"Accidentally Fun" Games & PlanetSide 2

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by Campagne, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. Campagne

    Some games on the market are very fun, enjoyable titles a player can sink hours into. But an objectively badly designed game wrought with design and implementation flaws exists on the other side of the same coin. The games which lie upon the coin's rim I like to call "accidentally fun" games, in that they're fun and enjoyable yet it would seem to be entirely by chance in spite of the development team.

    I have two such examples with me here today: Warface and GTAV (Online)


    Warface is a multiplayer free-to-play competitive PVP FPS with optional COOP missions on the side. (Please note I have not played this game for some years now, and as such some things may have changed). The COOP missions were fairly good to downright awesome. My favourite mission, Earthshaker, is legitimately one of my most highly rated mission in any FPS game I've ever played. The four-player team rides in on a helicopter firing down at the landing sight right from the start of the mission, fighting their way into a massive underground base going down floor after floor via elevators at the end of each stage. At the end of each stage upon reaching the elevator all ammo, health, armour, equipment, and teammates are restored, meaning one player can save the day every floor. The interior is a sleek and modern all-white laboratory style security complex fitted with a variety of turrets, enemies, obstacles, and tricks. These can range quite a lot, with walls with fast-moving ball turrets called "armadillo" turrets which can be destroyed by tossing a grenade into their tracks or by being shot, though they take a lot of damage and dish it out quite well. One floor is a small maze filled with smoke and about a hundred guys with batons. It sounds easy when there's four guys with machine guns and rifles and shotguns and all that crap, but I found that one to be one of the hardest floors to get past as well as one of the most fun. If I can recall correctly, there are about 20 levels to clear in total with the last floor being the target: A super weapon capable of triggering earthquakes literally anywhere on the planet. The enemies on this floor carry unique railguns which is probably the best weapon in the game. The whole entire mission is amazing and shows a huge amount of effort and thought which I rarely see in other games and in any other part of Warface.

    It offers a large number of other positives to the game, some of which I have yet to see implemented properly in other games. One such example is its attachment system. All guns have at least one possible modification slot, though some weapons can have many. What is good about this system is the weapon's attachment can be modified on the fly. Don't need a suppressor anymore? Boom, gone. Need a longer ranged sight on your revolver? Boom, done. Adaptability is the name of the game, but be careful when modding as any attachments you select can't be put on a secondary weapon simultaneously. A primary might work well with an advanced reflex sight, but the sidearm will have to deal with ironsights, a longer range scope than one wants, or a very bulky sight arguably worse than nothing.

    But then there's the downsides. Attachments can only be unlocked through playing the game and earning points for completing matches, with the next attachment being randomly selected upon unlocking a new one. RNG is bad enough, but the number of unlock points a player gets is based on how well their team performed and if his team won or lost, with the winners getting double the points, money, and EXP.

    Why is this a bad thing? Because the PVP maps are horribly imbalanced with the grey team being constantly pushed back to spawn and camped for the entire game, while the tan team consistently wins. However, that's far from all. The game assigns players to each team based on skill level, such that the best players are put in with the worst players with all the average guys together. I probably don't even have to say it, but the better a player is the less likely he is to win because all the other players on that team are going 1:12 KDR in a team death match. The game also checks how well a player does within his own team, such that doing too good on the average players team gets him put on the non-average team (AKA the one that usually loses). There have been times where I was placed on the non-average team, did very average, swapped over, did comparatively well against a majority of weaker players with a map advantage, then forced back on to the other side because of it. The really good and the really bad never change teams, and they're both on the side that will lose the most and will therefore receive half of what the others did.

    In turn, this is a major issue because the game is insanely pay to win, with the vast majority of guns, including the best guns, being locked behind a paywall. The only way to obtain them through gameplay is to either unlock them through the same vein as the attachments, (using the same unlock points where a player can only unlock either a new gun, armour piece, or attachment at one time) or to "rent" then at absurd costs for a period of a few days. Any non-stock equipment the player uses and isn't currently renting will be damaged after a match regardless of actual use, which further costs money to fix. So even the winning team is paying a portion of what they earned taxed by the game to increase grind. This is all true for armour, some of which acts as real armour and some of which gives other benefits, which I quite liked aside from the issues.

    The gameplay itself is also hugely imbalanced, with default equipment being the objectively worst weapons, literally non-functional armour pieces, and totally non-existent where not objectively worst attachments. The best guns shred like crazy, half the TTK to instant in the case of good shotguns and snipers. Snipers are all either awful pieces of trash AKA semi-automatics with 2-4 shot-kills or overpowered bolt-actions with instant kills to the body (unless an anti-sniper vest is equipped. :p)

    Oh, and did I mention the game has loot boxes with both in-game and premium currency and an anti-cheat system about as effective as a spoon that doubles as a colander?

    Yet despite all the massive, horrible awful game design, I really did like a lot of the game in spite of it. I have fond memories even while playing the PVP. I remember one game everyone, even some of my teammates were ****-talking me because I was doing so well and all I said was "they hate me because I carry" and I got several friend requests after. Another time I kept getting destroyed instantly and did so badly that when I left to find a new lobby I proceeded to stomp everyone because the game "skill-matched" me with worse players than I was used to. I played that damn game for 142 hours according to Steam, because even though it was one of the worst PVP games I've ever played the gunplay was so good I had fun anyways. It was smooth and enjoyable even though everything was always working against me and nearly every other player there.

    GTAV Online

    GTAV in online mode sees each player create a new character for themselves to play in the same city, in online sessions ranging from only the player to over 25+ players. Players can play jobs, race, complete freemode events, random events, start, aid, and complete heists, manage long-term profit businesses such as arms or drug production, and even hold up liquor stores. All of this is done for really one main reason: Money. Everything short of breathing costs money in GTA, usually very large amounts of it. In fact, if the player ever stops breathing that costs him $500 regardless of the reason of death or the time since the previous death. Every in-game day the player's bank account is taxed for every vehicle and property he owns, which can get quite expensive. Pay the mechanic $200 for having a handful of cars in your garage, oh now your owned properties owe a combined tax of $8000, plus the staff in your production facilities all need to be paid another $5000 as well. This happens about every 48 minutes or so. There is such a hilarious rate of inflation not even a balloon fetishist would see it in a positive light. The reason for this is once again money. Real money this time, with the developer, Rockstar, selling in-game money at a premium.

    The money is most often used to buy fancy and fun things. New cars, new guns, new modifications for your cars and guns, new clothing, etc. Much of it also goes towards starting new heists or in buying homes, apartments, facilities, again etc. One final large drain of cash is in abilities such as spawning a particular vehicle you can rent or bribing the police to ignore your crimes for a few minutes. It's a vicious cycle of spending money and having it taxed to slow the grind so one can buy more and more expensive things while he drives around the city to sell the product he produced to keep paying for the taxes he spent to make it so he can eek out a profit to buy another car, susceptible to taxation of course.

    However the largest problem is once again balance, or rather lack there of. Anyone whom has ever played the game knows what an Oppressor Mk.II is, whether they know it by name or not. There is a large disparity between those who have spent a lot of in-game money and those who haven't, as well as the level-locked goodies. The good old battle between the haves and the have nots. Most players are complete dicks, with Rockstar even encouraging needless PVP activity by rewarding players for bothering and disrupting the money-producing work of others. (Blow up that guy's shipment before he can sell it, kill this guy before he drives around the map visiting three random locations, etc.) Anything that produces money or leads to the production of money is a target for other players even if no one wants to go out of their way. Constant popups saying "[player X] is moving a shipment from [business Y]" or whatever. The victim's exact location is pin-pointed on the map after about 30s depending on the job and often requires travelling a large distance without ever dying once.

    Now this wouldn't be the absolute worst thing in the entire world if players were all on even footing. You know where I'm going with is. Even in just regular PVP interactions, one sniper is locked until about level 80 I think, which is the only normal gun which can just OHK other players to the chest. The standard sniper takes a minimum of two with a marginal RoF difference. I should know, because I've killed a lot of people with both rifles, guess which one is better? Guess which can can be modded in the late game to have incendiary or explosive rounds, or AP ammo, and a HV scope that even highlights players through their vehicles?

    And then we come to the vehicles. Personally I stopped driving anything that wasn't fully armour a long time ago. My custom muscle car I spent almost one million in-game dollars on never ever leaves my garage anymore because every time it does an aimbot lock-on missile nukes it from a flying vehicle. Instead I switched to an explosion-resistant military truck and have since then upgraded to an APC with a tank cannon on top and a proximity mine layer on the back. An APC which costed $2,325,000 at discount before mods where added and requires another vehicle costing ~$2,000,000 to buy and adequately modify to even mod the APC. Oh, and to make my APC tough enough to soak the same rockets I had to reach level 100 to unlock the max armour upgrade on top of all the performance mods which were level-locked. It took me almost 200 hours to get this, and all the while I was completely at the mercy of other players, now I can at least fight back most of the time. I don't even know how many players I've killed in retaliation in the last few days alone, whether shooting bombers out of the air or blowing up players firing rockets or laser miniguns at me.

    Players without money can't fight back. When I first started my friend had to save me by calling in a tank for me to borrow just to get a random guy to leave me alone. He shot me for no reason while we were sitting in a bar and so I killed him with my crap-tier sniper and blew up his car with a grenade and wouldn't stop coming for me until I got my backup, because all I had was a free car from the tutorial and some basic guns.

    Moving on from the imbalance and forced PVP interactions, we have the "has anyone at Rockstar ever played a single vidoegame in their lives?" section. Constant repetitive spam in-game emails and texts and phone calls all the time, nonstop. The phone is controlled with the mouse buttons when opened, which includes phone calls you can't refuse to answer. This means you can literally be firing a gun at police or NPCs or other players or whatever and suddenly you stop firing, receive another gawddamn phone call from Byrony about her fncking arena war and sit there unable to fight back until the game allows you to right click to shut her mouth and begin to aim and fire again. There is no option to block or disable phone calls, even the meaningless repetitive ones the player can receive multiple times in a single sitting, though these can just be refused.

    The police have infinite resources and are totally omnipotent, knowing every player's exact location at all times. They're also laser accurate genuinely outclassing almost all players in speed and accuracy. Again, this could be fun if implemented properly, but they have a tendency to spawn directly ahead and behind the player constantly and respond to gunfire in large amounts or upon too much death and destruction of property. (Such as when fighting another player, suddenly both parties are being swarmed by police cars and choppers). If you perhaps think I'm joking when I say they're omnipotent, he's a screenshot of me trying and failing to lose them by sitting in the fncking pacific ocean and having choppers endlessly spawn from further in the water:


    The cityscape can still be seen in the distance, showing how far in the water I was and still counted as "in sight" of the choppers spawning and homing in om my exact location.

    Next up is the keybindings, or again lack there of. Because GTA on a console only has so many buttons to work with, the PC port, with triple the number of buttons, has roughly the same number of total keys. An example of this being an issue with with my lovely APC. E is the horn, but it's also the button to drop mines. Therefore, I can't honk the horn and have mines at the same time, and there is no recognized difference in keybindings. Honking the horn, a common method of interacting with players, is permanently linked to the act of dropping proximity mines. Unless I drive into water that is, because I can't drop mines in water. E instead honks the horn...

    Lastly for this, though I could go on, is the clothing. I genuinely have to ask if anyone responsible for the clothing development at Rockstar has ever dressed themselves even one single time in their entire life. The number of different clothing options is pretty big, nice. But most of it can't be paired with anything that it wasn't designed to pair with. Want to wear a suit jacket and a T-shirt? Nope. Okay, how about a button-down shirt? No. A dress-shirt? Yeah sure, as long as it's one of the ones added at the same time as the jacket.

    And layering, my gosh man. As I type this I'm wearing a T-shirt under a hoodie, which was under a jacket earlier. In GTAV, players cannot wear multiple layers of clothing for almost all things. People wear more than one shirt or wear jackets over top and all that. It gets stupid, can't wear a tie or a scarf unless the player is wearing one of the "correct" shirts and nothing that might cover a part of it. Players can't even wear a balaclava and a scarf at the same time. What. And forget glasses and an open helmet at once, because no one who wears glasses has ever worn them under or over anything else. Lazy devs sabotaging one of the most significant aspects of their own game: Player customization.

    And finally, the innumerable bugs, terrible performance, and insane amounts of cheating. Literally every other session with 20+ players has a minimum of one obvious cheater. Spawning vehicles/NPCs, setting themselves to be invincible and attacking other players, flying through the air on things that don't fly, teleporting themselves or other players around, changing the weather instantly, blowing everyone on the server up, setting everyone on fire, you name it. That's actually a second reason why I started only driving armoured vehicles, so I'd be more or less okay when everyone else on the sever dies instantly in an explosion. Players often beg them for money in the chat, which is honestly hilarious given the above.

    And again, despite all this crap and awful, thoughtless design, where the pursuit of a goal and rewards are fundamentally identical and cyclic in nature, I still have fun and I still keep coming on to play the game with my friends.


    And now we come to PlanetSide 2. A game about large-scale multi-faceted combat that has historically had awful balance, numerous cheaters, horribly implemented mechanics, half-baked ideas, and is now reducing the playerbase to picking flowers and fighting small skirmishes. After thousands of hours of the game I still have some fun, though I don't play really anymore. It's a bad game with bad ideas and bad implementation of potentially good ones, and it's fun anyways. Fun in spite of the efforts of the development team, as though it was made fun by accident.

    Food for thought. Thanks for reading. :p
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