Beginner's Guide to Forged Alliance

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First of all, welcome to FAF! We are happy to have you!

The idea behind this guide is to show new players the ultimate basics, and a little more advanced stuff as we progress, so that you can dive into a game right away and have some basic knowledge. If you are looking for some more advanced stuff please consult: Learning SupCom



Introduction

In this chapter we'll cover the basics of economy and some build orders to get you started.


List of words

Let's start gaining knowledge! There are a bunch of words you'll need to know because you'll see them fairly often, which are the following:

  • mex(es) = mass extractor(s)
  • pgen = power generator
  • bo = build order
  • eco = economy (mass + power income and storage)
  • macro = related to the base, economy and production (opposite of micro)
  • micro = the usage of units (for example dodging artillery)
  • mapcontrol = how much on the map you control, doesn't necessarily have to be mass points (for example holding the area between two expansions of the opponent)
  • buildpower = how fast a unit can build, repair, capture, and reclaim


This is a very small part of the Glossary. Visit that for a longer list.

Economy - The basics

Okay, so now you've learned some fancy words it's time to introduce you to the first aspect of the game, the ECONOMY!

The economy consists out of two resources:

Mass

Can be obtained via mass extractors, which can only be built on Mass Points. There's another way to get mass income, via mass fabricators. But these will get covered later in the guide.

A Cybran ACU building a T1 Mass Extractor

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Energy

Also known as Power, this resource can be obtained via power generators, which can be built everywhere! This resource is not limited, so you can get as much as you like.

A Cybran ACU building 3 T1 Power Generators

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You can also build hydrocarbon power plants to gain more power income. These can only be built on certain places though, and on some maps you can't build them at all. They give the same income as 5 power generators, but only cost 2.5 power generators, making them very cost-efficient. Note that the ACU cannot start construction of a hydro.

A Cybran engineer building a Hydro, while getting assisted by the ACU

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There are two things you want to prevent from happening to your economy: stalling and overflowing mass/power. Prepare for a wall of text, because these two are very important!

Stalling

Stalling mass/power means that your storage is empty and you're draining your economy. In almost all situations this is considered to be a bad thing, why?

  • While stalling one resource, you cannot efficiently use the other one.
  • You'll slow down everything, from building anti air turrets while under fire from gunships, to finishing the last 5% of your experimental while the enemy is at your front lines.
  • When draining power all your shields go down, all your stealth fields and radars get disabled, and you cannot produce air efficiently anymore.

How to deal with accidental economy stalls: Its very easy to stall your economy by accident, which puts you at a disadvantage. Luckily there are a few tricks to limit this disadvantage:

  • Stalling power is horrible, we all know that. However, pausing air for a while isn't, especially when you already have air control. And in the meantime you can build some power generators quite fast. When you've enough power income again you can continue producing air!
  • Stalling mass can be bad, depending on your total income and how much you use of it. For example stalling -10 mass at minute 1 would be really bad. However, stalling 10 mass at minute 40 ingame with a total mass income of +500 isn't bad at all. Knowing this the following trick will only work early in the game: if you have reclaim available, reclaim it. If you don't have reclaim available, make it! For example destroying one of your land factories (by selecting it and pressing CTRL+K). You don't want to destroy a T2 or T3 factory tho, in that case it's better to pause it for a while. Reclaim will get covered a lil bit further, patience!

Overflowing

Overflowing mass/power means that you reached the maximum capacity of your storage, thus leading to wasting the incoming resources. In a teamgame this isn't bad in some situations, because the wasted resources are given to your allies. On the famous map called Seton's Clutch for example both front players rush the middle reclaim (What is reclaim? Will get covered soon, keep reading!) and overflow mass to their allies to give them a nice eco boost, leading to advantage. So when is it bad to overflow mass/power?

  • In the first 20 minutes of a game you shouldn't come anywhere near overflowing mass, be it a teamgame or a 1vs1. Against an equally-skilled opponent you'll have less units on the field, leading to loss of mapcontrol. If you do however manage to reach the max capacity (from reclaim for example), try to use the mass asap.
  • A common mistake by beginners is overbuilding power. This counts mostly for 1vs1 games where early tanks are important. Keep in mind a pgen is equal to +- 1,5 tanks. Make sure to put this in perspective, when you've +10K power income at minute 30 ingame and you only use 9k of it, it doesn't matter.

Building storages can prevent you from overflowing, but this isn't always the best option. More advanced info about storages will be covered further in this guide.

How to deal with overflow: There are a few tricks you can use to efficiently deal with overflow, the best ones are:

  • When you're overflowing mass and have enough power, upgrade a mass extractor to T2. On small maps this shouldn't happen around/before minute 10 tho! In that case you better spam more land factories
  • When you're overflowing power you can always build more air factories. Air requires way more power than land/navy. So if you have air and harass the opponent with it, he'll have to get more air aswell, and more power.

--- The economy bars & reclaim --- The following video will show you some stuff we've seen about our economy, and will introduce you to a very important aspect of the game: reclaim. Let's watch the video first, then we'll try to analyse what happens in it. It's important you understand exactly what happens in this video.


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As you can see I build a monkeylord with not a single mass extractor! What you just witnessed is the power of reclaim, also the reason for the huge turnarounds in Gyle's casts. Alright, let's analyze the video in detail, I'll write step by step what happens: 0:08 - I start the production of the monkeylord with 9 T3 engineers, who have alot of buildpower (see list of words). You can see I stall 324 mass soon, causing a massive slow down for the production of the monkeylord. 0:20 - I start reclaiming the CZAR wreck. This experimental wreck contains enough mass to complete the monkeylord. Although you see I stall -24 mass, the production speeds up because in perspective -24 is nothing when your total income is +302. 0:40 - I stop reclaiming for a few seconds to show the power of reclaim again. I also increase the gamespeed after this to show the next thing faster. 1:07 - A rather common mistake: I finished the monkeylord but I'm still reclaiming the CZAR, leading to a gigantic mass overflow wasting alot of mass. This is one of the reasons why you need storage, but that gets covered later in this guide.

Knowing this you can guess what happens when you let your experimental die in the hands of your enemy. Also a good lesson to not learn the hard way: retreat your experimental in time, so that you can destroy it once it's back in your base and build another one from the wreck! If you can kill the enemy ACU however, go for it.

By now you should understand the eco bars (including the total income and outgoings, not only the calculated income). But what do the numbers mean? It's really easy, for example: If you have +10 mass income you get 10 mass every second.

Note: more info about reclaim will be covered further in the guide, but for now just remember that if you've reclaim available you should try to reclaim (and use it) asap, not only wreckages are reclaimable. Also rocks and trees, trees only give energy though, so they aren't that important.


Build orders - The two legends

A build order is what you're going to do with your ACU and the first engineer(s) at the start. It gives you a nice start and is different for every map, however, you don't need one for every map. There are two build orders which can be applied on almost every map.

Second land
A build order where the ACU builds two land factories.


The ACU builds:

  • Land factory
  • 2 Pgens
  • 2 Mexes
  • 3 Pgens
  • Land factory



The first engineer builds:

  • 2 mexes

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Second Air
A build order where the ACU builds a land factory, followed by an air factory. This is very common in higher level of play, because it lets you build bombers for attacking the enemy, interceptors for killing enemy bomber and, most importantly, scouts for finding out what your opponent is up to.


The ACU builds:

  • Land factory
  • 2 Pgens
  • 2 Mexes
  • 4 Pgens
  • Air factory



The first engineer builds:

  • 2 mexes

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Second Air (Hydro version)
A build order where the ACU builds a land factory, followed by an air factory. Since hydro's are very cost-efficient you should use the hydro version if possible.


The ACU builds:

  • Land factory
  • 2 Pgens
  • 4 Mexes
  • Assists first engineer



The first engineer builds: