8/17/02 Version .9999 beta In this guide I will outline what my 2 years on-and-off of experience in Tribes 2 has yielded in terms of subterfuge. A good place to start is with the loose definition as seen by ME. Infiltration: the process of moving into an area unnoticed. Now to break the concept down into some of it's major components: 1 - Know your enemy Infiltration is a rather useful skill in a large team-oriented game like Tribes 2, but for reason of the latter it can be rather difficult. There are a lot of people looking for you, and they know you don't want to be found. The degree to which this holds true and how coordinated the enemies are pretty much determine how difficult it will be to sneak into a base/outpost. One thing that determines your opposition is which server you're on. Some servers have virtual Gomer Pyles running around the map clueless to somebody waltzing into their base, while others have a disconcerting tendancy to gib me to death when I make the slightest mistake. Player defense is the most obvious version, and in some cases the most difficult to fool. Even if the enemy isn't strategically fielding specific players on defense they do respawn in their base. I've seen many a cloaker get stumbled upon by a bloke who is running back to the fight and that's all she wrote. If players are actually defending however, they tend to focus around a certain area. Very rarely in my experience has a player defense been even distributed enough to deny the clever player a route in. It's important to keep in mind where the defenders are most likely to focus their attention. For example. If some annoying bastard keeps popping up over a hill and blasting the base's only missile turret OVER and OVER again, at least a few of the defenders will probably take it upon themselves to ice him. This is your chance, Go! Similarly, if you just busted up the enemies' generator, they will most likely be heading straight for them, and they'll also be looking for YOU. Hide, or give them hell until they finally take you down. Also, defenses are apt to increase as soon as the enemy knows exactly what is afoot, and they will probably be custom tailored to counter your playing style. Adapt, and make those initial runs count. On any self-respecting server, you will also likely have automated defenses to deal with both outside and inside. I can't emphasize enough that you need to know how these things work and where highly clever and moderately clever defenders will put them. Spider clamps, mines, landspikes, motion sensors, pulse sensors, etc . . . Besides it just being a nice skill to have, you should spend some time learning how to properly 'farm,' that is, plant automated defenses around your base. Being able to create a base defense and obliterate it are surprisingly adjacent concepts. 2 - Know Yourself It's important to know what you're capable of and what the enemy is capable of and to compare them in different areas. It's the best way to find a weakness. Broad example: if the enemy is a team of heavies who almost all play offense, wait until they're enroute to your base and then go get their base equipment and flag. The more things you can do in Tribes 2, the less likely you are to hit a dead halt in offense. Your long-term usefulness depends on your ability to adjust your tactics to the enemy. Predictability translates to running into somebody's sights. Change up your methods just to feint or distract the enemy for something else. Killing people in Tribes 2 is a useful skill, obviously, and I advise everybody to take disc-shooting 101 (you'll know when you've passed it). However, it doesn't even remotely compare to being able to get the same people so hopping mad at you they chase you ANYWHERE just to frag you. If you kill them at their base, they're out of your way for a few seconds, then they might be headed right back to where you killed them. If you draw half the other team away from their base just to kill you it means that the enemy base is rather vulnerable and at the very least your defense is likely to be improved by the time they give up or kill you. I've had people chase me for minutes and then afterwards be 1000s of meters away from their base. Longer than respawn time to get back, not counting the time they wasted killing me. However, unless I plan to divert enemy reinforcements or have a specific reason to kill some player, I prefer to avoid fights. They damage my health, they usually point my position out the whole other team, etc. Remember, you don't just have to go for the cojones and get their generators, there are plenty of targets that take just as long to repair and are rather important. If you manage to take out the enemy generators, they usually run straight for them with repair packs. Then, after fixing them their whole base is back online. It can sometimes be more beneficial to work the exterior or lesser targets around and in the enemy base. On a lot of public servers equipment that isn't right next to the base gets ignored and repairs don't happen for a while. A generator takes top priority, but a missile turret covering your favorite bombing run is definitely a lesser priority. Which brings me to this. 3 - Know your gear Below is the equipment I find most useful in subterfuge. Cloak Pack- ahh, the infamous Pack of invisibility. Not only does it do that but it also makes you undetectable to pulse sensors when it ISN'T activated. This is the most overrated stealth item in the game. N00bs love it, veterans love it, heck I love it, but it has to be put in it's place. You can't always rely on this fancy gadget to get you where you need to be. You are not completely invisible, and you have to manually destroy motion sensors generally speaking to get through. Once again, you can't rely solely on your cloak pack to get the job done. It eats power like a monster and denies you the benefits of other packs. That said, this IS a nifty tool for specific tasks and situations. Watch your power meter though, because you won't be able to go far if you run out and are uncloaked. Satchel: this is a difficult pack to use. It's simple enough to plant it, run, and detonate it. The tricky part is getting there and surviving long enough to push the big red button. Generally, you will use a combination of speed and stealth with this pack, but you have to do stealth the old fashioned way. All you have is your wits, your weapons, and the bomb. By all means, you sacrificed the abilities of any other pack for a huge bomb, so use their advantages. You don't have to sit there plugging away at equipment, you just have to live long enough to detonate the charge. Keep in mind that taking out targets inside a well-defended enemy base can be near-impossible, unless you can kill everything in light armor. Sensor Jammer: This is a nice pack. Unlike the cloaking pack, it can make you completely undetectable to turrets and such. The drawbacks are no passive benefits and, of course, the inability to turn invisible. It does use less power, which is nice, but don't try jetting around with it activated. This lets you walk through the most devious farming known to man unscathed (unless you step on a mine, and that would be sad). Dealing with the enemies themselves is still a problem though. Like the satchel, a combination of speed and stealth are ideal for getting past and avoiding enemies. Of course, from a distance a sensor jammer pack can hide you from sight by removing your IFF. Or, if you think you're tough, you can fight your way in. Remember with sensor jamming and cloaking packs to find appropriate places to recharge your energy. If you can't find a foolproof hiding spot when that energy gets low, look for the lesser of many potent evils and risk it. Weapons: Blaster: Ahh, the humble blaster. Decieving in its usefulness. The blaster is most effective when used to harass enemies (like the one repairing the damage you just inflicted on their base) and destroy weakly shielded equipment. Remember: no ammo limit, no fear. Just watch where you point that thing. Chaingun: devastating in REALLY close quarters, and useful against wounded airborne targets. For the sabotuer, however, it makes surprisingly quick work of equipment. Spinfusor: the assault rifle of Tribes 2, pretty much everybody should be at least proficient with this weapon. Not very stealthy though, since in a duel you're likely to be flying around and using up a lot of jetpack energy. It is fairly useful indoors, as long as you're very careful with where you shoot. This goes double inside YOUR base. Not recommended for use against equipment. Plasma rifle: if you need to engage in some quick & dirty indoor combat, or take out equipment in scout armor, this is a good choice. I mainly use this for destroying equipment, since it seems to do the most damage for time spent there shooting and waiting to get killed. ELF gun: this weapon is cool. Aside from the obvious use of grounding flag cappers, it drains the shields of equipment as well. I consider this indispensible for getting the most out of my ammo supply. It also is necessary to drain shields from some things before a satchel will take them out. This is an ideal tool for that, quicker and less conspicious I believe than a blaster. Laser Rifle: Some people dislike this weapon because it can't get one shot kills. It is an excellent weapon for harassing the enemy though, since it inflicts a lot more damage and points a line to you. Then you can use your energy pack to escape. Rinse, wash, repeat until the whole enemy team is chasing you to the ends of the earth. Shocklance: if you absolutely have to make a silent takedown, accept no substitutes. For the sake of efficiency and your life lasting longer, pick your targets carefully. The cloak pack is obviously a good choice if you intend to use this a lot. Some people say it's very effective against aircraft, but I've yet to see it for myself. The belt: other than keeping your armored trousers secured, the belt contains many useful items. Remember you can only carry one type of grenade, so pick wisely. Mines: Handy little devils. Throw em near enemy equipment after you've destroyed it or in conjunction with small arms fire to take it out quicker. Beacons: excellent devices. It's almost like carrying 3 satchel charges. If possible, try to plant them UNDER the thing you want to take out, so it will last more than one bombardment. It isn't necesarry to have a team of heavies or 3 tanks to fire at your beacons, you can attack them yourself. Simply grab a hover tank or heavy armor and hoof it into range. These are key in destroying exterior defenses or marking locations for your teammates (such as generators on maps with horribly confusing base layouts). Standard grenades: these are your basic explosive grenades. Nothing fancy, but they will add some firepower to your loadout. Their power is not all that impressive alone, but using them while shooting boosts the damage you do significantly. Flare grenades: these are all the rage with flag cappers or anybody who spends most of their time airborne. Basically the only use I've been able to trump out of them is deflecting homing missiles from your tail. Tell me if you think of anything else. Concussion grenades: these knock enemies out of your way, and possible strip them of weapon and pack. A good diversionary tool, since the person has to decide whether to grab their weapon, their pack, or just go after you. Whiteout grenades: these things fun too. Blinds nearby enemies, making it much harder for them to shoot you. These are good for making your escape or, if you're good, your entrance. A commonly approved tactic by the masters I've met is to blindly (sorry, bad pun) chuck all of them in random directions, then run away. You'll probably be blind too, but also alive and that's what counts. Deployable cameras: these are by far the most inconspicuous 'grenades' in the game. They are, however, useful. Generally, I use them to keep tabs on the enemy base/equipment. It's surprising how often enemies don't notice that little camera sitting on the ceiling of their base. It allows you to see what's in the area you're about to attack, so you can plan your assault accordingly. You can also pass on any useful info to your teammates. All I can REALLY tell you on how to use cameras is 'be creative.' Vehicles: ahh, the real meat of what Tribes 2 has over the original. So many choices, so few viable options. Shrike: the most popular vehicle in T2. It's a quick and agile armed craft that can be operated by one man, of course it is. The Shrike is the quickest way to get from point A to point B. It also packs decent firepower and can be used to destroy enemy base equipment (at great risk to the pilot usually). What's the catch? Homing missiles. They'll be on you like a bad suit. For that reason, it's best to park your Shrike a distance away from the enemy base and walk it. You *could* fly in kamikaze style and then bail out but the results of that are sketchy at best and you're probably going to end up wounded if you survive. However, it's preferable to walking around the enemy base in plain sight and radar, if you don't have a sensor jammer or cloak pack. It's possible to outfly missiles, but hardly easy with multiple ones tracking you. Just like in the movies, your safest bet is probably to fly fairly low, since people and turrets can't lock on to you through terrain. Bomber: a great craft for base raping, the cost of the power is the crew. Its uses for infiltration are limited, but a bombing run or two to soften up the enemy base can be useful. In infiltration terms, a 2 man crew is fine, since the real purpose of bombing is just to get inside and you are counting on being shot down pretty much. you could hitch a ride in the tailgunner's seat, but the pilot will hardly be pleased when Shrikes and missiles close on him and you bail out. Havoc: These are fun to hitch a ride on if one's running to the enemy base. Just between us, I often just take a havoc single-man and use it as a flying bomb. After I ask if anyone needs a ride of course. You can pick up pretty good speed in this thing and the pieces of it raining down on the enemy will distract them more than a smaller craft. In a pinch, you could just fly it near the enemy base and park it, but a Shrike is far preferable for that purpose. Of course, the most effective way to use the havoc is to TRANSPORT PEOPLE. And don't fly right into the enemy base with people onboard unless you're crazy. It's safest for everybody (except perhaps the enemy) if you set down near the enemy base and fly back to make another run. Gravcycle: Aside from being fun to drive and more widely available than shrikes, the gravcycle is less likely to be detected. Since you're so low to the ground, you're less likely to be spotted and/or missiled. Also, you can outrun missiles if you're a good pilot. This is a great vehicle for many purposes if you learn how to use it. This usually forms the staple of my infiltration vehicle diet (I call it that because my vehicles rarely survive to be reused). Assault Tank: what can I say, it's a big freakin tank. Not the most subtle vehicle, or very fast. You can use it one-man to attack the beacons you placed by moving into range and switching seats, but try to do it out of the way since sombebody can just hop into the pilot seat. I don't use it to get into an enemy base unless I'm going with a frontal assault or trying to make a really big diversion for my team. Jericho MPB: These are nice because they're generally closer than your base if you need to resupply in mid-attack. They also have a habit of taking down every shrike that flies over them a little too slow. Watch out for these when you're in a vehicle or using your jetpack a lot. If you can manage to steal the enemy MPB, you'll be a great asset to your team. Most small arms barely dent the shields, so drive it out to Madagascar and park it someplace the enemy won't look. It won't be yours, but it will be out of ze way. That's all I can think of for now pertaining to infiltrating enemy bases in T2. I know I've digressed, but Tribes 2 is such a large game that it's difficult to talk about one thing without mentioning another. There are two texts I highly recommend for the thinking Tribes 2 player: Sun Tzu's The Art of War - hey, old as dirt, still going strong. The Annoying Bastard's Guide to Tribes 2 - good stuff. The funniest serious game guide I've ever read, I think. Still has plenty to learn in it. If I forgot some pivotal point about stealth or you just want to tell me something, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org This guide is copyright 2002 by me, (contactable at the email address above). You can't sell it blah blah blah . . . . Now go play in the generator room.