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PlanetSide Community Takes Action to Market Game 93

Posted by Zonk
from the if-you-want-something-done-right.. dept.
Enilk Libb VII writes "Frustrated by Sony Online's lack of dedication to their game, the Planetside community has taken the initiative and started a 'Guerilla Marketing' campaign designed to attract new players to the game. Players know that Planetside is good - perhaps even a genre defining title - but that it often goes unnoticed in the gaming market, saturated as it is with FPS games. Forums dedicated to the discussion of computer games, it was decided, are the perfect places to advertise. A template was designed with links to a spectacular video of Planetside (made by a regular Planetside player), a 7-day free trial of the game itself, and a downloadable installer. A thread was started on the Planetside Forums and the players got to work. The effect of the campaign has been noticeable. Populations are growing noticeably. Due to the influx of new players, many veterans of the game have volunteered to be part of a team whose job will be to contact new players and 'buckle them in'." Now if they'd only lower the pricetag...
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PlanetSide Community Takes Action to Market Game

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  • You know... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EvilJohn (17821) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @04:46PM (#11267949) Homepage
    ... maybe no one wants to play it because it isn't that good.

    I played the game for awhile, and it doesn't take long to figure out having the achievements you made Monady Night wiped out while your at work make redoing the same thing on Tuesday Night not much fun.

    • Exactly what got to me. A decent game, perhaps even innovative, but yeah when you conquor some land, log off content and happy that progress has been made, log back on only to see that land overrun by the opposing faction, blah, maybe the expansion or patches handled this, though I doubt it, I quit well before then.
    • Not only that, but the main thing that I think has driven many players away (myself included) is how poor of a FPS the game actually is.

      People play FPS because they like the skill involved. That means living and dying by headshots, etc. In Planetside, you have the "cone of fire" which basically kills any skill involvement whatsoever.

      That alone made me not want to play. I loved the concept, and I hope someone comes along and does it right, but Planetside definitely did NOT do it right.

      • People play FPS because they like the skill involved. That means living and dying by headshots, etc. In Planetside, you have the "cone of fire" which basically kills any skill involvement whatsoever.

        Honestly, though, some people DON'T like the twitchfest that most FPS's are these days. I liked Planetside precisely because it didn't appeal to 14 year olds with ADD who can't wait 60 seconds to respawn.

        I think it boils down to the level of teamwork you like in your FPS. Designers need to decide how much
      • you do realize that every other FPS on the market ALSO has a "cone of fire" right? counterstrike, ut2004, quake, etc. good games make it visible, through changing crosshair size. shitty games (*cough*cs*cough) make you guess. but its always there.
    • mmmm glad to see they havent fixed the musical bases.

      While they laud that there are no computer controled characters in the game; a game of this calabur needs some. There needs to be a bot system that can create battles in the middle of fields instead of right outside bases. I remember the few battles that took part inbetween bases were the best damn experiances i had in that game.

      From what i gather in your post, they still havent addressed the repetative nature of the base network. This is the reason

    • I used to play Planetside quite a lot, and while the lack of permanent progress annoyed me for a bit I eventually realized that "winning" wasn't the point, but rather the process of fighting the enemy and conquering bases. No other online game has matched the fun of being part of a well-organized squad/outfit assaulting some base, or the desperate fights to keep that single remaining tower on a continent against the enemy zerg.
      The utter chaos of two armies clashing was also fun, especially when the third on
    • The point of Planetside is not to "make progress." The war never ends, it will always go back and forth. The fun to be found in the game is the massive scale on which you can organize groups of soldiers. I played for over a year as part of a large outfit (over 300 active members). We used a hosted Teamspeak server to communicate and coordinate large-scale operations. Scenes like those you see in the movie were rare, but not unheard of. It's a beautiful thing when 10 assault tanks clear the roof of an
    • I've been playing this game since beta, and have had very few breaks. When it was released it was revolutionary. There isn't an FPS that has ever had more players playing against each other at one time. I believe it's something like 3000 on may 31st of 2003 on the emerald server. The sheer sizes of the battles are what makes them fun to the people who play. I'm still an active player and I have witnessed first hand this influx in new players as it has made outfit recruiting much easier.
    • ... maybe it's not as good in your perception, EvilJohn. But you know... it may be good in other people's perceptions ? Maybe ? From what I read I think you haven't even stuck around long enough to know what you're talking about. Yeah, the enemy doesn't sit still while you're asleep or go to work. And when you come back the continents you took last night may have to be taken again. I've been playing over a year and still like the game. Tastes sure differ ! Tiger313 BR20 CR4 Trouble! Werner
  • by schild (713993) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @04:50PM (#11268014) Homepage Journal
    In a market with no competition (save the Conquest mode in MechAssault 2 on the Xbox), why would they lower the price tag? They are the only MMOFPS afaik (Neocron and other shit notwithstanding). A 7 day trial is more than enough to decide whether you like it or not. Don't be a cheapskate.

    Uninformed editorial comments hurt everyone, particularly the game in question.
    • Well, they have competition in the form of other games (say, Unreal Tournament 2004. Not persistent but many would take better gameplay over persistent worlds) and those other games apparently deliver more for the money.
      • Isn't this already one of the cheaper MMO's? I am not totally sure but I recall seeing that it was only 12 or 13 dollars a month (if you buy a month at a time). This may be wrong though.
        • I am looking at gamerankings.com, and most sites rate this game a 80% out of 100%. Compared to UT2004 or COD or HL2 or Doom3, it's not even in the same league description wise.

        • I allow myself $20 a month in subscriptions to games, and $100 a month total for games. Right now, subscription wise, I'm paying $9 a month for an MMORPG, and $10 a month for an MMORTS. If I paid them six months in advance, I'd actually pay less for the two combined than for Planetside, I've had one wipe in three years with one game (which I actually could have avoided had I had the foresight. Shortly after I started, they did a major graphical and systems overhaul, but couldn't upgrade the existing server
          • I'm interested in what MMORTS you are playing. I didn't know there was one - and I should know. The only one that comes to mind is in development and it's Ballerium. Recently resuming it's development at years end. So what is this already released game you're paying $10 a month for?
            • theres Shattered Galaxy, which has been out for years, but thats more of a normal rts wrapped up inside a rpg/tbs metagame. theres also a european game that i cannot for the life of me remember the name of that is VERY cool, truly MMO with hundreds of players in each game, and each game lasting for weeks-months.
  • by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @05:03PM (#11268243)
    Supposing that this were some struggling large game by some large manufacturer, would we be yelling "astroturfing" instead of "innovative marketing"?

    Just a thought...since "astroturfing" was the first thing that came to mind when I was reading the summary.
    • Hm. Maybe, but the game experience itself here is very largely dependent on the player base. If you can substantially increase the number of dedicated players on a server, then the play experience is likely to improve as conflicts might grow in scope to seem more epic than small warring factions. It's not just spreading the brand; the people promoting it are attempting to improve their own in-game experience and maybe delay the potential eventual shutdown of the servers.

      Grain of salt needed, as I've not a

    • Sony doesn't count as a "large manufacturer"?

      This is astroturfing, but not in the classic sense, since this is being done by the consumers in a volunteer grassroots effort. Now, if it turns out Sony is funding this whole thing behind the scenes...
  • by inkless1 (1269) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @05:22PM (#11268545) Homepage
    Planetside is, in it's heart, a good idea.

    SOE sucked so badly at delivering it that it's just not a good game. It was horrifically buggy when it launched (my game would crash about 5 times in an hour before I would just stop at times ... and then there were the times I would spawn as a wall). SOE's customer service is probably the worst on the planet. (post all your log files, do all our work for you, wait days for any kind of response - I never got help from any at SOE except for getting a refund).

    Then, when they start to stabilize it - they start to change the gameplay.

    Basically, they had a decent idea, made a beta of it and boxed it. Now that players have fled the scenes in droves, SOE isn't willing to stick up a fight.

    My suggestion - don't give SOE any more money on this drek. They don't deserve it. Yes, an MMOFPS could work. Go play some Battlefield until someone figures out how to make one.
  • by Dragoon412 (648209) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @05:30PM (#11268650)
    I mean, just the concept of it seemed awesome: a futurisic, skill-based MMO with real-time wars!

    In reality, the game falls flat. This is mainly because while the game is designed as a war sim, many (if not most) of the players play it like a MMO Quake deathmatch. People are absolutely obsessed with kill stats; rewards are based on kills, your status is based on kills. So while your side needs some (very limited, admittedly) logistics to win (such as driving AMSes, dropship pilots, medics, engineers, anti-aicraft), 9 out of 10 people are running around as infantry with the Heavy Assault weapons, reinforced exoskeletons, and personal shields, because it's the best setup for fragging (indoors; outdoors, most of them fly Reavers and spend all their time rocket-spamming infantry that can't really fight back).

    Everything about the game just feels like it failed. There's no cooperation, no coordination, the devs don't even try to balance weapons (i.e. there's this weapon called the Maelstrom - a heavy assault weapon that fires a chain-lash grenade that can lash through doors - the end result is one weapon that renders all the special assault weapons obsolete, and allows one person to clear entire rooms and hallways of other people by firing through walls), there's no war being faught... it's just a giant frag-fast with a terrible engine and some of the worst, most frustrating net code I've ever seen.

    So, thumbs up for Planetside's concept, but the devs took what could've been a truly unique and rewarding game, and stripped out all the unique and rewarding features so that they could compete with the likes of Quake. The game has the most arrogant, immature, and elitist community I've ever had the misfortune of experiencing, too.

    Sure, there are outfits that are the exception: Glastonbury Brigade, Sturmgrenadier, and Warrior Nation (all outfits I've been a part of), but it's still hard for one outfit to make much headway in the face of a giant, swarming zerg of killwhores.

    The best way I can convery the concept to anyone who hasn't played it is this:

    Imagine you're playing a game of Tribes CTF. You've got 16 people on your team. 3 guys are genuinely trying to cooperate and get the other team's flag. 8 guys are completely ignoring the flag and are just trying to frag the other team, 1 idiot's running around TKing your guys and killing your own turrets, 2 more guys are arguing over a strategy to get the other flag, even though they're both, obviously barely-literate, mongoloid cock jockeys, the only guy with a vehicle is flying a bomber with no bombadier/gunner, and the last guy's AFK.

    That's what Planetside feels like: a public CTF server. Except in Planetside, you have to pay a monthly fee.

    Maybe some day they'll turn it around, but for the foreseeable future, I wouldn't recommend that game to anyone.
    • I played PS for a couple of months but eventually I got tired of it for many of the reasons listed in the parent post. This game *could* be really good based on the scale of the battles. There were a few times I ended up just staring at the battle instead of fighting because of the epic mayhem going on. In the end though, it just comes up short on too many fronts.

      My biggest gripe about that game was the empire jumpers who would go to whichever side had the "weapon of the week" such as the Jackhammer and

    • Imagine you're playing a game of Tribes CTF. You've got 16 people on your team. 3 guys are genuinely trying to cooperate and get the other team's flag. 8 guys are completely ignoring the flag and are just trying to frag the other team, 1 idiot's running around TKing your guys and killing your own turrets, 2 more guys are arguing over a strategy to get the other flag, even though they're both, obviously barely-literate, mongoloid cock jockeys, the only guy with a vehicle is flying a bomber with no bombadier

      • You guys are missing the point. Since Planetside is persistent what you do is you go out and you find a group of like-minded guys that know how to get things done. Its pretty easy to distinguish the wheat from the chaff. You then team up with these guys (up to 30 in a platoon) and amazingly you have all the coordination and support you could possibly need. Load them all up in a couple of air transports and kick some ass! In a 16 player server a couple of lamers make a difference. In Planetside you dont e
    • I used to play Planetside also. For the record, foot soldiers can shoot down the light fighter crafts. Bolt drivers (if I remember the gun's name correctly) were good for this. Granted it was a slow single shot weapon which you had to reload after each shot and it took many shots, but it definitely got their attention when you started putting holes in their armor. Of course you *had* to find good cover when trying this tactic.
    • Dragoon, what was your name in Sturmgrenadier? I'm the recruitment officer for SG Planetside, and when I saw our name appear on a slashdot comment, I was surpised :)
      • Sorry to say, but I took a while to think about it, and I can't remember. I remember when I tried to make a toon on Emerald, all my regular names were taken, and I had to make up something new. On Markov (Vanu), I went by Vex and sp3ctre, but I can't for the life of me remember what I used on Emerald.

        I wasn't exactly a big part of Sturmgrenadier, though. I only stuck around for a few weeks. I was in Hornet - was a lot of fun having the coordinated hot drop of half a dozen (or more) Vanguards into some enem
  • by lobsterGun (415085) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @05:35PM (#11268737)
    It's always nice to see someone stick up for the little guy!

    Young aspiring companies like SOE need all the help they can get!

  • I remember beta... (Score:4, Informative)

    by pikakilla (775788) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @05:36PM (#11268763)
    I remember playing beta of this game. The two major problems with this game right before launch were the musical bases/zerg rushing and the horrible cone of fire (you could stand point blank and miss a person). They said in the forums that they would never fix the cone of fire (i dont know if they have reversed this stance) and the musical bases is just a part of the game.

    This game sucks not because of the lack of players, it sucks because the developers/community wanted an eq-fps. It does not appeal to the hard core fpser. If sony would have not taken such a noobie friendly stance and tweeked the major problems of the game early on they would be in a much better situation than they are in now. For example, have actual objectives instead of "capture the base, run away, recapture the base, run to next base, capture another base, recapture first base...". Instead they focused on the leveling aspect of the game instead of the actual gameplay.

    Many fps vets, including myself, were turned off before the end of beta. The lack of a good aiming system and the lack of area damage was inexcusable. This plus the lack of any true obtanaible objective was the death warrant for this game. Planetside had its chance, and it believed that by just being a mmofps would be enough to intice all the gamers to play and stay. Sadly, that is not enough to take the vets away from their free multiplayer UT/Quake/HL and pay for musical base death match.

  • by eviltypeguy (521224) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @05:39PM (#11268810)
    Is that video linked in the article supposed to make me want to play?

    Sure, these points just reflect my tastes but:

    1) Total lack of artistry in the game's artwork (the artwork looks like something a CAD student made, technical precision with no heart)

    2) 100% PvP (sorry, no interest, I want the option of not doing PvP)

    3) Oooh "shiny" disease seen everywhere

    4) Everything looks so sterilised, yet another reason I despise futuristic games

    Yes, flame me all you want. But, I think the above are glaring reasons why World of Warcraft has succeeded where others have failed.
    • Your annoyed that a MMOFPS is PVP only... I know it was probably only a pro-WoW troll but still the games aren't even in the same genre.
      • Yes, I'm annoyed that it's PvP only.

        I'm annoyed because I have yet to find a PvP mechanism that doesn't suck all of the fun right out of the game for more casual gamers.
        • I am a casual gamer...I play maybe a few hours a week. I can get on any fps and be the #1 guy on the server in no time. Why? Because I have a lot of natural talant. In an FPS, it has very little to do with how hardcore you are. Yeah, there are hardcore versions of me out there that have the natural talant and can beat me in to the ground because they play non-stop, but they are few and far between. In a MMORPG, you may be right...the casual gamer is going to lose out...and that is true for WoW as well
        • How does it 'suck the fun out' if you are playing the game because you want to take part in a battle that pits 100 of your team against 100 of the other team?
        • To be fair to planetside, this game has probably one of the BEST PvP systems, because it was designed to be only PvP.

          Simply put, the only difference between a 3rd level character (which is 5 minutes after you start, if you do the training) and a 20th level character was the amount of things you could do. The 3rd level character could use the heaviest infantry weapons, or an AA weapon, or the battle armor suits. At that low level, you can only really do one or two of the different things, but you could do
    • I seriosuly cannot beleive you are complaining about that fact an FPS is PvP... Maybe you need a break from the EQ world of attacking some random NPC Rat?
    • Is that video linked in the article supposed to make me want to play?

      No, it isn't. It's supposed to make people who get the concept want to play.

      1) Total lack of artistry in the game's artwork (the artwork looks like something a CAD student made, technical precision with no heart)

      The artwork is intentionally toned down (low poly, relatively low-res textures) to improve frame rates. This is an action game. When you have 200+ people all fighting in realtime over the same facility, and your video c

    • 2) 100% PvP (sorry, no interest, I want the option of not doing PvP) pretty sure that option is hidden in the menu, look real close and you will see it, its called "then dont buy the god damn game"
  • Valid criticisms (Score:4, Informative)

    by wuchild (846766) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @06:35PM (#11269636)
    Some of you have valid criticisms for not liking the game itself.

    - You would like to see your progress mean something
    - You don't like the weapons or the art

    But a lot of you really have only *heard* about the game, or played it early on and in limited amounts.

    The primary reason *we* the players feel this game deserves attention now is that it is in a very good state of balance and is overall a great experience if you are looking for what PS has to offer. We all like big battles and many of them so we are all for getting new players to come join us.

    The game itself is well done and provides battles that no other game can offer. The players who play it love it to death and I have personally trained 5 new players that will be subscribing this week.

    The comments I read about the public CTF server are right on the money but they DO NOT describe a PS server. These people are serious about playing and working together to win territory and bases, even if it gets captured when they log out. The fun is in the process.

    I'm happy this got slashdotted or whatever, I just hope people can see past the uninformed negativity of most of the comments.

    If you had a negative experience early in PS, consider it once again for free and come kill me on Markov, I play TR as WuChild.

    I really don't care if SOE backs our efforts or not, it's my $13 a month and I want more people to shoot.
    • I played PS in the Closed and Open Betas. Got excited and played it after retail, only to find that the Nerf bat was wielded too heavily, and every single fight began to feel like the last fight.

      It was fun while it lasted, but it lasted only about two months. And yes, I was in a large player organization. In fact, I was silly and had a 6 months subscription. I did log in once a day or two before my subscription lapsed, and traveled across entire continents with nobody fighting on them. I guess it was about
  • And just think (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aztektum (170569) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @07:21PM (#11270140)
    They're paying SOE to do this all for them. If I were paying a company a monthly service fee only to feel ignored and unwanted, I wouldn't keep paying them and also run an ad campaing.

    I don't get those who are blindly loyal to SOE's crap. SWG, EQ/EQ2, and Planetside all suck. Yet there are these people that think they can fix it by sticking around and giving them time. I say cancel your acct. and you'll probably see it get fixed a lot faster. They're just milking you and going about their day to day.

    Reality check: The more money you give them, the less they'll want to put into fixing it. If you're sticking around, why bother?

    • Because its fun. I played CS:S for a week and although it looks awesome, it just didnt compare to Planetside. So 2 weeks after spending AU$110 on my HL2:Coll.Ed I was bored with it. So I resubscribed to Planetside.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A lot of the posts here are critical of the graphics, weapons or art style. These are valid criticisms. The game is almost 2 years old, a monolithic age for a first-person shooter and the community is already putting together "wish lists" for a sequel on the forums.

    But if you're an FPS fan, you should still try Planetside if you've never played it. Because there is a secret ingredient that makes Planetside very, very special - the scale. It's huge! No other non-mmo first person shooter - including Tribes -
  • Grassroots (Score:3, Insightful)

    by patternjuggler (738978) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @12:51AM (#11272570) Homepage
    A template was designed with links ... a 7-day free trial offered ... A thread was started on the Planetside Forums ...

    And a slashdot story was submitted.

    Don't all MMOGs die slowly a year or so after their release except for very rare games that are insanely popular? Only the speed at which it dies can be affected, perhaps, while increases in players just statistical noise, temporary deferrals of the inevitable. The only question is if the publisher knows that and adjusts expenditures accordingly to make a profit while not abandoning the game while there's still money to be made and repeat customers to piss off.

  • Not a MMOFPS (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It also failed to be a first person shooter. The game play is a hybrid of third person and first person. Imagine Counterstrike where you can switch to third person and see around one or even two corners without moving and you'll get the idea.
    • Re:Not a MMOFPS (Score:1, Insightful)

      However you cant shoot, well aim in thrid person... The third person is there is a replacement for leaning. If other people do it you need tog et used to using it too. And officiaally the game is a MMOFPA(S)
  • And I'm a 33 yr old IT veteran gamer (been playing comp. games since I had a Sinclair ZX81).

    If you've played this game a year or more ago and given up, get a trial key and give it a try. It has evolved and changed.

    If you've not playing it at all, give it a try - its 7 days for free. And squad up with players - this game absolutely sucks big time if you play solo, but is much much better with a group. I'm in an outfit (Starwolf on werner server), and I have to say without them I'd have quit a year ag
    • I'm with ya on this one. It's worth checking out. I played for quite some time and if you're not with a good outfit, the game can seem quite irritating. If, however, you get in with a good outfit th game can be very rewarding.

      I was a founding member of the Wolverines (which actully had a bit of drama involved as we staged a coup from our previous outfit the ELH) and am still good friends with a number of people there.

      Check it out. It's not a good a FPS, but it's not horrible. At the very least you do
  • Sorry for the long winded post, but I'm having a slow day at work.

    I played (I still have an active account and character "HellBat", but haven't logged it for over a month.) Planetside for one of the top outfits (Hostile Takeover) on the Markov server and the reasons all of the top players have left the game are related to the constant nerfing and dumbing down the game has received since they added the core combat expansion.

    The first thing they did to cause a mass player exodus was to nerf the surge implan
    • I don't think pcs and the internet is ready for mm games yet. I have yet to see a "MM" themed game with 200+ players in the same area not lag or completly crash to desktop. The first game I saw with a huge crowd like that was daoc and my pc would give me a slideshow. The next game I tried was sb, and that just crashed to desktop. Planetside actually handled it the best so far, but the game was just a resource hog.

      I had a p1.5, 512 ram and a geforce 3 when it came out and couldnt play the game. I got anothe
  • Planetside has some of the problems brought up above. But I still love to play it and go back to it over all other games after playing most of them for a little while when they are new. Teamspeak coordinated outfit manuevers and the big scope (up to 498, 166 per side, on any one continent at a time) are just so much fun for me that I don't find smaller FPS titles satisfy me for nearly as long. It has outcompeted my other gaming interests (miniatures, boardgames, RPGS, and and assorted computer games) for
  • There's nothing new in gamers "marketing" their current favourite multiplayer games, all the MP games I've played intensively I've seen players constantly try to nudge other people into the game via websites, forums, IRC. Admittedly few are that organised at spamming, but the result is liable to be at least as much exposure on at least as many forums, etc. (yes, including /. newsposts, most newsposts on current games are probably posted by their existing fans, right?)

    Movies are hardly new either, though
  • For anyone that doesn't want to deal with MS WMV files, I converted the vid to an open format (XviD/Vorbis/Matroska).

    Get it here [ballsome.org].
  • This is so late a post no one will read it but - I'm bored so ... Pretty much everyone posting here on both sides of the argument is right. SOE has provided terrible support for this game. The DuhEV's have ruined it. The Pure FPS guys hated the end to Surge - the rest of us loved it. PS was an attempt to make an FPS/RPG which is bound to make both groups unsatisfied. It's Graphics are not those of a D&D game - which some of us like. It is showing it's age. It is an MMO game that has a truly grea

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