The painful road for veterans
With Planetside 2 launched now, it's fair to say that the road towards release has been a hell of a ride
. And that's not only because it was preceded by a real beta that saw player feedback causing drastic changes to the game play. All along the way, there has also been major discussion within Planetside 1 veterans who feel that their beloved game has been dumbed down into oblivion. This article addresses the future of Planetside 2 and why Eve Online is the key for these disappointed veterans to stop worrying.
It’s the gunplay, stupid
The main reason why Planetside 1 veterans can cheer up is that they will mostly get what they want over time. If you check the many developer commentaries and Q&A sessions, things should start to make a lot more sense, especially when you read between the lines:
The whole idea of Planetside 2 has always been to release a Battlefield 3 on crack and then turn it into a Planetside 1 on steroids over time.
Until now, the focus of Planetside 2 has been to make it attractive enough for the casual masses by providing solid fps mechanics on an epic scale. And in that, most critics and fans alike agree they have succeeded. Once you know your way around, this game already becomes very addictive, especially when you team up with others. Some issues aside, Planetside 2 in its current state is quite the technical achievement as it can host massive battles while keeping the frame rates respectable and still provide a good looking environment and solid gun mechanics.
So now they have the basics in place that should hopefully keep the Station Cash pouring in and the offices running. From now on, you can expect the developers to gradually add many of the mechanics to the game that made Planetside 1 such an engaging experience. Of course one must have a bit of patience and not everything will come in the same format as Planetside 1. I'm pretty sure though that if this game becomes a long term success, it will end up a lot more hardcore than most veterans could ever wish for.
Sony’s evil master plan
So why am I so sure about this? Because looking at it from a business point of view, this all makes perfectly sense. You develop and release a rather basic game (you should probably compare this release with Minecraft alpha), that is attractive enough to a wide amount of players to keep the studio staffed. From there on, you become the pusher man by creating and improving features/content that keep your players interested and make them even more addicted to the game. Best way to do it? Let them decide. And if you do this well enough? Voilá , you've just created an endless running, money making, machine.
Why is SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) paying so much attention to Eve Online? Because that universe has become the endless money making machine they are aiming for with Planetside 2.
Eve's player base has become insanely attached to the game over the years and their numbers keep growing. That is because the game keeps improving and they decide the game play. Their addiction keeps the CCP offices staffed year over year. It has become the money printing perpetual motion machine that is the wet dream of every game developer and SOE would die for this. This is why they teamed up with the Eve Online universe to release Dust 514. This is why they developed this player based content system, Player Studio, to be released within all of their free-to-play games, including Planetside 2. And this is also the very reason Planetside 1 veterans should never have to worry. As long as this game is paying for itself, they will get the stuff they love.
SOE's CEO John Smedley is clearly having a blast in his Eve space ship, as Planetside and Eve Online share the same vision: By giving us control they want to make us MMO junkies for the rest of our lives. And guess what? We don’t mind at all.