Leonard takes an opinionated look at the upcoming ESF content update, current trends, and the state of the air game in general.
Everyone including me is eagerly anticipating the arrival of the promised ESF game update which got pushed back time and time again by SOE. The planned changes that have been outlined so far leave much to be desired though.
In a nutshell, I am not at all convinced whether SOE’s panacea of adding new weapons, certification lines, and items will change all that much, let alone provide PlanetSide 2’s air with a more meaningful role in the great scheme of things — the meta-game and the overall role of air therein.
Granted though, at this point it doesn’t matter a ton what content they are flinging at us pilots as long as it feels new and fresh. However, in the long run even the casual pilot may feel let down if he finds out that it really is old hat forever sold anew.
To our great dismay, a new trend in the ESF scene has now also cropped up, that when crowds of pilots start to flock like madness to form the ultimate, impenetrable deathball of destruction in the skies.
Fact is if you aren’t born a flying ace, an IronFistLMS so to speak, you’re just dead prey when up against the overwhelming combined firepower of those ESF herds in your single, lone ESF. In other words, soloing a continent, one of my favorite pastimes, one which would help me grow as a pilot the most, has become a whole lot harder now.
We should remind ourselves again and again that PlanetSide 2’s official motto and claim, its main spin on gameplay, was deliberately chosen to be “Size. Always. Matters.”
Is ESF piloting really still the skill game, the skillful challenge, many dedicated pilots in the PlanetSide 2 community declare it to be? Or has it rather just shrunk to a mere numbers game, plain and simple like the rest of PlanetSide 2, in which whatever group comes up with the greater number of players wins over the other regardless of individual skill level?
For beginner pilots, this situation must be especially nightmarish, yes! even dispiriting because no matter what they do, not having grasped a firm understanding of how to interpret the air game yet, rather sooner than later they’re going to hit headlong that bittersweet spot on the learning wall again and again, without getting a chance to get to know what actually went wrong or whether they could have prevented it in the first place.
It is widely said that PlanetSide 2 lacks all endgame. Looking back though I always took flying aircraft to be my endgame and I can’t but think that other pilots that have been with the game since day one like me or even earlier think similarly.
But in the light of SOE’s lackluster plans for the future of PlanetSide 2’s air game and their general disinterest in the more competitive aspect of flying ESF (1-on-1 dogfights) I am no longer sure it really is.
To end on a more positive note, though, I am not giving up hope. If PlanetSide 2 has shown one thing and one thing alone, then that it can always be game-updated to be a much, much better game.