PS2: Infiltrator – Like a Ghost

2013-08-15

The watchful sniper, the lurking ambusher or the sneaky saboteur. Any one of these roles can be filled by Planetside 2’s Infiltrator class, but there’s a difference between simply sniping enemies from afar and being a truly effective team member that helps to turn the tide in your favor. Here’s a look at how to get the most out of Planetside 2’s sneakiest class.

Tools of the Trade

Weapons

All Infiltrators begin play with the standard sidearm for their faction and a sniper rifle. NC Infiltrators start with a hard hitting bolt-action rifle capable of inflicting one-hit kills on most targets if a headshot is scored. TR and VS Infiltrators start with semi-automatic rifles which inflict less damage than their bolt cousins but have larger clips and can rapidly fire follow up shots.

Infiltrators also have two other weapon options in the form of scout rifles and submachine guns which give them more effectiveness at closer ranges where a sniper rifle would suffer. If you are planning any sort of regular Infiltrator play, it is highly recommended that you pick up a weapon in this category somewhere along the line.

The Cloaking Device

The first and most important thing to keep in mind about the Infiltrator cloak is that it is camouflage and not invisibility. If you have ever seen any of the Predator movies then you will have an idea of how you will appear to an enemy that is looking at you out in the open; as a shimmering see-through outline. The further away you are, the harder you are to spot but up close you will be very visible to the enemy whether cloaked or not. Use terrain to break line of sight, take the roundabout way to get to your target and for crying out loud don’t run out in front of the enemy’s firing line and then act surprised when you get gunned down anyway.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the cloaking device makes noise, and in fact has a unique audio cue for the three factions. Careless use of your cloak can actually give away your position if an alert enemy is nearby and hears the device, ruining your chance of catching them by surprise. If they are using headphones, they may even be able to pinpoint what direction you are in just by the sound alone.

Lastly, there are different degrees of cloak effectiveness depending on whether you are running at a full sprint or crouching and immobile. This can easily be tested by looking at your own hands (your in-game hands, not your real ones) and engaging your cloaking device, then crouching and watching how your silhouette becomes even more transparent and harder to see.

Recon Detect Device

Often forgotten about, but a very useful tool from the Infiltrator’s bag of tricks. Fire out a small dart that acts as a probe, scanning any nearby enemies who are currently in motion and making them appear on your minimap. This includes cloaked enemy infiltrators as well, so it can be very handy for sniffing out troublesome snipers. Just be aware that the device makes an audible beeping noise and anyone who hears it nearby is going to have advanced warning that they’re being scanned. Park yourself on an Engineer’s ammo pack and you can spam recon darts all over the place for maximum coverage.

Explosives

Unfortunately the Infiltrator’s selection of specialist grenades are somewhat under whelming and largely situational. EMP grenades will disorient the enemy by blurring their vision as well as draining their shields and energy reserves, which will knock out Heavy Assault shields and Infiltrator cloaks. Like Concussion Grenades, EMP will detonate on impact without any bouncing which makes them somewhat easier to aim, but also makes it much easier to accidentally catch yourself or nearby team mates in the blast radius. Decoy Grenades are even more situational, as they emit a false blip on the enemy minimap as well as the sound of gunfire, making them mostly used to mislead or ambush your foes. There are some people who have occasionally managed to use them to hilarious effect though…

AP mines are the same ones that the Engineer can use, and quite handy for setting booby traps or placing in areas you expect an enemy to come running through at high speed. Infiltrator mines account for many, many deaths in this game and conversely create many angry whispers from the victims.

Wraith Cloaking Device

This is not something that you carry, but can be equipped on a Flash to allow it to also cloak when an Infiltrator is driving it. This can be very useful in getting you from point A to point B across open terrain in a stealthy fashion, though keep in mind that it does nothing to mute the sound of the engine, so driving close to alert enemies could be hazardous to your health.

If only they included mufflers in the stealth cert tree…

Sticky Notes

Break Your Silhouette

Here’s one a lot of people don’t think of. A lot of prospective shooters dream of getting to the perfect sniper’s nest, on the top of a building or mountainside. And while it is true that you can indeed get a bird’s eye view of the battlefield below from somewhere high up, there’s a problem with this strategy when you’ve got the big open sky behind you. Let’s play a game called “spot the Infiltrator” below…

Where's Waldo?

Assuming you’re not blind, you were able to spot him even in the second picture but this is an excellent demonstration of the value of background camouflage. In this case our friendly cloaker is sitting relatively close by and is easy to see, but at longer range and during a confused fire fight it can be much harder to pick him out of the terrain with a casual glance if he’s got background objects breaking up his silhouette. Add in some armor camouflage appropriate to the surroundings and it’s even more effective. Now apply the cloak and you can see where this is going.

Minimize your Exposure Time and Stay Hidden

So you see a nest of enemies and you’ve started opening fire on them with your rifle. Generally you’re only going to get one or two shots in before the enemy know where you are and start to return fire on you.

Equipping your weapon with a suppressor will reduce its audio output and prevent you from showing up as a blip on the minimap, but the tracer from your bullets and that telltale *CRACK!* when they zip past an enemy will still be a dead giveaway. No matter what you do to prepare, they’re going to at least have a rough idea of where the shot came from.

Try starting your attack from behind cover. Break line of sight and cloak up and, while crouched, slowly ease out until you have a bead on your chosen target. At this point, hold the shift key to steady your aim, decloak and open fire. If you’re using a semi auto rifle, follow up on as many shots as you feel necessary, but not too many. Then immediately cloak up and withdraw behind cover again out of sight. Take this time to reload your weapon, then wash rinse and repeat.

Most times the enemy will look around for a few seconds after that first shot, trying to find the sniper. If you’ve timed it right, you are back behind cover and have spent merely a second or two exposed and uncloaked, and sooner or later your targets will return to the task at hand, allowing you to start the process over. Be wary for enemy snipers sitting and waiting for you to appear again after a few shots. If you suspect they’re getting wise, be patient. Enemy Infiltrators will usually hunker down and be looking through their scope waiting for you to decloak in the general vicinity of where they think you are. Since they can’t see you at sniper range while you’re cloaked, you can possibly get a quick and easy shot off on them before they can shoot you.

And of course, if they’ve figured out your hiding spot, it’s time to move. No sniping position is good enough that it’s worth sitting on when the gig is up. People hate snipers, and sooner or later (probably sooner) a light assault is going to come up there looking for you.

You are More than a Sniper

Sitting back and popping some heads with your rifle is well and fine, but it doesn’t necessarily do your team any good if you need to be pushing on point and making an advance. Sure you can try to target medics and engineers to cut off their support, but unless your aim is near superhuman and every shot is scoring a kill, it’s likely those support guys will just respawn and rejoin the fight, albeit more cautiously now that they know you’re about. Luckily, there are other things you can do to help out your faction’s cause, and you should pick up a closer ranged weapon for this. A scout rifle will do the trick, but SMGs are by far the more popular choice due to their effectiveness and the fact that they can also be used by the other classes.

You are Squishier

It’s not much, but the Infiltrator has a slightly lower health pool than the other classes. This just further cements the fact that you are not meant for head on engagements. If you come around a corner and end up face to face with an enemy Heavy Assault as his shield goes up, chances are it’s not going to go well for you.

Always try to focus on ambushing enemies where you can, and hitting them from where they’re not looking. Take roundabout routes to your destination, stick to cover and be sneaky. Fortunately for you, Planetside 2 has a very low TTK (Time to Kill) which means that if you get the drop on someone and hit them from an angle they aren’t expecting you will likely kill them very quickly, even if it’s a Heavy Assault with his shield up. Score headshots and you can often drop someone before they even realize they’re under attack. Also be careful about using the spot key (Q by default) when in close proximity to the enemy. It’s a dead giveaway when they hear your character shouting “ENEMY LIGHT ASSAULT!” Especially if they’re wearing headphones.

Hack Those Terminals and Turrets

Another often neglected job. This is a vital task when on the offensive, and especially important in the early stages of an attack when the base may not be crawling with as many enemy soldiers. It also gives you a chance to get at the terminals before some knucklehead on your team decides to destroy them for a tiny amount of free points. Priority for hacking should be as follows.

Vehicle Terminals – In the event that the attacking force loses their Sunderer, this gives the option that quick-thinking allies can pull another one from the enemy terminal.

Infantry Terminals – Denies their use to the enemy and allows your own allies to swap load outs or resupply consumables in the heat of battle.

Phalanx Turrets – Prioritize these against the type of enemies you expect to see or what turrets are giving your side trouble. Are they bringing in a lot of aircraft or tearing up your own air force? Get those AA turrets switched over to your side as fast as possible and deny their use to the enemy.

Note that you will likely have to keep moving around and keep hacking as enemy infiltrators attempt to undo your work. Important targets such as vehicle terminals may end up being destroyed by the enemy outright and left that way so you can no longer hack them, but at least you will have prevented their use by the defenders.

Play Dirty

Throw any concept of honor out the window. Others already hate you because they hate the unexpected, whether from a sniper’s bullet or from a clip of ammo unloaded into their back. Here’s a few ideas for dirty tricks to get one up on the enemy. You’ll notice a lot of these involve using mines which many people already hate so be prepared for possible verbal flak from irate victims.

  • Players love to try and come up behind occupied snipers for a free knife kill. Put down an AP mine or two behind you where you expect them to approach and get a chuckle when you hear the explosion. Even if you don’t score an instant kill it’s a great early warning system.
  • If you don’t think you can win a gunfight with an enemy at close to medium range, withdraw around a corner or into a nearby building and drop an AP mine in your wake as you do so, just out of sight along the path you expect them to take. More experienced enemies may be more cautious or will attempt a different route to catch you, but there’s still plenty of potential suckers who will fall for this one.
  • If you hack a turret and begin using it against the enemy, it’s only a matter of time before someone attempts to counter-hack you out of it, C4 it or rocket it to death. Try putting your mines behind the turret, as many enemies are so focused on you that they won’t see them until it’s too late. And if they do see them and destroy them, the explosion will warn you that the gig is up.
  • Just over the top of a flight of stairs is a great place for mines. A running enemy won’t see them until it’s too late. The tops and bottoms of elevator shafts are also great places as they are well traveled and can help hide the mine from view.
  • The suicide bomber. This trick doesn’t work as fast as it used to thanks to the new deploy times for mines but can still be effective in the middle of a confused fire fight. If there is a tight pack of enemies sitting somewhere, your cloak might buy you enough precious seconds to get in amongst them (jump down from above or come from a different angle for best results) at which point you can decloak and drop an AP mine before they inevitably gun you down. If you’re lucky, the mine will arm and go off before they notice it, possibly scoring you multiple kills.
  • The suicide bomber Mk II. Okay this one is really dirty. Have a friendly Light Assault stick his C4 to you, at which point you cloak and leap into the midst of a group of enemies and get your friend to push the shiny red button. Bonus points if you’re wearing the Djinn/Bahamut/Ifrit mask.
  • The suicide bomber Mk III. Noticing a trend here? Just like above, but use a Wraith Flash as the delivery method and some hapless enemy vehicle as the unfortunate victim. If you and your friend are on the ball and catch a target totally unaware, you may be able to leap off before the explosion and feel like a total badass while you do it.
  • Special delivery. Using your Wraith Flash, you can get a friendly Engineer with anti-tank mines close to an unsuspecting vehicle, or maybe even up alongside an enemy Sunderer that doesn’t have Mineguard. Drive up alongside and the engineer can hop off to deliver his deadly payload. You can use this to get anyone with C4 close to their chosen target as well.

Don’t let these limit you. Be creative!

Hopefully these tips will prove useful in helping you get your Infiltrator on and send you well on your way to causing the enemy to keep looking over their shoulders and peering at the shadows for fear that you might be lurking there.

This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by TTex.

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