- I/O Port (blue sphere node): The I/O port is your starting point into the system. It is the blue sphere. There is always only one, and you can branch out in any allowed direction from this starting node.
- Directory (folder nodes): These nodes look like folders, and are peppered throughout any network. Capturing them yields no benefits, but they are essential conduits to other, more important nodes.
- Datastores (hexagonal nodes): Datastores are represented by hexagons. Capturing these nodes is not essential to hacking the system, and they are normally out of the way. But if you choose to capture these as well, they yield three different types of benefits to the player. These nodes can provide you with the Nuke or Stop viruses (explained below), additional experience points, or extra credits (the in-game currency). Most of the time, it is worth your while to capture these nodes.
- API (gear nodes): API nodes look like little gears and come in four variations. These nodes can make hacking easier, except in one select case. So use them at your own risk.
1) Clearance nodes reduce the security level of all Datastore nodes on the map by 1. All other nodes remain unaffected. Generally, capturing this node is a good idea if it isn’t out of the way and not too much trouble.
2) Soften nodes reduce the security level of all adjacent nodes by 1, regardless of how many nodes are connected (uni-or bi-directionally) to the Soften node. Once again, this is quite a powerful node to capture, as it reduces the risk of all nodes connected to it.
3) Transfer nodes will increase the security level of a random node by 2, and decrease the security level of another random node by 2. This is the problematic node. If Lady Luck is on your side, your next node could have -2 security rating, making the capture much easier or +2 security rating, drastically increasing your chances for getting detected.
4) Spam nodes will slow down the enemy security trace (diagnostic sub-routine), giving the player additional time.
- Registry (white sphere node): This is your destination. You need to access the Registry to reach the date of the hacked computer or device. There can be more than one Registry, and in this case, you need to capture both to win the mini-game.
- Diagnostic Subroutine (red tower node): This node is where the diagnostic sub-routine resides and where the trace starts. In very select cases, you can also capture this node, which automatically captures all the Datastores on the map. If you are detected while capturing or fortifying a node, the Diagnostic Subroutine will start a trace from itself (the red tower). The resulting timer indicated the time it will take for the trace to reach your I/O port (the blue sphere) and thus trigger the alarm. There can be more than one Diagnostic Subroutine.
- Bridges (the lines between nodes): Bridges connect all nodes. A bridge can be uni-directional (dotted line with an arrow), or bi-directional (double lines).
- Rating (the numbers nest to each node): Every node has a rating number applied to it. This number indicated how difficult or easy it will be to capture that node. Lower numbers correspond with lower risk and vice versa.
- Capture (hacking mini-game action 1 of 4): When the hacking mini-game started, all nodes, except the I/O port (the blue sphere) belong to the Diagnostic Subroutine. Capture allows you to convert a node to your side, and open up additional Bridges to other nodes. Any hacking attempt will start with the capturing of nodes. You can win a mini-game using Capture alone, if you are properly augmented and very lucky.
- Fortify (hacking mini-game action 2 of 4): Fortify is optional, but it has its uses. This option allows you to increased the security rating of a captured node by +1. You cannot fortify a node you have not captured yet. It is also significantly riskier to fortify a node than capture it. If you trigger the trace from the Diagnostic Subroutine, each added point of fortify slows down the trace. As mentioned before, rating determines how difficult it is to capture a node. When a trace is triggered, the Diagnostic Subroutine is essentially ‘capturing’ nodes of its own and fortifying them. The more nodes you have fortified, the slower the trace will be, thus buying you additional time.
- Viruses: Stop and Nuke (hacking mini-game action 3-4 of 4): You can find these viruses by capturing Datastores during the hacking mini-games, or you can find them scattered sparingly throughout the game world. If the Registry detects your presence in the system, and starts a trace (starting the timer), you can use a stop virus to completely halt the trace for five seconds, giving you precious seconds to complete your task. Nuke captures a node silently, regardless of its rating, without setting off the trace.
NEXT PAGE: The Rewards