Part 18: Master of Arena - EX Chapter 3: Four Legs
Now, if you were wondering why exactly it took over two months for me to put out the last update and this one...well, this is the reason. The Four Legs Arena category for whatever reason chose to be a royal pain in my fucking ass thanks to a few rough battles. How rough exactly? To the point that even when I had a strategy that was efficient as possible, it was still not a sure fire win.
Eh, whatever, it's done now and you all get to see the takes in which I didn't get completely destroyed. Here's the Four Legs Arena category
So here is our build for this category. With the quad legs and weapon arms I'm using, I've switched to a heavier core with tons of AP to compensate, as weapon arms have little health. Though there are going to be some more modifications as this update goes on.
Reward: 10000 C
A bit of a simple start to this category. Micro Satellite is equipped with the grenade launcher weapon arms, but he's not the best when it comes to aiming them, and most of the time he just circles around the arena with an occasional hop. Getting his AC during the jump is a better guarantee for damage than just trying to chase after him and firing your weapons.
One AC down, eight more to go. Still gonna be really rough in the middle, though.
Reward: 12000 C
Somewhat trickier to deal with than the last guy. Does a lot more jumping around and circles you a lot more closely. His machine gun and missiles aren't a huge issue so long as you keep moving parallel and ahead of the direction Orbit goes in.
Reward: 15000 C
Kind of a step back mobility wise compared to Orbit. This match really just came down to circling around the guy and firing well timed energy shots. Depiction's AC does have his own laser weapon arms but he really didn't make much use of them outside of the start.
Unfortunately, the easiness stops right fucking there.
Reward: 19000 C
Here we have Asshole #1 in the Four Legs category. Solitude uses the same laser rifle that we used all the way back in Project Phantasma, and he is a goddamn good shot with it, all while staying on the move. The real challenge for me was the management of my energy meter, as I need to deal as much damage as possible from my weapon arms but it drains very quickly. Even with trying to mix up my movement so that I could minimize getting hit, a lot of it still came down to luck. Some shots I managed to do exceptional damage as both laser beams managed to hit Solitude on point near the end. If I kept whiffing anymore shots, this take probably would've ended in failure as well.
Reward: 23000 C
And here we have Asshole #2, and arguably a much bigger problem than the last guy. Proverbio's AC is equipped with large missiles, which if you do not know are extremely slow, very powerful, and very good at tracking you if you don't know how to properly manipulate their trajectory. The latter, unfortunately, is something I've been lacking in and had been a large source of frustration for me when recording this. Because I had better faith in my weapon strength and (sorta decent) aiming ability, I swapped out the laser cannons for grenade launcher weapon arms because I needed that extra attack power plus splash damage. Interestingly, once he expends all his large missiles, Proverbio becomes largely harmless and then it becomes an issue of giving chase and making sure you can continue to hit him consistently.
So that's two out of the three biggest assholes in this category dealt with. We get a little bit of a reprieve for the following few ranks, thankfully.
Reward: 32000 C
Following the nightmares that were Solitude and Proverbio, Lynx Minx is a breath of fresh air if only because of how simple her behavior is. She moves a lot slower than the last couple opponents and isn't the best at dealing with the player circling around her. Her bio does say she prefers wide areas with little obstacles, but considering we're fighting her in an environment as constraining as this parking garage, we definitely have the advantage.
Also a fun fact, Lynx Minx is a Raven that was featured on the leaderboard in the very first Armored Core game. Her bio back then was slightly different but still communicated the same thing here, and her AC name back then was called Pretty Kitty. Now, however, it's just Kitten. I honestly liked the original name more.
Reward: 45000 C
Karl's a rocket user, so the usual tactics of strafing back and forth to make those shots miss applies here. Not too hard to hit him either as his movements aren't quite as fast or erratic.
Reward: 57000 C
This guy would've been listed as another Asshole in the Four Legs category (especially with him having a large missile launcher), but I got rather lucky with this fight as I had to do very little retakes, and the one where I finally won I got lucky with him going up the ramp into that little alcove. With the only direction he had to go being towards me, I got a lot of free shots to take him down. In other situations, he'd be using his missiles about as frequently if not a little bit less than Proverbio.
This is it. Rank #2. Just one more fight and this category will be over and done with.
Reward: 140000 C
This is Asshole #3, being at the top of the ladder you'd expect him to be pretty tough. Tall Spot isn't a large missile user, but he is incredibly mobile, jumps a hell of a lot, never moves in the same predictable line, and is a really good shot with his machine gun that can rip an AC to pieces if they don't break lock. It took a lot of failed attempts, but the solution (and even then it wasn't foolproof) I ultimately came to was to fight him at his own game. Went back to regular arms and equipped the same machine gun as Tall Spot while still keeping the back laser cannon. I ended up switching between the two with the intent of using most of my energy from the cannon, and then use the machine gun's rapid fire to deal continuous damage as I recharged. Unfortunately, I had little luck hitting him consistently with the gun, but the cannon landed enough hits each time that I more often than not was still ahead of him in terms of AP. Still, this is very much a battle of attrition that can go very badly if you're not on top of everything. Where you're aiming, where you're moving, where Tall Spot is at any given point. It's a very difficult fight, but since it's the #1 rank AC in this category, it's a better fit than having 6 and 5 be fucking roadblocks.
And that's it. We're now the champion of the Four Legs Arena category.
And for all that suffering, we've unlocked a new leg part in this category.
The LF-TR-0 is a very sleek looking leg part, and is actually the fastest leg part in the game. Yes, not just for quad legs, but for all leg categories this one dominates everything in speed. The downside to this however is that it has the lowest stability among all leg parts, so with this you can move really fast but get knocked around real easily by anything. It also has rather low AP, so this further emphasizes this part's use in highly mobile builds that try to dodge around any and all ordinance as possible.
Also, because we cleared out yet another leg specific category in the EX Arena, here's another Seiren effort post covering in more detail about the quad legs category.
Quadruped, Four-Leg type, "Spider Legs"
There are four easily notable features about this type.
One, they all have a low load capacity.
Two, they're all very quick on the ground.
Three, they're extremely taxing on Energy, often draining double what other parts would.
Four, they're very heavy even though they have high speed.
While it may seem odd that four robotic legs carry less than two, it sort-of makes sense when you understand that the Core parts are not directly supported by the legs, they are all off center and there is empty space directly underneath, unlike the bipedals. This leads into an interesting note about their size and profile -- where bipeds tend to be tall and narrow, quads are shorter and wide, making for a larger, but shorter target. At close ranges, this becomes important as some weapons that would otherwise hit can actually fire directly over their heads.
These types are the ultimate choice for ground-based warfare. Similar to Reverse-Joints being exceptionally agile in the air, these are about the opposite of that. Their standard jumping ability is surprisingly average, being similar to lighter bipeds. All of them are naturally very fast on the ground, meeting and exceeding boosted movement from some many biped-types, and all of them are faster than standard walk/run speed of all other types, often flying in the face of the actual "movement speed" statistic. Perhaps because of this, they cannot effectively perform a boost-dash themselves, as it'll cause them to go airborne instead. Yet this can still be advantageous, as long they don't stay airborne for long and stay near the ground, their momentum from standard movement carries with them to move even faster, until the momentum from standard movement bleeds off, anyhow. Another detail is that this type can utilize back-mounted cannons on the move without Human Plus upgrades, however they can only do so while on the ground. Considering that this is where they should be fighting, and that cannons have blind angles below them, that isn't as much of a negative as one would think. They also get to share a unique attack motion for laserblades; instead of slashing, they stab forward with them, which actually results in higher damage as the blade is striking the target for a longer period of time. While they don't have enough legs to truly be a Spider, and that the movement of their legs is more of a hovering, floaty-thing, the comparison is apt. Add cannons and a spider will have a nasty bite. Add proper thrust and the spider will make a series of evasive short-hops to evade and confuse predators. Spin large webs of missiles to force enemies to fight on your terms -- the ground. Just like real spiders. Hence the nickname of "Spider Legs".
Like most types, they have their downsides. They're a big target with a large profile, made even worse when targeted from above or below. Steps can be taken to mitigate an airborne attack, but there's little they can do to targets beneath them. Stay on the ground. Quads are pretty terrible for platforming, or anything to do with airborne maneuvers. But don't let the low load capacity fool you -- even the lightest of the quads are heavy, equivalent to the heavier middleweight bipedals. Likely due to the weight, and having twice as many legs, the drain on Energy is also very high -- the highest in the game, in fact. All quads are require vast amounts of energy from generators, and with a lesser generator, its quite easy to go over the cap even if you're not using the drainiest parts. Not only are they hard to lift, but they'll drain your bar quickly, and the subsequent recovery of said bar will be much slower. It doesn't help that, aside from their low-altitude boost-hops, they handle like a tugboat in the air. Speaking of air, since they're are a bigger AC by nature, it also means airborne enemies have an easier time hitting you, even with short-hop evasion patterns. Just to hammer the point hard, they are exceedingly bad when airborne after their ground-based momentum is gone. Their mobility advantage is taken away from them, they require too much energy for air-based antics, they're heavy to the point where their rising ability suffers greatly, and they cannot fire their cannons. Most of which are heavy, and difficult to fit on the poor load capacity. They're even worse than reverse-joints in that respect, and the heaviest, drainiest, biggiest set can only carry 5000 units whatever measurement of weight they use in Armored Core-land. I can't stress enough how terrible they are while in the air. If I'm remembering correctly, cannon use is completely disabled in the air even with human plus upgrades! But checking on that would require me to actually boot up the game, start a new file, and build a cannon-quad to test that again, which I am unfortunately too lazy to actually do to verify for sure.
Defensively, I've already talked about their mobility potential, suck at air and good at ground, but how do they fare when they start eating bullets? Not well, actually, but not as bad as one would think. Their armor is not paper-thin like reverse-joints and other lightweights. Even the smallest and lightest quads have higher solid round defenses than the smallest and lightest bipedals, but all types of quads have a relatively low defense vs. solid round weaponry. Luckily for them, most of the really damaging stuff, like bazooka rounds, grenades, missiles, and rockets can be evaded, but those little plinks and pokes from small, difficult-to-evade weaponry such as rifles, machineguns, and hand guns will add up to cause severe damage if something isn't done about it. You might have noticed I didn't really say much about energy based weapons, because they generally perform quite well against them. Only the most e-defense-specialized ACs will outperform quadrupeds when taking fire from lasers and plasma. Due to their floaty nature on the ground, high-stagger weapons will push them around quite easily, impairing accuracy and leaving them vulnerable.
The key for these is to think like a spider. Stay on the ground, make quick, short hops for evasion, spin webs made of missiles to keep the enemy grounded, and bite hard when the opportunity presents itself. Don't use low-power, efficient boosters. Ideally they should move as fast as possible during short hops. While weaponry is the true determiner of your ideal range, a quad can effectively fight from any range from anywhere except in the sky. Keep in mind though, that it is not wise to plant yourself face-first into machineguns or high-stagger weaponry like handguns, they will shred quads. It is also not wise to enter battle without some type of missiles. It is likely best to equip for all ranges. While airborne targets can be dealt with sans missiles, it certainly makes the task far easier. I cannot recommend them for novices, and I cannot recommend them for middling pilots either. It takes a lot of practice to get a good feel for their rather unique mobility performance, and breaking the habit of boost-dashing everywhere can be difficult. It takes a good sense to effectively use the large cannons they can mount, as does being mindful of range when using missiles in general. While flying is a fun and very tempting option, the sky is not a good place for a spider. Ravens, after all, will eat spiders.
The videos this update definitely show off the ground mobility potential of quad leg ACs as described above. Even with powerful energy weapons you gotta get that angle right so the blast doesn't just completely miss.
Oh, and again, fuck large missiles. Fuck having to fight against that bullshit.
Hopefully the tank treads category goes a lot smoother than this did for me.