Earlier today Matthew Higby, creative director of PlanetSide 2, was interviewed during a segment at the Major League Gaming (MLG) Dallas event regarding PlanetSide 2 and its future implementation in MLG. On January 25th Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and MLG announced a partnership. To quote the article, PlanetSide 2 “will span all of MLG’s properties including original broadcast programming, online competition and presence at MLG events.”
Here are a few details Higby laid out about PS2 in MLG:
- It will be 48v48, meaning Platoon vs Platoon
- Teams will only be able to practice in the open world. No private instanced servers for practice, so that each team is always involved in the conflict on the servers.
- There will be objectives within the bases and map.
- Weapon choices will be limited based on balance.
How Could This Work?
Platoon vs Platoon is the perfect size for MLG competition. Let’s go back to the quote from above where it mentions “presence at MLG events.” What I envision for this is 5 people go to the live event to represent each outfit. You take 4 squad leaders plus the 1 platoon leader as live representatives of the 48 people on each side. These 5 people act as the face for the outfits. Seed money can be split among the 5 with Station Cash as a reward to the entire platoon and add in customized camouflage and decals announcing the outfits accomplishment to the entire server and you have satisfying rewards for everyone involved.
Being forced to practice in the open world forces the eSports outfits to continue the good fight alongside everybody else on their faction. PlanetSide 2 is the players and you don’t want anything detracting from creating an engaging and populated server.
How SOE decides the layout of the objectives will be one of the key elements in making PlantSide 2 interesting to watch. Allow me to explain my vision for this. Imagine a standard StarCraft 2 match wherein each player has his starting base and then branches out to expansions and third bases. The objective is map domination through attrition, multiple and varied attacks or simple aggressive offense. If you narrow PlanetSide 2 down to two home bases you now have equally engaging fundamentals which makes the game both standardized and dynamic. Each outfit begins with a starting base and there are multiple towers, outposts and mini objectives held throughout the land between the two bases. Make some objectives permanently capturable (so you can simulate a front in a real battle) and make some capture and hold so that you have constant fighting over certain areas of the map. You can change the tile set for the maps to simulate the 3 continents currently in the game or you can make one standard map for the first MLG event so that everyone is on a level playing field. You want constant skirmishes between small fire teams, MBTs flanking at full speed, ESFs diving through the air to take out key Sunderers and Liberators and Galaxies populating the sky. You want the match to simulate those nail-biting moments that happen in StarCraft 2 matches because that’s what gets the viewers, and that’s what gets people cheering for their favorite team. Small victories lead to one big victory.
Weapon balance is also one of the key points, but it remains to be seen what SOE considers “balanced.” They need to make sure that balance means that everything has a counter, instead of marginalizing the differences between the factions that make them so distinct. You want heavy-hitting guns against fast-firing guns against guns that shoot lasers. It’s the core of the three faction fighting, which is the core of PlanetSide 2.