Sony Online Entertainment is hard at work on the free-to-play MMOFPS PlanetSide 2, but that didn’t stop Creative Director Matt Higby from taking a little time out to answer our questions about the game.

You’ve been revealing various roles (“classes”). Are those “hard-wired,” or just “suggestions”? Basically, how much freedom will players have to customize their character’s skills and overall capabilities?

Within each class there will be a tremendous amount of variability; weapons, tools, abilities and more that can be customized. Classes will contain discrete abilities that won’t be shared cross-class, though. For instance, you can’t outfit your Heavy Assault class with the Medic’s healing tool, but within the Heavy Assault class there is a lot of room for varying loadouts and switching up your play style based on the situation or the battle you are heading into, as well as the needs of your squad, platoon or outfit.

mmorpg fps news     Prepare To Fire

So if I wanted, could I just decide all I ever want to do is drive a tank and build up all my tank skills and basically nothing else?

Yes, there will be extensive customization available for each of the vehicles, so if you wanted to dedicate yourself purely to tank driving you will definitely be able do that.

How will advancement work? Will I advance/unlock new skills by racking up kills, taking installations, winning missions, etc.? Will there be offline leveling?

In PlanetSide 2, advancement takes the form of unlocking “Certifications” which require Cert Points. As a player you’ll earn Cert Points by playing the game, defeating other players, accomplishing goals, working with your team, etc. You’ll also be able to earn Cert Points while offline if you meet certain requirements.

How easily will a new player be able to fit into the game against veterans who have all the skills, gear, perks, etc.?

One of our overarching goals for PlanetSide 2 is to make a legitimately competitive FPS experience. That means making it so that a five-minute and five-year player are able to compete with each other. To that end, we’ve ensured that ranking up, unlocking certs, and acquiring new weapons give you access to more play styles and breadth rather than more power and depth. So, although that five-year player might be more versatile than you, in a straight-up firefight, you’ll be just as likely to kill him as he is to kill you. Additionally, if you come into PlanetSide 2 as a great FPS player, you’ll be successful regardless of your “noob” status.

mmorpg fps news     Prepare To Fire

Will there be any kind of long-term goals in place? Killing each other and taking territory is cool, but do there need to be bigger strategic goals?

We have an extremely robust strategic meta-game, especially for a shooter. Taking territory does more than just change which flag is on the flag pole, it gives the presiding empire access to specific resources and denies those resources to the others. Cornering certain types of resources to deny access to enemy empires create the need for strategic choices before you engage in major battles, giving additional dimension to the fight.

How often do you think you’ll add new maps/continents? Will it be along the lines of most games’ small-ish “free updates” (every three to five months or so) or more like big, expansion-sized updates (every one to two years)?

We’re hoping to release new content on a regular basis; which may include additional features like new vehicles, weapons, continents, etc. Although, we don’t want to add new content too often because in a competitive game such as PlanetSide 2, adding new vehicles and weapons requires a certain degree of relearning the rules of the game. So rather than having those switch-ups every week or two, we’d prefer to have them a little more spaced out so the gameplay has a chance to settle in between additions.

How do you plan to stop hackers in the game?

One of our biggest and best weapons against cheating will be 24/7 dedicated customer service staff who will be working to ensure that the game remains hack-free. I asked our Technical Director Ryan Elam to share some details about our anti-hacking strategies, and here’s what he said:

“Security is a huge concern for PlanetSide 2 specifically, and all SOE games in fact spend considerable time creating and implementing security and anti-hack/anti-cheat features.  However, just like if you went to your bank today and asked them to detail how they’re protecting your money, I’ll tell you that one of the ways we protect our code is to not discuss how we protect our code.  We have code that has been worked on for over a decade to secure the gameplay of our customers and we will continue to vigorously do so.”

mmorpg fps news     Prepare To Fire

In PS1, players sometimes felt little accomplishment from taking over bases, because the bases you took over just got back-capped by single stealthers. Is that changing in PS2 and are there large enough incentives to defend against back-capping?

Yes, the territory control system we’ve designed for PlanetSide 2 changes a lot of the mechanics about base capture and “back-capping.” Back-capping (the act of capturing a facility behind enemy lines) will still be possible but will require concentrated effort from groups of players rather than just a single player circumventing the major fight and being a nuisance behind your front lines. Defenders will be able to respond to back-capping a bit more easily, since capturing a base that’s surrounded by enemy territory will take an extremely long time and re-securing a base that’s surrounded by your own territory will be very quick.

Any idea when the beta will start?

Sometime in the future!

We can’t wait. Thanks Matt (and Ryan) for your time!

Jason Winter has held several positions in the tabletop and video-gaming industry since 1996, including writer, editor, marketing coordinator, and game designer. He's the former editor of Beckett Massive Online Gamer and almost considers himself competent in PvP. In addition to his work with, he also blogs about video games at
  • Klifford von Undersn

    I seriously cannot wait for this. I was a huge fan of PS1. I need it now lol!

  • Hicks64

    Thanks for asking our questions, Jason! Glad they addressed back-capping :)

  • Phil Latham

    i soooooooooooo cant wait for this game. its gonna be amazing. 

  • Niconus

    The thumbnail / picture for this news hit looks like something out of mass effect

  • Aaron Bailey

    I can not wait for this game to be released. I have spent so many hours in massive battles from the first Planet Side. I foresee many more with Planet Side 2. This is a must play for me as I still jump into the first Planet Side to play from time to time.

  • Jado Cast

    Looking forward to this.

  • Jado Cast

    I can understand their stance on sharing security info but the first time I see hackers or my info is compromised, I’m out and SOE will lose me as a customer forever. So I hope they get it right this time.

  • Revanhavoc

    Oh good, Mike S got a new wardrobe.

    (I feel like that shirt really brings out his eyes…)

    Uhhh…That’s just weird havoc

    (Shut up! You don’t know me, you don’t know what me and Mike are, OK?! You just wouldn’t understand! You never understand me Revan! *Runs off flailing arms and legs and crying*)

    Ummm…Did anyone else just see that?

    • HarmonBlues

      I’m excited and disturbed by this.

  • Anders Bergstrand

    I am playing Planetside 1 right now and i must say a few things and sorry about my bad English:

    The hacking/cheating is BAAAD !!! its destroying the game… =( i truly hope planetside 2 cares about this problem or it WILL destroy planetside 2 also.  only saying what everyone is thinking.

    Also Unofficially TR and VS have formed a alliance against NC in planetside 1..    so if TR got 33%  VS 33% and NC 33%     thats 66% vs 33%  and that makes the game sooooo lame… its too easy if you a TR or way to hard for NC…   there should be a constant battle vs all 3 nations in planetside 2. should be like a penalty for allying up and not attacking a nation.  i truly hate when a game is designed for 3 nations to battle it out and then 2 nations starts to hold hands like little girls.

    Please make the customisation for characters pre set.. like NC can shift around colours but have blue and yellow ,Gray,black,silver or something…  because if you have all colours you have nations that runs around in pink or looks like clowns and that’s bad. or someone makes their TR character look like a VS or NC….

  • Andrew White

    I have a character on each side and TR and VS dont tean up, its just sometimes if there is only one battle going one it just seems like it. The side with the less teamwork is TR, most just want to kill and dont bother with fighting together, they argue so much too. Nc have good team work and, and Vs have the moast all round teamwork. It also depends what time you log on, Nc and Vs have bigger pops earlier in the day ( British time), and late at night Tr pops are higher.

    Cheating in the game is a problem, but as SOE are spending more time on planetside 2, planetside has suffered a little.

    Last night i was playing as Tr on Amerish and Vs and Nc were attacking Tr. But Tr did have the most Continents so the other sides dont have much choice but to attack Tr if they want a fight. Side dont team up but i can see why people think they do…

  • Michael Willey

    I Loved PS1!!, It’s the only Shooter online game where I felt like I was at war!, Good RPG Elements to!. So if PS2 is anything like PS1 I’m game!, I been following this since it was just a rumor!.

  • Drunkenmafia

     Really looking forward to PS2!   I hope My clan does to, I don’t like playing alone…lol

    Any clans out there? Get listed at:  :)