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    The Brutal Experience

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    Starke

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    The Brutal Experience

    Post  Starke on Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:15 pm

    I now solely play Brutal, and the time has come for me to catalog what I have learned for both my own reflection and that of the entire community. This could get really long-winded, so I may even use chapters!

    Fun Reflection:
    Brutal makes veteran players feel like noobs again. When I started playing, before there was even a difficulty option, I was amazed at the adventurous and calculating qualities of the game. I got beat. Badly. But it was fun! I played again and got beat again. Slowly, I learned to land my CC right next to mineral patches. To build Mules to gather faster. To kill Spine Crawlers by building a Missile Turret and sniping the Tumor. What defenses I needed to survive each wave. But there was not set recipe. The map changed around me! Hatcheries where there used to be minerals, buildings where there used to be nothing. I loved it because beating once didn't mean you could beat it again and again. Keep in mind I had yet to even win. I am a competitive person by nature, and for me to enjoy losing is exceedingly rare. And when I won, it was truly a hard-earned victory. Brutal resets you to this state. It pounds you senseless with a hammer. Your first time, I doubt you will survive the first wave. The second wave, foolish miners will be ensnared by Infestors they never saw coming and get killed. But you endeavor to rise above all this, as you did before. You find a way to survive each night.

    Ok, I'm done with the mushy stuff now. Let's get to the nuts and bolts. pirat The challenges of Brutal!

    Challenges:
    The Enemies
    Obviously, on Brutal the Zerg have decided to up the ante. All you attackers will have an three extra damage and armor. The armor alone will cause havoc on your turrets, as you will see in the next section. The lowly Zergling has its damage increased from 5 to eight, over a 50% increase. In addition, it also gets its attack speed increase upgrade AND movement speed upgrade. Twisted Evil The lowly Zergling has assumed the mantle of the Terminator! All will live in fear! And all the other Zerg strains get their upgrades too! Oh joy! Faster Banelings, longer-ranged Hydras, and more speed and armor for Ultralisks. You get the picture. And as if that wasn't enough, you will see significantly larger numbers of these attackers. However, this is not all bad, as you will see in the income section.

    Turrets Weakened
    Turrets operate differently. Fast-firing and low-damaging weapons get a major setback, because three armor is applied every attack. The Auto-turret loses 3/8 of its damage and the Big Bertha gets its damage cut in HALF, even assuming no native armor. The natural armor on hardened targets such as Roaches and Ultras cuts damage even further. Against Ultralisks, Big Berthas only do 1/6 of their normal damage! Shocked Teslas become even better because of this, but their long build time means that massing them can hurt other activities. Siege Tanks are also good, but can hurt your own structures. Weaponized Bunkers are handy in a hurry for both offense and defense, but pack far less punch for their price than other options. Barricades are completely insufficient past the Baneling wave, and Bunkers are hardly invulnerable. A Restorer's reservoir of four charges suddenly looks much smaller. You have to take all of this into account.

    Money Flux
    In normal, you spend the first 3-4 nights virtually unharassed. Throw up a few turrets and barricades, and you are free to gather without interference. Much of your income with come from your first few days and nights of unfettered mining. Brutal does not give you any lead time. You use all your income to survive the early waves. Early on money will be tight. But don't dispair. Should you survive and build up, the money you gain from killing Zerg attackers will substitute for the early boost you get on Normal.

    Time Constraints
    In Brutal, more emphasis is placed on using time wisely. You will need more defenses, so start building them in the day, instead of in the early night. Teslas are especially time intensive. If you run out of money building defenses, remember that you will get more as the night goes on. Be ready to put up more as your money grows. Night cannot always be spent mining. Don't take risks, but use the time for what you can do. In short, you need more defenses, which will take longer to erect. In order to build those defenses, you need structures an supply, which you will need longer to find.(see next section) And to pay for those defenses, you will need more money, so you will need to mine more. (But remember, the Zerg that the turret kills means that the turret will often pay for itself several times overprovided it stays alive.)

    Exploration Troubles
    Exploration takes more time and is harder. Faster Roaches, Mutas, Speedlings... and all with 3/3 upgrades. If you get just a little too close and have to run away, and then back, you waste a good chunk of time. If you are incapacitated, you waste both you and another player's time. You can afford far less of this on Brutal. You also must mine and build up during the day. You will often only explore a small portion of the map through the entire game, and rarely the outer areas.

    Building Shortage
    Because exploring is more dangerous and you have other constraints on your daylight time, it is far harder but even more crucial to find buildings. Gone are the days where a scanner can reveal the map (which I am glad for), and it is harder to explore on foot. You will see much less of the map, especially the outer areas where buildings hide. A death out there can mean a loss. A Factory is crucial, for Mules to mine and repair, for Siege Tanks if you need heavy firepower but don't have time for Teslas, and for Weaponized Bunkers for durable defense and supply. And without a Fusion Core, defeat is certain by the Brood/Bane Lord waves.

    Basing Strategies:
    Recommended for Two Players: The Expanded Ship Base
    I see two ways to base. For two player, I prefer The Expanded Ship Base. The small preset base, when armed with Periditions, Autos, and Teslas, keeps us alive the first few waves, as it is very risky to base outside so early. After the Baneling wave, we expand the base to the edges of the mesa. Stock up on money and supply for the expansion. With two players building full time using Bunkers, Peridtions, and Teslas, all four entrances can just be sealed in one day. The result is a roomy and well-secured base. Also, with all the Zerg pouring at us, we get absolutely loaded with cash in the later waves.

    For Both Two and Four Players: Scatter, Prosper, and Regroup
    This strategy can work with two players, but the risk of death is high early on because there are fewer players to share the "load". (You will see what I mean.) It works far better with four players. I go through three stages: first I hang tight at base, as it is too risks to set up early on. After a few waves and once I have some cash, I set up near some resources with Bunkers, Teslas, and Restorers. Try to build a base during the same day/night cycle as your teammates, and have them base separately. More than one player together draws massive amounts of Zerg. With four players spread out, you see a much more manageable amount of Zerg. It is a delicate "web" of mutual support. Each player is handling a set portion of the Zerg attackers. If one is overwhelmed, the others will often fall in quick succession due to an influx of Zerg. However, this way you can mine for longer and with less defenses. I mine there for several waves, eventually sucking the surrounding area dry. Around the Hydra wave, I meet up with one or more of the other players and we form a composite base, usually on high ground.

    Without exception, a Factory and Fusion Core are required to win at both bases.

    These are my notes so far, and I will likely add to them.

    (Edited for grammar, rewordings, and additions)


    Last edited by Starke on Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:02 pm; edited 10 times in total
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    Nagnazul
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    Re: The Brutal Experience

    Post  Nagnazul on Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:16 pm

    Fantastic post!

    Here's a thought - have you tried scouting with a flying Resource Stockpile? As long as you don't go to the edge of the map, you shouldn't run into many anti-air zerg.

    Also, I'm glad the initial location and the transport ship are now good enough to be part of a strong strategy!

    Brodyaga

    Posts : 148
    Join date : 2010-12-09

    Re: The Brutal Experience

    Post  Brodyaga on Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:49 pm

    Nagnazul wrote:... I'm glad the initial location and the transport ship are now good enough to be part of a strong strategy!

    They would be even better with the only two entrances and with a little less space: the top of this hill is about one quota too roomy to be really good, I would say.

    Another thing about this spot being too roomy is that healing of the Crashed Ship does not extend to the Big Berthas: if we put them in the corners.
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    Starke

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    Join date : 2010-12-12
    Location : San Diego, California, United States

    Re: The Brutal Experience

    Post  Starke on Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:11 am

    Thanks Nagna. Smile The CC scout has kinda been taboo to me as I am OCD about losing stuff, but now that you bring it up, I think I will start using it. It is simply too cheap and effective to pass up.

    And are you sure that the heals cannot reach a Big Bertha in a corner? The field extends to within half a dozen spaces of the edge, and all the field has to do is be able to reach the center of the model. It should reach. And if it doesn't, just build them a few spaces back. Besides, I like building stuff back a bit so that Hydras can't mass below and snipe it.

    The ship base is unique in ways other than the healing effects. Obviously, it has four entrances. When you base inside the preset Barricades, the base it too small, and when you expand it to the edge, to is almost too big. Siege Tanks positioned on the corners cannot hit either of the ramps. However, they can hit the streams of enemies pouring in, because many of them come in at a diagonal. I like its quirks as is. Smile

    The ship base is a creation of necessity on 2-player Brutal. On Normal, and even 4-player Brutal, the risk-reward ratio easily favors leaving and basing outside to get easy access to resources. This isn't to say that basing outside is death with two players. I won my Brutal game two-player, and we both based separately outside, before reuniting at his base to build Beacons. But with only other one player to draw fire and support downed Survivors, a single mistake often means a loss. The ship base is simply a less risky option. HOWEVER, you must always remember that sometimes victory demands risks. That one time out for ten you survive long enough outside to stock up and rebase together is more likely to win than the slow-and-steady ship base.

    Food for thought. Very Happy

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