The Let's Play Archive

City of Heroes

by Cleretic

Part 28: Dreams of Peace and Acts of War - Part Two

Dreams of Peace and Acts of War
Part: Four

Serpent Drummer posted:

The Traditionalists have shared some important news with us. It seems that the Restructurists have been able to open a tenuous portal back to their homeworld. This has been the source of their new troops and supplies. However, a door opens both ways, and they have a plan to use the Portal Corporation gateways to access what they believe is an open gateway back to the Rikti Homeworld, to spread news of the peace. However, it appears we have been outmaneuvered. The Rikti strike from out of nowhere with a renewed ferocity. I had hoped to give you some rest after all of your work, but now I must call on you once more to save Portal Corp from Rikti attack.

We will transport you directly there using our own portals. Reports from the defenders indicate that the Rikti have a new kind of portal that they are using to assault the base. You must close these assault portals to end the attack. Good luck.

Before we do this mission, we get a clue talking about the leader of the Lineage of War, Hro'Dtohz.

Clue posted:

This dossier has been put together using mostly Rikti sources. The first few files are all about the rise and fall of the Rikti homeworld's military caste, called the Lineage of War.

After the initial wars to unify the planet thousands of years ago, the Lineage of War was very small, only rising to prominence during a few very infrequent civil wars and insurrections. Their last big operation was against an alien force called the Battalion about 100 years ago. Since then, their power had been tapering off to its normal ceremonial levels until the start of the war with Earth.

Several files about the Earth war are heavily redacted, probably for security reasons, but the gist of it is that the Lineage of War had a new leader, a young Rikti military genius called Hro'Dtohz. Originally trained as an historian, he was the one the Rikti mental network turned to in their darkest hour, and the one who organized the new military and the war against Earth.

According to the Traditionalist's mental profiles, Hro'Dtohz is certainly a military genius, but is also considered extreme in his thought and action. The translators have some trouble, because there are no terms in the Rikti language to express the qualities they see in the Lord of the Lineage of War. Determination and genius are concepts they understand. But Ambition? Pride? Even the warrior's sense of honor and desire to fight are things you can see shining out of his profile, but which most Rikti could only barely comprehend.

Hro'Dtohz had been trapped on the Rikti Homeworld when the Omega Team sealed the conduit between worlds, but with the news from the Traditionalists that a tenuous gateway has been re-opened, the threat posed by the Lord of the Lineage of War is now all too real.

Hro'Dtohz is based on Greek historian Herodotus, but Herodotus of course was not a military leader at heart. More importantly though, we have our first mention of an important group, the Battalion!

...Okay, that's probably not Battalion, but we have no evidence to prove otherwise. This was the first, and for years only, mention of Battalion in the entire game; all we knew is that they were vaguely planned, and space aliens.

They were actually planned for Incarnate content in an upcoming issue, and over the last couple years more detailed information about what they do came to light. The Battalion is a massive, all-powerful spacefaring race whose entire deal is consuming a Well, the source of all power on a planet. After consuming this Well, the Battalion become stronger, and the inhabitants of that planet essentially become prisoners of their own power. The Rikti took down the Battalion in their dimension when they had only eaten a few of these; when we were to fight them in our dimension they were to have devoured much more.

We have no idea what they look like, what they fight like, or what their society is like outside of eating power. But personally I always pictured them as being like Daleks.

Anyway, back to the mission! We're heading to Portal Corp!

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We enter from this portal, and our jobs are to escue more negotiators, two Vanguard soldiers, take down twelve Rikti portals.

[NPC] Guardian: Assault Portal Defense: Priority
[NPC] Conscript: Negative: Assault Portal Defense: Job Description

The Rikti portals are all really flimsy, and tend to get taken down with AoE damage while fighting the real enemies.

[NPC] Traditionalist Negotiator: Lineage(War) Motive: Barbarity! Slaughter!

I always throught these Rikti non-combat outfits looked pretty cool.

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Welcome to Portal Corporation, normally quite a bit less of a mess than this. Portal Corp was an early setpiece of the endgame for heroes, and revolved around checking out hostile alternate dimensions. I always thought they were really fun from a story standpoint even if the game tech at the time meant not much interesting happened. Anyway, our Vanguard soldier buddies are waiting for our rescue, so let's hop to it!

[NPC] Vanguard Adept: I won't surrender to you monsters!
[NPC] War Chief Soldier: Human Termination: Imminent
[NPC] Vanguard Adept: Clerisy! Yes!

...Actually there's more than just these Vanguard soldiers around, there's also some powerful NPC Vanguard and turrets that actually do that job for us.

[NPC] Vanguard Adept: With you here, we just might be able to win.

The Vanguard Adepts have a variety of magical attacks, having at their disposal powers from Electric Blast, Dark Blast and Ice Blast, as well as the same minor AoE lightning field Clerisy has. Unfortunately this spread of largely debuff-focused blast attacks means they don't have a lot of damage behind them, and their debuffs are spread too thin to be of any use.

We've got a few enemy groups we have to take out, and no real threats at hand, so let's show off something awesome that was added to the game later, Incarnate powers. I'll let Professor Lightbulb go over the lore, but suffice to say Clerisy is super-superhuman. There are six Incarnate powers - ten were planned to be released gradually but we never got the last four.

Two I can't take a picture of, but I can explain.

The first slot, Alpha, boosts aspects of every possible power, and also effectively gives you an extra level. We have Musculature, which enhances our damage and rate at which we both gain and drain endurance.

There's also Interface, which gives every power a chance for an effect. Clerisy uses Diamagnetic, which decreases enemy accuracy and health regeneration. The numbers on Diamagnetic mean it's really not worth pickign over some of the tohers, but Inteface isalso the most boring so I never got around to fixing it.

The Judgement slot provides different types of devastating AoE attacks. This one is Ion Judgement, that jumps in a chain effect to up to forty targets. It's also very quick and hard to take a picture of. Ion Judgement tends to destroy every minion it hits, and takes a significant chunk out of lieutenants.

I didn't get a good picture of his Destiny, a big AoE buff power, but his is Barrier which increases his defense when up, to the point where he can rarely actually be hurt by anything. Numerically, Destiny increases defenses by over 50%, gradually depleting back to nothing. Defenses actually stop being practical to increase after about 45% in normal content;after that any more effectively stops bieng useful. 45% would give you the chance to avoid 95% of oncoming damage, and that's not even taking into account the fact Clerisy resists up to a further 90% of the damage that gets through.

The Lore slot gives you summonable pets based on NPC enemy groups, of which Clerisy has the Praetorian Clockwork.

The Clocks aren't one of the strongest Lores, but they do very respectable supporting Energy damage and a bit of soft control and debuffing to help keep Clerisy alive. And they beat the hell out of the Vanguard Lore he had before, who either had crap powers they could use or good powers they couldn't.

And finally, each Hybrid has a completely different effect suiting as many playstyles as possible. This Melee Hybrid gives him extra defense and regeneration according to how many enemies are around him.

Most of these powers don't look all too visually impressive, but their numerical values make up for it. Anyway, I killed everyone while displaying those so let's move on.

Serpent Drummer posted:

The Rikti moved within moments after the Traditionalists began their plan. I fear that they anticipated our maneuver. The next logical step would be for them to counter-attack. This has me worried.

Dreams of Peace and Acts of War
Part: Five

Serpent Drummer posted:

Reports are coming in of Rikti attacks both in Paragon City and in the Rogue Isles. I am coordinating actions with Levantera and Borea to fight them, but we need all available help.

Good. We are responding to incidents as they arise, but there are attacks everywhere. Speak to Borea, she will set your first target for counter-attack.

This mission's actually a pair of missions. We're sent to two locations in Paragon and the Isles to fight Rikti. The fights aren't all that interesting, but the locations are.

Borea posted:

Clerisy. I'm glad to see you're still with us. Something has the Rikti in a frenzy. We've even received requests for help from the Rogue Isles. It seems Dr. Aeon isn't entirely willing to rely on Arachnos to protect the Power Transfer System in Cap Au Diable. We're sending you in by teleporter to the PTS control center to help the good doctor protect this power system. Once you're done there, Levantera will have your next assignment.

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We're going inside the PTS this time, rather than fighting at the main plant.

The PTS is actually a repainting of Council bases, a map type we haven't seen yet There's prettier maps but I still like this. Our first objective is to rescue the good Dr. Aeon.

[NPC] Infantry: Trick Use: Negative
[NPC] Dr. Aeon: I'll... I'll tell you everything you want to know, if you spare me!
[NPC] Rikti Magus: Status Query: Entity Bat'Zul?
[NPC] Dr. Aeon: Help me! I'm too intelligent to die!
[NPC] Rikti Magus: Interference: Unacceptable!

Also around, on the left, is the Rikti Magus, a new type of boss. They ahve a wide variety of controls from various sets, and can be a bit of a hassle for the unprepared.

Dr. Aeon's Bio posted:

An unethical scientific genius, Dr. Aeon is not a man to be trifled with. Some think he may soon become a major player within Arachnos, assuming he survives the plans of his enemies.

[NPC] Dr. Aeon: Uh, I was just about to, uh, trick them, yes.
[NPC] Dr. Aeon: Well, never mind. We've got to shut down the PTS before it esca...
[NPC] Dr. Aeon: um... aah...
[NPC] Dr. Aeon: Explodes! Yes, before it explodes.
[NPC] Dr. Aeon: Just help me get to the main control computer!

I've always thought the long-term plan with Dr. Aeon was to have him replace one of the Arachnos leaders, and the eventuation of this plan never happened. Dr. Aeon can fight, but thankfully he won't this time so he won't die like everyone else ever.

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This is a heroes' first introduction to the demon-powered nature of the PTS, but again, we already knew that. Our next objective, after an uneventful delivering of Dr. Aeon to a terminal, is to take down the Rikti leader; another Magus.

[NPC] Assault Magus Tel'leT: Pervasive Sensation: Eldritch Power
[NPC] Assault Magus Tel'leT: Eldritch Power Utilization: Infliction Grievous Harm!

I honestly cannot tell whether or not the Rikti knew about the PTS before coming here. The fact they sent a rare Magus to check it out says yes, but they seem surprised. ANyway, we're done here, and now to see what Levantera has to send us to.

Levantera posted:

Wish I had better news for you, but the Rikti are still on the attack. Your next objective will be Overbrook Dam in Paragon City. Longbow forces are already on the scene, but are getting overwhelmed by the Rikti. You need to take out the raid's leader. Good luck!

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The Overbrook Hydroelectric Dam in Faultline is a major focal point of both the Faultline revamp, and one of the game's first Task Forces. Seems like the Rikti plan to hit power plants in central areas, which sounds about right.

Longbow are already here putting up a good fight. That's not all that interesting, but the leader of that retaliatory strike is!

[NPC] Lt. Sefu Tendaji: You will not hold me here long.
[NPC] Chief Soldier: Long-Held Desire: Slay Ballista
[NPC] Lt. Sefu Tendaji: Reinforcements have arrived.

Sefu Tendaji, seen here hopefully surviving longer than three seconds this time. Our next objective is to hit the Rikti leader, who despite all logic is at the front of the map. I was going to take a picture of how Sefu fights, but it's the same as Fusionette with less flying, less dying, and some quick and hard to screenshot energy melee attacks.

[NPC] Raider Ga'Emnon: Hro'Dtohz Strategy: Outmaneuvered Humanity!

Clue posted:

These documents and data storage devices were in an armored case, and are clearly important. However, it will take the resources back at the Vanguard base to fully translate them.

I beat simultaneous Rikti attacks in different nations. If this is the Rikti definition of a strategy that successfully outmaneuvers, I want to see Rikti sports.

Serpent Drummer posted:

These raids were coordinated well. Your actions and the actions of many others prevented a great deal of damage, but I fear that our latest intelligence shows that this was only a diversion for their next true objective. I only hope the information you found can tell us what that objective might be. I will run this by Mr. Decker, we should know the contents soon.

Dreams of Peace and Acts of War
Part: Finale

Serpent Drummer posted:

The information you retrieve has been translated by Mr. Decker. It details the timetable for this phase of the Rikti's plan, and gives us an opportunity. Hro'Dtohz himself is going to be inspecting part of the tunnel network. He will be exposed, and could be captured with a quick, surgical strike. You have done so much already, I thought it only proper that you undertake this task.

If we can defeat the leader of the Lineage of War now, it would cripple the Rikti's military efforts. We sent ahead a scout team to try and confirm the intelligence, but haven't heard back from them. If you can locate them, they could be of great help to you.

Finally, we get to beat this bastard down!

And when we enter the map, we fid that... this scouting team is shit at scouting, because they got captured right inside.

[NPC] Conscript: Oh: Really?
[NPC] Faultline: You don't want to make me angry when I'm underground.
[NPC] War Chief Soldier: Threat Repudiation: Why not?
[NPC] Faultline: Here comes the cavalry!
[NPC] Infantry: No: Way!
[NPC] Fusionette: Get. Out. Of. My. Way!
[NPC] War Chief Soldier: Scouting Activities: Termination Immediate
[NPC] Fusionette: Clerisy! Now that's what I call back-up!
[NPC] War Chief Soldier: Repel: Attackers!

I dont put much effort into protecting Fusionette, so she dies while rescuing Faultline. But I do finally show off Faultline himself!

[NPC] Faultline: Good to see you guys. Let's find that General Dozi 'Edoes guy!!

You're probably not gonna survive long enough to meet the guy, Fault, but not from lack of trying.

Not only does Faultline have Stone Melee and earth Control, but he also has Stone Armor. Thismakes him a patently impossible character in every respect, but at the same time a pretty handy ally if he's keeping up. Which he doesn't.

[NPC] Faultline: /t Fusionette Okay, okay. Then howabout you pick the movie tonight?
[NPC] Faultline: Doh! Sorry, Mis-tell. Let's get back to the mission!

I admit I did that intentionally this time to show off his unique 'getting lost' message.

While looking for our enemy, I also run into the third member of the scouting party. Why hello, old friend!

[NPC] Conscript: Status: Quiet
[NPC] Traditionalist Psi-Scout Lk'Onik: ... : ...
[NPC] War Chief Soldier: Status Correction: Too Quiet
[NPC] Traditionalist Psi-Scout Lk'Onik: ... : Heh

After rescuing him, he says something that I don't think I've ever seen. I think this was added in a recent update, because I definitely would remember it.

Clue posted:

Though he didn't seem like the type to talk much, the Rikti Psi-scout called Lk'Onik had something he wanted to say:

'Longtime Didn't: Trust Humans.
We Thought: Humans Attacked: First.
Was There: First Attack.
Thousands: Dead. Lost: Everything Important.
Looked like: Freedom Phalanx.
Further Attacks: Dozens.
Finally Traced: Point of Origin.
Thought Justification: Protecting Ourselves
... : ...
Since then, seen: Freedom Phalanx; Seen: Earth-Heroes.
Phalanx = Attackers: Impossible.
My Theory: Praetorians. Nothing Else: Makes Sense.'

Certainly does sound like something alternate-universe whackjobs would do. After that useful information, Lk'Onik dies fighting some more Rikti, and we finally meet the man of the hour!

[NPC] Lord of War: Hro'Dtohz: Preparations: Adequate. Victory: Certain.
[NPC] Lord of War: Hro'Dtohz: Clerisy Reputation: Excellent. Expectation: Worthy Combat.

Damn right it will be!

Hro'Dtohz's Bio posted:

The Supreme Commander of the Rikti Lineage of War, Hro'Dtohz is the one responsible for commanding the vast power of the Rikti Military in their war against Earth. A ruthless tactical genius with his own twisted code of honor, he is set on humanity's extermination or subsumption.

Hro'Dtohz, despite his size, isn't actually very strong. We fight him multiple times, and his strength isn't in being any stronger than anybody else; he's a beefed up Chief Soldier, really. What he does have, though, is engineering extraordinary circumstances. In this case:

[NPC] Lord of War: Hro'Dtohz: Trap: Sprung! Reinforcements: En Route. Clerisy Encirclement: Complete.
[NPC] Lord of War: Hro'Dtohz: Back-up Plan: Ready. Second Wave: Attack!
[NPC] Lord of War: Hro'Dtohz: Surprised Observation: Clerisy Survival. Counter Strategy: Enacted!

At each 25% health increment, he summons another Rikti mbush. That's actually not that big of a threat to Clerisy especially, but the last one is a Heavy Assault Suit.

(In-game they're a little bit shorter than Hro)

These guys aren't all that special either, but they hit like a train if you aren't prepared. Fortunately Clerisy avoids 99% of the damage, so they're as laughable as the rest.

[NPC] Lord of War: Hro'Dtohz: Error Realization: Enemy Underestimation. Solemn Vow: Same Mistake: Never Again.

Sure you won't. But still, we just beat the leader of the entire Rikti armada, and that's something to be proud of! Surely there will be a parade in our honor.

Serpent Drummer posted:

You fought the Lord of the Lineage of War and forced him to retreat, defeated. Though he escaped, it is a victory. The Rikti offensive has stalled and though we do not know their true ends, with our new alliances we will have a real chance to defeat whatever stratagem they may pursue. You have done very well indeed.

Now, while the pressure from the Rikti has abated for the moment, we have a short span of tiime to deal with other matters, and there is another who would like your assistance in a more internal matter of great importance. His name is Gaussian.

Or we get forced into desk work after saving the world. Goddamn backroom politics. Join us next time for balancing the Vanguard's finances!

Nest: The Red and the Black