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Why You Should Be Playing PlanetSide: It's online war!


War seems to be a hot topic in MMOs today. From MAG to Global Agenda, online war is the place to be.

But a few years ago, having an online war with 300 people at once was unheard of until one game pushed the boundaries and made it so -- PlanetSide. Sony Online Entertainment started the concept of having the MMO and the FPS merge together into one being that was above and beyond a persistent online shooter. It had the armor system of Starsiege Tribes, the inventory management of an MMO, the level progression and ability modification of an RPG, and the combat and vehicle control of a FPS, all played to the tune of a persistent war.

So why should you choose this game when there are so many newer alternatives available? Follow after the break, and let me outline a few features for ya.

And here stand the 300...

First off, right at the start, PlanetSide's continents can support 100 players from an army fighting at once. With three armies in play, this means that a population capped continent will have 200 players in a two front war, and 300 players in a three front war. In either case, you're going to be fighting off a lot of guys, or you're going to be rushing with the company of a huge mob.

Compared to MAG's 256 player capacity, PlanetSide's older technology is still extremely unique. In a two front war, PlanetSide will be 56 players short of MAG, yet in a three front war, PlanetSide will actually support 44 more players than MAG. Not bad for a FPS that was released in 2003.

Second of all, I said continents (well, planets now)

Up in the paragraph above, you'll be wise to note that I said "continents" and not maps. PlanetSide works on an MMO concept, utilizing huge stretches of land instead of claustrophobic maps that play out with only a few set objectives.

Each continent in PlanetSide has mutliple bases that work as freeform objectives. Armies can capture bases to utilize their special abilities on the continent, like orbital strikes, medical upgrades, added power capacity, etc. Bases also feature control towers, which can be taken over and act as small fortified outposts.

While the bases have to be taken over in a specific pattern (you can't capture a base if it isn't connected to one of your own bases through the lattice logic control grid) it still offers more freeform objectives than a set map, allowing the army to make tactical choices and siege multiple areas at the same time or focus on one base. In other words, wars are fought like wars, less like small, intermittent battles.

Third of all, vehicles

Have you ever wanted to fly men into the heat of combat in a dropship? Have you ever wanted to pilot a tank right into the middle of the enemy base? Or, perhaps, drive critical ancient technology into strategic locations? Well, you certainly can in PlanetSide.

The game's vehicles offer more than just transportation options -- they give you the true feeling of a massive war. When you have men charging on the ground, tanks shelling the base from afar, and bombers and fighter planes roaring overhead, everything feels very charged and chaotic. It's the moments like those that make you realize how many people are really fighting next to you.

These three topics are perfect reasons to jump back into PlanetSide or give the game a spin if you never looked at it before. While the graphics are dated, the game uses the mechanics above to great effect, and no other game has even tried to replicate them in the way PlanetSide does. This makes this war very unique and fun to play, even with brand new games coming out to challenge the PlanetSide legacy.

Oh, and did we mention they're working on a sequel?

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