Idleray Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2012-10-04 Member: 161464Posts: 154 Advanced user
edited November 2012 in NS2 General Discussion
New players, please read.Now, I don't claim to be an expert on Skulking, but I have played NS1 since 2004 and played aliens in 80% of my games, which remains true today. I am still overall a pretty bad player, so I've had to adapt to that which means most of the time I'm either Gorging or Skulking.
Since you will spend the majority of your time as a Skulk on the Alien team, it's pretty important to learn the ins and outs of this particular class and be as effective as you can.
Obviously, part of the Skulks role is combat: engaging and killing marines. Try to keep the following in mind when you do so.
- Move Unpredictably
Don't charge at marines in a straight line (unless you're approaching from behind unnoticed). This makes you easy to shoot. Try to approach from a ceiling or wall and then once your target starts shooting you drop down to make them readjust aim. Keep using jump.
If you have leap, try not to leap directly towards marines, as this is almost identical to moving towards them in a straight line, and makes it REALLY easy for a shotgun blast to connect without even meaning to. During the heat of combat, you can leap towards a ceiling or wall to momentarily disengage and make a marine lose his bearings, as well as allow you to regain yours before jumping back in(thanks to Gorgenapper for pointing this out).
- Timing and Teamwork
Try to time your attacks with your teammates; try to act as a distraction if you're the first of a pack of skulks to engage. Being a distraction means jumping around, on and off the walls, climbing across the ceiling and generally being hard to shoot. Force the marine(s) to have to shoot at both something above and below them.
This principle works well with Lerk teammates: Stay behind them and wait for when they go in for a spore bombing run. The majority of the marines attention will be focused on the Lerk, which also happens to be above their heads. Their vision will be obscured by gas too. Perfect time to go in.
Another readily available opportunity is to work together with gorges: A heal-spamming gorge with a skulk (or multiple skulks) is an almost uncannily effective marine-killing combination, as people often become confused and try to switch targets mid way as they realise the skulks are getting healed. You can also wait and hide near a gorge until it comes under attack, then hop in while the marine has tunnel-vision on the Gorge (as they invariably do). This is an excellent way to provide support to vulnerable Gorges.
- Noise gives you away
Sound is a major tool a marine has to defend himself against you. A vigilant marine will listen out for approaching skulks, and so you want to deny them this tool.
Hold shift to move without making sounds. Combine this with wall and ceiling climbing and you will be able to sneak up to marines that are building res nodes without them noticing for easy kills. Silence makes this trivial and awesome.
- Aim your bites
Do not hold down M1 during combat, unless you have achieved superior control and you're fighting an exo. 90% of the time you want to consciously aim your bites for both maximum damage and to retain orientation - the biting animation briefly covers your screen and by holding it down you can easily lose track of your position relative to the marines for a few fractions of a second which is all it takes to lose.
- Vault from walls and ceilings often during combat
There are plenty of youtube videos explaining wall-jumping, so look it up. This will 100% help you with your combat effectiveness. In particular, I recommend this video by Elodea here.
To put what you've just seen into practice: initiate every engagement with a wall-jump towards the marines, and try to do it afterwards too. Establish a rhythm whereby you vault from a wall towards the marine and bite. A good marine will strafe-jump away making you lose your bearings, which means instead of staying on the ground and "dancing" with him, you want to run up the nearest wall again and repeat, each time forcing him to look for you instead of you looking for him.
This may not sound like the best way to engage a single marine, but it is absolutely the best way to engage multiple contacts: â€œleg-humpingâ€ a single marine makes you extremely easy to shoot at by nearby marine buddies (thanks to PHJF for pointing this out).
- Flank the enemy, especially when they are attacking your hives
One of the worst things that can happen is that a forward base (phase gate, armory, mines etc) is set up outside your Hive and you rush in one by one into multiple Marines camping a hallway like lambs to the slaughter. From the marineâ€™s point of view, they are actually waiting for you to do this enough so that you run out of eggs and skulks start waiting a long time to respawn: thatâ€™s their cue to come in and finish off your Hive.
There is a reason why most Hive rooms have a vent leading into them: it is to prevent you from being boxed in and give you a route to flank marine squads attempting to lay siege. You will often be able to approach many marines from behind this way: take out the Grenade Launcher users first.
- Evade until they're out of ammo
When engaging multiple targets, it can be prudent to move evasively for the first few seconds or so as inexperienced marines "blow their load" and miss most of their shots. Try roughly estimating when marines are about to reload and then turn up the aggression (thanks to imbalanxed for pointing this out).
Hit and Run tactics
Now a lot of the previous section comes down to experience and practice, but a surprisingly large portion of Skulk effectiveness requires no combat skill at all. Combat is only half the story, and your role as a Skulk also involves scouting, hit and run and, for lack of a better term, "guerilla warfare": that is to move behind enemy lines and hit them where they are weakest, and be gone by the time they arrive.
You can plain ignore marines in many situations. Marines cost no resources and re-spawn quicker than Aliens to make up for their lack of mobility.
The only times when you really want to fight them are:
a. When they're attacking your base/res nodes
b. When theyâ€™re trying to build structures/res nodes.
The rest of the time you have 1 clear goal: destroying enemy extractors. You will almost never go wrong by finding and destroying undefended res nodes on the map. Do not destroy power nodes if all they are powering is an extractor in the room. Power nodes are free and extractors cost 10. In the time you've taken down a power node, the extractor will have provided res for the marine team.
So that's the fundamental role of the skulk: scouting for undefended extractors/bases and taking stuff out. Pretty easy and requires almost no skill. That's not all though, and you want to keep the following in mind:
- Be aware of your surrounding
Attacking extractors and power nodes makes you extremely vulnerable, power nodes even more so as you will not be able to use the extractor as a shield. The key to avoiding getting killed is to
i. Keep an eye on where the entrances and exits to your room are. If the extractor is obstructing your field of vision, simply climb up the extractor slightly (though this exposes you).
ii. Stop biting every once in a while and listen for marine footsteps.
iii. Strafe left and right when biting a res node. Never stand still. (as Sooty points out, the NS2 netcode "predicts" your position by taking your current one and extending it about 100ms into the future. This is what you are experiencing whenever you die when clearly on your screen it looks like you've gone out of LOS of the marine - on their screen you were standing still for 100 milliseconds more than you actually did.)
In fact you may want to circle strafe the extractor in order to constantly scan your rooms for marines entering. When a marine does come, you can repeatedly position yourself so that the extractor is always between the both of you, until he gets overconfident and comes within striking range. This only works with single marines(Thanks to Gorgenapper for pointing this out).
- Bide your time
Hide out of sight near an uncaptured res node and wait for marines to start building. This works especially well for nodes directly next to the marine starting base, and especially for nodes with a vent leading into them. Listen carefully for the telltale sound of marine building with "e". Then slowly crawl out of your hiding spot and catch them unaware. This works really well for West Skylights in Veil and Reactor Core in Summit, to name a few.
- Upgrading for hard-core res-harrasment
Regeneration is actually quite useful for you in this role instead of Carapace. Consider the fact that you will be running away from marines most of the time when they come to defend their node. Regeneration keeps your downtime to a minimum, and escaping alive is alot easier and risk free than engaging. If you are a good escape artist, Regeneration effectively keeps you a menace to marine resources for the entire game.
- Laugh as you tie down multiple marines
If you find certain marines dedicated to defending res and hunting you down, don't despair, but be smug in the knowledge that they are forced to deal with you when they could be elsewhere. Heck, I often find myself hiding in a vent knowing a marine is just outside and expecting me, but I patiently wait because really, you're the one tying them down.
Doing this is even better with parasite. If you have vision of a marine, you can crawl away and attack another spot while knowing he is camping that vent for nothing. Vent systems that lead towards two res points are ideal for this; in particular the one connecting Skylights and Overlook in Veil.
- Request drifters from your Khammander
This is actually more Alien Khammander tip than a skulk one, or rather it is a tactic that requires teamwork from both. Khammanders often neglect to do this for the good reason that they do not have as much of a sense of whats going on the ground compared to Skulks. As Skulk, tell your khammander to send a drifter into relatively uncontested res nodes (where marine presence is likely to be light and only when res node needs putting up), and you will find yourself suddenly much more effective than normal - able to pinpoint the exact window of time when an enemy res is weak and undefended, or being set up by unwary marines.
- Counter-attack and zerg-rush their base
If your team becomes aware of a particular large number of marines setting up close to one of your hives in preparation for a siege, the best response sometimes is actually not reinforcing that area (if the room is full of marines they automatically enjoy a defensive advantage), but to instead quickly organize a base rush. Make sure to attack the Observatory(looks like a radar dish) first BEFORE the power node to prevent a distress beacon. This will lead to one of two possible outcomes:
a. They beacon before you can destroy the observatory. Now you can get back to the room they were trying to set up(hopefully the phase gate is not already up) and try to take it out.
b. They fail to beacon and you take their base, effectively winning you the game or denying them a tech point.
Both of which are favorable. NOTE: this is one of the MOST effective ways to counter large number of Exos bearing down towards one of your hives, as Exos cannot be distress beaconed and so you should always be able to get outcome (b).
Thanks to Swiftspear for pointing this out.
There you have it. Being an effective Skulk is alot more making marines come to you than you charging them. There are many variations of the tactics listed above, but this should give new players a sense of how to be effective as a Skulk. I welcome suggestions.
Post edited by Unknown User on
My personal rant on the state of NS2
My personal rant on the state of NS2