PlanetSide 2's Matt Higby and Tramell Isaac introduce us to Nexus, the new battle island, and Hossin, an all new continent featuring lessons learned from PlanetSide 2's first 8 months, at SOE Live 2013.
Battle islands have grown into a popular feature of PlanetSide 2. As smaller maps featuring a discreet amount of contestable points, battle islands figure prominently into SOE's plans for eSports, since a 48v48 game controlled by 5 squad leaders and a platoon leader (potentially on stage commanding a remote army) can win the battle in a reasonable amount of time. Battle islands are found three to a continent in the PlanetSide 2 game world, and Matt Higby indicated that this was indeed the plan going forward with the new continent Hossin.
Nexus is the newest battle island and available to play at SOE Live 2013 this weekend. The map features a 3 lane design north to south, bounded by mountainous, wintry terrain all around. Nine contestable points dot the map, each of which, like many facilities in PlanetSide 2, is meant to be defended or assaulted in a specific way (air, vehicle, foot, etc.).
Switching gears, Messrs Tramell and Higby dropped us into the Interlink Facility in Hossin. Matt explained that this facility acts as the gateway to Hossin, and may someday be an extremely important part of Intercontinental Conquest (where factions can lock down entire continents, expanding the war to a whole new level). Before that happens, more continents are needed, and Hossin is a big step towards this goal.
Over 1,000 man hours have been spent on Hossin, and Higby indicated that Hossin was being concepted long before PlanetSide 2 launched. About 1/3 of their efforts (meaning 1/3 of the continent) were on display at SOE Live 2013, and the Interlink Facility was a good showcase for what SOE has learned in these last 8 months since launch.
Because of its importance, the IL facility is large and mazelike, but arrows funnel players to important locations within the facility. Lightbridges are one of the most prominent defensive features - unless your faction holds sway in the control rooms, you'll fall to your death if you attempt to cross.
Since the Hossin currently on the test server isn't yet comprehensive, temporary warpgates have been set up around the continent. All other facilities in the planet are, in Higby's words, "completely unique, with no shared layouts."
Barriers surrounding the facilities are much more organic than those found throughout PlanetSide 2 - consisting of mossy rock, tall tress with huge canopies (changing the feel of air to ground combat), which fits with the feel of Hossin. The planet itself is a little like Yoda's planet of Dagobah - grown over with jungle with swamp, punctuated with remnants of high tech. The swampy terrain also conveys a slight advantage to Vanu sovereignty's Magriders, which unlike other vehicles float over the muck rather than losing traction and speed.
A third of Hossin is up on the test server now, with more coming and no official release date set. That said, SOE plans to continue their pattern of releasing new content every two weeks. Our thanks to Matt Higby and crew for offering us an early look at Hossin at SOE Live 2013.
Stay tuned to Ten Ton Hammer for more SOE Live coverage and keep your eyes glued to EQHammer for more features, previews, interviews, and reveals for the entire EverQuest franchise throughout the weekend.