If you’re new to SMNC it can be a little difficult to intuitively pick up on some of the aspects of the game, so here are some tips to help you maximize your play experience. Please feel free to chip in with advice or questions!
Play Practice Matches: ideally, you want to play with other people so that you can get used to playing against a team (and if you're looking for someone to play with feel free to add me on steam: joeq1159, I'll always willing to lend a hand to people trying to learn because I remember how frustrating it can be when no one seems to want to help). Even if you don't play with other people playing practice matches will let you get used to the pro you're using. Get to know their skills, mobility options, and how much damage you can dish out. Also make sure you get a feel for where the vending machines are on the map. Knowing where you get health can be e difference between feeding and playing a game without a single death.
Check out a guide for your pro: on the SMNC forums there are really great guides to all the different characters. Take a look at these for a pro you want to play because they are incredibly useful. They'll tell you how to effectively level your pro and what products will benefit your pro the most. They aren't the be all end all by any means but they are a very good place to start learning a character.
Unlock pros: once you get used to one pro you might be inclined to only ever want to play one pro but consider this, what if you have a player on your team that only knows how to use one pro and you quick lock them. Now you have a player on your team that is being forced to play a pro that they might not know how to use. However if you’re comfortable with a number of pros you can let your team decide what they want to play a pick a pro that your team needs the most. Also, if a pro you use is on rotation that week more people will pick that pro, that's just a fact of life. So if you have a number of pros unlocked you'll be able to always play a pro regardless if it's unlocked or not.
For god sakes avoid Captain Spark at first: Spark is really cool but he is really difficult to play right off the bat. Personally, whenever Spark is on the rotation I'm always worried that a new player will pick him and end up feeding. Why? Because he tried to drive the Lamborghini without first learning how to drive. The result? Crash and burn. If you absolutely are dead set on playing Spark, learn how to play the character. Read guides and watch videos. Your team will thank you for it. A good Spark player is always impressive but a bad one could easily cost your team the game. Bad Sparks get no love from their team mates, as they often get verbally lashed at. Of course lashing out at anyone trying to play a game is never something that should be done but it is often times difficult to avoid.
Jungling: Assassin, Spark, Mega Beth, Wascot, Assault and Karl all have the ability to access the jungle right at the beginning of the game on all the maps except downtown spunky (which has the jungle below the arena and is thus accessible to all pros). The act of Jungling is when one of those players heads right to the jungle and kills a jungle bot, thus progressing them halfway through to level two. Leveling in SMNC is a race thus anything that gives you an advantage is a must in order to stay ahead. The jungle bots spawn on the left and the right on the jungle but they do not randomly spawn on either side. Instead, your team's jungle bot will always spawn on the right of the arena.
Do not feed kills: if you're played other shooters where dying only hurts your team in way of number on the score board you need to understand that SMNC is a totally different animal. Every time you die you are making the other team stronger. After a while the other team will have a level advantage on you and it will be incredibly difficult for you to take on any pros. So how do you avoid feeding?
Focus on bots: it's really tempting to go after the enemy players but attacking them can get you killed if that's all you try and do. The most important thing to do in a match of SMNC is to kill bots and support your bots. That is literally the only way you're going to win. When you kill bots you're going to level faster, making sure that you stay ahead of the enemy team when it comes to leveling. Play a game of SMNC and look at the top of the player list at the end of the game. Hands down the player with the highest level will be the one with the most bot kills. Once you have the level advantage it becomes a lot easier to deal with other pros. Still, if you have the level advantage and your try and attack the entire enemy team, it is almost certain that they will kill you, so don't get reckless because you think that the level advantage makes you unkillable. It does not.
Late game: if a pro has a level advantage and the other team manages to kill at player because of their recklessness, the player with the advantage has now given the other team a free level. So if you manage to gain the level advantage don't just jump into a fray because you think you can kill the entire team single handedly. Maybe games get turned around because one high level pro gave the other team one too many kills, giving the other team the advantage. This is one of the most fundamental mistakes that players make towards the middle of a match. The higher level you are the more important it is for you not to die.
Don't abandon your team: one of the most disheartening things you can encounter in SMNC is a player leaving the team. At best they leave in the beginning of the game and your team is outnumbered. Sure that really sucks but if your team works together you can come back from that. But if the person who left feeds a bunch of kills to the other team it’s really frustrating. There's little you can do except maybe try and take advantage of the recklessness but that's pretty risky. Unfortunately that's just a sad fact of life with Dota style games, but try not to be that person if you can help it. You're more likely to win a prize at the end of the game if you stay and who knows, it could be something really great. I got a taunt after a game that I had 2 leavers on. Lost but totally worth it.
The Annihilator: one of the most important parts of any match of SMNC is the battle for the Annihilator. The anni is located in the center of the map. It takes 5 minutes to ready and when it does it cost $1000 to activate. When activated it takes out every single bot on the enemy team. So for a game that's all about pushing bots, it easy to understand why it's important. The anni and easily turn the tide of battle, so ignoring it is literally like handing the other team the game. I would argue that the first anni is the most important but also the easiest to come back from if the battle is addressed correctly. When match begins you have 5 minuets to level as fast as you can so that you have an advantage at the anni battle. Depending on your pro, your role in the annihilator fight can be drastically different. Firstly, when you go to the annihilator, you need to make sure that the enemy team hasn't already set up a defense. Rushing into the annihilator can easily get you killed if the enemy has set up a defense, and that death could give the other team an advantage that you just can't afford. The best plan is to set up a defense early. The moment the announcers remind the pros that the anni will be ready soon all the pros will be heading over to it, making setting up a defense that much more difficult. But leaving a defender to fend for himself could get them killed and compromise your anni attempt so that means protecting your defenders while they set up their turrets. Once a defense has been set up the main part of the fight is defending the position. If your entire team can afford the annihilator then make sure that the person who can contribute the least to the defense is the one buying it because while it's being activated that pro will be totally defenseless. Standing between the pro activating the anni and an enemy will protect the activator from knock back attacks that will stop them from activating it. But it's important at you dont die during the anni fight. The time it takes for you to respawn could be the difference between winning and losing, plus it could give the enemy team the level advantage. If the other team has a significant level advantage attempting to take the anni will only increase their advantage by giving them easy deaths to a fruitless cause. In these situations it's important to switch to after anni defense.
After Anni: win or lose the anni you want to buy bots. If you lose you absolutely have to, if you win, buying those extra bots will put the pressure on the opposing team. Also get bouncers. Anything that forces players to be run will help you that much more. You can buy bots at your bot spawner near your spawn. Also, capitalize on their weakened defense to destroy as many turrets as your team can manage. It might be tempting to push only one lane but it's more effective to go back and forth so that you maintain an even pace while pushing lanes.