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Development Update – December 2023

December 2023 

Hello Auraxians! 

As 2023 comes to an end, we want to give you a preview of what’s coming in 2024. In today’s letter we will go over some of our observations of the game and our ideas on what we will be working on. 

In 2024, we are planning to focus on updates that value more long-term positive progress as opposed to short term changes that are likely to have minimal long-term impact. Many core design elements have long suffered neglect, leaving little room for tweaks that would have an appreciable net positive result on the current state of the game. We intend to approach fixing the many problems PlanetSide 2 currently faces at a deeper, more meaningful, level. This means that there will be fewer small balance tweaks in favor of larger more impactful changes that take longer to implement but also have lasting effects. 

We are determining priority primarily by the amount of value we get relative to the amount of work truly fixing the problem would take. If what you feel is most important is not at the top of the list, please have hope that multiple things are being worked on at once.  

As an example of what this entails, we are currently developing a Sunderer rework. 

Sunderer Rework 

One of the most pressing complaints is that the Sunderer is too easy to destroy, preventing the development of attacks that would have led to satisfying battles. This stems from a few issues: 

  • The general increase in infantry anti-vehicle capability 
  • Its alpha-strike vulnerability to infantry (especially LA) 
  • It is vulnerable to a single lightning tank, e.g., from a Viper near max range 

On the surface these issues may be mitigated by simply tweaking the Sunderer’s stats, but upon further examination the problems run much deeper; 

  • The defense slot is overloaded 
  • Players are unable to create a versatile sunderer that can perform multiple roles within battle and dynamically shift between them 
  • Players cannot reliably configure the sunderer to meet the threats they expect to face 
  • The opportunity cost of this slot is extremely uneven, making for few real choices. E.g. Deployment Shield is near mandatory in most situations 
  • Players must sacrifice defense for utility 
  • The updates in how deploying works has obviated its secondary utility role as a troop transport 
  • The Proximity Repair System, Vehicle Ammo Dispenser, and Proximity Radar certification have extremely basic gameplay. 
  • Just follow other vehicles and try not to die. While it can be fun for a time, there is little inherent decision making 
  • Using these certs effectively inhibits the Sunderer's ability to perform its primary function as a spawn point 
  • The cloaking module is only available at the final tier of vehicle stealth 

After evaluating the state of the sunderer as a whole, we decided that a more significant rework would dramatically improve the experience of configuring and using the Sunderer, making it overall a more interesting vehicle to pilot. With this in mind, we outlined a series of goals that we want to achieve with the rework.

  • Balance the opportunity cost of certifications to give players meaningful loadout choices, with clear pluses and minuses, and no obvious winners 
  • Increase the overall, and especially deployed, survivability of Sunderers 
  • Increase the direct tactical versatility of the Sunderer by improving its utility for any given loadout 
  • Give the Sunderer tactical presence in its support role 

While doing this we wanted to also preserve the existing meaningful gameplay concepts as much as possible, especially the Sunderer’s primary role as a spawn point. 

So, what is changing? 

In brief, this is what we are doing: 

  • We are renaming the slots and refocusing each slot on a distinct aspect of the Sunderer 
  • Defense and Utility with be redistributed more evenly between the new slots 
  • We are changing the certs themselves, combining some so they provide more value, restructuring others, and adding some new ones. 

We are focusing on the certs themselves and not adjusting weapons (at this time).  This is a natural way to break up the adjustments since weapons need their own long-term examination and many are shared across vehicles. 

The new certification loadout is structured as follows: 

Deploy Shield  Stealth Module  Point Defense   
Nanite Armor  Enhanced Plating  Reactive Armor  Shield Disruptor 


The first new certification slot is the deployment slot. This now only contains certs that are active while the Sunderer is deployed, giving more freedom for configuring the other certifications. 

We still expect the Deploy Shield to be the primary certification for this slot, but we wanted to include the Stealth Module and new Point Defense certs for secondary and support Sunderers that wish to act in unison. 

The Deploy Shield is being reworked to behave more like a mini-citadel shield with a health that will protect players spawning and provide more resistance against alpha-strikes. The Stealth Module remains mostly the same, the cloaking effect that used to be only available in the last slot is being moved to part of the baseline certs. We are looking into what other benefits can be provided by improving it. 

Finally, we are adding “Point Defense” to the Sunderer. This will provide improvements to the Sunderers weapons (e.g. Projectile Speed and Fire Rate) at the cost of range. Our hope is to balance this properly so that both the slot cost and the need for the turrets to be manned are worth taking this cert without making the Sunderer oppressive offensively. If that balance cannot be found here, we will likely remove it before release. 


Sunderer defensive choices have been moved to their own dedicated cert slot. This will be a combination of old and new certs that will hopefully give players meaningful choices about what to take for different situations. 

Nanite Armor combines the functionality of the Fire Suppression System and Nanite Auto Repair System into a single cert, providing passive healing along with a “Panic Button” burst of healing on cooldown. Enhanced plating will provide a general increase in passive resistances (values still being worked on) that replaces both Blockade Armor and Mine Guard. 

Finally, the new Reactive Armor will completely negate a burst of damage from anti-vehicle damage types such as from an AP shell or multiple C4 being detonated at once. Each vehicle damage zone (front, back, etc) has its own independent set of reactive plates that can detonate independently, making it possible to re-position the Sunderer so that a new side faces the threat once an attack is absorbed. The reactive plates contain nanites that will auto-repair on a very long cooldown. The cooldown can be lowered by actively “over-healing” the Sunderer. 

In practice, the 3 armor types aim to each be a better choice in different situations.  The Nanite Armor should provide the most long-term protection from small amounts of sustained damage where the Engineer cannot repair, such as when transporting players or driving for extended periods.  Enhanced Plating is best used in situations where alpha-strikes are less likely, and the Engineer is in a position to actively heal the Sunderer by increasing its effective health and effective repair rate. Reactive Armor is designed to resist alpha-strikes at the cost of being more vulnerable to sustained damage, which can be extremely useful in many situations. 


The largest change, by far, to Sunderers is the new Cargo cert slot. This slot offloads support abilities that were previously directly attached to the Sunderer, bow soon to be attached to a secondary game object placed in the world by the Sunderer. Being the largest change, we expect this to be controversial with both advantages and disadvantages. 

The Proximity Repair System, Vehicle Ammo Dispenser, and Proximity RADAR are being converted to use this new system. The Gate Shield Diffuser functionality is also being moved here but with a buff, as it can now be deployed to temporarily disrupt a Gate Shield completely allowing any vehicle to pass through it. 

By offloading repairing and ammo dispensing to a tertiary object, the Sunderer can have more physical presence. It can drop a repair station or ammo tower in one position to support a vehicle assault, and then drive to another and deploy in a defensive position to support the infantry push.  This versatility at points of contact does come at the cost of more easily supporting mobile vehicle engagements (since the locations can only be updated on cooldown) but given the current flow of the game this seems like a more common situation Sunderers find themselves in. 

This also gives us another lever to balance these certs with. Since the deployed objects can be destroyed by opponents without destroying the Sunderer, the defensive and “offensive” values can be balanced independently, meaning that the Sunderer can be made more hardy without needing to offset it by nerfing the repair values to compensate for the inability to kill the sunderer. 

We are aware of possible exploits and griefing, using droppable geometry, thus we will do our best to design these objects to have minimal collision footprints and appropriately sized hit boxes without looking out of place. 


These are the kinds of changes we are aiming to bring to the game. Long-lasting meaningful updates that give more tools for players to consider while maintaining the core of what makes PlanetSide 2 unique. As an additional tease there are some things that are also in the pipeline (more on those in future development updates). Please keep in mind that we are not necessarily working on them in the order they are listed, and multiple things are being worked on at once. 

  • Class reworks 
  • New orthogonal non-combat system 
  • Outfit Wars improvements (particularly to internal scheduling tools) 
  • New facility type / game mode 
  • Improvements to alerts and missions, including new ones 
  • A new vehicle 

We are also having internal discussions on various issues voiced by the community including server merges and changes to Oshur. Some of the challenges we face when reviewing server merges is the possibility of additional high latency for some users, however we are continuing to review options.  

There are also other discussions relating to improving our anti-cheat measures in the game, which is a little more complicated than it may seem. As we move forward with these key projects, we will keep you informed on our website and socials. 

As we continue to fix bugs and make smaller localized improvements for each update, we will continue to gather your feedback on reddit and the forums. This leads us to our next topic!

Public Playtest Event – Capture the Conduit 

The community has been extremely helpful with initial playtests of our Capture the Conduit changes. If you have not done so yet, drop your feedback on our forum post here. 

We will be monitoring play sessions on the PTS server: 

Thursday and Friday 12/21 - 12/22 from 8pm PST – 10pm PST. Both days. 

Join this public playtest event and help us finetune the new Capture the Conduit experience.

Thank you and Happy Auraximas to you all, 

PlanetSide 2 Team