Updated Thu, Aug 30, 2012 by ricoxg
We saved some of the biggest changes for last. While the first PlanetSide had certifications, they were a lot different than they are in PS2. In PlanetSide 2, the player has access to all classes and vehicles from the moment they log into the game. The certifications don’t get you access to things, so much as they make you better at those things, the exception to that rule being some of the class-specific abilities. The Engineer class can either drop an ammo box, a block of C4, or various types of mines, but only the ammo resupply is available initially. Access to the other deployable devices are granted through certifications.
Every class, vehicle, and weapon in the game has a series of certifications associated with it. These certs sometime unlock mods for some of the weapons, like an Infra-Red Scope, different grips, or possibly a silencer. They may also simply make something more effective by increasing a vehicle’s top speed, giving a weapon higher magazine capacity, or grant a zoom feature to a vehicle-mounted weapon.
You may be asking where all these extra weapons come in to play that you’ve been hearing about. This is where PlanetSide 2’s free-to-play model starts to make sense--you buy them. All of them can be purchased with in-game currency, but there will also be a way to purchase access through real money. It’s likely that SOE will be using Station Cash for converting real money to purchasing power in-game.
Each new weapon you want access to will need to be purchased for either in-game or out-of-game credits from the store. It was a little confusing at first because I could see the certification options for the rocket pods for the Reaver, but I couldn’t figure out how to equip them. I now know that’s because I needed to purchase the ability to use them from the store first. Once purchased, they’ll be available to equip, along with any other purchased upgrades. Additional purchasable upgrades will include special skins for weapons, vehicles, and uniforms, as well as decals for your vehicles’ cockpits.
The other big change is to Implants. Implants are back, but they’re slightly different than in the original PlanetSide. Implants in PlanetSide 2 will be purchasable with either in-game currency, or some sort of cash-exchange like Sony Cash. Most implants subtly increase your accuracy, reload rate, run speed, or things like that. They’re very similar to the implants of the first game, except that now they have a shelf-life. Once activated, Implants are only good for a set amount of time, and then they need to be replaced with new ones.
Beside the minor buffs some implants give, others reduce the amount of time between buying vehicles. The goal, stated by the PS2 team, is make it so that between certs and implants, the time between buying vehicles should be reduced nearly to zero. There are several categories ranging between those that are vehicle specific, or some slightly more expensive ones that affect an entire class of vehicle.
The last type of implant is the one that increases resource accumulation. PlanetSide 2 has a new territory control system that nets the controlling empire a set amount of resources per time-period for controlling that bit of territory. These resources are used to purchase vehicles, upgrades, and implants. To aid in collecting the specific resources a player needs, these implants can be purchased in the store and implants are available for each of the resource types.
There’s a lot to be excited about with PlanetSide 2, but it’s important to remember that the game is still in beta. Nothing is really set in stone, and little bugs and quirks are being tweaked constantly. SOE will be the first to remind you that they are making a true beta test of the game right now. This isn’t one of those promotional beta events where the company uses it to hype the game. So as you get invited to beta, remember to be a little forgiving. Just in the weeks since I’ve been in, I’ve found dozens of issues corrected.
That said, even in a beta state, this is a pretty incredible game. It’s even possibly as groundbreaking as the first. SEO really went to the board on this one and put a lot of thought into making a solid shooter that retains the epic feel of PlanetSide. PlanetSide 2 is rapidly looking to live up to its promise, and I’m definitely starting to feel the excitement. I hope you folks enjoyed the beta sneak peek. As for me, I’m outta here--there are more Barnies that need shooting.