Due in part to the scope of PlanetSide 2's open-world gameplay, vehicles play an important role in the game both tactically and in terms of the speed of gameplay. With many shapes and sizes to choose from, including ATVs, troop transports, tanks, and aircraft, players have no shortage of options to help them get into the fight quickly and with formidable firepower at their disposal. Some vehicles are equipped with modular weapon mounts that allow for customization prior to fabrication, enabling a single type of vehicle to fill multiple combat roles when appropriately configured. Many vehicles also have unlockable aesthetic customization options, allowing the player to tailor their vehicle's colors, camouflage pattern, and more to personal taste.
At any given time, a player's selection of vehicles is limited by their ability to access an appropriate vehicle pad and by their choice of empire, as each faction features several unique vehicles in addition to the standard common pool options. These empire-specific vehicles are designed expressly for the faction's own use and cannot be driven or piloted by a member of a competing empire. Unlike the original PlanetSide, a player's choice of certifications and armor (determined in PlanetSide 2 by one's choice of class) does not affect his or her ability to enter certain vehicles.
Air and ground vehicles can be acquired by spending resources acquired through kills and objectives at terminals attached to the appropriate (that is, ground or air) vehicle pads. These pads are located at strategic points in and around facilities and can only be used by members of the controlling faction, as enemy-controlled pads will not allow the player to enter the requisition interface. There is a time limit on how often a vehicle can be acquired, but this limit can be lowered through advancement of the Acquisition Timer certification. The timer mechanism helps to diversify encounters on the battlefield and incentivizes players to use good judgment while in control of a vehicle.
 Vehicle Roles
 Light Assault Vehicles
Vehicles that fall into the light assault category are typified by speed and maneuverability, functioning as ideal hit-and-run or fast response units. Sacrificing heavy armor plating to achieve this goal, light assault vehicles are much more vulnerable to sustained fire and rely on their high top speeds and small turn radius to harass enemy forces without offering them the chance to retaliate. On the ground, Nanite Systems' Flash All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), Harasser, and Lightning light tank constitute light assault vehicles, while the empires' unique fighter aircraft–the Mosquito (TR), Reaver (NC), and Scythe (VS), respectively–fill this crucial role from the air.
 Heavy Assault Vehicles
What vehicles in this category lack in quickness they make up for in brute strength and survivability. Capable of taking and dishing out higher amounts of damage than lighter options, heavy assault vehicles have the caveat of often requiring both a pilot and one or more gunners in order to reach their full combat potential. While the uniquely designed Prowler (TR), Vanguard (NC), and Magrider (VS) serve each empire as its primary heavy assault unit on the ground, Nanite Systems' offers their three-man Liberator gunship to the common pool for close air support.
 Troop Transports
Troop transports are the fastest way to mobilize entire squads and deliver them safely to and from the front lines. They commonly feature heavy armor plating, multiple gun ports or mounted weapons to act as defensive countermeasures, and even several utility functions such as field repair terminals and resupply stations. The Galaxy airship, with room for a pilot, 4 gunners, 7 additional passengers, and a light vehicle, defines this class of vehicle from the air while the 12-passenger Sunderer APC offers a similar experience for ground-based operations.
In the original PlanetSide, piloting ground vehicles or aircraft required a corresponding certification. Some vehicles could be found in multiple certifications (like the Mosquito) while others had prerequisite certifications that had to be obtained first (like the Battleframe Robotics (BFRs)). The exception to this rule was the Advanced Nanite Transport (ANT), which did not require a certificate and was available to all players.
All bases except Technology Plants had a vehicle pad in the courtyard where the player could request a vehicle. If the base had only one vehicle pad you could acquire both aircraft and ground vehicles through it, but if the base was also equipped with an air pad, air and ground vehicles could only be requested at their respective pads. Advanced vehicles (mostly those with heavier armor) required a faction to control and power a nearby Technology Plant in order to requisition them.
The Galaxy and Galaxy Gunship could only be obtained through air pads at Dropship Centers or at an air terminal in the faction's Sanctuary. Similarly, Battleframe Robotics could only be acquired through BFR terminals, though these terminals were found at every base.
|Nanite Systems||Lightning • Galaxy • Harasser • Liberator • Sunderer • Flash|
|New Conglomerate||Vanguard • Reaver|
|Terran Republic||Prowler • Mosquito|
|Vanu Sovereignty||Magrider • Scythe|