Evolve General Tips
Evolve Stage 2 General Tips by kazylax
Hello people, I welcome you to Evolve with open arms and I hope you’re here to stay, the game deserves it. This will be a long post, but I’ll try to organize the information as best as possible so it is readable throughout without any issues.
I’m one of the players who pre-ordered the game and played for a few hundreds of hours, I am not a pro nor have I ever been, but I consider myself to be a pretty reasonable player that knows most of the basic principles that you need to have in order to be successful at the game. Better players can chime in and give their opinions and view on the state of the game and make a better job than me explaining what you need to do, but I’ll do my best.
I learned most of it through watching competitive games and by watching streams of those who used to be the top players of the game at the time when the game was released and the months after that, and of course, by doing what I learned from those players in game. One of the people who streamed and I watched almost religiously was once considered the best monster player in the game, and you might have seen his name on the forums or here on reddit, it’s the Community Coordinating Balance Wizard of Turtle Rock Forums, Insane521. I also watched the stream of Maniac Squirrel, otherwise known as current Lead Designer for Evolve, and Guidance, that I’ve never heard of anymore, but was one of the best Goliaths in the game.
I’ve seen a lot of complaints about how overpowered monsters are, and I firmly believe it is way too early to make that assessment since the game has changed a lot with Stage 2, and the vast majority of the player base is new. I want to do my part when it comes to making people stay by sharing my knowledge about the game, so you can go and kick a lot of monsters’ ass. You don’t need a coordinated team of 4 hunters to beat an average monster, you only need it for top level monster play. You do, however, need to know the basics so you don’t commit mistakes the monster can easily capitalize on, and this is my attempt at helping you do so. Feedback will always be appreciated.
I’ll order things by topics so you can look for the parts you’re having most difficulty with. Let us start with things in chronological order shall we?
Tracking the monster when you initially spawn and during the general game time
So a lot of people have been saying that the trapper now feels underwhelming because it lost a lot of its importance in the game – I agree, to a certain extent – but that is basically because before the whole game was on their hands due to the dome’s mechanics. They could single handedly make or break your game, and if they were inexperienced, they would almost certainly break it. This does not mean they are useless, it means people need to adapt to the new playstyle. Good trappers of old will feel shafted with this change since it felt really good to outplay the monster, but it’s a change for the better and to at least give the game a chance of having a future. Even so, I’ve seen a lot of new players having trouble with tracking the monster, so here are my tips:
The hunting tools trappers have (Daisy, Sound Spikes, Abe’s Darts, etc) did not become useless because of the planet scanner, they are things to add on top of it, and I strongly advise you to use all of the tools you have, because contrary to popular belief, you can still sneak as the monster, just not as easily as before.
Look for the initial path of the monster, and move as a team towards it but a bit split up. Look for EVERYTHING, wildlife corpses and wildlife still living, broken trees, sounds wildlife makes, the sound of traversals from monsters, tracks, literally everything in this game gives you information. 4 pairs of eyes are much better used if they are looking towards different places, because 4 times more information can be gathered. Do NOT however, get too separated from the group. Make sure that at least one hunter is close enough to you in case you get jumped at by the monster. In the old Evolve, you would usually split in a 2+2 formation when you were getting closer to the monster so that you could corner it, but now that everyone can dome that 2+2 formation is not as required so long as you keep yourself close enough to your team.
Also, cornering it means you do not chase its tail in a pointless circle, but you assume a more central position in the map, and then move towards where you think the monster might be from 2 or 3 angles, but always coming from the center. If you are nearer to the center, the amount of terrain you have to cover is much smaller than if you are chasing it in a circle on the outside of the map.
When you are certain of where the monster is, you go for the dome, but be VERY careful when doing so. Do not put yourself at risk and use all of the jetpack to get the dome if you don’t have your team with you. Time and time again I’ve seen medics, supports or trappers going for the dome completely alone by using all of their jetpack only to be in a position that they can’t recover from afterwards, or at least one that makes every single person blow all of the important cooldowns just to desperately save that person. Assault has a bit more leeway because of their damage reduction, and usually monsters do not want to blow cds on the assault, but even then after that CD is down the assault becomes much more vulnerable. Remember, you need 4 players to beat the monster. Not one, not two, not three, FOUR. A monster is supposed to kill you , even at stage one, if you give him 5 or 6 seconds of free DPS when you don’t have jetpack, and no one to cover your ass in the meantime. It’s better to let the monster escape than to put yourself in a position that will let the monster kill you and then escape anyway because the dome timer expired after he downed you.
Positioning hunters inside the Dome
The most important thing about all of the fighting this game has is not aim, it’s not cooldown management, it’s not jetpack management (even though it comes pretty close), IT’S POSITIONING. Positioning is everything in this game, trust me, if you master positioning you’re already at the top of the foodchain when it comes to the playerbase of Evolve.
This is the biggest point of improvement where players in general can get a lot better, and it was the exact same way the first time the game came out. Your positioning right now is terrible. It’s incredibly bad. Trust me, I’ve been there and done all of the mistakes you’re doing right now. Even now I still fuck up a lot. As soon as the dome is set up, SPREAD OUT. Get on higher ground, and make sure you have LoS (line of sight) towards the rest of your team members. Hell, I still remember the best Caira players back in the day many times weren’t even in the LoS of the monster, they’d shoot their healing grenades to the wall where the focused person was being hit. Bonus points if you preemptively position before the dome is put in place. If the monster wants to focus you, he needs to work for it. He needs to climb walls, he needs to run/fly around pillars, spend his traversals, he needs to make an effort. Whenever he is wasting time moving, he is not attacking, but you are. So many times I’ve seen players complain that even stage 1 monsters will wipe the floor with their faces, and then I see them playing on top of each other and it’s not uncommon at all to see 3 players getting hit by Goliath’s rock or Kraken’s lightning. That should never happen. 2 people getting hit by rocks or lightning should be avoided at all times. Once again, SPREAD THE FUCK OUT. The medic and support do not have the tools to keep 4 people alive at the same time and, most importantly, THEY’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO. The monster needs a chance to win, and to do that he needs to capitalize on the hunter’s mistakes. Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the range on most of the abilities in the game is massive. To heal or shield someone you don’t need to be next to them. It’s almost half of the dome’s radius. You can be from far far away, and still help your team. And the good news is, even if you’re not the assault and you have free time to do some damage, most weapons besides shotguns deal the same damage from afar than they do from upclose. So you don’t need to be close to the monster to be effective. On the contrary, if you spend more time far away from the monster, you’re much more free to DPS than if you got hit by a rock/lightning/shock blast that wasn’t meant for you.
Of course, the quality of your positioning varies greatly depending on where the dome is. That is why there are great domes and pretty bad ones as well. Does it have a lot of high ground? How is the LoS throughout the whole space of the dome? Does it have a lot of caves? Do I have places to run around to help me dodge if need be? Can I LoS monsters attacks if I jump down this cliff? Now going up walls does not use jetpack, which is an IMMENSE buff, trust me. Before you focus on killing the monster, take 5 seconds and look for a good position for you to settle in. Is the monster hiding in the initial seconds of the dome? Perfect, he’s giving you time to look for the perfect spot. This used to be the biggest difference in trapper’s skill, dome placement. Now it is much more forgiving, since you have 5 minutes to do damage and not 45.
It is also clear that the positioning in this game is dynamic, because as the monster moves, you will have to adapt to the new position, and so will the monster, and vice-versa. Which means you have to be on the lookout for where you want to go next and not just the place you are in right now. Don’t be afraid to rotate around the dome if you see you’re getting too close to your team mates and can be hit by AoE abilities.
Also, and this is extremely important and is related to the dynamic position nature of the game: do not compromise your position to get a little bit of extra damage on the monster. You have 5 minutes to do damage to the monster, and the monster has 12 minutes total to get to stage 3 and be in a position where he can attack the relay. If he chooses to hide through the whole 5 minutes and waste time, it’s good for you, the pressure is on him. Of course, this is different depending on which stage the monster is in and how close he is to staging up, but you understand my point. I watched a streamer the other day who got into a cave with Behemoth and said “watch as they all come here to get cornered and AoE’d to death”, and sure enough, 4 players get inside the cave and proceed to get utterly destroyed by AoE abilities. Monster in a cave? Send the assault up front and get in LoS of him so you can support him from afar with healing beams, shields, smell grenades, healing buoys, armor reducers, and damage in general. The assault is the majority of your damage, and he’s also the hardest to kill, so only him needs to be close to the monster and hit him if that means the rest of the team keeps their distance from the monster. Remember, 5 minutes each dome, so you have plenty of time to do damage to the guy.
Learning your role during fights
Every class in this game is incredibly different from each other, but the importance of each one is similar. Even though only the medic heals, every single character can prevent damage. Trappers have something to hinder movement, supports either have shields or movement improving abilites (or CDR boosting now with Bucket), even the assault can do it by either creating “safe” zones with mines, grenades, or bursting the monster with super soldier if you’re Parnell for example. If the monster sees he’s taking too much damage, he will think twice before continuing with the chase. Every little thing helps, from everyone. It’s the reason why I love this game, it’s like a raid of 4 people beating down a hard boss every single game. To continue with the raid analogy, this is not a game of 4 DPS vs a boss, it’s a raid of 1 DPS, 2 utility/DPS(but mainly utility) and one healer. Think about which class better suits your favoured playstyle, and do it accordingly. Harpooning a Goliath leap smash or a Wraith shock blast with Griffin feels amazing. Luring monsters into Markov’s mines feels amazing as you see the effects on the monster’s health bar, and I love how scary I become when I activate super soldier when playing Parnell. Tranquilizing the monster and getting a headshot marker with Val and listening to the slot machine sounds after someone hits it is like therapy. Healing bursting someone out of a certain death in a close game almost makes you taste the salt in the monster’s tears. There’s a place in this game for everyone, and everyone enjoys different things. Find your place in the game learn to love the roles you don’t play so often. Learn what your team mates like you to do and what is better for each class by experiencing them first hand. It’s the best way for you to learn and help your team mates do a better job as well.
Also, if you’re doing a great job with preventing damage from the monster, don’t be afraid to do some damage. When you switch out your weapons, your other weapons reload automatically. If you run out of capacity on your healing gun, change to your weapon and shoot the monster. Same with anything that has capacity really, like shields and jet pack boosters for example, keep yourself active during the whole fight, don’t just wait for things to reload. Even if your damage is not significant when compared to the assault, every little bit of damage helps.
Defending yourself when you’re getting focused
This is one of the main problems new players have, and understandably so. You can feel overwhelmed by a huge monster and feel like there’s nothing you can do, but in fact there is. There are two parts to this, the part you can do on your own, and the part where you’ll need your team to help you.
The part where you can help yourself is through jetpack dodging and LoSing abilities. For this you need to get accustomed to when monsters skills actually hit. Kraken charging lightning? I know it’s tempting to dodge as soon as he casts it, but it’s better to dodge when he’s almost close to ending the cast. Goliath charging rock? Most Goliaths send the rock straight away, so dodge sideways as soon as you see his movement to throw the rock. Behemoth lava bombs? You have plenty of time to run away from the place he’s aiming for. As the level of play goes higher, the mindgames with ability timings get higher and higher. Of course, this requires you to save jetpack for dodging and is one of the hardest skills in the game to master, but an easy one to have a basic grasp of. Higher level players will keep track of your jetpack usage, and will punish you for it, but the average monster does not. Use this to your advantage. If you dodge an ability of the monster that he put 3 points into, it is huge, especially stage 1 or 2. If you dodge twice, you have gained a great advantage. I see many people saying that hunters have way less room to make mistakes than monsters, but I do not agree with that. I agreed with it before I knew what I was doing, because I never played monster at that time and that is what it felt like when I started playing the game. Capitalize on the monster’s mistakes, their abilities have cooldowns just like yours. Go on the offensive if he misses a big ability, make him pay and make him at least as scared of you as you are scared of him. The timing of dodging will come with time, but make sure you always have enough jetpack to dodge if you think the monster is coming for you. Do not use all of your jetpack to get in a shooting position because you’ll be defenseless if the monster turns on you. Practice dodging, mess around with the timings. When you get them, you’ll feel like a god. As for LoSing abilities, an example I can give you is standing on a small cliff and drop down when the monster tries to hit you. Find an object you can circle around if the monster decides to full on focus you (I still have PTSD of when I played monster and was trying to focus speed bursting Cairas running around relays’ objects kiting me around).
As for the team component, what I mean specifically is not just for them to heal you or shield you, but also make the monster question himself if he wants to risk continuing with the pursuit by threatening their health. Ask Markov or Hyde to put some mines/grenades, ask Parnell to hold on super soldier until someone is at risk so that if the monster wants to get a strike he’ll have to risk losing a few health bars in the process. Bait an ability and shield it at the last moment with Hank. Ask for Sunny to jetpack you to safety. Ask Maggie to set up a few harpoons or tell Griffin to stand behind the monster so he can harpoon him into submission. Ask Crow or Abe to slow down the monster. Talk with your team mates, communicate. If you set up traps for the monster, tell your team mates where you set those traps so that they can run that way to feel safer. Shoot banshee mines instead of simply shooting the Kraken to save a lot of damage on your team mates. Save your AoE shield burst for abilities that will almost certainly hit more than one person like Fire Breath or Gorgon’s acid. Be efficient. Learn the weaknesses of the monsters. Learn their cooldowns so you know when to capitalize on good dodges. The best way to do this would be by playing the monsters themselves as you could get a general feel on how it works. If someone on your team isn’t doing their job, don’t rage on them, be positive and and ask them next time if they can put up a mine or two, a grenade or a few harpoons. They will learn how important those things are and will feel good when they saw they helped a team member. You will repay in kind by shielding them at the right time or healing them through tough times. Speak, communicate, collaborate, use the abilities at your disposal and you’ll see that monsters are not as overpowered as you might think.
If it comes to the point where the monster is stage 3 and you’re preparing for the last epic fight (or fights), position yourself accordingly and wait for the monster. If you see the monster is stage 3 and you’re not going to catch him before he’s full armor, in most situations it’s best to run to the relay and set up camp there with the best positions you can get. When the monster comes, chip damage onto him as much as you can from long range, and then when he comes close, hold the dome until you’re doing health damage. This is not as relevant a strategy as it used to be now that the dome timer is controlled by damage done to the monster and you have 5 full minutes to do damage to him, but the monster will be more scared if he’s taking health damage from the beginning of the dome. If he gets the chance to get a few strikes and tries to run away to get armor back, chase him for a little bit and do as much chip damage as you can, it’s permanent health damage. Don’t run too far though, remember, positioning. If you see the timer on the dome running out and you know the monster will want to run to refill armor, get ready to obstruct his movement. Get your harpoon ready as Griffin, get your tranq gun ready, throw stasis grenades to exits, jetpack boost the assault so he can follow the monster for a little while longer. Prepare for the next stage of the fight and the monster run phase. You can get full health bars of chip damage if you play well. And always, positioning, positioning, positioning. Stage 3 monster is scary, as it should be, and one ability can remove 70% of your health bar. Be extra focused on defense. Even a stage 3 monster needs to work hard to get a good combo off and kill a hunter if you’re focusing entirely on defense.
Class specific advice
Assault – Your positioning is, to me, the most important of the 4, if everyone is a reasonable player and has a basic grasp of the game. You are the person who makes the monster feel scared the most, and this is why if you are an assault player jetpack management is the real key to your play. Damage uptime on the monster is incredibly important, so even if you need to sacrifice a little bit of damage for uptime, it is in general a good alternative to do so. It’s best to do 50DPS for 10 seconds than it is to do three bursts of 100 DPS. This is a very basic example but you know what I mean. Also, damage uptime means the monster does not regenerate armor, even if you’re not doing significant amounts of damage, you will at least make sure the monster is pressured. Switch weapons accordingly depending on how far away you are from the monster for maximum damage, and learn when and where to set up mines and grenades to help your team mates.
Trapper – Tracking the monster is still one of the main abilities you have, so don’t slack off just because you have the planet scanner ability. Do not underestimate the power of the general tracking abilities each trapper has, suffocate the monster, make him discoverable for as long as you can. During combat, focus more on hindering movement than on dealing damage. Do damage in between rotations of your harpoons, slows, grenades, etc.
Support – Now that stealth is gone, you can focus freely on shielding and supporting team mates through the most common abilities. Recognize when they need help, time your shields accordingly (i.e if you keep shielding a person as Hank, the monster will be more inclined to attack another person). Anticipate what the monster is going to do and see who he prefers to focus, and find the best way to save that person. Remember, hunters’ first priority is helping each other, only after comes shooting the monster. Save your shield for AoE abilities if possible. If a monster is stage one or two, figure out which skill they leveled up more and save your shield burst for that ability.
Medic – Most of the games you will be focused first, so your defensive positioning is the most important. Make yourself hard to kill, use recharge perks if you feel you’re not being able to survive most of the time so you can save yourself more often, LoS as much as you can, master jetpack dodging. Your focus should be survivability at all times so if you need to rotate positions constantly, do it. Medic is one of my favourite positions because you’re in a constant blood rush fighting for survival during dome fights, and it feels awesome when you can outlive the monster. If you’re not being focused, find the best angles from which to heal your team and prepare to get focused at anytime.
Monster specific advice
Goliath – High ground is key. Keep yourself up high, make him run after you up a hill. Drop down when he gets up there. Repeat as many times as possible. Find objects you can circle around so it’s hard for him to hit abilities. Learn the dodge timings so you can move away of rock throw. Spread as much as possible so Fire Breath doesn’t damage the whole team. If you’re right on top of him and he charges rock, dodge towards him (so you get on his back) because his turning is very slow with rock.
Kraken – Dodging lightning is really important here. Shoot mines as soon as you can. Notice when he’s coming for the aftershock damage if he skills into it and save two jetpack dodges for it, one is not enough most of the time. Vortex is the hardest skill to dodge and is their combo ability, so save your heals and shields for the ability that comes after the vortex. Kraken has a huge head so aim for it for extra damage when you have the time. Save your big CDs for lightning and aftershock if you see you can’t dodge them.
Wraith – Avoid spaces that are too open so supernova is not too effective, and get away from the cloud as fast as you can. Spread around so the supernova attacks don’t hit more than one monster. Don’t waste your time shooting decoy, circling Wraith is especially effective since he can’t abduct reliably. Shock Blast is one of the simpler abilities to dodge after you learn the timings for it. Save CDs for supernova because his decoy plus real wraith burst inside supernova is really high.
Behemoth – Behemoth’s greatest weakness is movement. Which makes high ground management even more deadly for him than for Goliath. His greatest power is his combo ability, but shields ruin his combos. As soon as you find him, sticking to Behemoth is one of the easiest things to do since he does not jump and his traversal is reliant on the map “roads”. Tongue grab is hard to dodge, so keep yourself near a cliff to drop down if needed. Lava bomb has a huge cast animation, so it should be really simple to get away from it. Be extra careful with being locked with him when he uses rock wall, because you can be LoSed by this. Fissure is his most damaging and easiest to hit ability, so save special CDs for this.
Gorgon – Save most of the jetpack to dodge the web if you can. Always be on the lookout for the spider trap and kill it before it traps you if possible. Call out when you’re trapped as soon as possible so your team can save you. When he uses mimic, either full on focus the monster since Gorgon will be motionless and you can do heavy headshot damage, or focus the mimic to prevent damage, depending on what you think is more important. Since the acid is so easy to spread around, and does good AoE damage, save your CDs for this.
Advice for all classes
Be prepared to die a lot. You will die no matter how well you play. There is a player on the other side with a brain as well, so this is to be expected. Learn the positioning quirks and differences for all classes. Learn timings and cooldowns of monster abilities. Learn which abilities the monster leveled first, and save the CDs you have for those abilities. Bait the monster to commit to a fight and time your big cooldowns for those moments. Use the voice chat. Create space for your team and tell them what you’re going to do so they can count on it. Ask them if there’s anything you can do to make their life easier. Make friends and add friends through steam afterwards. Since Evolve still hasn’t added that option, add friends through your recently played list on steam that is shown in this video. Make friendships. This game is at its best when you have 4 people you know to share the excitement with.
And most of all, spread the love. As you get better, give new players tips on what you did to become better. Be positive during games and even if you or someone makes a mistake, don’t get discouraged. If you’re not that kind of guy, at least don’t rage or diss team mates. This game is full of comeback moments and overextensions on both sides. Create a community feeling around the game and provide valuable feedback for the game to grow stronger with time, and not die out. We’ve had a great start so far after F2P, and this is a clear indication that Turtle Rock wants the game to succeed. TU9 was a great effort from them for the game to become great, so give it a chance. It’s free anyway. They’re listening to feedback and seem focused on not letting the game fail a second time. They also have some of the best people from the community hired by them to work with them. If you are reasonable with feedback and feel something needs to be changed, they will listen. They already announced Wraith is being nerfed, and it took them a lot less time to do it this time around than it did the first time.
I hope this guide helps a few of you and makes you enjoy the game more, because as everyone knows, winning is always better than losing. If you have any questions or want my opinion on something, send me a PM or ask here in the thread, I’ll be more than happy to answer.