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Testament's Tips on Surviving ECW

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Targeted release time of ECW is today at 12:00PM Central Time now.


As you know, the release of Expansive Civilian Warfare is upon us and I thought it might be handy to share some of my knowledge with you scrubs guys.
(SUPER PROTIP: Play ECW on the Official server, there's word down the grapevine that PLECOS like to eat your CPU. It runs with better FPS on the server than in LAN)

First of all, I can't overstate the importance of playing the tutorial and paying attention to it. There is a perk to acquire towards the end of the tutorial that I didn't even have, so exhaust all options. It will teach you everything to get you started, and provide you a chance to practice (I recommend not skipping the practical tests) while avoiding the utter anarchy in San Casina and it's surroundings. (Dial 555-0101 to go back to the tutorial anytime)

After you complete the tutorial, you will find yourself in the spawn room surrounded by portals. Clicking will spawn you in the flesh but it is wise to pick a portal and spawn somewhere on the map. Nevertheless you should:

ECW Uses your Forums Account

  • In order to play ECW you'll need to log into the launcher with your forums account, this is to help protect your data. Make sure to log in to play the game on the server.

Number Pad

  • You pretty much need to have a keyboard with a number pad as it is used for the perk and phone systems. I recommend getting a cheap usb one if you don't have a number pad because you will be missing out on a lot of features with out it.

Use the Y key.

  • It is incredibly useful and displays information about the controls and statistics related to whatever you may be holding, or whatever vehicle you may be occupying. 

Kick it old school with ESC and F1.

  • Back in my day you got no tutorial, just an out of date guide from C&C Wiki for Beta 2 and the ESC/F1 key. It displays basic information about the phone and gameplay in a pinch.
  • The F1 key also works as a rudimentary map (there is a LOT more to it than shown) and learning the map is paramount for new players. Popular locations are numbered.

Open your Options

  • Make sure to select the camera option "Lock Vehicle Camera to Turret"  under the controls tab, and look/mouse subheading. This allows you to be much more aware of your surroundings in every vehicle
  • Graphics settings can be set in the options menu under graphics. Tweak them to your liking
  • Press the tilde key (~) and type fps and hit enter to display your frame rate, ping, and server FPS
  • Swap out your view distance and resolution by running the config.exe as an admin. It is located in the install directory which can be reached via the launcher.

Read the chatlog with M.

  • Some information displayed ingame might become buried by legions of people making deer noises. When this happens, you'll be ready.

Hitch a Ride by pressing Z.

  • You can board other players vehicles as a passenger by pressing Z, which will display a red icon above your head. Subsequently, a driver can press Z to let players into their vehicle

Press T to show your position.

  • This can be used to allow people to find you in the map, or out at sea for rescue. But, it can have its other uses.

Pay attention to your weight!

  • In ECW, items take up inventory space based on their size and mass. If you find yourself unable to move, it's probably due to you being obese over your inventory capacity. You can increase it by 25 units by purchasing a backpack, and increase it by 1 via holding a current server record. Hold H to drop items.

Use the END key.

  • Sometimes you'll find the game will divide by zero and you'll wind up stuck. Pressing END will unstick you, and can be used to kill yourself.

Use your phone and memorize it. It does some incredibly useful things such as:

  • You can call 555-0914 to set a pin on your account, @Jerad2142is a tad paranoid and is afraid someone will hack into the server and log in other players, setting a pin under your account will help protect you from this if it does happen. Once you set a pin you'll have to enter it every time you join the server, and once on every new map.
  • Order your favourite 5 weapons/items and 1 vehicle with it. You will spawn into ECW with your 5 favourites for free and can call your vehicle anytime for its cost.
  • You can use your phone to meet up with people by calling them, when they answer it teleports you to their location.
  • You can also see a list of useful numbers (And some ??? ones) from clicking the middle mouse button or right clicking
  • Vote to End the round, and vote for the next map.
  • Bank your money, cancel your debit cards
  • Purchase a house and its security options.
  • Order various default vehicles from a mysterious helicopter, some of these are very useful (some useless) and the random option can lead to some rare finds!
  • Use it as a weapon! If you can find a tactical nuke on the map you can use your phone to detonate it. Deploy the nuke, and wake up with your phone and press E to enter its number

Get a Job, you hippie!

  • Work can be very lucrative with the right combination of perks. You can work many different jobs so explore around and try different vehicles. Some of note are fishing boats and dingys which can help you eek out an existence relatively safely. For players just starting, finding a cash register and standing in front of it with nothing but your hands is a simple, low paying job to do that has no initial cost (if you don't get fired you can make up to 200 a second without perks and 1,000 a second with).

Duke Nukem Style!

  • Duke Nukem Style! is your primary melee attack. However, it also can be used to hijack vehicles if you can get close enough. This can lead to you to riches or a cost effective means of transport. Watch out for the police, or they might throw you in jail. The kick can also be used to learn about what a PT is selling

Set your Perks.

  • You can utilize perks to increase your abilities or gain advantages for various actions or decisions. You begin with two perk slots as standard and can acquire 3 more by purchasing them in the depths of an infamous government installation for a hefty sum. Make sure to select them before you spawn, as if you set them through your phone they wont take effect until you respawn. Setting your perks in the spawn mode can be done as easily as pressing * on the numpad and following the text based menu form there.


  • Not only do you receive money for discovering new areas, but knowing San Casina in and out will give you quite the edge over its other citizens. ECW is an experience that is best enjoyed through discovery. There is a secret code to crack as you collect cryptic messages in the seas surrounding San Casina that will let you know all kinds of tips or locations other players might not be so willing to tell you.
  • Keycards are vital if you intend to be breaking anyone out of jail or stealing military equipment. If you die, you lose them and have to collect them again. Their locations change, and they can be found in the police station or a variety of locations in the city or desert

Capitalize on misery.

  • This is America after all, and cash is king. Take advantage of disasters such as meteor strikes, or steal from armoured convoys. Certain disasters need certain equipment, and while you may be facing sometimes seemingly insurmountable odds there is a will and a way to profit.

Personalize yourself.

  • While you can't customize your character aesthetically, there are a number of characters for you to choose from any of the master terminals. There are two types, civillian and military which both carry separate skins. You can select even more characters than shown, by holding ALT when you select the character selection screen. Some characters have special abilities and downsides, so experiment! You can also favourite a character so you will always spawn as them. Look for blue squares on your radar to pin down their locations.

Play Nice.

  • ECW is great when utter chaos is a foot, but being a douche who keeps others from making money or having fun is a great way to be loathed by other players. Have some chivalry, and you'll find many doors and possibilities open up to you. Multiple players can take advantage of certain vehicles, and some locations are a lot easier to explore with buddies.

While it is totally possible to figure out just about everything in ECW through gameplay, tutorials, and some exploration, you may find yourself stumped. Never be afraid to ask a question!

Don't forget that there isn't only the main maps to play on, there is also Comet Busters minigame and Mutant Assault mode to enjoy as well as straight up deathmatch just a call away

Known Issues

  • The dreaded black screen - For some reason, some people's computers will suffer from a black screen when attempting to boot the game (not even @Jerad2142escapes this). Some have found that this can be fixed by quickly rebooting your computer and then attempting to launch the game as quickly as possible, others have found the only thing they can do is run ECW in lower resolutions.
  • ECW doesn't support wide screen properly - Because ECW is still running an older version of scripts it only properly supports 6:4 resolutions properly, windowed mode is highly recommended for proper experience if you don't have a 6:4 monitor.  (@Jerad2142suspects it'd take several years to get it up and working on newer versions which is something he wasn't willing to wait for). 
  • Errors On Boot - If you receive an error on boot you might need to install/reinstall directx 9.0c (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8109) early tests ran into this issue a few times, but @danpaul88made some suggestions that possibly fixed the issue.

[blurb]Think you know what it takes to stay alive in ECW? Think again![/blurb]

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another friendly tip, stay away from anyone with a helicopter, as they will MOST LIKELY be out to squish you.... Oh and Fishing with botes is fun too.....

vehicles also take ramming damage, so try to avoid ramming your boats, helicopters, planes, etc. into objects, as 9/10 (with boats and aircraft) you'll die instantly.

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