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This section will tell you all you need to know about the Matrix, cyberdecks, programs, ice, and on and on. Make sure you have a working knowledge of the basics before reading this section. If you don't understand, I suggest reading part 4 of Section II first. Now then...

IntroductionEdit

The Matrix is evidence of how well-thought-out this title is: there's actually a point to Matrix runs. It's not just eye candy, or thrown in just to remain loyal to the license. There are a number of legitimate reasons to hire a decker (or to get cybered and jack in yourself) in this game. First of all, there are the actual shadowruns themselves. For an experienced decker, Matrix runs can be very lucrative. The most expensive contracts in the game (6,000¥-plus) are always Matrix runs. And, as one would expect, the Karma bonuses for these runs are accordingly high (+6 Karma for a big-time run). Or, if you want to make some serious cash without having to work through a Johnson, you can jump right in and rustle up as many datafiles as you can, then sell them to Roscoe for potentially huge sums of cash.

Besides using the Matrix and its subsystems for direct financial gain, you can use it as a tool that can help you in corp runs—jacking in from inside the building and playing with SMs and crashing CPUs can make your job a lot easier. Also, downloading datafiles from corporate systems is a great way to learn more about the plot. There are some very illuminating files stashed away in those DS Nodes.

This section is made up of charts, figures and strategies that will help you navigate the Matrix and corporate networks more easily. If you're trying to find out the stats on a deck, or which program to use, or how to hack into networks like a pro, then read on.

CyberdecksEdit

The cyberdeck is what allows you to take the form of the Persona and enter the Matrix. It's a lot like a personal computer in that it uses memory and storage, can be upgraded, and can run programs and manipulate files. If you have a basic understanding of computers in real life, then you should be able to figure out cyberdecks pretty quickly.

StatsEdit

   This part will explain the various statistics for cyberdecks, as well as
   give a rundown of what actions they affect and which ones are the most
   important. Deck specifications fall into three categories: The inherent base
   values that can't be changed, the stats that can be improved via hardware
   upgrades, and the attributes that affect the representation of the Persona.
   First, the two base values (the ones that can't be changed) will be listed,
   then the hardware stats, and finally the attribute ratings.

   -----Base Values-----

   MPCP - Stands for Master Persona Control Program. A deck's MPCP rating can
          never be changed, as it is an inherent signifier of the deck's
          overall worth. Virtually every function that you perform with your
          deck uses the MPCP at least a little bit. Perhaps the most relevant
          piece of information I can give you about the deck's MPCP is that it
          reflects the potential of your deck. Cyberdecks cannot be upgraded
          beyond what their MPCP values can handle. That is, if your deck's
          MPCP is 6, then that's the highest level you'll be able to raise its
          attributes. Because of the reasons listed here, the MPCP is perhaps
          the most important deck statistic, and it should be taken into
          careful consideration when shopping for a new deck.

   Hardening - Another important statistic, Hardening is basically your deck's
               defensive power. Like the MPCP, it cannot be changed via
               hardware upgrades. Despite some people's strategies, the Matrix
               is really more about avoiding detection than destroying
               everything in your path (think about Metal Gear Solid versus
               Quake). For this reason, Hardening plays a large role in the
               Matrix, while there is no statistic specifically relative to
               attack power. Your ability to avoid, absorb, and withstand
               attacks from hostile ice is of much more use than how hard you
               can hit with your own attacks.

   -----Hardware Stats-----

   Response - This statistic is pretty broad -- it affects a wide range of
              actions, most of which have something to do with how you perceive
              and interact with your surroundings in cyberspace. Perhaps most
              noticeably, a higher Response rating will substantially increase
              the overall speed of your deck in performing a number of actions
              such as running, loading, and refreshing utilities.

   Memory - Similar to real life computers, your deck has a limit on how much
            it can do at one time. Each program takes up a certain amount of
            memory, and a given deck can't load any more programs than can fit
            within its memory limits. Regardless of memory, though, you can't
            load any more than five files at a time, period. If your deck is
            short on memory, you'll find yourself having to unload programs in
            order to load other ones. This is time-consuming, tedious, and
            risky, if you're trying to switch programs in the middle of an
            encounter with enemy ice.

   Storage - Unlike Memory, which is how many programs you can have "equipped"
             at one time, Storage is how much you can carry, total, regardless
             of what programs are loaded. If you plan on doing a lot of Matrix
             runs and data sales, you should know that Storage is used not only
             by programs that you buy for your deck, but also for datafiles
             that you download from systems in the Matrix.

   Load/IO Speed - Whereas Response is an inherent value that has some effect
                   on cybercombat speed, Load/IO Speed is an upgradeable rating
                   that has a direct effect on how fast your Persona operates
                   inside the Matrix. As its name states, Load/IO Speed
                   controls how quickly programs can be loaded into memory
                   while in cyberspace.

   -----Attributes-----

   Bod - Bod is your deck's actual defense rating while in the Matrix. Don't
         confuse this with Hardening, which is an unchangeable value attached
         to each deck. If you want to use the analogy of fighting in the real
         world, you can think of Hardening as your natural toughness, and Bod
         as your toughness after you factor in what type of armor you're
         wearing.

   Evasion - Evasion controls the Persona's capability to dodge incoming
             attacks from hostile ice. The higher its rating, the more often
             your Persona will be able to evade attacks.

   Masking - This is perhaps the most important rating of the deck. It affects
             two important areas: Node detection and the Deception program. A
             high Masking attribute means that a.)it will take longer for the
             system to detect your actions and sound alerts; and b.)you will
             have more success when running Deception. Since these are two very
             important parts of the matrix run process, it's usually a good
             idea to invest in a high Masking rating.

   Sensor - This attribute only has one use, and it's not even a very good one.
            Decks with high Sensor ratings will have more success when running
            Analyze. Whoopee.

Upgrade TipsEdit

   After reading the above information, you should have a pretty good idea of
   which stats to upgrade in order to be a more effective decker. But, if you
   still want a little more help, check out these deck tuning tips:

   * The only attribute worth upgrading is Masking. The others will only come
     into play in rare situations, and even then will be of limited value. A
     high Masking rating, on the other hand, will greatly help you avoid many
     kinds of ice, making Matrix runs much easier.

   * As far as the hardware stats go, Load/IO Speed isn't that important since
     you won't have to change programs on the fly very often -- provided you
     have enough space. That's why you should take the time to upgrade your
     Storage and Memory specs often. However, the most important hardware stat
     is Response. Nothing's worse than being matched up against high-level ice
     that you can only hit once out of every 10 or so shots, and having it take
     what seems like forever to refresh the program for each attack. Especially
     against a tracer-type ice, this can be infuriating. So, to give yourself
     at least a fighting chance, you'll want to make sure you can attack at a
     somewhat brisk pace. Pump up on Response and you'll notice an immediate 
     difference.

   * When buying programs, watch your available storage! Make sure to leave
     yourself enough room for datafiles. If you get stuck with less than 200 Mp
     of space, you'll have a tough time trafficking data and will have to
     upgrade your storage or your entire deck.

Deck ListEdit

Here's a list of all the cyberdecks in the game, along with all relevant stats and info for each one, including where you can purchase them. The columns listed are, in order: The name of the cyberdeck, initial/maximum Memory, initial/maximum Storage, initial/maximum Load/IO Speed, Hardening, initial Response, MPCP, the store at which the deck can be bought (MT=Microtronics, CM=Crime Mall), the price, and the Negotiation value of the buyer that corresponds with that price. Also note that all decks have a maximum Response value of 3, so that stat wasn't included in the list.

Finally, note that you can get a Fairlight Excalibur, identical to the one found at the Crime Mall, from Kipp David for 185,000 nuyen. This price never changes, regardless of the character's Negotiation stat. And, of course, no price data on the Allegiance Alpha is available, since you start out with that deck and it isn't sold anywhere.


   Deck Name           Memory  Storage   Load/IO H R MP St Price   At Neg.
   ------------------- ------- --------- ------- - - -- -- ------- -------
   Allegiance Alpha     30/120   100/250   10/30 0 0  3 --      --      --
   Cyber Shack PCD-500  50/160   100/325   20/40 1 0  4 MT   5,000     0-2 
                                                             4,844       3
                                                             4,688       4
                                                             4,532       5
                                                             4,376       6
                                                             4,220       7
                                                             4,064       8
                                                             3,908       9
                                                             3,752      10
                                                             3,596      11
                                                             3,440      12

   Fairlight Excalibur 500/500 1000/1000 100/120 5 3 12 CM 250,000     0-2
                                                           240,240       3
                                                           230,480       4
                                                           220,720       5
                                                           210,960       6
                                                           201,200       7
                                                           191,440       8
                                                           181,680       9
                                                           171,920      10
                                                           162,160      11
                                                           152,400      12

   Fuchi Cyber-5       100/240   500/500   20/60 2 1  6 MT  25,000     0-2
                                                            24,219       3
                                                            23,438       4
                                                            22,657       5
                                                            21,876       6
                                                            21,095       7
                                                            20,314       8
                                                            19,533       9
                                                            18,752      10
                                                            17,971      11
                                                            17,190      12

   Fuchi Cyber-7       300/400 1000/1000  50/100 4 2 10 CM 125,000     0-2
                                                           120,120       3
                                                           115,240       4
                                                           110,360       5
                                                           105,480       6
                                                           100,600       7
                                                            95,720       8
                                                            90,840       9
                                                            85,960      10
                                                            81,080      11
                                                            76,200      12

   SEGA CTY-360        200/320   500/650   50/80 3 1  8 MT  60,000     0-2
                                                            58,125       3
                                                            56,250       4
                                                            54,375       5
                                                            52,500       6
                                                            50,625       7
                                                            48,750       8
                                                            46,875       9
                                                            45,000      10
                                                            43,125      11
                                                            41,250      12

Deck NotesEdit

Just a few quick notes about deck shopping... You start with an Allegiance Alpha. You end up (I assume) with a Fairlight Excalibur. What you do in between is up to you. Personally, I only make one extra hop, usually buying a mid-level deck from Microtronics such as the Cyber-5 or CTY-360. I think that buying any more than that is a waste of time. On the other hand, all the programs and upgrades carry over to the next deck, so if you think it's worth the extra money to be constantly increasing your MPCP, Hardening, and max values, then go ahead—the cost of the deck itself is the only extra money you'll be spending. Still, the low-mid-high route should be more than enough to get you through the varying difficulties of each Matrix system. My advice is to get your Alpha to the point where it can take out green DSs easily, then start working toward the mid-level deck. After you buy the mid- level deck, hold on to it for as long as you can until you have the money for the Excalibur.

ProgramsEdit

Programs are perhaps more commonly referred to in the game as "utilities," but I'm calling them programs in this FAQ just because it sounds better. So there.

Program TipsEdit

The programs in Shadowrun are perhaps one of the few areas in the game that are kind of weak. That is, most programs are unnecessary and basically pointless. Only a handful are truly useful inside the Matrix, and I recommend that you not bother with wasting space by buying the others unless it's to feed a Tar Pit (see Part 5 in this section, Matrix Strategies).

The two essential programs if you want to do any Matrix running are Attack and Deception. If you don't have these programs in decent levels, you can forget about being able to do anything in the Matrix. I know I've said this before, but I can't stress it enough: Use Deception first, and switch to Attack ONLY after the ice has become hostile. Battles can be long, drawn out, boring, and quite dangerous, if the Persona is overmatched. On the other hand, even if it takes five or six tries to crack a Node with Deception, it would still probably have taken longer to kill it with Attack. This is assuming you have equivalent program versions and deck stats, of course. If you want, you can even focus most of your upgrades on your deck's Masking stat and higher versions of the Deception program. It's truly the most important program there is.

There are other programs with a lesser amount of usefulness, and some with none at all. If you want to know what I think of each program, check out the comprehensive listing in the next subsection.

When buying programs, it is very important to consider your deck's storage and memory limitations. More and more advanced versions will use more and more storage and memory, so make sure you will have enough. Keep in mind that you need enough memory to have at least Deception and Attack loaded simultaneously, and hopefully one or two others, as well. Also, you need around 300 Mp of free storage in addition to your programs if you plan on collecting and selling data.

Program ListEdit

Here's the full list of all the programs in the game. For the purpose of this FAQ, I've divided the programs into four Types: Small, Medium, Large, and Special. These categories define the program's size and price for all versions. The stats are consistent, so you can expect two different Medium programs to always take up the same amount of space as one another, and to cost the same too. In fact, the scheme is very simple: the prices and sizes of Medium programs are exactly two times those of equal-version Small programs, and the Large programs are three times as big and expensive as Smalls. Using that information, you could extrapolate all the data you need, but this is a FAQ after all, so I've tried to help by typing out the tables below. Also, the two Special programs—Rebound and Degrade—follow their own pricing scheme, so you'll need to look at each program's entry for that information.

   
   SMALL PROGRAMS follow this size/price scheme:

                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
   Program Level      |  L1  |  L2  |  L3  |  L4  |  L5  |  L6  |  L7  |  L8  |
                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
   Program Size       |   2  |   8  |  18  |  32  |  50  |  72  |  98  | 128  |
                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
   Price @ 0-2 Negot. |    60|   480| 1,620| 3,840| 7,500|12,960|20,580|30,720|
   Price @ 3 Negot.   |    59|   465| 1,570| 3,720| 7,266|12,555|19,937|29,760|
   Price @ 4 Negot.   |    58|   450| 1,520| 3,600| 7,032|12,150|19,294|28,800|
   Price @ 5 Negot.   |    57|   435| 1,470| 3,480| 6,798|11,745|18,651|27,840|
   Price @ 6 Negot.   |    56|   420| 1,420| 3,360| 6,564|11,340|18,008|26,880|
   Price @ 7 Negot.   |    55|   405| 1,370| 3,240| 6,330|10,935|17,365|25,920|
   Price @ 8 Negot.   |    54|   390| 1,320| 3,120| 6,096|10,530|16,722|24,960|
   Price @ 9 Negot.   |    53|   375| 1,270| 3,000| 5,862|10,125|16,079|24,000|
   Price @ 10 Negot.  |    52|   360| 1,220| 2,880| 5,628| 9,720|15,436|23,040|
   Price @ 11 Negot.  |    51|   345| 1,170| 2,760| 5,394| 9,315|14,793|22,080|
   Price @ 12 Negot.  |    50|   330| 1,120| 2,640| 5,160| 8,910|14,150|21,120|
                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+

   MEDIUM PROGRAMS follow this size/price scheme:

                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
   Program Level      |  L1  |  L2  |  L3  |  L4  |  L5  |  L6  |  L7  |  L8  |
                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
   Program Size       |   3  |  12  |  27  |  48  |  75  | 108  | 143  | 192  |
                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
   Price @ 0-2 Negot. |    90|   720| 2,430| 5,760|11,250|19,440|30,870|46,080|
   Price @ 3 Negot.   |    88|   698| 2,355| 5,580|10,899|18,833|29,906|44,640|
   Price @ 4 Negot.   |    86|   676| 2,280| 5,400|10,548|18,226|28,942|43,200|
   Price @ 5 Negot.   |    84|   654| 2,205| 5,220|10,197|17,619|27,978|41,760|
   Price @ 6 Negot.   |    82|   632| 2,130| 5,040| 9,846|17,012|27,014|40,320|
   Price @ 7 Negot.   |    80|   610| 2,055| 4,860| 9,495|16,405|26,050|38,880|
   Price @ 8 Negot.   |    78|   588| 1,980| 4,680| 9,144|15,798|25,086|37,440|
   Price @ 9 Negot.   |    76|   566| 1,905| 4,500| 8,793|15,191|24,122|36,000|
   Price @ 10 Negot.  |    74|   544| 1,830| 4,320| 8,442|14,584|23,158|34,560|
   Price @ 11 Negot.  |    72|   522| 1,755| 4,140| 8,091|13,977|22,194|33,120|
   Price @ 12 Negot.  |    70|   500| 1,680| 3,960| 7,740|13,370|21,230|31,680|
                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+

   LARGE PROGRAMS follow this size/price scheme:

                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
   Program Level      |  L1  |  L2  |  L3  |  L4  |  L5  |  L6  |  L7  |  L8  |
                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
   Program Size       |   4  |  16  |  36  |  64  | 100  | 144  | 196  | 256  |
                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
   Price @ 0-2 Negot. |   120|   960| 3,240| 7,680|15,000|25,920|41,160|61,440|
   Price @ 3 Negot.   |   117|   930| 3,139| 7,440|14,532|25,110|39,874|59,520|
   Price @ 4 Negot.   |   114|   900| 3,038| 7,200|14,064|24,300|38,588|57,600|
   Price @ 5 Negot.   |   111|   870| 2,937| 6,960|13,596|23,490|37,302|55,680|
   Price @ 6 Negot.   |   108|   840| 2,836| 6,720|13,128|22,680|36,016|53,760|
   Price @ 7 Negot.   |   105|   810| 2,735| 6,480|12,660|21,870|34,730|51,840|
   Price @ 8 Negot.   |   102|   780| 2,634| 6,240|12,192|21,060|33,444|49,920|
   Price @ 9 Negot.   |    99|   750| 2,533| 6,000|11,724|20,250|32,158|48,000|
   Price @ 10 Negot.  |    96|   720| 2,432| 5,760|11,256|19,440|30,872|46,080|
   Price @ 11 Negot.  |    93|   690| 2,331| 5,520|10,788|18,630|29,586|44,160|
   Price @ 12 Negot.  |    90|   660| 2,230| 5,280|10,320|17,820|28,300|42,240|
                      +------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+

   For each entry, you'll see the name of the program, the program's
   description in the game, the program Type (as shown above), where it can be
   bought, and finally, my personal comments on the usefulness of the program,
   including a numerical rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most
   useful.

   ###ATTACK###
   Attack is used to destroy ("crash") IC. Attack becomes necessary when
   Masking fails.

   Type: Small

   Available: Crime Mall, Microtronics

   Usefulness: 9
      Attack is mandatory for defeating hostile ice, which can be found on
      nearly every system. If you want to take a CPU of any kind, you'll need
      to rely on a strong Attack program. Here's some trivia for you: out of
      the 397 total Nodes in the game, 152 use either Barrier or BlackIce (the
      two ice types that must be destroyed using Attack), or both. That's about
      38%, so you can expect to be forced to use Attack against more than one-
      third of the Nodes you come across. Make sure to have the highest version
      of this program that your deck can take before doing any decking.

   ###SLOW###
   Slow reduces the IC's reactions, delaying attacks and alerts. Slow does
   nothing against Trace IC.

   Type: Large

   Available: Crime Mall, Microtronics

   Usefulness: 3
      Using Slow just, well, slows the ice down. It doesn't make it any weaker
      or damage it, it just makes its actions take longer. This is of marginal
      use against ice forms that can sound alerts or damage the Persona as time
      goes by, but once you've entered combat, you shouldn't waste any time
      messing around. This could have been a little more useful if the
      programmers would have allowed it to slow the movement of Trace-type
      probes across the screen -- but, alas, it has no such effect. Finally, if
      you use Slow enough to slow an ice down to its lowest speed, then just
      keep Slowing it, it will eventually be destroyed. I can't think of any
      use for this, since it takes much longer than old-fashioned attacking.
      Well, maybe if you just lost your Attack to a Tar Pit and you need to
      finish the run... but let's face it, after you lose Attack, your run is
      pretty much screwed no matter what.

   ###DEGRADE###
   Degrade attempts to lower a Node's Security Rating. Both the Node's & the
   IC's defenses become weakened.

   Type: Special

   Available: See notes below

   Usefulness: 6
      This program is only available in two versions: a 36-Mp Level 3 version
      available from Wilma Temmenhoff for 3,000 nuyen, and a 144-Mp Level 6
      version available from Kipp David for 30,000 nuyen. Technically, it's
      also available as a 64-Mp Level 4 version, but that's only if you use the
      debug cheat and use Test Deck. As far as the program itself, it can be
      pretty useful if you are in over your head and need to weaken the Node a
      little bit before attacking -- after one or two shots, you'll notice a
      significant difference. Then again, it won't save you a whole lot more
      time than if you had simply attacked all the way through. And of course
      it goes without saying that using Deception is better than entering
      combat in the first place.

   ###REBOUND###
   Rebound bounces attacks back at the attacker. Rebound weakens slowly with
   each interception.

   Type: Special

   Available: See notes below

   Usefulness: 2
      This program is only available in two versions: a 27-Mp Level 3 version
      available from Wilma Temmenhoff for 3,000 nuyen, and a 108-Mp Level 6
      version available from Kipp David for 30,000 nuyen. Technically, it's
      also available as a 48-Mp Level 4 version, but that's only if you use the
      debug cheat and use Test Deck. It's a largely useless program, too.
      Unless you have the highest version of the program and a seriously
      pumped-up deck, it won't work well enough to be worth the effort. And if
      your deck is that buff anyway, you won't need to run a goofy helper
      program such as Rebound. In typical usage, Rebound will deflect each
      attack back at the ice, but will usually break after only two or three
      deflections. It's basically a defensive program, but you usually don't
      need that much protection anyway, and it's not sturdy enough for it to be
      worth re-running each time it breaks. Just keep blasting with Attack and
      don't waste time on fluff like this.

   ###MEDIC###
   Medic repairs damage taken by the Persona. Seriously damaged Personas repair
   at a slower rate.

   Type: Large

   Available: Crime Mall, Microtronics

   Usefulness: 4
      Medic is good at what it does, the problem is that what it does is rarely
      needed. If the program is a decent level, yeah, you'll be able to heal
      yourself up pretty well. But as long as you're not trying to hack a
      system that's way out of your league, you probably won't be in a
      situation where you would need to heal. Even high-level ice will miss
      most of the time against evenly-matched Personas, and when they do hit,
      they don't often cause any damage. Finally, just so you know, Medic is
      one of those programs that must reload -- not just refresh -- after each
      use.

   ###SHIELD###
   Shield reduces damage from most attacks. Each hit it degrades. Shield is
   useless against Black IC.

   Type: Large

   Available: Crime Mall, Microtronics

   Usefulness: 3
      Pretty worthless if you use the stealth approach to decking. Even if you
      like to duke it out with each Node you come across, though, Shield is
      still pretty weak. As mentioned before, most attacks by ice are very
      inaccurate and weak, so you won't need that much protection anyway. Of
      course, the one ice type that is actually dangerous enough to warrant a
      little extra protection -- BlackIce -- will not be affected by Shield.
      Thanks, Sega.

   ###SMOKE###
   Smoke creates electronic chaos. ALL actions have added difficulty. Smoke
   degrades every 4 seconds.

   Type: Small

   Available: Crime Mall

   Usefulness: 1
      Holy lord, this is one awful program. Just read the description -- every
      single thing that either you or the Node tries to do will probably fail.
      Wheee! How could this possibly help you?!? Well, there's a TINY upside to
      it -- see the next part, Matrix Strategies. Oh yeah, this is another
      program that must reload after each use.

   ###MIRRORS###
   Mirrors confounds IC and Deckers, decreasing their attack accuracy. Mirrors
   degrades every 4 seconds.

   Type: Medium

   Available: Crime Mall, Microtronics

   Usefulness: 2
      Less retarded than Smoke, but still pretty retarded, Mirrors only makes
      attacks less accurate, instead of all actions. The problem is, if the
      Node has been tripped up and the ice is attacking you, what else can you
      do but run Attack? I mean, it's not like you can still try to run
      Deception while under attack from a hostile Node. In that case, Mirrors
      would be at least kind of useful, to help you dodge attacks while trying
      to crack the Node with Deception. But, that's not how things work, and
      the result is that the most you can get out of Mirrors is a few extra
      seconds to run non-attack programs like Medic and Analyze, which you
      probably don't need to run anyway. Finally, note that Mirrors is one of
      the three programs that must reload -- not just refresh -- after each
      use.

   ###SLEAZE###
   Sleaze allows the Persona to bypass the Node without affecting it in any 
   manner.

   Type: Medium

   Available: Crime Mall, Microtronics

   Usefulness: 7
      Assuming you have a higher-level version of the program, Sleaze can
      actually be pretty helpful. It's a non-combat program that will allow you
      past the Node if successful, no matter what type of ice is guarding it.
      In this respect, it's better than Deception, since you can even fool
      Barrier and BlackIce with Sleaze. However, there are two downsides. For
      one, it only allows you PAST the Node, not inside. So if you need to do
      something inside the Node (such as retrieving data from a DS or shutting
      off an alert from a CPU), you'll still have to beat the ice the old-
      fashioned way. The other drawback is that since the program doesn't
      actually defeat the ice so much as sneak around it, the ice will still be
      there if you revisit the Node, and you'll have to deal with it all over
      again. All in all, it's a pretty decent program, but don't hold back on a
      new version of Attack or Deception just to have Sleaze on your deck. It's
      not THAT great.

   ###DECEPTION###
   Deception creates passcodes to fool Access & Gray IC. Deception has no
   effect on Barrier or Black IC.

   Type: Small

   Available: Crime Mall

   Usefulness: 10
      Deception is hands-down the most useful program in the game. First of
      all, one successful run will instantly kill the ice. Second, it will work
      against every ice type except for two (even Trace ice, which is great
      since it can take a dangerously long time to destroy some Trace ice via
      Attack, and also, you won't have to waste space and money buying
      Relocate). Finally, by using Deception as your first move every time, you
      will avoid a LOT of combat, greatly increasing your chances of staying on
      the system. If you read the notes on Attack, you'd see it mentioned that
      about a third of the Nodes in the game require Attack to kill. Well, that
      means the remaining two-thirds of all Nodes in the game can be defeated
      with Deception! That's really a great statistic, and I recommend giving
      first priority to upgrading your deck's Masking attribute and getting new
      versions of Deception whenever possible.

   ###RELOCATE###
   Relocate leads any Trace IC on a wild goose chase. If successful, the Trace
   ends immediately.

   Type: Small

   Available: Crime Mall

   Usefulness: 4
      This one was hard to set a number on because it can be pretty useful in
      the right situation, but most of the time isn't necessary. For the
      record, Relocate will instantly defeat any Trace ice if successful. But,
      running Deception will have the same effect. So, Relocate is largely
      redundant. The only time when it's better than Deception is when you've
      tripped a Trace IC and it starts sending the Trace probe across the
      screen. At this point, you've entered combat, and Deception will no
      longer be able to be run. However, you can keep trying Relocate to the
      bitter end... though some would say that you might as well invest all
      that time in running Attack...

   ###ANALYZE###
   Analyze scans the Node and its IC for information. Multiple Analyzes may be
   required for hidden info.

   Type: Medium

   Available: Microtronics

   Usefulness: 3
      I think this program would be more useful to people that aren't using
      this FAQ. As it is, nearly all the info that Analyze can give you about a
      particular Node and its ice can be found in the System List section of
      this FAQ (Section XII). Also, unless you have a monster system and the
      best version of the program available, it will take several scans to get
      all the information. One thing that Analyze can give you that this FAQ
      can't, however, is the little life bar that appears once you've scanned
      all the info available for a Node. It's kind of helpful knowing just how
      close to defeating the Node you are. The other thing that Analyze can
      tell you that this FAQ can't (well, technically, I could compile a list,
      but it would be the biggest waste of time ever known to man) is how
      successful your loaded programs will be against this particular Node. The
      vertical success bars next to each program icon will only give a reading
      if the Node and its ice is completely scanned. Kind of helpful, I guess,
      to have an estimate of how effective your programs will be, but is it
      going to influence your decision of which programs to run? Probably not.
      Overall, Analyze is kind of a waste of time. Tar Pit fodder at best (see
      Part 5).

Matrix SystemsEdit

This part is kind of an advanced version of the Matrix intro section, offering more information in much more detail about the ins and outs of Matrix running.

NodesEdit

To review some basic information, there are six types of Nodes in the game: CPUs, DSs, IOPs, SANs, SMs, and SPUs. Each has a distinct function, and each is classified with a color (Blue, Green, Orange, Red) and a security rating (1 through 7). The color and rating of a Node determine its overall strength and power. It's hard to generate concrete evidence, but it appears that the colors represent different levels of power while the ratings represent varying degrees of power within each level. That is, the order of strengths, from weakest to strongest, is Blue (1-7), Green (1-7), Orange (1-7), Red (1-7) -- so that, for example, a Red 1 Node is slightly more powerful than an Orange 7. Again, this is the best theory I could come up with and while it appears to be correct, it's hard to say for sure.

Anyway, here's a list of each type of Node. Each list entry will have the following information: Node abbreviation, Node name, stats on how often you'll see the Node (expressed in a percentage of all Nodes that are of this type, then the average number you'll encounter on each system), the shape it takes on the system map, the shape it takes inside the actual system, my personal notes about the Node, and a list of the functions you can perform once inside, complete with explanations of each.

   ###CPU###
   Central Processing Unit

   Occurrence: 6.3% (1.0 per system)

   On Map: Hexagon with smaller concentric hexagon inside

   In Matrix: Hexagon-based polyhedron (technically, an octadecahedron - 18
              sides) with three orbital rings

   Notes: Each system has one, and only one, CPU. It's the brain of the system,
          so it's naturally the most heavily guarded.

   Functions: Go To Node - Transports the user directly to any Node on the
                           system without stopping at any Nodes along the way.
                           Note that it's a one-way trip, and after you've been
                           dropped off at your destination, you'll have to
                           fight your way back through any unconquered Nodes.

              Cancel Alert - Resets the alert system, canceling both Passive
                             and Active Alert status. Very handy... the only
                             way that alerts can be canceled, too. Note also
                             that when an alarm is going off inside a building,
                             the corporation's matrix system will be on Active
                             Alert as well. If you wanted to jack in at such a
                             time and were able to make it inside the CPU,
                             canceling the alert will end the alarm as well.

              Crash System - This crashes the system, ejecting you while
                             crippling the CPU. It only really has two uses:
                             Some Matrix runs will require that you crash a
                             CPU -- but more importantly, if you crash a corp's
                             CPU from inside the building, it will deactivate
                             all cameras and maglocks. Pretty nice.

   ###DS###
   Datastore

   Occurrence: 30.7% (4.9 per system)

   On Map: Square

   In Matrix: Cube with a hole in one visible face and pairs of triangular
              studs on each of the other two visible faces

   Notes: These Nodes are where you'll get all your data to sell. The vast
          majority of Matrix runs also involve some kind of data transfer from
          within a particular DS.

   Functions: Leave Node - Leaves the Node to travel to one of the adjacent
                           Nodes.

              Transfer Data - If you're on a Matrix run where you have to
                              upload a file to this particular DS, Transfer
                              Data will perform that function. Similarly, if
                              you're on a run that requires you to retrieve a
                              certain file from this DS, Transfer Data will do
                              that as well. In all other situations, choosing
                              this option will begin a search for random data
                              files. The higher the decker's Computer
                              attribute, the more likely you'll find something.
                              If something is found, you'll be given the option
                              of keeping the file on your deck. Pay attention
                              to the file sizes, as you can only hold as many
                              datafiles as can fit into your deck's free
                              Storage. Regardless of the Storage limitations,
                              though, your deck can only hold a maximum of five
                              files at a time, period. Rarely (unless you've
                              studied this guide and know where and when to
                              find them), you'll download a file that has
                              information that will help you in your quest.
                              When this happens, the screen will tell you that
                              you've found "an interesting file that you
                        	download to your notebook." After you jack out,
                              be sure to check out your notebook for the new
                              clue.

              Erase - This command's only purpose is if you're on a Matrix run
                      to delete a file. Otherwise it's a waste of time, and one
                      more chance for the system to catch you and set off an
                      alert.

   ###IOP###
   Input/Output Port

   Occurrence: 16.3% (2.6 per system)

   On Map: Triangle

   In Matrix: Triangular pyramid with rounded bulges on each face

   Notes: These things are pretty useless. It may be worth noting, however,
          that IOPs (not SANs) are where you enter the system if you jack in
          from inside the corp building. Each terminal inside the building
          corresponds to a particular IOP, and generally speaking, terminals on
          higher floors with tighter security will lead to IOPs that are closer
          to the CPU.

   Functions: Leave Node - Leaves the Node to travel to one of the adjacent
                           Nodes.

              Lockout - As near as I can tell, this does nothing. It SOUNDS
                        like it does something, giving you the message and all,
                        but I've never noticed anything different after locking
                        out an IOP.

   ###SAN###
   System Access Node

   Occurrence: 6.3% (1.0 per system)

   On Map: Rectangle

   In Matrix: Rectangular computer chip with seven pins visible on the front
              face (kind of resembles the chips you would see on a SIMM for
              your PC)

   Notes: This is the first Node you will come to if you enter a system from a
          public terminal. SANs are generally very low security and will often
          be unguarded, even on high-end systems. Like the CPU, each system has
          one, and only one, SAN.

   Functions: Enter System - Leaves the Node to travel to one of the adjacent
                             Nodes (same as Leave Node in other Nodes).

   ###SM###
   Slave Module

   Occurrence: 19.4% (3.1 per system)

   On Map: Circle

   In Matrix: Sphere with two sets of square notches around it

   Notes: These can be a little bit of a help from inside corp buildings: each
          corp system is guaranteed to have both a Maglocks SM and a Cameras
          SM. Shutting off the former will disable all cameras, while shutting
          off the latter will open all maglocked doors. Besides that, though,
          SMs don't really have any other purpose. Note also that shutting off
          an Alert Control SM has no effect on either Matrix alerts or corp
          building alarms. Bummer.

   Functions: Leave Node - Leaves the Node to travel to one of the adjacent
                           Nodes.

              Turn Off Node - Takes the Node offline. As mentioned in the notes
                              above, this only has two uses, and is largely for
                              atmosphere, like the IOPs.

   ###SPU###
   Sub-Processor Unit

   Occurrence: 23.2% (3.7 per system)

   On Map: Hexagon

   In Matrix: Hexagon-based polyhedron (technically, an octadecahedron - 18
              sides)

   Notes: These types of Nodes are basically only there for structure. SPUs
          usually don't serve any purpose but to be just another Node with ice
          that deckers have to get through in order to reach the juicy CPUs and
          DSs. You'll spend a lot of time going from SPU to SPU in your
          travels.

   Functions: Leave Node - Leaves the Node to travel to one of the adjacent
                           Nodes.

IceEdit

IC, the abbreviation for Intrusion Countermeasures, is usually referred to as ice. In this game, there are several types of ice, each with its own behavior, characteristics, and weaknesses. Ice are ranked from 1 to 7 in terms of overall strength, but that rating is increased by 1 during Passive Alert, and by 2 during Active Alert. So, it is possible to have a level 9 ice, if only temporarily. The rating of the ice represents all of its stats: how powerful its attacks are, how hard it is to hit with Attack or crack with Deception and others, how often it attacks, et cetera.

Lower-end systems will have Nodes that use only one ice, or none at all. By the time you have worked your way to the big-time corp systems, though, almost all the Nodes you encounter will be guarded by two ice. For Nodes with two ice forms, which one you see will depend on the alert status.

What follows is a list of all the ice types and their characteristics. Occurrence is how often you'll come across the ice, followed by the percentage of all ice forms that are of that type. Graphic is a description of what the ice actually looks like. Combat is a description of what the ice does during combat, whether it be sending out probes, attacking the Persona, etc. Weak Against will tell you if the ice can be instantly defeated by using Deception and/or Relocate. Finally, Notes is any extra notes I have about the ice.


   ###ACCESS###

   Occurrence: Common (20.0%)

   Graphic: A square hatch with doors that repeatedly slide open and shut

   Combat: Access will send out one probe for each failed attempt of the
           Persona to run a program. Each probe that reaches the edge of the
           screen has a small chance of triggering an alert.

   Weak Against: Deception

   Notes: The most common form of ice, and one of the simplest. Almost never a
          real threat, even in combat.

   ###BARRIER###

   Occurrence: Common (15.9%)

   Graphic: A rotating three-spoked circular spark

   Combat: Barrier will send out one probe for each failed attempt of the
           Persona to run a program. Each probe that reaches the edge of the
           screen has a small chance of triggering an alert.

   Weak Against: None (must be attacked)

   Notes: The only ice form besides BlackIce that has to be attacked instead of
          destroyed via Deception. Kind of a pain, but the ice is generally
          pretty weak and doesn't often manage to set off any alerts.

   ###BLACKICE###

   Occurrence: Common (13.3%)

   Graphic: A dark form that changes color while morphs back and forth between
            a circle and a four-point star

   Combat: Will periodically launch attacks directly at the decker, damaging
           his or her Physical health instead of simply hurting the Persona.

   Weak Against: None (must be attacked)

   Notes: The game makes it seem like this is the absolute worst ice you will
          come across, but I think that's nonsense. It's a distant third behind
          the two Tar ices. The worst BlackIce can do is dump you from the
          system and knock you out. Big deal, that's what medkits and healing
          spells are for. Now, if a Tar Pit eats your level 8 Attack program,
          suddenly it's Active Alert and you have no way of attacking so your
          run is totally fragged, but even worse, you have to spend all those
          hundreds of thousands of nuyen to get back up to the program level
          that you had.

   ###BLASTER###

   Occurrence: Average (12.6%)

   Graphic: An orange and black explosion

   Combat: In combat, Blaster will periodically attack the Persona.

   Weak Against: Deception

   Notes: Really nothing to worry about. Even if you somehow screwed up trying
          to run Deception and entered combat, it would take ten years for the
          average Blaster to knock a decent decker off the system. Blaster will
          often hide behind Barrier or (less often) Access.

   ###KILLER###

   Occurrence: Average (10.2%)

   Graphic: Blue-gray sphere with electrical current circling around it

   Combat: In combat, Killer will periodically attack the Persona.

   Weak Against: Deception

   Notes: This thing behaves exactly like Blaster. What's the difference? I'm
          not sure, but I think that Killer is slightly more advanced. Once
          provoked, it seems to attack more often. That still doesn't make it
          much of a threat. Also, it seems to have a preference for hiding
          behind Access, whereas the opposite is true for Blaster. Still,
          that's not much of a difference.

   ###TAR PAPER###

   Occurrence: Rare (6.7%)

   Graphic: Brownish goo (tar, I guess) teeming and bubbling

   Combat: When triggered by a run failure, Tar Paper will erase the program
           the Persona was trying to run from memory only, not from the deck
           entirely.

   Weak Against: (not applicable)

   Notes: When you get hit by Tar Paper, you'll still have the program on your
          deck, it will just have to be reloaded -- not a big deal. The more
          annoying aspect of Tar Paper is that, like its cousin Tar Pit, Tar
          Paper will also immediately go to Active Alert upon activation,
          before disappearing. A real pain to come across. Also like Tar Pit,
          Tar Paper will always be found hiding behind another ice of almost
          any kind.

   ###TAR PIT###

   Occurrence: Average (8.9%)

   Graphic: An orange circle with tar bubbling inside of it

   Combat: When triggered by a run failure, Tar Pit will PERMANENTLY erase the
           program that the Persona was trying to run, immediately switch to
           Active Alert, and then disappear.

   Weak Against: (not applicable)

   Notes: The biggest pain in the ass in the entire game, I'd say. This thing
          is the reason you should save before entering any mid- to high-end
          system. Tar Pit (and its slightly less harmful cousin, Tar Paper)
          always occurs hiding behind another form of ice -- any form, except
          for Trace ice and, of course, another Tar ice. As soon as you fail in
          the presence of Tar Pit, it will work its magic and leave you with a
          seriously crippled program lineup.

   ###TRACE & BURN###

   Occurrence: Rare (6.4%)

   Graphic: A dark cylindrical base with a spherical probe topped with a flame 

   Combat: When combat begins, Trace & Burn will send its probe slowly across
           the screen. If it reaches the edge of the screen, the Persona will
           be dumped from the system and the deck's MPCP may be damaged.

   Weak Against: Deception and Relocate

   Notes: This ice can actually be a pain in lower levels, when you may not be
          able to destroy the ice in time to keep the probe from reaching the
          edge and dumping you. After you have some good hardware and software,
          and after your decker has gained some experience, though, they will
          be much less of a threat. Remember, if you get dumped by Trace &
          Burn, your deck will probably be fried and you won't be able to jack
          in again until you've taken it to a computer shop for MPCP repairs.

   ###TRACE & DUMP###

   Occurrence: Rare (5.9%)

   Graphic: A dark cylindrical base with a spherical probe topped with a plume
            of smoke

   Combat: When combat begins, Trace & Dump will send its probe slowly across
           the screen. If it reaches the edge of the screen, the Persona will
           be dumped from the system.

   Weak Against: Deception and Relocate

   Notes: Not that much of a hassle, unless you're in the early levels. If your
          decker and/or deck is underpowered, you may find yourself getting
          dumped by this ice quite often, since it can be hard to get in enough
          hits to destroy the ice before the probe gets to the edge. Kind of
          frustrating when it's like that, but after you start upgrading, Trace
          & Dumps won't be a nuisance at all.

System NotesEdit

There isn't a whole lot about Matrix systems that hasn't been covered in the preceding subsections, but here goes:

First of all, it's helpful to keep in mind that SPUs are used as the 'backbone' of many systems. If you're not using the maps provided, a good way to find the CPU is to follow the SPUs. Nodes such as IOPs, DSs and SMs are sometimes used to connect different parts of the system to one another, but not often. If you want to fully explore the system in as little time as possible, just hop from SPU to SPU until you see the Node you're looking for.

Although this FAQ doesn't recommend running a variety of programs, there will be those who want to use more than just Attack and Deception, for one reason or another. For these people, I suggest you not forget the importance of the time when you first arrive at a Node. Until you enter combat by either failing a program run or attacking, you can use Medic to heal up, equip a Shield, run Analyze, just about anything. Don't waste time by doing these things after combat has begun. Get them out of the way while you have all the time you need.

This was briefly mentioned in the beginning info on the Matrix section (Section II, Part 4), but it's pretty handy, so I thought I should clarify here. Suppose you enter a system for whatever reason. You do what you need to do and jack out. Afterward, you return to exactly the same system without visiting any other system in between. When you come back, you'll notice that the system map is the same as it was when you left—you don't have to start from scratch. Also, all Nodes that you defeated the first time around will be color-coded on the map and fully identified when you travel to them. Of course, you'll still have to battle the ice and everything, but it's kind of nice to have a Node fully identified without having to run Analyze a bunch of times.

If you've gotten into combat with Access or Barrier and want to keep the ice's probes from triggering any alerts (this won't happen often if your Persona is generally evenly matched with the Node and its ice, but against powerful Nodes, it's definitely something to worry about), you should know that if the ice gets hit, it cancels the probe. So, time your attacks so that the ice is hit while the probe is going across, and it will disappear. For this purpose, you should know that the light attack is the "quickest" attack: it takes the shortest amount of time to get to the target once it is fired. The hard and medium attacks take slightly longer.

Matrix StrategiesEdit

Here are just a few miscellaneous notes and strategies for decking that didn't fit in anywhere else.

  • One way to get around Nodes with Tar Pit is to store copies of low-level programs on your deck. When you come to the Node with Tar Pit, run the low- level program a few times until it fails and gets eaten by the ice. Yes, this will kick the system up to Active Alert, but on the other hand, Tar Pit will be gone and all of your important programs will be intact. If you don't mind the tradeoff, this is a good way to guarantee that you won't lose your expensive high-end programs. Level 1 programs are very cheap and can be replaced easily, before each time you go into the Matrix. If your deck and decker are both very advanced and you're having trouble getting a program to fail, just use Smoke which, if it doesn't fail itself, will almost certainly make the next program you try to run fail.
  • Another use of Tar Pit and the Smoke program is if you have a program that you want to get rid of because it's unused, or just to save space. Since there is no way to delete programs from your deck, you have to rely on Tar Pits when you want to get rid of one. It's kind of a pain, but at least it works. Find a Tar Pit, run Smoke (if it'll help) and then run the unwanted program until it fails. Let me stress it again: Yes, this is the ONLY way you can delete programs from your deck. Sorry.
  • Data selling can be the most efficient way to make money in the game—if you're prepared for it. You simply can't just jump in and start doing it. The most significant upgrade you need to make before trying to sell data is your decker's Computer attribute. This has three extremely important effects that relate to stealing and selling data:
  1. A high Computer rating will make all programs you run more effective. This means fewer failures, so less combat... and even in combat, a high Computer rating will increase each attack's damage and accuracy.
  2. As your Computer rating increases, it will take less effort to find a datafile when searching a DS. If you try to search a DS with a low Computer rating, you'll probably only find one file every 5 tries or so. It's a very inefficient way of doing things, even more so when you consider the last point:
  3. The lower your Computer rating, the more frequently your actions will be detected by the system. I would say that the #1 reason most people have unsuccessful data runs is that they trip up the system too many times and get booted before they have a full load. By the time your Computer rating is up to 10 or 12, you'll almost never get caught inside a Node.

So, if you're getting frustrated because your data-selling scheme isn't proving to be as lucrative as you thought, you should take a look at your decker's Computer attribute. I would say that a 5 or 6 is the minimum requirement for consistently successful runs—then again, it all depends on your programs and equipment.

  • Don't forget that the Combat skill is just as important in cyberspace as in the real world. If your attacks are always missing, consider upgrading your decker's Combat skill. You should notice a difference.

SourcesEdit

This page uses content from StrategyWiki. The original article was at Shadowrun (Genesis)/The Matrix. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Shadowrun Wiki, the text of StrategyWiki is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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