Beginner Guides

PlanetSide 2 Starter Guide

This guide is intended as a go-to resource for completely new PlanetSide 2 players. It will be useful even if you have experience playing other First Person Shooters.

You can click most images to enlarge them, and use arrows to switch between neighboring images. In addition, you will find color-coded links to other guides and materials: 

Step 1. Create your character

Pick faction

First you will have to choose one of the three factions. There are no wrong choices here. Don’t dwell too hard on this choice, as you can have characters of all factions, and switch between them freely. If all else fails, you can delete your characters and start anew. 

Pick server

Generally, you should pick a server with the best ping for you. It is possible to play with 100-200ms of Internet Delay, but it won’t be comfortable, especially in infantry combat.

Customize character

You will have only a few faces to choose  from, but don’t be discouraged, as later you will be able to customize your character’s appearance with cosmetic armor, helmets, camouflage and decals.

Step 2. Complete in-game tutorial

The tutorial is a narrated obstacle course. It will start basic at first, but will quickly move to explaining concepts that are unique to PlanetSide 2. Do not rush through the tutorial, and let the narrator finish speaking before doing anything, or they will interrupt themselves, and you won’t get to hear all of the useful info.

Concepts explained in the tutorial will not be covered in this guide! So take your time.

Note, that you might not be able to leave the tutorial right away. Depending on current population limits, you might be required to wait in a queue for a few minutes after you interact with a terminal at the end of the tutorial.

Study your interface

Press “Left Alt” to show your mouse cursor to interact with the interface, for example:

  • You can right click on the minimap to place waypoints or on players to invite them to squad or send a personal message.
  • You can select and copy text from the chat, which is useful if somebody sends to you a link.

Step 3. Your first battle

Completing the tutorial will automatically send you into battle on one of the main continents. Nothing can prepare you for what lies ahead. Try to have fun and stay alive for longer than 10 seconds.  Here is a sample of what you might experience:

Main Continents

Most of the fighting in PlanetSide 2 happens on the main continents. Be mentally prepared to play with people with years of experience, as there is no matchmaking of any kind.

Explore the Warpgate

You can always deploy in a Warpgate on your current continent. 

Warpgates are safe havens, completely protected from any enemy activity. Each faction has a warpgate on each continent. Players and vehicles inside warpgates are immune to any damage.

Warpgates are used as staging grounds, and as places to regroup or take a break for a few minutes. Points of interest:

Step 4. Follow Basic Training Directives

Directives are “achievements” in PlanetSide 2. The Basic Training directive will help you get familiar with the game, and provide a few useful rewards at the same time.


1) Redeploy

Redeploying “kills” you without adding a death to your statistics. It is often done after a battle ends, so you can quickly get into combat elsewhere. 

To redeploy, press the redeploy key (default “U”), or click the redeploy button on the main map. You will successfully redeploy if you do not deal or receive damage in the next 10 seconds. Your character will disappear, and you will be able to select a spawn location on the main map. You can learn about PlanetSide 2 Spawning Rules here.

2) Change Class

You can switch classes by interacting with an infantry terminal. You should know how to do it from the in-game tutorial. PlanetSide 2 is a diverse game, and you can play a variety of classes, or dedicate yourself to one class. Up to you. 

All classes have two starting loadouts. Loadout name should give you an idea what you are supposed to be doing with it. 

Equip the Free Stuff

In general, starting loadouts are competitive, and an experienced player would have no trouble using them effectively. However, by default, they do not contain all of the equipment you get for free.

Your starting weapons will use Iron Sights by default, which are bad for many reasons. Fortunately, you are granted 1x Reflex Sight for free. All you have to do is equip them.

You are also granted a couple of free Implants: Target Focus 1 and Safeguard 1

This video will show you how to equip all of it. You have to do this manually for all loadouts that you intend to use.

Configure Graphic Settings

PlanetSide 2 is known to be a demanding game with beautiful graphics. If your your PC is above Recommended System Requirements, it is highly recommended that you set “Overall Quality” to “Ultra” and enjoy the beauty for a while. It is probably going to lag a lot, but this is the best way to experience PlanetSide 2 for the first time. Remember to restart the game so that new settings take effect.

You can always lower the quality later, and then you can use this Performance Guide to make sure you get both good looks and performance.

Reduce Mouse Sensitivity

The default mouse sensitivity in PlanetSide 2 is rather high, and can make it hard to aim properly. Try these settings, if you experience difficulties.

3) Join Combat

Open the main map and click “Join Combat” button. After 10 seconds, you will spawn in a battle that fits a certain criteria.

Join Combat tries to find a good fight for you, but it doesn’t always succeed. If you click “Join Combat” after you open the main map, the map will automatically center on the region you are about to deploy to, and you can use the 10 second timer to take a look and decide if you actually want to go there. 

While just starting out, try to pick fights where number of allies is equal or slightly higher than number of enemies, preferring defense over attacking. Staying away from huge 96+/96+ fights is also recommended, because such fights often devolve into incoherent spam of explosives.


1) Base Defense

A “base defense” is scored when an enemy starts capturing one of your allied bases, but then you or your allies retake control of the Capture Points, and the base capture timer fully resets. All you have to do is to be in the area of that base. 

During any base attack, the capture timer usually resets several times, so you are very likely to score a base defense automatically, without even noticing – simply by fighting in a territory of an allied base. 

2) Base Capture

You can watch this video or read this summary:

A “base capture” is scored when you are in a territory of an enemy base, and your faction captures that base. To capture a base, you or your allies have to take control of the capture points by standing near them. Once your faction controls the majority of the capture points, you have to protect them from enemies until the base capture timer is filled. 

Capturing a base is generally harder than defending, because you do not get access to a safe Spawn Room, and instead you have to rely on deployed Sunderers to provide spawns. If all Sunderers are destroyed, the attack is likely to fail. 

3) Score 10 kills

Ah, the first directive where you actually have to accomplish something by yourself.

If you already have some experience with First Person Shooters, you should be able to handle it, eventually. Watch this video.

If you are completely new to FPS genre, remember these simple rules:

  1. Aim at enemy’s chest.
  2. If the enemy is only a few meters away, fire from the hip.
  3. In all other situations, Aim Down Sights. 
  4. Start firing only after properly aiming.

These rules will work with all weapons, but they are extremely primitive. You will learn when to bend or break these rules as you get more experience.

First Person Shooter Basics

  • Stick to allies.

Especially if they have a fancy camo and shiny armor. They are likely to be a veteran with loads of experience.

  • Stick to cover.

Don’t go out in the open when you can help it. Keep in mind that Light Assaults and Infiltrators can flank around your cover, and shoot you in the back. Nowhere is truly safe. 

  • Pick your engagements.

If an enemy starts firing on you first, hide back into cover, and wait for a better opportunity. Firing first gives you a good chance of killing an enemy, so pay close attention to your surroundings, and try to notice enemies first.

Weapon Handling Basics

Watch this video or read the short summary:


Time to learn about vehicles.

1) Pull a Lightning

Lightning is a light one-manned tank. It has good armor and mobility, but it will lose to bigger tanks in a straight up fight. By default, Lightning is armed with a C75 Viper automatic cannon, effective against vehicles at close range.

Tanks are instrumental when both attacking and defending:

  • When attacking, tanks must push into enemy territory, and protect allied Sunderers.
  • When defending, tanks must hunt enemy Sunderers to make sure that enemies cannot gain a foothold. 

The directive only requires you to pull a Lightning, which will cost you 350 Nanites.


planetside 2 nanites

Nanites are a universal resource. Spending Nanites is required to use infantry consumables, such as grenades and med kits, as well as to spawn vehicles and MAX units. Nanites are automatically generated over time, up to a cap of 750.

2) Pull an ESF

ESF stands for “Empire Specific Fighter” – it is a one-manned jet for air superiority and close air-to-ground support. Each faction has their own ESF. They look and handle a bit differently:

Aircraft Handling Basics

PlanetSide 2 aircraft are unique. All of them are capable of Vertical Take-Off and Landing, and are equipped with jet engines that will automatically adjust orientation based on your speed.

  • If you fly slowly, engines will turn downwards and you will switch into hover mode.
  • If you accelerate, engines will turn backwards, and you will be in horizontal flight mode. 


  • Mouse left and right to roll.
  • Mouse up and down to pitch.
  • A and D to yaw.
  • W and S to accelerate or decelerate. 
  • Shift to engage Afterburners
  • Space for upward vertical thrust.
  • Ctrl for downward vertical thrust.
  • = for analog throttle – air brake.
  • T to switch between 1st person and 3rd person view.

To land, decelerate to minimum speed, and let your aircraft slowly descend. If necessary, tap Spacebar to make sure you’re not falling too fast. The landing gear will extend automatically when you are near the ground. Press air brake (=), and tap accelerate (w) once. This will let your ESF gently land.

Your starting ESF loadout includes a nosegun and External Fuel Tanks, which increase Afterburner fuel capacity. This loadout is only suitable for moving around or engaging other aircraft. Don’t even try attacking ground targets with it, it’s a waste of time.

In general, flying is considered one of the hardest activities in PlanetSide 2, so don’t be discouraged if you fail a lot, and hopelessly crash your first few dozen of ESFs.

3) Score 15 kills from a vehicle’s gunner seat

Most of PlanetSide 2 vehicles are equipped with secondary weapons. So in order for a vehicle to reach its full firepower, it has to be occupied by several players. Your best bet for accomplishing this directive is to be a gunner for a more experienced player. This directive will test your communication skills, whether you can coordinate with other players to be someone’s gunner for a while.

Redeploy to a Warpgate, or a fight where your faction is defending a base, and then use /regionsay chat. State that you are a new player on your Basic Training Directives, and you wish to be a gunner for someone. You will likely get a squad invite, and then you can use the /squadsay chat or personal messages to coordinate with your new comrade. 

Here’s a video example of me doing this incognito.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the hand-holding service. You can still manage:

  • Use Sunderer’s weapons to defend it when it is under attack. 
  • After any base fight is over, your allies are likely to pull Sunderers and  Main Battle Tanks, so just try and jump in to someone. 
  • When your allied base is getting particularly overrun by enemies, you can redeploy to another nearby allied base, and wait near a vehicle terminal. Sooner or later, someone is likely to come and pull a Main Battle Tank, and then you can jump in.

If you’re a mute sociopath, that’s okay. You can accomplish this directive on your own. Pull a Sunderer or a Harasser, drive it up to enemy positions, then switch to gunner’s seat, and engage enemies.

Switching seats: when you are inside a vehicle, you can use F1 – F12 keys to switch between seats. If a seat is already occupied by another player, he will get a prompt, asking if he wants to switch places with you. 

Being a Decent MBT Gunner

Switch classes to Engineer. When your vehicle gets damaged, wait for the pilot to drive somewhere safe, and then jump out and help with repairs. 

Don’t fire without purpose. Firing can give away your position to enemies, and make your vehicle a target. A good rule of thumb is to fire only on targets that your pilot is firing at, or at enemies who are already engaging your vehicle.

Constantly look around. It is your job to make sure that nobody sneaks up on your vehicle. At close range, enemy infantry can be especially dangerous, as they can use explosives that will deal high damage to the vehicle. Don’t be afraid to jump out of the vehicle and engage them with your carbine.

Communicate! Spot any enemy you can see. Use text and voice chat, as well as voice callouts to coordinate. If your weapon starts running out of ammo, let the pilot know by V + 4 (I need ammo!) callout.

Know your weapon. There are many different secondary vehicle weapons, and some of them are only effective against specific targets. Ask your vehicle pilot if you’re not sure what your weapon does.

How to communicate

Text Chat

Press Enter to start typing in chat. Press Enter again to send the message. Start your message with:

/s or /squadsay – send a text message to your squad.

/p or /platoonsay – send a text message to your platoon.

/o or /outfitsay – send a text message to your outfit.

/sa or /say – send a text message to a small local area around you

/re or /regionsay – send a text message to all allies in your current region. This is the main way of coordinating with allied forces in any specific fight.

/y or /yell – send a text message to all players in your current region, including enemies. This chat is used by default.

/t PlayerName or /tell PlayerName – send a private message to a specific player. You can also click their name in chat.

/r or /reply – reply to a player who last sent you a private message. You can also press Backspace.

Voice Chat


  • Numpad Plus and Numpad Minus to regulate the volume of whoever is currently speaking.
  • Numpad Enter to mute current speaker, if he is being abusive or annoying.
    • You can also manage this in “Voice and Chat” part of the “Social” menu.
  • Numpad 4 to speak in proximity chat. Only nearby allied players will hear you.
  • Z to speak to your squad.
  • Numpad 1 to speak to your platoon.
  • Numpad 7 is used by Squad and Platoon Leaders to communicate between themselves.
  • Numpad 9 to speak to your outfit. Useful for outfit-wide announcements.

These keybinds can be hard to remember, and use in a pinch, so feel free to rebind them elsewhere. My personal go-to for Proximity Chat is tilde (~). 

Voice Callouts

You can press “V” to bring up the voice callout menu. Then press a number from 1 to 0 to make a specific callout. Enemies can hear these callouts too. 

The Q-menu

You can put your crosshair on an ally and hold “spot” (default “Q”) to bring up a menu with various interaction options.


1) Earn 200 XP in squad

This directive will require you to join a squad and play for a few minutes. 

Squads and Platoons

To make it easier to coordinate, players of one faction can join together to form Squads and Platoons.

A Squad can have up to 12 members, including a Squad Leader (SL). To coordinate, they can use:

  • Squad Voice Chat
  • Squad Text Chat
  • SL can put Squad Waypoint on the map.  

Players earn XP bonuses for playing as a squad.

Several squads can join together to form a Platoon. Platoons can hold up to 4 squads: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta. So up to 48 people total. 

Platoon Squads can use platoon Voice and Text chat to coordinate between each other, and Platoon Leader (PL) can put even more waypoints on the map.

By default, Platoon Leader is also a Squad Leader for the Alpha Squad, but he can promote another player to be a Squad Leader, if he wants to.


  • Green, single chevron – Squad Waypoint, placed by your squad leader. Only your squad members can see it.
  • Gold, double chevron – Platoon Waypoint, placed by Platoon Leader for the whole Platoon.
  • Squad color, triple chevron – Squad Waypoints, placed by Platoon Leader. All Platoon Members can see them, but they are meant as waypoints for individual squads. 

Squad Color – each squad in a platoon has its own color, to make it easier to distinguish members of different squads. You can customize these colors in the squad menu.

Squad Leaders can invest certification points to unlock even more tools, such as Rally Points with colored smoke, Spawn Beacons and access to “orders” chat, which is supposed to let multiple squads and platoons coordinate around faction-wide objectives.

How to join a squad

The easiest way is to just press “Insert”, and you will automatically join the nearest squad. You can also press the “Join Squad” button at the top left of the main map. 

Alternatively, you can open the “Squad” tab of the “Social” menu, and pick from all of the open squads. 

How to create a squad

To create a squad, you can use the “/squad create” chat command, or click the corresponding button on the Squad Browser screen on the Social page of the main menu.

Alternatively, you can simply invite another player, and a squad will be created automatically.

You can keep manually inviting more players, or you can click “Enable Recruitment” in the squad menu, and then your squad will appear in the list of open squads, and anyone will be able to join.

There are many ways you can invite a player to your squad:

  • Click on their name in the chat.
  • Put your crosshair over them and hold “Q” (spot).
  • Type in chat: /squad invite PlayerName.
  • By using a context menu in your Outfit or Friend list.
  • By right clicking on that player’s position on the minimap. You can press Left Alt to show mouse cursor.

Squad Spawning

You can spawn directly into a SundererGalaxy or a Valkyrie owned and occupied by a squad member. If the vehicle is in the enemy territory, or allied territory that’s being captured by the enemy, then you also have to be within 1000m of the vehicle.

You can spawn at an allied base from any distance, if majority of your squad are in that base’s region, and the base itself is connected to a Warpgate via lattice. 

For the purposes of the “majority”, squad leader counts as two people.

Squads also gain access to Spawn Beacons.

2) Switch Continents

By this time you have probably already switched continents many times. You can switch continents several ways:

  • Using a Warpgate Terminal in any Warpgate
  • You can redeploy to a Warpgate on a different continent by selecting it in the spawn list in the upper left corner of the main map. 
  • Sometimes, Join Combat will try to take you to a different continent.

Step 5. Pat yourself on the back

Congratulations! You have completed the Basic Training of PlanetSide 2. By this moment, you should already have an idea what this game is about. Let’s talk about common misconceptions that new players tend to develop at this point.

“I keep dying, it must be because my starting equipment is bad!” 

No. An enemy with a shiny weapon keeps killing you over and over because he is much better than you are, not because his weapon is better. PlanetSide 2 weapons are nicely balanced; they are sidegrades to each other. A weapon can be better at something, at the cost of being worse at something else. 

Your starting weapons are among the best in the game, they are powerful and versatile, and there is no rush to replace them.

“My faction keeps losing bases, it must be because my faction is bad!”

No. Only skill and coordination are important. PlanetSide 2 enforces population balance on continents with a lot of players, so if you’re getting outnumbered at one fight, it’s likely that your faction is outnumbering the enemy at another fight.

“Then it must be because all players in my faction are noobs!”

Your experiences will change from day to day. Especially on a weekend prime time, when one of the server’s high-tier outfits is doing ops (coordinated play sessions). You’re going to see all sorts of different skill levels of enemies and allies.

Complaining about other factions having lower / higher skill population or making generalizations really serves no purpose. Colors on the sleeve mean much less then the community playing.

Every faction has exceptional outfits, and every faction has mediocre ones. Over time those outfits learn, grow, and evolve, or die off to be replaced.

– CuteBeaver

“PlanetSide 2 is pay to win, look at all those expensive weapons and Implants!”

No. You don’t need new weapons to “win” or enjoy the game. Implants remain random even with cash investments, and buying them with money would be very cost-inefficient.

It’s next to impossible to convert cash into direct combat advantage in game. In this regard, PlanetSide 2 is one the most fair free to play games. 

Step 6. Follow Social Directives

This directive line will help you integrate into PlaneSide 2 community.

1) Join an Outfit

Outfits are guilds or clans in PlanetSide 2. Outfits have:

  • Their own Text and Voice chat.
  • A ranking system.
  • A decal, which is displayed on bases captured by that outfit.

Outfit members have:

  • An outfit tag of 3-4 symbols before their names.
  • An option to display the outfit decal on their infantry and vehicle armor.

Outfits help players with similar interests to organize and socialize. The easiest way to join an outfit is to visit the Outfit Browser in the Outfit tab of the Social Menu. You will see the list of actively recruiting outfits. 

Alternatively, you can visit your server’s subreddit, and ask which outfit you should join.

2) Purchase Outfit Armor Decal

This part often confuses new players.

  • PlanetSide 2 Store contains a selection of decals. Anyone can purchase these decals, and display them on their infantry and vehicle armor. 
  • Anyone can use Player Studio, and submit their own decal designs to the store. 
  • Outfits often design their own decals and add them to the store via Player Studio.
  • A leader of an outfit can purchase any decal, and set it to be their Outfit Decal.
  • Outfit members can purchase a special “Outfit Armor Decal” from the store, and if they equip it in their infantry loadouts, it will display the selected Outfit Decal.

This directive requires you to specifically purchase the Outfit Armor Decal. This is probably still confusing, so watch this video.

3) Add 10 Friends

PlanetSide 2 has a friend list system, similar to any other MMO. Friends don’t get any benefits, it is simply a way to let people stay in touch, even if they are in different outfits. 

This directive is somewhat arbitrary, since it’s possible to fully enjoy PS2 without ever adding anyone to friend list, so to complete this directive, feel free to ask your outfit members to help you out, or simply spam “add to friends” on any player that you encounter. You can even add enemies.

Adding a player to the friend list generally works the same way as inviting to squad.

4) Join the Online Community

(This is not actually a part of Social Directives). You can get in touch with other PlanetSide 2 players outside of the game. Feel free to ask any questions, people are generally welcoming and helpful.

As a reward for completing Social Directives, you will get the Outfit Vehicle Decal, which is basically Outfit Armor Decal for vehicles.

Step 7. Learn about Character Progression

Progression in PlanetSide 2 means unlocking new equipment, and upgrading what you already own. It opens new playstyles, gameplay options, and new ways of helping your team.

Experience Points

Doing almost anything related to capturing territory, killing enemies or supporting allies will grant your character Experience Points (XP), which will increase the Battle Rank of your character, and grant Certification Points.

Battle Rank

Accumulating a certain amount of XP will increase the Battle Rank (BR) of your character.

Battle Rank is mostly cosmetic, and just shows how much Experience Points this character has accumulated. Increasing Battle Rank also unlocks new rank titles and shoulder decals with your rank emblem.

There are a total of 120 Battle Ranks. You continue to gain XP and certs after reaching the maximum battle rank, but it can take years.

As a new player, you have only two real reasons to care about Battle Rank:

  • For each Battle Rank up to BR15 you will receive 100 Certification Points
  • Battle Rank 5 and 15 unlock additional Loadout Slots

Certification Points

Certification Points

Certification Points or Certs are used to unlock and upgrade equipment for your character. A large portion of PlanetSide 2 gameplay revolves around earning certs to improve your character, and give you more playstyles and combat options. 

1 Certification Point is granted for every 250 Experience Points.


Doing a lot of one activity will earn you a ribbon. For example, getting 10 kills with any weapon will earn you a ribbon with that weapon.

Ribbons grants you 250 XP. First five ribbons of the day will grant twice as much. Many Directives require you to earn ribbons.

Daybreak Cash

Daybreak Cash is bought with real money via in-game shop or the official site. Daybreak Cash can be used to unlock weapons, weapon attachments and cosmetic items for all characters on your account. You won’t lose these items even if you delete all your characters. 

DBC can also be spent on temporary nanite or experience boosts, which are purchased and activated for one specific character. 

Overall, it’s perfectly possible to fully enjoy PS2 without ever spending a dime. Daybreak Cash mainly serves to customize your character, and increase the speed of progression.


You can watch this video or read this short summary:

In the context of Directives, the word “kills” is mentioned a lot. Know that destroying any vehicle will count as a “kill” too. 


ISO-4 is a special currency, used to upgrade and unlock new Implants. It is awarded for participating in Alerts and breaking down duplicate implants from Implant Packs, which you can buy with Certs or Daybreak Cash. A few Implant Packs are also awarded for some of the Directives. 

ISO-4 is important for character progression, as many implants offer unique bonuses and open new playstyles.

Weapon Medals

   Medal_CopperMedal_Silver Medal_GoldMedal_Araxium

Scoring 10, 60, 160 and 1160 kills with a weapon will reward you with a bronze, silver, gold and auraxium medal respectively. For each medal you get a certain amount of Certification Points. Many directives require you to earn an auraxium medal with a specific weapon.


The game keeps track of your character’s stats, such as overall accuracy, the amount of kills and deaths, and much more. Your stats can help you judge where you stand among other players, and keep track of your progress over time.

The important part about stats is that you should not treat them too seriously. There are many ways a player could adjust their playstyle to artificially get better stats, which is a sure way to make the game more stressful and less fun for yourself.

Step 8. Learn about Loadouts

All this time you have been using your starter loadouts. It’s time that you learn what makes a loadout, and what you can change to suit your playstyle better.

By default, you have access up to four loadout slots for each class and vehicle. Having a Premium Membership grants three additional loaduts, and you can purchase up to four more from the in-game Store with real money. This is not generally necessary, though.

Tip: 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 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.


This is how you customize the appearance of your character. Completing the Basic Training directives has granted you a Camo and a Light Assault helmet. You also have purchased an Outfit Armor Decal, and you will get more decals whenever you reach a new Battle Rank. 

It’s worth noting that cosmetic armor is completely transparent to bullets, and does not directly affect your character’s survivability in any way. 

On the “My Character” tab of the main menu, you can select a title and a banner. Titles are mostly tied to Battle Rank progression, and they are displayed before your name. Banners are visible on the Death Screen whenever you kill someone. You can also select a different voice pack.

Step 9. Learn about Infantry Classes

It’s time that you get some hands-on experience with all five infantry classes. You’re going to play them a bit, and try to complete the first tier of Class Directive line for the each class. This will reward you with a few free Implants, and it’s generally a good way to explore the game.

When talking about Directive Objectives, I will only list objectives that you can realistically accomplish with your starting equipment, without investing any certification points or doing any sort of advanced stuff.

Keep in mind that when talking about “kills” in the context of Directives, destroying any vehicle will count as a “kill” too.


PlanetSide 2 Infiltrator Class IconInfiltrators are snipers, hackers and scouts. They are also great at ambushing. As an Infiltrator, your job is to hack enemy turrets and terminals, provide reconnaissance with your Motion Detection Tools, and kill enemies that your allies can’t get to, be it with flanking or long distance sniping. 

Light Assault

PlanetSide 2 Light Assault Class IconLight Assaults are mobile shock troopers. They can fly on a Jet Pack, which lets them scale obstacles, and effectively flank enemies at close and medium range. As a Light Assault, your job is to deliver a powerful punch exactly where it is needed. 

Combat Medic

planetside 2 combat medic classCombat Medics are second line and support soldiers. The job of a Combat Medic is to keep their allies alive and healthy. 


EngineerEngineers are second line and support soldiers. Your job as an Engineer is to supply your allies with ammunition, handle explosives and fortify your positions with turrets. Engineers can also repair MAXes, vehicles, base terminals, turrets and generators. They are the first choice when it comes to piloting vehicles or being a gunner.

Heavy Assault

PlanetSide 2 Heavy Assault Class IconHeavy Assaults are first line soldiers. They can shield themselves to survive things that would kill other infantry, and they carry big guns to unleash hell on any number of enemies and any type of target. Heavy Assault’s job is to take the fight to the enemy and knock their teeth out.

Step 10. Learn about MAXes and Vehicles

In this guide, MAXes and vehicles are grouped separately from five main infantry classes, because their starting loadouts are not as effective. Both MAXes and vehicles are big parts of PlanetSide 2, and offer a lot of unique experiences, and you should still try them out.

It will not tell the whole story about their combat capabilities, but it should be enough for you to decide if it’s something you want to play more, get better at, and invest your Certification Points in.


MAXes are armored suits with independent weapons on each arm. MAXes can specialize against infantry, vehicles and aircraft. It costs 450 Nanites to spawn as a MAX. Combat Medics can revive dead MAXes, and Engineers can repair the live ones. Effectively, it is a hybrid vehicle-infantry class. 


You can learn about vehicles in the Vehicle Guide.

Step 11. Early Certifications

Hopefully, by this time you have a general idea about PlanetSide 2 classes and vehicles, and you know what you want to prioritize when it comes to spending hard-earned certs.

Battle Rank 15 Milestone

Battle Rank 15 is an important milestone for your first character:

  • On your first death, you will be given an option to refund all certs you spent on upgrades, but not weapons. 
  • You will be able to construct HIVEs.
  • For the next 72 hours, you will have an option to purchase an exclusive Elite Recruit Bundle

After Battle Rank 15, it will become much harder for you to gain certs, especially if you do not invest real money into Premium Membership or Experience Boosts. So you should be very picky about what you spend your certs on. The following guide has a few suggestions for you, but it’s heavily recommended that before buying anything, you extensively test it in VR Training.

VR Training

VR Training is a special environment, where you get free access to nearly all equipment in the game, including cosmetics and Implants. VR Training has a shooting range, a racing track, and you can pull any number of vehicles without worrying about Nanites. It’s a great place to try new equipment before buying it. You do not have to unlock any equipment to be able to use it in VR.

How to get to VR Training:

Press “M” to open the Main Map. Click on the name of the continent at top middle of the screen. A menu will open. Click “World Map”. Click “VR Training”. 

Alternatively, you can bring up World Map screen by using one of the Warpgate Terminals, located in all Warpgates.

Preview Upgrades

You can preview the effect and cost of each upgrade by putting your mouse over it.


Ground Vehicles

A couple of important things to consider before you decide to invest a lot of certs in vehicles: 

Vehicles are situational. They are a great tool to have at your disposal, but a specific vehicle will not always be useful in all situations.  

Most vehicles require multiple players to function effectively. If you’re not big on teamwork, you should focus on vehicles that function well with just one player: Lightning and ESF.


How to get more certs

  • Play for the objective. Doing almost anything related to capturing or defending bases is likely to result in considerable XP gains.
  • Be a team player. Playing in a squad provides XP bonuses. 
  • Participate in Alerts. Just being on a continent with an Alert in progress – which is identified by a flashing red siren – gives you 30% XP Bonus.

New players often get recommendations to play “support” classes, such as Combat Medic and Engineer. I strongly disagree with this mindset, and encourage you to simply enjoy the game. Focus on having fun and playing however you like, and certs will flow naturally. This is a much less frustrating approach than trying to specifically “farm” certs with a playstyle that you might not enjoy.

Premium Membership

Premium Membership costs $15 USD per month. You get a discount for subscribing for several months at the same time. 

Premium Membership should be your go-to option if you enjoy PlanetSide 2, but want to get more certs and progress your character faster. It is not necessary to fully enjoy the game, but provides you with a plethora of useful bonuses:

  • 50% bonus to Experience Points and Nanites at all times. 5% bonus XP for your squad members.
  • You will receive up to 48 Certs each day just for logging in. That’s ~1400 certs per character, if you log in daily.
  • Once a month you can claim 500 Daybreak Cash at the in-game store.
  • 10% discount on all purchases with DBC.
  • Access to an additional daily sale item in PlanetSide 2 store. 
  • Access to a special “Members Early Access” page of the store.
  • Priority queue when switching continents.
  • Three extra Loadout Slots.
  • Three extra Character Slots – unlocked permanently if you buy membership once.
  • The full last weekend (friday + saturday + sunday) of each month is a Double XP Event for members.
  • Free access to Advanced Specialization System. Non-members have to pay 10 000 certs per character.
  • Similar benefits in other Daybreak Games.


Experience Boost

There are temporary Experience and Resource (Nanites) Boosts. Each character can have up to two Boosts active at the same time. Boosts are purchased separately for each character. Once activated, they will last for a certain amount of time, and cannot be deactivated until they run out. 

Overall, Membership is a better way to progress your character than Boosts. That said, combining a 3 Day Experience Boost with a Double XP Event for Members is a nice way to make A LOT of certs over the course of just a few days. 

Step 12. Learn About Base Types

These are the main archetypes of PlanetSide 2 base layouts. Just keep in mind there are many exceptions from them.

All bases have a shielded Spawn Room and a Vehicle Terminal, but only some of them have an Aircraft Terminal. Sometimes, the Spawn Room has a teleporter to a secondary shielded room, in case the main Spawn Room gets camped too much. 


Small Outposts

Small Outposts make the majority of PlanetSide 2 bases. They have a few structures and one Capture Point.

Large Outposts

Large Outposts are larger bases, surrounded by Small Outposts. They have more structures and three or four Capture Points. They’re also more likely to have an Aircraft Terminal. 


Towers are Small or Large Outposts with a distinctive central tower structure with access  to four Landing Pads and Aircraft Terminals. 

Bases for Construction and Vehicle Combat

Some bases have capture points that can be captured by vehicles and MAXes.


Facilities are large bases. Each continent has only a few of these. They have multiple layers of defense, usually have a Spawn Control Unit, and both Air and Vehicle Terminals. Facilities offer continent-wide benefits to factions that control them.

AMP Station

AMP Stations are surrounded by walls with multiple towers and turrets. They have one Capture Point, protected by two Shield Generators. 

Attackers must destroy both generators in order to gain access to the capture point, or use Gate Shield Diffuser vehicles. The perimeter towers are often used as improvised Sunderer garages. 

AMP Stations have a shielded SCU. It will become exposed once the base Capture Timer reaches 50%

Facility Benefit: controlling an AMP Station allows base turrets to automatically repair themselves over time.

Tech Plant

Tech Plants have one Capture Point. Two Shield Generators maintain several force fields, but it is possible to access the Capture Point without disabling them. A gun deck with multiple Anti-Air turrets overlooks the surrounding area. It’s possible to get to the gun deck by using teleporters or gravity lifts on the first floor of the Tech Plant.

Defenders can use underground tunnels in order to move around the surrounding area. The entrance to those tunnels is located at the back of the Spawn Room. 

Facility Benefit: controlling a Tech Plant allows players to pull Main Battle Tanks and Liberators from any Vehicle or Aircraft Terminal. If Tech Plant’s terminal is hacked by an infiltrator, it’s possible to pull MBTs or Liberators even without owning the Tech Plant.

Bio Lab

Bio Labs are elevated high above the ground, and they have dome shields to protect them from vehicles. The lower base of the Bio Lab gives access to vehicle terminals, while the dome shield covers three or four Capture Points.

Bio Labs usually have two-way teleporters and Jump Pads to nearby bases. Controlling a neighboring base automatically gives attackers access to a shielded teleporter room inside the biolab.

Bio Labs are historically hard to attack. There are many ways to get into the Bio Lab, but all of them can be easily camped by Defenders, and it’s hard for attackers to maintain dominance over multiple Capture Points. 

Bio Labs have an SCU, and attackers can expose it by destroying an SCU Shield Generator inside the biolab.

Facility Benefit: controlling a Bio Lab allows infantry to automatically restore health out of combat, as long as they are in allied territory. This effect is similar to Regeneration Implant, but does not stack with it.

Common Points of Interest


There are anti-infantry, anti-vehicle and anti-air base turrets. Each turret is only effective against their intended targets, so don’t try shooting AA turrets at infantry. Base turrets have to be occupied by players in order to function. 

  • Infiltrators can hack these turrets to switch their allegiance to infiltrator’s faction.
  • Turrets can be damaged and destroyed by weapons capable of damaging armored vehicles.
  • Engineers can repair these turrets.

Players can use Construction System to build similar turrets anywhere outside normal bases, and those player-built turrets can potentially be automated.

Shield Generators

These generators create a protective force field in a specific part of the base. There are two types of base shields: 

  1. Non-transparent shields – block all projectiles and enemy units.
  2. Transparent shields – block all large projectiles (cannon shells, rockets) and enemy vehicles, but they will allow small projectiles and enemy infantry. 
  • All base shields always allow friendly vehicles and infantry to pass.
  • Shields can be non-transparent on one side and transparent on the other. 

Icon on the shield will correspond with the generator that is creating that shield. 

The generators are immune to all damage. In order to destroy a generator, infantry must approach it, and then hold the interact key (default “E”) for 10 seconds in order to Overload the generator.

Overloaded generators will be destroyed in 2 minutes. Base defenders can similarly interact with overloaded generators to Stabilize them.

Engineers can repair destroyed generators.

SCU – Spawn Control Unit

SCU is a special generator that powers the Spawn Room. Only a few bases have the SCU. SCU is protected by SCU Shields, which will prevent enemy infantry from overloading it.

  • Some bases, like Bio Labs, have a dedicated SCU Shield Generator. It must be overloaded and destroyed in order for attackers to gain access to SCU.
  • On some bases that have SCU, but no SCU Shield Generator, the SCU becomes exposed when the Base Capture Progress Bar reaches 50%. 

An exposed SCU can be overloaded like any other generator, and then it will be destroyed in one minute. If SCU is destroyed, the Spawn Room will be disabled. 

Like any other generator, SCU can be stabilized or repaired, and then it will resume its function.

If a base has an SCU, players can monitor its status above the minimap.

Gravity Lifts

Gravity Lifts will drag all infantry players in a vertical or horizontal direction. Base towers and Bio Lab landing pads will usually have Gravity Lifts, but you can see them all over the place. Being affected by a Gravity Lifts grants you complete fall damage immunity for a few seconds.

Jump Pads

Jump Pads will propel infantry players at high speed in a specific direction. Some Jump Pads only work for the faction that controls the territory. Being affected by a Jump Pad grants you complete fall damage immunity for a few seconds.

Light Assaults are known for using Jump Pads, and then maneuvering with their Jet Pack to cover a lot of ground at a high speed.

Sunderer Garages

Many bases have Sunderer Garages, which will provide cover for a deployed Sunderer, and they usually open a good path to attack the base. 

Energy Bridges

At the moment, the only base with Energy Bridges is Heyoka Chemical Lab on Amerish.

  • Energy Bridges allow only allied vehicles to pass. Enemy vehicles will fall through into toxic waste and be destroyed.
  • Any infantry player can approach a Bridge Control Booth and interact with a Bridge Control Terminal to take the bridge under control of their faction.
  • Infantry can always use more conventional bridges around the base, or a special pathway under the energy bridge.
  • Vehicles can use Gate Shield Diffuser utility and ride over the energy bridge, even if it’s under enemy control.

Step 13. Learn About Construction System

Construction System allows players to build their own bases. You can learn more about it in the Construction System Guide, but here is a short summary:

Players can use the ANT vehicle to mine Cortium crystals, located all over Auraxis. The ANT can be deployed like a Sunderer, and then it provides access to a Construction Terminal. Players can interact with the Construction Terminal to spend the mined Cortium in order to construct buildings and fortifications. 

Most of the “conventional” PlanetSide 2 bases have no-construction zones around them, but there are exceptions. 

Active HIVE

Constructed bases usually include a HIVE – a special generator that refines mined Cortium, which plays an important role in Continent Locking (see below).

Construction System was added years after the game’s release, and for the moment remains in a frustrating, unfinished state. In order to be able to build a half-decent base, you have to invest thousands upon thousands of Certs, and even then the payoff is minimal, as most players do not enjoy attacking nor defending constructed bases.

As a beginner in PlanetSide 2, you should avoid investing any Certs into the Construction System. You can still assist other players with base maintenance and defense, if you wish. The construction equipment unlocked by default is enough to build a functioning HIVE base, though it won’t have much in terms of defenses.

Step 14. Learn About Continent Locking

PlanetSide 2 has four continents. Unfortunately, there are not enough players to keep the action going on all of them, so usually you will see two or three continents locked.

At any time, any faction can attempt to capture and lock one of the available continents. To lock a continent, a faction has to trigger and win a Critical Mass Alert.

Critical Mass Alerts

To trigger a Critical Mass Alert, a faction has to refine a certain amount of Cortium with HIVEs, and capture 41% of continent’s territory.

The alert lasts 45 minutes.

To win the alert, the faction that triggered the alert has to control at least 36% of continent’s territory by the end of the alert. 

If the faction that triggered the alert wins, the continent is locked, and usually another continent will unlock to take its place.

If the faction that triggered the alert loses, it will lose all of the refined Cortium, and the continent will not be locked. 

Participating in alerts provides players with 30% bonus XP for the duration, and by the end of the alert everyone receives rewards.

Locking a continent gives the faction a global benefit:

  • Amerish – base generators will automatically repair. 
  • Indar – base turrets take longer to overheat.
  • Esamir – allied Capture Points will passively increase shields of nearby infantry.
  • Hossin – vehicle ammo towers will automatically repair nearby vehicles, and landing pads will repair vehicles, aircraft as well as heal infantry.

This benefit will persist until the continent is locked by another faction.

Effectively, Continent Locking gives a whole faction a unifying objective.

Step 15. Learn About Lattice and Battle Flow

The natural flow of battle is that one faction brings a few Sunderers and other vehicles to an enemy base, deploys Sunderers to provide spawns, and assaults the base. Infantry rushes in and takes control of the Capture Points.

Base defenders will start spawning on the base via “Reinforcements Needed” mechanic. Some of them will spawn vehicles of their own. If the Vehicle Terminal is camped, they can bring vehicles from the nearby base. 

The No-Deploy Zone prevents both sides from deploying Sunderers too close to Capture Points.

Attackers can try to contain the defenders inside their spawn room, or just fortify the Capture Points with turrets and MAXes, and weather the storm while defenders desperately try to push them out.

The defenders, on the other hand, can attempt to naturally push enemy forces back to their Sunderers and destroy them, or to surgically destroy Sunderers, and without reinforcements, attackers will literally die out.

Coordinated squads can break this natural battle flow in many ways, like dropping reinforcements or vanguard forces with Galaxies and Valkyries and creating ambushes for enemy vehicles. They also tend to rely on Spawn Beacons and Combat Medics more than Sunderer spawns. 


Lattice is a system of connections between bases. Lattice lanes start in every warpgate, and go through neighboring bases to create a web that interconnects all bases on a continent. Lattice system dictates which bases can be successfully captured, and which cannot. 


On this screenshot, I’ve enabled a few filters to make lattice lanes clearly visible.

  • Bases that are surrounded by solid connections cannot be captured. Even if an enemies shows up near a capture point, the capture point will ignore them.
  • Bases that have at least one dotted line connection can be captured. 


On this example screenshot:

  • NC controls the Saurva Bio Lab.
  • My faction controls Saurva Data Storage to the north, and Saurva South Fortress to the south. Both of these bases are directly connected to the Saurva Bio Lab, so the lattice connection turns into a dotted line, allowing my faction to attack and capture the Bio Lab. 
  • However, my faction does not have a direct connection to the Saurva Overflow Depot to the west, so in order to be able to capture it, we have to capture the Bio Lab first. 
  • In return, the NC don’t have to think about defending Saurva Overflow Depot unless they actually lose the Bio Lab.

The overall goal of the lattice system is to artificially direct enemy forces so they will inevitable meet in battle if they go around capture bases. Long ago, PlanetSide 2 did not have lattice, any base was capturable at any time, and far too often huge balls of enemy forces would roam around the map, capturing empty bases and avoiding the enemy.

Unstable Warpgates

Newly opened continents go into unstable mode for two hours, or until population of 120 players is reached. While a continent is unstable:

  • HIVEs cannot be placed and Critical Mass Alerts cannot be started.
  • Many regions become disconnected from the lattice system and cannot be captured. You can still move through those regions, and their base terminals can be hacked.

Mission System

PlanetSide 2 Mission System will automatically assign objectives to players. You can see your current objective above the minimap, and an exclamation mark will point you towards the objective. 

You get a small bonus to overall XP income for following the mission.

Mission System was added after the game’s release, and it was never properly finished. It’s supposed to help players navigate the world and get a sense of accomplished, but effectively it is just an an automatically updated waypoint. 

You should not pay any attention to the Mission System, and you can even disable it in the Interface Settings.

“The Meta”

For years, the “The Meta” of PlanetSide 2 was to play it like an open-world team death match with vehicles, especially on the level of solo players. Territory capture only served as a reason for players to come to specific areas to fight each other. Many players focused on “farming” certifications, weapon medals or completing Directives. 

However, that was recently changed when Critical Mass Alerts were introduced. Now all players have an incentive to work together and accomplish faction-wide objective, fight for territory and win Alerts. So you can expect the meta of soloing and farming to slowly shift towards teamwork and objectives.

That said, do not forget that PlanetSide 2 is an open world game, almost a sandbox. At any moment in time, you can go almost anywhere and do anything. And that’s the beauty of it. The world is your oyster, and you can play PlanetSide 2 in any way you enjoy.

Step 16. Keep learning!

Congratulations, we’re done with PlanetSide 2 basics! But there is still much for you to learn. Explore the world of PlanetSide 2, make friends and enemies.

You can always come back and learn more in-depth information about the game in the main section of the site.

If you have a question, you can always ask in the comment section below or come to PlanetSide 2 Subredditofficial forums or community Discord.


Huge thanks to the amazing PlanetSide 2 community members, who contributed many suggestion on worthwhile early vehicle certifications in this thread

Hader102, Hell_Diguner, calisai, tacularcrap, DasHaussaa, st0mpeh, Aloysyus, RexCL, ShadowInsignus, RubberDough, MrLayZboy, kszyhon, TestMir954, Withstand_Connery, Mentleman, Xerox1231, Bvllish, drxxdumazz, Skrewie, shanterlad, moewillis2, McLegendd.

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