[align=center]Know Your Role and how to maximize the effectiveness of it[/align] [align=center][/align] Hello all. This topic here is going to be a (Hopefully community generated by others as well as me), discussion of various Talent Trees, Story lines, and how to maximize the usefulness of any particular build for the situation at hand. Unlike particular class guides, this won't focus on Builds so much, as how to optimize the usefulness of whatever you are rolling with. I'll start it off with a class near and dear to my heart, to show you what I mean. It should be chock full of good tips for newbies, and perhaps some illumination on subjects that old hands don't necessarily think about. Easy Company: The Surveillance Recon Ah, the good ol' SurvCon. Much maligned as being useless, or only useful for the Supply Station. But it can be so much more, and a key marine in any 8 man squad. I See Dead People: The greatest strength of the Surveillance Recon in Easy Company is it's ability to provide vision and detection. Unlike Apollo Security Team and Alpha Company, Easy Company is a much more fluid storyline. You're just on the move so much more often. And it's on the move that the SurvCon can lend it's expertise best to the party. Flare All the Things: The Recon's Flare is your bread and butter. Simply put in most Easy Company games, this should be the skill you are using more than any other. It's uses on the move should be obvious. When there are rocks and other blind spots that the team is going to pass around, make sure that whole area is under the Flare, no nasty surprises. This can be fairly energy intensive early on, but is off set by the presence of the Motion Sensor later on, allowing you to see ahead of time if a particular blind spot is in fact an ambush. The Flare is also useful during the various hold outs. During the Tartarus/Elliethiya fight there is so much vision blocking in that area (And heavy spawns) that just Laser Designating the boss isn't enough. You need to almost constantly provide light, especially when maneuvering and fighting among all the wreckage. Another example early on is the Starport's Tower hexes. The tower, and the multiple smoke spots can severely limit your vision and ability to help any one particular hex that is drawing too much attention. Center your flares over the tower and bam, problem solved. Even during more static holdouts, such as Post Erebos and Airlock Hordes, using your Flares can help an Assassination Marksman or other long range characters better pick out their targets before it's in your tank's face. Watch for farming opportunities near locked areas, like Apollo, Airlock before Tartarus/Ellie or Erebos's Lair. Good use of Flares here can usually give you a good half a level, threat free, and make sure when those areas ARE finally cracked open that you aren't facing an insurmountable wave of death. And it's a cheap way to clear out some of the Airlock Creep Tumors. The two eastern ones can easily be sniped out from the Infestor Alley with a good Flare. The Camera side mission is the last major point for going Flare Happy. The Cameras are all put near vision blockers of some nature. Some of them, such as southern Airlock and South Apollo Cams, are worse than others. But not a single one is open and clear completely. Send your tank in first, and then flare so while the Tank draws fire, the rest of your team can see and kill, perfectly threat free. Laser Designator Spam: It's a cheap skill, and highly spammable. As a SurvCon get used to LDing any items of note on the ground. Everything but the most oblivious players should be able to see the nice red circle on the screen and you avoid some of the "HP where?!" issues that pop up. Don't let any item escape your red marker. It's a lot easier on you in the long run than having to necessarily pack rat and carry something that the teammates within shouting distance of you necessarily need/desire. As far as enemies, there is no reason not to LD any particularly important target. Infestors, Bosses. It's free vision tracking and a small damage buff. Though considering the need for Flares in Easy Company you probably aren't going to have a huge armor debuff on your Laser Designator. But during this early point in the game, anything with a threat priority equal or greater than a Stalker is pretty good to LD. Just realize that Easy Company will likely have anywhere from 3-5 Laser Rifles near the end, in players hands, and you will have to stop Laser Designating everything in sight. If your Micro is suffering for some reason, and you have to choose between Flareing targets, or LDing them (Such might happen during the Black Ops attack), always go with Flare. When to Fetch, when to Sic: The Reaper Drone, grand daddy of the SurvCon. Know that it basically has two roles that you can use it for. One is going out to fetch things, and the other is to provide additional protection to the team with it's gun, stuns, and "Gods I wish my Nanoshield was this beefy" Protect. Knowing when to use which is the trick however. Situations exist where it is just too dangerous to send out the reaper. It will get eaten alive. This includes during the Black Ops attack, Gargoyle wave at the end of Chapter 1, and the sheer mass of infested marines that can exist post Erebos Mark I. Really no point in sending it, it's just wasted energy. Focus instead on using it's abilities to keep your party in better shape. I don't know a FortDemo alive who didn't appreciate some good Protect usage. And the stun it has is just a highly useful skill. During other holdouts however, it becomes quite safe and easy to send out the Reaper. Just make sure to look back at your Recon to drop a supply station, or hit your Flares as needed. Your searches typically should be focused on areas that your team either can't get to yet (Clear out Apollo/Erebos's Lair to find dropped weapons/mods during Airlock Hordes), or areas you know your team likely isn't going to, for example clearing out the southern reaches and Erebos Lair during the Dome holdouts as teams often skip past them. Once you have found all the key items on the map, at that point it's more about becoming Johnny on the Spot with the Ammo, drawing in as many magazines as possible to the location your team is holding. Despite the fact that it's damage can get quite beastly, don't focus on trying to level up your Reaper. Sure, don't send him out to get killed pointlessly. If he levels up, cool. But trying to farm with the Reaper takes up a lot of time, and at lower levels his ability to deal damage is quite poor. Don't worry, if you keep your Reaper alive all game he'll get up there in levels and turn into a valuable source of damage for the End Game. Speaking of which, the Reaper is one of the few units NOT effected by the Queen's Shriek. But that doesn't mean you can just use it willy nilly. The Queen does have a strong Anti-Air attack and will waste it in a few shots. It means that when the Queen does shriek, get on the ball. Use the Stun to lock down any mass coming towards your team, and protect to cover an individual who hung himself out to die. Keep your Reaper close during the Queen, and use him to cover your asses against the hordes. Hopefully everyone saw some value in this, and will add in their own bits on various classes, trees, and other storylines.