Pay2Winside 2

According to Steam, I have not played Planetside 2 in over a month. There are a number of reasons for this, but the bottom line is that it has gotten increasingly bad for “drop in, shoot faces” kind of gameplay, which is what I have spent the prior 433 hours doing. Maybe it would be more entertaining in a Platoon (i.e. guild), but if I wanted social obligation, I would be playing WoW. Besides, I’m not entirely convinced that Platoon-play is all that fun given that the “metagame” in PS2 mainly revolves around either zerging occupied bases or babysitting empty ones. If you want to shoot faces, you are literally better off finding the WoW equivalent of “Blacksmith Bridge” in Arathi Basin by yourself.

What completely astounds me however is how tone-deaf the developers are.

Implants were introduced into PS2 a while ago, and they represent an extra loadout choice slash gear progression avenue. You get them randomly whenever you earn XP, they require energy to power (something like 0.5/second for the low-level ones), you earn Energy Chargers the same way, and finally you can combine 5 of the same Tier N Implant to get a random Tier N+1 Implant. Or you could buy random Implants or Chargers with in-game Certs or Station Cash. Cue ominous foreshadowing.

Up until a little while ago, Tier 3 Implants were as high as things went. Then Tier 4 Implants were introduced. Then everything below Tier 4 was nerfed to make Tier 4 viable. Then the drop-rate for those random Implants (and Chargers) you get free via XP were slashed. Given how the Implants actually give you some legitimately quantifiable gameplay advantages, players started questioning SOE about P2W concerns. The response?

Palm meet face:

But perhaps you want to give Smedley the benefit of the doubt. Then mosey on over to this Reddit thread:

No I don’t believe I said that [Implants are big money makers]. They do make money but we’re continuing to make adjustments to improve that. (Radar_X)

So we should expect a bigger P2W experience?

Should probably just uninstall PS2 now. (Twinki)

Depends on how you define P2W. If implants are P2W, then yes you may not like everything in the future. (Radar_X)

Oh good.

On the one hand, I understand that they have to keep the lights on and all that. On the other hand… yeah, no thanks. I very nearly bought another $15 Station Cash card at Walmart because it seemed as though SOE was actually going to have a Triple Station Cash sale this past Christmas. Since the Walmart card has an extra 500 SC on it, it ends up being $60 worth of currency for $15. Then I realized that the only SOE title I actually care about beyond PS2 was H1Z1, which… well, yeah. Given how far PS2 is going to “keep the lights on,” I am beginning to doubt the promises that H1Z1 won’t be selling guns and/or survival tools in the store.

I suppose we’ll have to wait and see sometime after SOE stops selling Early Access for $20.

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Posted on January 2, 2015, in PlanetSide 2 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Even with these changes implants are still vastly less P2W than launch was. Where buying rocket pods, HE tank cannons, and Lib belly guns were all surefire routes to massive kill farming potential.

    However, more and more I can’t help but think that SoE is just using PS2 to fund EQN development.

    Higby’s been going on about how they have dearth of coders for over a goddamn year now. SoE’s career page has had multiple high level openings for even longer. And almost every fucking development for almost 2 goddamn years has shown that the team doesn’t have the ability to multitask or finish things that can’t be sold for SC.

    The PS2 team shipped how many feature complete things in 2014? Three. Implants, Valkyries, and the new death screen.

    And left AT LEAST that many things on the table half finished: mission system, resource revamp, and Hossin. Plus any number of other revamps to classes, vehicles, etc.

    Given all that, I think we can take Higby at his word in this instance. They do not have enough fucking people to realistically maintain the game in the long term.

    Why is this? Why can a large developer like SoE not furnish staff what has been by all accounts a profitable game? I can only imagine it’s because they’re really staking their entire future on EQN.

    I mean, EQN is such a huge fucking deal to SoE that they went and made Landmark as a way to beta test their voxel engine and outsource art asset design to their customers. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the fruits from other games were largely being funneled into it’s development.

    Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but it seems like a good explanation given the things we do know.

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    • Extremely good point about the P2W elements at launch. I was playing around that same time and I would agree that Rocket Pods in particular were beasts before the playerbase had time to unlock the lock-on AA missiles. It’s always kinda funny actually, as I typically see that same “OP Air” element in the weeks after launch in Battlefield 3 & 4 for the same reasons.

      But yeah, I have no idea what’s going on over in SOE. If they are relying on PS2 to fund EQN, I have to wonder exactly how bad their financials are. I mean, surely the division can’t just go bankrupt, right? Could they pull dollars from the Playstation branch?

      MMO development increasingly resembles Hollywood excess. I don’t know how many other studios can really sustain these sort of gambles.

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  2. The noises coming from SOE these days seem to suggest that they see consoles as the future. They keep quoting DCUO as a big success. H1Z1 is confirmed for PS4 and all the signs are that EQN is going to be a console game first and foremost. A few years ago tech commentators were talking about the PS4 generation of consoles being the last.

    Now consoles seem to have found a new lease of life and it’s PCs that look in difficulty. Five years from now how many homes will even own something we would recognize as a PC? What would people use it for? I’d guess all the investment and planning at SOE right now is aimed at ever-closer integration with the Playstation side of the business with any PC games a barely-considered afterthought.

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  3. I kinda side with Smedly here, he seems to have a reasonable definition of P2W; that is to say, one which is a spectrum, not a black-and-white thing. If a game has no cash shop whatsoever, but multiboxing is legal and helpful, then it is somewhat pay2win; but this fact is rarely admitted by the critics of P2W, many of whom are inveterate multiboxers. (I am myself an inveterate multiboxer, as well; but I am honest with myself about it, and recognize that it is a P2W element in games). In theory P2W is a bad thing, but there are literally no options in MMOland which are actually 100% free of it, at least not that I know of.

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    • I dunno. What I’m seeing here is that they have made it impossible to self-support yourself with Implants of any kind. Now, it was the case that I never even remotely had to worry about Energy while playing, so perhaps the faucet was a tad too high. But the introduction of Tier 4 and the nerfing of everything below it on top of the reduction of drops is kinda ridiculously overt. And there will be more Implant shenanigans in the future?

      To an extent, I realize that their hands are a bit tied – they can’t just keep making an endless amount of new weapons. But it’s a fact that they lost the huge population they had before (20 servers worth) and that amount might have sustained them via hat sales or whatever. Now that it’s gone, we’re down to almost tablet-style Energy meters.

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  4. Hi, just discovered the blog today! /waves to Bhagpuss too lol

    I’m one of those looking forward to Planetside2 on PS4. I tend to avoid shooters on PC for a number of reasons these days, first and foremost to avoid aggravating the RSI in my mouse wrist I got back in my competitive FPS days. So for me personally, I prefer shooters on consoles and I’m only doing Destiny these days. Planetside 2 seems like something I’d like but I haven’t given it enough of a go to really learn it on PC yet.

    I’m “typically” a fan of F2P in concept, though it really depends how “in your face” offensive and intrusive the studio or publisher is about trying to push sales on me. That said, I’ve never really gotten into PvP games because as much as “Pay2Win” gets bandied about in every F2P title under the sun, PvP is the only game mode with a clear “win” condition. I guess League of Legends does a fantastic job of it, though, and I never really hear anyone complain about their F2P model. I do play Ghost Recon Phantoms on occasion, which does sell gear outright and would typically fit my definition of “Pay2Win” but I can still get plenty of kills with my “never spent a damn cent” gear, so I dunno. I haven’t paid any attention at all to what PS2 has for sale and if it really makes that much of a difference to bother paying for or simply grinding. And that seems to be how the bulk of F2P works anyway: paying just gets you the stuff now instead of later.

    But the PS4 beta begins later this month, so hopefully I will get accepted so I can check out what they’re doing!

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