Alien Commander Tools

SpaceJewSpaceJew Join Date: 2012-09-03 Member: 157584Members Posts: 553
edited December 2012 in NS2 General Discussion
What you have in your belt, and some suggestions.
There's another topic here on the forums here that discusses what people preferred as commander.

There were a few people that complained that the alien commander has very few active command tools. There are a few, and I'll list them along with some weaknesses/strength's of each. This is not a definitive list, merely my thoughts.


Cysts (1 Hive):

Cysts are the building blocks of everything you do. They block marines construction until cleared, and form a chain from resource producers back to your structures. If severed, everything 'downstream' from the connection to the hive dies over time until the connection is reestablished, or the structure dies. Also, marines can't help but to poke them which tells everyone on your team where they are. You will probably spend more time than you would care to monitoring your cysts and rebuilding connections in a pub game, and it can be easy to get locked into expansion which actually can waste resources if you're not careful about how fast you expand. As someone pointed out, cysts have an ability called 'Rupture' that will temporarily blind nearby marines. Again, all about micromanaging as aliens. I personally don't use this ability often, as it would only be really useful if there's a nearby unit and inevitably when I would be able to use it there are no nearby aliens to assist. I guess it could piss off the marine though, which is fun in it's own right I suppose.

Nutrient Mist (1 Hive):

This allows you to speed maturation on multiple structures at once as well as speed gestation of player eggs. The more mature a structure, the more health and armor it has. There is a cap on maturation, obviously. Can only be placed on infestation, although can be placed on top of a new cyst within a second or two with practice. It's useful enough for it's cost, but very limited in it's application.

(NOTE: As some folks have pointed out, Nutrient Mist does not heal players, structures, or anything else. It's a common misconception I've found, so I'm not alone in being wrong about it!)

Drifters (1 Hive):

Forward units that give the aliens the 'hivesight' that so many NS1 players complain about not being present. A cloakable unit that spots marines, and can give any aliens nearby a 25% boost to attack speed for a short time for 3 T.Res. These are pretty darn cool, and I like the fact that it requires the commander to do something that provides a pretty darn useful buff all around. Cysts require so much micromanaging that adding on drifter buffs seems inhuman, although it should still be rewarding to commanders that can use it effectively.

Whips (1 Hive):

Whips are melee range turrets, and will seriously wipe the floor with a marine that comes around a corner. Primarily I use these for resource node defense so the whip is out of LOS from the most probable line of advance by marines. It's a delay tactic, since a good marine will find a blind spot. What it does is it denies the use of the marines switch-knife without clearing the whip first. Not as useful late game due to W3 LMG's being boss, but it will significantly increase the effort needed to clear your res nodes even late game. On top of all the other benefits, you can upgrade a whip to give it a ranged AoE attack that melts armor. This could be useful against Exo's, but due to crappy pathing/firing AI the bombard almost always hits something other than what you want it to hit. These whips can be repositioned to deflect grenades away from structures in hives, and are incredibly useful to defend upgrades in tight spaces. All of this is reflected in the steep price of one whip: 15 T.Res. 30 if you want bombard. Alien whips are better than marine turrets all around, as they can be uprooted and will actually walk to a new location or turn around to face a new threat. Again, requires micromanagement on the part of the alien commander.

NOTE ON WHIPS: I've noticed that it seems to really matter which direction your whips are facing, and it can be tough to do it right until you can recognize the model from way up in the air.

T.Res Egg Drops (1, 2, or 3 Hives):

This varies in usefulness, depending on your team. You can drop most life forms on two hives, while Onos now requires a third hive to drop. Giving life form egg's can win a game, but figuring out exactly when to drop them and who to give them to is the real challenge. I recommend checking people's K/D/R or Score before giving them away, but really there isn't much else worth building after you have a couple of forward 'bases' to stage attacks from. Higher life form eggs should not be dropped before your research their corresponding ability upgrade from the second hive. (I.E. Spores for Lerks, Blink for Fades, Bile Bomb for Gorges.)

Bone Wall (2 Hives):

This allows the alien commander to erect a wall of bones that blocks projectiles and physical progress for a brief period of time. It can be destroyed, but also falls apart after a few seconds if not attacked. There are a few ways this is useful, and some ways it's not useful. It can be useful for blocking grenades if timed properly, and can result in an unsuspecting marine to frag themselves. It can also be used to block escape or movement for a marine if you have good aim and they're on infestation. However, due to the fact it dies no matter what and doesn't survive being shot/knifed for longer than a second makes it pretty useless as an actual blocking structure. I would prefer something more like web that's a permanent, limited structure that has a specific counter; in this case flamethrowers. Perhaps a web-type structure should be moved to a third-hive object for the aliens, since at the moment there is no third-hive command ability.


Now, on to the specialized structures that are available only with specific hive types. There are three, as I'm sure you're aware of. I'm going to put them in the order of most important in my opinion, but the information contained in the description should reflect my reasoning for each one.

Shift Hive (Movement @ Energy Hive):

This hive type allows you to build two different upgrades for your team and a specialized structure known as a shift. A shift is your best friend, and is the main reason I choose this first every time. Shifts allow you to build eggs anywhere, as long as it's on infestation and near a shift. It's the answer to the marines phase gate, although a far less effective and user-friendly version of it since it's expensive and slow while still being very vulnerable as a structure. Not having shifts is the #1 cause of egg lock, and I facepalm every time someone goes shade or crag first for that very reason. By default, a shift unit also speeds up energy regeneration in an area of effect as well. This will allow a gorge to bile bomb longer and perma-heal spray, or even speed build a hive. A shift unit can be upgraded to enable teleportation of structures while on top of infestation. It's an expensive option, but can be used to teleport fully mature whips or other structures into area's you've just cysted. It can be useful to teleport a few whips into a Marine emplacement that's undefended, but against good Marines it's very situational. It has a pretty decent area of effect, but if you want to move a structure it must be within the indicated area of effect for the upgraded shift. This is displayed by a large yellow circle, as are all other alien area-of-effects. The teleport takes a moment, so don't expect the teleported structure to immediately appear. It's only a few seconds though, which keeps that function useful in it's limited area.

(NOTE: Last time I checked, you can actually teleport the Shift itself that has the teleport upgrade. This keeps it useful even outside of it's AoE, but far less so.)

Celerity: Gives all your units increased land-speed. Nuff' said. I build this upgrade first to help negate phase travel.

Adrenaline: Gives all your units increased energy pool. Required or highly useful for Gorges/Lerks/Fades. Upgrade this once you have some players near the res to gestate into higher lifeforms, as it's a waste for skulks w/o leap.

Crag Hive (Defense @ Healing Hive):

This hive is second because generally by this point you will have either lerks or fades, and both pretty much require carapace. It's debatable, I know, but it's the safe bet. This hive will allow you to place healing stations anywhere on infestation. They heal a little by default, and can be 'used' by the commander for T.Res to increase their healing substantially.

Crags don't help out skulks much, which seems to be a theme among special structures, but can be instrumental in keeping your fades alive at a forward location or in providing an Onos a healing pit during final base sieges. I try to lay one of these down right next to my forward shift units whenever possible, and usually all of them are grouped up near a res node for redundancy.

Carapace: Increased player armor values based on the life form. Required or highly useful for Gorge/Lerk/Fade/Onos.

Regeneration: Increased passive healing rate. I view this upgrade as garbage for anything other than skilled hit-and-run tactics. Better players like it, crappy players should probably take carapace instead to assist with learning curve. (I take carapace, so I'm in the 'crappy' category I guess.)

Shade Hive (Sneaky Sneaky!):

This hive type is skippable for the most part, and generally speaking it could be helpful to leave your third hive 'blank' in case you lose one of your important hives. However, the upgrades shade gives and the specialized structure do have their uses. These are mitigated by their downsides more than any other hive type with one exception. The shade allows you to build, well, shades. These structures cloak all units and structures within a fairly tiny radius. This cloaking effect is removed if an observatory is nearby or if the marine commander actively pings your location. Also, if a marine touches any cloaked object it becomes visible. The shade can dump 'ink' into the environment, which is neat but underwhelming. Ink essentially blinds players, and might make it harder for a commander to see what you've got since it can negate scans while it's deployed.

Shade hive also allows you to build thoroughly useless, ludicrously over-priced fake units that fool no one. These have the additional benefit of experiencing total existence failure if they are pinged, touched, or otherwise used at all. Might be useful to someone, but in 95% of games it will serve no purpose. The absolute worst side effect of putting down shades, in my opinion, is that it cloaks cysts. This means that marines won't bother to attack them anymore, which means it's harder to know where they're going as alien commander. Less of a downside vs. smart marines teams, but can lead to frustration while pubbing.

Silence: This is the one exception to all the downsides to the shade hive, since it's always awesome to be silent. Notable exceptions are lerk darts and Onos environment rattle are unaffected by this ability.

Cloaking: This ability can be handy for getting around sentry nests as a skulk if there isn't an observatory around, or for ambushing unsuspecting players late game. Mileage on usefulness will vary by your skill level at biting and frequency of observatories/marine pings. Cloaking also reduces movement speed by a massive amount while invisible.


A few other changes I'd like to see.

Specifically, I desperately want a way to easily rebind commander hotkeys. I also think it would be terrific if the gorge build menu was overhauled, because as a gorge it's a pain in the butt to select bile bomb. Inevitably I end up building a hydra or a clog by accident. Gorge needs a dedicated menu to build objects that's more intuitive and in no way connected to their weapon selection. Either that, or make spit '1', bile bomb '2', hydra '3', and clog '4'. I don't want to need a custom bind for one lifeform, that's just silly.

Also, the alien commander needs some english voice overs for the alien requests for heal mist and orders etc. The growl is neat and all, but it conveys no actual information. I think this is the number one reason why no one uses support abilities as alien commander. We simply don't speak alien. We have 'structure is under attack', 'hive is under attack', but no 'healing requested'? (Or at least I never hear the voice over, I always need to read the request. Maybe I'm just crazy here.)

Anyway, I hope this helps some new alien commanders realize their full potential. It's incredibly important to know what all the tools at your disposal do, even if you can't micromanage well enough to make effective use of them all 100% of the time. I know I could be better at drifter buffing, but experience matters in this arena. I also hope some dev's are paying attention to some of the suggestions in this post but I have a strong feeling a lot of folks will just TL;DR.

If you see anything missing, or I've put something down that's grossly inaccurate, let me know and I'll fix it. I'm not infallible, after all, and while I played Beta a little I only put in about 40 hours on it so I'm not the end-all-be-all of anything by any means. At the time of this writing, I have about 100 hours logged and I'd say roughly 60 of those are as alien commander.

A wiki page with more information can be found here.
Post edited by Unknown User on
SteamID: Tallahassee Red
Dedicated Alien Player / Commander
Alien Command Abilities/Structures

Comments

  • greenpeegreenpee Join Date: 2012-04-10 Member: 150218Members Posts: 125
    It's not "Healing Mist" and provides absolutely 0 healing whatsoever. What it does is speed building maturation (max life/armor increases with maturation) and player evolution (ie skulk turning into an Onos, makes it much faster)

    And Adrenaline doesn't increase energy regen anymore, just your energy pool.
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  • SpaceJewSpaceJew Join Date: 2012-09-03 Member: 157584Members Posts: 553
    QUOTE (greenpee @ Nov 8 2012, 04:13 PM) »
    It's not "Healing Mist" and provides absolutely 0 healing whatsoever. What it does is speed building maturation (max life/armor increases with maturation) and player evolution (ie skulk turning into an Onos, makes it much faster)

    And Adrenaline doesn't increase energy regen anymore, just your energy pool.



    LOL, that explains a lot. Thanks a ton!
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  • MouseMouse The Lighter Side of Pessimism Join Date: 2002-03-02 Member: 263Members, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Posts: 3,564 mod
    QUOTE (SpaceJew @ Nov 9 2012, 08:06 AM) »
    Shift Hive (Movement @ Energy Hive):

    [...]
    A shift unit can be upgraded to enable teleportation of structures while on top of infestation. I have never found a use for that ability, and the cost is incredibly steep to upgrade the unit. It has a pretty decent area of effect, but if you want to move a structure it must be within the indicated area of effect for the upgraded shift. This is displayed by a large yellow circle, as are all other alien area-of-effects. The only thing I can conceive of it being useful for is building a base safely in your hive, then shifting the whole shebang to a forward location. I guess you could also move eggs around with it, but a second shift is actually cheaper so I don't think it ever really pays itself off as an upgrade. Supposedly, shifts increase mature rates but I haven't really noticed much effect there.


    I've not actually tried it myself, but one thing this could be used for is to give your upgrade chambers an escape route. The hive comes under serious assault, you move the upgrade chambers somewhere else, perhaps the other hive. Then, if you were able to move them within range of another upgraded shift, you can move them back to the hive when it becomes safe again.
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  • SpaceJewSpaceJew Join Date: 2012-09-03 Member: 157584Members Posts: 553
    edited November 2012
    QUOTE (Mouse @ Nov 8 2012, 04:46 PM) »
    I've not actually tried it myself, but one thing this could be used for is to give your upgrade chambers an escape route. The hive comes under serious assault, you move the upgrade chambers somewhere else, perhaps the other hive. Then, if you were able to move them within range of another upgraded shift, you can move them back to the hive when it becomes safe again.


    I think that's actually the most useful way I've heard of doing that, mainly because it's the only thing that could justify the cost. Upgrades are darn expensive to replace! Although I think you would need to teleport them to another upgraded shift in order to put them back again. Honestly I need to play with this function more in explore mode just to see.
    SteamID: Tallahassee Red
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  • Lt. LizardLt. Lizard Join Date: 2012-11-06 Member: 167595Members Posts: 71
    edited November 2012
    QUOTE (SpaceJew @ Nov 8 2012, 11:50 PM) »
    I think that's actually the most useful way I've heard of doing that, mainly because it's the only thing that could justify the cost. Upgrades are darn expensive to replace! Although I think you would need to teleport them to another upgraded shift in order to put them back again. Honestly I need to play with this function more in explore mode just to see.


    You can also use them to quickly drop whips where needed - they don't need to grow that way and will instantly attack once they arrive. Together with bone wall and nearby shade you can actually kill a squad or 2-3 marines that way, which is something whips alone could never do. And as a bonus, after that you can uproot them and move them to the shift again. Or drop them inside marine base after you moved cyst chain there during an assault to troll and confuse marines.

    Of course it is hilariously expensive, with 15 tres for whip plus 3 tres for each teleport so there is no point of using if you need tres for something actually important (like harvesters, hives, abilities, evolutions, onos eggs...). Which is a theme for almost all special buildings and abilities of alien commander (with an exception of drifter and its ability and shift egg spam) now that I think about it: they are simply far too expensive to justify using until you bought everything that your team needs to win (ie. upgrades, abilities and onos) and are just fooling around with a huge stockpile of tres that you cant spend in other, more meaningful ways.
  • KiaiKiai Join Date: 2012-01-16 Member: 140856Members Posts: 16
    Rupture: Pop a mature cyst to temporarily obscure a nearby marine's vision. To protect key rooms/structures place redundant cysts so you always have a rupture handy. This is more cost effective than placing whips.

    Instead of putting a whip next to a harvester for 15-tres, put 4 cysts (each 1-tres). When a marine wants to switch axe the harvester, rupture a cyst when a skulk is about to attack the marine.

  • schkorpioschkorpio I can mspaint Join Date: 2003-05-23 Member: 16635Members Posts: 3,543 Fully active user
    QUOTE (SpaceJew @ Nov 9 2012, 09:06 AM) »
    Shift Hive (Movement @ Energy Hive):


    dont forget you can teleport a building into the middle of arcs (if you have infestation there) and they will blow themselves up with their own splash damage.
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  • SpaceJewSpaceJew Join Date: 2012-09-03 Member: 157584Members Posts: 553
    lol, good points. I should have mentioned rupture but I'll be honest with you, there are never skulks nearby when a marine is killing a cyst. I should add it in anyway for the sake of completeness ^_^
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  • TechercizerTechercizer 7th Player Join Date: 2011-06-11 Member: 103832Members Posts: 1,850
    Nutrient Mist doesn't speed construction, OP.

            Once the infestation reaches the Command Chair, the process begins. One Gorge enters the chair to provide the necessary height. Another climbs on its shoulders to access the controls.

            A Gorge Lab is quickly established, staffed by microscopic Gorges who work tirelessly to unlock the secrets of Frontiersman Technology, stopping only to change their lab coats when they become dirtied. Once the research progresses to a certain point, the Gorgecom gives the order. Nanites are called into service.

            The armature forms. A chosen Gorge, tested many times in the field of battle, enters the machine.

            Servos whir; miniguns spin up in diagnostics; an Exogorge is born.

  • SpaceJewSpaceJew Join Date: 2012-09-03 Member: 157584Members Posts: 553
    edited November 2012
    You're right, missed taking that part out! Thanks!

    I didn't know half as much about nutrient mist as I thought I did, and after looking up more information it is a bit underwhelming. In the long run it'll save me a lot of T.Res, but it makes less sense that it doesn't provide any direct healing. Another on-purpose imbalance towards the marines team I suppose.

    Oh, and I'm not including known exploits here. There are a surprising number of them related to shift units, it would seem. Kudos to DopeDog for doing a goodly bit of independent work on that front too.
    SteamID: Tallahassee Red
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  • KiaiKiai Join Date: 2012-01-16 Member: 140856Members Posts: 16
    QUOTE (SpaceJew @ Nov 8 2012, 10:30 PM) »
    lol, good points. I should have mentioned rupture but I'll be honest with you, there are never skulks nearby when a marine is killing a cyst. I should add it in anyway for the sake of completeness ^_^


    One of Khamm's responsibility is to communicate where skulks should be. This brings up another point: the Khamm has cursor hax using his foresight ability. The Khamm can move his cursor around a room and detect marines without seeing them. They simply show up as a smokey object. The Khamm can gather a ton of intelligence and give skulks a heads-up to protect harvesters, hives, etc.

    Forsight ability is kind of imba.

  • SpaceJewSpaceJew Join Date: 2012-09-03 Member: 157584Members Posts: 553
    QUOTE (Kiai @ Nov 9 2012, 12:27 AM) »
    One of Khamm's responsibility is to communicate where skulks should be. This brings up another point: the Khamm has cursor hax using his foresight ability. The Khamm can move his cursor around a room and detect marines without seeing them. They simply show up as a smokey object. The Khamm can gather a ton of intelligence and give skulks a heads-up to protect harvesters, hives, etc.

    Forsight ability is kind of imba.


    Yeah, but that should be something you do by default since without it you will fail unless your team is good enough to carry you.

    Also, skulks hear the 'structure under attack' message and can see Marine locations by what's being damaged on their pop-up menu. If they're new enough to not know about the map and it's usefulness, they will most definitely need the rupture when they get to the marine. (Sadly, that might be two knifed res nodes later with some teams lol)
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  • Ness_FrogKingNess_FrogKing Join Date: 2012-10-18 Member: 162628Members Posts: 104
    QUOTE (SpaceJew @ Nov 8 2012, 05:06 PM) »
    The absolute worst side effect of putting down shades, in my opinion, is that it cloaks cysts. This means that marines won't bother to attack them anymore, which means it's harder to know where they're going as alien commander.

    This is the part about them that I love the most! Finally, I can stop constantly rebuilding my cyst chain... As for spotting marines, eh, that's what drifters are for.

    QUOTE (Mouse @ Nov 8 2012, 05:46 PM) »
    I've not actually tried it myself, but one thing this could be used for is to give your upgrade chambers an escape route. The hive comes under serious assault, you move the upgrade chambers somewhere else, perhaps the other hive. Then, if you were able to move them within range of another upgraded shift, you can move them back to the hive when it becomes safe again.

    I actually have had to do that. Thankfully, the marines were distracted by my team, so they didn't kill any while the shift was upgrading, then echoing.

    It's also worth noting that the shift can echo itself, so you don't even need to put them near another shift. Just move them to a different base, then echo the shift next to them.

    For this reason alone, I typically plant a shift next to upgrades now. It's far cheaper than having to research them all again, and it allows you to save the ones that you wouldn't be able to research again when their related hive dies.
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  • minos_minos_ Join Date: 2012-11-01 Member: 165722Members Posts: 60
    The drifter enzyme isn't all that useful, since attacking faster does nothing for most alien units. You shouldn't be holding down left mouse to bite/gore/etc. The only real use for it is when attacking structures, exos, or arcs, and even then at 3 res a pop you'd better reaaaally need to take down that building/robot.

    Couldn't disagree more on whips. You're almost always going to be able to see them before they can hit you unless you pair them with a shade, and even that's not a guaranteed kill since they decloak when attacking, and by the time you are building whip walls with shades, the marines have enough armour to take 1-2 hits, back off, and then destroy 15 res at their leisure. The grenade reflecting mechanic seems like an actual useful viable reason to get a whip, but as far as I can tell it doesn't work, at all really. I can sit back with a grenade launcher and dump all four rounds into a big clump of whips and none of them get knocked around. I see GLs killing whips in almost every game I play that has both of them.

    Shifts don't let you teleport eggs anymore due to some sort of problem. They gained the egg spawning function to make up for that.
  • Bullet_ForceBullet_Force Join Date: 2012-11-02 Member: 165952Members Posts: 92
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an Alien Commander is to think Whips are useful like sentries. For 10 res they will not even kill a single marine the majority of the time. Also going Shade with your either of your first two hives is inviting disaster. Every time my commander has done that my team has lost.
  • KeldornKeldorn Join Date: 2012-05-05 Member: 151587Members Posts: 215
    edited November 2012
    QUOTE (Bullet_Force @ Nov 9 2012, 11:34 AM) »
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an Alien Commander is to think Whips are useful like sentries. For 10 res they will not even kill a single marine the majority of the time. Also going Shade with your either of your first two hives is inviting disaster. Every time my commander has done that my team has lost.


    Mmm, they cost 10 res now? I know they used to cost 15. Would be nice if they could get an upgrade to cloak themselves without needing a shade hive, but that would make shade hives even more worthless.

    I'd love it if shade hives could have an upgrade to give cysts sight again and have all hive types give a small armor bonus to skulks (like +5 orso) + the ability to spawn eggs much like shifts do right now. Shifts can still be used in forward bases for spawning eggs.
  • guitarxeguitarxe Join Date: 2012-11-02 Member: 166148Members Posts: 44
    I like that you're taking time to help some newer Alien commanders understand the less obvious abilities available to them, but it'd be better if you first played a bit more and had a deeper understanding of each before you try to explain the usefulness of each.

    Also, please keep your personal suggestions on improvement/changes to yourself or to the suggestions forum. I don't think there's a lot of people that want to find out information about alien commander abilities that want to know your personal views on game balance.
  • KenichiKenichi This is not a pie. Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 2941Members, NS1 Playtester Posts: 1,414 Advanced user
    seems to me the thing that's really m needed is structure upgrades. marines build structures and then research upgrades on then. aliens should be similar but you should have maybe 2 to 3 upgrades to choose from that further specialize that structure while only letting you pick one at a time. like maybe whips can have a upgrade that adds spikes for improved melee, or longer range, out even upgrades that only become available while you have certain hives. most structures probably wouldn't get upgraded all the time but it could give a lot of strategic options to alien commanders in terms of structures. the big difference I see between NS 1 and NS 2 is the way aliens use structures. aliens used to limit marines ability to control the map by using buildings to control accesses to certain areas, and marine upgrades would allow them to fight through those obstructions. NS2 has, for me anyway, been largely about player on player combat to control the map. the marines were supposed to be fighting an infestation they couldn't really contain, and it doesn't really feel like that anymore.
  • SpaceJewSpaceJew Join Date: 2012-09-03 Member: 157584Members Posts: 553
    edited November 2012
    QUOTE (Bullet_Force @ Nov 9 2012, 04:34 AM) »
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an Alien Commander is to think Whips are useful like sentries. For 10 res they will not even kill a single marine the majority of the time. Also going Shade with your either of your first two hives is inviting disaster. Every time my commander has done that my team has lost.


    Whips are useful, but you're right in that they aren't useful in the same way that Marine sentry turrets are useful. They're actually far more useful overall. Get your infestation near a power node, and drop a whip on top of it with a shift, just as an example. Sure, they won't always work but nothing 'always' works. It's a tool that can be used effectively, but has it's limitations. Learning to place whips around a corner where it can't be fired on without danger is a big part of using them well most of the time, and something a lot of commanders fail at doing. Don't blame the structure for the commanders decisions. Also, you lost all credibility when you stated that a whip costs 10 T.Res, currently they stand at 15 T.Res.

    QUOTE
    seems to me the thing that's really m needed is structure upgrades...


    I included a list of upgrades available for alien's structures, that's what this is. Alien structures are designed around area denial just as much as the Marines, it's just different. Instead of an armory aliens have crags, instead of a turret nest they have whips, instead of a phase gate they have shifts, instead of an observatory they have Drifters. The biggest difference is that the aliens need three hives to build what Marines can build with one command chair, when considering base structures only. (I.E. not life forms or weapons.)


    QUOTE
    Also, please keep your personal suggestions on improvement/changes to yourself or to the suggestions forum. I don't think there's a lot of people that want to find out information about alien commander abilities that want to know your personal views on game balance.


    I included my idea's because I wanted to, and I took the afternoon to put it together so I figured I could do whatever I wanted with it. You're more than welcome to write your own.

    On top of that, a lot of the 'extra' text was included to give new players a few idea's on how to use them better, which might be my opinion but it's a pretty well informed opinion unless you compare me to someone that has 400+ hours in the command chair. I think that my 100 hours as commander gives me at least some leeway to include my opinions on how to improve things along with how it's currently useful. You're obviously welcome to disagree with me, and as I said in the OP you're welcome to suggest changes and I have been wrong about things before. Game balance is fine as-is, the changes I propose are things that I find personally annoying and things that hinder new players when trying to command. Not having obvious keybinds or being able to rebind those commands being a prime example. Especially when considering the fact that many PC gamers use mice with programmable side buttons. Not being able to bind those to command abilities without setting them to movement controls is incredibly annoying. If there's a workaround for that, no one has mentioned it yet.
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    Alien Command Abilities/Structures
  • MouseMouse The Lighter Side of Pessimism Join Date: 2002-03-02 Member: 263Members, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Posts: 3,564 mod
    One horribly ineffective endgame strategy that I've become fond of is the whip rush, or the slightly more effective, bombard whip rush. It's an expensive distraction that is really only worth attempting when you're winning anyway, but it can be entertaining.

    Essentially, you get 5-10 whips (75-150 res), mature them and then march them into the marine base, making sure that there's infestation for them to re-root into. For the bombard whip rush do the same thing, but evolve bombard on each of them (another 75-150 res) before sending them to the marine base. Then, instead of stopping them inside the marine base, stop them just outside - but within range of some structures. This can be quite effective as multiple whips bombarding the same targets can do massive damage very quickly. However, it's still quite expensive and the whips die very quickly.
    -/AUS/- PS_Mouse
  • BootyPoppinBootyPoppin Join Date: 2012-11-04 Member: 166803Members Posts: 25
    edited November 2012
  • SpaceJewSpaceJew Join Date: 2012-09-03 Member: 157584Members Posts: 553
    edited November 2012
    QUOTE (Mouse @ Nov 11 2012, 10:17 PM) »
    One horribly ineffective endgame strategy that I've become fond of is the whip rush, or the slightly more effective, bombard whip rush. It's an expensive distraction that is really only worth attempting when you're winning anyway, but it can be entertaining.

    Essentially, you get 5-10 whips (75-150 res), mature them and then march them into the marine base, making sure that there's infestation for them to re-root into. For the bombard whip rush do the same thing, but evolve bombard on each of them (another 75-150 res) before sending them to the marine base. Then, instead of stopping them inside the marine base, stop them just outside - but within range of some structures. This can be quite effective as multiple whips bombarding the same targets can do massive damage very quickly. However, it's still quite expensive and the whips die very quickly.


    LOL, yeah I've seen this done a few times. It's basically trolling the marines, kind of like rushing the Marines base right off the bat with two Onos shades. I've actually seen commanders waste res on a beacon, especially if you wait about four minutes ^_-

    I've become quite fond of shifting in forward bases. It takes a little bit of time, but it's faster and better than simply dropping them there. Also easier and safer. (Just more expensive, might be worth it with full maturity TBH.)

    I also saw someone rush a ton of Onos shades into the Marines base while having the 'real' Skulks pop out on their heels. Has potential, but it would take a pretty good team to pull it off. They didn't win because of that, but it was pretty unexpected lol
    SteamID: Tallahassee Red
    Dedicated Alien Player / Commander
    Alien Command Abilities/Structures
  • MouseMouse The Lighter Side of Pessimism Join Date: 2002-03-02 Member: 263Members, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Posts: 3,564 mod
    I'd love to be able to shift a whip rush (or even a shift + a whole bunch of eggs) into a marine start, but doing it to each structure one at a time is just so awkward & tedious -_-
    -/AUS/- PS_Mouse
  • d0ped0gd0ped0g Join Date: 2003-05-25 Member: 16679Members Posts: 782 Advanced user
    My command strategy:

    get everybody everything they want as fast as you can get it for them (without overextending beyond the teams ability to control territory)

    micro drifters

    drop onos eggs and gorge eggs from shifts to force people not to play any other class.

    once most the team is onos, start building bombard whips for lols
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