Another patch rolled out for Planetside 2 this weekend, a 2.9 gig monster that makes major changes to territorial control, experience gains, and a slew of balance changes, including another grip of air-oriented buffs and anti-aircraft nerfs. With nine days left until the game's public release, the final form of Planetside 2 is rapidly solidifying and taking shape.
Tugging Your Zerg to Victory
The headlining feature of the November 11th patch is undoubtedly the new territorial control system. Instead of the previous system of conquest tickets generating on the basis of captured points and the influence of adjacent territorial control, the new capture mechanics features a “Tug of War” system, in which there is no spontaneous generation of base capturing tickets. Instead, there is a finite number of tickets which will be fought over by the attackers and defenders. Physically holding (and actively defending!) a point with the physical presence of players in proximity to the capture point will boost your faction's control of the base and decrease the enemy's. The basic gist of the new system is to prevent base captures from being a roaming zerg of capturing a point before scampering off to the next, leaving the newly captured point abandoned until the defenders send a squad over to do the exact same thing. The more players you have defending a point (up to 12), the faster the point will accrue tickets from the enemy. To better cater to this new factor, called “player leverage,” the capture range of a point has been increased. Your twelve man squad won't be forced to stand in a tight, grenade-friendly patch of open ground in the center of a room or (heaven forbid) outdoors. Territorial adjacency will continue to play a role in speeding up the capture of a base, so really the only change for smart players will be to remember to dig in at a point instead of running off.
Taking Bases To Taking Continents
Territorial control bonuses have also been added, adding an element of strategy to the metagame. Each type of major facility now conveys a bonus to the controlling faction, with Bio Labs offering health regeneration, Amp Stations causing base defense turrets to recover from overheating faster, and Tech Plants required for spawning Main Battle Tanks like Magriders and Prowlers. Compared to the Tech Plant, the bonuses for the other facilities are marginal. Tanks will still be available from Warp Gates regardless of whether you own a Tech Plant or not, but if you want to spawn one at a tower, Bio Lab, Amp Station, etc., owning a Tech Plant will be a big deal.
Should your faction perform the famed Planetside 1 continent lockdown, capturing the entire map and shoving the other factions into their warpgates for even five minutes, the dev team has announced that your faction will enjoy a global bonus until such time as someone else managed the same feat on the same continent. Each continent will have a different bonus for locking it down, with Esamir offering a ground vehicle discount, Indar discounting infantry consumables, and Amerish having a sale on air vehicles.
Experience Experiences Adjustment
Experience adjustments had been put into place, generally resulting in a lowering of experience gain and a raising in the amount of experience needed to gain a certificate. Previously, certificates were awarded every 250 experience points, and this had been increased to a 1 certificate to 500 experience ratio. How that experience is rewarded has also been changed. This past week, the experience rewards for attacking and defending a base were rejiggered, giving a defender a bonus to every experience-rewarded action taken while defending a base but no big, final victory bonus. Attackers, on the other hand, receive no bonus experience for attacking the base, but successfully capturing a base nets them an extra lump experience bonus.
Planetside 2 Arsenals Inching Ever Closer to Borderlands-Level
More weapons had been made available for purchase, including the newly unveiled scout rifle class. Scout rifles are fully automatic, full-sized battle rifles, with twenty round clips, heavy recoil, and formidable damage potential - exclusive to the Infiltrator class. The rifle, given its fully automatic nature and substantial recoil, seems like a mid-to-close range option for snipers who want to get close to the action but not necessarily running around a base with a knife like an aspiring techno-ninja. New pistols were unlocked for each faction, as well as one or two new variants for shotguns and default class weapons. In other infantry related news, grenades hurled in the last frenzied second of life will explode after the death of their owner and deployed mines and explosives will persist even after class change, which is a welcome change to those of us enamoured with the romance of minefields.
In Which I Am Doomed To Write About Aircraft Buffs Again
Vehicle changes can be summarized as another push of aircraft buffs. Heavy Assault anti-aircraft missiles have had their damage reduced, Galaxies had their resistance to flak increased, making them that much more attractive a choice as an assaulting dropship. Liberators have received buffs to their 105mm cannon, 150mm cannon, Tank Buster cannon, and Shredder cannon as well as having their resistance to most damage types increased. Air-to-air missiles have been buffed while fighter dedicated air-to-air cannons have been nerfed while fighter resistance to aircraft-mounted machine guns have been increased. As an inveterate critic of Planetside airpower, I find most of the recent air changes inexplicable, though this patch's nerfing of air-to-ground rocket damage and the air-to-air missile buffs were completely foreseeable. Outside of aircraft the vehicle changes were minor, amounting to a ten round increase in the size of the Skyguard magazine, a recoil reduction to the 120mm Prowler cannon, and some minor changes and fixes to the Sunderer's AMS terminals.
It seems likely that by the November 20th drop date, Planetside 2 will have developed into a game with a unique identity, distinct from its Planetside and Battlefield 3 predecessors. While there is still much work to be done, it does appear that it could be possible to hit their release date with much of their announced target features implemented and functioning.
Full patch notes can be read here: http://forums.station.sony.com/ps2/index.php?threads/update-notes-11-10-2012.43562/