Planetside 2 Free-to-Play Shooter Playtest (Part 1)

Four inept gamers' attempt to take a jaunt across the wartorn Auraxis in this first part of a Planetside 2 playtest.
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Despite our best-laid plans, playtest preparations went less than smoothly. I had grossly underestimated the amount of bandwidth required to download and/or update our three chosen games and spent the first hour of our session listening to Toenailgoblin and Bootneck on voice-comms as they got repeatedly slaughtered playing Planetside 2. Meanwhile SingingBush was having technical difficulties of his own and judging by the sound quality of his communications, was apparently broadcasting from the bottom of a fish tank.

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After some torturous delays, we eventually managed to address the problems and pulled off that ‘getting the band back together’ moment when we met at the Warpgate HQ of our Terran Republic faction.

Toenailgoblin, having been the first of us to log on, had chosen his favourite continent of Esamir as our theatre of war. It is a stark, snow-covered arctic region, but it seemed appropriately seasonal. The only problem was our faction was getting hammered and had been driven back to the point where we held no territory. The server population statistics also showed we were vastly outnumbered.

Undeterred, we acquired a Sunderer “Battle Bus” armoured vehicle and headed out of the safety of our shielded spawn zone to find a battle.

It found us.

Barely clear of the Warpgate, we were pinned down in an icy gulley as a pair of enemy aircraft strafed us and infantry sniped from higher ground. SingingBush deployed the Sunderer, which rendered the vehicle immobile but allowed it to become a spawn point to ensure our quick return to action following our inevitable deaths. It also meant we could change classes at will and that others could spawn at our location, which thankfully they did.

The trickle of spawning infantry reinforcements combined with judicious use of the Sunderer’s twin turrets, almost constant repairs from engineers and some headless chicken running-and-gunning (mostly from Bootneck in a combat-enhancing MAX-suit), we managed to clear the hostiles out and break the siege.

Or so we thought.

The Shifting Front

A quick look at the map showed that other allied forces had sallied forth more successfully than us and were contesting the nearest outpost, Stillwater Watch. We saddled up and headed off to provide assistance. The short journey allowed for some banter, the opportunity to take in the glorious scenery and the chance for me to ‘accidentally’ run over some of my team-mates.

For the record, hitting a MAX-suit at full speed can result in some harmless airborne hilarity, but it’s less harmless for standard infantry, which we learned at Singing Bush’s expense. Oops.

Don’t drink and drive, kids.

Next: Planetside 2 (Part 2)


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Image of Mat Westhorpe
Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.