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Tip of the Week #105 - The Armory

By IKMS - 26th February 2011 - 08:36 AM

This Tip of the Week is about one of the most under-rated and under-used buildings in Kane's Wrath: The Armory. This GDI structure is barely ever seen in high-level play, but if used properly it can easily turn the tide of battle.

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The Armory. Unfortunately cannot be built by Steel Talons.

Cost: 1000
Build Time: 10 sec
Prerequisites: Barracks
Power Usage: 7

The Armory is a small building that allows the healing of wounded infantry and the replacement of killed squad members. It also provides three researchable upgrades, the "Airborne" support power, and it enables the training of Sniper Teams and the feared GDI Commando. The Armory is only available to vanilla GDI and ZOCOM, since due to their preference of mechanical units the Steel Talons do not have access to the Armory, to its upgrades, the support power or to advanced infantry.

Healing Units


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Before and after. Crippled Rifleman on the left, rejuvenated Rifleman Squad on the right.

Cost: Free
Time: 5 sec

Healing and rearming infantry is the greatest function of the Armory. Simply select an infantry unit and order it into an Armory, and they will re-emerge five seconds later, ready to fight again. (You can also order the hospitalised infantry to leave before the time is up the team will be restored to full size, not to full health.) This is the only way of ever recovering fallen infantry units. Infantry squads leave the Armory fully restored to their original squad size and at full health. How helpful could this possibly be?

Of course, healing two members of a Missile Squad from half health to full won't bring you victory, but healing expensive infantry such as Zone Troopers is not far short of genius. Not only are Zone Troopers the most expensive infantry unit at a hefty 1300 credits (with the exception of the Commando), but they have an incredible amount of health. Healing a Zone Trooper squad from depleted health to full is almost like being given 1300 credits for free.

The Armory can also heal your Commando! At 2000 credits, you don't want to lose him, so throw him into an Armory! Sniper Teams are also expensive and fire slowly, so replenishing them from one to two can hardly be a bad idea. On top of that, if the Sniper gets killed, the panicked calls of the Spotter alone should be enough to make you want to restore the team!

The five seconds required for the restoration is faster than training most new infantry squads from scratch only Rifleman and Missile Squads are quicker to train than to heal, and healing a Commando is four times faster than training a new one!

But the most important aspect of healing infantry in an Armory is the preservation of veterancy. Many a player have made the mistake of sending wounded veteran infantry unit into battle, only to see it get slaughtered, when they could have dropped them into an Armory instead. Zone Troopers are valuable, but once ranked up are more valuable than money can buy. Heroic infantry heals automatically in the field, but this only applies to each squad member individually. A single heroic Zone Trooper is still just a single guy, but if you send him into an Armory, you'll get four heroic Zone Troopers!

In short, if you have any promoted infantry units around, especially elite or heroic ones, you should always consider whether dropping them in an Armory is feasible. After all, you could either send your heavily wounded elite infantry to their sure death in a head-on assault, or you could restore them to full health so they can fight on to become heroic.

Upgrades


Most people only consider the Armory as the place where you research one or two situational upgrades. This is of course not entirely wrong, so let's have a look at those upgrades.

Composite Armor (vGDI only)


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Cost: 1500
Time: 45 sec

Composite Armor is an essential upgrade if you are creating mass amounts of infantry. The upgrade boosts the armor of Riflemen, Missile Squads and Grenadiers, essentially halving the damage those units take from all non-sniper weapons. Composite armor is Cannon/Rocket: 12%, Grenade: 40% and Gun: 50%. Upgraded infantry has a chance to live a lot longer, thus afflicting more damage to the enemy and having a higher chance of promotion.

Tiberium Field Suits (ZOCOM only)


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Cost: 1000
Time: 30 sec

ZOCOM's improved version of the infantry armor upgrade has the same effect as the standard Composite Armor, but in addition it makes basic ZOCOM infantry (again, Riflemen, Missile Squads and Grenadiers) immune to Tiberium exposure and reduces damage from Tiberium Hives. With this upgrade, you no longer need to maneuver around Tiberium fields, giving you additional mobility on the battlefield.

EMP Grenades


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Cost: 1000
Time: 30 sec

EMP Grenades are essential if you are creating Grenadiers. Even if you are not habitually using Grenadiers, once you go up against mass vehicles it is recommended that you create some Grenadiers and research EMP Grenades. Vehicles become totally helpless scrap metal once disabled with EMP Grenades, allowing you to destroy them within seconds and not lose any of your own. This ability is popularly used against epic units, as disabling a unit as powerful as an epic is always a good idea.

Power Packs


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Cost: 1000
Time: 30 sec
Upgrades Zone Troopers/Raiders with Power Packs: Increases Zone Trooper/Raider hit points. and heals the squad while idle.

An excellent upgrade if used at the right time. If you have lots of Zone Troopers or Raiders, this upgrade is very useful, but if you have only a few then this upgrade is a complete waste of both resources and time. When researched, Zone Troopers/Raiders gain a reasonable hit point increase and also heal when not moving. A great use of this is to run your troopers into your opponent's base and destroy a decent amount of units or buildings, then jump jet back out and heal.

Support Powers


GDI/ZOCOM Airborne


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Cost: 1500
Recharge Time: 120 sec

This support power calls in four V35 Ox transports that drop two veteran Rifleman and two veteran Missile Squads. Unfortunately, this power is virtually useless, generally speaking. The four squads will hardly turn the tide of any battle, and since there are no known rushes that involve a quick Armory build, it is impractical to use this power in general. However, when supplementing an already existing infantry force, it can be somewhat useful because of the quick movement speed of the Ox transports. Note also that this air drop is available without the need for an Airfield.

Additional Infantry


We already mentioned that the Armory is a prerequisite for Sniper Teams and the Commando, and for such expensive units you should consider keeping an Armory around for restoration and healing in any case. Let's take a closer look at these units.

Sniper Team


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Cost: 1000
Build time: 10 sec
Prerequisites: Barracks, Armory

The stealthed Sniper Team contains one sniper and one spotter (though both equally armed and able). Sniper Teams are very effective against infantry, but virtually useless against everything else (perhaps with the exception of destroying walker husks). They cannot attack airborne units, but they are stealthed unless they are firing, and they detect stealth in a small range. Sniper Teams can also spot for bombardment by vGDI Juggernauts (see our Tip on Juggernauts), and they remain stealthed while spotting. Sneaking a Sniper Team or two into an enemy base while a handful of your Juggernauts are waiting safely in the back of your base is a great way of wreaking havoc on the enemy without them knowing what's going on. Sniper Teams can also spot while in an APC, a V35 Ox transport, a Hammerhead or in a garrisoned structure (but not while in an APC that's carried by an Ox!), offering you further options for stemming the enemy or spotting for bombardment.

Warning. Sniper Teams that were called in with the "Sharpshooter Team" support power cannot spot for Juggernauts while transported in an Ox, an APC or a Hammerhead! They can only spot when roaming free in the field.

Commando


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Cost: 2000
Build time: 20 sec
Prerequisites: Barracks, Armory, Technology Center

The Commando is the most expensive infantry unit, and only one may be fielded at a time. His jump jets allow him to move across the map very quickly and give him the ability to traverse obstacles like cliffs, where most other ground units cannot follow. The Commando is extremely effective against infantry (with his rapid-fire rail carbine rifle) and against structures and walkers (with his C4 explosive charges), but essentially useless against anything else. The Commando cannot attack airborne units, but a combination of jump jets and C4 brings destruction wherever the he ventures.

Recognizing Upgrades to the Armory


Recognizing upgrades does not only help you remember the upgrades you chose at a glance, but when up against a GDI Faction you can identify what upgrades they have researched, allowing you to be prepared.

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Armory upgrades and where to find them.

If you are interested in recognising upgrades in general, we have a whole dedicated Tip of the Week on recognising and identifying upgrades.

Discuss this tip.