Part 170: Pamukkale & Stairway 13Pamukkale & Stairway 13
A mostly icy landscape for Pamukkale, and I have no idea what that means, the first of today's adventures. Clearly it's telling us to start in the north, but I have something else in mind.
Which doesn't work. I had in mind to nullify this emitter quickly and then relocate, hopefully grabbing the nice Aether Siphon by it. But most of these emitters are somewhat stronger than average, including this one, and there just isn't nearly enough time.
Take 2 - 1:50 video
An energy siphon powers the beginning, and a few always-on sprayers are relied on for an initial defense. Also; you don't want the spores to hit on this level. They have 164 and 162 for payloads, because the difference is so very important.
They launched about this time, just over a minute and a half in. I wasn't anywhere close to ready.
Take 3 - 3:42
I drained the siphon to get these Beams up, but it was worth it. This is pretty secure, so long as I can ramp things up fast enough.
Naturally that got the most iffy at the lower elevations in the west. After getting a Forge and a handful of Reactors up, I started reinforcing that area more heavily.
The next several minutes were preparation. I decided there was enough Creeper on the map to justify a couple of standard Berthas, supporting the usual mixed mortar/cannon attack grouping.
The 500 aether in that siphon helped jumpstart things, and I should have built weapons more quickly, but basically I spent the last 15+ minutes clearing the map. You've seen that before.
Stairway 13 would prove to be a horse of a different color. It's one of those that snuck up on me. It is supposed to be symmetrical, and nearly is. My initial thoughts here were about keeping some of the runner nests from activating by stopping the digitalis at one end or the other.
First try was to nullify a couple of nests on the west end, using the other two command nodes to hold off the creeper in the east. I was overrun way to fast to make that work.
Take 2 - 35 mins or just after
Focusing on the east with everything, I used a Freeze Artifact to keep part of the creeper in place, but it was still just too slow to have any real chance of holding my ground.
Take 3 - 35:46
This is the kernel of the approach I would eventually take. Start in the middle to give myself more time to establish a network, grab the nearby ore and nullify the nest for a power zone, collectors on a 3-step range with the command nodes in the middle.
I branched out a bit, getting the next-closest Runner Nest in either direction.
This kind of thing came to be a familiar sight. With the start that I'm using here, you can think you are doing well until all the cannons you need to hold off the advance on both sides start firing. A decent amount of spores also start arriving, and you can't afford to fall far behind on energy or else the Cannons get overrun. That process is beginning here, and once it starts a snowball is virtually inevitable. It was a little over five minutes before it was obvious that I was ruined, but in retrospect I never had much of a chance.
Take 9 - 52:50
The attempts in between may be informative, but I'm just going to skip to the punch line here. This was the time I finally got enough things right to succeed.
Collectors first, ore mines and a forge follow soon after - on some of my early attempts I didn't get one of those right away and paid for it. We're going to need the upgrades. Then a 3-pack of Reactors turned out to be the right buildup balance, I'll add one on this PZ as soon as I get it. The lone Sprayer - I'd like more but can't afford the energy - just spews out AC as a defensive measure.
Then the reactor trios continue with pulse cannons and then beams built up as energy supply permits. Note the placement of the Beams here - I noticed a couple attempts ago that I could get away, for now, with them being on the 'middle' step while still protecting above and below themselves. That allows me to not build quite as many. Even being careful with it, I still have an energy shortage - 23 income and 7 deficit right now. But at least it's a manageable one, and I try to avoid any such issues as much as possible.
This was a level where I went straight for energy efficiency upgrades the first few instead of anything else. We just need the juice, and lots of it.
The winding path of Digitalis made these cannon-pairs at the top useful. Some are stunned right now but they were able to keep the runners from wandering down too close to our main defensive lines. Still, increasing range a couple times ASAP to keep the digitalis further back from the cannons is definitely something I would recommend.
The north and south ends facing eastward are the places where the creeper is the strongest. I didn't understand why at first but I think it's just gravity - flows down from the east, and also down from the rim of the map along the edges. So I eventually compensated by having more cannons here. Less than eight minutes in, 33 energy and it's not at all excessive. I added Mortars shortly afterwards to deal with the rising tide, creating a major shortfall.
Once that was dealt with and Snipers put in place, it was time to begin attacking.
I started towards the west, as it was downhill and would therefore be the easier direction. It wasn't particular complicated, just a gradual step-by-step (literally) advance.
Wanting to quiet things down more quickly, I added some more weapons including a half-dozen Berthas. It wasn't long until the attack picked up steam.
Once I was able to force way onto the upper ledge, success was assured. Soon we reversed our field and, with all of the firepower focused in one direction, even going uphill was pretty trivial.