As a new player in PlanetSide 2 you might come under the belief that your starter weapons aren’t cutting it and that you’re due for an upgrade. I’m here to dispel that notion, and reaffirm that many of the starter weapons are some of the strongest pieces of gear in PlanetSide 2. In this post I will perform a rundown of every class’s starter weapons and explain how best to utilize them. Let’s begin shall we:
NC = AF-19 Mercenary
The Mercenary is hands down one of the better carbines in the game and was the first one I ever auraxiumed. What it lacks in firerate it makes up in damage. It also has a forgiving kick when compared with other Conglomerate armaments, making it perfect for new soldiers. Due to these characteristics this weapon is best used at a medium range. It can hold its own up close, but you run the risk of engaging enemies who have weapons better suited for the job. Use your jetpack to place yourself on roof tops and control the range of your engagements. As engi you are normally in the back of the herd so you’ll already have some range to work with, just don’t shoot your heavies in the back of the head!
TR = TRAC-5
When it comes to fire rate the TR often like to lead the pack, and the TRAC-5 exemplifies this perfectly. While one might view its damage as lackluster (especially when coming from the Mercenary) the fire rate is what is special here. This weapon fires significantly faster than other faction’s starter carbines and should be used accordingly. This means that the TRAC excels in close range combat where it can easily be used as a bullet hose while your opponent must carefully take time to aim. Just remember to get to safety before reloading that large mag, as it takes a little while.
VS = Solstice VE3
So if the NC have high damage, and the TR have high fire rate, what do the VS have? The VS actually takes a page out of both faction’s books and tries to get the best of both worlds by finding a happy medium between both stats. The Solstice doesn’t have a great rate of fire, but it isn’t bad either. It’s damage isn’t huge, but it’s also not small. The weapon is everything a VS weapon is supposed to be, and that is a well-rounded tool. Now that might sound like it’s the best thing ever, but keep in mind that the TRAC and the Merc will still be better in their respective fields, this gun simply holds its own in both of those fields. When using this gun make sure to take note what kind of enemy you’re going up against and exploit the kind of situation he is not suited for. Find a dude with a TRAC? Attack from range! Find a guy holding a Merc? Get in close!
NC = NC1 Gauss Rifle
Ok so you know how the Merc defined the concept of an NC weapon with its high damage and lower fire rate? Well this weapon takes that to the next level. When you compare the Gauss Rifle to something like the Terran T1 Cycler it fires pretty slow at an even 600 RPM, but the thing is that the Gauss hits harder and is more accurate. When I say more accurate I don’t just mean its bloom stats and such, I also am taking into account the gun’s muzzle velocity. You may notice that it is the highest out of the starter rifles, making it much easier to land bullets on far away targets, just mind the kick. This makes this gun great for supporting medics who like to shoot over the shoulders of their front-line allies. However, you may find yourself exposed if an enemy light assault or infiltrator makes it behind your lines.
TR = T1 Cycler
Speaking of the Cycler, here it is. This weapon boasts the highest rate of fire out of the starter assault rifles at a speedy 750 RPM and ties with the VS on its damage profile. Unlike the Gauss Rifle, it doesn’t have a stellar muzzle velocity so it is best suited as a CQC gun. This means that the gun pairs well with heal heavy medics who are less concerned with killing than keeping allies in the fight at full health. That’s not to say the gun doesn’t have killing potential, because lord knows that flanking light assault who snuck up close to you is going to have a bad time. Just try to stay out of the open with this gun and you’ll do fine.
VS = Pulsar VS1
Lastly, we land on the Vanu’s Pulsar. This thing has a solid fire rate of 698 RPM and a muzzle velocity of 615 m/s, making the projectile move only 5 meters per second slower than the Gauss Rifle. This has the weapon settle in at a medium to long range role so it once again is good for medics playing in the back line who want a piece of the action. Due to the well-rounded nature of this gun it’s a great pick for entering fights where you aren’t sure what’s going on. Not sure if you’re storming a building on Hossin or fighting from dune to dune on Indar? Grab yourself a Pulsar and you’ll be ready for anything.
NC = NC6 Gauss SAW
I love this gun, but you have no business using it if you’re reading this article (and aren’t a vet who is just bored/fact checking it). The Gauss SAW hits like a fucking firetruck with NASA rockets strapped to the side that is being piloted by Muhammad Ali’s right fist, but it recoils accordingly and will give even the most tacticool operators a black eye. The tooltip of this gun also claims it was, “designed to perform well in many combat situations” which just isn’t true. Will you see MLG heavies using this gun in CQC? Yea, and you’ll see them using a flare gun to kill MAXs too so does that mean you should try that? Hell naw! This gun is made for medium to long range combat. Pick a firing lane and work it like a pole on Saturday night. Keep your enemies at an arms reach away and you’ll shred infantry like nobody’s business, but the second they get close you’re done. Go pick up what I and many others believe to be what the NC starter LMG should have been, the GD-22s. Now that gun is both versatile and forgiving. Come back to the SAW when you’re older, you’ll thank me later.
TR = T9 CARV
Praise be to Malorn, for he gave us the CARV. The CARV is THE defining starter gun for the Terran Republic. Reloads? Not in my vernacular. Fire rate? Too high to count, baby! Damage? Eh its average, but did you see that fire rate?! This thing fires fast and long by sporting a 750 RPM and 100 bullet mag (combining the Orion’s RPM and SAW’s mag). This thing is great for point holds where enemies just don’t stop shoving themselves through the front door. Get another buddy who is sporting this gun and you will have that doorframe suppressed indefinitely (given there is an ammo pack nearby). This is the weapons to go to for Alamo style point holds, and it also doubles well as a breaching tool on account of that fire rate.
VS = Orion VS54
K so you wanna be MLG m8? You get yourself an Orion. The Orion is often touted as the best LMG in the game, if not the best infantry gun. It’s got the same fire rate and damage profile as the CARV while carrying a sub-par muzzle velocity, but it is laser accurate and has a lighting fast reload, making its relatively small mag size of 50 rounds not that much of an issue (for comparison the SAW has a short reload of 6.5 seconds and Orion of 3s). This gun breaks point holds and outplays enemy infantry at range. Oh, and did I mention that it is still pretty accurate while moving? Yea, MLG spandex heavies use the Orion.
NC = NC14 Bolt Driver
This sniper is the only bolt action rifle given to new players by default so it attracts a lot of what we in the industry call “bolt babies”, new players who sit on hilltops and spawn rooms trying to hit ANYTHING with this gun, you will not become a bolt baby… this is an order. Let me first start by saying that sniping in PS2 isn’t like many other games and while I will not describe how to properly do it in this guide I encourage you to look up other content to help you learn, see Wrel’s video on the topic here. With that out of the way let’s talk about the gun. It’s a pretty standard sniper rifle, nothing to write home about but also nothing to scoff at. It’s got some pretty hard bullet drop and it’s velocity leaves a lot to be desired personally, but it does get the job done with a one shot kill headshot and high damage profile. Pick up a straight pull bolt for this gun and a little higher optic (not too high, because 12x kinda puts you outside of your effective range) and you’ll do fine. Just… get out of the spawn room when you snipe please.
TR = 99SV
Right off the bat you will notice this rifle is semi-auto and you might be upset. I understand your frustration as you might just be looking for that Sniper Elite style of gameplay, but you can unlock a bolt action rifle later. For now this gun actually isn’t terrible, it just requires a different playstyle than your average sniper. First I like to think of this gun simply as a longer range marksman carbine. It is designed with medium range in mind and can even kinda cheese close range kills too, but anything too far away just isn’t happening. When used in this range the gun is great for landing multiple rapid fire hits and forgives you if you miss a few. If you are dead set on picking up a bolt action rifle I’d go for the RAMS .50m, since it has the fastest bullet velocity (use this at extreme range only).
VS = VA39 Spectre
It’s just a 99SV. No really go look at that stats, they are effectively the same. Everything I said for the 99SV can be said here. If you are looking to upgrade to a bolt action then the Parallax is the equivalent of the TR’s RAMS .50m.
At the time of the guide’s writing the devs are attempting to revamp shotguns to be more skill focused, this part of the guide could be obsolete by tomorrow for all I know. For now shotguns are low skill, high reward weapons that don’t teach good habits. I do not encourage learning on a shotgun. You can come back later once you understand positioning better to use shotguns with more skill, but they are still cheesy and not fun to fight against. If you insist on using one I shall teach you, but act responsibly with the knowledge I am giving you.
The whole crew = Mauler S6, FA1 Barrage, and Thanatos VE70
These are all the same gun with different skins. The only change is that the Thanatos has got a muzzle velocity of 275m/s while the other two have 300m/s velocities, don’t ask me why this is. Regardless, all of these armaments handle the same. You very well could run head long into an enemy and spam buckshot till you kill him/her/Lib-kin, but you’ll die as well. This is not an efficient playstyle and we are all about efficiency here, because if my force is more efficient than yours I’ll win every time, so get that bum rush notion out of your head. Shotguns excel at hit n’ run playstyles or as personal defense weapons in close range combat. If you want to go on the offensive with a default shotty I’d pick up your jetpack and use a light assault, why? Because shotguns are all about positioning, you can’t hit shit outside of your effective range (given you aren’t using slugs) and light assault is the king/queen/royalty-kin of positioning. When hunting enemies as a shotty LA stay high above them and search for the sickly gazelle, that’s your lone medics, engis, and confused LAs who don’t realize then have a default carbine and a jetpack so they could be fragging your ass right now. When you spot your target swoop down using a combination of gravity and your jetpack, light the poor sucker up, and then jet away back into the aether.
Maybe you don’t want to go on the offensive with these things, so how about using it as a self-defense weapon? For this I would put it on either a support engi or medic (would not use these solo/operating vehicles). Since you are in the back line with these roles you don’t really need range and can use a shotgun to quickly pop any flanking enemies who get too close. Just remember, if you choose this playstyle you have chosen NOT to be the kind of support who fires over ally’s heads. If you want to do that then head back to the assault rifle or carbine section and read up there.
What about heavy assault though, they have access to shottys too right? Yes, and I wouldn’t bother with them. As a heavy you have access to LMGs which are some of the best weapons in the game, even in CQC (see the Orion, Anchor, or MSW-R). You lack the mobility to use shotguns effectively as an offensive positioning centric playstyle, and aren’t hanging out in the back of squads. Shotguns on HA are pretty much just used to cheese kills from around corners and aren’t conducive to learning/higher skill play.
NC = NC4 Mag-Shot
A quaint little gun that is reminiscent to a real life 1911. It looks cool because it’s generic and it does its job, but once that job is done it clocks out, no extra perks for you. The Mag-Shot is best used as a finisher tool when you are out of ammo but there is still a low health enemy in front of you. Pull it out and pop the guy, but you want to be getting back to your primary as fast as possible. You can also use this gun as a stalker infiltrator to… some effect, but you’re better off picking up an NS Pistol (not the blackhand if you’re new) or a Desperado. If you are looking to replace this gun the Commie or Underboss do its job and more.
TR = TX1 Repeater
My favorite of the starter pistols. This pistol is actually a burst firing gat fit for the most G of Auraxis’ home dawgs (Did I say that right?). The gun is really great as a finisher tool, more so than the Mag-Shot even. If somebody has got the jump on you while you’re out of ammo then pull this little guy out and start hip firing like crazy. The gun is also pretty good at stalker infiltrator ops too, given how it does pretty damn well in CQC. Again however, if you are looking to replace this gun the Commie or Underboss do its job and more.
VS = Beamer VS3
The Beamer has a cute/cool sound and that is ALL it has. I’m sorry to say VS, but your sidearms are dinky laser tag guns. This gun gets outperformed by both the Mag-Shot and the TX1, leaving it very little room to fit in between the two. It stays accurate when spam firing, but that’s not exactly a selling point on a panic sidearm with such a small damage profile (not to mention you probably aren’t taking the time to aim precisely). If you care about your sidearm, pick up a Commie or Underboss once you are done with your essential cert lines.
Rocket Launchers (oh yeah, we’re going through all these weapons):
The whole crew again = Shrike, ML-7, and S1
Once again we have the same weapon reskinned for each faction (not really a bad thing though). All of these launchers are dumb fire, just like my assistant squad lead, this means that once you fire the rocket it just soars in one direction till gravity brings it down. To make up for their lack of accuracy (or rather their difficulty to be landed on target) they all pack a pretty hard punch. These launchers are great for taking out deployed sundies or other slow moving vehicles/MAX units. Hell, you can even take down a hovering ESF using one of these bad boys! However, while we are on the topic of air I do have to recommend picking up your faction specific G2A (ground to air, not the website) launcher. This is a cheap way for you to actually own an anti-air platform without investing in the joke that is the skyguard or the very expensive second burster arm for your MAX (the single arm is also a joke if you only use that). The G2A launchers are as follows; Hawk for NC, ASP-30 Grounder for TR, and Nemesis VSH9 for VS.
All of them are the same for each faction, but I just want to encourage using them. A lot of players forget that the knife takes out 500 HP, that is half of an infantryman’s base health pool (so things like heavy shields and aux shield change it). That can be a HUGE difference in a CQC fight where you just need that quick burst of damage to make it out alive.
So that’s it, I’m done. Hopefully you’ve learned something, and if not then I hope you had fun? If you disagree with any of the info here please send your complaints to, firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck and have fun!