Total Annihilation/Tactics and Strategy Guide

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Total Annihilation Game Guide
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Tactics[edit | edit source]

Control, guide and structure your attack waves[edit | edit source]

A proper mid-game or post mid-game attack with any force should never be single directional and especially not attack in the most obvious direction. A proper attack should come from the least expected directions simultaneously, e.g. from top and rear instead of a frontal assault. The attack should not be initiated before all units are in place, that is: lined up right outside where the outer radar perimeter and defense systems are believed to have range. The attack should consist of various effective units, if the enemy is known to have large air forces the player should utilize his own air force as escort to shoot down enemy aircraft and the units should have some mobile anti aircraft units grouped together with them. The group should also consist of not only attack-units; radar jamming units and radar units should also be among the group. There are two basic reasons for this: radar jamming makes the enemy unable to target the opposing player's forces and normal mobile radar units make the player's units able to automatically (with a targeting facility) strike at hostile targets spotted on radar. Every one of the items listed will solely make the attack more effective and should all be combined to make the attack as effective as possible.

Scouting[edit | edit source]

Learning about the enemy's resources and plans is crucial in regard to directing the player's own actions. There are several units designed for this purpose both for land, sea and air and they should be used frequently for this purpose. Scouting should start early and be a continuous activity throughout the game, unless fixed player starting locations are selected for game play the location of the player's enemy/enemies is unknown and should be learned as quickly as possible. Some scouts should be sent directly to known hostile areas and others should be set to patrol either important areas like paths that are needed to be crossed in order for an attack force to advance against the player. Another form which can be considered scouting is to use advanced construction aircraft to move around the map, building advanced radars in various locations, this will give you a nice overview of the map, but is of course no security against radar jammers or cloaking. Units that serve both purposes combined (radar and visual sight) are mobile radar units, radar planes in particular are very useful in many cases, the drawback with such units are cost, build time, lack of speed and weak radar, i.e. the fixed radars and scouts are better at their specific sole purpose than the hybrid units. Smart continuous scouting, multiple advanced radars placed throughout the map and mobile radar units combined together should give the player the best possible overview of the map.

Pressure on the Opponent[edit | edit source]

Sometimes putting pressure on the opponent by attacking even though the player is aware they are ineffective can be very useful to lead the attention of the adversary away from what the player is actually doing. E.g. the player can attack the opponent continuously over a period simply to keep the enemy busy while the player simultaneously constructs long range weapons within range to hurt critical components of the enemy base. Several smaller attacks can of course also be used to lead the attention away from where the actual huge attack will be coming (which might consist of a tightly packed group completely invisible on radar due to radar jamming).

Search and Destroy[edit | edit source]

Roaming around the map searching for hostile targets to kill with little or no defense puts pressure on the opponent and often destroys useful things such as radar posts. This is especially useful if the enemy is using a distributed strategy/layout.

This is also important to do prior to a large scale attack, i.e. roam the map, destroy every unguarded (or lightly guarded) scout, radar post, etc. so that the enemy will be as unaware as possible of the fact that an attack is coming at all, and not knowing from which direction. A pattern of hunting for scouts and radars prior to the attack will though of course quickly be obvious to more aware players. For this reason it might be wise to not hunt for radar posts and simply rely on radar jamming to hide the advancing force (radar jamming should be utilized in all cases), however there is no way to hide a large force from patroling scouts, these should be avoided (difficult to almost impossible, but might be possible if very few in numbers) or destroyed.

Base Construction and Maintenance[edit | edit source]

The most effective way to construct several structures early in the game is to use the Commander and a set of arbitrary helper construction units working together as a team. One of the construction units will initiate the construction with the other units guarding that unit. Having construction units guard another construction unit will make them automatically follow and help constructing whatever this unit is building at the time, thus assigning the initiating unit to construct any number of buildings will have all the helper units assist in the construction of all the structures. However, when reaching mid-game on larger maps and espeically with very high unit limits the player will have vast numbers of construction units and the above tactic will arise some problems; very often the helper-units will stand in the way of the new building to be constructed, making several of the buildings planned to be constructed fail to be built. A more serious problem is that with even larger numbers of helper-units the helpers may actually trap the leader (the construction unit that initiates the constructions) as the helpers tend to pack themselves in a tight circle around the construction site.

A solution to the above problem is to set the helpers to patrol back and forth on a line adjacent with where the new soon-to-be structures will be instead of guarding the initiating construction-unit. Setting construction units on patrol sets them on "repair patrol" which also makes them aid in any construction taking place nearby their patrol route. The idea with a patrol-route being that the helper-units will move out of the way automatically when finished with the building being constructed at the moment, making way for the initating unit to move itself and also allow it to initiate the new building -- thus making it a fully autonomous process.

There is a limit to the number of construction units that can assist in building a single building, the limit is however only the space and range of the construction units, there are however no such limits on construction aircraft, > midgame the player should utilize enormous groups of construction aircraft to aid in construction as these can do this in almost unlimited numbers. It should also be noted that construction vehicles build faster and move faster than kbots, with construction aircrafts being the slowest builders but fastest moving construction units.

The following steps illustrate a construction set of solar arrays using the former early-game method:

1) Select the helpers
2) Order the helpers to guard the constructor
3) Select the constructor
4) Select the Solar array out of the build menu
5) Hold down shift and left-click a spot to place the first solar array
6) Continue holding shift while left-clicking other areas to place as many solar arrays as necessary

The Commander[edit | edit source]

The Commander is a very special unit in the game, in addition to having strong armour and having special features like the very powerful weapon called the "D-gun", being cloakable and being able to capture enemy units the Commander is also the unit that can construct buildings the fastest of all and also houses almost all of the energy and metal resources of the player, and most importantly the game can be set to end if the Commander is killed.

Even if the game is not set to end if the Commander is lost this is critical to be avoided at all costs until post mid-game (unless the player can gain an extreme advantage somehow which is mentioned in later sections). Post mid-game the player has enough resource storage facilities and resources in general that losing the commander is not as important, however another "feature" of the Commander is the powerful explosion it makes when destroyed, this has to be carefully taken into account as it can be an advantage in some cases and a disadvantage in others (elaborated in later sections).

The Commander should be heavily utilized during the game to construct buildings and aid in construction of buildings the Commander cannot initiate itself. The Commander should only engage in battles where it is certain it will not be destroyed; e.g. the Commander can help deal with an early rush attack but should not be a unit part of a large defence or attack force as it can easily be destroyed despite its heavy armour, this is especially true if the opposing player recognizes the commander is engaged in the battle and then targets all units to directly attack the Commander.

It is possible to build decoy commanders, however the usefulness of this is questionable as the opposing player can easily discover if an arbitrary unit is a decoy-Commander or the real Commander by holding the cursor over the unit and the label will reveal which is the case. Post mid-game simply continuously cloaking the real Commander to preserve it for possible later use can be an option.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Early in the game the player should seek out metal located on the map and build metal extractors in these locations. Locations close by should be built using either construction vehicles or kbots while locations further away should be built using construction aircraft. Once the battle has escalated into a longer game (i.e. rush-period is over) on a normal map, the main way of gaining resources is by using Fusion Reactors and Moho Metal Makers to convert excess energy into metal, this technique is highly superior at this stage in the game. Normal metal extractors simply produce too little metal and have to be scattered across the map in order to function in the first place - making them difficult to protect. Moho metal extractors produce more metal, but suffer from the same (the latter) problem as the normal metal extractors. The player should however not limit the metal production to merely metal makers, a combination of the two can be utilitzed to some degree. On pure metal maps, e.g. "Seven Islands" metal extractors (either normal or moho) is the technique of choice as they can be built anywhere and still extract maximum metal, thus making them able to be grouped tightly together so they become more easy to build and protect.

Rushing[edit | edit source]

One of the most effective ways to win a game is by rushing the enemy. After the start of the game the player will use all resources on building no defence at all and only building cheap and fast attack units (e.g. the level 1 tank "Flash") by having the Commander guard the vehicle plant and help constructing. Once the player has a few units (or perhaps even after the first unit is completed) he sends them to the enemy base and starts attacking whatever structures and units are there. Any consecutive units are swiftly (or perhaps by even using waypoints) sent to the enemy base to help the first attack wave. The player will continue doing this while expanding his own base at a slow rate. Although the player expands his base slow (slow relative to the rate it would be expanding without either player rushing) his base will most certainly expand faster than the player rushed even if his attacks are only somewhat successful. The player will simply keep this up until the enemy is destroyed.

Distributed Base Layout[edit | edit source]

One way to organize the structure of the base is to have all buildings scattered across the map with no central core of it all. The most obvious advantage is the player can very easily expand and control large parts of the map and has no huge attractive spots to attack like the Porcupine base will have - the player can scatter valuable structures like Fusion Reactors around the map and have heavy defences for each. The disadvante being that mid-game and beyond the player will be mostly unable to effectively defend every structure scattered across the map, offering the enemy easy targets to destroy.

The Porcupine Strategy[edit | edit source]

This is another way to structure and organize your base. The basic idea is to build it small and with extreme protection - keeping all your most valuable structures in the middle of the protection, e.g. your fusion reactors, moho metal makers, targeting facility and missile protection system(s). The protection being large numbers of fixed weapons organized in several circles around the base and in some cases several layers of walls. Such a base is difficult and in some cases almost impossible to destroy with conventional tactics. Sending waves upon waves of normal units against it will be slaughtered by large numbers of weapons such as the Vulcan or Big Bertha even before they are in range to return fire, the few units that might make it all the way will be swiftly dealt with by other fixed weapons which can easily be built in extreme numbers. The same problem will arise if the enemy attempts a normal air-strike - anti-air weapons can also be constructed in vast numbers and the Flakker is especially dangerous to large swarms of aircraft. The Porcupine base will not last in the long run if used on a smaller maps where long range plasma weapons can hit any target on the map. If both players adapt this strategy on larger maps where long range plasma weapons is not a direct threat the game can seem to be never-ending for both players as neither is able to really harm the other.

Dealing with the Porcupine Base[edit | edit source]

Despite the porcupine base seeming difficult to harm on first sight there are several ways to deal with this strategy.

Long range weapons: The first thing the opposing player should do is gain dominance in terms of mobile units, once the opposing player controls the map he can travel across the map with construction units and start building long range weapons within range of the enemy but remove the enemy's ability to retalite with radar jammers. One or more Big Bertha (together with advanced radars) set at "fire at will" (utilizing the "Targeting Facility") can do a lot of damage if not completely destroy the Porcupine base. The Porcupine base will most definitely have long range weapons to return fire and the player needs to assume he will sooner or later be spotted (by scouts) even though radar jamming is being used. Thus the distance of the Porcupine's defences should be measured and the opposing player's artillery should be built outside the range of the Porcupine bases' defences. The downside is of course not being able to strike at any point in the enemy base, but a lot of damage will surely take place in any event if the attacking artillery is not destroyed. The long range weapons of the player should have a high wall around them as this will stop most types of units from being able to effectively strike at them without being an obstacle for the player's own artillery to hit targets far away. A high wall will also allow a direct hit (and in some cases several) to be taken from the enemy artillery's return-fire without destroying the player's artillery.

Defeating the anti-missile system: This tactic is to simply destroy the anti missile system(s) at all costs and then launch several nukes at the Porcupine base, as the Porcupine base is so tightly constructed it will usually be completely destroyed by such an attack. The anti-missile system can also be "beaten" by carefully timing when to fire the next missile, there is a small window which will allow a missile to slip past the defence system.

Cloaked units: A group of cloaked units can (if possible) sneak into the enemy base and attack the most valuable structures which are usually tightly grouped in a Porcupine base, as the cloaked units of the player disable the cloak-feature and engage this will make all hostile base defences instantly retaliate and quickly make them succumb. However some of the shells from the base's defences will almost certainly strike the buildings the cloakable units are standing next to - most likely destroying them in the process, this is especially true if they survive long enough for super-weapons such as a group of Vulcans to suppress fire.

Commander Bomb: The idea here is to make a hole in the Porcupine base which your forces can advance through, this can be done by cloaking your Commander, walking all the way across the map to the enemy base and continue all the way until the Commander is as close as possible to the outer defense perimeter (and if possible sneak even deeper if there are no walls or if there are openings), once close enough or actually inside the Commander will start attacking with the D-gun and be sacrificed, once the commander explodes its powerful explosion will really harm the Porcupine base. The player thus sends in his several waiting attack forces the instant (or perhaps even before) the Commander explodes. Obviously, this doesn't work in games set to end when the commander is destroyed.

Dealing with Artillery[edit | edit source]

The most simple way of dealing with long range weapons attacking is to return fire with the players own long range weapons. If the source of the attack is unknown - i.e. radar jamming is utilized the player needs to scout for the source of the attack, this is easily done by tracing the bullet as it files across the screen to see which direction is comes from and then sending a wave of scout aircraft in that direction. After sending the scouts off the player selects his artillery and follows the planes as they travel, once they obtain visual contact with the enemy artillery the player orders his own weapons to return fire by selecting the opposing artillery. Once selected the player's defences will continue to fire at the target even if not visible nor on radar. If the player has no artillery to return fire, cannot return fire due to lack of power, cannot target the source of the attack or cannot strike at the target because it is out of range:

1. Destroy the artillery with ground or sea forces. Artillery built outside the enemy base is an easy target for cloaked units (e.g. the "Shooter"). In the event no cloaked units are available conventional attack units and tactics should be utilized.

2. Use an airstrike to destroy the artillery. However if the player does not have air dominance the opposing player will have his air force patroling over (or close by) the area where the long range weapon(s) are located.

3. As an end-game tactic the player can destroy the opponent's energy sources. Artillery cannons need two thousand units of energy to fire each shot and will thus be unable to operate with little or no power. Mobilizing such an attack is however time consuming and should thus only be used as a tactic if a large battle is already talking place around or within the enemy base.

Tips[edit | edit source]

Codes[edit | edit source]

These are useful codes that are not considered cheats. Type these strings in the chat text-field for the desired effect:

  • "+shootall" will make units automatically attack any enemy structures, normally units will only attack dangerous structures and units even if set at "fire at will", note that using this code can sometimes (or perhaps often) be a disadvantage as sometimes it is desired to focus on units that are a direct threat instead of structures that can do no direct damage to the player's forces.
  • "+bps" will display transfer rates.
  • "+noshake" will make the screen not shake when large explosions occur.
  • "+showranges" will make the selected unit's various ranges (such as visual contact, weapon ranges, etc) show on the mini-map. This clutters the screen if multiple units are selected, so it's best toggled on and off as needed.

Using D-gun[edit | edit source]

The commander has a very powerful weapon called the disintegrator gun, or "d-gun". This weapon will destroy almost everything with a single hit and can be heavily used early in the game during rush or in end-game (more on this in the Strategy section).

Using the "capture" feature[edit | edit source]

If your enemy is the opposite of you (e.g. you are playing ARM while the enemy is CORE) then a transport airplane can be used to capture a lone enemy construction unit, bring it to a location where all your units are set to hold fire and then use the Commander to capture the construction unit, i.e. giving you control over it and thus making you able to build units from both sides. The capture feature can also be used to capture other structures and units, such as capturing the CORE Krogoth. If you spot a Krogoth send a group of spider tanks to paralyze it. Once it's paralyzed you can capture it with your Commander.

Tactics considered cheating[edit | edit source]

These tricks are not fair playing and are considered by many to be cheats and/or bugs.

Commander Capture[edit | edit source]

After game start, use all resources to build a transport airplane as fast as possible, fly over to the enemy base and pick up the enemy Commander. After this is done the player can simply hover with the airplane until it gets shot down, which will destroy the enemy Commander.

Commander Drop[edit | edit source]

Early in the game the player will construct a transport airplane, pick up the player's own Commander, fly the Commander to the enemy base (drop the Commander off close by and walk the rest to avoid air defences, if any), walk up to the enemy Commander and attack by D-gun. This will destroy both Commanders but will also destroy most of (if not the entire) base of the enemy without hurting the player's base at all. Both player's energy and metal storage abilities will drop to near nothing, but this can be restored and the player will of course have a great advantage due to the extreme damage caused in the enemy base. Followed by a rush this can easily win the game in an unfair way.

"Stealing" energy[edit | edit source]

After mid-game, building a lot of moho metal makers and turning them off one by one after construction is completed. Once the player has a large amount of metal makers he can turn them on and give them to the enemy - making the enemy's energy resources drop quickly to naught. And of course at the same moment the opposing player's large attack forces sweeps through the enemy base.

Mistakes commonly made by players new to TA[edit | edit source]

Grouping units and structures[edit | edit source]

Forgetting to make a group for each type of units. E.g. one group for aircraft, one for ground units, one for moho metal makers, one for artillery, etc.

Unaware of shortcut-keys[edit | edit source]

New players are often not familiar with the most basic shortcut keys, there is a list of the keys in the in-game help, most of these should be learned by heart and utilized whenever needed.

Not utilizing resources[edit | edit source]

The player should at all times maximize the available resources. E.g. when building a structure the player should have all other available construction units help building (unless energy/metal is a shortage at the time, of course). The fact that this is even possible to do is often forgotten by new players. Having a lot of construction units in general is also something new players regularly do not do.

Wasting resources[edit | edit source]

In TA there is a maximum amount of energy and metal that can be stored. If you are gaining net metal or energy, and the storage for that resource is full, then the resources you should be getting are simply lost. To avoid wasting resources like this you should spend resources in such a way that your resource storage is never full, or increase your resource storage by building metal and energy storage buildings. If you are about to fill your energy storage you could turn on more metal makers to convert that energy into metal. If you are about to run out of energy, or fill your metal storage, you can turn metal makers off. If you are about to fill both metal and energy storage then you need to build more units and buildings.

Not grouping an attack force[edit | edit source]

When attacking the enemy, make sure that your forces don't arrive all spread out and so get picked off one by one. Instead, send them all to one spot close to the enemy but out of enemy range, and then send them in. Alternatively, you can have your army guard its slowest unit, then send that one unit on its way. This keeps the group moving together. For more see the Tactics section in the top.

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Remember that hovercraft can travel over acid and lava, thus being able to attack from very unexpected directions on maps where this is present. Remember to turn off metal makers (these should be assigned a group for easy access) when under heavy attack to allow long range plasma weapons to be able to suppress fire continuously and at a high rate, especially important for weapons such as the Vulcan.

Strategy Links[edit | edit source]