Planetside 2 Starter Guide
Welcome to our ever-growing Planetside 2 Starter Guide, the best place to quickly learn the ins and outs of the web’s newest Massive Multiplayer action game. Taking a few minutes to read the material below before launching into the Planetside game world will vastly enhance enjoyment of your initial experience and help you make the transition from newbie to seasoned veteran more quickly and with greater success.
What is Planetside 2?
Planetside 2 is a massive multiplayer first person shooter. Three space-going Factions battle in endless war for control of scarce planetary Resources. The game owes spiritual ancestry to a number of contributors, including futuristic FPS games like Tribes and massive campaign-based games like Battleground Europe.
Planetside 2 is built on a Free to Play model.
How Do I Start?
Characters in Planetside 2 are divided into three Factions: the Terran Republic, Vanu Sovereignty, and New Conglomerate. Once you choose an allegiance for a new character, that character is forever locked into that faction. Don’t sweat the choice too much for your first character. Go with the theme you appreciate most.
The Terrans are straightforward in methodology and equipment. Their armament reflects their conservative disposition. They rely on firearms and a tactical balance between offense and defense. The Conglomerate are rebels with a more rough, fly-by-night feel to their arsenal. Think Browncoats. The Vanu are cultic technofetishists and rely on sleek energy weapons.
Where Do I First Spawn?
New characters will be air-dropped straight onto a battlefield. Get under cover fast and get your bearings.
In the bottom left corner you’ll see a mini-map. You are the orange wedge in that field. Note that this mini-map includes a contextually shifting compass bar above the display that shows your current absolute heading. That becomes important when comparing to your main Map.
What Do I Do When I Hit the Ground?
The first time you land, there’s a good chance you’ll die horribly within seconds. The scope of a Planetside 2 battle tends to overwhelm newcomers. Gunships streak overhead, rattling off hundreds of rounds from their crew-served weapons. Tanks roll by spewing fire at distant armored columns. Dozens of infantry exchange fire all around you. The voices of the wounded cry out for medical attention. The spires of some weird facility tower over it all, protruding like sharp teeth into the war-torn sky. And just as you’ve taken all of this in and started thinking about finding a place to hide, some invisible jerk lurking nearby will likely blow your head off. That’s what respawn is for.
The first few seconds of life are about finding safety and cover. Look to your mini-map. Locate the colors of friendly terminals, troops, and vehicles and make a dash toward them. Get inside a friendly structure if you can and spend a minute taking stock of your capabilities.
Just What Are My Capabilities?
WASD moves, your left mouse button shoots, and your right mouse button brings up the iron sight, which improves accuracy quite a bit in most weapons. T allows you to melee. LEFT SHIFT is run, LEFT CTRL is crouch.
Your other capabilities are determined by your Class. By default you are probably a Light Assault trooper. That means you’ve got good mobility, a SPACE BAR activated jet pack, and an automatic rifle of some kind determined by your faction.
The status of your jet pack and weapons are indicated by the lower-right corner of your HUD. You’ll see your rifle, a pistol (scroll mouse wheel to switch), ammo counters, and a circular energy bar. That’s your jet pack charge, and it depletes quickly. When first experimenting with your jet pack keep the jumps conservative and save a reserve to slow down your landing. Otherwise you’ll develop a nasty case of broken legs.
Jet pack energy regenerates over time. Ammunition doesn’t, and you’ll need to tap the R key to reload partially depleted magazines, or automatically reload when you are empty. You can resupply magazines at weapon terminals, marked on your map with a pistol icon in your faction’s color.
Below these status bars are two horizontal energy bars, one blue and one green. Blue is your personal force field, which recharges slowly over time. Green is your health, which needs either a Medkit or Medic assistance to recharge.
So there are your basic capabilities: automatic rifle, pistol, jet pack, personal force field, and life bar, the standard kit for a newbie Light Assault soldier.
You are not locked into this configuration, of course. At any time you can approach a weapons terminal, press E, and change your loadout or class.
What about the Classes?
We’ve covered Light Assault a little in the section above: mobility, jet pack, stock auto rifle. Let’s talk about the other four classes.
Light Assault’s big brother is Heavy Assault. He’s much slower than his lighter kinfolk and has no jet pack, but carries a larger arsenal of more powerful weapons. His stock kit includes a pistol, a light machinegun variant, and some manner of single soldier anti-vehicle weapon depending on faction. The LMG-type weapon is an excellent man killer. Concentrated bursts on a single human target will take down almost anyone. The stock anti-vehicle weapon is difficult to use, firing a slow moving projectile with decent destructive power. One shot isn’t usually enough to kill a vehicle and it is a slow weapon to reload. The need for precision requires you to get in close. But when you do kill a gunship or tank with a shoulder-mounted newbie weapon, it feels pretty awesome.
Heavy Assault also has a temporary personal force field activated with the F key. This grants you greater durability for a brief time. It is fueled by the same circular special ability indicator the Light Assault’s jet pack utilizes. Note that while using this device grants you exceptional protection, it also makes you glow like a giant “shoot me” beacon. You have been warned.
Infiltrator is the stealthy ninja-sniper class of Planetside 2. Infiltrators are armed with precision rifles designed for cranial mass readjustment in the target. Infiltrators are the backstabbing, sneaking, spineless assassins of Planetside, and are thus enormous fun to play.
The real gimmick of an Infiltrator is his personal cloaking shield. By pressing F, an Infiltrator can make herself invisible for a short period of time. The cloak lasts as long as power remains in the circular special-ability charge meter (the same as utilized by the Light assault’s jet pack and Heavy Assault’s Force field). You cannot attack while invisible. The meter recharges while uncloaked.
Infiltrators can also hack enemy terminals and turrets, converting them to your side.
Medics are everybody’s best friend. They wield nifty devices which fire Ghostbuster-esque streams of healing at nearby allies. Medics also possess the ability to resurrect recently fallen troops at their original position.This is an invaluable service for advancing squads who might otherwise respawn far from the front where they are needed most. Medics are rarely crowned in glory, but they are absolutely necessary for the taking and defense of facilities. A single medic can redefine a battlefield.
Engineers are to vehicles as Medics are to infantry. They can repair vehicle damage on the fly with a healing ray akin to the Medic. Many pilots choose Engineer as their class since this allows them to jump out of their vehicles during lulls in fighting and do some fast field repairs.
Engineers are often spotted walking alongside tanks, providing constant healing during armor-on-armor battles. Engineers can also build shielded HMG-type weapons, immobile but with potent firepower. They can even supply ammo to allies in battle. This is especially useful for classes such as the heavy assault, who only have a few shots on their rocket launchers.
It is important to note that classes are not locked. Players can switch between classes at will through Weapon terminals and between Respawns.
All classes gain access to new equipment and abilities through Certifications, which are in turn gained through experience. The more you grind, the more new gadgets you can open for a class.
What about the Max?
You may see a reference to Max while scouring class menus. Maxes aren’t really a class.They’re a battle suit which you can access given ample Resources. Putting on a Max suit makes you a durable, high firepower engine of destruction. You possess heavy armor and effective anti-personnel and anti-vehicle weapons. The catch is that, like building a Vehicle, a Max requires a Resource investment to create, so you can only use Max every now and then.
What are Resources?
Resources are a finite set of building blocks for creating one-shot items like Vehicles and Max. Each character has access to limited Resources at the start of a play session. Once expended, Resources regenerate slowly based on the fortunes of war. Resource generation is tied to facility control. The more Facilities your faction controls, the more Resources become available. Different types of Facilities generate different proportions of Resources.
Resources are the driving force in the battle for the three Continents of Planetside 2. The more territory your faction controls, the more Resources pour down the pipeline to fuel your faction’s military.
There are three types of Resource: Aerospace, Mechanized, and Infantry. Aerospace Resources allow you to create, you guessed it, Air Vehicles. You get the picture with the other two.
So Where do I Use These Resources?
Terminals are your one stop Resource spending shop. By walking up to a Terminal and pressing E, you’ll be given a menu of available Vehicles or Enhancements to generate.
There are several types of Terminals.
Infantry Terminals allow you to equip Infantry Weapons and equipment. They also allow you to change class free of charge.
Combat Air Terminals allow you to create heavily armed aircraft, like Fighters and Gunships.
Transport Air Terminals allow you to create transport aircraft, which are necessary for certain Facility assaults.
Ground Transport Terminals allow you to create transport vehicles like Sunderers and ATVs.
Ground Combat Terminals allow you to create tanks.
Ok, I’ve Bought a Vehicle, what do I do Now?
If you buy a Vehicle, it’s yours to pilot and manage until it blows up or you abandon it. As soon as you purchase a vehicle, you’ll appear in the cockpit. You can press the E key to get in and out.
Don’t get discouraged if your first experimentation with a vehicle ends in disaster. They take a while to learn. And note that vehicle control settings can be tweaked in your control menu. You may find such adjustments beneficial.
How do I Manage a Vehicle?
If you are the creator of a vehicle you may manage its characteristics with the PAGEDOWN key. This allows you to control crew complement and to make a Vehicle either public or exclusive to your squad.
How Do I Steer?
Ground vehicles steer with WASD controls, though A and D steer rather than sidestep. Tanks use A and D to rotate. Air Vehicles use W and S for acceleration and deceleration, A and D to turn, mouse up and down to climb/descend, and mouse left/right to bank. A setting in the game menu allows you to reverse flight control axis to match flight sim controls if you so desire.
Every Vehicle handles differently, but one unifying rule applies to piloting: don’t over-steer. Turning a ground or air vehicle too sharply tends to result in flips and crashes.
Do I Need to Buy a Vehicle to Join a Crew?
No! As long as you don’t mind taking a gunner’s spot, you can join the crew of open vehicles created by other players.
How do I Join an open Vehicle Crew?
To join a vehicle’s crew, walk near a friendly vehicle and press the “E” key. If the Vehicle’s owner has configured the Vehicle for open crewing, you will immediately be placed in a vacant gunnery or transportation station. To exit the vehicle press “E” a second time.
How do I Change Positions in a Vehicle?
Vehicle crew positions are marked with numbers corresponding to gunnery or transport stations. Small vehicles may only have two or three of these stations, while Galaxy transports have twelve. Each station number corresponds to a keyboard function key.
To switch to any vacant station, press the matching Function key. For example, to move to station 3, press “F3” on your keyboard.
Why Do I See So Many Sunderer Transports Sitting Around?
The sight of a Sunderer surrounded by legions of infantry and teams of nano-repair weilding Engineers is among the most common icons of the Planetside 2 battlefield. Sunderers are armored personel carriers that also serve the dual purpose of portable Infantry Terminals. A Sunderer provides a remote location for class change, resupply, and Max generation. Perhaps even more importantly, Sunderers can serve as mobile spawn points. Sunderers allow armies to advance and recoup their losses quickly without reinforcing troops having to travel hundreds of meters from a distant base. This makes Sunderers of paramount importance in assault situations. If you are attacking a facility, do all you can to protect friendly Sunderers. If you are defending, destroy Sunderers on sight, as elimiating them will cut deep into the enemy’s ability to reinforce.
Why Can’t I Step Inside a Vehicle?
There are two possible reasons:
1. The vehicle is full.
2. The vehicle’s owner is excluding non-Squad members from joining the crew.
How Do I Get Into That Little Room With the Force Fields that Guys from the Other Team Keep Running out From?
You can’t. Though most force Fields can be taken down by destroying the appropriate Generator, the shields protecting respawn rooms are impenitrable. Watch out for hostiles who use dark in and out of these shields for a split second to fire off a volley or lob a grenade.
The only way to deal with a respawn room is to take control of the Facility it is stationed in. Find the nearby control points and/or SCU and get to work capturing the base. When the Facility’s alligence switches over, that spawn room will be transfered to your Faction’s control, and you will be able to pass through the shield.
What Do I Do if I Can’t Find Anyone to Shoot?
If things are just too peacful, press “M” to bring up your map and find some enemies.
The explosion-shaped icons on your map represent areas of conflict. Hovering over one indicates the presence of forces there by Faction and gives you a clue of just how favorable the situation is for your side. There are incentives for taking part in more difficult battles, but starting out you should probably choose a Facility with forces evenly distributed or favoring your faction. Click the deploy button. A countdown will begin, after which you will be air dropped onto the site.
Our series of Interactive Maps records every Facility, road, and pass across the Auraxis landscape. Check them out and learn your way around.
What are Squads?
Squads are groups of allied troops intended to work together. When joining a PS2 game you may press the INSERT key to be automatically placed within a squad. Your map and HUD will indicate the location of squad mates. By honing in on and following your squad leader, you maintain cohesion with a sizeable force within the game.
Squads can be configured to share vehicles spawned by squad members. They may also be set to respawn at Squad Leader-created waypoints should the leader possess the proper Certifications.
Speaking of Certifications, what are they?
Certifications are advancements which allow access to new weapons and abilities. As a Planetside 2 character gains experience, he or she gains access to more Certifications.
A single Certification might allow a character to equip a new sight on their gun or a new weapon for a Vehicle. Character customization is largely a matter of which credentials you choose for your avatar.
So what Are the Best Certifications?
That depends entirely on your favored mode of play. Before purchasing Certifications, think about what kind of character you want. Do you favor sniping or scouting? Are you more interested in support roles or combat? Do you plan to spend most of your time as a pilot, and if so, in what vehicle? Making these decisions early will help you get the best out of your Certifications.
How Do I Stay Alive in Combat?
So now you know the basic structure of the game. What about the actual fighting?
Your skills in combat will markedly improve through the application of the school of hard knocks, but you can save some agony by keeping these tactical reminders in the forefront of your brain.
1. REMEMBER THAT PLANETSIDE 2 IS NOT A GAME FOR THE SELFISH
You can play Planetside 2 in classic Chuck Norris “Lone Wolf McQuade” style, pitting your skill against the available hordes of human-controlled enemies, but trying to do so really does miss the point. Everything about Planetside 2 is built around teamwork. The facilities you are fighting for are pumping out resources that benefit not just you, but every member of your faction. Everybody has a stake in the battle, and character classes and subsequent builds are balanced with cooperation and interdependence in mind.
This doesn’t mean you need to go out and join a squad or vehicle crew every game, or even any game. It does mean that things are usually both easier and much more fun if you keep the presence of allies in mind when playing. There are people eager to bandage your wounds, fix your vehicle, crew you gunnery turrets, and cover you with sniper fire. Extend them the same courtesy and you’ll likely be more successful in Planetside.
2. DON’T ROCK AND ROLL.
The shooting in Planetside seems skewed toward application of short, concentrated bursts over spray and pray attacks. Recoil dissipates your aim quickly. Iron Sighting seems to considerably increase accuracy, but more than a half-second of automatic fire can vastly throw off your effective aim. Pick a single target, fire, re-aim and fire again.
3. DON’T BE DUMB!
A good portion of Planetside 2 deaths are earned through Darwinism. Don’t run headlong into rooms you haven’t scouted out. Don’t linger too long at windows. If a friendly generator goes down nearby, don’t just rush in to fix it without looking for the fellows who blew it up in the first place. When you see way more enemies in one place than friends, you’ll want to regroup and get some backup.
4. USE COVER EFFECTIVELY.
While Planetside 2 is not a cover-based shooter, the presence of an intervening wall, ridge, or tree is still of great benefit. There are few effective indirect weapons at range, so staying out of sight and the line of fire almost guarantees survival. Use the map, the sounds around you, and the movement of your allies to guess the likely position of the enemy, and then plan your approach, timing your emergence from cover so that the element of surprise favors you, not your foe.
5. FIND YOUR NICHE.
There are dozens of different ways to play Planetside. If you find yourself frustrated with one approach, experiment with another. Tired of getting burned in infantry firefights? Give gunship crewing or Medic a try. And remember that there is a grind…more experience means access to better weapons. Planetside 2 is a matter of both skill and armament, and the game eventually rewards the dogged.
6. ADAPT TO THE SITUATION.
Terminals allow you to change class at any time. You may find it expedient to switch classes once or more than once during a battle. Early during an assault you may want to serve as an Engineer repairing Sunderer or as a Light Assault leaping over walls to disable generators. Later in the same battle switching to a Medic or Heavy Assault will allow you to offer better fire and health support in the door-to-door fighting of the inner perimeter.
What are all these Turrets I See Sitting Around my Base?
Many Facilities are equipped with Turrets, permanent artillery and AA emplacements designed for defense and fire support. You may enter or exit any vacant Turret with the E key.
There are two types of Turret: Anti-Air and Anti-Tank. Both types have unlimited ammunition available, but suffer from overheating if you fire too rapidly or frequently. A bar on the bottom left indicates a gun’s current heat status.
Guns are aimed with the mouse and fired with the left mouse button, while the right mouse button zooms the aim in a bit.
How Do I Capture Facilities?
Whenever you are in a Facility, look at your mini-map and you’ll see a number of letters, perhaps just one, or as many as four. These represent strategic points within a Facility. Placing enough friendly troops in proximity to a control point and removing nearby defenders starts a timer, represented by a colored progress bar. When the bar reaches completion, ownership of the control point switches to the nearest team. Capturing enough control points gives a Faction control of the complete facility.
A single player has little hope of capturing a controlled facility alone. Teammates exponentially increase the rate at which capture bar progress takes place.
Some Facilities are protected by Force Fields which prevent entry of Vehicles or Infantry. To enter these bases, Infantry must infiltrate through small access-ways or over walls and destroy the nearby generators, which will lower the shield and allow allied forces to enter. Some respawn areas are protected by permanent force fields and simply cannot be entered by friendly forces until the base changes possession.
The three main types of Facilities each promote different avenues of entrance and egress:
Bio Labs must be entered either through Aircraft landing on their upper-deck platforms, or by using teleporters located in Facilities nearby, or by using jump pads located at those same Facilities.
Amp Stations are made up of a shielded courtyard full of buildings. Some of these buildings contain Generators, which must be knocked out to grant tanks access to the Courtyard and attacking infantry access to the large main building.
Tech Plants are huge buildings with a few outdoor Facilities. When their shields are active, they are accessible only through two tiny rear doors and a few narrow windows.
What are the Basic Strategies?
We’re inviting the Community to contribute to our Strategies section, which will outline detailed gameplay for Infantry, Air, and Armor. Here are a few tips to set you in the right direction:
1. NEW PLAYERS, FOLLOW THE LEADER.
Planetside 2 rewards teamwork more than most other games. The odds of making successful kills, capturing Facilities, staying alive, and earning XP all go up dramatically if you’re part of a large group of like-minded players. You don’t necessarily need to join a squad to accomplish this, though it is often helpful as a place to start. But it’s amazing how much more fun Planetside can be if you glance down at your minimap, spot a group of friendly blue arrow, run toward them, and then do what you can to help out at the group firing line.
Once a Facility falls, experienced friendly forces typically saddle up and haul ass for the next vulnerable enemy structure. The moment the XP bonus for Facility capture pops up, run for a Sunderer or tank gunnery station. If you can’t find a vacant spot, spawn a Flash ATV. Get mounted and then follow a big group of experienced players. Armored convoys are almost always headed where the action is. You can accomplish several subsequent Facilities captures by following a company-sized group. Also, many tanks and APCs travel without full crews and are often willing to take you on as a turret gunner, which gives you a real chance of scoring kills against tanks and aircraft.
3. REMEMBER THAT FACILITIES ARE WHERE THE EXPERIENCE IS!
One big benefit of helping out an armored column is that large groups of tanks and APCs typically knock out lightly defended Facilities quickly. You can reap the experience benefits of each capture while enjoying the combined firepower of a large group of players.
4. SWITCH CLASSES AS NEED ARISES.
Terminals and many Sunderers allow you to change class at will. Don’t be afraid to shift your role as the situation demands. If you find yourself walking around saying, “man, I could sure use a Medic but there aren’t any around here,” that’s often a good sign you should switch classes to fill that gap for your teammates.
5. LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH FORCE FIELDS!
Many facilities are protected by Force Fields. The generators to disable these fields are scattered around the area, and some exist within the shielded Facility. What to do? A common strategy is to equip Light Assault and then either climb to the roof using jump jets or slip through the narrow windows over the large force fields.
Get inside, blow the generators, and your friends come streaming in. Or if the Force Field is vehicle-only, slip through as an infiltrator and knock out the power.
6. CUT OFF RESPAWN POINTS.
Any Facility under enemy control has a respawn point. The spawn area will be guarded by indestructible force fields, and fallen soldiers who fall in the bases’s defense will regenerate there in a matter of second. The only way to permanently shut it down is to gain ownership of the base via control points, but this is very difficult to do when endless streams of resurrected enemy soldiers are running around a facility.
The tactical solution to this problem is a nasty form of spawn-camping where you and your allies. cover all potential exits of the respawn point with a withering hail of suppression fire. While a portion of your overall force camps at the control point to switch facility ownership, the remainder of your battalion locks down the area just outside the force field. Engineer turrets, tank guns, LMGs, and rocket launchers are especially effective at this task.
When providing suppression fire, beware of enemies darting out of the force field for a split second, launching a rocket or throwing a grenade, and diving back to safety. Also be prepared for a number of Max spawns as enemies become desperate to escape before the facility falls. Keep your head behind cover when reloading and retreat to a friendly medic if wounded even a little.
How to Pilot a Tank.
While infantry are essential components of base capture and defense, tanks provide vital fire support cover. Thanks to their heavy guns, tanks can lay down powerful suppression fire on spawn areas and choke points. Tanks are excellent at killing Sunderers and thus eliminating an attacker’s respawn abilities. Turret-equipped tanks discourage gunship strafing runs, and a single tank in the open can barrel over vulnerable light infantry with impunity.
1. REMEMBER THAT TANKS ARE A FINITE RESOURCE.
Tanks require slowly-regenerating Mechanized resources to generate, and there are also time limits on how often an individual player may spawn a tank. Thus, tanks should be treated with care. It is in the player’s and the faction’s best interest to keep individual tanks functional as long as possible.
Do not engage superior armored forces until you are an experienced operator with an upgraded set of Vehicle Certifications. Coordinate with other tanks. Remember, in Planetside 2, groups cover one another’s weaknesses. Learn by observing and assisting more experienced drivers.
Also, set your class to Engineer before heading out on a tank run. That way, if you find your tank damaged on a lonely battlefield, you can flee to safety and repair your tank with your own equipment.
2. SPEAKING OF ENGINEERS, DON’T RUN OVER THEM!!
Engineers are a tank’s best friend. Many battlefields are dotted with clusters of friendly Engineers who take cover behind their big buddies providing constant repair. be mindful of these guys as you maneuver, especially if forced to retreat at high speed. If you are careless, your tank can and will run over friendly infantry, killing them instantly. This does nobody any good and will not make you a lot of friends.
3. ON THE OTHER HAND…
It also works against enemy infantry. Running over foot soldiers in a high-speed Lightning is a lot of fun.
4. BUT DON’T GET COCKY AGAINST INFANTRY.
Well-equipped Max and Heavy Infantry troops can hurt your tank. Keep an eye out for them and destroy them on sight, or use your speed advantage to keep your distance.
5. GET USED TO MANUAL RELOADING.
Tanks don’t auto-reload. Count your shots and keep a finger over the reload key. Your rate of fire increases dramatically if you get into this habit.
6. TAKE ON A CREW.
If driving a two-man model, try and find a turret gunner. The extra firepower is a huge help.
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