So I’ve being playing a fair bit of Planetside 2 recently. In a word – Brilliant. All FPS games should be open-world persistent slug fests like this… I won’t go into too much detail as that’s not the point of this post (and you can find plenty of coverage elsewhere), but it’s so engaging and atmospheric that it can’t help but inspire the mind, and get you really pumped. The following AAR is something I was inspired to write after a particularly desperate action I took part in.
The core scenario is true, but all of the surrounding details are there for ‘flavour’, and so are not to be taken as fact.
Sergeant Ibram Tyrol
Alpha Company, NC Rangers
I don’t know who wanted to take us out the most; the Vanu or the Terrans. Our Company had been deployed to an old Ti Alloys, Inc station up in the hills just west of the The Crown. It wasn’t the most tactically significant position, but it gave a solid flank to the bigger Crown outpost and covered the other side of the pass that lead south from the J9 crash site up north. Mainly, I suspect it was so we could keep an eye on the Terran controlled Ceres Hydroponics lab at the foot of the hill. The day started up pretty regular: we relieved Beta Company; we made ourselves at home, and generally settled down for what we thought was going to be another routine day on the border. We’d heard of a lot of fighting going on in the east – some major push by command to drive into Terran territory through the Abandoned NS offices. The Vanu were also up to their usual tricks trying to take Tawrich. Again, but here… things were usually pretty quiet, we were told.
I’d actually taken a fire-team back to the Warpgate so we could try and rustle up some extra heavy weapons – we’d hitched a ride on one of the routine supply drops heading back, and we’d just landed were heading to see the Quartermaster when we got the call – major Terran push on the Crown and our own position and Ti Alloys. Not only that, but Vanu scouts had been spotted pushing into our territory around the Snake Ravine Lookout…. we were definitely going to need that heavy gear. I left one man behind to see what he could do, and took the rest of the fire team back to Ti so that we could join in the defence. It would take too long to get their via usual transports, even via a Galaxy (not that there were any free at the time), so we managed to get special dispensation from Battalion command to teleport up to the troop ship in orbit, and then hot drop back down using one of their Orbital Drop pods.
It’s funny how quickly things can go south. By the time we had landed the whole outpost was in chaos… the main Terran assault was coming from the ‘Spoil’, a gentle slope that lead from our base at the top, to the Terran base down at the old Hydroponics lab, it was less of a hill and more of a jagged incline, with deep cuts reaching up to us like fingers. Still, it provided a good position for us to defend, and we managed to keep them at bay. Of course they also had a lot of air-support, which didn’t help matters, and there was also some pressure on our south side as well.
We didn’t really think about it much until later (we figured it was some lucky Terran elements that had slipped by either us or Crown), but it didn’t take long for the situation to become really dire.
I was making my report directly to the Major when the fighting somehow got more intense and fresh cries went up. Then we heard – not only had the Vanu overrun Snake Ravine (and so were pushing up towards us from the South West over a small bridge), but the Terrans had also crushed the defences at The Crown with a massed armoured and mechanized assault force, which was now making its way across the pass towards us from the east. Quickly forgetting about me, the Major called in all his senior officers to take a look at the tactical map… since I hadn’t been officially re-assigned back to my platoon yet, I managed to linger a bit and get a glimpse of the tactical map.
We were basically surrounded. Due to the geniuses over at Mapping & Logistics, the fact that we controlled Ti still and the Crossroads just south, meant that ‘officially’ there was a supply line along the road that connected us, but it quickly became apparent that road was swarming with both Vanu AND Terrans, and we suspect the forces garrisoning that area had their own problems to worry about. The whole thing was such a mess, I could tell the CO was a hair’s breath away from sounding a general retreat – but I guess pulling out to safety just wasn’t on the cards that day. First, the ‘heavy gear’ we’d requested showed up in the form of several heavy Max suits hot dropping on top of the base. They were quickly followed by the rest of the Battalion, along with our very grim looking Colonel. We’d been given orders to hold this ground at all costs.
What followed is some of the most frantic fighting I’d ever participated in – our Max suits were acting as make-shift AA to keep the enemy birds at bay, whilst my company was deployed to stop the Terran’s coming up the spoil. In the meantime, the rest of the Battalion was formed on the South to push back both the Terran armoured assault, as well as the Vanu elements looking to get a shot in as well. We had fire literally coming from all sides, and to make matters worse some of the Terrans had even gotten some of the gun emplacements working at the Crown, and were using them to rain down fire on us as well… I was so close to despair regarding our situation that It took me a whole five minutes to realise I’d been shot – and by that point my legs had gone out from under me and my squad mates had to drag me over to triage.
As I lay there, wounded, I realised that this seemed like a really, really stupid place to die… I mean, Ti Alloys had gone out of business years ago… there was no-one left to care that we held onto that outpost. As I learned much later though, this position was more critical to High Command than we could possibly realise. With the northern push in the east stalled, some bright spark over in the Terran High Command figured it would be a good opportunity to rush The Crown and take Zurvan (and the surrounding outposts… not only would that push us way back but it would also cut off everything North of there, effectively dooming the main army to annihilation. You could say this was conjecture, but when a small Terran strike team also managed to take The Old Stockpiles deep in what was supposed to be ‘friendly’ territory, we knew there was a whole hunk of shit just waiting to hit that fan.
In a way, it was the Vanu opportunism that saved us. Every wanting to hold Tawrich in the South, the Vanu figured it would be easier to hold if they push their Northern frontiers forward… plus, with a lot of Terran assets tied up in the North East and at Ti Alloys; it was also a great opportunity to take some Terran territory as well. As hard as the Terrans were pushing against us, they also had the Vanu to contend with as well – it was one massive free-for-all.
As fate would have it, my injury came just as the first med-evac arrived, and I was one of the first ones out. I’d consider myself lucky, but it’s hard to feel good about leaving your comrades behind. I saw some allied troop transports pass by the window as we flew back to the warpgate, and I couldn’t help but wonder if they really knew what they were getting into…
I honestly don’t know what the final result of Ti Alloys, Inc was… it was pretty late as it was when I logged on, and I was too tired to see the whole thing out. I passed a friend of mine on Steam who was logging in as I was logging off, maybe he’ll know what happened. Regardless of the dramatization, it really was one hell of a fight.