These days, most of my time playing games online involves fighting or creating crime in City of Heroes or City of Villains. Beyond the occasional race in Mario Kart DS online with fellow Jerks, there's not another game I'm playing actively online. Which is a shame, really. Back in the day, I used to play games/mods like Counter-Strike and Team Fortress Classic online all the time.
What a coincidence that I recently found out that the MMOFPS PlanetSide was offering a limited free version called PlanetSide Reserves to people who wished to try out their game. It's been a while since I've played an FPS against others online. Also, there's a bunch of vehicles to use, including ATVs. That has to be interesting.
I know nothing about these planets or worlds, but I'll attempt to learn while exploring, hopefully while enjoying myself on a kickass ATV. Sounds like a subtle and weak parody in the making, not to mention the beginning of yet another MMO blog.
I enter this world of planets and guns as ChadGuevara, a man whose only rebellious urge is against PlanetSide's lack of spaces for names. There are three factions fighting over this cluster of planets: the Terran Republic (hard-line bastards), New Conglomerate (peaceful-ish hippie-types), and Vanu Sovereignty (people with alien tech fetishes). The New Conglomerate, or NC, seems to fit my character best, since they're looking for a revolution for peace. Or something like that. I really didn't read the faction descriptions all that closely. Not that I expect anyone to care about these ideals once you put a gun in their hands and tell them to go nuts.
Upon selecting my faction, I pop out of a container, and take in the bland scenery like the fine test tube baby I am. The game recommends I go through the tutorial to learn the ropes, and being one of the twelve people out there that read instruction manuals, I eagerly comply. Mostly basic stuff, and it ends with asking me to try a feature called Instant Action. Sounds interesting enough. Let's see what this does...
Well, what do you know? I'm on a random planet, nice and safe in this base. Guess I'll casually grab some weapons, and head upstairs...
I must correct myself. This base is not nice, nor is it safe. I managed to shoot an alien sympathizer before finding myself a bit too tired to move, due to the lack of blood and intact organs. Too typical. I believe this region Instant Action has placed me in is far too contested for a weakling like myself. I decide to return to the NC Sanctuary.
The last battle has filled me with distrust. Instant Action was far too instant, and upon exploring our Sanctuary, it is far too peaceful and safe. The biggest threat is to someone's ears, as random people who think they are world leaders show their political might by shouting out places for soldiers to head to. Truly, "we ned ppl at Cyssor" is a statement aspiring leaders should examine for their own benefit.
I decide to try my luck with a method of transport called the HART Shuttle, which gives me the much-preferred option of choosing what planet to go to, and even where to land.
I should keep in mind, simply for future reference, that the HART Shuttle does not make landings itself. As I fall towards the planet at terminal velocity in a drop pod, I begin to question whether being shot towards a destination as a bundled-up UPS package is liberating or not. If anyone within my landing point was able to hear my screams, which emulated those of a little girl's far too accurately, they would likely know that answer already.
After a day's worth of whimpering and crying over my recent drop, I decide to explore where I have landed. It is a place called Hossin, a sparse jungle-type planet that, for the time being, is well enough in New Conglomerate hands to allow relatively safe exploration. After a few minutes of travel, I stumble upon a local base.
Thankfully, it is under my faction's control, as expected, and I wander inside without experiencing the sensation of lead in my organs.
Finally, I am able to acquire the vehicle of my dreams, and within a minute, I am riding an ATV. It is a blissful experience, although my initial practice drive did result in the near death of a fellow soldier. Thankfully, not every soldier on base is angry with my ineptitude, and I receive an invitation to tag along with a soldier by the name of Larra. Before I can begin the first-person-shooter stereotype of hitting on anyone claiming to be female, she is already off on an ATV of her own, and I begin to chase.
I am awkwardly shamed during the transit. By electing to take an ATV with a rocket launcher, I have doomed myself in attempting to keep up with Larra. By the time I arrive at what was a hostile tower, she has already recaptured it, and is beginning to search for another tower to capture. Before I can voice my regrets for choosing a slow ATV, she has already decided we must head to a more contested region.
I soon discover yet another form of transport, called a warpgate. There is no need for further description with such a self-explanatory name, and after meandering behind a line of cars, I warp to this new location to pursue my hurried partner.
Once again, I am in an unsecure area, chasing after a psychotic teammate who knows only the glory of a quick base capture. I believe this new place is known as Ascension, and unlike Hossin, the NC is not dominant at the time. Feeling the risk of certain death come over me, I decide to enjoy what may be my final moments in this body by catching the "sick air" with my four wheels of aggression.
Larra and I arrive to a base under our faction's control, which is unfortunately fighting an onslaught of air vehicles of some sort. I cannot say whether they were actually a risk or not, but the sight alone of ships circling and flying overhead should be a clear sign to any imbecile like myself that a fight is going on. Thankfully, my cowardice prevails, and by the time I drive forward and approach the base, most of the ships have either exploded or gone elsewhere.
While exploring the questionably-safe base, I notice a fellow soldier caught in what appears to be a heated standoff in a doorway. Certainly, with two of us this situation can be more easily defused. I prepare my weapon, eager to convince an enemy to leave in one manner or another.
Advice should be given here. When an enemy with bulkier armor approaches you, your first instinct should not be to run towards him yelling. I cannot recall at this point whether the original soldier in the standoff had died, or whether I had run in front of his line of fire or not.
Soldiers that lack knowledge of tactical warfare make for interesting fights. This much I shall admit.
By this point, Larra has once again moved on, and with my body respawned in a test tube on base, I pick up the fastest ATV available to give pursuit. If nothing else, the joy of driving an ATV through these harsh and bumpy lands is well worth it. I even question whether I would be able to used this ATV as a deadly weapon to run over enemy forces.
I soon find out such maneuvers are not wise when the enemy has been staring at your ATV charging them for a good ten seconds, even if your face does contain a menacing and psychotic glare. While Larra also perished attempting to capture this tower, she has become fed up with my free-spirited antics, and uselessness as a proper diversion/lead magnet. With this, we are separated as partners, as she continues to attempt to capture towers and bases, and I continue to perform my best impersonation of a dead body next to a smoldering ATV.
Eventually, the Terran forces become bored with poking my corpse, and decide to head back inside their tower, giving me the perfect chance to retreat back to the NC faction's home base. While the experience of being blown up, shot to death, and running into trees at high speed has helped me grow, it also makes me weary.
For now, I rest. I will explore this war-torn galaxy more another day.
While all of this part of The ATV Diaries took place on the Emerald server, I plan to spend most of my time on the Markov server, also as ChadGuevara. In fact, you might see me on either server, depending on my whims at the time. The only constant is that I will always be fighting for the New Conglomerate hippies. Which means you may want to watch out for speeding vehicles driven by yours truly.
PlanetSide Reserves can be downloaded and enjoyed for free right now. Do note that level is capped to Battle Rank 6 for us freeloaders, though.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for this entry or future entries, don't hesitate to comment on this post or contact me personally. Thanks.