Loadout is the combination of equipment used by your infantry classes and vehicles. You get a lot of freedom in customizing and using your loadouts.
By default, you have access up to four loadout slots for each class and vehicle. Having a Premium Membership temporarily grants three additional loadouts, and you can permanently purchase up to four more from the in-game Store with real money. This is not generally necessary, though.
Some players use just a couple of general-purpose loadouts, while others prefer to have a lot of different loadouts prepared, and frequently switch between them depending on situation.
You can select loadouts on the loadout screen by pressing number keys on your keyboard.
Primary Weapon – determines your effective range, how far do you want to be from enemies, and how do you want to engage them. For the most part, different classes have access to different primary weapon classes.
Secondary Weapon – your backup in case you are caught reloading or with your tool in hands. All classes use the same sidearms. Sidearms can be specialized for close or long range combat to complement your primary weapon choice. E.g. you can carry a long range sidearm when your primary weapon is a shotgun.
Primary and Secondary Weapons are unlocked for all classes that can use them.
Tool – each class has access to their own tools. Having a fitting and upgraded tool makes you more effective and more useful to the team.
Primary and Secondary Weapons, and some of the Tools can be quipped with attachments. Attachments are unlocked separately for each weapon.
Ability – each class has access to their own set of abilities. Most of the abilities are activated by pressing “F”. Ability determines how you’re playing the class.
Some classes and vehicles have access to hidden passive abilities, like Infiltrators’ Hacking, Medics’ Triage or Harasser’s Turbo. You can see and upgrade them by pressing the orange “Something’s Certs” button on the loadout screen.
Suit Slot – offers utility or protection from certain damage types. Suit Slots are unlocked separately for each class, even though all classes share most of the suit slots.
Grenade – all classes use the versatile Frag Grenade by default, but each class can unlock more grenade types, unique for each class.
Utility – an additional carried utility item. By default, you have Auxiliary Shield in all your loadouts, which passively increases your shields by 50. It’s a nice bonus, as it is usually enough to let you survive an extra bullet hit. However, in time, you will replace Aux. Shield with a more useful utility, a med kit or some sort of explosive, depending on class and playstyle.
Explosive Utilities, such as C4, Anti-Personnel Mines and Tank Mines are unlocked separately for each class, while Med Kits and Restoration Kits are unlocked for all classes at the same time, which makes them a good early investment.
Melee – all classes use the same melee weapons, which are great in extreme close quarters combat and for stealthy assassinations. Experienced players can do wonders with PlanetSide 2 melee system, but if you are new to First Person Shooters, it will take you a while. Either way, it’s not something you should be overly concerned as a new player.
Two Implant Slots – implants offer passive bonuses and abilities to provide convenience and combat utility, and open new playstyles. They are great for customizing your gameplay.
Completing some of the early Directives grants you a few random implants, so you should take advantage of this early on.