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Old 2011-08-02, 03:59 AM   [Ignore Me] #1
Sergeant Major
MasterChief096's Avatar
Caves *Gasp!*


I feel as if I'm letting an elephant out of the room here. Caves receive a very mixed response amongst the PlanetSide community for a number of (good) reasons. Their association with BFRs, the lame tactics that occurred there that led to shit fights, etc.

However, I believe that with PlanetSide 2 we should drop our bias towards caves, and start fresh, with new ideas regarding their implementation.

The primary reason I think they should be implemented is because the style of combat was a nice breather from the top-side monotony at times. I remember I took part in several pop-lock/near pop-lock cave battles and they were just awesome. Seeing people zip-lining everywhere while guns were blazing from multiple elevations was a sight to behold... and participate in.

The main problem arose when populations in cave fights were so small that vehicles imbalanced the fights a lot (such as mosquitos, etc), or when the group with the slight upper hand would camp the hell out of the spawns. I think these problems can be fixed though, to provide a good experience for PlanetSide 2's spelunkers. With that said let us address how caves in PlanetSide 2 might be able to work out.


I say keep it similar to PlanetSide 1's storyline minus BFRs and what not. The humans who colonized Auraxis discovered extensive cave networks built by a now-departed, advanced alien civilization. Through research of these caves it became known that their purpose was to more efficiently gather resources across Auraxis' surface as well as the extraction of very rare crystals with extremely unique properties.

The structures within these cavern systems are very alien in nature and cannot be used by humans, as of their current understanding of ancient Vanu systems. As such, colonists brought down their own equipment and devices for use within the caves, to once again help with resource gathering and also to study the strange crystals and Vanu structures. The caves are very unique because they preserved Vanu buildings, the likes of which are not seen on the surface.


Its in fact the storyline behind the caves that will allow for flexibility in their implementation. SOE could either decide to make the rare crystals in the caves usable as a resource/item or they could simply say that humans don't understand them enough yet to be able to make use of them. This could come as a later add-on during their three year plan or whatever.

However in my possible storyline for caves, it was noted that human colonists brought their own equipment and machinery into the caves. This would fix problems such as the spawncamping seen in PlanetSide. The main reason this was so prominent is there were no tubes to destroy because the Vanu structure was built that way. Make it so that the PlanetSide colonists built respawn structures INSIDE the Vanu buildings found in the caves. Hell, throw into the lore that the colonists made them aesthetically similar to Vanu architecture and you still have wonderfully different looking buildings, just with some human equipment inside that also looks like those buildings!

This would allow players to destroy tubes for the structures inside the caves, and discourage just camping the spawn doors until the hack goes through. Should 100% of the caves be contestable? I am unsure. Perhaps make the caves more similar to the classic PS1 model of just capturing all the bases in a cave to lock it. Since the caves were used by the Vanu to extract those mysterious crystals AND to better gain resources, have the benefits of hacking a cave be related to that.

1) Taking a cave gives you more options for assaulting top-side continents. Various geowarps/cave entrances could be located on top-side continents that active when a cave becomes available and deactivate when the cave cycles out, similar to how it is in PlanetSide 1.

2) Taking a cave that is "linked" (or whatever the PS2 equivalent is) to a predominantly friendly controlled continent allows for a % boost to resource gains on that continent (as the empire would have personnel working in the cave in conjunction with top-siders to harvest resources, from a storyline perspective, obviously I do not want AI workers in the game). Perhaps a 10%-40% boost? I don't know the numbers exactly. Balance would have to be figured out.


Here's the huge predicament for me. In PlanetSide, low-pop cave fights meant vehicles were no fun to go against. Hopefully in PlanetSide 2 low pop fights won't be an issue, but there are two problems with this:

1) Low pops might indeed be an issue one day
2) Caves might be more of a "side" thing and the pops there might always be low.

There are a few solutions (plus others I probably have not thought of) to this.

SOE can institute a separate poplock for caves to stop the main fight from ever being there. Maybe 200 people per empire or something like that.

Another thing is to balance how vehicles are used in caves, or whether not vehicles would even be allowed. Personally, caves provided an immense infantry experience unlike any other. Zip-lining to structures at different elevations, encountering random enemies in those bad ass looking structures with one-sided windows, all of that was an amazing experience when it worked out properly. With that being said, I would not mind if vehicles were not allowed at all in the caves (except for maybe AMS equivalent), and it was focused purely on infantry combat.

SOE could also limit the amount of vehicles allowed in a cave fight, but I feel this would be useless in low pop situations anyways.


How big the caves are would also play a role in determining the use of vehicles as well. I like the size of caves in PlanetSide, I think they should stay the same. Perhaps different caves could be smaller/larger than others, with % gains to resources being tied to that. I also liked how caves went up and down instead of just across. Zip-lines are a definite must-keep as well as multiple structures at different elevations.

Please discuss what you think about caves and how they could be put into PlanetSide 2!
MasterChief096 is offline  
Old 2011-08-02, 05:38 AM   [Ignore Me] #2
Second Lieutenant
headcrab13's Avatar
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

I personally enjoyed many cave battles, so I wouldn't mind seeing that aspect return to PS2. On the other hand, rather than just rehashing the same environments, I'd be okay with them axing the caves and going with tons of urban combat, oil rig-type water bases, massive floating sky-bases, and even space combat eventually.

That being said, they way they describe the variety and size of these continents... I don't think I'll ever get bored of outdoor combat!

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Old 2011-08-02, 11:37 AM   [Ignore Me] #3
Sirisian's Avatar
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

I wanted caves to be merged with the regular game environment. So basically everywhere across the map you'd see these tunnels leading into the ground for a seamless cave system. Meaning parts of controlling a territory would be under the ground below the actual land. I think that would definitely make some of the battles unique to have AMSs parked next to holes or have random opening in the ceiling to a large cavern system where gals could drop soldiers into.
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Old 2011-08-02, 11:42 AM   [Ignore Me] #4
PSU Staff
Wiki Ninja
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

I love the PS1 caves. We'll likely have something similar in PS2 with the urban environments, but we'll probably still get mossiefarmed as the caves do now.
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2011-08-02, 11:59 AM   [Ignore Me] #5
PlanetSide 2
Game Designer
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

I also liked caves. They were fun once you got the hang of them.

I think the reason most people hated caves is that they were incredibly confusing. Until you learned the layout of the cave and the ziplines to get you to where you want to go they were incredibly confusing. I believe that confusion led to a lot of players saying "wtf this is lame!" and abandoning the caves.

But a good cave fight was about as good as anything else in PS, and it was nice that you didn't have BFRs and other BS down there.

It was good urban fighting, just a lot of confusion with the ziplines and cave layout made it unfriendly to players.
Malorn is offline  
Old 2011-08-03, 08:26 PM   [Ignore Me] #6
First Lieutenant
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

Yeah caves themselves could be great additions. They were just implemented badly in PS1. Honestly they could have prob fixed em but clearly just gave up when it failed.

Its was mostly a navigation issue, way too many of the goofy ziplines and teleports. And the crystals as structures, and complex layouts were very confusing and hard to navigate.

Take some lessons from blizzard with what they did in their new water zones in wow. Normally they would be very confusing. But adding in some visual cues such as color and shape helped massively to make them very easy to navigate. For instance, if you want to find the various cave entrances, you look for the red coral thingies, they stand out and are only in front of cave entrances.

So get rid of the rainbow effects, each little sub section of the caves should have its own colors/themes to keep it broken up. Ramps and access points should be easily spotted via color/shape cues, same with structures etc (ps1 caves had absolutely everythign as a confusing rainbow vomit splattering of crystals). Easily identifiable landmarks throughout would also help you in knowing where you are and where you need to go.

And for gods sake, put all the features of the topside stuff down in the caves, you cant even see hack times on the map, i mean wtf, thats beyond stupid.

Those are just the base factors of course. There are so many cool and interesting things you can do with caves that just cant be done on the surface. Would be cool to see them come back in a much improved and thought out form at some point.
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Old 2011-08-03, 08:48 PM   [Ignore Me] #7
Staff Sergeant
Sovereign's Avatar
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

As long its not of the limiting layout as core combat where vehicles were rather pointless (with the exception of ams I suppose)
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Old 2011-08-04, 11:47 AM   [Ignore Me] #8
Second Lieutenant
headcrab13's Avatar
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

Originally Posted by Sirisian View Post
I wanted caves to be merged with the regular game environment. So basically everywhere across the map you'd see these tunnels leading into the ground for a seamless cave system. Meaning parts of controlling a territory would be under the ground below the actual land.
This is a great idea. I wouldn't want caves running all over the whole continent, but at least in some areas it would make sense, like a cave system running through the rocky hills of a desert region, or under the snowy plains of a frozen continent. Not only would it be cool to see a spawn point set under a base, leading to an unexpected rush of enemies from below, but it would also add some unique strategy to planning offense and defense.

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Old 2011-08-04, 12:15 PM   [Ignore Me] #9
Master Sergeant
Haro's Avatar
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

I liked the concept behind the caves, creating a battlefield that has more 3 dimensional aspect with emphasis on infantry and light vehicle combat. But I didn't like the implementation of the caves themselves. They were confusing and kind of out of the way, you didn't really feel like the caves were worth all that much, and I didn't really like the idea of the ziplines.

One of the few good things about BFRs was at least it got people into caves, and at certain times they could be pretty fun. I'd rather see the cave concept used in what I thought caves were meant to represent: urban areas. Though you can still have the close quarter's infantry focused combat, and it can be fairly complex, just by being based off a model of cities that we are all familiar with. I also think that simplifying the objectives of these areas would be great too. Something closer to a capture-point system of BF1942 or that line of games combined with some of the facility benefits inherent to planetside, perhaps?

I often think about how the concept of caves, which I think has a huge amount of potential, wound up to be designed in such a way that it was one of the most under-used and unliked parts of the game. Pretty remarkable.
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Old 2011-08-05, 11:28 AM   [Ignore Me] #10
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

I don't mind the concept of caves, but I do mind how damned irrational they were in PS. They were laid out in an extremely unintuitive fashion, and the map was almost completely worthless. A few crazy routes for experienced people to take advantage of, fine. But in the ps1 caves, every single route was unintuitive.
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This is the last VIP post in this thread.   Old 2011-08-05, 12:53 PM   [Ignore Me] #11
PlanetSide 2
Game Designer
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

Color-coding the ziplines might have helped a lot to see where a zipline goes.

They could have turned it into almost an intuitive subway-like system where you might say "take the blue line to get to the top of the cave" or "the red lines goes around the outer rim of the cave" and "green lines are short-distance vertical hops" and "Yellow lines move through the center"

Aside from the visual cues of being able to trace where the zipline you are standing in front of might go, having patterns to the colors would make them easier to navigate as well.

I remain fully convinced that the failure of the caves is mostly due to confusion about how to navigate them. People tried it, got confused, got killed, and gave up...then bemoaned how terrible the caves were.
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Old 2011-08-05, 01:32 PM   [Ignore Me] #12
Master Sergeant
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

I loved the caves but sadly many other I knew did not take to liking them due to navigation. I thought that it just took a little bit of thinking to figure out how to move in a cave and found it easy. Once I showed how to navigate many of them started to like caves but the pops where always too low for a good battle. I think that perhaps if we either made proper urban battle zones or if we made them more a part of the surface game play people would like them more. Zip lines and teleportal pads are what made it fun for me. The fact that at any moment the battle could shift drastically simply because you could zip in behind people who where not as smart or fast made it great. With the mentioned addition of jetpacks for ps2 I think that caves in their old designs would perhaps be too easy for players and it would then be a fight of numbers not tactics. I hope they come back and affect game play more than they did in the past but at the same time I worry what it will be like if they are brought back poorly.
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Old 2011-08-15, 01:56 AM   [Ignore Me] #13
Talek Krell
Lieutenant Colonel
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

I honestly never entirely figured out how the caves worked. I eventually started taking a sort of "enjoy the journey" approach to it and found that I really enjoyed my time there, even if I was lost during most of it.
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Old 2011-08-15, 07:43 AM   [Ignore Me] #14
Sergeant Major
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

I think, like with the BFR's, they're just going to forget implementing the caves but keep the concept: urban combat. This time, they'll mean it. They could have made an actual city map(s) for the PS1 expansion but blew it placing a few sparse buildings inside large caves.

There were some good battles, I'll admit, but overall it wasn't what players wanted in the long run. SOE is better off just implementing what Headcrab13 mentioned. They wouldn't seem as out of the way and irrelevant as cavern systems.
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Old 2011-08-15, 10:12 AM   [Ignore Me] #15
Master Sergeant
Re: Caves *Gasp!*

Originally Posted by headcrab13 View Post
This is a great idea. I wouldn't want caves running all over the whole continent, but at least in some areas it would make sense, like a cave system running through the rocky hills of a desert region, or under the snowy plains of a frozen continent. Not only would it be cool to see a spawn point set under a base, leading to an unexpected rush of enemies from below, but it would also add some unique strategy to planning offense and defense.

After thinking over this idea for a while I have decided I like it. The thought occurs to me to have a field battle full of tanks and air then all of a sudden some infantry pop out of a cave like little rpg wielding terrorist and start causing true chaos on the field of battle.
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