Planetside 2 membership benefits outlined, “not pay-to-win”

By Brenna Hillier
21 September 2012 04:51 GMT

Planetside 2’s paid features are designed to reward without conveying unfair advantage to the purchaser, but Sony Online Entertainment wants your feedback on whether it’s getting it right.

As detailed in a post on the Planetside 2 forum, paid members will receive the following benefits:

  • Passive Cert Growth. A passive cert gain that works if you are online or offline. With the current plan all players will gain cert points passively over time at a set rate. Members will get a faster rate. The current penciled in benefit for membership is 50% increase to the speed which passive cert points are granted. This does not affect cert points earned via experience.
  • Automatic experience boost. Members will accrue experience at a 50% increased rate. This will affect “active” cert point gain, as well as battlerank gain.
  • Automatic resource boost. Members will accrue resources at a 50% increased rate. This will affect the rate which you can acquire consumables like grenades, spawn beacons and med kits, as well as vehicles and Auraxium unlocks.
  • Increased resource pool caps. As Auraxium is uncapped, this only affects Catalysts, Alloys and Polymers, it’s a 100% increase to those pool sizes. This allows you to spawn some additional vehicles, grenades and consumables if you have no resource income on the map before you’re tapped out.
  • Members will receive priority slots in the login queue over non-members.

The last one is particularly interesting as it was added to the list as direct result of feedback on the original post.

In a lengthy accompanying explanation, Sony Online Entertainment said it really wants Planestide 2 to be “legitimately competitive” and “not pay-to-win”. Instead, it wants to offer customisation and convenience – faster unlocks, for example, through increased XP gain.

“In Planetside 2 we don’t restrict your character from any type of gameplay based on paying money. No weapon, vehicle, attachment, continent, class or certification is unavailable to you as a free player. Everything and anything that can affect gameplay is available to unlock through gameplay,” a developer wrote.

“This is a big deal. It would be extremely easy for us to make tanks and aircraft restricted to members only, it would be very easy for us to sell exclusive guns on the marketplace for Station Cash. We wouldn’t do those things because we have a commitment to ensuring that the game remains legitimately competitive.”

Additionally, new unlocks are not so much upgrades as “side-grades”, giving players a different way to battle, and SOE hopes the game will remain purely skill-based.

“On a moment-to-moment basis your ability to compete with and kill my character is entirely based on our personal skill. I should never be able to acquire an item that makes it just straight-up easier to kill you, or makes it straight up harder for you to kill me,” the post continued.

“One exception would be for consumable items. Consumable items such as grenades, med kits, implants and even to some degree vehicles, do give a distinct power advantage in a moment-to-moment context – but, these items are available exclusive for resources which are exclusively earned in game.

“Our goal is to make it so that any fight you have in the game with another player is entirely won or lost based on that player’s skill rather than how much money they’ve spent or how much time they’ve invested in the game. We want a player who is badass at shooters and has just jumped into Planetside 2 for the first time to kick ass at it without spending a dime, and they will, because the ultimate arbiter of your success or failure in the game is your own personal skills (be they driving, firing, teamwork, tactics, etc) and NOT which gun you bought.”

Planetside 2 is in closed beta and expected to launch before the end of the year.


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