The Penny Arcade Report recently posted their beta impressions for Planetside 2, and unlike my own impressions, and many others, it didn’t speak well of Planetside. The reasons for this is clear, expectations. The reviewer went into the beta expecting it to be World of Warcraft with guns.
Planetside doesn’t have loot, it doesn’t have quests, and it’s not an RPG, but rather an FPS on a massive scale. The RPG elements it does have is standard fare for FPS games these days, leveling up to get different weapons and attachments. Another aspect of the article was criticizing Planetside for lack of story. Planetside 2 does not have the meaningless quests of other MMOs, it’s not WoW or Star Wars: The Old Republic. In my opinion Planetside does story right for an MMO, by giving you a back story on the factions, and that’s it. The story comes from you, and everyone else in the game. I take issue with quests in MMOs, because unlike a single player RPG, when you complete a quest nothing changes. Sure, you get some xp and a reward, but those 5 hogs you killed to clear Ted’s farm from the infestation, didn’t do anything. His farm is still infested with hogs. People before you did that quest, and people after you will, changing nothing. Planetside 2 doesn’t have this, and for that, I’m very happy. I took this base for the resources it gives me, and because, screw the other two factions! If you read up on the back stories of the factions, you might have some motivation, but it’s not necessary, because either way, they are the enemy, and not your friend, so you kill them, you kill them all. The story is those battles that you waged for hours on end, the engagements between outfits where you have massive vehicular combat. This is far more meaningful than any quest. SOE is also working on the meta game elements that will make it even more worth while to capture and hold bases, and even hired Malorn (@xalorn) to help with this. Planetside is very much in beta, and working on getting the small things right first (weapon balance, capture mechanics, etc.) before it tackles the big things. My advice before playing any game, read up on it, know what you are getting yourself into, and set realistic expectations, otherwise you are in for a let down.
For more in depth analysis, listen to The Cynical Brit’s rebuttal here.