Part 209: EmergentEmergent (40:31)
*Thud*. Ok, there's a rather stunning and totally casual throw-in of a reveal. All this time I've been assuming we're hunting the origin world of the Particulate. Nope, it's OUR origin world. And how does an ecological disaster bring about redacted space - nevermind that we don't even know what redacted space really IS - ?
While I didn't even think of this while playing this level, it's also possible that everything Thoth is saying here is 100% nonsense, since we've already seen that GalCorp isn't exactly known for being straightforward and truthful.
Ticon has swerved into perceptiveness.
Yeah that's a pretty big ... whatever it is. The plasma, perimeter defenses, mire spawners - all of it says go away. We have more wormhole-thingies, and naturally there are goodies for us on the opposite side of the ... whatever this map represents. I'm just getting nicely started when ...
I'm getting the increasing sense that Ana's usefulness to this campaign has pretty much exhausted itself. But she's honest at least.
A new enemy type, drawing strength from a well-established mechanic. From a design point of view this isn't particularly complicated, but I still give it a seal of approval for being well-thought out.
Unfortunately Kami is not wrong here.
Clearly Ogun is not his usual self.
I set to miring the nearby asteroids and grabbing what we can.
I can't take this anymore. STILL depending on licenses to build valuable things that we already know about.
Driving home the melodrama with all the subtlety of a Hulk-Smash. Everyone but the one guy who wants a REAL.BIG.GUN(TM) is super-excited about a new ship with massive firepower.
And they're not wrong about that part.
Things almost went bad here. 1:44 mission timer, I spent too much working on building up the economy and not enough on starting the fleet. Those yellowish things are the Emergent. They look like somebody was playing Snake and Centipede and sort of combined the two. And as warned, they can take one whale of a lot of punishment.
I lose a ship and an omni before I get things sorted. Here's our new Wolf ensuring that things get quieter in a hurry.
I'd just like to note for the record that I'm several missions in, plenty long enough to know better. Here I'm placing down more ships with zero storage and an attempted spending of 270. With 8.1 income. It didn't help that the particulate kept blowing up this energy source, but for whatever reason I find it much easier to forget about the economy when I building my fleet in this game than CW3. I think it might be because you have a finite number of units, so I go into 'Build Everything' mode instead of just building what I can afford.
When I realized what I was doing - mostly by the fact that the ships didn't have enough energy to fire - I deactivated some things. Which didn't make much of a difference for a while, I was in way too deep for a quick fix. I ended up just forgetting about the lower area for a bit and just focusing on a defense fortified by the amp gems.
Here I have 11.4 incoming, 74 outgoing which is of course so much better and totally fine. But at least in this case I'm overbuilding in order to get more energy, micro-tanking my way onto this corner land area.
This is the upper-right. Cool, but basically pointless at the moment. Would have been better off probably just turning the Grabbers off for the energy until later.
I did soon have a better use for the benign particulate though. After clearing out the lower part of the map satisfactorily, I began a push here further up. The methodical advance stage was well under way. Mire is 59-40 against, so esp. with the emergent being created by it I still have a lot of work to do.
This is the map center, and it turns into a cauldron with some of the fiercest fighting yet seen. By now I'm energy-positive with a full fleet, but both emergent and particulate clumps are flying about.
Also check out the previously-mentioned 'weapon pods'. In a way I have to cheer the totally shameless way they're just ripped from CW3 with no attempt at disguise. And they do what you might expect - shoot energy projectiles at anything that gets too close. By the way, that's a range that is longer than most our ships.
Time for the Hammer.
Turns out the Pulse Cannons - I refuse to call them anything else from this point - are vulnerable to the Lathe.
Two things here. I switched back to using the wormholes as I cleared out the upper-right corner, last part of the map outside of that big ... whateveritis. Also, because I'm super-observant, I did not once notice while playing this map - even while CONSTANTLY checking the energy - that there's an Emergent counter up there.
Which also spoils for us that apparently we'll get Emergent at some point? Anyway right now they have 25 of them, and mire has basically equalized. That appears to be the map limit BTW. I should be thankful it isn't higher.
Particulate makes quick work of pulse cannons also. And is generally safer.
Then it was time to force my way into the literal Particulate Fortress. You can see a bunch of particulate clumps that I'm about to deal with. There was a stalemate here for a while.
We got one of the glider pulse structures activated - completely by accident of course - but I wasn't aggressive enough in following it up for it to help much. Eventually all this friendly mire that resulted would be overtaken. My goal was to knock out the Mire Spawners, with which I was partially successful.
Forgetting that I can just build them in mid-air, I gathered up the omnis to try and overload their remaining defenses. I had been stuck in a loop for a while - emergent were highly annoying but I had to get rid of the mire to deal effectively with that problem, which wasn't easy to do without expanding more, which was hard to do because of all the Emergent ...
Their movement patterns are such that they appear more dangerous when cornered. They aren't super-aggressive at attacking you across the map, but now there was little else for them to do but come straight at my fleet.
Just as the omnis were starting to get some momentum, we decided to pause and discuss the Info Cache. And probably why the price of wheat fell three cents last week.
Yep. Another 'oh by the way' thunderbolt.
I'm betting it can, but it requires the CyberKey of Ultimate Galactic Omniscience. Which will conveniently be located somewhere in the coming missions.
This one I actually triggered on purpose. With enemy Mire down to 26% after this, it was just enough to lower the amount of emergent slightly. So you've really gotten to knock them down for it to even matter, at least on this map. Not really a fan of that as I don't think it serves to feature the new mechanic very well.
Further omni-spamming and just plain cramming more ships down their throat got me to the Stunner, and soon the rest of the resistance melted away.
Something about 'charging' in a bunch of starships doesn't fill my mind with peace.
Add 'blatantly bad leadership style' to Ticons list of qualifications. Some won't be bothered by this I'm sure, but he didn't need to do this - he could have just expressed confidence in Ogun without the comparisons to the other directors.
It's my job to run down the crew, not their CEO :P.
I confess that at this point I made the following horrible jab:
"It all adds up to what? 42??"
Is it possible that Ticon isn't really who he appears to be? Tell me they aren't dipping into that well AGAIN.
Emergent are a pain, the Wolf makes lots of things go away, and Ogun is having issues with mysterious mystery number infinity-googol while we head off to somewhere very specific for unspecified reasons.
All is as it should be, I'm sure.
Looks like lots of struc, more emergent, and in the lower-right it looks like more new things for us to collect. Emergent was a fairly good mission I thought, but I was somewhat annoyed with myself after playing it and moreso after the replay. Here's hoping I'm not super-rusty by the time I get to Ties.