PlanetSide 2: GU13 Impressions
The developers at Sony Online Entertainment have been good about keeping Planetside 2 updated for their playerbase and the 13th update since launch is no different. While testing out some of the update I can realize that this update almost felt like more than we actually were given, let me explain.
In GU13 the lattice system which was applied to the game's Indar continent sometime ago was applied to the snowy continent of Esamir. Many players were concerned that the lattice system would unnecessarily restrict play styles on a continent where armor was king and the ability to go pretty much anywhere over the flat terrain was part of the appeal. In order to better facilitate the lattice system and make it all more intuitive, Esamir has been redesigned slightly to fit the lattice system as well as giving infantry more of a fighting chance. Armor is still prevalent when fighting, but gone are the days of several hundred tanks camped around the spawn room just daring someone to make a break for it.
The new terrain additions to the map are beautiful and make for more of a dynamic environment for players to fight in. Esamir now has large alpine trees, boulders and other rocky masses, as well as new elevation changes placing hills of various sizes where before there was very little. Bases have also been given expansive walls to keep vehicles out and pour players into tighter more intense firefights. The closest feeling I could personally relate to the new base environments were the interiors of bio-labs which are strictly infantry combat. In some parts these bases are also protected from the air giving infantry a chance to slug it out between themselves. The fights are now more about which sides uses cover more efficiently rather than who had enough resources to call in a liberator to bombard the enemy. For players who enjoy using vehicles, the map is still open enough to invite exciting battles but you will be farming infantry less and being forced to take on other tanks and those infantry foolish enough to venture outside. The additional terrain is also a benefit for tanks as well though, with the prevalence of lock-on rocket launchers it was difficult to find cover in certain parts of the map due to it being widely open and flat. Now there are trees, rocks, and variations in terrain elevation to give tankers obstacles to hide behind while trading shots with the enemy.
This update also included an update to the weapon sounds for the Vanu, and as my primary character is Vanu this change actually made me giddy, not since first joining the game in beta did I waste so much ammo shooting at nothing in the warpgate.
The sounds themselves sound similar to what you would expect a 50's alien gun to sound like, but on major steroids. The familar "pew pew pew" is there but now has more depth and crunch to it. For the first time in a long while, I finally felt like my gun was powerful enough to actually stand up to TR and NC weapons. The changes themselves are purely cosmetic, but it is amazing how altering such a seemingly inconsequential can affect game play in such a positive way.
In addition to the above updates, there were several tweaks made to existing systems and some new camo types were added to the marketplace. I cannot comment on the impact from the weapon and vehicle changes but I will link the full patch notes below.
My biggest takeaway from this update is one of sheer amazement. SOE has been known to make some poor decisions and many more that I wholeheartedly disagree with but you cannot deny that the devs are doing their best to keep us hooked and playing their game. Whats more, is their devotion to fairness and balance. No one is ever going to get weapons balance completely right but the devs are big enough to admit when what they tried didn't work and go back to the drawing board. I look forward to future updates and if this is the level of quality we're being shown I can't wait for the new content to hit. Planetside 2 is a free to play game from Sony Online Entertainment. If you think this might be a game for you, check it out Here.