Part 116: OblivionOblivion
Do not play this level. I'm begging you. Think of the children. If that doesn't do it for you, think of your own poor, defenseless brain cells. If you really must, only play it to a little past the point of equilibrium. The 'mop-up', which comprises the great majority of the level, is painful and tedious on a never-before-seen level. Accordingly, the great majority of that is cut out of the nearly four hours of footage I had originally recorded for this level.
The start is interesting. There are plusses here. But my oh my does actually completing this planet SUCK.
This is zoomed out all the way, and I still can't fit the whole map. Digitalis, siphon resource sites, spore towers, randomly uneven terrain, void space, artifacts of Odin, and of course emitters are basically everywhere. I'm assuming this is the maximum possible map size. I hope it is. I landed along the north side on the most clear plateau I could spot. Which you can't even see here, it's above the picture.
There being a spore tower building nearby, I decide to take that out right away. Multiple aether and ore sources nearby for siphons - in the amount of 4k-10k each. That's just nuts, and it's not limited to this area. They are all over.
Using the ore siphons next, I get some sprayers going but realize I don't really need that many.
Notice that there are two different sizes of runners - the big ones, SuperRunners for lack of a better name, can take a lot more punishment which is super-great. Of course there are Runner Nests all over the freaking place like every other darned thing here.
I get a couple snipers up to try to keep the critters at bay, but notice the spores too late. They impact just before my first beam is on-line ... you can see the explosion from it here.
Take 2 - 8:51 video
I start getting a Reactor up sooner this time, and put the nullifier between the spore tower and the runner nest to knock them both out at once.
Two sprayers was enough before so I stick with that, throw a beam up on the PZ, and work on escalating other weaponry and energy.
The spore arrivals escalate more than I expected. It's nothing like the last adventure at Flood Walls, but more than I'm prepared for.
Take 3 - 18:51 video
The goal this time is to get more energy and beam defenses up earlier.
The approach this time is to put a SuperReactor up, then expand a bit south of there - that strip across the Digitalis where the two ore deposits are - and use that space for more Beams. Of course that means more other weapons are also needed to keep runners and digitalis away, consuming more energy ...
Even nine fully-powered beams weren't enough to handle this wave. We got most of them, and I was able to hold out a bit longer - this hit at just under ten minutes into the mission - but enough of our energy production got hit that I couldn't save the attempt.
Take 4 - 25:55 video
I went back to the SuperBeam idea here, building two reactors at a time instead of one. That duo on the PZs was able to crush pretty much anything that came at us in the east, and I just went for lots and lots of beams wherever I could cram em in the west.
Then I plopped down a Forge right on the digitalis vein itself - potentially risky but I really wanted to up our energy efficiency given the essentially unlimited supply of Aether and limited space for reactors. Didn't hurt any that I found some better Sniper perches as well.
Eventually I managed to find my way across to this clearing, taking out another Nest and, eventually, the spore tower to the east. That's just a drop in the bucket, but I was slowly gaining space and the increase in pressure from the spores had leveled off.
It was time for the true pain of Oblivion to be felt. As of this screenshot, misson time is 15:21. It would be over two hours before I finished. Why? Well unlike Titan, there are no Inhibitors here. It's a massive map with constant elevation changes and dead space, making it basically impossible to consistently find good places to put your weapons. So it's slow, painful step after step for most of it. A few alternate starting locations like this one that are clear enough to gather a few things together, but most of it is not like that.
Here's a decent example of it. Those siphon sites prevent us from placing anything, the Power Zone is in a depression which makes it of limited use - of course I could just Terp flat land but I didn't really want to do that over the whole course of this enormous map. I'm honestly not sure it wouldn't have been better though. So it was basically a constant struggle to find enough decent firing positions to clear out an area, then find more in the part just cleared, etc. Some of the PZs needed to be used for Beams, some for Snipers, in order to combat the runners/spores as well.
I forgot to mention the Air Exclusion Zones. Those are spammed as well. Here's the bird's-eye view at this juncture, with a little more further south. I haven't even nicely gotten started. Having said that, the northwest corner looks like it would have been quite a bit easier to manage ...
At first it is just overwhelming which direction to go, because there's so much to choose from. The video skips around quite a bit at this point, as I cut out vast sections of it 10-20 minute chunks. Here we've moved to the west side, where there's a rare section of deeper creeper without digitalis. Naturally narrow, uneven, uphill passages are our fare. Mortars would eventually be deployed.
A little futher south, another clear spot presents itself and I deploy a second Command Node for faster weapon resupply. Even with maxed-out packet speed, that can become an issue on this size of a map.
Over an hour into the mission. I'm approaching the halfway point in terms of controlling the territory. Did I mention that an Inhibitor would have been a really good idea yet??
Before this level, I wondered how anyone would ever kill enough runners to get some of the achievements for that. I don't wonder anymore. There were actually a couple points a bit worse than this, but it is pretty representative of what happened as I pushed further south. We killed some, but mostly what happened is more and more were concentrated into a smaller and smaller area - until they totally stopped progress for quite a while in a location where it was tough to get enough good positions for snipers. Eventually I got through it, but that was a real annoying attrition and weapon-placing ordeal.
A 'minor' energy shortage here was the one real setback - once the Digitalis breaks loose, it's not easy to contain it. I had plenty of backup weapons to move into position, but I still lost a bunch of stuff as well as a significant amount of hard-won territory. Having control of probably 60% of the map at this stage, I had no shortage of fall-back positions.
Here's a funny thing at the very end; you can't even see the emitters here, just the explosion from the Cannon fire on them. Max firing rate is fun that way, and no creeper ever has a chance to go anywhere. This isn't an isolated shot, but a continuous effect.
Hey look! Even longer than Fortress Siege!! And much more aggravating. I ended the mission with well over 120 THOUSAND Aether banked that I didn't need.
Please heed my warning - play only the beginning, if you even must do that.