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Review: SOE's MMORPG "Planetside"

By limekiller in Op-Ed
Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 07:19:12 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)
Software

Planetside is the most recent entry into the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) genre that offers the gamer the ability to engage in futuristic battles on a very large scale -- hundreds and potentially even thousands at a time.  Unfortunately, Planetside, once stripped of its seriously broken trappings, turns out to be the digital, unholy and illegitimate love-child of Tribes and Groundhog Day.  It looks like it offers something that is as-yet unseen but it mostly doesn't try and even when it does, it is critically broken.


Review: Planetside

Synopsis

In Planetside, players begin with selecting which group they wish to associate themselves with -- Terran Republic, New Conglomerate or the Vanu Sovereignty -- and your enemies throughout your career are the two that remain.  Each group employs slightly different tactics based upon the available technology and the stated political goals.  Once a character has been fleshed out with a name, gender and avatar appearance, you are placed in a "safe zone" and allowed to investigate different objects in the game by way of "real-world" use as well as an in-game "virtual reality" center.  After a general proficiency it attained, the player can either find some transportation into a battle (generally with a squad though "soloing" is not unheard of) or to select "instant action" and be transported directly to some fight, somewhere.

Prowess on the battlefield earns the player "experience points" which, in turn, earn the player "certification points" as well as "implant slots."  Cert points can be spent on access to a small set of vehicles, weapons and skills such as hacking (to break into enemy equipment terminals and facilitate the "jacking" of enemy vehicles), engineering (which allow the repair of armor on individuals and vehicles as well as the placement of offensive and defensive static weaponry) and medical (offering the under-utilized capacity to heal and even revive the dead).  Implants are skills you can swap in and out of your character at will at certain terminals throughout the game such as the ability to see cloaked players, the power to regenerate your own health in the field and (my favorite) even run at superhuman speeds.

The selection of vehicles and weaponry is impressive and diverse.  Do you want to take a stealth approach?  You can, but you can carry very little and provides no armor so you'd better be good at it.  If the big gun approach is more your style, load up with heavy armor, extra equipment slots and pick up some heavy weapon certifications to bring down armored foes.  Once you go to the other end of the spectrum you're now in a mech suit (MAX) with one of three stated functionalities: anti-air (AA), anti-vehicle (AV) or anti-infantry (AI).

Is it more your style to rumble in with both guns blazing?  Pick up a tank certification.  If flying is more your style then the light Mosquito or the heavier Reaver are an option.  Did you choose the stealth approach?  A stealthing quad called a "Wraith" will get you to your destination as fast as just about anything in the game.  Lots of options here.

Review

The Good | I don't get impressed by games easily and this game, if anything, looked impressive.  It promised something players had never seen before yet long itched for; several hundred people at a time engaged in futuristic battle.  It sought to create an even blend of action, strategy, tactics and visuals that are hard to nail in this sort of medium.  Maybe Unreal was too much twitch for you and America's Army was too little.  Perhaps you like the idea of commanding a large number of players but the artificial intelligence available to date proved unrealistic and UN-challenging.  This could be the game for you.

I pre-ordered my copy from Electronics Boutique and arrived at the store first thing on the morning of the release, went home, installed it and prepared to be impressed.  If there was anyone willing to overlook a few blemishes it was me.  This was the game I'd waited for since watching Buck Rogers as a kid.

The game, as I touched on above, offers a somewhat high degree of personalization based on style.  Not everyone goes in with guns blazing.  The developers seem to have taken a very keen interest in making the game as balanced as possible although you know they're not going to please everyone.  Recently they "nerfed" a weapon of one particular group and everyone plus their dog has an opinion about whether too much was taken away or too little.  I'm not going to get into that little mess here.  The vehicles range from the serious (tank) to the fun (buggies, whee!).

The "grief system" -- a mechanism intended to dissuade team-killing -- has worked spectacularly.  It is particularly harsh on people who carry heavy weaponry into crowded areas but it certainly has stopped the intentional, rampant player-killing sprees.

Finally, the graphics are quite amazing.  Although it is the slowest method of transportation, running provides a great view of things as discrete as surrounding flora to the far-off mountaintops.  If your hardware can handle it, sandstorms, rain and fog are implemented.  These are done so well I always leave them on during battle just to experience them even though I know there is probably some sniper 1,000m away who can see me just fine.  They may have turned this off because their hardware can't handle it or perhaps they want the competitive edge.  Me, I play to be impressed by the game, not rack up a number someplace.  And this game definitely impresses in the visuals department.

But read on, gentle reader, because this game has not one but a bevy of critical flaws.  Despite all its bright spots, it comes up empty in its stated goals more often than a weapons inspection team in post-war Iraq.

The Bad | When I say "critically broken" I'm not being bombastic.  A month of game-play has proved Planetside to be so far removed from being worthy of a retail release that you are forced to wonder what exactly took place behind the scenes.  At a fairly steep monthly subscription price of $12.99/mo, this game is broken so fundamentally that many people are wondering how long it'll survive much less prosper.  My prognosis isn't quite as dire as theirs but yesterday I decided to abandon a very high-level character (BR18/CR3) simply because it wasn't fun.  This after less than 30 days of playing.  I still play GTA3 and Splinter Cell.  Heck, I'll probably go back to Army Operations.

Specifically:

         • The bug list is impressive and can be experienced for oneself by simply reading a day's worth of forum posts.  Planetside is not even close to being ready for retail much less a month into the release.  Sony has, in effect, forced its paying customers to be "beta testers."  Examples that I have encountered personally include invisibility suits that are visible by the enemy when they shouldn't be (which will get you shot in a New York minute), weapons that make firing sounds but don't actually fire any ammunition, the inability to access your character at all, random crashes to the desktop with no error or dump to assist them in figuring out what caused it (they apparently don't care), keyboard and in-game settings that change on their own or simply disappear and a voice communication system that is nothing short of laughable ("He" .... "y g" .... "uys I" ....... "nee" .... "d som" .... "help" .... BLAM!).  This results in a lot of people trying to convey things 5x which, in turn, creates a lot of dying and aggravation.  Typing is actually more productive than their in-game voice chat.

         • The lag can be game-stopping at times.  They've managed to eliminate the 5-to-30-second lag but in large battles (precisely the sort of thing that Sony bills this title as being designed for) the lag can easily reduce your frames-per-second to unbearable levels and cause you to perform actions on things and people that are no longer there, miss your target (because it is not really there), hit friendlies (because they are there) and if you're driving, slam your vehicle into the Petrified Shrubbery of Death.  If you have played multi-player games before you know that this sort of experience can bring an enjoyable game to its knees instantly.  And boy, does it.  If you are going to play this game, be prepared to either shift your work schedule so it does not fall in the 8PM-1AM slot or simply resign yourself to the problem.

         • A public bug list doesn't exist.  No-place is there a centralized list of what bugs exist and remain to be fixed.  Anyplace.  If such a list were made public people would be even more frustrated with the game than they are right now.  But at least we'd know things were getting better.

         • Because the experience system is based around being in or around a base that is about to be taken, the game is one massive display of "musical bases."  You'll take base A, then B, then C only to find that while you're doing it another empire is taking A.  There is no functional incentive for people to stick around and defend.  In fact there is a serious dis-incentive from defending because right now there is some hoard of xp-hungry people heading your way and they will overrun you the same way you will overrun the next base if you join everyone who just left.  And if you happen to be romping on a whole continent you can expect that another continent of yours is being romped on.

         • The game has many features proudly displayed on the box and in the manual that are either seriously broken or simply not in the game.  An example of the former is "instant action."  This option is supposed to bring you to a battle-zone.  Unfortunately, it is just as likely to bring you to a place where the lone enemy that defined this as a "hot spot" got killed a minute ago and you arrive to find nothing whatsoever to do except run around for a few hundred meters, realize there is actually nothing going on and then try clicking on "instant action" again.  An example of the latter are the benefits conveyed upon players who achieve the 4th and 5th command rank levels; orbital strikes.  Theoretically this is the ability to launch some sort of attack from space.  It isn't in the game.  At all. I'm not joking.

         • The so-called "support" team is MIA.  Bugs are reported and far, FAR more often than not ignored wholesale.  Even when the development team works on a bug they almost always do not actually say they are working on it.  I say "almost" because the 30-second lag was acknowledged.  As of this writing, several of the bugs cited above have messages posted on the forums and dozens of players acknowledging they too have experienced these bugs and the simple request that the development team simply say "we know."  No such luck.

         • The development team has been outright deceptive regarding game changes.  Changes to weapons in the game, for example, have been described as "aesthetic" in nature but once introduced into the game have proven to be anything but.  For example, the animation for one gun was supposed to have "aesthetic" changes made to it in order to line up the animation with the actual functionality of the weapon.  A very non-aesthetic delay was introduced with no known commentary or explanation regarding the discrepancy.

         • Fixes for problems proposed by the producer have bordered on downright dangerous to the health of your computer.  For example, during the massive lag problems experienced during the first few weeks of the retail release, players experiencing lag were told to disable their virus protection software.  In reality the problem was not only known by the development team but a fix was being worked on (a rarity).  Instead of doing the honorable thing and saying "yes, we're aware of the issue and working on a solution for you," they opted to suggest it was a problem possibly associated with the player's computer anti-virus software in order to stall and misdirect.  They actually suggested turning it off to facilitate playing the game.  Disabling the software that protects your computer from malicious code while on a broadband connection is positively asinine.  I actually asked the support staff making this claim if Sony would pay for machines damaged by such a reckless "solution."  No reply.

         • Steps are taken to actively discourage canceling your account.  I posted a simple request in the Technical Support forum asking what steps I needed to take in order to cancel my account.  The message was deleted without comment within 10 minutes of it being posted.  I've posted the request again.  My account, as of this writing, remains uncancelled.

         • There is actually no way to win or even make any tangible progress.  Your outfit or squad will take a dozen bases today and tomorrow you'll re-take them.  And then the next day.  And the next.  And the day after that.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  To be fair, the flip-side of this is that there isn't this oft-lamented "treadmill" whereby you play to simply attain the next level.  Regardless, some sort of medium is not attempted, the scale is simply tipped fully in the opposite direction.  Every weapon, vehicle and skill is available to anyone with the certificates you begin with plus those earned by playing for two hours, maximum.

         • Physics can get really bizarre.  I have seen normal, unarmored player avatars "toss" 3-ton vehicles dozens of feet, air vehicles parked upside down, vehicles launch several hundred feet in the air and manned vehicles stacked hundreds of feet in the air.  Tree leaves will stop your 65km/h-moving 3-ton vehicle in its tracks.

The Setup

The system being used to play-test Planetside is an AMD 1900+ (1.7Ghz), 1GB RAM and a 128MB GeForce4 Ti4200 Ultra.  DirectX 9.

It should be noted that the above criticism leveled at Planetside is distinct from my personal hardware.  When I have found shortcomings in my gaming experience and that fault lay with my hardware, I have simply discarded that criticism.

Conclusion

Score: C-

I'd recommend this game only to those who have truly acclimated themselves to the horrors of MMORPG developer apathy or those well-heeled enough to not balk at blowing $50 on a game they might very well not be playing in a month.  The only reason I don't give it a D is because it has potential.

There is a somewhat nebulous-yet-acknowledged line drawn between the axiom of "all software has bugs" and "don't force paying customers to be your bug testers."  I don't think SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) ever heard of this distinction but instead chose to take the position of "let's make a product that 80% of the paying community will simply tolerate, make our money and leave well enough alone.  The remaining 20% of potential customers aren't worth the extra 400% of effort we'd have to put in to make this game live up to the hype, so why bother?  We're here to make money, not break new gaming territory."  In fairness, graphical MMORPGs are notoriously hard to pull off.  Unfortunately, Sony doesn't seem to have learned from its previous forays into this field.

To provide a comparison most of you may be familiar with, the movie The Phantom Menace was noted for a flat story-line.  Some tradewar breaks out.  So what?  Who cares?  This game quickly reaches the same ho-hum status and it does so without warning.  One day you're having fun despite the bugs when you suddenly think, "Why am I driving to this base for the 20th time this week?  Oh, right.  Because we have to save it from the..."  Well, don't worry because you'll be back in an hour.

If I wanted that I'd play Unreal.

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Poll
I've been playing Planetside and I...
o think it rocks the kasbah, don't want them to change one bit. 15%
o find it to be a lot of fun, well worth the money, but could use some improvement. 15%
o play it now and then. Nothing spectacular. 30%
o load it up only when Simpsons is doing reruns. My last gaming resort. 7%
o will be cancelling it or already have cancelled it. 30%

Votes: 13
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o day's worth of forum posts
o invisibili ty suits that are visible by the enemy when they shouldn't be
o don't actually fire any ammunition
o inability to access your character at all
o crashes to the desktop
o game-stopp ing at times
o isn't in the game
o posted the request again
o parked upside down
o launch several hundred feet in the air
o stacked hundreds of feet in the air
o Also by limekiller


Display: Sort:
Review: SOE's MMORPG "Planetside" | 95 comments (69 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
I agree and disagree :) (4.71 / 7) (#5)
by jeroenb on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 04:08:04 AM EST

I've been playing Planetside ever since it came out as well. When I read the introduction to this article my first thought was: "Oh no! Some idiot that has personal issues with the game tries to influence everyone!" but after reading it I have to say you're absolutely correct about all the points you make. I've experienced them too and especially the huge lag that occurs sometimes and how Sony deals with its customers are very frustrating.

At the same time I'm about to actually extend my subscription, at least for a month, simply because I like some of the concepts in this game so much I'm willing to stick with it for a bit and find out if it gets better. I could wait for six months ofcourse, it's just that the slight possibility that they do deliver something much better than this on short notice is just too tempting.

For the ones that haven't played the game - there are a lot of extremely cool things about Planetside as well. What I always disliked about games such as Counter-Strike and UT (although I've played them to death) is the lack of specialization. In Planetside you can become a stealth hacker that takes over basis without being detected, a heavy infantrist that walks around carrying multiple rifles, a support trooper that's going around healing everyone and repairing everything. But it's not like there are a couple of classes like in Return to Castle Wolfenstein, it's totally freeform. For instance, I'm a heavy trooper carrying a powerful energy weapon, a shotgun for close encounters but a full medikit and engineering tools for supporting other players. There are other guys that combine a supporting role with a bunch of very powerful anti-vehicular rifles and stealth hackers that run into an enemy base not to hack the control console (to take it over) but an equipment terminal to transform themselves into exoskeleton-armored powerhouses (MAX units). Oh and there are snipers too :)

And if all this isn't enough, at some levels you also get Implants. These implants are like skills only they use power from your stamina (ability to run and jump) to power abilities like regeneration, enhanced zoom-in view, darklight (spot stealthers), super running speed, etc.

Oh and did I mention there are a load of vehicles and planes as well? Don't even get me started on these :)

I think a review should include a discussion of all this as well though.

--
"The mouse, I've been sure for years, limps home from the site of the burning ferris wheel with a brand-new, airtight plan for killing the cat." -J.D. Salinger

Additives (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by duxup on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 12:56:13 PM EST

One thing to note is that the article can only go on so long.
The last game review I wrote for K5 was incredibly long and considering not everyone here is a gamer so I didn't think it would get posted at that length.  Sadly editing it kind drained it too.
You can only talk about so much.


[ Parent ]
It shouldn't necessarily be longer (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by jeroenb on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 06:11:06 PM EST

but it should IMHO have a more mixed content. Right now it's basically the intro that says the concept is cool and then the article goes on for 95% how it fails at everything. It could also dedicate 40% to the game's basic features, 40% to the execution and 20% to a discussion of whether it's worthwhile to play.

Right now it's mostly a rant that could be called "Everything I hate about Planetsite". But like I said in my original comment - he is right about those things. It's just that it's not complete.

--
"The mouse, I've been sure for years, limps home from the site of the burning ferris wheel with a brand-new, airtight plan for killing the cat." -J.D. Salinger
[ Parent ]

if you like it for those reasons (none / 0) (#92)
by metalgeek on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 08:54:32 PM EST

Try tribes 2.
you get speciallization (stealth, general infantry, heavy guns, support,)
vehicles (4 or 5) and games are fairly large, often 64 or so people.
and it's not that buiggy, plus no supscription fee:)


"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
Expectations (4.50 / 6) (#6)
by ZorbaTHut on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 04:53:50 AM EST

I think the fundamental problem most people are having with this game is what they expected it to be. Some people seem to have expected this to be a real-time strategy game on an epic scale. It ain't. It's a first-person shooter on an epic scale. You go out there, you kill people, rinse, repeat. There's not much more to it - what there *is* is actually quite fun. Sure, there are balance issues (I'm playing a Vanu reaver pilot, and those homing missles are *seriously* irritating - then again, I can kill the big double-machine-gun MAXes without breaking a sweat, so maybe it's rock-paper-scissors balance), there's lag, there's a bunch of problems, but when it gets right down to it, it's fun for a few months.

I'm not looking at it like it's a $50 purchase and then *another* $12/mo to keep playing. I'm looking at it like it's a rather expensive game - $75, and I'll probably get sick of it in a few months.

And I probably will, at that . . . but right now, I'm having way too much fun with the 12-person flying troop carrier :D

Sparrow (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by limekiller on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 11:38:40 AM EST

God, I loved my NC Sparrow.  =)

Regards,
limekiller

[ Parent ]

Request for Recommendations for good MMORPG (3.00 / 3) (#11)
by cluke on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 06:51:29 AM EST

Sounds a bit duff certainly. Good review, I have been thinking about getting into an MMORPG, now I know one to avoid.

Are there any good games that anyone can recommend? I want something strategy based (i.e. nothing too 'twitchy'), and that doesn't require insane amounts of time to be expended playing it. Older games are ok, as long as they give a good multiplayer experience.

(This is a repost for topical, sorry!)

Star Wars? (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 07:31:58 AM EST

Star Wars Galaxies comes out soon, I think this month. Of course we don't know if it will be good yet, but keep your eye on it.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Don't hold your breath (2.50 / 2) (#33)
by Laiquendi on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 12:20:53 PM EST

Some NDA breakage in a slashdot article.

[ Parent ]
I am also in the beta, (2.66 / 3) (#39)
by Kyckling on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 12:58:51 PM EST

and that isn't true.

[ Parent ]
BS (none / 0) (#51)
by CodeWright on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 04:17:54 PM EST

I, ummm, experienced the beta and it sUx0rs.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
How early were you in? n/t (none / 0) (#54)
by Kyckling on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 04:47:05 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I'm in (none / 0) (#77)
by Kal on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 12:16:14 AM EST

I'm in it now, have been for the past several months, and there's no way I'd even consider buying it at launch. There's almost no way I'd consider buying it at all. The large amount of bugs is only the icing on the cake. Just last week or so they completely changed several high level professions and they're going to release the game with them having a whole two weeks testing? Add to the bugs and untested features the fact that characters still get eaten by the server fairly frequently. So far I've only mentioned a lack of testing and bugs, you don't even want to think about the brain dead combat model or the horrendous crafting system.

[ Parent ]
Yeah... (none / 0) (#82)
by CodeWright on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 09:16:04 AM EST

It was crafting first and combat second that killed it for me.

Considering that I had been waiting for this game forever and had to overcome the phantoms of past betrayal (mee'sa hatesa episoda one-a) before embracing SWG entirely, the realization that SOE was, once again, screwing their customers by utterly ignoring their beta testers... well, it was too much.

I chucked the CD in the garbage and haven't looked back.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
I have to agree with some of this... (none / 0) (#84)
by Kyckling on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 10:37:31 AM EST

The combat system is a bit flawed, but I've heard all of this before. The only problem is nobody has anything constructive (myself included). Everyone just wants to bitch, and moan about what a letdown it is. Personally, I don't think I'll get it at launch. Once(if) they launch player owned vehicles I would. It's a little hard to trust SOE after their other MMOGs, but I want Star Wars sooo bad. <--- And this is why it will sell.

[ Parent ]
I tried (none / 0) (#86)
by CodeWright on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 11:36:51 AM EST

Whenever the client wasn't crashing on me faster than I could bring up the bug report window, I would submit pages and pages of well-thought-out and thorough bug reports (with as much raw dump stubs as the particular bug/feature permitted).

Not once did I see follow-through on anything I submitted.

Having an opportunity to speak with Raph Koster at the GDC 2003 and attend his talk on "community management" (which should have been titled "Fascist Dictatorships: A Concept Whose Time Has Come"), it was easy to see that these concerns were never going to be addressed.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Oh no it's NEW (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by duxup on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 12:59:21 PM EST

Well considering all MMORPGs start out buggy Star Wars might not be a good choice.

Also info about what you can and cannot do on Star Wars from the people making it seems to change day by day.  Not a good sign IMHO.


[ Parent ]

Haven't really followed (5.00 / 3) (#42)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 01:07:29 PM EST

I haven't really been following its development. The 'official' features seem cool, but of course we all know how much an MMORPG's stated features can vary from the actual release. "Have adventures in a huge world along with thousands of your friends" becomes "You and one other guy click this monster a bunch of times, then wait."

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
EVE-Online (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by Maserati on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 11:24:29 AM EST

http://www.eve-online.com

Not as ready as it should be, changes have unintended consequqnces, the market can't really handle market-griefers and there are lots of very time-consuming tasks to perform.

On the other hand, it's a vast universe, a PKers dream (but still safe for the rest), the graphics are stunning, and the game has gotten pretty darn stable and fairly bug-free in the 5 weeks since release. The market is still screwy - too maney people putting out dirt cheap buy orders for valuable minerals.

The game is, you start in a basic frigate with lousy gear and no money. The tutorial takes you though the basics of mining asteroids, combat and running agent missions (for NPCs) which leaves you with a little cash. You can immediately mine or run missions for more money and then go into combat, trading or manufacturing.

Did I mention that the graphics are stunning (I have a Ti4600) ? This is a candidate for Best Art Direction in a Video Game - Ever. Go look at some screenshots. The system for creating character portraits could be a mini-game for parties. Mom loved it. I keep a character slot (you get 3) open just for playing with the graphics.

There is a corporation system designed to allow groups of players to set up any sort of arrangement they want. Some features were added late, like security restrictions to keep a newly-recruited member from looting the corp.

It's all designed to encourage group play. Factory slots, rare blueprints and the best equipment is all seriously expensive. A good combat frigate costs $220,000, a cargo hold full of the best basic ore refines to $7500 worth of minerals, and a low-end cruiser blueprint costs $28.775 million. Plus humungous amounts of minerals are required to make ships.

A lone-wolf can't do everything. But what I have managed is to find some buddies to team up with when I need firepower, find some good areas to hunt pirates in, start a business manufacturing missiles and ammo and get set to do some research.

I'm having fun and paying the $12.95 a month. It's still under development, but the playr-driven economy is in its infancy. By the time SW Galaxies has starships working EVE should be a mature game.

--

For the wise a hint, for the fool a stick.
[ Parent ]

Bolo! (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by ItWasThem on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 01:02:01 PM EST

Bolo is older (first appeared in the late 80s on the BBC Micro, then really came out in earnest as a Macintosh-only game in the early 90s) and the last update as far as I know was in '95 or so. But it can't be beat for the pure simple and addictive gameplay.

It's not MMORPG obviously, but it does support various modes of network play, trackers and all that. The community is still pretty active. The original Bolo was for the Macintosh only and can be found here.

There has since been a clone created that has versions for both Windows and Linux (WinBolo and LinBolo). Unfortunately WinBolo and LinBolo are not compatible on a network with the Macintosh Bolo, but they are compatible with one another at least. You can download both here.

I've found that there is a huge amount of customization you can do as far as maps and pretty complex AIs have been developed for players and computers to use. Though the game is older, it was very ahead of it's time in that it supports deformable environments, building, resource harvesting, etc.

I strongly suggest you at least check it out before you go plop down $50 for another dissapointment.

WinBolo and LinBolo are Shareware with no limitations though the author asks that if you enjoy the game you send in $25.


[ Parent ]
Oh, god, I'm getting a flashback (4.33 / 3) (#12)
by yammering communist on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 06:57:46 AM EST

...from Anarchy Online. Yeah, I actually bought that game. This is sounding remarkably similar - MMORPG with good premise gets pushed out of the door as a beta version, servers are laggy and unstable because the code hasn't been fully optimized and debugged yet, some features don't work right while others are simply missing, the game itself is unbalanced so the designers have to play it by ear and nerf some classes and empower others, which frustrates and annoys players who have already put lots of work into characters, etc.

The "get it out early or else" phenomenon is not limited to MMORPGs by any means, of course. While it's true that the average cost for a computer game has risen considerably, this is mostly due to the high production values for modern 3d-accelerated graphics rather than any special attention to gameplay, balancing, storyline, or replay value.

The computer gaming industry, like its console counterpart, has gotten past the "experimentation" phase of its development. Costs have risen, companies have consolidated, it's a lot harder to start a new entry in the field, try something different. It's gone Hollywood. Now it really is an "industry" - an assembly line churning out the repetetive, unorginial lowest-common-denominator detritus.

It bothers me that I can get bored with Unreal 2 before even beating the game, and get tired of even a relatively polished MMORPG like Dark Ages of Camelot within a month; and yet I can still go back and re-play Half-Life or Fallout 2 or Daggerfall or X-COM or even Doom - and enjoy it - after having owned these titles for years. Is it just me, or do they really not make them like they used to?

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


Great games are rare (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by zymurge on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 10:10:59 AM EST

No question, most games coming out these days are mediocre at best. However, that has always been the case; it's not a new phenomenon. When you go back to your old games, you never go back to the ones that sucked; instead you replay those that you liked the most. So you end up comparing only the best old games against all the new games, good and bad.

Some of the games you list that you replay - X-Com, Doom, Half-Life - are some of the greatest games ever created, and Fallout and Daggerfall are excellent in their own right. To be fair you have to compare these to the very top newer games: Counterstrike, Starcraft, GTA3, etc.

[ Parent ]

At Once A Critic... (3.25 / 4) (#20)
by thelizman on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 10:25:45 AM EST

...the real glaring flaw in this so-called review is that it fails to leave any leeway for consideration that this is a brand new game. This is an entirely new implementation of the MMORPG in that it's not an RPG - it's live action. Sony should be applauded for even attempting to combine so many game genres.

Moreover, I find you to be hypercritical of Planetside, yet you go on to praise game like America's Army:Operations. If you recall, AA:O suffered through a year of unplayable server lag, frustrating bugs, excluded-but-promised features, and is now plagued by cheats. Warts and all, it is still one of the most popular games out there, and it's quality rivals that of commercially sold game titles.

Planetside is in an infancy stage, and early adopters (such as yourself) are volunteer guinea pigs upon whom the kicks will be ironed out. If you don't like it, call your credit card company and block payment to SOE, delete the game, and stop bitching.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
Review Criticism (4.66 / 3) (#23)
by limekiller on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 11:21:36 AM EST

thelizman writes:
"...the real glaring flaw in this so-called review is that it fails to leave any leeway for consideration that this is a brand new game. This is an entirely new implementation of the MMORPG in that it's not an RPG - it's live action. Sony should be applauded for even attempting to combine so many game genres."

This would be true if Sony was actually trying anything new here, but they aren't.  The MMORPG is something they have a full 4 years of involvement with by way of Everquest and everything else has already been done by Tribes.  

The problem here is not that the game has flaws it is that it (a) has far too many of them to be seriously considered for retail release and (b) they don't seem to be interested in doing anything about it.

"Moreover, I find you to be hypercritical of Planetside, yet you go on to praise game like America's Army:Operations. If you recall, AA:O suffered through a year of unplayable server lag, frustrating bugs, excluded-but-promised features, and is now plagued by cheats. Warts and all, it is still one of the most popular games out there, and it's quality rivals that of commercially sold game titles. "

AA:O caught a lot of slack because it was free.  But you brought up something I actually forgot about; cheats.  I think that will stop me from going back.  So thanks.  =)

"Planetside is in an infancy stage, and early adopters (such as yourself) are volunteer guinea pigs upon whom the kicks will be ironed out. If you don't like it, call your credit card company and block payment to SOE, delete the game, and stop bitching."

I agree with the 'stop paying and shaddap' part and also somewhat agree with the 'early adopters are guinea pigs part, but not to this extent.  That's what beta testers are for, not the people handing out $50 plus $13/mo are for.

Further, this is a review.  I am pretty much doing what you suggest.  I'm just giving fair warning to those considering it.

Regards,
limkiller

[ Parent ]

Validity (4.00 / 3) (#30)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 12:13:29 PM EST

That argument is about as valid as saying, "It's a game, and games aren't necessary for the continuation of the human race, so you should be happy with what you get." I don't think it's too much to ask that a $50 game with a monthly fee is enjoyable upon release. The problem with massively multiplayer games is the nature of the format leaves developers wide open to making promises "for later." As we've seen with games like Everquest and The Sims Online, it's rare that the core gameplay changes after release. Sure, lag gets better and weapons get nerfed, but it doesn't sound like Planetside will have drastic gameplay changes, which seems to be the author's complaint. If players are waiting for it to turn into the game they hoped for initially, they may be let down. The amount of hype (generated by EA) for TSO was unbelievable, but the game was and still is a massive let-down.

America's Army is free, and not massively multiplayer. I don't think it is a good game to compare to, especially when you remember that most games are designed for fun and balance while AA is designed for realism.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

end-user expectation (4.66 / 3) (#35)
by yammering communist on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 12:40:33 PM EST

When someone buys a piece of software in the store, they buy it with the assumption that it's going to run properly, it's not going to be filled with bugs, and it's going have all the features listed on the box. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to work well enough to get the job done. If I spent a day's wages on a piece of software that doesn't work worth shit, I would feel as if I had been cheated; wouldn't you?

OK. Say you've got a nice shiny new computer. You want a new suite of word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. You go to the store, drop a fat wad of cash on a glossy box with manuals and CDs in it. You pop the disk in, install, reboot, and start enjoying your new software package.

And it crashes.

And you reboot. This time, everything's running half to one-third as fast as it used to. You click on stuff and nothing happens. You look for features that the box promised and they're not there. About 90% of your system resources are being eaten up, and you can't figure out why, because the programs aren't really doing anything. The software asks you to get online and download a series of patches; you leave your computer online overnight, finally get them all installed, and none of the bugs that are bothering you seem to have been fixed. Finally, when you write a scathing e-mail and send it to the company, you never get a reply.

OK. Companies that release business software don't do this shit, and if they did, they'd never get away with it. So why can computer game producers do it with impunity, over and over and over again, and still have people buy their shitty products?

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Money (4.50 / 2) (#41)
by duxup on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 01:02:44 PM EST

IMHO MMORPGs should now be past their hardcore buggy age.  Sadly it seems all new MMORPGs are in terrible shape at first.  It might get better, but with much less buggy established MMORPGs and the fact that they're taking people's $ now, I think such criticism is valid.

[ Parent ]
Sounds interesting but (4.12 / 8) (#31)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 12:19:23 PM EST

I'm looking for a massively multiplayer game that's not so much focused on combat. Instead, I want one where your character spends all day arguing with other people about things of trivial importance. And then, I don't know.. maybe you could get points for saying stuff.

The only thing is a game like that would probably require a lot of computing power and you wouldn't want the servers to be lagging all the time.

Computing power (4.00 / 4) (#44)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 01:10:56 PM EST

That game would have huge requirements on the server side, the only way I can think of to solve that problem is if the developers begged for money every once in a while.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
or sold ads <nt> (2.00 / 2) (#49)
by Abominable Abitur on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 03:50:27 PM EST



"Terrorism is only a viable "political activist" method for marginalized nutjobs, bottom line. The backlash that it causes makes it intractable for any reasonable ideology. Which is why you don't generally see wild athiest suicide bombers in america's streets." - lonelyhobo
[ Parent ]
make it into a strategy game (4.25 / 4) (#45)
by pb on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 01:15:28 PM EST

What you need is some 'resource' that you can collect, perhaps from those points you get all day saying stuff. Perhaps you could spend this on extra in-game abilities, like spending 10 points to silence someone for a while. And of course you'd need to have a high score list, and form guilds where you could pool your points...

Where do I sign up???  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

YOU WANT THE K5MMORPGLOLOLOMFGROFLMAO (2.50 / 2) (#48)
by egg troll on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 02:46:03 PM EST


He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

[ Parent ]

k5 (3.00 / 2) (#90)
by silk on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 04:41:06 PM EST

You mean k5?

[ Parent ]
The Short Game (4.50 / 4) (#36)
by duxup on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 12:48:17 PM EST

I'd like to get into an FPS MMORPG but from what I've heard and read Planeside comes up short on one requirement I have:  The Short Game.

Word from those I've spoken to is you can't just hop on Planetside, get in a battle, shoot people, get shot, and have fun then move on.  You're pretty much forced to hook up with a team if you don't want to just be a little duck in a row on a moving belt waiting to get shot.

This is not to say I don't want to play long games and invest a lot of time in an FPS MMORPG, but it would be nice to not have to commit large amounts of time to a group every time you want to play.

Speaking with some fans of WWII Online (talk about a broken game when released) that game also has problems where you really can't do anything on your own.  They also have the problem where taking a base or city helps your rank, but likely will be lost the next day.

It would seem the short game and direction are a weak spot in most FPS MMORPGs .

As for the quirky physics I think all games will have holes like that, I find them more amusing than annoying =)


Tribes 2 (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by QuantumFoam on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 05:31:33 PM EST

It allows for pickup games, and it was buggy at release but the bugs have mostly been fixed now. I have been addicted to this game for two years now and would highly recommend it. It can be found for $15 online or cheaper in some stores, and there is no subscription, the servers are independently run.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

Tribes 2 (none / 0) (#60)
by duxup on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 05:57:32 PM EST

I still have a bad taste in my mouth from Tribes 2 when I played it after release.  The nightly patches that totally #### up the game to the point where you couldn't even start the game were the last straw for me.  I vowed I'd never go back to that ruined franchise.

Sad story.

[ Parent ]

Patches Work now (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by QuantumFoam on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 06:11:10 PM EST

If you still have the disc floating around, I would suggest giving it a shot with the latest patches. I can't remember the last time it crashed on me.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

Wonky physics made Tribes 2 (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by cburke on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 07:17:23 PM EST

Played an early version of Tribes 2. It had a humorous physics "quirk". You would create one of the heavy ships on the platform, and nudge it gently. This would set it moving at a slowish pace until it hit a small rock, at which point the ship would flip over dramatically and explode. You could also do it by bonking a wing with your head. They got rid of that behavior, and all the fun I had in Tribes 2 was gone.

[ Parent ]
What about the new Myst MMORPG? (3.50 / 4) (#43)
by UltraNurd on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 01:07:53 PM EST

I've heard its decent... but will people actually want to solve pretty puzzles online with other peopl?

--
"Your Mint Mountain Dew idea is hideous and wrong."
-Hide The Hamster

When I hear "Myst MMORPG" (none / 0) (#79)
by explodingheadboy on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 12:30:54 AM EST

I think of something more like characters interacting in the world portrayed in the books. Not solving puzzles...

Seems like it would be a gathering point for the hardcore Myst kiddies.

---
Q: If you're paddling upstream in a canoe and a wheel falls off, how many pancakes fit in a doghouse?
A: None! Ice cream doesn't have bones!!!

[*rmg is dying]
[ Parent ]

The whole genre is retarded (2.50 / 6) (#47)
by RyoCokey on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 02:39:27 PM EST

You'd have thought by now people would have learned that most people are complete jerks when they have the added benefit of anonymity. The hell would I want to play with 1000 other people who have petty enough to waste $13 a month levelling to be holier than thou over other imbeciles?

The whole concept of MM games is flawed.



Is Weaponsgate a hoax or liberal disinformation?
Liiike...K5? (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by LairBob on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 07:06:23 PM EST

I'm just sayin'...

[ Parent ]
yeah but...k5 is free :-) (3.00 / 1) (#81)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 02:33:11 AM EST



It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
A little quick commentary... (4.33 / 3) (#50)
by Kasreyn on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 04:08:14 PM EST

"The "grief system" -- a mechanism intended to dissuade team-killing -- has worked spectacularly. It is particularly harsh on people who carry heavy weaponry into crowded areas but it certainly has stopped the intentional, rampant player-killing sprees."

Umm, maybe I'm not getting something, but isn't the game SUPPOSED to be PvP (Player vs Player)? You make it sound like the game is all battles against other players - is there a "comp stomp" mode too? If it's all PvP, there really isn't such a thing as PKing, yanno. PKing is going PvP against someone who is wanting to play PvC (Player vs Comp) or coop. As to "team-killing": what is that? As to "grief system": how does it work? Methinks MMORPGs already have too much grief in them from grief players. Does the grief system only "grief" grief players, or does it give EVERYONE a little grief?

As to the bug list: Hate to tell you this, but mostly only long-haired Linux hippies (I say that in the friendliest possible way ;-) will actually post full buglists of their software. All the corporate software makers think of bug disclosure is, "It will make us look bad". I recommend you get some fans of the game together and make an unofficial buglist website with a forum for newly detected bugs. Don't hold your breath waiting for a for-profit company to post a full bug list; you'll asphyxiate every time. =\ For an example on how to do it, check the Lurker Lounge's Diablo I and II buglists, which are each 10x more complete than any bug disclosure Blizzard has ever made.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
PK vs. TK (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by limekiller on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 04:23:31 PM EST

Wups.  I meant TKing.

And I run Debian.  So that's probably why I expect some notion of "full disclosure."

Regards,
limekiller

[ Parent ]

Grief (none / 0) (#53)
by Devil Jeff on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 04:38:12 PM EST

Could you describe the grief system? I've heard it's effective, and I'd like to know more about it.

--
"When the sun goes out, all deeds, significant or not, will be forgotten together." -- Jack Vance
[ Parent ]
Grief Explained (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by limekiller on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 05:11:50 PM EST

The grief system is pretty straightforward: you take grief "points" whenever you hit a person.  The number of points you get for each hit depends on two factors -- how much damage you cause and how much time has passed since you last earned grief points.

Example: You shot someone once and get 3 grief points.  If you immediately shoot them again you'd get 5.  Again, 10.  Again, 25.  Again, 50.  Etc.

Example: You shoot someone once and get 3 grief points.  An hour later you shoot someone again, you get 3 more.  An hour later you shoot someone again, 3 more.

A few notes...

This is probably obvious but the cumulative effect does not require that you shoot the same person, just someone in your empire.

What do these points mean?  I only know what happens at 1,000 grief points.  Your weapons will not fire anymore.

Regards,
limekiller

[ Parent ]

Huh?? (none / 0) (#71)
by Kasreyn on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 08:38:25 PM EST

But I thought the point of the game was to shoot people?!

That doesn't make ANY sense. At all. Either you've explained it wrong, or the folks at SOE are doing up on some skull-searingly good shit.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
THE ENEMIES, DAMNIT, THE ENEMIES! (none / 0) (#72)
by limekiller on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 09:32:31 PM EST

Look, it really isn't this complex.  Because the game is about shooting people, I make the unbelievably silly mistake of assuming you realize grief is not accumulated when you shoot your enemies.

Regards,
limekiller

[ Parent ]

Why are people shooting their teammates? (none / 0) (#73)
by Kasreyn on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 09:36:10 PM EST

I mean, random crazy nutjobs aside. Where is the gain to them? Increased game ranking for the kills? Looting their bodies of good gear? When you're in a fire-fight with an enemy team, what motivates J Random Griefer on your team to blow your head off all of a sudden?

I think a better solution to griefing, in any game, is to find out WHY people are griefing (what they hope to gain), and make it impossible to attain that goal by griefing. If game design is careful enough, griefers are either totally prevented, or are easily isolated and ignored / banned.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
They are not after in game gain (4.50 / 2) (#74)
by MfA on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 10:06:34 PM EST

Noone is. Anything in the game is always a mean to an end, the end being enjoyment. The why of griefers is that they get their enjoyment by ruining yours. Hence the name.

[ Parent ]
Griefers methodology (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by limekiller on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 10:56:53 PM EST

Greifers do so for two reasons.  Because they're pissed or because they're bored.  This stops the pissed version because the pain of weapon lock is stronger than the pain of someone, say, being blocked by some n00b in a door.

But there isn't anything you can do to stop people from griefing out of boredom.  The only thing you COULD do is make it impossible to harm teammates and by doing that you remove a large chunk of the realism of the game.

Regards,
limekiller

[ Parent ]

Griefer gain (none / 0) (#95)
by wurp on Mon Jun 23, 2003 at 11:29:01 AM EST

MfA said this, but I think it's worth restating.  What grief players enjoy is making other people unhappy.  Figuring out a way to let them achieve that goal without causing grief seems pretty unlikely ;)
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
Suggested Game (4.00 / 2) (#58)
by QuantumFoam on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 05:53:52 PM EST

I have been watching Planetside with the hope that it would take the place that Tribes 2 has held for two years. This and other reviews have prevented me from being an early adopter, but I am still hopeful that they will get it fixed up before too long.

Anyone who is looking for a game to play in the meantime would do well to check out Tribes 2. It is a faily old game at this point, but the community is still strong and still making mods and playing. The games are usually limited to 32 players, though I have seen 64 player matches. The setting is fairly open terrain and the main game is a version of capture the flag. It is very well balanced, and it encourages group efforts like wingmates in the fighter jets and base defense. There is a huge variety of weaponry and vehicles available, and if you stray into the modded games, the weapons and vehicles are pimped out with every better modes.

The best part is that since the game is so old, it is only $15 nowadays if you buy online. Loki games did a Linux version that I plan to obtain soon, and since I just banished Windows from my hard drive I have been seriously jonesing for it.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!

C-? (4.12 / 8) (#61)
by godix on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 06:00:56 PM EST

All those problems and the game gets a c-? What does it take to get an F, the computer bursting in flames when the CD is inserted while the manual is anal raping your mother and the jewel case is planting coke in your dresser just before calling the cops?


"A disobedient dog is almost as bad as a disobedient girlfriend or wife."
- A Proud American
Gamers are a long-suffering bunch (none / 0) (#75)
by Malvoisin on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 10:44:20 PM EST

Their expectations aren't too high these days.  Everquest has trained them well.

[ Parent ]
Or... (none / 0) (#94)
by magney on Sun Jun 22, 2003 at 03:22:36 AM EST

kicking you in the beanbag?

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

-1 just for this paragraph (1.91 / 24) (#62)
by BinaryTree on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 06:07:42 PM EST

But read on, gentle reader, because this game has not one but a bevy of critical flaws. Despite all its bright spots, it comes up empty in its stated goals more often than a weapons inspection team in post-war Iraq.

Keep your fucking political opinions to yourself in a game review, even if you are preaching to the choir.


Fact vs. Opinion Lesson (3.00 / 3) (#65)
by limekiller on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 06:28:58 PM EST

BinaryTree writes:
"Keep your [unnecessary expletive redacted]ing political opinions to yourself in a game review, even if you are preaching to the choir."

Who expressed a political opinion?  The statement that nothing has been found in 200+ days of free-reign in-country inspections is factually correct.

Having said that, I'm glad it pissed you off.  It's the kicked dog that yelps.

Regards,
limekiller

[ Parent ]

You make the mistake of assuming that (2.16 / 6) (#69)
by BinaryTree on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 08:19:22 PM EST

I, being anti-kurofuck, have any differing opinion on the matter whatsoever.

That sounds like how a kurofuck would think, kurofuck.

P.S. bad form rating down comments in your own story.


[ Parent ]

Figure (3.00 / 2) (#70)
by limekiller on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 08:38:06 PM EST

Learn to deal with disappointment.

Regards,
limekiller

[ Parent ]

Goodness (none / 1) (#66)
by srn on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 06:41:35 PM EST

You really are touchy, aren't you. a) It was funny; b) It's true. How many WMD have weapons inspectors found (since Richard Butler was thrown out)? To comment on your meta-comment, though - I think the fact they can't find them now is really not important - Saddam _had_ them in the past, he knew how to make them and he could make them again if he wanted. And he used them. On his own people. _That_'s good enough for me...

[ Parent ]
Butler (none / 0) (#68)
by limekiller on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 07:10:42 PM EST

"Thrown" gives the impression that it was Iraq that ejected him.  Butler was pulled out by the U.S. and later quit.

Regards,
limekiller

[ Parent ]

Don't let the bugs get you down. (3.50 / 2) (#78)
by explodingheadboy on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 12:26:11 AM EST

The thing with MMO's is that they're never perfect on release. They're just far to technically complex. (Compared to most other games.)

Wait a month or two, and if the developers are dedicated enough most of the bugs will be squashed and the game will be nearly bug free.

I was on the beta for Eve: Online, and at release it clearly wasn't "ready" for retail by the standards we hold other games to. But in the month or so since it's release the developers have been constantly updating the game, (mostly through unobtrusive server side fixes) and it has vastly improved. I should know, I've been playing. Aside from fixing all but the few ningling bugs left the devteam has been adding new things at a slow, but steady pace.

Perhaps Planetside may be so lucky as to improve quickly after release. If you like give it a month without play, then go back and patch it, and play again, see how it is.

---
Q: If you're paddling upstream in a canoe and a wheel falls off, how many pancakes fit in a doghouse?
A: None! Ice cream doesn't have bones!!!

[*rmg is dying]

Eve: Online (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by duxup on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 01:50:20 PM EST

Friend: "How's it going?"

Me: "I'm flying through space."

(30 min later)

Friend: "How's it going now?"

Me: "I'm flying through space."

(60 min later)

Friend: "So Anything happen yet?"

Me: "No, still flying through space."

[ Parent ]

ROFL (none / 0) (#93)
by explodingheadboy on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 09:26:05 PM EST

Fucking iceland...

I know exactly what you mean, but I've honestly had to make only one long flying through space trip.

You must not have known where to go. :p

---
Q: If you're paddling upstream in a canoe and a wheel falls off, how many pancakes fit in a doghouse?
A: None! Ice cream doesn't have bones!!!

[*rmg is dying]
[ Parent ]

Changes in (3.00 / 1) (#80)
by Robo210 on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 02:07:20 AM EST

Several of my friends where lucky enough to make it into the Planetside beta test, and were at once hooked. The only topic they could talk of for weeks was Planetside. However, one day near the end of the beta period, each of the testers quit Planetside for good, due to changes made in the game. It seems that before the final version was released, Planetside was a fair and well balanced game. The final version was changed in such a way that some of the groups were put at an extreme disadvantage while others were too powerful, throwing off the balence of the gameplay. Why a company would do such a thing to a game that was working so well to begin with is beyond me, however, Planetside is now much worse off because of it.

Rather play Xbox Live, or anything broadband (3.00 / 1) (#83)
by Silent Chris on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 09:22:28 AM EST

I tried this game, and while I think the idea is original and sound, the game itself is lacking (kind of like Black and White).  Lag kills during any first-person shooter.  With several dozen (I won't say hundred, because I never saw it) players on the battlefield, it's almost impossible to play.

I think they need to do what Xbox did, and restrict all players to broadband connections.  It won't fix everything, but the lag is critical in a game like this.  My experience with lag has been almost perfect on Xbox (short of Wolfenstein, which inexcusably is full of it).

Re: the bugs in the program (3.00 / 1) (#87)
by Mephron on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 12:32:23 PM EST

Considering I've been playing EverQuest (another SOE MMORPG) for a while, I can tell you that bugs in the system are pretty much what you can expect.  And patches will bring in new and more interesting bugs while fixing others.

(The last big EQ patch brought in a bug where spellcasters, sitting down to meditate and regain mana, would spontaneously stand up.  No reason.  Just... stand up.  This meant that you really did have to spend all the time watching, no chance to go to the bathroom while medding... this seems to be mostly fixed now, but it took a week and a half to get it done.)

At least Planetside doesn't have zones... geez, the joy that was the Plane of Time, the Uber Zone of 'Planes of Power', that as far as people can tell was patched in every single patch until they finally got it, theoretically 'working'....

Review: SOE's MMORPG "Planetside" | 95 comments (69 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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