Planetside 2, ladies and gents… is quite simply fantastic. One early morning not so long ago, my alarm began ringing, “BEEP BEEP! Wake up Ripper X!” Any other morning I would not be so happy about a 6:00 am wake up call, but today, today is different. Two days prior, my mission had been confirmed via a throwaway cell phone sent anonymously to my house. The package included a note with one single line written on a bright white piece of paper. It told me to “PRESS ONE.” I was intrigued.
I’ll admit I was slightly disturbed as throwaway cell phones are often related to more sinister activities, but the way I figured, what did I have to lose? And so I pressed the mysterious number one.
A morphed voicemail told me to come to San Diego for an exclusive playtest of Planetside 2. I was in shock, could this be a joke? After all, this is the one game I’ve been dying to get my hands on and what are the chances it could actually be coming to fruition? I considered for a moment if I was getting trolled by one of the many masterminds on my gamer list, but lucky for you I decided to take the risk. And so began my journey to San Diego.
The drive was long, but after a couple of hours, I found myself at the specific location given. There, I met a few other journalists, including one from Germany, another from London, and so on. I wondered if they received the same cell phone package, but decided to just make small talk instead. After a short wait, a bus with our final clues picks us up.
“First destination is to Sony Electronics for a presentation from the developers themselves about Planetside 2. Second destination is to Sony Online Entertainment to playtest the game for a few hours.”
I couldn’t believe my ears, this was really happening.
The bus arrived at our first destination; we muddle into the Sony building, grab our name-tags and sign ourselves in as guests. My signature stated “RIPPA X – MMORPG.COM RULES!” I can’t help but smile and look around like a teenager sticking gum under the table.
We were escorted into a huge conference room with a massive screen, and there the Planetside 2 dev team awaited; smiling, calm and collected. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I want to hug everyone in the building, but instead, I decided to put on my man face and take a seat.
Creative Director Matt Higby, one of the gurus behind Planetside 2 (PS2), started to speak about the upcoming MMOFPS and shows us an exclusive trailer. The trailer was not available for filming at the time, but should be up and ready to go as of today! Let’s just say it gave me goosebumps. Enough said. Watch it for yourself.
While Matt begans to speak, Adam, another PS2 guru, played the game on the big screen. Matt tolds us about the new features and also mentions how Adam can’t seem to fly very well. Timely comment as Adam went on to crash into the ground.
Let’s go over some of the features Matt was talking about:
For those who are new to the game, Planetside 2 is for the PC. It’s an MMOFPS and will be released in 2012. And yes, it’s FREE to PLAY! For all those eager Planetside 2 beta testers, PS2 should be venturing into beta later this month or in August at the latest.
Matt mentioned shaving his head as an official sign of the beta beginning, so all nerds out there follow him on twitter @mhigby for all the latest in his hair escapades. In addition, @Planetside2 is also giving away free beta keys on a daily basis! Check it out.
To recap, again for those who have been hiding under a rock, Planetside 2 will have three factions:
The Terran Republic (Colors Red/Black)
Terran Republic – Like a militaristic government, the Terran Republic uses its Imperial authoritarian might to impel humanity to peaceful coexistence through any means necessary.
New Conglomerate (Colors Yellow/Blue)
New Conglomerate – A loosely connected group of rebel factions and idealistic freedom fighters, the New Conglomerate fight against the hegemony of the Terran Republic and the fanatical alien influence of the Vanu Sovereignty.
Vanu Sovereignty (Green/Purple)
Vanu Sovereignty – A technocratic faction that believes humanity can only evolve by rediscovering and tapping the lost technology of an ancient alien race
PS2 will feature massive multiplayer battles on huge open world maps. And when I mean huge, I mean huge. Each continent will have different landscapes, from dusty deserts to green lush vistas and tropical forests. There will also be snowy parts. *fingers crossed they add giant polar bears*
Essentially, the game world is huge and will take some getting used to. For this, the map is an excellent source of reference.
Also to make things more interesting, they will also have an app for the iPhone, iPod, and I believe Android, which will allow you to communicate with your squad, view maps and even communicate via voice-chat. This will be a valuable tool when guild/squad members are on the go, but still want to take part in the action and help their faction out.
Okay, now let’s talk classes. There are six unique classes all with different abilities and yes, “special abilities” as well. Special abilities do something “special” for a short period of time, and do have a recharge timer. To use a special ability, all you have to do is press “F.”
A jetpack trooper that can deploy their own ammo and is armed with a carbine
Heavy anti-infantry unit and anti-vehicle unit, can equip their faction's machine gun or anti vehicle weapon.
A class responsible for replenishing players' health and reviving them on the field, armed with a rifle.
A class responsible for vehicle repairs as well as fortification and is a handy anti-infantry class with its rifle or shotgun
A saboteur or a sniper, capable of cloaking, armed with a Sniper Rifle.
Mechanized Assault Exo-Suit (MAX)
An operator of the powerful armored robotic suit, capable of sustaining and dealing heavy damage, the only class that will require Engineer's attention along with a Medic’s.
Now, as for your own individual character, you will be able to upgrade and unlock abilities for your class based on “certification points.” You gain these by killing other players, attacking and defending bases and accumulating experience in the game world.
Besides the free-to-play model, there is also an in-game store/marketplace where you can purchase items and customize your character. There are also implants that can focus in specific areas depending on your play style. To boot, they also have a mission system, which allows players to gain additional experience throughout the game.
The vehicles in Planetside2 are where things really get interesting. There are ground vehicles, from 4-wheelers to tanks, as well as air vehicles and ships (small and large). Some are easy to maneuver and some a bit harder.
This is where the multi-dynamic gameplay comes in. With a coordinated group, a squad can sweep into a territorial location via ground and air, combining unlimited strategy to each area and base.
There isn’t a single specific way to play Planetside 2. It’s going to be fun to watch the game world fill up and competitive gamers deploy their own strategy and tactics while battling it out in a full scale war.
Well back to San Diego. The presentation was awesome! We were able to chat with the dev team a bit after and then jumped back on the bus to “Location 2.” This time we actually played the game hands on. Good thing I brought my GoPro! Check out the exclusive videos below of my first hand experience with the game, filmed right from my noggin. And feel free to email me at ripperx at mmorpg dot com if you have questions!