Equivalence versus Imbalance: A Short Look at Planetside and Planetside 2

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by Flashtirade, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. Flashtirade

    Before proceeding any further, I would like to state a few things:
    This is not a balance thread.
    This is not a pay-to-win thread.
    This is a game design thread. Please keep this in mind.

    I've been doing a little reading about how the original Planetside handled its certification system to confirm some of these thoughts of mine. Here's a brief summary on what I've got. PS1 vets, feel free to correct me, as I have not played the game at all, and I cannot confirm my statements.

    All players started off pretty much the same, regardless of faction. Everyone got access to the same basic starter weapons and gear, which for the most part were common-pool. Leveling up and spending certs allowed players to specialize into different classes, which gave access to more common-pool and also faction-specific weapons and vehicles.

    Some common-pool weapons:
    - the Sweeper shotgun
    - the Bolt Driver sniper rifle
    - the Punisher rocket/grenade-launcher-rifle-hybrid-thing (I really don't know)

    Some common-pool vehicles:
    - the Reaver light gunship
    - the Mosquito scout plane
    - the Liberator bomber
    - the Flail artillery piece

    Some faction-specific weapons:
    - the Gauss, Cycler, and Pulsar rifles
    - the Jackhammer, Mini-Chaingun, and Lasher
    - the Phoenix, Striker, and Lancer
    - All MAX weapons

    Some faction-specific vehicles
    - the Peregrine, Colossus, and Aphelion BFRs
    (I'm not aware of any others, most vehicles were common-pool)

    Now, I'm not going to question the cert system as it relates to classes and vehicle access, that's a completely different discussion. What I want to talk about is character progression in relation to access to certain weapons.

    In Planetside 2, starting players of each faction receive faction-specific starting weapons and vehicles. The only common-pool items available early on are vehicles. Leveling up and spending certs gives access to more faction-specific weapons, most of which are sidegrades to the starting weapons. A lot of these weapons are actually the exact same weapon across factions, except with a different skin and sometimes slight tweaks in performance. Truly common-pool weapons are few and expensive.

    Weapons that are faction reskins (or perform extremely similarly):
    - All of the bolt-action rifles
    - the Beamer and Magshot (the former is slightly less accurate but has the same clip size, damage, and RoF)
    - All of the HA launchers (at least in terms of damage, from personal experience I think there are some differences in projectile speed for the stock dumbfires)

    There's not a lot of these, and though NS weapons are being released, the majority of the weapons available are faction-specific.

    Now let's compare the two games in terms of progression.

    Planetside 1:
    - Everyone starts out the same
    - Certs are spent into class diversification
    - Most weapons and vehicles are common-pool, faction-specific items are limited to certain classes

    Planetside 2:
    - Everyone starts out different
    - Certs are spent into weapon diversification (either maintaining difference or getting common-pool weapons/faction reskins)
    - Most weapons are faction-specific
    - Most vehicles are common-pool, but the most important ones are faction-specific

    My question is this: What's the reasoning for changing the system?
    I'm not going to argue on which system is better or worse, but I want to know why the devs chose this one over the previous one. Speculation is welcome, but I'd love to get some dev's commentary on this.

    In PS1, every faction starts off on equal ground and mostly stays there
    In PS2, every faction starts off on different ground and mostly stays there

    fakeedit: whew, that took forever to type out, I have a test I should be preparing for
  2. NC_Edacyn

    The devs thought they wanted to address a different player base than Planetside 1. For the most part, given the success in the numbers of people who try they are right. I thoroughly enjoyed the Planetside 1 equivalency, but I like the Planetside 2 diversity.