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Planetside 2: A Decade Later

Ok, it hasn’t been exactly a decade, but close enough.

It was an interesting experience coming back to PS2. Some things had changed – apparently people can build little outposts and fly capital ships around – but most of the game was exactly the same. Fighters spam rockets from the sky, except when you’re flying one, in which case you get a personal dog-fighter stuck to your ass. Tanks soak spawn points with fire. No one goes after the enemy Sunderer. Just Planetside things.

And yet… there are the same moments of brilliance. Breaking the back of an attack, and then running across the fields towards the enemy base in a counteroffensive. Actually finding a good spot and doing some work as an Infiltrator. Grabbing an AA rocket launcher and harassing everything in the sky.

The problem now is the same problem then: the fun is inconsistent. When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s bad, it’s awful and l want to uninstall. It doesn’t help that after a decade the remaining population is a congealed mass of bittervets who will waste you in any fair 1v1 situation. Kill screens show you the equipment of your betters, but it’s hard to tell what weapons they actually used and whether it would have made a difference. I’m glad there’s a testing ground where you can fire guns before purchasing, but the stat screens for these things are borderline nonsense.

At the end of the day though, Planetside 2 certainly feels like a better Battlefield game than any I’ve played since BF4. You have the spectacle of outrageously large fights with air support, and an actual ability to pull vehicles yourself. And individual skill can turn the tide if you C4 a key Sunderer.

But I think the days of spending 5 hours a night playing are, well, a decade behind me.

Fits and Spurts

It is difficult to play Guild Wars 2 in any sort of consistent manner.

I mean, sure, things would probably be easier if I were not so allergic to appointment gaming. But things are extremely fluid in GW2 that you must immediately drop whatever you are doing and follow the zerg when it appears like a flash mob. Otherwise you may be spending days or weeks hoping for lightning to strike twice to unlock one of ten million achievements or collections.

One of my long-term goals is to progress along the Season of Dragons meta-achievement, unlocking at least the 32-slot bag. This meta-achievement consists of dozens of other achievements, which are themselves unlocked by fulfilling a laundry list of tasks within specific zones. Some of those activities include things like “complete 10 bounties.” Bounties are basically extra-hard open-world group bosses that must be killed within 10 minutes. The LFG tool in GW2 is pretty useless for cobbling together groups, and it would be a bit irresponsible for me to create my own group for content I have no actual way to coordinate.

So… I wait and hope. And when I see someone running around the map with a Commander tag, I abandon my plans immediately (including going to sleep) and try to get whatever it is done.

So far, this strategy has been surprisingly successful. There are usually enough other achievements to work on while waiting to see if anything decides to spontaneously happen. But lately, it has stopped working. In particular, the Domain of Istan map only requires 5 bounties, of which I have 3 done, but the flash mob disbursed after Champion Suneh Stormbringer popped up and literally mopped the floor with us. Seriously, of all the bounties I have participated in, this guy was WAY overtuned. While the achievement can be earned with two more bounties of any type, I have nothing else to work on in that area – I must either camp on the map and be AFK, or try to organize something myself.

The flash mob situation was especially prevalent when I unlocked my WvW mount. I was just in WvW to get 1-2 daily achievements done to pocket 2g a bit easier. Three hours later, we assaulted and claimed a Keep, and then spent a considerable amount of time evicting the prior owners. That was not what I had intended to be doing with my playtime. I’m glad it happened, mind you, because now I don’t have to worry about it anymore. But as someone who prefers organization and analysis, it really makes me wonder how random I want my average game experience to be.

In any event, it is becoming increasingly clear that I need to join a guild. It is Guild Wars 2, after all. The issue is that you are basically in the same situation: waiting around for random guild chat spam in Lion’s Arch, or the sporadic and ephemeral postings on “Looking for Guild.” I found a promising guild on Reddit, but I’m chaffing a bit at the thought of having to essentially fill out a gaming resume and go through a probationary period. I get it, I was a GM for many years in WoW, and having some kind of filter would certainly have prevented a lot of awkward drama later on. And it’s not as though I want to join simply to leech goodwill.

But, ultimately, I don’t know how long I will be playing GW2, which days I will be playing, or even how long each individual session will be. There is an expansion coming up, and I’m very interested in that. So, maybe we just assume I’ll be around and go from there? All I really want is for another channel to be open in case someone wants some warm bodies to do X activity. I would settle for LFG if it were at all consistent.

All I know is that the quickest way to burnout is consistent inconsistency. So maybe I should solve it.