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Development Update – January 2024

January 2024 


Hello Auraxians! Welcome back to our monthly developer letter for PlanetSide 2. This month we have been monitoring the feedback of the last development letter and are happy to see that the proposed sunderer changes were generally well received. Also, unsurprisingly, the most controversial change by far was the way the sunderer repair works. For that reason, we felt it was worth diving a little more into here. 

It is easy to understand and sympathize with everyone that does not want the Nanite Proximity Repair System to change. This is how it has always worked and by now one of the only two meaningful roles it has left. When focusing on the latter fact however, it becomes clear why this is a necessary change. The Sunderer has been pigeonholed into only 2 narrow basic roles which could only be capably performed exclusively. That is, to be a competent AMS, the Sunderer requires the deployment shield and that comes at the cost of supporting armor. This means that once someone has elected to take the Nanite Proximity Repair System, they have removed any further meaningful decision making from their play until they fully transition to infantry or reach a vehicle terminal. There is no ability to seamlessly transition into properly supporting the infantry assault that the armor push should have enabled, and all the interesting gameplay decisions that revolve around it. 

The important thing to remember is that, even with the cargo module, the Sunderer is still fully capable of supporting mobile armor pushes. The ability to place repair stations quickly on a cooldown is meant to do this, but now a little more consideration is required since there is some level of commitment when the button is pushed. This is a good thing, especially since it allows the Sunderer to have a much wider impact as the Sunderer is not tied to the location where it needs to provide healing, making it much more mobile (and increasing survivability). 

It is also important to note that the vehicle is also getting a large set of defensive upgrades that will make it much, much more difficult to destroy. By necessity this requires a separation of the source of healing from the Sunderer. If the healing is strong, then the source of that healing needs to be vulnerable for counterplay. However, if it is very resilient, then the healing cannot be overbearing for the opposing force. Offloading the healing effect to a separate object with its own set of health and defensive stats allows us to tweak these aspects independently. It is like adding an independently targetable "module" to the sunderer so that opponents can degrade its performance without outright killing it, something that is currently lacking in the game. 

This hints at a longstanding issue with vehicles in general suffering from "Single Entity Problem" where vehicle capability does not degrade until it is destroyed completely, making them very binary. Presently vehicles are all in, which is where many of the balance issues stem from. But that is a deeper and more complicated issue to be tackled at a point in the future. 


We are very aware of how much of an issue cheating has become. At the beginning of the year, we specifically dedicated developers to look closely at the issue and work on solutions. There is no one place or technique that hackers use, so we must tackle different problems independently and roll out solutions when we think the time is right. 

Unlike other features and changes, we will not be detailing exactly when and how cheating will be addressed. We hope everyone understands why that is not possible. It is unfortunately a Red Queen's race that is never finished and must be constantly worked on quietly so as not to reveal workarounds ahead of time. We can already see that our efforts should bear fruit over time, and we hope that you will notice much less cheating and at greater distant intervals. 

On Reverting 

Before we end this January development letter, we would like to break down the concept of "reverting changes” and what it means. You may see it mentioned frequently and many times understand why, but it is important to understand exactly what "reverting" something means. Games are large, complex software projects with many elements that are interdependent and are constantly updated. Unless a change is only a patch or two old, it is impossible to "revert" a change in the traditional sense of just finding a single submission and clicking revert. 

"Reverting" changes, especially old ones, means reconstructing them from spotty information that is difficult to discover. This is a very time-consuming process that is as, or even more, costly than simply moving forward from where the game is currently. That is not to say the past should be ignored completely. A better way to use past versions of the game is to take more abstract lessons about meaningful gameplay that was lost which positively impacted PlanetSide 2 and reincorporating them in ways that are applicable to its current and future state. 

That wraps it up for today’s letter, as always, we thank you for your feedback. You can let us know what your thoughts are about today’s letter on our forums. 

-PlanetSide 2 Team