Thresh’s Quake 2 Bible


Back in the day, Thresh, with the help of friends such as Immortal and Makaveli, wrote a Gamers Extreme (GX) guide to Quake 2.  He called it… the Quake 2 Bible.

The Quake 2 Bible disappeared from the internet along with the rest of Gamers.com after GX folded.  Thanks to the awesome internet archive the Quake 2 Bible has been resurrected for the AcmeCTF community.

Enjoy the read!

Multiplayer 101

Quake II Multiplayer – A Primer

If you’ve been beating up on the computer in single-player mode, it’s time for you to hang with the big boys and play against live human opponents in multiplayer. If you’re new at this, you’ve got a lot to learn. Live players are infinitely better, faster, and smarter than the computer’s artificial intelligence. In this chapter, we’ll show you how to improve your game with advanced tactics, techniques, tips, and maneuvers. We’ll fill you in on those little intricacies and nuances that refine good players…and make them great.

This manual will give you all the info you need to dominate your opponents in multiplayer Quake II. From controller configuration to reorganizing the environment, everything you need is right here. Take this knowledge, absorb it, and use it-be a marine that’ll make your mamma proud.

If you want to succeed in multiplayer DeathMatching, you must first learn the tools of the trade. Don’t use a controller configuration that makes absolutely no sense to you; instead, pick one that you find easy to understand and comfortable to use.

Controllers – The Keyboard

The keyboard is by far the most commonly used controller. Its simplicity and practicality make it especially appropriate for beginners. Since the controls on the keyboard are already predefined, you don’t have to deal with the complexity and hassle of customizing your own keys. Don’t get me wrong, defining and customizing the keys in a way that makes sense to you is definitely a good idea; however, it may be an overwhelming task for a beginner.

If you are not a beginner, then take the time to experiment with a few different setups before settling on one. Pick the setup that is the most comfortable and simple for you. It should act as an extension of your hand and mind-you shouldn’t have to think about pressing the correct keys. Instead, you should press the keys as a natural reaction to what you see on the screen.

If you’re a beginner, you may experience some motion sickness because it takes time to adjust your senses to this new 3D experience. The keyboard has a constant turning rate that’ll help you keep your senses in relative balance until you’ve fully adjusted to the game. You’ll find, though, that as you get better, a constant turning rate may put you at a disadvantage. If more advanced players are dancing circles around you, it’s time to switch to a more efficient controller configuration.

The Best Way to Play – Mouse Control

The Keyboard & Mouse Combo

The best controller combination for playing 3D shooter games is some variation of the keyboard and mouse configuration. The addition of the mouse offers you a turning speed that is controlled by you, rather than fixed at a constant rate by the computer. You can adjust your mouse sensitivity level to as low or high a setting as you wish, depending on how quickly you want to be able to turn. The actual mouse should not be used for movement-it would be an absolute pain (as well as ineffective) to have to constantly roll your mouse backwards, then lift it up and place it back down on the pad. Almost all of your movement should be done with the keyboard and all of your aiming should be done with the mouse. If you choose to use your mouse buttons as movement keys, bind the buttons to specific movements, rather than actions that require you to move your mouse in order to work. This is especially important because being able to turn and maneuver at the same time is essential in DeathMatch.

(Example: If you use one of your mouse buttons to “strafe” instead of “strafe left” or “strafe right,” then you would have to hold down that button and move your mouse sideways in order to strafe. You would not be able to aim and turn while strafing. Instead, bind the button to “strafe left” and another button to “strafe right,” then you do not have to move the mouse in order to strafe.)

Most Common Mouse and Keyboard Configurations

W
forward
S
backward
A/D
strafe left/right
Space bar
jump
Mouse1 (first mouse button)
fire
Mouse2 (second mouse button)
crouch

Some people use mouse2 to run forward or jump. With a three-button mouse, you can do both by using mouse2 and mouse3.

If you’d like to see my personal configuration, it’s actually built into the game. Type exec thresh.cfg at the console and give it a try. My configuration is a slight variation of the common mouse and keyboard configuration, with just a few added keys for weapons.

Other Configurations

Joysticks tend to have a maximum fixed turning rate, not unlike that of the keyboard. Although a tad more versatile than a keyboard-only configuration, the imprecision of a joystick severely decreases its effectiveness. In my opinion, joysticks are extremely ineffective in 3D action games and should be avoided. It’s become apparent that the best and most cost-effective controller configuration to use is the keyboard and mouse setup.

Setting Up Multiplayer Quake II

Quake II makes playing over a LAN or the Internet extremely simple and straightforward. Traditionally, id concentrates on making the game open-ended and letting their more ambitious users create the tools and services needed to automate and simplify tasks. Quake II is no different. There are shareware and freeware services that can point you to hundreds of ongoing Internet games, from which you can connect and disconnect at will.

Most likely, your entire experience with Quake II Net play will be as a client, connecting to a full-time Quake II server somewhere in the world. This makes setting up games easier for you-your primary concern is no longer where to find opponents, but where and rather how long you wish to play.

Playing Quake II on the Internet

Once you’ve connected to the Internet, you can join any Internet Quake II server, provided it’s not password protected or full. The easiest way to find a list of currently running Quake II servers is to get a commonly available shareware program, such as GameSpy 3D. These programs query Internet Quake II server listings for live servers, and test the quality of your connection to them (the “ping” to the server).

Note:  In general, lower ping numbers reflect better gameplay and faster reaction times.

If you’re on a 28.8kbps connection, good pings range from 180 to 250 milliseconds (ms). Playable connects can range up to 350-depending, of course, on the connection quality and preference of the individual players. New 56kbps standards, such as X2 and K56Flex modems, can achieve ping times of under 140 to close servers, a marked improvement over base 28.8 connections. ISDN lines allow for excellent play at pings from 60-180ms. Anything higher means the connection is suffering and losing bits of data being transmitted to and from the server (the same phenomenon happens consistently for modem connects at around 300 ping). A T1 line or faster can offer pings as low as 30ms to close servers, and can remain playable without data loss to very distant servers, which can still ping under 150. Usually, pings above 150-200 on a T1 indicate a bad connection to the server, and may be less playable than a modem pinging a steady 200 to a nearby server.

Connecting to Internet Servers

Note:  Once in a while, you’ll join a server and people will be doing things you know aren’t included in the game. You’ve just connected to a modified server. If you’re interested in checking it out, feel free to ask any of the players what the modification, or “mod,” is called and how to play.

If you’ve played the original Quake over the Internet, you’ll be relieved to know that Quake II has changed little. You can connect to a server by entering its IP address (a numbered code identifying a computer on the Internet, something like 128.21.186.45) or hostname (quake2.is.good.com) in the address book, under the Multiplayer > Join Network Server menu, or you can connect directly through GameSpy. Once connected, you’ll notice that you’ve spawned in the level that the server is currently playing, and everyone else will be running around already fragging and getting fragged. Just grab a weapon and join the fray.

LAN TCP/IP Quake II

Quake II diverges from the current trend of multiplayer games by supporting only the TCP/IP network protocol, which is the standard protocol for communication over the Internet. Unfortunately, this means that most gaming LAN setups, based on the IPX/SPX protocol, must be modified to also support TCP/IP. If you are playing from an office or college campus, most likely your LAN is already running on TCP/IP. Rule of thumb-if you are directly connected to the Internet from your network, you’re running TCP/IP.

NoteQuake II does not support direct modem to modem or serial null cable connections. If you want to DeathMatch against a friend, your best bet is to find an empty server over the Internet. Or, if your computers are in the same building, consider investing roughly $30-$50 each for a LAN setup.

However, if your computer is on an isolated LAN, you may need to install TCP/IP for every computer you want to network Quake II with. You can do this in Windows 95 by clicking on Network in your Control Panel. Click on Add… under the Configuration Tab, and double-click Protocols. Select Microsoft as the Manufacturer, and click TCP/IP. Then click on “File and Print Sharing” and select “I want to be able to give others access to my files” and select OK. You may need to insert your Windows 95 CD-ROM for the correct drivers to load. When you reboot, your systems should be able to communicate with the new protocol. The easiest way to test this is to start Quake II on one machine and select Start Network Server from the Multiplayer menu. Once the game begins, hop on one of the other machines and see if you can “connect to network server.”

Weapons

Advanced Weapons Training

Now that you’re ready to take on Multiplayer Quake II, you must learn to master the tools of the trade. Any skills you might’ve learned slaughtering monsters in single play have little bearing when you’re approaching human opponents. You’ll see players using their standard weapons in ways you’ve never imagined and their lightning quick reflexes require you to reevaluate most of what you have learned fighting the Strogg. The first thing to know is that many of the weapons you’ve been using are probably a lot more powerful than you first imagined-if you use them correctly. Also, some weapons can leave you vulnerable at inopportune moments if you aren’t careful. “Multiplayer weapons tactics” is not grabbing the first gun you see and hunting for victims, but rather knowing when and where to use specific guns and how to use them effectively.

Know Your Weapons

One of the most important things to familiarize yourself with is the ammo capacity of your weapons. Learn how many rockets come with the rocket launcher and in each rocket pack. Knowing how many shots you have is crucial if you don’t want to be caught in a firefight and run out of ammunition. This is important for every weapon, and can easily be the deciding factor in whether you should continue to attack or retreat.

All weapons in Quake II have their own unique attributes. Learn their characteristics and behaviors well. The spin-up/spin-down times of the chain gun and the hyper blaster are significant. In the middle of a fight, if you run out of ammo for either of these weapons, you are practically helpless in the time it takes for them to spin down and swap out to a new gun. The BFG has a specific pre-delay time before firing. Learn this well so you don’t get gibbed by a super shotgun because you mis-timed a shot.

Blaster

This is your last choice for most situations. It has unlimited ammo, but only does 15 points of damage per shot, and is generally difficult to hit with, due to its moderate rate of fire and no spread. If you’re out of ammo but you’ve got your opponent on the run, the blaster should be capable of finishing him off. Otherwise, save this for shooting up buttons.

Shotgun

The shotgun returns to Quake II with some changes. The shot cluster remains very compact, making it ideal for sniping at distant foes. A direct shot from the shotgun will inflict a respectable 48 points of damage, but considering the power of the other weapons in the game, you’re better off finding a stronger gun for most situations.

Super Shotgun

The double-barreled super shotgun is arguably the most versatile weapon in the game. It inflicts an incredible 102 points of damage with a direct hit, and its spread is large enough to ensure that your opponent cannot walk away from a battle unscathed. It’s also great for medium range skirmishes – just using this gun may be enough to keep your opponent from attempting a head-on charge. Shotgun shells are the most common forms of ammunition found on levels, so you’ll probably never be in short supply. The super shotgun also fires at the exact same rate as the standard shotgun, just over one second per shot. The incredible punch of this weapon is excellent for surprise attacks. If you know your opponent is just around the corner, there’s no better way to surprise him than with a super shotgun blast to the face.

The Big Guns

Rocket Launcher

This unique weapon remains one of the more powerful weapons in the game. Using it effectively requires both reflexes and strategy-the weapon has a higher learning curve than most others in the game. The first trick to know is called shooting ground. This is a very simple technique that can do wonders for your rocket launcher aim. The concept is very easy to understand. Rockets move quite slowly and are relatively easy to dodge. So what is it that rockets have that most other weapons do not? They have a blast radius (caused by their explosions), meaning that a rocket doesn’t have to hit you directly in order to inflict damage. Here is where the technique comes into play-aim at your opponent’s feet instead of his body. If executed properly, your chances of hurting him are substantially higher. Even if you miss him with the actual rocket, the rocket will not fly past him, but will instead explode next to his feet where he will still take damage.

If you are engaged in a point blank fight with rockets, be careful. A direct shot on your opponent will likely be close enough for you to also take damage from your own rocket. In this case, aim for the floor directly to the side or slightly behind your opponent. This should be far enough from you to prevent suffering damage from the blast radius, but close enough to your opponent to injure him greatly.

If your opponent has the upper ground, the rocket launcher can still be a deadly weapon. Examine his perch-if it has a low ceiling or if he is standing next to a wall, shooting at it should cause him collateral damage from the blast radius, and may be enough to force him away from his advantageous location. Many players (once realizing they’ve been hit from below) will jump down from their spot and attempt to engage you on level ground, where ironically, you will no longer be at a disadvantage.

Hyper Blaster

The big brother to the standard blaster, the hyper blaster is a powerful weapon that fires at a fast rate. Damage from each cell is considerable, and up close, the hyper blaster can be as effective as the chain gun and super shotgun. This weapon is very useful in tight corners and narrow hallways, as there is little room to evade the shots. In an open area, it is less ideal, as players can strafe, run, jump, and duck through many of your efforts, and you may find you’re running low on ammo before hurting your targets much. The hyper blaster also has a significant spin-down time, during which it cannot shoot until the barrel comes to a complete stop. Take cover or finish off your opponent before releasing the trigger.

Rail Gun

One of the most impressive weapons in the game, the rail gun is also one of the most specialized. Not the ideal weapon to carry into a firefight due to its extremely slow firing rate, the rail gun serves its purpose as a long-range sniping weapon. A direct hit causes exactly 100 points of damage, and though the blue smoke trail will show him exactly where you are, most likely your opponent will be too hurt and busy running for cover to attempt to retaliate. Rail guns can also be very useful at the end of long hallways or aimed at doorways when you know exactly where your opponent must enter.

If a rail gun sniper hits you from long range, the important thing to remember is not to panic and run away. He’s been waiting there for some time just for someone to come along the way you did; so he was prepared. If you keep moving, it will be very difficult for him to hit you again. Look at the dissipating spiral smoke trail, it will point directly to where he is camping out. A few rockets or a BFG blast should do for payback.

And the Biggest Gun…

BFG10K

The king of all weapons makes an encore performance from its introduction in DOOM. It’s extremely powerful-a direct hit will incur no less than 400 points of damage, but each shot requires 50 cells. The beauty of the BFG is that it doesn’t require a direct hit to do major damage. As the iridescent ball flies toward its target, rays of green light will shoot out from it, lancing anyone in its line of sight. This makes the BFG very useful in several ways. Fire a shot into a large crowd, and anyone in its line of sight will take significant damage from its tracers.

Additionally, once the blast impacts a wall, any player in line of sight to you and the explosion will take extra damage, in many cases enough to finish them off. So your goal with a BFG is twofold. You must aim the gun so the plasma ball keeps your opponent in its field of view as it travels, and your opponent must have direct line of sight to both you and the ball the instant it impacts with a structure or another player.

The BFG is also useful as a reconnaissance tool. If you know someone is holed up in a room directly adjacent to you, fire the BFG through the doorway. The chances are he’ll come into its line of sight at some point, and if the tracer beam doesn’t kill him, it’ll be nothing less than a huge glowing arrow broadcasting his location to you.

Important Quad Pointers

When you have the quad damage you automatically become the most formidable enemy for anyone in the game, and thus the center of attention. The majority of the players you’ll come across will be avoiding you like the plague; however, there’ll likely be a handful of players that will be gunning for you specifically, mainly because you pose too much of a threat to simply be left alone.

Note:  You can easily distinguish a player with quad by the translucent blue field that surrounds him.

Here are a few quad-specific strategies to bear in mind:

People tend to throw caution into the wind, as if they were invincible
You can afford to be somewhat reckless when you’re wielding a non-explosive weapon, but if you’re using an explosive weapon such as the rocket launcher, you need to take an extraordinary amount of care and caution or else you’ll end up killing yourself. It’s not uncommon to occasionally hurt yourself when using explosive weapons; however, those little taps could cost you your life when you have quad. If an enemy runs up close to you when you’re wielding a rocket launcher or similar weapon, switch to a non-explosive-preferably a super shotgun or chain gun. I guarantee it’ll make your day a lot more pleasant.

You need to be especially careful when rounding corners. If you happen to be firing a rocket as you’re rounding a corner, but your opponent (who was waiting around the corner) was able to fire his rocket out first, his rocket will hit you and bounce you off somewhere. If you were pressing the fire button as you rounded the corner, you may find yourself facing a wall and blowing yourself to bits.

Blast radius also does four times the damage

There are no exceptions when using the quad damage; all of your weapons, including the explosions some of them create, inflict four times the damage. With your weapons dealing four times the damage, you can afford to miss your rockets by a bigger margin. Aim for ceilings, walls, pillars, and the floor…anything that is near your opponent. The blast radius should be powerful enough to kill him.

Disadvantages of having the quad damage

There really aren’t many things bad about having the quad damage. Because a player who has the quad no longer emits a glow or aura around him like in Quake I, it makes a quaded player more powerful than ever. The only real disadvantage of having quad is that you create a very loud, distinguishing noise whenever you fire. That, however, is not enough of a disadvantage to justify ever passing up a quad damage.

How to defend yourself against a quaded enemy

Use hit and run tactics inside small corridors. You never want to fight a quaded enemy out in the open. The destructive power of having four times the damage will simply eat you up. Instead, make him chase you into the hallways. Wait around the corner for him to walk inside. When he does, shoot him in the face, then run around to the next corner.

If he’s using a chain gun or hyper blaster, do not try running by him. Keep backing up around corners to avoid being mowed down by his rapid-fire weapons.

Special Items and Powerups

Power Shield (Energy Armor)

The power shield is an extremely useful item to have. It does not have a time limit, so you will have this item till you die. It can run out of energy, however, and can be recharged by simply picking up more cells. When you have the power shield, do not waste your cells on firing the hyper blaster or the BFG, unless you don’t have any other good weapons. If you couple it with regular armor, it makes you an extremely hard person to kill. Because it’s so effective, you should try to keep the power shield away from the enemy.

If you run out of cells, the power shield deactivates. To turn it back on, reselect it from your inventory. An easy way to do this is to bind a key to “use power shield.”

Silencer

The silencer is a great item to have when you want to snipe at your opponent. Pick a good hiding spot and wait for him to walk by. As soon as he does, use a weapon-preferably a powerful one that does a lot of damage with just one shot – and tag him in the back. Since all he hears is the reload of your weapon, he may not necessarily know exactly what happened or where the shot came from.

Example: On Base1, hide by crouching on the right side of the stairs (near the silencer) that leads out to the outdoor area (where the rocket launcher is). Most people will go straight for the rocket launcher when they enter that area. As soon as you see them walk out, blast them in the back with rockets.

This tactic is also very effective for sniping at long distances. If you are far enough away, he will not be able to hear your weapon reload. Remember to use a weapon that doesn’t leave a trace after it’s fired or he’ll be able to follow the trail back to your hiding spot.

Item Respawns

It’s important to know the respawn time of all the items in the game. If you can keep track of the approximate item respawn times in your head, it’ll make it a lot easier for you to control the level. All you really need to know is roughly when the item is going to reappear. So, as long as you get there a tad early, you will be the first to get it. This becomes especially effective if your opponent is really good with a specific weapon and you can keep the weapon away from him by picking it up every time it respawns, thereby preventing him from obtaining his favorite weapon. This tactic can also be used to control the quad damage as well as any other item.

Using Markers

This timing tactic works extremely well, especially when you use it to control important items. The tactic is fittingly called “marking,” as in marking the items. When you do this you use another item as a marker for the important item you’re trying to control.

Example: On Base3, there is an environment suit about 10 seconds away from the quad damage. Pick up the environment suit (your marker), then run to the quad. Pause several seconds before picking it up to make sure you have some spare time in case you get held up on the way there the next time. Since both the environment suit and the quad damage respawn in one minute, you’ll know the next time you see the suit reappear that the quad damage will be reappearing 10 seconds later. Remember that if you do not pick up the suit the next time, you will lose your marker. You can sit and wait at the environment suit until it respawns, then run for the quad. If timed correctly, you will run over the quad at the exact moment it reappears. You can essentially do this the entire game and effectively keep the quad damage away from your opponent. Of course, the environment suit and quad damage are just examples of what you can do with this marking tactic. The same tactic can be used with any item and on any level you wish. Keep in mind that you might want to use a less popular item as a marker-one that people tend to overlook-so that they don’t coincidentally pick up the item you’re using as a marker.

ITEM RESPAWN TIMES

Adrenaline
1 minute
Ammo packs
30 seconds
Armor & armor shards
20 seconds
Backpack
1 minute
Bandoleer
1 minute
Enviro-suit
1 minute
Invulnerability
5 minutes
Power shield
1 minute
Quad
1 minute
Rebreather
1 minute
Silencer
1 minute
Mega-health
20 seconds after it runs out
Weapons
30 seconds

Learn the Levels!

Knowing the battleground you will be fighting on is absolutely vital in DeathMatching. DeathMatching is not unlike real battle, where the army that knows the terrain better has a sizable advantage. You should memorize and be able to recognize everything about the levels-this includes all the weapons, artifacts, items, secrets, doors, buttons, DeathMatch spawns, etc. After playing on the levels for a while, you will start picking up on patterns that people tend to make. You will also be able to recognize sounds and be able to associate a particular tendency after that sound.

Sounds

Quake II is not unlike a horror movie; only half of the surprise that makes the movie scary is what you see, the other half is what you don’t see. Just as sounds play an integral part in making a good horror movie, sounds are just as integral in making a good DeathMatcher. You must learn to recognize and distinguish all the different sounds in the game. An experienced DeathMatcher can tell, by listening closely to the sounds you make, approximately where you are, what you’re up to, and what you are going to do next. However, you must not only be able to recognize all the different sounds in the game, but you must also be able to locate where the sounds are coming from. Even then, you cannot fully use the sounds to your advantage if you do not know the level you are playing on by heart.

Example: If you heard your opponent pick up the quad damage on Base1, but didn’t know where the quad damage was at, it would not help you much at all. You know you have to be careful because he has the quad, but you have no idea from what room or direction he’ll be coming from.

The Importance of Stealth

If you’re planning an attack against an opponent, you want to be as quiet and stealthy as possible. Surprise has a huge effect on the outcome of most skirmishes. Since you’ve learned how big of a factor sound plays in DeathMatching, you must now learn how to make as little noise as possible when playing, so that your opponent cannot hear what you’re doing, where you’re at, and where you’re planning on going. Since picking up objects generally produces the most noise in the game, if you’re planning on a surprise attack, don’t pick up any unnecessary items or any items at all, en route to the enemy.

Sometimes it’s even a good idea to pass up health kits if you’re trying to surprise your opponent. Health kits are usually very scarce and spread out within a level, thus if your opponent hears you pick one up, he can quite accurately guess, by process of elimination, where you’re probably at. Everything comes down to opportunity cost-that you sacrifice one thing for another.

Example: Your opponent is camping at the quad damage on Base1. He has no idea you’re actually in the room with him, standing by the boxes, wielding a super shotgun. Unfortunately, you only have six shotgun shells left. There are two shotgun ammo packs next to you. The decision you have to make, or the opportunity cost, is whether or not you want to pick up the extra shells. If you pick them up, you give away your position and thus lose your advantage of surprise. If you pass them up, you risk the chance of running out of ammo before you can kill him.

The Art of Deception

Good players learn to use sounds to deceive the enemy. Because listening to sounds is a huge part of the game, you can make sounds specifically intended to lead your opponent to think you are up to something or going somewhere, when you’re doing the opposite. It won’t be long before the other player figures out that you are faking a lot of sounds; however, the underlying goal-to confuse your enemy-is achieved. He will be forced to stay on his toes and he will never be sure whether or not the sound he heard was real or fake.

Common Sense and Maps, part 2

Some Good Ways to Trick Your Opponent

Step on a lift or elevator to make it go up, then step off as soon as it starts going up. Your opponent will hear the lift and assume you’re on your way up. But, instead, go around the backside and surprise him while his attention is directed towards the lift.

Example: Use this on Fact3 if your opponent is camping on the top level. Fake going up the lift, then run around quickly to the teleporter near to the hyper blaster and super mega health. It should only take you a few seconds to get there. You’ll teleport behind your opponent on the top level and will have a clear shot at his back.

If you know where the other player is, pick up an item that’ll give away your position, then go around the backside and attack him from the other direction. His attention will be focused in the direction of the item you picked up. He will usually assume you picked up the item and will either be on your way out or waiting there for him to come around the corner.

Example: On Base2, in the underground area below the quad damage, pick up the super shotgun and hear your opponent above you…he’s waiting to ambush you by the stairs when you come out. Use the ladder in the back to get out, then come around his blind side and attack him from the back.

Jumping once or twice does wonders to confuse your opponent. If your opponent thinks he knows where you are, sometimes jumping in place a couple of times will throw him off a bit. Just that second’s worth of hesitation is usually enough to let you capitalize on the situation, whether it’s escaping or a surprise attack.

When you and your opponent are at a stalemate, meaning you are both firing at a doorway waiting for the other to be aggressive and charge in, try switching to a blaster momentarily and firing off a couple shots, then switching back to your original weapon. Have your trigger finger ready.

Firing the blaster will give the other player the impression that you ran out of ammo; that should be enough of a motivator to make him think it’s safe to go in after you. When he charges in, he’ll get a shot right in the face.

Tip:  Basic rule of thumb: If you think you heard something, shoot first, ask questions later, and never trust anything unless you can see it with your own eyes.

Distinct Sounds

These are sounds you should listen carefully for, but should also be careful not to make. They are very distinct and are telltale signs of where you might be headed or what you might be up to.

Footsteps

Although footsteps give off very little sound, they can give away your position. If you do not want to make any noise while moving, you must walk (not run). Furthermore, if you are walking, you must only use one movement key at a time. You can strafe and you can walk, but do not do them simultaneously. Use this knowledge to sneak up on an opponent.

Warning

Be extra careful with an item that creates a lot of noise when you use it, such as the quad. You may have a rocket waiting around the corner if you’re not alert.

Running Down Staircases

There are other sounds in the game that can give away your position. Running down certain staircases is actually one sound in particular that is very commonly produced and overlooked. If you run down certain staircases too quickly, you will produce a small sound, similar to that of dropping from a short ledge. You should be very careful when running down stairs because it’ll give away your exact position as well as the direction you’re headed. (In order to avoid making a noise while on these staircases, walk slowly down them (either by turning off your run key or by tapping your forward button) or by strafing slowly down them. I’ve also found that looking at your feet while walking down the stairs usually works just fine.

Common Sense and Maps, part 2

Watch for Missing items

Pay close attention to your surroundings. Take notice of items that are missing and doors that are opened. If you know the item respawn times, missing items can tell you where your opponent is. Several items respawning in chronological order, from first to last, can you tell what direction your opponent was headed.

Example: On Base1, if you come up from the armor room under the super shotgun area you’ll notice the super shotgun and its ammo boxes respawning. As you walk towards the doorway to the next room, you notice the two stimpacks respawning. As you walk into the next room, you notice the armor shards respawning. This order of respawning tells you that your opponent picked up these items while walking in this direction, meaning he is very likely to be on the side of the level that you are headed to. Additionally, if you walk into a room and notice that the armor is missing, that gives you a good indication that your opponent is close-by-since armor respawns in only 20 seconds.

WHAT’S BEHIND DOOR NUMBER ONE?

Back up and strafe away as soon as you open a door. Since you must walk up to a door in order to open it, players will often wait on the other side of a closed door for an unsuspecting victim to open it. As soon as the victim opens the door, they get a direct shot in the face. (This tactic is very commonly used on Base1 with the door leading into the quad room.) Now that you know this, be careful when opening a door and always move away after you’ve opened it so that you aren’t in the line of fire.

Back up and strafe to avoid being killed after you open doors.

DeathMatch Spawns

In a typical Quake II level, there are at least seven DeathMatch start spots. Due to the size of some of the levels, it is unlikely you’ll be able to know exactly where your opponent respawned. If you have the DeathMatch respawn spots memorized, though, you can get a pretty good idea where your opponent is based on the process of elimination. Here’s how it works:

Based on the respawn spots that you can see, you can eliminate those out of the possible spawns.

Note:  Knowing where the enemy respawned is actually worth a lot more than just knowing where the enemy is located. Since you know where he reappeared, you basically know what weapons he has access to; thus, you can prepare accordingly.

If you listen carefully, you’ll be able to tell the distance of the respawn. If he sounded close-by, you can eliminate all of the respawns that are far away, plus the ones that you can see. If he sounded far away, you can eliminate all the spawns that are close-by. If you didn’t hear him respawn, assume that he respawned pretty far away.

By now there should only be a handful of respawn spots left that he could possibly be at. What you should listen for are items that are near the remaining respawn spots.

Example: On Base1, there is a respawn near the armor shards. If, after you kill him, you don’t hear him respawn, but you hear the armor shards being picked up, then you know exactly where he’s at because those are the only armor shards available on that level.

Ladder Tricks and Tactics

Ladders add a whole new element to DeathMatching. It allows people to reach areas that before could only be reached by taking an elevator, lift, or stairs. The speed at which you can climb ladders varies, depending on whether you are climbing up or down and which keys you are using to do so. The speed at which you climb up ladders, whether you are using the jump key or forward, is always at top climbing speed. However, the speed at which you climb down varies, depending on whether you use “movedown” or forward. If you use “movedown,” you will climb at a rate half of what you would climb if you used forward to climb down. Just look down and walk forward if you want to climb down quickly.

One thing you cannot do on ladders is turn more than 90 degrees without falling. This makes it especially difficult to fight someone while on the ladder; however, there are maneuvers that you can use to balance the scales. When fighting someone while on a ladder, climb to the top, aim and shoot at the enemy. Since you cannot turn more than 90 degrees on the ladder without falling, you will fall down after shooting. Keep the forward key down while you’re falling and grab the ladder when you’re about halfway down. Climb back up the ladder and repeat this process. This should effectively make you a very hard target to hit, as you’re bobbing up and down this ladder taking potshots at the enemy.

Tip:  If you’re being chased, jump off a ledge near a ladder and grab on to the ladder on your way down. The enemy will think you dropped all the way to the bottom and will follow suit. You should be on your way back up while he’s falling.

Here’s a good tactic to use if someone is below or behind you when you’re going up the ladder. Turn around, take a shot at them, and then turn back around to face the ladder. If you do it fast enough, you will not slip more than a couple rungs. If you are holding down jump while performing this maneuver, it will seem as if you never slipped at all. Also, if you are on the way up the ladder and see someone camping at the top, you can get out of his line of fire by pushing off the ladder-hit backward and jump simultaneously to do this. 

Example: There is a ladder that leads up to the super shotgun (in the corridors between the quad damage and the environmental suit) on Base3 that you can practice these ladder tactics on.

Advanced Movement and Dodging

As the popular saying goes, “Offense scores the points, but defense wins the game.” You can have great aim, but to fully dominate another player, you need to avoid getting hit. This section will describe, in detail, what you should do and how you should move to keep yourself from getting killed.

Circle Strafing

One of the fundamental techniques you should learn is the circle strafe. Circle strafing is the skill of circling around your opponent while keeping him in your sights the entire time. The purpose of this maneuver is to be able to keep the sights on your opponent and shoot at him while dodging around in a circle.

In order to execute the circle strafe, you must be strafing in one direction while turning your mouse in the opposite direction. The key to executing this maneuver successfully is to use smooth and continuous movements, especially when it comes to keeping your aim on the enemy. Although it’s very unlikely that the enemy will stand still and allow you to circle around him, you can adapt your movements based on where he moves to keep him in your sights.

A good way to practice your circle strafing technique is to find a pillar in one of the maps and circle strafe around it. Using a weapon that has a continuous rate of fire, such as the machine gun, keep your aim on the pillar while circle strafing around it. (Base2 has several pillars you can practice this technique on.)

Avoiding Patterns in Your Movement

Good players will pick up your dodging and strafing patterns. If you tend to strafe right a lot more than you strafe left, you will find yourself losing many shotgun or rocket battles. The best way to keep your opponent on his toes is to mix up your strafing tendencies. Start off by strafing left more often than you strafe right. Then, a few minutes into the game, switch and do the opposite. A few minutes afterward, start strafing left and right equally. By avoiding patterns in your movement, you will make yourself an extremely difficult target to track and hit.

Using Forward/Backward while Strafing

By using forward and backward while dodging, you are forcing the enemy to not only adjust his aim horizontally, but also to adjust his aim vertically for varying distances. Additionally, the closer you are to your opponent, the more drastic your movements appear to be. Thus, if you are moving forward, backward, and side to side, it will make you that much more difficult to hit.

Use the timing of the weapon reloads to dodge and counter-attack. Every weapon has its own reload time. The shotgun and super shotgun in particular have very distinct reload times. If you find yourself in the middle of a super shotgun battle with an opponent, listen carefully to the sound of his gun. A person’s general tendency is to shoot right after the gun reloads. Knowing this, a split-second before his gun reloads, strafe the other direction. This movement will force him to have to adjust his aim to hit you rather than have a target moving in a straight path. You can also counter-attack by timing his reload time. The super shotgun is a weapon that does considerably more damage up-close. So, when you know he is reloading his weapon, use that opportunity to move in closer to take your shot. Right after you fire, move backwards (while still strafing). If you do it correctly, you will be able to shoot him up-close. Then, by the time his weapon, is reloaded, his shots are rendered considerably less effective because of the distance you created by backing up.

Crouching

This feature adds a new element never seen before in id’s games. Crouching is a great way to hide from the enemy’s view and also makes for a great sniping tool. When the enemy walks by, stand up from behind your box, fire a rocket in his back, and then crouch again. When he turns around, you’re nowhere to be seen. Crouching also reduces the size of your bounding box, which basically includes your entire body and your gun-making you a harder target to hit. However, due to the slow speed at which you move while crouched, it’s not recommended that you fight crouched while in battle.

When used effectively, crouching can save you many lives.

To use crouch effectively, hit crouch a split second before the enemy fires. If you time it correctly, you should be able to duck under most of his fire.

Advanced Movement and Dodging

Jumping

Jumping is a very basic action-one that everyone uses at one point or another while playing Quake II. However, using jumping as a dodging tactic is usually underrated and overlooked. You can actually jump high enough so that you’d jump over a super shotgun blast if your opponent were aiming at your midsection. In fact, you would jump over most weapons if they were aimed at your midsection. You will also sustain less damage if you are in mid-air when an opponent’s rocket explodes beneath you, since you are further away from the blast than you would be if you hadn’t jumped. Being in mid-air also gives you the advantage of being at higher ground; you have a better attack angle at the enemy. Jump over an enemy rocket to minimize damage.

Tip:  You can jump higher with a running start.

Unfortunately, jumping produces a loud noise that easily gives away your position to anyone nearby. You do not want to jump around all the time (especially not through an entire battle) because with repeated usage, your opponent will be able to time when you land after each jump.

Running Backwards

As simple as it may sound, running backwards is a skill that should not and cannot be overlooked. Many people can run backwards, but not all of those people can run backwards well. One of the advantages of being able to run backwards well is that you can still shoot at your opponent even while running away. Additionally, if you know your opponent is somewhere behind you, you can essentially watch your back the entire time (by running backwards) and not have to worry about him sneaking up behind you. There are some disadvantages to running backwards, though. One disadvantage is that you have to know the levels extremely well in order to run backwards fluidly, since you cannot see ahead of time where the corridor turns. You must also remember that while running backwards, turning left will make you walk right, and vice versa.

Being able to switch from running forward to running backward quickly is also a good skill to have. While running forward, do a quick 180-degree turn, simultaneously switching from hitting the forward key to the backward key. If you do it correctly, you will have switched from running forward to running backward without ever slowing down or veering off course.

Turbo Running

Instead of running in a straight line, start running then jump diagonally. As soon as your marine starts running, strafe in one direction (while still holding down forward), and jump in that direction. As soon as you land, strafe in the opposite direction and jump again. Repeat this process. If done correctly, you will actually be able to travel faster than you would have been able to if you were just running in a straight line.

Advanced Maneuvers

These are extremely useful maneuvers and tactics that you should practice day in and day out until you can perform them in your sleep. The first maneuver in particular, rocket jumping, has a huge impact on DeathMatching. An experienced DeathMatcher will use this maneuver at least several times in the duration of a game.

Rocket Jumping

Rocket jumping, as it has been so aptly named, is the combination of jumping and firing a rocket at the ground simultaneously. A rocket jump, when executed properly, will propel you up into the air, flying several times further and/or higher than you would normally be able to jump. It can be used to escape from or cut off an enemy, get to areas that would otherwise be impossible to reach, and considerably cut down the time it would take to get to certain areas.

There are many different variations of the rocket jump, as well as many different uses for each variation. The angle at which you fire the rocket and the time interval between when you jump and press fire all affect the trajectory, height, and distance of the jump.

Damage Inflicted

A rocket jump takes off about 50 health points, give or take a few health points depending on what height you were at when you fired the rocket. Generally, it is not a good idea to rocket jump unless you have some armor or full health.

Physics

The physics in Quake II do not allow you to change direction in mid-air. Thus, you should calculate your rocket jumps accordingly lest you undershoot or overshoot your intended destination.

Warning:  Rocket jumping is far less effective on slopes.

Effects of Different Hand Positions

With “hand 0” (right-handed), the weapons fire from a slightly off-centered trajectory from the right towards the center. “Hand 1” (left-handed) fires from a similar trajectory, but from the left towards the center. “Hand 2” (center-view) fires straight from the middle. The minor differences in trajectory have little affect on the overall gameplay; however, they do have a noticeable affect on rocket jumping. Using “hand 0” when rocket jumping will shift your player slightly towards the left, and “hand 1″will shift the player slightly towards the right.

Basic Rocket Jump

If you are new to rocket jumping, the basic rocket jump is a good way to learn the simple steps. To execute this rocket jump, make sure you have rockets and enough health and armor to survive a rocket blast. Go into an open area with a high ceiling and walk into the center of the room. Look down at your feet and when you’re ready, press jump and fire simultaneously. Remember that the time between when you hit jump and fire will effect the height of your jump. After you’ve practiced that several times, try to look back up to eye level while you’re in mid-air. When you no longer have to think about the chronology of the keys, you can move on to the running rocket jump.

Tip:  The best way to practice rocket jumping without dying is to load up a game with cheat modes on. In the console, type give all to give yourself all the weapons, g_unlimited_ammo 1 to give yourself unlimited ammo, and god to put yourself in god-mode.

Running and Jumping

Running Rocket Jump (Forward)

The running rocket jump is the most standard and common rocket jump used by players. The sequence of keys is the same as the basic rocket jump, except that while you are going through the regular steps, you also want to hold down the forward key. There is a lot more timing and coordination involved when executing this rocket jump, so you should definitely put more time into practicing it. Find spots on the level where you normally would not be able to jump to and try rocket jumping up them. Use the same tip stated at the end of the basic rocket jump section to practice.

Rocket jumping will propel you high into the air.

Backward Rocket Jump

The backward rocket jump is used if you wish to propel yourself further or faster horizontally. Using the same technique as that of the running rocket jump, substitute the forward key with the backward key. By adjusting the angle at which you are pointing the rocket launcher to the ground, you can change the velocity and angle at which you are propelled horizontally and vertically. The more perpendicular you point your rocket launcher to the ground, the higher vertically but the less horizontally you will be propelled.

Rocket-jump backwards to propel yourself horizontally.

Strafing Rocket Jump

The strafing rocket jump is basically the same as the forward rocket jump, except instead of using forward, you use strafe. The outcome is more or less the same, though you do tend to be propelled more horizontally than you would with a forward rocket jump.

Rocket Jumping Made Simple

Grenade-Rocket Jump

This jump is basically designed to double your rocket jump height. The jump is achieved by rocket jumping at the exact same time as the grenade explodes on the ground. The easiest way to time the explosion of the grenade with the rocket jump is to switch to the grenade launcher, aim up towards the sky (do not aim totally up or else the grenade will fly behind you), and fire the grenade. Let the grenade bounce twice on the ground. On the second bounce, do a rocket jump on top of the grenade. This should propel you two times higher than a regular rocket jump.

Throw a grenade in the air, then rocket jump on the grenade as it explodes.

Tip:  You jump double the height, but you also sustain double the damage.

Barrel Jumping and Barrel-Rocket Jumping

Barrel jumping can be accomplished with any weapon and a barrel. The barrel jump inflicts about the same damage as a rocket jump and propels you to approximately the same height. However, the timing on a barrel jump is a little bit different than that of a rocket jump. In order to do a perfect barrel jump, you must fire before you jump. It takes about a quarter of a second for the barrel to explode, so fire then jump a quarter of a second later. You can also execute a backward rocket jump on top of the barrel, or even next to it.

A barrel-rocket jump is just as easy to do. You simply perform a rocket jump on top of a barrel. This maneuver will inflict double the damage of a regular rocket jump, but it will also propel you double the height.

BFG Jumping

The BFG now has an explosive nature, so you can create an effect similar to that of a rocket jump. In order to reach the maximum height for the BFG jump, you’ll need to count approximately 1.5 seconds after initially hitting fire before you press the jump key. (The BFG is the only gun with a pre-fire delay.) The BFG jump inflicts approximately double the damage of a regular rocket jump, but propels you less than double the height. I would consider it a waste of cells, health, and armor to use this jump unless in the most severe of circumstances.

Waves and Taunts

Waves are generally used as taunting tools more than anything else. They are great for poking fun at other players. However, team players will find great uses for waves one, three, and four. Instead of having to type out where you want your teammate to go, you can just point in the direction. To acknowledge you received the command, use salute. You can also wave at the person to tell him to come to you.

Wave Actions

Wave 0
flip-off
Wave 1
salute
Wave 2
taunt
Wave 3
wave
Wave 4
point

Tip:  If you want to make your friends laugh, try pressing some of the waves simultaneously. Your marine will look like he/she’s dancing.

One On One Strategies

Team games, free-for-alls, and the many other variations of the game are typically pretty decent indications of a person’s skills. Nevertheless, the one determining factor that the majority regards as the most accurate judgment of a player’s overall skill is how well they play in a one-on-one match. That particular assumption is actually not that far off. To excel in one-on-one requires a very well rounded set of skills. You must have quick reflexes, be capable and efficient with all the weapons, be keen to sound and visual cues, always be on your toes, and be ceaselessly thinking ahead.

Controlling the Level

If you wish to fully dominate another player, you must learn how to control the level. Controlling the level basically means that, at almost any given time, your opponent will be either weaponless or armor-less, because you are able to keep the items away from him. In the instance that he does have both good weapons and armor, you usually have something better. Controlling the level also means that you keep control of the vital items, such as the quad damage and invulnerability. Once you gain control of a level, use that opportunity to rack up your frag count.

Playing Keep Away

No matter how good of a player you are, there is only so much you can do without a decent weapon. If you can prevent your opponent from getting a good weapon, you greatly increase your chances of defeating him. Immediately after killing your opponent, don’t waste your time gathering more ammo. Instead, put pressure on him by hunting him down while he’s looking for a weapon. Let him get a decent weapon (such as a shotgun or machine gun) if it means you can prevent him from getting a good weapon
(such as the super shotgun, rocket launcher, or BFG). There are players who may be exceptional at running and evading when they are weaponless. To catch those players, lure them by using a good weapon as bait. Allow them to think they have a good chance at reaching the weapon by purposely leaving the weapon alone. Hide near enough to be able to steal it from him a second before he can. When he comes out to pick it up, ambush him.

Example: Wait near the rocket launcher on Base1. You can wait either next to the stairs or behind the rocket launcher box. When he comes out to get the rocket launcher, jump all over him.

Hide and wait to ambush your opponent.

One On One Strategies

Now, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to keep a good weapon away from him the entire game. When he does manage to get a good weapon, you must weigh your options. Part of the skill in this game is knowing when to play the odds. Knowing when you have an advantage or disadvantage before going into a fight will save you in innumerable occasions. After weighing your options, you can then decide whether you still wish to engage in combat or fall back to regroup. Here is a list of questions you might want to ask yourself before you choose to engage in a fight:

Who has more health and armor? If both of you have good weapons, the advantage obviously goes to whoever has more health and armor. If you’re sure you are more beefed up than he is, go in for the attack. Otherwise, you can choose to run away or ask yourself the next question.

Do you have a better fighting position? Fighting from higher ground gives you a better attack angle at your opponent, and is even more effective if you’re using rockets.

Example: In the outdoor area of Base1 near the rocket launcher and the water, there are slopes leading down into the water. The person fighting from the top will have an advantage over the person fighting from the bottom.

Do you have the element of surprise? The element of surprise goes a long way in this game. Even if you have less armor and health than your opponent, you can tip the scales severely in your favor if you’re able to surprise him. In a surprise attack, you have the advantage of getting the first shot off, and may likely get a second shot off before he even realizes he’s being shot at. With your first shot, you will likely hurt him enough to at least bring his health and armor to equal that of yours. With your second shot, you can finish him off.

Tip: The element of surprise does not necessarily mean you are hiding in a dark corner and waiting for him to walk by. If you can sneak up behind your opponent, that will work just as well.

How much ammo does he have? If he just picked up the good weapon, think about how much ammo he might have. If he didn’t pick up ammo prior to getting the weapon, it might be a good idea to go after him. Most of the weapons in the game start off with very little ammo.

Are you a better shot? This one is pretty obvious. If you think you can outshoot your opponent, then by all means, go out and pump him full of lead.

Know these questions by heart to the point where you can answer them in a split second without thinking. Throughout the entire duration of the match, you should be continually asking yourself and answering these questions. In the event you do find yourself in such a predicament, you’ll already know beforehand what choice you should make.

Controlling the Important Artifacts

Although players usually play without the quad damage in one-on-one matches, there are still a handful of players who like to play with it. The focus of your strategy should revolve around the quad when it is in the game. A good way to time the quad without using the marking tactic is, after the quad runs out, count to 20 seconds then start heading towards it. Be warned, do not arrive at the quad right before it respawns. If your opponent is waiting at the quad, he will be picking up the quad damage as you’re walking into the room…and you may get a quad rocket in the face.

The invulnerability is an equally important artifact you must control. It is a lot harder, almost impossible, to approximate when it is going to respawn, since it takes a good five minutes to respawn. I recommend either using quad as a timer (meaning if you get the first four quads, you know the invulnerability will be coming back at around the fifth quad), or by simply using a stopwatch.

The other artifacts, such as the silencer and power shield are useful, but maintaining their control does not come close to rivaling the importance of keeping the quad damage and the invulnerability under your control.

Free For All Deathmatch Strategies

One-on-one grudge matches, team tournaments, rocket and clan arenas; Quake II deathmatch seems to have instantly spawned numerous variations on standard deathmatch. However, very little attention has been paid to the granddaddy of Deathmatch – free-for-all (FFA.) Essentially billed as “grab a weapon and run around looking for targets,” free-for-all has never seemed worthy of specific strategies and tactics and is the game everyone plays but nobody notices. In reality, FFA has its own set of rules, dos, and don’ts just like every other variety of deathmatch. This chapter will provide an in-depth look at free-for-all strategy, and hopefully prove that the title is NOT an oxymoron.

Important Free For All Basics

Everyone is familiar with free-for-all mode. It’s what ships with the game, and it’s what virtually every player starts multiplayer with. There are two standard modes for Quake II FFA, known as Deathmatch 1 and Deathmatch 3.

Deathmatch 1

Weapons, health, powerups, and ammunition disappear when picked up, and respawn in the same place in 30 seconds. Weapons can be picked up multiple times per life: if the player already has the weapon, picking up another will increase his ammunition for that weapon. Armor disappears when picked up and respawns in 20 seconds.

Remarks: Standard Quake 1 FFA settings; allows control over certain areas of the map with powerful weapons (such as the hyperblaster or BFG). For levels with few weapons and little ammunition, this mode can become a tedious blaster-fest.

Deathmatch 3

Weapons remain at their spawn spots and do not disappear when picked up. These weapons can only be picked up once per life. Health, powerups and ammunition disappear when picked up and respawn in 30 seconds. Weapons dropped by dead players can be picked up by anyone. Armor disappears when picked up and respawns in 20 seconds.

Remarks: Very common DM setting for Quakeworld servers. Weapons are always available for players who have just spawned, and they do not provide additional ammo for those already wielding them. This mode makes camping particular weapons ineffectual, but can lead to huge, chaotic bloodbaths as large number of players continuously spawn and run for certain weapons.

Note: Deathmatch 2 is a mode in which weapons do not disappear when picked up, and armor/health/powerups do disappear, but never respawn. This was the standard deathmatch for Doom, which suited its fast speed, small levels, and abundant availability of weapons. This mode required precision and economy of firing, as early in the game the only source of additional ammunition was from weapons dropped by dead players. Quake II, being in many ways more similar to DOOM than Quake, plays very well with Deathmatch 2 settings, but considering that most Quake II players graduated from Quake and Quakeworld backgrounds, this deathmatch mode is much less frequently used.

Similarly, almost all deathmatch servers make use of instant power-ups. (The thought of a camper hoarding 4 Quads and running through the level on a rampage for 2 straight minutes isn’t exactly a good one for most people.)

Vantage Points and Height Advantage

Quake II levels, including the newly released deathmatch maps, are generally very large and vertically oriented, allowing for the adoption of a few standard rules of thumb.

Get High

Try to stay above the action. Take a hint from The Rock – covering an enemy from an elevated position is the preferred way to go in most any confrontation. Knowing this, seek out the high ground. Most players will be very alert of openings in their horizontal plane, but less so in their vertical field of view. This will give you a good opportunity to get off a few sniper shots, and jump down to finish off your prey if needed. If you encounter opposition on your ledge, hold your position if possible, many players when confronted will try to dodge and weave, and in many cases jump or fall off their perch when hit. Note that there are usually spawn spots, teleporter destinations, or elevators in high areas. Quake II is generally very quiet in terms of these entities, and a very high percentage of kills come from hitting someone looking down a ledge in the back.

If you are attacked by a sniper on high, the best thing to do is usually to get underneath him and out of his field of view. If he is on a ledge against a wall, using the rocket launcher is the best way to ensure that he cannot back out of your field of view to avoid your fire. In most other cases, seek cover, and be sure to remain aware of your surroundings. It’s just as easy to walk up to someone looking at the sky and pop them with a super shotgun as it is to do so to someone looking down.

Clean Up After Others

A very effective tactic is to be the third party in a fight. Listen for sounds of fighting, and watch for the telltale dynamic lighting. Start firing your chaingun to rev it up, or rush in with rockets – chances are you’ll encounter two weakened, engaged opponents who are paying more attention to each other than anything else, and walk away with two free kills. Some people do consider this a cheap tactic because you will be interrupting a battle. However, unlike camping, it is one of those situations in which the same people complaining will jump at the chance of doing so themselves – after all, it is free for all; you kill anything you see, engaged or otherwise.

Seek out Weaker Players

Some of the time, you’ll notice that you’re doing very well on a server – outdistancing the next player by a large number of frags. Then, someone new hops on the server and starts tearing it up. Your honor at stake, you concentrate solely on showing this newcomer who’s boss. While this can lead to some interesting rivalry/1on1 situations, remember that what you’re playing is free-for-all, and the primary goal is to pass the level as fast as you can/kill as many people as possible. Keep your eyes open, because this new player is definitely your biggest threat, but continue to focus your attention on the unarmed, unarmored respawns. If you’re killed, don’t rush back in looking for a rematch, instead, concentrate on getting as many kills as possible before you see him again. After all, what’s better, beating him 3 times in 4 encounters, but barely finishing the level because you were too busy hunting one particular person down, or losing a couple of scrimmages and maintaining a sizable lead? Remember that most anyone joining a game late will be concentrating on racking up frags and making up his deficit, and not parading around looking for individual confrontations.

Go for the more dangerous target – or run.

As is mentioned in the previous section, many times when two people are engaged in a fight, they will pay no heed to anything around them, including a beefed up player jumping in and trying to take out both of them. If you’re fighting someone, and someone with a more powerful weapon jumps in, don’t be stubborn, either turn your attention to the more immediate threat, or recognize the potential danger of two hostiles aiming for you, and beat a hasty retreat. If you’re lucky, the intruder will focus his attention on your friend instead of chasing you down. This will give you an opportunity to regroup and face your aggressor on more even ground.

Run – but don’t try to outrun anyone

One of the things very few players, even experienced players, have the presence of mind to do is run away. If you’ve got a shotgun, and the person charging you has a hyperblaster, the best thing to do is probably to high-tail it out of the area. There is no shame in retreat, and in many situations if you don’t, you’re dead. However, the one thing you shouldn’t do is turn around and run straight away. There’s nothing easier to hit than an enemy with his back to you running straight away. One of the advantages of knowing a level well is being able to run away backwards without hitting walls and supports or falling off platforms. This keeps your opponent from following too closely, gives you an opportunity to hit your opponent, and helps you dodge his fire.

Weapons and PowerUp Control

Control may not seem like as important a factor in Quake II, since almost any weapon is lethal in skilled hands. However, the art of controlling resources is still important in free for all, as it not only helps you go into battle with more resources, but also keeps those same items out of the hands of your opponents.

Weapons – Less Control, More Knowledge

In Quake, the primary weapons to control, no matter what kind of game, are the rocket launcher and the lightning gun. In Quake II, the same principle applies, with slight modification. Most Quake II levels are too large to completely control, and the deathmatch maps have enough weapons to guarantee that any opposition you face will be suitably armed. On Deathmatch 1 servers, know where your best weapons are situated, and learn the fastest way to each of them from anywhere on the level. Remember to include armor on your pickup route, as many players overlook its importance. The relative scarcity of ammunition on many levels makes weapons control vital. For Deathmatch 3 levels, weapons control is virtually impossible, but knowing the locations of each weapon and the layout of the area will give you a good idea of what any player in the area will be using lest you meet. Running with a machinegun into a narrow corridor near a railgun can result in a quick, painful experience. Either take a less-restricting path into the area or beef up with some armor and a more suitable weapon first.

Powerups – Same as it ever was

Most Quake II servers run with the powerup option identical to Quake 1, regardless of Deathmatch mode. This makes timing powerups such as Quad Damage very easy. Most people will pick up Quad and run amok through the level, looking for targets to gib. More experienced players may run a specific pattern after picking up Quad, running through high-traffic areas, pick up weapons, health, and armor on the way, and make their way back to the Quad around 10 seconds before it respawns. The one thing to remember about patterns is that they are useful and easy to implement, but it’s also easy for your opponents to pick up on a given pattern and learn to avoid you or cut you off when most vulnerable. The easiest solution is not to run a repetitive routine all the time. Vary your timing and routes, but remember the Quad will spawn every minute, so always be able to work your way back into the area BEFORE the Quad respawns.

Armor also falls into this general category. The interesting thing about armor is that it spawns every 20 seconds after being picked up. Quake II will not only allow you to pick up two of the same armor, it will add on ANY kind of weaker armor to your current protection. This means that areas with any type of armor can be profitable killing grounds. The short respawn time for armor makes it easier to run a simple route between two armor respawns to quickly increase and max out your armor. On many levels, grabbing combat armor, and running to a nearby flak jacket, and then back to the respawning combat armor will allow you to quickly and efficiently reach maximum armor capacity without actually camping the spot.

Additionally, waiting at an armor respawn after you pick it up once is also permissible. A quick 20 seconds, grab the armor again, and move on. Just remember that armor is still sought after by other players, so waiting around may mean getting attacked by other players looking for armor. In this case, the armor will help you in battle, but if you’re consistently hurt by others’ attacks you may camp the area all day and not be able to get much more armor than what you started with.

One the subject of waiting for items to respawn, most players with low heath will run into a Megahealth, relish in the fact that they are now > 100 health (but barely), and run along their business. If you have < 30 health when you pick up a Megahealth, consider staying in the area. That extra health will burn off relatively quickly, and the 100H will respawn 20 seconds after it does. It’s the difference between having 105 heath and having 175.

Learn if the level has a Power Shield, and if it does, learn where all of the cell ammunition spawns are. Combined with standard armor, the power shield can boost your armor to roughly 400 (!), and even more if you have a bandoleer or ammo pack. Additionally, the cells that power the shield are also required for two of the most powerful weapons of the game. Keep your eye to the lower-right of your screen, even if you run out of cells, you still retain the shield, so grab some more cells, a hyperblaster or BFG, or another power shield, and hit P to regain that extra level of protection.

Shortcuts and Research

A big part of Quake II involves knowing your way around the levels well. Most deathmatch servers have a certain number of levels that they cycle through – after playing on these servers for a while, you’ll undoubtedly become much more familiar with these levels. However, it is still important to learn THE fastest ways to the different areas of each level.

Some of the fastest paths around a level may require the rocket jump. Health and rocket ammunition is less abundant in Quake II than it was in Quake, so rocket jumping has become much less used, but it still has its place in any deathmatch game. The important thing is to remember its impact – rocket jumping can get you to different areas of the map much faster than running to and up the stairs or hitting a button and waiting for a platform, but it hurts. If you’re rocket jumping to a platform to get to a Quad damage and a couple of health packs or an armor, consider rocket-jumping towards the health packs – it makes up for the damage sustained in the jump, and you’ve still reached the Quad faster than you would have otherwise.

Each level has its own architectural quirks. Take the time to run through them with God Mode on and search for good places to be and good routes to run. The more familiar you become with them, the easier you’ll spot good perches to ambush people from and good positions to be at during a fight. This research also involves paying attention to which strategies work for you during actual play and helps you to incorporate tactics that have worked well against you.

Conclusion

FFA, though used by many players as a way of warming up and fine-tuning aim and accuracy, involves a good deal of general strategy and common sense as well. The important things to remember are to be aware of what is going on around you, and keep your eyes and ears open. Excelling in a free for all game requires a lot more than just aim, and the same basic strategies can help tremendously in one-on-one, teams, or just about any other deathmatch incarnation you may also play.

Team/Clan Deathmatch Strategies

Quake II’s range of possible modifications and gameplay enhancements are nearly limitless, but one constant remains. In Quake, the vast majority of top-ranked deathmatchers are associated with clans and play in team games. This trend will most likely continue in Quake II, as more and more players are recruited by top clans. This trend paves the way for some of the most exciting matches to participate in – combining the camaraderie of cooperating and competing in a team environment, the adrenaline rush of free-for-all, and the tension of one-on-one/strategic play.What’s more, Quake II comes with several built-in features, such as multiple player models, and waves, many of which greatly enhance the teamplay experience and expand the potential for a variety of strategies and tactics.

What’s in a Team?

One of the most important aspects of teamplay is the level chosen for play. For Quake 1, it was DM3 – The Abandoned Base. This moderately sized level was perfect for 4 on 4 team games. Quake II, with its native support for vast numbers of simultaneous players, and generally large deathmatch levels, should handle 8 on 8 games readily, but I suspect the familiar 4 on 4 clan matches from Quake I will continue to maintain popularity for a number of competitions.

First of all, ping is still an important factor in Quake II. This measurement of your connection speed to the server has long been an issue with Quake 1, for any type of competition, be it free for all, teams, or capture the flag. Although net necessarily an indication of connect quality, a lower ping denotes faster reaction time, a definite advantage in a quick-twitch game such as Quake II. While Quake II contains many latency-reduction techniques, such as those found in Quakeworld, a better connection will still yield better performance.

For a standard 4 on 4 match, a server must be found which suits the pings of 8 individual players. In most cases, this means searching for and testing other free teamplay servers, a process that takes anywhere from five minutes to over an hour. In extreme situations, it may be enough to postpone or cancel the match entirely, as neither team wants to play at a ping disadvantage. Now imagine this situation with an 8 on 8 game (and if you’re willing to go further, 16 on 16) – as you can see, 16 or 32 players from all over the country looking for a server which provides them an acceptable ping can get pretty messy.

As a sidenote, there have been several 16 on 16 team games played in Quakeworld, most noticeably international matches with teams representing their respective countries. Most of these matches were played split-server between the two nations.

Another important barrier to larger games is availability of players. Coordinating eight people or more per team to show up at a given time and date is more difficult than it seems, and can lead to untimely delays and postponements of matches.

Player Identification

Quake II includes 3 player models – the male and female marines, and the cyborg. Using separate models to distinguish between teams is easily more effective than using differing skins. This would also allow teams to assign each player a separate skin for identification without fear of crossdressing, a Quake I problem where individuals would choose similar or identical shirt colors to the opposing clan’s team color, causing confusing all across the board.

Easy player identification is essential in a team game, as it can provide crucial information to your teammates about your status, where enemy forces are concentrating, and more. Many team strategies stress holding positions at critical areas of the level – such as by the quad damage. If you see your Quad carrier away from his position, and he doesn’t have quad, then there is a high possibility that his position has been overrun. In addition, if a teammate calls for cover fire or an escort while he waits for a weapon or health, being able to positively identify him makes life much easier.

An alternative for using skins to identify each player is to assign “conditional skins.” A teammate with full health, armor, and weapons can let his teammates know his condition by switching to a preset skin (for example, the bright red “Claymore” male marine skin). Similarly, one who has just been fragged and is “naked” can switch to the green “Grunt” skin, and so forth. The male model has 15 skins, 6-7 of which are easily distinguishable from each other at moderate distances. The female model has 10 skins, 5-6 of which are unique, and the cyborg model only has three, but all are easily identifiable from a distance. An added bonus of using conditional skins is that they can readily be bound to team messages. If you were just killed, you can have a bind that informs your teammates and at the same time change your skin to the “naked or have no armor/weapons” skin, with the simple command:

bind e “say_team Killed and away from position!!; skin grunt”

Later, when you’re stocked up with armor and weapons, you can have a bind which reads:

bind r “say_team I’m at my post! Call if need help!!; skin rampage” or, if you don’t need to bother with message overload or too many key bindings, bind 7 “use rocket launcher; skin rampage”

Share the Wealth

One of the most overlooked features in Quake II is the inclusion of the inventory. This list of items isn’t limited to usable powerups such as the silencer and power shield, it also keeps track of your ammo and weapons. What good is this? For one, every weapon you pick up is listed in the inventory, even if you already have that weapon. This means you can effectively be carrying around multiple rocket launchers, hyperblasters or power shields. While this doesn’t do you any good beyond the extra ammunition they provide, it can be an incalculable asset to your team in general. How? By using the “drop” command, you can throw just about any usable inventory item out in front of you for anyone to pick up.

For example, let’s assume you are the sole survivor of a huge ambush, in which the rest of your teammates are reduced to gibs.The other team will have control of the level and the most powerful weapons. While it seems like regaining control will be a painful, high-casualty episode, chances are your team can come back charging fully loaded almost instantly, with your help. Chances are you’ve got a few good weapons from battles and weapons spawns along the way. You can meet your teammates in a safe place and drop your unneeded weapons for them to pick up. You can also drop ammunition, extra power shields, just about anything you aren’t currently using. After a short wait for armor, your entire team can charge back into action, in many cases fast enough to catch your opponents completely off guard and unprepared.

Even without complete loss of control, sharing weapons, power armor, and ammo can be an essential part of a team’s strategy. Any player killed in action can be replenished by a teammate, and the ability to share items reinforces the need to move and fight together, rather than as four individuals working alone against other players. Injured or killed players may need to differentiate themselves to their teammates, showing that they require weapons or ammo. Again, this is where waves, messagemode2 bindings, and skin/model changes may come in handy.

Communication is The Key

The most important element in team games is, not surprisingly, teamwork. A team consisting of very skilled individual players with bad teamplay can easily be beaten by a more modest opponent with excellent communication and timing. The key is to always keep your teammates informed about what is happening, so they know when to assist, provide cover fire or retreat.

Communication in team games is performed almost exclusively through the use of team bindings. Also known as say_team and messagemode2, these are key bindings of prerecorded messages visible only to your teammates and not to the enemy. Some examples are:

“I’ve got Quad”
“Shotgun Room needs assistance!”
“Go to RL”
“I’m out of health, retreating!”

Team messages are bound by the syntax:

bind r “say_team I’ve got Quad!”

To type in specific messages during a game, bind a key to “messagemode2,” which will allow you to type out a private team message much like pressing “t” for public messages.

Most team messages are customized for the specific map being played. Identify the important areas of the map – quad damage, BFG, any place with a good vantage point and easy access to weapons or armor, etc. During a match, these are most likely the areas you want to control. It’s usually advisable to make specific team bindings for each player guarding a specific position on the map. Messages which alert teammates to availability or pending availability of powerups, location or destination of enemy forces, and current health/armor/ammunition status are all helpful. Bind these keys around your movement keys, and/or to the function keys (who uses those anyways?) for easy access.

Waves

One of the best ways to augment team communication is by using the waves, or character animations, included for each of the player models. The available waves are: flipoff, salute, taunt, wave, and point. You can assign waves to mean anything you want, but the best use is for visible cues to teammates in range. Bind a key to “Enemy is coming in!!” and point in the direction of their impending entrance. Of, when you’re travelling in teams, point to tell your teammate to take a certain path, while you explore another. If your friends are far off, use wave to call them to come to you.

Waves can also be used to alert your teammates to your current status. If the use of multiple skins is not permitted (or no extra skins are used on a custom mod you’re playing on), bind a wave to a team message “Injured, need health!!” This way, your teammates will see you waving as they read the team bind and know which player to escort or cover.

Level Control – Bring Home the Bacon

Even with Quake II’s balanced weapons and large maps, controlling resources is the most efficient and effective way to win a team match, especially in games with 8 players per team or more. Clearly, control over the most powerful weapons, the BFG (although I”ve heard that some team competitions will take out this controversial weapon), Hyperblaster, rocket launcher, and chaingun, will be significant, but more importantly will be control over the items in the level, and that’s not just quad. Obviously, quad damage control will be an essential strategy for any Quake II clan. In addition to this, however, control over items such as body armor and power shields will be paramount. Armor in Quake II makes a huge difference, due to the wide availability of powerful weapons and general lack of medkits and stimpacks. Control over respawn spots will also be important, as it’s much easier to rack up the frags killing blaster-equipped respawners in Quake II if only due to the large selection of powerful weapons at your disposal.

Due to the grander scale of Quake II in terms of level size and maximum number of players, it’s inevitable that colossal battles over huge, sprawling maps are going to start appearing in clan matches. As a rule, more players equals more chaos – and a great deal of planning and strategizing will be needed to keep events such as this from turning into huge free-for-all sessions. In the case of games over large maps, it’s likely that teams will be split up into two or more operating units, spread out over the map to control distant areas. Traversing larger maps (anything around the size of the Warehouse Q2DM8 or larger) will require teams to travel in pairs at the very least, as chances are reinforcements and support will usually a ways off at any given time. The important thing to remember is that you’re never alone in a team game, and your strategies should reflect that. Well-armored and stocked players should constantly be backing up and trading places with teammates on the front line, and working together like a well-oiled machine is the only way any clan can be dominant in a team match.

Conclusion

Multiplayer Quake II is still in its infancy. A general lack of team match modifications at this point makes setting up and administering clan matches difficult, and it’s likely that teamplay won’t begin to take off until something like the Clanring Match Mod for Quake is released for Quake II. However, it’s clear that once Teamplay servers start hitting the net, there’s no going back. Q2 free-for-all and one on one is a blast, but as it is in basketball, football, hockey, and other sports, the excitement and spectator-drawing attention of two incredible teams battling for supremacy, pulling of incredible saves and game-winning plays, guarantees bright future for Quake II team deathmatch.

Weapons – Supplemental Installment

Since the release of the Quake II Bible, countless hours have been logged in Deathmatch FFA and 1 on 1, and along with the times, strategies and weapons usage have changed. Back in the days of Quake 1, very few knew about “shooting the ground” with RL until almost a year following its release. Now, we are beginning to see this same kind of evolution centering around Quake II weapons strategies as players gain more experience and develop new tactics.

Quake II includes some beautiful weapons and hand models angled at the lower-right of the screen, but many players, including the transfer crowd from Quake 1, prefer to use center-handedness for several reasons. First, weapons rendering require about 10% processing power, leaving less for other rendering processes. By removing the weapons models, a gain of several frames per second may be possible. Center-aiming also helps precision aiming around corners, as many players aren’t used to side-mounted weapons. Strafing around a corner and firing a quick shot can easily result in smacking the wall immediately in front of you. Instead of trying to take the time to adjust to this, many players have chosen instead to use center-mounted weapons, as this is more reminiscent of Quake 1, and more symmetric for gameplay dynamics.

A Walking Time Bomb

Grenades, while often overlooked, can be crucial in moments when you need to get away. After a battle, if you respawn near your enemy, it’s very likely that he’ll attempt to chase you down for the easy spawn-frag. Luckily, lone grenade packs are usually strewn throughout most levels, close to spawn locations without weapons. In an eerie and somewhat unscientific way, grenades can sometimes be dead on, where they just seem to hit much more frequently than in Quake 1. Whether it’s just something in our collective minds or some real, quantifiable reason, it appears to work – a somewhat hurt opponent will tend to play more conservatively and chase less if his prey is retreating and lobbing grenades behind him. It also goes without saying that hand grenades are better alternatives than blasters any day.

Handgrenades function in a unique way in Quake II. By pressing the attack key and holding it down, the pin is pulled out of the grenade, but it isn’t tossed. Instead, the weapon is released when you release the attack key. The longer you hold down the attack key, the farther the grenade will be thrown when the attack key is released. As stated before, be careful not to hold down the attack key too long, or the grenade will explode in your hands, not a good thing when you’re as unprotected as to need to use grenades. The best way to use handgrenades is to wind them early and throw them about 1/2 second before they explode – this way you get the benefit of a fast toss with maximum distance. Short tosses are good to cover your tracks as you flee – most of the time persuers will think twice before chasing anyone through a veritable minefield. Of course, this should help you gain enough time to escape and find a REAL weapon, as well as some armor.

Just like that gun in Predator…

The Chaingun remains a vital weapon in the armory of the consummate deathmatcher. Its incredible rate of fire and wide spread makes it excellent for close and medium range encounters. However, it’s voracious appetite for ammunition means you’ll be left quite vulnerable if you don’t finish the job. As always, it’s preferable to start firing before you engage your target – so you can hit him dead on with its full fire-rate and give him less time to react.

The chaingun’s strengths make it the ideal weapon to chase down retreating foes. If you’re in a battle and have your opponent down to his last few scraps of health, and he backs out of a doorway firing, you have several choices to make. You can allow him to escape and regain health and ammunition, effectively making your last battle meaningless in terms of end result, or if you’re still armored and healthy, you can continue to chase him down despite the defender’s advantage. If time is running out, or you’re just feeling bold, the chaingun is an excellent weapon with which to follow your preliminary attack and chase down your opponent. It’s a situation where you’re sure several points of damage will finish the job, and you want to concentrate on making sure some shots connect. Start firing and charge through the doorway or around the corner – you make take a rocket or railgun slug, but you’re virtually guaranteed several hits of your own. Unlike a rocket shot, there’s no need to blindly predict his distance from you, nor do you need to rely on extremely fast aiming for that final railgun hit. With the Chaingun it’s just “chase and spray.”

Similarly, the Chaingun can be more effective than many weapons in large, open areas as well. In many games on larger levels, you’ll frequently see your opponent in the open, but at too great a distance to expect rockets to hit, such as across the rotunda on Q2DM1. After exchanging a few rockets, you can catch your opponent by surprise and empty your chaingun on him, hopefully ending the stalemate.

Long range encounters are easily dealt with

Many players like to use the Railgun underwater, since the reduced movement speed makes opponents easier targets. The Chaingun is the perfect counter for this technique – as you’re peppering your foe with bullets, his aim will be greatly obscured by the particle trail of bubbles each of your shots generate. You’re essentially clouding the waters between you and him, and he’s guaranteed to be getting the worse end. If you exchange rockets or railgun hits, and know he’s low on health, switch to the chaingun and finish him off – it’s still easy to dodge rockets and slugs underwater if you’re concentrating, and the chaingun lets you worry less about aiming and more about dodging.

Old Faithful – The Rocket Launcher

Still the preferred weapon of many Quake II players, the rocket launcher’s (RL) dominant status has its roots deeply ingrained in Quake 1 deathmatch, where it was easily the most versatile weapon for both low ping and high ping players alike. Quake II has toned down rocket speed, but it’s still the weapon of choice for many players.

The greatest asset of the rocket launcher is its splash damage – any shot that hits a player or wall will impart partial damage to its immediate surroundings. As in Quake 1, the preferred method of fighting with the rocket launcher is “shooting ground,” where a player will aim a rocket at the feet of his opponent, so that any shot not hitting will still explode on the ground, injuring its target despite the near miss.

The relatively slow speed of the rockets means that in most fights, you’ll have to lead your shot by a good deal – sometimes several dozen feet in front of your target if you’re at a considerable distance. Many Quake 1 converts find shooting rockets in Quake II a little disconcerting, as differences in the crosshair and gameplay latency seem to make rockets shoot slightly lagged, yet “on target.” In many cases, the rocket will fly towards the exact point you aim at when you fire, even if you experience a considerable lag between the time you hit the trigger and the rocket takes off. Unfortunately, from what we’ve seen, rocket battles in Quake II aren’t usually as graceful or precise as in Quake 1. Good players are able to easily dodge shots from moderate or even close range, and Quake II’s physics do not bounce players up for juggling hits. However, this seeming difficulty in precise rocket aiming and predicting allows for some incredibly intense moments when every rocket lands on target – and that’s a hard feeling to beat.

Slow rocket speed, while one of the RL’s greatest weaknesses, is also one if its strengths. Rockets do a lot of damage, and their slow speed can be used to keep pursuers away while you scrounge for health and armor. If you’re being chased into a room, firing a couple of quick rockets at the door should keep your opponent at bay – in many cases he won’t risk chasing you, as there could easily be two or three extra projectiles waiting for him just as he enters the doorway. Firing a rocket, and the making that crucial series of jumps for Body Armor or Power Shield has saved many a frag; as you turn around to concentrate on navigating the level, your rocket will be lazily travelling towards the entrance through which any opponent will need to enter.

Similarly, this technique is easily used to trick your opponent into thinking you are somewhere other than your true location. By launching a few rockets towards a distant entryway, and then immediately starting down another path to the same room, your opponent will see your “prediction shot,” and assume he knows where you are, while you have an extra few seconds to sneak up behind him.

The Railgun – An Awesome Weapon

The Railgun, first seen as slow and unwieldy, has evolved to be the LPB’s best friend. On a good server or LAN, having good aim with the Railgun can easily determine the outcome of a game. The secret is precise, controlled movement. While many consider railgun players to be snipers or campers (and to be honest, there are more than a good number of these), the Railgun can be used in a wide variety of situations, and for some players, is even preferred over the rocket launcher.

The Railgun’s tiny impact area and slow rate of fire make it difficult to use well for many players, and over a modem, the lag and prediction can make it a completely useless weapon. Ironically, the Railgun’s incredible damage (100 Health per shot) makes it indispensable, and with the widespread use of LAN play at major tournaments, the best players may very likely be the best Railgunners.

The secret to good Railgun aim is control – 80% of all missed shots are due to overshooting through nervous twitches or overcorrecting aim at the last second. There are many different methods to try to compensate for overshooting, and different methods work for different players.

For players who rely heavily on the Railgun, many find it easier to aim and adjust by significantly lowering their mouse sensitivity. While such a drastic change can adversely affect their entire game (quick flicks and shots may have to be completely relearned), the usefulness of the Railgun as a weapon can sometimes make it worth the temporary price. The most important things to remember are to make sure your new sensitivity doesn’t impair your 180 flicks or rocket jumps too much, and that you don’t get carpal tunnel syndrome from the extra movement.

Perhaps the easiest way to improve Railgun aim is to train your sights on your target, and then strafe left or right to adjust your aim rather than turning with the mouse. This has a double benefit in that strafing is a fixed rate, which eliminates the last-second “twitch” many players experience. Also, strafing keeps you a moving target – many players tend to run straight for their target while aiming, many times resulting in trading direct hits – a less than ideal situation.

More Railgun Tactics

The Railgun enjoys a variety of practical uses. It’s an excellent way to even the playing field when your opponent has control of extra health or armor. If you can predict where he will appear, a single shot can melt away his advantage and bring you back into the game. As expected, the railgun is an excellent weapon for far to extreme range sniping, where rockets are useless, and its pinpoint precision and incredible damage make it more effective than the Chaingun. However, many players have found that these advantages make the Railgun particularly effective in open battle as well.

As opponents continually attempts to pepper their target with multiple hits from less painful weapons, the good railgunner can keep his calm, dodging while centering his aim and methodically taking shots – in most cases only two hits are necessary to win the kill. A good idea is to pay particular attention to artifacts which your opponent will try running for, such as nearby health or armor, and attempt to line the shot up there.

Start to aim towards the health in this situation

If you happen to be losing a particular fight, the railgun is also a good weapon to have while retreating through corridors or corners – stand near the edge of the corner, and keep your crosshairs trained on your exit point. If your opponent chooses to pursue, he’ll have no room to dodge as he enters the doorway, making him an easy target. Knowing this, he is more likely to let you escape – even if he knows you are critically hurt – the possibility of taking an anti-megahealth slug in the face is usually enough to dissuade any rational player.

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

The Basics section runs through what may be considered a “primer” for CTF. It explains the general and holistic concept of the game, the different gameplay settings from standard Quake II play, and a description of the powerful Techs. Basic offensive and defensive strategies are also covered, as these concepts must be understood before employing the more advanced tactics involving multiple squads and communication groups.

There are many techniques and much information which fall under the generalization of “Basics.” Some of them may seem elementary, and others a bit more complex than you’d like to bother with. Experienced players can either skip this section or take it as a review of previously-learned knowledge. Beginners and casual players can look upon the Basics as a cornerstone to developing a stronger, more complete CTF strategy.

Standard Public Server Settings

So what’s the difference?

Settings in CTF are very similar to regular DM settings. Most are customizable, and thus vary with servers. There are however, a few settings that you need to be careful with.

The average public server has the teamplay set so you cannot hurt your teammates, but you can hurt yourself (and the other team of course). This is a big change from team DM, where you can hurt your teammates. This doesn’t mean that you should go around shooting your teammates, this is fact can be one of the most annoying things that can happen on a public server. In most cases the person that is shooting just forgot what team they were on. If a teammate starts shooting you, the polite thing to do is subtly remind them what team they are on.

Every time you respawn, you start with not only with the blaster, but also with the grapple. Short for “grappling hook,” this device allows you to fire a hook onto any solid surface, such as a wall, pillar, ceiling, or floor, and propel yourself towards that surface at greatly accelerated speed. This can be very useful in situations when you respawn in a hot area, like the enemy’s base (and yes, you CAN respawn in the enemy base). In this case it would be a good time to use the grapple and get yourself out. Read this section on how to use the grapple efficiently.

All weapon, armor, and item respawn times are the same as they are in normal Quake and Quake 2. The new Tech power-ups respawn times are different than normal items. At the beginning of a game, they will spawn in at a random player respawn point, and “jump” a little off to the side. Any time the techs are left on the ground for 60 seconds, they will respawn at a random player respawn point.

One useful command has been added to CTF. If you type “id” in the console, you can see who you are looking at. So every time you have your crosshairs on a player, it will return the model, skin, and name above your health/armor info.

Point Distribution

What’s the point?

This is how your frag count is adjusted in CTF. Remember, that CTF is not about who can get the most frags, but which team has the most caps at the end of the game. You can rack up the most frags in a game, but your team can still lose if the other team has more caps. CTF in its purest form is based on caps only because this really says which team is better, not who can frag the best.

Fragging an enemy 1
Fragging yourself or a teammate 1
Returning your team’s flag 1
Defending flag carrier (fragging an enemy in the vicinity of you team’s flag carrier) 3
Defending the flag (fragging an enemy in the vicinity of your flag) 1
Fragging an enemy flag carrier 3
Assist for Returning Flag (this is when you return your teams flag, then someone one your team captures within 10 seconds) 1
Teammate Capturing flag (everyone on the team gets 10 frags when someone on that team captures the flag) 10
Capturing the enemy’s Flag 15

Capture the What?  Capture the Flag!

Capturing the flag is the ultimate goal of CTF (hence the name). To capture the enemy flag all you need to do is take their flag and bring it back to your base. To do so, enter their base, touch their flag (this will strap it to your back so you can run away with it), and run it back to your base, and touch your flag while it is in its return spot.

Each team’s flag will be located in the apex of their base. This point in the base should be heavily defended, therefore to get the flag you will need to either frag or outsmart the enemy defense.

Each base has more than one way to get in from the outside. The first way is direct; i.e. a front door. The second or third way is usually longer and trickier to get through, and may even be under water. Expect all of these entrances to be guarded.

If the flag carrier is killed, the flag will drop where he died. If it is left there for 60 seconds, it will respawn back at its base. However, if a player from its team touches it, it will immediately respawn back at its base. This is called saving, or returning the flag. For example, if the blue team’s flag is taken out of their base, and the red flag carrier is fragged, the blue flag will drop over his body (or gibs). If the blue flag is left untouched for 60 seconds, it will respawn back in blue’s base.
However if a blue player touches the flag, it will respawn as soon as he touches it. If a red player touches the flag, he will pick it up and carry it with him back to the red base.

Weapons, Armor, Items, and the Grapple

What about the good stuff?

Read Thresh and Kenn’s Quake II bible for info on weapons. There have been no changes to weapons in CTF.

The Grappling Hook

One weapon has been added to the game of CTF, the Grapple (or Grappling Hook). The grapple allows you to target any solid object at any distance, such as a wall or ceiling, and fly towards it, latching onto it for however long you desire. You cannot, however, grapple onto the sky. To use the grapple, just type in the console,

bind x “use grapple”

where x is a key of your choice, and you’re all set. When the grapple is your current weapon, just aim, shoot, and hold down the attack key. You should see a hook fly towards your target, and when it latches on, you should start flying towards that point. You will “stick” to that target as long as you hold down the attack key, and fall down as soon as you let go of the attack key.

The Grapple is tremendously important, and is virtually a trademark icon of CTF. Experienced Grapplers can be incredibly hard to hit, and can storm and escape with the enemy flag in seconds. Learn to use this tool often and well, and make it a core facet of your CTF skillset.

Teamplay

Is there an I in Team?

One of the most important aspects of CTF is the concept of the team. Unlike Deathmatch Free for all, where its all for none, CTF depends enormously on how well you can work with your team. Capturing the flag is never a job that can be performed by one person. The whole team must assist in some way to complete the cap. The defense needs to keep their flag in their base, while the offense needs to assist each other in bring the enemy flag home. Unlike team DM, where one person can carry a whole team, success in CTF requires full participation by every member of the team. I cannot stress enough how important your team is in CTF. You can be the best DM player on the block, but you can be next to worthless if you cannot be part of a team in CTF.

In either case, the first concept you should learn in teamplay is communication. Read the next section on communication to learn how to properly communicate with your teammates.

Next you need to learn how to help your teammates. Helping a teammate out includes covering them while they are running with the flag, helping them defend your flag, letting them give armor instead of taking it, and much more. As you can see, helping your team means more than just contributing more bullets or rockets to a firefight. In fact, in official games (where you can hurt your teammates), throwing rockets at an enemy in close combat with a teammate may be the worst thing you can do – what you can contribute to your team depends greatly on the situation. The most important thing you can do for your team is to remain aware of their general status, and their strengths and weaknesses. Sharing limited resources near your base or an attack point with injured comrades, or throwing extra weapons and ammo to respawned teammates can make the difference between a capture or a return.

Communicating with your Teammates

Ask any military tactician what is the most important aspect of conflict, and they will probably tell you “communication between your troops.” This also applies to CTF. Any CTF veteran will tell you that communication is the most important tool to learn and use while playing.

Communication Types

In Quake there are 3 types of communication: Verbal (talking), Visual (waves), and Textual (messagemode). There is a definite hierarchy in these communication types. The best type of communication is Verbal. There is nothing quicker or more customizable than yelling at your teammates. If you have never gotten a chance to do this then you should really try and set it up. You will never want to go back to your binds again! You can always tell your teammates exactly what you mean instantly.

Next in the hierarchy is textual communication. I’ve found that when you play with the same people for a long time (i.e. a clan) and you use the same binds, you can actually understand what the bind is without even reading it! So what happens is you see a bind over and over again, and your eyes get used to the shape it is in. So when you are in the middle of a battle, you can see the bind in the corner of your eye, but you won’t need to look up at the top of your screen.

Lastly is visual communication. The addition of the waves in Q2 is a good idea, but in the fast pace of CTF games they just can’t keep up. They take too much time to do, plus you have to keep the right visual angle on the person waving. In a fast game there is very little time to look at a player. They are also lacking sound. If you are not paying attention to the players around you a hand signal can be easily missed, while a verbal or textual communication is accompanied by a auditory stimulus. (big words!)

Variable Messagemode Binds

Variable binds

Added with the new Q2 engine and CTF is the ability to use binds that contain variables. In Quake I this was not possible, and many players had to use a complex binding system to relay info to their teammates. For example, to tell your team that you are at the Quad, you could use a key bound to “I’m at:” and another that says “Quad”. This was to allow players to use the “I’m at:” bind for many positions, like the pent, the enemy flag, etc. Now in Q2CTF you can eliminate all of those binds and just use a single key bound to “I’m at %l”. The %l in the bind is a variable that will display your location according to what item you are near. Here is a list of all the variables you can use in Q2CTF, plus an example of each usage.

%l – This is replaced by your current location in relation to a nearby object, plus the color of the base it is in. These locations can be a flag, weapon, or special item.

%h – This returns your current health status.

%a – This returns your current armor points and armor type

%t – This returns any techs you are holding.

%w – This returns your current weapon.

%n – This returns the player you are currently looking at. (the one that shows up when you are using “id”)

Example Offense and Defense Binds

Textual communication can be split into 2 basic categories, Offense and Defense, with a set of binds that can be used by both. A useful communication technique that my clan developed (and I’m sure others have as well) is the use of an offense or defense identifier in front of a communication bind. For example, if your are on defense, your bind may say “D-Base is clear”, or some variation of that. What this does is allow the two separate groups to stay focused on their jobs, and not have to read the communication of the other group. I.e. when I’m on Offense, it doesn’t help me much to know if there is an enemy incoming from the back entrance when I’m in the other base trying to get their flag! After playing with these binds for a while with a team you will quickly be able to tune out the binds you don’t need to read, while at the same time tune in the binds that you do need to read. If you play with your clan a LOT, you will even get to the point where you won’t even need to read the bind, but just the “shape” of the onscreen text out of the corner of your eye will tell you what it is.

Placement of binds is also an important topic. By now you’ve probably rebound your most-used weapon keys to more convenient locations. A lot of Q2 players I’ve seen use the WASD inverted T movement keys have bound their use weapon keys to the Q, E, R, F, Z, X, C or V keys. These keys allow a minimal amount of movement by your fingers to use them, plus they can be pressed without looking down from your screen. In the same manner it is important to place your communication binds so that you can access them with little or no movement by your eyes and/or hands to use them. For example, if you use the WASD movement config, you would not want to put a comm. Bind over on the INS key. Also “Hot” keys (ones that are used the most often) should be the keys that require almost NO movement by your fingers. F1-F4 keys (assuming you are using a standard 101-key keyboard, with 12 F keys) are great to use, and even keys such as R, T, F, and G. It is important to stress that you should use whatever configuration is most comfortable to you. Placing communication binds is also a matter of taste, much like the placement of any binds. You should keep these considerations in mind while you are figuring out the best config for you.

It is recommended that you use the F keys or the number keys (given that you have rebound the use weapon keys) for all your communication binds, as these give you the least amount of movement needed, and offer the best layout for organization.

Here are a few example configs. These configs are meant to be used in public pickup games, as more complex bindings are needed for more advanced team tactics. Again you should use a key configuration that is the most comfortable for you.

Defense:
bind F1 “say_team D-Enemy spotted %l!”
bind F2 “say_team D-Enemy incoming to flag!”
bind F3 “say_team D-Flag in danger!”
bind F4 “say_team ALL-FLAG TAKEN!”
bind F5 “say_team ALL-Flag carrier seen %l”
bind F6 “say_team ALL-Enemy has Quad!”
bind F7 “say_team ALL-Base is overrun!”
bind F8 “say_team ALL-Tech available %l”
bind F9 “say_team D-I am dead!”
bind F10 “say_team D-Base is clear”
bind F11 “say_team D-Reloading”
bind F12 “say_team D-In position with %t”

Offense:
bind F1 “say_team O-Attacking base!”
bind F2 “say_team O-Move out!”
bind F3 “say_team O-Meet at %l.”
bind F4 “say_team O-Acknowledged.”
bind F5 “say_team ALL-Friendly QUAD!”
bind F6 “say_team ALL-Enemy has QUAD!”
bind F7 “say_team ALL-What is our base status?!”
bind F8 “say_team ALL-QUAD in 30 seconds”
bind F9 “say_team O-I am dead!””
bind F10 “say_team O-We control their base!”
bind F11 “say_team O-Hiding with the flag %l, with %h/%a!”
bind F12 “say_team ALL-On offense with %t”
bind e “say_team Have Flag! Need cover %l”

Offense and Defense Strategies

This section is presented as a guide to the basic ins and outs of playing offense and defense on a public server. This includes how to prepare yourself to go for the flag, how to get into the base, and how to defend your base. For more advanced offensive tactics, which include team oriented offense, please read the Adv. Offense sections, (Coming soon!) and the Techs section.

Offense Strategies

Offense are the guys who storm the other team’s base and run the flag back for the capture. They must be good deathmatchers, grapplers, and have a keen eye for scoping out the defensive situation at the enemy base. The key to a good offense is working with your teammates. This may not be easy on a public server, but usually there are people on a server that will work with you to capture the flag. A good way to get people into the team spirit is to use some Offense binds while you are on offense. If you get a good response from your teammates, then you should keep it up. Your teammates may not respond well however; if this is the case then you should probably keep low with the binds. You should try them periodically as people quit and join in. You also may get some teammates that were quiet into using binds themselves.

Getting Started

Before attempting to go into the enemy base, you need to equip yourself with weapons and armor. A lot of people tend to forget the importance of having even the smallest amount of armor. Even if you get one armor shard it can be the difference between surviving a Rail or not. So grab some armor and weapons (preferably a rocket launcher, or whatever weapon you are proficient in fragging with) before you attack the enemy base. Knowledge of the map will help you here because you want to get your equipment as soon as possible.

Getting Into the Enemy Base

The “main” entrance into a base is the one that is easier to access, and will have more people coming in and out of it. This may be a large door, or just a wide path. Going into an enemy base this way will lead to more encounters with the enemy, weather they are going into their base to return to defense or staging an offensive roll towards your base. Getting yourself into the enemy base through this entrance is faster in the sense that it is more direct, but this path will also lead to more firefights. These fights will deplete your ammo and armor, and you may even be fragged before getting into the base. The main entrance will also be more likely to be covered by a sniper. Running into a base, fully decked out and ready to rumble just to be railed the second you step into a base is not the ideal offensive tactic.

The secondary or tertiary entrances offer fewer encounters with the enemy, but are usually narrow passages which take longer to get through. In some secondary entrances, such as the water entrance in Outlands II (Q2CTF4a), it is possible to drown in while navigating the water. Since there is a smaller chance that you will encounter an enemy while you are passing through this entrance, (it is not very efficient to go out of your base this way while you are on offense) you will most likely pop into the enemy base with all of your ammo and armor. Additionally, you will emerge deeper into the enemy base than if you entered through the main entrance.

This is a team game, so where you teammates are at this time will also determine which path you take. If you see another offensive player going through an entrance, follow them and watch their 6. Two heads are definitely better than one on offense. Remember to not get in the way of your teammate, and try not to accidentally shoot them. If you see 2 or more offensive players going through one entrance, it would probably be best if you choose another. This is because the defense will most likely go after the first group that enters a base, leaving the path for the second group more open. So if you enter the base before the other members of your team, try and distract or draw the defense towards you. This will allow the other members of your team to get the flag or attack defenders with an advantage. If the other members of the offense attack the base before you get there, it would be a good time to try and sneak past the defenders and steal the flag out from under them. Use stealth while the fight is going on, and you have a good chance at grabbing their flag.

Stealing the Flag from the Enemies

Get the flag!

The number one fact that you need to realize when you are going for the flag is that you don’t need to frag all the defenders to get the flag! Remember that your personal frag count is nice, but your whole team gets 10 frags each for your cap. Also it is a lot more illustrious to get a cap than frag a lot of people (usually a lot harder too). Usually you will have to frag a few defenders before you can touch the flag, but if you can get the flag without fragging anyone, then the results are the same. My logic is that I only frag a defender if they directly stop me from getting the flag, or if they will give me trouble after I get the flag.

If one of your teammates gets to the flag before you do, you should escort them back to your base. You have two options in this, taking point or covering their 6. Either case is good for the flag runner, better than no one covering at all. If you choose to take point for the flag runner, you need to keep a few steps ahead of them, and frag anyone that gets in your way. You also need to look back periodically to see if the flag carrier is still behind you, because something could have happened so that they had to take a different route. If you choose to take the flag carrier’s 6 (or they started running off before you could take point) you need to watch enemies that come from the sides and from the back. This requires a lot of turning and even running backward. Such a skill requires some practice and presence of mind, but is very possible, and can contribute greatly to the team.

In both of these cases, you need to have a “Secret Service” mentality. By this I mean you need to be able to throw yourself in front of a bullet if it means saving the flag carrier. This may sound counter-intuitive from normal quake playing, but it is quite necessary in CTF. You have to pretend that the flag carrier is the president, and you are his top SS agent. If you see a rocket flying his way, push him aside and take it yourself. If you die, but he caps, then your team comes out ahead (besides, you will respawn anyway). Win one for the Gipper!

Capture the Flag!

Your team now has the flag, so all you need to do is get back to your base and capture. There may still be defenders lurking around, so either frag them or get by them. If there are members of your team there, try getting them between you and the defender, so they can frag the defender for you, or take the bullet. While running the flag back to your base, you need to ask the Defense if your base is secure. You ask this to see if the enemy has taken over your base, if it is not safe for you to return with the flag, or if your flag has been taken. If this is the case then you need to make yourself scarce. You need to hide in less traveled parts of the base, maybe even grapple up in a dark corner and hide until your base is safe, or until your flag has been returned.

Misc. notes on offense:

The quad is a very important asset on offense. It is possible to take out a whole enemy defense with a Quad BFG (400 points of damage at the impact site). Therefore it is wise to have a member on your team camp or guard the quad for your offensive members. The quad will respawn exactly 60 seconds after it is taken. If a player on offense gets the quad, they should have a bind that says “quad in 30,” sent to their team exactly when the quad runs out. As always, when you have the quad be very careful of splash damage weapons as you can frag yourself very easily.

While you are on offense, it may be worth going out of your way to get a Tech. Techs can greatly increase your ability to frag or your longevity. Whenever I see the AutoDoc laying around, I would sell my soul to get it! Don’t be too greedy though, because sometime you can be walking into a really bad situation when trying to go for a Tech. For example, if there are 3-5 enemies close to the Tech, or if you see a lot of explosions near it, or if you see that an enemy will get it before you do, you will probably want to lay off of the Tech.

It is also a good idea on offense to frag an enemy seen or heard carrying a Tech. If the other team as any of the Tech, they may have a slight advantage over your team. It will be harder to frag these enemy players, so a slightly defensive aggressiveness is required. For example, go out to frag the player, but do so carefully, and use traps and ambushes around corners rather than charging in with guns blazing.

Defense Strategies

This section will lead you through some basic ideas of defense. For more advanced defense techniques, please read the Adv. Defense sections in this bible (coming soon!), and the Techs section.

On defense your goal is to keep the other team from grabbing your flag. Defense is just as important as offense in a game – if your offense can get 20 caps, but your defense gives up 20 caps, all the work the offense did is for nothing.

Camping and Sniping

Camper!

First, if anyone accuses you of “camping” while you are on defense, ignore it, because you’re not camping, you’re just protecting the flag. The whole goal of defense is to protect your position and your flag so no one gets by you. This can include camping the Quad, because it is such a huge asset for your offense.

Sniper:

With the limited amount of resources combined with a large number of players, it may be necessary to use classes in CTF. One such class is the Sniper. The sniper is a player that is very proficient with the Rail Gun. This player’s job is to pick off enemies with the Rail Gun that are coming into the base, or near the flag AND warn the defense of incoming enemies. Because of this, the sniper must also be proficient in using “incoming” binds. Some maps, like Stronghold Opposition (q2ctf2), have a “sniper roost” built into each base. This section of the base is ideal for sniping incoming enemies because it overlooks a wide open area that leads to and from each base and it has an ammo pack of slugs. While you are sniping on this map you must be careful of enemy snipers, as the sniper roosts of each base face each other so you can yourself be sniped.

Here is a quick script to FOV snipe. Thanks to Unholy for this script.

alias +aim “fov 30; sensitivity 4”
alias -aim “fov 90;+attack;wait;wait;wait;wait;wait;wait;wait;wait;wait;wait; -attack; sensitivity 8”
alias snipermode1 “bind mouse2 +aim; echo sniper mode on; bind f snipermode2”
alias snipermode2 “bind mouse2 +attack; echo sniper mode off; bind f snipermode1; bind mouse2 use grapple”
bind f “snipermode1”

Defensive Positions

Covering Choke Points

One defensive option you have is to position yourself so that you cover the choke points into your base. Choke points are narrow areas leading into your base that require someone passing through this area to go through your line of sight. This can be a hallway, a teleport, or a doorway. To cover a choke point all you have to do is frag any enemies that pass by you, or warn the rest of the defense that someone is attacking from your position.

A good example of this is in McKinley Revival (q2ctf1). There is a very narrow pipe that leads into each base from the water. A defender covering this choke point would toss grenades or rockets down this pipe when they see an enemy coming through it or if they hear a person on their team yell “incoming”.

While covering a choke point you shouldn’t leave your position to follow an enemy out of your base. This is because the enemy player may be trying to lead you out of your position so that other members from their team can get by your position. This is another case in which the frag count may make you forget that you are on a team. Remember that it is more important that you protect your flag than if you get frags. From a strategic standpoint, not chasing after a player if you are protecting a choke point is the best idea, because the enemy is no closer to the flag after they encounter you, but they may be hurt from the process. The only time you should really follow an enemy out of your base when you are protecting a choke point is if the enemy is carrying your flag.

DM in CTF?

Another possibility on defense is what I call the “DMer”. These defenders stand near or on the flag and frag any enemies that come close to the flag, hence the name “DMer”. This player or players must also communicate with the rest of the team. They also need a “On defense at %l” bind, but they also need the “Base is overrun/not safe”, “Flag in danger” and “Need help on defense!” binds. These defenders need to coordinate the rest of the defense, as they have the best grasp of what is going on throughout the base, and also can see the flag the most. These defenders gain the most from having the Techs because they are the last line of defense of the flag, so they will need the highest ability to frag.

Defensive Communication

The most important thing you need to do on defense is communicate with your teammates. When you reach your position you should use a “On defense at %l” bind so that your team knows you are covering that area. This allows your teammates to get an idea of what areas are covered so they know where to expect enemies to attack. Next you need to use the “Incoming to flag” or “enemy seen at %l” binds to directly warn your teammates there are enemies attacking. Another useful bind in this situation is the “I’m am dead” or “out of position” binds, which tells your teammates that your position is overrun or no one is covering it. Finally, an important bind to use on Defense is the “Enemy flag carrier seen at %l”. This bind tells your team where your flag is so they can come help frag the flag carrier.

Introduction to Tech Power-ups

The Techs

The techs add yet another spin on CTF. These items enhance or add abilites so you can live longer, or attack stronger. If you ever come across any of these, grab hold of them and keep them as long as you can. The following is a brief description of each Tech. A section with a Asterick is an advanced section. These sections go deeper into the numbers and math of each tech, and also analyze some possibilities of thier use on offense and defense.

The AutoDoc

The AutoDoc replenishes 5 points of health and 5 points of armor per second. If you have full heath, then it will replenish your armor at a rate of 10 points per second. Your health will be continually replenished until it reaches a maximum of 150 points. If you get the MegaHealth while you have the AutoDoc, and have 150 health, then your health will go to 250, but will not diminish over time. You can still add stimpacks to 250 health points, but adrenaline will not add more.

All armor will be replenished to 150 points as well. Thus Green armor, which normally has a max of 50 points, will be brought up to a max of 150 points while you hold the AutoDoc. Yellow armor is also brought up to a max of 150 points. The maximum aromor points Red armor can have is 200 points (normal) but if it is brought down to below 150 points, it will only be replenished to 150. Do not confuse Armor with the Power Shield however, since Cells fuel the Power Shield, the AutoDoc does not replenish it.

A very powerful combination with the AutoDoc is Red armor, MegaHealth (for 250 health points) and the Power Shield. This combination of Armor/Techs/Items will make it incredibly hard for anyone to kill you.

AutoDoc: On Offense

At the Enemy Base

Before going on an offensive run, the AutoDoc should be shared among the squad. This saves time and resources for your whole team. One way to use the AutoDoc on offense is to give it to the player that will go into the enemy base, and try to draw out the majority of the defense. This player will be able to last in a firefight longer than the rest of the squad. While this player is distracting the defense, the rest of the offense squad should concentrate on getting the flag. Remember that you do not want to lose the AutoDoc, so the distraction player should know when to run back to his base or hide while he replenishes his health/armor when he’s in trouble.

Flag Running

The AutoDoc can also increase the life span of a flag runner. The player with the flag will most likely be the main target of the defense, and thus will need to regain health/armor the most. The instantaneous regeneration of health can be a real lifesaver (pun intended). I can remember all the times when I was about to capture a flag and someone respawned behind me and killed me with a blaster =]. Those extra few points of health were the difference between a cap and my untimely death.

I do have to stress that the AutoDoc is so powerful that you do not want to give it to the other team. Using it on offense, you literally walk it right into their base. Keeping the AutoDoc on defense is probably the best way to utilize it. Remember that all of the defensive strategies following can be used by the other team.

AutoDoc: On Defense

At Home

The AutoDoc can be the backbone of a good defense. One of the worst circumstances that can happen to a defense is an attack while they are low on health. The AutoDoc eliminates the need to run around and wait for health/armor to respawn. Murphy’s Law will kick in here a lot: The enemy will attack when you are least ready. However, the AutoDoc reduces the probability of this, as “Chance favors the prepared mind”.

Share and Share Alike

The most important technique your team needs to learn is to share the AutoDoc with each other. If you learn how to efficiently pass the AutoDoc between defensive players, it is possible to have all of your defensive players with 150 armor and 250 health (if there is a MegaHealth available) throughout the majority of the match.

Mother always told you to share…

While the AutoDoc isn’t being passed back and forth, the defender that will be most-removed from the firefight should hold it, to ensure that your team does not lose the AutoDoc. Also note that you should not be passing the AutoDoc while there are enemies in your base, as there is a chance that it can be stolen while it is being passed.

The Power Amplifier

The Power Amp doubles all weapon damage. This does not replenish ammo, so don’t get trigger-happy. There is a tendancy to use a lot of ammo when you have the Power Amp, mostly because it is fun watching your enemies gib with more frequency. You also need to be careful of your own splash damage; it’s much easier to injure yourself with rockets or grenades while you have the Power Amp. Sometimes you can get away with hitting someone with a point blank rocket, but with the Power Amp you will quickly learn not to. You should probably use non-splash-damage weapons when there is a high probability for hitting yourself. (I.e. don’t use the BFG when your enemy is right in front of you)

Who’s team are you on anyways?

The Power Amp in conjunction with almost any weapon is deadly. One of the most deadly combinations is with the Rail Gun. Normally it is not easy to live through a Railgun shot, but imagine being hit with two rails simultaneously! For close range attacks the Super Shotgun and Chaingun will tear through your enemies.

The Time Accelerator

This doubles your rate of fire for all weapons. The Hyperblaster is the only weapon that does not fire at double the rate. Instead, it fires two blasts simultaneously, but at the cost of double the ammo.

With Time Accel, the rate of fire of the Railgun is comparable to the shotgun, making it extremely deadly. The RL and the Time Accelerator can supply suppressive fire second to nothing. With a lot of ammo just about any entrance can be effectively cut off.

The Time Accel is most effective when used to “plug” a hole. The increased rate of fire allows you to pump out a lot of rockets into a corridor or a small entrance deterring or killing enemies that try and run through. This is good for both defense and offense. On offense you can cover a hallway behind you as you are running/escorting the flag.

Time Accelerator: Usage

Weapons Choices

The Time accelerator also increases the usefulness of a sniper. The increased rate of fire with the Rail Gun makes a sniper even more deadly. You should practice sniping with the rail gun and Time Accel, because the increased rate of fire takes a bit to get used to. I suggest getting a CTF bot like CRBOT or the like and practice on your own comp. Sniping bots can be fun =]

When using the Time Accelerator, you need to be very careful with your ammo. Ammo usage goes through the roof with it. The Chain gun doesn’t last very long at all, as 200 rounds of ammo will be eaten up in just 4 seconds. Also remember that the Hyper Blaster doesn’t look like it is using more ammo, but it is actually firing two simultaneous shots instead of one.

Double your pleasure…

The Super Shotgun’s usefulness is also greatly enhanced with the Time Accelerator. With the Time Accel, the doubled rate of fire make the SSG arguably the best point blank weapon. You can really mow down a group of enemies with this combo.

Offense or Defense?

The issue of using the Time Accelerator on offense or defense depends on situational modifiers. If the enemy offense is straining your defense, or even capping on your team, you will want to keep it on defense. However, if their offense isn’t giving your defense a very tough time, but their defense is hard to crack, then you will want to use it on offense. The extra boost from the Time Accelerator may give your offense enough to break the enemy defense.

Time Accelerator: On Offense

At the Enemy Base

On offense the Time Accelerator can be used just like the Power Amp. The increased rate of fire will help an offensive player take down a defense. Here are some possibilities of how the Time Accelerator can be used on offense:

The pointman in a squad (the one that goes in a base first) is an option for which player should hold the Time Accelerator. The pointman should go in with the Rocket Launcher or the Rail Gun and try to take out as many defenders as possible, closely followed by the rest of the squad. As the pointman in the squad is engaging the defense, the flag runner should concentrate on getting the flag and getting out.

The person with the Time Accelerator should pay close attention to the status of the defenders. If a defender has the Power Shield or the Disruptor Shield, it would be a good idea to frag these defenders first. This is because these defenders will be generally harder to kill, and with the Time Accelerator you have a better chance of killing them.

Get him!

Sniping

Another possibility is an offensive sniper. On offense a sniper can sit in the back of the squad and pick off defenders with the Rail Gun. (If the base is a large room, grappling up to a concealed location works well) You can do this tactic without the Time Accelerator, but with it the effectiveness increases.

Power Flag Running

Another excellent tactic is to give the Time Accelerator to the flag runner. This is so that they can protect themselves while running for the flag or running away with it. Also if the escort teammates get fragged, it is good to know that the flag runner can hold their own in a fight. As with the Power Amp, the flag runner must be careful of which weapons to use. The increased rate of fire also increases the probability that you can injure yourself from splash damage. Weapons such as the Rail Gun, Hyperblaster and SSG are good choices in this situation.

The Disruptor Shield

The Disruptor Shield halves the damage taken to both your armor and your health. The Disrupter Shield is just like having a Power Shield that doesn’t need cells and never deactivates. The Disruptor Shield’s damage capacity is tallied first when damage distribution is calculated.

For example, if you have the Disruptor Shield and get hit by a Railgun shot (100 points of damage), you will only receive 50 points of damage distributed among your health, armor, and Power Shield.

Watch out, as people tend to forget that they can still die when they have the Disruptor Shield. As Thresh describes when he talks about the Quad, “people tend to throw caution in the wind” when they have the Disruptor Shield. Realize that you can take a lot more damage, but as always keep a close eye on your health and armor.

Disruptor Shield: Usage

The Disruptor Shield simply cuts all damage you take in half, which goes a long way towards increasing your life span considerably. Watch out, as people tend to forget that they can still die when they have the Disruptor Shield. As Thresh describes when he talks about the Quad, “people tend to throw caution in the wind” when they have the Disruptor Shield. Realize that you can take a lot more damage, but as always keep a close eye on your health and armor.

Usage and the Numbers

An awesome combination with the Disruptor Shield is the Power Shield. The Power Shield absorbs about 33% of all damage. Combine that with the 50% absorbed by the Disruptor Shield, and they end up absorbing about 85% of all damage, and that’s not even counting any additional armor you may have! So you are left with only 15% of damage going towards your armor and health. For example, if you have 100 health, 100 armor (yellow), the Disruptor Shield, and the Power Shield with 100 cells. If you take a direct Rail shot, your health only drops to 94, your armor drops to 79, while your Power Shield takes most of the damage and drops to 34. The damage dealt out works in this order: First the rail does 100 points of damage. The Disruptor Shield takes 50% off of this, leaving 50 points of damage. The Power Shield takes off 33% of the original 100, absorbing 33 points of damage (taking away double, or 66 cells in the process), leaving 17 points for health and armor. The yellow armor takes about 55% of all damage, in this case absorbing 11 points, leaving 6 points for your health, which drops your health to 94 points. Pretty cool huh? In essence the combination of the Disruptor Shield and Power Shield took off a whooping 83% of that one rail shot.

83% off! What a bargain!

 Offense or Defense?

The Disruptor Shield can be equally effective on Offense or Defense. It allows your men to sustain twice the damage they normally could, and that is a blessing coveted by both sides. The best way to decide is by examining the strengths and weaknesses of your team, in terms of offense and defense. The Disruptor Shield is probably best suited to help beef up the weaker half. Similarly, if you’re facing a team with a devastating offense, but average D, leave the Disruptor Shield to your base defenders – they’ll benefit from it more.

Disruptor Shield: On Offense

The Man with the Ball

The obvious person to give the Disruptor Shield to on offense is the flag runner. The increased longevity of the flag runner will also increase the probability that he or she will make it back to your base alive. This is probably the most optimal offensive situation for the use of the Disruptor Shield.

That is not the only possibility for offense, however. Using the Disruptor Shield on offense is very similar to using the AutoDoc on offense. The pointman (the one that attacks the base first in a squad) can also use the Disruptor Shield. This is so that the pointman can take out and/or distract the enemy defense while the rest of the squad is working on getting the flag and getting out. This pointman would focus on luring the defense away from the flag or even feint for the flag as to draw them away.

Disruptor Shield: On Defense

The Front Man

On defense the optimal usage of the Disruptor Shield would be giving it to the defender that sees the largest amount of incoming enemy. This defender will most likely take the most damage compared to the rest of the defense, so the less damage taken by him or her, the longer he or she can stay at that position. There is a benifit in staying at your position longer.

Murphy’s law kicks in a lot in CTF, ‘The enemy will attack when you are least prepared,’ So the longer you stay in your position the lower the probability that you will be out of your position when the enemy attacks.

Just as a reminder, take caution to your health and armor when you have the Disruptor Shield, as people tend to forget that they can still die when they have it.

The Art of Flag Running

Flag running is an art. Some may think it is only a game, but the sheer amount of skill and experience required to be an excellent flag runner pushes the boundaries of CTF to a new level. Like anything done at a professional level, the best competitors rely on a mix of rational thought and instinct to be the best. This guide will help you learn both.

Gathering Supplies

When you are on offense and you spawn into a game, the first thing you want to do is get supplies. Attempting to go into an enemy base and stealing their flag with only a blaster is less than futile. Make sure you grab a weapon or two, preferably one that can kill quickly (i.e. a Rocket Launcher, Rail Gun, Hyper Blaster), and plenty of ammo. It is important that you stock up on armor as well. Many people tend to forget that armor increases your longevity in a firefight, especially facing a defense that may have the aid of one or more tech Powerups. A Rocket Launcher with 15 rockets, a Rail gun with 10 slugs, 75 points of armor, and full health are a good minimum of equipment before attempting a flag run. If the enemy defense is tight and you expect heavy fire to get the flag, you should also get the Power Armor with at least 150 cells, 100 points of Red Body Armor, and the MegaHealth. A Tech will also help you a lot, but remember that when you are on offense with a Tech you run the risk of bringing the Tech right to the enemies.

Spawning in the Enemy Base

If you happen to respawn in the enemy base, you can do 2 things: you can try to escape, rearm, then come back to try and get the flag, or you can rely on your grapple skills (and luck!) to get the flag out. There is also a chance that the rest of your offense could be attacking at the same time you respawn in the enemy base. If this is the case it would be a good time to become part of their squad again and help them. You may not want to assume the role you were previously with them, i.e. if you were the designated flag runner you would not want to be that when you have no armor/weapons. If you are very good at grappling, you make yourself a much harder target for enemy defenders. It may even be harder to get out of the base and come back than it is to grapple your way to the flag and out. My advice is to just try it, because if you die and respawn back in your base, you are actually better off than if you are in the middle of their base with no armor or weapons.

Getting There is Half the Fun

Now that you have weapons and armor, you need to get to the enemy base. This is where knowledge of the map becomes tremendously useful. In all of the CTF maps (the maps that came with the original patch), there is more than one way into the enemy base. The “main” entrance into a base is the one that is easier to access, and will have more people coming in and out of it. Going into an enemy base this way will lead to more encounters with the enemy, whether they are going into their base to return to defense or if they are enemy offense going towards your base. Getting yourself into the enemy base through this entrance is faster in the sense that it is more direct, but this path will also lead to more encounters with the enemy. These fights will deplete your ammo and armor, and you may even be fragged before getting into the base. The main entrance will also be more likely to be covered by a sniper. Running into a base, fully decked out and ready to rumble just to be railed the second you step into a base is not the ideal offensive tactic.

The Main entrance differs from the secondary or tertiary entrances as the secondary and tertiary entrances offer less encounters with the enemy, but take longer to get through. Remember that some secondary entrances, it is possible to drown in while navigating the water. Since there is only a small chance that you will encounter an enemy while you are passing through this entrance, you will most likely pop into the enemy base with all of your ammo and armor, plus you will be deeper into the enemy base than if you entered through the main entrance. A good tactic is to grapple your way through the non-primary entrances, which reduces your travel time, and reduces the change that you will have to fight with an enemy.

Teammates

A good tactic is to have a squad attack the main entrance of the base, while you as the flag runner sneak around through a different entrance. The defense will be busy defending the base against the squad, while you can sneak in and take the flag. Once you snag that flag, don’t be surprised to see the brunt of the enemy attack turn to you, however. This is the chance for your offense to both strike at the enemy and protect you from harm. For a more detailed description of this see the Adv. Offense section, coming soon.

Going by Defenders

So now you’re in the enemy base ready to get their flag. But wait! There are defenders in the base, and they don’t look too happy to see you! You’re probably thinking “Damn I have to kill all of these guys to get their flag?Huh” That is a possibility, but not the only option. A lot of people think that you need to take out the whole enemy defense to get their flag, but that is not true. To get the enemy flag all you need to do is out-smart the enemy defense.

Compromising Positions

This brings up the concept of “compromising the enemy’s position”. This is a bit complex, but once you understand it its very easy to think about. A basic example is attacking a hill. If a person is defending the hill from above, they have the advantage, while the person attacking from the bottom has a disadvantage. If the attacker can get above the defender, he has compromised the position of the defender. Another example is a defender protecting the flag. As long as the defender keeps himself between the flag and the attacker, he has the advantage. This is because the attacker’s goal is to get the flag, and as long as the defender is in the way the attacker cannot accomplish his goal. Since the defender knows this, he has the upper hand because he knows where the attacker is trying to go, and can prevent him from going there. This happens a lot when people don’t realize it. When you are fighting someone and you both start circle strafing, as soon as the attacker has his back to the flag, he should break off the attack and go for the flag (as long as he knows he can get away without the defender fragging him).

So while you are flag running, you should keep the idea of compromising positions at hand. While heading for the enemy base, if you come across their offense while they are attacking your base, the best thing to do is attack them until you have compromised their position (you move between the enemy attacker and the enemy base). At this time you should immediately break off the attack and keep heading towards their base.

Advanced Grapple Techniques for flag running

The Art of Grappling

The grappling hook can be your greatest asset when trying to steal the enemy flag. The ability to fly through the air and the increase to your movement rate is a definite advantage when going for the flag. The disadvantage to using the hook is the lack of a weapon. Remember that you cannot use a weapon with the hook (unless you are suspended on a wall) because the hook itself is considered a weapon. Since you cannot use weapons with the hook, you should equip yourself with plenty of armor, and the Power Shield if possible.

A few techniques should be practiced thoroughly before attempting them in an important game:

Stand a good distance away from a wall. Hook onto a high part of a wall, while you are half way (vertically) to the point of which you hooked, let go. You should arc through the air and land at the base (or close to) the wall.

Hook somewhere and let yourself be pulled towards it. Let go in the middle, you should start arcing or falling down(depending on your trajectory and height), but your forward velocity should not change (unless you run into something) . Now hook towards another area. As soon as your hook connects you will immediately be pulled towards it (the physics are not correct, but oh well).

Hook to a high part of a room, and let go when you are almost at the top. Now immediately hook straight down. You will be pulled toward the ground and land, but as long as you keep the hook on (+attack) you will not receive any fall damage.

Feigning the hook also works. Run into a room and shoot the hook somewhere. Before it connects or before you are pulled towards it, let go of the hook and shoot it somewhere else. Some people may start shooting rockets or grenades to where you shot the hook the first time (because it is hard to shoot someone in mid air ), but you will be traveling to a different part of the room.

Randomize

The most important thing to do while you are using the hook is to make sure you are random. This means that you randomize the amount of time you hold the attack button down while you are flying through the air, and randomize the locations you shoot the hook to. This randomness can also be considered a unpredictability in your shots to throw off the defenders. For example, you can run into a base, shoot your hook at the ceiling, fly halfway up, let go (you will still fly up until gravity stops your upward velocity) hook to the wall behind the flag, fly towards that, and let go so you will fall right onto the flag. This is actually a very, very simple example of using the hook to get the flag.

You can use many combinations of hooking to confuse the enemy defense and get the flag. I have seen games in which the flag runner did not touch a single defender, but still managed to get out of the base with the flag by only using superior hooking skills.

Escaping from the Enemy Base

Now you need to get out of the enemy base! First you need to see how many defenders are still in the enemy base. If there are none, you’re lucky, and can just exit. More likely, there are defenders left in the base, and you will need to decide if you can/will frag them, or if you will just get around them. You need to base your decision on how much armor/ammo/health/weapons/techs you have, how confident you are in fragging them, what kind or weapons/techs they have, how many of your teammates are going to escort you, and how fast you can get out of the base if you do or don’t kill them. That’s a lot to think about. I wouldn’t worry too much about all those things, because while you’re sitting there trying to decide a defender may come by and frag you. You need to make your decision quickly because the longer you spend in the enemy base, the higher the probability the defense will descend upon you.

Again, while you are running back to your base with the flag, you should keep the idea of compromising positions at the top of your head. It is exactly the same as when you were running into the base, except you are now running out. If you can get yourself in between your base and the enemy, you have the upper hand.

Choose your path wisely

This is a case in which taking the secondary exit will probably be better than the main entrance. If you go out the main entrance, there is a high probability that you will run into enemies who saw that their flag was taken, and are trying to get back on defense. However there is less of a chance that there are enemies coming into the base through the secondary entrance. Also, on the majority of the CTF maps there are few or no respawns on the path leading from the secondary entrance. So if you exit this way, there will be less of a chance that you will run into enemy resistance. Using the hook to travel through the secondary entrance/path is a good combination, as the extra speed provided by the hook plus the fewer enemies will make getting out of the base easier.

The Art of Running Backward

This technique takes a lot of skill, experience, and patience to master. The basic idea of running backward is, of course, running with the flag backward. Why would you want to do this? Statistically as soon as you are out of the flag area or enemy base, the majority of enemies that are a threat to you are chasing you from behind. Running backwards allows you to see the enemies and where they are shooting, and allows you to return fire. If you know where the enemies are and what they are trying to do you have an advantage over them, as you dictate where they are going to since you have their flag. This also helps because you can cut down on the number of enemies following you by fragging them yourself.

Patience…

Learning to run backwards takes a great amount of practice, practice, and more practice. To start off you should run any of the CTF maps on your own computer, with no one connected. Choose a team and go to the other team’s base. Now get the flag and practice running backward the whole way back to your base. You may find yourself running into a lot of walls or falling off ledges. You should try “feeling” your way through the bases at first, i.e. strafing against walls and doorways to get used to running backward. With time you will be able to do this on any of the maps without running into any walls, killing yourself falling into lava, or even having to wall strafe.

The next step is to hop on a public server that doesn’t have too many people on it, and try it there. This situation will allow you to practice while there are people shooting at you and it will give you a feel for what it will be like on a crowed server.

Remember grasshopper, practice makes perfect, and practice does not come without patience. Keep practicing and perfecting your skills and you will become a natural. Remember not to rely on running backwards – it’s useful in certain situations, but if you aren’t looking where you’re going, you’re bound to run into something unexpected, whether it be the enemy offense, or straight into a battle between the two teams. Use it as a tool, not a dependency.

Capturing the Flag

So now the hardest part is behind you. Getting out of the enemy base is usually harder than getting back to yours. The first thing to do is see if any enemies followed you out of their base. If so, you or your teammates will have to frag him. This is one case where losing the chaser is not very easy, so fragging them may be the only option (this does vary with maps or course). While you are running back to your base it would be a good time to pick up some ammo, armor, and especially health. Most likely you took a pretty good beating while getting the flag, and it would be a shame if you died from someone respawning and hitting you with a blaster. I wouldn’t go out of the way to get health, but make sure to pick up anything that is easy to get.

Escorting the Flag Carrier

Communicate

While running back to your base you need to ask your team’s defense if your base is clear. If there are enemies in your base, you will probably not want to go running in there with their flag. They will probably turn their guns towards you so they can return their flag. If this is the case you need to hide with the flag. Hiding can mean finding a dark corner and grappling up into it, or it can be running around in the back parts of your base where there is little or no traffic. If you feel confident enough, you can go help your defense clear your base so you can capture.

If you are sitting in your base with the enemy flag waiting for your own flag to return, your defense should protect you instead of protecting the flag position. What this does is turn your defense into a static flag escort. You may want to position yourself where your flag returns, as this is the position the defenders are the most skilled at defending. In general the flag return position also gives you the largest field of view that allows you to see incoming enemies, plus the defense has binds made to warn of incoming enemies to that position. Also, with your flag taken, enemy troops will be more busy looking for you than trying to storm your flag position specifically.

Capture!

So now that your base is clear, and your flag is in position, GO CAPTURE!!! Good job! That wasn’t easy!

Introduction to Advanced Offense

This section is probably the hardest section to apply to a CTF match because all the techniques described here require multiple players and a lot of practice to learn. Some of the practice may even require you to run “drills” just like a football team. Most of these techniques you will not be able to learn while playing on a public server, even if you are playing with your regular teammates.

Defense Theories

One of the inherent qualities of Defense in CTF is that it is reactionary. It reacts to a situation brought to it instead of bringing an action somewhere else. For example, when you are driving a car you react to the stoplights at an intersection. The stoplights don’t react to what you tell them, but they tell you what to do. In CTF if a defender is defending the flag, he will wait around the flag area for an enemy player to come and attack him. He doesn’t know when the enemy is coming (typically), so he just reacts to the enemy when necessary. Because of this, the Offense is the party that dictates the action in a confrontation. The offense tells the defense when they need to fight, and how many they need to fight. This is probably the biggest advantage the offense has, and thus needs to exploit it the most. The offense can tell a defender “you are going to fight 3 people at the same time” and the defender will be forced to react.

Group Theory

Grouping is a way to gather forces together before attacking a base. This may sound easy but can be very complicated. The basic idea is to gather a squad of 2-4 people somewhere on the map and then attack the enemy base together. Attacking in a group is superior to attacking one at a time for several reasons — attacking in a group allows you to carry more firepower into the enemy base and allows you to cover the other members of the squad.

Most Important Area

100% health/Yellow Armor room

This is the centerpiece of the level. With the 100% health, health packs, and YA in the same room, it makes for a very enticing place to go. If you can control this area, you control the level.
Most Important Items To Control (In order)

Yellow armors

Without armor, one railgun shot, one rocket blast, or a few seconds of the chaingun can be fatal. Knowing this, do not allow your opponents to get armor. The two yellow armors on this level are close-by, and thus are relatively easy to control. Once you gain control of the level, do not let your opponent get his hands on the YA. A good tactic, too, is to leave the YA in the open area as bait… tempt him to go for it, and fill him with slugs as he walks up the ramp.

100% health

Oftentimes, both players in a game will have 100 health and 100 armor due to the size and design of the map. In these instances, the 100% health plays a huge role in giving one player an advantage over the other. Having the 100% health will allow you to be more aggressive, and give you a safety cushion if you want to chase after a wounded enemy.
Most Important Sounds

Armor shards

Armor shards are the loudest objects in the game and can be heard from a mile away. There are only three groups of four of these shards in the game, all of which are in very specific areas. Listen carefully for them, as when you hear them being picked up, you should know exactly where the enemy is and where they are headed. Your job of listening for them is made easier given the fact that most, if not all, people tend to pick these shards up any time they see them.

100% health

When you hear this sound, you know the enemy has a decided advantage over you. Generally, you will hear a rocket jump sound before you hear the sound of the 100% health being picked up. If you don’t hear the 100% health (and you are nearby) after he rocket jumps, you will probably find your opponent waiting for the 100% health in the dark spot in the corner of the ledge.

Armor being picked up

There are only three armors on this level, two YA and one jacket armor (the gray one). Each of these armors are in very specific areas, the gray armor at the top of the elevator, one YA at the top of the triple-jump platform, and the other in the outer arena. Listen carefully as to from which direction the armor sound came from, and you’ll know where your enemy is.

Weapons and ammo being picked up

Most of the weapons on this map are grouped with ammo packs. One RL and the super shotgun are grouped with 2 ammo packs each, the chaingun with three, etc. Depending on where you’re standing, you should be able to tell which weapon he picked up, and consequently will know where your opponent is.

Most Effective Weapons (In order)

Railgun

Due to the numerous large, open areas in Q2DM1, a good railgun user can easily pick apart his opponent from afar. The way Q2DM1 is constructed, you will find it pretty easy to put distance between you and your opponent if you want to snipe at him. Close combat can be easily avoided, as there are only a handful of small rooms on this map, all of which have easily accessible exits. Since the YA in the arena area takes a while to walk to and is also in the open, good railgunners can pick off their opponents before they can get to it. For those reasons, the railgun is the best weapon to use on this level. However, I would not rely solely on the railgun, but simply use it as a tool to gain an advantage before close combat, or to pick him off when he’s hurt.

Rocket launcher

Still one of the deadliest and most versatile weapons Quake II, an enemy with a RL is always someone to be wary of. Since the most important area in Q2DM1 (the 100% health/YA room) requires close combat skills and weapons, the RL makes its way to #2 as the weapon of choice on this map. (It should be the #1 weapon of choice if your railgun aim is poor) Due to its versatility, the RL can do basically anything. All of the stairs and pathways have walls directly behind/to the side of them, which consequently, makes a player who is on those stairs/pathways relatively easy to hit with a RL.

Chaingun

The high rates of fire, ease of aim, and instant-hit make the chain-gun the weapon of choice to finish off hurt opponents. The damage it can inflict from any range also makes it an ideal weapon to use against enemies who are without armor. Additionally, against good railgunners, a charging chaingunning opponent can place enough pressure to throw off their railgun aim. If you have substantially more armor and health than your opponent, this is a good weapon to use.

Important Features

Crouching

Because the railgun is such a prominent weapon on this map, it can be very helpful to make yourself a smaller target to hit. Try crouching when going up elevators/lifts or walking by windowsills. This will essentially put you out of their line of sight, or at least make it a lot harder shot for your opponent to hit.

Note: You don’t want to crawl across a large open area, as you’ll be moving at a very slow pace, and thus will give your opponent a chance to get off more shots.

Jumping

Jumping in Quake II is very useful in general. Use it often to make yourself a harder target to hit.

Walking

The enemy will rarely hear your footsteps unless you’re close-by… which is exactly the reason why you should walk when you think the enemy is close. When walking, meaning you do not have the run key on, you do not create the footsteps sound. Thus, if you ever want to sneak up on your opponent, or simply want to stealthy, walk.

Most Important Area

100% health/Yellow Armor room

Although most of the fighting does not occur in this area, it is however, still the key to controlling the level. The fact that there is only one yellow armor on this entire level contributes greatly to the importance of this area. From this centralized area, you have many options and directions you have to choose from.

Here’s a list of them:

1. Jumping to the ledge beneath the super shotgun

Gives you a better vantage point of the armor shards/RL area entrances. Also gives you the choice of walking up the ladder to get the SSG and health or jumping across to the ledge leading to the RL area.

2. Dropping down and walking towards the armor shards

Gives you the choice of walking out to collect rocket ammo or getting armor shards and going around to get 100% health.

3. Dropping down and going through the lava tunnel

Gives you the choice of either getting the hyperblaster, cutting off your opponent who tried running away through the armor shards, or using it as a shortcut to get to the 100% health.

4. Rocket jumping up to the quad area

Gives you the choice of either dropping down to the center area or taking the lift up to the top.

5. Jumping to the closest ledge that leads to the RL area

Although it doesn’t look like you can make it, you can actually jump from the Yellow Armor area to closest ledge that leads to the RL area. Hug the left wall and jump off as close to the edge as possible. As you’re in mid air, try strafing and turning into the wall at the same time. You should make this jump a good percentage of the time. If you can make this jump, it will save you the time and trouble of having to go up to the top of SSG platform just to make the jump.

As you can see, there are many paths you have to choose from. When you have control of this area, it usually means your opponent is low on armor. (He does have access to a jacket armor outside of this area, though) Get the 100% health and listen – when you find out where he is, choose the shortest path that will intercept him and hunt him down.

Most Important Items To Control (In order)

Yellow armors

Aside from the one yellow armor on this level, there are only the jacket and armor shards to protect yourself with. Having more armor than your opponent is the key to survival, which naturally makes controlling and keeping this armor away from the enemy the most important element of this map.

100% health

An extremely close second in terms of importance of gaining control on this map, the 100% health can turn the tide of the game instantaneously. With control of the YA and the 100% health, your opponent will be at a severe disadvantage. It is at this time that you can afford to be more aggressive in your play.

Note: I’ve seen people who have control of the level go through the trouble of jumping across the lava then going up the ladder just to get the 100% health. Instead, when you are in this situation, rocket jump to the health, then hurry back to the YA. If you do it correctly, you should get back to the YA before it respawns, and thus maintain control of the level.

Most Important Sounds

Armor shards

As always, the armor shards are the loudest objects in the game, and usually can be heard throughout the level. In this case, there is only one set of armor shards on the map, which makes it easy to determine exactly where your opponent is once you hear the sound. Keep an ear out for them, because you’ll find it very easy to predict where your opponent is going (depending on where you’re standing) once you hear the shards being picked up, and consequently be able to ambush him immediately after.

Jumping Sounds

There are a lot of places on this map where you must jump in order to reach certain objects, such as ladders, platform, and what not. Additionally, people like to jump onto ladders, rather than simply walk up them. Knowing this, keep your ears open for jumping sounds. Figure out from which direction they came from, and you should know where he’s headed.

Example: You hear a double jump in the direction of the inlet that has the ladder leading up to the RL. If you know your opponent doesn’t have an RL at the time, you can quite accurately guess he is on his way up the ladder towards the RL.

Example #2: If you hear the double jump in the direction of the 100% health, you can quite accurately guess he is probably headed up the ladder to get to the 100% health. In this case, it is quite easy to keep your opponent trapped in the area, so try to keep the pressure on.

Most Effective Weapons (In order)

Rocket launcher

The rocket launcher is by far the most effective weapon on this level. There is a decent amount of rocket ammo spread across the level, so lack of ammo shouldn’t be a big problem. (Unless your opponent is controlling the ammo packs) With the many hallways, corridors, small areas, walls, and most importantly, the large number of corners on Q2DM3, the RL is the deadliest weapon on this map.

I’ve actually noticed people tend to shoot ground a lot less in Quake II than in Quake. On a map such as Q2DM3, shooting ground is extremely important. People tend to jump around a lot on this map, especially when they are popping out of corners to take pot shots. Due to the lack of shooting ground on most people’s parts, the jumping is actually extremely effective. If you think the enemy is lurking around a corner, or if you think he’s going to be strafing out of the corner to take a shot at you, shoot at the ground!

Super Shotgun

It has become quite apparent to me lately that people tend to underestimate the power of the super shotgun. Especially on a map like Q2DM3, where there are many small rooms and corridors, the super shotgun is a deadly weapon, and rivals the RL as the most effective weapon on this map. In fact, depending on how much armor and health your opponent has, the super shotgun can be even more effective than the RL. Furthermore, jumping in Quake II is significantly more effective than jumping in Quake, as I explained in previous sections of the Bible. That, consequently, makes hurting the enemy with rockets a little harder to do… which is why the SSG should be the weapon of choice in certain situations.

As I stated above, the super shotgun is severely underestimated by many people. Because of that, sometimes people don’t realize they are getting pumped full of lead during a fight, even though they may be losing a lot of armor and health per blast. A good instance to use the SSG over rockets is if you are on the lower level (in the center of the map), and your opponent is trying to pick you off on the ledge above. The chances of you hitting him with a rocket are pretty low, as there is no wall directly behind him to hurt him with radius damage. Instead, use the SSG and blast him the face every time he peeks over the ledge to take a shot at you. A railgun may do more damage in this instance, but it requires a very precise shot rather than a blast in the enemy’s vicinity.

Grenade launcher/Railgun

The grenade launcher and railgun tie on this map as the third most effective weapon, due to their varying effectiveness depending on the situation.

Q2DM3 has quite a few inlets, or areas lead into a dead-end corner. These inlets are what make the GL effective. When you have your opponent pinned down in one of these inlets, he’ll usually fire rockets at the ground at the entrance of the inlet, hoping you’ll either walk into it when you’re trying to finish him off, or be too scared to advance and leave him be. It is at this point that you want to switch to the GL and toss some grenades in there. Toss the grenades at the wall and have them ricochet off into the corner. After tossing a couple in there, switch to the RL or SSG, because he will either get hit by the grenades and die, or try to high-tail it out of the area before the grenades explode. If he does the latter, then you’ll need a weapon to finish him off. Either way, you’ll manage to flush him out of the inlet.

In terms of the effectiveness of the railgun, it really is very limited on this map. The railgun is most effective when shooting from a distance, and when you have time to prepare or setup your shot. Unfortunately, Q2DM3 is a small map with little room or time to setup railgun snipes; so naturally, the railgun is rather ineffective here. However, there are certain situations when the railgun can be effective. In cases where you know exactly where your opponent is (such as he’s in the YA area), and you’re waiting outside for him to come out, then the railgun can be effective. One good shot with the rail and you can even up the health/armor, or possibly even put you on top. Another good area to use the railgun is on the upper ledge, next to the elevator that brings you to the quad hole. That particular area is long, and allows for some time to set up your railgun shots.

Aside from the instances listed above, try to stay away from using the railgun. Good players will strafe around corners and then back out quickly, taking shots at you with rockets and the SSG, which basically renders a railgunner useless because he needs time to make a precise shot.

Important Features

Jumping

As I stated in the Q2DM1 overview, jumping in Quake II is very useful in general. However, jumping is especially effective when in close combat. You’ll find yourself jumping over rockets that otherwise would have hit you, or hopscotching over shotgun blasts that would have otherwise hit you square in the chest. Jump when you want to strafe around a corner to take a shot at your opponent. This will ensure that even if he does shoot ground, you will take less damage from the rocket blast.

Walking

The enemy will rarely hear your footsteps unless you’re close-by… which is exactly the reason why you should walk when you think the enemy is close. When walking, meaning you do not have the run key on, you do not create the footsteps sound. Thus, if you ever want to sneak up on your opponent, or simply want to be stealthy, walk. Again, as I stated in the Q2DM1 guide, this is a really important feature to take advantage of. And again, it is especially important for this map because of its more enclosed spaces. You’ll find it is a lot easier to hear the footsteps of your opponent on this level due to its smaller size.

Best Places to Heal Up

At the Railgun

There are 6 small health kits (10 health each) around the railgun area. This should be sufficient to heal most of your wounds, plus it is an area that is not often visited by the enemy when they have control.

At the Secret Railgun Area

Huh, wait, did I miss something? What secret railgun? Above the ledge/platform that leads from the super shotgun to the RL room (the ledge that you can jump to), there is a small room there that you can rocket jump to. There is a railgun, 3 health boxes (25 health each), and an invulnerability there if you make it there. As a warning, though, the ledge is slanted – and if you haven’t noticed already, rocket jumps don’t work well when you are going down slanted slopes. If you want to be safe, try to stop moving downhill before attempting to rocket jump, or you’ll find yourself taking a nice hot lava bath.

Miscellaneous

My loony bun is fine Benny lava!

We all hate lava. It is the one thing in Quake II that can turn the tide of the game without your opponent ever having to touch you. This is a reminder for all of you lava gods out there – Remember to rocket jump out of lava whenever you fall in! It really is very simple. As soon as you fall in, fire a rocket straight down into the lava and you’ll find yourself out of it in no time.

On a side note…

Please check the Latest Updates section regularly, as that is where I post all of my updates and what I’m working on daily. Instead of only checking news sites for updates on the Quake II Bible (Blues rocks BTW), please check here because it is has more up to the minute information on the QII Bible.

This analysis is done in a little different format than the previous two. Since this one includes a guest-writer’s (Immortal’s) perspective, the content following “Immortal” is written by him. Everything following “Thresh” is written by me. Hope you guys like it!

Most Important Area

Body/Red Armor Room

Immortal

This is the key to controlling this map. With control of this room, you are capable of receiving 2-3 direct rocket hits and surviving them. By controlling this room, your opponent is unable to take as much damage unless he has 200 health with the 100 armor, but even then you can out fight him. Another important thing to remember, is when you are going to grab the Body Armor, to step on the elevator and step off, causing it to go up and allowing no one to come down and attack you while you are on the bridge.

Thresh

I agree with Immy here that the body armor room is the most important area of the map. However, I don’t think it is the ultimatekey to the level. This room is only important because it has the body armor, not because it is a particularly good area to control. Compared to the importance of controlling the YA/100% health area on Q2DM1, control of the body armor area is nowhere close. On Q2DM1, that particular area not only has the best items, but also is the most strategic part of the level, where you are within seconds from almost any part of the level. However, in this body armor area of Q2DM5, it simply is the area that houses the best item, but its location and strategic effectiveness is very poor.

From this area, there are only two ways to get out, both of which leave you quite vulnerable to an ambush. If you go up the elevator, you make yourself a sitting duck if an enemy is up there waiting for you to come up. He’ll simply throw a few rockets on your head and make short work of both you and your precious armor. So you have one other choice, which is to go through the water. In my opinion, this should be the preferable choice, as you at least have a few routes of escape once you make it into the open water.

Tip — Heed Immy’s advice – Remember to make the lift go up before getting the body armor. Do this both before and after you push the button. By doing this, you can guarantee that you won’t be ambushed from behind (at least from people coming down the elevator) while you’re getting the body armor. If you get caught either on the catwalk or at the body armor, you’re pretty much toast.

Most Important Items To Control (In order)

Body Armor & Combat Armor

Immortal

These are the most important items to control on DM5. The body armor is of course the most important. If you have full control of the body armor, getting the combat armor will even make it harder for your opponent to kill you, as he will have no armor to defend himself with. Whoever ends up guarding the body armor the best, and controlling it for the match, will usually end up winning. On a side note, just because you have full control of the body armor does not mean you can just sit there and expect them to come to you. You have to be aggressive and go out and attack just as well, otherwise you won’t end up with any kills.

Thresh

The body armor is absolutely the most important item to control on this map. There isn’t a particular shortage of ammo packs or weapons on this map, so controlling other resources becomes all the more important. Having the body armor against an opponent who does not have any is a huge advantage, one that can usually win a fight for you. As Immy said, definitely focus your attention on keeping control of the body armor – And remember, this does not simply include making sure you always have armor, but also includes keeping the armor AWAY from your opponent.

I would not rank the combat armor up next to the body armor, unless it is (as Immy stated) in combination with controlling the body armor. I hesitate to place it up there because some people might be confused that control of either/or armors is key, which is not. Control the body armor first, and if you are able to, then control the combat armor as well. (If you can successfully keep both armors away from your opponent, I guarantee the game is in your hands.)

100% health

Immortal

By controlling the 100% health, in addition to the Body Armor, you will be one very difficult opponent to kill. If you have full control of the 100% health & Body Armor, your opponent usually has 100h/50 armor. Even if he can out fight you, you can still do enough damage to kill him by simply out-weighing him in resources. A good player can run the 100% health and the Body Armor fluently. As long as you grab the first 100% health, it’s very easy to control. It’s very easy to control is because YOU know when it is going to respawn, not your opponent. The 100% health respawns 20 seconds after it wears off on you.

Thresh

The 100% health is definitely an important resource to control, especially in combination with the armors. Because the level is so big, it is virtually impossible to keep key weapons away from your opponent. However, the flip side of this is that because the map is so big, the 100% health may not always be that big of a deal (if it takes a while for you to find your opponent, the 100% will wear off.) Again, focus on the body armor control first, and only move on to the combat armor and 100% health after you have done so.

Side note — If the enemy has control of the body armor room, you MUST get both the 100% health and the combat armor to stand a chance. If your opponent has 200/200, and you 100/100, the scales are tipped severely in his favor. In the instance this happens, you’ll want to pick at him from afar (railgun sniping) and nick away at his 100%, and when it wears off and he goes for more body armor, go get the 100% health.

Most Important Sounds

Armor shards

Immortal

The armor shards are scattered among the map in small bits. There are two armor shards & two health stimpacks by the rocket launcher, which are easily detectable by sound. Then there is the set of three armor shards near the set of four armor shards. If you hear him picking up three armor shards, you know they are going down that long corridor which leads to the yellow armor, or going the other way and either making a left towards the yellow armor or a right towards the green armor. If you hear four armor shards being picked up, you know they will be appearing by the hole that you can ambush the people walking down the corridor from.

Thresh

Immy is right on here, listen carefully for armor shard sounds because they can be easily heard throughout the level. One thing of note, though. Do not take what you hear as the truth – meaning, if your opponent is a cunning player, he may pick up three out of four armor shards just to deceive you into thinking he is going one way instead of the other. Also, be aware that all of the armor shards on the level can conceivably be avoided if walked around carefully – so do not assume your opponent is notcoming around the corner just because you didn’t hear a sound.

Health stimpacks

Immortal

There is only one major set of health stimpacks that you should be aware of. There are four stimpacks by the railgun area, you should be able to hear these if you are standing somewhat close. It is very easy to ambush someone coming from here, as there is only one exit out of this tunnel area. There is another set of three stimpacks by the grenade launcher. If you hear these three stimpacks, and you are on the other side of the wall, you should hide in the corner and wait to ambush him.

Thresh

There are three groups of stimpacks spread throughout the level. The most obvious one is the group of four on the catwalk beneath the railgun. This is a particularly good one to listen for because there are only two directions in which he can walk (from there), and one of them can be ambushed very easily. (The one coming out of the tunnel) In addition, if you’re trying to leave the body armor room by water, listen carefully for these particular stimpacks, because he’ll likely be camping there to ambush you when you come out of the water.

The other two stimpack groups are at the rocket launcher (which is grouped with two armor shards), and near the grenade launcher. Both of these are not of real importance, since they are relatively less traveled areas of the map. However, take Immy’s advice for the group of three near the grenade launcher. If you hear those and you are nearby, you have a good chance of ambushing your opponent.

Body armor bridge

Immortal

This should be a simple one. If you hear the switch being activated and hear the bridge drawing out, try and get there as fast as you can so you can intercept him coming across the bridge. If he hasn’t made it across yet, it is very easy to knock him in the slime, or get him damaged at least (if he’s walking in a straight line). If he is using the elevator trick, try shooting through the slit. A foolish player will stand under there until the bridge is all the way out. In that case try to shoot through the little slit while standing on top of the elevator.

Thresh

The button to activate the bridge is the only button on this level. The bridge makes a very distinct and loud sound when it is activated, so this one should be pretty blatant. If the enemy is keeping the elevator up, follow Immy’s advice and shoot through the cracks. Rockets or grenades will fit through there relatively easily.

Water sounds

Thresh

Listening for water sounds is not crucial to this map (since there is water in almost all of the areas), but it can be very helpful in figuring out where your opponent is. Actually, it is probably more useful in finding out where your opponent is not. Simply keep an ear out for the sound of the enemy getting out of water. (This sound is very loud) Once you hear that, you at least know that he’s not in certain areas, and approximately where he might be, depending on the direction of the water sound.

Best Weapons to Use

Most Effective Weapons (In order)

Rocket launcher

Immortal

The Rocket Launcher is easily the most effective weapon on The Pits. With the small corridors, open areas, and high armored opponents, the rocket launcher does the most damage more then any other weapon on this map. Since there are many hallways, if you get into a rocket fight it is very hard to miss, as there is a small area to fight in.

Thresh

I’ll have to agree with Immy here that the RL is by far the most effective weapon on this map. The combination of its range, damage, blast radius, and fire rate is unmatched in close quarters, which makes this weapon deadly on The Pits. Q2DM5 is full of narrow and long corridors, which provide little room to dodge. In addition, a well-placed rocket can throw the enemy’s aim off considerably, which does a lot for turning the tide of the game when you don’t have control. With the RL, you can bounce the enemy around without receiving much damage from enemy fire.

In regards to fights in long corridors, the RL is generally the most effective; however, if fighting from opposite ends of the hallways, a railgun may be more effective simply because it is an instant hit weapon.

Railgun

Immortal

The railgun is a very excellent choice of weapon on this map. You can snipe your opponents from far away without them to even scathe you. For example, you could be standing by the super shotgun, and snipe your opponent with the rail as he is grabbing the rocket launcher. There’s not much he can do except maybe fire some aimless rockets down the hall, jump down into the water and retreat, or attempt to charge you. If he does indeed decide to charge you, just jump back down the elevator and you will be safe. The long hallways make this a good hit and run gun. Use it effectively and you can control the map with ease.

Thresh

The railgun is an extremely effective weapon on this map, so long as you use it in the correct situations. In close combat, the railgun is not the best weapon of choice. In fact, if you try to take on an RL-user with the railgun in the middle of one of the long corridors, you’ll probably find your guys sprayed all over the wall in no time. However, due to the design of Q2DM5, a relatively accurate railgunner can be deadly. The overall level design is composed of many long corridors (which is perfect for a railgunner as long as he keeps some distance between him and the enemy), and large open areas (also ideal for railgunners.) The large open areas give the railgunner the distance needed to separate him and the enemy (usually w/ a RL). He can pick at the enemy while easily dodging incoming rockets.

I do not recommend solely using the railgun on this map, since most of the fighting does not occur in the large open areas. Especially if you are on a higher ground than your opponent, you don’t want to waste that advantage (of being able to use the ground for splash damage with the RL) by using a rail gun.

Chaingun/Super shotgun

Immortal

The super shotgun and the chaingun are useful cleanup weapons on this map. Both being instant hit weapons, it is very easy to finish your opponent off from a distance. It is very wise to use these weapons on The Pits because if you get into a fight in a hallway with the chaingun, the opponent can only run or fight back, either way taking severe damage. The super shotgun is better used when fighting from above the enemy, like if you are standing up on a ledge shooting down at him in an open area.

Thresh

I personally think that the chaingun is far more effective on this map than the super shotgun, but Immy feels they are about equal. With the amount of armor and health available on this map, it would take a while to kill an enemy with the super shotgun. In addition, the SSG does not put a whole lot of pressure on the enemy in the middle of a fight, whereas the chaingun will make almost any opponent feel nervous and pressured. Use the chaingun when fighting underwater – you’ll tear up most enemies, with or without armor.

Warning — I don’t recommend using the chaingun when fighting in the long corridors, unless there is a considerable amount of distance between you and the enemy and/or you have a lot more armor and health than the enemy. A RL user, if close enough, can finish you off quickly with a couple of well-placed rockets.

Miscellaneous Strategies from RB-Froggy

Controlling the Red Armor is I would say 3rd on the list of items to keep away from the enemy. The size of the level makes it very difficult to control the Yellow armor/Red armor and 100% health. And I would say that after getting the RA for the first time, keep getting the YA and 100% health to keep your armor and Health at 200\200. If you keep a loose eye on the YA area, you can easily hear any attempts of your enemy going for the red. As Thresh pointed out it is easy place to trap an enemy — I like to use it as bait. It can be hard to find people on this level; thus, sometimes if you are sure you are keeping him from the yellow armor, then you know where he must go to get some protection. Even the best players have a hard time getting outta of that area without taking some damage, if not dying. If you spend time trying to keep control of the RA then your enemy will know where you are, thus giving him time to get ammo, weapons, armor or trapping you in there.

Thank yous

I just wanted to take this time to thank Kurt Shimada a.k.a. Immortal for contributing to the Quake II Bible and writing the Q2DM5 Analysis with me. I’ve known him for years, basically ever since I first started playing Doom2. He is a great player and is generally recognized as being somewhere in the Top 3 in the nation for Quake II. If you would like to thank him personally, you can email him at: immortal@untouchable.net. Thanks Kurt.

Immortal is the first of hopefully many guest-writers to come in the Quake II Bible. I realize my strategies may not always be 100% correct, and I hope that by having another good player’s strategies right next to mine, it’ll give you guys a better sense of what kind of strategies you should adopt. This is my first time doing this, so please bear with me while I try to figure out the best way to present all of this information to you guys.

Again, this update features the sage advice from a fellow Quake II player.

The content following “Makaveli” is authored by my good friend, Mak. Again, “Thresh” is by yours truly.

The Key Focus of Q2DM7

Makaveli

Simply the most important area of q2dm7 is the red armor. It is extremely effective against the RL which takes a player down to only 77 health and 108 armor with a direct rocket hit. Also, when the armor respawns and you find yourself with 200 armor still, take a quick swim in the slime by the armor and jump out so you can pick it up again. Controlling the red armor is VERY important in this level and can greatly affect the outcome of the game, but don’t think just because you have your tent pitched and camp fire going that you are going to win.

Thresh

While the red armor is definitely the key to winning the level, controlling it is another matter altogether. The entire area is a low, narrow corner, open to elevated attack from the stairs, and grenade/rocket shots from around the corner. It is also situated very close to one of the two rocket launcher on the level, making it a likely target and high-traffic area.

The Red Armor is Key

Most Important Items To Control (In order)

Red armor

Thresh

As stated in the Key Focus of Q2DM7 above, the RA is hands down the most important item on this map. By now, I’m sure we all know that armor is crucial to victory on any map — the player who controls the better armor usually wins the game. Given that, and the fact that there is only ONE armor available on this entire map, and also the fact that it is the BEST armor in the game, I think we’d all agree this is an important area to control.

Ammo

Makaveli

Now being that many quake2 DM players play with weapons stay on, weapons deprivation is not as important an issue; it is inevitable for your opponent to grab one of the two rocket launcher’s available in this level. So you can use another form of weapon deprivation, ammo! Not very many people do this and its kind of painful for me to give it away, but if you control the one rocket pack in the level, they only have 5 shots that they gain from picking up the rocket launcher. A little cat and mouse with the player and the only thing you’ll hear from your opponent is a loud, CLICK!

The only rocket ammo on the map

Weapons Running

Thresh

In most cases, however, you cannot count on your opponent agreeing to play with Weapons Stay On. In this case, once you have control, it’s very easy to sweep through the level in this order, picking up each item as it spawns:

Snap up the Red Armor
Head around the corner and grab the RL on the platform
Jump up the stairs and avoid the armor shards
Grab the RL on the top level
Jump down and grab the 5-rocket pack
Snag the hyperblaster and turn back, continuing the way you were heading
Run down the stairs, grabbing the cell pack and Red Armor again just as it spawns

Hyperblaster Control

Makaveli

An often underestimated weapon when your opponent has control of the level is the hyperblaster. Quietly it is the MOST effective weapon in q2dm7 if you use it properly. Though your opponent may have 200 armor, this weapon cuts straight through armor and takes away health. When using hyperblaster against a player who has 200 armor it only takes 20 shots to kill him. Each shot takes off 5 health and 10 armor. Now don’t take this as advice for you to charge an opponent with the hyperblaster when he is stacked with armor. Simply hit and run with this weapon. Q2DM7 has a very limited supply of health in the level, so every health point counts. Also, if your opponent is camping the red armor, there is only 1 health stimpack in the area and hyperblaster is extremely effective.

The next-best offensive weapon

But once again, with weapons stay on, there is only 1 cell pack in the level, right by the red armor. Control this, your opponent will be limited to 50 shots. However, when you have control of the level, this weapon takes 15 damage from your opponent every hit. It is great for running down a scared and armorless player, while conserving rockets for later encounters.

The only ammo for Hyper

Thresh

As Mak said, once these weapons and ammunition are controlled, there is a smaller possibility that an can do to pose a serious threat to you. However, remember that most likely, they will be able to get their hands on a rocket launcher and with some aim and a little strategy, 5 rockets is more than enough to punch a hole through 200 armor and 100 health. The key, as always, is to play smart, and not rely on running patterns.

Regaining Control

Makaveli

A great area to control when you respawn and lost control of the level is the top of the ladder by the grenade launcher. There are only 2 ways for the player to get to you, one is right up the ladder, the other is rocket jumping to the rocket launcher. If possible, it is a very good idea to have the hyperblaster, rocket launcher, and grenade launcher when sitting up there. Now what makes this area so important is that it is very easy to defend. First you can shoot grenades from the top down off the wall into the red armor area. Also, if your opponent thinks he has nothing to worry about and tries to come up the ladder, he is extremely open to rockets while walking toward the ladder. Similarly, as he climbs, jump on his head with hyperblaster and force him down. (Super Shotgun works well also in this position) Also, if he decides to rocket jump up from the other side, simple drop down and run toward the red armor to see if it is there, and try to defend the area as long as possible to have a chance at getting some armor and even the odds.

Thresh

As with many deathmatch levels, once you die, your opponent will do whatever he can to control the level, denying you weapons, ammunition, and armor. Q2DM7 has the advantage of fairly spaced out spawn locations, some in hard-to-reach areas. After a battle, most likely you’ll be able to grab a rocket launcher, and possible the grenade launcher of hyperblaster as well. Use your shots sparingly – the enemy will know you’re low on ammo and will try to force you to waste your shots. Since the level consists mainly of narrow hallways and tight, 90 degree corners, this is easily accomplished by faking and doubling around – as you are forced to blindly shoot rockets at corners, he’s busy counting your remaining ammo and preparing to charge you.

If your opponent hasn’t spotted you, you’re in luck. One option to consider is dropping down the tubes to grab the SSG (just remember not to drop down from the 2nd floor pipe by the single barreled shotgun). From there, you have two potential exits, both of which are close to useful items, either the Hyperblaster or the 5-rocket pack.

Armor, Weapons, Health and Armor

Makaveli

Well the red armor is the most obvious sound in the level. If you hear this, look out, your opponent has at least 100 armor. Health stimpacks in the walkway from the center of the level heading toward the red armor. Most times when people grab these they want to go straight for the armor. A good timed rocket shot can easily catch somebody off their guard when they grab these. If you are the one grabbing them, take another route cause I can almost guarantee they will be waiting around the corner for you at the red armor. If you have control of the level, leave them as much as possible in case your opponent decides to grab them.

Armor shards

Thresh

As mentioned before, armor shards are the loudest sound in the game, and can be heard virtually throughout the level. There is only one group of armor shards on Q2DM7, on the top level by the grenade launcher and upper rocket launcher. Be careful if you hear your opponent pick them up, however, because the upper level is very difficult to charge or attack effectively.

Things things make NOISE

Makaveli

As Thresh said, You can hear these throughout the level. As I said earlier this is an easy area to defend. I often times pick the shards up on purpose to lure my opponent into a battleground where I have a solid advantage.

Weapons and Ammo

Makaveli

The 2 ammo packs by the machine gun are a very easy sound to recognize. A lot of people I have played on this level stumble onto these thinking because there are so many areas of the level with so many little ammo packs, that it makes no difference. It does. These ammo packs are the only pair in the entire level. You will not hear a player pick up 2 ammo packs next to each other any other place in the level. Most times they are running toward the red armor area when you hear this sound.

Thresh

When you have control, it’s a good idea to sink the lower rocket launcher into the slime. It makes it harder for your opponent to grab a useful weapon, and if they try, it slows them down slightly, and more importantly, gives away their position as they hit the only switch on the level.

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