Yep people! SOE announced that PlanetSide 1 will be free-to-play on or around April 2nd, 2014. I hope to see some old faces return for some good times!
Our dreams have come true ladies and gentleman! Sony Online Entertainment has announced PlanetSide 2! I am pleased to announce that our outfit, The Fighting 27th, will be regrouping in the new game and fighting once again for liberty and freedom against militaristic oppression and technophile fanatics alike! Please join us by logging in to your dusty forum account and letting me know that you will be along for the ride. I have huge plans and ambitions for the future of our community, and I can say that PlanetSide (the original) has taught me a lot of things about outfit leadership through triumphs and mistakes alike.
A few links that you should check out are www.planetside2.com and www.planetside-universe.com. There are currently no official forums for PlanetSide 2 yet, most activity happens on PlanetSide Universe. Of course, PlanetSide's official forums are still up and active as well. If you feel like it, log back into PlanetSide and enjoy some nostalgia before the new game hits, you'll probably catch me and a few others playing and having a good time!
There is also several bits of media out there about PlanetSide 2, the game is well into development. There are hours of gameplay footage from E3 and other events, as well as tons of interviews from the PlanetSide 2 development team and several gaming news websites, go on YouTube or to Google and search for all the latest info. So far, PlanetSide Universe has done the best to keep up with all the latest PlanetSide 2 buzz!
I would like to reflect on some of the experiences I've had leading The Fighting 27th and playing PlanetSide in order to look towards the future of our organization in optimism.
I started playing PlanetSide on the very first day of closed beta back in 2003. I never had ambitions to be an outfit leader. I just played the game, enjoyed the crazy fights, and had fun joining different outfits and participating in organized operations. I quickly became one of the first NC CR5s on Emerald (and I would like to say one of the first 50 CR5s in the game, but I can't be sure). I continued to lead squads even while CR5, promoting potential leaders to squad leader to not waste CEP. I enjoyed it, and kept doing this until around 2005.
In 2005 I realized that leading squads of randoms could only get you so far. This is when my first outfit ambition was realized. I started to contemplate what the outfit would be like. I had no experience whatsoever. As the name suggests, I was a Halo franchise fan, so I named the outfit "The 27th Auraxian Honor Gaurds", with "Gaurds" being the incorrect spelling of Guards (always proofread your damn text!). Honor Guards were special Elites units in the Halo series, and that's where I got the name. I tacked on the 27th Auraxian to make the outfit sound more militaristic, like a division in the US Army, because that's how I wanted to run my first outfit. We took a lot of flack from the "leetfits" for the wrong spelling of Guards, often calling us "gay-urds" haha.
The first outfit completely fell apart due to my inexperience. There was a severe lack of coordination which led to a lot of outfit infighting. A lot of the smarter players quit right after joining the TS server and hearing what it was like. The outfit fell to inactivity, and only a few of my best PlanetSide friends decided to hang around with me. We decided a new direction was needed. We disbanded the outfit and formed The Fighting 27th.
The first iteration of The Fighting 27th hold some of my favorite memories, not just for gaming, but in my life. I met so many cool people and shared so many epic moments that these images will be burned into my mind until I die. The new iteration of the outfit was largely more successful than the old. We were more coordinated, we had better recruitment strategies, and I was more experienced. There was really nothing wrong with this outfit at all.
That all changed when there was a forum communication mix-up. I intended to post that I was taking a break from gaming for about two weeks and for everyone to just carry on. I had been gaming a lot and needed to take a break to stay healthy and get my life balanced again. Either the forum post didn't post, or it was misinterpreted, I cannot remember. The end result was that the large majority of our core members made a farewell post and disbanded and formed the Ex Two Seven outfit, under the leadership of MegaZone I believe. I was so sad that I logged in and kicked everyone else from The Fighting 27th (inactives) and just represented the outfit name solo for awhile.
I never asked the core members to rejoin, and I until this day, I can't understand why I didn't. I think that maybe I felt as if they left because they were tired of my leadership or needed something new, and I guess I'll never know. I never thought I would be an outfit leader again, because I didn't want to take the time to find "new" best friends like the ones I had in The Fighting 27th. A stroke of luck changed that however.
Some of my core members started to trickle back in after Ex Two Seven started to fall apart due to various reasons. I specifically remember WasPxNC. WasP has been a second in command in the outfit for as long as I remember and is now someone who I even consider to be a co-leader of the outfit. He's been the most stable member and his leadership skills have proven invaluable on several occasions. He has always been a fun guy and I would never have been able to hold the outfit together without him. With WasP back, we started to recruit once more for The Fighting 27th.
The second iteration of The Fighting 27th was short but sweet. I met a lot of good friends, but once again the outfit fell apart for various reasons. Some were my bad judgments, others were circumstantial. For anywhere between a few months to a year and a half (I can't remember the time frame) I struggled with my friends to keep our group alive, and we saw many names. A prominent splinter group was the Iron Backs led by Zhaynd, while another name we went by was The 27th Mobile Infantry - Iron Backs. Names were tossed around and struggles were had, but eventually we collapsed again. Despite the second big collapse, I met a lot of amazing people who I hope to see again in the new PlanetSide 2 outfit. Players that I still maintain contact with.
We eventually reformed again under The Fighting 27th for a third time, and the fruits of our labor were riper. I met a lot of good people that helped me get the outfit going again. sApHiRe is definitely worth mentioning. I made him another second in command alongside WasPxNC, and together we built the outfit's activity levels back up to optimal. sApHiRe had a lot of experience leading groups of people, he was OL back on his original server of I believe it was Johari or Konried (sorry sApHiRe, I can't remember!) We kicked ass and tried tons of different tactics the third time around, and became one of the game's best NC outfits.
PlanetSide, however, was dying a slow, agonizing death. The populations were getting ever lower, making recruitment hard. There was no news for the game, no mention of a PlanetSide 2. SOE was cancelling prominent titles, such as Star Wars Galaxies. The future looked bleak. It appeared that PlanetSide would become a smudge of nostalgia, only to make us smile in memory. As populations dropped, our outfit had nothing to do. We would hack a base only to see not a single response. Outfit members stopped logging on, myself included. The game was boring, inactivity rose, we died because the game could not sustain our type of play-style any longer.
The future from there was random. I always kept playing PlanetSide solo because I can never truly quit the game. Several outfit members (notably Kistri, Akiadan, Kakara, WasP, and others) maintained contact through our Ventrilo server and through steam, and we played and still play random games together.
But the future is brighter now! PlanetSide 2 is weeks away from beta, and we will have a home again. This time around I plan to change our outfit around, make it better, refine it, and see its success. In the long-term, I want us to become a thriving multi-gaming community with hundreds of members, making it easy to find people to play any game you want with you, from RTSes to MMOs. I am taking my experience over 9 years of PlanetSide with me into PlanetSide 2, and I will refine my leadership and my attitude in order to help achieve our goals.
I reflect on my mistakes as a leader. I often had a big head, neglecting the ideas of others in favor of mine because I felt like I had the best tactical knowledge of the game. I drove players away from the outfit because of this authoritarian attitude. This was especially true in the very first outfit I formed, the Honor Gaurds (lol). I took things a little to seriously. I also failed to resolve outfit disputes in the best fashion. Sometimes, instead of mediating between a player dispute, I would side with the player I liked the most. This drove players away, or it resulted in the alienation and eventually kicking of players from the outfit. There were also several tactical and strategic errors that I made that led to a lot of outfit inefficiency.
I recognize these mistakes and have pledged to myself to remedy them in the next installment of our favorite series! Ideas will be wholeheartedly welcomed, authoritarianism will only go so far in terms of my leadership and the leadership of my officers (make no mistake, however, that for the sake of organization orders will be given and we will expect them to be followed). I will handle player disputes in a neutral and positive manner, and attempt to mend outfit relations to keep up a positive atmosphere. I've learned a lot in nine years, and I want to take that knowledge into the future with our outfit and create the best damn gaming community you've ever been a part of!