To survive in PlanetSide 2, you have to keep constant awareness of what’s going on around you. But, it is an open world game, and an enemy might appear behind your back at any moment. So trying to have a hyper awareness of a known number of players, like in Counter-Strike, will not work. Instead you must maintain a general awareness of the flow of battle, and pay attention to things that may warn you about enemies nearby.
There are three major sources of information for you:
Minimap is a very important source of information. Check the Minimap and Spotting Guide to learn how to use the Minimap to your advantage.
When you first get into a fight, look at the map. If you see dozens of enemies outside the spawn building on your minimap, it means you’re being spawncamped. It’s extremely hard to fight back in this situation. Look for another fight.
Weapons sound different, especially between different factions, so sounds of the shots will tell you the direction where you can expect enemies from.
Soldiers of different factions have different voices, so when enemy spots someone near you, you will hear enemy’s voice, and you will know to keep your guard up.
Enemies can hear callouts that you do by pressing a key – when you spot an enemy or ask for ammo. So be mindful of engaging your voice, as it can give away your position and status. But enemies don’t hear callouts that you do automatically, like “reloading” or “frag out”, only allies hear those. Enemies don’t hear Proximity Voice Chat either.
Air vehicles, like ESFs and Liberators, also produce loud noises when flying and firing, so run to cover when you hear them.
Muzzle flashes and tracers from fired weapons, blinking lights on anti infantry mines. Enemy movement. Cloaked Infiltrators. You will need some experience before you can read all those hints and react to them in time, though.
If you play with shadows on, you can sometimes detect enemies by their shadow. You can’t see your own shadow yourself, so if you see a shadow and know there are no allies around, then it’s the enemy’s shadow.
Keep in mind that all of it applies to you as well. Firing an unsuppressed weapon puts you on the minimap of nearby enemies. Enemies can see your nameplate even through smoke / foliage when you are spotted. Enemies can hear when you’re calling for a medic, spotting an enemy or firing, and can see tracers from your weapon.
Standing still makes your head an easy target for enemy snipers. The bolt-action sniper rifles can kill in one head shot. You can’t avoid getting sniped at all times, but you can minimize it by moving, most snipers struggle to hit a moving target.
And even for non-snipers it’s much easier to take out a stationary target. So where possible, keep moving, or at least minimize the angles of your exposure.
But keep moving in a smart way. Move from cover to cover. Don’t run through open fields, and don’t charge into a room without backup.
When you do get in cover, take a look around. Be sure you are safe before moving to the next location. Never fire standing out in the open. Always fire from cover. You’ll learn when to bend or break this rule later.
When piloting a vehicle, be wary of enemy vehicles and aircraft – they are likely to be running Threat Detection Optics, which highlight enemy vehicles and make them very visible. You are likely to be safer among allies than trying to be stealthy and hiding somewhere.
If you take some damage – retreat and hide. Let your shield recharge to full, use restoration or med kits if you have them, reload your gun. Press V, then 2 to call for a Medic. Be at full capacity before heading out again.
When you know or suspect that there are enemies nearby – don’t sprint. If someone catches you sprinting, you are giving them more time to shoot at you.
Dead teammates indicate danger around the area where they got killed. If they are clustered around a doorway expect that the enemy is set up guarding that entrance and you probably won’t fare any better going in alone.
If you get shot from one direction, it means you’re likely to get shot from the same direction again. In this example you can see, that a TR soldier hid in cover briefly when he was shot from one direction, but then returned to the same position just to be killed by second shot.
There are no stray bullets in PS2. If you get shot, somebody was shooting at you, and he will shoot you again if you give them an opportunity. Don’t.
When you get shot from somewhere, remember that direction as unsafe for yourself at least for a minute or so. If you don’t know the direction, consider whole position unsafe, and don’t return to that spot.
You can unlock and equip Nanoweave Armor suit slot on your loadout screen, it will provide resistance to bullets (but not explosives). On average, you will be able to survive 1-2 additional bullet hits.
Alternatively, you may use Flak Armor to protect yourself from explosives, like mines, grenades, rockets and most vehicle weapons, if you get killed by a lot by them. The first two ranks of Flak Armor cost only 11 certs and reduce explosive damage significantly.
Enemy turns around and kills me!
“I get the drop on the guy, shoot a whole mag in his back, and he just turns around and kills me! What do?!”
This is a very common experience among beginning players, and there are many possible reasons for it. Most of them have nothing to do with cheats or bugs.
Reason 1. Lack of understanding of weapon mechanics. Most people don’t understand how cone of fire works, and do not understand that it’s possible to miss most of your shots even if the crosshair is vaguely around enemy’s head. Example.
Reason 2. Do not understand just how tough the enemy can be. A heavy assault can have up to 1450-1750 effective health, depending on overshield type and rank of nanoweave armor. “Shooting him a lot” does not always translate into “shooting him enough”.
Reason 3. Massively higher enemy skill. A player with a few weeks of experience should not expect to easily kill a veteran with years of experience, even from advantageous position.
Not to brag, but I’ve pulled off a lot of “turn around and shoot the guy” myself.
Most of the time, it’s the fault of the player for giving a warning before delivering a killing blow. When sneaking up on somebody, players often spot the enemy before shooting him. It’s a big mistake, because the enemy can hear the spotting voice too, and immediately identify the enemy by it.
Other times, players start the fight on bad terms. Like the enemy is about to turn the corner, and the player shoots him, dealing minimal damage. Then the enemy jumps from around the corner, and uses the Internet Delay advantage (see below) to kill the player first.
Often the poor aim prevents the player from killing the enemy before he starts reacting, spins, dodges the rest of the incoming fire and kills the player. Example.
Reason 4. Do not pay attention. Like in this video, I shoot the enemy Heavy Assault, but death screen shows my killer at fulI health. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that I get killed by a totally different guy. However, when I recorded this, it seemed like a blatant hit detection bug to me.
That’s why it’s always useful to record suspicious moments wtih Shadowplay or similar software, and inspect them more closely later.
Reason 5. Expect the death screen to tell them accurate information about enemy health, when it’s historically very inaccurate. Probably due to the Reason 6.
Reason 6. Do not understand Internet Delay.
Example speculation. You meet an enemy. You start shooting each other. On your screen, you do some damage that should kill or almost kill the enemy. In the meantime, enemy shoots better than you and kills you on his screen. Your client and enemy client send messages to the server, reporting that you did damage to each other. The server gets these messages, and resolves that you died at X time.
Then server disregards all damage that you dealt past X time, and sends a message to your client that you died, and you die on your screen.
Server disregard most of your damage, because by server’s calculations you were already dead at the time. And the enemy ends up having more health remaining than you expected.
This does not always work so perfectly. Because the server has to connect hundreds of players from all over the world, weird things can happen. Example. In this video, me and the Light Assault kill each other at the same time. However, on my death screen, you still see him have a bit of health left remaining, because that’s the amount of health he had when he killed me on his screen. Once again, death screen is historically inaccurate.
Reason 7. Med kits. If an enemy used a med kit right after he killed you, on your deathscreen he will have full health. Or partially restored health, depending on when his health was snapshot by the server for your death screen. Incidentally, most “pro” players chug medkits like candy.
Reason 8. Actual hit detection bug. VERY rare. Unclear if it has something to do with internet lags or actual hit detection algorithms in the client. Example 1. Example 2.