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Alien responses to observatory wall?

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  • Alien responses to observatory wall?

    There's been a number of games recently where Marines cover half of the map with observatories, making it very difficult for Aliens to make any offensive moves. (Maybe someone can post a link to a replay of a game like this?) It seems to generally be an effective strategy, so effective that some people have even talked about adding in a farm cost for observatories to weaken it.

    My question is, what kinds of strategies might the Aliens use against a wall of observatories? The "usual" tactics of back res biting, coordinated rushes, and sneaky tunnels don't work so well when the Marines see you coming a mile away.

    One strategy I heard someone suggest (don't recall who) was to have higher lifeforms draw the marines to one place so that lower lifeforms could take down a phase gate or observatory somewhere else. I'd speculate that another Alien response could be to forget about gates and observatories, and just focus on killing Marines: once pres has been whittled down and the Marines are spawn blocked, maybe you'd have a chance of taking back some territory.

  • #2
    Originally posted by cupricdagger View Post
    My question is, what kinds of strategies might the Aliens use against a wall of observatories?
    In my opinion, pack play is a viable solution; preferably a "skulk ball" taking out RTs and observatories with higher lifeforms defending/attacking vital areas of the map. This strategy ideally yields several results:

    1. Disrupts a Marine rush.
    2. Scares nervous Commanders into a beacon.
    3. Presents a small opportunity to drop a sneaky tunnel.
    4. Less resources for Marines, and forces the Marine Commander to spend a substantial amount to rebuild stuff.
    5. Forces Marines to spread out and therefore momentarily weakens their positions.

    For this strategy to work perfectly the Alien team obviously needs good skulks in addition to skilled and cool-headed higher lifeforms. Also, an excellent gorge is the engine of the team needless to say.


    • #3
      My observations on this:

      It seems that lately there has been an increasing number of games that turned out that way, with the obs wall becoming a winning strat and therefore a trend on the server. I don't know whether everyone read this and decided to give it a go or if things naturally gravitated towards this being a prime choice, but in any case, it's there.

      And it is clearly a winning strat for now: it gives you extraordinary intel and if your team is reactive it's very unlikely you'll lose to any kind of rush. But that's usually how aliens win engagements: by going places where they will be unexpected. The best and worst aspect of this strat however is the morale hit on the alien team, for reasons I will come back to.

      I've seen lots of people suggest changes to the gameplay rules, the most common idea being a limit to how many obs can be built. But I won't get into a discussion about balance. I just want to prove a single point in this post:

      I find mass obs and similar tactics (sentries, whips) incredibly un-fun.

      What makes NS2 so good is it's dynamism: games can be back-and-forth with amazing comebacks and hail mary rushes, you may find the aliens main base relocated where the marine start once was, you may see a marine team with the whole map lose to a single tunnel and a coordinated rush. You may see a marine team on the backfoot do three hive rushes in a row and take the game. The boundaries of each team's territories are constantly moving and a single missed bullet can give away the control of a third of the map.

      Add in mass sentries and/or obs and you get risk-free, safe crawling on the map. Make a slow push to secure a room, build a ton of obs, sentries and armories in it to make sure it will be super hard to take back, and move on to the next room. Rinse and repeat. As long as you have some kind of resflow you can keep doing that until the end of time. Congratulations, you turned a wonderful combat dance into a tower defense game.

      I like to engage with other humans. That's why I play multiplayer games for. I will gladly fight marines with jetpacks as a skulk with no leap: it's challenging, it will likely not turn out in my favour, but it is fun. I have no interest however in spending the entire game biting static observatories or NPCs with very basic AI (sentries, MACs...)

      If you are commanding and building sentries/whips, arcs, macs and obs everywhere, please keep this in mind: every time you build a computer-managed static building to do a job for you or your team, you take away some amount of risk. But you also break the risk/reward concept which is key to virtually any game. By playing "safe" you are making things less interesting, you are dragging the match out into a 40 minutes+ game and you are taking away a lot of the pleasure for the players on the fields by making the engagements one sided or restricting the game to a head-on engagement.

      If your primary goal is to win, say, a championship, then I'd say obs walls is a pretty good strat choice for now. If you are trying to create a great experience for both teams on a Friday night, think again.

      EDIT: and to answer the question in the title of this thread, I think aliens facing this strat should try and prevent it early, and simply concede if the marines manage to set it up, as opposed to dragging out a boring game, in the hopes that the next comm will try something else.


      • #4
        Um, I will say the obvious:

        If you are on marines, and you already have 15 obs on the map, you probably enjoy the benefits.
        If you are on aliens, and the marines have 15 obs, you probably don't enjoy them.

        If we approach this topic as "this is a problem", then we can consider solutions.
        If we approach this topic as "this is part of the game, deal with it", then we should accept that solution.

        If you are willing to continue to read this, you might be willing to lean toward the "this is a problem" side of things.

        My solutions:

        1) For every obs that you build, the radius of the observatories shrink. If you have too many observatories in one room, they barely cover a 1 foot radius each. Chalk it up to "photonic interference".

        2) maximum number of obs total (adds to structure limit of 200)

        3) maximum of 1 OR 2 OR 3 obs per power node (may or may not be combined with the above solutions)

        4) increasing number of observatories increases marine spawn time

        5) observatories can only be built within 3 feet of an armory (and only one max)

        6) increasing number of observatories increases phase time (from instantaneous to 1-5 seconds)


        • #5
          This is the last game to date where Wyz went mass obs/sentries/MACs/everything, but from an alien POV:

          Serious kudos to Shifter and the other aliens for trying so hard and not conceding until the very end. I knew what to expect and was much more skeptical... please forgive my attitude.


          • #6
            I'm all for Aliens giving it their all for however long it satisfies them, but not beyond that.
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            • #7
              I'm not in the mindset that this is a problem, simply because there is a way to counter the boredom: Concede, and that is exactly the point of this strategy - to demoralize.

              There are a number of situations in this game that essentially have the same result:
              - You get 5 Onos to annihilate the other team, and create a pathway to their base/slowly kill their resources.
              - A good number of Marines going Exos and the other marines on welding duty, and make way to their base/slowly kill their resources
              - Phase gates at choke points, and holding until lifeforms are down.
              - Tunnels at choke points, and holding until PRES/weapons are down.
              - Whips and Contamination/3 Hive Setup

              These are all situations where the balance of power slowly shifts. We've accepted these as "not a problem", so why is this a problem? If the marine team is coordinated enough that they can get the obs up and respond to situations quickly, and the alien team cannot, that should be an indication to you that the aliens either have to coordinate much better, or that the game is inevitably over and it is a good time to use the concede option.

              It takes a lot of coordination to get to the point where the map is covered in obs, and it's not instantaneous.I, myself have attempted this strategy at times and failed miserably, simply because the alien team was better coordinated and prevented my team from doing this. I, and teammates have coordinated attacks on other teams that have attempted this and won. It is a matter of adapting your gameplay to recognize when a marine team is attempting this strategy, and coordinating your attacks a bit better.




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