BattleFrame Robotics, or BFR for short, is the name given the giant robots (or mecha) of the PlanetSide universe.
In the story, the technology for BattleFrame Robotics was originally developed on Earth by the Terran Republic. However, the technology could not be perfected there. The republic of Earth then sent the schematics for BFRs through the micro-wormhole between Earth and the Auraxian System to the three warring empires of Auraxis. Each side received the schematics, and began making their own variants of the technology.
However, the systems of a BFR were very complicated, proving to be too much of a burden for a single pilot. The Auraxian Core had felt the deaths of all the prototype BFR pilots, and sent the empires of Auraxis a message. This message came in the form of Monoliths that spawned Resonance Crystals that allowed a single pilot to control the complex systems of a BFR. Each empire adapted the crystals into their soldiers, and the empires of Auraxis were able to field BFRs and develop tactics for their use, as well as their defeat.
What is a BFR?
BFRs themselves are robotic vehicles that move via a walking mechanism, are armed with two guns on their arms, and are protected by a powerful shield. These steel titans are driven by a single pilot, and are often perceived as an unstoppable one-man death machine.
BFRs are the only vehicle in PlanetSide that utilize hitbox technology, allowing a hit to a specific region of the BFR to damage a specific system (guns, sensors, transit mode, and shields are the systems that can be damaged, although a fifth hitbox allows items in the trunk such as ammunition to be destroyed). While the shields regenerate automatically over time, a BFR system that is damaged can only be restored by repairing the BFR.
Possible BFR damage states
Additionally, Jammer grenades and EMP blasts can temporarily cripple a BFR, causing it to move and fire much more slowly, and in the case of the flight variants, completely disabling the flight systems until the effect wears off.
There are two kinds of variants: the gunner variant (or basic BFR) and the flight variant.
Gunner variants have, in addition to the pilot weapons, an extra gunner pod on their backs which can be manned by a second soldier. They also have more armor and a faster shield regeneration rate than their flight counterparts, which gives them greater "staying power."
In the gunner variant, the shields will be activated whenever a soldier enters either the pilot or gunner's seat, and will remain active as long one or both of these positions is occupied. Emptying both positions will deactivate the shields, leaving the BFR directly vulnerable to attack or jacking.
There is a known issue regarding the gunner no being able to aim left and right. However, this is a fairly rare bug.
Empire-specific gunner variants
Flight variants are single-pilot BFRs with a flight pack on their backs to allow the BFR to fly vertically for a short amount of time (in a similar manner to the VS MAX units' jump-jets). The flight systems are powered by the "BFR capacitor", which is measured with a small bar on the player's HUD. The capacitor recharges over time when the flight systems are not in use. When a flight variant uses its flight systems, the shields are deactivated for the entire time the BFR is in the air, reactivating once it lands. Additionally, the shield levels will be drained as long as the BFR is in flight. The BFR can remain airborne until the capacitor is drained, then it will begin dropping back to the ground.
Flight variants have much less armor and take a larger amount of time to regenerate their shields compared to their gunner counterparts. Conversely, flight variants can run and walk much faster than the ground variants, giving them the ability to flee relatively quickly when under attack. Each empire variant's maximum jump height is different, with the Invader having the highest jump and the Eclipse having the lowest.
Empire-specific flight variants
In order to certify to get a BFR, a pilot must first get a BFR Imprint down in the caverns if the character was created after June 18, 2009. Also, Armored Assault I and Armored Assault II are required to gain the BattleFrame Robotics certification.
Anti-Vehicular (AV) pilot weapons come with the basic BFR certification (4 cert points), as well as the two possible gunner weapons (AV and Anti-Infantry (AI)). In order to get AI and Anti-Aircraft pilot weapons, 1 cert point must be spent for each individually.
To obtain a flight variant, one must earn the [BFR Basic]../merits/BFR_(Merit).md) merit, which involves scoring 100 unique kills and then a kill streak of 15 with the BFR pilot weapons.
BFR timers take 25 minutes from the time of original purchase until another BFR can be acquired. The timer is reduced to 15 minutes if a Vehicle Module is installed, or the base is receiving a Cavern Lock Benefit.