Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Why PS2 needs true Proximity Chat..

So you're probably asking yourself...why does PS2 need it? What's so great about a True Prox Chat System that an MMOFPS would have to have it? The answers are numerous, actually. First we have to remember True Proximity Chat isn't just another channel where guys can go to chat, it also doesn't come through your headset. So that its not confusing [and can be easily separated from Squad, Platoon and Outfit chat] it comes though the television when close to another player. It also happens automatically unless you have proximity or the individual muted. Lastly, It has natural fall-off so that you can hear clearly when a person is close but it maxes out to about 20m.

The reasons to add it? Plenty. And they begin with the fact that it gives game experiences a genuine, organic, social experience that they wouldn't have otherwise. No emote or quick chat option will ever be fast or dynamic enough to warn about an incoming grenade or a Bouncing Betty that we're about to step on. There's no substitute for 'Watch out behind you!' or 'My Sunderer needs some repair.' and we all know it. There's also simply no benefit to endless chat channels that let us talk to people over 3000m away, when we can't ask the guy standing right next to us for ammo. Here are some other great things we see from Proximity Chat......

1. The game becomes ALIVE and SOCIAL - There's nothing like being able to talk to our nemesis or make plans on the fly with our allies. Switching between chat channels can be tedious and often the moment is missed. Urging a teammate to 'go right, i'll go left' vis text chat never works...and for some reason there's never enough time to type 'dont go that way, there's a Prowler waiting!' maybe its just us, though.

2. It promotes teamwork - We play PS2 religiously and constantly watch guys walk by downed/injured teammates because they don't know or notice them. There's no substitute for a person calling you out by name asking to be healed or resuscitated. Its also beneficial for people without mics [or that just prefer not to talk] to be able to hear us asking them to 'Fly us to the Crown' or even something as simple as offering a ride on our Flash to an ally who will have to walk 1000+ meters otherwise.

3. You're forced to be tactical - When the enemy can hear you its amazing how quiet guys are when sneaking around to flank enemies, and eavesdropping on enemy conversations is the gift that keeps on giving. Enemies that can't keep quiet while using stealth are usually at the ultimate disadvantage. Imagine cloaking as an infiltrator and having the enemy hear but not see you...we can't imagine better entertainment. Savvy 'stalker' cloakers might trick enemies by yelling out 'there's a guy on the stairs' before uncloaking and going on a killing spree--we can't wait.

4. Nothing does a better job of creating player conflict - When the game allows conversing, the digital avatar on our screen becomes a real person who we've won, lost, and shared a battlefield with. The conflict becomes meaningful. Whether its witty trash-talk and banter or mutual respect from a worthy opponent, games lose something when rivals don't have the ability to communicate with each other. [also: add in game messaging as well]

 5. The METAGAMING is Unleashed - The following is an example of how allowing enemies to hear each other if they're close by is game-changing. Its an ARMA 2 match where a player is taken as a POW, his captors cleverly use him as bait to gain an advantage in the match and AWESOMENESS ensues. Check it out:

5. The trash talk is EPIC - Running someone over in our Harasser just isn't the same when we can't tell them to 'look both ways before crossing the street next time!' or when we can't yell out 'here, catch!' when we throw a grenade. Trash Talk is the stuff that dreams are made of.

The actual benefits of a true prox chat system are endless, and the few downsides can easily be rectified by either muting users or turning down proximity chat universally. We're keeping our fingers crossed that this great feature makes it into a future iteration of Planetside sooner rather than later.


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