Planetside 2: our guide to conquering Indar's hotspots

Planetside 2 7-2 Point E

7.2 Point E

Tawrich is a large facility on the border of Terran and Vanu territory. When the New Conglomerate push south into Vanu lands, they often leave Tawrich lightly defended: making it a perfect prize for a mildly organised group of Terran Republic types. I assisted in one such push, a smattering of air vehicles supporting a larger ground group that I was a small part of. En route, our flyboys spotted a lone Liberator, setting off from the south and heading north to support a Vanu thrust elsewhere on the vast continent of Indar. Before he could bring his powerful belly gunner to bear on us squishier sorts down on the ground, our organised Terran pilots shot him out of the sky in their nippier Mosquito fighters. I watched the dogfight unfurl through the scope on my Infiltrator's sniper rifle as I stood next to Tawrich's point E. By the time the Vanu's Liberator was molten slag raining to the ground, we'd nabbed half the base, splitting off in groups of two or three to capture a point, before reforming to move efficiently across open ground. Squads moved together to different corners of the base. Then came the Vanu fightback.

Planetside 2 7-2 Point D

7.3 Point D

Tawrich is similar to many of PlanetSide 2's main facilities: it's huge, multi-layered, and a bit confusing to run around. Tubes and jump pads provide a quick way around the staggeringly big facility areas, but there's no guarantee of where they'll lead without testing them yourself. Some will carry you downstairs, others take you directly to the facility's outbuildings. Some of these outbuildings exist way out, half a kilometre or more from the base they're servicing. Others are much closer, antechambers to the facility proper. Tawrich's D point is in one such building, and is often the preliminary staging post in an attack – or a successful defence. Point D provides shelter and space for infantry to hole up, as the more open spaces around the feet of the game's facilities are usually swarming with tanks and hot projectile doom. In this example, both the ground around and the skies above Tawrich are quiet. Too quiet. I flick open the map and check Indar's hotspots. Glowing exclamation marks light up the space to the north and east of Tawrich, meaning the brunt of the Vanu counter-attack will be here soon.

Planetside 2 7-4 Point G

7.4 Point G

Tawrich's point G and F are the facility's centrepoints, and the fi rst places the Vanu concentrated their defensive counter-push. Dressed in the stealth suit of an Infiltrator, I phased out of the visible spectrum just before a Vanu taskforce barrelled around the corner, ducking behind a computer as the purple-clad scum tried to resecure their lost base. My suit's power dying and the enemy standing in state, I was in trouble. Steadying my rifle, I brought it to bear on the nearest enemy's head. In stealth mode – activated like most of PlanetSide 2's class-specific abilities with the F key – players can't shoot. But I was about to run out of juice. The second I heard the fizzle effect that signified my visibility, I squeezed off three rounds at my target's helmet-clad face. He dropped like a bag of alien-worshipping bricks, and the errant rounds that whistled past his descending corpse hit his friend. A third enemy killed me in a few shots, but it was a second before he too was knocked out of action by a resurgent Terran squad. I was revived by a hero medic, and the Vanu gains at point G were scrubbed from the map.

Planetside 2 7-5 Point F

7.5 Point F

As if on queue, a squad of Vanu troops turn up. I'm loosely grouped with two dropships-worth of Terran forces, and these Vanu are our purple and green mirror images. I hop into a MAX suit to try to even the odds a little. The MAX can swap heavy weapons depending on the situation: here I stick antipersonnel chainguns – heavy cyclers – onto both of my hands. I stay at the top of a wooshy golden elevator with my squadded-up friends. Together, we kill a stream of Vanu, but it doesn't stem the tide. Eventually, after a short lull in the massacre, a brave soul pops from his vantage point near Tawrich's point F, and finds a Vanu Galaxy dropship wedged between pillars a step below one of our own transports. The act of flying to get the vehicle in there without any of us noticing is worthy of an appreciative nod, but this is no time to be congratulating: the enemy have infiltrated our newly taken base, and it'll take a concerted effort to flush them out. Vanu MAX suits – sleek where the Terrans' are bulky – pour from the Galaxy as it serves as a spawn point. My friends and I pour as many bullets as we can in their general direction.

Planetside 2 7-6 Point C

7.6 Point C

The Terran Republic held Tawrich for another ten minutes before the purple Vanu tide overwhelmed us. The New Conglomerate had refocused its efforts in the north, hitting Terran territory over Vanu areas, leaving the purple forces free to repel smaller pushes like ours. I came back the next day on a reconnaissance run in a Mosquito, and the area was deathly silent. Connected by one hex to Terran land, I landed my aircraft in a quiet bit of desert and hopped out. I was at capture point C. To take it would be to draw attention to myself, to drag the gaze of an entire faction onto my own head, without a squad to back me up. But I had my Mosquito outside, the fastest escape option in the sky. I took a look at the capture point, and headed inside to turn it to the Terran Republic. Three minutes later, the point having fl icked over to Terran control, I was shot by a sniper who'd responded to reports of problems in Tawrich base. Three hours later, and the whole place belonged to the Terran Republic again. They say war never changes, but PlanetSide 2's wild, varied war is one fi ght I'll gladly sign up for.