Welcome to the World of PlanetSide 2
On the planet Auraxis, three factions fight for control. Territory, resources, power -- these are the things for which men give their lives every day. The Terran Republic, the New Conglomerate and the Vanu Sovereignty vie for control over the alien world, and you, a humble soldier, must fight for your side. If necessary, you must die for your cause. In this war, battles are fought on an epic scale, with up to 2,000 players taking to the field to fight for control. Soldiers on the ground battle while heavy vehicles and air support pound each other around them. What part do you have to play in this war?
Sony Online Entertainment video showing some of the cool unique features of PlanetSide 2
A major war envelops earth, and threatens to eradicate the human race for good. It only stops when a wormhole opens near the orbit of Pluto. Scans of this rift showed an alien force scanning them back, and when the rift closed weeks later, Pluto itself was destroyed.
Faced with an outside threat, the nations of Earth banded together to form the Terran Republic. Nearly two centuries later, space explorers detect an odd signal coming from the fragments of Pluto in the outer system. The explorer himself becomes the Republic's president, and eventually brings back the alien artifact, which triggers an age of space exploration.
The wormhole reopens, and a human fleet is waiting. The fleet is sucked in and stranded on the other side, where political factions form as resources dwindle. A military coup takes over the fleet, forcing the civilians to search for a habitable planet. Meanwhile one of the major players in the fleet receives mental communication from the alien artifact, from a being called Vanu.
Eventually the planet Auraxis is discovered, and the fleet settles to begin terraforming. The core Terran forces and the Conglomerate split off to work in different ways, while the Vanu-touched man discovers a second alien relic. Vanu contacts him again, and around him a cult begins to form. Vanu is the leader of the ancient aliens who long since left the planet, and the Vanu cult begins to conflict with the two human factions using alien technology. War breaks out. This is where you come in.
What is PlanetSide 2?
PlanetSide 2 is a massive online first person shooter, along the same vein as Halo or Call of Duty, with a few unique twists. First off, battles take place on a massive scale. The three factions fight for territory on different continents on Auraxis, and each continent can hold two thousand players. The game has fast paced fighting, complete with ground and air vehicles for players to take advantage of. It also has a cycle of day and night, which adds a layer of tactics and strategy to the combat.
Teamwork and communication is a huge part of combat in PlanetSide 2. The game provides a few tools for communication with your faction, as well as the ability to use your own communication system with your friends.
Jumping into the action isn't that hard.
Continents are split up unto territories, which are themselves divided into sectors. Battles take place in these sectors, where a victory results in your faction taking over the sector. This makes maps more than just battlegrounds -- they are prizes as well.
Pick your Role, Soldier
In PlanetSide 2, you pick one of several classes to play as. This choice determines what your capabilities are, what skills you can learn, what specializations you have and what weapons you can use. In addition, your faction grants you access to special vehicles only usable by your group.
Nice overview of character creation, units, and vehicles.
The Terran Republic has access to the Mosquito, which is a very fast and agile attack airplane with a variety of weapons. They also get the Prowler, which is a medium tank with some of the most devastating weapons in the game.
Terran Republic faction promo
The New Conglomerate has access to the Reaver, which is a slow, heavily armored and very powerful flying vessel. They also can use the Vanguard, which is an incredibly slow land tank with devastating shots and amazing armor.
New Conglomerate faction promo
The Vanu Sovereignty can use the Scythe, which flies about the planet in unique ways, giving it unprecedented maneuverability. They also have the Magrider, which hovers over all sorts of terrain and can blast holes in the strongest of enemy armor.
Vanu Sovereignty faction promo
Several vehicles are available to players of any faction. These include the Flash, which is a one-man ATV with low armor and weaponry. The Lightning is a light tank with a versatile build, capable of mobility and damage at equal turns. The Sunderer is a 12-person troop transport with heavy armor and weapons, which can be used as a mobile spawn point by certain allies. The Liberator is a three-man heavy gunship with high anti-infantry capabilities, raining death from above. Finally, the Galaxy is a flying troop transport with light weaponry, which allows it to swoop in and deposit a squad at the enemy front gates.
The classes each have different primary purposes in the field of battle. Some of them are fast moving and mobile units capable of flanking the enemy and keeping them on the defensive. Others are excellent heavy shock troops, soaking up fire and dishing out damage on the front lines. Which class you play will determine your role in battle and how effective you are with what you do. Each class has a number of additional pieces of equipment and certifications they can earn, which rounds out their abilities. These take quite a while to earn even with the paid user experience boosts, so their upgrades are not insignificant.
- Light Assault troops are the fastest of the agile attack classes. They have the ability to leap on jump jets to scale walls and travel the terrain. They have a selection of unique grenades to stun and disorient their enemies, as they strike from behind. Light assault troops can wield pistols, shotguns and carbines.
- Heavy Assault troops are the polar opposite of light assault. Where light are fast and mobile, heavies are slow moving death machines. They may not be able to leap tall buildings, but they have the firepower to level them and the shields to survive the debris raining on top of them. Heavy assault troops wield pistols, shotguns, rocket launchers, light machine guns, battle rifles and specialized heavy assault weapons.
- Combat Medics are the key to surviving and winning many sustained encounters. Everyone can kill the enemy team, but only combat medics can keep their own team alive. Combat medics heal their allies and themselves, and have their own weapons to dish out the pain to anyone who gets too close. They can use pistols, shotguns and assault rifles.
- Engineers have a variety of styles available to them. Their construction kits allow them to make fortifications, heavy weaponry and armor on the spot. They can repair allied vehicles and MAX suits with ease, and they have a range of weapons to let them blast apart enemy armor and fortifications. They can use pistols, shotguns, carbines and battle rifles.
- Infiltrators are like light assault troops taken to the extreme. They have little in the way of direct offensive capabilities, but their stealth makes them invaluable allies in breaking a siege. They can hack enemy equipment and lay traps for those who investigate. They are able to use pistols, scout rifles and sniper rifles, suiting their abilities as combat support.
- MAX Suits are heavy suits of powered armor worn by heavy assault troops to make them even more effective. They have more armor than some tanks and can dish out more damage than entire enemy platoons. While they have no shields, their armor more than makes up for it. They can use two special categories of weapons: anti-infantry and anti-vehicle.
The Gameplay of PlanetSide 2
The majority of your time in PlanetSide 2 is spent in combat with other players. You enter a contested sector and you fight with your faction to oust the enemy faction and gain control of the map.
The game is a first person shooter at heart, and the gameplay reflects that. Other than when you're piloting a vehicle, you spend your time prowling the map for enemies and killing them before they kill you. You have objectives, enemy fortifications to take and your own to defend, but the primary gameplay is fast-paced running and gunning.
Player commentary detailing improvements to the game. Also lets you get a good look at the gameplay.
You will find that different classes work differently in battle. Infiltrators can mow down enemies from a distance with well-placed headshots, while MAX suits don't pay any attention to where they strike the enemy. This is one major upgrade from PlanetSide 1, where damage was damage.
PlanetSide 2 with Other Players
The key to surviving and succeeding in PlanetSide 2 is teamwork. A bunch of scattered soldiers doing whatever they want are likely to be ambushed and destroyed by the enemy. A successful mission requires a balanced team performing many objectives simultaneously. You need to be able to pick your class and your objective and stick to it, trusting your allies to support you. Because of this, playing solo is more or less impossible. There's no single player campaign to play through and there aren't really free for all game types where you can play the lone wolf.
Why do so many people like PlanetSide 2? The first reason is the fans of the original PlanetSide. The games are very similar, with the sequel being more of a massive game update than a new game entirely. There is a lot of depth to the game, with the variety of maps, objectives and play styles. You can play in all sorts of terrain, with vehicles or on foot. You can run operations during the day or the night, with each one offering benefits and drawbacks to different strategies. You can customize your character in a dozen different ways, adapting to the mission at hand.
Because of all of this customization, the game has endless replayability and depth. The world is constantly changing, with the map updated persistently and in real time. You may take a sector today with your allies, only to find yourself defending it next week against determined assault.
Fans of the first person shooter will love the game as another entry into the genre. It offers a lot to earn for character customizations, but it's still perfectly playable at level one. It isn't a Call of Duty clone, which brings many veteran FPS players to the field. As a unique combination of FPS and war simulator, it is top notch.
PlanetSide 2 is a Windows game, designed and developed for the PC. It requires a dual core CPU, a relatively modern graphics card and at least Windows XP to play. This means that most Mac players are out of luck. If their hardware is up to the task of running the game, they still have to content with Wine or another Windows emulator in order to play the game. Dedicated players will put in the work, but many find it not worth the effort.
PlanetSide 2's Freemium Model
PlanetSide 2 is a free to play game, but it uses a cash shop system in order to make enough of a profit to continue hosting and updating the game. This means that paid players will have a bit of an advantage over free players.
Players who pay for the game generally gain passive bonuses to their exp gain. This means they rank up faster, earn certifications faster and generally become more powerful players faster than free players. This doesn't have a huge impact on the game, but some free players find the time investment too large to justify.
Players can also use Station Cash (the PlanetSide 2 game currency) to buy cosmetic outfits for their characters, as well as specific cash-only weapons and items. These weapons and items may have the largest impact on the game as a whole, but it still isn't overpowering. Most battles take place between two teams of mixed paid and free members, so the field tends to be even.
Video Guides For Beginners
Watch this playlist series of videos to get all the information need to learn the game and playing quickly