Natural Selection 2: The Basics

by Stephen Heller Featured 25 Comments 15 Votes 7444 Views 31/08/2011 Back to Articles

Natural Selection 2: The Basics

So you saw our preview of Natural Selection 2 and you were understandably excited. So you pre-ordered the game, jumped into the beta and were overwhelmed by the carnage that surely unfolded. As it stands the Natural Selection 2 beta has no tutorial for newcomers which can be a little scary - that's where we come in. Check out the first tutorial aptly named The Basics and stay tuned for more in-depth guides in the future. For now, let's just get you started.

Choosing Your Team

In NS2 one team will be in control of the Frontiersmen - a group of space marines armed with assault rifles, pistols, shotguns etc. The other team will be made up of the Kharaa - an alien species that can evolve, control areas and obliterate their opponents with their special attacks. While controlling the Kharaa and the Frontiersman may feel very different, fundamentally they are very similar. We suggest choosing a side and sticking with them for a few hours to familiarise yourself with their strengths and weaknesses before experimenting with the opposing force.

Resources Power Everything

Resources can truly control the outcome of any given round - each structure, weapon, upgrade and object utilised by your team will cost a set number of resources or 'res' as it's commonly known among players. Res can be harvested by building an extractor on certain points throughout each map. Frontiersmen will gather resources and use it as a collective pool for the entire team, while the Kharaa will accumulate their own stash of res to use at their own discretion. This requires some extra planning if you are on a Kharaa team to make sure that everything is balanced when it comes to structures.

Protect Your Base At All Costs

While it may be tempting to run in, guns blazing and fighting off a horde of enemies, you better make sure that your base is covered. Frontiersmen require Infantry Portals to respawn just as the Kharaa require hives. If you have no resource extractors pulling in res, and no available respawn points your enemies simply need to hunt you down, wipe you out and walk on in for the big win. Sometimes a good defence will be far more effective than a failed offensive strike. You will need to strike a vital balance to be successful.

Appoint A Skilled Commander

The Frontiersmen in NS2 have a commander who is presented with a RTS view of the game map. They can issue commands, waypoints, build instructions and provide vital information to ensure their team is victorious. If you haven't got a firm grip of what each structure is used for, or how to build a good base then we advise staying away from the command centre. This is a role that should be filled by players who have a decent knowledge of the game mechanics. Don't rush in, take your time to learn the lay of the land before you try to control a squad.

Teamwork Is Paramount

We can't stress enough just how important teamwork is in Natural Selection 2, especially if you are a member of the Kharaa. Due to the fact that each individual has their own resource pool a good team will need to keep tabs on what everyone is spending their res on to make sure they have a balanced team on their hands. Teamwork is equally as important for the Frontiersmen - those Kharaa are a hard bunch to kill and move in mysterious ways. You will need to always be prepared and looking out for one another to ensure survival.

These are just some very basic gameplay tips to get you moving around with confidence in Natural Selection 2. The best way to learn is to play with skilled players and ask questions - most of the players on the Aussie servers are only happy to explain the many gameplay elements on display. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we bring you in-depth guides for each team to ensure victory on the battlefield.

By Stephen Heller

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Tags: 2 Basics Details Frontiersmen gameplay guide hints Kharaa Natural Selection The tips Tutorial Unknown Worlds
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Natural Selection 2: The Basics Comments

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OK this is officially sounding awesome.
It definitely is awesome @Beta and hopefully this guide will help some newcomers to get a handle of things a little quicker.
Friiiiiiiiiiiday. I'm buying it Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiday.
Consider yourself treated @stygiaN_ sounds like we might have to get an MMGN night happening.
Can you please tell me how big it is installed? I have a feeling I'm dangerously close to my Internet cap.

& Left 4 Dead 2 if you wouldn't mind, also.
Will do when I get home, pretty sure L4D2 is somewhere around 8gb and this is around 5gb but will give you details when I can.
Both should be manageable. Will wait to hear before I jump in though.

Nothing worse then buying a game and not being able to play it for ages. :(

Thanks :D
Downloading Naooow.
Make sure you stay active in the NS2 thread guys, we'll get a game night happening soon enough :)
I played the first NS for many many many years and very excited about the 2nd :D
stygiaN_ > It's 1,5 Gb
I wouldn't buy NS2. It's been "beta" for 18 months and it's not improved a whole lot. There's a massive chunk of the game missing. The hit reg is barely functional, your frame rate will be around 30, maybe 40fps variable, and that's at best. You'll want your money back.
Yes, if you don't want to get in on the ground floor of a great game - i.e. put up with glitches, problems, and program feature changes, then don't buy it yet.
Frame rates and server tick rates are currently an issue so, between the two, if you have an older machine you may get frustrated with the lag.

...but for everybody else, get in on the action, watch the game grow, and help out by giving your own ideas.

A couple of things mentioned in the article are a little inaccurate, I think.
1) "Frontiersmen will gather resources and use it as a collective pool for the entire team, while the Kharaa will accumulate their own stash of res to use at their own discretion. This requires some extra planning if you are on a Kharaa team to make sure that everything is balanced when it comes to structures."
Maybe I am miss-reading this, but it sounds like you are saying that individual Kharaa players use the same resources that the Harvesters harvest. That was true in NS1, but I thought NS2 gave you personal resources gained by killing marines and so evolving in NS2 is not based on Harvester production but individual skill.
...or am I wrong?

2) Now that I re-read this next statement, I think I am being a little nit-picky, but "Frontiersmen require Infantry Portals to respawn just as the Kharaa require hives." is only slightly inaccurate.
Kharaa require eggs to spawn.
...but eggs are produced from a hive. Though if an egg is dropped and it's hive is destroyed, an alien can still spawn from that egg.
Eggs are to the hive as Infantry Portals are to the Command Chair (or is it Command Station?).
Even in your own statement you realise how unfinished and unpolished this "beta" is.
Yes, but I have paid into it and I love it. If you can deal with the fact that it is an unfinished product then you get to be part of the community that is shaping this game and learn how to play the game as it "grows up".
So far I love the game, love the community that is built up around it, and the developers for letting us in on the deal and listening to us (players).
I not only feel that my money was well spent with being able to be in on this exclusive opportunity, but that I have financially supported the making of a really good, and different, game.
What you mean is bank roll their game. That's not right.
It is right for me.
I'm proud to bankroll this already good game.
Again. if you want a finished game don't buy it yet.
You'll be behind the learning and community curve but that's OK too.
Why did all the new people find this thread to bitch over?

I'd rather give my money to a beta that I already enjoy to help speed along a great development than sitting back and just waiting. I feel like I am helping them out, and that is why I am actively participating in the beta.

YES there are some issues at times but that is the whole point of a BETA process. If you don't understand that then maybe you shouldn't be entering it.

They are actively asking for YOUR assistance to improve the gameplay and stability. Why don't you try reporting your issues to them, and then they can work on fixing them?
@majortom : do you understand the meaning of beta? I agree with Heller to say that you can't judge a beta by its bugs but with the quality of the improvements during this beta, as well as you can't judge a game by its mid-beta period... This is not a late-beta!
Maybe that you forget that Unknown World Entertainement is an independant group of developers with much less than 10 people, you can't compare the actual state of NS2 to the quality of late betas released by huge editors like Electronic Arts, Activision, Ubisoft (which are more for commercial reasons than technical reasons because they already made the 99% of the finished game).

In a few months they worked a lot on framerates and servers to make the game much more playable for a great number of players. There are still improvements to do, but a group like UWE can't manage to improve the gameplay and framerates at the same time! I hope you can understand that part of the game progession which is the release every 1-2 weeks of a huge patch made by the small team of UWE.

@pathdrc and @Heller: the system of ressources is the same in both teams. Extractors/Harvesters collect res for each people of the team (low rate) to make people by weapons or evolutions (cysts and hydras either for the gorge), and give res to the team "account" known as "team res" (higher rate) to give the ability to both commanders to buy structures. The evolution from ns1 to ns2 is the commander in kharaa's side, so the gorge doesn't need the ressources for the team buildings, as well as marines gets res to buy their own weapons.
I hope i was clear ^^

Furthermore, this is a great idea from mmgn to make a tutorial!! :D this will help a lot of people to know the basics of ns2 if they didn't play ns1 before. You maybe forgot in this first tutorial the importance of power nodes ^_^
Thanks to the support @Spyke90 - power nodes will be covered in our Marine Tactics tutorial ;)

Hopefully see you around the place here at MMGN :)
@Heller My pleasure to help you ^^ but be sure to correct the main text, because few people are reading all the comments ;)
Buying this todayyyyyyyy, bitchazzzz.
You can follow the news of ns2 (patchs, forums, infos, etc.) on the UWE website:

And you can look at the channel of NS2HD (greats gameplay videos!):

Bought into the beta long long ago. Just recently decided to check back in on how things are going. Frame rates are now smooth and silky, much of the game is now intact, and its loads of fun. This little team of devs, has been slowly chuggin along, but man its really coming together now. Worth the asking price for the fun that you can now get out of the beta...Most fun I've had in an FPS in a loooong time.

Also this article gets a lot of stuff wrong.

fyi when I say smooth frame rates, I do have a pretty solid gaming rig. This games no slouch in the graphics department, don't expect it to run to well on an older rig.

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