Planetside 2, has three factions:
New Conglomerate – Terran Republic – Vanu Sovereignty
All factions are competitive in all areas. Some exclusive guns/abilities might be an advantage in certain situations, but the differences are mostly flavor.
The Terran Republic’s (TR) color scheme is red and black.
Lore: The Terran Republic have become an authoritarian government that leverages military might to maintain strict control over the colonial citizens. The Terran Republic is obsessed with the preservation of law and order and are thus seen by some to be an oppressive and dictatorial force, but many view the TR as the only hope for uniting the warring factions and regaining contact with the homeworld.
Infantry: Thematically TR guns use traditional gunpowder weapons. The Terran Republic’s MAX unit is equipped with Gatling Guns. TR assault rifles, SMGs and carbines have bigger magazines then their factional counterparts. On average TR guns have the highest fire rate. TR provides it’s players with a wide range of good guns.
Armor: The Prowler, TR’s Main Battle Tank (MBT), focuses on dps. Its primary weapon is double barreled. Its passive ability allows the Prowler to anchor down to gain higher velocity on its main cannon. The empire specific ability Barrage further improves its dps by improving reload speed for the main cannon. The Prowler is the fastest MBT which makes it an effective flanker.
Air: The Mosquito, the TR’s Empire Specific Fighter (ESF), features large magazine sizes on its weapons, but a lower Damage Per Second (DPS). It is the fastest while not afterburning.
The New Conglomerate‘s (NC) color theme is blue and gold/yellow.
Lore: Rebels, freedom fighters or terrorists? The New Conglomerate operates as a loosely organized band of dissidents, vehemently opposed to the stranglehold that the Terran Republic has on Auraxis. Led by an unusual quorum of outcasts, industry titans, former military leaders, the New Conglomerate is unwavering and prepared to achieve their goals by any means necessary.
Infantry: Thematically the NC uses experimental gauss weaponry. Their Maxes are equipped with shotguns. On average NC weapons fire the slowest and hit the hardest. Some NC weapons have higher ranges then their counterparts due to their lower damage drop off. Overall the NC’s infantry arsenal is quite a balanced one.
Armor: The Vanguard, NC’s Main Battle Tank (MBT), is a brawler. It has higher HP then the other two MBTs and it’s main cannon deals more damage per shot. To further buff it’s tankiness the Vanguard has access to an activatable shield which reduces damage taken from the front and side for 8 seconds. The vanguard should be played as an aggressive brawler tank.
Air: The Reaver, NC’s Empire Specific Fighter (ESF), features the weapons with the highest DPS of all empires, but it’s also the easiest to hit due to its larger profile. It is the slowest ESF while not afterburning, but the fastest while doing so. It has the strongest vertical thrust, helping it avoid some damage while hovering.
The Vanu Sovereignity’s (VS) color scheme is purple and cyan.
Lore: Vanu has taught that only through technology can humanity evolve it’s next state of existence. The Vanu Sovereignty is extremely advanced, employing powerful alien technology on the battlefield. Their singular purpose is to uncover the secrets hidden away in ancient artifacts scattered over the surface of Auraxis and they will annihilate anyone who interferes.
Infantry: Thematically the VS use Laser and Plasma guns. VS Maxes use mid ranged laser guns. VS original faction traits are accuracy and no bullet drop (except for the weapons where it matters lol) which are generally not important traits in Planetside 2. Over the last years the developers have made an effort to give VS some more interesting gun mechanics to spice up their arsenal a bit. VS does not always provide a wide variety of great guns in all weapon classes but it has great weapons in each, they probably also have the most interesting unique weaponry but ultimately that’s a question of taste.
Armor: The Magrider (Maggy for short), VS’ Main Battle Tank (MBT), can get almost anywhere. The Maggy hovers a few meters over the ground rather than driving on tracks. Maggies need to turn to move their main cannon horizontally. What makes the Maggy really special is it’s passive ability Magburner. Like an aircraft’s afterburner this allows the Magrider to boost for a short duration. Making use of this it can climb a vast variety of obstacles. The magrider is probably the hardest MBT to learn.
Air: The Scythe, VS’ Empire Specific Fighter (ESF), features weapons with the fastest reload speeds. It is the slowest ESF overall, but its very small front profile makes it the strongest ESF in one on one fights. The Light PPA is weaker than the anti-infantry noseguns of other empires.
There is no best faction or one that is better and one that is worse. All have their strengths and weaknesses. All factions have meta weapons in all categories that are competitive with each other and often very similar. The main gameplay differences come from the off-meta weapons, ESFs, and MBTs (and what factions your friends play 😊 )