Another guide topic by me. This one is covering the basics of the NOTD Basics. If you are a newbie, and haven't read them yet, I would suggest familiarizing yourself with the Newbie Guide: Armory and Newbie Guide: Hordes of the Damned topics on the board, as they will cover particulars that I'm not going over here. [align=center]Marine Categories[/align] This is a very basic concept that you typically might not think of, but Marines come in three broad classes. These categories are Heavy, Medium, and Light classes. Broadly speaking, Heavy Marines are frontline combat units. They typically have more Innate Armor and Health than other unit types. They also can carry heavier equipment without adversely effecting their move speed. This is good, because they also tend to be fairly slow classes. Exception: The Flamethrower is a Heavy Marine who has quite a high innate move speed. Medium Marine categories are the middle point in the road, and include classes like the Rifleman and Combat Engineer. They have a fairly decent move speed, are able to lug around light equipment loadouts problem, and tend to have enough health to be able to take a hit or two without getting into critical condition (Though it is never a good idea to let your enemy take shots at you if you are not gaining a Very, VERY decisive advantage in return). Light Marines are typically specialist classes, such as the Psi Ops and Marksman. Despite being Light, they are not typically speedy little classes. In fact the Marksman is one of the slowest classes in game. They typically have no innate armor and very little health which gives them almost no tolerance for hits. Anything but the lightest loadouts (Typically little more than a lightweight weapon and Modifications) will slow down Light marines greatly. [align=center]Weapon Drills[/align] A marine is chiefly a rifleman, and his ability to put hurt downrange upon the enemies of the UGC is a primary concern for every man from the Black Operators to the lowest buck private Rifleman. Marines carry 30 round magazines (Exception for Assault Marines who have extended 40 round magazines). Most weapons will consume one round per shot from your currently loaded magazine. When you are below half your current maximum (15 for most marines, 20 for Assaults), your suit will give you the option to automatically eject your half spent magazine (Hotkey: T), and load a fresh one. Any rounds currently in your magazine are thrown away. There is no time on the battlefield to be scrounging up used magazines and shuffling around bullets, you're in the shit son! Your Marine will automatically reload your weapon when you expend your last round. Automatic reloads are slower than Manual Reloads (Done by the T Hotkey), and on the most difficult missions will take twice as long as normal. If that was not enough incentive to learn to use your manual reload system, if you reload with less than 3 rounds left in your current magazines you will reload 50% faster. You'll know you were successful because the word "Reload" will appear in yellow letters over your marine. It is POSSIBLE to achieve these reloads with zero rounds in your current magazine, but it's a matter of perfect timing and luck. It's much safer to do it with 1-2 rounds left. Particularly during heavy assaults where the delay a manual reload causes could be disastrous. Manual Reloads should ALWAYS be used if you are currently assigned to a heavy weapon with a long reload. The time saved has a much higher impact than when you are merely using Gauss Rifles and Pistols. If you know you are about to enter a bad firefight, make sure to manually reload if your current magazine is short. There isn't much worse than hearing an empty chamber try to go off only seconds into a fight. [align=center]The Deadliest Weapon[/align] In terms of the sheer amount of carnage and blood shed throughout human history, I'm hard pressed to imagine anything that has done more killing than the Knife. Warriors of all ilks have carried them into battle from the dawn of human warfare, and you are no exception. The knife is a humble weapon, but a vital one in your arsenal. Few enemies can ignore the debilitating effects of having a dagger plunged into them, and hitting an enemy with your knife won't only inflict damage on them, but disable them and make it easier for you to disengage. This leads to the infamous "Knife Kite" tactic developed by brave and daring Marines. Using your Combat knife (Between shots of your current firearm), you can deal extra damage to an enemy and slow them down, allowing you to move out of their reach and shoot them again. Successful use of this tactic can allow a marine to take down even large, dangerous targets while taking little if any damage. Knife, step, knife, step, knife step. Remember it. And while Stealth techniques might fool the targeting on your firearms, there isn't a form of invisibility that exists which will save a man from being shanked. If you cannot see your target, and lack other options, you can always trust in your knife to gut them. [align=center]Kit[/align] Now as a UGC marine, you have the advantage of some of the best technology that humanity can dream up helping you out. But there are some limitations that still exist on the standard soldier. And recruit, you need to be mindful of these limitations on your gear. The biggest concern for you in the field is the weight of your gear. The Magazines you have currently loaded into your armor (The number immediately to the right of your currently loaded magazine ammo count), Equipped Weapon, Armor, and Modifications all weigh your Marine down. It's natural that as you face steep odds on the battlefield you might want to gear up with everything you can grab so you won't be caught under prepared. THIS IS A MISTAKE! One of the best advantages you have over the rabble that you will be assigned for killing is your discipline and training. You yourself do not need to be able to handle every possible threat. Trust in your fellow marines to cover any gaps in your readiness. And being a mobile, fast moving killing machine on the battlefield is generally a much better idea than carrying so much ammunition and armor plating you can hardly move. A slow marine is a dead marine. Typically during long operations command will drop in more supplies for your marine. There is almost no reason for you to ever carry more than 30-40 magazines loaded into your armor at any time. And finding Ammo Boxes and storing excesses in there (In order to reduce your weight while still having sufficient ammo) is always a good idea. This logic also applies to Armor, as additional armor plating tends to be one of the heavier pieces of kit that Marines will typically find. With the low tolerance for weight that Light classes have, this can be crippling. Leave the heavy metal for your comrades who are trained in its use. Keep your eyes peeled for items other than Weapons, Modifications, and Armor. It's natural that as a death dealing machine in the UGC Marine Corps you are more interested in the implements of carnage and kicking Rebels square in the nutsack, but a smart Marine knows that good use of items is also important. Key items that any marine should try to keep at least a few of them on is Road Flares, Medkits, and Bandages. The use of medkits and bandages are obvious. If you got a sawbones next to you, either hastily recruited Corpsmen or full fledged Medics, use them as a priority. But it's a damned fool marine who bleeds out because he refused to pick up a bandage that he walked past 10 times. There is no honor in death, only in killing the enemies of the UGC. The Road Flare is an under used, and under appreciated item to most Marines. Remember that your battlefields aren't always going to look like some pristine rifle range free of any vision obstruction with targets that leap out into the open screaming "Shoot me!". It's hard to kill what you can't see, and the Road Flares are cheap, plentiful, and light up your enemies like the sun. Use them. [align=center]Trust your Squad[/align] As a Marine, you don't fight alone. Nor should you. Marines function best when working in a team, several specialists able to apply their unique skills into one cohesive whole that allows them to overcome very long odds. In order to function properly as a team, you need to not only just "Stick together", though I cannot stress the importance of keeping tight ranks with your teammates. Everyone will level faster and become more powerful if you stay together instead of trying to be a hero. But even more important is realizing what your role is in the team, what is expected of you, and how to best execute it. Education is important, and many good guides have been written in this section and on the Wikia about it (Wikia is linked at the top of the page, right between Member List and FAQ, use it). But there are some basic concepts to be touched upon here. Make your Better Best: This is a typical mantra you should think of, particularly as you find upgraded equipment. Each Marine is a specialist. And playing to a specialist's strengths in the long term is much more effective than trying to mitigate their weaknesses. This means that Armor typically should go to units which already have armor and high health, as it allows them to be even more effective and block greater threats from reaching your relatively squishy comrades, instead of trying to give the heavy C6 armor to the Marksman so that he can take 1 more hit than the normal 4 that would kill him from the same source. This logic also means that high power weapons, such as Assault Rifles, Heavy Machineguns, Barrett Rifles, etc, belong in the hands of the Marine who have the best bonuses to general combat damage such as Combat Tree Riflemen or Arms Assaults. It's about making what is already Good into an ungodly machine of death and destruction, making what is weak merely acceptable is a poor bet and the sign of a marine who does not trust his teammates. Specialize and Exploit: Marines typically are most effective when they become specialists and use their specialty to the maximum potential. Becoming a Hybrid Marine, dipping from both of your Skill Trees, is again typically the sign of a marine who does not trust his team, but not only that they often miss out on the higher tier abilities that MAKE the lower tier abilities really cook. Thus the most effective marines will typically move up their Talent Trees as fast as possible. Put 4 talents in tier 1. Grab tier 2 immediately, max out the second tier, then get their ultimate skill. Ultimate Skills are usually fundamental game changers in some way. Think of them as the ace up your marine's sleeve, and use them to their full effect when faced with a difficult battle. Sometimes where traditional tactics fail you the benefits from properly exploiting your specialization won't. Let it Go: Let Marines who specialize in certain situations do their thing without trying to interfere too much. This means in a well oiled marine squad, the heavy marines will take point during battles as they are equipped to take hits, and as lighter and more frail marines, you will keep him between you and danger, firing over his shoulder into the masses that threaten to overwhelm them. This sort of synergy is key to a properly run Marine Squad. This also means that specialists meant for solo work, such as the Recon and some Marksmen, need to be allowed to do their job on their own. These marines typically have skills that allow them to survive on their own. However the presence of additional Marines often will draw additional attention that they may not be able to deal with directly. And if they are forced to ditch you to save their own skin (And you should expect that in that situation) you are undermanned to deal with the threats. Know your role, learn it well, and work together with your teammates. Trust them to carry their own weight, and focus on making sure that you aren't dropping the ball on your own tasks. If your squad mates all do this, it will be easy sailing. [align=center]Maximize your Skill Use[/align] Now as you probably are familiar with, your Marine can't just go snapping off super charged assassination rounds or throwing out grenades like rain. There are limitations build into marines, typically the power that your suit can generate and store at any one time. It becomes critical then for the Marine to realize how to best spend these finite resources on the battle field. You don't want to find yourself outnumbered, cornered, and facing down a horde with no more trump cards in your hand. A lot of this is cold, simple calculation. If you have a One Shot, One Kill that can inflict 600 damage, you are getting the most mileage out of the skill if you hit a target with it that has more than 600 HP. Every point of health below 600 means that you wasted valuable energy, particularly if a target was almost dead and had very little HP left when your bullet arrives. Such wasteful use should only be reserved for the most desperate of situations. As a Marine therefore you need to become much more frugal with your energy. Command will supply you with more than enough rounds of ammunition in most cases, but they have no way to provide marines who have foolishly squandered their energy more. So consider as a Survival skilled Rifleman, whether you need another Trap placed. One is usually more than enough to deal with an avenue of approach, two at most if they are spaced far apart. Your energy is otherwise more aptly used to increase damage/efficiency of your munitions with Focused Fire or Repulse. Or as an Assassination Marksman if more damage and good would be done with a Monofiliment Cartridge that hits several targets or an OSOK that cuts down one large target. [align=center]No Two Marines are the Same[/align] We come from all walks of life. And what is necessarily best for other Marines may not be the way that best works for you. One of the small bits of customization that you can work on and experiment with is the Stats. Each Marine is given stat points based on Rank and Medals. These Stats, Strength, Endurance, Agility, Perception, and Intelligence all provide their own bonuses, all important, and often the choice of which stats to use is as much a case of personal preference and play style as it is a case of there being a "Correct Choice". Each stat maxes out at 9. Strength provides an additional 10 HP maximum to the Marine per point spent, and as per the "Make your Better Best" section, is often valued by front line heavy marines who are already planning on taking hits for the team. Endurance provides only 3 HP per point, however it also increases your HP Regeneration rate, has a chance to give you an extra safety net "Badly Injured" state, and slightly increases your marine's weight tolerances. Agility provides the marine with a slight movespeed bonus, and reload timing bonus, and is often valued by light marines who need to dodge rather than take hits or are planning on using long reload weapons. Perception gives the marine additional view range per point invested, and a small area of True Sight around the marine where he can detect otherwise cloaked or burrowed units. Perception also increases the innate critical hit chance of marines and thus can be valuable weapon based damage marines. Intelligence increases the maximum energy of the marine by 5 per point. It also provides a VERY small chance per point invested for a Marine to gain an extra talent point when he levels up. Stats are powerful tools, and should be used not only based on what class you are playing, but your own concerns and playstyle. Some marines may favor Agility on their Riflemen, or Perception on their Arms Assaults, or Endurance on Flamethrowers. The simple truth though is the only wrong choice is not using your stat points. Assign them ASAP when you rank up, and remember that Stats can be changed at the start of the mission, and that your Stats will carry over to the next mission (You don't need to assign them every game). [align=center]Conditions[/align] A good Marine needs to identify the conditions he can suffer in rigorous combat and how to properly deal with them. Cripple: One of the most deadly conditions. The Cripple status heavily slows down a marine's move speed, and as we learned earlier a slow marine is a dead marine. The only way to remove a Cripple is via a trained Medic's Surgical Laser or through the natural healing of time. You can identify Cripple on a marine by a yellow cloud that seems to be centered on their torso. Blind: As far as conditions go, this is the one which is the least lethal and the easiest to under estimate. Blinded marines cannot see friends or foes, and will wander around helpless, unable to fire at enemies even if they are being clawed to the face. Blind is a relatively short term condition however, going away on its own in 7 seconds, or can be cleared by the Medic's Surgical Laser. The lack of vision can also be circumvented by Road Flares, Recon Flares, or Forward Observer Flares, or shared vision with non-blinded marines through the Psi-Ops Mindlink or Engineer's Field Nexus. Blind can be identified visually on a marine by three pale blob shapes near their head. Open Wound: Profuse bleeding is often inflicted by massive attacks such as the Agron's blades. Marines suffering from Open Wounds will steadily lose HP over time, and several Open Wounds can be stacked on a Marine at once, increasing the HP loss rate. Even worse, HP loss caused by Open Wounds will bypass the Badly Injured condition and kill you outright regardless of lives. Open Wounds can be cured with a bandage, or the medic's Surgical Laser, or will go away over time after about 2 minutes. Marines suffering from open wounds can be easily identified via blood gushing up from their bodies, and the puddles of blood they leave on the ground where they walk. Venom: Some enemies will use toxic attacks and biological weapons upon you. These attacks can inflict the marine with the Venom condition. Venom will drain your HP, but not as fast as an Open Wound, and also slow your movement speed. Cripple plus Venom stacks can slow almost any marine to a standstill. Like Open Wounds marines can be inflicted by up to 20 stacks, increasing the rate of HP loss and slowing. Also like Open Wounds venom will bypass the Badly Injured state and outright kill a marine regardless of lives. Venom can be cured by the Anti-Venom item, or use of the Medic's innate Marine Action, Anti-Venom (Hotkey: X->V). Marines with Venom can be easily spotted by a cloud of small green spots over their marine. Short Circuit: Bodily harm to your person isn't the only thing that can go wrong. Excessive damage can also causes shorts in your suit. Short Circuit will keep you from regenerating your shields, removing an important defensive layer from your Marine, and cause your suit to lose energy over time for a solid minute. This is VERY damaging and can effectively gimp a marine for much longer than the minute the condition exists. It can only be cured by the Engineer's Repair or the Technician's Maintenance Drone. Marines suffering from Short Circuit are identifiable by 2 small electrical arcs coming out of their torso. Madness: Dangers to your sanity also exists, and particularly horrifying damage has a chance to inflict Madness on a marine. Marines suffering from Madness act driven by fear, causing them to fire much faster than they normally would, however the damage done is significantly less due to their panic reducing their accuracy and skill. The only cure now for madness is the shock that comes from near death, inflicting the Badly Injured condition on the marine in question. Such operations should be done carefully and in a measured, controlled situation. Marines suffering from madness are identifiable by a change in voice, a slight unnatural swaying to their body, and white dots radiating from their head. Badly Injured: This condition occurs when a marine with Spare Lives is injured below 50 HP (Not by Venom or Open Wounds though). The shock of the damage will give the marine a temporary invulnerability, and nearby enemies will ignore him for about 4 seconds. During this time the marine in question is helpless, unable to attack and moves at a very reduced pace. It's not a good situation to be in, and the slow often means you cannot escape whatever caused you to be Badly Injured in the first place. Marines who are Badly Injured will have "Badly Injured" and the number of lives they have remaining flash over their heads. [align=center]Commencement[/align] That's it for Boot Camp recruit. Remember your drill instructor and the lessons learned here. They will keep you alive out in the field. Now get out there, put some boots in some asses, and do your unit proud!