Suggestion for a New Gameplay Core - Connection Towers

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by ThatOneElusiveSniper, Aug 18, 2020.

  1. ThatOneElusiveSniper

    After playing the game for quite a bit after having made a thread some time ago discussing my disappointment with the direction the game has taken over the course of the past 2 years, I decided to see if I can come up with a new gameplay core that should bring the fun back into the game and make the various content like construction and bastions actually be useful and engaging while also promoting various playstyles.

    I am going to break this post up into sections. First section is going to be a bit of a recap/history of the core gameplay. If I missed a detail, do mention it in the thread. Second section will be the suggestion that I have. I will add more to the thread depending on how the conversation goes and hopefully, the devs will take notice as Planetside 2 is the only game of its kind and to have it in the current state that it is in is disappointing. I am sure they are aware of the current opinions of the community but it has become abundantly clear that the devs just don't know what they want to do with this game or in which direction they want it to go. They push out content like construction and bastions, but these turn into island contents and are forgotten about within months of release. They recently tried to do Planetside: Arena and that failed. There is simply no cohesion and that is the reason why the core gameplay has become stagnant, causing the game to stop growing properly, and in the end, resulting in people leaving the game.

    SECTION 1A: How the game used to play

    Based on how the game used to play years ago, each faction would have control of around 33% of the continent when the continent would first open. Then there would be an alert and whichever faction had the most control and most objectives completed would win and lock that continent. Of course, that old system did make some things such as ghost caps a common occurrence when certain territories would not have a large presence of players and usually resulting in a handful of players flipping the alert in favor for their respective faction, therefore nullifying the war effort of the other factions involved.

    This was a viable strategy because if your faction wasn’t paying attention to the map, well, your faction would lose. Same thing with zergs; love them or hate them, they were sometimes needed to build up momentum.
    However, this older system did promote more skirmish-like engagements where players would bring galaxies and valkyries while communicating how to attack or defend a site whenever there was an opportunity. While large groups of players would fight over key territories like the Tech Amp, you would have smaller squads and outfits try to capture nearby regions to cut off the enemy and there was a lot of coordination. Therefore, there was always a fight going on near the factions' borders and you could find a decent fight even when a region had only a 24 v 24 fight.

    SECTION 1B: How the game plays out now

    When the continent opens and there is a small population, many territories cannot be captured and if an alert is triggered, only a small amount of territories are fought over by all 3 factions. Sometimes if the population numbers are really low, you could find just 1 or 2 factions in the continent. Until more players join the fight, most of the continent is locked away and the alert just becomes a small skirmish over a handful of territories. Whichever faction ends up having slightly more players manages to lock the continent, resulting in a free win for the faction and an extra bonus reward.

    This current system was put in place to have more players concentrated in key regions, but all this system really did is just promote the mentality to farm the main regions even more and leave other regions alone. This, in turn, results in seemingly mindless and endless farms that people complain about while also getting ghostcapped which at times, ruins farms because a Biolab ends up getting cut off.
    Of course, you would still find a fight here and there and the occasional attempt at a ghost cap, but whenever an alert happens, for example, in Indar, most players go to the Crown and Ti-Alloys, leaving the rest of the continent alone.

    The only difference between the gameplay now and before is that majority of people don't bother playing the objectives and those that do become frustrated that nobody is paying attention to the map. The reason why is very simple; people want to farm and get that instant gratification and only a handful of regions provide that. Meanwhile you have the devs trying to create stuff like construction and bastions and promote group play, but the mindset of most players is go to the Tech amp and Biolab and stay there for an hour.

    These days, there is very little coordination between various squads and majority of players simply concentrate on farming in the biolabs and whichever faction has the better control gets to farm while the others are farmed, causing rage quits or for people to just go somewhere else. People have varying opinions about this matter, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make the game engaging and doesn't help continue to build the game. Frankly, this current core system and the way the game has become an "instant gratification larger-scale Call of Duty or whatever" hurts the game's ability to attract more people and to keep more people engaged with the game.

    Planetside 2 was initially promoted as a game based on strategy, tactics, and warfare where cooperation was key to success. That is what made people interested, because it was a different kind of FPS game. Now, it feels outdated and worn-out because each day is just another, "go to Biolab or Tech Amp, farm kills, try to capture, then see if you can push" kind of deal.

    SECTION 2A: The New Core Gameplay

    Not everything is all doom and gloom right now as there is a foundation to make the core gameplay better. In fact, what I suggest promotes various playstyles and makes construction, bastions, squad/platoon coordination all important ingredients to have a fun, rewarding, and engaging gameplay.

    Right now, the warpgates go through this “unstable” phase that results in most territories to be locked. They only unlock when an alert starts once there are enough players on all 3 factions. Instead of having this automated system, there should be an objective that results in the stabilization of the warpgates.

    There should be regions in each continent where there will be what I could call towers that establish connections with the warpgates to give access to nearby regions. Once a faction manages to take full control over the tower, nearby regions become available to the faction, therefore, reinforcing control over the tower. Once a certain faction manages to take control over at least half of the towers and most regions are unlocked, an alert can be triggered.

    SECTION 2B: An Example of the Core Gameplay

    Here is how this would play out. Take Amerish for example where all regions are locked except for the towers present there. The continent has a total of 6 towers and 2 towers will be closer to one of the warpgates. For example, there are two towers closer to the VS that they can reach quicker and four towers that are further away that can easily be reached by the NC and the TR respectively.

    These towers do not have any natural defenses to protect them, they are pretty much open from all directions. The only way to effectively defend them is to have players construct defenses around the towers. Now each tower will have 3 major computer terminals that need to be captured that would then begin feeding data to the main computer at the top of the tower that would establish a connection with a faction’s warpgate.

    Once the connection is successfully established, nearby regions that are connected to that tower will become available to the faction that just managed to capture the tower. So if the VS, for example, capture Tower 1, regions near that tower will connect with the warpgate, therefore, allowing easier supply of infantry, vehicles, and resources. This would be similar really to how the regions currently connect to the warpgate. The capture of Tower 1 would result in the acquisition of 50% of the territories that the VS would naturally get if the continent was opened up with a 33% split that we used to have in the past.

    To ensure that the tower remains under the control of the VS, the VS will need to have people build the defenses, so outfits/squads/platoons dedicated to construction will be tasked with building up the necessary defenses because they should expect the NC or the TR to attempt to attack that tower to convert the regions to their control.

    Now, the other factions won’t be able to simply attack the surrounding regions that the VS controls thanks to the capture of Tower 1. They will need to capture their own towers whose nearby regions will directly connect with the regions of Tower 1.

    So, let’s take the VS fighting the NC. Tower 1 is under the control of the VS and Tower 2 is about to be captured by the NC. After a minute, Tower 2 falls under the control of the NC and the nearby regions surrounding Tower 1 and Tower 2 become connected with one another, therefore establishing the border that we would normally see right now between all the factions.

    Now let’s say the VS want to attack Tower 2. They would need to capture the computers in Tower 2 and also attempt to control as much of the regions near Tower 2 as possible to prevent the supply of resources and reinforcements from NC-held territories. So effectively, two different playstyles come into play. You have those who prefer to zerg and they will most likely focus their attention on the tower and those who prefer skirmishes will deal with territories near the tower. The capture of these territories will work in a similar fashion to how things are set up now.

    So the VS, in this case, will have two options; either take the long way and capture each territory one by one until those VS territories link with the VS warpgate and touch the NC warpgate or focus their attention on the NC controlled Tower 2 to attempt to capture potentially 50% of the 33% of the continent the NC would have had based on the older system where each faction started out with 33% control of the continent.

    Once half of the towers end up being controlled, an alert can start which would play out more or less the same way. You will have smaller territories that lead up to bigger territories like the Tech Amps and Biolabs which when captured, give more advantages to the faction that is trying to capture as many territories as possible. The more towers and Tech Amps and Biolabs a faction controls, the easier the alert will be for them and the more difficult it will be for the other factions to win.

    Of course, the number of towers that will be available can be changed so instead of 6 towers, there can be 12 towers in total. The point is, these towers will promote construction and if a tower is deemed very important, a faction can reinforce it with a bastion.

    Also, when a continent first opens up, all the towers will be under neutral control and no territories besides the warpgates will be open. Nobody can spawn anywhere immediately, instead, this will make players spawn Galaxies, Valkyries, and Sunderers to get to the towers to attempt to capture them before they can start redeploying around the continent. This will result in players, outfits, and squads/platoons to coordinate and indicate which tower they want to focus on first. Zerg outfits will do what they do best and attempt to attack/defend the towers and farm certs/xp like they used to in Tech Amps and Biolabs, and those who would prefer a more objective gameplay can focus on capturing territories around the towers to cut off the enemy and reinforce their own faction’s hold on the towers.

    With this new core gameplay, construction will play a vital role to reinforce key positions because now, losing a tower would result in a lot of problems for a faction which could cost them an alert and also an effective farm. This new system would make the game overall more engaging and promote objective gameplay, strategy, and tactics while also giving those who just want to be in the frontlines to do their thing.

    There will be more air and ground combat around these towers and whichever faction manages to control the most towers and territories will win the alert. Also, of course, if some tower somehow ends up attracting all three factions, then expect pure chaos. Of course, doing so and throwing all resources at one tower can result in other squads from other factions to attempt to cut your faction off. If that is a risk your team and your faction’s command wants to take, then so be it.
    • Up x 2
  2. NotziMad

    Now THAT's a wall of text :)

    I don't mean it in a bad way, but I have to warn you that not many people will read it, or read it all. I read most of it, but I admit I skipped some bits.

    That said, I'm really happy to see a constructive post like this one because I feel that there aren't many at all on these forums. In addition, most constructive posts (like the ones I sometimes write) don't usually provide a solution or a suggestion, yours does.

    And I like your suggestion of the towers. I'm not sure how it would really play out if it ever became live, so many things are unpredictable, but I really like the idea of providing options to the players and incentives to invest in faction wide goals.

    ______ off topic ___________

    I don't know if you noticed, I only saw it because these forums show a twitter feed on the home page, and I saw a tweet by Wrel (the lead game designer) in whcih he shared information about a NVIDIA hotfix that a player had given him in his Discord.

    This proves to me that he does not read these forums because that hotfix was given by a player in one of the threads in the bug report section many days before.

    I used to think the devs read these forums, even if they never post here, I assumed any person working for a product would want to be in touch with his or her customer's feedback. Looks like, at least for Wrel, that isn't the case. I'm saying this because if you want your idea to be read by the devs, you probably want to go to Reddit, Twitter and maybe -it would seem- the best way : their discord.
  3. Johannes Kaiser

    This sounds really interesting and is a bigger step than what others - myself included - have proposed already to create larger-scale theatres of war again.
    Alas, the devs won't read it unless you pipe-feed them.
  4. DarkStarAnubis

    Interesting post. You put down quite a few ideas. To be honest I think the issue is so complex than easy solutions do not exist.

    We are back to the main PS2 crux: a design to allow tactical gameplay for outfits/squads/coordinated groups and "instant action" for solos and casuals players.

    So far a Zerg has always been the ideal solution. Just amass enough manpower (with aircrafts and vehicles organized by outfits/squads) and move to place X, use the fight as catalyst to get all the solos and casuals who will go there like moths attracted by fire, overwhelm the defenses and get the base, rinse and repeat.

    The lattice system is just a band-aid. It merely limits the directions in which a Zerg can move next. But it does not solve the problem. Still a Zerg can put enough players in a base to quickly overwhelm the defenders before they will be able to put enough numbers to counter.

    And when the defenders are confined to the spawn rooms it is game over.

    On the polar opposite you have ghost capping. Very individualist and stealth gameplay.

    Intersting paradox: a Biolab is the only place where a Zerg does not work. The multiple spawn rooms system and the confined areas ensure long attrition fights (kind of trench warfare really).

    We need something in between Zergs and Biolabs forcing players to man a base to avoid ghost capping.
  5. Johannes Kaiser

    I'm not an absolute Biolab expert, so take it with a grain of salt, but I've never seen Biolabs being held by numerically inferior defenders unless it was a really small margin. And considering they fall really fast if the attackers have all three points, you can absolutely zerg them down unless the defenders can get some reinforcements yesterday.
    On the contrary, I have seen them fall to organised zergs pretty fast on occasion, despite being outnumbered by the defenders. Point rooms stuffed with MAXes, Engineers and spitfires, entrances guarded by MANAs from the corners. Props for good execution.
  6. DarkStarAnubis

    My bad - to me a Zerg is a combo of infantry, ground and air vehicles. A well organized Zerg will storm the outer base with tanks thus preventing the defenders to spawn their armor or man the buildings, meanwhile the infantry will encircle the spawn rooms. Game over.

    In Biolabs you do not have vehicles (except the Sunderers in the old 'stairways of death' variant).

    As a pure infantry (plus maxes) usually it is an even fight almost till the end, but it depends on the number of spawns for the attackers: one is tough, two is manageable three is easy (it also means the Biolab is isolated).

    Biolabs for me are LAs paradises: so many building and trees and ledges, plenty of angles for both sides (attackers and defenders) to exploit.

    Also: grenades. For example when the attackers get the central generator they concentrate there to bring the Pain fields down. A good counter is jump on nearby buildings and toss grenades like there is no tomorrow. You get killed eventually but before you bring 3,4, 5 enemies with you. And maybe help to retake it.

    It is frantic gameplay. Intense. Medic runnings everywhere, everyone moving and yelling, Duels between factions on rooftops, grenades being lobbed left and right, stalkers making almost suicide runs with activated knives ... Chaotic, as an MMOFPS should be.
  7. DarkStarAnubis

    My bad - to me a Zerg is a combo of infantry, ground and air vehicles. A well organized Zerg will storm the outer base with tanks thus preventing the defenders to spawn their armor or man the buildings, meanwhile the infantry will encircle the spawn rooms. Game over.

    In Biolabs you do not have vehicles (except the Sunderers in the old 'stairways of death' variant).

    As a pure infantry (plus maxes) usually it is an even fight almost till the end, but it depends on the number of spawns for the attackers: one is tough, two is manageable three is easy (it also means the Biolab is isolated).

    Biolabs for me are LAs paradises: so many building and trees and ledges, plenty of angles for both sides (attackers and defenders) to exploit.

    Also: grenades. For example when the attackers get the central generator they concentrate there to bring the Pain fields down. A good counter is jump on nearby buildings and toss grenades like there is no tomorrow. You get killed eventually but before you bring 3,4, 5 enemies with you. And maybe help to retake it.

    It is frantic gameplay. Intense. Medic runnings everywhere, everyone moving and yelling, Duels between factions on rooftops, grenades being lobbed left and right, stalkers making almost suicide runs with activated knives ... Chaotic, as an MMOFPS should be.
  8. Demigan

    1: You seem to have some incredibly strong pink goggles when it comes to PS2's stragetic possibilities and the old days of the game.
    The current available stragetic possibilities is just about "capture that for more territory, capture that to cut off territory, class composition of your squad/platoon, how to get them to their location". The bare minimum for stragetic play would require at the very least the addition of a solid communications system that allows players to communicate quickly and easily with each other, regardless of their relationship in squads/platoons/outfits/randoms or even their ability to know if the relevant players/equipment are available. To call the current system full fledged stragetic play is to call 3 Flashes in a row a large vehicle column.

    You idea of the old days misses something important. As someone once said, "if given the opportunity players will optimize the fun out of a game". The old days also created the Zergfits and it was the outfits that invented the redeployside and Galaxy drops that basically told everyone "look here, you either stick with a Biolab/Crown scrum or you'll risk getting into unfun battles". The epitome of this happened during the HIVE days, where players would take all they had learned to the extreme: They wouldn't build PMB's to be assaulted, they would build PMB's to be murder-holes that no one would ever enjoy fighting in or over, abusing mechanics with the air-shields or just literally placing the HIVE and Silo in a glitched hole or Out of Bounds in it's entirety. And that right there is key as it didn't just apply to HIVE bases: To "win" the continent the Squads, Platoons and Outfits are encouraged to avoid playing the game, and are instead encouraged to give the opposition no chance to fight back or make fighting them so unfun that they just go do something else. This had died down somewhat in recent years, but the Escalation update did just that: Escalate things by giving all Outfits reasons to optimize the fun out of the game with a vengeance.

    2: Your idea seems poorly thought out. The early stage of a game would simply be a rush towards these towers, basically unlocking the territory almost instantly. Tactics during alerts would basically revolve around guarding your towers while clearing the towers of your enemy, then capturing them with giant Zergfleets near the end of the alert. Having about 1 tower per 3 territories would seem to be necessary to cul this type of tactic, and even then it's the go-to method of capturing everything.
    The thing with PMB's is that there is little reason to protect them until the enemy shows up, but by the time the enemy shows up it's basically too late especially a Zergfit. Just imagine the ease a Zergfit would have just dropping in with Galaxies, having the first 2 Galaxy loads deploy Cortium Bombs and enough would be placed to cut the heart out of any PMB unless it was already defended before the enemy shows up. Then you drop the next load or two of Galaxies (or return there, or just use the survivors) to capture the tower. Job done.

    3: Better idea's is to look at the gameplay loops. Why is something like the Crown Tri-state area, Biolabs but also the other large facilities like Techplants and AMP stations so attractive to play at while the rest of the continent is just left to die? There's dozens of reasons:

    The game lacks a solid communication system. Voice comms is great for small teams, but if you are with more than half a dozen players that could be anywhere on the battlefield due to respawns or the battle flow then any information send between players hogs their attention, meaning most of the information is useless to them unless you make it extremely general like "everybody go there", which is also the most common tactic employed by players. Current communication is also lacking in your ability to communicate with anyone outside of your squad/platoon/outfit. You should be able to quickly and easily communicate with any player nearby, which helps leaders get the full potential of their troops as they'll be able to better understand the battlefield and know what the orders given mean or are meant to accomplish. An expansion of the spotting system would be best: Hold Q for a radial menu to request things or notify things to nearby allies, like "this is AA" or "this needs an AV strike" with the option to specify what kind of AV strike (infantry, tank or airstrike) etc. V could also become a radial menu when you hold it, but would allow access to more area-based information like general requests for AA, position of enemy vehicles, requests for friendly infantry/vehicle/aircraft in the area etc.

    Spawnbunkers are closer to coffins than strongpoints for a counter-assault the moment the enemy gets a good grip around the points. This can be avoided, case in point the spawnbunkers of AMP stations that allow enough exits so they aren't as easily spawncamped, which incidentally is why AMP stations see the least spawnwarriors of all. Spawnwarriors are created by spawncampers, not the other way around as some suggest.

    When a base is captured the fight momentarily stops, and most bases don't have the terrain or ability to safely spawn a counter-assault against the coming enemy. There are bases like Quartz Ridge versus Indar Excavation where this is possible and a fun vehicle battle is usually raging there, it's basically the vehicle equivalent of a Biolab. So in order to make players stick around for a base defense we need to re-add the option of a solid vehicle battle as the attackers try to push from their previously captured base.
    You also need to have some kind of method to keep the fight going even when a base is captured, rather than the defenders just sitting on their hands gathering forces while the enemy approaches. Quartz Ridge versus Indar Excavation does this by allowing the defenders to already take to the field or fire at the approaching enemy from their staging area. Other bases would require more creative solutions, such as the simple addition of safe and secure vehicle spawns, rather than the vehicle spawns we have now that are the first thing that's shut down the moment the enemy arrives. Small FOB's around bases that give the defenders and attackers a quick-spawn option, a vehicle spawn and a few small defences (trenches, turrets with a view of approaches, a small mannable wall etc) would give both teams something to keep the fight going more easily rather than watching a timer tick down. Not only that but such FOB's would be prime construction territory, where players would actually spawn at to defend the PMB (and PMB's should be manned, automation should just buy time for players to get there).

    Giving players reasons to stick with underpopped fights. Currently when you are underpopped you'd better hope you and your allies are good or your enemy is bad (or both), otherwise there's just no reason to stick with the fight. But if being underpopped is made fun? If underpopped players get new ways to stall the enemy? Perform guerilla attacks? Get easier access to certain tools to slow down or even halt the enemy advance? People wouldn't mind being underpopped. Just imagine what the simple addition of an attrition-system would do, where being underpopped allows players to add time to the capture timer if they kill enemies while outside of a painfield. Suddenly you can halt an enemy advance by picking them off where they are weak and keeping the timer going for longer (or indefinitely) rather than being forced to go through chokepoints despite being outnumbered and recapping a base in a few minutes.
    • Up x 2
  9. InexoraVC

    Absolutely agree as a member of the largest DIG zergfit.
    We will do exactly the way you described - have 2 full platoons and a few ASPonly tactical squads to capture, defend, reinforce and hold.
  10. HaxMax

    Anything to make construction more useful. The no deploy zones are just way too big, so effectively adding more bases where construction, flails, etc... can actually be used would be a godsend. And/or reduce the size of no deploy zones.

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