PS2: Lockdown!

 Ever since I started playing Planetside 2, way back in the beta days, players of all factions have been complaining about the impermanence of their combat exploits. The problem stems from the fact that captured bases can be re-captured by the enemy almost immediately thereafter - and this is a core component of the endless war PS2 is all about. But what happens when your faction achieves the ultimate victory of capturing a continent? The present system awards your faction a bonus. That’s it. You fight your way across every hex, pushing the enemy back to their warpgates, and then 5 minutes after your ultimate victory you are back fighting for the same hexes.

It appears the folks over at SOE have heard your complaints, and they are working on a concept to “lock down” captured continents. The following excerpt is from the March Roadmap for PS2, which can be found here.

In order to start laying the foundation for a proper metagame, we've been putting a lot of thought into continent locking. There are a lot of little snags and details still to work out, but the basic idea at the moment looks something like this:

  • Add the ability to capture a Warpgate.
    • This is accomplished by taking over all adjacent territory.
    • You won't be able to take over an Empire's final Warpgate. This restriction would go away if we ever pursue adding Sanctuaries.
  • Once a single Empire controls all territory on a continent, the continent enters a "locked" state:
    • All enemy units are removed from the continent and spawn in at an available Warpgate.
    • The continent can not be entered/attacked by enemy units for a period of time.

If you are like me, you read the first bullet point and thought to yourself “finally!” Then you read on to the second bullet point and started thinking about the implications of such a system. Since I happen to enjoy raining on everyone’s parade, I invite you to try on the loser's shoes for a bit and walk around in them. Imagine choosing the wrong faction as a newbie, only to end up getting camped at the last continent your faction has an active warpgate in. Breaking out may be fun, eventually, but getting pummeled over and over again for poking your nose out of the shields is bound to chase some players off the game. Still think it’s a good idea?

Going back to the winning side, does chasing an enemy entirely off the playing field constitute a “fun” reward for your efforts? The whole point of the game is to fight this forever-war, finding the enemy and vanquishing them from their positions or defending your bases from them. If you conquer the continent, and everyone that’s not wearing your uniform is “locked” out from spawning in it, you are essentially given one of two unfun choices. The first is to hope your server is not so busy that you can’t switch continents to continue the fight elsewhere. The second is waiting around for the continent you conquered to be “unlocked” again and for your enemies to return. That’s right folks, your reward for winning is a loading screen or a period of waiting. Two things us gamers love about our first person shooters.

You may be thinking “way to go GoodSam, shooting down ideas without offering your own.” Well, I happen to think the current system is just fine. I enjoy the seesaw of conquering territory and then having to defend it. It is fun, realistic, and forces players to think strategically as well as tactically. There’s a balance to be struck between making conquest fun and rewarding and forcing players to adapt between offensive to defensive roles. The current system may be lacking a bit in the “rewards” department, but it still offers the combat we all flocked to PS2 for in the first place. While this is clearly still in its developmental stages, there are some serious issues that need to be addressed.

You can read and discuss SOE's continent-locking suggestion, as well as many other suggestions, at PS2's Roadmap site. 

I play all kinds of games as evidenced by my ever-expanding Steam library. Glad to be back!