Part 98: KrigKrig
Now it's time to decide which way to go. The thing about this choice is that there's really no good reason to pick one path or the other. At this point I think that the climax of the game is towards Andere, but the only reason I think that is there's one more system in that direction. I know nothing about these systems other than their name and location without going there, and by the time I do that, if I'm wrong then it's too late because I've got to clear the inhibitor planet before doing anything else. So I fall back on an old habit I developed because OCD in my long-gone RPGing days;
"When you come to a fork, turn left." Why? I really don't know. But there are so many times you can run into a fork between multiple hallways in a dungeon, and being the weirdo I am I needed a reason to not just be arbitrary and random, so I decided to be arbitrary and non-random by always going left, then right, then straight ahead(if applicable), assuming there was no palpable reason to choose differently. Based soley on that logic, we're off to the Cliff system first, which is 'left' from our current vector.
There's not much here. A very yellow star and a single unshielded planet, Krig.
De-orbiting planets because who cares is a disturbingly common thing in the galaxy in recent eons.
I'm surprised at Skars' lack of interest in these special weapons. Perhaps he assumes they are long-gone at this point.
A shield key to what? This is the only planet in the system.
Oh. Skars doesn't care. So I guess neither should I. I find this whole construction not necessarily bad per se, but rather odd. Connections to bonus areas from within the main story interface itself, and the game telling us clearly 'you really don't want to go there yet'. So ... why is it even here then, as opposed to 'beat the first 20 missions to unlock this' or whatever? Perhaps the answer is yet to be revealed, but I doubt it.
This planet threw me for a loop for a while, and the main reason why doesn't need any plot introduction or gameplay. We've got various landmasses and the shield key in the southwest, digitalis, runner nest, emitters, spore towers(lots of them), ore totems, etc. An obvious starting location, a destroyed-space gap, none of this is really new. But right in the middle is a weird-looking inhibitor(whatever), and I spent a lot of time on this mission thinking about 'how do I even get there?'. The answer may be obvious even to some who haven't played Creeper World, but due to how remote it is from the two main sections of land I was wondering about and distracted by the question for quite a while, and it made things take a lot longer than they would have otherwhise. But let's hear what Lia has to say before I get into that any further.
I love the fact that Skars is long past the point of having any ability for melodrama or BS. At any given moment of time his day really isn't going to be made any worse by much of anything, so he's just like 'whatever, don't beat around the bush here."
I do believe this is the first time the Creeper corrupted something and couldn't make it work properly.
Yet more evidence of third-party interference.
I really could have used some here, but I suppose one must remove the training wheels at some point. And this does unlock a bonus content section, so yeah let's earn it.
Just seconds in, you can see how the corrupted Ticon station/malfunctioning Warp Inhibitor/bastardized tech/what the heck ever is just spewing creeper at random locations. But it does stay nearby the station. It doesn't appear to just throw stuff random places on the map. Which is ultimately good. All the creeper in this shot was produced that way.
Also, notice how it just stays there on the plane of everything else, which only special plot-nigh-irrelevant randomspacetime CreeperNonsense effects can do. Not that I'm the least bit bitter about that at all.
Soon I settle into the task of building something resembling a base in the northwest. All three command nodes and a bunch of collectors go down. Clearly Digitalis is going to be annoying and the station-spawned creeper is already making landfall.
I think I came up with a darned good approach next. Since AC reduces digitalis regeneration, I went with a couple of sprayers once the ore mines were up, with the idea of using them to delay the creeper advance(which mostly has to cross the Digitalis Bridge(tm)) while I got reactors and a forge going ASAP for energy and upgrades. One of my better moments, if I do say so myself. Snipers were next because runners are annoying, and then Beams.
Strangely enough, it was the 'baseline' weapons that I waited too long on. The sniper over here didn't get up fast enough, but problematic was that the creeper crossed the digitalis bridge and started leaking out before things were under control.
Multiple digitalis-prioritizing cannons were placed at the entry points across the bridge, and it didn't take long for them to have significant effect as seen by the shriveling here. Soon both entry points were choked off completely, and as long as sufficient anti-spore beam defenses were maintained, the 'hold the line' point was reached.
The next target was the small island in the southwest. I'd like to say it was to get access to the power zone that emitter will yield. In reality, it was because I had no idea how to proceed yet. Unfortunately, the Digital Bridge does not allow us to use it; I tried multiple times to move weapons on top of it, but that is not allowed. So they can attack that way, but we can't.
IT'S NOT FAIR! WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Ok, I'm done now. So I had mortars on the coastline and invested in upgrading weapons range to start clearing out the island. I needed to do that eventually anyway.
Messing around with various ideas, I basically waste a bunch of Aeither seeing what a max-charge Singularity would do to the enemy stronghold. As I put it:
"That's a nice little temporary thing there, but it doesn't do me any permanent good."
A quartet of Strafers were built to help clear out the island faster. An initial landing was a bit premature, but a bit later four blasters and a relay were all it took to secure it. After contemplating options I put a Bertha on the PZ, just because I didn't have a better idea.
Oh, snap. There have been a couple 'heh, wait till Farbor' type comments in the thread. The whole 'here's a shield key to a planet in another system' deal is an in-game hint that Farbor is not a thing to be taken lightly. But since I don't know where Farbor even is, or why I should care about it, we have other fish to fry right now.
I'm now 20 minutes in, having really played pretty leisurely and relatively aimlessly. I now must start to contemplate the what and how of invasion. I contemplate this area and the fact that it's too far to even think about relaying over.
Shortly afterwards, I expound again upon the fact that try as I might, I can't convince the bridge to support weapons like this sprayer; I can only deploy/move them to solid ground.
After a couple minutes of focusing my thoughts on the problem, I conclude that I need to eventually get a Command Node over to the other side, then do 'nullifier hopping' to cross the islands that these spore towers are on in order to reach the station and take it out. The first part is not exactly trivial with the amount of creeper they are swimming in over there. But at least I've figured out an objective.
The Bertha wants to target the middle of the destroyed space/bridge area, which is the last thing I need. I, uh, didn't listen real well to some advice on this;
uto-target is an okay use for them, especially on a map like this that has deep creeper concentration(s) teleported to other locations. However, considering that they are functionally unlimited range super mortars, manually targeting them to assist against your current advance target is generally the best option.
I admit that I read this when it was posted, considered it for a moment, and decided 'nah, I like Auto-Target better'. At this moment in the Krig mission, I literally chuckled when watching the replay at what I said here:
"I assume eventually it's going to get sick of shooting over here."
It's not often I do it, but it's pretty sad when your own gameplay makes you want to facepalm. Manually target it somewhere else then, dinglefritz! The thing is, I like the idea of just not having to micro-manage it and have it deplete deep concentrations of creeper. But this is a great example of why Olesh was right and that really isn't usually the best idea. Despite knowing it was inefficient to do so, I left the thing on Auto.
The eventual plan is the most combined-arms thing I've ever done in Creeper World. I had a couple more standard berthas built on the island, and had them target the emitters. At times, this would cause massive if short-lived digitalis-shrivel. Another quad of strafers attacked in a similar but basically parallel line along the coast to the first one. And there were more reactors to power all this. And Guppies were most necessary, because when we landed I wouldn't be able to connect any of this directly to the main network. Then eventually, when it looked like we'd done about as much damage that way as we were going to, I attempted to co-ordinate the landing of a Command Node, four Guppies, and several weapons platforms near the coast.
It didn't work perfectly, but it worked a heck of a lot better than I thought. I'm still surprised that I pulled it off on the first attempt.
I lost the first Guppy, but the other three survived. This just looks so weird compared to most constructions. There's not a single energy-producing thing there except the Node which isn't much; the guppies ferried enough in to keep things going though, and eventually I started building collectors here and there. One emitter went down, then the other, and then the nest itself. All the land was ours ... but the fight was not yet over.
These are the most useful SuperReactors I've had so far. They relieved a lot of the pressure on the guppy-ferrying.
While the strafers, sprayers, and berthas kept pounding away at the randomly-generated creeper from the station, these coastal nullifiers could just barely each reach a spore-tower island.
This looks simple here. Four with one blow! Why, just power that thing up, and ... yeah, it's not that simple.
** I tried to just build it, and the random creeper eruptions killed it. "Oh, you're a jerk. You really area a jerk".
** Threw out a SuperBlaster on the area to clear things out, and tried again. Nope. After losing it 3x more, I tried to put a shield up on a nearby PZ or on the coast, or ... none of them would have the range to cover it.
In the end, I just threw every weapon I could as close as I could, and lost one or two more but eventually the timing worked.
That's pretty cool, and there wasn't much left to do after the station finally bought it. I enjoyed this mission overall more than most due to the uniqueness of the challenge involved. Wouldn't be nearly as difficult to do it again, but it forced a couple of different tactics on me.