Part 103: Day 41 - Gameplay Again AgainDay 41: Gameplay Again Again
Manager, this setup is highly unorthodox.
That's because we're not here to work today, Angela. This facility is going to war.
Music: neutral 4
For today's fight, I've moved everyone around a bit. Because WhiteNight tries to prioritize his original blessed Agents to turn into the Apostles, I've unequipped all of them completely and put them all near the top of the facility. Everyone else present today is wearing an E.G.O suit with 1.0x or better Pale resistance to ensure that WhiteNight won't be able to hurt them too badly with his Red Ring of Death. As far as weapons go, I gave Lamp and Exuviae to some of our quicker attackers-this will let them attack faster so that we have more of a chance to have the damage amplification land. Everyone else is loaded up with the strongest Red and Black damage weapons we have. This is a facility geared out specifically for this fight.
I also burn through about 40-50 LOB in making sure everyone I bring along is Level 5 in every stat. Since we're going to have to rewind after this, there's no reason not to.
Manager, Dimi's Prudence is still only at 4.
I'm aware of that. It's fine.
Dimi here happens to be the only Agent in the entire facility with a Prudence below 5, and this makes her absolutely essential.
Is everyone ready? Any questions?
I got the plan, but It's not my kind of strategy.
Cunning has ever eluded you. I doubt we would be in this facility now were it not the case.
Nobody'll care if I shove her down a flight of stairs, right?
Can you two do this later? I'm trying to focus.
Center thyself as thou like. My fury shalt not be quenched by man. On this day, I shalt ascend. On this day, I shalt be victorious. And on this day, all of creation shalt gaze upon My beauty and be saved.
No today's the day I kick your butt, take your weapon, and kick you out of groupchat forever. Let's roll, team.
Time to kick some ass.
Let's talk about WhiteNight.
WhiteNight is a very tanky ALEPH Abnormality with only one attack: the Red Ring of Death it fires out over the entire facility every 60 seconds. The first pulse he fires will kill every Clerk in the entire building, meaning that our Agents will be on base regenerator healing for the entire fight, which is 12 HP per regenerator tic in a main room or 6 in a hallway. The regenerators normally fire off every 10 seconds, but having an enemy in the main room will slow this down to once every 20 seconds. This means that WhiteNight's department will allow us to heal a maximum of 36 HP between each attack, which is less than he'll deal to our 1.0x resistance Agents. Hiding in an enemy-free main room will double that to 72, but any engagement against WhiteNight will chew through our limited bullet count one way or another. Ideally, we want to make the fight against it quick and decisive.
The entire fight is designed to make that as difficult to do as possible. But we'll come back to that in a moment.
Let's all do our best today!
I'm really glad to be out of that old outfit.
I'm really not sure why they asked you to get back in the basic suit, but I'm sure there's a reason for it. And it looks great on you.
So since we're all out of the training suits, that means nobody needs any training here anymore, right?
Great, then let's just take the day off.
Wait, is that why you came over here?!
It's not a problem, is it? We've worked hard-we should have a vacation.
Can we do that?
Oh, I'm sorry-um we actually have orders. Elle, you're to head over to Control. Medea, Zeta21, you're to report to Extraction ASAP.
You heard her. We'll have to put a pin in it.
Oh well next time. You guys have fun.
I move everyone except the blessed Agents down to Extraction, and send Dimi to work.
This is all the work we'll be doing today.
Manager, you are aware that this will lower its Qliphoth Counter, correct?
Yeah. It's part of the plan. Just like getting everyone down to Extraction except for the blessed.
Manager! We have a problem!
What's going on?!
One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong~
Manager, Dimi went to the wrong place!
You're kidding-I'll handle it.
WhiteNight's QC just reduced, manager. We have less than 3 minutes.
Right. Let's group up and make this quick.
I wonder what we're all doing here
Ooh! Maybe it's time for that reunion thingy again?
I don't think any of us have been working here long enough for us to have a reunion, ma'am.
Well, whatever it is we've got the bog standard newbie gear. I don't like it.
There's a simple way to check. Seyser!
What are you d-hey, let go!
His hair's shaking hard enough that my whole body's trembling!
So we're all screwed. Great.
Don't worry, you guys. There has to be some rational explanation for all of this..!
Ooh, maybe this is one of those things where one of us is the traitor?
It's not me! I'm definitely a normal human and not an alien at all!
I think you've been hanging out with that Kaori lady too much.
The main concerns in the fight with WhiteNight are his Apostles. While WhiteNight is a grinding threat designed to eat away at our resources when we engage with him, the Apostles are much more direct problems. While they don't have a lot of HP, they can't be properly killed. Every time WhiteNight uses its Red Ring of Death, every Apostle that has been defeated rises at full HP and continues their attacks.
Scythe Apostles deal massive Red damage and have an instant-kill grab attack. If we let them come to us they can't hit us with that grab attack since they engage at the limit of their scythe range, but if we have multiple Agents running by them with different movement speeds they can pick off someone around the middle with it and cost us a unit instantly. Their other attacks are too slow to be of any concern unless we're busy attacking in proximity to them-and as attacking Apostles on their own is a waste of time this generally won't be a problem.
Guardian Apostles, however, are Scythe Apostles that don't wander. They spend their time in the same room as WhiteNight in order to protect their leader-and we have to attack their roommate if we want to win. They deal enough Pale to instantly kill anyone wearing suits less tanky than Paradise Lost (even Justita/Twilight die to their upwards slash), and they also have a grab they can use. Because they never leave the room, any attacks on WhiteNight have to maneuver around them. Smaller main rooms like the Upper Layer or Disciplinary/Welfare will require constant micromagement should he spawn there, since the Guardians can never stray far from the boss. This may make larger main rooms like Extraction/Records or even Central Command seem attractive as places to engage. The Apostles can be lured away in these rooms, granting us extra time to attack WhiteNight.
It turns out they thought of that. Spear Apostles lift off and charge across the room whenever in the same room as an opponent, dealing a crippling amount of Black damage as they go. The attack is relatively easy to avoid if we keep our Agents near doors or in smaller rooms since we can rush by without a problem. However, WhiteNight spawns in the middle of whichever main room it's in. If we're caught by one while attacking him in a larger room like Extraction/Records-or especially Central Command-they can become unavoidable. That effectively means a wipe if one happens to get into the room, and there's 4 of them wandering around to keep track of.
Wand Apostles are much like Spear Apostles in that they're more dangerous the bigger a room is. They fire a beam which deals White damage over time, and while Spear Apostles are about one big hit, Wand Apostles prefer multiple smaller ones. The damage tics multiple times per second, so getting out of dodge is the order of the day-which can be difficult to do in larger rooms.
Because there are 7 wandering Apostles that make larger rooms more dangerous and only 2 that are more dangerous in smaller rooms, the normal strategy for WhiteNight is to engage it in a department like Training or Safety where there are a number of possible escape options to avoid Apostles and the main room is relatively small. However, the small room means that we have to frequently dodge Guardian Apostles-which drags the fight out and lets WhiteNight's attrition eat away at our resources even if we're playing perfectly. That's not even including the part where we can't pause.
It's a very elegantly designed fight that is difficult because it demands a constantly high level of micromanagement, punishes our Agents severely for failing to keep up with its demands, and is all also a race against time to defeat WhiteNight before we run out of bullets.
How do we deal with this? We'll cover that in a moment.
I'm here! Did I miss anything?
Nah, we've just been milling around.
Ahem. Agents? Hello? Hi. Yes. This is your manager speaking.
We know who you are.
Er yes. You would. Um anyways we're going to be going into a difficult suppression against that new Abnormality soon. I know you all must be scared of the idea of facing it again, and I wanted to assure you that-
Scared? Why would we be scared?
It's just another Abnormality, isn't it?
I don't know about that-its form did shift overnight, didn't it?
What's all this about facing it 'again,' anyways..?
I-I-I think the Manager's a little bit scatterbrained at the moment! Let's all just... move along and take care of the thing when it pops up!
I agree with Bishop. Manager, if you're tired, please just take a nap.
...Oh. Oh. Yes, sorry. Anyways we'll be doing a breach so we can research this thing-I need you all on your toes. But don't worry. I have a plan!
Manager, it's lowered its own status again. A breach is imminent.
Alright. Just let me visualize my actions.
Soon soon! I shalt reign over this world and bring it forth into a new age!
There are three broad kinds of strategies to deal with WhiteNight, each of which having their own strengths and weaknesses.
The first type is to engage with its mechanics as intended, and to have our Agents dodge around as best we're able in order to cut him down before he whittles our facility into nothing. It's much easier to do if we've been keeping our blessed alive and are trying to suppress him the first time we've found him, because we can control who has which gear-WhiteNight's ability to transform random people to make up the number afterwards can throw a wrench into this otherwise since he can turn well-equipped Agents into Apostles, but even with losses like that this strategy is very workable. It just needs practice, and a willingness to burn time. My first time facing WhiteNight I used a strategy like this, and it took ~ten minutes to burn him down.
The second type is to set up a group of Agents who can ignore the Red Ring of Death entirely, most commonly via Paradise Lost or CENSWORD+Justita, and have them chip the boss down in a battle of attrition. This is a relatively safe strategy as we can take as long as we like to whittle down WhiteNight, and it works well so long as we even have one of our tanky characters survive the initial transformation so it's quite reliable. However, there are downsides. The first is that it takes forever. WhiteNight has a lot of HP and powerful defenses, so a small team of Agents can't burn through it very quickly. This gives us plenty of time to get careless or overextend and make a mistake. That leads into problem two: mistakes are costly. Fewer Agents mean if we lose one to a grab or a scythe hit from a Guardian the entire run is going to take twice as long, or even have to be scrapped straight out. My second time facing WhiteNight I tried to duo him, but had one of the pair die to a grab within the first two minutes. The fight lasted about an hour. It's worth mentioning that the first type of plan can fall back to this one if we make a mistake-it's very possible to salvage a WhiteNight run by having a few survivors work on whittling down the last of his HP from relative safety.
The third type of strategy is to introduce something to the mix which somehow disrupts the intended flow of the fight. Most commonly this is done via Green Midnight, so let's talk about it for a moment.
While we haven't seen it in the LP proper yet, I did catch one on video during Tiphereth's suppression. It is incredibly tanky, and since to Ordeals Pale damage is just a number it takes quite a long time for the Guardian Apostles to be able to kill it. In that time, it can power up its laser and begin a sweep of the facility. While our Agents can dodge it by simply hopping from one elevator to another, a WhiteNight positioned in the Information Team main room can't. He's stuck taking 6-10 damage 5 times per second from two different beams, for an average of 80/second. At 12,000 HP, this means WhiteNight will live on average for ~150 seconds, enough time to fire off two Red Rings of Death and not much else. Because this source of damage is consistent and requires none of our Agents to be in danger, it breaks the WhiteNight fight entirely and makes it fairly simple for anyone to win.
I don't particularly like this strategy. It requires spamming retries until WhiteNight shows up in Information, spending ~20 minutes to get to Midnight, and then praying for a 1-in-3 chance that we see it instead of Amber or Violet Midnight. Put simply, it would kill our Retry count.
So this time, I'm going in a bit of a different direction.
So I just hold onto this? I can do that. How long?
Oh, you'll know when to let go.
Manager, are you sure that this is the only way?
There's a fair few other ways that this could go down but this isn't just about winning.
No. It's about sending a message.
Thou flyest too high, and the light of My radiance shalt melt this Wing of wax.
Every 30 seconds Twee spends holding Yang drops Yin's QC by 1, so it takes a minute to breach. WhiteNight takes 90 seconds to escape after hitting his red aura, so we can use the leftover time to let the fish move towards each other.
Music: First Trumpet
Thanks for the heads-up.
This had better work! Those fish always leave a huge mess to clean up!
I take a second to see how Yang is moving. It's going to the left, out of Disciplinary. Yin and Yang will always choose an arbitrary spot in the facility to move toward, and the Dragon always flies from one of three spots at the top of the facility down directly over where they meet-this means that we can effectively dodge the dragon by staying out of the three pathways it can take. With easy access to all of Extraction and the Disciplinary elevator, our Agents are poised to dodge as need be-in this case the Extraction team elevator will do fine. I have everyone move...
My time cometh. Rise, My servants! Let us take back this planet and make it anew!
Music: Third Trumpet
Manager, reports coming from all over the Upper Layer.
I'll summarize: They all died, the end.
The TT2 protocol has been compromised again as well. It seems this Abnormality and the Apocalypse Bird have the same ability to distort time no, this one is stronger, perhaps
Got it. Anything else?
Big Bird came out to play. Handle it at your leisure, it isn't going to stop breaching anytime soon.
I'll keep it in mind. Everyone, wait for my signal.
Seriously?! Too small?
I am merely providing a possibility.
Whatever, everyone handle it!
I've circled Mr.Black, above. All the breaches got Parasite Tree going, and he ran up to get blessed. Being done with that, he's decided to pick a fight with Big Bird.
I didn't notice this at all in the moment, and it ended with a big ol' chomp.
His last words were 'I suppose after all this time, it's finally my turn! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!' sir.
Disturbing to the bitter end, that one. Let's try not to repeat that. Bishop, how's the suppression going?
We've got this under control!
You're grounded, mister! Go to your room!
Mountain of Smiling Bodies vs Every Red and Black damage ALEPH weapon in the facility ends with the Mountain being suppressed quite quickly.
Taste My wrath, Manager! Hide in thy burrows, it shalt not save thee!
I'm not hiding. I'm biding my time.
Thou darest to claim thou art biding thy time? Arrogant worm, you stand before your God! Accept thy judgment!
Yeah, funny thing about that.
There's a lot of gods around here.
All hands, brace for impact! Get the damage report ready ASAP!
Multiple breaches across the facility.
This was why it was vitally important that Dimi work with Blue Star to lower its QC. The dragon can't free an Abnormality that's at less than full QC, and it getting out would probably kill us all.
Manager, we're waiting for the smoke to clear now.
Perfect. Have the others suppress Mountain again, I'll be along in just a moment.
I should note that whenever WhiteNight is in focus on the screen during its breach, it plays its own tune in addition to whatever music is going on. It's appropriately big, and a nice touch.
Was that the extent of thy power? I remain untouched by thy best effort.
Yeah I noticed it didn't work on Apocalypse Bird either. But when did I ever say you were my target?
...My servants... What have you done to My Apostles?!
I hit them with a freaking dragon. Duh.
Confused? Let's talk about my favorite thing in the world: Lobotomy Corporation's coding. The immortality of the Apostles is actually dealt with in the games code in a rather clever way: the Apostles never actually die. Instead, they're only ever able to be reduced to 1 HP, at which point they enter a dormant state. WhiteNight's Red Ring of Death fully heals any such Apostle and has them return to their active state whenever it comes out. As a result, Apostles can't be killed by damage.
Unfortunately for them, the Yin/Yang dragon doesn't deal damage. It just inverts the HP/SP stats of anything in its path instantly, and this can get around the Apostles' protection against death. If they're hit by a dragon while at full HP they simply disappear-since they don't have a proper death animation because we were never supposed to kill them.
In short, we just hit WhiteNight with a lethal dose of
Is it time?
Oh yeah. It's time.
All agents, charge!
This is UNACCEPTABLE!
No, what's unacceptable is you walking in here acting like we're all just going to bow to you. Like we're not just going to figure out how to deal with your brand of bull before moving on to the next Abnormality just like always. Tiphereth! Status!
All agents are still alive and well!
Great. Rendezvous in Training.
Our first shot hit dead-on here, but truth be told I'd planned for at least one miss. By keeping everyone in Extraction and away from the action I could make sure their healing outpaced the red ring's damage, and Twee's fast and tanky enough to grab Yang and deposit it right in front of Yin's door as many times as needed. I was completely prepared to fire multiple dragons to pull this off.
Instead we get one perfect dragon that flies through the facility and wipes out five of WhiteNight's Apostles all at once-including the most important two, the Guardians.
Thou think thyself clever? That thou art more than a man? Compared to My radiance-
Shut uuup, already. We can't rely on something as unreliable as 'gods' to fix humanity. Instead, it falls to me and my presumably genius plan. And you? You're a damn cog in that plan. Trying to usurp my control? Trying to 'save' everyone with some quack solution that'll just cause more problems than it solves? Yeah-that's not going to fly here. Not anymore. All agents suppress the target.
Without his Guardians to protect him, we can focus entirely on dealing damage to WhiteNight. This fight is already basically over, we just have to wait for the damage to pile on.
So this is that WhiteNight up close
Fish in a barrel. Keep attacking.
I'll open up some weaknesses for you to focus on-just keep the pressure going!
Such arrogance! Is it not written, 'thou shalt not test God?' You try My patience!
Gh-that one smarts!
Just think of it as an incentive to hit faster!
Manager, some support'd be nice!
I've got your backs, everyone! Nanites incoming!
This cannot be! Have I failed Mother..?
Hey-he said the thing!
That means we're about to win!
Don't jinx it!
Burning him down takes a while, but there's really nothing he can do to stop us.
Manager, we have opted to reduce the threat level.
Makes sense. We've got things basically in hand now.
It's dark. The bird's nearby.
Don't worry about that right now. We're almost there!
In the end, WhiteNight doesn't get to fire off another ring before...
This isn't over..! I shalt return, reborn forever..!
We've acquired the necessary data. Sending it for extraction and analysis now.
Also, Sephiroth died at the same time as the Abnormality was suppressed. We've pushed the warning level back up to a Third Trumpet.
...sure, why not. Someone, get me a status report.
Of course! I made sure to stay on top of everything going on! Of course, you can already see the static from 1.76 MHz...
Big Bird is currently wandering the Training department, but should be a simple suppression from here.
The King of Greed is wandering Disciplinary.
And Nothing There is in Central, in its third form. It's currently healing, but should still be able to be stopped with some effort! There are no other notable threats, sir!
Thanks Malkuth, excellent summary.
Gebura, how're our weapons?
We rebuilt the E.G.O we lost from Mr.Black's death.
And Binah? How's our new weapon looking?
My duty has been completed, Manager.
Great. Good work, everyone.
Let's get the hell out of here.
With our suppression done, we can Memory Repository out and keep our new toy. Since I don't want to keep any of our Agents dead, we do that.
I'm just gonna' say what everyone's thinking: Worst. Vacation. Ever.
We didn't even get a vacation today, though?
Exactly. I'm going on break.
You've got some real moves, Twee. You were punching like lightning during that fight.
Well, what can I say? Float like a butterfly, punch like a spring-loaded bobblehead!
So, anyone have plans for later?
Frankly I'm just going to enjoy the silence. It'll be a lot harder working without Mizu around, but all her chatter really wears at you just like a White attack would.
On the upside, I don't think you need to worry too much about the work getting harder anytime soon.
Music: neutral 3
Manager, I have put through the updates based on the additional data gathered from the newest E.G.O from WhiteNight. This should hopefully keep it out of our communications and order systems.
Can we stop it from disabling my pause button?
Unfortunately, that is related to the Abnormality's presence and not any specific action. It can only be prevented by proper management.
Heck. Oh well, let's see if this works.
Do you hear that?
Um there's nothing to hear?
Exactly. It worked. Now I don't have to listen to that stupid thing anymore. Good work, everyone. Now-I think we were in the middle of something, Hokma?
Oh, that has to wait.
I'm sure you know by now, A-on Memory Repository days, we can't face off. That's always been the case.
Oh yeah, that was a rule, wasn't it..? Man, so you mean I have to go all the way through Day 41 again? But that's boring!
Oh, you never know. Something interesting may happen.
Next time, on Lobotomy Corporation: Nothing interesting happens.
Requirements: Fortitude 5, Prudence 5, Temperance 5, Justice 5
*Not affected by Attack Speed