Kharaa

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Alien Concept Art
 


Introduction

The Kharaa and the subspecies that make up its hostile presence on various human installations are the product of a previously unknown Bacteria-like growth that rapidly evolves and directly sets in motion the events that lead up to the hostile encounters with humans, and was accordingly termed by TSF scientists as Bacterium. The Bacterium is the basic building block of the Kharaa, and is responsible for the evolution and aggressive behavior of the Kharaa lifeforms. The creatures and structures that the Kharaa have at their disposal were previously not associated with the Bacterium whatsoever, but were separate species that were infested and incorporated into the Kharaa gene pool (including structures such as the Harvester). Once assimilated, these species would be regularly reproduced, albeit re-purposed to better suit their role in the Kharaa, such as carapace and the razor sharp blades that Skulks and Fades evolved.

The terminology for the aliens is still being developed. At the moment, we refer to the aliens, and their whole system of bacteria, lifeforms and growths, as the "Kharaa"; and the pre hive-stage presence as the "bacterium". The first TSF encounter with the aliens occurred aboard the Mongol's Sanjii mining facility. The tattered voice comm logs they extracted from the command network had one word that stood out, used again and again – "Kharaa!" "Kharaa!" Later, it was understood that this means "Watch out!" in Mongolian. By then, it had stuck.

The Kharaa began appearing on ships and bases throughout the Ariadne Arm a decade ago, slaughtering everyone on board. In almost every case the ship then wandered off course, and either destroyed itself by slipping into some gravity well (usually a planet or sun), or was tracked down and destroyed by the owners of the craft. Life support on bases and ships usually fails soon after the Kharaa take over, so even without military response, they don't last very long. However it is still unknown how their appearances on numerous ships and installations can be prevented, and until more conclusive information can be gathered by scientists, humans may never know how or why the Bacterium is capable of setting forth such a destructive onslaught without any early indication or warning.

Initially, the Bacterium only reproduces, slowly forming a mat, visible to the naked eye. All of these bacteria are in contact with one another, sharing data on their environment, and triggering responses to stimuli (like energy sources, or danger). They form a network that links all Kharaa lifeforms and structures, and is responsible for the phenomenon of Hive Sight. It isn't until the presence of larger lifeforms that the next stage of alien growth, the Hive, begins. The hive contains all the information and abilities necessary to set off a cascade of events that rapidly leads to full scale conflict. Like all the other Kharaa structures, TSF scientists speculate that hives are actually creatures that have been evolved into this form over an incredibly long time, and have observed that Kharaa structures in general tend to resemble aquatic forms of life, contrary to the Kharaa lifeforms that clearly originated from mammals and other similar creatures.

The bacterium seems capable of tapping a wide variety of energy sources. Heat and water are diverse enough, but it also finds the rich sludge used for nano-construction highly desirable. Fortunately the same safe guards that prevent marines from automatically accessing these stores thwart the Kharaa too. Unfortunately, the aliens seem quite prepared for this sort of obstacle, building Harvesters atop resource nodes, that draw the sludge up and digest it. These chambers appear to have once been a species, much like the hive. What these resource chambers could have been used for before the Kharaa encountered us is a perplexing mystery. But they convert the sludge into a usable form, just as our resource towers do. As a result, marines and Kharaa end up fighting for the same resources. Defending these resources is vital to the Kharaa, second only to protecting their hives.

To destroy the human presence, the bacterium employs lifeforms of its own. These are the creatures that slaughter the crew of the ship or base, and the same creatures that are waiting for the Frontiersmen when they arrive to take the ship or base back. Kharaa species have natural weaponry and cunning that make them a match for the best equipped and most highly trained forces the TSF can deploy. Hives continue to spawn lifeforms over the course of a conflict, replacing lost aliens. Destroying all hives is the only way to cease the everlasting onslaught.


Lifeforms

The Kharaa life cycle begins with the Egg, which is commonly found in large clusters around a Hive. The basic form of the Kharaa, the Skulk, hatches from an egg by biting through the membrane. It has been observed that when the threat to Kharaa territory becomes formidable, the aliens respond by evolving into different and stronger lifeforms as the situation demands. These lifeforms are classified as the Gorge, Lerk, Fade, and Onos, each with their own unique abilities and roles to fulfill.

Kharaa lifeforms are capable of communication through Hive Sight, an instinctive visual mechanism that allows them to identify friend from foe. The Kharaa also possess enhanced senses, more notably Alien Vision which grant perfect visibility in darkness.


Kharaa Lifeforms
Lifeform Abilities Description
Slot Alternate Movement

Skulk idle.gif

Skulk

Bite slot.gif

Bite
Leap slot.gif

Leap
Sneak slot.gif

Sneak
Basic lifeform that climbs walls to disorient and ambush prey.
Parasite slot.gif

Parasite
Xenocide slot.gif

Xenocide

Gorge idle.gif

Gorge

Spit slot.gif

Spit
Heal spray slot.gif

Heal Spray
Belly slide slot.gif

Belly Slide
Support lifeform that acts as healer, builder, and demolisher.
Gorge build menu slot.gif

Build Menu
Bile bomb slot.gif

Bile Bomb
Babbler bait slot.gif

Babbler Bait

Lerk idle.gif

Lerk

Bite slot.gif

Poison Bite
Spikes slot.gif

Spikes
Roost slot.gif

Roost
Flying lifeform that excels at dealing damage over time.
Umbra slot.gif

Umbra
Spores slot.gif

Spores

Fade idle.gif

Fade

Swipe slot.gif

Swipe
Blink slot.gif

Blink
Elusive lifeform that specializes in assassination and escape.
Metabolize

Metabolize
Stab slot.gif

Stab

Onos idle.gif

Onos

Gore slot.gif

Gore
Stomp slot.gif

Stomp
Charge slot.gif

Charge
Gigantic lifeform that absorbs damage and demolishes structures.
Bone shield slot.gif

Bone Shield


Evolutions

Main article: Evolve Menu.

Evolutions (or Traits) are purchased upgrades that passively enhance Kharaa lifeforms' defensive, deceptive, or reactive capabilities. The Hive can evolve into different types to unlock evolution structures: Crag Hive (Shell), Shade Hive (Veil), and Shift Hive (Spur). Traits are accessed in the Evolve Menu, and will cost Personal Resources depending on different lifeforms. Only one of two traits from the same evolution structure can be evolved by players, but they may switch traits any time with enough Personal Resources.

If all evolution structures are destroyed, the pair of unlocked traits will lose all effects and become inaccessible to players. However, players that already evolved a trait will retain their purchase and regain the trait's effects when the associated evolution structure is rebuilt.


Evolutions
Prerequisite Trait Description Additional Information

Shell.png

Shell

Carapace.gif

Carapace
Increases total Armor pool depending on lifeform.
  • Armor bonus increases with number of existing Shells (maximum 3 levels).

Regeneration.gif

Regeneration
Increases passive Health/Armor regen by 6% of max health/armor per 2 seconds (80HP Max.)
  • Regen bonus increases with number of existing Shells (maximum 3 levels).

Veil.png

Veil

Aura.gif

Aura
Reveals nearby Marines and Exosuits' presence and indicates their health by colored icon.
  • Reveal range increases with number of existing Veils (maximum 3 levels).

Phantom.gif

Phantom
Renders lifeform invisible when still or slowly moving and silences its sounds.
  • Audible sounds reduce with number of existing Veils (maximum 3 levels).

Spur.png

Spur

Adrenaline.gif

Adrenaline
Increases total energy pool and recharge rate by 10%.
  • Energy pool and recharge rate bonuses increase with number of existing Spurs (maximum 3 levels).

Celerity.gif

Celerity
Increases move speed by 0.5 meters per second.
  • Move speed bonus increases with number of existing Spurs (maximum 3 levels).


Commander

Main article: Alien Commander.
See also: Resource Model.

The Alien Commander is a hive mind presence that governs over Kharaa territory and evolution. It aids in coordinating lifeforms, spreading the Kharaa Infestation, and growing various organic structures. Any lifeform can enter an unoccupied Hive to act as Alien Commander, which changes the player's perspective from first-person to an overview of the map. Only one Commander can be active at a time, and he may exit the occupied Hive to become his previous lifeform.

The Commander has a user-interface that includes a Mini-map, commander menu, and resource counter, allowing him to build structures and perform upgrades for the Kharaa. He can also assist his lifeforms using various abilities at his disposal; commander abilities cost Team Resources and are mostly found in the Assist tab, with some requiring the presence of specific units and structures to trigger.


Alien Commander Abilities
Assist Tab Drifter
Heal wave icon.gif Ink icon.gif Echo icon.gif Enzyme cloud icon.gif Hallucination cloud icon.gif Mucous membrane icon.gif
Heal Wave Ink Echo Enzyme Cloud Hallucination Cloud Mucous Membrane
Nutrient mist icon.gif Rupture icon.gif Bone wall icon.gif Contamination icon.gif
Nutrient Mist Rupture Bone Wall Contamination
  • Heal Wave, Ink, and Echo require a nearby Crag, Shade, or Shift to activate.
    • Requires Crag/Shade/Shift Hive types to unlock.
  • Nutrient Mist, Rupture, and Bone Wall can be used anywhere on Infestation.
    • Requires Biomass levels 1 to 3 to unlock.
  • Contamination can be placed anywhere on the map.
    • Requires Biomass level 9 (see below).
  • Enzyme Cloud, Hallucination Cloud, and Mucous Membrane require Shift/Shade/Crag Hive types to unlock.


Biomass

Main article: Biomass.

Biomass is a tech progression system that serves two functions: increase all lifeforms' maximum Health pool and enable unlocked lifeform abilities after research from the Hive. Each Hive can contain up to 3 Biomass levels; 1 level for being an active Hive and 2 additional levels can be upgraded by the Alien Commander.

The Biomass progression bar contains slots that will light up to show the current Biomass level, and shows the corresponding ability underneath each slot. It is always visible to the Alien Commander, but is only visible to players when they access the Mini-map, Evolve Menu or check the Research menu (default "j"). If a Hive is attacked, its section of Biomass levels will pulsate red to alert all Kharaa players.

If a Hive is destroyed, the additional health provided to all lifeforms and abilities enabled by its Biomass levels will be lost. Lifeforms existing before the Hive is destroyed will retain their unlocked abilities, but new lifeforms will not possess them; maximum health pool will decrease according to the current Biomass level. When Biomass levels are regained by building and upgrading a new Hive, maximum health pool will increase again and researched abilities for new lifeforms will be unlocked.


Biomass Levels & Unlocked Abilities
Lv. 1 to 3 Lv. 4 to 6 Lv. 7 to 9
Biomass bar.jpg
Babbler egg icon.gif Shadow step icon.gif Bile bomb icon.gif Leap icon.gif Vortex icon.gif Spores icon.gif Xenocide icon.gif Stab icon.gif Stomp icon.gif
Babbler Egg Shadow Step Bile Bomb Leap Vortex Spores Xenocide Stab Stomp
Charge icon.gif Umbra icon.gif Bone shield icon.gif Webs icon.gif
Charge Umbra Bone Shield Web
Nutrient mist icon.gif Rupture icon.gif Bone wall icon.gif Contamination icon.gif
Nutrient Mist Rupture Bone Wall Contamination
Gorge egg icon.gif Lerk egg icon.gif Shadow step icon.gif Onos egg icon.gif
Gorge Egg Lerk Egg Fade Egg Onos Egg
  • Maximum 12 Biomass levels (levels 10 to 12 do not unlock additional abilities)
  • Unlocks specific lifeform abilities once researched from Crag, Shade, Shift, Whip, and Hive.
  • Enables Alien Commander abilities and pre-evolved lifeform Eggs.
  • Increases maximum Health pool depending on lifeform.


Infestation

Main article: Infestation.

The Infestation is a green moss-like collective mass of billions of microscopic Bacterium. It grows outward from the Cyst, Hive, Gorge Tunnel, and Contamination structures, and is essential to Kharaa territory expansion. The Alien Commander can sprout any Kharaa structure directly from the Infestation itself.

Most Kharaa structures require Infestation to survive, except the source structures which produce the organic substance. Infestation is also sustained by the source structures, as otherwise the Infestation will dissolve rapidly into nothing with its source destroyed. Infestation possess corrosive properties that damage Frontiersmen structures' Armor, along with the sticky mass that slows down blueprint construction when in contact.


Maturation

Main article: Maturation.

All Kharaa structures will automatically undergo a growth process known as Maturation. A newly grown structure is low on Health and Armor, but as the structure ages, it will reach its strongest state. The Alien Commander can use Nutrient Mist to rapidly age structures even in their unbuilt state.


Units and Structures

Gorge Structures
Owner Structure Description Shared Attributes Additional Information
Gorge kharaa main.PNG

Gorge
Hydra spawn small.gif

Hydra
Small static turret that detects Marine presence and shoots spikes at Frontiersmen units and structures.
  • Can stick onto walls, ceilings, and Clogs.
  • Auto-builds at 70% build rate without Grow or Heal Spray.
  • Vulnerable to fire from Welder, Cluster Grenade, and Flamethrower.
  • Digestible by owner to remove from play.
  • Destroys oldest structure when new one is placed and limit is reached.
  • Grows when on Infestation, but requires Heal Spray when on uninfested ground.
  • Cannot attack when on fire.
  • Maximum 3 per player.
Clog idle small.gif

Clog
Organic blob that can act as blockade and absorbs all types of damage.
  • Instant build time.
  • Resistant against high burst damage such as Grenade explosions.
    • Takes damage from friendly fire.
    • Cannot be healed.
  • Maximum 10 per player.
    • Digestible by both owner and friendly players to remove from play.
Babbler egg grow small.gif

Babbler Egg
Babbler hatch small.gif

Babbler
Babbler Egg - Oval-shaped egg that grows and hatches into 3 Babblers.

Babbler - Small critters that follow their owner everywhere and attack any Frontiersmen units and structures on sight.
  • Can be placed on uninfested ground.
  • Auto-builds at 70% build rate without Grow or Heal Spray.
  • Can stick onto walls and ceilings.
  • Babblers are attracted to owner's Babbler Bait and will cling to friendly lifeforms to absorb damage.
    • Babblers are always visible to the owner through Hive Sight.
  • Requires Biomass level 1 and Upgrade Gorge from the Hive.
  • Maximum 3 per player (9 Babblers total).
    • Destroys oldest 3 Babblers when new Babbler Egg is created and limit is reached.
Tunnel entrance open small.gif

Gorge Tunnel
Large orifice that creates an underground organic tunnel, which connects to the owner's other existing entrance at anywhere on the map.
  • Grows when on Infestation, but requires Heal Spray when on uninfested ground.
    • Spreads Infestation around itself once grown.
  • Can only be built on flat ground with enough space above to exit.
  • Lifeforms, Marines, and Exosuits can enter the tunnel by standing on top of the entrance, then rapidly travel between each entrances' locations.
  • Acidic bile inside the tunnel corrodes Frontiersmen Armor.
  • Maximum 2 per player.
    • Digestible by owner to remove from play when 2 Gorge Tunnels exist.
    • Destroys oldest Gorge Tunnel when new one is created and limit is reached.
    • If both Gorge Tunnels are destroyed, the tunnel will collapse and kill all players inside it.
Webs small.gif

Web
Strand of webbing that slows Marines and Exosuits on contact.
  • Place at two points to create a strand of webbing.
    • Can stick onto walls and ceilings.
    • Can stretch several times its normal length.
  • Breaks when touched by Marine or Exosuit.
    • Slows down the target temporarily.
    • Prevents jumping and using Jetpack.
  • Can only be removed by Welder, Flamethrower, and grenade explosions.
  • Requires Biomass level 7 and Upgrade Gorge from the Hive.
  • Maximum 10 per player.
    • Cannot be digested.
    • Destroys oldest Web when new one is placed and limit is reached.


Basic Structures
Structure Description Additional Information
Cyst idle small.gif

Cyst
Small structure that grows Infestation around itself.
  • Can be placed on uninfested ground.
  • Creates a chain of Cysts in between by placing one Cyst at the final location.
    • Each extra Cyst costs Team Resources.
    • Must connect to active Hives and other Cysts to survive.
  • Grows only when its parent Cyst is grown.
Harvester deploy small.gif

Harvester
Harvests Team and Personal Resources for the Kharaa to build, upgrade, and evolve.

Cocoon grow small.gif

Cocoon

Drifter grow small.gif

Drifter
Cocoon - Grows and hatches into a Drifter.

Drifter - Worker unit that speeds up structure growth.
  • Costs Supply to build.
  • Grows only on Infestation.
  • Drifter speeds up build time for unbuilt Kharaa structures.
Hive spawn small.gif

Hive
Egg flinch small.gif

Egg
Hive - Kharaa command structure that houses the Alien Commander.

Egg - Spawn point for Kharaa players into the Skulk.
  • Grows only on an unoccupied Tech Point.
  • Auto-builds at 70% build rate without Grow or Heal Spray.
  • Heals nearby lifeforms, spreads Infestation over a large area, and spawns Eggs periodically.
    • Cannot heal when on fire.
  • Can spawn extra Eggs using Hatch ability.
    • Alien Commander can pre-evolve Eggs into different lifeforms for players to spawn from or use.
  • Unlocks 1 Biomass level by itself, and can upgrade 2 additional levels (maximum 3 levels per Hive).
  • Enables Upgrade Gorge to unlock Babbler Egg, Bile Bomb, and Web abilities based on Biomass level.
  • Evolves into 1 of 3 different Hive types to unlock Evolution structures.

Threat pheromone icon.gifHeal pheromone icon.gifExpand pheromone icon.gif

Pheromones
Waypoints that are only visible to all Kharaa players.
  • 3 different types: Threat, Need Healing Here, and Expanding Here.
  • Can be placed anywhere on the map.
  • Fades away over time.


Advanced Structures
Structure Description Shared Attributes Additional Information
Crag spawn small.gif

Crag
Semi-static defense that heals nearby Kharaa units and structures.
  • Grows only on Infestation.
  • Costs Supply to build.
  • Auto-builds at 70% build rate without Grow or Heal Spray.
  • Can slowly move but takes damage when away from Infestation.
  • Healing does not stack and maximum 3 targets per Crag.
    • Cannot heal or use Heal Wave when on fire.
  • Unlocks Heal Wave ability when a Crag Hive is complete.
    • Heal Wave increases the amount of healing from the Crag.
  • Enables Upgrade Onos to unlock Charge, Bone Shield, and Stomp abilities based on Biomass level.
Shade spawn small.gif

Shade
Semi-static defense that renders all nearby Kharaa units and structures invisible.
  • Cloaked units and structures are transparent but cause visible distortion.
    • Cannot cloak or use Ink when on fire.
  • Unlocks Ink ability when a Shade Hive is complete.
    • Ink shrouds the area around the Shade in a black cloud that obstructs sight and stops Scan detection.
  • Enables Upgrade Fade to unlock Shadow Step, Vortex, and Stab abilities based on Biomass level.
Shift spawn small.gif

Shift
Semi-static defense that recharges nearby lifeforms' energy.
  • Cannot energize or use Echo when on fire.
  • Unlocks Echo ability when a Shift Hive is complete.
    • Echo allows the Alien Commander to move structures near the Shift to anywhere on Infestation.
  • Enables Upgrade Lerk to unlock Umbra and Spores abilities based on Biomass level.
Whip spawn small.gif

Whip
Semi-static defense that whacks nearby Frontiersmen units and structures.
  • Can uproot from Infestation to relocate itself.
    • Does not take damage when away from Infestation.
    • Cannot attack while uprooted.
  • Cannot attack or use Bombard when on fire.
  • Matures over time to gain Bombard ability that throws an anti-robot, structure, and Armor bile sac over a long range.
  • Enables Upgrade Skulk to unlock Leap and Xenocide abilities based on Biomass level.
Shell spawn small.gif

Shell
Unlocks Carapace and Regeneration evolutions.
  • Grows only on Infestation.
  • Auto-builds at 70% build rate without Grow or Heal Spray.
  • Evolutions' power level increases with number of same structures (maximum 3 levels).
  • Requires Crag Hive to build.
Veil spawn small.gif

Veil
Unlocks Aura and Phantom evolutions.
  • Requires Shade Hive to build.
Spur spawn small.gif

Spur
Unlocks Adrenaline and Celerity evolutions.
  • Requires Shift Hive to build.