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Feature Article

Guerilla Tactics Rule on PlanetSide 2's New Continent

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Swamp thing.

The war for Auraxis has raged on across deserts, mountains, and even tundra, but now it's time to add some roses to your guns and crank up your "Welcome to the Jungle:" The new continent of Hossin is now available to PlanetSide 2 players.

Hossin is covered in swamps and marshes and evokes the feel of a murky biome. A constant haze limits your visibility, while overgrowth, gnarled roots, and hollow logs offer cover on the ground. The terrain features so much natural cover that guerrilla tactics become the law of the land and limit the power of brute force. The canopies of the continent's many forests add a new depth to aerial dogfights where pilots are fighting the terrain as much as they're fighting enemy pilots. The facilities and outposts themselves are not entirely completed, and the continent has been labeled with an "Early Expedition" tag from Sony Online Entertainment to remind players that battling on Hossin is not free from hiccups. Bases that have not had their level design optimization are labeled with words that highlight their antiquity.

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The various bases that have been completed display how far the level design in PlanetSide 2 has evolved over the course of its life span. The new base layouts feature better interaction between the placed objects, like floors and buildings, as well as meticulously handcrafted terrain. The Hayd Skydock outpost brings the framework of the bio lab to the ground quite literally, having soldiers fight inside a dome that appears to have crashed or sunken into the ground below. You can tiptoe along the pipes that hold the framework of the bio lab's shields (which offer no shielding here). With the building itself sunken into the ground, the floor has become earthen, with jagged rocks replacing some of the familiar buildings of an otherwise standard dome.

The Gourney Dam outpost features a reservoir of toxic material you must avoid while only providing some fairly thin bridges for infantry within the base itself. The dam's capture point is across the pond from its spawning room, encouraging standoffs and drawing any and all traffic to the limited footpaths of the area. Just to the north of the dam rests Nason's Defiance, a building atop a roomy cavern, adorned with three capture points that sprawl across the vast area. Point A sits in isolation to the south, while B very nearly hugs the spawn tubes, and C rests underground in the cavern upon which the facility was built. The entire base is elevated above the ground, leading to light assaults jetpacking to ascend the walls, while other players funnel in through ramps and lifts to try to get a foothold to penetrate the base's defenses.

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In my own play, I joined the Vanu in defense of the eastern facility, Nettlemire Gardens, as a New Conglomerate line of tanks assembled on the northern road alongside enough sunderers to supply a steady stream of money-grubbing dogs of war. I hopped into a lightning tank and navigated through the swamps and around the glowing shrubbery to flank the NC's armor line and damage their freshly spawned soldiers before they could push out. After my tank was taken down, I donned my jetpack and skirted the same path, climbing up trees to get a better vantage point and use my C4 to take down the blue buses that were spawning soldiers. My fellow Vanu handled the tanks as we pushed out the NC threat and began to siege their base to the north, The Ziggurat. But the pyramid's side platforms, featuring a spawning room and a portal, and a pain field to keep us back, proved to be too strong in their strategic value, and the NC MAXes pushed us off and away, and eventually a second NC armor column reinforced its comrades from the north and pushed us back to the gardens and returned us to low tide in the waves of battle.

Along with the new continent, PlanetSide 2 now features continent locking, which completely locks the continent from other players being able to play on it (until a new continent is locked). Continents may be locked by taking control of at least 94 percent of a continent's territory, or by winning alerts (the game's dynamic event system), which are now focused entirely on one continent at a time, rather than offering the global "capture bio labs" or "capture tech labs" that had been commonplace. During a continent lock, the empire responsible for the lock gets a surge in power on the other continents, as vehicles or infantry explosives and medkits become half price depending on the continent that has been captured. Hossin still has the Interlink Facilities to come, a new base type for PlanetSide 2, but a familiar name to those who played the original PlanetSide and remember the epic battles over the nigh impregnable basements of the interfarms in the days of old.

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The locked continents help saturate populations on the other continents and ensure players aren't always fighting in the same place. When a continent finally unlocks once again, the warp gates on the map shuffle for each continent, freshening up the gameplay by giving the different factions a new point of origin on the land. No longer do you have to suffer from IndarSide 2 syndrome, where once an alert dies down you return to Indar for the majority of combat; now, you are forced to explore the other battlegrounds. Outfits are also now able to recruit through an in-game recruiting system to bolster the numbers of the organized platoons on Auraxis, and display outfit pride through purchased decals. Once a base is captured, the game displays the decal of the outfit whose members contributed the most scoring points in the base's capture.

If you've been looking for an excuse to get back to contributing to the war effort on Auraxis, the launch of the Hossin continent is what you've been waiting for. The swamps and jungles are the perfect chance to channel your inner Rambo as you sneak through them to rescue allies as a lone guerrilla trudging through the bogs of Hossin.

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