For new commanders and marines
I'm noticing there really are not a lot of threads in here on much of anything especially tips for new commanders so why not post something I says to myself. I generally only play Marines and usually Command because I'm pretty good at it, or so I am told. I have no problem listening to other commanders and giving suggestions. So right off I am writing this for new commanders or anyone who would like some tips I believe useful and any Marines with a desire for a better understanding of what goes on in the Chair. This will be off the top of my head so it follows no order or plan. Enjoy
1. I personally believe the most important part of being a commander is getting a mic and being able to quickly tell your Marines what's going on and what you need done. Being able to just say something is under attack is far more effective then having to spend the time typing it no matter how fast you are because it leaves your other hand free to keep moving the mouse and doing other more important tasks. People tend to ignore the text chatter more then anything else and a waypoint without intructions is not super helpful. Get a headset for 20 bucks or less and get used to yelling at people and praising those who do well. It really does help.
2. Learn your maps. Learn the names of locations, hives, RT areas, spots where skulks can get in, weld points, central points you want to hold. Learn as much as you can about all the main maps you play on. How long it takes marines to walk somewhere, where they can easily Jetpack to. Rooms to siege from, distance of a siege in a certain area. This is all key because it will help you learning how long and if something can be saved when it is under attack. You will learn choke points that are easy to defend and where you can expect aliens to build up and how they will get around. It also helps in directing new players around.
3. Learn your upgrades, effects and research times. If you don't know what something does ask, if you don't know how powerful something is or when you should have it, ask. If your unsure between Jetpacks and heavies ask your team thier preference and do the vote thing. On those once you learn how the game is going and what you'll need then research that one first. There's a number of maps where HA is more helpful up front the jetpacks. Know how soon you should be researching what by asking around and learning how games tend to flow. If your 10 minutes in and you don't have motion or arms labs going or an Armory almost upgraded then your in trouble.
4. Learn how to use your Marines. In general your going to have a lot of Rambo's. That's fine, they can distract the aliens while your good Marines follow your orders and take RT's and hives. You will have some very good Rambo's, especially the Ninja's. Don't put them down, give them guns when you can and ammo and med packs when needed. Ninja's and skilled Rambo's are of great use at times so do not under estimate them. Your average player will not be to good at listening to orders but some will. Some will go right away to RT's and hives expecting you to be tracking them so you can get RT's down fast. Good players might look like Rambo's and the more you play the more you will learn the differences. Be skilled at giving the Marines that follow orders weapons and go from there. Don't be afraid to hold off on dropping med packs and ammo just because someone is asking for it. Do they have any armor left? Is one hit going to kill them negating any use of a lot of med packs and ammo. One of each may be fine. Do they have a heavy weapon? Should more Marines come to help them or do they just need a med pack and a clip to be sure they get back to base.
5. Develop a plan in the first 2 minutes of the map and then skip it. Learn how to act, not react. In the first 2 minutes of the game your likely to have 4 RT's up and holding a hive with some Marines. Alternatly half your team could be dead from skilled skulks or an ambush and your one IP is working over time and your RT's that just went up are all under attack. Once you learn your critical upgrades you'll know when to research what in the critical early stages of a game. Right now as of version 3.2 that's the first few minutes. Within 5 minutes a game can easily be over if you do not act and plan accordingly. Don't concentrate on one area or one hive or one RT. Move Marines around in groups and go after key points. Don't rush a tech because you think it's critical. Against sensory Motion early can be huge, against DT or MT it's not so critical early in that first 3 minutes and maybe useing it on a small turrent farm would be wiser in that hive you just moved into. Every round is likely to be different based on the map and the teams. Your going to have a mental plan once you play long enough on every map but don't be so worried about sticking to it every time. Learn to adapt and switch gears. Learn to hit the aliens where they think they are safe. Learn to use decoys and fake assualts to draw them off. Learn how Ninja's can hit one hive to draw off most of a team while your skilled Marines build that siege base at thier starting hive.
6. Learn what's needed and when it's needed. Early in a game (which I will walkthrough in more detail later) there's a lot of structures you need to through down. You also need RT's and likely the res to replace RT's depending on how the game is going. Don't be so quick to put down that arms lab if you might need a new RT. Remember, Marines killing aliens generates res so if your in a meat grinder somewhere that might be making up for the loss of 2 RT's. Don't keep building them if they keep being attacked. That means there's either one or 2 smart skulks that will keep looking for them, or you don't have the man power to keep them patroled and safe. Either way don't be afraid to leave them alone for a few minutes while you assualt else where.
7. Learn your weapons. Now you might think this is more important for Marines but it is just as important for commanders. An advances armory only yields you an HMG and a GL. Now these are very important weapons but a shotgun can be just as good early on in the hands of a good player. Now every commander should know that generally a lone marine against a Fade and sometimes a skulk especially with no upgrades is a dead man. Giving him a shotgun or an HMG is not going to help that. A bunch of shotguns in the hands of poor Marines will probably not increase thier live span either. However if your stuck against a wall or you need to hold an area a GL even in the hands of a poor Marine could make a huge difference. 2 HMG's can easily take down a fade and so can 2 shotguns. Knowing how soon you'll likely face a Fade or two and what weapons you can use can make a big difference. Don't drop shotguns when you have HMG's. They spray and have more ammo and can do alot more damage, not as quick but still effective. Know how much weapons cost and what you can get away with dropping. Putting down 3 shotguns is 30 res and that's a lot at times. However in the hands of 3 good Marines moving together that could spell quick death to a pesky Fade who's been slaughtering your team. The most important lessons are learning when a GL can do the work of a siege and when a shotgun can do the work of an HMG, who can use them and what support they will need.
8. Learn how to anticipate the other team. The strange thing about aliens is that depending on the team they can all fight individually or as small groups or all together and it's really random at times and it can switch a lot in game. Naturally you hit a hive and your probably going to see a whole team pop up. Pay attention to the aliens that move around alone attacking res, the ones that try for a high kill count and how they do it. The groups and how many and where. Once you learn the maps more you'll learn more of how to counter this. You'll also learn who will be a lerk and fade quick and where they will go or what they may attack. This is key to knowing if you should direct more Marines elsewhere for the time being or if you'll have a lot of trouble holding RT's as replacing them to often can kill all research and advancement. The main things to learn is when the aliens will move on thier second hive and how to stop them. Failing that you need to know if they will try and overwhelm your res, keep hitting your base, or all out hit that hive you locked down. If they do all of the above then you will need a good team and good upgrades and now it's a game.
For now, until I think of more at least, that concludes my Tip list. It's long but I think it's good and covers alot. If nothing else it will get you on the right path. Now I will cover a suggestion list for a typical NS stlye game. This is suggested for official maps, Siege and custom maps require you to learn them and figure them out on your own.
Right off the bat get in and get an IP down and an armory. Idealy you want the armory done first so you can get phase tech going. This is critical to help you control the map and especially the hives early in the game. Some people may want you to relocate. Personally I have not ever done so to win and in late games I have not had come backs work to well with it either but it can be done. If your new I suggest not doing it and spend your time learning first. While your Marines at base build watch the rest of your team. Where are they meeting resistance and how bad is it? Do you need another IP right away because of loses? I suggest having at least half or more of your dead marines spawning at any given time. Early on I recommend waiting a few minutes for the 2nd IP but if you need it sooner then by all means put it down.
Once your OB's is up you can always scan hives to see where the aliens are. Either way get phase tech going and make sure some Marines are heading for a hive you can take. If you find one to heavily defended go for the other. Doesn't matter which hive you take or where it is but in the first 3-4 minutes of the game you should have a phase in at least one hive with a pack of mines around it.
Digging in and advancing
About 3-4 minutes into a game you should get a good idea how tough it will be. You'll know if your RT's are getting hit a lot, if your Marines are splitting up to much and dieing or being ambushed a lot and you'll either have a hive or still be fighting for one. At this point you should be seeing a lerk and if he's good he's being a real pain slowing down your troops in tight areas. Try and get 1-2 wielders out if this is the case. You should also be seeing a Fade soon, I've noticed good players tend to horde thier res and get enough kills to be a Fade about 4-6 minutes in without a problem. This can make things really diffucult as good players are very skilled at blinking and can easily kill large groups one Marine at a time with hit and run tactics. This is where 2-3 shotguns in the hands of good players comes into play.
4-5 minutes in you should definatly have an arms lab down and i recommend armor lvl 1 first. This allows your marines that first critical 3 attack to die. It means that they have more time and a better chance of surviving an encounter. After that I suggest weapons 1 and if your seeing a lot of fades go right on to weapons 2. Once wep 2 is done I usually do armor 2 and stay even but I suggest seeing how the game is going from there and deciding. At 4-5 minutes in you should also have started upgrading your armory if not sooner because once it is done you can get HMG's and GL's and get your proto lab down. Even if you can afford to research Jetpacks or HA at the lab just having it built is a boon because you can save for those later.
5 minutes into a game you should be working on locking down your second hive. I suggest if your having trouble with resistance make sure to get a TF and at least 4 turrents on the hive you do control. If you really can't breach into the one hive your working at don't be afraid to move your Marines around to the other hive and hit that one weather it's by siege or assualt. Personally I'm a big fan of a turrent base and siege as it's easier mid game to hold off Fades with a few turrents (usually) and a phase and working on sieges then. This all assumes your RT's are not under constant attack and that's a main thing you'll likely deal with. Don't send one Marine to kill a Fade taking down an RT, you'll just lose a marine and the RT. What you need to do is either run him off with 2-3 Marines or trap him between 2 groups with shotguns or an HMG. Don't worry about it if you don't have the man power, let the RT die if you need to because it means he's taking out an RT and not your assualt force. Once it's down and he's wandered off just send a marine over to rebuild it. Doesn't take long, only 15 res and now he has to come back and do it again all the while not bothering your assualt team.
Easy Victory or Slug Match
If you have a second hive and your 10 minutes in, hoorah, you should be in easy victory mode. Make sure a good number of RT's are secure, work on your last upgrades and move in on the last hive, game set match in 15 minutes or less. If your still working on hive number 2 and especially if you've had to assualt the other hive due to resisntance...well then now it's a game Lad. At this point the aliens likely have 2 hives and those abilities are not fun to deal with, especially if you've been slacking due to attention divertion or lack of resources on those critical upgrades. If you don't have motion, get it right now. Get a proto lab up and get HA going unless you have a team clamoring for Jetpacks that knows how to use them or you have skilled Ninja's. This is the point where you will see more Fade's coming and probably an onos soon. This is bad news if you don't have an advanced armory because shotguns alone are just not going to do it. You need HMG's for the amount of ammo they hold and the better range they give your Marines. You need GL's to clear area's and to hold off the Aliens. Work on getting at least Weapons 2 and Armor 2 in your arms lab and I suggest Weapons 3 next and Armor 3 sometime after when you can. Make sure your putting down welders when you can, your Marines will stay alive alot longer in groups if they are using them.
At this point you need to work on pushing forward to a siege point while holding your RT's as your likely to see them under attack a lot more now all over which is bad news if your Res pool dries up and you can't resupply your Marines at the front with more guns and structures. Don't be afraid to put some turrents and a phase at a choke point if it means helping to hold RT's and a critical area of the map while you keep pushing forward. Any area the aliens won't go or can't get to means less headache for you. I have found the most helpful thing here once you realize the aleins seem to have the upper hand and your having a lot of trouble taking a 2nd hive is guns. If you have not dropped any put down some shotguns. If you have HMG's get at least 2 down, get a GL down, get 4 HMG's down. The volume of firepower and damage will help alot if nothing else it will help your Marines hold what they have while you work on more upgrades and a new point of attack.
Don't be afraid to move to another part of the map and assualt again or rush in to a location and power build a phase and TF. Be willing to change what your doing if it's not working. Always listen to your Marines if they have ideas or suggestions. This doesn't mean you have to do it but it goes a long ways when they know you will listen to them and acknowledge thier ideas. Look for openings around the map where you can retake RT's or hit the aliens where they ain't. If they are almost all on one side of the map, go to the other with a small team and get a phase down. If your having trouble with lerks then work on jetpacks. If onos keep taking out RT's and running then work on trapping them with a bunch of Marines with shotguns. Keep working over the Fades and Onos. If you kill them then even if they have the res to go back to that life form, you've kept them from attacking your Marines for at least a minute and 30 seconds while they go egg form. Use that time to trap and kill more or push on an area.
In the end keep learning and be flexible. Don't be afraid to try something different and don't be afraid to drop whatever your doing and leave it to be destroyed and go somewhere else. Keep attacking and keep the aliens reacting to you.