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Veterancy is the accumulated amount of combat experience of units deployed to the combat zone. Starting from Tiberian Sun, units may gain veterancy and gain increased health, damage output and other benefits as they level up. Veterancy is primarily acquired by destroying certain amount of enemies, but also can be obtained by other means.
From Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 onwards, commanders will receive the vocal announcement "unit promoted" and a sound effect when a unit gains veterancy.
Units in Tiberian Sun and Firestorm have two levels of veterancy: veteran (signified by two vertical golden bars in its selection rectangle) and elite (signified by a golden star). To advance to the next level, a unit needs to destroy enemies with a combined total of ten times its production cost. For example, a light infantry man costs $120 to train, so he needs to destroy $1200 worth of enemy units and structures to gain a veterancy level. Alternatively, a crate also has a chance of promoting a unit.
A promoted unit gains a 25% bonus to damage dealt, a 30% increase in speed, a 25% increase in armour, and a 20% higher rate of fire for each level of veterancy. Furthermore, some elite units gain additional features, listed below.
|Light infantry||Better rifles|
Automatically scatters from incoming threats
|Disc thrower||Automatically scatters from incoming threats|
|Jump jet infantry||Radar invisibility|
|Wolverine Mk. I||Immune to veins1|
|Titan Mk. I||Sensors (detects stealth)|
|Hover Multiple Launch Rocket System||Self-healing|
|Disruptor||Explodes on death|
|Rocket infantry||Automatically scatters from incoming threats|
|Attack buggy||Infantry crusher|
|Attack cycle||Improved missiles (Hover MRLS)|
Immune to veins
|Tick tank||Improved cannon (double shot, increased damage)|
Sensors (detects stealth)
|Devil's Tongue subterranean flame tank||Self-healing|
|Stealth tank||Explodes on death|
- 1 - useless, as the unit is already coded to be immune to veins
In Tiberium Wars and Kane's Wrath, veterancy plays a bigger role than in Tiberian Sun. There are now three levels of veterancy: veteran, elite, and heroic. Each faction has its own symbols to denote veterancy levels. Units now gain veterancy based on the value of damage dealt, rather than by dealing the final blow. Crates remain as an alternative method to gain veterancy.
As before, promoted units gain increased damage, speed, armour, and rate of fire. Heroic units are able to self-heal, and have significantly increased weapon damage and range. To show this change in weaponry, heroic units have special visual effects when firing: GDI weapons have a red glow, Nod weapons have a bright blue-white glow, and Scrin units have a colourful glow (resembling a Mirage tank). A single heroic Tier-3 unit, when used properly, can be a game-changer.
Mutant Marauders, althrough do not have any insignias to mark veterancy, but also can be promoted through dealing damage, their veterancy can be checked by selecting them (a GDI-fashion symbol can be found in unit info box, only seen in Kane's Wrath).
In Kane's Wrath, some units come already promoted; such as the Black Hand where all Flame Units are deployed as Veterans while their Commandos can be deployed in pairs and at Heroic level.
Tiberian Twilight generally follows Tiberium Wars' design, but defense structures can gain veterancy like units. Also, heroic units no longer have extra range and damage output, but can make up for it by picking up Blue Tiberium Cores.
Picking up a Green Tiberium Core can instantly promote a unit and restore a portion of health.
Red Alert 2's veterancy design is similar to Tiberian Sun's system. However, units gain veterancy much faster, and benefit from it more. Just like in Tiberian Sun, there are two ranks of veterancy: veteran (denoted by a single chevron) and elite (denoted by three chevrons). To be promoted through combat, a unit must destroy one or more enemies with a combined value equal to three times its original cost. Alternatively, a crate can be picked up, and has a chance of giving one free level of veterancy. This effect covers a 5x5 area around the crate, so multiple units (up to 24 tanks) can be promoted at once. The Allied Spy is also able to infiltrate an enemy Barracks or War Factory, giving an automatic promotion to veteran rank for all newly-produced infantry or vehicle units, respectively.
In the expansion pack Yuri's Revenge, infantries garrisoned in structures can also gain veterancy, but those who are loaded in a Battle Fortresses and on an IFVs still cannot be promoted since IFVs' weapons change according to infantries they carry, thus an IFV and the infantry inside it are considered as a single unit (same principles are used in Red Alert 3 and Uprising). Commanders must evacuate/unload infantries to make them able to be promoted.
Promoted units continue to benefit from increased damage, armour, speed, and rate of fire, as in Tiberian Sun. All elite units now self-heal. Also, elite units now gain special improved versions of their weapons. For instance, an elite GI can outrange a Sentry Gun, and an elite Tesla Trooper's Tesla bolt can bounce between multiple targets.
Red Alert 3 and Uprising's veterancy system follows Tiberium Wars' pattern. Symbols and visual effects are similar to GDI's effects from Tiberium Wars. Once again, veterancy crates are highly valuable prizes for commanders.
Veteran Academies will give newly-produced units one level of veterancy per Academy owned, up to three (heroic). Even some non-combat units can have such benefits.
Generals features three veterancy ranks: veteran, elite, and heroic. Veterancy is earned based on the value of enemies destroyed, as in Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2. Like in previous games, promoted units gain increased damage, armour, speed, and rate of fire. Elite and heroic units have the ability to self-heal. Some units such as Red Guards and Technicals can be produced with an automatic veterancy upgrade through a General's Promotion.
The USA can increase the rate at which its units gain veterancy by purchasing the Advanced Training upgrade. Also, pilots of US vehicles that are of veteran, elite, or heroic rank are able to bail out when their vehicle is destroyed, retaining the experience earned by the vehicle. They are then able to pilot any other ground vehicle or aircraft owned by the player, adding their own veterancy rank to the veterancy rank of the new vehicle.
The Chinese Hacker is able to earn veterancy by stealing enough money. This allows them to steal money at a faster rate, increasing with the level of veterancy. Black Lotus is also able to earn veterancy through stealing money from enemy Supply Centers or Supply Stashes, though not from capturing enemy buildings or disabling enemy vehicles. She gains increased health and speed with higher veterancy ranks.
GLA units can receive a veterancy rank when picking up the scrap left behind by destroyed vehicles. For GLA vehicles, this can only occur when no further modifications to the vehicle are possible.
Players themselves can also be 'promoted' for destroying many enemy units and structures. Each promotion earns the player General's Points, which can be spent on unlocking new units, support powers, and upgrades.
All the basic infantry can rank up by capturing structures.