Supporting Those Who Support You

[Planetside] The PS devs have done something wonderful for players like me that often find themselves in a supporting role. I spent many an evening doing ANT runs or repairing damaged vehicles and turrets. While getting a warm sense of being a part of the victory, there has not been any real rewards given for such activity. Rewards are normally handed out to players for “kills”. No longer. Enter the era of support XP.

Perhaps the short supply of healer-types in most MMOs can be solved with a solution like this.

I’ve included the post made in the PS forums for posterity, below:

In the struggle to dominate and control Auraxis, there are countless jobs and roles to perform. Many of these involve the support of your fellow soldiers and these actions have, up until now, been largely thankless. The tireless support personnel who repair damaged wall turret systems, provide support positioning Advanced Mobile Stations, or operating Galaxy and Lodestar vehicles have done so out of the desire for the greater good for their Empire.

With PlanetSide version 3.7 we will introduce rewards for such activities. These rewards will still be tied to when opposing forces are overcome, rather than handing them out at the time when the support activities are performed. Support activity will be recorded and, when the supported unit overcomes an enemy in the future, they will pass back a share of experience and possibly a merit worthy kill (depending on the factors of the kill). The unit scoring the kills will continue to pass back this bonus experience and merit kills for a period of time starting with their first kill after being supported. The length of time is determined by how much support they received. If the supported unit dies and respawns (is not revived) then they will no longer pass back support exp and support merit kills.

One exception to this delayed start of when support experience and kills are passed back and recorded is after a hot drop. The timer starts immediately after bailing from a Galaxy.

Each person that you support will track that activity in what you could consider a “support bucket”. The more you support them (for instance, the more times you repair their armor that was damaged by enemy fire) the more you fill in this bucket. How much this bucket is filled in will determine the size of the % of exp from kills that is passed back to you and for how long exp will kick back. The timer is dormant, waiting after the support is rendered (repairing someone’s armor, for example) until the supported soldier scores their first kill. This allows you to support someone and much later, when they start scoring some kills (and haven’t died in the mean time) they will still reward you for that support. Or, for example, if you repair base turrets and the fight eventually comes back to that base. When someone gets in that turret you repaired a while ago and scores a kill, they will kick off the dormant timer and now kills they score with that turret will give the person who repaired it a slice of the kill exp and possibly kill records toward Merit Commendations. Of course, if you were the repairer of said turrets and you logged off or left the zone, you would no longer receive support exp or merit kills.

There are 6 different categories of activities that can lead to your acquisition of Support EXP and assist kills counting toward support Merit Commendations:

1. Healing another soldier.
2. Reviving another soldier.
3. Repairing another soldier or vehicle either with a BANK, NanoDispenser or Lodestar.
4. Hacking a terminal or locker, or providing an AMS or Lodestar terminal for others to obtain equipment or ammunition.
5. Having soldiers bail from your Galaxy.
6. Providing an AMS for soldiers to spawn from.

The % share of BEP that comes back from through this system is completely outside any other exp distribution (squad exp split, etc.). The timer is currently a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 10 minutes where kills by that soldier will have an extra % share of EXP go back to the person(s) who supported them.

To illustrate different scenarios, a few examples of each are listed below:

* Healing or Repairing: You heal a friendly soldier just outside the door to a hotly contested tower. You heal him for 25 damage and he now has a record on him that will start to feed you exp and assist kills toward merits. However, as the fight rages, the soldier you healed doesn’t die, but he does take more damage from plasma fired by the enemy out the door. You die trying to get in the door. Just because you died doesn’t affect the support you had done on the other soldier. That will only be erased if he dies and is not revived.

So, you respawn at the nearby AMS and come back. You see the soldier you had healed before and heal up the damage he took from the plasma, further filling in the “support bucket” and building a greater percentage of exp you would get from his kills (if and when he scores some). You then join the rush in through the door and your Empire captures the tower. The soldier you helped landed some hits, but never got a kill, so your “support bucket” on him has not triggered and is still dormant, waiting for him to score a kill.

Now, you head down toward the base and the soldier you helped gets a kill of an enemy on the wall. The EXP share from that kill is reported and saved up. If you had supported him more, you would have obtained a bigger % of exp share. The enemy that the solder you supported was a unique kill so it will count back as an “assist kill” to you, the person who supported him, and toward support Merit Commendations.

* Hacking: You are an infiltrator, sneaking through a lightly contested enemy base. You make your way to one of the nearby equipment terminals, hack it and switch out your armor to a MAX suit and head to the spawn tubes to tear some enemy forces up! Behind you another friendly has hot dropped on the roof, and comes down into the base and sees in passing that the equipment terminal is available. He swaps out of his Agile armor for his Rexo heavy grunt load out. By using a terminal that you hacked, you are now flagged as having supported him. When he scores his next kill (without dying) he will start off the time period where he will give back exp and assist kills back to you.

* AMS or Lodestar: You position a Lodestar where friendly vehicles are rearming their vehicles. Just like #2 above, just the fact that they use the equipment portion of the Lodestar functionality will flag them as you, the Lodestar owner, as having supported them. This is the same for the AMS, if someone uses your AMS to equip themselves. The Lodestar will also flag vehicles as having been repaired by you, much like scenario #1 above.

* AMS spawning: The AMS also will tag soldiers spawning at it as having been supported by the soldier who owns the AMS. So, when those soldiers go on to score enemy kills, they will pass back a share of exp and possibly assist kills to count toward support Merit Commendations. Even if the AMS is destroyed, friendly solders who had spawned at it would continue to give back these rewards until either their timer runs out, they die and respawn, you log out or you leave the zone.

* Reviving: Reviving fallen friendly solders will not only flag the person who revives them as having assisted them, but it will also keep their death from canceling all support related shares they are currently tracking from being cleared.

We will give you more information on this as the development continues.

~The PlanetSide Development Team~

I’m curious, does any other MMO out there reward support players in some way? If so, please share because I have not seen anything like this before.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

5 thoughts on “Supporting Those Who Support You”

  1. Dark Age of Camelot awards a share of monster kill experience to healers outside the group. You could gain experience by wandering around a battlefield and healing random people, although that is probably an inefficient way to do so.

    When the change was announced, there were immediate complaints about ‘grief healing,’ that people could leech xp by healing people who did not need it. (I imagine the same will occur in Planetside – cursing at people for healing you, etc.) Tweety mocked the notion of ‘grief healing’ on the boards, but soon after ‘leeching via healing’ was added to the code of conduct. I assume you can still get banned for healing passers-by excessively.

  2. I guess it all depends on if the healee is losing xp to the healer or not. I’m not smart enough to tell from that post. I sort of thought it was not going to affect the healed person’s xp in any way. If it does, then yes the problem you mention will arrise.

  3. World of Warcraft gives you honor points if you heal someone who is fighting another player and then kills that player. I am not certain if you have to be grouped with the person you are healing or not, but I know you get the points as my partner plays a Druid and she has done quite a bit of support healing.

  4. The very first game I played was a text MUD and they awarded experience for clerics rezzing people, empaths healing people (clerics didn’t heal, empaths did, 2 separate classes), rogues disarming and picking the lock on boxes you’d find on monsters. I thought it was a great system but it got abused fairly quickly once the game went to the internet and got flooded with new players. I used to play a rogue and it was nice to be able to gain experience picking boxes for people in the “east tower” where all the rogues hung out. Could relax and chat while making money and experience and all the while helping someone who needed a picker.

    They’ve since reduced all the “support experience” unfortunately because of the people who were abusing it, and you can’t really play the game anymore without going and hacking and slashing. Empaths (the healers) still can but they even got their experience rewards lowered by a lot, and they’re not very good fighters. I’ve always thought this was a great idea and should be in every game, but of course you have to make it “exploit proof” and that’s never easy.

  5. Word via the grapevine is that the support XP does not reduce the XP situation for anyone being helped. It is “in addition to” normal XP awarded.

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