In the interests of expanding our horizons, Medic and I are doing an exchange where we take turns picking a free-to-play multiplayer game that one of us hasn’t tried. Last week we played Warframe, which Medic wrote about, and this week we were gonna try my old college love, Planetside 2, but then the game didn’t work on Medic’s computer. (Update: It eventually fixed itself, and our co-op adventures will be chronicled in Medic’s upcoming article!) However, this did cause me to reinstall again, and soon I was teleported back to my 2013 dorm room–running through Auraxian landscapes, solo-capping control points and constantly reviving corpses. I don’t know what it is about this game that sucks me in whenever I let it. I wish I could quit you, Vanu Sovereignty.

All of my Planetside recordings have these black bars around them and I can’t be arsed to fix it.

Since my medic certs were maxed out, I needed to find alternate objectives to motivate myself this time around, so I decided to fill all the holes in my statistics page. Step one was to get the three more knife kills needed so the unfinished ‘9 kills with stock knife‘ medal will stop giving me disappointed looks in the spawn screen. Considering I only had six melee kills for the entirety of my 150-hour career, this was tougher that it sounded. My winning strategy turned out to be sprinting into enemy spawn areas, ignoring the cautionary “You are in a restricted area and will auto-die in 5 seconds” and shanking a bitch before Zeus smited me for trespassing.

In a game with hundreds of players on the battlefield, freebies like this were few and far between. 

The main reason I wanted that melee medal was so I could switch over to my new promotional reskin and earn it a second time. For my last article I tried a few experimental promo codes, and one of them unlocked the Mittani “His Regards” knife, which is a statistical reskin of the stock knife and also looks tackier, but I’m a sucker for limited-edition. Truth be told, melee doesn’t really factor into my playstyle due to me being a medic with a shotgun. According to the Planetside 2 subreddit we’ll be getting new melee animations in the near future, which will be nice to see I guess. The Mittani knife looks more like a stabbing knife than a slashing knife in design anyway.

That’s not the only change I’m seeing from when I last played Planetside 2. There’s now some sort of ore-collecting metagame that I didn’t do any research about because I suspect it’s part of the higher-tier game for players who are invested in the global conflict across the continent. Kinda like the “build your own base” option, its just not something I’m ever going to do because I derive too much pleasure from just bringing bodies back to life to ever worry about the greater campaign around me. Speaking of base construction, while overall I think it’s a healthy thing for the game, I seem to exclusively find these custom fortresses cheekily hugging the very outskirts of the playable map. This gives them Constantinople-style protection, because whenever you attempt to flank around the sides, the announcer slays you for leaving the game’s perimeter. One particular fortress was further protected in a way I don’t fully understand, but somehow a small team of blue soldiers had completely sealed themselves inside a little canyon, using construction pieces like walls and floors to block all forms of damage, and the full brunt of the Vanu forces couldn’t do anything to extricate them.

On the plus side, that ‘battle’ gave me the chance to farm the everloving crap out of revive grenades. Due to the outdoor nature of that custom base’s invulnerable remains, I could stand at the Sunderer resupplying myself and just winging revive grenades at the Vanu corpses everywhere. This really helped me get a handle on how to throw those fiddly things, because they have a lot more bounce than I’m used to grenades having in shooters. It would be nice if we could choose different throwing strengths, kinda like how grenades work in Counter Strike Global Offensive, because there were a lot of times I threw a grenade at some corpses and watched it careen off the ground and fly far away. There seems to be no easy way to use a revive grenade in close quarters because your character spikes it into the ground and it takes off like a rubber ball. When they do work, however, revive grenades can be a great source of safe income during giant battles.

Not blaming the devs for this one though. That was all me. 

Not that there’s much for me to do with certs; as mentioned my Medic is maxed out and I literally never play anything else. The two upgrades I’m missing are Triage level 2+ (and I don’t think I’ve healed a single point of damage with Triage level 1) and Bandoleer level 3, which I haven’t felt like getting because I rarely seem to run out of grenades. Maybe I should start spending my certs on weapons and stuff, but I’m pretty happy with my current loadout. Corvette keeps saying I should get the Underboss pistol because it’s overpowered, and my binoculars crossbow is probably not the most efficient secondary I could be rolling with, but its the only unusual item in my loadout and I like equipping something that makes me feel unique. Not to mention I find myself using the 6x scope as makeshift binoculars in a lot of different situations and would miss its absence. I guess I could technically stick a 6x scope on any secondary, but the crossbow’s silenced quality is great for camping somewhere around an enemy Sunderer and pinking shots at people. I usually run out of crossbolts before someone figures out where the shots are coming from. On that note, did they remove scope sway? Because my aim is perfect, and I distinctly remember that not being the case back when I played Planetside 2 before.

My crossbow also has most of my vehicle kills, specifically the cheap ones. 

I’ve also been giving the default Pulsar rifle more of a shot since learning that only combat medics get to use assault rifles. This second chance has taught me that I seriously underestimated this thing, it is a beast once you get rid of those crappy default sights. Using the red dot scope I’d purchased for my Thanatos shotgun, I’ve fallen in love with the Pulsar’s nonexistent recoil, speedy reload and overwhelming ease of use. It comes with a free Forward Grip attachment that further reduces recoil, but I’m not sure it’s terribly necessary considering there’s almost none to begin with. Problem is, I don’t see anything better to waste my certs on because the only other two contenders are a laser sight (which ‘increases’ an already stellar accuracy) and a flashlight which I’ve already got on my crossbow. So now I bust out the Pulsar for long-range combat and save my shotgun for indoor/close-quarters skirmishes.

Seriously, look at that handling. Stability for days. 

One thing I learned about my guns from poring through my stats is that Planetside 2 keeps track of almost everything you do with them. Shots fired, shots landed, damage dealt… you can even see exactly how long you’ve equipped a certain weapon in your lifetime, and apparently I’ve carried the stock knife for over 72 hours in-game! The Medical Applicator’s stats must be bugged because it claimed I’ve only carried it for ten hours and I literally can’t even de-equip the thing.

Same with C4; it says I’ve equipped it for only an hour, but I’ve been rigging capture points with it for ages. 

I’ve also been looking at some of the equipment options I’ve made and wondering if it might be worth unlocking some other Medic options to adjust my build. My entire career I’ve chosen to focus on health, and to that effect I have Nanoweave armor which reduces damage from small arms fire, and Nano-Regen Device (NRD) which heals everyone around me in an aura. Its saved my life a few times because I can pop it and regenerate health quickly while fleeing desperately for cover, but there’s another build I read about on the forums that focuses more on shields. If I swapped my Nanoweave armor for Advanced Shield Capacitors and my NRD for Shield-Recharging Fields, I could replenish everyone’s shields in a firefight and passively renegerate my own shields extremely quickly. Neither build is strictly better than the other according to the forums, but my logic is telling me that the shield-focused playstyle works best for players who find themselves in multiple consecutive skirmishes and like to be ready for the next fight sooner. My build can help keep me alive for a particular fight but it has a longer recharge time, not that it matters because I end up dying in most of my fights anyway. So I think I’m using the right build already but I’d be lying if I said those certs weren’t burning a hole in my pocket.

Here I’d have been dead meat with a shield build. Also how did that revive grenade miss? ;_;

I also had something of an epiphany after a wounded aerial troopship landed in front of me and I got in for the hell of it; I wouldn’t have to live in fear of vehicles anymore if I got inside vehicles. I just have to avoid the driver’s seat, but there are plenty of ships that need passengers and gunmen. I even started putting that Triage ability to some use while camping in Sunderers and firing the turret at wayward planes, though I tried to get in airships whenever I could because it was fun to watch the crazy aerial combat that I’d only ever seen from afar during my two-dimensional life as an infantrywoman. Though after one pilot threatened to kick me if I didn’t go Engineer I realized that Planetside 2‘s other support class is more suited to serving as a member of a dedicated airborne crew. My favorite position was to sit on the side of Valkyries, like a clone from the battle of Geonosis, and heal it up with my Engineer gun. Absolutely brainless but it massively increases the ship’s survivability and gives you front-row seats to some of the most action-packed dogfights Planetside 2 can deliver.

Sarah Palin’s right, this is awesome!

I really need to start playing Planetside 2’s Engineer more. It’s cool when games have a true support class that isn’t a medic (Symmetra doesn’t count), and Engineer fills a niche that I don’t often see represented in shooters. Most games couldn’t handle a dedicated “repairing mechanical stuff” class and Planetside 2 succeeds because it so heavily integrates vehicles into infantry-based combat. Plus she’s a cert-farming machine, with her ability to drop ammo packs in the middle of besieged spawn rooms and repair all the busted turrets after her team retakes or successfully defends a base. During combat, she fills a vital role as the only person who can heal MAX players and she can secure a perimeter with her mannable turrets and anti-personnel mines. Plus she has access to an anti-material rifle that uniquely counters MAXes, vehicles, and deployables, further cementing Engineer as the master of all machinery.

Just imagine how many certs those ammo packs are farming for their owners. Makes me jelly.

So ends my second tour of duty in Auraxis. Seriously, I’ve got to deinstall this game again, it sucks my life away. At least Overwatch and Left 4 Dead rounds have a set endtime; Planetside 2 is the sort of game where you’re just peacefully moving from battle to battle, earning those creds slowly but surely, and before you know anything it’s the middle of the night and you were supposed to have called your dentist back to schedule your post-surgery checkup, proofread your brother’s essay in exchange for him doing all the dishes, and filed your taxes before any applied-to master’s programs check your legal state of residence because last year you filed in Texas but you put California on the application because you moved on July 1st which means you barely lived here the required half-year but you don’t want to leave anything to chance because you don’t want to pay out-of-state-costs. Hypothetically.