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Okay, first and foremost. DO NOT GET IN THE CHAIR IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR DOING! There is nothing more disheartening than seeing someone hop in the Command Chair and say "this is my first time guys what do i do". You get out of the chair is what you do.
Before you even attempt to Command, you must meet, in my opinion, 2 criteria. The first being you've played NS for at least a month. You know the ins and outs of the game pretty much like the back of your hand. You know what building does what, and when to do what. You've also most likely been involved in Marine victories. What did the commander do right in that game?
If you meet #1, there's one more step you should take. Start up a LAN game, and join Marines. Pull down your console and type "sv_cheats 1" without the quotes. This will let the game begin with no other players in the game. After typing sv_cheats 1, type "bigdig" without the quotes. This will cause all structures you drop to be instantly placed.
Use this time to get a feel for how Commanding works. "Simulate" a battle if you will. Drop 2 IPs, and an Armory. Wait for the "team" to stock up and have them move out and "secure" a res node. Get a feeling of how the res flows in a particular battle, and what you need to do.
Al right, feeling confident now? Do you have friends? Try commanding on LAN first. They'll be more forgiving than pub server players. Plus you'll have fun doing it.
If you don't have friends, my suggestion is to make some. But go ahead and try commanding anyway. Don't go with anything fancy here - this is your first time. Listen to what your team has to say, but take them as suggestions, not orders. Try your best. If you lose, well, it happens to even the best commanders. As long as people aren't saying "We had a nub comm", you did your job well. And if people say that anyway, you probably still did do a decent job. If you win, great! But know the next battle might not be as easy.
Al right, enough on that. Lets get to details:
- 1 Commanding-Specific Strategies
- 2 Marine Strategies
Hotkeys, hotkeys, hotkeys
Ns 2.0 has a very nice commanding hotkey setup. The command buttons on the bottom are in a 4x3 grid. Well, instead of clicking each one, use your keyboard. By default, you have hotkeys to match the grid. Those being QWERASDFZXCV. See how they form that same grid? Use them well, they're much faster than fumbling around than the mouse.
Forming players into Squads can help keep you organized. To make a squad, highlight the players by clicking and dragging the mouse, and letting go when all you want are selected. Then hit+ , for example. You can have up to 5 squads, so + would work as well. To access all those players, just hit the corresponding number on the keyboard.
You're not limited to just people when making squads. You can make building squads as well. Many people put Observatories in Squad 5, so they can quickly and easily scanner sweep without tracking those little buggers down on the map. This works great with other buildings as well, such as the Arms Lab.
See the picture up top of the little guy? That selects every Marine. Use this to give the entire team an order.
I need a Medpack Stat!
When someone requests a medpack or ammo, a button will appear on the side indicating as such. Press the jump key to zap to him instantly. Keep in mind a Medpack costs 2 res, and it may be cheaper just for him to die.
Move to your waypoint soldier
Give people waypoints. It will let them know EXACTLY where you want them.
OMG COMM DROP ME A HMG LOLZ
Yes. You will find people like this. Keep in mind 1 HMG costs as much as 2 Turrets... or 1 IP. Avoid handing out weapons to stupid people that will just go rambo and die. Your team should be more than welcome to make suggestions, but not orders.
Scaaaner Sweeeeep! *Bing!*
Use the Scanner Sweep liberally. Most people just forget about it, and that hurts the team. If they have sensory chambers, use it whenever entering a new area. If they have the others, just use it randomly around the map to see where they're building up, especially in Hives.
Everyone shut up so I can hear the Hive!
Not exactly sure if this is intended, but you can easily determine the Hive location by moving over to one of the possible spots. If you hear the throbbing sound a Hive makes, well then you've just found it. It is very soft though, so listen carefully.
Before you start dropping stuff like a madman, decide on your build order. Are you going to make 1, or 2 IPs? Observatory or Arms Lab? Try to determine what best fits your team. The build order I usually do is 2 IPs, Armory, Observatory, Turret Factory, Turrets. Thats my "anti-sensory chamber" setup. But if the aliens drop one of the others, I'll usually forego the Observatory and Turrets and get an Arms Lab up. Then start upgrading. There is no perfect order, you just have to adapt to the situation.
You depend on the team, the team depends on you. Talk with them. Let them know your strategy. They don't have hive site that tells them "Resource Tower is under attack!". You are their all-seeing-eye, so keep them informed of what's going on. Using Voice Comm is HIGHLY recommended.
===Turret or not to Turret, that is the question=== Some people like to Turret the home base. I usually don't like to, unless the Aliens have Sensory Chambers. Otherwise they could pretty much just waltz in undetected. Neither choice is bad, just different.
Mines are a mixed bag. They do stop smaller aliens quite well. They of course, need to be replaced after they have detonated. Mines aren't all the uber weapon they were in 1.04, due to them hurting friendlies now. I rarely use them, but they can be a quick defense if your being attacked by aliens, and need to buy time to set up Turrets.
Mmmmm.... res *drools*
Its not so important that you have 6+ resource nodes like the Aliens. You can easily pull off a successful game with only 3 nodes. This lets you defend the ones you have very vigorously. It is of the utmost importance that you get the double res node on the map, if it has one. Many do. Tanith, Hera, Mineshaft, Origin, Veil, and Caged come to mind. Having those 2 nodes in 1 place will allow you to concentrate your defenses in just 2 spots - the base and there - instead of 3 or more.
Weld those vents shut!
Something I rarely see people do is welding vents shut. On your map, you'll most likely see little stars on it, which correspond to icons around the map. These are welding points. Most likely they weld vents shut, but other times they can do things like open doors. On maps like Bast and Eclipse, where vents lead to Marine start, I always drop a welder to close the vents as soon as possible. Restricting the number of ways the aliens can attack is a good thing.
Is the Hive close? You may want to consider a Shotty Rush. Drop 1 IP, an Armory, and as many Shotguns as you can afford. Make SURE everyone stays together. Yell at team-mates who wander off. Once everyone is loaded up, move on out. This is a huge gamble though. If it succeeds, you will win. There's no way any Aliens can get a Hive up that early to stay alive. If it fails however, you'll have a very small base with virtually no res to expand it. I like Shotty rushes when the Hive is close, but I don't do it all the time. Did you know, assuming all pellets connect, it only takes 40 shots to take down a Hive? That's only 1 clip for 4 people. And those are with un-upgraded weapons!
It is very important you lock down a Hive. 2 Hives you can handle, but the Aliens get their big guns on the 3rd. Early in the game, move your troops to a Hive and get it secured. If you can get a Hive and the double res node, all connected by Phase Gates and protected by Turrets, there's a very good chance you're going to win.
Heavy Armor trains are devastating. If you outfit a lot of people with Heavy Armor, and good weapons, and send them all to a Hive, the results are usually quite good. Some things to remember though - ALWAYS move in a group. ALWAYS give them Welders to repair armor. ALWAYS scanner sweep their route. ALWAYS give them health when needed. ALWAYS give them ammo when needed. And last, but not least, mix up the weapons. Shottys are cheap, and very effective at both buildings and enemies. Half of my HAs have Shotguns, usually. HMGs are good against enemies, but not at buildings. One quarter of my HA train has HMGs. Finally, Grenade Launchers are good against buildings and large groups of enemies, but they have a long reload. One quarter of my HA train has GLs. This should be a pretty unstoppable force.
So you just can't get in that Hive to kill it eh? No problem. Kill it from outside. First, get near the Hive. Not in the same room as the Hive of course, but the room right next to it. Before sending anyone there, make sure you have resources - at least 75. Plop down a turret factory and upgrade it. Plop down normal turrets for protection. Plop down a Phase Gate. Every time you hit 40 res, plop down another normal turret. Once the TF is done, plop down 2 sieges. That should take care of things pretty quick.
Keeping troops alive during this time is very important. Be liberal with medpacks. Having 1 trooper welding everyones' armor is a good idea as well. Just hold your position until you get those turrets up.
Jetpacks... the freshmaker!
Yes, Jetpacks got nerfed. But they are still very potent as Onos killers. Most likely, when aliens have resources flowing, most will go Onos. Use this to your advantage. They have no anti-air capabilities, other than jumping and attacking in mid-air... which is quite funny.
One often neglected use of the Jetpack is the Jetpack rush. It is extremely potent, and can be accomplished with only 2 or 3 people. Outfit your group with Jetpacks and Shotguns. Have them fly to the nearest Hive, and land on top of it. Then just fire point blank into the Hive. I've found that Aliens rarely set up offensive towers inside their Hive area, since the constant influx of players make them pretty much useless. Even if they do set them up, their shots will be blocked by the Hive. Also, getting to the top of a Hive can be quite a challenge for an Alien. They are suspended from the ceiling, and often a bit of distance away from the walls. Skulks wont be able to get up there quickly, and die to 1 shotgun blast - Lerks can't do enough damage fast enough if the Comm is spamming medpacks - and its going to take a lot of skill as a Fade to blink up there.