In PlanetSide 2 players must choose allegiance with one of Planetside's three Empires: Terran Republic, New Conglomerate or Vanu Sovereignty. These empires are locked in an epic battle for domination of the planet Auraxis, and players fight for their empire to control Auraxis's four main resources by capturing and controlling sections of the planet's three current continents. The continents are sectioned into hexes on the world map, and each hex section corresponds to a certain resource. Capturing and controlling a hex section provides the corresponding resource to players of that empire. With these resources, players can buy vehicles, items and certain equipment for use in game, and as well as unlock new weapons, visual customization options, and various equipment items. Most classes, weapons and equipment are free to use in game once they are unlocked. Players can further upgrade (sidegrade) and customize each class, vehicle, equipment and weapon by acquiring certifications.
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The following document conveys the most useful information a new player may need.