I had a chance to sit down and get an interview during the SOE Live Pool Party with Zoidbergenstein (NUC) and TWF (Future Crew), the leaders of two of the best Planetside 2 outfits. This was post Ultimate Empire Showdown, a community-run event where outfits competed on live servers for a modest amount of prize money. It was a joy to interview both of these players, as they are both integral parts of two of the best outfits in the game. I was able to tell from their enthusiasm that both players’ overall impressions of the event and the game were positive. NUC and Future Crew are poised to make a grand impression in MLG, and I for one can’t wait for it all to get started.
What was your overall impression of the Ultimate Empire Showdown at SOE Live 2013?
Zoidbergenstein: So far SOE Live has been an absolute blast. This is the first time I’m getting to meet a lot of these Planetside guys who didn’t go to MLG, and we’ve been having a great time together. The tournament was really fun – it was a pub tournament. We didn’t play as well as we wanted, so I was a little disappointed with that, but overall we had a blast.
TWF: Kind of like Zoidberg said, SOE Live has been absolutely amazing. Just getting to meet all these guys that you play with on a day-to-day basis is a lot of fun, but as far as the event went, for what it was – I’ve had clarification from different sources that it was an event and not an actually competition (competition will come with MLG) – but to that effect I thought it went really well. Especially since you go to a first person aspect and bounce around to different people competing at the same time. I thought Future Crew performed exceptionally well, especially because we practiced specifically for this event. We actually did better than all our practice runs.
How do you feel about them labeling a fun event with $10,000 on the line?
Zoidbergenstein: I honestly think it’s rough to have an event for fun when there’s money on the line. Even though it is a public event, we’re practicing every night and we want to win. You draw out a certain intensity anytime you offer money. So for future public events I’d rather see an in game prize or something like that, but really it’s a great opportunity for everyone to come out here to play and have fun.
TWF: I think $10,000 is a lot for a fun tournament. You’re gonna have guys that hear that there’s that much money being thrown around and that really take the game seriously. We heard how much money there was going to be and we practiced, we made strategies and we really planned this out because we wanted to win. To us, it was a serious competitive thing even if it wasn’t taken as such. So like Zoidberg said I really think if they’re gonna do a fun event in the future I think it should be something less… good.
How do you feel your practice prepared you for the event?
Zoidbergenstein: I wish it had benefited us just a little bit more. We felt like we were coming in really strong from our practice runs, but once we got into the event we ran into a couple zergs and didn’t perform nearly as well as we wanted to.
TWF: I think our practice benefited us pretty well. The few days leading up to SOE Live the six of us that played in the tournament all played together, stayed in the same channel, worked on our comms, and stayed together as a team. We actually did dry runs where we tried to get as many points as possible. It carried over right into the tournament. It went really well.
How did it feel to finally meet your teammates?
Zoidbergenstein: Oh man, it’s great. These guys are awesome and we have ops seven nights a week. We have training in the afternoons, so I spend a lot of time with these guys. Actually meeting them has been absolutely awesome.
TWF: Absolutely. Just getting to meet some of these guys are what I came to expect. I love all these guys, I’m on Teamspeak with them everyday. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been one night and the second night is starting right now. It’s going to be a good time.
Do you feel that faction loyalty in MLG and future events is important?
Zoidbergenstein: From a spectator standpoint, faction loyalty is very important. People love TR, they love Vanu, and they love NC. From a competitive standpoint we’ll probably play whatever is strongest at the time.
TWF: I think faction loyalty is one of the strongest things in this game. I’ve been walking down the hall and somebody will see my tag and they’ll say, “You’re that Vanu guy.” People recognize you by the empire that you play. I think that’s a really cool aspect and a really cool thing that’s going for this game because people get recognized by the faction and outfit they play for.
How much do you feel that personal recognition will benefit Planetside 2?
Zoidbergenstein: I think with eSports you need stories and characters to represent outfits and to represent the game, so I think it’s going to be really important, especially as we see MLG start to come. People are going to be fans of streams, people are going to be fans of YouTube and outfits. I think it’s very important.
TWF: Just like in any spectator sport in the world, you’re going to have your icons, your favorite players, you’re gonna have all these guys that go to the events just to see a particular player play, and I think in Planetside 2 it’s just another one of those things. The way that they’re talking about going forward in the future and making competition work, it’s going to be a spectator sport, and in every spectator sport you’re going to have stories. People are going to know how they play, what class they play and how they operate. It’s going to be awesome.
How do you feel about cheating in Planetside 2?
Zoidbergenstein: Any time you’re talking about competition or Planetside or, really, anything, cheating should have a zero tolerance policy.
TWF: Just like Zoidberg said, cheating in any game at a competitive level – it’s always gonna be there, there’s always the possibility of someone hacking – they just have to stay vigilant about and keep updating their anti-cheating software. They just have to have more LAN tournaments so we can play on a LAN and see what’s going on there.
How do you feel about outfits willingly helping the competing teams during these live server events?
Zoidbergenstein: I think outfit leaders need to be aware that stuff like this is going to happen. What we do with our outfit during MLG showmatches is we say, all right we’re on this continent everybody can play but stay off this continent. Don’t interfere in any way. I think that’s the best way to approach it.
TWF: Because it’s on a live server, because it’s set up that way, I think that cheating is going to happen. You’re gonna have outfits that have ties to other outfits and are going to try to get help in any way they can and I understand it. It doesn’t mean I condone it, but it’s going to happen. That’s why I’m looking forward to the Battle Islands and MLG when it’s purely outfit vs outfit and you can’t get any outside help whatsoever.
How do you feel The Nexus will affect the War Report and MLG?
Zoidbergenstein: It can’t do anything but help. The Nexus will give us that 100% outfit vs outfit that all competitive teams are looking for, because like TWF said anytime you’re doing anything on a live server there’s always going to be outside influence. When there’s outside influence you’re never going to have an accurate representation of which outfit did a better job.
TWF: I think Battle Islands and MLG are seriously going to affect the War Report. Everybody always asks: Who’s the best outfit? Who are the best players? None of that will be answered until those outfits can play against each other. When we had the first MLG event, it was awesome; we got to test the waters and see who was competitive, but it wasn’t a true test of each outfit. We’re not going to be able to see that until The Nexus comes out. I and everyone else in the competitive community of Planetside 2 are really looking forward to The Nexus to get rolling.
How do you feel about outfit leaderboards?
Zoidbergenstein: They’re all we have to go on, so they’re a great motivational tool for the outfit, but outfit leaderboards are simply who has the highest average experience. Right now that’s what the game is. Once Battle Islands come out, once MLG gets going, it really doesn’t matter. You can have a new team of outstanding players that comes in and they can be a legitimate top contender and right now that isn’t possible.
TWF: Outfit leaderboards are something this game really needs. As it is, all the outfits that are at the top, while they’re there for a reason, there’s been a lot of gameplay time. All the experience and play time that has built up – while an indicator of player skill – is an indicator of play time. So once you have ratings for each outfit and each player you have better stats to determine outfit effectiveness, it’ll make it easier to tell who’s MLG ready.
How do you feel the USS rules apply to Planetside 2 philosophy – that is, core gameplay?
Zoidbergenstein: One of the great things about Planetside 2 is that it’s such an open game. You can play it however you want to play it. If you’re a guy who loves tanks, you send a tank and camp; if you’re a guy who likes to fly, you can fly; if you’re an infantry player, you can play infantry. The rules for this event really catered to the people who like to see big numbers – high kdr, high score – and that’s really what this event was about, so I think these rules catered to that play style, which is a popular play style in Planetside 2.
TWF: The rules did a really good job for showcasing Planetside 2 for what it is, but in order for those rules to be more beneficial there needs to be more time and more rounds. People play and watch Planetside for the huge fights. You have 100 guys vs 100 guys vs 100 guys, lots of tanks and aircraft and craziness going on. The way the scores were rolled out, if I was to get a kill in a Scythe I’d get one point, but if I got a kill with a knife I’d get 15, so there’s no way I’m going to fly around in an aircraft when I can knife a guy for 15 times the amount of points. I think the rules were pretty good, but I honestly think they could have showcased Planetside for what it is, simply for the fact that the people competing in the USS are ultra-competitive players who wanted to win the prize money, and that’s what it boils down to.
Closing thoughts on the USS?
Zoidbergenstein: What it comes down to is that this was a public event where we were supposed to have fun. While we were disappointed with how we played and we could have done better, we did have a lot of fun playing. I think that’s what was really important about this event.
TWF: It was awesome. Everyone I talked to back home after the fact has said that it was a lot of fun to watch. You get to see individuals and their playstyles as you cut to in between each one during the event. It was a lot of fun. All of our 6 guys got to practice together leading up to the event – shooting the shit – and then to go in and play together during the event was a good time.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by kidRiot.