Crowd Control: How to Exploit the 'Zerg'

I've seen a few Zergs broken on a tough defensive position: it's messy, difficult, and absolutely exhilarating to finally pop that last Sunderer.In any event, I'm of the belief that a much larger problem is how SOE handled the continents on release: having three at launch, and having resources only be gathered from your current continent, was a terrible design decision. Three factions and three continents means that, typically, each continent is being zerged by one faction, with the other factions only having a token force collecting certs by going where ever the zerg isn't. You rarely get the awesome experiences which used to come daily on Indar, where the entire map is roughly in stalemate and each conquest feels like a victory.
The best thing you can do is to not take The Zerg personally. You are not obliged to fight the zerg head on, there is no honour lost in getting the fuck out. If you fight until you are being farmed to the last, move back, get farmed, move back get farmed. Then you are going to get your ass kicked. The first hint of Zerg should be the sign to start reassessing and where to start poking the zerg and outmanuvering it. The Zerg is lumbering and predictable. You can dance circles round it and pick kills off of it like strawberries from a bush. Another way to look at it is to treat the Zerg as one big dumb entity. You can't damage it's health, but you can sap it's momentum, once you do that enough it literally collapses in on itself and you are left with a cluster of disorganised, confused and completely splintered troops which can be torn the fuck apart without mercy.
zerging is what I love most about this game.2 zergs fighting head on is the greatest expierence , most fun you can have in ps2The idea should be not how to nerf zergs but how to give platoon commanders etc. a better possibility to form them.
At Alamo and Thermopylae the smaller forces lost...So your point is to get killfarmed epicly?
The point is to hold ground epicly, you being the one that does the kill farming. The moment you get overrun or get kill farmed, it's time to move along.
TLDR: Keep On Blobbin'
zerg and CFC sounds good in the same sentence trolololol
I'd say the "retreat and redirect" in that picture would more likely push the majority of zerg towards Tawrich but whatever!Alot of the ambush tactics work very, very well on TR - only large armour with AA can really be used to retake the north as flying air is too precarious (unlike in the southeast, which is a mosquito's paradise!) - when that armour resecures the north, we can only attack the VS through the very easily defended Quartz Ridge (and the quartz ridge valley, as pictured in the ambush) and West Highlands (not as tough but we still deal with a biolab feeding mountain-hugging magriders everywhere). Moreover, we can only attack NC with out armour into East Canyon Checkpoint (tough!), Howling Pass (Very tough!) and eventually NC Material Storage's canyon (Literally suicide to go through).Add to this that the north is a very large front with a difficult to navigate canyon west of J108 that makes it hard to balance forces - essentially making it ping-pong for Indar.NC also get a pretty shitty front to the west - Tawrich is easily accessible to hostiles via armour and sunderers from Regent rock, with Crossroads and The Crown blocking any westward advancement in a good position.The crux of what I'm saying is this: without regular rotations in home warpgates, the geography of Indar is going to always give the Vanu the upper hand, the NC middle and TR in shit last.
To pre-empt the "WHY DONT YOU USE AIR" argument, I'll remind you that the general zerg doesn't have the mental ability to follow command orders to get into gals at warpgate for redeployment and/or want to hold onto their precious snowflake prowler

Death by a thousand cuts

The Zerg, the Swarm, the Steamroller. It’s the most notorious phenomenon in Planetside 2. It’s the ultimate consequence of the game’s promise that size matters. This huge spaghetti of vehicles and infantry makes people rage quit and endlessly cry in forums. This 'zerg' has inspired loud demands to the developers to do something about it. It’s a seemingly uncontrollable, untamable beast, driven by the unstoppable hunger for base capture experience points.

The topic of this discussion is NOT about what SOE should change to make this phenomenon more controllable. Instead, this article focuses on what can be done now to use this horde to your advantage.


Understanding the horde: There's a lemming in all of us

In order to control this phenomenon, we must understand it. There are many mechanics in this game that reward sticking together - so many that it can become ridiculously problematic. An in-depth discussion of Zerg would require a separate article, but if you want to know more about it, there are plenty of good posts to be found. In the end, it comes down to the idea that being part of a Zerg seems like the easy way to win. One has to understand that many players are not organized in outfits that can bring multiple platoons to the table at any given time. For those players, casually joining an anonymous horde seems the most convenient way to win and gain XP. You just ride along; feeling invincible, killing off a few enemies here and there while the base capture experience points keep piling up your cert stock. Easy does it.

Time to fight back

So, if easy winning and XP gaining being one of the main drivers of the Zerg, what can we do to deal with it? More than you might think actually. 

1. Avoid it
This is by far the most popular solution. Just moving away and picking a fight you can actually win instead of getting "kill farmed" is the logical thing to do for most players. On a strategic level, Planetside 2 is a numbers game where continent populations are important. In this numbers game, the Zerg is a bad economy of force in most situations and as an outfit, you're mostly better off maximizing your forces against other targets. 

2. Split it
By careful and strategic capturing of points, you can force the enemy to split up and fight at another location. This is a good solution for smaller, organized outfits. In the example below, the Vanu Zerg is occupying the center of Esamir continent. Instead of facing the Zerg head-on, the outfit decides to make a move to cut it off. This forces the Zerg to split up and fight at another location to counter the threat.

3. Redirect it
This is rather hard to pull off and very situational, but it can be done. The idea is to strategically give up territory in order for the Zerg to fight your other enemy. An example is for the TR to not defend Crossroads Watchtower on Indar from a Vanu Zerg but instead retreat to The Crown. This redirects the Zerg towards the easy XP Zurvan Amp station if that is held by the NC.

4. Bleed it
As a Zerg drives further into enemy territory towards the enemy Warpgate, it has a natural tendency to divert itself and run out of steam. This can be helped by fighting a war of attrition all along the way, making it slowly losing its ability to spawn vehicles.

5. Ambush it
This is somewhat situational, but so far as the movement of the Zerg can be predicted, there are a few spots in this game that are ideal for ambushes. Just to give an example: A TR Zerg moving towards the easy XP Hvar Techplant on Indar is vulnerable to Vanu ambushes at the ravines near Quartz Ridge. Anti-tank mines, rocket launchers and Burster Maxes are your best friends is this scenario.

6. Start your own Zerg
This can become a handy instrument and is surprisingly easy to pull off. It only takes a squad or two to form up a neat column of vehicles at the Warpgate that will become a magnet to other players. Just wait a few minutes to grow it into a Zerg and then head out and lead the way. Use the easy XP driven Zerg to attack the big bases while your outfit splits up to capture the outposts surrounding it to speed up the influence. Of course you can always hook in again when the big base is about to flip.

7. Annihilate it
Yes, it is possible to fight the Zerg head-on. The magic word here is the Annihilator. Although borderline useless as a single player weapon, using this versatile launcher in teams is a whole different story. Outfits are just beginning to realize the hidden power of this ultimate lock-on beast. A single squad equipped with these rockets can tear down a platoon of air and ground vehicles in just minutes. Players are reluctant to cert into this launcher because of its lower damage output, not realizing that a couple of them teaming up can rip apart any vehicle in seconds from great distances. The trick is here to call out your targets. Of course when it comes to actually hitting your target, lock-on launchers have their problems. These problems are less apperent when using them in teams though and multiple lock-on warnings is enough to scare off any vehicle pilot, making these launchers excellent area denial weapons.

Looking forward: The Alamo for the masses

The mechanics of Planetside 2 will constantly change as with any developing MMO. These basics of dealing with a Zerg to your advantage will still be viable in the future, though, and can be applied to other games as well. There are some changes already announced that will impact the game in a way that make it more viable for smaller teams to defend against a Zerg. So, expect to pull off your own epic the Alamo or Thermopylae more easily in the future with the upcoming changes.

Disclaimer: This guide was based on extensive outfit play on mostly Miller server and to a lesser degree Mattherson and Connery servers. These are fairly competitive, high traffic servers, which reflect the way the Zerg behaves and is being countered. Results may vary on your server.

I play PC games since the days of Simcity on a 286. Besides that I'm a buff for military history and a lover of new technology. I'm also into deep house and deep disco music. My professional life involves marketing. I live in Amsterdam.