We asked Matt Higby, Creative Director for PlanetSide 2, to explain just that.
Matt Higby: Amerish is the last of our three launch continents to be optimized. As with Esamir and Indar, we added the Lattice system, which links the bases together into battle lanes that help to create more cohesive flow of massive scale battles. Along with the changes necessary to facilitate the lattice, each of the individual levels (bases and outposts) has gone through an extensive redesign. and nine new outposts have been added to the continent. Overall the continent now represents all of our combined learning from the last two-plus years about how to make great MMOFPS levels.
VO packs sound interesting, but how will they affect gameplay? Will they be easier to access than a voice chat button, or will they work like the current voice emotes?
VO packs will provide some new voices and work like the existing voice emotes. We have some additional voice callouts that we've activated along with this as well. For example, when you're taking fire, you'll occasionally call out that you're under attack, or if you're reloading, you'll let your nearby allies know.
Let us know what will be involved with the missions system. It sounds to us like (for the lack of a better term) PvE content. Will they be handed out by NPCs, assigned from a commander, or picked from a console?
Missions are absolutely not quests. The main goal of the Mission system is to provide some basic gameplay direction for players and give commanders, like squad leaders, a toolbox for creating objectives in the world. By default, players will always have a mission. The mission system points you to the next base that needs to be defended or attacked based on where you (or your squad leader) are in the world. This mission is always on until it's replaced by a mission created by your squad leader with a more specific purpose (like repair a generator or provide air support). The first phase of missions will be fairly simple. It will feature attack and defend objectives, and the squad leader will be able to assign specific points to attack or defend. The second phase will bring a lot more objective types for squad and platoon leaders to wield, while the final implementation phase will create public missions, which can be shared across the empire and go above and beyond the squad assigned missions.
We hope that the mission system helps to create bigger fights with more strategy and more specific tactics. Players can already coordinate tactical actions, but it'll be much simpler and right at their fingertips with the mission system. Once the system is fully implemented, it'll serve as a bridge between the most advanced, strategic players who are looking at the big picture of the continental warfare and the players who just want to jump into the game and have a kickass fight. The former will be able to set up objectives to help push the continental objectives and request specific roles that are needed at a location. The latter will be able to easily identify and jump to places where their skills are requested and jump right in.
Is it possible that we might ever see NPC armies or enemies that would join us on the battlefield? I'd love to see non-faction specific giant robots or armor appearing!
Right now we're all-in on PvP and creating the world's largest action PvP experience. Adding NPCs or PvE content is something we've discussed a lot and something we're potentially open to in the future, but it's not a focus for us today.
When readers want the scoop on a launch or a patch (or even a brewing fiasco), Massively goes right to the source to interview the developers themselves. Be they John Smedley or Chris Roberts or anyone in between, we ask the devs the hard questions. Of course, whether they tell us the truth or not is up to them!