I'm a crappy impostor, but I like to think I'm becoming a valuable crewmate. In the last few weeks I've started making catches without impostors pulling…well, the sorts of moves I pull as impostor. So I've taken entirely too much time to lay out the things I wish more crewmates would do. I'm sure there have been a hundred of these posts but it's been a while. Unless you're one of those people who leave when you're not impostor, this is 80 or 90 percent of the game. Might as well embrace it.
1. Commit to being a detective between tasks. I'm not saying neglect your tasks. Nobody likes those people either. But those people are abundant in public games, and that means the ratio of vote wins to task wins is often higher than 10:1. Why would you focus all your attention on the latter? Anytime there's not a task panel in your face, actively look for predatory behavior and go out of your way to investigate it.
Story: I was new to Polus but I knew enough to assume lights would be fixed before I got there from the lab. So I went about my task until, sure enough, they came back on. At that moment I noticed purple hurrying out of the adjacent decontamination room toward nowhere in particular, ignoring me. It didn't feel right. I realized the specimen room in the dark would have been an appealing kill site, far from the action. I ran down there and found the body.
a. When a loner sprints past you, note who they are and run in the direction they came from.
b. If someone runs away from a sabotage while you're responding to it, make a note of who and where. It may not be enough to accuse right away–but it will be if a body turns up on the far end.
c. If you glimpse someone being followed down an empty hallway or into a dark room, pretend to go your way and wait two or three seconds before doubling back on them. Trade the crewmate's life for the impostor's in most situations. If you've given the killer a chance to escape, all the better; you avoid the quick-draw game of catching them in the act.
2. Maintain a mental suspect list with appropriate uncertainty. Most clues in this game are shades of gray. They probably mean what they appear to mean. Treating them as absolute truth or throwing them away are both great ways to lose games.
Story: I was alone with lime for an entire round, and then orange joined us for most of the round. I couldn't clear them with certainty, but it was likely they were safe. Then we spent some more time together, including some sabotages we fixed. I still couldn't rule them all the way out but progressively moved them to the bottom of my suspect list. It came down to a body report with the three of us plus yellow and cyan. But yellow had correctly called out the first impostor from cams, when nobody else had seen anything. Tough luck for cyan–he made no mistakes, just got stuck alone with crewmates who had built trust.
On the other hand, if someone won't stop interrogating a crewmate and votes irrationally, you can move that player slightly ahead of the field. When a meeting closes, see tip 1 above and apply it to the suspect list. Follow your suspect at a distance as opportunities present themselves. Don't stay right in his pocket or go into a secluded room with him, but check common kill sites behind him.
If you're going to make an accusation on circumstantial evidence, be articulate. Ask a pointed question and let the accused explain. Too many crewmates just spam BLUE BLUE BLUE VOTE BLUE with a certainty that isn't warranted. Maybe they have solid reasons for blue to be atop their list, but they act like they saw a murder when they didn't. The result is effectively a double kill when they're also voted out 10 seconds later.
3. Pay attention to the camera lights. At first I believed the blinking light was just for impostors' benefit. It's a piece of the crewmate puzzle too–a small one, but occasionally a lifesaver.
Story #1: On Polus, we had one impostor against three crew, including me. We split up for the stabilizers. Things went smoothly in the right one, where I'd somehow wound up alone. I assumed it had gone down in the left one and we were now one cooldown from defeat. Running between them, I noted the red light on the camera. I found a body in the left stabilizer and reported it. At 1v2 with no witnesses, it was coming down to chance. I took one last shot. "Who was on cams?" Orange claimed he'd been on cams, and yellow…agreed?! If yellow had just contradicted orange I would have had to flip a coin. But perhaps not knowing whether I had seen him outside, or just caught off guard by an unexpected detail, he made a fatal mistake.
Story #2: I'd accused both brown and orange, and orange had been ejected and confirmed. I found brown alone on Skeld's cams. Had I been wrong? Just in case, I watched from outside the security door. Then I saw the cam light overhead stop blinking. Brown stood still in front of the screens. Uh oh. A second later, O2 sabotage, right on cue. I ran for my life in the nick of time. We fixed the O2 and I smashed that button.
4. Get everything you can get from the cameras. They're a weapon for the crew. If you pass security and nobody is on them, take a turn.
a. Keep track of who enters and exits doors to vented rooms, especially the Skeld's medbay. Even very good impostors will vent from electrical to medbay and run out a monitored door that they never entered. Watching this door closely for long periods, including sabotages if possible, turns a cautious killer's safest M.O. into a trap.
b. Note who is grouped with whom, who is spending appropriate time on tasks, and who is running around solo taking quick peeks into rooms. You won't often accuse on these behavioral cues alone but you can adjust your suspect list.
c. Consider staying at your post when alarms go off, unless you're actually needed or your top suspect is lurking. Watch how people behave during the response. Yes, the cameras go down with comms, but you're unlikely to reach comms first from there. If the fix is unusually quick you may see something the impostor meant to hide.
5. Watch others' tasks critically.
Story #1: I was half asleep and derped into admin on the Skeld before actually looking at my task list. I realized the card swipe was not on the list. I also realized that blue was standing directly at the far end of the admin table. I watched him stand for a second, then ran to the button. Poor guy didn't know about common tasks and made the worst possible defense in chat: he claimed he was really doing the card swipe.
a. If a common task is not on your list, it is also not on any other crewmate's list. Watch such tasks closely to see if anyone fakes them. Many impostors know better. Many don't.
Story #2: I sort of trusted cyan. Not all the way, but on a "could've killed me back there" level. (See tip 2 above.) I spotted him in the comms doorway and waited for him in the hall. He was taking forever. Blue joined us. Cyan was still tasking. But he wasn't at the left panel for downloading data; he was at the right panel for accepting diverted power. That's a one-second job. I wasn't confident enough to run for the button. Blue was. We said the same thing simultaneously in the chat, and goodbye impostor.
b. Know how long every task should take. If someone is clearly too fast or too slow, call a meeting and ask them why.
c. When visual tasks are on, they're free information. Why do so many crewmates turn down that information?! People running through weapons are especially bad about this. When I'm shooting asteroids, it's rare that anyone stops to see the guns firing. If you can fully trust me, isn't that information worth a second of your time? And if I'm stupid enough to fake it, don't you really need to know that? Always watch anyone who's doing or approaching a visual task.
d. The task bar fills when a crewmate completes a task. Understand that it won't move until the last part of a multi-part task, and the timing can be difficult to match up precisely. But if someone walks away from a one-part task with no movement on the bar for several seconds before or after, you should challenge them.
6. Never stack. For the uninitiated, be aware that a "stack" of several crewmates standing on top of each other at a task represents a free kill. Nobody will be able to tell who did it. I've seen it happen on Polus in groups that should know better. If two crewmates are already fixing comms or lights, or swiping their cards, or watching cams, please stand clear.
7. Get in and out of electrical first. Electrical's layout and easy vent escape make it the most common kill site in the game. Don't be a statistic. Click through the opening "SSSHHHH" screen to get a couple seconds' head start. Use that time to sprint to electrical and do your tasks there as quickly as possible while you know you're alone. My deaths in electrical have dropped dramatically. Impostors rarely risk running straight to medbay and venting to electrical while others are still streaming out of the cafeteria.
8. Don't freak out at "following." Never call a meeting as everyone arrives at their first task and say "orange followed me he sus." Strict social distancing among crewmates is an impostor's playground, free from such inconveniences as alibis and witnesses. If everyone tends toward groups of two and three right out of the gate, yes, you will be personally unlucky and pair off with an impostor in some minority of games. Sorry about it. But then your killer will field tough questions from crewmates with alibis, and if they survive a vote, they'll have to split established groups who already distrust them. Learn to distinguish protective following around the map from opportunistic stalking into kill zones.
9. Be aware of the numbers. With three players left, a meeting must be called before the kill cooldown expires and someone must be voted out. With two impostors in play, you must hold a meeting and eject someone with six players remaining, or a double kill will end the game. If the impostors are competent enough to reach this stage, even random guessing beats giving them a chance to kill. Communicate clearly in chat before voting to ensure that there are no ties or skips in these situations.
If numbers are running low and you haven't seen any crew for an unusually long time, you can call a meeting just to see who's still alive. That's better than having bodies sit undiscovered while an impostor spree-kills to victory without a vote.
Be a detective between tasks
Have a suspect list that accounts for uncertainty
Pay attention to camera lights
Get everything you can get from the cameras
Watch others' tasks
Do electrical first and fast
Be aware of the numbers