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Old 2013-08-31, 04:22 PM   [Ignore Me] #1
Mordelicius
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Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players since launch. And there are several reasons for it. But, first, i'll point out the ones I won't be discussing. And these are already much discussed as you can see:

- Performance
- Griefing/Hacking/Exploiting
- Overpowered Units (used to farm helpless newbs)
- Faction Imbalances leading to server imbalance
- Lack of Metagameplay


However, there is one aspect of PS2 that's fundamentally rotting away the core gameplay and driving away game's population. It's the conflict of conceptual PS2 vs the actual/applied PS2. What does this mean?

Planetside 2 concept: Persistent warfare in a massive scale and map. That is ideally what PS2 is and should be.

Planetside 2 applied: After they lure new players in, they turn around and not foster, support, encourage this kinds of massive fights and in many cases even discourage it (with the new rulesets and mechanics they've been implementing).

All of these swirling points can be distilled in their philosophic approach: The developers much rather limit gameplay than limit cert gain, as opposed to limit cert gain instead of gameplay. Again, what do I mean by that?

I'll explain this by giving many cases and examples of how they tinker with the game mechanics. Obviously they don't want players to farm too much certs easily. You can see this in the first generation bases they've released (and I've noted this before in the forum), which didn't allow chokepoints, turtle and awash many unmitigatable flanks (windows, doors, stairs, etc.).

Examples:

Degrading the Crown - When we were testing the lattice on the PTS, all we're asked was which other bases are too good. They would rather kill a good base than improve the other bases. And so they killed the Crown (iirc it was already changed at that point) rather take the good points off it and apply it to other bases.

Lowering Biolab Cap: Here is another example. They are so averse to Biolab farms that they would lower the cap to 3 minutes. Combined with the new SCU/Shield gen mechanic, resecure/rescue and recovery is screwed.

No Deploy Zone: This is another great example. The NDZ has not done anything good for gameplay but debase it. I call it the WWW (wipe, walk and wait). Attackers will wipe because Sunderers are much harder to hide. Attackers will walk back from the last base and Defenders will wait. That's triple tedium. All this does kill the battleflow.

And what this tells me is they don't want players spawning close to each other and killfarming. Such as in Towers where you can park the Sundy downstairs or on Amp Station/Tech Plants where they park next to A.

Easier Continent Cap/Uncap - They've went too far with this as well. The old rivalries and bragging rights/taunting are gone. I understand one base to farm players over and over again is excessive, but the current Continent capping is moot, because it is utterly pointless to hold it being practically impossible to defend.

All the has been evident since they limited the redeploy/hotdrops to several bases. They simply want to decrease the fights and increase the nonfighting activity like transportation. Now, this overarching concept has completely taken over PS2.

Let's check the other side of the coin: Decrease the cert gain and keep the massive fights. Roll back all the destructive stuff like NDZ, and bring back the good bases such as the Crown.

I also understand they check local/specific hotspots where players get to kill alot and make changes to them. I noticed it small changes in the Biolab rock elevations/cover placements as well as rock covers out in the open map.

Suggestion:

Now, how does PS2 can regulate cert and still have sustained, meatgrinder fights that everyone loves? How can the Devs' disdain for sustained fights be mollified?

This has been discussed before Dynamic XP was implemented. Before Dynamic XP was implemented I was suggesting XP gain cooldown upon death, meaning everytime a player dies, a timer ticks. Until that timer ticks down to zero, that player cannot gain/give xp from kills using a fired/activated weapons (perhaps they can still gain xp from mines).

I've been arguing that the Developers don't want players farming and earning certs at a high rate. The best compromise is to limit the cert gain, allowing them more room to accept and design meatgrinder mechanics. Aside from the lattice system, the Developers are very averse to farms and meatgrinders.

Hence, the Kill XP cooldown upon death.

- Recently killed players cannot gain kill XP until timer cooldown
- Recently killed players cannot give kill Xp until timer cooldown
(not counting suicides as death)

My suggestions is experiment how long is a viable cooldown time. Rather than gain certs for every player just respawning or rescuscitated, increase the xp per kill. Even it's just a minute, so long as we can have our massive meatgrinder fights back. If all you rez, die, rez, die, the fight is still on, but we're more focused to the objective. In addition, they can tinker with base cap XP to reflect the enhanced importance of base capture.

The timer will also condition players to not die all the time if they want to get kill xp and same time not reward spawn and choke campers with free xp and finally allow Devs room to back away from their embrace of artificial-gameplay-limits-as-means-to-regulate-xp-gain. How about do it the other way around, limit cert gain through death xp timer and leave the gameplay untouch and improve upon it rather than rack their brains to find not-so-ingenious means to scale back the fights.

Here are some of my old posts on the subject before Dynamic XP on December 17, 2012 (and i've posted this before having to read/know what the Dynamic XP concept was:

http://www.planetside-universe.com/s...ad.php?t=51359

Originally Posted by Mordelicius View Post
Planetside 2 players overwhelmingly want a meaningful, sustained base fights.

SOE want nonstatic, nonpervasive, elastic, wide-open frontlines to avoid base turtling and in turn kill farming (which in turn will hurt their business, due to high rate of earning Certs).

Here's the practical solution to both: Add a cooldown to kill credit everytime a player dies.

Example:
Player A kills Player B. Gets XP points for the kill.
Player B will not get XP kill credit for the next (say) 2-3 minutes.
Player B will also not be able to give XP everytime he dies the next 2-3 minutes.

Every time Player B dies, the cooldown is reset. What will this mechanic do?

1) It will allow SOE to contruct or reconstruct tighter bases without the fear of xp kill farming.

2) It will prevent kill farmers for the sake of gaining cheap XP. That goes for Air units and even exploiters.

3) It will rewards a community that simply wants great balanced, competitive pvp.

4) Players will still get kill credits but the XP farm simply won't be there. If Player A kills Player B 10x every minute for the next ten minutes. Player A gets XP credit for first kill but still get 10 kills.

5) The onus will be on players not to die and reward strategy to kill and not die repeatedly.

SOE will have to adjust the amount of XP per Certs, including the ones already owned by players, but it will solve the divide between SOE and the players.

Originally Posted by Mordelicius View Post
I'm sorry but imo SOE will not change their base designs to benefit defenders. In fact the opposite is happening. They are systematically eliminating all the farming hotspots (look at the outrage at the Mesa and Techplants). I think the Biolabs are next. Look at the ramps they added. Pretty soon, they will note the Crown as well.

There's a reason why the bases are so wide open, with no place to turtle. They designed it that way. But you're right on one thing. My suggestion shift the focus on base fights rather than pure kills. But it's no different from what is going on right now. Most base 'fights' are just capping empty bases.

The only places left to fight are really the Crown and Biolabs. If they implement this, they can restructure their base-capping, base defense mechanics around the concept.
Originally Posted by Mordelicius View Post
I doubt SOE would acquiesce to that because again, they simply don't want base turtling that will evolve to cert farming. What SOE is trying to avoid is easy Cert farming for players.

That will just speed up the demise of the Crown because it would be even more prime area for defense farming. They destroyed the Techplants for that very same reason. I wouldn't be suprised if they add loads of jumppads toward the crown.
Originally Posted by Mordelicius View Post
It seems I wasn't clear enough why I made this post . I made this post after reading so much Base Design threads.

My point is, the only way to convince Sony to change their open-ended Base Design is give up fast XP farming.

The current base design favors attackers not defenders. Hence you have cries of "nobody is defending". You have cries of "Zerging empty bases". You have cries of "where's the fight?" While the suggestions on changing bases are arguably well-meaning, it's all player-centric. Sony's position wasn't even part of the discussion or equation. It means SOE ain't gonna bite because the faster players farm their kill, the less they sell the Certs and XP boosts.

The only way for Sony to bite and change their base design philosphy to allow turtling, camping and heck even kill farming (different from xp farming), is to incorporate a Kill-XP cooldown mechanic. I lifted this mechanic from my favorite MMO where it worked wonders over there, by focusing players unto objectives (The GMs found a way ruin the game in another way but that's another story ).

Players prefer:
Defensive Bases (favors defenders) + Easy kill farm

Sony prefer:
Open Bases (favors attackers ) + Slow kills

The current system is a mix of both:
Open Bases (favors attacks) + Easy Kill farm

What I'm suggesting is a reverse. If Sony is to ever make highly defensible base, then the kill farms has to go:

Defensive Bases ( favors defenders ) + Slow kills ( Kill XP cooldown mechanic)

Now that doesn't mean getting XP is now impossible. Sony still has to adjust the XP per Certs ratio. Suppose, put it at 50 XP per certs. This system also shift focus on the objectives themselves. That means the priority is kill for the objective. The current system forces to players to go to a base to farm. It's never about objectives anymore. Also, 2-3 minutes may also a bit too high for this type of gameplay. Perhaps, 1-2 minute cooldown would be better?

Lastly, I still think they are systematically removing all the kill farm zones because it will hurt their Certs and XP boost business.

So yeah, take a pick. But I don't think we will have a defensible base and easy kill farming. Just look at how fast they took down the Techplant. They could have turned the Amp station to an easy version of the Techplant by adding two doors on each side of the main building. Instead, they made Tech plants an easy version of an Amp station.

I think the time is now while they are still constructing the new continents to give out our best suggestions. Because, if not, we'll be stuck with the same ole base concepts.
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Old 2013-08-31, 04:44 PM   [Ignore Me] #2
Root Hade
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


Seems like an awkward solution honestly, though this reminded me of the cert system SOE was touting before release. Now I'm not even sure if I'm remembering it correctly, it sounds too radical.

A set income of certs online or offline, regardless of your in-game performance.
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Old 2013-08-31, 05:44 PM   [Ignore Me] #3
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


making the cert gain slower is a terrible idea, imo.

it is pretty simple if you want to lessen the farm; REDESIGN THE SPAWN ROOMS.


PS1 people, PS1.
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Old 2013-08-31, 05:53 PM   [Ignore Me] #4
Mordelicius
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


Originally Posted by Root Hade View Post
Seems like an awkward solution honestly, though this reminded me of the cert system SOE was touting before release. Now I'm not even sure if I'm remembering it correctly, it sounds too radical.

A set income of certs online or offline, regardless of your in-game performance.
At least, you understood the gist of the post right? The developers want to lower player xp/cert gain (which is understandable).

But rather than tinker with the actual xp/cert game mechanic, they tinker with the gameplay in a roundabout/indirect fashion.

XP/Cert Gain is a function of gameplay. Hence if they change the gameplay they can change the cert gain.

Example:

Biolab cert gain is a function of Biolab Gameplay.

Changed Biolab SCU/Gen/Cap mechanics/gameplay lowers Biolab Cert gain.

I also have examples above on how to achieve in lowering xp/cert gain.

My point is, leave the gameplay alone and change the cert gain itself.

That is why I was opposed to Dynamic XP in the first place back then, it doesn't change the status quo in base mechanics. And pretty much unrealistic and unsustainable. Again this was my first reaction to Dynamic XP after someone pointed it to my attention:

Originally Posted by Mordelicius View Post
I doubt SOE would acquiesce to that because again, they simply don't want base turtling that will evolve to cert farming. What SOE is trying to avoid is easy Cert farming for players.

That will just speed up the demise of the Crown because it would be even more prime area for defense farming. They destroyed the Techplants for that very same reason. I wouldn't be suprised if they add loads of jumppads toward the crown.
All what their adventures do in changing the gameplay to lower cert gain is in consequence diminish the battleflow and massive encounters. Leaving less players fighting, and logging on (which is a negative feedback loop: Less fights>Less players logging> less fights).

I much rather have a long fight with the same xp gain than have half walking/driving/looking for a fight and half finding half-baked fights that wipe easily with the same xp gain.
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Old 2013-08-31, 06:00 PM   [Ignore Me] #5
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


Originally Posted by camycamera View Post
making the cert gain slower is a terrible idea, imo.

it is pretty simple if you want to lessen the farm; REDESIGN THE SPAWN ROOMS.


PS1 people, PS1.
They are doing it anyway (reread my posts; it's understandable and players really got no say in it). They just do it in a roundabout way (indirectly).

You simply don't notice it because half of the time, you're looking for fights or simply walking or getting wiped easily (No Deploy Zone)

Why do you think they removed the ability to deploy everywhere? lol. Yes, that's right, to make you spend time walking/driving and not fighting (hence lowering your cert gain).
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Old 2013-08-31, 06:57 PM   [Ignore Me] #6
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


The spawn rooms in outposts are still a joke in pretty much all bases they didn't redesign so far and even in several new ones that i played.
What is it with this obsession with tiny huts at some remote corner of the base where defenders allways have to run further than attackers while also having a longer spawntime?
And even if it is a proper spawn "house" there are other mindboggling design choices like having wide open space around the spawn or the cap point being up on a steep hill. Generally there is still way too much open space between the defender and the point in almost all bases.

And that they didn't do anything about the big bases and the retarded one-way sonic-the-hedgehog-tunnels is also disappointing.

HOWEVER, there are some new bases that are really good. My favorite from a pure design perspective is Saurva South Fortress. That is how a base should look like, with tweaks it could serve as a fine blueprint for quickly crapping out non-retarded bases.

Well, sorry for my little offroad trip here. Also i will acknowledge that the devs are apparently constantly adding new things to the bases like additional spawns or teleporters, so who knows, maybe one day all these assortments of huts will truely be "bases".

Last edited by Babyfark McGeez; 2013-08-31 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 2013-09-01, 06:05 PM   [Ignore Me] #7
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


While I agree that all of the OP's reasons impact the population to some degree, the real reason people leave is that PS2 is NOT the same game they advertise.

Grand scope and massive battle sandbox mode have been wittled down by complaints from very vocal players who come from established FPS's where small team, small map combat is king.

This distillation process continues...
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Old 2013-09-01, 06:47 PM   [Ignore Me] #8
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


@Babyfark

It's kind of amusing how the same topics are repeatedly brought up yet it's never directly tackled or answered by anyone with any creative direction. While it's easy for comments like "well a good idea only takes 5 minutes to think up, it actually takes longer to put it in" to be a response it's just yet another dodge with fingers in the ears hoping the problem will magically go away with a later band aid; what I see at the moment is "I facilitated shit base design, so what I'm going to do is change the mechanics in the hope this fixes the problem the shit design created". While you could say the turtle shell bases just encourage the farming - that's where outstanding base design counters this; there's more options available than "the only door in" or "tight corridors for the farm" (cue better base design).

What I want to see is someone take this game with a firm grip of the balls and say "It's by no means going to be in there tomorrow because it's a lot of work, but we recognize the root problem (bases) this is/isn't going to happen.." there's more than enough valid alteration suggestions out there to potentially fix, improve and build the game up to be something that bit more different and special.

Of course people want it "now", however any reasonable person knows it's not going to be there in an instant, what is important though is that someone with the influence shows abit of character and conviction to see it completed; like a dev team of Smedley's.
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Old 2013-09-01, 10:29 PM   [Ignore Me] #9
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


I agree that the last rework of cap timers and SCUs made the game worse not better.
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Old 2013-09-02, 02:21 AM   [Ignore Me] #10
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


They want Planetside 2 to be a persistent, massive scale pvp mmo, yet they don't like sustained fights that lead to sustained killing which eventually turn to cert farming. But you can't really separate those two (large scale pvp mmo & sustained pvp). In fact, they are conceptually synonymous.

Hence, the problem of the current system they devised is that has no middle ground. The attack and defense prospects are seated on opposite sides of the spectrum. What do I mean by that? Basically, the current system is set to have short fights.

Attackers get the jump - Hard to resecure, with the current SCU/Generator system and cap times, giving the base essentially to the attackers. Results in no massive, sustained fights.

Defenders get the jump - Hard to get to the base, because of the silly no deploy zone. Sunderers easily explode, attackers get wiped (been asking for Sunderer survivability buff for months to no avail). Results in no massive, sustained fights.

(Both lead to repetitive walking and waiting where you don't earn any certs. In short, they are designed to lower your cert gain).

What is the middle ground? The middle ground is the sustained fight. What you call the meatgrinder. The one they've been (slowly but surely) phasing out the last 9 months . Where there is a reasonable window for resecure for defenders. And where there is reasonable resistance against wiping if you're attacking. Where attackers spawn at X and Defenders spawn at Y and they meet somewhere in the middle and fight continuously.

But no. The system is set up on opposite sides of the spectrum with no middle ground, designed for the least length/amount of fight possible. It's because they are averse to the meatgrinder because a sustained fight leads to cert farming. And easy, accessible cert farming hurts their business.

That's how I see all this. And this is why, IMO, it is one of the major reasons players leave, because they can't experience the conceptual aspect of Planetside 2. And that is why I'd rather have them change the xp gain system (which I've been suggesting last year), so they can spare the gameplay. Give us back sustained fights and they don't have to worry of players gaining insane amount of certs with it.
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Old 2013-09-02, 05:38 AM   [Ignore Me] #11
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


If battlefield 3 not losing players because of the amount of hackers then i don't think that ps2 does lol.
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Old 2013-09-02, 11:50 AM   [Ignore Me] #12
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


For one thing, I have not been able to log in for 2 weeks - keep getting G99 errors. There are probably many others with the same situation.

One source of lost players is broken code preventing the game from launching.
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Old 2013-09-02, 01:11 PM   [Ignore Me] #13
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


Hackers aren't a big deal. Gunz Online and most of IJJI's shitty games have massive hacking problems- doesn't stop those games from having huge player bases. Counter-Strike is notorious for having a big hacker scene- doesn't stop it from having(had?) a huge playerbase. Hell, even Starcraft 1 had hacking problems. etc etc. Despite what people will have you think, hacking is on the level of the Fourth Empire of things that get blown out of proportion.

Don't think the bugs and lack of optimization is a huge problem either.

The biggest issue with Planetside 2, as I see it, is that it is fucking repetitive. There is no variety to anything- there are no lasting affects to anything.

On a micro-scale, all battles start the same, flow the same, and end the same.There's very little real organization to any fight, even with organized outfits, most battles basically devolve into CoD/Halo style arena-shooters but with tons of players. Battles are very rarely evenly fought, either being straight roll-overs from overwhelming attackers, or repetitive meat-grinders (Biolabs) where your life expectancy after spawn is about 5 seconds. There is no destructible terrain, and most of the bases have the same general design, which makes them boring to look at after awhile.

On a macro-scale, there is no sense of lasting accomplishment after playing for awhile- and nothing you do is actually persistent. Play for a couple hours, take 80% of the map? By the time you wake up the next day, the map will be completely different- all that progress will probably be lost. I spent three hours defending the Octagon from the NC and VS a few weeks ago, and had a hell of a time. Woke up 5 hours later and it was of course taken, with the TR nearly warpgated. Sigh.

The sad part is that so many people are hoping that the continental-lattice will change that. It won't. The continental-lattice only comes into play when you capture a continent. How long does that usually take, though? 6 or 7 hours of straight play? The majority of players in this game probably play for only an hour or two a day, so they won't even experience that reward. So the territory gains stay relatively the same.

TL;DR: Planetside 2 suffers from the map looking different everyday but the situation always staying the same.
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Old 2013-09-02, 02:45 PM   [Ignore Me] #14
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


I think a cert system based heavily on SWG's (original) skill system would be a good thing. 250 Points total at BR 100, starting with 52 at BR 1 and gaining 2 each BR. Your Basic Mastery Trees could be the same as infantry classes with vehicle trees being specific to a particular vehicle.

Like SWG, you can only truly master two Trees or spread yourself around as more of a generalist.

You'd have the Basic Cert which leads into a 4x4 unlock grid which ends with a Master Cert. Master requiring the entire grid to be certed. Each of the four columns could be something like Shields, Armor, Weapons, and Abilities. Or it could even be a larger grid to be closer to how certs work now. Either way, we need tradeoffs, PS2 letting everything do anything without any sort of limit makes the game too bland and predictable.
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Old 2013-09-02, 04:55 PM   [Ignore Me] #15
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Re: Why Planetside 2 has been steadily losing players


I love a man who quotes himself.

The things you didn't discuss are the reasons new players don't stick around. They don't stick around to notice all the other things you don't like. Which, I have to say, I disagree with a lot of. No deploy zones has greatly improved the way bases and defended and taken, for example.

Your suggestions aren't very good either.

"Hay guyz lets completely change the way experience is gained so we can change bases into zergfarms. That will keep the new players playing!"

No.
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