be a big shakeup in how Empires take and hold continents, making them more interesting, giving a concrete and climactic resolution to the takeover, and drawing players to a battle unequaled in any other gameplay experience.

Defensive Force Domes:

  • Defensive Force Domes will be erected around certain facilities once they are captured.
  • These Domes will require new tactics to penetrate and offer new metrics for rewarding defenders.
Design Comments: Defensive Force Domes will give defenders the chance to win a combat encounter, with a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction having driven an enemy away from their facility for a period of time.

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