Natural Selection 2

Natural Selection 2

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NS2 Quick & Easy : 5 minutes to know the essential
By [NSL] Jackson
Quick guide for beginners and advanced players alike. The must-know essentials to not suck and not be lost in the game.
1 - Core gameplay: the economy game
In Natural Selection 2, the two teams need to get resources (money) in order to upgrade their technology, buy better weapons, and defeat their enemy.

In order to have these resources, you need to capture a lot of resource points, and build extractors or harvesters on them.

Then, you have two jobs: attack the enemy team's resource nodes and destroy them, while also protecting yours.

If you have no idea what to do, you need to either:
- DEFEND your ressource points from enemy attacks
and if there is nothing to defend, you
- ATTACK the enemy's ressource points.

Simple and easy.
2 – Look at the MAP
You need to spend about 50% of your time in NS2 looking at your big map (C on your keyboard by default). Open it quickly from time to time to obtain important information. It's like your 6th sense.
This helps you know what is going on and where, and you can determine where your team will need you.
Always play with your team mates !

You can also make the map more transparent in NS2+ options (check it on the workshop).
3 – Marines
3.1 – Respawn and redeploy

When you respawn, open your map. It will tell you where you need to go.

- If you see that one extractor that is close to your base (also called a "natural" extractor) is under attack, it is YOUR JOB to go and defend it.
- If these extractors are not under attack, then you can go reinforce your team somewhere else.

3.2 – Lane blocking

Open your map. If you see that there is a place on the map where there is no marine, and that aliens can go through that corridor to go behind your team, you need to go to that place and block it.
Protecting a lane by blocking the alien's path, even if nobody comes, is a very important job for your team. It keeps the areas under your control secure.

3.3 – Never go back

As a marine, you need to always go FORWARDS. Go meet the aliens. For example, don't run back to base every 20s to resupply at the armory, ask your commander for medpacks and ammo.
It's the job of the guys who respawn to go defend. If you go back, it means you lose the map control you just acquired. You don't want that, do you?
The only moments you need to go back are if you need to change position in order to lane block; if you're the only one available that can respond to a threat (an alien is in the room behind you); or if your main base is being rushed (in that case everyone needs to come back).
Remember that if you didn't buy any new equipment, you are expendable. And it's a good thing. It's ok to take risks sometimes, or to die. Don't cling to your current life so much (except if you have bought or picked-up equipment), because you can always respawn and redeploy.

3.4 – Know your priorities.

It is important to know your priorities to know what to do first in any given situation. I don't want to see anyone building a powernode in an useless room when their team mates are fighting skulks. Here's a list. Do the things in this order, except in some rare cases that you will learn by experience. If an event brings a new thing from higher on the list, stop what you're doing and do this thing first.

1 - If there are enemies in the room, shoot them first.
2 - If there are enemy structures in this room, destroy them.
2.1 Order of alien structures to be destroyed: Crag - Harvester - Shift - Shade - Whip.
2.2 If a whip is blocking you, destroy the whip first.
2.3 If attacking a Hive location, the priorities usually become: Crag - Shift - Eggs- Hive
2.4 If there are A LOT of Marines in the room, just shoot the Hive first with all your mates so it goes down quickly.
3 - If the room is clear, but is empty, move forward.
4 - If the room has a resource node, try to capture it (ask the commander to drop an Extractor blueprint)
5 - If the commander doesn't drop anything or has no money (it costs 10 to drop an extractor), move forward. Don't stand idle in there.
6 - Build or repair the power node.
4 – Aliens
4.1 – Go bite ressources

As an alien, it is not so important to kill every marine you see. It's better for your team to go behind them and bite their extractors, or attacking from behind. If you suck at killing marines, destroy their buildings. It's a very important job in the game.

4.2 – Focus the same target

When you attack a marine or you bite a building, always attack the same thing as your team mates. It's better to destroy quickly the structures one by one than splitting and attacking a lot of structures at the same time, risking having the marines coming back, killing you, and repairing all their damaged structures...
Attacking power nodes:
It's usually not a good idea to attack power nodes first in a room. You should attack a power node in the following cases:
- There are a lot of marine structures in a room and you want to disable them all at once (example: there is a phase gate, an armory, infantry portals...). This does not happen often.
- It's the marine's maine base. If you destroy the power, they cannot respawn and they lose their technology for a short time, allowing you to kill them easily.
- The room is powered, but it's empty. Though, this room is strategically important for the marines (for example, you just destroyed all their stuff in there). If you want to prevent the marine from taking that room back easily, destroy the power. It will shut down the lights and waste their time when they want to conquer it back. In that case, attack the power node, but attack it LAST.

4.3 – Skulk

- You are fragile, don't charge the marines head on. Instead, parasite them so you can see them through walls, play with them and make them lose their precious time. Also, try to AMBUSH them, let them come to you.
- Don't set up an ambush somewhere if you don't know what is coming.
You need to silently scout ahead; listen for footsteps or get a visual on the target (parasite it) before retreating and ambushing. Also, look at your map. If another alien is ahead of you on the way between your base and the marine base, don't ambush (no one will come to you before reaching your ally first) but go help your mate instead.
- Never fight outnumbered. If there are more marines than aliens, don't attack.

4.4 – Gorge

- A gorge is not a fighter. It's a support class, like a medic. Your most important job is to stay alive to HEAL THE OTHER ALIENS (right click), and then you can build other buildings.
- If you ONLY heal buildings, you're doing your job wrong.
- When you are with other aliens, don't fear, charge with them (but not first) and go in the fight to heal them. Your help in fights is invaluable.
- NEVER ATTACK ALONE. If you're alone and you see a marine, retreat and wait for reinforcement.
- When you move, equip your clog. If you see a marine and you're alone, quickly drop a clog in front of you and escape. One clog will block some bullets and save your life in most cases.
- Clog Walls and Clog Towers. Most of the times, you shouldn't make big clog walls to block an entrance. This means the marines can't get in, but it also blocks the aliens and will get your team mates or yourself killed. This is especially true when Onos are up, because they're too big to jump above a clog wall, and they will die if they cannot get past it.
You could make small clog towers instead. Place two clog on top of the other to make up to 5 small towers. They block the marine's vision, but not their movement. This means they cannot shoot at the aliens or their structure from a distance, and they need to get closer to shoot stuff. If they need to get closer, it gives an advantage to aliens.
- "Battle Gorge" isn't a real thing. Don't try to be a hero.

4.5 – Other lifeforms

Lerk and Fade are incredibly hard to play for beginners. I suggest you stick to Skulk, Gorge, and Onos until you are more experienced with the alien gameplay.
Then, you can pick ONE lifeforme, Lerk or Fade, and try to get better at it. Watch tutorials, follow another team mate with the same lifeform and do everything he does. Wait to be good at one lifeforme before trying to get better at the other.
If you're new, it's very good to play Skulk and wait enough to buy an Onos (the big rhino). But as an Onos remember that you're big and slow, you cannot fight too many marines at the same time. When you lost half your health, retreat. Don't fight more than 3 or 4 marines.
5 – Commander
If you're new, I suggest you DO NOT GO COMMAND. It's a hard job, and you need to understand the game well enough to play that class. If you're doing it wrong, you will have a bad influence on your team and everyone will hate you (and even if you don't screw up they will hate you).
Though, if you want to do it one day:
- GET. A. FU****G. MICROPHONE. It's 2018, people.
- Familiarise yourself with the menus and the commands in solo play and training modes, so you don't look for things in every menu when you are in a real game (time is of the essence, you can't discover things while playing for real). Seriously. I mean it. Get prepared at least a little before even thinking of trying commander in a real game.
- If people ask you things, do what they ask. They know the game better than you most of the time.
- Let people guide you.
- Listen to people who are "strong" and have much higher ranks than you. For example, the guys with Orange, Purple, Light Blue or Light Grey skill badges should be trustworthy.
Closing Word
If you're new, you should read a lot of guides and watch tutorials because they are INCREDIBLY useful. They will save you from getting your a** kicked, and save you from a long and painful time. The learning curve is very steep in this game.
And remember, if you want to become better, ask the other players for help and let them guide you. The game is very hard, and any help you can get is welcome.

Now go have fun, and remember to vote shuffle (M--> shuffle) to prevent people from stacking.

v1.0 - 27/06/2018
v1.1 - 25/06/2019 (made some corrections and added a few elements)
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[NSL] Jackson  [author] Jun 28, 2018 @ 5:11am 
Haha thanks yeah I'll change or add a few things. I deliberately not elaborated some things (like never going back) because they sometimes come down to specific situations. Though the general idea is there. I'll add one minute reading time :p
Handschuh Jun 27, 2018 @ 11:23pm 
Nice guide, but I'd have small suggestions that shouldn't blow up that short tutorial
(you can delete the comment afterwards if you want)
a) 2- Look at the map:
There should be a hint that you can make it even more transparent in NS2+ Settings
b) "Never go Back" is not true, if all Marines "successfully" push forward and you leave your base open (earlygame) or your pgs/base open for a Tunnelrush
You can also go back, just to block a lane... for example I'm on tram and I'm poking Serverroom, decysting the RT and stuff... but I see noone in mezz-ET Lane... then I'd fall back to cover the northtunnels vent :-)
Handschuh Jun 27, 2018 @ 11:23pm 
c) Ressbiting: Don't bite PowerNodes at first, because they cost nothing but time
d) Gorge:
d1) Drop a clog in front of you when Marines shoot you while you charge in?
d2) don't block entrances, drop clogtowers (2 clogs on top of eachother - I hope I don't need to elaborate why)
d3) heal aliens asap... slow gorge is wasting time
e) fade/lerk: New players should try to learn the mechanics in the lerkchallenge maybe...
Having only skulks gorges and onos lead to the biggest issue ns2 has: Marines are OP, because even a bad lerk or fade that somehow manages to stay alive for a bit with 0 kills will still be much more effective, because he wastes more ammo of marines that they should've used for skulks
f) Command: (do not command unless you're on a rookieserver?) / Let ppl guide you who are a class above you :P having it often that ppl tell dumb stuff^^