Saturday, November 24, 2012

Planetside 2: First Play Game Tips, Quick Edition (Text Only)

For those who don't know, Planetside 2 is a fantastic MMOFPS with a huge scope of things to do and it is out of Beta and available on Steam, Free-To-Play. A First Impressions article is on the way Someday™ with loads of info and screenshots that I have been collecting; but for now here are some quick tips for people new to the game to help you out with your first days playing.

A quick summary of the differences between the three factions is below, then some helpful tips [that aren't immediately obvious or perhaps not explained in the tutorial videos very well]:

The Vanu Sovreignity is a cultish, technology-worshipping faction of transhumanists that use ancient alien technology and look to find more and exploit it further. They use 'futuristic' alien-influenced looking armor and weapons and enjoy listening to euro-techno (it plays in menus and when you die, take a base, etc). Compared to the other factions, their weapons do middle-of-the-road damage, but are the fastest reloading and have no drop-off due to the fact they are laser-based (tank projectiles have some). Vanu don't ask for ammo, they yell "Do you have any batteries?" (which also means if you aren't Vanu and you hear this, you know where some Vanu are).

The New Congolmerate are a group of separatists and rebels that think any ruling group will be oppressive and are out fighting all other factions in the henhouse. Their weapons are somewhat 'low-tech' when compared to the others, with the slowest firing rate and longest reload time (they have the only snipers that start out with slower bolt-action rifles), but they put the 'big-block-engines' in 'em and they have the highest damage out of all the factions. In their spare time (the menu, when they die, level up, etc) they like to listen to some gut-busting home-grown rock 'n' roll.

The Terran Republic is a militaristic nation that seeks to unite the warring factions through expression of arms and authoritative rule. Their weapons do slightly lower damage when compared to the other two factions, but don't worry you can still clean out a room as a TR soldier as they have the highest firing rate and largest ammo capacity, shooting longer than anyone before they have to reload. As befitting their 'glorious nation', they go all out and hire a full orchestra to play whenever you are viewing menus, taking a base, or give your life to The Republic in battle.

  • As of the time of this post, when you first load into the game, no matter what faction you choose, you will be a Light Assault soldier and be dropped directly into a heated battle zone. Be ready to fight (even though you don't know what you are doing yet - as with most things in life, just follow where other people are going for the moment). You'll probably die quickly (don't get too upset about it, it's part of the game and will happen a lot) and then when you do, you can choose your Class from the list and even if you want to move somewhere else. (Spawning at your main Warp Gate and using the terminal with the Globe on it to go to your faction's VR [Virtual Reality] room to practice moving and shooting, driving vehicles and flying is a good idea. Noone can even teamkill you there. If you need to find your main Warp Gate to spawn from, you can find it on the Map (default key 'M') or the large buttons on the bottom of the menu screen - you may have to first click REDEPLOY to be able to pick other spawn points)
  • The map of each of the three continents is huge and it can take a long time to run and sometimes even drive where you want to go. Use the DEPLOY buttons to respawn closer to the action - unless you actually want to drive around, enjoy the scenery and take screenshots, of course!
  • To get in and out of Vehicles and access Terminals, when you walk up to them a pop-up will remind you what key you have set to use them (Default key is 'E').
  • Vehicles are accessed via Terminals that have Tanks or Aircraft on the display (a picture of one, in your faction's color) and use Resources that each empire gives out periodically, more if you control more regions and less if you lose them.
  • To deploy a Sunderer (an Armored Personnel Carrier that can become a Mobile Spawn Point for you and your teammates), you have to certify your soldier with the ability (training/talent tree) using Certification points. Then, under the Abilities for the vehicles, go into the Sunderer and add it under Utility Equipment. After that, when you are the driver in one that you spawned, and have driven and arrived at where you want to deploy, press 'B' (by default). Now other Soldiers on your team can spawn from your Sundy and you get XP for it!
  • Certification Points are the 'talent points' of the game, that allow you to unlock abilities and weapons and vehicles. You earn a Cert Point every 250 Experience Points (and seem to earn them slowly offline as well, one every hour or less). You earn Experience Points by doing [what I call] 'interactive actions' within the game, such as killing an enemy, healing a teammate, fixing a tank or turret, sabotaging a generator, and so on. Sitting still in an area of battle does not get you XP, so get in there and help your team!
  • If you use Certification Points and purchase Suit abilities or Weapon scopes, you have to go to a Terminal and access your soldier's Loadout and click on your weapon/suit and click Change Attachments and add it to the gun/suit in there. Vehicle upgrades also have to be added to your Loadout via the menu to be warped in with your vehicle. Then, simply click Resupply and you have everything you purchased ready to go when you spawn, resupplied everytime.
  • The Class Abilities (Medic AOE Healing, Heavy Assault Shield, etc) default key is 'F' [I prefer mine to be 'E']. For Light Assault, you use Jump (Space Bar) and you just hold it down to use your Jetpack.
  • The guns have recoil/spread but you can still fire long bursts if you compensate by dragging the mouse down/etc slowly as you fire. Practice on a wall at different ranges to see your bullet spread hits and which way you will have to drag your mouse to counter that weapons' recoil. It should be noted here, that the game engine still 'inserts recoil', so even with compensating by dragging your mouse in the opposing direction of the recoil (which works in most games with guns as weapons), there will still be some recoil effect.
  • Friendly-Fire is ALWAYS ON, which is more realistic but may take a bit to get used to at first if you haven't been playing games where you can damage your teammates. Be careful to not run in front of people shooting out doors, down hallways, etc and be careful not to shoot your teammates, as after a couple warnings, all of your weapons will be locked down for a while and you will be unable to shoot anything at all. If you are a pedestrian, keep wary of tanks and vehicles to not get your teammates penalized by accident (and also avoid having to respawn again from being run over).
  • You do not have to fight in the thick of combat on the front lines all the time. Bases and Outposts that are in nearby regions can be sabotaged - generators and shields can be shut down, terminals can be hacked (by Infiltrators) to spawn vehicles for your faction instead of the enemy, all of which will make the base easier to take when your allies arrive - and of course, defenses against all of these things are needed behind the front lines of combat. If you want some breathing room for a minute after taking a base, hang back and play defense, repairing and getting ready for when the other guys respawn/regroup and come up to try take the base back.  There are tons of things you can do to help out your faction in the large scope of this game. Change it up whenever you feel like it.

I saw some of these questions being asked a lot in-game and wanted to throw out some tips as well, to help anyone who didn't know these yet, especially first-timers.  Have Fun!

By the way, the game seems to have a lot of aliasing (in my opinion), even at 1080p or higher resolutions. If you want to enable AA, you can do so by forcing it in your videocard's Control Panel. 

FXAA (NVIDIA) and MLAA (Morphological, AMD/ATi) are both versions of post-processing that should work and be visible in the game. Note that these may not be able to be captured in screenshots and game recordings (Fraps, Bandicam, Dxtory, Playclaw, etc) although they will be visible while playing the game.

Another way to enable some Anti-Aliasing, is to open the UserOptions.ini file in the Planetside 2 directory (which by default, seems to be C:\Users\Public\Sony Online Entertainment\Installed Games\PlanetSide 2 .
In the UserOptions.ini file, in the first [Display] section, there is a setting called RenderQuality. By setting this to a larger number (such as 1.200000 or 1.400000), the game renders in the background at a slightly higher resolution, then displays at whatever resolution you have set in the game. This 'downsizing' upon display is a form of SuperSampling AntiAliasing, and will help get rid of the jaggies - at a performance hit/cost. Do some tests to see if the tradeoff is worth it for your system.

See You In The Game!