- Free to play without pay to win. There are micro-transactions, and it’s possible to unlock some equipment for real money, but that mostly serves as a way to speed up progression or customize your character with cosmetics.
- You can unlock new weapons for in-game currency, but they will not be directly better or worse than weapons you get for free. In PlanetSide 2, all weapons are sidegrades to each other – they trade effectiveness in some fields to be stronger in other fields.
- Apart from cosmetics and cosmetic versions of some weapons, you can unlock everything simply by playing the game.
- Premium account (membership) gives certain benefits, but they are by no means gamebreaking.
- Freedom and massive scale. PlanetSide 2 has huge, persistent world, and can easily have up to 200 people in one fight, and at any time you can go almost anywhere and do anything. After experiencing that, sessional shooters like CoD, Titanfall and Battlefield seem shallow and small.
- With recently added Construction System, players can build their own bases, adding even more to the sandbox nature of the game.
Camaraderie and competitive scene. PlanetSide 2 has an amazing community. Playing as a part of an outfit (clan or guild in PlanetSide 2) makes this game truly shine. You can affect a fight, turn the tides in your favor and feel the power. And enemy outfits will try to stop you, and it feels awesome to be a part of these face-offs. In that regard, PlanetSide 2 is a non-stop LineAge 2 siege without a death penalty.
Not easy to pick up
Fortunately, PlanetSide 2 is blessed by a very friendly and mature community, which created a number of guides for beginners, and is always willing to help new players learn.
The negative side
- No matchmaking. Except for complete beginners, players of all skill and experience levels are fighting on the same map. It’s totally possible for a player on his first day to come against a player with several years worth of experience and equipment. There are some measures to encourage at least numerically even fights, but fights where one side is vastly outnumbered are still common.
- Air game is hard to enter. All aircraft in PlanetSide 2 fly like a weird mix of a helicopter and a jet. Flying in PlanetSide 2 is a completely different skill set from anything you have done before, and an experienced dogfighter pilot will dominate any number of newbies, even if they have a fully-equipped aircraft.
- Death is everywhere. Tank cannons, snipers, aircraft missiles, nearly invisible soldiers – there’s a thousand ways to die in PlanetSide 2. Often it is outside the player control. Fortunately, there is no death penalty of any kind, and you can get back into the fight just in a few seconds. But it takes a thick skin.
- Hard to play solo. It takes a lot of experience for a solo player to be able to find a good fight for himself, and do well. A lot of things in PlanetSide 2 require teamwork. You must be willing to work with another people.
- Mixed signals. Game makes an impression that it is about territorial conquest, but players are mostly rewarded for killing each other, or supporting other players in that role. “Farming” – using vehicles to repeatedly kill unaware or defenseless players – is encouraged. To put it bluntly, PS2 can often feel like a team death match with vehicles, and not an objective based game.
Best played in a company
All that said, playing in an outfit squad compensates most disadvantages mentioned earlier. Organization and teamwork mean a lot more than how many certification points you have invested in this or that role. A squad of newbies led by a competent officer will stomp the equal amount of experienced, but disorganized players, in almost any field.