To follow up on my recent review of PlanetSide 2, I decided to put together a handy guide for the new player in making Station Cash purchases. Sure the game is free to play, and you can eventually unlock most things by grinding, but that new weapon or sweet vehicle hood ornament is calling your name, and you want to have it, so in this piece, we’ll break down some of the purchases and answer frequently asked questions about the paid services.
First off, we’ll begin with the one everyone is mulling over, the subscription. For the normal $15 a month, or less if you buy in bulk, you can get Premium Membership, but what does that really entail? Forget about most of it, skipping queues doesn’t matter because there rarely if ever are any, and early access to new fashion accessories won’t tip the scales. The real reason to buy is the boost, by subscribing you gain a boost that starts at 25% and climbs to 50% over six months.
This boost applies to experience and resource gain, effectively giving you an edge in the leveling department, and making sure that you’ll always have enough resources to spawn a new vehicle when you get blown up. While extra certification points are nice for weapon upgrades, they won’t necessarily make you win. Therefore I’d only recommend going for the subscription if you’re going to be playing seriously, at least a few days a week.
The nice thing is Sony will throw in 500 Station Cash for every month’s subscription, which saves you about five dollars, so it’s a nice freebie. You should also head down to GameStop and buy a time card instead of using a credit card just once. Putting in that code will give you another freebie, the NS-11A Assault Rifle, which is seems to have gained a bit of popularity in the playerbase.
Another thing to consider before you do anything is the sales that are offered. For Black Friday, SOE offered double Station Cash for purchases. Knowing them and their patterns, this will not be a one time offer. Expect to see something like this coupled with possible double XP weekends around the holidays, and with Christmas just a few weeks out, you may be better off just saving a few weeks. Once you get the Station Cash, don’t spend it right away! The daily and weekly sales have packages and individual items at 50% or more off, so patience is a virtue.
If you absolutely cannot wait, it’s likely because you want a weapon. Before you click commit be sure to find the blue trial button at the bottom, play with it for 30 minutes and get a feel for the weapon. It’s important to remember that the starting weapons are all geared towards being a jack of all trades, new weapons will mostly focus on one particular aspect, at the cost of another. For instance, tank cannon weapons can be bought for slaughtering infantry or other tanks, but only the starting weapon is effective against both, just less so.
It’s also important to note that some weapons are shared between classes, making them a real bargain. I highly recommend the upgraded pistol, as it can save you in a pinch, or give an Infiltrator close in stopping power. Some of the “medium assault” weapons, to use a PlanetSide 1 term, like assault rifles and shotguns are shared between all the classes except Infiltrator, while they might be a bit under-powered for a Heavy Assault, I personally love having my Sweeper shotgun for a few classes, and upgrades like scopes you add will be shared as well.
Appearance additions are just that, they have no bearing on performance. For instance, the Composite Armor addition may look nice, but adds no actual protection. Camouflage may seem like a must-have at first, but with the UI and enemy tagging, offers little to no actual benefit. Underglow for your vehicles may make you look like a gangster, but it will also get you shot like one. Nothing says “Shoot me!” like underglow, rims, and some bling on the hood of your tank.
The decals and smaller stuff is essentially worthless, it’s so small that no one but you will ever see it, and when it costs between one and five dollars per piece, you have to question the value. One thing often overlooked though is the single use camoflauge. While it can only be applied to one armor set or vehicle, and will be gone forever if changed, the 50 SC cost vs 700 SC for unlimited means that if you’re unlikely to change it anytime soon, the single use can be a big saver.
Overall though I cannot stress enough waiting for the sales. The weekly Vehicle Starter Pack this week for instance gives a different weapon for every vehicle in the arsenal for less than the price of three. The daily sales are always a random item at half price. By waiting to purchase Station Cash when there’s a sale, then buying items on sale, you’re effectively paying 1/4th the price, all while avoiding needless and silly cosmetic items designed to be impulse buys.