Archive for March 9, 2008

From ashes to Atta, from sticks to flames

March 9, 2008 Comments off

The continent of Ligo on Arieki is a generally harsh, vulcanic landscape. However, this changes somewhat when one enters Ashen Desert. The harsh part is still there, but in a different way. Instead of rocks and lava, we have sand and ashes – as the name implies.

Ashen Desert was the focus of attention for my engineer for a while. Contrary to his visit in Ligo Thunderhead, there were plenty of missions from AFS in this area and it also felt mostly a bit easier also, the influx of enemies with a desire so smack humans and hybrids in the head were for the most part a bit less, perhaps they weer taking advantage of some sandy beaches instead. Although to have a beach one would need some liquid, which were largely absent.

Ashen Desert

The area is quite enjoyable and in addition to the Bane troops one can find some of the typical Ariekian fauna, like lashers, beam mantas and a new encounter – the granitour. This one is an armored scorpion-like bug which has an annoyingly effective spit attack.
And then there is the Atta. The last encounter of the Atta was in Torden Incline and many players probably have somewhat mixed feelings towards the Atta. With restances to most types of damage, hurling rocks to knock you back and stun you, screaming and virl attacks they were not the easiest of adversaries.

Add to that the two Atta instances in Torden Plains and Incline – Kardash and Ojasa. While Kardash was somewhat ok to me, I found Ojasa to be the worst instance in the game so far. Not easy to fight, tedious repetetive instance with logn travel times if you died, Ojasa left a few things to be desired.

It was then with a bit of skepsis I took on the Atta-related instance in Ashen Desert, Avernus Outpost. Avernus was an outpost which had been overrun by Atta forces and as there had been evidence of Bane moving around without problem among the Atta, this was also an added concern. Was this going to be another Ojasa?

In fact, I had no need to worry. Avernus Outpost is a quite enjoyable instance, starting off in the remains of the outpost and continuing down into Atta territory. The story does not quite end in this instance, rather it could be considered part one. An advice here, do this instance before the Bane Conscription Facility, another instance in Ashen Desert.

Atta territory down under Avernus

I have been spending quite a bit of time with my engineer in the past weeks and quite enjoyed it. But, I am an altoholic and from time to time I do need to play different characters. So I decided to play a bit with some of my other character also, and continued with my guardian a bit.

Most of my characters in 30-31 range have a mixture of Mires and Plateau missions left in each of these areas, so it felt natural to start with Mires, since this is the lower level one of these two. I had totally forgotten which logos I had picked up before, which bosses I had killed etc with my guardian, so there was a bit of investigation to find out what was left in that area.

I have never completed all missions in Mires before though, mainly due to previous bugs. This time around though it all worked out fine and every mission I could find in the area was dealt with. While I am not too fond of the new “emptiness” of Mires, it was nice to finally do all missions there.

These missions included the Brann hybrid mission arc. I was not sure before whether these missions could be completed more than once, but apparently it is possible. This led to the somewhat frustrating task of getting myself killed by a caretaker. So this time I tried to get killed by some local caretaker bosses, who after the latest update had made a come-back to the area. But it turned out that neather Dedarrlik nor Vilescorn had been authorized to carry the specific viral weapon in question and pissing them off and stripping in front of them did not provide any updates with the mission giver.

Later when I went into the Tahrendra instance I got to a point where I had one caretaker and a Thrax soldier in the vicinity and then tried to get Mr Care Taker to become a bit agitated with me. Unfortuntely Mr Taker was more interested in reviving Mr T Hrax than hurting me, so it took several kills of Mr Hrax and some nasty gestures and insulting language involving Mr Taker’s mom before he finally gave in and gave me the viral dose I needed. Good for him!

Playing the guardian for a bit made me realize that this is probably not a character I will play a lot. While the twirling of the guardian sticks is neat and the sticks/staves do a decent amount of damage when used (the guardian’s signature weapons), it did not feel very exciting on the long run, rather. Perhaps part of it is the handling of the staves, part of it the skill set.

So I switched to my grenadier. This is currently my only hybrid character, a forean/human. The grenadier’s signature weapons, the propellant guns, do not have the immediate advantage than one will see when playing a guardian or a spy withtheir signature weapons. The guns are quite short ranged (10 meters) and typically affect a cone-shaped area. The usefulness of the propellant guns becomes more apparent when one manages to get a couple of the enemies in front of you on that 10 meter range. Then it is blasting the guns towards that group and see their armor and health diminish all at once, pretty much. The machine guns are faster killers for single targets, but for multiple enemies in close formation the propellant guns can be the better choice.

The grenadier also have a number of offensive abilities, often affecting multiple enemies as well. Overall I found the grenadier to lend to a more varied and fun play style for me. While ammunition costs eats up a fair amount of money as a grenadier, I still like that better than the guardian. The grenadier will never end up among the top 10 richest soldiers of fortune and be featured in AFS Cribs, but money is not everything. Although with the business model ofthe AFS, one would think otherwise…

My grenadier, Forrest, also took to do a bit of missions in Mires as well. This included the Brann hybrid mission. For the third time I went with the safe option and let the Caretaker comm officers kill me. They travel in pairs and they generally do not have many other types of Bane around them, so it is relatively easy to get killed by them.

My grenadier had not visited any instances in Mires, so he took a tour to the Fluxite mines. And to my surprise the content had actually changed a bit. More missions were added and some old ones had been modified a bit. More enemies had also been added, in particular more Kael and Nitroglazers. This made the trip through more interesting and fun. Given that the missions now took better advantage of the locations in the instance, I think that they now pretty much have the set of missions they originally intended. What was there before was a stopgap solution where not all content had been completed.

I actually hope that there are more areas like that, including those that I have played through at least once. This means that there will be at least some new/different content when other alts are going through the same areas. More planets and areas are wanted and I hope that a new planet will cover at least a decent amount of parallel areas in the 30+ level space.

But only time will tell.

Categories: Tabula Rasa