PlanetSide 2 New Player’s Guide

PlanetSide 2 New Player’s Guide by Admiral Snuggles

Planetside 2. Oh boy, a lot of us have been waiting for this game. Either we were original Planetside fans, or we the sound of a next-gen MMOFPS with hundreds of players at once is music to our ears. Either way, there are a lot of people ready and waiting for Planetside: the Next Generation.

And you just found out about the game and you’re worried and scared and stuff about being totally new. Nice! This guide is for you. I’ll try to keep this little write-up as long and as short as it needs to be. Planetside 2 (PS2) is a massive game with lots of organizational brouhaha, vehicles, weapons, resources, classes, and HUGE maps (“continents”), and can be a little intimidating for the new player. This guide is more than a cheat sheet, slightly less than a novel and is targeted towards those players who just fired up the game and have no idea what the cheese and crackers is going on.

When you log onto the game you fill find yourself inside your faction’s main base called a “Warpgate”. From here, attempt to test out some of the terminals. See if there are any open squads (more below). Follow some people around, test out the map, try to find somewhere to fight. No matter how good (or bad) I make this guide, it’s up to you, the new player, to experiment and learn how to play. Just have a little patience, and this game will reward you with so much fun your ears will ring.

Teamwork, or Outfits, Platoons, and Squads Oh My
One of the biggest differences between PS2 and your traditional Halo, Call of Duty, or Battlefield First-Person-Shooter is the sheer scale of it. The maps are big, which can make it difficult to find where the fight is. There are a lot of virtual dudes fighting each other, so even if you find the fight, you may be overwhelmed, or find few enemies to engage. Finding the balance can be very difficult fighting solo.

This brings me to probably the most important facet to having fun in this game: Play with Other People ™. This game isn’t fun solo, and it’s not made to be played solo. You need other people to be effective. One person rarely affects the battlefield versus 20 enemy dudes, or 200 for that matter (or even 400+). Teamwork is the difference between being a pesky fly on the wall and a rhinoceros charging at the enemy. So how do you find people to play with?

Methods of Organization
There are three types of organization. Outfits, platoons, and squads. Outfits are the large groups, basically the MMO “guilds” or “clans” of Planetside 2. Outfits can be hundreds (or thousands) of people that have access to a set of basic communication commands (type /os to say something to your outfit). This makes it easier for platoons and squads to get started.

Squads are started by a squad leader by adding players from his/her friends list or typing “/squad invite [name here]”. A squad can have up to 12 players in it. A platoon is just a collection of squads with up to 4 squads. There is also another way to start squads (below).

Joining an Outfit
Join the outfit by joining mumble and asking for an invitation. Keep nagging until somebody helps you out. Sometimes we’re in the middle of big fights and it will take us a second to get to you.

Joining a Platoon or Squad.
Join the squad by pressing ‘P’ and looking for the outfit’s goon squad at the time. If there is no current goon squad up, ask on mumble to see if one can be opened, or if they’re all full and another squad needs started.

The Map. Or Where the Smurf am I?
There are already 150+ different locations between the three continents of Amerish, Indar, and Esamir which can make the initial entry into the game a complete whirlwind. You might hear someone say, “We’re heading to Indar Excavation site.” And be totally WTF’d for 3 minutes as you zoom in and scan for it on the map. So it can be a little bit important to take some time to become fimiliar with the map.

First of all, press ‘M’ to see the map. A good idea is to check all of the boxes in the bottom right corner. However, some people like the grid option, some don’t.

Next of all, the locations just take some time to get used to. Human beings are pretty good in general about memorizing locations (I think I read that somewhere). But with the huge volume of places, it just takes time. So take that time early on, and go through the map and read the names of the places, especially the big bases like Bio Labs, Tech Plants, and Amp Stations. If someone mentions that they’re heading to an area, spend the time to find it on the map yourself before you ask, “where is that?” You’ll catch on before you know it!

Ways to Come Back Into the Game (Spawn)
There are currently 5 ways to come from death into the game right now or spawn into the game. Let me talk about each one.

  1. Bases. Likely the most common way you’ll be spawning for most of your life, is in one of the “spawn tubes” at a base. Some bases have ways to disable these spawn tubes, so keep that in mind (more below).
  2. Instant Action. This has been a little buggy in the beta so far, but I have high hopes for it. Basically, if you go to your map, there’s a list of “Hot Spots” on the map where there is likely a fight going on. If you click on one of these locations, you will redeploy (hopefully) in a drop-pod where that big fight is going on. This can be good if you just got in the game and you’re looking for a fight!
  3. Squad Beacons. Squad beacons are little cylinders that your squad leader can put down if he has cert’d into them.
  4. Sunderers. There is a certification that allows a sunderer to become an a mobile spawn point when the sunderer is deployed (more on certs below, if you have one of these Sunderers, press ‘B’ to deploy it and allow people to spawn). Sunderers have a lot of health for a vehicle, and can hold 12 people, so they’re pretty good for transporting warriors around and helping make spawn points for attacks or bases where the spawn generators have been destroyed.
  5. Squad Leader Spawn.

When you’re looking at the map, you can right-click on the map and select, Personal Waypoint. This will put a giant beam of light for you to see in first-person view. If you’re in a squad or platoon, platoon and squad waypoints can be set by leaders, to help guide the platoon or squad. Getting good at setting waypoints can help you get from point A to point B much more efficiently.

Finding a Fight
When you look at the map, you’ll see hexes in one of three colors (mostly). These colors represent the different factions, and the territory they control. Usually, there is fighting where these colors meet. Head to these faction borders, listen for gunfire, and you’ll be shooting bad guys in no time.

Continent Hopping
Currently, there are three continents that you can play on. Esamir, Indar, and Amerish. You may find that you’ve logged into the game on the wrong continent, or that the group has decided to switch continents. To tell which continent you’re on, simply press ‘M’ to view the map. The big white name on top of the screen is the continent where you’re currently located.

To change continents, go to the globe terminals located inside your faction’s main warpgate building.

Resources allow you to buy things. Cool Things. Things like MAXs, vehicles, grenades, mines, and C4. Having lots of resources is awesome, and makes sure you have plenty of Cool Things. Not having resources makes you sad, because you can’t buy very many Cool Things.

Resources come from territory control. Each base, when captured, gives you a certain amount of resources every 5 minutes. To see how much of a resource a base gives your faction, hover over that base in the map (press ‘M’).

There are three kinds of resources in this game, mechanized, aerial, and infantry. Mechanized (orange) is for all ground vehicles, aerial (green) is for everything up in the air, and infantry (yellow) is for all non-vehicle aquisitions including C4, grenades, mines, MAXs, and restoration kits.

The Other Way to Get Resources
To ensure that your skill and playing actively would help you also get resources, SOE put in an alternate mechanic to gain resources. For every 25ish points you get in a base, you get 1 point of that type. For me that comes up to about 9 kills gets you about 40 of that resource. It seems miniscule, but in addition to the 5 minute “ticks” it’s not that bad. You also get +10 of each resource from your warpgate, this is supposed to help factions get out of the warpgate if they get pushed back that far.

Bases are the strongholds, chokepoints, and building clusters, that can be captured and defended by the three factions. Not all bases are alike. Some have a single point of capture, others have two or three points of capture. Some bases have shields that must be destroyed before you can access certain parts of the base.

Capturing Points
Capturing points is easy in this game. All you have to do is stand by the point (point ‘A’ or point ‘B’ for example.) Wait a little while, the other faction’s color will go down, and your faction’s color will go up, and you’ll have taken the point. The more people who sit on the point, the faster the point goes up. Now just capturing the point isn’t enough. You haven’t captured the base yet!

By the way, you can tell if an enemy is retaking a point, or if an ally is taking a point, if it starts blinking on the map (or on your HUD). You can use these blinking points to tell where you might need to attack or defend at any given base.

Influence System
Once a point is captured in a base, the influence bars (on the bottom left side of your screen) start to reflect the base capture (not the point capture that’s different). Influence is determined by how many touchpoints your surrounding territory has on that base. If you have 0% influence, you will not be able to capture a base. If you have 5% influence, you can take the point but it will take a LONG time to capture the base. If you have 50% influence, you’ll probably cap it in about 5 minutes. Etc.

Now, with the tug-of-war system, you’ll see the enemy influence bar go down, then your faction’s bar go up. If you do not have a member standing on the point, the influence bar goes down. This basically means you always need someone in the vacinity of the point. Also, the more members of your faction on the point, the faster it will cap for up to twelve players.

Overloading Shields
Some of the tech plants have Shields.  Some of these shields protect the outside walls and keep vehicles from coming in (most have an infantry entrance somewhere, if you’re on foot you’ll have to run around until you find it). The vehicle shields look like a tank with a shield around it, in some bases, especially amp stations, you must get two vehicle shield generator’s down to bring down the outside shields. Once you get inside, you may need to destroy even more shields to get inside. Find the shield generators (they look like shields with lines in them), walk up to them, and hold ‘E’ to begin the overload process. This is like setting a bomb in CSS. After a minute and a half the shield will explode (if no enemy comes to diffuse your overload) and you and your comrades will be able to move into the next level. It’s a little more complicated than that, but the point is, destroy the generators if the shields are up! It is the most important part of taking a big base.

Teleporters, Elevators and Jump-pads
Some bases have teleporters and jump-pads. Teleporters can be found by looking for the cylindrical indicators on your HUD. These are typically located in the BIG bases. But some are found in towers or other places where you need a place to go up several floors. Teleporters only work if your faction owns the base or outpost where the teleporter is located.

Elevators are yellow and blue particle things that come out of lit-up circles on the ground. The yellow elevator safely brings you up and the blue elevator safely brings you down. You can use the yellow elevator to give your LA extra lift when going to the top of some buildings.

Jump-pads are purple circles on the ground with what looks like small steps pointing in a direction away from the circle. This will quickly toss your character across to a certain part of the map in the direction of steps.

Terminals look like terminals. The terminals that you can use will match your colors faction. There are separate terminals for Ground Vehicles, Air Vehicles, Galaxies, and resupply and switching between Classes (including the MAX). Be careful, these terminals can be hacked by shifty infiltrators and used against you. If you’re in a base where a terminal has simply changed color for no reason, be careful, there may be an infiltrator around you somewhere!

Classes (Infantry)
There are six different infantry classes you can choose from in PS2. You can change classes by class terminals (the gun symbol on your HUD). You can also change classes when you die, with one exception. You cannot spawn a MAX when you’re dead. You can also change classes from the AMS terminals on the sides of AMS sunderers. All classes but the MAX cost zero resources, with the MAX costing 100 infantry. Each class, except the Engineer, has a special ability.

The infiltrator is a sniper class that can go invisible. Also, by standing very close to terminals and turrets and pressing ‘E’, an infiltrator can hack the terminals and turrets, turning them from an enemy device to an allied device. Press ‘F’ to use the infiltrator’s invisibility. There is a cooldown on the invisibility, but it does recharge after a set amount of time. The slower you move with the invisibility on the less you’ll be seen, with standing still makes you 99.9% invisible.

The infiltrator also has radar darts. By shooting these darts onto allied or enemy vehicles, players, or structures, all allied players have about 90 seconds of mini-map visibility to the enemy’s location, in proximity to the dart. Basically wallhacks!

Light Assault
The light assault is a mobility class. The LA has a decent gun that’s a nice balance between the combat medic and the heavy assault. The special ability on the LA is the jump-pack. To use the jump-pack, simply hold down the space bar. The jump-pack holds momentum from your movement, so running before you jump will send you higher in that direction. You can use the jump pack in spurts to get to very hard to reach places, or come down from very high up places.

If you’re playing the LA class, remember your ABMs, “Always be moving.” And you’ll notice the strength of the class. Being able to flank and come from awkward angles can frequently upset enemy lines and get you lots of kills!

C4 is on awesome unlock on this class.

Combat Medic
The combat medic is a great class for new players. First of all, the combat medic has one of the most accurate and damaging guns of all the classes—really the only true assault rifle by default. Also, by pressing the ‘F’ key, the CM can heal themselves and nearby allies. The medic also has a tool that allows them to heal and revive nearby allies.

The engineer is a utility class that provides vital services to groups of players. One of the main uses of the engineer is the repair tool, which can be used to repair vehicles and turrets. Also, another extremely helpful facet, the engineer can lay down ammo packs to give allied players and himself ammo.

Additionally, the engineer has a deployable turret, which, while only working against infantry (including MAXs), is extremely effective at covering chokepoints.

Heavy Assault
The heavy assault is the major infantry anti-vehicle class. The HA has a huge rocket launcher that is very effective for destroying vehicles. The HA is also the only class with an LMG, which is a generally inaccurate gun that packs a huge punch and has a ton of bullets. The rocket launcher can also be used to great effect versus MAXs and other infantry.

The MAX is basically a suit of armor for infantry, that allows weapon attachments on each arm. The MAX for each faction has a flame-thrower, an anti-vehicle arm, an anti-infantry arm, and an anti-air arm (Burster). MAXs can be extremely effective in offensive or defensive situations, where there is a ton of infantry.

MAXs can be revived by combat medics, but can only be repaired by engineers. A MAX with an engineer buddy and maybe a medic buddy can stay up for a long time, so it helps to have friends as a MAX.

Another one of the key differences between PS2 and many other FPSs, other than the scale, is the importance of vehicles to combat. Learning to be a strong pilot or driver can make an enormous difference in this game. Often, huge battles are lost or won due to the skill of the pilots and drivers on each side.

Learning to Fly
Compared to many other games, flying is very odd in PS2. However, you can tell that SOE geared the controls for keyboard and mouse, and after a bit of practice, you’ll be flying with the pros in no time. It’s a good idea to grab your faction’s fighter, (the Scythe, Reaver, or Mosquito) and fly it around randomly, just to get a feel for the controls. Just hover around and see what feats you can accomplish (like barrel rolls, go under a bridge, etc.) just try to get a hold on the maneuverability, so when the time comes you’ll be ready for that crazy dog fight you’ll talk about for weeks.

A cheap aircraft, effective mostly against other aircraft, the fighters for each faction soar through the air at high speeds and fantastic maneuverability. Because of the sheer speed and quick-turning of the fighters, flying a fighter well can be one of the biggest learning curves for new players. However, skilled fighters can be a huge hindrance to ground as well, coming from the sky above and doing steady damage to tanks and other ground vehicles.

The liberator is the bomber in PS2. The liberator can have three dudes in it, the pilot (who also mans the nose gun, the bomber, and the tailgunner. The default “bomber gun” for the liberator is now the Shredder, which is basically a giant cycling LMG that is pretty effective versus vehicles and other air targets. Liberators become way more useful once you can buy the Dalton or Zephyr guns for the vehicle.

The default transport aircraft for PS2, the galaxy can hold 12 dudes (including MAXs), and is the fastest way to carry those people from point A to point B. Infantry that drops from a Galaxy is immune from fall damage with one exception. If a guy falls from Galaxy and hits something slanted, his momentum will continue, but his protection from fall damage will not. Try to drop people, and drop from Galaxies on flat terrain.

Heavy Metal
The ground vehicles in this game can be surprisingly fun. And on open continents like Esamir, can be essential to winning bases and battles.

Heavy Tanks
The heavy tanks are very different between factions. Since this is a noobie guide I don’t want to go into all the tactics you can use in each one. Basically, the Magrider has a speed-boost, the Prowler deploys, and the Vanguard has a shield. All tanks have weaker armor on the sides and the weakest armor in the back. Tanks have a long range in PS2, so it’s wise to slowly push up as a tank, and be very careful. Rockets, other tanks, and liberators are all waiting there to blow you up!

A very fast light tank. The lightning has very little firepower with that compared to the heavy tanks. But is great at flanking and taking out groups of infantry. The lightning has very paper-thin armor, so using it’s maneuverability is key to ensuring your survival. Getting in and out of a fight is the key to driving a lightning.

One of the best ways to get around and make spawn points in PS2. Certing into the Sunderer AMS allows you to deploy the Sunderer, press ‘B’. That’s really all you need to know, this is what makes the Sunderer great (and expensive)!

A small ATV. This is basically the default way to get somewhere if you can’t get a ride. Using flashes when you’re at a small base can be a lot quicker than redeploying or waiting for a ride from someone else. And they’re cheap, so you may see yourself using one frequently to get to a fight fast.

Purchasing Upgrades and Certifications
After a little while, the default weaponry and vehicles may just not cut it for you anymore. That’s OK, there’s plenty of upgrades!

Certs are the purchasing mechanism for all weapons and upgrades in the game. To unlock certs, press “Esc”, then go to your Personal tab (on the bottom left). Click on Certifications. From there you can choose which certifications you would like to spend your Cert points on. Good starting certifications include the Squad Beacons and the AMS Sunderer, see if you can find where these are at.

After you cert into something, you must still equip it. On the vehicle or character terminals, customize your layout to include your new certed upgrade or weapon by equiping it.

Final Thoughts for You Noobie
Auraxia, the Planetside 2 univers, is a magical place for you to go to and be in awesome, huge battles. Remember that sometimes the size and scales of the fight creates situations where you may be the object of fate and luck and unluck. The size can make the game rather unpredictable, so don’t fret if you die a lot when you start out. Just try to find where the bad guys are and go after ‘em. Keep your head up, and you’ll be having a great time in no time.

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