Bruisers of PlanetSide 2. Tough as nails and have a lot of firepower. Heavy Assault’s motto is longevity and versatility. HA can outlast any other infantry class, and has an answer to any threat.
Equipment, same as life, has no price (c) Alpha Group
Heavy Assaults have access to a huge variety of equipment, which allows them to choose from many playstyles and adapt to any situation.
Primarily, Heavy Assaults use LMGs – Light Machine Guns (w). Compared to Assault Rifles, LMGs have worse hip fire, and worse moving ADS accuracy and recoil. They also often have low or average DPS. But huge magazine sizes of 50-100 rounds allow to kill multiple players before having to reload.
Wrel has a lot LMG reviews in his Weapon Reviews playlist.
Heavy Assaults also have access to exclusive primary weapon class – faction specific Heavy Weapons: T7 Mini-Chaingun for TR, Jackhammer burst-fire heavy shotgun for NC and X2 Lasher for VS – a weapon that fires explosive balls of plasma that do splash damage.
Heavy Assault share a special relationship with their sidearms. LMGs have large magazines, so usually running out of ammo before killing an enemy isn’t an issue. But LMGs have long reloads, and Heavy Assaults spend a lot of time firing and reloading their rocket launchers. If an enemy attacks a Heavy Assault during any of that, pulling out a sidearm for self-defense is the quickest option.
Because heavy assaults have the advantage of the overshield, and because they still don’t use their sidearms too often, they are more likely to use a Darklight Flashlight on their sidearm instead of a laser sight.
Tool: Rocket Launcher
Heavy Assaults have access to a wide variety of rocket launchers and other anti-vehicle weapons. You can check out an in-depth Rocket Launcher Guide here, and here is a brief overview:
Despite having different visuals, these rocket launchers have absolutely identical stats across all factions.
Starting launchers: ML7, Shrike and S1 are only launchers available by default. They can dumbfire a powerful rocket that flies on ballistic trajectory. Generally has short range, but with enough skill and in right circumstances, can be used against far away vehicles and even hovering aircraft.
- One rocket is likely to oneshot an ESF, if it didn’t have full health, and a direct hit will kill an infantryman without full flak armor.
- ~2 rockets to kill a MAX.
G2A Lock On Launchers: ASP-30 Grounder, Hawk GD-68 and Nemesis VSH9. These rocket launchers can lock on to aircraft within 450m, as well as dumbfire at ground targets and infantry at close range. They are very versatile, and do a good job of deterring stray aircraft.
- Full health ESFs require 3 rocket hits to be destroyed.
- Air vehicles can use Decoy Flares to remove the lock, and prevent from being locked for a few seconds, or Fire Suppression to heal up to 50% HP.
- Dumbfired rockets will have reduced speed.
G2G Lock On Launchers: M9 SKEP, AF-22 Crow and Hades VSH4. These rocket launchers can use a scope to lock on to ground within 300m. They can also be dumbfired, which is convenient to do against vehicles at close range, as well as MAXes and infantry.
- Dumbfired rockets will have reduced speed.
- In general, lock-on launchers deal less damage than dumbfire-only launchers.
- Ground vehicles can use IR Smoke to break the lock, and prevent locking for a few seconds.
Nanite Systems’ Launchers
All factions can use these launchers.
NS Decimator – a dumbfire-only rocket launcher, has similar performance to default launchers, but has a slower rocket that deals more damage, longer reload and carries one rocket fewer.
NS Kraken is a prestige version of the Decimator, that has shiny auraxium shader and uses special effects on rocket detonation, but has identical stats otherwise.
NS Annihilator – a rocket launcher that can lock on to both ground and air vehicles, but cannot dumbfire.
NS-R3 Swarm – a rocket launcher that can lock on to both ground and air vehicles, but cannot dumbfire. It can fire up to 3 rockets before reloading, and has a lot of spare magazines.
This launcher has two fire modes:
- One mode fires fast flying rockets that can pursue the target indefinitely, but they have slow turning rate, and can be dodged.
- Another mode fires slower rockets with improved tracking. They are nearly impossible to dodge, but can take a while to get to the target and can be forced by vehicle pilot to fly into terrain.
You can swap between firemodes using B key by default.
NSX Masamune – a quad-barreled rocket launcher. When fired from the hip, it fires all 4 barrels at once in a shotgun-like blast. When used in a scope mode, it fires 4 rockets in a quick succession, and the rockets can be guided to the target.
Masamune is a versatile launcher, since it has easy-to-hit burst damage for close range, and damaging guided rockets for medium+ range. However, the hip fire spread takes getting used to, and guiding missiles to a moving target can be challenging.
These launchers are unique to each empire, they are very situational, but can be devastating when used en masse by an organized group of players.
T2 Striker – a magazine fed launcher that dumbfires small rockets that automatically lock-on to nearby aircraft. Has low damage, especially against armored ground vehicles, but it’s easy to get multiple hits on low-flying aircraft.
NC15 Phoenix – fires a TV-guided hard hitting missile, which can consistently hit vehicles, even if they are behind cover. The downside is that player is vulnerable while guiding the rocket, and the launcher doesn’t begin reloading until the rocket hits something. It also has a hard cap on maximum range of 295m.
Lancer VS22 – behaves more like a charged plasma rifle than a rocket launcher. Players can hold the Fire button to charge a powerful shot, or spam the key to fire multiple weaker ones. Can be reliably used to hit very far away vehicles.
“Lancer nests” are notoriously impossible to deal with for ground vehicles.
In addition to standard Frag Grenades, Heavy Assaults have access to two exclusive grenade types:
- Non-lethal “crowd control” grenade.
- One hit will heavily blur the screen and reduce turning speed.
- Two hits will invert player’s mouse controls.
- Unlike most non-lethal grenades, still has a grenade indicator.
- Enemies affected by your concussion grenades will yield assist XP when killed by another player. These assists will count towards Conc Grenade ribbons and medals.
Rarely used and considered weak after a nerf that removed its “detonate on contact” feature.
Lethal grenades. Does less damage to infantry than standard frag grenades, but also does solid damage to vehicles, and high damage to MAXes. Sticks to allied and enemy vehicles and MAXes. One AV grenade is enough to get a full health ESF burning. Ineffective against other aircraft.
Damage to infantry: 750 @ 1m – 10 @ 5m. Damage to vehicles goes through a swirl of unknown modifiers, but you can expect it to be comparable to a dumbfire rocket.
One AV grenade deals up to 69% of a MAX’s health, and it’s a common tactic to combine an AV grenade with a dumbfire rocket launcher shot to nearly instagib a MAX, unless it has MAX Flak Armor.
AV Grenades are a popular choice, since normal frags are rarely useful, while AV grenades give additional utility and are a requirement for Heavy Assault directives.
Note: AV grenades will not stick to NC MAXes with active Aegis Shield ability.
Increases the amount of Rocket Launcher ammunition a Heavy Assault can carry. One bonus rocket / magazine / battery per rank, up to 4 ranks.
Not recommended unless you specifically use Heavy Assault for solo hunting enemy vehicles. Can be helpful if you have a special loadout that you use only for deterring enemy vehicles with a lock-on launcher.
Heavy Assaults’ special ability covers him with a bright layer of faction-colored protective shields. While the overshield is active, Heavy Assault is much harder to kill, but moves 25% slower (this penalty is multiplicative).
A Heavy Assault with active overshield becomes extremely durable, and able to survive normally instantly lethal things, such as: direct rocket launcher hits, sniper rifle headshots, power knife attacks, pump action shotgun point blank shots, etc.
Known issue: as long as overshield is active, HA can’t regenerate his personal shields, much like a cloaked Infiltrator. Currently it’s unclear if this is a bug or intended feature.
There are different varieties of overshield ability:
Nanite Mesh Generator
creates an overshield which effectively functions like bonus Health Points.
- As long as it’s active, it will use energy to absorb incoming damage at 1:1 ratio.
- Nanite Mesh Generator has 450 energy (source).
- Activating it costs 12.5 energy, and then energy continues to drain at a rate of 12.5 per second.
- Energy is slowly restored while NMG is inactive. It takes 30 to 20 seconds to recharge fully depleted energy depending on rank of the ability.
- Absorbs fall damage.
- Works with Flak Armor and Nanoweave Armor (they reduce incoming damage before it is absorbed by NMG. Confirmed by in-game testing).
- Taking damage while NMG is active doesn’t affect the regeneration timer of personal shields. But they won’t regenerate while NMG is active.
NMG is often used to provide an instant advantage in a 1v1 encounter. Even when HA is caught by surprise and get shot in the back, often there is enough time for him to activate the NMG for instant 400+ HP boost and gun the enemy down.
Energy regeneration rates:
|Rank||Upgrade cost, certs||Energy restored per sec||Time to full|
- Can be used in reactive way; it can be activated mid fight, after the user has already taken some damage, and it will still provide the full benefit.
- The penalty to movement speed is inflicted only as long as ability is providing a benefit; once the energy is drained, the ability deactivates, and HA can move at full speed.
- Stacks with Nanoweave and Flak Armor.
- Heavy Assault, no nanoweave: 1000 Health and Shields + 400 Overshield = 1400 effective HP.
- Heavy Assault, full nanoweave: ( 1000 effective Health and Shields + 400 shield ) / (1 – 0.2) = 1400 / 0.8 = 1750 effective HP.
- Comparatively slow recharge rate.
- Effectiveness directly depends on the available energy.
- Overshield gets weaker with each passing second, so prolonging the engagement is unfavorable. Having to activate and deactivate the ability several times during an engagement is especially punishing.
Verdict: Nanite Mesh Generator is best suited for close quarters fights, where you don’t know where an attack will come from. It’s cheap to upgrade, but works almost as well without any upgrades. Great synergy with Nanoweave Armor.
Adrenaline Shield functions similarly to NMG, the main difference is that you can restore energy by killing enemies, and adrenaline shield drains more energy per second. There’s still some passive energy regeneration, identical to unupgraded NMG.
Passive energy regeneration: 12.5 (unconfirmed)
Upkeep cost: 18 energy per second
|Rank||Upgrade cost, certs||Energy restored per kill||%|
This ability is very expensive to upgrade, and only a good player can take advantage of it.
Verdict: experienced players and Heavy Assault mains will eventually want to upgrade from NMG to Adrenaline Shield, but there is no hurry.
- Resist Shield grants a flat 40% damage reduction while active.
- Upgrading the ability increases maximum duration.
- Taking damage does not drain energy.
- Resist Shield recovers energy faster than NMG, and generally provides higher uptime, available whenever needed.
- Doesn’t reduce fall damage.
- Damage reduction does not stack with Nanoweave or Flak Armor – the highest available resistance is used.
- Heavy Assault with Resist Shield can have up to 1000 / (1 – 0.40) = 1666 effective health.
- Has different visual effect.
|Rank||Upgrade cost, certs||Maximum duration, seconds|
Recharge time: 17 seconds to full energy.
- Doesn’t lose effectiveness over time.
- Faster recovery to full potential.
- High uptime.
- High and consistent maximum effective HP.
- Potentially better effective HP versus headshots than NMG / Adrenaline + Nanoweave combo.
- For maximum effect, needs to be activated before taking damage, and stay active and slow you down while you are taking damage.
- The less health and shields you have, the less effective is this ability.
Verdict: Resist Shield is best suited for ranged fights, where the Heavy Assault operates from cover, controls his exposure, and at any time can hide to safely recharge shields and restore health. Having support, like medic’s Shield Regeneration Field will increase the uptime even further. Great synergy with Advanced Shield Capacitor and Med Kits.
Due to fast recharge rate and high uptime, Resist Shield can be activated whenever the player expects danger, without negative impact on further engagements.
Can increase potency of the Med Kit abuse – jumping around while popping med kits, each one will bump your effective hp to 500 / (1 – 0.40) = 833, while the enemy wastes ammo, trying to kill the Heavy Assault. In this situation, HA is unlikely to die before running out of Med Kits or Resist Shield energy.
Still weak against vehicles
Despite having access to a lot of unique anti-vehicle equipment, Heavy Assault is primarily an anti-infantry class. Infantry in general is weak against vehicles, unless used in numbers and with coordination. If your primary goal is to destroy vehicles, consider using a vehicle yourself, they are much more effective in that role.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the tools at your disposal against vehicles, just be aware that you will probably not be able to destroy enemy tanks head on, especially on your own.
Best class for infantry combat
Heavy Assault has both low skill floor and high skill ceiling. It’s easy to pick up and start having success, but an amazing player will perform equally amazing things.
Large magazines on LMGs. Even a newbie is likely to score a kill before running out of ammo, and it gives a skilled player the ability to get a lot of kills before needing to reload.
LMGs have high, but controllable recoil. This doesn’t mess with a newbie’s ability to get kills at close range, while a skilled player will learn to suppress recoil and fire accurately even at longer ranges.
The overshield ability gives room for error to a newbie if he gets caught out of position, and it gives a skilled player the ability to go against multiple enemies and still survive, or to successfully engage from an unfavorable position.
Access to a Rocket Launcher means that a newbie can just run around the corner and discharge his launcher into a MAX’es face, die 0.001 seconds later, and still be useful to his team. A skilled player can calculate the trajectory and one-shot hovering ESFs with a dumbfire rocket.
The overall versatility and access to variety of equipment ensure that the player is never left without a fighting chance. Newbie never feels completely helpless, and a skilled player gets a chance to shine in every aspect of the game.
Heavy Assault has a lot of potential, but it takes a skilled player to live up to that potential.
Heavily relies on personal aiming skill
Tactical errors can be fixed by fast and precise shots. Nothing can fix errors in shooting.
– Alpha Group
This quote embodies Heavy Assault gameplay.
Due to lack of stealth and mobility, Heavy Assault can’t be picky about his engagements. For that reason, shotguns and SMGs don’t fit HA very well, because often he can’t get in effective range of these weapons.
Overshield can give a tactical advantage, or offset a disadvantage, but all it does is ensures that HA will live a little while longer. HA still has to kill the enemy before he kills the HA.
Dodging enemy fire while hip firing is almost never a viable combat option, because overshield slows down the Heavy Assault, and LMGs have terrible hip fire.
Most LMGs have low to average DPS, so to get fast kills, HA has to go for headshots.
All this boils down to the fact that in majority of situations, the correct way to engage for a Heavy Assault is to aim down sights and go for headshots, while suppressing recoil and managing Cone of Fire.
A Light Assault can get kills and survive by picking smart engagements and correct positions.
A Heavy Assault must shoot better than the enemy. Incidentally, that’s why players with best accuracy are Heavy Assault mains – it’s just how they have evolved.
If you’re not confident in your personal aim, and you don’t want to develop it, consider looking into other combat classes.