Natural Selection 2

Natural Selection 2

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The NS2 Guide to Acting With Common Sense and Civility
By Dinoman9877
A guide for commanders and foot soldiers alike to take to heart. Really this guide is common knowledge when you become a veteran, but for new people and those who need a refresher on courtesy, this will help you out.
NS2 is a game with a small, diseased community. Anyone that tries to reject this is in denial. The community is in dire need of a change so that it can return to fruition.

Whether you are new to the game, or a seasoned veteran, know now that you have the poetential to contribute to improving the game and it's community, whether you just recommend the game to your friends, teach new players the ropes, or even just open up a fully functional server, you have already contributed to the well being of the community.

However, you only damage the community if you insult and chase off new players, or kick them off a server based on the amount of hours they've played. Yes, I'm looking at the 350+ hours server.

Since the community seems so in need of it, here is the Natural Selection 2 Guide to Acting with Common Sense and Civility.
Part One: On the Subject of New Players
This section is for community veterans, and though it's not required to be read, it would be appreciated, as it outlines the condition our community is in.

It can't be stressed enough: Everyone was a new player, show those with less experience some courtesy. Our dwindling population of both players and servers is a direct result of lack of courtesy. I have done the math, and the formula seems to explain our community hardships.

It starts when a person first buys the game. The thought of tearing out the guts of Marines as an alien dog or blasting in the faces of hideous alien invaders as a human is just too tempting for many to pass up. Who wouldn't want to play this game?

Now, understandably there is a learning curve to NS2, a steep one, for some. And not everyone wants to read a guide, or are not confident enough to put it into practice with the demands of the team always becoming more drastic as a game progresses. The only true practice can be had in multiplayer, however, as the "singleplayer" does not function as a multiplayer match does. As I understand it, AI aliens don't evolve, nor do AI marines get better weapons. Thus the new players do not receive the challenge they need to train. So they must play the normal game. We've tossed them into the deepest water with them hardly knowing how to swim.


Now, due to our dwindling population, competition for a spot in a server is high. There are few servers with decent performance, and people fight for any spot they can take. As I understand it, one server which many times has open spots and decent performance is also home to some of the most pompous of NS2 players, requiring three hundred and fifty or more hours to play, and people teasing anyone with less hours than that when they join, a point I will return to later.

The new players have already had their first bad experience with the game: Why are there so few servers, and why are they always full? The new players will likely not have much confidence in this game if so many people are competing for so few spots. I understand the game is called 'Natural Selection', but that shouldn't apply to getting into a server.

So the new player gets into a server, and then from here the possibilities for what their experience will be are up in the air. It can range from an excellent gaming experience, to a game that will speak volumes for much of our community and influence their opinion on the game.

If they have a good game, they likely played with patient veterans who were more than willing to nudge them in the right direction and explain the mechanics as the game moved along. Even if they lost, they should hopefully feel reassured and come out of the game with more understanding of it than they did before. However, this is usually not the case.

The much more common occurence is a game which will make the new player unsure if they want to keep playing, a game in which they are insulted and made to feel inferior by the veterans. This is common, because veterans only ever want to play with other veterans. And if someone doesn't instantly know how to play the game, people try to scare them off, on purpose, to try and free up a spot for a veteran. Or maybe they just like to pick on the new people. Either way, the new players are driven off by the rotten community members, rather than meeting those who are decent.

When the player is driven off, they will tell their friends of their experience, who will then tell their friends of the experience, and a chain reaction is set off. Whole groups of people now have a negative opinion of Natural Selection 2. Thus, they will not buy it, will not get better at it, and lose the potential to try and open up a server. Thus, we have fewer servers to choose from, causing more competition for server spots, amongst veterans and new players alike.

Thus the cycle comes full circle. People don't enjoy the game, they don't have the potential to invest into servers for everyone's benefit. The few rotten apples completely ruin the whole bunch because they scare off new players.

So to everyone who gets angry at new players because they're new, just don't. You're making the community smaller and more toxic as time goes on. Help your newer comrades in arms and/or teeth to better their skills, so they may work to spread their knowledge to other new people as well, and potentially help expand the community as a whole.

This concludes Part One.
Part Two: Working With Your Fellow Footsoldiers
Coordination in this game is required. If you don't do what you need to do when you need to do it, then it will likely have monumental repercussions in the future. This goes two ways, but for now we will focus on coordination between the infantry.

As soon as the game starts, the team has to respond to a volatile environment filled with flying bullets, grenades, spikes, and bile. Anything can happen at the drop of a hat, and the team has to respond instantly to the situation both efficiently and skillfully.

Now you veterans might say "What about the noobs?!". Well while it's true that you may be better at driving that Skulk around than they are, that's one more target they have to focus on, and potentially one target too many to keep track of before something gives way. And who knows? Maybe the new guy can get in a bite or even a kill.

While you may prefer a certain class, and by all means you should go for it, sometimes you have to know when something else is called for the situation. If no one else goes Gorge, take it upon yourself to be the little building lacky, for a while at least. Or grab a Welder out of the armory and be the guy that keeps your fellow Marines' armor up to par so they don't get eaten by aliens quite so easily.

Don't start going Fade if the enemy is rushing a base, and you're still a Skulk. You get your skulky little butt over to the battle and tear out some marine throats. Stopping in the middle of battle makes you a target, and even moreso if you begin to evolve in the heat of battle. There is no target more enticing than a defenseless egg. So you not only waste potentially useful resources, but those are precious seconds without one more fighter to get into the battle and drive off the enemy.

I have seen many peope start evolving in the middle of a base invasion. Sometimes they get out without an issue, if it's just getting their basic upgrades for a Skulk. But I have also seen people get blasted to bits because they tried to evolve into an Onos or some other alien just as the Marines attacked, or even with the audacity to do it in the middle of the battle in the hopes of turning the tide. Those people tend to be less lucky if an enemy should spot them suddenly become a little cocoon with tentacles.

You must also know when to act independently. Your fellow soldiers can't always tell you what to do, and neither can the commander. When huge invasions aren't being prepared for, you must take the chance to move off and hit the enemy's resource towers. Killing the enemy's income is key to gettint the upper hand.

Most people don't want to do this, because they want to get a bunch of kills and try not to die. Listen to me people: You will die in Natural Selection 2. A lot. Don't hold back to try and sneak in that kill, go off and do something that benefits your team: Kill the enemy infrastructure. For more expensive soldiers, such as an upgraded Fade, or Jetpacked Grenade Launcher, you aren't quite as expendable and actually should focus on the enemy soldiers. In NS2, the more resources you spend during any one life should hopefully go toward making you stronger in that one life. The more expensive builds are meant to fight on the front lines, while the basic builds are meant for sneaking behind enemy lines and wreaking havoc on their infrastructure.

Skulks and Marines with the base machine gun are the best for going out to kill resource towers, because it costs them nothing if they die. Don't send an Onos into kill an Extractor when he could be pushing into a heavily fortified Marine position to take it over. Let the expendable people do it.

Play to your team's strengths. If someone is good at using a shotgun, keep them alive to blast the aliens to bits. If you've got a Lerk that has mastered their flying and strafing skills, send them where air support is needed. Find out what your team can and can't do, and work with what you've got. Don't send in a bad Skulk to try and ambush a Marine. The Marine will win. Send that Skulk to bite the prey that doesn't move.

This concludes Part Two.
Part Three: Working With Your Commander
The Commander is the backbone of your small army. Without the Commander, you have nothing to work with, and the enemy will step on you like you're all a bunch of cockroaches. At the same time, the Commander isn't an all powerful being.

The Commander is nothing more than the eye in the sky and the manager of the infrastucture. They have to know what resources to spend, when to spend them, and how to make the invested resources be used to their full potential.

But the Commander can do nothing when the enemy shows up. The only thing they could do if the enemy rushes the base is hop out of the Hive or Chair and try to defend, but they're going to be a basic Skulk or Marine and will not put up much of a fight. You have to get to where the Commander needs you as quickly as you can, and make it priority.

For instance, the Commander can do nothing if the Harvesters are being killed, besides spend resources on Whips or Turrets to try to defend them. Resources that could be better invested in upgrades or new structures. The team should be more than capable of responding to the call to arms when resources are threatened and drive off the enemy to protect their income. Sometimes they aren't because sometimes the enemy just gets the upper hands. That's okay, that's part of the game. But at least make an effort to defend rather than just leave the Resource Tower for dead. You are literally giving the enemy that resource point, and that's one less resource point generating for your team. Having just one more resource tower than the enemy will automatically give you the advantage.

But the Commander can only watch helplessly if you let the Resource Towers be destroyed. You've lost the advantage when the enemy gets more towers. They will upgrade faster than you and start getting their foothold.


Resource Towers aren't growing on trees either, as any experience Commander can tell you. It's resources that have to be invested to get these resources back. An Alien harvester is eight resources, plus however many resources are spent to expand the cyst chain to the resource node, and a Marine extractor is ten resources lost when it is destroyed. It takes 48 seconds for an Alien harvester to pay itself off, not counting the cysts. It takes a full minute before a Marine Extractor begins making a profit. With the volatile and ever-changing shifts in power between the two teams, these resource towers can easily be killed before they come to fruition.

The Commander can do nothing if you don't expand. If you have no resource nodes, you're not making enough income to get more upgrades to battle the enemy. The Commander needs full cooperation from the team, to better equip the team. I have commanded a game where we lost because no one would evolve into a Gorge to build a simple tunnel. Their reason was because we did not have Bile Bomb yet.

If I completely forwent the Evolutionary Upgrades, it is fifty resources to get Bile Bomb, and they can't all be spent at once either. Those are resources sitting static while the second Biomass is being evolved, and then yet more resources sitting and not being invested while the third Biomass is developed. And then there would be no infrastructure whatsoever by the time Bile Bomb is researched, because no resources were invested into upgrades or resource towers, so likely many aliens have already been killed and the Marines would have a possibly unbreakable foothold in the map.

All because those people wanted Bile Bomb before they went Gorge. Their failure to react according to the situation cost us the match, and since I was watching the whole thing unfold, I can most certainly tell you we hardly put up much of a fight. We managed to get an Onos, but it died fairly quickly. And when we finally did get up a second hive, the Marines were flying around with Jetpacks and Grenade Launchers. Many people on my team promptly ragequit, despite the fact that they were refusing to do as I asked.

And shockingly enough, the next game was won when we got some early Gorge tunnels to key locations. The Marines couldn't combat us when we were able to get where we needed to go. Anyway, the moral of the story is that the Commander's word comes first before your conditions. Whether the upgrade you want is available or not, you need to take the reins and play as the required role if no one else does. A well placed tunnel can be the difference between victory and defeat.


Another issue is when the Commander is blamed for defeat despite doing all they could do. I have had this happen to me before, though not recently. Despite my best attempts to expand, the Marines would force back our attempts to get out of the main base. Even with all the upgrades I could possibly provide, my team could do nothing to stop the Marines, and we were destroyed. Rather than blame themselves for failing to destroy the Marine resources or fight them away from our base, they turned and threw the blame on me, saying I should have tried to expand more.

Don't. Do. This. Your Commander can only do so much when you're cornered besides getting out of the Hive or Chair and trying to help fight. You and your team are responsible for protecting resources, bases, and encampments when the enemy attacks. Whips or Turrets are surprisingly ineffective against a fully armed rush from either team. It comes down to your team responding to the attack accordingly. And while the Marine Commander can force your team back if you have an Observatory, the aliens have no such method of instant travel. It's up to Aliens individually to get to the base as quickly as they can to repel the invaders. Once more, failure to do so can cost the game. So listen to the Commander!


Willingness to cooperate will determine the success of your team. You can't just let the enemies trample all over your claimed territory just because you're focused somewhere else. Be proactive, attack and defednd as needed. Most of the time, you shouldn't need to be told when to do it. If you see an opening, take the chance and try to give your team an advantage. In the end, the outcome of the came is all up to what you contribute.

This is the end of Part 3.
Final Notes
To recap: Treat new players considerately. They need help to become veterans themselves. Chasing them off chases off the potential for other players. Who wants to start playing a game where new players are treated like feces?

React to events quickly, and as a team. Don't let the enemy gain a foothold, do all in your power to work together to stop them.

Listen to the Commander. They can see what you can see, and sometimes they can see stuff you don't see. In the end, they need you and your team to keep the infrastructure alive. The only way to win is by having resources.


Letting the disrepect and aggression rule the community is what has caused us to become so small in the first place. You'd be surprised how quickly this game could change if people started acting a bit more kind and started to help the new people out.

Hopefully you'll take the words in this guide to acting like a kind human being to heart in playing, not only Natural Selection 2, but other games as well. Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you out in the infestation covered battlefield!
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Striker1919 Oct 4, 2016 @ 12:35pm 
@actionfrog I never played the tutorials, but I still play the game and am good at it from dat sweet experience and leting people tell me what to do/following orders.
Hellrunner Sep 27, 2016 @ 7:22am 
well... server owner perspective on new players: we had a rookiefriendly server once, where vets and rooks played along eachothers side. It had problems but with active admins the bad apples (toxic assholes) got quickly sorted out and new players almost instantly got the hang of things or left for good. That's teh nature of the game. They then split off the rooks to be left to thier own devices with no vet training influence whatsoever. The speed on rookieservers is... 10% at best of ours and after x amount of hours you loose your rookie status and you get mixed in with the vets. So A) if you stuck to the game due to the casual nature of gameplay on rookie pubs you'll leave in frustation.
Hellrunner Sep 27, 2016 @ 7:21am 
B) If you are a cometitive person who seeks a challenge, chances are you saw the chaos on rookie pubs and leave befor you even can get a glimps of the actual gameplay. So our player influx at the moment is the comp dudes that stuck to the casual phase and not be put off by it. That's just the issue with the new players. I could tell you storys over storys, but this is long enough allready. Just never use the playnow button and choose the community that suits you the best. Be communicative and SAY, look guys: I'm a rookie and I know this and that.
You will be helped like back in the days. At least with us ^^ Hellarious Basterds
actionstorm Sep 22, 2016 @ 12:43pm 
You can tell that not many people actaully play this game for long because only 3.2% of people who have the game have finished both tutorials
L!NCOLN Nov 17, 2015 @ 4:03pm 
This guide was much better than I anticipated since the writer only has 130ish hours. It is full of good info for newer players and manner lessons for us more experienced players who sometimes forget to be kind :D.
Cannon FodderAUS Feb 27, 2015 @ 1:41am 
Thanks for writing this. If you like, you can point rookies to my steam guide that is good for new players. It is a hefty read, but I have been told it is well worth it. Everything is introduced in a fictional story, so it makes more sense then just throwing mechanics at someone new.