HACKING - All Discussion - Strategy Tips and Q&As (Possible Spoilers)
What are some tips and tricks for successful hacking? Here's what I've come up with so far:
-There are a TON of hackable devices in Detroit accessible via Capture 2. Well worth 1 Praxis point even for playstyles that don't plan on hacking-based routes through areas.
-In Detroit try to get by without the Stealth or Fortify hacking augmentations for as long as you can, to teach yourself to play the minigame well. Most level 2 devices can be defeated without any augmentations -- I even hacked a couple level 3's before I hit a wall and got one level of Fortify.
-Analyze only starts becoming worth considering when you can't capture bonus datastores without using hacking consumables -- which certainly isn't true early on. Then you have to decide when the consumable savings / datastore rewards become worth a praxis point.
-Apparently there is a misconception that the Fortify augmentation only lowers the chance of detection when you Fortify a node -- which wouldn't be worth the price of admission. Hacking:Fortify also increases the strength of your Fortify by 1 per level. You start with a base of 1 in Fortify which raises the rating of a node you control by 1. The time you cost the security process by doing a level-1 Fortify is barely more than the time it costs you to execute it. However level-2 Fortifies feel very heavy-hitting by comparison.
-Always zoom out a click or two (mouse wheel works if you have it). Less screen space between nodes = faster actions.
-Take time to study the scenario. Note the location of bonus datastores (cubes). Note that the security process's route may be very different than yours due to one-way connections. There may be a node you need to Capture/Fortify to slow the opposition that isn't otherwise needed to reach your goal. Plan ahead calmly while you're off the clock.
-In some scenarios it's possible to Capture the Security node (red stack). This results in a successful hack AND auto-Captures all datastores. (Need to verify!)
-There are essentially two options for your first move: Capture just one node and hope for no detection, or kick off a Capture of multiple available nodes as well as a Fortify of your I/O port all at once, near-guaranteeing a start to the countdown. Bearing in mind that you have several attempts, it may be worth it to try for a detectionless first move. If that succeeds and you can then kick off five[*] additional Captures+Fortifies in parallel pre-countdown, that may be enough of an edge to beat a finely-balanced scenario.
-Pre-detection, the only action you should be taking is Capture. Don't just Capture everything, only get nodes that are important to your goals, which are: Capture the directory/directories (green sphere) OR Capture the Security Server(s) (red stack), Capture nodes that the security process will need to traverse to reach you (if you plan to Fortify them), Capture optional data stores (cubes). In some scenarios Capturing a special gear-node may be important.
-Detection only has a chance to occur at the conclusion of an action. So if you have kicked off several Captures and it is highly likely that one or more of them will be detected, it is good to start kicking off Fortifies if that is part of your strategy.
-Post-detection, if you don't have enough time on the clock to complete your Capture goals, you will need to change the game somehow -- either by using Stop/Nuke consumables, or by Fortifying nodes the security process must capture (preferably before it gets to them).
-You can Fortify your I/O port too, but put it off as long as you safely can (unless there's a moment when you have nothing else to do). Taking time to Fortify your I/O port while leaving a critical-path Capturable node untouched can be a losing move.
-You cannot start a Fortify on a node once the security process has begun Capturing it, though your existing Fortify process can still complete. This is why it is sometimes important to have Fortifies already in progress when you get detected.
-The countdown is not absolute, it is an exact forecast of when the security process will kick you out based on current scenario conditions. If conditions change the countdown will update. eg: you complete a Fortify on one of the nodes it hasn't Captured yet, or a gear-node raises or lowers the rating of nodes on its remaining path. This is why in some scenarios you can be kicked out when there were many seconds left on the timer -- a "Transfer" node near your I/O port lowered its rating.
-If a "Stop" virus is needed to complete a scenario, it is most effectively used right at the beginning of the countdown so that you can Capture and Fortify more nodes before the security process reaches them. (The opposition uses Fortify against you!)
-Automatic Unlocking Device is useful even for well-augmented hackers, in situations where you are only briefly unobserved at the target machine. Note that AUD does work on computer consoles.
-When you get locked out, don't stare at the screen for 30 seconds, go get a drink of water or do some pushups or something. :-)
-Augmented Hacking: there appear to be two general strategies, Fortify-based and Stealth-based. A Fortify-heavy strategy hopes for at best a single detectionless capture before going into the race against time, but uses heavy-hitting Fortifies along the opposition's path (after being detected) to ensure enough time to complete the goal. A Stealth-heavy approach tries to get most of the hack done before the opposition even starts. Different scenarios are more susceptible to different strategies. If the opposition is forced to traverse some moderately high-rated nodes to reach you and you can fortify them all before it starts on them, you will have plenty of time to get stuff done. If the opposition has a comparatively short, low-rated, or multibranched path to reach you, then a Stealth-based approach has an advantage. In the later stages of the game both Fortify and Stealth augs will probably be needed to succeed.
My impression so far is that a Capture+Fortify strategy will beat more scenarios (or use less consumables) than a pure Capturespam strategy, *regardless* of one's augmentations. Capture+Fortify starts out just doing Captures, but once the currently-running Captures are likely enough to be detected on their own, it starts doing Fortifies on the nodes that the opposition will reach soonest.
Even a player with all three Stealth augments (-45% detection) will soon find themselves trying to capture three 90%-45% = 45% detection nodes at once early in a scenario. That set of actions would collectively have only a .55x.55x.55=.17=17% chance of going undetected -- so they can probably benefit from running some key Fortifies at the same time rather than just waiting for the Captures to finish.
-how do i queue multiple nodes to capture at the same time?
When you start a capture on a node, a progress bar fills up over time on that node until it is catpured. You do not have to stare at this bar until it is complete before doing something else. In the time that it takes a level-2 node to capture you can kick off 4 other captures/fortifies.
-How is it possible to kick off 5 actions as your second move? (See[*] above.)
Consider a scenario in which your I/O port can see two nodes, and each of those nodes can see two more. As a first move you capture a node, wait for it to finish, and are not detected. You now own two fortifiable nodes and have access to three capturable nodes. If the ratings are all 2 or higher you can get all three Captures and two Fortifies going in the time that it takes the first of those five actions to complete.
-Why does the "remaining attempts" counter stay stuck at 4?
The "remaining attempts" counter is the number of times you can start a hack and then Disconnect before the device goes into a 30-second lockdown. If you are booted out by the security process the device goes into 30-second lockdown and "remaining attempts" is reset. A locked-down device will set off an alarm if available, so hitting Disconnect on a failing hack can be critically important.
-What do the different special nodes (gear) do?
Spam: lowers the rating of the security process by 1. This is the number that appears on the opposition's start node (red stack). A lower-rated security process takes longer to do Captures. Thus the more Captures the security process still needs to do, the more effective this is. [Need to know: does Spam hurt you if the security process Captures it first? After one player Captures it, does it still provide its benefit when the other one Captures it?]
Transfer: Applies +2 rating to one neighboring node and -2 rating to another. The nodes chosen are random each time -- ie if you re-run the scenario, it may choose different nodes. [Need to know: After one player Captures it, does it repeat the Transfer effect when the other one Captures it? Or undo it?]
Clearance: Applies -2 rating to all datastores. This can be bad for you if the security process needs to Capture a datastore on its way to your I/O port. [Need to know: only for the player who Captures it or both? What happens when it's Captured by the second player? Does it also lower the rating on nodes you have already Captured?]
Soften: Applies -1 rating to all neighboring nodes. [Need to know: only for the player who Captures it or for both? What happens when it's Captured by the second player?]
-Say a 1-rating node requires 3 seconds for the security process to Capture, while a 2 requires 6 seconds to Capture (made-up numbers here). 2 seconds into the security process Capturing a 1 node, your Fortify finishes making it a 2. Does the opposition keep its 2/3 progress, requiring only 2 more seconds to complete? (1/3 of 6) Or does the requirement change to 6 full seconds to Capture the node, so an additional 4 will need to be spent after the 2 spent so far?
Last edited by mattlistener; 08-31-2011 at 10:23 AM.
|capture, fortify, hacking|