The Littlest Things

In the midst of a bout of gaming ennui, I find myself coming back time and again to PlanetSide 2. The game has some serious structural issues – to say that it’s still in Beta is somewhat less of a joke these days – and there is every indication that a sustainable population might not be there for too much longer. I created characters of each faction back when you were unable to have multiple factions on the same server, but a series of server merges have resulted in all three being on the same one (out of two) NA server.

In fact, going by that website, Ps2 has gone from 28 servers worldwide down to… 5. My routine when booting up the game is to filter the four continent maps by Ally Activity, and only choose to play if one continent has more than three hexes with at least 24+ friendly player activity. It is… not guaranteed, even during EST prime time.

So why am I still playing at all? It’s a good question, and the only real explanation is this: the Phoenix Launcher.

My “main” character was initially a member of the Vanu faction, which is based around laser/plasma weapons. Each faction has access to “empire-specific” weapons that have no real analog amongst the others. Technically all non-NS weapons are unique, but the difference between the LMG that has more ammo vs the less-ammo-but-higher-damage vs the middling one without bullet drop is not all that great. The empire-specific weapons are a whole other ballgame though.

The difference between the empire-specific rocket launchers is perhaps the greatest in the game. The Vanu have a charge-up laser launcher that has basically zero travel time. The TR have a lock-on rocket launcher that fires five rockets in a row. And the NC? The Phoenix Launcher, which fires a camera-guided and steerable rocket.

I have “quit” PlanetSide 2 several times already, for a number of reasons. But lately I keep coming back for the Phoenix Launcher because it is about the most fun I have had in a FPS… at least in a while. Which is bizarre because only the Heavy Assault class can use the weapon, and it is not as though I spend all my time playing just that class. It’s like the mere possibility of my being able to steer a rocket up over cover and around the cliff the enemy tank is hiding behind is enough to get the juices flowing. I’ll repair the base turrets as an Engineer and play Medic to forward a base assault just to set up the opportunity later to ride some rockets around.

In the abstract, I clearly enjoy the base gameplay too. And that’s true. But without the Phoenix Launcher, that would not have been enough for me to justify my continued play.

I cannot quite decide if that is sad, or precisely the way things should be.

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Posted on October 3, 2014, in PlanetSide 2 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Not feeling the Reaver? The Air Hammer is still probably the most fun ESF nosegun in the game.

    But yeah, I feel ya. I’ve technically been playing since closed beta, but most of this year I’ve hardly spent any time playing. Burned out after fighting the ZOE swarm for 8 months and there hasn’t been enough fun new toys to bring me back for any substantial length of time.

    Everything’s just too rote, too stale. Even adding Hossin and revamping Amerish haven’t helped at all.

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    • I feel like every time I pick the Air Hammer, I am presented with a half-dozen Liberator and/or Sunderer-without-AA-support opportunities. Or just simple dogfights in which I cannot hit crap unless I riding their jet exhaust.

      What I’m really miffed about though is the utter lack of 2x and/or 3x Station Cash sales. I still have a $15 Walmart card from like last Christmas sitting in a desk drawer. I get that SC isn’t exactly Ps2-specific (at least, that’s why I assume they’re not doing deals lately), but come on. At this point, the SC is going to be spent on an entirely different (SOE) game.

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  2. Didn’t they say there would never be any more 2x (let alone 3x) SC sales? They mostly do add-on points deals with specific suppliers nowadays.

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    • If that is actually the case, I will be very disappointed. :(

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      • Smed said some time ago that they aren’t gone, but at the same time they haven’t done a triple SC sale since xmas 2012 and the only double SC sales they’ve done have been vendor specific.

        So yeah. Pretty sure they’re done and dusted man.

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