Part 178: Creeper Wall 2Creeper Wall 2
It took me two attempts to get this one right. The first try was a hodge-podge of half-baked and often bad ideas. By the time the second one rolled around I basically knew what needed to be done.
A clear attacking and defending side are obviously delinated, with a ridge in between to buy us some time.
The urgency here is a bit overwrought, as will be seen. Also, what in the name of a finite existence is a 'gaint' wall? Lia, attention should be paid to your ever-malfunctioning gel circuitry.
Beginning in the southeast, the only place I can, I soon realize that Collectors are of little value on the rough terrain and switch to Reactors. Takes a little longer to realize something else: Berthas need open space too and there's precious little of it.
I ended up recalling a couple Command Nodes to orbit once I thought I had a decent energy supply, and then getting some of the big guns going.
The main thing about this map is the Wall is really, really slow. This is almost four and a half minutes in. On the other hand I would eventually see it reach nearly two thousand depth, so it's right good and sizable.
The main flaw in my thinking is I was still stuck in the mode of the first wall map; the idea of jumping over the wall as it passes until you build up enough to handle it. By the time I realized this was a bad idea, it was too late. With how slow it moves it's going to kill anything and there's only one spot you can have the network core at. Also, you need to have a constant barrage up to keep the creeper at the west end of the map under control, and once the wall starts wrecking your network, I don't think there's a good way to do that.
Not fully realizing that, I had sort of half-assed the artillery buildup - enough to take bites out of the wall and keep things workable for now - and was pondering what the heck I was going to do when it made its way over the dune ridge.
So here's a bit of a look at some things I tried. One is, I'm spreading out the reactors as I boost energy so that I don't lose them all at once and keep a critical mass of the economy going. The second thing is using Guppies to transport energy over the wall. While it's too late really to ramp up the firepower for this pass and I know that, I also am increasing the bertha count here - five operational and two more placed as I boost the incoming energy.
The mission time here is 17:35 and the wall is just approaching the crest, with a depth of just over 1200. I've weakened it, but that's not happening fast enough and now it isn't sucking up the creeper on the west side anymore - which will soon require me to direct more artillery fire downrange.
I cut out a lot of me basically not being sure what to do during this first attempt, and also discovered that if a Guppy's base is destroyed, the guppy itself dies too. No matter where it is. Which means I'd need to build guppies on the far side of the wall to make that work at all. And it wouldn't save the day anyway.
About here I realized I was doomed. I didn't have enough energy to feed the berthas and rebuild my energy structures on the far side of the wall, so the Creeper was building up and pushing over the dunes whilst the wall rampaged through my network with increasing effect. That, in a nutshell, is why the patient approach just doesn't work here.
Take 2 - 13:25ish
Ok, time to get this right then. If we can't survive a pass by the wall, then we need to kill it before it gets here. That means more Berthas, and for efficiency's sake it is better to get the energy support up before building the things.
I'm wasting space for no collectors, and using Relays and reactors on the rougher terrain. The clear areas? That's reserved for berthas. I don't know how many I'm going to need, but I know it's a lot, so I plan to build as many as I can fit in.
Just over eight minutes in here. I've got myself a nice healthy reactor farm, and ten artillery pieces under construction. The wall, meanwhile has been completely unimpeded and is nearly that 2K mark ... and still growing. At this point I don't know if I've waited too long, but it's clear I need to start an unrelenting cannonade like yesterday and whittle that thing down to size.
Once they are all going, I keep building reactors and slowly starting adding Mortars to the ridgeline. They won't do much by comparison, but every bit helps.
By the 14-minute mark, the wall reached the line of totems, but was almost out of creeper to fuel itself and well under 900 depth. I was feeling a little better but not yet fully confident.
16 minutes. The wall works its way up the last of the hillside, and is in range of everything now. It's down to me and ugly. Visible weakening of the barrier is apparent just as the frontline troops - i.e. the mortars and Pulse Cannons - are forced to pull back much like the border guards in a more traditional conflict.
As it neared our furthest-forward support structures, the wall began to break up. I searched desperately for places the smaller weapons could put themselves on the rough terrain while still hitting it and keeping it from destroying our energy. The berthas had shifted their targeting to the now-deeper concentrations further west, having done their job cutting the irresistible force down to size. It was literally directly adjacent to my furthest-forward reactors when the last of it was eradicated.
Now it was time to press the attack. And that was slow going at first as well, because of the rough ground and the fact that Terps are not permitted. I also was not at all certain that the wall wouldn't just eventually reform - turns out it's a one-shot deal though and once it is gone, it's gone.
It wasn't hard to get close to the Totems, valuable upgrade-giving targets. It was surprisingly difficult to actually get close enough to access them though. From this point the path to victory is well-worn, but it would take me almost twenty mostly-tedious minutes to achieve it, or roughly half the completion time. The weapon upgrades, esp. range given the fact that the platforms often can't be placed conveniently, were definitely worth their weight in ore. Even though aether doesn't actually weight hardly anything now that I think about it ... whatever, you know what I mean.