Planetside 2 Player’s Guide – The Basics

Posted by on September 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm

My boys with the NC are locking it down!

Hey folks! We’ve been deep into the Planetside 2 beta for quite a while now and I know that a lot of the people who are new to the game tend to be faced with a bit of a learning curve. Since there is no real documentation laid out yet, I figured I’d sit down and write up a short guide as a primer for all of you who are new and those of you who will be joining the beta in the weeks to come.

Hope this helps all of you!


First, we’ll start with the very basics –


The game uses the standard FPS style W-A-S-D movement.

W will move you forward, A will strafe you left, S will move you backward and D will strafe you right. Turning and looking are done with the mouse.

Weapons and tools.

Switch weapons with the number keys on the top row. 1 is your promary, 2 is your secondary. From there you can also select various tools and utilities like the repair gun, mines, squad spawn beacons, turrets, etc…with the other number keys. You can also use the mouse scroll wheel to scroll through them. Reload your weapons with the R key and change fire modes from full to semi-auto on some weapons with the B key. Use the right mouse button to look down the sights or bring up your optics.

Other controls

Equipment and vehicle terminals are activated with the E key. Once you are in the interface for those terminals, you can select classes, equipment, vehicles and loadouts by clicking with the mouse.

The vehicle terminal in Planetside 2. Ready to roll out.

While spawning most classes does not have a resource cost associated with it, all vehicles do. The “Max” class also has a resource cost as well as a cooldown timer associated with it. All vehicles also have cooldown timers. Once you’ve selected a vehicle or a class, you can customize its loadout by clicking in any of the extra equipment boxes, seen below and beside the portrait.

Here are the classes you have to choose from

Voice Communications.

Planetside 2 has its own built in voice comms, which work pretty well. You have the default proximity chat for speaking to nearby allies, or spamming really obnoxious music and soundboards (Barrens chat, anyone?) which is activated with the number 4 on the number pad.

If you join a squad, you can communicate with them with the Z key and if that squad becomes part of a platoon you can communicate with the entire platoon with the X key. When and if you become part of an outfit, you can communicate with the outfit with the 9 key on the number pad.

If someone gets to be too annoying you can go into the menu (esc), go to social, then communications and find them in the list to mute them. Oh thank god for that mute button!

That’s going to cover it for the basic controls. Next we’ll move on to certifications, implants and the store.


This is one of the most important sections of the game, by far. The certification system is how you advance your character and build them up from a lowly newbie into a death dealing war machine. When you start out, you will have no certifications and no certification points. As you play the game and gain experience by killing your enemies and capturing objectives, you will gain certification points which can be spent on improving your character.

Spend those points, recruit!

In the screenshot above you’ll notice that many of the certifications aren’t yet active. Those are the ones which are in red and have the obnoxiously high cert cost. Most certifications will cost between 5 and 100 cert points, with some of the advanced command certifications weighing in at 500.

The folks at SOE are also talking about re-adding the “passive certification point gain” which will allow people to gain certification points while they are offline. This will work for both free to play accounts and subscription accounts though the subscription accounts will most likely gain passive points at a slightly higher rate than the free to play accounts.

You can get a description of each certification by hovering the mouse over the title.


Implants are items which can be purchased for “auraxium” which is the in-game currency used to purchase weapons, upgrades and “side-grades”. Each implant has a particular purpose and can be used for things like reducing the spawn delay for vehicles, allowing you to reload faster or allowing you to aim your weapon quicker after sprinting. The effects of the implants typically last 24 hours of real time and the costs associated are fairly reasonable.

The Store.

In the store, you can purchase and unlock various items for use in the game, including weapons, vehicle upgrades and camouflage. Each item has 2 costs associated with it. There is an auraxium cost, which will allow you to purchase the item with the in-game currency and there is also a station cash cost, which will allow you to purchase the item with pre-bought currency in the SOE station store.

Nachos! Get your nachos here!

While some people have complained that they feel like this is a pay-to-win system, it is more of a “pay to get things a little faster” system. Any player can access all of the items in the game and there will never be items which will be exclusive to paying players. This microtransaction system, unlike others, only allows the player to access items sooner than they would be able to if they waited to build up the in-game currency. It does not allow them to pay to unlock items which are not available to other players. This means that players who don’t have 20 hours per week to invest in the game can still access items at the same rate as those who do, leveling the playing field and making sure that people who don’t work or have nothing but free time can’t gain a huge advantage over those who don’t have that free time.

Being one of the people who doesn’t have all that free time, I’m ok with that.

So what’s the point of all this? What are we doing here?

Without going into the whole story of the game and how we got to be where we are, I can explain the basics. The planet the game takes place on was once inhabited by an ultra-advanced race of aliens called the Vanu. Those aliens found a way to cheat death by creating nanites which could very quickly (almost instantly) deconstruct and then reconstruct almost anything, including people. Once someone has entered a warpgate, their matrix is stored in a database and if they are killed, those nanites will immediately reconstruct them, alive and well, in the exact state they were in seconds before they were killed.

There is clearly a lot of technology which was left behind by this alien race and the 3 factions in the game have different ideas as to how that technology should be handled. The Terran republic is the militaristic force which was the main government of the people before we ended up on this planet. They want the technology suppressed and any access to it completely restricted. The New Conglomerate is a group of corporations who funded much of the expedition which brought us to this planet and is mostly made up of their mercenary and security forces. They want to get paid…bottom line. The Vanu Sovereignty is made up primarily of scientists who believe that the technology should be researched and used to make people better and stronger.


One of the continents in Planetside 2

In the map above, the factions are represented by their primary colors. The Terran Republic (TR) are in red, the New Conglomerate (NC) are in blue and the Vanu Sovereignty (VS) are in purple. Scattered around the map are resource nodes. That’s what we’re fighting for – territory and control of those resource nodes. More territory and nodes = more resources and cash. More resources and cash = better weapons and vehicles. Better weapons and vehicles = more ass kickery and since we’re all here to kick ass, that’s what we want; Resources and cash.

Well, that just about covers the basics and should have you ready to get in the game and get into the fight. Sure, there’s a lot more to learn and a lot more going on but this information will at least prepare you to run around and shoot things so get your ass in there and do some killing, soldier.


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