Facilitating the zerg.
Please note this guide is written from the perspective of the squad / platoon leader of a smaller outfit capable of filling 1-2 squads. If you can field a full platoon or more then the ideas contained within may be less relevant as you may have the numbers to approach the objectives directly and not have to rely on allies to help achieve your objectives.
So you have found yourself and your outfit embroiled in a huge battle with numbers of players on each side. Two zergs have collided and little headway is made on either side as more and more bodies are thrown into the grinder. As a member of an organised outfit you may find that acting in an intelligent manner can allow you to tip the battle in your favour even when you are only running a single squad.
Reading the battle.
In its widest context a zerg v zerg engagement can be reduced to a very simple state. Two forces collide and the one that exhibits the most pressure on the other will push it backwards.
The average Planetside 2 player also follows a simple ruleset in combat, these include
Finding the fight
Locating and engaging the nearest enemy target
closing the distance with the enemy to the players perceived optimal weapons range.
heading for the nearest enemy held control point.
Understanding this behaviour is important because it allows us to manipulate it, and thus shape the flow of the battle in a desirable manner.
Upon arriving at a large battle you should take a moment to identify the front lines and other key features of the battle. One of the key dangers in a hectic large scale engagement especially in close quarters is that everyone gets over excited and heads off in their own direction, this can destroy squad cohesion, making your job much more difficult as you are no longer functioning as a distinct unit and have merged with the zerg.
Once you are acquainted with the battle as a whole it is important to define the current prevailing flow and objectives of each side
Defining your objectives
Now you have a good idea of what each side is doing you should look to where your outfit can be deployed to have maximum impact. You may notice friendly forces are attempting to take a control point, but are being stopped by an entrenched enemy in good cover. In which case you know that your objective will probably be to position your outfit in a way to suppress and hopefully destroy the enemy forces preventing your allies from achieving their objective.
You should note that you may not need to kill everyone to be successful in your objectives, it is often enough to simply suppress the enemy, and while not as rewarding as gaining a full kill, it will often prove more than enough to stop the enemy from achieving their objective.
It may be important to spread the enemy and divert their attention from the main battle, in which case you may wish to extend the front line and flank, or alternatively fortify a defensible position that is closer to a significant portion of the enemy making you the preferred target and reducing the overall pressure the enemy places on your front lines. You should be aware that will often draw large numbers of enemy troops from the front lines here, and though that is the plan you should also treat an outnumbering enemy intent on engaging you with the respect it deserves.
Be especially aware of the main threats that the enemy poses and be ready to counter them swiftly and decisively It is very important to be aware of enemy forces that have followed this advice, and deployed in an intelligent position to counter your zerg, but be prepared for a fight. Their behaviour and deployment indicates a high likelihood of an organised outfit, and you should approach the fight accordingly.
You should always be aware of your outfit’s strengths and weaknesses when selecting an objective. It is probably not the best use of resources to order a direct attack on a heavily defended control point with a four man squad. Conversely I have witnessed mis-deployment on a grand scale as an entire platoon deployed in an anti air / armour nest when only one squad was needed leaving a leaving a key base undefended.
When you are in a leadership role, you should always be re-reading the current situation, ready to react to enemy actions in a changing battlefield and not be afraid to order your units to redeploy to a new more advantageous position.
Achieving your objectives.
Now that you have defined your objective it is time to put a plan into action to achieve your desired results. I will not go into great depth here as each outfit has their own preferred play style, instead I will offer a short list of tips that have stood up to combat tests, as well as a case study, where a simple flanking action by a single squad changes the course of the battle.
Keep your distance: when outnumbered closing with the enemy plays into their hands, there are exceptions to this, but in general keeping your distance will keep you alive longer and a much more effective fighting force
Think beyond the moment: In a longer drawn out fight it is often better to occupy tactically superior ground which may be less combat intensive or remain to defend a recently captured position (the zergs attack attack attack mentality forbids them from holdiong position to defend). Remember the goal is to allow the zerg to capture the points
Don’t bite off more than you can chew: If you are running with a single squad, you should not be trying to capture the entire base. Focus on one target that is within your means to achieve
Have a good respawn strategy: Medic – Spawn Beacon / Squad Deploy – Sunderer is how my outfit operates. prioritising medics to bring you back into the fight is often quicker and keeps your squad together
Stay together to retain local numerical superiority: It doesn’t matter if the enemy your squad dispatched has 100 friends scattered over the next hill, by sticking together and deploying intelligently you can retain numerical superiority in your own small area of engagement.
If you are stuck, anti air / armour nests are nearly always a useful and easily achievable objective: They are also great for training your less disciplined or experienced members, as these nests are easy to form are often less combat intensive, and grant very good xp to the lucky heavies / engineers who are making a killing off valuable enemy equipment.
Case Study – Defense of Old Shore Checkpoint.
One outfit squad deployed as infantry
Several friendly Infantry units deploying at Old Shore Checkpoint
Large concentration of enemy armour, infantry and some air units The enemy were also proactive in bringing Sunderers to the fight.
Old Shore Checkpoint is a base in Esamir which at the time of writing (pre GU13) is located close to Esamir’s South West Warpgate. In this example the Terran Republic had recently captured the base but were in danger of being forced out by a strong New Conglomerate counterattack from the East.
The above diagram shows the seriousness of the situation the New Conglomerate forces had pushed past the spawn room and captured the control point, while Terran Republic troops were being cut down in droves as they attempted to exit the spawn room.
After observing the situation it was noted that the enemy was pushing along the main road from the East and heading straight into the base. Some vehicles were circling to the North taking advantage of the open ground, but few if any were deploying in the high ground to the south. It was also obvious that attempting to exit the spawn room at our current location would be a futile effort and we would need to redeploy to be of any use.
A plan was put into place to redeploy to Frostbite Harbour and use a Sunderer circle to the hills in the south of the enemy position, deploy to give our allies an alternative spawn (who could be relied upon to rush straight to the control point and attempt to convert it), and then move to a position in the hills where we would be able to take advantage of good sight lines across the base and approaches to engage, suppress and hopefully destroy enough of the enemy forces to allow the remainder of our allies still spawning at the main base to break out and complete the recapture of the facility.
In executing the plan it was known that there was some risk in deploying to the South of the base as we would be crossing a main road from the New Conglomerate Warpgate. However with speed being important this route was chosen as it would keep us away from the main attacking enemy force.
The Sunderer was deployed at position X with the risk of an attack from the West still in mind, and though we were engaged by a lone enemy Reaver and Vanguard, we were able to easily deal with the enemy threat. The squad then moved on foot to position Y to engage the enemy forces the view from this position can be seen below.
The squad was deployed at a distance to enable it to deal with the enemy threats while remaining far enough away to almost be unnoticed by the enemy forces collectively. We were however engaged by a small number of infiltrators who had deployed in the hills to take advantage of the strong sight lines towards the base, but these were no match for our squad, and quickly identified and destroyed. Engaged in the flank and quickly deprived of Sunderers the enemy force quickly disintegrated as they were unable to adapt to the changing situation.
The intelligent combatant
Thinking outside the box and manipulating an enemy is one of the more enjoyable aspects of Planetside 2, there is little more satisfying than knowing what an enemy’s next move will be and being in place to counter it before they are aware. Being on hand to react in a decisive way to the battlefield keeps the game alive, it lets you fight over terrain you would pass by if you mindlessly follow the zerg and you will have more fun and success doing so as well.
Also published at themittani.com