PlanetSide Tower Hot Dropping Guide

PlanetSide Tower Hot Dropping Guide by ShadowJin

1.  Introduction

Tower dropping is one of the most fun and challenging aspects in Planetside.  Done correctly, a good hot-dropper can kill multiple enemies or even hack the tower right from under the noses of the unsuspecting enemy.  Tower dropping is even more scary in groups as you bring that much more firepower to the battle.
So why drop onto a tower in the first place?  The answer is simple:  the element of surprise.  Players defending a tower will normally expect heavy resistance at the two main doors at the base of the tower and not at the top.  The disadvantages to tower-dropping is that you will not be wearing heavy armor.  You’ll be wearing agile and have limited inventory space and armor so keep that in mind before bailing over a tower with 50 plus guys in it.

2.  Prepare Yourself
Before you drop, make sure you ask yourself these questions:
  • How hot is the tower?
  • Are there deployables on the roof?
  • What kind of tower is it?
  • What implants am I using?

Lightly defended towers can be a snap to take.  A single hot-dropper can often kill any resistance inside and hack the tower in minutes.  More heavily defended towers are much more difficult to crack as you will have hordes of enemies and will not survive a large rush of troops.

Enemy combat engineers make tower-dropping a heck of a lot harder.  Sure, that mine you stepped on may not kill you, but you will have to use valuable med-packs or use precious time to heal yourself.  Don’t have sensor shield?  That motion sensor/spitfire combo could eat away all your armor in a hurry.  If you have access to an EMP blast then by all means use it.  Keep in mind however that using an EMP basically lets every enemy in the tower know that there is someone hostile on the roof.  In many cases, jammers are the better option if you want to be more sneaky about it.

Tower type is important depending on a number of situations.  An Air Tower that is being heavily used will likely have multiple enemy aircraft around it at any given time.  Combine that with 2 active turrets make these the most difficult towers to take as you will be literally dropping into an angry hornet’s nest.  Gun Towers are the same minus the aircraft factor to a degree.  Watch Towers have more levels than the other types and can make for some interesting tricks.  Many smart players will recognize a hot-dropper and head for the roof.  You can use this to your advantage by jumping down over the railing onto another level to get the jump on them instead.

I use Surge, Sensor Shield, and Enhanced Targeting.  Not the best set for towers I admit so here’s my rundown of the ideal implants for tower-dropping:

Audio Amplifier is killer if it is a small battle as it will allow you to pinpoint any enemy on your radar.  In huge fights however, there will be so many red dots it’d be best to leave it off.

Surge is handy for running away to buy time to heal yourself or just plan get the hell out of dodge.

Enhanced targeting will allow you to see which enemies are already weak so you can go for the kill.  It’s especially good for seeing which MAXes you’ll be able to take out easily with a decimator, AP ammo, or grenades.

Personal Shield will extend your life inside if you don’t mind running out of stamina constantly.

Darklight Vision lets you see cloakers.  ‘Nuff said.

3.  The Loadout

Remember that you will be wearing agile, so pack accordingly.  The following is what I normally use for my agile loadout:

Ideally you will have a Heavy Assault weapon and a decimator to deal with MAXes but not everyone uses the same certs.  I don’t use medical or engineering but those with it can use the pistol slots for repair or med tools to heal yourself after fights as they will greatly extend your life in a tower.

ALWAYS CARRY A REK.  Even if you’re not an advanced hacker, carry a REK to at least hack the first door to get in.  Nothing is stupider than seeing a hot dropper with no REK stuck outside a tower get killed by a passing Reaver.  The grenades are important as you will need jammers to deal with deployables and boomers and plasma is good to root out camping enemies.  Throw jammers at mines to destroy them and lob them around corners to disable enemy implants and boomers.  They’re grief-safe so you can be very liberal in their use.  If you know an enemy is waiting for you below, feel free to lob a plasma grenade at him to get him to move.  Plasma is also useful to finish off weakened MAXes if you have Enhanced Targeting.

4.  The Drop

So now you’re ready for the drop.  You’ve bought your Mosquito/Reaver and you’re passing over the enemy tower.  First, here’s the BAD way to drop from your aircraft:

Flying level and bailing from the aircraft results in this:

You’ll be stuck in 3rd person, plus, you will leave a very visible trail as you fall.  This makes you an easy target and you will be completely vulnerable for about 2 seconds once you land because you are forced into 3rd person view.  So how do you drop the right way?  Simple.  Just make a hard turn to the right or left and while you are turning, press ALT+G to drop:

And here’s what it looks like when you drop the RIGHT way:

You’ll initially be in 3rd person, but unlike before you can switch to 1st person at will AND you won’t leave a trail behind you as you fall.  Practice dropping the right way and you’ll get it down every single time.

5.  Initial Contact

Once you’ve landed on top you must be fast.  If there are deployables, jammer them quickly or use an EMP blast to wipe them all out.  The enemies you will most likely encounter outside are:

  • MAXes
  • Snipers
  • Combat Engineers

MAXes are the bane of all hot-droppers.  They take 3 decimator shots to kill so your aim must be true to kill them.  If you encounter more than one then well, there’s not much you can do except run.  AA MAXes will be ones you will most likely face outside and they should be pretty easy to take out solo IF you get the jump on them.  VS Starfires can jumpjet away to avoid fire and NC Sparrows can stall with their shield.  These two are difficult to take down if the MAX user is any good so make those deci shots count.  If you fail to kill the MAX with your decimator then you will have to resort to AP ammo, grenades, or boomers if you have them.

Snipers are bait to pretty much everything in the game.  You should have no problem dealing with them.

Combat engineers will be laying deployables or repairing turrets making them vulnerable.  Kill them quickly and move on.

Cloakers and other random grunts may populate the top as well so make sure you are fully aware of your surroundings when you land.  Use 3rd person to easily spot enemies.  These 2 spots are ideal for ambushing or to heal yourself after taking damage.  You’ll be able to safely see any enemies that come out those doors and either jump down to kill them or run away:

Once you’re ready to enter the tower you will want to use the GOOD door:

And avoid the BAD door:

So what exactly makes the good door good and the bad door bad?  The BAD door leads directly to the stairs and will immediately expose you to any enemies that may be heading your way.  It’s especially bad news if you see a MAX coming up when you’ve already used your decimator.  The GOOD door does not have this weakness as you can do the following:

You can peek inside using 3rd person and wait until it is safe before entering.

6.  Taking It To the Enemy

If a defender has noticed your drop, he may try to ambush you with boomer traps.  The following are possible places for enemy boomers:

The GOOD door:

The BAD door:

Boomers can be either on the ground or on the wall:

Boomers can be placed directly onto stairsteps as well:

When in doubt, throw jammers at suspected boomer spots.  You can sometimes kill an enemy that wanders to close to one!

Always use 3rd person to peek around corners and ambush the enemy.  Remember that you are wearing agile armor and it will be difficult for you to win a straight up fight against an enemy with heavier armor.  Use 3rd person to maintain the element of surprise!

After entering the door on top:

Looking down at the Control Console:

Looking down into the spawn room:

You can use it to look up as well:

If you’re going to hack the tower, I reccomend doing the following:

Use this angle to hack as it will not expose you to an enemy on the level below you.  This will usually give you an extra half-second of time to decide whether to break the hack and run or to continue the hack in hopes of flipping the tower.  ALWAYS use “manual” hacking.  Hold down the hack trigger at all times and release to stop a hack.  If you let go of the trigger and let the game “auto” hack for you then you will automatically stop the hack if you take any damage.  Not good if you are intent on capturing that tower.  Remember!   Always hack “manually!”

7.  Reading the Radar

Using the radar is key to surviving.  Combing smart radar reading with 3rd person and you will never be in a situation where you don’t know what’s coming.  Audio Amplifier is immensely useful to read enemy movements so keep that in mind when selecting implants.

Here’s what the radar looks like at the CC level and one level below it:  The red dot is where the enemy spawns in a tower:

Players will usually buy their gear first before heading upstairs:

Next, they will always take the same path to move up:

At this point, he can either exit the tower at the base level:

Or head upstairs:

Learn to read the radar and you will survive that much longer.  This is most important when you are hacking the CC and trying to capture the tower.  If you see an enemy head up, break off the hack and prepare to ambush them.  Kill them and retry the hack.  Knowing how to read the radar will allow you to distinguish between which red dots are the mindless footzergers heading outside and the ones heading upstairs to cause trouble.

8.  Conclusion

Whew!  I hope you enjoyed reading this little guide as much as I did writing it.  Remember that this little guide is by no means definitive and I’ve left out many tricks that I’ve picked up from other players.  Feel free to share your strategies for the coolest tactic in Planetside.

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