Part 58: Day 15: ExterminateDay 15: Exterminate!
What a lovely title. Clearly final victory is at hand, and today is the day we exterminate all vestiges of the Creeper and Loki threats.
That's not very nice ...
The Lt. doesn't share the thread's dismissal of the phantom threat. Of course this seems likely to be a device to just let that last question hang in our minds unanswered. It is the end of the third Act, after all ...
He's not kidding though. That's a pair of Phantoms just above the Liberation Ship, immediately -- this shot is taken with the mission timer at 00:00. Gateway above us, emitters in the passages below.
** Doom Timer: 42 seconds.
Well, that's a new record. If you don't move, the creeper left over when the Phantoms explode will incinerate the Liberation Ship. I followed instructions well enough to avoid that, at least.
I move up and right, grab an energy crystal, throw down a few reactors ... and then spot that white thing moving about down there. Looks robotic ... and yep, it's a Drone.
Shortly afterwards I get to see what they can do. I put a Phantom Coil up, but that Gateway in the upper left spawns a Drone and here it is exploding. Turns out they don't actually shoot at you -- like the Phantoms, they are a kamikaze threat. This is the dual explosion of the Drone and a Reactor. Ok then.
More SCIENCE. I've expanded operations a bit, and you can see that the blaster just fired at this drone ... but one shot isn't enough. These things take multiple shots to kill, despite me imploring the weapon: "Fight it! Shoot it! Blow it up!!" Well, it did succeed in shooting it, but the drone still took out a reactor.
Trading fully constructed buildings for a drone is not an optimal way to fight them. But since the blasters will shoot them, what I need is MOAR BLASTERS. Of course I don't have time to realize that, because seconds later ...
Upon seeing this, I calmly and professionally declare "HOLY CRAPOLA ON A STICK!!!" I didn't bother counting before, but that's a dozen of them. Six on each side. Super-great.
Here's what it looks like afterwards. Basically they eliminated a blaster, the phantom coil, and like half the reactors.
"So .... we might need a few more blasters. Just .... spitballing here." Gee, ya think?!? By the way, we're not yet three minutes into the level. Now the good news is, you can see the Liberation Ship damage; it takes several drone-kamikaze blasts to take that thing out.
Two groups here. One going up the tunnel to the left, one to the right, heading to the surface. And there's 11 in the left group. This is not getting better with time. Meanwhile our fearless leader:
"Look at all those freaking things coming ... DRONES. SUCK. !!" I, uh, definitely had to sort of learn on the fly in this mission.
I did have enough blasters up though. The inability of drones to do anything until they actually make physical contact allowed us to wipe them out without casualties this time. That's a major bit of progress. All of a sudden I was feeling pretty good about things. Reactors rebuilt, and let's go after that upper Gateway.
That accomplished, I starting moving downwards. A Maker on the left, more reactors and tech domes above, blasters in the tunnel on the right -- now they had no way to get through our defenses. It was time to take the fight to them.
By the way, I chuckled on the replay at about 10:40, just after this: "Once we get some tech in, I definitely want some more packet speed and beacon range." Eat your heart out, Olesh!!
Now I'm pretty much out of anti-creeper here, but also worth noting: the anti-creeper itself damages the drones. Not enough to kill them other than quite slowly, but still helpful.
The basic deal here is that it's tons easier to advance on the offensive during the gaps between drones. Then a bunch more will be released, and the blasters will need to shoot at the drones and the creeper, forcing a more defensive mode. Of course, this would all go a LOT, LOT faster if some nitwit would upgrade his weapons already. That should really be a big priority here. But ... nope.
I actually use the 'vacuum' ability for the first time, having not been aware of it's existence for very long at this point. Yellow tint shows it's in Vacuum mode. Now there isn't much to gather, but I get what I can.
As it became clear just how long this was going to take, I put down a bunch more Tech Domes. I formed the habit at this point of building 10 of them total(up to 50 cost) starting here. I have of course gotten those vitally nigh-irrelevant packet and beacon upgrades, but that's it here.
Sometimes the brain just really doesn't work all that well. Here's an example. I'm moving these two launchers over to the right side:
"Really? You're not going to be able to get around that way guys." *Pause* "There's no way to get around! Oh ... they're going through the rift"
Yeah, you know -- the intelligent, much-faster way. Best part is I had just built the micro-rifts. Then ...
Here's where things really started to go awry. Just before 20 minutes on the video. Now in fairness I'd already laid the groundwork for a screwup by not having any extra weapons built, esp. with a large energy surplus. On top of that, here I had planned to move forward during the(rapidly shrinking) gap between sets of drones. I made one of those split-second bad choices that I didn't want to wait after having been distracted during that period. This part with the extra obstacle in the path to go around makes that particularly dangerous.
Drones took out both blasters before they could reach their new locations. Now I didn't have enough firepower to hold them back.
Another blaster soon goes, and the blockade breaks. Using the micro-rift, some of the drones go over to the right set of tunnels. Now they're behind my defenses on both sides.
One of them on the right heads for a beacon, cutting off the four blasters and two launchers that are further down that passageway. They are now as useful as a paperweight.
By the time I get enough blasters built to re-establish order, half of my reactors and tech domes are gone. In unrelated news, you can also see that I never built a micro-rift by the ship. Which means the two that I did build were virtually useless. Except for facilitating the drones circumventing half my defenses.
I've done some dumb things in my time, but this was up there.
Now I build one -- but before I secure the lower rifts. Giving them access to my base. Because that's a great idea, of course, as you can see by the tech domes that are about to go up in the upper-left.
"Conniving little bastards!"
Yes they are. But they are getting an awful lot of help. Rolling out the red carpet wasn't strictly necessary. Then, as I get back down to the tunnel entrances on both sides ...
"I think range would really help here because then I could shoot them from farther away."
Oh. You want to try doing it the intelligent way. Might as well, now that you've THOROUGHLY explored the alternative ... I add a weapon range and move speed upgrade, one of each for now.
Gradually I push my way back downwards over previously-conquered terrain, rebuilding infrastructure as I go. One important difference: six blasters on each side instead of four. I'm still not doing this for the purpose of having backups -- backups that don't fire would really be a good idea for replacement purposes. Military commanders the world over have demonstrated the value of a mobile reserve. But not me. I'm just doing it to take advantage of the range increase(also useful).
Almost at 25 minutes already and I really haven't accomplished a whole lot. Just before 30, if you like, you can see me get past that obstacle in the tunnel in the left that caused the trouble before, and easily -- even with oncoming drones. Because of one range increase basically.
I focus on the left side, which is the easier of the two because you don't have to contend with gravity, going either sideways or down always. This cubby-hole of Artifact goodness greets us after taking out another emitter.
Here's where we are with tech after grabbing those TechNyte bundles. I'm up to 2 of 3 on all the weapon stuff, and the idea of self-replicating tech(upgrading tech dome efficiency to increase tech income) is something that I try here for the first time. It's a really good and obvious idea.
And one side is completely handled.
Here's a look at how far away the blasters can shoot with maxed-out range. This is the right, bottom corner, starting to make the upwards climb against gravity.
Having climbed up to this emitter, I now have all weapons upgrades in place, a micro-rift to secure quick re-arming, and it's all over but the shouting. And a mere 45 minutes on the mission clock :P.
I add a few launchers, and reactors to support them given how much energy the increased firing rate costs, and another 7-8 minutes later the final stronghold, a Gateway/Nullifier combo, is eliminated. It's over.
Much of the time was self-inflicted, but this mission would take a while regardless I think. Too bad it doesn't track a discrete number of drones killed, because that would be amusing to check.