Planetside 2’s next patch squashes bugs and boosts firepower

Planetside 2“I’ve said before that while 2012 was the year that Planetside 2 launched, 2013 is the year when we’re opening up the afterburners and aiming for the stars. After a well earned rest the team is energized and ready to get back to ‘kicking *** and fixing bugs. And we’re all ou–‘ er, oh yeah, okay, we’ve still got some bugs to fix.”

Those words come courtesy of Planetside 2 creative director Matt Higby. They serve as a preface to a post Higby recently wrote on the Planetside Universe forums which details the upcoming patch scheduled to hit the MMO at some point before the end of January. The list of changes and alterations made by SOE in this addition are pretty sizable, so let’s take a look at the list and see what jumps out at us:

  • General performance increases, particularly for lower end GPUs
  • Experience (XP) system enhancements:Server transfer token available in Depot
    • Dynamic XP system for player kills, players who have more kills are worth more XP. Freshly spawned players will be worth a fraction of the current kill reward.
    • Partial damage XP for dealing damage to vehicles that you don’t end up killing
    • Population XP / Resource bonus moved over to continent population instead of global
    • Better display of XP sources for things like defensive bonuses & population bonuses
    • Rebalancing of XP rewards to help support tasks
  • UI changes to emphasize score per minute as a primary metric of player comparison
  • Sortable columns on outfit management & addition of “last online” column
  • New weapon type for all empires: SMG
  • Short period of invulnerability will be added to freshly spawned / revived players – breaks upon game actions such as entering a vehicle or using a weapon.
  • Dynamic / player configurable colors for minimap & overhead indicators for enemies, friendlies, and squads within a platoon
  • New Hot Spot system that displays where active fights are occurring on the map
  • New spawn buildings with more exits, protected balconies and easy roof access to make them less campable.
  • Tunnel systems for amp and tech facilities to give access from spawn rooms to interior of bases and base walls without having to go above ground.
  • Making MAXes render more reliably at long distances for players in vehicles
  • AA improvements, notably flak changes for turrets and skyguards, giving them some better ability to aim, although not drastically impacting their DPS.
  • Fixes to missiles so that they more reliably detonate and actually blow stuff up
  • Air vehicle weapon tweaks
  • Increases to reload speed for certain HE ground vehicle weapons

Higby additionally claims that the patch includes “lots of bug fixes,” though after reading the above bullet points we’re far more intrigued by two particular entries: namely the addition of a new submachine gun and those listed changes to the game’s user interface.

The first point stands out for one simple reason: Planetside 2 has been lambasted by fans since its debut for including too few weapons. SOE has long claimed that it would be adding weapons and vehicles to the game as time goes on, yet to date we’ve seen little progress on that front. The addition of a new submachine gun to each of the game’s three factions won’t upset game balance and is unlikely to make other weapons obsolete, yet it shows that SOE is dedicated to expanding Planetside 2 for at least the foreseeable future. Plus, new toys to shoot at other virtual soldiers are always welcome.

We see those UI changes, by contrast, as an indication that while SOE has publicly banned any and all modifications to the Planetside 2 client, at least it realizes that people will always want to expand and improve on a game’s default user interface. Any changes SOE makes will likely pale next to the alterations that could be achieved by a third-party modification, but at least the company is throwing players a bone by changing the game’s UI to be more user-friendly. We’d still prefer the option to mod the game, but at least this is something, right?

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