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 Tribes 2

 
   
 
 
Tribes 2

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
ia_mc@yahoo.com

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.

 

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