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  • Hive Defense

    I have no idea why I wrote this. Just thought some people might find it useful.

    In Natural Selection's current incarnation, one of the most important components of gameplay are hives. Additional hives offer aliens more chambers, additional hive abilities, increased armor effectiveness, a higher respawn rate, and increased map control by providing a healing station. It is little wonder that the outcome of a game often hinges upon whether the alien team can put up a second hive and protect it. This guide is intended to educate alien players on how to protect their hive.

    One of the most important portions of defending a hive is how quickly aliens can respond to the marine attack. Aliens should be always conscious of where the marine team is. Skulks should parasite whenever possible so that marines cannot move undetected. If sensory chambers are available, they should be placed so that they can cover the routes to the hive. If aliens can prevent marines from establishing a foothold with a phase gate, then they can prevent a hive attack from even taking place in the first place. It is for this reason if a phase gate is ever spotted going up, the entire team should be notified as soon as possible. Even if the phase gate goes up, if the alien team can organize before the marines do, they stand a good chance of taking the phase gate down.

    Often the marines will be able to reach the hive despite the alien team's best efforts. Now, the aliens should continue their attempts to dislodge the marine presence through any means possible. Sometimes this means destroying the marines by brute force, while sometimes this means rushing the marine base to force the commander to beacon and use the opening to restablish control of territory or hitting the marines' resource towers so that they cannot continue their attack. In larger games, the aliens tend to be able to afford to divert people away from defending the hive. Higher lifeforms should defend the hive, while skulks should be rushing/attacking RTs.

    Most of the time, marines will choose to attack a hive that is under construction, for two reasons: Aliens cannot use Movement Chambers to reach the hive unless it is under attack, and aliens cannot respawn in a hive under construction. When this is the case, any aliens that can hit the hive should do so, so reinforcements can arrive, especially in sieges, since the hive will not be under attack until the sieges are complete.

    Here, we will break down hive defense into the roles each type of lifeform should take.

    Skulks: Skulks are weak - they should not be ramboing groups of marines. Keep the marines parasited, and attack in groups and when opportunity presents itself, such as when the marines are distracted by a fade. In a direct hive assault, skulks should try to kill as many marines as quickly as possible. When there are no marines nearby, they should chomp on structures. If any skulks can be spared from the hive, they should take down marine RTs or attack their base and force them to defend.

    Gorges: When a hive is under attack, any skulk with the resources to gorge should do so immediately, unless they can evolve to a higher lifeform. Keeping the hive healed buys invaluable time, and keeping other lifeforms healed lets them break the attack. In this situation, the best MC upgrade for a gorge is adrenaline, since it is imperative gorges can continuously heal. If possible, drop a movement chamber next to the hive, but further away from the siege cannons than the hive itself. The MC will replenish energy for all nearby lifeforms, and since siege cannons target structures by distance, they will not be attacked. The best place for a gorge to be is on top of the hive, where marines cannot reach it easily. In fact, this is probably the best place for lifeforms to hide and heal or gestate. Resist the urge to drop Offense Chambers - most of the time, the resources can be spent elsewhere for better effect. If you can spare the res, a RT in the right spot can prevent sieges from hitting the hive. Don't bother with other structures, however - they don't have enough health. When the second hive is available and the hive has plenty health, gorges should bile bomb marine structures. Bile bomb will also clear mines, but take care that no aliens are near the mines before you do - they will explode and damage nearby aliens.

    Lerks: Lerks are intended as support units. They have three abilities that are invaluable - spores, umbra, and primal scream. When a hive is under siege, spore the marines - umbra does nothing to protect against siege cannons. This will strip their armor, making them easier prey, and force their commander to expend valuable resources on medpacks. If a hive is under direct attack, alternate between sporing the marines and umbraing the hive if the second hive is up. Remember that spores do not stack - sporing one area repeatedly does not increase the damage dealt, it is better to spore once, then renew the spores. If you are a good lerk or the marines have poor aim, consider flying around a little to waste their ammo and distract them and swooping down occasionally on the reloading marine. However, refrain from making a frontal assault - lerks are highly maneuverable, but are little more than skulks with wings. It is better to play it safe most of the time - it is better to be a lerk that only spores than a lerk that is dead. Stay on top of the hive and/or in vents - a lerk on the ground is a dead one.

    Fades: Fades are the backbone of alien combat power. You should be hitting and running as often as you can - never, ever go in without armor, and avoid attacking without full armor if possible. Blink in, get a swipe or two, then blink out. Watch your health carefully - whe you are low on armor, you should already be blinking out. Most of what determines a good fade isn't their technical skills, but rather their judgment. Even the best fades will die if they run into 5 competent marines with lev 3 shotguns. Don't take any unnecessary chances - it may seem like a fade has a lot of health, but it only takes a few marines with good aim to bring a careless fade down. I've seen fades soloed by LMGs because they were careless. Concentrate on killing marines, and when there are no marines, hit structures. Coordinate with your team and attack from multiple directions. If you are defending a hive under construction, it is usually faster to MC back to another hive, heal up, then MC back. When healing, don't just stand on the ground - get on top of the hive. Be careful when you are attacking phase gates - watch for mines, and do not get telefragged (That is, don't stand over PGs or Infantry Portals). I think nearly one-forth of my fade deaths are from telefrags (Yeah, kinda embarassing).

    Onos: Onos are tanks, the ultimate structure killers. Large and easy to hit, and despite their massive amounts of health, they can be easily killed by SGs/HMGs. Most of the time you won't have charge, meaning there is no way to quickly move in and out of battle. This means when you attack, you are committed to it - do not rush into five marines with HMGs. Pick your battles carefully.The onos' best defense is his offense. Use stomp to immobilize marines if possible, and save devour for JP/HA/Equipped marines, if there are any. Remember that stomp does nothing against JPers.

    During a hive defense, skulks should refrain from getting upgrades before MCing through to defend the hive. As with any RTS, your most important resource is time. Once the hive goes up, everybody should start using newly unlocked abilities. Even when on top of a hive, be careful - marines in the right position can still hit you. Lerks and gorges especially are easy to pistol, and grenade launchers in the right hands will absolutely devastate.

    Most of the time, after marines are dead, your number one priority will be the phase gate. Destroying it means that marines will be unable to send reinforcements. An exception is during a siege and when the hive is gravely low on health - target the turret factory when that is the case, so the siege cannons stop functioning. An immediate threat takes priority over a potential one. Even if the marines phase through, they will have to rebuild the TF, then wait for it to upgrade before the sieges will start attacking again. When attacking phase gates, watch for mines - just one alien making a false move could blow up many other aliens nearby. Surround it to prevent marines coming through from escaping.

    A special case is a JP rush - jetpacks mean the marines are harder to hit and will be able to focus on the hive. A hive has 7000 health, and while that seems like alot, 32 lev 3 shotgun rounds will take it down. With four marines with shotguns, that is less than 15 seconds to kill the hive. A JP rush is the only situation where I would consider dropping OCs. Just keep killing the JPs and protect your gorges - a jetpack alone costs 15 res, and tossing in a shotgun and perhaps a welder, that is 30 res each JPer. Unless marines have many RTs, they won't be able to afford many. Don't let the JPers recover their fuel, and when they run out, they will be easy prey. Keep the hive umbraed, and against JPs, you'll definitely want focus if possible. If the 3rd hive is up, web up the area and watch those JPers die. Against heavy armor, spores will do nothing, so umbra other aliens. Concentrate your attacks on one marine at a time, and keep the pressure up - don't give the marines the opportunity to weld each other. Although HAs are as expensive as JPs, they are much more durable in groups - spare one or two skulks to hit the marine RTs. Your team's coordination will determine whether or not you can stop the HA train.

    If everything goes well, your hive will be safe and the marines will have expended much of their time and resources on a failed assault. Now is the time to heal up any structures that may need it and counterattack while they are weakened. The marines will often try to attack again, so be on the lookout. Sometimes a hive will prove indefensible - if a hive's death is imminent, it is time to retreat and cut your losses. MC out if possible, and if not, run. Use the time marines spend taking own your hive to hit their RTs hard. If the hive is up, try to drop a couple new chambers before the hive goes down. Now that you know what to do, you can lead your team's defense - go forth and spread your knowledge!
    Underwhelmed

  • #2
    Re: Hive Defense

    pretty decient post. Nothing all that new, but a decient post. Definatly worth the read
    Ambriento for comm! Vote today!

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    • #3
      Re: Hive Defense

      First, welcome to the forums, Exonerate.

      Second, I agree with Darkilla. This was a good writeup for players new to NS. However, I would like to argue some points:
      Originally posted by Exonerate
      In larger games, the aliens tend to be able to afford to divert people away from defending the hive. Higher lifeforms should defend the hive, while skulks should be rushing/attacking RTs.
      This may be true of 18-24 person pub servers, but in a normal 12-16 person game, every skulk except maybe one should be saving that hive. Even if you trade all but one marine rt for the hive, the marines are still ahead.

      Originally posted by Exonerate
      Most of the time, marines will choose to attack a hive that is under construction, for two reasons: Aliens cannot use Movement Chambers to reach the hive unless it is under attack, and aliens cannot respawn in a hive under construction. When this is the case, any aliens that can hit the hive should do so, so reinforcements can arrive, especially in sieges, since the hive will not be under attack until the sieges are complete.
      It should be noted that this is why we often ask the gorge who drops the hive to keep line of sight to the hive. Skulks should be scouting and keeping the rooms leading to the hive clear so that the gorge is always able to spit the hive at a moment's notice.

      Originally posted by Exonerate
      When a hive is under attack, any skulk with the resources to gorge should do so immediately, unless they can evolve to a higher lifeform
      I disagree entirely. While the first hive is building, gorges can only heal it as it is attacked. This means there are less skulks attacking the marines as they're building, which allows them to build with fewer distractions. If the hive goes up however, a gorge or two can certainly help to bile bomb structures. However, if the hive does go up, second hive abilities generally allow aliens to overwhelm the phase gate and stop the marines with or without bile bomb.

      Originally posted by Exonerate
      Remember that spores do not stack
      Spores stack if you have more than one lerk.

      Originally posted by Exonerate
      umbra does nothing to protect against siege cannons
      Shooting umbra at the marines behind the cannons allows other units to attack them longer without retreating to heal. Umbra a fade and besides becoming your best friend, he will do more damage than your spores will.

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      • #4
        Re: Hive Defense

        haha most people need to READ this and stamp it to their foreheads

        A hive has 7000 health, and while that seems like a lot, 32 level 3 shotgun rounds will take it down........hum math is fun !

        do you serve a purpose or do you purposely serve

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        • #5
          Re: Hive Defense

          32 shots at what level 1/2/3?

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          • #6
            Re: Hive Defense

            Originally posted by dudewithagun
            32 shots at what level 1/2/3?
            haha most people need to READ this and stamp it to their foreheads

            A hive has 7000 health, and while that seems like a lot, 32 level 3 shotgun rounds will take it down........hum math is fun !
            Bolded.
            Username: Amagius, Farenyth
            AIM:RitaReplusa
            E-mail:[email protected]

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            • #7
              Re: Hive Defense

              Originally posted by Yoshi MCF
              It should be noted that this is why we often ask the gorge who drops the hive to keep line of sight to the hive. Skulks should be scouting and keeping the rooms leading to the hive clear so that the gorge is always able to spit the hive at a moment's notice.
              Is it just me or does this almost never happen these days? It seems to me like almost always the person who drops the hive goes skulk immediately and runs away. I'm not a fan, I think the hive should have a gorge both to hit it and to heal life forms until the hive gets up. It's also good to have someone with ears sitting near the hive to give an early warning to the aliens of a pg/seige.

              Nothing feels quite the same as when you suspect the marines are rushing the incomplete hive, you look over and no one is in the hive or even particularly near it. Having to rush into the hive just to attack it and let your teammates in is a losing battle, don't let it get to that point in the first place.

              I think in general aliens could use more sense of "defending", I would say the current goal for people seems to be on offence 100% of the time you are not actively dropping something. When the marines get a pg up near the hive, you are taking the area back from them offencively. You are attacking thier defended pg. For aliens it's always about moving to the next target to attack, why not wait and guard an area for a little while? Find a nice spot in that hallway and pounce on some marines as they come by. I also have not seen a good ambush in a while.

              When a hive is being built is the most important time to divert extra attention to defending it. You are establishing a game altering structure, if you can keep it up it will make up for any lack of attacking force you had when you were guarding it.

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              • #8
                Re: Hive Defense

                Originally posted by Yoshi MCF
                This may be true of 18-24 person pub servers, but in a normal 12-16 person game, every skulk except maybe one should be saving that hive. Even if you trade all but one marine rt for the hive, the marines are still ahead.
                The idea is to starve the marines of res so that they can't support their attack and need to pull back to recap. Equipment, buildings, mines, medpacks and ammo all cost res. Note that I did say in large games - in a 6 vs 6, this probably doesn't hold as much weight. But in something like 10 vs 10, two skulks gone from the hive won't be missed as much.
                I disagree entirely. While the first hive is building, gorges can only heal it as it is attacked. This means there are less skulks attacking the marines as they're building, which allows them to build with fewer distractions. If the hive goes up however, a gorge or two can certainly help to bile bomb structures. However, if the hive does go up, second hive abilities generally allow aliens to overwhelm the phase gate and stop the marines with or without bile bomb.
                Your most important resource is time, and gorges healing the hive buy you that. Especially in a hive such as Cargo on ns_lost, it's hard for skulks to even reach the marine position without getting shot. Better to let the Fades and Lerks that can actually go in and deal some damage take care of it. Once your second hive is up, you stand a much better chance of defending it. Celerity one-hive skulks running in against shotguns etc is just feeding them.
                Spores stack if you have more than one lerk.
                Correct, I meant that spores from a single lerk do not stack.
                Shooting umbra at the marines behind the cannons allows other units to attack them longer without retreating to heal. Umbra a fade and besides becoming your best friend, he will do more damage than your spores will.
                Umbra still doesn't protect hives from siege cannons :P
                Underwhelmed

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                • #9
                  Re: Hive Defense

                  In a 6v6 game the aliens can better afford to spare a skulk than the marines can spare a man. The idea is that the commander will send one marine out to recap, and while he is gone the fade and lerk(s) will overwhelm the marines in their seige position. If the commander does not instruct this marine to go cap then yes, their res balance will crumble and the commander will barely be able to afford meds. I have been in this situation far too many times. You will however want to have one skulk assisting the lifeforms in their defence of the hive, to chew down the seiges.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Hive Defense

                    That's why I do my own recapping when I'm commander. That's right. Hop out of that chair, throw it over my back, and carry it with me around the map as I recap, only getting in to assist my marines when they need me.

                    If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself.
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                    Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Hive Defense

                      Originally posted by Wyzcrak
                      That's why I do my own recapping when I'm commander. That's right. Hop out of that chair, throw it over my back, and carry it with me around the map as I recap, only getting in to assist my marines when they need me.

                      If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself.
                      I've been known to hire an onos to carry the com chair for me, it can get pretty heavy. And then of course if you are short a few res for something you can kill the onos.

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