Hail and well met, soldiers of Auraxis! Welcome to another edition of Intel Brief. Today I've got one of PlanetSide 2's quickest and most slippery classes under my sights: the Light Assault. Delivering real "death" taste without the heavy equipment of other classes, the Light Assault is the Coke Zero of infantry warfare. Where the Light Assault differs is on its back, where it carries a powerful jetpack allowing it to reach all sorts of tactical positions, as well as traverse terrain with relative ease. It also has access to C4 explosives, making it a viable choice against not only infantry, but MAX units and even vehicles.
Let's stop here for a moment and digest those last couple of lines. The Light Assault has jetpacks – the one thing that removes all doubts from PlanetSide 2's settings as being "futuristic" – and C4 explosives, which as of the moment deal more damage than any other explosive. I know most of you are not trained to think beyond "That moving thing is not the same color as my glove. KILL!", but try to imagine what happens when you combine the power of flight with explosives. That's right, you get a one-man bomber.
Before we dig any deeper into that fabulous tactic, I'd like to explore a couple of more basic approaches to playing a Light Assault: as a high-speed, close-quarters soldier who relies on flanking and twitch reflexes, or as a medium-ranged sharpshooter who catches his enemies from above and off-guard.
They Came From Our Six
It's no lie PlanetSide 2 require a certain level for twitch reflexes, but the Light Assault who wants to go toe to toe in urban settings has to be extra quick to gain the upper hand. You'll rarely have superior firepower, and often the enemy could have a gadget that gives them the upper hand (like the Heavy's shield, or the Medic's self-healing ability.) But what you do have – and indeed, what makes all the difference – is maneuverability.
Here's a snippet of a video I took which I think shows where the Light Assault shines when trying to go for urban, close-quarters combat:
First, you move into a position the enemy won't expect – there were enemies on the bridge to the left and others on the right, but using my jetpack I managed to access that building from a spot they did not expect, and thus flank them.
After you get your first kill, nanites will inevitably hit the fan. There's a million ways to stay unpredictable when in-doors. My favorite is a rapid change of direction, even if it means a bit more walking. Note how I will eliminate a target and immediately change direction. Score another kill, make another change. Remain unpredictable, and your enemies won't know what hit them.
Lastly, keep in mind when you first encounter an enemy that they often won't know you're a jetpack-wearing Light Assault. Use that to your advantage and make an effort to gain the high grounds. This is especially true when fighting around a single box or structure. Don't run in circles if you can get on top and aim right for the helm.
Weapons and Upgrades:
For this playstyle, I recommend using a SMG with these two upgrades. Note these are the only upgrades I deem "essential", but you are welcome to pick up other upgrades you might like:
Laser sight – a must. You'll rarely have the time to use a scope when playing in this style, so great hipfire accuracy is essential.
IRNV Scope or Reflex Sight – I personally like the IRNV, but the choice is yours. The idea is to give you the extra accuracy if you do end up needing it. The rest is a matter of preference.
A barrel extension or special ammunition is at your discretion, and depends entirely on your playstyle. I can see a silencer coming in handy if you want to maintain the element of surprise even after the first few kills, though remember you are not an Infiltrator and should always assume someone has seen you.
The High Grounds
This style is for those who might not be as twitchy and responsive as the whipper-snappers with their hours of practice and flammable energy drinks. It's also a style that comes naturally to most players who first try Light Assault, I think. All you must do is find a nice roof, antenna, branch, rock, MAX, or tower to perch on top of (preferably behind enemy lines) and casually pick your targets with your trusty rifle.
The key to survival with this style is movement. When on top of an enemy tower, make it a point to constantly circle the structure looking for something to shoot. If you're on a roof, try to change corners or roofs every so often. The idea is simple: constant movements increases your chances to spot targets, as well as survive an attack from anyone who may spot you.
Weapons an Upgrades:
No big spending necessary here. Your standard-issue carbine should do the trick just fine. I do recommend picking up the following upgrades:
3.4x Magnification – Do not fool yourself into believing your rifle is effective at longer ranges by getting the 4x magnification. You aren't a sniper – this will make sure you remember it. I have both and find myself doing better with the this one.
Suppressor – It does make aiming a bit more tedious, but unfortunately the Light Assault cannot afford to be seen easily. Unlike the playstyle mentioned above, you won't actually be moving forward to a new area every few second. Your movements will be mostly circular. Remember, your advantage is shooting from where the least expect it. If they so much as see a dot on the map, they're probably expecting something.
Forward Grip – Reduces horizontal recoil, making your shots more accurate. Again, we're really trying to go for accuracy with this loadout, so this piece is just as important as the scope.
C4 - Thanks to a little something called "gravity", C4 makes for a wonderful tool when used by Light Assaults resting high above enemy movement. Suddenly you are able to dispatch MAX units or large clusters of bad guys more effectively than any other ground unit (with the exception of a MAX equipped with anti-infantry weapons, though they require an amount of support that you do not.) It also opens the door to anti-vehicular kills – especially Sunderers who think it's okay to deploy next to a building or wall.
The Light Assault is deadly, quick, and flexible. Whether you like to move fast and outsmart your enemy, or sit tight and wait for the opportunity to strike, one thing remains true: this is a class that relies on sharp skills and fast thinking – truly, the definition of "easy to learn, hard to master." Do you have what it takes to master the jetpack? Only one way to find out. Just be sure to throw the C4 before you press on the red button.
Want to learn more about Light Assault or have more tips to share? Head to the official PlanetSide 2 Wikia and share your knowledge!