Part 21: Blastin' Makes Me Feel GoodUpdate 021: Blastin' Makes Me Feel Good
I can't believe it's finally time!
Are you... vibrating from joy?
I believe Deadeye is looking forward to the stash of ancient weaponry down here.
Me too! We'll use it to beat up bad guys! Make the world a better place!
Thank you, talking wall!
Self-guided tour, huh? Guess the Ancients believed in cutting corners.
The "only" enemies in the Control Center are the various drones. The two lower tiers aren't an issue outside of the annoyance of breaking the party's gear intermittently, but the Terminator Units... thankfully this place starts us off a bit easy without forcing us to deal with any of them.
This console is super important. It's easy to miss it, but when you use it, your characters get the usual little green "something good happened"-sparkle and...
Oh I'm feeling dangerous already! Now to actually find some Blasters...
What the... this is supposed to be the weapon of the ancients? This little thing? Look at the numbers on it!
I confess to feeling a bit underwhelmed, myself...
Let's bring the damn thing, maybe we can hock it for an army of mercenaries later... or maybe this is just the rookie stuff.
Despite feeling a bit labyrinthine, the Control Center actually has a relatively straightforward layout.
It only has two real "levels," though I did, uh, waste like half an hour trying to find the ramp up to the second level later on, because I'm a moron. Now that we've learned Blaster use, our goal is to find four good Blasters for the party. And no, what we found so far is not, as they say, "the good shit."
However, I believe it's possible to entirely kit the party out with these piddly little things without engaging a single Terminator Unit, so if you're feeling a bit cowardly or underlevelled for this place, it's an option. After all, there's really only one enemy in the game that needs Blasters to destroy it... but we're gonna do this properly.
You know, I expected more of a challenge from the Ancients' guard dogs-
I can't wait for Richmond to be alive again so I can tell him how you got him killed.
Now! Bobelix can Resurrect our Eradicated party members BUT, it takes a really long time to recover from, and Resurrected party members are restored with 0 MP and 0 HP(KO'd state). This means that someone getting Eradicated and Bobelix picking them up puts two party members out of the fight for a while, plus even once healed up to being alive they're also Weak which reduces their fighting capacity a bit. Thus, eradications are super bad news, and only RNG protects us from it when fighting Terminator Units.
Just to show how badly it can go, in this first encounter with a single Terminator Unit, Richmond got Eradicated three times and Deadeye once, forcing me to reload since I clearly wasn't gonna be winning it with only Agnes outputting any damage.
I wonder if that's got anything to do with the rampaging swarm of murderdrones.
Loot sense... tingling... there's some good stuff behind this door.
Also what appears to be multiple Terminator Units. Might I recommend large cowardice?
Stop talking and start ducking, you dolts!
It's always cozy when we do this, like a camping trip!
Gives me a chance to go over our budgets and make sure Deadeye isn't robbing us blind.
Hey, I wouldn't steal from you guys. Because between the three of you, you could probably kick my ass if you caught me.
So yeah, THAT room features the return of Ring of Fire. Blowing Richmond's entire supply of SP is actually enough to kill the lesser Units on the other side, but sadly not the Terminators.
In fact it barely even knocks them down to half health. Between their resistances and their high HP totals, they do not go down easy.
By sheer luck, though, I manage to take them down without anyone getting Eradicated, leaving us a clear run at these delicious loot boxes.
Imagine a heavenly choir SFX here.
Come to pa-
None of you are mature enough to handle this thing, so I'm taking it.
Shush, you were already considering the cool pose you'd strike, probably shooting one of us in the head in the process.
I take offense to characterizing me as immature...
I saw you taking out the screwdriver, you were going to take it apart to see how it worked.
You can't tell me that anyone here is more competent at handling weapons than me.
Which is why it stays in my hands. You were already planning some sentence involving the terms "god king."
Maybe we should see what's in the other chests?
Oh, I wonder if the Oracle knows these are down here. I guess we could just have walked down the stairs and fixed things...
I feel a sudden need to test this thing out. You guys cover me.
So, let's talk Blasters and why they rule. At a glance, they have non-impressive damage. Okay stats, but only okay, considering that they don't benefit from Heroism boosting their damage. You will almost certainly see a damage-per-attack drop when equipping them. But that's not the whole story.
Blasters have the advantage of doing Energy damage, which nothing resists, so it always eats the full damage rolled and... they're a bit bugged.
See, all weapons have a hidden "recovery" stat, which determines their time between swings. A staff or an axe, for instance, have a recovery value of "100." This can be further penalized by various maluses like heavy armor, boosted by a high Speed stat, by being Hasted, having the Recovery enchantment on the item or in some cases by a high weapon skill. In turn-based combat, all weapons are, no matter their boosts, capped at a Recovery time of 30. This is still quite good! It allows Blasters to attack about twice as often as any other weapon.
In real-time mode, however, this cap is removed for bows and blasters, and Agnes can shit out a volley of ten Blaster shots per one attack or arrow from anyone else. I assume this is a bug, but not even Grayface's patch addresses it.
The big central room is probably the second-scariest area in the game, because the mobility options for the enemies means that staying in real-time mode and leveraging Agnes' blaster brrrrt'ing maximally isn't very easy.
Just poking my head in gets Richmond eradicated again. Don't ask me why the patrol drones hate him so much.
After this fight, I realize I've got Blaster on everyone and thus should pop out to get my Blaster Expert and Blaster Master training, I also decide to get a couple of levels the party hasn't taken advantage of yet and to Master everyone's armor skill. Armor skill just reduces Armor recovery penalty, and at Master it completely eliminates the penalty. Using Blasters, this evens out to a lot of extra blastin'.
During this, I also realize that for some reason the party's popularity has dropped into Notorious again, for no obvious reason, and thus decide to show off the thing that someone mentioned a few pages back.
Explain to me why we're headed to Temper's again?
Clearing out the Control Center is in everyone's interest. I figure he can loan us a few hundred troops and in return we can give him all the crappy small Blasters.
Now remember, everyone, if we're gonna pull this off, we gotta be on our best behavior. No spitting on the carpet-
-no boring Temper with your academic dissertations-
-and absolutely no feeding his hunting dogs our spare rations.
But they always give me the big puppy eyes.
Oh, yeah, I figured eventually news of the Blackshire Incident would leak.
Does this mean I can feed his dogs anyway?
Not like he can jail us twice, ptoo.
I'm sure the jailer will be interested in my thesis paper on Enrothian prison architecture.
Obviously I saved before this and reload after. We've got robots to kill.
I'm glad these consoles are revealing the Ancients were complete dweebs as well as totally insane.
Gods dammit, my Blaster isn't working any longer! Maybe it's like Rexella said and it ran out of power...
...or maybe it just broke.
Congrats, you managed to snap an irreplaceable ancient artifact into pieces. You're never allowed to give us shit for being careless ever again.
Shut up. Uh, Bobelix, can you, uh, fix this?
Oh! Sure thing, just pass me the box of little screwdrivers...
Wow, that was kind of a Hail Mary, but he actually did it.
I suppose perhaps his simple mind means there's no higher brain function to interfere with his manual skill-
Actually I just found the manual back when you guys were arguing over who got the big Blaster.
So far I've only still managed to find one damn big blaster rifle.
Also this is where I get fucked.
See, Bobelix just got Eradicated...
And getting him revived costs 1200 gold that I don't have because I spent it all on training and level-ups...
And this dungeon has zero gold or sellable loot.
We're on Blaster Rifle 2 out of 4, though! Woo!
Now let's haul the little guy back to the temple and get him, uh, patched up.
Have you right as rain in a minute.
What do you mean we can't afford it? He's my friend! You can't just leave him dead!
...this calls for drastic action and if you guys ever tell anyone about this, I'm never talking to any of you again.
Is that a threat or a promise?
Okay, okay, sheesh. I'll make sure to twist Richmond's arm, too.
I didn't say anything!
Yeah, but it's the sort of passive-aggressive revenge you'd take on Deadeye because you're too cowardly to actually fight him.
...I suppose that's fair. Anyway, what are we doing here?
Damn, I thought you said you were gonna hang Hercules above your fireplace when you got one.
I can get another artifact, I can't get another Bobelix.
Wow, that was some nap! Anything happen? It felt like that was longer than usual...
Deadeye tried to steal your boots, but couldn't figure out laces.
He's such a joker!
Yeah, yeah, let's get back to acquiring weapons of fabulous power.
So, having failed to find the second-level ramp, I'm now dealing with some of the optional sections of the Control Center, like the central hall.
And I become convinced that a place with this many Terminators in it, absolutely has to be where they're hiding the last Blaster Rifles, since I can only find three of the damn things. At this point Bobelix is the only one missing one, also, interesting, I learn that it's possible to off-hand a sword or dagger alongside the Blaster Rifle, which lists a higher damage on the character sheet but which, as far as I can tell, does not actually increase damage.
So many Terminators.
After a couple of abortive runs at them trying to actually wear them down, I decide to just run past them to get the Blaster Rifles I treasure so much. It goes well!
Super awesome great! Couldn't be better!
Because Richmond can't kill a half dozen Terminator Units by himself, pick locks or resurrect the rest of the party. I have him set down a Lloyd's Beacon here, Town Portal out, and then return with the rest of the party to for the chest-cracking celebration.
Okay, getting disintegrated by drones hurt like hell, but this is gonna be worth it! This many guards, it's gotta be full of the good stuff! Ready that champagne!
Ooooh, cubes! Can I have them?
Please, keep them.
Maybe the scroll contains some sort of amazing knowledge? It could be a treasure map.
Turns out that room was our optional "do you hate yourself enough to try this"-challenge of the game.
But it does add the "Super Goober" title to everyone's character sheet!
Did we all just get eradicated for a fucking achievement?
Well, not all of us, I surv-
There's still time in the day.
Getting out is easy, as I have beacons all over the fucking place, but I still need my fourth rifle, so it's time to visit the second floor.
As far as I can tell this observatorium area always displays the night sky, scrolling past at high speed. It's hard to catch, but it actually makes the janky low-quality night-time skybox look pretty good.
There's a chest... and this one asshole peeking around the corner. We see you.
Did not see your buddy, though!
Guess who isn't going to miss these pricks one bit once I'm done with this place.
Finally, four Blaster Rifles, now we can get the hell out of here.
We're ready to save the world!
Now hang on! Hold your horses, don't you all feel like you're in a bit of a hurry?
Let's hear it, then, what's your scheme this time?
Well I wouldn't exactly call it a scheme... but yeah it's totally a scheme.
Your schemes usually work out for us so... go on.
I had this bit all prepared about how we needed to learn to use our new blasters better-
-and for Bobelix I was gonna mention how it would be a good deed-
-but actually it's just because I heard there's this super-rich gang of brigands up north of Kriegspire and we just spent all our money.
You're feeling all weak, aren't you?
It's like I'm a poor person, Agnes, it burns me.
I guess we should reward honesty with indulging him.
[Several days later]
Snow's so nice and calming, don't you guys think?
I'm still remembering the frostbite.
Can't buy it, can't sell it.
Last time I tried to build a snowman, Deadeye knocked it over.
Ah, good times.
Line up! Blasters ready! Let fly!
Hahahahah! Shit! Rexella wasn't fucking with us!
Welcome to the Caves of the Dragon Riders, the last and probably toughest non-plot dungeon in the game.
The layout's reasonably simple, you've got a central little ante chamber with a corridor to each area with enemies and stuff. Only one or two of them have sub-splits once you go down them.
Half of the enemies in here are Wyrms, which are non-flying, slightly tougher drakes that still eat shit when hit by a dedicated Blaster barrage.
They always drop an item of some sort, usually high-quality, as well as a considerable amount of gold. Just clearing the first room is about 20k gold even before accounting for profits from selling stuff.
The "rider" part of Cave of the Dragon Riders is Death Knights/Doom Knights/Cuisinarts, and just to emphasize how rough Cuisinarts are, they're still tougher to blaze down than the godamn wyrms. I outright have more trouble with them than the wyrms(not that any part of this really gives me trouble, this is what happens when you face off dragons vs lasers: lasers win).
Most of the chambers also have chests, a couple spice it up with...
Been a while since I last had a good barrel.
My money's on this one Eradicating you.
Oddly enough they just dispense random items, once, each, rather than being drinkable.
Not exactly a smooth flavour, I gotta admit.
Generally a lot of vicious and unrepentant violence occurs, now that I know how the Blaster recovery works, it's all just real-time attack spam and I think it may end up requiring me a new keyboard.
Along the way, I also find the first randomly generated relic drop of the game! Yeah, just like... one dungeon from the end.
Turns out to be basically the best spear in the game, which would be nice if A) any of the party used spears and B) they weren't all upgraded to laser guns by now.
So most of the cave rooms have two chests, and the final cave room... is a room with three chests.
Two of them just contain loot, but the third one contains the greatest treasure of all...
I think you'll find that the greatest treasure of all is, in fact, treasure.
So clearing out the Caves of the Dragon Riders with our laser rifles earned us a fat fucking 200k gold and some spare change besides. That's fucking good! So I set the party to doing what's likely to be the last levelling-up of the game.
Leaving everyone at level 81. Generally there's a huge jump in levels here at the end of the game, as returning the memory modules, unlocking the control center, etc. provides MASSIVE amounts of XP, between 10 and 20 levels depending on what level you're at before getting there.
So let's have a final overview of what the sheets are looking like. Barring some super lucky item drop or something, this is how everyone's gonna be looking going into the final stuff.
Deadeye hasn't changed much, he's still blasting with Implosion when at range and Lighting Bolt against phys-resistant enemies, then carving them up in melee with an axe. Like everyone else, though, he's largely switched to pure Blaster use. I'll probably spend his big stash of skill points before the game ends, but it's hard to figure what it would be good to spend it on since Blasters just get more accurate and they're already SUPER accurate from just being Blessed. Also note those super rad base resistances from wearing Apollo, this is everyone's stats WITHOUT boost spells. His Item ID and Trap Disarm skill have been as high as they need to be for the entirety of the game ever since he hit like level... 20.
Agnes is, obviously, less sturdy than Deadeye. Everyone is. She's almost purely invested in magic, though I kept her from spending skill points on Mind(because it fucking sucks), Spirit and Body is so she can help Bobelix keep everyone alive. Like Deadeye, her elemental magic is mostly Air because Electricity and Physical damage are the two most reliable types in the game. The full casters don't have the spare points to invest in misc. skills.
Richmond almost never uses his magic offensively, his big job is keeping up Day of Protection, Day of the Gods and Hour of Power. In a pinch he brings out Shrapmetal from Dark Magic, or Fireball against the rare fire-vulnerable enemy. But fire-vulnerables are rare as fuck later on. Water magic is entirely for locomotion, because it sucks for damage. Ever since he started dual-wielding daggers, though, between their speed and the damage up from heroism, just slashing away with those almost always did better damage-per-second/action than spells.
Bobelix is also pretty straightforward in build, Spirit magic for Shared Life, Body magic for Power Cure, Repair so I don't go completely insane. Swords to bring Cuisinarts some of their own bullshit right back.
Right, let's go boot the devils off our planet!
...didn't the Oracle say something about that making the planet explode?
Maybe we should have a think and a smoke break before we attack
Next: We destroy the world. Or save it.