UT2K4 Onslaught vs. Planetside
February 13th 2004, 04:02 CET by Hugin
The first thing I thought after a few rounds of Onslaught was "Boy, this feels like Planetside on amphetamines."
The next thing I thought was...does Epic's explicit "sporting competition" model for the UT games offer advantages over a game like Planetside, which is attempting to model and simulate a "real" (albeit imaginary) conflict? In Onslaught, both sides have access to the same weapons and vehicles, which makes an intuitive sense in the sports context, and neatly avoids most of the endless complaining about faction balance in Planetside. The critical network nodes are quite exposed, which makes no "real world" defensive sense, but allows for some furious open battling, instead of the sometimes unsatisfying attritional meatgrinder corridor and stairway battles in Planetside. Overall, by not having to adhere to so many background story/worldbuilding elements to justify the gameplay conventions, is a better game created? Is the loss of the deeper meaning written into the background story of Planetside and other fictional conflicts, or recreations of historical events like WW2 worth the tighter gameplay? Is the preservation of a planet or a species or a social philosophy, the defeat of evil, etc (even these people and factions are entirely fictitious) a more compelling goal than winning the Space Superbowl?
Would it be impossible to hook players into the MMOG, subscription format if it were merely an elaborate sports league? Is this all really more about the smaller team sizes more than anything else? Epic or Sony, who's got the smarter sci-fi war?