Sr. Producer Josh Hackney Talks E-sports and PlanetSide 2

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PlanetSide 2 Major League Gaming Josh Hackney Interview

The always-busy Josh Hackney, Senior Producer for PlanetSide 2, stepped away from the Ultimate Empire Showdown last week long enough to talk with Ten Ton HammerÂ’s Ricoxg about SOEÂ’s Major League Gaming partnership for PlanetSide 2, and how we can expect e-sports to impact the game.

Ricoxg: You guys have just announced that PanetSide 2 is partnering with MLG. How is that going to work?

Josh Hackney, Sr. Producer, SOE

Hackney: PlanetSide 2 is a competitive game, but more importantly itÂ’s a team competition. ThereÂ’s a skill side, which we definitely have, but this is a team game where you play as a team and where you roll with your outfit or your squad. FPS games have had e-sports for a really long time, and thereÂ’s a team aspect to it. Typically in PlanetSide 2 there are hundreds of players verses hundreds of players. WeÂ’ll have to work with MLG to figure out a way to scale that down and still support squads and platoons. I think this is going to be an awesome fit and will bring something fresh and new.

One of the things thatÂ’s really important to us is how to integrate the two. We think that the main game is going to be a really good feeder, giving people the opportunity to play with their favorite teams or outfits that are doing well competitively and allow there to be crossovers.

Ricoxg: So youÂ’re doing this in the live game. How do you integrate that with the current system for new players, protect against trolling, and things like that?

Hackney: It will be on its own server, like when you zone to another continent. WeÂ’ll have a queuing system that takes things like rank [into consideration] and will limit players. WeÂ’ll be working on the layout and things like that. For instance, the continent will be smaller to accommodate the size of the teams. WeÂ’re going to work out more of the details on how thatÂ’s going to be.

Ricoxg: So when we hear about continents coming down the road, some of those will be tied to this new effort?

Hackney: Some of the new continents we do will just be purely adding more game space relative to Indar, Esamir, and Amerish. Searhus and Ossin and a couple of the other continents are in progress. ItÂ’s going to be the same team building that space, but the e-sports space will be unique unto itself.

The Road Map lets fans interact with the PS2 devs.

Ricoxg: WhatÂ’s the player feedback been like so far?

Hackney: Actually, we just put up something we call the Road Map on our forums. ItÂ’s up and rolling now and a number of folks have been going through it. What weÂ’ve listed in there are our idea of what we think make sense in the game and thereÂ’s everything in there from adding another continent, to e-sports, to adding tutorial zones, all those kinds of things. There are something like sixty or seventy ideas that weÂ’re looking at. WeÂ’re putting it out there so people can up-vote or can down-vote, and give their feedback.

"There are something like sixty or seventy ideas that weÂ’re looking at. WeÂ’re putting it out there so people can up-vote or can down-vote, and give their feedback."

We kind of put a description in how we think these things would work and what weÂ’re already seeing is that players, who are a really dedicated and involved, and a lot of these things they like or they donÂ’t like. TheyÂ’ve been thinking about how things they like should be implemented. So before we start rolling and getting the team involved on them, weÂ’re going to be going through and reading that feedback.

Ricoxg: So, whatÂ’s an example of some of the feedback youÂ’ve gotten?

Hackney: Well, weÂ’ve been talking about ramping up the xp from when you spawn. For example, you wouldnÂ’t be worth as much when you spawn, but after maybe 30 seconds, youÂ’re worth more as a kill. [The players] are already jumping in and talking about the idea, but some of them are saying that 15 seconds might make more sense. I was talking with some of the guys from Black Window Company, and they have some great ideas. They have a lot of older gamers who have been playing games for years, and a ton of military guys too, who go through and diagnose designs and come up with solutions on their forums. Those are the sorts of things that make the game better.

Ricoxg: Speaking of adding things, when can we expect to see SMGs and new base changes come into the game?

Hackney: Hopefully, weÂ’ll see tunnels to the Amp Station and the Tech Plant, and weÂ’ll also be seeing some murder holes and weÂ’ll be closing up some windows. WeÂ’ll also be closing up some of the windows on other smaller outposts as well. ItÂ’s one of our hugest changes, and IÂ’m really excited about that because itÂ’s giving a little more support to being able to defend.

Most of the main bases will see a number of the changes. WeÂ’ve taken a first pass at all the windows to see if it makes sense to close them up, and to adding the murder holes. YouÂ’ll see a good amount of changes for sure, but as we take a look at how people play and the patterns they run. As we put stuff in weÂ’ll take a look and see if we did it right and if we need to make some tweaks and over time weÂ’ll just continue the saga.

WeÂ’d like to thank Josh for taking the time to talk to us at The Ultimate Empire Showdown. For more PlanetSide 2 articles and news, check out Ten Ton HammerÂ’s PlanetSide 2 page.

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