This might sound weird, but the biggest thing that impressed me about PlanetSide 2 was the map. Don't get me wrong, the gameplay and all that's on offer is pretty great. But the scale of everything is just insane when I was taking a look at the map. You have games like Battlefield gloating about their huge maps (and they are), but you can fit several of their biggest maps into just one of PlanetSide 2's map easily.
Part of having huge maps also means having a ton of players fighting, and in this case you're going to have thousands and thousand of people playing on a server going at it on foot, in tanks, and in the air all the time fighting for objective points all over the map. I was shown an overhead map view during gamescom where I could see all the action was taking place at any point, and see who is in control of what territory that's constantly shifting hands. PlanetSide 2 features three playable teams, and the goal is to dominate the map.
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I have this thing where I like to know how long it will take to get from one side of the world to the other on foot. Usually no one can ever answer my question because no one ever wants to try it out. Josh Hackney, Executive Producer over at Sony Online Entertainment, at least told me he's gotten across a map on a ATV, which took him about ten minutes to do. The fastest jet in the game will take you around two minutes, and he tried demonstrating that for me. It was really cool seeing battles happening all over the ground as we were flying across the level. Sadly we weren't able to make it all the way as a enemy plane ended up taking our jet down.
The game will be simple enough for anyone to just jump right in to go shoot at things. But there's also going to be a level of strategy involved where you will have to real plan, and design your loadouts appropriately. While it's great that it'll be easily accessible, I think players ignoring the larger aspect of the game will be doing a real disservice to themselves. The fun here will be working with others as you try to conquer everything you can. Things evens gets as complex as having to create different loadouts for the day and night cycle. Your daytime loadout won't cut it when you have to get around in the darkness of the night.
PlanetSide 2 is also a free-to-play first-person shooter, so you can use in-game money you've earned or real cash to buy things for your characters. The team is being really careful with what they let players buy with actual cash. Specifically, you can spend your money (in-game or real) on equipment that act more like side-grades for your characters, and you can also spend real money on cosmetic items. Otherwise, actual weapons and vehicles will only be purchasable through the in-game currency.
There's a lot on offer with PlanetSide 2, and I'm looking forward to playing with thousands of others at once.