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Standard deathmatch is the classic free-for-all -- everybody is for themselves. First to hit the fraglimit wins.
Kill or be killed.
- Team deathmatch
Team deathmatch, or species deathmatch, is similar to standard deathmatch, but teams are drawn along species lines. (Note that in multiplayer, Marines are considered a separate team than Corporates, even though they are of course both human.) The fraglimit relates to the total number of frags scored for each team; for team to the fraglimit wins.
This is the most common gameplay style; each team should play to their strengths and their opponents' weaknesses.
Hunt games are divided between two species acting as teams: the hunter and prey. Only the hunter can score frags; if a prey kills a hunter, they swap roles (the hunter becomes the prey and the prey becomes a new hunter).
Since only hunters can score, as a hunter you can bide your time: Choose your skirmishes carefully.
Survivor games are divided between two species acting as teams: survivors and mutants. When a survivor game starts, everyone begins as a survivor and there is a brief free-for-all elimination round where the first survivor killed takes the role of a mutant. Thereafter, every second a survivor stays alive, he scores one point. When a mutant kills a survivor, the mutant scores ten points and the survivor respawns as a mutant (if a survivor kills himself, he transforms into a mutant but no points are gained or lost by anyone). Team killing (survivors killing survivors or mutants killing mutants) results in a loss of ten points. The round ends when only mutants remains (all survivors have been killed).
The survivors are much better off staying together in a group; stragglers will be more vulnerable to getting picked off.
Overrun games are another example of team play between two species: attackers and defenders. Play takes place in rounds, and during a round there is no respawning; if you die, you must wait until the next round to play again (in this manner, it is like survivor-style games). Rounds last for a set period of time, or until only attackers or defenders remain. When a round ends, scoring is as follows: If defenders remain, then the defender team scores one point for each remaining defender. If, on the other hand, only attackers remain, they get one point for each remaining team member.
Sticking together in groups is key for both sides; if one side gains an advantage in numbers, they can rush the enemy and have a good chance of prevailing.
Evac is another team game between two species: the attacking team and the evacuating team. Play takes place in rounds, and during a round the evacuating team must get to a predetermined evac point (a mark on the heads-up display indicates the location of this point so there is not an issue of trying to find it). Once at the evac point, the evac team must stay there and try to survive for ten seconds. The attacking team must, in short, stop them at all costs. Like the overrun game, there is no respawning within a round; players on either side who are killed must wait until the next round to continue playing.
The evacuating team must stick together and cover each other's backs at all costs.
When lifecycle is set by the server, all Aliens spawn as facehuggers. In order to reach adulthood, they must find a host (either a human or Predator) and facehug them (by pouncing and landing on their chest or head). This scores a frag for the player (and the Aliens in general in team deathmatch). The facehugged victim falls to the ground. After a few seconds, the facehugger falls off, the body starts twitching, and then a chestburster bursts from the corpse. The chestburster is very weak and cannot wallwalk; it must find a place to hold up for a few seconds until it matures to adulthood. At that point it becomes an adult Alien -- a drone if it facehugged a Marine, a runner if a Corporate, and a Predalien if its victim was a Predator. Play then continues until the adult is killed; at that point the Alien respawns as a facehugger and the cycle repeats.
Lifecycle is a fairly popular variant, particularly on the more serious servers. There is little that will get your blood pumping as well as a facehugger after you.
Exosuits and queens were a feature added in one of the later patches to the game; although they can be enabled separately on the server they are often enabled together. Exosuits (from single player) are available for humans (both Marine and Corporate) to use; they are tools that can be entered and exited at any time. Queens, when enabled on the server, molt from normal adults (not facehuggers or chestbursters when lifecycle is also enabled) after they get a certain number of kills. Queens cannot pounce or jaw attack and are fairly slow, but are enormous killing machines.
Although fun, exosuits and queens are immensely powerful and can seriously unbalance a game. They mean the worst news for Predators.