The Let's Play Archive

City of Heroes

by Cleretic

Part 30: The Horror of War - Cleretic

The Horror of War (Rikti War Zone arc #5)

Previously (very previously, I apologize) we dealt with the action-packed issue of corporate downsizing. This time, we're talking to Dark Watcher about finally doing something about stopping this whole 'alien war' thing.

The Horror of War
Part: One

Dark Watcher posted:

Let's cut to the chase, Clerisy. This is big. An officer of the Nemesis Army has contacted us. He says he wants to defect. He also said that he wanted to talk to you specifically. Knowing Nemesis, this could be a trap, but it's too good an opportunity to pass up. I want you to bring the defector in.

The defector's name is Captain Sherman. He wants out, and that's very interesting. The Nemesis Army rarely has any defectors, so it's almost too unlikely to be a trap. In either case, I doubt they'll be willing to let him go easily. Get Sherman to safety, then we may be able to find out more.

We're in a good ol' warehouse again, fighting Nemesis - for real this time, not automatons.

Nemesis aren't really dangerous or difficult, as we've said before, but they have one trick up their sleeve.

The head glow is Vengeance, and is cast on all nearby enemies when a Nemewsis lieutenant dies.

Vengeance posted:

The loss of a comrade enrages the team. When a teammate is defeated in combat, activate this power to grant you and your teammates a bonus to chance to hit, Damage and Defense to all attacks. A Vengeful team has no fear, and Vengeance protects you and your Teammates from Fear effects. It also gives you and your team great resistance to Sleep, Hold, Disorient, Immobilize, Confuse, Taunt, Placate and Knockback. You must be at least level 14 and have two other Leadership Powers before selecting Vengeance. This power does not stack with multiple castings.

Vengeance is a popular power for players because it does kind of a lot, and is really the only thing Nemesis enemies can do that scares people. Generally the procedure is to kill Nemesis lietuenants first, but... Even with this Nemesis aren't all that hard. When they appear with other enemy types they're a higher priority for me, but Nemesis alone? Nah. It can be noted though that Nemesis' form of Vengeance can stack though, so killing multiple Nemesis leiutenants in a short space of time can cause... problems.

[NPC] Dragoon: The crime is treason against the Nemesis Army, and slander against the good name of Lord Nemesis himself!
[NPC] Captain Sherman: Good name?
[NPC] Captain Sherman: You have no idea how ridiculous you sound.
[NPC] Dragoon: Vile cur!
[NPC] Dragoon: You'd dare besmirch the name of a loyal automaton of the Nemesis Army?

The status of Nemesis' soldiers is inconsistent. Some of them are humans, some of them are automatons. Frankly we have no clue which one Sherman is.

Picture of actual fight for Sherman unavailable, because he died to collateral damage during the fight. I'd say 'whoops' but frankly I've never seen him survive this mission.

Clue posted:

With his dying breath, Captain Sherman tried to tell you the explosive information that had caused his defection:

'Nemesis... It was all him. The war, the lies... The truth is at the Shadow Shard base. Take the coordinates. Learn the truth. The whole war, started by Nemesis! The Rikti were his dupes... It was... Nemesis!
It was Nemesis...

As the life left him, he handed you a bloodied piece of parchment with a set of dimensional coordinates and one word: 'Proof!'

Meet the exact moment that Nemesis being behind everything started being a joke. Additionally, I don't know where it's mentioned but Nemesis was Emperor of America for a very brief period during the Civil War, before beign bested by General Sherman; Fake Nemeses that try to stop you in the run out make note of the fact that a Sherman's fucking up his plans yet again.

Sherman himself fights like every other Nemesis soldier: Badly and quickly.

Dark Watcher posted:

Captain Sherman's fate was unfortunate, but his last words confirmed a suspicion I've had. The first time I visited the Rikti Homeworld, they were a peaceful people. When I learned about the invasion I couldn't believe until I saw it myself. Any people can be manipulated, and Nemesis is a master of it. In retrospect, it's obvious, but we still need to convince others, and find the proof.

Dark Watcher posted:

The Horror of War Part: Two

Before we can act on Captain Sherman's information, we need a clear corridor. I've re-opened talks with Longbow. We need their help to boost our portal's signal if we're going to investigate that Nemesis Army base in the Shadow Shard. They're willing to meet with one of us to hear what we have to say, and I'd like you to be the one to talk to them.

I know you probably don't have a great relationship with Captain Dietrich, but at least she knows you're one of our best. Lt. Sefu Tendaji should be there, too. He's been friendly to us in the past. He might be able to help win her over to our side.

Click here for the full 1920x1080 image

Finally, for the hardcore Politics Simpulator that City of Heroes became world famous for and won several awards for! Now this is gonna be a lot more text-heavy than normal missions, so everyone might have to call in the part of their brain that's normally devoted to reading Quovac LPs, but don't worry, it's totally--

[NPC] Captain W.M. Dietrich: Nemesis Army soldiers! Surrender immediately!
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: This one is quite tempestuous!
[NPC] Jaeger: For Lord Nemesis!
[NPC] Captain W.M. Dietrich: Clerisy! Get over here!

Oh, right, that came later.

[NPC] Captain W.M. Dietrich: Let's find Sefu and clear out these intruders.

Captain Dietrich's gonna fight with us, so this might hurt a bit, but thankfully this is a small map so we shouldn't face too much issue. I do like that City of Heroes gives you NPC allies that try to fight with you, but I don't like that they can't keep up.

I have to put rather some effort into keeping Dietrich alive. Even so she only lasts a couple rooms, but thankfully she isn't essential to the mission's success.

[NPC] Longbow Officer: For Freedom!

A few scattered Longbow groups are fighting Nemesis around the map. Some actually win, too, which is... not a testament to Longbow's power as much as it is to the fact Nemesis can' really put up a fight.

...Why are we intimidated by these guys again?

ANyway, at the back of the mission are our objectives. First, we deal with the leader of the Nemesis army!

[NPC] Fake Nemesis: Once they're all dead, we'll move in some imposter automatons.
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: Indeed! Soon they'll be back to fighting each other!
[NPC] Colonel: The Vanguard automatons are on the way, my Lord Nemesis.

...Oh. Oh my.

[NPC] Fake Nemesis: For Lord Nemesis!
[NPC] Colonel: For Lord Nemesis!
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: For Lord Nemesis!
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: For Lord Nemesis!
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: For Lord Nemesis!
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: For Lord Nemesis!

I didn't alter that quote for a joke.

Indeed five Fake Nemeses aren't a tough fight, but they do take a while. All of their force fields stack to give a capped defense rating, meaning I have to do a bit of work to get through, and it takes longer than most fights against actual big bosses. I'm never in any danger, though.

Anyway, in the rest of this room we find...

Clue posted:

When you found the remains of Lt. Sefu Tendaji, Captain Wilhelmina Dietrich's iron-hard shell cracked:

'Sefu? This... This is impossible! He was my right hand, my, my... He was my best friend. He can't be dead. He can't be!

He was such a good man, always hopeful, always upbeat. He'd always chide me for being so stern. He saw the best in people. I needed that. I needed...
His wife thought we were having an affair, you know. We weren't, he never would have done something like that. But to the Nemesis Army, he was just...
If Vanguard needs our help to investigate this base in the Shadow Shard, you will have it. I'll get it done. That's what his name meant. 'Sefu Tendaji', 'The Sword Gets Things Done'. And when you reach that base, I want you to find that information, and I want you to show every one of those steampunk fanatics what that means.'

As the body fades away through the city's teleportation network, a look of grim determination sets itself on Captain Dietrich's face. The Nemesis Army has no idea of the retribution they are about to receive.

I don't know how this could have happened. No really, I don't, we're seeing scattered minions surviving fights against Nemesis soldiers, and Sefu is the hardiest fucker in this entire zone!

Dark Watcher posted:

I'm sorry to hear about Lt. Tendaji, but we have to concentrate on what we can do right now. Captain Dietrich was true to her word and Portal Corp has sent over scientists and technicians. Our base portal will be ready for you soon. Then we'll get the proof we need.

The Horror of War
Part: Three

Dark Watcher posted:

Those Portal Corporation technicians work fast. The portal is ready to send you into the Shadow Shard. It's time to learn if Captain Sherman was telling the truth. I recommend bringing some allies along. This one could get difficult.

Fuck that, I'm all the help I need!

Don't interrupt me. posted:

There may be more than one way to find the information you're looking for, so keep your eyes open. All you will need is one solid piece of proof or evidence, but get more if you can find it. Of course, with all that the Nemesis Army has done recently, you may want to take your time. That's fine. Just don't imperil the mission.

Normally I only introduce enemy groups like this, but the Shadow Shard deserves it.

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Introduced way back in Issue 2 (before even I was playing), the Shadow Shard is distinct among not only content in this game, but content in any game. Unlike almost everything in the entire medium of video games, the Shadow Shard is universally agreed upon as terrible and unfun. The Shard's zones are huge, and composed entirely of unconnected floating islands that you either need to spend ages flying between, or rely on gravity geysers that might send you to the area they're aimed towards, maybe, if the game feels like it, it's had a good month, and Jupiter isn't crossing over Sagittarius.

The zone's pretty, and thankfully we don't have to grapple with island-to-island travel in this mission, so this is actually pretty nice. Just be aware that usually when you see you're going into the Shadow Shard, swearing normally ensues.

Click here for the full 1920x1080 image

The Nemesis base we're at isn't big, but it is heavily staffed.

...Was heavily staffed. Anyway, we're very lucky, because here in this mission is a very special guest!

[NPC] Manticore Automaton: I hope you're ready to fight, (HERONAME), because WITTY BANTER INSERT FAILURE!
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: For Lord Nemesis!
[NPC] Manticore Automaton: C'mon, let's ERROR: MISSING FILE TAUNT.TXT

An automaton of signature hero Manticore. Story-wise, Manticore is just the Green Arrow with Batman's backstory, and his powers corroborate that; he has a bunch of special arrows. He's one of the easier signature heroes to fight, because the Trick Arrow powerset he relies heavily on actually isn't very good; it has a lot of utility, but all of it spread out too much to be of any use.

[NPC] Manticore Automaton: You call that fighting? I call it ERROR IN SARCASM DATABASE
[NPC] Manticore Automaton: I guess you really are BELITTLING_OBSERVATION

This automaton's a bit more clever than the real deal, that's how you can tell it's a fake.

Clue posted:

These are the remains of the Nemesis-built Manticore Imposter Automaton. It shows signs of wear, but is still a convincing copy. This would have fooled the Rikti easily, convincing them that they were under attack by aliens from another world. An attack so severe that they'd have to retaliate with overwhelming force. Though parts of its memory core are missing, deep inside are the details of its attacks, physical evidence that Nemesis started the Rikti war as part of his mad schemes.

In this small cave is the second and final piece of evidence we need to collect. Inside we find a fancy but not currently functional steampunk portal...

Click here for the full 1920x1080 image

A safe that contains all of Nemesis' evil plans...

Clue posted:

These triplicated documents are written on heavy parchment by a bold, mechanical hand. Though they're written in code, in an odd oversight, the dozens of draftsman-like drawings scattered through them tell the whole story. From the drawings, you can see it all laid out: plans for dimensional exploration that lead Nemesis to find the Rikti homeworld; the first schematics of the Freedom Phalanx automatons; and force deployments for using the imposters to attack the Rikti homeworld in a wave of terror. Even his projections for the points the Rikti would-be counter-attack, and Nemesis Army rallying points. This is a comprehensive plan that lays out the suffering of two worlds in precise text and line drawings. It may be the single most monstrous thing you've ever seen, and that's even before it's been fully decoded.

And another hero automaton.

This one is Positron, and if Manticore is Green Arrow with extra rich dead parents, Positron is Iron Man with extra radiation. The signature character of the lead developer in later years, Positron later bacame the leader of the Freedom Phalanx after Statesman's death. Positron attacks with radiation, and is much more difficult to handle than Manticore was; his debuffs are powerful enough to cause big problems for your defenses and power recharge rate, making him one of the more dangerous signature heroes in the game. Although it should be noted that in the Lord Recluse Strike Force, where you fight the entire Freedom Phalanx at once, Positorn is one of the less important heroes to take down; scaled up like that the healer Numina and jack-of-all-trades Manticore become higher priority.

Dark Watcher posted:

I wouldn't have hoped for this much, but I'll take it. We'll talk to our Traditionalist allies and get all the corroborating evidence. And then we're going to get the truth out.

The Horror of War
Part: Four

Dark Watcher posted:

We're getting the truth about the Rikti War out any way possible. Incandescent is using every resource of the Herald Division and Dietrich has taken it to the Longbow brass. They're disseminating it all over the city and the country through Freedom Corps. The Nemesis Army is attempting to suppress the information, by any means necessary. One place where they may succeed is in the Rogue Isles. It's tough enough to get any information out through the layers of Arachnos control, but now there's a wave of Nemesis attacks on news agencies and reporters. The people of the Rogue Isles deserve to know the truth and I want you to help make sure they learn it.

You're going to the WSPDR building. The Nemesis Army has cut the main power, but WSPDR has set up 4 back-up generators. You've got to make sure that at least 1 generator survives. We have a few people on the scene to help you, but Arachnos has mobilized against what they see as a Nemesis Army invasion, so it's going to get difficult. Your objectives are to protect at least 1 generator, rescue Amanda Vines, WSPDR's star reporter, and take out the leader of the Arachnos forces. That should give WSPDR enough time and power to transmit.

It might be a good idea to have allies along on this one. Just my advice.

Pah, yeah right!

Next Time: I get some help.