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Video Game: PlanetSide
aka: Planetside

PlanetSide is an MMOFPS (Massively Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter) developed by Sony Online Entertainment and released in 2003. It is likely the second true MMOFPS ever to be released, after World War II Online (2001), and is remarkably still online to this day, despite its vanishingly small market share relative to the overall MMO space.

The plot, such as it is, involves future space-faring humans (under the banner of the totalitariannote  Terran Republic) stumbling through a wormhole onto a suspiciously Earth-like planet dubbed Auraxis, and becoming trapped there when the wormhole unexpectedly closes. Cut off from the rest of humanity, the Auraxians splintered into three factions, kicking off an all-out war for control over the bases established across the planet. Advanced nanotechnology conveniently left behind by the local Precursors (referred to as the Vanu) can both reconstruct soldiers after death and fabricate an endless supply of weapons, armor, and vehicles, ensuring a state of Forever War.

The three factions are:

  • The Terran Republic (TR), or what's left of them on Auraxis are still loyal to The Empire: Their ultimate goal is to re-establish the wormhole and bring the planet back under Terran control. Their weapons and vehicles follow the More Dakka school of design, spewing bullets/shells at high rates of fire and with great accuracy but at relatively low damage per shot. They also possess the fastest vehicles. Website
  • The New Conglomerate (NC) are a coalition of rebels, mercenaries, and corporations who prefer democracy, freedom, human rights, and laissez-faire capitalism over the Republic's totalitarian regime or the Sovereignty's secretive technocracy. Their weapons are slow-firing but pack a high damage per shot, and their vehicles are big and ponderous but heavily-armored. Website
  • The Vanu Sovereignty (VS) are a cult of scientists and other intellectuals who embrace Vanu technology to a much greater extent than the other factions, hoping to eventually Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence as they believe the Vanu themselves did. Energy Weapons are their specialty, often with the unique ability to fire in standard or armor-piercing modes using the same ammo. Their vehicles are relatively fragile, but have hover drives that allow them to strafe and scoot across bodies of water to attack from unexpected angles. Website

At its core PlanetSide is a skill-oriented FPS with a "territory capture" style of gameplay, featuring a large variety of weapons, vehicles, and special abilities. However, it involves much more strategy and teamwork than a typical shooter, and is noticeably slower-paced. One reason for this is the scale: There are ten contested continents, each of which is a single zone (no instancing!) about 200 square miles in size and capable of hosting up to 133 players per faction, making for a maximum of 500. To stay organized, players can form impromptu "squads" of up to 10 or "platoons" of up to 30, and the more permanent "outfits" (equivalent to guilds or clans) can be indefinitely large and have their own ranks and command hierarchy.

Shortly after PlanetSide's release and surprisingly good reception, SOE angled for a cash-in with the game's first and only expansion pack, Core Combat. It introduced several subterranean battle zones, filled with strange crystalline structures and hopelessly confusing networks of ziplines. Capturing cavern facilities would reward your faction with "modules" that could be installed into bases on the surface, providing access to new Ancient Tech weapons and vehicles as well as some other useful benefits. While the new toys were nice, the caverns themselves were universally derided as horribly-designed combat spaces, with the end result that they were (and still are) eerily deserted most of the time.

In 2004, Auraxis went through an ill-defined process known as The Bending, causing it to be inexplicably split into a collection of small planetoids, each containing a single continent from the original Auraxis (save one, which was destroyed and replaced with four new "Battle Islands"). Later that same year, the Aftershock update was released, adding faction-specific Humongous Mecha only obtainable by Core Combat owners, and then only after an arduous cavern-oriented "imprinting" process. Notably, said mechs were rather poorly-balanced at first, accelerating the decline in subscribers that began with Core Combat's release.

The purchasable product was subsequently renamed PlanetSide: Aftershock and now included Core Combat, making it no longer possible to buy the vanilla, expansion-less PlanetSide. In 2006, as part of a limited free-play "Reserves" promotion to renew interest in the game, any pre-Aftershock holdouts who still didn't have Core Combat were given it for free. This effectively removed Core Combat's status as an "expansion", making it just another part of the game.

In 2005, as player numbers continued to decline, SOE added in-game advertising to PlanetSide, without reducing or removing the existing $15-per-month subscription fee. Despite ostensibly doing this because the game could no longer survive on subscription income alone, the move caused many a head-scratch: As a Sci-Fi game set thousands of years in the future on a just-discovered planet completely cut off from society, PlanetSide was probably the worst possible candidate for in-game advertising to begin with. However, the ads (which have since been removed) apparently did provide enough revenue to allow the dev team to continue fixing balance issues and adding the occasional new weapon or vehicle to the game.

In 2011, PlanetSide 2 was announced. It's more of a modern remake of PlanetSide than a sequel, and effectively Retcons away everything from Core Combat onward: Auraxis remains in one piece, with no confusing caverns or Humongous Mecha whatsoever. Additionally, it's going to be free-to-play. PS2 significantly Retcons the previous game - the Terran Republic no longer kick puppies, the New Conglomerate isn't so nice any more, and the Vanu Sovereignty are fanatical zealouts.

PlanetSide 2 was launched for the PC on Nov 20, 2012. It will also be ported onto the PlayStation 4. It features much faster-paced combat than the original, typically compared to Battlefield 3. There are less continents and they are overall smaller, but are much more "dense", with more areas to contest compared to the original game. The do-it-yourself loadouts of yore (which lead to everyone carrying the exact same loadout) have been replaced by a distinct class system—Medics, Engineers, Light (and Heavy) Assault, et cetera.

On May 21st, 2013, the developers awarded anyone who had ever played PlanetSide 1 or PlanetSide 2 a free 6 month subscription to the first game, in preparation for PlanetSide going free to play.

The sequel also features the "Player Studio", allowing players to create content (currently only hats, camouflage, and hood ornaments, though it's slowly being expanded) and sell it in-game for a profit (provided it's approved by SOE) ala Team Fortress 2's Mannconomy.


This MMOFPS provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The Vanu Sovereignty favors plasma and laser-based weaponry, which are reloaded with batteries. In the case of their pump-action shotguns in the sequel, they are reloaded with what appears to be Energizer AA-batteries.
  • Action Bomb: Aircraft abandoned mid-flight will fall to the ground and explode, killing anyone nearby. While many people don't bother thinking about this when using aircraft as a transport, some do aim for groups of enemy soldiers when ejecting.
  • Alien Geometries: The cavern facilities and the Ancient Tech weapons/vehicles.
    • Surface warpgates, though allegedly also created by the Vanu, don't share this aesthetic.
  • Alien Sky: All of the continents have different suns and most of them have this odd, jet-stream nebula looking thing floating in the sky. Some continents (Amerish?) have massive gas giants or stars next to them, and the flavor text describes their eventual fall into the sun, or the atmosphere being burned away.
    • PlanetSide 2's skybox has an enormous gas giant with an Earth-like moon. Night time has red and blue nebula in the sky and, on Esamir, beautiful aurora borealis.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: The New Conglomerate in the first game are definitely the "good" faction, with their bad traits being poor leadership, which stands in contrast to the fanatical Vanu Sovereignty and the totalitarian Terran Republic. Averted in the second game, where the NC is backed by not-so-nice monolithic corporations and a variety of discontents, while simultaneously the Terran Republic was made "good", but the Auraxis remnants are going through troubling times, and the Vanu Sovereignty have ramped up their crazy technology religion to the next level.
  • Alternative Calendar: The Vanu Sovereignty measure time in "After Wormhole"
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: In the first game, in addition to their color scheme, the Terran Republic's genocidal intolerance of "deviance" and their propaganda on the matter smacked very heavily of the Third Reich. This aspect was dropped in the second game's reboot, but the infamous TR Outfit The Enclave was openly white supremacist in ideology and accusations were leveled at their leadership for being Nazi sympathizers. The accuracy of the accusations is ultimately unknown, but almost no one, not even their TR comrades, were sorry to see The Enclave break up.
  • Apocalypse How: The Bending even resulted in tens of thousands of asteroids raining down on every continent as the planet broke up, crushing any poor sod dumb enough to go outside.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Tanks in PS2 are immune to small arms fire and take reduced damage from larger weapons depending on whether the front, top or side is hit. Attacks to the rear and underside of the vehicle do additional damage instead.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: The Sunderer (a.k.a. "Bangbus") vehicles, massive trucks bristling with guns, equipped with a rechargeable EMP blast, and capable of transporting heavy armor. They're also the only vehicles with a horn, making them sound a lot like an eighteen-wheeler as they crash straight through your base's shielding.
    • The lightweight Deliverer family of APCs are close. While they lack the ridiculous armor, EMP blast, and MAX slots of the Sunderer vehicles, they have higher mobility and are amphibious (an ability otherwise found only on the VS-exclusive hover vehicles and hard-to-obtain Ancient Tech vehicles).
    • The sequel's Sunderer has more hit points than a tank, and doesn't have the cripplingly weak rear armor. Even when fighting front to front, a Sunderer with only one gunner on the default heavy machinegun has a good chance of winning a one on one fight with the Lightning light tank—both gunners, and it'll win against a Main Battle Tank that doesn't have a secondary gunner.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Scorpion Special Assault missile/grenade/flak launcher thing, which fires a missile which explodes in midair and showers the area below it in deadly shrapnel. The weapon requires players to press right mouse to lock a range for missile detonation, but the missile will explode at that range you set, not at the point you set - meaning if you lock the range at a hill below you, then aim towards the horizon (so the shrapnel has enough dispersion), the missile will gracefully sail towards the enemy, and then blow up in midair before it reaches the enemy because the hypotenuse of your range-lock aim is longer than the horizontal aim. You need trigonometry to use this weapon at long range.
    • The Phoenix Rocket Launcher that the NC has in PlanetSide 2 has a camera-guided missile that can be controlled in mid-flight. Unfortunately, it has very limited range, low damage, and the person firing it is a sitting duck while controlling the missile.
  • Badass Boast: The unofficial "Terran speech" trailer is a glorious 3 minute boast.
    We came here in peace, with a dream of exploration. Through the strength and unity of the Republic, we reached and grasped the stars themselves... For the betterment of humanity, we have achieved mighty deeds. We have become like unto gods in our power and reach. Never before has humanity attained such glory, and it is all due to the loyalty of the Terran people. But there are those who think they have a better way... I stand before you and I say NO MORE. Today we stand! Today we fight! Today we show these blights upon humanity what they have feared in their dark hearts all along. The Terran Republic will never stop, the Terran Republic will never surrender! We will fight and die until every single one of them is wiped from the face of Auraxis forever!... LOYALTY UNTIL DEATH!
  • Beam Spam: The Vanu Sovereignty infantry are basically walking laser raves. Though any large battle will look like this from a distance due to Every Bullet is a Tracer, nothing is quite as disorienting for the first time as approaching a VS base under cover of dark, suddenly to find thousands of strobing purple and cyan neon-like rays blasting at you from every doorway, window, and catwalk, leading to a rain of brightly glowing multicolored sparks as bits of the scenery vaporize around you.
  • Big Badass Rig: The Sunderer APC.
  • BFG: Anything mounted on a BFR would probably qualify, but if you're talking about man-portable weaponry, the Biggest and Frackingest of them all is the New Conglomerate's heavy assault weapon, the Jackhammer. It's an enormous triple-barreled shotgun with a secondary mode that fires all three barrels at once; catch one of those in close quarters, and they'll be scraping you off the wall with a spatula.
    • The Terran Republic's Mini Chain Gun is... well, you guess. And the Vanu Sovereignty's Lasher closely resembles Quake III's BFG.
    • The 150mm cannon on the New Conglomerate's Vanguard tank can one-shot many lightly-armored vehicles. Hitting the ground anywhere near infantry will often instagib them, or at least leave them badly hurting.
    • The Ancient Tech Flail artillery platform can fling devastating energy projectiles at targets half a kilometer away, which will definitely instagib any infantry in their considerable blast radius.
    • The Bolt Driver. It's basically a plain old sniper rifle that shoots bullets that are at least an inch diameter, and 8 inches long.
  • BFS: The Black Ops' katana.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Suppressor SMG. While it lacks the high-capacity magazines, stopping power, and flair of the empire-specific assault rifles, it's absurdly accurate, very compact, very effective at killing MAXes, can be used by anyone regardless of certifications, and it uses the most common ammo in the game.
    • All basic light infantry starting rifles. Decent reload time, decent damage, decent accuracy.
    • Anti-air guns. Even when they are fully upgraded, it is difficult to shoot down a decently experienced enemy pilot, so don't expect to have many kills. However, air superiority is crucial, and even distracting and deterioriating enemy aircraft helps your fraction a lot, so someone has to do it.
  • Black Box: Ancient Vanu technology.
  • Bright Is Not Good: The New Conglomerate has bright yellow and blue armor, and the Vanu Sovereignty has purple and teal armor. But while the former is a gray faction in both games, the latter operates entirely on Blue and Orange Morality.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Hossin is full of waterlogged swamps with massive trees. The Extinction battle island is basically the same, but is smaller and a bitch to navigate.
  • Call Back: Even though by PlanetSide 2 each empire has its own set of taunts, they're all reported in chat spam using the classic PlanetSide 1 taunt of "Your best is my worst!"
  • Car Fu: In the early days of PS1, heavy vehicles were frighteningly effective at mowing down entire squads of infantry; this was especially popular in the Vanu Sovereignty's strafe-capable hover-tank, the Magrider, which earned it the Fan Nickname "Magmower". In PS2, tanks are not slowed down by running over infantry, so it's easy to plow through dozens of troopers and kill them all without even firing the main guns. In fact, this is even rewarded with a "Roadkill Bonus".
  • Cargo Cult: In PS2, the Vanu Sovereignty regard the aliens they named themselves after with Precursor-like reverence, and actually worship the technology they left behind. There's a few implications that the artifacts might be brainwashing them and driving them to spread their creed to the other humans on Auraxis.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Terran Republic in both games has the Chain Blade, a knife with a built-in chainsaw blade.
  • Combat Medic: One of the most common certifications. The basic Medic certification allows you to heal yourself and teammates, while the Advanced Medic certification allows you to revive dead soldiers on the spot and speeds up your healing rate.
    • The Combat Medic returns as a class in the sequel, armed with a powerful assault rifle and able to revive dead soldiers and heal wounded ones, as well as project a healing aura around their bodies.
  • Commissar Cap: Terran Republic players in PS2 can buy a high-brimmed commissar cap (complete with goggles) and a golden eagle. As a bonus, Terran players unlock the "Commissar" title at rank 76.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Yellow/blue for the NC, red/black for the TR, purple/teal for the VS, and black/green for the Black Ops. All armor and vehicles are color-coded, and the first color of each of these pairs is also used for that faction's tracers.
    • Inexplicably, jacking a vehicle from an opposing faction will instantly flip its paint job to reflect the new owner. Though since the game features Friendly Fire, the consequences of not doing so could be disastrousnote .
  • Cool Bike: The Flash ATV. Cheapest way to get around without having to redeploy and can be upgraded to have a machine gun. A recent update to PS2 upgraded it to a 2-man vehicle by adding a rumble seat, along with an optional cloaking device.
  • Cool Plane: The most obvious would be the Galaxy Gunship. With the armor and armaments of several tanks, it's a flying horror for anyone who's standing on the ground.
  • Crew of One: Some vehicles are like this, but most require both a driver and one or more gunners to operate effectively. Changing positions can only be done while a vehicle is stopped/landed and requires you to exit the vehicle and enter it through another door or hatch, so you can't pull this trope with a vehicle that wasn't designed for it.
    • PS2 drops the old system for a system much like the Battlefield series. Tanks have their main gun controlled by the driver, but the co-axial machine gun on top is controlled by a second player. Players can swap between positions while in the vehicle, and can instantly enter a vehicle, but there is a delay between entering/exiting a vehicle or changing positions. Sunderers, Galaxies, and Liberators all require gunners for maximum firepower - only the Liberator has a pilot-controlled gun.
  • Crouch and Prone: Crouching gives you all of the listed benefits. Some weapons (such as sniper rifles and the VS anti-vehicle laser) require the player to crouch because of their otherwise poor accuracy.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The Terran Republic's and New Conglomerate's reasons for opposing the Vanu Sovereignty; they fear that the Sovereignty wants to strip away their humanity in the name of "enlightenment".
  • Cyber Punk Is Techno: The Vanu Sovereignty in PS2 drops their otherworldly music from PS1 in favor of Daft Punk-esque techno.
  • Darker and Edgier: The art style of PlanetSide 2 is much more gritty and realistic (in a modern war sort of sense) for the Terran and Conglomerate tech. The Vanu Sovereignty were originally as bright and flashy as ever, with the justification that everything they produce is bleeding edge new, and visually designed to remind you of just how newfangled it is. The Conglomerate, who were essentially the "good guys" of the first game, are much more gray. Later on in the game's life, the color scheme for Vanu Sovereignty foot soldiers was made much darker overall with less flamboyant colors, making the trope apply even more.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Republic in PS2. While they retain their sinister red gas masked infantry, they are no longer an oppressive totalitarian regime but an actual real republic that have been forced into drastic measures by circumstances.
  • Death from Above: Let's count:
  • Diegetic Interface: Non-treaded vehicles in PlanetSide 2 have most of their status (speed, health, etc) listed on actual 3D displays in the cockpit. Tanks lack the displays and instead use a standard HUD, though each tank has a unique themed HUD.
  • Diagonal Speed Boost: The Magrider can move faster by engaging both the standard throttle and the strafe, then rotating the tank - the speed boost allows the otherwise slow tank to keep up with a Prowler in PS2. All aircraft in PS2 move faster when the nose is tilted down (or sideways) and the vertical lift thruster is engaged.
  • Dilating Door: Ancient Vanu facilities in the caverns feature large, round doors which vanish when approached, then re-materialize a few seconds later. Human facilities feature the standard Sci-Fi doors which split along their center and slide to the sides. Tech Plant vehicle bay doors slide into the ground. PlanetSide 2 lacks any doors (except in the tutorial), instead using force fields.
  • Do Anything Soldier: Averted. A soldier can only use things he's certified in. Certifications are purchased with points earned by leveling up on the battlefield (though unlike many MMOGs, points can be redistributed with relative ease, with only a six-hour timer between decertifications). Maximum-leveled soldiers are granted all certifications, but still can't fulfill any role in one moment because of the inventory restrictions on the various armor types.
    • PS2 allows all soldiers the use of any vehicle or class, but different infantry/vehicle weapons, character improvements (such as improved repair speed), and alternate abilities requires you to spent certification points. You can specialize in your preferred vehicle role, but you're not completely barred from anything else.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Holding a weapon significantly reduces the player's mobility, so you have to holster it when traveling long distances. Also, forfeiting mobility by taking a crouching stance will greatly increase weapon accuracy, so don't even think about using some weapons while moving or standing! In PS2, one cannot holster their weapon, but the "Sprint" button will cause you to run and lower their weapon. Once the player stops running, it takes a couple moments for accuracy to recover to normal.
  • Drop Pod: One of several ways for players to enter the battlefield.
  • Dual Mode Unit: The Terran Republic's Prowler main battle tank in PS2 is moderately armored, fast, and kitted out with a pair of 120mm cannons. Its primarily "Utility" ability is Anchored Mode, which causes its wheels to deploy pitons into the ground, locking it in place, and ramping up its dakka potential to a whole new level—when maxed out, Anchored Mode increases the Prowler's rate of fire by 48%, reduces reload time by 48% and its projectile velocity is increased to 30%, allowing it to blast vehicles from a kilometer out with its rapid fire Armor-Piercing cannon or swat aircraft out of the sky when parked on a hill, or murder all infantry within half a mile when kitted out with the High Explosive cannons. The TR's MAX armor in both games has Lockdown, which like the tank, anchors the MAX into the ground with thigh-mounted pitons, while increasing its rate of fire and reload speed. In the original game, the MAX was designed around Lockdown—it had terrible DPS unless it was locked down, but became pin-point accurate and could out-DPS every other MAX when it was locked down. PS2's Lockdown is less powerful in exchange for the MAX being more useful when not locked down.
  • Dystopia: The Terran Republic in PS1 was an authoritarian, USSR-esque dystopia, where everyone's movements and constantly tracked and rebellion or unrest dealt with via weaponry. In PS2, the Terran Republic is mostly benevolent, but on the fleet heading to Auraxis and on Auraxis itself, the Terran authorities became much more authoritarian as rebellion broke out due to a lack of supplies.
  • Eldritch Location: The Caverns are full of giant crystals composed of growing nanites.
  • EMP: Generated by jammer grenades and certain vehicles:
    • Detonate minefields and incapacitate sentry guns.
    • Disable implants.
    • Disable vehicles' weapons and slow them down. Tank drivers fear the lone soldier in agile armor chucking jammer grenades.
    • Totally ruin a BFR pilot's day.
  • Elite Army: The Black Ops. There are only a few of them, the faction is invite only, their soldiers have 1000 hp (10x more than regular players) and can use any weapon or vehicle in the game.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: In PS1, capturing both of an empire's home continents allows your empire to build their vehicles.
  • Energy Weapons: The Vanu Sovereignty's arsenal. Expect lots of "PEW PEW PEW" when they're around. Ancient Tech weapons take it a little too far.
  • The Engineer: Engineering is a common certification, especially among higher-leveled players with cert points to spare. Engineers can repair soldiers' armor and vehicles with the basic certification. Further certifications (Combat Engineer) allow the engineer to place high explosive mines, automated turrets, sensors, and manually detonated explosives. Further certifications past Combat Engineering allow the engineers to place tank traps, large manually operated turrets, stealth field generators, upgrade base Phalanx turrets with anti-tank 100mm high explosive cannons or anti-air flak cannons, and upgrade stealth field generators to restore ammo.
    • In the second game, the Engineer is one of the classes. They can repair friendly vehicles, base defenses, and MAX units, deploy manned turrets to defend key areas, and drop ammo packs to resupply infantry. With a bit of certification, they can even deploy powerful anti-tank mines capable of making short work of even the Sunderer.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: In-game. The Scorpion weapon system in PlanetSide 1 requires trigonometry to even deal damage (aside from blind luck), and as such, it's almost totally ignored. Flail artillery is similar, since its target painter doesn't account for elevation and simply aiming at the marker won't do.
    • If you manage to lock onto a point at the same distance as your target, and choose the correct elevation, you'll get a weapon capable of one-shotting enemies behind cover.
    • Since the default rocket launchers don't lock on in PS2, you're either going to rely on projectile motion mathematics, or guess when that enemy tank will be at the spot where your rocket hits.
  • Every Bullet is a Tracer: Almost all weapons have tracers color-coded per faction. Vanu Sovereignty tracers are blue (purple for their lasers), New Conglomerate tracers are yellow, and Terran Republic tracers are red. Some weapons like the anti-tank weaponry just have smoke trails, and the 10mm revolvers have an extremely fast-moving bullet that's almost impossible to see.
  • Everything Fades: Items and ownerless vehicles that are left hanging around for a while are "deconstructed" by the Auraxian nanomachines, collapsing into a glowing puddle that quickly fades away. This also happens to the "loot backpacks" dropped by dead soldiers, so you have to be quick if you want to steal some extra ammo.
  • Fascists' Bed Time: The isolated remnant of the Terran Republic in PS2 creates a curfew on the colonization ships and on Auraxis itself, to try and curb the growing rebellion.
  • The Federation: The New Conglomerate in PS1. The PS1 Terran Republic pretends to be this. In PS2, the Terran Republic is an actual Federation, whereas the New Conglomerate is ruled by Mega Corps.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The New Conglomerate.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Follow the Leader: The gunplay in PlanetSide 2 is very similar to Battlefield 3, although granted it is vastly superior to the gunplay in the first PlanetSide. It also does vehicle suspension similar to Battlefield 3—[[Warhammer40000 in the grim darkness of the far future,]] there is no vehicle suspension: every vehicle handles (aside from the Sunderer, which has 1950s Cadillac suspension) like the wheels are welded onto the bodywork, creating a bone-shattering ride which makes driver-mounted weapons on the Flash utterly pointless when driving faster than 15 km/h. Even tanks suffer from it, especially the Prowler due its shape; it's very wide and very short, allowing it to smash into basically every bump on the road.
  • Forever War: The whole premise of the game. Practical immortality and unlimited weaponry will do that.
  • For Science!: Pretty much the Vanu Sovereignty's entire reason for fighting.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Vanu Sovereignty hover vehicles, which sacrifice armor for amphibious and strafing capabilities. The Agile armor for infantry also follows this: It allows faster running than the Reinforced armor, but has less inventory space and fewer armor points.
    • In 2 following a few updates ESFs became these due the power and increased prevailance of flak and G2A missiles, although a good pilot can evade these long enough to take out an MBT with rocketpods.
  • Freemium: The "Reserves" program in PS1 ran for a year. Anyone could register for an account and play the game, but they were restricted to Battle Rank 6 and Command Rank 1, which severely limited what they could do on each character—forcing them into Crippling Overspecialization or making them a Master of None. Battle Frame Robotics was totally out of reach for Reserve players.
    • PS2 is totally free to play, but "Members" get $5.00 worth of Station Cash per month, up to 50% XP and resources boost, 4x passive cert gain (2 certs per hour rather than one every other hour), earlier access to some cosmetic items and higher priority in server/continent queues, for down from $14.99 a month. Membership scales with time subscribed—a 1 month member only gets a 10% XP boost, while the 6 month Auraxium member gets the full 50% XP boost.
  • Free Look Button: PS2 allows aircraft to freelook when holding down the middle mouse button, which locks them from using pitch and roll controls. The Liberator gunship's pilot had an autocannon that could be aimed by freelook during the beta, though it was removed when Liberators were winning one-on-one fights with fighters.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Vanu Sovereignty's Lancer, a shoulder-mounted laser cannon, is probably the most feared anti-tank weapon in the game, due to its pinpoint accuracy and zero travel time (as compared to projectile weapons). Can only be topped by their BFR-mounted Continuous Laser that slices through infantry with ease.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Besides the BFR and the MAX, there's the worker ANT, the all-in-one engineer tool ACE, BANK, TRAP and probably a few more.
    • Around Update 13, Sony introduced a concerted effort to improve overall game performance speed. The name of this initiative? Operation: Make Faster Game (O:MFG).
    • The Mini Chaingun has the BRRT (Ballistic Rapid Refire Toggle), previously called the FART (Fast Action Refire Trigger)—which speeds up the MCG's rate of fire while imitating the noise the MCG makes with its name.
  • Future Copter: All air vehicles are VTOL for the sake of user-friendliness, from the one-man Wasp interceptor to the humongous Galaxy and Lodestar dropships, and even more terrifying Galaxy Gunship.
  • Future Spandex: The futuristic Vanu Sovereignty infantry in PS2 all wear spandex, with armor panels on their upper body. It is body-tight regardless of gender.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Terran Republic REXO armor uses a gas mask helmet in PlanetSide 1. In PlanetSide 2, the Composite Helmet cosmetic armor for Terran players gives them a sharply sloping gas mask that covers all of their face below their goggles. The Dreadnought helmet gives them a full-on gas mask reminiscent of a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet.
  • Gatling Good: The Terran Republic's Mini-Chaingun lives off this; it's a handheld bullet spammer. In PS2, several of the Terran Republic's unique vehicle weapons are Gatling guns, with the Mini-Chaingun returning as an empire-specific heavy weapon. The Mosquito light aircraft can use two different types of rotary cannons for a primary nosegun, and players can also mount a large Vulcan minigun as a secondary weapon on their Prowler heavy tank.
    • PS2 also has a quad Gatling gun turret available on the Liberator, which can be used instead of the standard underside cannon.
  • General Ripper: In-game. Most Command Rank 5 players will happily call down an orbital strike on their own faction's army just to kill that one enemy cloaker who killed him.
  • Generation Ships: The Terran Republic launched several generation ships before they discovered how to force wormholes to stay open; however, contact was eventually lost and the ships were lost to Earth, presumably destroyed.
  • Glass Cannon: The empire-specific fighters (ESFs) in 2. They have the highest speed of any vehicles in the game and enough potential firepower to pose a serious threat to ground and air targets alike. They also have less health than any other vehicle save the Flash ATV, and unlike most are vulnerable to small arms fire. A well-aimed tank shell or unguided rocket can swat a fighter instantly.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Terran MAX in PS2 gets glowing red eyes on almost all of its helmets. The majority of TR (non-MAX) helmets get on the doominess as well.
  • Gone Horribly Right: An update to PS2 buffed Liberator armor and resistances to make it more viable. The buffs ended up being so ridiculous that the game ended up having "sky-gods" roaming the continents alone in Liberators effectively unkillable; as the only "counters" to Liberators are slow and weak (Skyguards/Burster MAXes) or could be easily mowed down by the Liberator's bottom gun (Fighters). Come a few months later, the nerf-bat came down hard on the Lib.
  • Goomba Stomp: Drop pods in PS2 can one-hit-kill infantry and MAX suits by landing on them. They're also capable of crushing smaller airborne aircraft - fighters are instagibbed, while Liberators can generally survive (although they'll probably tip over and crash aftwards). Galaxies can shrug off the damage.
  • Grenade Launcher: The Thumper grenade launcher, which uses a rotating cylinder drum, and can be loaded with a variety of grenade types (fragmentation, plasma, or jammer).
    • In the sequel, the Prowler tank can mount a rapid-firing belt-fed grenade launcher as a secondary weapon, and the Galaxy dropship, the Liberator's tailgun, and the Sunderer can be fitted with slower versions for taking out infantry. The Flash ATV and Harasser buggy can mount a forward-facing one, and a handful of PS2's guns have the option to mount an underbarrel grenade launcher loaded with explosives or smoke.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: None of the sides are particularly good or evil. The Terran Republic maintained peace for a thousand years and colonized the stars at the cost of personal freedom, the New Conglomerate are idealistic but are essentially unorganized, and the Vanu Sovereignty want to further mankind's technological understanding, possibly at the cost of your humanity.
    • PlanetSide 2: The Terran Republic saved humanity from a generation of total warfare, climatic and environmental destruction, and likely extinction to create a mixed-economy socialist utopia on Earth—on the fleet to Auraxis, however, the Republican government becomes increasingly authoritarian and martial in hopes of curbing insurrectionary violence among the strandees (which is either sensible or reactionary, depending on your perspective). The New Conglomerate was a cartel founded by industry leaders and their paid mercenaries to pressure the Republic to relax industrial and commercial regulations, and was later joined by libertarians and others who see the Terran Republic and its culture of planetary/species-statehood as the irrelevant premodern legacy of a world that no longer needs to be saved (a view which might either be described as modern and radical or a naïve rehash of mistaken old ideologies). The Vanu Sovereignty in PlanetSide 2 really step up the Machine Worship act; not only do they obsess over the alien technology and what humanity could seek to become through reverse engineering it (a prospect either horrifying or visionary, depending on perspective), but some of them even claim to have experienced quasi-mystical, transcendental, or else merely life-altering states of consciousness associated with physically touching certain artefacts, with Vanu being the name they give to these altered states of consciousness (which is either plain craziness, or possible evidence of some poorly understood interaction between the technology and the human nervous system).
  • Green Hill Zone: Forseral, Amerish, Ascension, Cyssor, and parts of Hossin.
    • Amerish in the second game.
  • Gun Accessories: Like Battlefield 3, PlanetSide 2 has a large amount of customization for your weapons. Laser sights, alternate foregrips, silencers, compensators, flash supressors, bigger magazines, and alternate sights are available on many weapons. Some weapons can take alternate ammo types, such as shotguns being able to use slug or buckshot ammo, and a few weapons can mount other weapons on them, such as the assault rifles being able to carry a single-shot shotgun, high explosive grenade or smoke launcher.
  • Guns Akimbo: Terran Republic MAXes in PS1 carry a large gun in each hand. In PS2, all factions can dual-wield on their MAX suits, allowing players to mix-and-match armaments, such as carrying a flak cannon in the left arm and a Gatling gun in the other.
  • Hand Cannon: The Nanite Systems Commissioner and Underboss revolvers in PS2. Aside from being ridiculously oversized, the former can kill Infiltrator classes in a single headshot, and any non-MAX class in one headshot and a body shot.
  • Have a Nice Death: Suicide or death by falling in Planetside 2 results in a laughing skull icon with "Suicide: Stop killing yourself." written underneath it.
  • Humongous Mecha: BFRs, introduced in the Aftershock update. Ostensibly an acronym for "BattleFrame Robotics", but everyone knows it really stands for "Big F**king Robots".
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: All the Empires are guilty of this. The Terran Republic has bright red and black uniforms, the Vanu Sovereignty has shiny purple and green armor, and the New Conglomerate has neon yellow and blue. PlanetSide 2 tones down the colors on the uniforms, but the red stripes and goggles of the TR, arctic camouflage of the NC, and cyan Tron Lines of the VS still stand out.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: The NC Infiltrator in Planetside 2. A stealth character with a bright white and teal jumpsuit and a helmet that wouldn't look out of place in Halo. The TR Infiltrator is a bit darker due to black being one of the primary colors of the Terran Republic, and the VS Infiltrator was originally bright grey with a silver and teal helmet before being made almost entirely black.
  • Holiday Mode: Christmas in 1 has snowmen and gingerbread men placed around the levels; finding them granted you use of a special item to regenerate your stamina for the duration of the event. Other holidays had different events each year.
  • Hollywood Darkness: "Night" time in Planetside 1 was basically day time but with slightly darker lighting, and deep purple fog. Semi-averted for Planetside 2- it featured extremely dark nights during its public beta playtesting, but they were later lightened up until they nearly resemble daytime.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Hacking is performed with a special device, which you point at the console and hold down the button until everything's done. A more advanced version of the device allows players to be The Cracker and inject viruses into enemy systems.
    • In Planetside 2, the Infiltrator class can hack equipment and vehicle terminals and stationary base turrets to serve their own empire, while any given player can hack base shield generators and spawn control units.
  • Instant Death Radius: New Conglomerate MAXes can use fully automatic assault shotguns—with one on each arm. Two shots is enough to kill any infantry within a few meters, and anyone further away can just be hosed down with hundreds of buckshot pellets. Terran Republic Prowler tanks likewise are infantry murder machines, especially when loaded with the anchored mode and high-explosive cannons. One blast from its dual cannons is enough to almost kill any infantry, while the second shot is basically guaranteed to kill them.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The Infiltrator suit, which renders the wearer invisible with the push of a button (perfectly, as long as you hold still - moving makes it less effective). It never runs out of juice, but provides zero armor points and almost no inventory space.
    • Invisibility is a trait of the Infiltrator class in PS2, with a limited cloak duration and a 'shimmer' effect rather than total invisibility. Conversely, it has considerably more armor than the cloaker suit of PlanetSide, and a primary weapon and sidearm just like every other class.
    • The Wraith ATV in PS1 was an unarmed and very fast ATV that could become nearly totally invisible indefinitely, but like the armor suit, became more visible the faster it moved. In PS2, the Flash can equip the Wraith Cloaking Device, which allows it to temporarily turn nearly invisible (with a Predator-ish shimmer) - but unlike the old Wraith, the cloaked Flash is still capable of mounting weapons, and can fire them almost instantly after it disables its cloaking device.
  • In Working Order: Ancient Tech factories. Justified, however, by being made with self-repairing Nanotechnology and hidden inside hazardous crystal caverns.
  • It's Raining Men: The HART Shuttle allows you to land nearly anywhere on a continent via orbital Drop Pod, while the Galaxy heavy air transport allows up to a dozen troopers to eject simultaneously onto an objective.
  • Jet Pack: The Vanu Sovereignty MAX suits have a built in jet pack in PlanetSide 1. In PS2, the Light Assault player class has access to a jetpack that can be upgraded for better fuel consumption and regeneration time, or switched out for a more situational jetpack that has greatly decreased vertical gain but lets players 'drift' great distances.
  • Joke Weapon: The Beamer was infamous for doing next to no damage; players would describe it as purple flashlight. Because of that, being killed by one is just embarrassing.
    • While the Beamer received an upgrade for PlanetSide 2, it remains the second weakest in damage per shot out of all the pistols, and the only weaker pistol, the Terran Repeater, has a considerably higher damage output anyway due to its three-round burst shooting and much higher rate of fire.
      • VS pistols in general suffer from this in the second game, with their first new pistol being a slightly modified version of the original and their second one being a toned down, more expensive version of the NC's first alternate pistol. Most VS using a pistol will put down the certification points to unlock the Nanite Systems revolver available to all factions.
    • The Flash in PS2 is absolutely terrible unless used by an infiltrator (who can cloak the ATV). In almost every conceivable way, the Harasser is outright superior - faster, more agile and responsive, better armored, an enclosed driving position (so you cannot be killed while driving or gunning), the Harasser comes with a weapon by default (a dual 20mm machine gun turret) and can carry a soldier in the back (including a MAX or an engineer who can repair the vehicle on the move). The only real advantage a Flash has over a Harasser is a much short acquire timer and the ability to fire on the move while alone - but good luck hitting anything with any sort of accuracy on the Flash when the suspension seems to be welded to the bodywork.
  • Kill Sat: The orbital strike, available to players with the highest Command Ranks, can net a plethora of kills if used in the right moment.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: New Conglomerate and Terran Republic weapons follow this. The Conglomerate uses a lot of railguns and shotguns, whereas the Terrans just rely on regular guns shooting a ton of bullets everywhere.
  • La Résistance: The New Conglomerate in PS1 is the "good" faction, dedicated to opposing the Terran Republic's tyranny and opposing the Vanu Sovereignty because of their fear of Ancient Vanu technology. They are significantly more gray in PS2.
  • Laser Sight: The Dual Cycler MAX in PS1 had a laser sight mounted on each arm. In PS2, almost all weapons can be equipped with a laser sight, which makes the cone of fire smaller when hip-firing, but is visible to allies and enemies alike.
  • Last Stand: A one-time glitch caused one of the most epic all-player last stands in MMO history.
    • In general, the events following console hack and spawn tube destruction; first for the defenders, then for the attackers.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Prowler in PS2 is the fastest main battle tank tank, can climb like a mountain goat, and packs a pair of powerful cannons that eats infantry alive. The Lightning single-person tank also applies—while not quite as durable as a heavy tank, it can still do heavy damage to unwary larger tanks that are too slow to react to the Lightning flanking around to their weak rear armor.
    • In general, any vehicle in PS2 with engine upgrades. Even a Sunderer transport/support vehicle can run circles around most friendlies/enemies if the driver has certified it with the Racer high-speed chassis.
    • As of Game Update 04, the Flash. It can be outfitted with a front-facing grenade launcher that is extremely effective against both infantry and tanks. It also has a back seat where any infantry weapon can be fired from, including rocket launchers that have no trouble downing aircraft and tanks in a handful of hits, fire semi auto, or be charged for massive damage. Without upgrades it moves at 70 km/h, and is among the best handling vehicles while being small, cheap to give stealth upgrades, and can mount a radar that reveals every enemy for a hundred meters.
    • As of GU08, the Harasser buggy is this as well. While the mounted gun is now given to the passenger instead of the driver, said gun can be replaced with the more powerful variants normally found on Sunderers and main battle tanks, and the vehicle's rear rumble seat is large enough to carry a player in a MAX suit for even more firepower. The Harasser is also more heavily armored than the Flash (although it can still be damaged by light infantry weaponry), and can hit faster speeds without investing in upgrades to do so.
  • Lost Colony: Auraxis in PS2 becomes one of these—300,000 men and women were sent on a fleet of 200 ships through a wormhole that appears every 98 years, but the wormhole abruptly collapsed after only 40,000 people made it through, stranding them on the other side for a hundred years. Fighting broke out on the ships as they searched for over a year to find a planet they could colonize.
  • Lost Technology: The Ancient Tech arsenal.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: The New Conglomerate MAX can equip the "Aegis", a riot-shield shaped forcefield projected out of the right arm of the MAX. Totally invulnerable, but the MAX is unable to shoot while wielding it, and it doesn't cover the sides or rear. The NC Vanguard tank can activate an energy shield which makes them total invulnerable for up to 7 seconds. The Engineer's MANA Anti-infantry turret likewise has a small riot-shield forcefield to protect the user's upper body from frontal attacks, but it annoyingly lacks a shield to protect the head.
  • Machine Worship: The Vanu Sovereignty is composed of scientists and zealots that both study and effectively worship Ancient Vanu technology. The second game cranks said worship Up to Eleven.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Terran Republic rocket launcher fires a 5 missile salvo which are individually weak but do more damage overall than both the NC and VS rocket launchers. Because of its versatility (it can target both aircraft and vehicles), pretty much every Terran heavy assault carries either the Striker or a dumbfire missile. Woe betide any Reaver or Scythe pilot trying to strafe TR advances without having flares equipped, because in about three seconds they'll have a hundred angry missiles chasing them.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • The Flash ATV in PS2. It starts out as a hilariously vulnerable, poor handling and unarmed death trap. Investing certs into it can turn it into a Glass Cannon with a 40mm grenade launcher, rocket booster or stealth camouflage, and with the ability to turn on a dime.
    • The Terran Republic in PS2 starts out with some of the worst default weapons (barring the Repeater, the destroyer of worlds), such as the hilarious TRAC-5 which is incapable of hitting an enemy more than ten meters away. However, Terran players can gain access to some of the most powerful weapons, such as the Cycler TRV bullet hose, SABR-13 long range assault rifle and the T5 AMC carbine, the latter two of which are more than capable of out-sniping sniper rifles.
  • Magnetic Weapons: The New Conglomerate uses a combination of standard bullets and railguns - their bullets are fired with gunpowder, and are accelerated down the barrel by magnets, which gives their weapons a very distinctive note.
  • Master Of All: Nanite Systems primary weaponry combines some of the best features of the three empire's weapons - they have 5 extra bullets per magazine (compared to the Terran Republic's ten), have a small cone-of-fire like New Conglomerate's Magnetic Weapons, and has the tiny recoil typical of Vanu Sovereignty's plasma weaponry. When combined with NS weapons firing noises blending in with the enemy's NS weaponry, and NS weaponry unlocking across all characters when bought with Station Cash, they are often the best weaponry - only outclassed in very specific situations (usually extreme range).
  • The Maze: The Caverns. Navigation is almost impossible except by ziplines, which zig and zag across the caverns. Did I mention that the Caverns tend to be vertical? With the chance that a random player could pop out of a building and blast you to bits?
  • Mega Corp.: The New Conglomerate in PS2 is backed by large corporations that want to be free of the socialistic Terran Republic. Nanite Systems is a neutral megacorp which produces weapons (such as the NS11), equipment, and vehicles (such as the Lightning), which are sold to all three empires.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Fights on hot continents often have three factions fighting over the same base; usually with one empire defending, and two other empires attacking from either direction. Bonus points when one empire is attacking from the front door... and the other empire from the back door.
  • Mighty Glacier: The New Conglomerate's vehicle designs.
  • Mildly Military: Being an MMOFPS, players will outright ignore the "orders" of players with high Command Ranks. It doesn't help when the commanders start yelling at each other over global command chat.
  • More Dakka: The Terran Republic's weapon designs emphasize putting as much lead as possible into the air with the highest accuracy possible with as many bullets crammed into the magazine as possible. If you use a Terran weapon, expect a huge magazine and laser-beam accuracy.
  • Multiple Life Bars: PlanetSide 1 has 2 life bars (or 3, with an implant) for its soldiers. Armor varies by the suit worn by the player, and absorbs some of the damage of incoming fire. Health is self-explanatory. With the Personal Shield implant, you could fuel a shield using your stamina, effectively giving you a third life bar. Vehicles had only one health bar by default, but certain facilities would charge up a "Shield" health bar on the vehicle when inside the facility's sphere of influence. PlanetSide 2 drops the armor and stamina system in favor of Regenerating Shields, Static Health for its foot soldiers- equal amounts of shields and health for all classes except the Infiltrator who has less health, and the Heavy Assault class, who can activate an overshield ability that essentially functions as a third health bar. Vehicles and MAX suits have one health bar, but can be repaired by friendly Engineers.
  • Multi-Track Drifting: The Lightning in PS2 can both drift and do sweet powerslides - The Rival chassis allows it to drift, while the Racer chassis allows it to do powerslides.
  • Nerf: Expect the flavour of the month weapon/vehicle to be nerfed with the main Game Updates. Of note is the Magrider which lost a lot of its climbing and strafing effectiveness and Rocketpods which had the AOE and damage reduced and the entire platform turned into a Fragile Speedster.
  • Nanomachines: "Nanites" fuel the war effort: They build the weapons, tanks, buildings, and the soldiers themselves. When objects are damaged beyond repair, they're deconstructed by the nanites.
  • Nice Hat: Terran players have access to a Commissar Cap, while New Conglomerate players can get a kepi (the Confederacy's cap).
  • Nitro Boost: The Flash and Harasser in PS2 can equip a turbo booster, which will catapult them forward at ridiculous speeds for a very short amount of time, then regenerate. The booster seems to work almost like a rocket strapped to the back - a Flash or Harasser that ramps off a hill can engage its booster in mid-air to go soaring across the terrain.
  • No Experience Points for Medic: Averted. While support players (medics, engineers, Galaxy pilots) do not directly gain any experience for healing/repairing/reviving/delivering players and their equipment, they do get Combat Experience Points for any kills made by the players they assisted.
    • Fully Averted in Planetside 2, where the Combat Medic and Engineer gain Experience for Healing/Repairing/Reviving/Resupplying players. Additionally, players who fly a dropship or drive a Sunderer respawn point will gain experience when people they recently dropped off/respawned kill enemies.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Recharging a base's generator with an ANT vehicle will grant you Battle Experience Points for every half second the generator is being charged, until the generator is fully charged or your ANT runs out of energy. Players commanding squads get Command Experience Points when their squad takes over a base, regardless of what the commander was doing - either in combat, or simply giving orders.
  • Obvious Beta: PS2 launched with a plethora of bugs. The game launched very poorly optimized unless you were on a very specific type of computer (Intel I5 processor with a Geforce graphics card) - players who had even more powerful systems but had AMD processors often suffered from terrible performance. Other major bugs appeared throughout beta and early release, such as players falling through the world, or the game not rendering enemies mere meters from you. While many gamebreaking bugs have since been fixed, the game remains questionably stable for many players, and optimization issues have been mostly ignored.
    • At least until recently when the devs announced Operation: Make Faster Game which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. They have released a handful of videos on their YouTube channel discussing some of the issues and hiccups they're hoping to address.
  • One-Man Army: The Black Ops soldiers, who have ten times the health of a regular soldier and can use any weapon.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: The New Conglomerate do not believe in the concept of "the curve". The only non-straight lines on pretty much any of their equipment is found on their helmets and on the banana magazine on some of their rifles.
  • Palette Swap: In PS1, your armor is "upgraded" at certain ranks. What this does is change the color of your armor, to make you more distinct. Conglomerate players fear their battle rank 14 upgrade, where they get neon yellow armor that stands out even more than their regular armor.
    • While armor upgrades don't appear in the sequel, players can purchase camouflage for their various classes to blend in with the environment- or be more flamboyant, if they so choose.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: The Terran Republic in PS1
  • Planet Terra: The Terran Republic.
  • Portal Network: The Terran Republic in the first game possesses the ability to forcibly enlarge naturally occurring wormholes, opening them up for travel - though they lack the ability to create wormholes or direct where they go. As such, Auraxis became totally cut off from humanity when the wormhole abruptly closed. In-game, the continents (and after the Bending, planets) are connected via a series of warpgates, which deconstruct objects passing through them, while the destination warpgate re-assembles said objects.
  • Power Floats: The VS faction-specific tank and light transport are hover vehicles, getting an edge in agility and terrain passability at the cost of armor.
  • Power Glows: In PlanetSide 2, everything that belongs to the VS.
  • Powered Armor: The MAX (Mechanized Assault eXoskeleton) suits. Slow and clunky, but heavily armored and really good at their designated role (each faction has Anti-Infantry, Anti-Vehicle, and Anti-Air variants). The Terran MAX in both games can deploy anchors into the ground to greatly increase their rate of fire and reload speed, the NC MAX gets an energy shield (an all-encompassing bubble shield in PS1, and a riot-shield in PS2), and the VS get a mobility enhancer (Jump jets in PS1, ZOE "berserk" in PS2 which increases damage done, damage taken, and run speed )
  • Precursors: The Vanu. Nothing whatsoever is known about them, aside from the fact that they're definitely not around anymore, and their technology is orders of magnitude more advanced than anything humanity has ever seen.
  • Private Military Contractors: The New Conglomerate was founded by Mega Corps, mercenaries, and miners. The Terran Republic had mercenaries, but they were all executed for treason.
  • Quick Melee: Present in PS2. Pressing the middle mouse button or T will make you whip out an empire-specific knife inhumanly fast and slash it at the enemy—two slashes is a kill against everything but MAX and Heavy Assault (with their shields on). MAXes bludgeon targets in front of them with their arms to the same effect. Averted in PS1, where melee requires you to switch to the knife, and the knife's powered mode (chainsaw, magnetic cutting, plasma cutting) made it *incredibly* loud, making it more or less a humiliation weapon. Slash attacks without the powered mode were very weak.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Terran Republic in PS1 has black and red armor, and are controlled by an oppressive oligarchy. PS2 drops most of the black paint in favor of gray (at least on the infantry) and makes the Republic an actual Republic. In fact, a Terran Republic speech in the second game condemns the idea of fascism and oligarchy and proceeds to accuse the New Conglomerate of supporting such ideals.
  • Reds with Rockets: The Terran Republic, from the obsession with the color red to the propaganda style; some weapons also resemble Real Life Soviet equipment.
  • Regenerating Shield, Static Health: PlanetSide 2 has all the foot soldiers equipped with a regenerating, Halo-style shield. Health is damaged directly when the shield is down, and does not regenerate unless healed by a medic (or a medic activating his healing aura on himself). MAX suits do not have any shields, and only have armor - meaning that they can only be "healed" by an engineer.
  • Respawn Point: The AMS is a mobile respawn point with a powerful cloaking device.
    • In PlanetSide 2, the Advanced Mobile Station can be equipped on the Sunderer transport vehicle- while lacking a cloaking device, it makes up for it by being one of the most durable vehicles in the game, second only to the Galaxy air transport craft.
  • Resurrective Immortality: The ancient Vanu respawning system. When a person walks through a Warpgate, they are "matrixed" into the machinery inside Auraxis. When the person is killed, they will be rebuilt: in the backstory, it caused quite a shock when a Terran commander executed a rogue pilot for flying into a warpgate—the next day, he found the pilot sitting under a tree on a different continent.
  • Retcon: PS2 rewrites most of the back story. Instead of being an authoritarian, USSR-esque state, the Terran Republic is more or less benevolent. The New Conglomerate and Vanu Sovereignty formed before they even arrived at Auraxis, and the worhmole that deposited them there is a naturally occuring event every 100 years rather than artificially opened.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The faction-specific 10mm revolvers are powerful and ammo-effective, making them the weapon of choice for infiltrators. The NS revolvers in the second game qualify as well, doing much more damage than any of the other, empire-specific handguns.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: While PlanetSide 1 used a lattice-type system of bases being linked by simple lines regardless of location (sometimes leading to surprisingly tactically valuable bases in otherwise useless areas), PlanetSide 2 uses a mix of this and a tabletop-style hexagonal adjacency system. Although as of GU9 Indar has been converted back to a lattice system and the other continents are due to be converted to improve the battle flow.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Desolation, Ishundar, and Solsar. Ishundar is more of the "rocky and full of dead trees" variety, complete with gulleys scattered around the continent which are vehicle death traps.
    • Indar in the second game, following Ishundar above.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Medics with the fully-certed medapp in PS2 are capable of fully healing a soldier in seconds. They are also capable of resurrecting a soldier with full health (albeit without shields, though they immediately start to regenerate) damn-near instantly. Two medics are often capable of keeping each other alive even under heavy fire,. One medic falls over dead, is resurrected by the other medic who then falls over dead and is rezzed, and so on and so forth until the enemy starts throwing grenades at them. Medics can also throw "Nanite Revive Grenades", which project a circular resurrection fuel about twenty meters in diameter. The field will resurrect any allied soldier with half health, excluding MAX armor. Engineers are a bit slower about how their repair their MAX allies and vehicles, but they must be killed in order to take out enemy tanks or cautious MAX players.
    • Averted by the first game, as repairing, healing, and resurrecting was much slower, required both players to stand still, and left the medic/engineer vulnerable due to the long holster/de-holster times for weapons and tools - so medics and such were much less powerful. Any player could carry a medapp or BANK, making it to difficult to target "dedicated" medics and infantry engineer support. Vehicle-oriented engineers could be identified by their large "glue gun" used to repair vehicles, or their heavy-duty ACE engineer tools - however, targeting them was largely pointless due to them repairing stuff at a pitifully slow rate.
  • Short Range Shotgun: The Jackhammer in both games, and the shotguns in PS2 have an effective range of about six feet. Averted by the Scattercannon and the Sweeper in PS1, which could be dangerous at longer range, and most shotguns in PS2 can be outfitted with slug rounds for better accuracy at range (assuming the player can aim well enough to make use of them).
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The New Conglomerate's approach to firearms (shotgun pistol!) and Humongous Mecha weaponry.
    • Their signature heavy infantry weapon is the Jackhammer (no, not the Pancor Jackhammer), a triple-barreled shotgun with a high semi-auto fire rate and even a rapid 3-round burst mode that can almost instantly kill infantry at point-blank. Sadly, its successor in the sequel is In Name Only, being, quite literally, the weakest shotgun in the game.
    • The NC's love for shotguns even extends to their aircraft. The Reaver in PS2 can mount a nose gun called the Air Hammer: quite literally a shotgun scaled up to fit on a fighter aircraft instead of the standard machine gun or rotary cannon typically found on a light air fighter.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Terran MAX and Heavy Assault infantry in PS2 have enormous shoulder guards when outfitted with the Composite Armor cosmetic.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Ceryshen, Nexus, and Esamir are all covered in snow, and Ceryshen takes forever to get around due to it being mostly vertical, forcing you to loop around long paths to reach a base that's close in a straight line.
    • Esamir in the second game.
  • Sprint Shoes: The Surge implant, which puts an extra spring in your step at the cost of burning away your stamina while active. MAX suits and BFRs have "run mode", which is basically a go-faster button that prevents you from shooting or strafing.
  • Sniper Rifle: The Bolt Driver, and the relatively useless Heavy Scout Rifle. The Bolt Driver can take down unarmored infantry in one shot. The Heavy Scout Rifle, on the other hand, has a ten shot magazine, and does far less damage.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: Present in PS2 with scopes above 6x magnification. Holding the sprint button while looking down the sights allows the player to hold their breath.
  • Sticky Bomb: The Engineer class in PS2 can unlock Sticky Grenades, which stick to players and have a relatively long fuse, allowing you to toss one onto an enemy and watch in glee as he runs back towards his allies without realizing there's a grenade stuck to his face.
  • Stripperiffic: Thoroughly Averted in both PS1 and PS2, though especially noticeably in PS2 with its vastly improved graphics. In both games, male and female character models have nearly identical combat armor- and in PS1, with only slight model differences limited to those necessary to accommodate the different average torso proportions of males and females—slightly more V-shaped in men, with broader chest and shoulders relative to waist and hips, and slightly more X-shaped in women, with broader hips and chest relative to waist. While females retain the same outfits as males in 2, they are considerably more curvy compared to their PS1 counterparts due to the updated graphics and a mid-beta model change—especially noticeable on the Vanu Sovereignty troops and their near-skintight suits.
  • Supernatural Is Purple: The Vanu Sovereignty, obsessed with the nearly magical qualities of Ancient Vanu tech, paint all their equipment in bright purple.
  • Tank Goodness: Faction-specific tanks:
    • NC Vanguard: Has the most armor and an accurate, powerful cannon, but is also the slowest.
    • TR Prowler: Maximum firepower when fully-crewed, with dual rapid-fire cannons and a machine gun turret.
    • VS Magrider: This agile amphibious Hover Tank can strafe, and has a precision railgun as the main cannon.
    • And the Lightning, a one-man light tank that can be deadly to small squads of infantry and light vehicles.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Let's just say the CGI trailer for PS2 has little to no bearing on actual gameplay and leave it at that.
  • Transhuman Treachery: The Vanu Sovereignty has been "touched" by Ancient Vanu artifacts. They then decide that disbelievers should die in a storm of plasma fire.
  • The Empire: The Terran Republic in PS1 is an oppressive, totalitarian oligarchy that has kept peace on Earth for a thousand years with an iron fist.
  • The Federation: The Terran Republic in PS2 is much Lighter and Softer than the original game, instead being more of a socialistic, fairly free society. However, the isolated Auraxis remnant was pushed into extreme measures to conserve supplies, leading to the discontent that effectively created the New Conglomerate and Vanu Sovereignty.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The days leading up to The Bending were increasingly filled with random earthquakes and giant meteors raining from the skies, doing Massive Damage to any player or vehicle unfortunate enough to be smashed beneath one. In the final moments, the meteors grew so frequent that one could hardly take two steps outside without being pancaked.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: One-shotting a full Galaxy transport while it's taking off will yield you a boatload of experience by killing everyone onboard. And a lot of respawn timers for your enemies.
    • The NC Vanguard tank can one-shot smaller vehicles and infantry with its ridiculously powerful cannon.
  • The Remnant: The Terran Republic we see (and play as) in PlanetSide 1 is the tiny portion of the Terran military that was stranded alongside everyone else when the wormhole to Auraxis abruptly closed. In PlanetSide 2, they're the military command that took over the Auraxis colony fleet after much of it was damaged or destroyed passing through the Auraxis wormhole. Despite being separated from their command, the Terran Republic is still a powerful force that equals the New Conglomerate and Vanu Sovereignty in strength.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Well, the New Conglomerate's revolution won't be, anyway.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Super-medkits/stimpacks/repair packs granted during holiday events in PlanetSide 1. You could get as many as you wanted and stuff them into your locker, but once used, it's gone forever (or until the next event). Super-stim packs, being the only item in the game that could regenerate stamina, were definitely too awesome to use.
  • Tron Lines: Lumifiber trim allows players to deck out their vehicles and infantry with glowing, faction-colored tron lines. The lumifiber can be turned on and off with a button.
  • Underground Level: The Caverns.
  • United Space of America: The New Conglomerate, by dint of...
    • Their core ideology, which is highly libertarian.
    • Their music style, a combination of hard rock and country western, courtesy of a preponderance of electric violins.
    • Their visual motif, which showcases lots of eagles and stars, and their decals feature names like "Give Me Liberty" or "Space America".
  • Universal Driver's License: Averted. You need the proper certifications first, like most other weapons and equipment; see Do Anything Soldier above. Played straight in PS2, where any player can drive any non-locked vehicle (from their own faction) without certifications, though they will need to use cert points to specialize in each vehicle to use them at their max potential.
  • Unorthodox Reload: In the sequel, the Commisioner and Underboss revolvers have a strange sort of twin half-cylinder drum that fans out to either side, to be loaded with three-round speed-loaders, then clicks back together.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: In the first game, MAX suits, melee weapon, and heavy engineer turrets cannot be used by enemy empires, though weapons could be looted from corpses and vehicles could be hacked (or constructed if the player's empire controls the home continents of an enemy empire). The second game plays it straight - players cannot loot the dead and cannot hack vehicles. The only shared equipment between empires are the Nanite Systems weapons, base turrets, and a few vehicles.
  • V8 Engine Noises: The Skyguard anti-air buggy has what sounds like a V8 engine, which stands in stark contrast to the other buggies that sound like crappy 4-bangers
  • Weapon of Peace: The Liberator. In PlanetSide 1, it's a high-altitude carpet bomber. In PlanetSide 2, it's a giant gunship with high-explosive anti-tank cannons or quad Gatling guns, as well as an anti-air rear gunner seat to defend from pesky air superiority fighters and a primary recoil-less cannon gun that can be upgraded into a chaingun that absolutely shreds ground vehicles.
  • We Have Reserves: Because of the respawning technology, commanders tend to order (or at least attempt to) the waves of unaffiliated players to throw themselves at base defenses. Taken Up to Eleven during the Reserves - the reserve (free to play, low level) players were typically regarded as cannon fodder for the elite units.
  • We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future: Vanu Sovereignty armor in PS2 lacks pockets, courtesy of their spandex - only their engineer has any sort of junk storage, as their engineer armor wears what is essentially metal suspenders. Averted by Terran and New Conglomerate armor, which feature loads of pockets, supplemented by utility belts on engineers and medics.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The New Conglomerate, naturally.
  • Zerg Rush: In the absence of organizational influences, throwing massive amounts of uncoordinated infantry at a target is a common strategy. It has a good chance of working if the defenders aren't dug in too deep, but if two opposing Zerg Rushes collide, they will fight to a stalemate until one side gets their act together.
PlanetfallScience Fiction Video GamesPolicenauts
Planetary AnnihilationSteamPlague Inc
Phantom BreakerPlay Station 4 Project Phoenix

alternative title(s): Planet Side
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