Natural Selection Wiki
Natural Selection Wiki


The Ranking of your Score, Level and Skill are currently processed by Hive 3.0, which in Patch 335 replaced its predecessor Hive 2.0, which in Patch 310 replaced its predecessor Hive 1.0, which had been running since its introduction in Patch 269. The Hive Skill System was discontinued on December 9th 2022 and was replaced by a Steam based system known internally as Zuul (There is no Hive, only Zuul).

Level System

The Levels you can acquire are reached by accumulating Score that you gain while playing.

For each Level you require 3000 points of score.

Rookie and Bootcamp Servers

  • Once you Reach Level 15 you leave the Skill Tier for Rookies (takes usually 8 hours of gameplay) and your Player Skill (see below) takes the place of where your Rookie badge once was.
  • You can play on Bootcamp Servers if you are a Rookie (Tier 0) or a Recruit (Tier 1), see Skill Tiers

Player Skill

The Player Skill is commonly called Hive Skill or ELO. The algorithm to determine the Player Skill was created by moultano and modified by McGlaspie.

Player Skill is a measurement of how likely it is a player can make his team win in his average environment.

  • It is not influenced by Score, Kill / Death - ratio or your personal performance. Only winning or losing a match has any influence.
  • It takes into account that a player has more impact on the outcome during the early stages of a game. Leaving before the game ends usually makes no difference.
  • It is used in order to make more fair teams with Shuffle.
  • Servers have to be Ranked in order to report Hive Skill updates to change the Skill value.

The amount of Hive Skill rewarded is based on how likely the system thinks your team is to win a round. Therefore the lower your teams average skill is compared to the opposing team the more Hive Skill you will be rewarded if you win.

Changes in Hive 3.0

Hive Skill was converted into an average skill, to which a "team bias" is added to determine the Marine Skill and subtracted to determine the Alien Skill. This means the "team bias" is positive if the Marine Skill is higher, and negative when the Alien Skill is higher. Separately from the regular Hive Skill, an additional Commander Skill is now tracked, which is calculated separately from the regular Hive Skill. The Commander Skill uses its own "team bias" which is completely separate from the other one.


For further information check the blogpost of moultano about the Skill Ranking System and the Hive 3.0 FAQ.

Info Info: The accounting for imbalance in races, maps, game sizes, mentioned in the blogpost is not yet

Skill Tier

Skill Tier Emblems
Emblem Name Tier adjusted skill points* additional Information
Tier bot Bot - Bot Player
Tier unknown Unknown - Player Skill couldn't be retrieved
Tier 0 Rookie 0 - can access Bootcamp Servers
Level 1 - 14
Tier 1 Recruit 1 0 - 300 can access Bootcamp Servers
Tier 2 Frontiersman 2 301 - 750
Tier 3 Squad Leader 3 751 - 1400
Tier 4 Veteran 4 1401 - 2100
Tier 5 Commandant 5 2101 - 2900
Tier 6 Special Ops 6 2901 - 4100
Tier 7 Sanji Survivor 7 4101 - 9999
OpenTournamentBronze Open Tournament 3rd place 8 Not related to Player Skill / Bronze Skill Tier Temporarily awarded to the 3rd place team of certain Tournaments.
OpenTournamentSilver Open Tournament Finalist 8 Not related to Player Skill / Silver Skill Tier Temporarily awarded to the finalists of certain Tournaments.
OpenTournamentGold Open Tournament Winner 8 Not related to Player Skill / Gold Skill Tier Temporarily awarded to the winners of certain Tournaments.
  • Boundaries for each Skill Tier Emblem might change in the future.
  • (*) adjusted skill points, that takes into account how certain the system is about the skill being correct. (Mathematical: Sum of squared adagrad gradients)
Example: In order to gain Sanji Survivor you often need to reach above 4150 Skill Points in order to get the Skill Tier 7 Emblem

Skill Tier 8

Three unusual Skill Tiers are unattached to Hive Skill but awarded to the three best teams that compete in the competitive and biweekly Open Tournament (link to the Open Tournament rules). Only the best Natural Selection 2 players can proudly uphold those Skill Tiers. As these tournaments are being held regularly (every two weeks in general), they can only be temporary worn by those players until another Open Tournament is run and new teams defeat them. They replace the original Skill Tiers and can't be changed by the player unilaterally.

If you want to know more about the NSL Open Tournament and how to get those Skill Tiers, don't hesitate to frequently check the latest news on

Myths about Hive Skill

  • The round needs to be at least 3 min long to affect Hive Skill.
    • False, the minimum length is 1 min.
  • The longer the game, the more Hive Skill you gain/lose.
    • False, as long as the round is at least 1 min long, it makes no difference.
  • Joining late/leaving early affects your Hive Skill gain/loss.
    • True, the amount of time you played in a round influences your contribution and thus weights your impact.
  • Seeding games do not influence Hive Skill.
    • False, if there are at least two players and the round lasts for at least 1 min, skill changes will occur.
  • Losing a game as one side, does not affect the Team Skill for the other.
    • False, the overall Hive Skill will be affected, but that effect will lower with the amount of games played since Hive 3.0 was introduced.

Accessing Information

  • NS2 Panel: External Website used to track your Hive Skill.
  • The Hive 3.0 FAQ.
  • Mods like Shine access it via Hive 3.0 Web API
  • Original outline for the skill system (not everything was implemented as outlined).

NS2 Panel works with either in-game name, Steam ID, Steam32 ID or Steam64 ID.
Find your SteamID