PlanetSide 2 designers discuss Hossin, July updates, and weather

PlanetSide 2's Hossin update was recently deployed for all PC players. As all of the game's factions go on this 'Early Expedition' of the new continent, creative director Matt Higby and lead designer Luke Sigmund took Shacknews on a brief tour of the new area, while also offering a peek into some of the game's future updates. "With the development of Hossin, we actually decided to release it a little bit earlier than we normally would release a major continent," said Higby. "We decided to do this, because we wanted to get player feedback as soon as possible. As you guys all know, we're huge into getting feedback from the players early and figuring out what they want. There's about 80 different outposts on this entire map and we've kind of figured out, as we've been refining our map design over the last couple of years, that it takes about two to three good weeks just to get a basic outpost created. So a lot of these outposts are more stamped out [...] and it's just because we didn't have the three weeks to make a unique outpost." Higby adds that the design team will be refining those outposts over the next couple of months, but did not want to keep players waiting for the continent any longer than necessary. Other future Hossin updates will throw in major base overhauls, with the team currently working on re-designing the Offal Pit base to improve the flow of combat. Outer edge bases along Hossin will also receive similar tweaks. Both Higby and Sigmund note that while changes are coming to some of the bases and capture points, they're generally pleased with what the new continent has brought to the table. While the swampland's sticky surfaces may not overly hinder infantry and vehicle movement, the large number of hills and trees introduce notable variations to the game's combat, such as additional cover opportunities.

PlanetSide 2's Hossin continent

Higby and Sigmund then went into some of July's updates, which will be headlined by Directives. "We've been really excited about this system for a long time, because we feel like it adds a lot of long-term goals for people," Sigmund explained. "What Directives is, is a tiered achivement system. It's going to really enhance our current medal system and essentially track your medals earned on all your weapons and give new goals to each of your classes." Higby and Sigmund then give the example that mastering six assault rifles will add to a player's Directive score, as well as offer other rewards, like exclusive decals. The system is in place to offer incentives to branch out and try out different weapons, vehicles, and classes. July's updates will also feature some quality-of-life improvements, including a 'Respawn at Last Location' button to help players get back into the action faster by sending them back to their previous spawn point. The team also wants to offer alerts to players that their spawn points may be under assault. For example, if a player's Sunderer is taking fire, an alert will notify a player prior to spawning back in that area. Sunderers, in general, may receive some tweaks to get some increased power or durability to help offset its current fragility. Future updates will include the new Valkyrie fast-attack vehicle for August, which can transport four active infantry. Infantry will be able to attack directly from their seats, though the trade-off is that they are vulnerable to snipers, who can take them out without necessarily taking out the vehicle, itself. Higby and Sigmund later took a moment to discuss the recent news of dynamic weather coming to PlanetSide 2. And while this feature won't be added anytime soon, it is one that has excited the design team the most. "The fact that we were able to get that tech done on H1Z1 and have the potential to bring it into PlanetSide 2 is exciting," said Higby. "Just like day/night cycle, it's another interesting dynamic we can throw in front of players." Higby went beyond simple elemental weather effects. He also threw out the scenario of dynamic sandstorms popping up to affect player visibility, as well as potentially short out player mini-maps. Likewise, electrical storms can short out player shields and make them less effective. However, he also makes sure to note that this idea is far from ready and that the team is unsure of how much these features will possibly affect the game's performance. With performance among the design team's top priorities, Higby and Sigmund are not ready to commit to a release window for dynamic weather. The more immediate concern is getting Hossin up to speed. With that, Chatty's Rydogg1 (member of Shacknews' "Giant Communist Robots" outfit) wanted to know if the team would begin work on a new continent once the current one was finished. However, Higby and Sigmund responded that a new continent is not currently on the table, as the Hossin team will gradually begin to shift to another long-awaited PlanetSide 2 feature: Battle Islands, which was first revealed one year ago today.