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The Game Archaeologist goes PlanetSide: The fansite


Famous PvPer George S. Patton once said that "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other n00b die for his." We here at Game Archaeologist University applaud that line of thinking, especially when we want to be entertained. This perhaps explains the long-lasting appeal of PlanetSide. Another working theory is that Sony Online Entertainment is into witchcraft.

For an MMO I never gave much of a thought past "Huh, that's still around?" PlanetSide's surprised me with such a loyal -- and literate -- playerbase. Ever since starting this column, I've never received so many emails about an MMO. Memories and fearless love run strong in this community, and that intrigues me. What have I overlooked? Has PlanetSide proven that our ancestors' DNA contained the hybrid FPS/MMO gene, a gene that was passed down to a select group of winners?

In my quest to unwrap the formula of cult success, I first paid a visit to the folks over at PlanetSide Universe, one of the most established PlanetSide fan sites on the web. Hit the jump to have your mind blown -- and your internal organs donated against your will by a rocket launcher!

Massively: Please introduce yourself and how you got your start playing PlanetSide.

Hamma: I am Hamma. I am a systems administrator for a hosting company and admin of PlanetSide Universe. I started playing PlanetSide in the very early stages of closed beta all the way through until release. I played PlanetSide heavily for many years with the Dragon Wolves. I, like many players, took a hiatus and recently started getting back into the game again.

How did PlanetSide Universe come about?

PlanetSide Universe was an idea I had well before the game released back when we were seeing some of the original media for it. I was a competitive Tribes player, and many Tribes players were very interested in PlanetSide. I brought together several of my teammates and a few members of the Tribes community, and PlanetSide Universe was born.

If someone asked you how to describe the PlanetSide community, how would you respond?

An amazing gaming community that is very loyal to the game and community. PlanetSide players have spent lots of time and energy helping to promote the game in the later years. From my perspective, this community has been amazingly supportive over the years, helping PSU through when our hosting bills were sky high. It is by far my favorite gaming community I have had the honor of participating in.

What's one of your favorite memories from the game?

I would have to say my greatest memories actually are from early beta, such as the first time I stood on the top of a mountain on Cyssor looking down at all that open space and bases around. Also, the awesome teamwork with my outfit, the Dragon Wolves, as we started figuring out the various tactics that ended up being legendary in PlanetSide: coordinated tower hot drops, thunder runs in our tanks and more.

What makes PlanetSide unique or special in the online gaming space?

PlanetSide is in a class by itself because it was really the only game to successfully achieve the MMOFPS title. It brought together squad tactics and teamwork in a persistent world where one outfit could make a huge difference. The certification system made it so even as a very low-battle-ranked player you could easily fill a role that would make a difference and go toe-to-toe with players who have been in game for years.

What's been the best addition or change to the game since you've been playing it? The worst?

I'll start with the worst because everyone reading this who played PlanetSide already knows the answer. BFR's (mechs) were introduced a year after the Core Combat expansion and were not fully thought out. They ended up being solo pwn machines that took quite a bit of firepower to bring down, and as a result, they hurt the overall flow of the game.

The best addition to the game in my opinion would have to be the Merit Commendation system. While this didn't affect gameplay much, I thought it added a great aspect of personalization to the game. It made it so you could show your various accomplishments in the game. The game had no way to do this at release, other than maybe the various command rank additions.

How would you convince someone who's never played PlanetSide to give it a try?

Sadly even to this day a lot of people don't know what PlanetSide is. I would tell them that the massive scale of battle is unrivaled in any other game. Your ability to bring air, armor, and infantry together in an organized fashion does not exist in another game at this scale.

Quick! Favorite vehicle! Favorite weapon! Favorite cheeseball tactic!

My favorite vehicle of all time would have to be the Galaxy transport. Flying troops into battle was some of my favorite time in the game, and occasionally dropping out as well.

My favorite weapon would have to be the Terran Republic Mini Chaingun. There's nothing quite like the sound of that thing in the battlefield.

Honestly I never really got to involved in cheeseball tactics; I always hated when they were used against me, so I always tried to avoid using them. My most hated cheeseball tactic is third-person view; I hope to see that removed from PlanetSideNext.

What are your thoughts on PlanetSide Next?

I, like many others, have very high hopes for PlanetSide Next. SOE has a huge opportunity here to right all of the wrongs in the original PlanetSide and take it to the next level with hundreds of players fighting over objectives with air and ground combat. While the original was amazing, it did have its quirks that needed to be addressed and never were. I hope that the next game includes even more varied ways to capture bases and territories, and to that end, more variations of bases and terrain.

And for me, PlanetSide Next is an opportunity to be involved in this awesome community again and give feedback to Sony about what we want to see in the game. I hope that they are reading the comment threads on the screenshots and listening to the feedback we have been giving.

In your opinion, what is PlanetSide's greatest legacy?

PlanetSide's greatest legacy would have to be the "experience" of the game. It's hard to explain to anyone who has not played it, but for those who have, the experience of the game has not been duplicated in any other game since. That, and combat on such a massive scale it has yet to be duplicated.

Thank you!

When not clawing his eyes out at the atrocious state of general chat channels, Justin "Syp" Olivetti pulls out his history textbook for a lecture or two on the good ol' days of MMOs in The Game Archaeologist. You can contact him via email at or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.

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