Published on March 1st, 2013 | by James Kulas
First, Do No Harm: A Planetside Medic Guide
When my fearless comrades asked for advice in the altruistic ways of the combat medic, I was frankly baffled. I’ll be the first to admit I’m no shining example of this honourable profession, I warrant no pedestal. And yet, I witness my fellow battlefield physicians repeat the same mistakes ad infinitum.
It’s the object of this guide to safely navigate common pitfalls and lead you along the righteous path of self-betterment. Since my experience is primarily with the indomitable Terran Republic, I’ll be speaking from the red side of the fence, but the majority should apply regardless of your politics. Let’s begin.
Choose Your Weapon
First up, weaponry. Don’t be fooled by his helpful exterior, in assault rifles the medic possess arguably the most potent infantry bang-sticks Planetside 2 has to offer. Deadly at significantly longer ranges than carbines or LMGs, keeping the enemy at arm’s length can make the difference in open conflict. Add a compensator, foregrip, and a scope of your choosing (I prefer 2x reflex) and you’ll be delivering devastatingly accurate bursts toward those spandex wearing heathens. At 30 certs it’s also worth investing in a night vision scope for low light conditions, the difference is night and day.
Know Your Kit
Your primary job is to keep your guys upright until theirs fall down. To tackle this you’re equipped with a nanite-based magic sponge, a cure-all so powerful it’ll even overcome mild cases of death. At rank one it’ll revive your patients with a tiny sliver of health, but for around 90 certs you can boost that up to 50%. If you intend to spend any serious time with the class, this is your starting point.
In what seems like an oversight on the designer’s part, the better your sponge the less experience you’ll gain, but don’t let that put you off. The final level dramatically increases the range and speed meaning less time spent unarmed in the line of fire. Charging around beating those part-timers to the punch also makes for an amusing mini-game.
For more group oriented care there’s the Nano-Regen Device, unleashing a cloud of yet more nanites with the F key. The nice thing about this one is it’ll top up anyone in the vicinity, including you. As with the medical applicator its potency can be significantly improved with relatively few certs, so pick up the first couple and come back later. Try activating this any time you’re under fire, the extra health gained in combat can be the deciding factor in a close engagement.
The final support tool in your pack is the revive grenade. At 400 certs, it’s a situational luxury item, but immensely powerful in the right scenario. If there is a limit to the number of effective targets I haven’t found it yet, so landing one on a capture point or stairwell can turn the tide of a battle. It’s also useful for reaching people when you’re pinned down. By the time you can afford to carry one you’ll be well into the habit of chucking frag grenades, so keep in mind you’ll be trading that offensive capability. Having tested it thoroughly, I can confirm the enemy can’t be revived to death.
With the ability to fix yourself up, your utility slot is free for fireworks. Some suggest C4 isn’t worth the investment until you can afford two, and that’s certainly the case when dealing with vehicles. On the other hand, one is enough to deal with a pesky MAX unit in close quarters, meaning fewer tactical withdrawls. Explosives are arguably more useful for Light Assault due to their manoeuvrability, but if you spend a lot of time with the medic it’s a great way to round off the class.
I prefer my setups to be flexible rather than specialised, so I recommend Nanoweave Armour. The extra health is always useful regardless of damage type, and while Flak Armour is powerful it won’t help you with bullets. You’ll want to pick up the first three tiers as a matter of priority, and a fourth once your applicator is at least five. Notice the final point only grants 5% extra health for a whopping 1000 certs. Don’t worry about that for a while, it’s another luxury item for the truly dedicated.
Open Your Eyes, Dummy!
Of course, the best equipment in the world is useless if your situational awareness stinks. As a utility class, having an accurate picture of the battlefield is a more precious commodity than ammunition, separating an effective soldier from the fodder. I can’t stress this enough, pay attention to how the lines are shifting, always be looking around and try to shake the tunnel vision habit, it’s not just enemy forces you have to consider.
- Under general settings, turn on “Centralized HUD Mode”. All the important information is now displayed around your cross-hair, rather than tucked away in the corner. You’re welcome.
- The responsibility for resurrecting friendlies in sensible places falls on your shoulders, so try not to pick them up in the line of fire… or with a Magrider parked on their face.
- Assisting medics first will provide a contingency plan if you bite it, the battlefield is big enough for the both of you.
- Players screaming for assistance and running off can be frustrating, but I’ve been killed enough times to tell you chasing them down is a fool’s errand. Don’t let my sacrifice be in vain.
- Blocking an engineer’s MANA turret with your arse, no matter how attractive, will get you killed. Sometimes it’s necessary to cross lines of fire, but expect to be shot in the process.
- While those vehicle pads can be excellent places to hone your craft, try to avoid perpetuating the failure by adding to the body count. I operate on the assumption that those players are generally about as effective face-down as they were in life.
- If you’re under fire with your applicator equipped, switching to your pistol is significantly faster than any primary weapon. Get familiar with it, attach a laser sight when you can spare the certs and it’ll save your life in a pinch.
- When sweeping enemy territory, employ a human shield as point-man. He’ll draw fire while you mop up, and if you’re feeling generous you can even heal him afterwards.
- When defending a room with multiple entry points, working together to cover your angles will dramatically increase your lifespan.
- Overloaded generators are no place for a nap, even if you can ignore the ominous whirring. Don’t become just another victim of their entirely predictable blood-lust.
- Medical icons on the mini-map are not enemy infiltrators trying to deceive you, they’re soldiers in need. You took an oath, help them.
- If you attempt to revive someone and no reticule appears, move on quickly. While your commitment to your patients is admirable, staring at the ground for thirty seconds screaming “No dying on my watch dammit!” will likely add you to the pile.
So that’s the extent of my wisdom for now, I hope I was able to shed some light on the mysterious combat medic. No doubt I’ve omitted something obvious, so feel free to tell me how terrible I am in the comments. If you’ve yet to experience the epic scale of Planetside 2 then you can signup for an account here.