You got a beta key for PlanetSide 2, downloaded it, and launched it, but oh no! None of your friends are available to play with you! You do have friends right? I highly recommend you play in groups whenever possible; they really have done a great job in making squads fun to play in, but sometimes you will find yourself a squad of one. For your convenience I've compiled a short list of ways to stay occupied when you have to do everything yourself.
Aircraft recently got a huge buff to survivability through various patch changes, and as such are no longer complete death traps. It can be rather fun to fly around in interceptors once you get used to their characteristics. Engaging in air duels can be exhilarating as you maneuver wildly over the chaotic land battles below. I've often seen two different factions advancing in tank columns on the third faction's strong point, while aircraft of all three struggle to win the air. Although the standard gun is capable of dealing damage on its own, scrounging up 240 certs to unlock the rocketpods is highly recommended as it makes the interceptors a deadly threat against land targets, especially tanks. Beware though, anti-air is capable of messing your day up if you aren't careful.
Interceptors are also very useful for quickly getting to the combat, if you don’t want to waste your once per half hour instant action. Set a personal waypoint where there is action on the map, and just hop in the interceptor and go towards the light. I recommend going as the light assault class so you can just bail out over the combat area and use your jump jets to land safely.
Tanks: The tanks are powerful, and pretty fun to play with. If you are an engineer you can usually last for a long time by being careful about exposing yourself too far, and simply hiding and repairing if you get shot at. It's best to play the engineer class yourself so you aren’t dependent on others for repairs. They recently added a heat limit to the repair gun, but your repair time is only an additional 10-15% more than it was for repairing a single tank. The ground weapons infantry get by default are ineffective versus tanks, and you can even repair a tank faster than a single heavy can hurt it with a rocket launcher. Just remember to run back to the vehicle ammo dispenser if you run out of shells. Don’t be afraid to use the two-seater tank by yourself either, you can always hop in the secondary gun to shoot at aircraft if you need to.
ATV Guided Missile: My favorite activity in the game involves the ATV, the light assault class, and 2 units of C4 which requires 36 cert points. You simply toss your two units of C4 onto the front of the ATV, toggle third person mode with T, and drive around until you find a stationary, and preferably distracted, enemy tank. Get to full speed, and hop out letting your ATV roll into the tank, then detonate the C4 and watch the enemy blow up. It can be kind of tricky to pull off, and I recommend doing it on Esamir where the terrain is more open. However when you pull it off you get to feel very smug for the few seconds it will typically take you to die, what with being on foot in the middle of a giant tank battle.
I recommend putting some points in to unlock one unit of C4 ASAP so you can start putting your infantry points into stockpiling the explosive. At 50 points per unit it takes over 2,000 infantry points to fill the inventory max of 40, so you want to start putting your extra points into that as soon as possible.
AA Max Suit: The MAX suits start off with an anti-infantry and anti-vehicle weapon but you can trade one of them immediately for an anti-air weapon called the burster, which gives you a flak gun. It is effective versus air with a long range, and even getting a few shots off on a target will typically get you an assist and a share in the bounty of XP. You do need to lead it a bit when aiming, but I found it rather intuitive, easy to pick up, and satisfying to use. If you are willing to spend 48 cert points you can unlock it for the other arm, with that second burster getting its own pool of ammo. Try to find a place off the ground, with a clear line of sight towards the enemy, and close to a source of ammo. You generally want to be near wherever all three factions are fighting in the same place to maximize the number of aircraft you can shoot at. ‘The Crown’ on Indar is a particularly good place to shoot from assuming your faction owns it, as it satisfies all of those criteria.
Heavy Assault Class: The heavy assault class is the best for killing other infantry. They generally have high capacity assault rifles, aren’t completely defenseless versus tanks due to their rocket launcher, and can activate an overshield temporarily to give them extra staying power in a fire fight. If you are half decent at killing people in a regular FPS you should do fine here as well, all the standard FPS rules apply. Make sure to crouch while shooting and let go of the trigger for half a second when the spread gets too bad. An investment of 12 cert points to buy a scope for the LMG can be good investment if you plan on spending any time engaging at medium ranges.
I recommend this class when you have to storm a base, or if you are constantly getting attacked by a swarm of infantry. Properly set up, you can murder a lot of enemy soldiers due to the ability to take out multiple targets without needing to reload, and in short to medium combat you should be able to kill any hostile infantry one on one. If you are expecting to face other infantry, this is the class you want to start off with.
This list should keep you busy enough until your friends come around. If you exhaust these suggestions, make sure to experiment and try to find some new ways of having fun either with or without others. PlanetSide 2 is a giant complex game, and the possibilities are endless.