PlanetSide 2 Squad Leader Guide by dstock
Hello, thanks for stopping by. Each class has its own forum, vehicles have their own, but there is no dedicated place to discuss squad leadership, so I thought I’d offer a short guide to help aspiring leaders get on the right track. I’m going to try and keep this concise (I always try, and normally fail miserably), below is a table of contents to help you find what you need. Some of this is very basic, but as a new PS player, I had to learn a lot of this info as I played. I’ll do a small wrap-up / TL|DR after each section.
Before I start, one disclaimer. If you want to lead a squad, please have a microphone. It isn’t required, and I’ll highlight a few things that can help if you don’t have one, but your squad is going to be more effective and run smoother if you have voice. Encourage your squad to use their mics as well, communication is critical!
1) Getting Started:
A) Forming a Squad
B) Choosing an Objective
C) Mode of Transportation
2) Gameplay Advice
A) Must Have
Getting Started — Forming a Squad
One of the challenges of being a squad leader is getting 11 warm bodies to fight with. Obviously, start with friends and members of your outfit, get some people you know that you can work with. Here are a few pointers to fill up the remaining slots.
Decide what you want to accomplish, are you doing hit&run infiltration, or supporting the zerg at a main base. Having a goal in mind is key to starting a squad, and getting people to stick with you.
Advertise for your mission at the Warpgate. The warpgate is your primary source of troops, so pick a mission, get a galaxy, and start yelling. Identify who in your group has the best-outfitted galaxy, have them spawn it. You can let anyone in your squad drive a galaxy by locking it to squad/platoon only. Encourage players to contribute air resources to the squad, even if they don’t want to fly.
Tip: Invite each person as they climb aboard the galaxy. I have found that unlocking the Galaxy once the pilot is settled and allowing random players to join your mission helps. This seems obvious, but alot of players that join up for random paratrooper missions aren’t in a squad, but are seeking people to play with. Stay in touch with the owner to keep the permissions set properly.
Be aggressive: Seek out the classes you need filled in your squad, drop troublemakers and people that don’t stick together; do everything you can to keep your squad running smoothly. Pick up lone-wolf players at the same objective as you. By that I mean, constantly try to keep your squad at 10+ players, and offer loners a ride if you have seats to spare.
Getting Started — Choosing an Objective
Another crucial part of running a good squad is careful objective selection. This comes down to your playstyle and your goals (see above). Are you feeding the meat grinder at tech & bio labs, or do you prefer hit&run tactics on outside points to increase influence on high-priority zones? Offense or defense? What are your squad’s strengths, and how can you play to them?
Once this is understood, bring up your map. Besides infantry fighting, I spend ~30% of my gametime in the map. The map is your best friend, learn how to read it. I could write a huge map use guide, but most won’t read it.
My advice is simple: Pick 2-3 points that you can head to while you are forming up, make a decision about 1min before you leave base. Make an impact, whether that is direct support of an attack or defense, or securing outlying territory around an important waypoint. Consider if you’re taking one squad, or if you’ll have support. Example, I’ve been playing Amerish a good bit lately. Don’t waste time at the Auraxis points in the central/west section of the map if you don’t have another squad or armor support to help.
Again, this info is pretty basic, feel free to ask any questions below.
Getting Started — Mode of Transportation
Choosing your method of deployment is crucial to being a good squad leader. As mentioned above, my default choice is to spawn a galaxy. I’m going to highlight a few strategies below, pick whatever seems best suited to your goal, objective, and personal tastes. Always try to recruit outside help, whether that is getting in touch with other ground leaders, getting an air escort, whatever. Ask for help, most players are willing to work together. Final note: If you have a group of friends or outfit that plays together, split up the vehicle assignments so each player can be slowly certifying a different vehicle to round out your squad. Encourage each player to pick one vehicle and at least purchase the 1-cert Timer, Zoom, Ammo Capacity upgrades for each seat. Likewise, make sure the specialty roles are filled, examples: Skyguard Lightning and Liberator with upgraded secondary. Spread the load out, and let your squad reap the rewards. At the very least, ID 2 people in squad that can pull a decent Galaxy, S-AMS Sunderer, and 1 Skyguard Lightning.
Galaxy- This is my default, lets you load up a full squad at the warpgate and head anywhere. Rotate the spawns through your squad so your good pilots can keep up some air resource, and the hopeless ground-pounders can contribute to your transport requirements. Also, only spawn the galaxy yourself as a last resort, (see below). Unless your pilot is a elite, don’t bother waiting for a kitted out galaxy; You won’t use it for more than 1-2 drops.
Always yell for a fighter escort before you leave the warpgate. Maybe I’m lucky, but my nation/server always has ESF pilots idling around the warpgate looking for action. If you can’t find one, ask one squad member to grab one and tail you. I can’t stress enough how much an ESF escort will help you get to your destination. This is focused on Galaxy, but an ESF escort is always useful.
Armor Column– Another preferred tactic, spawn 4-8 armor vehicles and roll out. I use this for assaulting bases near the warpgate, or forming a convoy to a nearby large base when you can spawn MBTs at outer territories. As a squad leader, DO NOT DRIVE unless you have to. I enjoy a MBT gunner seat myself, otherwise just sit in the sunderer turret for air defense and focus on your map. This section is long, my goal was to provide a guideline of vehicle balance.
1 or 2x Sunderer AMS- Deployable sunderer lets the rest of your nation join your battle once you get close. This is also crucial if your squad is on the move and you have to leave someone behind or you lose a tank en-route. A quick deploy and you can pick up any stragglers. I personally don’t have this unlocked, yet, but if you prefer ground transport or no one in your squad has it, the cert is solid investment that will pay you back. Sit in a transport seat if you have enough players to man both guns, otherwise, sit in the turret for air defense. Always run 1 gunner, don’t bother with a second unless you have extra bodies. Do attempt to pick up non-squad stragglers, most people will appreciate a ride to the next point, and you will get your second gun manned. If your squad is not full strength, one Sundy w/ 1 gunner is good. If you are full strength, have outside help, or are in a platoon, take 2. Don’t bother with more than 2 unless you have a 40+ man platoon.
2-4 Lightnings- I almost never play a lightning, this is just my opinion from running armor convoys. Kit Lightnings however you see fit, but I’d highly advise one Skyguard if someone has it unlocked, simply as a deterrent. 2 Skyguards if you’re going heavy Lightning, one at each end of the convoy but inside of the MBT for protection.
2-4 MBTs- Your convoy will need MBTs at each end, two is the minimum. Make sure each gunner seat is filled, even if you unlock and pick up loners. I have no real advice for certs, pick what you like, just make sure your 2-seat has enough ammo.
The above two points are just starter guides to getting your squad together and moving in the same direction. The next two methods fall entirely on the Squad Leader. Also, these next two methods work best if you have a second in command who also has spawn beacon, so you can take turns dropping beacons. Finally, I’ll have to double check, but the respawn timer on a beacon is independent for each squad leader. What this means is, you can drop a beacon, spawn your squad, then pass leader and let them drop a beacon and your troops will be able to use the other beacon while they are on cooldown for yours. NOTE: changing leader kills your beacon, make sure your squad is in before you pass the reigns. A squad may only ever have one beacon up.
Instant Action w/ Spawn Beacon- Use the instant action air-drop to pod onto a base, ask your squad to redeploy, and then drop your spawn beacon and let your troops follow you in. This is a simple yet effective tactic for quickly relocating around the map.
ESF Fly-By w/ Beacon- Similar to above, only this time use an ESF to scoot from Warpgate or wherever to your next destination, drop a beacon and follow above. If you can keep your fighter alive (ie, don’t ditch it), get back in and scout while your squad drops, or unlock it so a squadmate can take it up while you lead the ground force. A second squad leader makes this and the above method VERY useful and greatly expedites relocating your squad.
TL|DR: Short & Sweet Version
Decide your goal, yell at the warpgate for backup.
Choose your target. Don’t be afraid to change targets, just let everyone know.
Pick the best means of deployment. Galaxy is my go-to, but the beacon methods are comparable if not faster. Armor convoy is the most fun, but it takes the longest and travel time can get excessive.
I try to be first on the ground when possible. Set a waypoint for your squad, and immediately set out to scout a beacon drop point, if it isn’t up already. Place your beacon far enough away to make someone run out to kill it, draw them away from the battle. On large bases, I like to stick mine on the perimeter or near the base of the tallest structure, then use my first pod in to set another one in a much more secure location.
Get used to dividing your squad into 2-3 fire teams. Different bases have different numbers of control points and bodies to fill, so get used to dividing up your squad into effective teams. This brings us to class balance. Most of this is personal preference, the following is just some general advice.
1x Infiltrator – Mostly useful for hacking and recon darts. Not necessary, but when I don’t have one, I miss the tools they contribute.
2-3x Medic – They rez the dead, heal the wounded, and are a decent assault class. Always bring at least two so you can send one with each team. If you know you are going somewhere with 3 control points, take 3.
0-3x Light Assault – Good for base assault, can be useful for using jump-jets to place a sneaky beacon. Other times, I don’t see the point. If people want to play light assault, no harm no foul, but it isn’t truly necessary. I think my lack of necessity for the LA comes from focusing on beacons for respawns, so everyone can just pod onto the high ground. Adjust as necessary.
1-3x Heavy Assault – I usually take 2-4 HA with me. Double up on rockets to kill off tanks quickly, and you can use the shield and LMG to push contested buildings. This is my usual class, I may be biased.
2-3x Engineer – You will need ammo, repairs, and turrets are useful. Take more engies if your squad is focused on armor, MAX units, etc.
??? MAX – I don’t bother with MAX, I would just say don’t take more than 2-3, and support them fully with an engineer for each.
Generally, 4 of each of the main classes with one person subbed in as infiltrator. Make sure you keep two medics/engis, and let everyone else play what they like.
This is all very general, again, just providing a guideline to get the noobs started.
Certifications — Must Have
The following are the two must-have squad leader unlocks:
Spawn Beacon- As mentioned above, this tool is critical for effective squad tactics. Get the basic version ASAP if you want to lead squads. I’d recommend the 2nd cert if you really like leading squads, but don’t go much past that. I’m still trying to figure out the exact timing, but it’s roughly a 2-2.5 minute time, and each cert takes off 10 or 15 seconds.
Squad Objectives- Allows you to set attack order for your squad, highlighting one point to focus on. This is different from the squad waypoint, triggered through the map. To utilize this tool, put your crosshair over the hud icon [A] for a point, hold your spot key (default Q), and select the bottom option, Primary Target. There is a defensive mechanism also, but I can’t seem to get it to work. I get the option on players and vehicles, but selecting the Defense from the comm-rose does nothing. I’ll discuss details in the suggestions below.
These two certs are essential. The beacon is useful for everyone, as you can take a quick promotion and setup a new waypoint for your group, even if you’re not leading.
Certifications — Useful
Smoke Signal- Pick one to start (I chose green). They are very visible when playing the game, but they don’t seem to show up on the map well for people. I don’t know if this is a bug or intended. They are very effective for marking drop zones/extraction points, or providing a secondary waypoint when your main beacon is needed elsewhere. I went with green because the actual grenade is very bright, but the smoke is dark, providing high contrast in both day and night conditions. To use, simply open your map and right click, just like a waypoint. Each one lasts for ~3 minutes, and has a 5min cooldown. 1 is enough for most uses, I’d grab a second if I ran a platoon.
Certifications — Situational
The command channel and empire markers are in here. I don’t have either one, so absorb this with a grain of salt. The command channel is useful for relaying information in a big battle, but it only seems to work in the zone you are in, meaning you can’t call for reinforcements from the warp-gate. Decent ground level perk, limited effectiveness.
I’ve only seen people using the empire markers a few times. They obviously fit into the niche mentioned above, calling support in from outside your little territory. Highly visible, they do a good job, I just can’t afford 200 certs for that now.
1) Fix Squad Objectives — This may stem from my limited understanding, but you currently cannot set a defend target, or attack anything other than a capture point. A squad leader cannot set the objective to a generator, SCU, shield or anything similar, only a capture point. This ability is so crucial to being a good leader, and you have to spend 30 certs just to unlock it, and it doesn’t even cover all of the options. Please Fix? I’d also spend another 1-200 certs to be able to set a secondary objective.
2) Clarify the descriptions for the Spawn Beacon. I am trying to figure it out, but no where in the game does it explicitly state “Cooldown is XXXX, this rank reduces the cooldown by XX to XXXX”.
3) Show the Smoke Signal icon on the minimap, map & HUD for everyone in my squad. I don’t understand why I get a map icon, and everyone else just has to find the smoke. This unlock should help me move and guide my squad, but it isn’t very effective, currently.
4) I want the ability to remove my squad from a platoon without having to ask everyone to drop and reform. Twice now I have joined my squad to a platoon for a major effort, finished up, and had to disband because we couldn’t easily separate ourselves from the platoon afterwards.
5) Adjust the communication protocol. Everyone can talk in platoon chat, I’m fully on board with that. Simply make a command channel within the platoon just for the squad leaders. Maybe it is already there and I missed it.
That is all. I hope this helps you in your squad leading duties. Please feel free to post any questions or comments below. I know I’m rude and wrote more than I can possibly expect people to read. Stay Frosty…Other PlanetSide 2 Articles
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