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  1. #1


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    Lightbulb Commander tips - Part I

    I thought I'd give my advice to those of you that aspire to be a commander. In case you don't recognize the name, I'm Parasite.wmd <.TheAdj`>. I'm sure most of you have seen me comm, so you know that I have a good understanding of the game. I'll start with the basics and work my way up.

    All commanders should familiarize themselves with and/or customize their hotkeys. They're critical to success in games against better aliens. Hotkey usage allows you to move to a location on the screen with the mouse while selecting something on the menu list at the same time. This is important mostly for precision medpacking marines as they take damage. I'm sure you've seen me do this, a marine keeps getting bit once, then a medpack hits him at nearly the same time.

    Micromanage marines as much as you can, while keeping the overall picture in your mind. It is possible to micro 5 marines while keeping the macro game alive. Watch the minimap, for it is your friend. If you see a white dot moving (a marine), then suddenly a red dot (most likely a skulk) appears near it, move to that location and select a medpack, as the marine is most likely being attacked by a skulk. Despite what others may say, micromanaging individual marines is a major cornerstone of most marine victories. Keep them alive and equiped, and they can pull off amazing feats.

    Use voicecomm sparingly, but let them know the general plan. If you want them to be sneaky, tell them. If you want them to be a distraction, tell them. Just communicate what you want, and do so clearly. Nothing makes marines angrier than a comm that can't explain what s/he wants the marines to do in a timely manner. Try and think of creative ways to perform a task, and it will most likely confuse the aliens quite a bit. Remember that an intelligent rambo is worth more than an entire team of people that are dumb and follow exactly what you say or do without asking a question. I'm sure you've seen 3 marines sit at a res node with a waypoint on it for over 5 minutes, just because the waypoint appeared when you built the node. Use your brain, and encourage the marines to do the same.

    Know the marine tech tree as well as the alien chamber system, and use both to your advantage. If you find out aliens dropped sensory right away, use the counter to it: upgrade armor (No, the counter to sensory is not motion tracking, despite popular belief. Motion does not pick up aliens inside the cloak range of a sensory chamber). If you see movement chambers, get motion tracking (It counters silence and celerity). Remember what works against what, and upgrade accordingly. If aliens drop anything but defense chambers, attempt to prevent them from getting a second hive quickly: most players are not good sensory/movement fades, which is your main concern mid-game. If you prevent the emergence of fades, or limit their effectiveness using marine tech, you gain the supreme advantage.

    Keep in mind the final goal as a marine commander is to destroy all alien hives. There are several ways you can go about this. You should decide what route to take based on what the aliens do. If you see a substantial number of nodes went up at the beginning of the game, pressure their nodes relentlessly. They most likely have few people saving for higher lifeforms or a hive, and killing the nodes may effectively end the game, since they have little resflow. Shoot the nodes down if you have to, just keep marines supplied with ammo as they shoot. Shotguns are a fairly inexpensive way of quickly destroying nodes, pass a couple out to competent players to help assist in node removal. If several fades appear around the 4-6 minute mark, most likely only a few nodes exist. Pressure them relentlessly, along with the gorges that built them. Killing alien gorges is a very easy way to stifle the alien team, it's hard to replace gorges, while vanilla marines are free. Just remember to keep pressuring their nodes, keep building yours and defending them, and keep the upgrades going. The power of marine upgrade tech is matched by the power of the alien chamber and hive system, so preventing them from going up the chain while climbing the chain yourself is another cornerstone to victory. Make their weaknesses become your strengths.

    So I've covered some basics of commanding, now I'll point out some common things that commanders do, yet probably shouldn't. First is the "omg go double!!!!1111" rush on most maps. Contrary to popular belief, on no map with possibly the exception of caged is the double resource node area critical to winning the game. If you can easily take the double node, then build it. If the aliens are building it and have few aliens nearby and little to no defense, go kill them. Do not send everyone to double repeatedly, only to get camped into marine spawn by a 3 minute fade because one skulk owned your entire team. Think strategically, and use the appropriate tactics to achieve the strategy. Capping all of the other nodes and securing an alien hive is usually a better choice than rushing double headlong. Wait a few minutes and sneak in to take the nodes down. Killing the gorges in double is a viable option however, just be aware of what the aliens seem to be attempting to accomplish, and react to counter it.

    Another very common tactic is to electrify nodes. If you watch me carefully, you'll see I almost never electrify a resource tower. The reasoning is VERY simple to understand. Electrification costs 30 resources, the cost of an upgraded armory, a pair of resource towers, or a lvl2 upgrade. A resource node will pay for itself in 1 minute. With electrification, a resource node takes 3 minutes to pay for itself. Think back to all the games that you've played on TG, and you'll realize a fade appears at 4-7 minutes, and the hive is about the same. Electrifying every node you own is both stupid and wasteful in almost every instance. It is only meant to slow the aliens, not be a deterrent by itself. The best defense you have for your nodes is to send marines to them when they're under attack. It takes a single skulk over a minute to take a node down, more than enough time to direct a marine to the node to defend it. Never recycle a built recource node, it's quite wasteful. you only get 7.5 resources from a built recource node, while you get 1 res every 4 second it's active and alive. The node will pay for itself if it's under attack from a single skulk, same for a fade. Recycle unbuilt nodes that aren't going to be able to be completed, however. You get 12 resources back from an unbuilt RT, which isn't a bad loss.

    My last suggestion will be to those that like to secure every location on the map before finally going in for the kill. You do not have to do this as long as you use your brain. The advantage aliens have is mobility and individual alien's power. Marines have ranged superiority and power in numbers. If you can acquire an aliens advantage in mobility, then you have a final cornerstone for victory. Being mobile and constantly harassing aliens on all locations on the map makes it difficult for the aliens to counter a threat. Taking down nodes all over the map while a rambo builds a phase at the hive is difficult for aliens to recognize as a threat or counter. If you take out a hive easily, hit their nodes and push another hive, don't camp out and lock down a hive. A fade or a skulk gang will take static defenses down easily. Remember that marines are the only sure defense; electricity, turrets, and mines augment marine firepower, they aren't a replacement for it. Do not be fooled into relying on any of those three things for holding a position: They most likely won't. Push the aliens relentlessly, never let them stock up on resources or hold too many nodes for too long. If you push them hard enough, they most likely will switch to defensive mode and stop harassing your nodes. The best defense is a ferocious offense which never lets up and causes the aliens to constantly rebuild nodes and re-gorge. This is the way to victory for marines, and it shouldn't be forgotten.

    Thus concludes the Introduction to Commanding treatise, more will come later. Comments/constructive criticism/questions are welcome.
    Last edited by TheAdj`; 05-18-2004 at 07:13 PM.

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  3. #2

    Apophis's Avatar

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    Re: Commander tips - Part I

    Now THAT being your first post is grounds for major thumbs up and positive reputation voting all around! :-)

    It made for a very good read and some great info.

    Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

    43452045524748454146204742204754202d204642424121

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  5. #3
    Emanon
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    Re: Commander tips - Part I

    Nice, we need more quality comms on our server, cause wyz is starting to lack on his onfoot skills.

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  7. #4


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    Re: Commander tips - Part I

    It depends on what just happened. If a hive attack failed and you're low on res, and your nodes are under attack (any mediocre alien team will respond to a failed hive attack by hitting your nodes or chokepoints), don't drop a Prototype Lab. The PL is at the top of the marine tech tree, and is expensive to maintain and operate. It's 35-40 res for the initial upgrade, then 30 to 45 res for each marine. Far too costly if you don't have many nodes to work with. If you hold your nodes after the aliens attack them, then you can do one of two things: Either start deploying HA to pressure the alien hive or nodes, or if you have good players, a jetpack/shotgun rush on a lightly defended hive. Usually if you get a Proto Lab, you're committing yourself to using one tech to win and you have to pick appropriately. Most tech is a step to victory; PL tech is pretty much an all out effort, which will either achieve victory or end in defeat. Remember that inexperienced players have two problems: They can't aim well enough to defend themselves, and they can't defend the players around them well. They forget to weld each other, and they can't kill any aliens attacking them easily. HA tends to negate this somewhat, but make sure they understand that HA and a HMG doesn't make them invincible; they're just harder to kill than a LA Marine. Jetpacks are specialized weapons that are a waste on the average player in most situations. Even the most skilled players are difficult to maintain with jetpacks, as a jetpack doesn't allow for many mistakes; not timing a jump right will result in a bite connecting. Do not try to jetpack if there are a lot of offensive chambers in a hive, or it's a compact room. Some hives are impossible to jetpack (feedwater hive on bast), while others beg to be assaulted by flying marines (refinery on bast is the best hive to jetpack, ever). React accordingly. You have to use your best judgement based on what you have at hand. Some aliens easily counter jetpacks (Hive 2 skulks and lerks, focus), while others counter heavy armor (focus, hive 2 onos and lerk). You have to just react swiftly to the hive attack failure, otherwise the aliens will overwhelm you quickly while you try to decide what to do.

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  9. #5


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    Re: Commander tips - Part I

    Man, so much information... Can't take it all in...
    - 52

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  11. #6
    tycho
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    Re: Commander tips - Part I

    Yeah. Tons of good quality stuff here.

    And I cannot stress agressiveness enough. If you keep your marine team agressive and pressuring the alien nodes that forces the aliens to respond to your actions. Having the initiative allows you to determine the flow of the game. If you keep the initiative you determine when you will attack a hive as opposed to the 'crap they have two hives, better hit one' approach.

    Also, if the marines keep the initiative and keep pressuring alien nodes you wont see that early game fade ( as Adj said ) or those annoying base hits as all the aliens are busy defending thier resources or hive.

    Good post Adj, very good post.

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  13. #7

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    Re: Commander tips - Part I

    No more electric nodes for me...

    Thanks for this wonderful bit of fact. This should help me on the games I end up commanding. I know that the phase gate is a key tool of marine mobility, and that it is always good to have when assaulting a hive or when trying to hold a key point on the map. Maybe going over that tool might be helpfull.

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    Re: Commander tips - Part I

    I'll post a Part II with more advanced tactics next week. Give everyone some time to recover from reading my massively long posts and absorb all the information. Poor 52 cards went into convulsions and lapsed into a coma after reading this one...

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  17. #9

    Wyzcrak's Avatar

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    Re: Commander tips - Part I

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAdj`
    Poor 52 cards went into convulsions and lapsed into a coma after reading this one...
    Actually he just does that once a month when his ego becomes too much a burden even for himself. He usually bounces back given enough time. He's very resilient.
    Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

    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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  19. #10
    Emanon
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    Re: Commander tips - Part I

    Quote Originally Posted by Vendetta
    No more electric nodes for me...

    If its early game and you can get a node by their hive or even in the hive elec it cause then the aliens will either spend a ton of time munching on it or it will bring the res node battle closer to home cause the gorges will be forced away from home into hostile territory.

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  21. #11


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    Re: Commander tips - Part I

    I consider electrification an advanced strategy. To use it, one must electrify only certain nodes. I plan to cover it in Part II. As for Brad recovering Wyz, he gets his ass handed to him in scrims so badly by Delta level players, I don't think his ego will ever recover. I think he plays on TG simply to try and boost it by beating up on people :P

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