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:
- Dark orange links to other guides
- Purple links to videos in pop-up viewboxes
- Blue links to images in pop-up viewboxes
Step 1. Create your character
First you will have to choose one of the three factions. There are no wrong choices here. Don’t dwell too hard on it, 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.
Generally, you should pick a server with the best ping for you. It is possible to play with 100-200ms of Internet Delay, but not very comfortable.
Briggs, the Australian server, has notably lower population than other servers, so if you are looking for truly epic large-scale fights that PlanetSide 2 is known for, consider playing on one of the US servers instead.
You will only have a few faces to select 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. Most of it costs real money, though.
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.
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. Get to Koltyr
Completing the tutorial will send you to Koltyr – a “small” island, reserved only for PlanetSide 2 beginners. Only players who never had a character above Battle Rank 15 are allowed on Koltyr, so you are almost guaranteed to play with other new players.
Explore the Warpgate
When you arrive on Koltyr, you will spawn in one of the Warpgates. Each faction has one of these on each continent. Warpgates are safe havens, completely protected from any enemy activity. Players and vehicles inside a warpgate 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:
- Infantry Terminals – used to resupply infantry, select loadouts and switch classes.
- Vehicle Terminals and Aircraft Terminals – used to spawn ground and air vehicles.
- While on Koltyr, you will have access only to a few vehicles.
- Landing Pads – will resupply ammunition to aircraft.
- Vehicle Ammo Towers – will resupply ammunition to ground vehicles.
- Warpgate Terminal – used to teleport between warpgates on different continents.
Step 4. Follow Basic Training Directives
Directives are “achievements” in PlanetSide 2. The Basic Training directive line will help you get familiar with the game. As a reward, you will get a small amount of Certification Points and a couple of cosmetic items.
Redeploying is similar to dying, but 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.
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
Minimum System Requirements
OS – Windows 7 or later (64-bit)
Processor – Core i5-760 or better / AMD Phenom II X4 or better [Quad-core CPU]
Memory – 6 GB RAM
Hard Drive – 20 GB free
Video Card – nVidia GeForce GTX 260 or better / Radeon HD 4850 or better
Sound Card – DirectX compatible
OS – Windows 7 or later (64-bit)
Processor – Core i5-760 or better / AMD Phenom II X6 or better
Memory – 8 GB RAM
Hard Drive – 20 GB free
Video Card – nVidia GeForce GTX 560 series or better / AMD HD 6870 or better
Sound Card – DirectX compatible
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.
3) Join Combat
It is time for your first real battle! Open the main map and click “Join Combat” button. Nothing can prepare you for what lies ahead. Try to have fun and stay alive for longer than 10 seconds.
Join Combat will likely take you away from Koltyr, and spawn you in a large battle on one of the main continents. You can always return to Koltyr later by using a Warpgate Terminal in any Warpgate.
Most of the fighting in PlanetSide 2 happens on the main continents. You can always leave Koltyr and go there. However, be mentally prepared to play with people with years of experience, as there is no matchmaking of any kind.
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 three simple rules:
- Always aim at enemy’s chest.
- If the enemy is only a few meters away, fire from the hip.
- In all other situations, Aim Down Sights.
These rules will work with all weapons, but they are extremely primitive, and may actually hurt a better player. You will learn when to bend or break these rules as you get more experience.
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.
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:
During automatic fire, your weapon will kick around and shake your crosshair. This is known as recoil. Do your best to hold aim on target.
With each shot, your weapon will be less and less accurate. This is known as Cone of Fire Bloom. If you fire for too long, most of your shots will miss, even if you hold aim on target.
To avoid this issue, you have to take short pauses every 5-10 shots, depending on weapon and distance to the enemy. This is known as burst firing.
Common newbie mistakes:
- Start firing from the hip, and then Aim Down Sights.
- Start firing and Aim Down Sights at the same time.
This will make your weapon very inaccurate, and you absolutely cannot do this. When you Aim Down Sights, you must stop firing for a moment to make sure you get the accuracy benefit from it.
In ideal conditions, it takes 5-10 bullet hits to kill an infantry player, depending on weapon and distance, but a hard target might require more. In general, PlanetSide 2 requires more effort to kill a player than other online shooters.
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 infantry and vehicles.
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.
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. Premium Membership and Resource Boosts will increase Nanite income.
Nanites are usually not a problem, they are only there to prevent you from suiciding five tanks in a row into an enemy armored column.
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:
- Terran Republic – Mosquito
- New Conglomerate – Reaver
- Vanu Sovereignty – Scythe
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 turn automatically:
- 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.
- T to switch between 1st person and 3rd person view.
To land, decelerate to minimum speed, and let your aircraft slowly descend to the ground. 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.
Your starting ESF loadout includes a nosegun and External Fuel Tanks, which increase Afterburner fuel capacity. This loadout is only suitable for engaging other aircraft or moving around.
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. This directive will test your communication skills, whether you can coordinate with other players to be someone’s gunner for a while.
Your best bet for accomplishing this directive is to be a gunner for a more experienced player.
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.
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.
- 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 (~).
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.
You can put your crosshair on an ally and hold “spot” (default “Q”) to bring up a menu with various interaction options.
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.
1) Earn 200 XP in squad
This directive will require you to join a squad and play for a few minutes.
Squads and Platoons
You can watch this video, or read the short summary:
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
The only way to create a squad is to invite another player. If they accept, you will become a Squad Leader of a 2-man squad. 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.
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.
There is no overpowered equipment. 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.
There are no overpowered factions. New players often feel that they chose the wrong faction, that other factions are stronger. This is just wrong. Factions means next to nothing, only skill and coordination are important.
There is no pay to win. 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.
Doing almost anything related to capturing territory, killing enemies or supporting allies will grant your character Experience Points (XP).
Each 250 XP will grant your character 1 Certification Point (see below).
Accumulating a certain amount of XP will increase the Battle Rank (BR) of your character.
First few Battle Ranks unlock essential game functions, such as leadership certifications and additional loadout slots. In addition, each of the first 15 Battle Ranks will grant you 100 Certification Points.
However, the main purpose of Battle Rank is to show how much experience 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 amd certs after reaching the maximum battle rank, but it can take years.
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.
One certification point is granted for every 250 experience points, which you get for doing pretty much anything in PlanetSide 2.
How to get more certs?
Be a teamplayer and play for the objective. Doing almost anything related to fighting for territory is likely to result in considerable XP gains. Playing in a squad also provides you with XP bonuses.
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.
Get Premium Membership. As a premium member, you will receive 50% bonus to Experience and Nanites at all times. You will also receive up to 48 Certs each day just for logging in. Premium members can once a month claim 500 Daybreak Cash at in-game store, and get a 10% discount on all purchases with DB.
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 is bought with real money via in-game shop or the official site. Anything you can unlock with certs, you can also unlock with Daybreak Cash. In addition, you can purchase cosmetics or temporary resource and experience boosts.
Items purchased with DB are unlocked for your whole account. You will not lose these items even if you delete all your characters.
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:
Directives are “achievements” in PlanetSide 2. There are many Directive lines, each focusing on a specific aspect of PlanetSide 2, such as using Sniper Rifles, or playing a Combat Medic.
Most of directive lines are comprised of multiple tiers: bronze, silver, gold and auraxium.
Each directive tier has a number of objectives you must complete in order to move to the next tier. Completing directive tiers grants you rewards, which usually include a certain amount of Directive Points.
Directive Points are account-wide, and they are displayed on the enemy Death Screen whenever you kill someone. Directive Points are entirely cosmetic, and mostly serve to demonstrate your dedication to completing Directives and being proficient at a variety of playstyles.
In the context of Directives, the word “kills” is mentioned a lot. Know that destroying any vehicle will count as a “kill” too.
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.
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.
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.
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 1-2 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 with at this time.
Two Implant Slots – implants offer passive bonuses and abilities to provide convenience and combat utility. They are great for customizing your gameplay. The problem is – acquiring and upgrading implants relies on random and large investments of Certification Points that you need for more important things early on.
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.
While you can unlock some of the cosmetics with Directives, in general, getting more cosmetic options will require you to spend real money on Daybreak Cash.
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.
Infiltrators 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.
To complete the first tier of Infiltrator Directives, you have to accomplish two out of these objectives:
Get 15 kills.
Any type of kill will count, as long as you play infiltrator, and you’re not in a vehicle. Infiltrators’ cloak can make sidearms, grenades and even knives potentially more effective than for any other class.
Get 1 Recon Ribbon.
Infiltrators get access to Motion Detection Tools:
- Recon Device fires motion detecting darts, and it should be used when enemies are far from you.
- Motion Spotter is deployed on the ground, and it should be used when enemies are close to you.
These tools emit detection pulses, and when a sprinting or running enemy is hit by a pulse, their position is highlighted on the minimap as a dot. Crouchmoving and immobile enemies are not detected.
When your allies kill an enemy detected by your Motion Detection Tools, you get a bit of progress towards a Recon Ribbon.
Get 10 Sniper Rifle kills.
By default, Terran Republic and Vanu Sovereignty Infiltrators get access to a semi-automatic Sniper Rifle. To kill most enemies, it requires 2 headshots or 3-4 bodyshots.
New Conglomerate Infiltrators get access to a bolt-action Sniper Rifle. It will kill in just one headshot, but it has to be rechambered after each shot, and it has some scope sway. You can hold “Shift” to “hold breath” and temporarily suppress it. Make sure to equip Target Focus implant, as it provides bonuses to hold breath duration.
Basics of sniping
Try to find a piece of cover with a good view on enemy positions, not further than 100m away. Position yourself behind that cover. Then press “F” to cloak, peek from cover and look for targets.
Find a stationary enemy, aim at his head and decloak.
If you’re TR or VS, you will have to fire two shots, back to back. Fire a shot, wait until crosshair returns to enemy’s head (that will take around 0.3 seconds), then fire a second shot.
Then, depending on situation, you can take more shots, if the enemy is alive. Don’t rush, let your crosshair fully return before firing again. If you get the kill, or fire more than 4 shots, cloak again and move a few steps to avoid being counter-sniped.
If you’re NC, you will need only one shot, but you will have to hold “Shift” to suppress scope sway while aiming. After the shot, immediately cloak and move.
If your cloak energy runs out, or you get shot, hide behind cover. Consider looking for another position, because when enemies know where a sniper is, they will eventually either counter snipe you, or come find you personally.
Get 10 Infiltrator Kills.
Infiltrators are great at killing other Infiltrators, as they can detect their movement when they are going for flanks at close range, and they can effectively counter-snipe them, if they are not smart about their cloak management.
Basic Infiltrator Tips
Your cloak is not perfect. The faster you move, the more visible you are. Cloak is the strongest when you crouch and don’t move at all, but you can still be seen at close range.
Enemies can hear when you cloak or decloak, which will make ambushing harder.
Cloak is great for crossing open ground, but it’s not as effective up close. Try not to move in enemy line of sight within ~20m, especially if they are not distracted by combat.
Be careful about Q-spotting as an Infiltrator. Enemies can hear your voice when you spot, and it will give away your position.
Light 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.
To complete the first tier of Light Assault Directives, you have to accomplish two out of these objectives:
Get 15 kills.
Any type of kill will count, as long as you play Light Assault, and you’re not in a vehicle.
Get 10 Carbine kills.
Your starting carbine is a great weapon, effective at close and medium range, and remains accurate even while flying on the Jet Pack.
Get 10 Shotgun kills.
In addition to a carbine, you get a shotgun. It is equipped on your second Light Assault loadout, the “Close Range Ambusher”. Shotguns have extremely short range.
Destroy 3 vehicles.
By default, your only way of inflicting damage to heavily armored vehicles is Rocklet Rifle. It will fire accurate single shots with a left mouse click, and fire fast, but inaccurate bursts with a right click.
It is a great source of additional damage to vehicles, but it’s not very strong on its own, so it would be easier to go for other objectives, unless you get lucky and snatch a few vehicle kills on already damaged vehicles.
Kill 10 enemy Light Assaults.
Light Assaults naturally encounter a lot of enemy Light Assaults while going for flanks. There are only so many routes you can take, and you will fight enemy Light Assaults for superiority over these routes.
Basic Light Assault Tips
Don’t fight face to face! Your Jet Pack gives you excellent freedom of movement, so flank around, and shoot enemies in the back. This is war. Fighting fair is for sports.
Don’t use Rocklet Rifle against infantry! It is strictly an anti-vehicle weapon. It also does okay against aircraft hovering at close range. The burst fire mode is extremely inaccurate, use it only when the enemy vehicle is within ~10m.
Watch a video guide with commentated gameplay. It is slightly outdated, so do not follow any certification suggestions in that video.
To complete the first tier of Combat Medic Directives, you have to accomplish two out of these objectives:
Get 15 kills.
Any type of kill will count, as long as you play Combat Medic, and you’re not in a vehicle.
Get 3 Savior kills.
A “Savior kill” is scored when an enemy deals health damage to your ally, and then you kill that enemy. This should happen naturally, as you stay with your allies and fight enemies together.
Get 1 Healing Ribbon.
Whenever you heal someone – usually with your Med Tool – you get a bit of progress towards a Healing Ribbon.
Get 1 Revive Ribbon.
To earn a Revive Ribbon, you have to revive 15 players.
Kill 10 enemy Combat Medics.
This is a weird objective, and doesn’t really have anything to do with specifically playing a Combat Medic.
Basic Combat Medic Tips
Stay with your team! Your “combat advantage” as a Medic is keeping a wall of allies between you and enemies.
Secure the area before reviving. After an ally is killed, you have 30 seconds to revive them. That’s plenty of time, so don’t run blindly with your Med Tool in hands. Look around first, revive later.
Move around while reviving. Even a few steps to the side can throw off the aim of an enemy sniper.
Prioritize revives over heals whenever you have the option to do both.
Don’t be afraid to fight. Your Assault Rifle is a deadly and versatile weapon.
Value your life. If you die, everyone dies. Don’t put yourself at risk by going for a revive that can get you killed.
Do not revive people who die a few steps from spawn. You’re wasting time, both yours and theirs. They will be safer just respawning.
Engineers 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.
To complete the first tier of Engineer Directives, you have to accomplish two out of these objectives:
Get 15 kills.
Any type of kill will count, as long as you play Engineer, and you’re not in a vehicle.
Get 10 kills using a MANA Anti Infantry Turret.
Engineers have access to a deployable turret with a Nanite shield and a machinegun.
The machinegun remains effective at most ranges, and has infinite ammunition, but it can overheat and has limited turning angles. The shield is completely invulnerable to all damage, but doesn’t cover engineer’s head.
Only the engineer himself can use his turret. Engineer behind the turret is vulnerable to snipers, explosives and flanking attacks.
The MANA AI Turret is best used in defensive situations, and it can be challenging to find a good position where you can shoot at enemies without getting sniped within seconds.
Get 1 Repair Ribbon.
Whenever you repair something with your Repair Tool, you get a bit of progress towards a Repair ribbon. You can even get this ribbon by repairing your own vehicle.
Get 1 Resupply Ribbon.
Engineers can press “F” to throw Ammo Packs, which will automatically resupply ammunition to nearby allied infantry. Whenever you resupply someone, you get a bit of progress towards a Resupply ribbon.
You will see an ammo icon above an ally if he needs ammunition.
Basic Engineer Tips
Stick with your team! You’re vulnerable on your own, and can’t accomplish much.
Don’t be afraid to fight! Your carbine is an excellent close combat weapon, and remains accurate even while jumping around.
Heavy 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.
To complete the first tier of Heavy Assault Directives, you have to accomplish two out of these objectives:
Get 15 kills.
Any type of kill will count, as long as you play Heavy Assault, and you’re not in a vehicle.
Get 3 MAX kills.
By default, Heavy Assaults use LMGs with good damage and large magazines, and they can sustain fire on enemy MAXes. Rocket Launchers are particularly devastating; a direct hit will take roughly 50% of MAX’s health.
Get 10 Launcher Kills.
A direct hit with a Rocket Launcher will instantly kill most infantry players. If you remain ~30m away from enemies, it will deal a good amount of splash damage as well. Killing a vehicle will count as a “kill” too.
Basic Heavy Assault Tips
Don’t overestimate your launcher. Tanks and Sunderers are heavily armored vehicles, and will require 6-8 rocket hits to destroy. In order to actually kill them, you will need help from your allies.
Hit tanks from the rear, it will deal increased damage.
Don’t forget about your overshield ability. “Press “F” to win” is a meme for a reason.
Your LMG has terrible hip fire and heavy recoil, so remember to Aim Down Sights and pull the mouse down, unless the enemy is very close.
Keep your sidearm handy. If you get attacked while reloading your LMG or the Rocket Launcher, activate overshields and switch to the sidearm to quickly return fire.
Watch a video of uncut gameplay. Close to the end of the video, I threw myself into a crowd of enemies in order to take control of the Capture Point to prevent enemies from taking the base. We barely managed to save the base in time.
Step 10. Learn about MAXes and Vehicles
In this guide, MAXes and vehicles are grouped separately from five main infantry classes, because you don’t get effective starting loadouts with them. Both MAXes and vehicles are big parts of PlanetSide 2, and offer a lot of unique experiences, and you still should 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.
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.
Default loadouts lack specialization. MAX weapons are balanced around always being used as a pair. By default, you have access to anti-infantry weapon for one arm, and anti-air or anti-vehicle weapon for another arm. These loadouts end up being effective at nothing.
You would have to purchase at least one additional weapon for 650 to 1000 certs to make your MAX good for something. MAX armor and ability take a lot of certs to upgrade as well.
MAXes are weak on their own, and usually require support in order to be effective:
- MAXes can’t pilot vehicles and will require transportation to move between bases.
- Without expensive upgrades, MAXes require constant attention from an Engineer to keep them healthy.
Try them out
The the default AI + AV loadout is more or less usable against infantry. Feel free to pull a MAX in any battle of at least 24-48 on each side and follow these recommendations:
Stick with your team.
MAXes can survive roughly 10 times more damage than other infantry, but they are big and slow targets, so they soak damage more easily as well. If you drop below half health, hide into cover and press V + 3 to scream for an Engineer to come repair you.
Be wary of enemy Heavy Assaults, as they can easily kill you with their Rocket Launchers.
Remember that your weapons are only effective at close range.
When attacking, lead the push onto enemy positions.
When defending, hold enemy forces at bay and push them out of your base.
You can learn about vehicles in the Vehicle Guide.
Step 11. Consider Early Upgrades
Hopefully, by this time you have a general idea about PlanetSide 2 classes and vehicles, and you know what you want to prioritize.
While leveling up to Battle Rank 15, you receive 100 Certs for each Battle Rank. At Battle Rank 15, you will be given an option to refund all certs you spent on upgrades, but not weapons.
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 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 can get to VR Training by using any Warpgate Terminal.
You can preview the effect and cost of each upgrade by putting your mouse over it.
Sidearm: if you find yourself using your sidearm a lot, you should unlock Reflex Sights and Laser Sight for it, they will make it more convenient to aim and increase your Hip Fire accuracy respectively. Each will cost you 100 Certs.
Med Kits are unlocked for all classes at the same time, and they can be used to instantly restore full health. They can help you survive if you get under fire, and they are great for sustaining your own health without having to rely on Medics.
Med Kits Rank 3 will allow you to carry 3 Med Kits at the same time, and will cost 300 Certs.
Spawn Beacon Rank 1 will cost you only 30 Certs. You can find it in “Squad Certs” tab of the “Social” Menu. It is generally useful for any sort of organized squad play. Just keep in mind you have to be a squad leader in order to use it.
You are very likely to get most of these implants from implant bundles that you get for completing early class directives, but there is no guarantee.
Regeneration Implant automatically restores your health out of combat, and it’s a great replacement to Med Kits, if you wish to carry something else in the Utility Slot.
Target Focus Implant helps Infiltrators to Hold Breath while sniping. For all classes, it helps to identify enemies, and allows to see health of spotted enemies, so you can prioritize targets better. This is especially useful when fighting vehicles.
Ammo Printer Implant automatically generates ammunition for your weapons, tools and vehicle weapons. This is especially useful to Infiltrators – to sustain them with Motion Spotters or Recon Darts, and to Engineers when they pilot vehicles.
Safeguard Implant gives you damage resistance for a few seconds after you get ressurected. This is useful for classes that benefit from sticking together.
Sweeper HUD Implant warns you about nearby mines and C4. It’s great for all classes to avoid Anti-Personnel mines, useful for MAXes and vehicle pilots to avoid C4 and Tank Mines.
You can learn more about Infiltrator equipment in this guide.
Sniping: If you wish to become a better TR or VS sniper, you should invest in a Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle, which are generally considered superior to your starting semi-auto rifles. It will cost you 325 Certs.
Bolt-Action Rifles of all factions benefit from Straight Pull Bolt attachment (VS version is called Supercooled Coil). It lets you rechamber a shot while Aiming Down Sights, which effectively increase your rate of fire. 100 certs.
Close Range Ambushes: by default, you don’t have access to an effective close quarters primary weapon. You can choose to purchase an SMG, which will cost you ~1300 certs, including attachments.
Ability: Hunter Cloaking is the most versatile ability, and it works great for all playstyles. You should upgrade it to Rank 5, which will cost you 310 Certs.
Tools: both Motion Spotters and Recon Device require a lot of expensive upgrades to become truly effective. You should choose only one, put a lot of upgrades into it, and use it in all situations.
Upgrade Motion Spotters to Rank 4. 750 Certs. Or Recon Device to Rank 5. 780 Certs.
Utility: Mines – VS and NC Infiltrators can unlock powerful Anti-Personnel mines, that deal high splash damage whenever someone walks over them. They are a great way of boosting your firepower or covering your flanks. First Rank will allow you to carry one mine and cost you 200 Certs.
TR Infiltrators have access only to Claymores, which are a buggy mess, and should be avoided.
Implants: Target Focus, Regeneration, Ammo Printer.
You can learn more about Light Assault equipment in this guide.
Utility: C4 – it is a satchel charge, mostly used at short range, and it deals devastating damage to all targets. Light Assaults are universally considered the best class for using C4, as they can sneak up to enemy vehicles or flank enemy positions, and explode them all.
Rank 2 of the C4 will cost 700 Certs and allow you to carry two C4 bricks at the same time, which is enough to blow up:
- A Main Battle Tank.
- A MAX with full Flak Armor.
- A Sunderer without defensive certifications, when combined with a Rocklet Rifle burst.
Ability: Skirmisher Jump Jets 4 – this will improve fuel capacity and regeneration speed by 14%. 160 Certs.
Implants: Regeneration, Target Focus. Safe Fall – this implant will allow you to avoid fall damage most of the time, and it can be a handy crutch while you are learning to use the Jet Pack.
You can learn more about Combat Medic equipment in this guide.
Tool: Medical Applicator – upgrading it increases healing and revive speed, which is crucial if you’re serious about playing Combat Medic. Rank 5 will cost you 190 Certs.
Suit Slot: Nanoweave 4 or Flak Armor 4, which will increase your resistance to bullets or explosives respectively. Nanoweave is the usual choice, but consider Flak Armor if you die from explosives a lot. Either will cost you 211 Certs.
Implants: Safeguard, Target Focus.
You can learn more about Engineer equipment in this guide.
Tool: upgrading your Repair Tool to Rank 5 will increase its repair speed, and it will take longer to overheat. 240 Certs.
Utility: Tank Mines deal high damage to vehicles and MAXes when they walk or ride over them. Rank 2 will allow you to carry 3 Tank Mines and cost 300 Certs.
Two tank mines are usually enough to destroy most vehicles and kill MAXes even with Flak Armor.
Implants: Target Focus.
- Safeguard when supporting infantry.
- Ammo Printer when piloting vehicles.
- Sweeper HUD is also useful, especially when piloting vehicles. Remember that you can use your Repair Tool to deconstruct enemy Tank Mines and C4.
You can learn more about Heavy Assault equipment in this guide.
Tool: Ground to Air Lock On Launcher – it will allow you to effectively deter enemy aircraft, while still being usable against ground targets. 650 Certs.
Ability: Nanite Mesh Generator – upgrading it will slightly increase the energy regeneration speed. Get it to Rank 4, which will cost only 131 Certs, but don’t waste any more on it.
Implants: Target Focus, Safeguard.
You can learn more about MAX equipment in this guide.
Weapons: in order to actually be effective at something, you need both your arms to carry same weapon. So you need either a second anti-infantry weapon for your right arm (650 Certs for the cheapest one), or a second anti-vehicle weapon for your left arm (1000 Certs). Anti-infantry is usually a better idea.
A second anti-air Burster will cost you 1000 Certs, but these weapons are nearly worthless without Extended Magazines, which would cost additional 500 Certs per arm. Anti-Air MAX is really not something you should pursue as a beginner.
Ability: MAXes have access to two main abilities:
Emergency Repair 1 – restores a portion of your health with a long cooldown. It’s a universally useful ability, but not worth upgrading.
The second ability option is different for all factions.
TR MAXes can Lockdown themselves in place to make their weapons more effective. When fully upgraded and coupled with specific weapons, it works great for long range anti-aircraft and anti-vehicle combat. But it’s very expensive.
Lockdown doesn’t work as well for infantry combat, as your weapons already kill infantry pretty fast, and standing in place would only make you a magnet for rockets and other explosives.
VS MAXes can use Zealot Overcharge Engine to move faster and deal slightly more damage, but take more damage as well. When fully upgraded, this ability can be useful to an experienced player, but not so much to a beginner.
NC MAXes can use Aegis Riot Shield to absorbs frontal damage and move around and reload with more safety. It’s a great ability, and remains useful without any upgrades.
Suit Slot: MAXes can unlock Kinetic Armor or Flak Armor to make them more resistant to bullet and explosive damage respectively.
However, I recommend to go with the third option: Nanite Auto Repair system, which automatically restores your health when you’re not under fire. It is expensive to upgrade, and weak without the upgrades, but it makes playing a MAX much more convenient, as it allows you to not rely on Engineers to stay in action.
Important! Before you proceed, here are a few reasons why you should not invest a lot of certs into vehicles and aircraft:
A large Combined Arms Initiative update is coming, and all of the certification suggestions for vehicles and aircraft are subject to change. If you get something now, it might not be as effective in a few months, so if you value your investments, you may want to wait until CAI hits and a new “meta” takes place.
Vehicles are situational. They are a great tool to have at your disposal, but you might struggle to consistently find interesting fights for a vehicle of your choice.
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, which is mostly Lightning and ESFs.
When a vehicle is damaged beyond a certain threshold, it will start burning. Burning vehicles slowly lose health over over time, and become less controllable.
All PlanetSide 2 vehicles have access to a utility ability called Fire Suppression. When activated, it instantly repairs the vehicle just above the burning threshold, and then slowly repairs it over time for a small amount of health, depending on Fire Suppression Rank and vehicle type (ESFs are repaired more).
Fire Suppression is a great ability, and when timed right, can considerably improve vehicle’s survivability, even at Rank 1, which costs only 30 Certs for all vehicles.
A note on Vehicle Weapons. While a lot of vehicles use weapons with same names (e.g. Basilisk), they will actually have different stats between different vehicles, and will have to be unlocked and upgraded separately.
A note on Top / Side / Front Reinforced Armor type of upgrades. These defensive certifications provide additional damage resistance, which is added to the base damage resistance of the vehicle armor. So overall increase to survivability is much more significant than listed 10-20% bonus.
Also. When trying to hit a tank in a more vulnerable side or rear armor, what matters is your position relative to the vehicle, not where you hit. This video will explain.
Engineer’s Repair Tool to Rank 5 – being able to repair your vehicle faster is crucial. 240 Certs.
All vehicle weapons (that you intend to use):
- Ammo Capacity 3 – increases the amount of ammunition for the weapon. 41 Certs.
- 1.5x Zoom – makes it more convenient to aim with a weapon. 50 Certs.
- Most weapons already come with free 1.25x Zoom, so feel free to use that instead.
Defense: Nanite Auto Repair (NAR) – gives Flash the ability to automatically repair in case it gets damaged. Rank 1 is enough for most purposes, and it will cost only 30 Certs.
If you plan to actively use your Flash in combat, upgrade NAR at least to Rank 3, which will cost additional 150 Certs.
Performance: you could invest a few hundred certs into Racer Chassis, but it’s not really necessary. Flash transport is meant to be cheap, not effective. If you really need to get somewhere fast, ESF is usually a better option.
Fire Suppression 1 – 30 Certs.
NFI-2000 Turbo 1 – when activated by pressing the “sprint” key, gives the Flash a short, but strong boost in forward acceleration. It can allow to perform some crazy stunts, like using a rock as a trampoline to launch you on top of a building. You better be a Light Assault or equip a Safe Fall implant to avoid any trauma, though. Upgrading only increases recharge speed, and generally not necessary. 150 Certs.
For combat, Flash mostly relies on Wraith cloaking module, which means you will be using the Infiltrator class to pilot the Flash.
Flash weapons are hard to use on the move, and standing still exposes the Flash and the driver to enemy fire. Wraith Flash plays a lot like the Infiltrator himself, using Cloak to flank vulnerable enemies, stop still, decloak and briefly engage enemies, and then use Cloak to escape.
- Kobalt – anti-infantry machinegun. 550 Certs. Has the longest effective range, and it is the most effective against infantry.
- Fury – automatic grenade launcher. 875 Certs. Can two-shot infantry and deal light damage to vehicles. It also deals a bit of splash damage. Can be hard to use due to long projectile travel time and projectile drop.
- Basilisk – high caliber, general purpose machinegun. 200 certs. Deals average damage to all targets, bad accuracy.
- Renegade – shotgun. 875 certs. Deadly at short range. Effectively, it requires you to take the Flash right into close quarters combat, as if it was infantry. Base interiors can be hard to navigate, and being close to enemies is dangerous. Not recommended unless you are already very good at driving the Flash.
Performance: Scrapper – will make the Flash more maneuverable. Rank 2 will cost you 300 Certs.
Ability: Wraith Cloaking Device. Rank 2 will cost you 350 Certs. You will likely have to invest more, if you seriously want to focus on Wraith Flash.
Keep in mind that Harassers require two players to become a truly effective combat unit.
Weapon: Harasser is armed with a Basilisk by default, and it’s just not powerful enough. You will have to purchase a weapon in order to be effective. Your options include:
Anti-Infantry: Marauder, Canister, Proton PPA – great at invading base fights. 550 Certs.
Close Range Anti-Vehicle: Vulcan (875 Certs), Mjolnir (550 Certs), Aphelion (550 Certs). This is the recommended choice, as they are generally powerful at close range, and Harassers are good at diving in and out.
Long Range Anti-Vehicle: Gatekeeper (550 Certs), Enforcer (875 Certs), Saron (875 Certs) or NS Halberd (875 Certs). These don’t have as much raw firepower as their close range counterparts, but their longer effective range makes them safer, and a better choice for using Harasser as a solo player.
Performance: Scapper Chassis 2 – will make the Harasser more maneuverable, especially in close combat situations. 300 Certs.
- Fire Suppression 1: 30 Certs.
- Smoke Screen 1: Can be used to shrug off enemy Lock-on Rockets, which are one of the few effective ways of dealing with Harassers. Smoke Screen is also great at covering an escape. 50 Certs.
Passive Systems: NFI-2000 Turbo 1 – when activated by pressing the “sprint” key, provides a strong boost to forward acceleration. Generally a useful ability for scaling terrain and escaping. Upgrading reduces cooldown. Rank 1 will cost you 150 Certs.
Defense: Mineguard 1. Significantly increases your resistance to Tank Mines. 30 Certs.
Vehicle Stealth and Composite Armor are generally considered more useful than Mineguard, but not until they are fully upgraded, which takes ~1300 Certs.
Weapons: by default, your Sunderer uses Basilisks. For most intents and purposes, these are the best weapons you could have. They are moderately effective against all target types and easy to use.
Mobile Spawn Station
Performance: Racer – increases speed and improves hill climbing capabilities. Rank 2 will will cost you 300 Certs.
Utility: Gate Shield Diffuser 1 – when activated, allows the Sunderer to move through enemy base shields and energy bridges. It is a great utility, as it allows you to deploy the Sunderer directly inside some of the enemy bases. Rank 1 is enough and it will cost 100 Certs.
Defense: Deployment Shield 1 – creates a protective shield around a deployed Sunderer, making it considerably harder to destroy. Upgrading it will increase the shield recharge speed, but in general Rank 1 is enough, and it will cost only 30 Certs.
Utility: Fire Suppression 1. 30 Certs.
Defense: Blockade Armor 3 – makes the Sunderer more resistant to damage, especially against C4. 350 Certs.
Performance: Rival – makes the Sunderer more maneuverable. Rank 2 will cost you 300 Certs.
Weapons: by default, your Lightning is armed with a C75 Viper autocannon. It is generally a good weapon for newbies, but it can be hard to use against vehicles with the necessary level of accuracy.
Python HEAT is another versatile cannon, which one shots infantry on direct hits, deals good splash damage, and it’s easier to use effectively against vehicles. You should eventually upgrade to it when you have 550 Certs to spare.
Utility: Fire Suppression 1: 30 Certs.
Defense: a lot of viable options here:
- Reinforced Side Armor – if you like to play peak-a-boo from behind a piece of cover. 200 Certs.
- Reinforced Front Armor – if you prefer frontal attacks on weaker vehicles and other Lightnings. 150 Certs.
- Vehicle Stealth 3 – will make you less visible on the minimap, so it will be easier to flank enemies and remain undetected in general. Pick this if you prefer a predatory hunter playstyle. 330 Certs.
- Mineguard 4 – will make you much more resistant to Tank Mines, which can be hard to avoid as a new player. 330 Certs.
Performance: these upgrades are generally not necessary for a Lightning, as it is fast and maneuverable even in stock form.
However, if you are going to upgrade it, get Rival, and not Racer. Racer significantly increases acceleration and torque to the point where it’s hard to avoid flipping your Lightning by accident.
Rival Combat Chassis 2 – will make your Lightning more maneuverable. 300 Certs.
Secondary weapon: all MBTs become significantly more effective with a gunner. Having a good secondary weapon is a sure way to attract more gunners and make you more effective.
Almost all secondaries are viable, but keep in mind they all have different roles, and you will have to change your playstyle accordingly. Usually the recommended choice is to go with your empire specific long range secondary: Gatekeeper (550 Certs), Enforcer (875 Certs) or Saron (875 Certs). NS Halberd (875 Certs) will work as well.
Walker or Ranger anti-air machineguns can be useful if you wish to play solo MBT, and you want an effective way of protecting yourself from ESF attacks. But they won’t be very attractive to gunners.
Defense: Mineguard 4 – is always a good option, which will make you much more resistant to Tank Mines, which can be hard to avoid as a new player. 330 Certs.
Performance: Racer 2 – will make your MBT faster and better at climbing. Prowler is maneuverable enough by default, so Rival is unnecessary. 300 Certs.
Defense: Reinforced Side Armor – will increase your survivability. 100 Certs.
- Anchored Mode 2 – significantly increases your firepower and effective range at the cost of being stationary. Becomes truly useful only with a few upgrades. Rank 2 will cost you 300 Certs.
- Fire Suppression 1 – choose this if you don’t plan on upgrading Anchor Mode right away. 30 Certs.
Prowler scales incredibly well with upgrades, such as getting an AP cannon with maximum zoom and reload speed, and maxing out the Anchored Mode. When fully upgraded, Prowler can output an amazing amount of damage against vehicles even without a secondary gunner. The problem is that it takes over 5 000 Certs worth of upgrades.
Performance: Racer 2. 300 Certs.
Defense: Reinforced Side Armor. 100 Certs.
Utility: Vanguard Shield 1. Significantly improves your chances in tank combat. When timed right, can also protect you against C4 attacks. 100 Certs.
Secondary weapon: is even more important than for other MBTs.
Defense: Reinforced Front Armor – increases your survivability. 100 Certs.
Performance: this upgrade is more important for Magrider than other MBTs.
- Rival 2 – makes you more maneuverable and increases your turning speed, which makes it easier to aim your main cannon. 300 Certs.
Utility: Magburner 1 – provides an on-demand boost to forward acceleration. Crucial for moving around, both in and out of combat. 100 Certs.
Upgrading the ANT is not recommended, unless you seriously wish to participate in the Construction System.
Weapons: Basilisk – a solid general-purpose weapon, reliable and easy to use. 200 Certs.
- C-Barrier 1 – expends mined Cortium in order to absorb incoming damage. 50 Certs.
- Transport Cloak 1 – expends mined Cortium in order to cloak. 50 Certs.
- Mineral Radar 2 – highlights Cortium deposits within 300m. 150 Certs.
- Cortium Storage – allows to store more Cortium. Get either Rank 1 (6000 overall capacity for 50 Certs) or Rank 3 (8000 overall capacity for 400 Certs). This works well with 2000 and 6000 Cortium node sizes.
Defense: Reinforced Armor – makes the ANT more resistant to damage. 100 Certs.
Performance: Racer 2 – increases speed and hill climbing capabilities. 300 Certs.
Secondary Weapon: these go a long a way to increase your firepower. You have a few options, depending on whether you want to specialize against ground or air targets.
Hellfire, Breaker, Dual Photon unguided rocket pods. They are relatively easy to use, effective against infantry, and okay against vehicles. 875 Certs.
Coyote Missiles – effective against enemy aircraft at close range. Much easier to hit than the nosegun, but you will need to use both to fight enemy aircraft effectively. 875 Certs.
Hornet Missiles – these guided anti-vehicle missiles are potentially more effective than unguided rocket pods, but can be harder to use, especially against infantry. 875 Certs.
Performance: Hover Airframe Rank 2 – will make your ESF more maneuverable. 300 Certs.
Utility: Fire Suppression 3 – a great on-demand repair ability. 330 Certs.
Defense: Vehicle Stealth 1 – mostly equipped to hide you from Engagement Radars of enemy ESFs. 30 Certs.
When you pilot an ESF as an Engineer, it will automatically repair itself out of combat, so you don’t need the Nanite Auto Repair system that much.
Performance: Evasiveness Airframe 2 – will make you faster and more maneuverable. 300 Certs.
Defense: Vehicle Stealth 1 – mostly equipped to hide you from Engagement Radars of enemy ESFs. 30 Certs.
- Fire Suppression 1: 30 Certs.
- Scout Radar 2 – detects movement of enemy infantry within 100m and relays that information to nearby allies. Incredibly useful while you hover above the battlefield, providing spawns and fire support to your squad. 150 Certs.
Weapons: similarly to Sunderer’s Basilisks, your default Wyvern is the most effective and versatile weapon. You don’t need to replace it.
Utility: Afterburners 1 – provide an on-demand burst of speed. 250 Certs.
Defense: Vehicle Stealth 1 – mostly equipped to hide you from Engagement Radars of enemy ESFs. 30 Certs.
Nose Cannon: Tank Buster is the most effective Liberator nosegun. 875 Certs.
Tank Buster’s default magazine size is enough to destroy an MBT into rear armor, but it requires perfect accuracy. Getting a few Magazine Size upgrades gives you more margin for error, and allows you to engage MBTs from other sides as well.
Belly Weapon: your default Shredder is a versatile, easy to use weapon with a long effective range. Generally, there is no need to replace it.
Tail Weapon: your default Drake is “good enough” when dealing with ground and air targets, and it works well in combination with Shredder. However, if you don’t have a stable crew, a Walker might do a better job of attracting gunners, and it’s an effective anti-air machinegun.
Performance: other airframes can be viable too, but you should start with High-G Airframe 2, which will make you more maneverable. 300 Certs.
Utility: Fire Suppression 1: 30 Certs.
Performance: Racer Airframe 2 – increases cruising speed. 300 Certs.
Performance: High-G Airframe 2 – makes you more maneuverable. 300 Certs.
Defense: Nanite Auto Repair 1 – automatically repairs out of combat. 50 Certs.
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 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 make the majority of PlanetSide 2 bases. They have a few structures and one Capture Point.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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. All of them have to be occupied by players in order to do anything.
- 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.
These generators create a protective force field in a specific part of the base. There are two types of base shields:
- Non-transparent shields – block all projectiles and enemy units.
- 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.
- On some bases, like Bio Labs, a special SCU Shield Generator must be overloaded and destroyed in order for attackers to gain access to SCU.
- On other bases, like Tech Plants, SCU is 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 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 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.
Many bases have Sunderer Garages, which will provide cover for a deployed Sunderer, and they usually open a good path to attack the base.
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.
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.
Step 14. Learn About Continent Locking
As you know, PlanetSide 2 has four continents. Unfortunately, there are not enough players to keep the action going on all of them. So Continent Locking System was implemented.
Capturing territory and completing other objectives on a continent will earn a faction Victory Points. The first faction to reach 20 Victory Points will lock the continent, fully taking it under control. At the same time, one of the previously locked continents will unlock, and players will be able to go there.
Locking a continent gives the faction a global benefit, which persists until the continent is locked by another faction:
- 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 and landing pads automatically repair nearby vehicles and aircraft respectively.
Effectively, Continent Locking funnels all players on one or two continents, and it gives a whole faction an objective to work towards.
Step 15. Learn About 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 sieges 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 they Vehicle Terminal is camped, they can bring vehicles from the nearby base.
The No-Deploy Zone prevents attackers from deploying their Sunderers too close to Capture Points, but it is a common tactic for Defenders, and it makes protecting the base much easier.
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 naturally 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.
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.
For most “The Meta” of PlanetSide 2 is to play it like an open-world team death match with vehicles, especially on the level of solo players. Territory capture only serves as a reason for players to come to specific areas to fight each other. Many players focus on “farming” certifications, weapon medals or completing Directives.
But you should 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.
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.