Wednesday, 15 October 2014 20:00

Welcome to Evolve - Happy Hunting! Featured

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Here is where I shall unveil all of which I know about Turtle Rock Studios upcoming amazing title, Evolve. The developers of Evolve are also the creators of Left for Dead. Everything I know is from watching the streams, devs, and playing at various events. I will post advanced tactics towards the bottom, if you already know the game well, move onto the “ADVANCED GAMEPLAY” section. This section will be a basic overview, if you see something that should be there that is not please let me know in the comments and I will change it for all to see (credits to you!). Everything you are about to read might not even be correct anymore because the developers spend countless hours trying to perfect the game and make it fair.

 

 

Summary of Evolve

 

A PvPvE in a large environment (this game IS NOT Player vs. Environment, as many who I have talked to think it is). Four player-controlled hunters try to take down a player-controlled monster while avoiding and using NPCs and the environment to their advantage.

 

Pro Tip: Please check your key bindings, especially if you are going to play monster

 


 

Jumping Right In

 

Jumping right in you will find yourself with the ability to choose what class of hunter you would like to be or what monster you would like to be. On release, each class of hunter will have 3 completely unique characters, totaling to 12 completely different hunters with different abilities and/or weapons. On release there will be 3 different monsters that you can choose from. You'll select your class, then your character, then your perk (the full list of perks/final perks remains to be determined), everyone readies up and away you go into the map. You'll be greeted by a nice little tutorial overviewing your hunter/monster and his abilities on the loading screen. The monster will get a small (~30 seconds) head start and then the hunters will deploy right where the monster spawned. The hunt is on! 

 


 

Gameplay

 

The only played/shown game mode to date is currently Hunt (MacMan has mentioned many surprises yet to come though!). Four hunters chase a monster around a lavish environment. The hunters try to kill the monster before he can stage up and become strong enough to kill the hunters or the generator (stage 3 monster). Stage 1 monster is at a slight disadvantage when fighting the hunters, stage 2 monster is on par with the hunters, and a stage 3 monster is stronger than the hunters. All hunters have jetpacks and there is no fall damage. The hunters never level up so they are pressed for time to try and always keep the monster from feeding (how he levels up and gains armor). You will have to traverse a variety of terrains as both monster and hunter. The monster can regain armor but can never regain his health. He gains more health each stage though.

 

Typically in the beginning most hunters all stick together but at the higher experienced games the hunters will split up into pairs of twos to hunt more efficiently. It is important to note that you can spot all the time. Spotting is really helpful to show your teammates where the monster is. When you spot, if you hit the monster the marker will be a red dot on your HUD and map, if you hit nothing it'll be yellow. This game really benefits from spotting because it brings your team closer together even if you guys don't know one another. It helps gameplay tremendously. The monster will do his best to sneak around and stage up before having to fight the hunters. The maps are very well designed to both encourage fighting and allow the monster to run for a decent time. If the monster gets to stage 3, the monster can win by destroying a generator. The hunters will try their best to defend it but if they have not done a lot of damage to the monster by the time he reaches stage 3 they will surely lose. The rounds are 20 minutes long (subject to change). There are also perks that can be picked up from epic creatures along the way that will help you (my favorite is the run speed perk). The monster can use the environment to his advantage, especially by using aggressive monsters to work against the hunters. There are also creatures and plants that will instantly grab and kill a hunter if he is not helped by a team member (don’t go off alone!).

IMPORTANT: As the hunter, if you are downed (not killed) by the monster you will receive a downed penalty* (health reduction, etc.). The third time you are downed you will die immediately with no chance of revival and for the remainder of the game you will instantly die if you are downed.

 *Lazarus device revives instantly with no downed penalty, 3rd time down death rule applies

This is a very old video and I know numbers have changed on weapons and the monster but I feel like it truly shows all the meat of the game. The game is actually only around 15 minutes long but it shows the view points of EVERY player. First it's the shoutcasts POV then it goes to the players POV.

 

 

 


 

Ranking/Progression

 

There is a progression/rank system in the game but it is mild compared to grindy games (if anyone remembers the Tribes Ascend grind, RIP). First thing you need to understand is that the progression system works on two levels:

  • Character Progression: This is experience earned within a match that goes toward improving your chosen character’s mastery of different skills, weapons, and abilities. Through earning one star mastery across the board for a given character, you unlock the next character in that class. This applies to both Hunters and Monsters. 
  • Player Progression: This is experience that goes towards improving your overall player rank (up to level 40) and grants perks that you can select before going into a match. In other words, this is your personal meta-level and is generally earned through time spent playing.

 

Throughout firefights, you’re constantly mastering your character’s weapons and abilities. The ranking ranges from “Skilled” (1 star) to “Elite” (3 stars) for each of your weapons and abilities. Every time you level-up a rank, you earn a permanent perk that enhances that ability or weapon.

Here’s an example of how you will master Markov’s Assault Rifle:

  • Skilled (1 Star) Deliver xx points of damage to anything in the world, get +2% accuracy.
  • Expert (2 Stars) Deliver xx points of damage to the Monster, get +5% accuracy.
  • Elite (3 Stars) Deliver xx points of damage to the head of Monsters, get +10% accuracy and the Elite Assault Rifle.

 

The Character Progression system rewards players for trying out all of the character classes, including Monsters.

How Does Player Progression work?

Evolve also tracks your overall progress as a player, regardless of class. This is attached to your overall player profile. While you won’t be able to access a profile in the Big Alpha, it will be in the finished game.

(And, before you ask – No. Any experience earned in the Big Alpha will NOT carry over past the test weekend.)

As you gain XP from Awards and Medals, you can rank up as high as level 40. With every rank, you unlock more perks to choose from. Of course, the trick becomes deciding which single Perk to choose before each match. Here are a couple just to give you an idea of how you’re able to amp up your characters.

  • Climb Speed / Jump Bonus
  • Weapon Switching Speed
  • Jetpack Recharge
  • Damage Bonus
  • Ability Cooldown Rate
  • Armor Regeneration
  • Health Regeneration
  • Feeding Speed
  • Smell Range

 

How do you unlock the playable characters?

At the start of Big Alpha and the final version of Evolve, you’ll first have access to the following Hunters and Monster:

  • Assault: Markov
  • Trapper: Maggie (+Daisy, her pet Trapjaw)
  • Medic: Val
  • Support: Hank
  • Monster: Goliath

As you’re earning those Masteries and leveling up skills, you’re also earning access to the next character in the class you’ve been playing. So, for instance, once you start playing Markov well enough, you earn the choice to play as Hyde. Once you’ve earned at least one star for each character in a certain class (a “Skilled” rating), you’ll unlock the next character in that class:

  • Assault: Hyde
  • Trapper: Griffin
  • Medic: Lazarus
  • Support: Bucket
  • Monster: Kraken

 

It won’t take much time to unlock all the Hunters and Monsters, but this system encourages you to get some hands on time with each, then to go back and really ramp up Masteries for your favorite Hunters and Hunter classes. Below are some pictures.

All credits for information and pictures go to Turtle Rock Studios forum moderator Plaff!

 

    

 


 

The Monster

As mentioned before the monster has 3 stages. At stage 1, the monster is at a slight disadvantage when fighting the hunters, at stage 2 he has little to no disadvantage and at stage 3 he has an advantage. The monster has around 20-30 seconds to move from where he spawns in the map before the hunters drop in at that location. He has a variety of skills and techniques at his disposal. The monster can put 3 skill points into 4 different skills at level 1, level 2, and level 3. It is important to note that if you do not sneak you will leave tracks on the ground that the hunters can see. You can also use your tracks as distraction (i.e. walking forward a little then sneaking back the other direction). It is important, if you respect the hunters, that you do all you can to not lose any health before level 2. The monster does not regain health ever, he gains more health each evolve but still does not gain back what he has lost. The monster can only regenerate armor by feeding. The monster’s most strategic skill is his ability to smell. He can smell constantly for the hunters. The hunters will be outlined in yellow through all walls and environment for a brief period of time. The monster needs to watch out for birds on the ground, if the runs by them they will be startled and alert the hunters to his position! Once you get used to the maps you will know where the birds are and learn to avoid them. You can also sneak right next to them and not startle them (sneaking is so important in this game!). Look out for other randomly placed traps the hunters have set up as sort of "detection devices"/

 

 

 

Goliath

 

  • Fire breath – Area of effect fire that deals instant and damage of time
  • Leap smash – leaps through the air smashing down doing splash area damage
  • Charge – charges forward doing damage and knock hunters back
  • Boulder throw – a long range attack, can be aimed, HIGH DAMAGE if direct hit

 

 

Kraken

 

  • Banshee mines – Small orbs that home in on the hunters, can be planted for chasing hunters, OK damage
  • Lightning strike – Long range attack that can be aimed but is easy to see coming, massive damage
  • Aftershock – a short range attack that releases electric pulse around the Kraken for short duration
  • Vortex – knocks enemies back and deals damage from a far range

 

 


The Medic

The medic is my favorite class. It is the most important role for the team besides trapper. I, typically, only play Val because of her versatility and her play style. The medic heals while providing damage multiplier spots on the monster. The medic is usually the favored target besides the trapper.

 

 

Val

 

  • Medgun – allows you to heal from a distance like TF2’s medic
  • Sniper Rifle – creates critical damage points that can be targeted for a damage multiplier
  • Heal burst – Heals immediately in a small radius
  • Tranquilizer gun – slows monster down (disables running), and illuminates monster in yellow so he can be seen through walls. This weapon has a very short duration of action

 

 

 

Lazarus

 

  • Silenced Sniper - creates critical damage points that can be targeted for a damage multiplier
  • Personal Cloaking device
  • Heal burst – Heals immediately in a small radius
  • Lazarus device – revives downed hunters immediately for no downed penalty, has a cooldown

 

 

 


 

The Trapper

The trapper, by far, should be the smartest/most experienced player on the team in terms of game sense. He should NOT track the monster head on but rather learn to cut the monster off so he can pop a mobile arena down. The trapper is usually targeted first because when the trapper goes down the mobile arena goes down. The trappers mobile arena is the most important and, probably, the coolest thing I've seen in a game yet. The mobile arena is a temporary dome that encapsulates any player inside it and does not allow them to leave. The monster cannot enter the mobile arena nor leave the mobile arena. The hunters can enter the mobile arena but cannot leave. If the trapper falls then the mobile arena will fall. The mobile arena has a cool down before it can be used again so you better not miss with it! It's a pretty decent sized area that it covers. The trapper can DISABLE the mobile arena at any time (it takes about 2 seconds to disable it, maybe less). You don't get hurt if you touch the edges of the mobile arena you just can't go through, it's a wall!

 

 

Maggie

 

  • Machine pistol – regular machine pistol
  • Harpoon mine launcher – plants harpoon traps one at a time, requiring reload, 5 maximum
  • Daisy – pet that tracks the monster, good if completely lost to where the monster is
  • Mobile arena – a mobile arena that traps the monster in, hunters can enter but cannot get out

 

 

 

Griffon

 

  • SMG – standard SMG that does more damage than the machine pistol
  • Harpoon gun – harpoon gun trap that has decent range, must be reloaded
  • Sound spikes – static spikes that have a large radius of coverage (can be seen on the map), 5 maximum
  • Mobile arena – a mobile arena that traps the monster in, hunters can enter but cannot get out

 

The Assault

The assault is your basic tank class. The assault must soak up all the damage and be a big enough problem that the monster cannot take his attention off the assault. The assault also can guide the monster via attracting attention or making the monster run away because of his damage output. Learn when to use your shield and when to side dash.

 

 

 

Markov

 

  • Lightning gun – close range gun that does massive damage
  • Assault rifle – does medium damage at range
  • Arc mines – static mines planted on the ground, 5 maximum
  • Personal shield – briefly prevents Markov from taking damage, recharges over time

 

 

Hyde

 

  • Minigun – high damage and high rate of fire but inaccurate at far range
  • Flamethrower – EXTREME damage but very close range
  • Toxic grenades – toxic grenade that causes a poison cloud, great offensive and defensive weapon
  • Personal shield – briefly prevents Hyde from taking damage, recharges over time

 

The Support

The support does it all: damage, protection and stealth. The key to a good support is his ability to balance being offensive and defensive. Cloaking his team is vital for stealth entry and being able to surprise the monster. It can also help with helping fallen hunters up!

 

 

Hank

 

  • Energy shield – allows Hank to shield a teammate for a period of time, recharges over time
  • Plasma gun – extremely strong weapon that must cool down if shot for too long
  • Orbital barrage – a medium area of attack that deals HIGH damage but can easily be dodged
  • Cloaking device – provides cloaking to himself and all nearby hunter

 

 

Bucket

 

  • Flying UAV – removes his head for a UAV, can spot the monster and track him for short duration
  • Laser guided missile launcher – high damage but low rate of fire
  • Flying sentries – NPC stationary sentry bots that attack all nearby enemies
  • Cloaking device – provides cloaking to himself and all nearby hunters

 

Miscellaneous

 

There has been a lot of hinted at information. There have been hints of another game mode. Custom games will be available on release (that means competitive play!). To my knowledge, every time you saw a person playing with a controller, they were playing on a USB controller hooked into a PC so have no fear PC people! We were first guys!


 

Advanced Gameplay

 

I. Important Random Information

  • The monster gains stamina when he gets shot (making him able to dash/leap away)
  • There is passive reload
  • There is no fall damage
  • While feeding, the monster can smell and look around
  • The monster cannot climb when he is hooked
  • Hank’s orbital strike is multiplied by the damage multiplier created by the medic
  • You can only deploy 5 traps, mines, soundspikes, etc. at one time (subject to change)
  • Even if you are out of jetpack energy, if you are near a wall you can still jetpack at 50% the speed. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT

  • Downed hunters can be cloaked
  • Val can help a downed hunter up with the med gun
  • Tranquilizers make the Kraken fall out of the sky
  • Leap smash will break hooks on the monster
  • Camping a downed hunter is CRUCIAL especially if you are trying to kill them all or have a lot of armor
  • Lazarus’s device revives teammates instantly with NO downed penalty however the 3rd time down dead rule still applies.
  • Each hunter must pick up a perk to get it for himself/herself, the opponent can grab this perk as well
  • A great monster tactic is to sneak and then use your regular attack. It will pounce on the hunter and he will be pinned on the ground while you strike him over and over. The only way to get out of this attack for the hunter is for a teammate to shoot the monster off. It deals a TON of damage if the monster can pummel the hunter for a couple seconds (usually it is hard because he has a teammate but it’s still a viable tactic when fighting the entire hunter squad).
  • If you are playing bucket, do not chase the monster with the UAV, you will lose valuable ground. Instead, UAV the monster right before the mobile arena drops so that he cannot be lost as easily.
  • When playing Hank, you need to predict who the monster will attack next so you can apply your shield to him. New monsters get distracted very easily and do not focus on one hunter at a time, with these monsters you will not need to shield as much. At the higher level of play, you will need to shield your medic and trapper more frequently.
  • The monster can sneak passed turrets, traps, mines, and birds
  • It is very important to spot constantly to find the monster, the maps are built very well so it doesn't break the game it just helps keep everyone in the know on where the monster is moving

 

II. High(er) Level Strategy

 

It is important to note that most people will not be comfortable in splitting into groups of two at the start and that’s fine. They will be facing lower level monsters and it could work. In the more experienced matches, if you stick together the monster will easily be able to juke you over and over again. This brings me to my first major point and that is splitting up. There are two different methods:

 

a. Assault/Medic + Trapper/Support

 In this combo, it is clear you can see the classic TF2 tank plus heal combo that would easily be able to deter a monster from trying to 1 v 2. The support can cloak both the trapper and himself to get away from the monster and sneak in on him to pop a mobile arena down. Working together but far away enough to cover a lot of ground is the key. The two groups should be no farther than 15 seconds from one another at full sprint. Both teams have someone who can slow the monster down and both teams have someone who can dish out a lot of damage. This is a very safe 2 way split.

 

b. Assault/Support + Trapper/Medic (Val works best)

 In this combo, you can see the drastic difference in the teams. One team has high output damage that any sane monster would stay away from while the other team is much squishier and can be taken down easily without a monster player taking much damage. There is a reason for this though. The Trapper/Medic combo has EXTREME slowing capability. I am a real big jerk with my tranquilizer gun as Val. I think my longest back to back tranquilizing was 14 shots in a row while the trapper laid hooks and my assault/support team got into position. The monster literally cannot move. If the monster comes straight at you, which he probably will, you have hooks placed down behind you that will catch him while the medic tranqs him the entire time. Your assault team should have already been caught up at that point as well. This grouping relies heavily on your assault/support group to be close.

 

It is important to note that when Val is tranquilizing ("tranqing") the monster outside of a mobile arena that you should not shoot the monster. Damaging the monster will increase his stamina allowing him to leap/dash away. Once the mobile arena has been dropped then go to town on damaging him.

 

Mines, hooks, sensors, etc. should be placed at normal choke points to detect the monster and aid you in catching him.

 

III. Special Combinations of Skills

 

a. Hank, Val, Trapper, Assault

 

A great way to really do a lot of damage is to set up a combination of skills while in the mobile arena. Because of my limited knowledge on the game, I don’t know what other possibilities there are for some crazy damaging combos except this one. It requires Hank and Val to be on the team together. The goal is to add a lot of sniper shots on the monster so that Hank’s orbital will do MASSIVE amounts of damage. The problem with this tactic is that you need the monster to be nearly immobile. The only way to really do this is to alternate between tranq and sniper. Typically I snipe twice then tranq once, alternate back and forth. My trapper hooks the monster so he is nearly immobile and at this point Hank (clout <3) orbitals the monster. This takes off an INSANE amount of damage. Add this up with a constant pounding from the assault and we have dropped a monster’s health down multiple bars of in seconds.


 

Summary (highly opinionated – my thoughts are my own)

 

Given how this game has been marketed, I think it will be a decently competitive game. There has been A LOT of discussion on the forums and between competitive gamers of all shapes and sizes and after much ado I believe that the competitive format would be as following –

  • Best of 3
  • Round 1: Team A hunters vs Team B monster
  • Round 2: Team A monster vs Team B hunters
  • Round 3: If there is a round 3, the team who won the quickest would get to choose what side they wanted.

Now the first thing that comes up is trolling. How would someone troll? If a team knew they couldn’t win against a certain team’s hunters or monster and had already secured a victory for themselves they could troll by running around the map forever trying to eat up time. This way they would get the faster win and get to choose the side for the 3rd map. While this is a possibility the maps do tend to lead to a fight. Now I am only considering what I know, there could be and there are many things I do not know about Evolve that may change this format. Given what I do know, this is the simplest way with the least caveats, I believe. I am not considering mods or anything, just straight out of the box vanilla gameplay – over the years I have been led to believe that modding is not the way to go anymore anyways, the less disconnect between the regular player and competitive player the better (see. every MOBA ever).

 

My current top hunter picks out of the 8 revealed are:

Val – she has much more versatility than Lazarus, sure lazarus removes downed points but he also has to play back so far and can’t actively heal

Markov – I’m like 51:49 on this decision, I really only like Markov more because of his range, Hyde does so much damage though. I would probably change my decision based on the time of day it was haha

Maggie – Again I am on the fence about this decision. The reason why I like Maggie more is because she can set down 5 static hook traps and while they are hooking the monster she can shoot the monster. Griffon, however, does have farther range with his hook and has sound spikes that can tell you so much. Griffon’s downfall is that if he is hooking he can’t do anything else. Passive reload allows Maggie to do so much more in the same amount of time Griffon has. Again, it’ really hard for me to make a definite decision here

Hank – Hank can shield, cloak, shoot, and orbital strike. Bucket can fire rockets and cloak but his UAV is not really necessary with a good group of hunters with good game sense, it could help in rare situations of course. His turrets are short-medium range and I don’t think you can throw them very far? I, vaguely, remember having to get real close to make them count. I haven’t played Bucket in a LONG time (2+ months) so I’m sure he’s entirely different now. Even though I knocked them, my counter argument is actually Bucket’s turrets. His turrets would deter a monster from camping a downed player. It could also guide the monster away from certain areas. Bucket’s turrets are not timed so therefore you could also place them on the map to detect the monster. If you're using Maggie/Griffon, Markov, and Bucket you could have 15 pieces of equipment out on the map trying to detect where the monster is. It's a bit farther gap than the assault but still decently close compared to my decision about the Medic (that may be because I've had over 20+ hours with the medic :P)

 

All in all, I love Evolve. It is a thinking man's game and if you can analyze quickly how your monster is playing you can out think him and win the game. When your team has synergy and knows what each other is going to do and can play off of one another it is beautiful. I did play monster quite a bit and I had an extreme amount of fun trying all sorts of different strategies. Being the monster, you are always under high alert scared for your life. As you transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2 you start gaining confidence and it becomes an entirely different game. It is very interesting how many emotions that this game can invoke. There is much telemetry/statistics on the official TRS forums that one can see the game is going to be as balanced as possible and we truly thank TRS for doing so much research and studying their game so much from a competitive point. Of course it will not be perfectly 50/50 but it is pretty close! I've had so much fun playing with complete strangers which I would NEVER have guessed I could do. I have always played with a set team and practiced but this game can be fun even when playing with randoms. Everyone wants to win and is willing to work together to win (there will always be trolls but they are few and far between).


 

About Me/Conclusion

 

Hello plz my name is Link. I have been competing at the amateur and semi-pro level for 10+ years. I started off playing a Half-Life mod called Hostile Intent. In 2007, I moved to COD4. I scrimmed A LOT in PAM4 /ProMod but never had time to consistently make matches due to attending university and me being west coast. I then moved onto Tribes Ascend competing for money VGCG and #taoontop. I’ve been competing in a small realistic-ish COD-like indie game called Insurgency for over a year now waiting for something new to come out. I think that Evolve is that something. It is fresh and unorthodox. So long as the only thing that separates the pros from the new guys is experience, I think there is something amazing in store for this game, 2K and TRS :) 

People that know me, know I am honest about my reviews and speak my mind. You have to stay true to yourself or you'll end up hating yourself. I truly believe that Turtle Rock Studios is a great company that has remained true to themselves despite being backed by some giants. I hope that they continue to work with the community and are not discouraged by people posting things about their game who have no idea what the game is. I have talked to many high end competitive gamers who initially think the game will flop. After talking to them about the game and discussing the nuances of the game they start to come around. The FPS community has been jaded by the big names brands (COD and BF series). It is real easy for them to just lump any game into those categories right away. Do not be alarmed, they will come around just as I did when they play your game. Keep up the hard work. I will be streaming on http://www.twitch.tv/The_DGL for 12 hours a day during the Alpha. I am here to stay, don't worry. <3 Cheers

Again if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please post a comment down below and I will do my best to fix/answer anything you post. If I forgot something in my giant post, I will fix it and credit you with pointing it out <3 Hope this helps people!

My steam name - ryukolink

Evolve community teamspeak - 216.107.153.2:9988

Telemetry thread - https://talk.turtlerockstudios.com/t/telemetry-and-game-balance/588

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Website: www.thedgl.org

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