With a few notable exceptions, weapons in the PlanetSide series are essentially what one would expect from any modern game in the First-Person Shooter genre and come in various form factors including combat knives, pistols, shotguns, rifles, and various classes of heavy weaponry and grenades. Many of these weapons feature or can be equipped with modifications inspired by either near-future or, in the case of the Vanu Sovereignty, faction–advanced alien technologies, in keeping with the sci-fi-fantasy setting of the games.
Each empire has a specific design philosophy for their weapons, giving them unique feel and flavour, as well as an easily identifiable visual appearances. The ranged weaponry in use by the Terran Republic relies on standard breech-loaded cartridges with bullets fired by the confined combustion of a propellant, much like today's firearms; they are simple, low profile, and ergonomic in design, though often with a noticeably high-volume magazine such as an ammunition drum. The New Conglomerate produce their own weapon designs based upon the electromagnetic acceleration, using coils or rails, of a magnetised charge or bolt. They are designed for piercing armour, high muzzle velocity, and stopping power; they are bulky and boxy in configuration in order house the electromagnets, wiring, power supplies, and cooling systems required. The Vanu Sovereignty, through their ongoing study and reverse engineering of the alien technological artifacts, have produced their own bleeding edge arsenal of weaponry which consists largely of directed energy arrays that accelerate highly confined plasma using ultra-short, high intensity laser pulses, producing a series of charged particle pulses in quick succession which kill either by rapidly vapourising the surface of a target into more plasma (causing its outermost layers to, essentially, explode), or by (in the case of anti-armour weapons) suddenly losing confinement upon coming into contact with the surface of the target, where a single larger plasma "shot" explodes upon contact. Vanu Sovereignty weapons have sleek, smooth, and relatively complex shapes, and appear to be made of advanced nanomaterials rather than familiar metals and plastics. They also exchange the comparatively large and unwieldy magazines and clips of the New Conglomerate and Terran Republic for convenient, rechargeable circular batteries that automatically screw into slots located on either side of the weapon, as well as replacing the conventional rifled or magnet-lined barrels, muzzles, and mechanical components of Republic and Conglomerate weapons with solid-state electronics, confinement chambers, and focussing arrays.
Different weapons will be available to the player based on his or her chosen class and empire. For example, the Heavy Assault class will be capable of carrying heavier, more damaging weapons at the expense of mobility or other utility functions. At any given time, however, a player will have access to at least two options for each weapon type their class can equip–one based on the common pool weapons available to all players, and another based on the player's chosen empire.
When a player is proficient with a certain weapon, medals will be awarded. All weapons, including infantry, vehicle, and stationary weapons grant medals. Medals show in your persona statistics and will grant bonus XP and Certification Points
- Main article: Melee
Melee weapons are provided to every soldier for close-quarters combat. Due to the ineffectiveness of hand-to-hand combat between soldiers wearing any form of Exo-Suit, combat knives are the lowest common denominator of weaponry on the battlefield, with each empire providing a unique twist to their troops' blades in an effort to gain the upper hand. These empire-specific weapons are the Chain Blade (TR), Mag-Cutter (NC), and Force-Blade (VS). Combat knives also provide a soldier the quietest means by which to dispose of an opponent during stealth operations.
- Main article: Pistols
Pistols, like combat knives, are standard-issue weapons that are provided to all soldiers regardless of class and come in unique varieties depending on empire enlistment. While typically weak per individual shot, pistols are also quick to reload or unholster, making them popular choices for finishing wounded enemies rather than reloading a larger weapon to finish the job. The faction-specific starting pistols are the TX1 Repeater (TR), NC4 Mag-Shot (NC), and Beamer VS3 (VS).
- Main article: SMG
The Submachine Gun (SMG) is a high rate of fire weapon designed for close quarters combat. They are available for every class except the MAX. SMGs were first implemented in GU02, with one SMG added for each faction. A second batch of SMGs were added around a week later, again, one for each faction. All of the SMGs that came in the second batch had a higher ammo capacity than the previous ones.
SMGs have projectile speeds equal to current sidearm weapons- slower than a majority of weapons available. SMGs only have a 25% movement speed penalty while aiming down sight, versus a 50% penalty on most other weapons. Although all classes except the MAX unit can use them, they are most effective on Infiltrators, who lack any real close quarters weapon.
There are seven available SMGs: two for each faction, and the NS-7 PDW for all factions.
- Main article: Shotguns
Shotguns remain a potent battlefield option despite the availability of much longer-range weapons. While standard rifles and even pistols can serve a soldier well in the open expanses of the world, shotguns support the close-range operations necessary in capturing and defending the tight corridors of key facilities around Auraxis. Empire variations on the classic shotgun design for the Terran Republic and Vanu Sovereignty have not yet been announced, but the New Conglomerate appears to have appropriated the Sweeper. Shotguns are available to the Heavy Assault, Light Assault, Engineer and Combat Medic classes.
- Main article: Carbines
Carbines are shortened versions of rifles and as such provide a pivotal supporting role in close-to-medium range engagements, where cover fire is required to effectively coordinate troop movements and enable the capturing of strategic locations. Able to lay down steady streams of fire that are more lethal at close ranges, carbines shine in tight spaces where maneuverability is at a premium and pinning down the enemy is to one's advantage. Standard variants on the rifle include the TRAC-5 (TR), AF-19 Mercenary (NC), and Solstice (VS), but modular attachments for each weapon are extensive enough that two of the same model may fill radically different roles when differently configured. Carbines are available to the Light Assault and Engineer classes.
- Main article: Assault Rifles
Assault Rifles are medium-to-long range weapons that come in many shapes and sizes to fit many different roles, and can often be outfitted with secondary functions to further improve their versatility. The bread and butter of the average soldier, rifles can provide precision shooting, cover fire, or high-damage stopping power to suit the needs of any situation. Standard variants on the rifle include the Cycler (TR), Gauss (NC), and Pulsar (VS), but modular attachments for each weapon are extensive enough that two of the same model may fill radically different roles when differently configured. Rifles are only available to the Combat Medic.
Light Machine Guns (LMGs)
- Main article: Light Machine Guns
Light Machine Guns (commonly shortened to LMGs) are the heavy counterparts to carbines and rifles, trading a small silhouette and secondary functions for a greater stock of ammunition and even greater stopping power. Offering versatility at any range given the trigger discipline of the wielder, LMGs are equally effective fulfilling the roles of large-scale defensive cover fire or vanguard assault operations. LMGs are only available to the Heavy Assault class.
- Main article: Battle Rifle
Battle Rifles are weapons that provide long range capabilities and high stopping power weapons for Engineers, and Heavy Assaults. They provide greater accuracy at range than Light Machine Guns and Carbines, but suffer in close range engagements due to low rate of fire and being semi automatic.
- Main article: Scout Rifle
The scout rifle is a type of infiltrator weapon. These are highly accurate automatic or semi-automatic rifles well-suited to mid-long range combat.
- Main article: Sniper Rifles
Sniper Rifles are the weapon of choice for specialists and assassins, providing unrivaled firepower and range over traditional rifles. With long barrels and custom cartridges, sniper rifles are more of a liability than an asset in medium to close-range engagements and in the hands of a careless soldier. Sniper rifles can only be used by the Infiltrator class.
Heavy Weapons encompass a variety of weapon types and form factors connected only by the loose requirement of high destructive potential. More so than any other category of weapon, heavy weapons vary from empire to empire based on their preferred method of violence. These preferences have resulted in the Mini Chaingun (TR), Jackhammer (NC), and Lasher (VS) heavy weapons, all of which are appropriate under (often dramatically) different circumstances. Heavy weapons are usable only by the Heavy Assault class.
Anti-armor weapons are singularly designed to eliminate targets such as aircraft and tanks that are otherwise impervious to weapons fire. While most explosives are passive or subversive attempts to destroy armored targets, anti-armor weapons are generally shoulder-mounted, limited-ammunition ordnance launchers that are used to offensively target these units using either dumb-fire or lock-on missile modes. Each empire has access to multiple anti-armor launchers: The common pool NS Decimator and NS Annihilator, empire-specific launchers (such as the Lancer), a lock-on anti-air, a lock-on anti-tank and a dumbfire launcher (available by default).
Explosives is a broad category that encompasses grenades, mines, and various detonation charges. While most explosives are designed to inflict heavy bursts of damage to personnel or armor, grenades in particular have a wide variety of uses and are frequently used to blind, distract, confuse, or even heal, in the case of the medi-nanite dispensing grenades carried by Combat Medics. All classes have access to explosives, but the types of explosives available to the player are limited depending on the class chosen.
Availability of Explosives by Class
- Main Article: Mechanized Assault Exo-Suit
Weapons made for Mechanized Assault Exo-Suit (MAX) units are specially designed to be modular in nature, allowing for quick hot-swapping of various weapon types onto a standard platform. While the aesthetic design and any special functions of this platform will change depending on empire affiliation, weapons are typically standardized between all factions and offer no particular benefits beyond their designated combat roles. These role-based armaments currently include three anti-infantry weapons (a flamethrower, shotgun, and minigun to account for different range requirements), one anti-vehicular mortar, and one anti-air flak cannon.
MAX units are capable of mounting one weapon of the soldier's choosing on each arm. Since each arm is loaded and fired independently, this allows for either a singularly focused strategy, such as equipping two anti-infantry weapons, or a more balanced approach, such as equipping one anti-vehicle weapon and one anti-air weapon. Any additional flexibility provided by the use of different weapon types at the same time comes at the expense of sheer firepower in the face of any one type of enemy, and vice-versa. MAX pilots are urged to use careful judgment when selecting a loadout for their platform, as the hot-swapping of weapons is currently not possible in the field.
- Main Article: Vehicles
Most vehicle-mounted weaponry is classified in the same way as any real-life equivalent would be: Using millimeter measurements. These measurements indicate stopping power based on the size of the barrel (and therefore the ordnance fired). Vanu-developed vehicles such as the Magrider likely do not feature this classification as their energy-based armaments do not use standard shells.
Some vehicles feature mounting points for modularly designed weapons that can be selected prior to requisition, allowing a single platform to fill multiple roles. The Flash ATV, for example, can be outfitted with several different weapons, including a machine gun and rocket launcher. Empire-specific vehicles are more restricted in this sense, as they use specialized designs tailored to the faction's combat style.
Influences in Weapon Design
Each of the three empires has access to a set of unique weapons that incorporate that empire's ideologies into their design. Common pool weapons as designed by Nanite Systems (weapons that are available to all players regardless of faction) have no particular design influences beyond their intended combat role.
Weaponry designed by the Terran Republic features large magazines and high rates-of-fire but low damage-per-shot, inspired by the faction's "victory by the numbers" approach to combat. As the originating empire from which the New Conglomerate and Vanu Sovereignty splintered, it stands to reason (if from nothing more than a lore perspective) that the Terran Republic maintains the highest population of any of the factions, lending to this design in their weapons. The Mini Chaingun, with its extremely high ammo capacity and ability to rapidly hose down enemies with lots of low-damage projectiles, acts as a prime example of Terran ideology in weapon design.
New Conglomerate weaponry is built to embody a brute-force, "shock and awe" mentality and incorporates smaller magazine sizes with heavier, higher caliber projectiles. This reflects the aggressive, muscular tactics that the upstart rebel group relies on in engagements, wherein powerful guerrilla strikes are made against key locations using superior firepower. The Jackhammer, a triple-barreled automatic shotgun with devastating close-range damage potential, epitomizes the New Conglomerate approach to munitions technology.
The precursors to the Vanu Sovereignty originally comprised the Terran Republic's top scientists and engineers rather than hardened soldiers. This heritage is apparent through the faction's use of advanced directed-energy weapons that showcase their penchant for versatility and precision in combat over brute force or superior numbers. These energy weapons provide accurate direct fire, largely unaffected by gravity as traditional projectiles are. Their energy discharges, unlike simple bullets, burn through armour and flesh, molecularly disrupting targets rather than mechanically puncturing or crushing them on impact. The Lasher, an experimental infantry-portable energy cannon that projects volatile "orbs" of confined plasma capable of accurately delivering a continuous stream of damage to targets at range while withering and gradually killing all infantry near the target with severe thermal, electrical, and radiation burns, illustrates just how the Vanu Sovereignty seek to constantly ride the bleeding edge of weapons technology and maintain an advantage through innovative and lateral-minded approaches to combat.
Note that the Mechanized Assault Exo-Suit (MAX) class is not covered by the following table as they carry specialized, modular platform-grade weaponry.
|Type||Terran Republic Default||New Conglomerate Default||Vanu Sovereignty Default||Class Availability|
|Combat Knife||Chain Blade||MAG-Cutter||Force Blade||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Pistol||TX1 Repeater||NC4 Mag-Shot||Beamer VS3||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Sniper Rifle||99SV||NC14 Bolt Driver||Spectre VA39||✓|
|Assault Rifle||T1 Cycler||NC1 Gauss Rifle||Pulsar VS1||✓|
|Light Machine Gun||T9 CARV||NC6 Gauss SAW||Orion||✓|
|Submachine Gun||No default||No default||No default||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Shotgun||FA1 Barrage||Mauler S6||Thanatos VE70||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Battle Rifle||No default||No default||No default||✓||✓||✓|
|Scout Rifle||No default||No default||No default||✓|
|Faction Weapons||T7 Mini-Chaingun||NC05 Jackhammer||Lasher||✓|
|New Conglomerate||EM1 • EM6 • Gauss SAW S • GD-22S • LA1 Anchor • NC6 Gauss SAW|
|Terran Republic||MSW-R • T16 • T32 Bull • T9 CARV • T9 CARV-S • TMG-50|
|Vanu Sovereignty||Flare • Orion VS54 • Pulsar LSW • SVA-88 • Ursa • VX29 Polaris|
|Nanite Systems||MAX Punch|
|New Conglomerate||Mag Cutter|
|Terran Republic||Chain Blade|
|Nanite Systems||NS Annihilator • NS Decimator|
|New Conglomerate||AF-22 Crow • Hawk GD-68 • NC15 Phoenix • Shrike|
|Terran Republic||ASP-30 Grounder • M9 SKEP Launcher • ML-7 • T2 Striker|
|Vanu Sovereignty||Hades VSH4 • Lancer VS22 • Nemesis VSH9 • S1|
|New Conglomerate||Shadow • Stalker|
|Terran Republic||HSR-1 • SOAS-20|
|Vanu Sovereignty||Artemis • Nyx|
|New Conglomerate||Gauss SPR • Impetus • LA80 • EM4 Longshot • NC14 Bolt Driver • SAS-R|
|Terran Republic||99SV • KSR-35 • M77-B • RAMS .50M • SR-7 • TSAR-42|
|Vanu Sovereignty||Ghost • Parallax VX3 • Phantom • V10 • VA39 Spectre • XM98|