Today, February 21st, is an important milestone in my Planetside 2 career. Exactly 10 years ago, I first donned my spandex and took my earliest steps onto Auraxis’ battle-scarred continents. I can’t remember much about those beginning days beyond what I chronicled in older articles. But without even knowing it, I’d unwittingly started what would eventually prove to be the longest and slowest grind I have ever attempted in a video game.

Your Mission, Soldier

In 2014, Daybreak Games added the Directives system into their MMOFPS to provide some rewards for mastering the various facets of combat. Now you could earn stripes for achieving various amounts of kills/objectives with the many weapon types, vehicles, and classes in the game. The later tiers would unlock special cosmetics, player titles, and even exclusive weapons. But for me, only one directive stood out. Despite there being like a hundred of them, I had eyes only for the Medic Directive.

From Day 1, the medic class was my true love and the only thing I ever play. The rez grenade is one of my favorite weapons in all of gaming, and the rest of the kit is pretty great too. There’s nothing more fun (for me) than hiding on the front lines resurrecting corpses and trying desperately not to die. There aren’t really any other games you can get that experience thanks to there being so few MMOFPSes on the market. So from the very beginning I’ve been gunning for that Auraxium Plate Armor only rewarded to the Master-tier Medics.

Only one to go…

Miles to Go Before I Peak

Now, you can’t see later tiers until you unlock them, so I had no idea just how inflated the numbers would get. But I knew, thanks to each tier requiring more stripes than the last, I’d probably need to start killing people eventually. The first tiers went quickly enough, thanks to the game raining Healing and Revive ribbons like candy. Tier 3 was my first real roadblock, it took me literal years to farm out those Shielding Ribbons. But kill requirements were inevitably starting to filter into my docket…and I am unfortunately one of the weakest warriors across the entire playerbase.

KDRs are like golf, right? The lower the better?

Here’s the thing. Planetside 2 is a meat-grinder of a game. Most gun’s TKKs can be measured in milliseconds, especially against medics, and I’m pretty much just constantly dying to literally everything no matter the situation or team ratios around me. I’ve long made peace with being below the baseline in this game’s pecking order, so I’ve just been eking out those kills wherever I can get ’em. But the final stripe of the final tier, Savior Kills, has threatened my sanity more times than every Call of Cthulhu monster I’ve ever faced combined.

Somebody Save Me

In Planetside 2, “Savior Kills” specifically refer to when you kill an enemy while they’re dealing HP damage to a teammate (not yourself) at that exact same moment. (“HP damage” means the green healthbar, not the blue shields one, so the victim essentially needs to be at >50% vitality to count.) Said teammate also can’t die. If this sounds like a very specific set of circumstances, that’s cause it totally is… There’s not much I can do to make them happen as the triggering parameters are things largely out of my control. Plus I already get frags so rarely that requiring ‘Savior Kills’ on top of that feels more like hunting for shiny Pokémon than playing the actual game. Part of me wonders why medics’ directives are even asking for bizarre things like Savior Kills instead of focusing on their actual role of supporting the team.

At least I have the encouragement of my friends to keep me going

The main things I can do to up my chances are equipping C4 and frag grenades and prioritizing combat over my usual comfort zone. I’ve gotten somewhat better at killing since embracing the battle medic playstyle, but it still doesn’t feel great. The game was a lot more fun when I could focus on medicking, and I can’t wait for the day I get to re-equip my beloved rez grenades and play my team role properly again. (After taking probably a yearlong hiatus to emotionally recover from this never-ending grind.)

Sorry almost-dead-guy, gotta prioritize this MAX I can’t heal. Covering MAXes is the best way to fish for Savior Kills!

Bogardt Got Her Gun

But the main problem…is that this is just a ‘me’ problem. For everyone else, the Directive tiers are challenging but doable. Every forum thread on this sort of topic has posters saying, “Yeah it was tough, took me like a month.” I had similar reservations regarding the Assault Rifle Directive, which requires over five thousand kills to reach the end, but everyone on the forums racks up numbers like those within weeks. The game’s just balanced for people who get more kills than me. And I have no choice but to accept that and slowly chip away at those remaining 54 Savior Kills. I’ll get there…one day.

Every assault rifle kill I’ve ever earned, across a decade. Yeah, I gave up on that one.

Sadly, I’m probably not particularly close. Thanks to screenshots in older SPUF articles, I can see that I earned 15 savior kills between February and November of last year. Which means statistically I have…three more years at that pace till I complete the Directive. I guess they’re right, there really are no winners in war.