Hey all. After playing the game for a few days, and really liking the Aliens, I decided to through out some tips. There are lots of similar threads, with lots of great advice, but most from more Veteran players, and I think a different viewpoint can really help. So without further adieu, here are five of my personal tips:
1) When your a Skulk, the whole level is your playground.
Often I see the advice, ?As a Skulk, stay on the ceiling. Use the Vents.? This is great advice, but it doesn?t tell the whole story. Don?t just focus on the ceiling or vents (though you should totally use them), EVERY surface is game for a skulk. Start looking at the environment and climb on everything. Pipes are a good example. There are plenty of maps that have pipes that make great ambush points. The metal refinery is a great example of this as pipes line the far sides of the room and make excellent paths through the levels center. Walkways are another good example. You can crawl on the underside of many walkways and Marines cant shoot you! Once you start to realize how much freedom and advantage this offers you, the game really start to open up.
2) The Marines are playing an FPS game. The aliens are playing a Action Stealth game.
There are two things every good stealth game offers the player. The first, is the ability to observe the enemy from relative safety, usually by allowing the player to see from afar, or see from angles the enemies cannot. There are many tools for this. All aliens have the vision mode that allows them to see perfectly in the dark by hitting ht F key. Skulks can hang in places the marines do not normally look. They can also tag enemies with the Parasite ability, bound to the 2 key, and see enemies through walls for a short time. These abilities allow the player to see patterns of behavior.
The second, is the ability to maneuver into those areas the enemy is weakest. This allows the player to exploit those weaknesses he sees. The aforementioned skulks ability to hang in unusual places, the Fades shadowstep and even the Lerks flight, all allow the Aliens to position themselves to do the most damage.
This is how the aliens are played. You will almost never be a match in a straight up fight. Marines are just too strong. So be sure to NEVER get into a fair fight. Pick your moment and harass, harass, harass. Get a bite or two and book it. Which leads to?.
3) Always, Always, Always target the Power Nodes
As a new player, its hard to know for sure what to attack. Resource Towers are always a good target, but many times its hard to know what you should hit. If you hear the Commander or a more experienced player telling you to attack a certain target, by all means, do so. If you are sitting in an empty room with a bunch of marine buildings and you don?t know what to attack, look at the walls to find and attack the little nodule on the wall. It will power down the whole room, shutting down all those buildings, and most importantly, it will plunge the room into darkness (or at least badly lit-ness.) This is a frightening, chaotic enviroment. Just what the aliens like.
4) Do NOT just save for the biggest Lifeform you can afford.
The Kharaa are specialists. Each form has a distinct purpose. They are better at certain things, but not necessarily better.
Skulks are a force to be reckoned with throughout the game, provided you do not just run straight at the enemy. Even Exo Suit?s, the Marines biggest, Baddest unit has something to fear from them. And they are free. They have descent attack, are highly mobile, and quite versatile. Front line attacker. Scout. Harasser. Use them as much as you can.
Gorges are defensive in nature. They are great for beginners as they are a much slower paced unit, and fairly cheap, but stay away from combat in the beginning. Heal teammates. Block passages to your Hives with Clots (accessed from the 2 key), and put up Hydras (your turrets and also accessed from the 2 key) in areas where the enemy is pushing.
Lerks are where you begin to get into costly forms that have a specific purpose. Before you take a form like this its a good idea to check to see how many there are, as shown by the multiplier to the right of the form. Unless your commander has a specific strategy in mind, do not get more than 2 or 3 of forms from Gorge on up.
Lerks never stop. That?s their thing. They are flying all over, all the time. More than Skulks, you want to hit and run as they are both expensive and fragile. I don?t like to get them until the Spores are researched as they are far less effective with that mindset. Spores is an ability that blankets an area in a choking gas. It causes chaos when spread over a fight, and chaos is where aliens do the best.
Fades are quite tough, quite damaging, and hard to pin down, but they are also very expensive. Even with the increased durability, stick to hit and run attacks, as you will still get gunned down if focused. Concentrate on forcing the enemy to target you while the Skulks nip at their heels. This is a big investment, and you will waste a ton of resources if you die, and under most circumstances, a Skulk can do the same job and it costs nothing. Where Skulks need to ambush Marines by waiting for them to come into a good spot, Fades are more aggressive in their ambushes and surprise Marines before they are organized.
Onos are just monsters. They are the blunt instruments to the scalpel of the other lifeforms. The one thing to remember as an Onos is this. YOU ARE NOT IMMORTAL. Concentrated fire will still bring you down. Take down a few marines, get them to shoot you while the other guys damage the squad and/or the buildings and get the hell out to heal. It is a massive investment to lose when an Onos dies. This serves as a very general exception to the ?only get a lifeorm for a specific purpose? rule as multiple Onosies (sp?) are DEVASTATING.
5) Don?t give up!
The alien playstyle is a departure from most FPS games. There are lots of nuances that take time to learn and develop. This is true for most people and this means you will likely lose a good bit with aliens for a while. Don?t let that stop you, and don?t be fooled into thinking they they are just plain weaker. If you enjoy they playstyle they offer, they are an immensely reward faction to learn!