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Health is what keeps you alive, and armor is what keeps you fighting in the arena longer. When hit, armor helps absorb some of the damage that was meant for health. Keeping a good amount of health and armor is essential to surviving long in combat.
Health is what keeps you going. At its normal maximum, your health is 100. When it reaches zero, you die.
- Green health
The green health increases your health by five points, even beyond the normal maximum of 100.
- Yellow health
The yellow health gives you 25 points up to the maximum of 100.
- Gold health
The gold health gives you 50 points up to the 100 maximum. Two of these and you're fully healed, no matter what state you're in.
Always watch your health. Once it reaches zero, you're dead.
Armor protects you from damage. When you get hit (either by direct fire or splash damage), some of that damage goes into reducing your armor and some goes into reducing your health, so long as you have armor left to absorb the damage. The higher that your armor rating is, the greater the proportion of damage that will be absorbed by your armor than by your body.
- Armor shard
The armor shard gives you five armor points, even beyond the normal maximum of 100.
- Combat (yellow) armor
The yellow armor increases your armor rating by 50 points.
- Heavy (red) armor
The red armor increases your armor rating by a whopping 100 points.
Don't forget to stock up on armor. Armor will keep you in the fight much longer.
- Mega health
The mega health gives you +100 health, pushing you over the normal limit of 100 all the way up to 200. Unlike many of the other powerups, mega health is not a timed effect weapon; its effect takes place instantaneously. As usual, when players have health over 100, it automatically degenerates over time, by one health point a second, until it reaches 100. Technically, mega health is not a powerup since it has a one-time use (the decline of health afterwards is just a natural part of the engine), but even the Quake III Arena documentation classifies it as such.
Mega health is a standard powerup that gets the job done. When you see it, get it.
Timed powerups take effect when pick up, and last for some specified amount of time, and then wear off. By default, they respawn every two minutes. When in effect, an icon and a number of seconds remaining appears in your heads-up display, as well as a glow around your model that shows up to every other player. When these powerups are picked up, they make a noise which can be heard anywhere in the level, and many also make additional sounds while in use.
- Battle suit
The battle suit is an extremely effective powerup (enshrounding you in a golden shell) that, for a time, renders you nearly invulernable. It renders its wearer immune to lava, slime, drowning, and falling damage, and also blocks any splash damage. Only direct hits can injure a player using the battle suit, and even then direct hit fire is does only half damage. This last immunity means that a player with a battle suit not only gets rocketjumps for free, but can be an extremely effective fragging machine; the standard tactic of attempting to wear somebody down with splash damage from rockets or even BFG blasts no longer works; you must score direct hits to do significant damage to a battle suit wearer. Indeed it can even give its wearer access to caches of ammunition that would normally be inaccessible (say, the BFG ammunition cache in the lava area of Q3DM15).
The battle suit is a very effective tool -- it can make a good player nearly unstoppable (at least until its effect expires). If you encounter someone with a battle suit and an effective weapon, run.
The flight powerup empowers its holder with the ability to fly (accompanied by a very strong hissing sound). Among the standard Quake III Arena maps, the flight powerup appears only on Q3DM19, and even then only in multiplayer. A player with the flight powerup can move in three dimensions, although he can only move at about the speed at which he can swim. This is not too much of a drawback, since being able to float in the air means that you can only be injured with a direct hit (since if you can float in space, you can avoid obstacles in the background that fire would hit to cause splash damage).
When flying, stay clear away from backdrops, making it harder for other players to score splash damage on you with their weapons.
When in use, the haste powerup allows its user to move and fire somewhat faster than usual; while in use, its effect leaves puffs of smoke beneath its user's feet. Not much can be said other than the powerup serves its intended purpose. A hail of plasma bolts or even machine gun fire from a hasted player is not to be trifled with.
When hasted, you can move and fire much more effectively. Remember, if you move faster than everyone else you can catch up to retreating people or be guaranteed of retreating yourself.
What more can be said? It makes you (nearly) invisible. Other players can actually see a subtle distortion at your position if they're looking carefully. Note that the invisibility doesn't protect you from giving your position away by other powerups (such as quad damage which causes a pronounced blue glow, invisibility or not), but it does make you very hard to track and hit. Note that this only makes you yourself invisible; if you are holding a team powerup in Quake III: Team Arena or have an enemy flag, you will be invisible but your position will be given away.
When invisible, you're extremely hard to see until you open fire, or unless you get another powerup which displays some visible affectation. Go nuts.
- Quad damage
Quad damage triples (so it's something of a misnomer) the amount of damage done by its user. In exchange, however, it gives its wearer a bright blue glow, which is visible even around corners, which means that other players may be able to see you coming if they're expecting you. Firing while using quad always emits the ominous quad damage sound (a sound, by the way, that has been consistent all the way since the original Quake), which means that enemies can hear you coming if you're firing. Some players choose not to get the quad damage powerup as a sign of superiority -- at least until they need it.
In a close quarters melee, quad damage can be devastatingly effective. In a more strategic game, quad damage users can be avoided or detected before they have a chance to open fire.
The regeneration powerup gives its wearer an extremely useful characteristic: He automatically heals while he wears it, up to a maximum of 200 health points. This advantage is not to be trifled with, but at the same time it has a rather pronounced set back; its wearer emits a beating sound while it increases your health (that is, when your health is 200 points it will make no sound). This advantage is guaranteed to gain you at least a few free shots at an opponent, as the regeneration effect will heal up a few shots' worth of damage during a given exchange, but at the same time strategically it puts its wearer at a disadvantage because the throbbing sound is very distinctive and can tip others off to your presence. As with the quad damage, in close quarters combat where stealth is not an issue, it can be extremely effective.
Automatic healing during combat can mean the difference between life and frag, but at the same time the giveaway sound the regeneration effect makes can put you at a disadvantage before you even engage the enemy.
Team powerups (Team Arena)
The team powerups in Quake III: Team Arena all take effect once picked up and stay in effect until the player dies. They all spawn in particular areas on the map for each team; when a player using a particular powerup dies, it immediately respawns in its original location. Although the enemy base's team powerups look identical to your own, they cannot be used. Players with a particular powerup have their models show a colored sash. The Team Arena powerups enforce class-like behavior; each powerup suits a different role, so you should seek out the team powerup that suits our play style (or change to it once you've acquired it).
- Ammo-regen (Team Arena)
The ammo-regen (yellow) team powerup, as its name suggests, slowly regenerates ammunition for weapons you have. It will regenerate up to and including the initial ammunition allowances that you get when you first pick up a weapon. This means that while you're always have ammunition, unfortunately you won't have much. To counter that, though, the ammo-regen powerup also slightly increases your rate of fire.
The ammo-regen is only really helpful for a standalone sniper, since it ensures he will always have ammunition for his railgun, rocket launcher, or BFG.
- Doubler (Team Arena)
The doubler (red) team powerup causes all damage done by the user to be doubled, regardless of the weapon used. When another damage-enhancing powerup, like quad damage, is used, the effects multiply.
Almost counterintuitively, this powerup is best used by defenders.
- Guard (Team Arena)
The guard (blue) team powerup is arguably the most powerful team powerup available. It instantly raises its user to 200 health and 200 armor (the absolute maximum); thereafter, the user will spontaneously regenerate to 200 health (in a similar way to the regeneration powerup, but the effect is permanent). Although with the powerup the wearer starts at 200 armor, armor is not spontaneously regenerated; it does not, however, deteriorate when above 100 like it does normally.
This powerup is best use by the heavy hitting assaulters.
- Scout (Team Arena)
The scout (green) is the last team powerup. It significantly increases its users' movement and firing speed, but with a major drawback: the scouted player cannot use armor (his armor is always forced to zero) -- the scout powerup means that the player cannot even pick any armor up.
The scout powerup is best use by players that plan on scouting territory ahead, and also by players who specialize in hit-and-run tactics.
Carryable powerups can be picked up and put in your inventory and activated at a future time. You can only carry one such powerup at a time, and it stays with you until you activate it, or you die. It can then be activated at your whim.
The medkit is a portable powerup (which can be activated at its holder's whim) which increases its user's health to 100 regardless of its current state. Unfortunately, in the course of modern, sophisticated combat, having 100 health is on the low end of the useful range of health, and in the heat of battle, when one's health drops below 100 (so when the medkit would be useful), often the battle is pretty well decided, and regenerating to only 100 health (with no armor bonus) won't make much of a difference. Still, the medkit has its uses; if you find yourself just escaping a skirmish and have extremely low health, a medkit is an easy way to boost it to a base 100 points.
The medkit is generally of limited utility; if you're below 100 points during combat, boosting it back up to 100 won't help much if you're under heavy fire. Still, finding a medkit means a free 100 health.
- Personal teleporter
The personal teleporter is another portable powerup which, when activated, automatically teleports its user to a random location somewhere on the arena. As a panic button, the teleporter can't be beat. If you slip (or are pushed) and start a fall into the void, mist, lava, or slime, the teleporter can yank you out. If you're under heavy fire and are backed into a corner, the teleporter can save your life. If you walk into a room and are suddenly ambushed and you're not sure which direction it's coming from, wham, you're gone. The one disadvantage to the teleporter's use is that sometimes you come through the teleporter with a little momentum from before your teleport, which can occasionally hurtle you off a precarious position into the void or into a place you did not intend. But then, it is a panic button -- you wouldn't be using it unless you were already in hot water, right?
The teleporter makes the ultimate panic button -- if you're in a jam, slam the activate key and you're out of there. Of course, it's possible you'll end up in a worse situation, so only use it when you're really up the creek.
- Kamikaze (Team Arena)
When activated, the kamikaze device explodes with a menacing expanding black sphere that will kill anyone it touches (most prominently including its wearer) and severely injure others who are nearby. Also, when activated, it will shake the entire map and can get some indirect kills by knocking people poised precariously on ledges over fog of death or space. It's a weapon of last resort, although it can be used proactively quite effectively. Note that it will kill and injure your own teammates just as readily as the enemy, so use it with care. Also, if a player with the kamikaze is killed before he can trigger it, players will notice a floating skull over his corpse; if the skull is not destroyed within a few seconds, the kamikaze blast will be triggered anyway!
As a panic button deep in enemy territory, the kamikaze is the ultimate revenge weapon. It can also be strategically used to defend one's own base as a last resort when an enemy is coming in to capture the flag or score.
- Invulnerability (Team Arena)
The invulernability powerup is an interesting tradeoff of unbelievable power with extreme limitation. When activated, a purple shield surrounds the player and he is frozen in space; he can turn and fire but cannot move. While he is encased in the glowing shield, he cannot be harmed by any weapon except for proxmine grenades (which will penetrate the shield). When the effect wears off, moving returns to normal.
The invulernability powerup can be used to good effect deep inside enemy territory, but be sure that proxmine grenade launchers aren't nearby.