PLANETSIDE 2 – STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

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Hi there, I suppose I should introduce myself since this is my first article. My name is Coleman and I can usually be found with the username “ColemanA.” I generally have an obsessive personality, so I tend to stick to one game at a time for a long time. Right now, that game is PlanetSide 2, a free-to-play MMO FPS. My PlanetSide 2 information can be found in my VSquid profile description.

The primary factor of my obsession with the game is its strong community and wealth of amazing people. The game’s structure holds many qualities that lend themselves to molding such a tight community.

PlanetSide 2 is broken up into separate servers (8 worldwide). Each server can hold up to 2000 players per faction at one time (6000 total). Once you make your character, it is bound the server you choose and you are automatically thrust into a community by way of a spiraling drop-pod. 6000 players online at once is less than you may think. Every time you log on, you play with and against the same people. After a few days of play time, you begin recognizing the names that you see. Perhaps the medic that revives you time and time again, or the skilled enemy aircraft that swats you out of the air. Because the game is broken up into multiple small communities, you meet a lot of people and forge friendships within this enormous FPS with fights of epic proportions.

I jumped on this player's tank because I was in the middle of nowhere and had a death-wish.

I jumped on this player’s tank because I was in the middle of nowhere and had a death-wish.

Each server is broken into three factions; the Terran Republic, New Conglomerate, and Vanu Sovereignty. Each faction exhibits traits unique their theme (i.e. NC: big, slow, and heavy hitting). As you develop a character and it becomes your “main,” you become naturally attached to its faction. This is called “faction pride.” Faction pride generates competition which creates fun tension with your foes.

Each faction is then divided into smaller groups called “outfits.” An outfit is like a guild; a group of like-minded players that work together. There are outfits large and small, and there are outfits mentalities fit for everyone. When in an outfit, there is a [TAG] in front of your name that is shared across the outfit. These tags are just as recognizable as the names I was talking about earlier. Outfits often find rival outfits on other factions which creates fun competition as well. Different groups earn different reputations. I often find myself chasing players if they belong to a certain outfit because I consider them a high bounty target. This level of competition between outfits drives me to become better at the game and progress in ways that aren’t just XP or rank.

A screenshot I took of a fun outfit on my server. Great guys.

A screenshot I took of a fun outfit on my server. Great guys.

PlanetSide 2 also has an interesting dynamic within different skill sets. A given player has many choices of how to play. There is infantry warfare, tank warfare, and air warfare. I consider each a skill set. Some players specialize and others span across all skills. These skill sets also generate amazing competition and rivalries that are mostly from player to player. There are players with stellar infantry accuracy and awareness, tankers with phenomenal aim and knowledge of their cannon, and pilots with godlike maneuverability. All of these players drive me to better myself in each field, they make greatness a goal for me.

Many of these players are also willing to help newcomers and the community, as a whole, is very accepting. After a battles with some of the best players, I have sent messages to them about the engagement and nine times out of ten, I have received feedback and/or tips. Now that I consider myself proficient in some of the aspects of the game, I also make a point of reaching out to the new guys.

The players within the community even have an effect on the development of the game. The developers of PlanetSide 2 at SOE have created a connection with the players that lets us give feedback on current and planned features. Individual developers reach out to video creators, live streamers, and other content producers. The developers tie the community together and give the players a say in the game so that it can be what we want it to be.

The community not only has a say in the gameplay features of the game, but we also now have the ability to produce our own cosmetic items and put them on the marketplace. Sony Online Entertainment calls this the “Player Studio.” Players can submit helmets, camouflage patterns, decals, hood ornaments, cockpit glass decals, and even more options to come in the future. The items submitted and accepted are of amazing quality and there is a surplus of artistic talent within the PlanetSide 2 community.

The helmet seen in this shot was created by Arctorn, a player.

The helmet seen in this shot was created by Arctorn, a player.

SOE has left the doors of PlanetSide 2 wide open and let the players right in. As a result, the carpets are dirty from the muddy shoes of our excellence.

I have come full circle in this strong PlanetSide 2 community and it feels amazing. I have made many friends and rivalries that I hope never go away. I love this community and I wont be going away anytime soon.

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