The battle for Auraxis will thunder on once again as Sony Online Entertainment prepares to launch Planetside 2, the sequel to their critically acclaimed MMOFPS Planetside, on November 20th.
Planetside 2, like its predecessor, will be one of the few MMO first person shooters to grace the market. The game features three different teams with five class choices. It focuses on open-world, large-scale combat fought in a variety of ways including on-foot, in ground vehicles and in air craft. Each map can hold up to 2000 players fighting for control over its various territories.
The story of Planetside 2 remains much the same as that of the first title. After discovering a single habitable planet while exploring deep space through a wormhole, The Terran Republic, an authoritarian, military-crazed collectivist government, quickly begin to colonize the planet and name it Auraxis.
The colonists soon discover the remains and technology of an ancient alien civilization known as the Vanu. This technology allows the Terrans to quickly colonize the ten continents of Auraxis, provide an energy source for vehicles traversing the planet and develop rebirthing technology.
Rebirthing allows the Terrans to deconstruct and reconstruct their bodies for fast transportation across Auraxis. It is soon discovered that this technology could bring dead workers back to life, leading to the possibility of immortality.
Not long after the rebirthing technology is discovered, the wormhole that connects Auraxis with Earth collapses, leaving the colonists stranded. The leaders of the Terran Republic soon come to the conclusion that the technology might have negative effects on future colonies and could lead to their destabilization. Restrictions are placed on the technology so that they can study it further without interruption from outsiders. The idea of immortality soon leads to disagreements between several groups who each have their own philosophy on how the technology should best be used.
Civil unrest begins to raise its head, and technophiles, rogue scientists and military deserters soon break off from the republic, mad with power that the technology promises to bring. After a bloody battle, the technophiles declare themselves the Vanu Sovereignty, a group dedicated to the further development and research of the ancient technology.
The Sovereignty begins experiments to improve humans through modification of the technology, which leads to suspicion and the declaration of war from another group known as the New Conglomerate, a group that broke away from the Terran Republic and views the Sovereignty’s experiments as a hindrance on humankind’s natural progression.
300 years after Auraxis has been discovered, a war has been waging between all three factions for over 100 years, with no sign of the bloodshed slowing down.
Planetside 2 will not, in a sense, be a sequel, but rather a re-imaging. It features the same world and factions and takes place around the same time period as Planetside. The territory system that made Planetside so special will once again return, but will be more complex and play a bigger part in the game.
The game’s combat will take place on continents that are divided into numerous territories of different shapes and sizes, all of which can be captured by rival factions. Each territory has a resource value that is rewarded to whichever faction captures it. Resources are used for the purchase of vehicles, weapons and customizations. When a territory is held it exerts influence.
Think of influence as a boon for the teams. The surrounding area of a territory determines it. If an attacking force has a territory surrounded, they will be able to capture that territory much faster. An area is far in behind its own lines will be much easier to hold for the defenders due to the influence bonus. A high influence will give an empire a much faster capture time.
Players can choose from five pre-set classes, each with their own special ability to aide with battle.
The Light Assault class comes equipped with a jetpack capable of providing flight for a short time. The L.A. can make use of several grenades and explosives, and comes equipped with a carbine rifle. The Heavy Assault class brings a machine gun in to battle along with an anti-vehicle weapon. He can activate an energy shield, which will absorb damage for a short time. The Medic is charged with keeping other players alive and reviving them. He’s armed with an assault rifle. The Engineer repairs vehicles and fortifications, deploys ammo and gun turrets and comes equipped with a carbine. The Infiltrator is the sniper class capable of cloaking, hacking into consoles and spotting enemies.
There was a sixth class known as the Mechanized Assault Exo-Suit (MAX), but it is now treated as a vehicle rather than a distinct class due to players using them for MAX zergs. The MAX is capable of sustaining and dealing heavy damage and can only be healed by engineers. It can be equipped with different types of weapons including anti-infantry, anti-armour, anti-air and flamethrower arms.
More than ten vehicles will be used, falling into two main categories. The Nanite Systems (NS) vehicles are the common vehicles that any faction can obtain. The empire you are representing can only obtain the Empire Specific (ES) vehicles. There are three ES aircraft and three ES ground vehicles. More may be added before launch.
As players take part in and complete objectives, they gain experience. This experience will increase the player’s Battle Rank and reward them with certification points. As the player increases their Battle Rank, they will unlock various titles and improved certifications, which will grant the player new abilities or items. The player can make use of this system to customize the way they play using different classes and vehicles. As an example, a player can purchase a cert to allow the Sunderer vehicle to act as a spawn point or an ammo depot. This is especially helpful for when players are launching a large assault on an enemy controlled facility.
Planetside 2 will follow the freemium business model, meaning that the game itself will be free-to-play, but will include a cash shop. The shop will sell equipment that is obtainable through in-game progression, XP and resource boosters and cash shop exclusive customizations. It will not sell vehicles or weapons that would make paying players stronger than those who choose not to pay.
Planetside 2 is shaping up to be one hell of a game. It’s been almost ten years since its predecessor, and fans have been patiently waiting for a follow-up. The game is currently in open beta phase and recently added a new map for players to try out. If you’ve never experienced Planetside, this pas the potential to change your perception of FPS titles forever! It’s big. It’s fun. It’s Planetside.