[Suggestion] Why This Bitter Vet Left the Game 2 Years Ago

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by Snow Sheltie, Sep 3, 2020.

  1. Snow Sheltie

    Warning! Massive wall of text ahead. Basically I made this thing about 2 years ago (last time I played this game) and forgot about it until I was formatting the harddrive. I knew I never posted this so why the hell not? So bear in mind this is written from a couple years ago and I have not played since. If you want to hear the reason why a CO in a large outfit upped and quit the game completely, here it is TL:DR I hate forced population balance and refuse to play the game any further..

    Hello there, this is Snow Sheltie, the retired Major from the now-dead outfit Phoenix Battalion. This is meant to be an eye-opener to a game I once loved to play, but due to a combination of poor or outright stupid development choices and what I can only describe as sociopathic behavior from the player-run outfits, I’ve quit the game for good in favor of other games. The fact that the developers seem to be fighting against the very thing that appealed to many players, including myself, in pursuit of the CoD crowd, is disheartening. I don’t expect this video to even reach the ears of developers or the players who are unknowingly encouraging this game’s downfall. To those who’ll listen, here’s what killed off one of the largest outfits in Planetside 2, and subsequently resulted in a loss a lot of players in the process.

    When it comes to game developers, no matter the time, no matter the game, I’ve noticed a pattern where developers either listen to a very small, niche group of players or ignore their player base entirely. Planetside 2 is no exception to this. I’m honestly amazed the game didn’t flop on launch due to the game’s combination of being a buggy mess (they released the game well before it was ready) and the abysmally overpowered aircraft which lasted for months before it was finally addressed.

    As I played the game over the years, I’ve grown to suspect that Daybreak games is wholly against the idea of large outfits, which is ironically the biggest appeal I had for this game. I can sum this up as a combination of the effort of the developers and the playerbase, particularly those in leadership roles within outfits.

    Devs VS The Planetside Philosophy

    First the developers. There’s been plenty of time to improve outfit management but they were never done by either Sony or Daybreak. Managing any large outfit in Planetside 2 is more of less a job. Initially the only way to recruit new members is to invite them directly to the outfit, which was the main way Phoenix Battalion recruited. In fact, it was through that very method of recruiting that Phoenix Battalion was able to grow and maintain a rather large active roster, especially when compared to most other outfits. Later on a recruitment page was added for people to apply to outfits, which was a nice addon. Removing players, on the other hand, was a complete nightmare. You could only select one player at a time to remove them, a job nobody wants to do when that number reaches fifty, let alone three hundred inactive players. The ability to select multiple players at a time would’ve been nice, but those suggestions fell on deaf ears.

    On the topic of managing players, outfits face a lack of ranking options. You can only set up five ranks max. The ability to add more ranks aside from the usual Private, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain would’ve made outfit management a hell of a lot easier and I can’t imagine this being such a monumental task that it couldn’t be done. It seems the devs just didn’t want to bother with adding more ranks.

    While these problems were annoying from an outfit management level on their own, it only affected administrative duties and wasn’t really a detriment to gameplay. Population balance, on the other hand became the death knell that has convinced me the devs hate large outfits. In short, if the population for all three factions on a continent is not even, then you’re forced to sit out on another continent or in the training room. This was an outfit killer. I had to listen to numerous complaints from dozens of players in the outfit who were frustrated that they couldn’t play with the outfit because of this stupid game mechanic. I found myself frequently waiting so long that I end up quitting the game on multiple occasions either because I ran out of time to play or I wasn’t going to wait for thirty minutes or an hour just to play with the outfit. Eventually I just stopped playing altogether, and judging by the outfit’s roster when I checked it out two years later, it looks like a ton of the other players in the outfit didn’t move on to other outfits. They quit the game as well. Hundreds of active players Daybreak managed to lose over this decision in PHX alone. I don’t know what sort of leeching it caused from other outfits or factions but I am curious how much damage this has done to the game in the long run.

    I honestly don’t think that Daybreak or the players who championed population balance are aware of the ramifications here. They seem to live in a bubble where they forget that we live in an oversaturated videogame market. There's plenty of other great games, some of them in the large scale warfare department, that are more polished and still in development compared to Planetside 2.

    Players Behaving Badly

    While the average player in Planetside 2 were more or less your typical fps players, the players holding leadership positions in the game were quite the pain in the *** as far back as the server merger of Jaeger and Waterson. I can honestly describe the behavior of many of these people as sociopathic or outright psychotic in a few cases. To explain how I have come to this conclusion, I will tell you of my experience when dealing with other players in leadership positions, particularly those in other NC outfits as well as the numerous mutinies PHX endured. I’ll also be making a few comparisons to EVE Online. Even though the two games are nowhere near the same genre, much of the ugly behavior I’ve witnessed in EVE has also reared its ugly head in Planetside 2. Also, I still play EVE. We’ll start with the rest of the NC.

    2A – The New Conglomerate Leadership

    Phoenix Battalion started on the Jaeger server and our relationship with other outfits was of a friendly but competitive nature, particularly between the big three, VDRS, TRAF, and PHX. Other NC outfits, in general, did their own thing and for the most part cooperation was incidental at best. When Jaeger was merged with Waterson, Phoenix Battalion was one of just a few Jaeger outfits who survived the merger. I am not sure if it’s from jealousy or tribalism, but the Waterson outfits seemed to loath Phoenix Battalion and this was quite noticeable. I knew a number of other outfit leaders were saying some rather nasty things about Phoenix Battalion, and it was more than the usual ‘lol zergfit’ comment. Personally I didn’t care what they said but the rest of the NC could never quite understand why PHX had no interest in any of the ‘coalitions’ they tried to form. I guess it didn’t occur to them that insulting and berating an ‘allied’ outfit won’t convince them to sign up. Christ, the diplomats of EVE are a lot more professional than the average planetside leader and they’re famous for stabbing each other in the back all the time.

    Speaking of coalitions, the idea of fostering more cooperation between outfits in a faction is a good idea on paper, especially when I saw how poorly the NC ran on Jaeger with no cooperation between the outfits. The execution of coalitions in Planetside 2, however, has been nothing short of disaster. The problem that occurred with each coalition formed was that instead of creating a basic platform for outfits to better coordinate with each other, they wanted to effectively place all the outfits under the control of one or two players, or under the direct command of one outfit. If a significant outfit had no desire to play along with the coalition, a good amount of the coalition leadership will go out of their way to berate, insult, and alienate the offending outfit in an attempt to delegitimize and destroy the outfit, which is what PHX experienced again and again. The coalitions themselves never lasted long due to infighting but it didn’t stop people from trying. Because the consequences of winning and losing continents was (and still is) so redundant, I, and the rest of PHX Leadership, had more interest in having fun than winning. Planetside 2 is not EVE Online, a game where such alliances and coalitions are vital to your corporation’s very survival, especially in null-sec. Then there’s those crazy wormholers, but that’s a story for another time.

    The fact that the NC leadership has shown such distain over someone not wanting to play by their rules that they’ll go out of their way to destroy such people is a disturbing trend in the game, one that’ll dissuade all but the most insane players from taking on leadership roles in the game. And this game is in desperate need of leaders. One of the goals of Phoenix Battalion was to try to encourage and teach new platoon and squad leaders so the outfit could effectively run on its own without relying on a few key individuals to keep things running. If new leaders aren’t stepping up to the plate, the game devolves into just another Battlefield, and why play Planetside 2 and its glitchy mess when you can play a polished, established title and have as much fun, if not more?
  2. Snow Sheltie

    2B – OPFOR Training

    I think I’ve said enough about the NC Leadership, now let’s look at some specific examples of this irrational hatred in action. The most glaring example was on display during our training sessions, and I believe it’ll be worth explaining what PHX’s training involved to get a better understanding of how little these griefers care about the welfare of their fellow players or of the game as a whole. My platoon commanding experience in Phoenix Battalion was the average PHX member was better disciplined than other comparably sized outfits and I would attribute this to a good training regimen of both NCOs and the regular grunt. Phoenix Battalion held training sessions for one hour, three times a week. There were two ‘beginners’ or ‘specialist’ training sessions during the weekday that focused on a topic like basic infantry, medic class training, galaxy drop training, and so forth. VR Training was a great tool for teaching the basics and the heavy emphasis of hands-on training and drills instead of lecturing for an hour straight greatly improved the quality of training.

    Every Saturday though was OPFOR, or Opposing Force Training. OPFOR was live-fire squad vs squad training where veteran members would play as one of the opposing factions and engage recruits in a counter-strike style battle where the last team standing wins. A series of rounds would be played out, usually with rookie squad leaders at the helm so they could get practical experience in a semi-controlled environment. The training usually ended with a silly event such as Max boxing or pistol-only deathmatch or ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ where everyone was light assaults using knives only while fighting on top of galaxies. OPFOR Training was an excellent training platform; it allowed the vets to point out mistakes and make suggestions to fix them. More importantly, people had fun while training. It was even the highlight of the week for some players.

    The biggest drawback to OPFOR Training was that it had to be done on the live server. VR Training had no friendly fire so live fire training there was a no-go. The test server was unreliable at best and would only work for half of the players at most if you’re lucky, and Koltyr, when it was released, still had the same problems as live continents but fewer places to go.

    A number of people did not agree to our OPFOR Training methods. Some people thought that teaching players in this live fire training session was somehow ‘wrong’. The more insane claimed we were stat-padding. Stat padding means to artificially inflate one’s stats through unethical means. This would be the alt who runs out in the open a thousand times to let another player kill him over and over so that player could get an auraxium weapon without working for it. I fail to see how two teams actively trying to murder each other remotely qualify as stat padding but in their chaos-warped minds that’s what they think.

    These people even complained to Sony and then Daybreak who both said that our training was allowed by the rules. So these mad little rats did the next best thing they could think of; crash the party. Now it wasn’t uncommon for some random player to show up at the training sessions and cause a little trouble. Occasionally they ask if they can watch the training or even join in. Usually relocating the training session to another base or another continent would get rid of griefers. Towards the latter part of my Planetside career, the organized griefers became much more common. These players weren’t the random lone wolves or curious onlooker. They were looking for trouble. The griefing squads were usually easy to spot with the banter they screech in yell chat and sometimes they were so disruptive that training was called off early. There was one amusing moment where a griefing TR liberator got too cocky, flew in too close, and then got obliterated by a comination VS and NC AA fire. Escalated into a rather funny fight with TR trying to dislodge the OPFOR and BLUFOR squads who took position on a hilltop and was just blasting away at every TR unit that got too close.

    On another note, that forced population balance mentioned earlier also wreaked havoc on OPFOR Training with long wait times to get onto the training continent.

    The random griefers during the OPFOR Training was just a thing during the beginning. Yes, it was annoying but it was almost always manageable and easy to remedy with a simple base swap. When that randomness turned into organized squads who were actively hunting our OPFOR training just to disrupt and stop the training, then it became a problem. By the way, nothing the griefers were doing was against the rules of the game, but the sheer audacity and arrogance of these players show a total disregard of the PHX players who want to have fun in training or the overall health of the game itself.

    2C - The Mutineers

    A common problem I watched multiple times unfold in PHX was the mutinies. These were players who quit Phoenix Battalion on bad terms to form their own outfits and proceed to immediately cause trouble. This isn’t to be confused with the hundreds of players who just left quietly or on good terms to go do their own things. The mutineers commonly tried to poach PHX members (I seem to be a frequent target for poaching) and spread nasty rumors to other outfits. It’s like dealing with the psycho ex-girlfriend who need every moment of their life to be a drama. In general, these mutinies didn’t last long with the majority of these outfits dying off in a matter of months or less. There were quite a few notable mutinies I’ve witnessed.

    The first was the Auraxium Guard, which occurred during the Jaeger days. These mutineers consisted mostly of junior officers and hotshot pilots. They claimed they would be better than Phoenix Battalion and tried poaching multiple people after leaving PHX. Their outfit didn’t last long and died off quickly when the servers merged. Thanks to the vacancies they left in PHX, I found myself promoted to a junior officer pretty quickly.
    The next mutiny was Recon Team Six. This was comprised of veteran infantrymen who wanted to do their own special forces stuff. They didn’t claim to want to be a better version of PHX but nonetheless they tried the usual poaching and rumor spreading though at a much smaller degree than Auraxium Guard or future mutinies. There was one notable player out of the bunch named TotalBimbo (guess who he hated) who did a full 180 from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hide when he mutinied. RCN6 lasted for quite a while before vanishing into obscurity and they were on the better terms with PHX than the other mutinies, especially the next one. During this incident I got promoted to Captain.

    The mutiny that took the cake, and the van that brought it, was the appropriately named Part of the Problem. These guys were the apex of everything wrong with the attitude of outfit leadership in Planetside 2. They not only tried to poach PHX members, they actively sought to harass PHX officers in-game and even offline as well. There was even one case of a full-blown firefight between PHX and PotP. Eventually Sony stepped in and threatened to ban the entirety of PotP’s leadership and some PHX officers if the harassment didn’t stop. That put an end to the drama real quick. PotP didn’t stay in the game much longer and like the other muntineering outfits, died off as well. Based on what I could pick up while listening in on in PotP’s teamspeak, the entire incident came from a sour relationship between the XO, whom will remain unnamed, and CO Blackweb that nobody else knew about until the top was blown off the roof. Instead of settling the matter in private, the XO decided to go full ****** and launch this harassment campaign before realizing his mistake. By then it was too late to stop the train and it took Sony shooting across the bow to put an end to the wild ride.

    There was a long period of calm before the next mutiny being Guardian Shield. Once again half of the leadership left the outfit, this time because they claimed they wanted to do more coalition-style things with the rest of the NC. They offered me a senior position in their new outfit to which I bit my tongue and politely declined. I was more inclined to tell them to **** off, but I guess I’m too polite. At around this time was when the population balance was added to the game and after dealing with that for a little bit the general consensus with remaining PHX leadership is to move on from Planetside 2, thus effectively ending the outfit’s long run.

    Something notable about these mutinies, particularly the PotP debacle, was how truly psychotic the players involved in these mutinies were. They did not care who they targeted, or who was hurt by their actions. All they cared about was whatever idiotic idea of ‘justice’ or ‘revenge’ that sprouted in their head and damned be the consequences. Come to think of it they’d fit in perfectly with a certain demographic.

    The Uncertain Future of the Planetside Franchise

    Planetside 2 had such great potential to be a unique, large scale first person shooter. Instead the game is falling flat on its face due to a questionable and slow development time and players supporting them seem hell-bent on driving this game at top speed into a concrete wall. I’ll just be plagiarizing what I’ve heard ArchWarhammer recently mention in a stream about games and trying to appease the Call of Duty crowd because he best described what I believe is going wrong with the game. In short, the game is trying to appeal to the Call of Duty type players and in the process are alienating their core players. The thing is, Planetside 2 is nothing like Call of Duty. It was built for a specific demographic of players who wanted the type of large-scale, dynamic warfare that other games just couldn’t emulate. And now other games are filling the spot that Planetside 2 was originally going for. Games like Arma and more recently Squad, while slower-paced, adhere to the idea of organized, large-scale warfare much better than Planetside 2 today.

    Looking back at the mess of a trip I’ve had in Planetside 2, I can attribute my length of stay to a small core of just four players within Phoenix Battalion, the few I could actually trust in the game, especially after all the mutinies I experienced. When they decided to move on, then so did I. With this game’s poor development cycle and psychotic playerbase, why did I want to torture myself with Planetside 2? As of now I have no intention of ever coming back unless the forced population balance is removed. Unless Planetside 2’s dev team can shape up and the player leadership encouraging them can get their heads out of their *****, I fear this game is doomed to the abyss of the internet for all eternity.
  3. Johannes Kaiser

    It shows that you haven't been playing for years. Zergfitting is basically the thing to do nowadays. You'd probably feel right at home.
    Also, the curious part of me would like to know if there was a reason why the other outfits disliked you. It sounds like it wasn't for being totally braindead, like *cough* some zergfits *cough* today that are belittled for that very reason.
    • Up x 1
  4. Snow Sheltie

    I believe it's a mix of rumor spreading mainly from mutineers and a mostly lack of collaboration with other NC outfits. It was in my experience for most of my time in a command role that either I couldn't trust other NC outfits to be where they said they would be or they wanted to order PHX into boring and/or frustrating grindfests while they went about doing easier or more dynamic and fun things. Towards the end of my time in PS2 the NC were much improved in their ability to collaborate with each other but I wasn't going to deal with the forced population balance since it disrupted my ability to play so much that I didn't find any fun in the game anymore.
  5. RabidIBM

    I get the issues you were having with faction balance, but not having it causes more problems. Currently one faction can get well over 40%, and at that point the other two factions do the only thing they can do to find a fair fight, they fight each other and ignore the over pop faction. NSOs were an attempt at a soft fix to this problem, but there are other treads on NSOs. Best solution would be to start a squad on the off continent.

    As for the outfit drama, that is still a problem, although I never experienced anything in the level you are describing. I ended up changing factions over it on Connery. I used to be a TR main, and swapped to Vanu because I couldn't tolerate "The Pigs".
  6. Snow Sheltie

    I did not experience this as a consistent problem during my tenure. More often than not one faction could only attack so far before overextending themselves which results in the third faction spotting this and exploiting it to capture or attempt to capture key bases on an undefended front which forces the fight elsewhere and gives the original defenders breathing space and time to counter-attack, and this was regardless of population though population was a factor in how long before a shift in the frontlines occurred.. It was a never-ending cycle although occasionally one faction will go full ****** and focus solely on one other faction and basically give up the continent to the third.

    I had one moment I remember when the VS, for some stupid reason I can't begin to fathom, decided as a whole that they MUST reach the NC's warpgate on Esamir no matter what, to the point where quite literally the entirety of the VS population was focused on one single base for 2+ hours and lost Ymir Bio Lab, Eisa Tech Plant, and Eli Amp Station, giving virtually no resistance to the TR. At the end of the alert, the TR were actually getting ready to attack Mani Bio Lab, probably because they were getting bored of no fighting and figured that was the way to get the VS to play.

    Right up until the end the most common reason I saw consistent population imbalances geared towards one faction was weapon imbalances. A classic example of weapon imbalance was when the zeolot overdrive max was introduced and how bloody overpowered it was. Infinite use, could turn on and off at will, the max's walk speed was faster than a sprinting infantryman, plus the damage boost resulted in a nightmarish thing that couldn't be stopped short of a 150mm tank shell to the face. Sure it took more damage but when you could out-run everything but aircraft that deficit was nil. Worst yet, it was nearly six months before the devs finally acknowledged it was a problem and nerfed the living hell out of it. End result was VS had a population overflow and it eventually reached a point where TR and NC flat-out refused to fight the VS because fighting the ZOE max was not fun in the slightest. This lunacy actually crippled the Waterson VS outfits in the long run because when their go-to toy was nerfed, they had nothing else to stand on and were basically wiped away by the TR and NC for the rest of that server's life until the Emerald merger brought life back to the VS. That was actually a shocker for me when the merger happened and I was actually commanding against good VS outfits.

    • Up x 1

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