Updated Thu, Oct 11, 2012 by ricoxg
Our last PlanetSide 2 class guide discussed the Infiltrator, Light Assault, and Combat Medic classes. Today we’ll be finishing up by looking at the Engineer, Heavy Assault, and MAX classes. Because PlanetSide 2 is unique in the openness and persistence of its design, the battles tend to be much more fluid and unique than in other games. As the needs of the fight change, understanding the differences between classes could put you at a significant competitive advantage.
Ah, the engineer. Everyone has their own favorite, and I have to admit that these might be mine so far. As versatile as the Infiltrator, the Engineer has a number of jobs and does them all well. For personal defense, the Engineer packs medium armor comparable to the Light Assault, the standard side-arm, and either a light assault rifle or purchased shotgun of their choice. Of course, beyond those more simplistic tools the engineer also packs a belt too sophisticated to be called mere “utility.”
Sun Tsu says that the wise general first must secure their own position before they have concern for the enemy’s position, and the Engineer does just that. Certifications allow the Engineer to equip Anti-Tank mines, Bouncy Betty Anti-Personnel mines, or C-4. They also have the ability to certify into sticky grenades for more selective and personal death-dealing.
No Engineer is complete with-out his handy Turret of Lawn-Mowing +5. Those pesky weeds just run and hide when you drop that puppy down. It’s perfect for defending choke points as it lays down a good rate of fire, while also providing some additional protection to the Engineer manning it and those standing behind him. Even unmanned deployed turrets make decent obstacles to slow down enemy assaults through hallways, or to bunch them up for a well-placed C-4 charge to deal with.
The Engineer also has the quintessential repair gun for fixing friendly vehicles, facilities, and MAX suits, but the repair gun can also be rewired to damage enemy version with a certification. The Engineer also can resupply ammo to nearby friendlies by default, and eventually will be able to certify into additional types of turrets and shield generators.
When retreating isn’t an option and the line must be held at all costs, there’s only one call, the Corp of Engineers. If it can be done, they’ll do it. If it can’t be done… well, the impossible just takes a little longer.
Rocking the heaviest armor and biggest guns available to regular infantry, the Heavy Assault embodies the term “hard-hitting.” They can carry a range of personal weapons like several versions of heavy assault rifles, shotguns, and even the heavy weapons such as the returning Thumper. Additionally they pack anti-vehicular rocket launchers, which can be upgraded to tracking Anti-Tank or Anti-Aircraft versions.
Currently the Heavy Assault can certify into C-4 explosives, but they also have anti-tank grenades and concussion grenades in the pipe. Beyond their ability to dish out punishment, the Heavy Assault trooper has the ability to take it. By hitting the “F” key, they create a nanite field around themselves that absorbs some of the incoming damage, supplementing their already significant armor.
Their nanite shield can also be enhanced through certifications as the Heavy Assault work their way through a few different options. Some certs enhance the shields general effectiveness, while others make it stronger at the expense of recharge rate. Additional certs can specialize the shields to absorb specific types of damage such as shrapnel from anti-personnel mines, make the shield lighter and less restrictive, or even recharge a little with each enemy killed.
Whatever their certifications, all Heavy Assault carry the same specialization, and that’s mayhem. Wherever the fighting is thickest, that’s where you’ll find these Soldiers of Fortune dishing out punishment by the metric ton. If you’re not one for subtly and just want to blow stuff up, this is probably the class for you. Please, just don’t be charging around shouting “get to da choppah” in local VoIP.
It’s been suggested that the MAX suit originated when SOE consulted Terry Crews for a new class, and he just shouting “power” and kicking over set pieces at the facility in San Diego. I’m not sure how true the story is, but there is definitely a little old spice in this class. The MAX suit isn’t exactly infantry; for all that it’s accessed through infantry terminals. You can’t spawn as a MAX and you can’t drive or pilot a vehicle while wearing the suit.
So the MAX isn’t exactly infantry, and it’s not exactly a vehicle. What it might be is a self-propelled sandbag of psychotic terror with very large guns. MAX suits appeared in the first PlanetSide where they quickly earned the moniker of meat-shield. That old term still applies as no assault goes through a door that isn’t led by a MAX.
The MAX has some unique options to it in that it starts off currently with access to two weapons, each of them specific to the faction. The NC’s Scattergun semi-automatic shotgun is perfect for clearing rooms full of infantry. I’m not sure what the gauge is, but Soldiers recycle spent casings in place of coffee cans. The Falcon grenade launcher is the default for taking on vehicles and enemy MAX suits at range, and does a fair job of that.
The Vanu MAX units start with Comet, which fires orbs of plasma for melting through any vehicles’ armor, and Quasar rapid-firing plasma cannon for anti-infantry support. The Terrans went for a grenade launcher for their anti-vehicular system. They renamed it, but sources close to the Terran military confirm that it was actually stolen from the New Conglomerate and repurposed for use by the Republic. The TR answer to the anti-infantry need was the Heavy Cycler chain-gun, holding with their philosophy that more lead down-range means better chance of hitting something.
Save up enough Araxium and you can switch out the default weapons for the Burster or Flamethrower options. The Burster fires flak-like projectiles that are perfect for taking out enemy aircraft. The Flamethrower of course is ideal for those tight enclosed spaces and taking out the infantry that tends to hide there. A point to consider is that while either has its niche, you’ll always find times to go back to the default weapons, which means you’ll rarely see more than a couple MAX units configured the same way.
Where the MAX really starts to shine is versatility with which all these weapons can be combined. The MAX has a slot in each arm, and that slot can be filled with any of the four available weapons, allowing for a multitude of configurations. A Max can be configured for general use by equipping one anti-vehicle weapon with an anti-infantry weapon, or can load up double for specialized missions. Defending a biolab might call for dual-flamethrowers for instance, where running the same in an open field battle would be rather useless.
Cert-wise, the MAX has a ton of unique options. Currently there are several options in the pipe for weapon-related enhancements such as ammo types that deal more damage to shields, but none are currently in the game. What is currently in the game are certs that make the MAX more mobile and enhance its armor regeneration. Also there are certifications for several abilities. Charge allows the MAX to surge forward, Overdrive increases fire rate for a short time, and Riot Barrier creates a shield in front of the MAX to absorb damage.
Well, that’s it for the Engineer, Heavy Assault, and MAX classes in PlanetSide 2. Hopefully you’ve found the article helpful, I know I enjoyed writing it as I stepped through each class and did play-testing. There will be those who complain about balance issues, but I really feel like SOE has put forth a lot of effort and thought on balance class-wise, and it really shows. While some classes have a little bit of cross-over, each class has a very specific and unique role to play on the battlefield. I’d say they’re unique enough that everyone will have pretty specific favorites, but they’re all fun enough to play that you won’t be stuck there. So have fun, and thanks for reading!