Implants are the new hotness coming to Planetside 2 tomorrow, the big new itemization and crafting update that’s been long awaited in SOE’s blockbuster MMOFPS. We caught up with the folks on the design team to chat about Implants and what effect SOE hopes they’ll have on the long-term progression system for the MMO.
UPDATE: SOE (and user Jakin) just contacted us to let us know that due to the fires in the San Diego area, the update has been delayed until next week. Sorry about the confusion!
The goal of the system was a simple one: to add strategy to individual loadouts. What you pick helps you in the situations you come into. Hold Breath is used for sniping, but not really necessary for others. You can swap them out regularly, based on what you'll be doing or what you think you'll run into, but all are situationally based.
When the system was first offered up on the Road Map they got a lot of feedback, and took the whole system back to drawing board. For instance they got rid of consumable aspects, so instead PS2 now has a whole new crafting system and ways to alter your own personal combat effects. It's been running on the live test server for a while and goes to all players tomorrow.
Essentially, Implants are a whole a new itemization system in three parts. There are Implants themselves, which can be obtained via drops from in-game during any experience earning event (base caps, kills, etc). They are powered by chargers, and these are applied to your character. They're like batteries for your implants, and can be looted, or crafted. How? With the Nano-cycler crafting system of course! Charges are running whenever equipped, there's no activating or de-activating them, and when it runs out you recharge them with chargers.
The system is launching with about 10 different combat effects, and implants come in three tiers. Early tiers scale across all three. For example, you might start with Range Finder, which tells you how far away something you're targeting is and at Tier 1, it may work up to 200 meters. But as it scales at later tiers and levels up with you, that range goes up to 500. Some only exist in the 3rd tier and these are the stronger ones.
The Nano-cycler gives you randomized effects based on what you put in, but the UI will show you what tiers of implants you're inputting and what tier you can expect to get out based on chances. You have a guarantee then on what type of item and tier you might get, but what it actually does is all chance.
In the shop, SOE has booster packs of implants for sale via certs or station cash, but the team expects a lot of people can sustain from drops and crafting via the nano-cycler. For those that don’t have as much time, or play a little here or there, they can easily get them via the shop using in-game or real money. You might be wondering if these will be overpowered then, and thus, necessary... luckily, SOE was kind enough to assure us they're not and that all which can be bought can be earned just as easily.
Here's a preview of a few of the Implants and how they effect combat:
Everyone has a default Implant called Enhanced Targeting. This allows one to see health of enemies or vehicles, and helps with enemy/ally identification. It still consumes chargers, as they wanted everyone to be involved in the system immediately.
Battle Hardened reduces the camera shake for you. Makes it easier to concentrate when large explosions are happening all around, and not screw up your aiming.
Marker: This spots enemies you damage. One hit, they show up as arrow on map, and their nameplate is highlighted. You can't see this through walls or anything, but the goal was to make it like a hunter's mark for group play.
Counter Intelligence: This one simply tells you when you've been spotted or marked, and thus says... RUN!
Safe Landing: Reduces fall damage greatly, allowing you to safely fall from great heights.
Sensor Shield: This one is an awesome Implant that makes you undetectable from radar, unless you're sprinting. Want to get the jump on a sniper? This is your ticket.
I asked the team is this was just the beginning of Loot in PS2? And the answer was a simple: If people like these, we’ll be adding more effects, more consumables, and yes adding other types of loot to the world, but not like Borderlands 2 with a billion guns anytime soon. That last part was music to my ears, as PS2 should always be about team play and skill, not best gear in your squad and SOE knows that's the way it should stay. You can check out the new Implants and crafting system this Thursday, when the update goes live.
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.