Natural Selection 2: A Complete Guide (updating soon)

RaZDaZRaZDaZ Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167331Members, Reinforced - Shadow
edited August 2014 in New Player Forum
1. Introduction
2. What is Natural Selection 2?
3. Communication and Teamwork
4. Resource Model
5. Marines Overview
6. Marine Arsenal
7. Aliens Overview
8. Aliens Biology
9. Advanced Concepts
10. Common Terminology in NS2
11. Information Sources and Links

1. Introduction

Natural Selection 2, a sequel to the critically acclaimed Half Life mod, Natural Selection. Natural Selection draws heavy inspiration from games like Alien Vs Predator and Counter-Strike as FPS and StarCraft as RTS. NS2 was released on October 31, 2012 on Steam. What you're looking at is a throwback to more old school FPS. No iron sights, asymmetric gameplay, high skill requirement, varied gameplay.

Before you read this more in-depth guide, I recommend you check out It's Super Effective's fantastic summary of Natural Selection 2 to give you an overall perspective of this game.
Natural Selection 2 - Explained in about 1 Minute by It'sSuperEffective!


2. What is Natural Selection 2?

Natural Selection 2 is an asymmetrical first-person shooter and real-time strategy hybrid which pits two teams against each other in strategic combat over positions and important locations on the map and to wipe out the opposing team. The two teams are the Frontiersmen, more commonly known as the Marines, and the Khaara which are referred to in-game as the Aliens. The marines function similarly to Colonial Marines of the Aliens films and the Kharaa function closely to the StarCraft Zerg but both teams work differently in almost every way.
Each team has a home base to start with that give the different teams ways and methods of expanding their territory to capture and control resource nozzles and base expansions to ultimately create a sustained and thriving economy to overwhelm the opposing team with superior technology. Extractors can be built on these resource nozzles to provide the team with more resources. The more extractors you have, the more resources you have, the more tech and upgrades are available to you, the more map control you can obtain and the more pressure you can apply to the opposite team.
A number of players take the role as the combat troops while one player takes control as commander which functions similar to an RTS mode. The troops serve as the teams way of securing areas and bases while the commander focuses on construction, giving orders, providing research and technology and communication with the rest of the team. If you know your commander is competent, listen to what he says and what he tells you to do.

3. Communication and Teamwork

Natural Selection 2 heavily promotes teamwork. Lone wolves won't win you games but coordinated teams do. The games where people aren't talking together or working together are also very boring from my perspective. People who you've never spoke to before WILL obey your orders as a commander or even as a grunt if you know your stuff. Teammates will heal you if they are support roles, they tell you where attacks are coming from, what technology they want upgraded and protect vital structures and locations.
If somebody calls out a command, it's for the good of the team and for himself in almost every scenario. Never be afraid to speak with voice over, it's better than chat and surprisingly, nobody is going to bite at you or attack you for speaking to them like in other team games. Natural Selection 2 accomplishes what most other team based games only dream of doing, getting people to work together!

4. Resource Model

There are two types of resources, Team resources (TRes) and Personal resources (PRes). Team resources are used by the commander whereas personal resources are used by you to purchase whatever you fancy. However, when you die after buying an item, upgrade or evolution, you lose it and the resource you spent. Resources tick every 6 seconds. The greater the number of extractors/harvesters, the stronger your economy. Greater economy means you can unlock tech faster and spend resources on more tech.


5. Marines Overview

Marines are the more traditional team for new players in that they operate very similar to an FPS game with mechanics such as aiming and shooting. Marines are easy to pickup and play provided that you don't lone wolf. Marines start with a Command Station which any player can enter to become the commander. The command station functions as the most important structure, if you lose all your command stations on the map, you lose. Next up are your resource extractors. These provide you with resources. They are used by your commander and yourself to buy armories, sentry guns, weapons, equipment, structures, jet packs and best of all, Exosuits.

• The Marine
The Marine. Marines work extremely well in coordinated squads, moving together, assisting in construction and providing each other support through grenades, repairs, zone control and heavy artillery. A marine on his own is a dead marine and almost totally useless if he is not experienced. Marines do need to be aggressive for they must force aliens into defensive positions to retain Extractors and map control or buckle under the long term pressure of alien counterattacks.

However, the arsenal of the marines is extremely varied and fit to take on any alien threat directed at them. All marines will spawn with a pistol, a hatchet and a rifle. In addition, to their equipment they also have a minimap that displays alien threats, structures, teammates and the layout of the area around them. Through upgrades and technology unlocked throughout the game by the commander, they can purchase many items which are explored later in this guide.

Each weapon is useful, serves a unique purpose and has it's pros and cons. The LMG for example provides a general all round purpose but has no niche. Shotguns are more effective vs some lifeforms than others. Some of the aliens force are also specifically vulnerable to certain weapons. The shotgun for example is extremely effective versus the Skulk and Fade but very weak versus the Gorge or Lerk from a long range.
From the Prototype Lab you can purchase jetpacks which grant you much more mobility, survivability and aggression capability. One of the most important purchases for dedicated marine players, they make great combination with higher tier weapons. Finally, Exosuits are the last tech choice and provide extremely powerful ranged dominance over the aliens, they can simply decimate entire teams if engaged and supported correctly but they are vulnerable when not supported and can be picked off easily by a coordinated alien attack.

• Marine Commander
The Marine Commander begins with his overview on the home base with the command station, an infantry portal which spawns dead marines, an extractor already built providing your team with resources and a set amount of team resources to start off with. From here on, the commander will need to begin providing his team with structures to build such as power nodes, extractors and armories. He will also need to issue orders for movement, attacks, positioning and construction to ensure maximum throughput.
If marines cannot afford an upgrade or weapon, the commander can purchase one with his team resources and supply his team. However, this will greatly hinder expansion and map control if not used correctly.
Eventually, through more map control and more extractors, the commander can rapidly ascend to higher tech trees and access weapon and armor upgrades in addition to more powerful equipment and technology.
In times of emergency, the commander can recall all marines to a command station to protect a vulnerable base but at a cost of losing significant zone and map control. However, in addition to his passive contribution, the commander can also directly influence a battle by dropping medkits, ammo packs, nano shields to reduce damage on marines and locational scans to detect aliens. A good commander is one who can make best use of his resources with structures, teleportation, directing orders and providing battle support to his soldiers.

Since B250, commanders are now limited by how many structures and assets they can deploy on the map at a time. Structures such as armories, whips, crags and sentries now require supply. You cannot exceed the supply limit but recycling and repositioning your structures and assets help to alleviate the issue. Other assets such as Drifters, MACs and ARCs also take supply.
Marine commander is generally considered more difficult in public games as marines can be more prone to alien rushes than aliens can to a marine rush. Due to this, it is largely essential that a marine commander have a mic to issue specific orders and commands to this team and to call out on incoming attacks but they must also be able to beacon appropriately.


6. Marine Arsenal

Marines have a detailed assembly of weapons and technology available to them and are detailed below.

• Structures
Most active abilities of the structures are used by the commander.
Command Station - Home base for marines, provides commander position. Can only be constructed on Tech points. Provides medpack and ammopack, Nano Shield and Catalyst Pack technology. Multiple command stations allow more technology upgrades and more flexible emergency teleportation beacons. Costs 15 resources.
Infantry Portal - Spawns a marine every 9 seconds following a marine death. Players are vulnerable to spawn kill afterwards. Costs 20 resources.
Extractor - Built on resource nozzles, provides steady flow of resources to the team. Rate increases with more extractors. Costs 10 resources.
Power Node - Provides power to the surrounding environment and marine structures. If destroyed, marine structures and local lighting powers down. Free.
Armory - Provides weapons and equipment to marines. Restores health and ammo to nearby marines. Can be upgraded to Advanced Armory for more weapons. Costs 10 resources. Upgrade requires 30.
Robotics Factory - Provides Power Surge commander ability. Produces MAC repair drones and ARC assault drones that assist marines with repairs and destruction of alien structures respectively. MACs are effective when teamed with Exos and Marines. ARCs when deployed deal colossal damage to structures and can attack through walls. Requires line of sight to fire. Costs 10 resources. Costs 5 to upgrade to ARC Factory.
Arms Lab - Upgrades marine weapon and armor. Capped at three upgrades. Are permanent upgrades but are removed if the lab is destroyed. Must be rebuilt again to regain upgrade status. Costs 20 resources.
Sentry Turret - Provides base defense and location control. Powered by a Sentry battery. Good vs light alien lifeforms and deterring attacks. Costs 5 resources per sentry.
Sentry Battery. Provides power to nearby constructed sentries. Is independent from power node, can function even when room power is off. Costs 10 resources.
Phase Gate - Instantly teleports marines from one phase gate to another. Very important for map mobility and defense. Has diminishing effective the more phase gates you have takes longer to reach a desired location. Costs 15 resources.
Observatory - Detects aliens nearby by highlighting them. Exposes cloaked aliens. Ability provides a scan at any point on the map to detect aliens and uncloak them. Second ability provides emergency teleport which teleports all marines and Exosuits to command station closest to the observatory. Provides phase gate research. Costs 10 resources.
Prototype Lab - Allows marines to purchase jet packs and Exosuits. Costs 40 resources.



  • RaZDaZRaZDaZ Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167331Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    edited January 2014
    • Weapons and Tech
    Build Tool - Used to construct buildings. Press E to construct a building. Welders are usually a better option however. Baseline.
    Light Machine Gun - Standard issue rifle and what marines spawn with. Is useful against all types of aliens and situations but isn't spectacular at anything. Obtained on spawn.
    Hatchet - Melee weapon. Provides effective damage versus structures but low damage on lifeforms and makes you a badass. Obtained on spawn.
    Pistol - Highly effective burst damage weapon. Used to finish off weakened aliens and when low on ammo, extremely precise, no recoil. Obtained on spawn.
    Shotgun - Brutally effective at close range and effective at destroying all lifeforms given the right circumstances. Effective vs structures as well. Requires high precision. Required in order to defeat Fades and extremely cost effective in the hands of a good player. Costs 20 resources.
    Proximity Mine - Effective at controlling locations and protecting bases. Allows marines great advantage in small or personal engagements and early game map control. Three mines per purchase. Costs 15 resources.
    Flamethrower - Drains the energy of aliens and deals decent direct damage and light damage over time. Stuns enemy structures from functioning. Most effective against groups of light aliens and structures. Effective as support vs Lerks and Gorges. Costs 25 resources.
    Grenade Launcher - Excellent in clearing out rooms and dealing with light alien lifeforms. Good for surprising burst damage and retreating aliens. Very weak with no support but has long range. Deals extra damage to structures. Costs 15 resources.
    Jetpack - Provides airborne and increased mobility and protects against melee aliens. Very effective vs all lifeforms and the direct counter to Onos. Costs 15 resources.
    Welder - Repairs damaged structures, constructs buildings, repairs power nodes at twice the rate, repairs marine armor, robots and Exosuits. Deals light damage to enemies and structures and replaces the hatchet. Deals extra damage to Cysts. Essential to a good team. Costs 3 resources.
    Grenades - Powerful on-use grenades and great for dispensing extra resources or for pushing an alien fortified position. Effects vary depending on the type of grenade used. Comes in 3 distinct types. Each purchase costs 3 resources and provides 2 grenades.
    - Cluster Grenade - Deals high initial explosion burst damage to target with several cluster bombs exploding for minor damage.
    - Nerve Gas Grenade - Releases a gas cloud at the thrown location that persists for a short duration. Deals damage to alien armor but will not kill an alien. Effective vs structures and all lifeforms especially Onos and Gorge fortifications.
    - Pulse Grenade - Impact burst damage that severely cripples alien attack rate. Good vs Fades and Onos.
    Exosuit - Mechsuits capable of dealing with all alien threats. Vulnerable to coordinated alien attacks. Requires team support.
    - Single Railgun with Steel Fist - Requires Railgun to charge up before dealing maximum damage. Excellent for dealing very sudden burst damage, requires excellent precision but very effective against lower lifeforms. Decent speed. Extremely weak vs Onos and large groups of aliens. Costs 40 resources.
    - Single Minigun with Steel Fist - Flexible ranged combat proficiency by shredding weaker alien targets. Weak when unsupported and vulnerable to multiple Skulk attacks or an Onos charge. Decent speed. Cost 40 resources.
    Dual Exosuit - Requires a single Exosuit which can then be upgraded into a dual Exosuit depending on the weapon. You CANNOT for example, have a minigun and a railgun on one Exosuit.
    - Dual Miniguns. Massive damage output per second but like the other Exosuits, requires support. Devastating vs Onos. Slow speed. Cost 60 resources.
    - Dual Railguns. Nuff said although they can't fire simultaneously. Slow speed. Only purchase if you are VERY experienced with them. Cost 60 resources.

    • Commander Support
    Aside from structures, research and weapons, marine commanders can also provide field support for his troops.

    Medpack - Costs 1 resources and provides a single marine who picks it up 50 health up to a maximum of 100. ESSENTIAL to obtaining map control but don't overuse them.
    Ammo pack - Costs 1 resources and fills the entire ammunition of a single marine's current weapon. Does not fill other weapon. Like medpacks, essential but don't spam them.
    Scan - Costs 3 resources and scans a location on the map that reveals alien units and removes cloak effect temporarily. Requires a powered Observatory.
    Power Surge - Costs 5 resources. Provides power to a single structure even when a power node is destroyed. Has a long cooldown. Requires a powered Robotics Facility.
    Catalyst Pack - Costs 3 resources per drop and rapidly increases marine movement and reload speed. Short duration. Requires research from Command Station.
    Nano Shield - Costs 5 resources per use and a short cooldown. Reduces incoming damage by 33% for a short duration on a nearby target. Requires research from Command Station.
    Drop Weapons - Commander can drop weapons and jetpacks to his team for team resources instead of personal resources once the appropriate technology has been upgraded.
    Recycle - Commanders can recycle almost all structures to gain up to 80% of the cost of the structure back. The greater the health of the structure, the greater the return.

    7. Aliens Overview

    The Kharaa or Aliens. Similar to the Zerg of StarCraft, they control the map by spreading their infestation through the compounds and installations of the humans and expanding their hives to base locations. Kharaa use hives as their main source of nutrition and tactical command. It serves a similar purpose to the command station but also spawns eggs which spawn aliens.

    Aliens progress through the game by evolving into superior lifeforms which have unique, important roles tailored to them that are improved by further class upgrades linked to biomass and accumulating more bases for greater biomass. Greater biomass means more upgrades such as leaping into combat for Skulks and Bile Bombs for Gorges. Biomass provides aliens the necessary tech required to progress versus marines.
    In addition to the biomass evolutions, they can also upgrade certain attributes that are maintained by the commander. These upgrades are linked to hive chambers like Shells, Spurs and Veils which include trait increases such as improved speed, improved energy, silence, aura, improved armor and rapid regeneration. These upgrades are maintained by expanding the teams hives and securing more resource nodes.
    All aliens use a mechanic called Energy. This is what fuels the alien abilities and when the energy bar is depleted, attacks and abilities are far less frequent making the player much more inefficient at dealing with marine threats and can potentially be life-threatening for the alien player.


    • Alien Lifeforms
    Unlike the marines, the aliens progress through the game with evolution similar to classes known as lifeforms. Either by morphing into new alien strains or by upgrading statistics. The following lifeforms are: Skulk, Gorge, Lerk, Fade and Onos.

    The Skulk is the basic life form that everyone starts with. It is fast, agile and can walk up walls. Excells at ambushing marines. They can be upgraded with leap which closes the distance of marines and improves mobility and elusion. Skulks can also inflict a ranged parasite onto a marine which tracks the target through walls. Finally, they can be upgraded with Xenocide which causes the Skulk to voluntarily and violently explode, dealing significant damage to nearby enemies and presents a massive threat versus coordinated marine attacks. Costs 0 resources. 0 Per Upgrade. Leap requires 4 biomass. Xenocide requires 7 biomass.

    The Gorge. A support lifeform that deals light ranged damage, heavy structure and armor damage and heals nearby allies. They can also setup defensive and offensive positions by establishing clog walls supported with hydra turrets. Clog walls can block off a tight corridor, preventing quick marine access. Bile Bomb is an AoE artillery ability which deals corrosive damage over-time to affected targets, extremely effective versus Exosuits and structures and can damage but not kill marines. Gorges can also produce tunnels from one location to another to allow effective and quick map navigation. They also can spawn Babblers and Webs. Costs 8 resources. 1 Per Upgrade for a total of 11 resources. Each hydra costs 3 resources to deploy and each Babbler egg spawns multiple Babblers, costs 1 resource per egg. Tunnel entrances cost 5 resources each to spawn, requires two entrances to be linked together. Webs cost 1 resource to spawn. Babblers require 1 biomass. Bile Bomb requires 3 biomass. Web requires 8 biomass.

    The Lerk is a flying creature that provides a support role by intercepting and engaging marine squads by flying overhead and disrupting marines with a variety of attacks and allowing other aliens to close the gap and decimate the marine squad. In addition to their flying capabilities, they can also shoot spikes at marines, deliver a deadly poison bite, release a trail of deadly gaseous spores behind them and create an Umbra cloud which reduces bullet based weapons against fellow aliens. They are powerful offensive field units in the early game and provide team support via umbra and spores in the later game. Costs 25 resources. 3 Per Upgrade for a total of 34 resources. Umbra requires 4 biomass. Spores require 6 biomass.

    The Fade. A brute force role that focuses on killing marines and keeping his allies from being attacked. Fades excel at small engagements and discourage marines from being aggressive. Fades deal heavy melee damage and are extremely fast. In addition to their high mobility and melee damage, they can also deploy a vortex which allows the Fade to teleport back to that location on the next attack. They can also perform a slower double stab ability that deals greater damage.
    Fades have relatively low hp so it is important to know when to kill and when to escape. They also deal lower damage to structures than all other lifeforms. Costs 40 resources. 5 Per Upgrade for a total of 55 resources. Shadowstep requires 2 biomass. Vortex requires 5 biomass. Stab requires 8 biomass.

    The Onos is the power force and power play of the aliens. The Onos plays a pivotal role in keeping marine pushes at bay and discouraging attacks. An Onos works best with team support from a variety of lifeforms. The Onos' main abilities are a high damage melee attack, a charge, bone shield which makes the Onos immune to bullet based weaponry from the front and a ground stomp which damages all units also knocking down marines in a shockwave making them extremely vulnerable. The Onos is very important for soaking marine damage and giving other much more fragile aliens the capability to be aggressive. Costs 60 resources. 8 Per Upgrade for a total of 84 resources. Charge requires 3 biomass. Boneshield requires 5 biomass. Stomp requires 9 biomass.

    • Alien Commander
    The Alien Commander begins with a resource harvester, a hive, a set amount of resources and numerous eggs through which the aliens spawn from. From here on the commander will need to decide what strategy we wants to set. For example, you can go for economy, quick second base, quick upgrades and so on. The alien commander can issue expansion and threat alerts to his teammates but cannot use move commands unlike the marines.
    Expansion alerts and communication are necessary to allow aliens to maximize their upgrade potential. Communication of marine locations on the map is critical to ensure that aliens are not caught out of position or mopped up by a squad of marines. Eventually, through enough resources and hives, the commander can create defensive structures such as Whips and Shades which secure locations and provide support.

    Drifters that are grown from Drifter eggs can be sent out onto the map to locate marine positions and to scout important information, boost DPS abilities of fellow aliens, provide speed boosts, armor regeneration and provide distractions. Drifters are also essential to grow your buildings. The alien commander can also directly influence a battle by using various abilities such as Bone Wall, Rupture and Nutrient Mist along with using the Drifters various and useful abilities as mentioned above.
    The Alien commander has a tiered system known as Biomass. Biomass is accumulated through hive count and hive upgrades, the more hives, the more biomass up to a maximum of 12 biomass, 3 per hive. Biomass provides the alien team specific new and powerful abilities while also passively boosting HP.

    Similar to the marine commander, the alien commander can provide upgrades to his team by spending team resources. The commander can select eggs and morph them into an Onos egg for example, allowing any alien to enter it and evolve into an Onos without spending personal resources. This is typically only used in the late game as they are very expensive and due to the expenses used on upgrades and structures.
    Since B250, commanders are now limited by how many structures and assets they can deploy on the map at a time. Structures such as armories, whips, crags and sentries now require supply. You cannot exceed the supply limit but recycling and repositioning your structures and assets help to alleviate the issue. Other assets such as Drifters, MACs and ARCs also take supply.

    For alien commanders, you need to be using drifters regularly to make maximum use of your resources and to support your aliens on the ground. Use enzymes, mucous and clouds to provide powerful support to aliens.
    Lastly, Aliens become extremely powerful on 3 hives. Your goal for the game is to sustain 3 hives for the final tier abilities to be unlocked to shut down marine aggression and seal the game. 3 Hives reward you with Xenocide, Contaminate and Stomp as the three main abilities in order to win the game. Achieving these upgrades will allow you to push back marine assaults much easier and break marine defensive positions much easier.

    All structures must be placed on Infestation to grow except for Cysts and Gorge structures. All structures can grow on their own but at a very slow rate. Requires Drifters or Gorges to construct a much faster rate. Most structures also have Maturity which is gradually increased to 100% the longer a structure stays alive. Certain structures such as whips unlock new abilities at 100% maturation but all structures gain increased HP as maturity increases.

  • RaZDaZRaZDaZ Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167331Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    edited January 2014
    9. Advanced Concepts

    Below are a few pieces of information regarding various mechanics in Natural Selection 2.

    • Marine Tips
    - Sprint increases your movement speed and can be used infinitely to get around the map. You can't shoot or take action but you can also weld while sprinting, use it to get into a better position quickly such as in an open room. Allow it to position yourself better.
    - Backpedaling is bad. Instead of pressing S or your equivalent, you can simply strafe around the enemy. Turning around and running can make you very vulnerable. You want to be using strafe and jumping to move around in combat, not backwards key.
    - Turn off Atmospherics in the graphics options. The reason for this is that teammate flashlights will distort your view and cause a haze that obscures your vision.
    - Constantly keep an eye on your map and minimap in order to know where the enemies are. Allow yourself to position accordingly to deal with a threat. As with Starcraft, constantly glance at the map and the minimap, it is essential you use this to respond to enemy threats and to locate nearby aliens.
    - Dodging attacks. While an enemy is in close proximity to you, consider moving around erratically and unpredictably, you can easily throw people off course and make you very difficult to hit. Add a few jumps in as well to make you even harder to hit but don't overdo jumping. Circling around in a predictable fashion may seem intuitive and sometimes it can work but being erratic makes you tougher to hit and may grant you those few precious seconds to reload your weapon or finish your opponent.
    - Jetpacks can boost your movement significantly and make you extremely difficult to hit if you execute it properly. Like dodging, try to move erratically. Boost forward, up, back, sideways. Manage your jetpack fuel and know when it runs out. This is key to staying alive for extended periods of time. Don't just jetpack backwards away from the enemy unless you can escape into friendly territory or can guarantee a kill of the pursuer. Even though jetpacks boost your survivability they can also hinder your accuracy. Most players may panic when under attack, fly backwards and spray bullets. It's preferable to time your shots and if possible, time them in sync with you landing to make most of your accuracy. Burst fire can help you here. You're more accurate when not in flight.
    - Single arm Exos move faster than the dual mini. If you press forward and shift at the same time, you will boost forwards giving you increased speed and distance. Exos are designed to be slow but understand that when attacked by melee enemies, sync your shots with your movement and keep tracking the enemy. This is much easier for single arm Exos to do. Lastly, boost is extremely useful especially when fleeing. Use it to get into position faster and to avoid getting attacked by Onos. A single arm exo that boosts is actually quite tough for an Onos to follow and some of the time, they may break off from pursuing. I see too many people not using the boost when in combat, use it!
    - If you are fighting a fast or evasive skulk, burst fire. Do not spray your bullets because good skulks often wait for you to reload before attacking. Burst fire makes you more accurate, delays their attack or forces him to attack on your terms.

    • Skulk Tips
    - Skulks that can't manipulate movement properly are going to die. My main point is that you must get used to moving along the walls, jumping from the walls and playing evasive. Hard to hit skulks can be very powerful if they also know how to close the gap and land successive bites. The mark of a good skulk player is knowing when to play evasive and aggressive.
    - Time your bites accurately, this applies to fade swipes and lerk bites as well. Do not spam the attack button hoping to get a lucky bite because it results in massive inaccuracy and a fast death. Remember, marines kill you and you kill marines very fast. Accuracy is important.
    - Parasite marines especially in the early game. You will need to switch to it by pressing V or 2. Parasite before marines have +1 armor (usually the first few minutes of the game) makes marines take 1 less bite to kill, THIS IS HUGE. When at range, at least try to get one parasite off before getting into melee.
    - Evasive. When playing evasive, you typically want to be near walls and ceilings. Jumping from each one, moving rapidly can make you difficult to hit. Get used to hitting walls, jumping off, hitting another and jumping off. Playing evasive in open areas is generally a fools errand, there's only so much you can do and it's generally better to be offensive in open areas or to not engage them at all.
    - You can also coordinate a skulk attack on a group of marines, enter first and move very erratically and draw the fire of the marines allowing your team to enter and kill them, you may die but likely the marine team will die too with minimum losses for your team.
    - Aggressive. While at a marines feet, you typically want to be moving unpredictably and jumping. Ground skulking can work only if you're in melee. Jumping won't mean a huge deal vs good marine players but it's generally good vs bad or average marine players. Make sure you aim towards the chest of a marine when wanting to land a bite because if he jumps you may miss it and he may jump over you, confusing you and your situational awareness.
    - Speed. Speed is typically something that should be exploited in closing the gap rapidly vs marines and to get around the map quickly. Simply put, when you jump off of a wall or an object, you gain speed briefly and it's reset when you run along the floor. In order to maintain this speed, you need to repeatedly jump along the floor similar to a bunnyhop in order to maintain the momentum. Keep doing this while jumping from a nearby wall/object along your path to keep being fast. When your skulk starts growling and panting, you are increasing speed.
    - Strafe Speed. Simply put, it's the same concept as speed in that you maintain speed but holding down A or D (or your equivalent) in addition will make you permanently maintain the speed as long as you keep jumping off the floor. It's still a good idea to keep jumping off nearby obstacles and walls to maximise your speed potential. While using strafe speed, you can move fast in open areas. While closing the distance in an open area, don't move in a straight line towards him, consider moving in a snake or zig-zag fashion while still closing the gap to throw his aim off.

    • Fade Tips
    - Blink. Fades work similar to Skulks but they use blink in conjunction with pseudo-bunnyhopping to maintain speed. Instead of jumping off a wall or object and maintaining speed with strafe + jumping, instead you want to tap Blink forward to gain a burst of speed and repeatedly jump along the floor to maintain such speed while mixing in blink to refresh the speed. Crouching can also help you maneuver around the map as well. Without this, you basically can't play a Fade. You must learn this in order to be fast.
    - Shadowstep is useful for a quick burst of speed. This can be used in any direction and you will teleport forwards. Use this to confuse opponents, reach a short distance quickly or to make a confusing retreat.
    - After swiping, you can blink up above a marine to confuse him and blink back down to swipe to take less damage.
    - While closing the gap of a marine, try to move erratically to empty his ammo and allow you to safely swipe him.
    - Be careful of Shotguns, 2 solid shotgun hits can nearly kill you and when multiple marines have shotguns, don't commit to an engagement.

    • Resources
    Think about how you want to spend your Res at the start of the game and throughout. Will you save for an Exosuit? Sacrifice some later game power and buy some mines and welders to support your team? Remember, the res you spend early in the game can have an effect for you and your team later on. Mines, shotguns, welders all help in securing positions and most importantly, extractors and tech points which will provide you with more resources later on to help give you an edge.
    What I recommend for a new player is to buy mines and welders early on. Mines often guarantee kills without requiring your direct input and welders can be used to support your team. If you aren't particularly good at aiming yet, why not focus more on support? Weld the players around you, mine up the vent shafts and phase gates to help secure your bases more safely or even buy a shotgun with your personal resources for a friend?


    • Armor and Damage Types
    Armor functions differently depending on what type of attack is used against you known as Damage Types.
    Damage types determine the amount of damage that is done to a player. Below is a brief explanation of damage types and their effect on armor and how armor works and examples of weapons that use a damage type. Every armor point has the potential to absorb additional damage done depending on the damage inflicted. Any attack that does damage to health and armor, 70% of the damage is done to armor and 30% is done to health.

    • Basic Damage Types
    Normal - Deals normal damage to health and armor. Every 1 armor point absorbs 2 damage - Rifle, Shotgun, Sentries, Bite, Xenocide, Stab, Hydra.
    Light - Deals normal damage to health and light damage to armor. Every 1 armor point absorbs 4 damage - Pistol, Mine, Spit.
    Heavy - Deals normal damage to health and heavy damage to armor. Every 1 armor point absorbs 1 damage - Exosuit minigun.

    Basic damage types function around armor values. Special damage types work based on the type of target. Swipe for example functions best when attacking marines and Exosuits but weak vs structures.

    • Special Damage Types
    Biological - Deals damage to marines. 0 damage to structures and Exosuits - Heal Spray.
    Corrode - Deals small damage to marine armor and Exosuits. Greater damage done to structures - Bile Bomb, Whip Bombard.
    Flame - Deals normal damage to non-flammable targets. Does extra damage to flammable targets such as Clogs, Cysts and Eggs - Flamethrower, Welder, Cluster Grenade.
    Gas - Deals damage to marine health only - Spores.
    Nerve Gas- Deals damage to alien armor only - Nerve Gas Grenade.
    Puncture - Deals normal damage to marines and Exosuits, deals less damage to structures - Spikes, Swipe.
    Splash - Deals damage to structures - ARC attack.
    Structural - Deals normal damage to players and units. Does double damage vs structures - Grenade Launcher, Railgun, Hatchet, Gore.

    • Positioning and Why it is Important
    Most players typically don't understand why positioning is so important and how to position themselves correctly. It can apply to most games and learning how to position is ironically one of the easiest skills to learn once you understand the mechanics of the game. For this case I will be explaining how to position correctly by the standards of NS2. Let's delve in by beginning with basic fundamental concepts and some examples of how you can apply them. Bare in mind that learning how to position properly comes primarily from understanding the game and understanding the basics, if you can grasp those concepts then you can apply these examples into your play.

    Positioning is important for a number of intuitive and basic reasons
    - Allowing you to survive and if necessary, retreat or deal as much damage as possible
    - Allowing you to engage the enemy faster and/or with a greater degree of success
    - Allowing you react to threats on the map at a quicker rate or to put on aggression quickly
    - Allowing you to support your team with as little risk and maximum reward
    - Allowing you to take risks more efficiently

    Now what do these mean exactly and how can we apply them in NS2.

    Let's consider this situation, a marine player enters cargo on Veil and he knows aliens are coming from sub sector, the most optimum position is likely in the center while being prepared to retreat to the back of the room. Why? This forces aliens to attack out in the open with no cover. This greatly increases the marines chance of killing that alien quickly, spotting aliens faster allowing him to retreat more easily and to deal as much damage as possible for as long as possible but also to give him a greater time to react before the aliens can reach him. If the marine player was closer to the crates or the walls, the aliens have much more cover to work with and to flank easily. If you watch good marine players they constantly go for the most open areas as much as possible in every scenario to exploit how vulnerable aliens are in open areas. Even something as simple as killing an RT or building a power node if the marine positions correctly, he can gain a greater visual cone to spot incoming aliens and allow himself more room or time to engage the alien on his terms. Even something as basic as positioning mines correctly in vents or hiding them behind structures or objects is critical in landing a kill and saving a base.

    As an Exosuit, you must understand that you are the most vulnerable target of a marine squad, you are the one who is going to be focused down and attacked first in most cases. You need to minimize alien opportunities for this by understanding positioning and the correct playstyles of Exosuit. Remember, you are supporting the marines just as much as marines are supporting you. You are the one that prevents that Onos or Fade from charging in and killing your teammates and they keep you alive and you must position yourself to give you as much time as possible before aliens can melee you. Positioning yourself behind your marine team and in long corridors to maximize range and minimize risk, don't enter tight corridors if you can help it as this allows skulks to wall-walk all around you while you struggle to hit them. Don't be the one entering an alien room first unless you plan on taking a risk. Know your limits. If you're a Railgun exo, consider the chance of Onos being around the next corner or a pack of skulks, have an escape plan and be prepared to boost away and never let your marine squad out of your sight.

    You will notice that in some games, marine commanders will position structures and especially phase gates in key locations. Marine spawn in Shipping on Tram and the commander goes for early secure in Hub because it is a powerful marine location for a phase gate as it gives you quick access to almost every room on the map. You can take elevator, repair, attack mezzanine, ore processing, warehouse and platform within seconds of phasing to Hub.

    Aliens in terms of positioning to survive and depending on the lifeform, they need cover, a retreat path for higher lifeforms but also access to flanking opportunities, being able to enter melee combat as quickly as possible and team support. Playing as a Skulk for example contrasts with the previously mentioned marine scenario. A skulk works poorly in open areas. They require walls and cover to make use of quick movement boosts and to close the gap as quickly as possible while taking as little damage as possible. You will notice that aliens are powerful on maps like Eclipse, a lot of tight corridors and objects allow skulks to engage marines quickly and utilize wall-walking and speed boosts to close gaps quickly.

    As a higher lifeform, arguably the most important aspect is being able to retreat safely as being able to stay alive far outweighs a risk or incorrect decision that may not pay off. You need to be aware on the map where marine threats and cut-off points may potentially be. If you are attacking crossroads for example on Summit, you need to be aware of where the safest path to retreat is, if you need to retreat to Flight Control Hive and there are marines attacking crevice then be prepared to take a potential pinch from those marines or retreat through to computer lab. This is especially critical to keep in mind if marine players have jetpacks, all the higher lifeforms are susceptible to a quick death from an incorrect retreat path.

    There is a lot more information on positioning that relates to specific situations. A link I will provide below will give you very deep insight and analysis into marine positioning of which you can also loosely translate for correctly responding as aliens. Document was made by Tane, one of the more prestigious NS2 players.

    Tane's Marine Positioning Article

  • KwisatzHaderachKwisatzHaderach Join Date: 2012-02-06 Member: 143872Members, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Supporter
    edited December 2013
    Amazing thread, good work! Very well written and all the info is there for a new player to have fun and be effective.

    Just a few things that need updating or weren't mentioned:

    - exosuits are beaconed back to base since a few patches ago
    - afaik the flamethrower doesn't drain energy but only slows down the regeneration rate? It also burns up bile.
    - dual minigun exos overheat a lot quicker than single minigun exos. Burst damage goes way up with two miniguns but overall damage over time not so much.
    - dual wield exos have to be researched and a single wield exo (40 res) can be upgraded to a dual wield for 20 pres
    - "units called Drifters can be sent out onto the map to locate marine positions": wasn't the scouting ability taken out of the game a few builds ago?
    - bile bomb does not deal poison damage, that is the lerk bite. It should be mentioned that bile bomb only affects marine armour, not health. And it destroys dropped weapons and mines.
    - you forgot to mention jetpacks o_O!!! You do like you're exo suits though, don't you :P

    You should repost this on the steam forums; much more newbs over there than on the official forums. If you can't be bothered I would ask your permission to do so.

    edit: lol just went to the steam forums and you just posted the thread over there :)>-
  • RaZDaZRaZDaZ Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167331Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    edited January 2014
    10. Common Terminology of NS2

    Below is a compendium of acronyms, definitions and abbreviations that are associated with NS2, builds, strategies and tactical play. Learn and understand what these mean, experienced players will be using these frequently.

    • General Terminology
    Comm - Commander
    Field Commander - Grunt on the field who relays information to the team and commander
    Backseat Commander - Grunt on the field who issues the most commands and orders
    TP - Tech Point. Hive or Command Station can be built at these.
    Base/Main Base/Spawn - Refers to initial spawn point
    Central - Refers to the center of the map, usually a critical location like Nanogrid on Veil, Central Drilling on Refinery, Hub on Tram, etc
    Double - Refers to locations with 2 RTs such as Nanogrid on Veil
    RT - Resource Tower (Extractor/Harvester)
    Res - Resources
    PRes - Personal Resources (Troop Resources)
    TRes - Team Resources (Commander Resources)
    Chair - Commander chair in Hive and Command Station
    Tag - Light damage dealt to an opponent by a ranged attack usually parasite
    Cap - Someone who constructs at a location usually RTs
    LoS - Line of Sight
    One Shot - Usually refers to a shotgun instantly killing or rapidly killing a lifeform
    Insta-Gib - Refers to a very fast death by multiple opponents or a powerful, well-aimed shot
    Support - Refers primarily to playstyle such as Gorging, welding, Lerking, not aiming to get kills but to help the team
    GG - Good Game
    Concede - Vote to end the game
    F4 - Leaving the team which usually results in defeat, similar to concede
    Eject - Vote to remove commander
    RR - Ready Room
    Upgrades - Refers primarily to static passive effects such as the Arms Lab, Spurs, Shells, Veils and Hive upgrades
    Drop - Requesting commander to place a structure at a location, "Drop the RT please"
    Sneak/Stealth - Making no noise

    • General Tactical Terminology
    Base Rush - Majority of a team attacks a base together in an attempt to deal critical damage, can often be scouted and easily defeated
    Capper - Marine or Gorge who is designated as the constructor of the team to build RTs and bases while other players are playing offensively
    Sniping - Usually a small team who intends on dealing as much damage as possible before dying, usually to "snipe" critical structures such as upgrades
    Ninja - Refers to a player who has snuck behind enemy lines who intends to perform a sneaky strategy, not being scouted such as "dropping a ninja phase gate"
    Rush - Refers to multiple definitions but primarily refers to rushing tech or rushing a location on the map with force
    Overcommit - Players who stay in combat to long and can lose their invested resources such as dying as a Fade or dying as an Exosuit, not retreating in time

    • Marine Terminology
    CC/CS - Command Station
    IP - Infantry Portal
    PG - Phase Gate
    Obs - Observatory
    Robo - Robotics Factory
    Battery - Sentry Battery
    Proto - Prototype Lab
    Node - Power Node
    Nano - Nano Shield, Nano can also apply to Nano Grid, a key location on the map Veil
    Nades - Refers to grenades launched from the Grenade Launcher or hand grenades bought from the armory
    Gas - Nerve Gas Grenade
    Cluster - Cluster Grenade
    Pulse - Pulse Grenade
    Cat Pack - Catalyst Packs
    Rine - Marine
    Socket - Commander activating a power node
    Surge - Power Surge
    LMG - Rifle or Light Machine Gun
    SG/Shotty - Shotgun
    FL - Flamethrower
    GL - Grenade Launcher
    Jet/Jets/JP/Jetty - Jetpack or Jetpacker
    Exo - Exosuit
    Dual - Dual Gunned Exo
    Beacon - Emergency Teleport to a Command Station closest to the Observatory that was used
    Scan - Scan issued by commander
    Weld - Usually refers to a player asking for welding
    Grind Gate/Grinder - Phase Gate that is under attack by multiple aliens causing any marine who phases through to be killed almost instantly without retaliation.
    Shotgun Rush - Commander/team member requests that all or most team members purchase a shotgun and rush a base, often used with beacon
    Jetpack Rush - Commander/team member requests that all or most team members purchase a jetpack and rush a base, often used with beacon
    Exo Rush - Commander skips most early-mid game tech to rush for Exosuits, risky play
    Armory Block/Armory Wall/Robo Block/Robo Wall - Using structures to block off tight pathways, mainly used to restrict Onos movement, also used to make a power node harder to hit
    Pinching - To catch a higher lifeform while it retreats to heal, leaving it vulnerable to ambush and potential death
    Mining Up - Marines spend high amounts of resources on placing mines
    Phase - Someone requests that people phase to a location, "Phase to Terminal"
    Recycle/Sell - Recycle a structure
    Siege/Sieging - Marine team that attacks a fortified alien base, usually with ARCs known as ARC sieges
    ARC Train - Large number of ARCs proceeding to a specific location
    Exo Train - Large number of Exosuits proceeding to a specific location
    Chase - Usually refers to marines hunting and chasing after a lifeform to kill it, often Onos

    • Alien Terminology
    Most alien structures are simply referred to by name
    Cysting - Alien Commander spreading cysts across the map and to specific regions
    Tunnels - Gorge Tunnel between two locations
    Mist - Nutrient Mist, usually used for accelerating evolving lifeforms
    Bio - Biomass
    Enzyme - Players asking to be assisted by Drifter enzymes
    Xeno - Xenocide
    SS - Shadowstep
    Bile/BB - Bile Bomb
    Para - Parasite
    Wall - Bone Wall
    Shield - Bone Shield
    Gassing - Lerks spraying Gas
    Spiking - Lerks using spikes to keep marines back
    Cara - Carapace
    Cel - Celerity
    Cloak - Utilizing Phantom perk to become camouflaged
    Regen - Regeneration
    Adren - Adrenaline
    Egg Lock - Aliens unable to spawn due to lack of eggs being produced
    Rush - Attack a location quickly while marines are distracted elsewhere or not focused
    Fade Ball - Large group of Fades rampaging and slaughtering
    Skulk Pack - Coordinated attacks of multiple skulks assisting each other to take down marines, usually used in early game play
    Pack Play - Coordinated attacks and support of multiple lifeforms or basic lifeforms assisting each other to defeat marine assaults and pressure marine bases
    Gorge Wall - A wall of static defense such as Hydras, Clogs and sometimes other structures
    Gorging - Dedicated player playing Gorge to assist the team
    Fading - Dedicated player playing Fade to assault marines
    Lerking - Dedicated player playing Lerk to assist the team
    Whip Farm - Large amount of whips usually used for Echo and Contaminate strategies
    Heal Station/Crag Station - An area that is reinforced with supporting structures such as Crags, Shades, Shifts and Whips
    Skulk Hop - Skulks using walls and jumping to maintain high speeds
    Fade Hop - Fades using blink and jumping to maintain high speeds


    11. Information Sources and Links

    Below are a few links to various sites and threads regarding NS2.

    Official UWE Youtube Channel
    UWE.Strayan (Hugh) Youtube Channel
    blindNS2 Competitive NS2 Caster and Community Figure Youtube Channel
    WasabiOne Competitive NS2 Caster and Community Figure Youtube Channel
    ReddogTV Competitive NS2 Caster and Community Figure Youtube Channel
    ItsSuperEffective/AbysmalNight Guide Maker Youtube Channel

    Natural Selection 2 Community Wiki. Recommend checking this out for detailed statistics on all things NS2.

    Official NS2 Twitter
    UWE Dev Twitter
    NS2HD Twitter
    UWE.Strayan Hugh Jeremy
    ReddogTV Twitter
    ItsSuperEffective Twitter
    WasabiOne Twitter
    blindNS2 Twitter
    NS2 World Championships Twitter

    Official UWE Forums
    Official NS2 News Page

    Official NS2 TwitchTV
    ReddogTV Competitive NS2 Casting
    blindNS2 Competitive NS2 Casting
  • RaZDaZRaZDaZ Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167331Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    edited January 2014
  • RaZDaZRaZDaZ Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167331Members, Reinforced - Shadow
  • RaZDaZRaZDaZ Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167331Members, Reinforced - Shadow
  • Soul_RiderSoul_Rider Mod Bean Join Date: 2004-06-19 Member: 29388Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue
    edited January 2014
    Couldn't you put this into a wiki or host it on a website.

    I started to read through it but it is too much wall of text for me to bother...
  • RaZDaZRaZDaZ Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167331Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    Not good with websites mate and there's already a wiki. I'm currently reviewing the guide myself and the length has already occurred to me. The character limit makes it a nightmare to edit properly though. Thanks for the feedback
  • ValorousGamerValorousGamer Join Date: 2014-01-02 Member: 191620Members
    edited January 2014
    Hey, cool guide! I just got the game (it's installing right now) so this should be useful to me!

    Anyway, I actually have something important to say.

    Mostly for my own convenience, since it's tough to read as is, I've been converting this into a Kindle-friendly PDF through Microsoft Word (I got a new Kindle for Christmas and I wanted to make good use of it). It took about an hour, but I've got it pretty well set up now and it should be easy to update more content to the file when needed. I mostly made it for myself, since it's easier to read it (even on a computer screen) when formatted to fit a Kindle, but I'd be happy to upload this somewhere if anyone wants it.

    Here's some screen captures of what it looks like on a PC:
  • RaZDaZRaZDaZ Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167331Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    edited January 2014
    Holy crap Valorous, very generous but I feel guilty now. I'm not sure how kindle works but I've recently edited many parts out and shifted the whole guide around to make it easier to read but it's still a nightmare. This guide was initially made with no character limit but the recent site "upgrade" a few months ago broke my guide and it's been tough to edit. Doesn't help I'm not experienced with guide making and using BBCode so I'm essentially testing my formatting capabilities with this.
  • ValorousGamerValorousGamer Join Date: 2014-01-02 Member: 191620Members
    Kindle is simple, especially with PDFs. I actually prefer PDFs to the Kindle's standard format in most cases.

    The screen size of the average kindle is almost exactly the same as the paper size A6 with very tiny margins (that is something I learned through experimentation). Once I made the pages in Word that size, it's basically a copy/paste job and then doing Save As as .pdf. That's why it'll be easy to replace/add information as needed.

    If you're interested in doing this yourself, here are the basic settings to get Word (or any word processor) to have e-book appropriate pages:

    Page Size:
    Width: 4.1"
    Height: 5.8"

    Custom Margins:
    Top/Bottom: 0.3"
    Left/Right: 0.2"

    Have a text size of 9 or 10 and use a standard text type.

    Then you put everything into that (and re-size pictures as needed) and safe as .pdf. It makes it real easy to read, especially on a PC, and it's appropriate for e-book readers. Ever since I got my Kindle I've been experimenting with that extensively, and it's cool to be able to put pretty much anything on my Kindle.
  • MigotoMigoto Merica Join Date: 2014-01-03 Member: 191719Members
    This is really useful info, I plan on getting the game really soon, this will help a lot thanks man.
Sign In or Register to comment.