Natural Selection 2

Natural Selection 2

39 ratings
Command School: Rookie Edition
By 100% Recycled Awesome
I absolutely believe that to be a good commander, you need a lot of time in the field to learn the game from the maps, weapons, tech tree and how the game play changes over time. However, some of you are downright insubordinate on wanting to be a commander before doing any of this. Thus to communally save us all from maximum grief, welcome to Command School: Rookie Edition.
Class 1: How Not To Totally Screw The Pooch
Now, as a rookie, we don't expect you to know everything. As Robert A. Heinlein once wrote "We don't expect kittens to fight wildcats and win, we just expect you to try."

This means we do not expect you to win as a Commander, we just expect you to give it your best shot and not totally screw the pooch. How do you do this, well, welcome to Class 1: How Not To Totally Screw The Pooch.

Step 1: Communicate. If you have a microphone, use it. Otherwise, start typing in team chat. Odds are you're going to have someone on your team who knows more about the game than you. Talk to that person about what you should be doing.

Step 2: Don't blindly start building things. Your team depends on you to build the right structures and structures cost money. You only have a relatively small amount ot resource early on. Spend it wisely.

Step 3: Expand. A team lives and dies on its resource generating capacity. A commander who doesn't grab more resource towers is a commander setencing their team to an early death

Class 2: Marine
The Marine rely on advanced technology to overcome the Alien menace. Initially, Marines start off with weak rifles and weak armor, but can advance all the way to armored suits, sonic artillery, jetpacks and powerful firearms.

The first building a new Marine commander should build is an Armory. It's a boxy rectangle where marines heal, get ammo and buy weapons. From the Armory, you can research Shotguns, Mines, and Gernades (Pulse, Cluster and Nerve). Also, armories can be upgraded a cost of 30 res to Advanced Armories which automatically without research let marines buy Gernade Launchers and Flamethrowers.

Once you build an Armory, you can build an Observatory which then lets you research Phasetech from the Observatory. Phasetech enables the construction of Phasegates which are teleporters letting marines teleport vast distances instantly. Build Phasegates with both ends open, avoid building them directly up to walls as that limits marines exiting phasegates. Observatories also scan the local area for enemy units as well as allow the use of Beaconing which for 10 res lets a commander instantly teleport every marine on the field to the nearest Command Chair. Good Alien players will often attack the Observatory first.

To gather more resources, a Marine team requires more Resource Towers to extract Team and Personal Resource. Simply mouse over a resource nozzel and you can drop a Resource Tower.

The Command Chair is where you command the battle. If your team loses every Chair, you lose the game. They can be built only on Tech Points which are major areas on the map with large square like areas. From the Command Chair, Nanoshield and Catalyst Packs can be researched. Nanoshield grants a reduction in damage to any Marine item from soldier to building for a short period of time. Catalyst reduces reload times and increases movement speed. These become additional items you can select and drop on players in addition to weapons and ammo.

Infantry Portals or IPs are where Marines spawn. Must be built in the vicinity of a Command Chair.

Everything except sentries and the command chair requires power. Power Nodes are located on walls and automatically get placed when you drop a structure in a room. You can set the node for construction individually by clicking on the node and clicking build. If you don't have the money for buildings, but want to give your team a heads up, queue up the Power Node as marines can prebuild it and thus save time when you drop structures into the room later.

Marines can also upgrade their armor and weapons from the Arms Labs three times dealing more damage and giving more armor. Hide this structure well as if it is destroyed, all weapons and armor upgrades disappear. Never build an Arms Lab out in the open. Also you can research from two Arms Labs at the same time.

Marines also have access to robotic units in the form of MACs and ARCs. Both are Commander controlled units built from the Robotics Factory. MACs are yellow floating repair robots that can build, repair and weld armor. To pair them with a player, click on the MAC and then right click on the target player and a small shield will appear. That MAC will then follow that player around. ARCs are bullt from a Robotics Factory upgraded to an ARC Factory. ARCs are slow moving, building only attacking artillery that can fire through walls dealing huge damage to structures. Often it is better to simply ARC a base with your marines guarding the ARCs then a frontal assault.

Once you have a Robotics Factory, you can build Sentries and Sentry Batteries. Every room is limited to one sentry battery and sentries must be in the near vinicity of a battery to work. Sentries do little damage but can deter Skulks from entering a room. They are destroyed very quickly by Bile Bomb and are of little use late in the game as classes like the Onos are merely pestered by sentry guns. A max of 3 sentries are allowed on each battery.

Also, the construction of the Robotics Factory enabled Power Surge which allows a Marine Commander to briefly power a building in a room without power. Thus if the Aliens take down the power, a Marine Commander can still power surge an Observatory and then beacon or briefly power a phasegate.

The final technological piece of hardware the Marines can build is the Prototype Lab. This building which looks like a cylinder with helicopter blades lets Marine teams research and then buy Exosuits, Dual Gun Exo Suits and Jetpacks. The building requires an Advanced Armory to be built first. It is best to first ask your team what they want and look at how much money they have. It makes no sense to research Exos when no one on your team has money to buy one. Furthermore, Exo Suits get stronger with each level of armor that is researched. It is generally best to wait to get Exos until you have Armor II or Armor III. A level Armor 0 Exo is a very weak target. Dual Gun Exos require two Command Chairs to be researched.

All weapons except Exo Suits can be bought by the Commander and dropped in the vicinity of the relevant buying building for a set amount of resource. For instance, you can buy jetpacks for Marines for 15 resource apiece and drop them next to the Prototype Lab.

Be aware that certain structures like Sentry Guns and Robotics Labs eats up supply. You have a set 200 supply and once you hit that, you're restricted on what you can build. A marine com who spent all his supply on sentry guns who desperately needs ARCs will find himself in a jam.

Constantly getting the spam message of "Need Ammo/Healthpack?" Press the space bar and you'll instantly move your view to where the player requested it. Then drop ammo or health packs on the user requesting it if you feel the request is reasonable and if you have the money.

Per request, I've added a first few minute build order:

Start with an Armory and place it out in the open for easy access. Then you should build an Observatory somewhat hidden, but close enough to detect Aliens near doorways. While your marines are building both, drop Resource Towers on the closest two resource nozzels to your starting location. If your team is getting killed a lot, another Infantry Portal to spawn marines faster. Once you have the Observatory up, and 10 resource, research Phasetech to get Phasegates. Place one in base and one near the front. Also placing them in tech points helps.

After that, research either shotguns or mines and grab more resource towers. At this point you should if you have the money build an Arms Lab and start getting upgrades. You can also upgrade your existing Armory to an Advanced Armory. Your marines, if you're doing well or okay should have another tech point. Drop another Command Chair and another Infantry Portal at your second tech point. Keep getting armor and weapons upgrades as well as researching gernades. When your Advanced Armory is complete, you can build a Prototype Lab and start Jetpacks or Exo Suits. If the Aliens have heavily fortified an area, build a Robotics Lab and upgrade it to an ARC Factory and build a few ARCs to seige it. All the way keep upgrading and grabbing more resource towers.
Class 3: Alien
Alien Commander functions quite a bit differently from Marine.

The commander does not require any player to help build structures, but Gorges with their heal spray do reduce build times.

All Alien structures the Commander builds aside from a Hive are built on infestation and infestation spreads from Cysts. Simply place a cyst at the location you want to expand to and the rest will autoplace and build. You do not need to place each cyst individually.

The Hive is the source of Alien power. They are important, expensive and completely defenseless. Only placable on Tech Points. You lose your last Hive and the game is over.

Just as Marines harvest resources from their resource towers, Aliens have Harvesters to do the same thing. Place a Harvester on a resource nozzle that has infestation and it will commence building. Build a Drifter and move it towards the Harvester to speed up the growth. All Alien buildings take a long time to build on their own.

When you start the game, you have an option at the Hive to which type of Hive you want a specific Hive to be. Crag, Shade and Shift are options. Every new Hive can be selected to be one of the options you previously did not select until all three options are selected. You can only have 1 Shade/Crag/Shift Hive at a time. Crag grants the construction of Shells which allow Aliens to upgrade their armor or healing abilities. Shade allows Veils which give Aliens the ability to see enemy health, run and attack silently and to go invisible. Shift produces Spurs which greatly increases Alien speed or gives them more energy. Ask your team which you want, but generally Shift is a good reliable first Hive choice. You need three of each Shell, Veil or Spur to get the full benefits offered. Hide these structures as losing them reduces their effectiveness. Similar to the Marine Arms Lab, NEVER place these structures out in the open.

Other structures avaliable are Crags, [/b]Shades[/b] and Shifts as individual buildings. Crags are healing structures that greatly increase health regeneration. If you have a Crag Hive, Crags have the ability to Heal Wave which sends out of wave of rapid healing. Shades cloak structures and aliens who aren't moving quickly or attacking. If you have a Shade Hive, Shades can use the ability Ink which fill a room full of dark ink making it hard for Marines to see. Shifts rapidly rebuild Alien energy and if a Shift Hive is in operation, they can teleport non-Hive structures around the map to infested areas via Echo.

Species upgrades are also researched at Crags, Shades, Shifts and Whips. The Onos upgrades are researched at the Crag, Fade upgrades at the Shade, Lerk at the Shift and Skulk at the Whip. The Gorge upgrades are researched at the Hive. Each upgrade allows each class to access to more abilities like Bile Bomb, Charge, and Spore (toxic gas).

Whips are defensive (or offensive depending how you use them) structures. They initially can only melee enemy units from a short distance, but upon maturation can launch bile bomb at marine players and structures. Whips, like Crags, Shifts and Shades can move across the map, but Whips are the only Alien Structures that do not take damage when moving across non-infested areas. Whips only attack if they are on infestation.

Drifters are the second controllable unit for the Alien Commander. Drifter help build strutures and have special abilities to help players. If you have a Shift Hive, a Drifter can Enzyme players to make them move faster and attack faster. A Crag Hive gives them the ability to restore armor via Mucous Membrane to Aliens and a Shade Hive lets you use Hallucination which when cast on Aliens creates fake versions of them that do no damage, but look exactly like real players. Use them to fool Marines and make them waste ammo.

Now, the most complex part of Alien: Each of these species upgrades is dictated part by specific research and part by Biomass. Biomass is researched at each Hive and each species ability is dependent on how much Biomass you have. Each Hive can have at most three biomass each. To get all upgrades avaliable once researched requires three hives with full biomass on each. Furthermore, every Biomass level grants more health to Aliens making them harder to kill. In the top left of your screen, as Alien Commander (on stock HUD), you will see little empty ovals with little icons under each one. As you get more Biomass and research more species upgrades, these icons and ovals will light up signling that they are avaliable.

Gorge Babblers are avaliable at Biomass Level 1 with Gorge Upgrade
Fade Shadowstep comes with Biomass 2 with Fade Upgrade
Gorge Bilebomb is at Level 3 along with Onos Charge with Onos Upgrade
Leap comes at Level 4 as does Umbra for Lerks with Lerk Upgrade
Vortex and Boneshield come at Level 5
Spores at Level 6,
Xenocide at Level 7
Stab at Level 9
Stomp at Level 9

Furthermore, the more biomass you have, the higher lifeform eggs you can drop. Alien Commander can change a generic egg into a specific species by clicking on it and if they have the right amount of biomass and resource, turn it into a gorge/lerk/fade/onos egg that can be used by an Alien player. The highest level of Biomass is 12, requiring 4 Hives. But to get all upgrades, only level 9 requiring three hives is necessary.

Other abilities access from the Hive are Bonewall which must be cast on infestation but creates a temporary wall of bone to block off an area. Players can be trapped and isolated by this so use it against Marines and to help defend your team.

Nutrient Mist speeds up player evolution and building growth. Cast on infestation. If a player is going Fade or Onos, cast it on them to reduce the time it takes to evolve into those lifeforms.

Casting Rupture on a Cyst causes it to explode doing damage to Marines.

Contamination: This may be one of the hardest things for a new player to use if they even know about it at all. Taking a full Level 9 biomass to become avaliable, it casts a temporary plot of infestation at the desired location. This alone isn't very useful, but when paired with the Echo ability of Shift and a handful of mature whips, an Alien Commander can launch a surprise attack on Marine bases. To do this successfully requires a safe area, several drifters, a crag and a shift or two. Build a large number of whips (with the Drifters and Crag helping build) and wait for them to mature. Then from the Hive select Contamination and select an area in a marine base. Then immediately select your Shift and start Echoing in Whips to the infestation. You will have to keep contaminating the area to keep the whips attacking. If you're lucky, you can take down the power or the chair itself.

Be aware that certain items like Whips and Drifters eats up supply. You have a set 200 supply and once you hit that, you're restricted on what you can build.

Constantly getting the spam message of "Mist Requested?" Press space and you'll instantly move your view to it. Then mist the user requesting it if you feel the request is valid and if you have the resources.
Class 4: Don't Get Discouraged
Now, once you have all of that settled down, learn the maps. Knowing where to place things at what angle and where to hide things comes down to knowing the maps. Play around it the training/explore mode for a while. Learning the Tech Tree is in my opinion, the bulk of commanding. The rest, namely strategic on the fly thinking, rapid response times, specific build order, etc all comes from experience. But without the knowledge of the basis of the tech tree, you can't grow your skills.

And you will likely lose some games. As long as you communicate and work with your team, you'll be on the right path.

Also, don't be afraid to get out of the Chair/Hive and build or attack yourself. There is a "Log Out" button at the top right of your screen. Sometimes you have to get out to kill an enemy in your base, or help build something faster. Life as a Commander isn't strictly limited to being in the box.

Final Note: I've given up on this game due to its absurd level of unstability, crashes and bugs and will no longer be updating any of my guides.
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Monsieur Ouille Oct 17 @ 5:37pm 
Special like for reference to Heinlein;)
Channie Sep 14, 2014 @ 9:34pm 
aww, how can one give up such a great game! :o you should really come to Woozas Playground, its definetly the best server, and the only server i play on anymore
Greensoldier Sep 13, 2014 @ 12:57pm 
Do I really have to chat?
100% Recycled Awesome  [author] Jul 1, 2014 @ 11:50am 
See my other guide. Its exclusively tips efor new players
Weiss Schnee Jul 1, 2014 @ 1:01am 
awesome guide although some tips and tricks would make things easier for us rookies
100% Recycled Awesome  [author] Jun 26, 2014 @ 5:45pm 
Virtually no RTS has a FPS aspect.
SamPD Jun 26, 2014 @ 9:44am 
Perhaps you should put in a section on the main fudemantal differences for how this differs from other RTS.
Quickdraw6 Apr 15, 2014 @ 7:04pm 
Good guide. I've comm'd a few times in the past, but I'm no expert. I learned a couple things from this, but do you have an 'edition' for a higher difficulty? Namely a guide with tips for commander? Because there is unfortunately no guide for that present as far as I know.
100% Recycled Awesome  [author] Mar 17, 2014 @ 12:49am 
Crouch, it's Rookie Edition :)
Crouchasaurs Mar 17, 2014 @ 12:18am 
Would be nice to see you emphasis res flow more rather than just state the tech paths :/