December 16 2012
The games we enjoy the most often lead us to speculate on additions and improvements that could make them better. PlanetSide 2 is no exception, and the official forums are packed with interesting suggestions for SOE to consider as they continue to develop the game.
We've already had a few hints about the direction they might be taking, but here are some things I would like to see in PlanetSide 2.
Meta Game Refinements
Although PlanetSide 2's bases are much larger and more varied than those in the original, the arrangement and mechanics of spawn and capture points could be a lot better. Why place a spawn room outside where it can be camped by tanks? It's cool to have a few huge bases, but the bigger they are, the harder they tend to be to defend. While there are exceptions, such as Bio Labs and The Crown, many of the game's bases don't seem designed to facilitate defense.
Similarly, I'm not sure why almost every capture point is inside a room, and is only capturable by infantry. It wouldn't be that difficult to include some map objectives tailored to armor or air units rather than infantry.
Capture point mechanics could also use improvement. As it stands it's far too easy for one player to back capture bases simply by hiding for a minute or two waiting for the attackers to move on. Nobody wants to sit idle at a base just in case a single attacker to shows up, and then run between the base's capture points playing whack-a-mole. There are several solutions to this problem, with the simplest being a timer that would limit how often bases can be flipped.
Better Communication Tools
PlanetSide 2 is a very team-oriented game where players can work together in 12-man squads, or even larger platoons and outfits. While the integrated voice chat is helpful, other comm systems are lacking or entirely absent. By spending some Cert points you can place some rudimentary waypoints on the map, but a squad leader should also be able to set objectives for air, armor, and infantry units separately if they wish, as well as identify specific targets for concentrated fire.
In the original PlanetSide a leader could eventually draw on the map and it could be seen by the whole platoon. They clearly have the know-how, so hopefully they're working on similar functionality for the new game. It would also be nice to see at least the number of the driver of a vehicle on the map, as there is presently no way to determine which squad members are in any given squad vehicle.
No doubt, SOE already has plans to add more vehicles to the game, but we don't have many details yet on the direction they intend to go. At this stage, the first PlanetSide still has more vehicles. There is certainly room for a vehicle carrier like the old Lodestar, but I also hope they explore the possibility of vehicles that carry Max units that can use their weaponry while in transport.
In my view, the franchise has always lacked a "heavy tank." Something that packs a huge punch at medium range, requires several players to be fully operational, and moves very slowly. With the right a balance between making them powerful, cumbersome, and rare, they might become a moving target to fight over rather than just rolling on to the next base.
A game of PlanetSide 2's scope also calls for long-range artillery that employ a spotting mechanic that coordinates them with Infiltrators, hopefully better implemented than the original game's Flail.
For greater defensive capabilities, a deployable bunker of some kind for infantry, perhaps with a turret on it, might make a neat addition to the game. I also like the ideal of having shields on turrets that can be temporarily be charged up by Engineers.
This wish list could go on for a long while, but I'll have to wrap it up here for now, and reserve the right to elaborate further in future articles.