Friday, August 3, 2012

I can untie these hands and get back up again

So, I've been hanging out in Dark Astoria of late:

(from the City of Heroes album)

It is a profoundly creepy place. I'll likely post more on it soon, but I wanted to talk today about the Incarnate Trial process.

There are three main Incarnate Trials accessible in Dark Astoria. In one, a group of twelve to twenty-four mixed heroes and villains takes on the Behavioral Adjustment Center in Praetoria, administered by Mother Mayhem as part of her Seer training program. (It also functions as a training/torture/mindwashing program with the main goal of seeding sleeper agents through the Praetorian Resistance.)

There are a few levels to the challenge: once we're on the grounds, we take out large, impossibly overpowered War Walkers (look for the giant mech image almost at the bottom of the page), plus an assortment of other powersuit-enabled fighting forces to get to the bivouac to stop Nightstar, Mother Mayhem's elite force trainer, and Seige, the ultimate powersuit guy. (If you're interested, there's an article specifically on what happens in the BAF Trial start to finish.)

How'ver, I'd never done one of these before. So, two days ago, this was me in BAF:

(from the City of Heroes album)

I have no idea what's going on.

(from the City of Heroes album)

This is really what happens when you plunge a psychic into a mix of multi-effect combat monkeys. She gets really, really confused.

(from the City of Heroes album)

Mostly, I just did my best to hang on and kill what I could and lope back from the hospital on my not infrequent deaths to kill more.

"Badly organized" would be a laughable way to state the problem. I had zero concept of our goals beyond "kill things". I had zero understanding of what we were really there for because no one had bothered to explain to me what was going to go on--before or during the Trial itself.

(from the City of Heroes album)

Then we moved to the TPN Trial. I do not recommend anyone to take this trial without knowing what's going on, or without going with someone who knows the trial very well, because it's complicated enough even WITH knowing who's going where.

The main objectives: sway the broadcast going out from the television campus in Primal Earth's favor. We do this in a variety of ways: namely, killing our way to the doors of the main building, then running in as fast as we can to the studio itself, taking over the broadcast terminals, and broadcasting our message over the airwaves.

Then we leave the building, and go to another one and do it all again.

Then we do it all again, before we fight the ultimate heroic poseur, Maelstrom.

This is me in the TPN Campus Trial:

(from the City of Heroes album)

Still nooooo idea what's happening other than "stay out of the way".

(from the City of Heroes album)

Thankfully, most of the campus buildings themselves, once inside, have remarkably similar layouts. After a while--because seriously, we change which building we're in CONSTANTLY--it became almost routine: fly in, dodge around enemies we're apparently not going to kill, get to the main studio/terminal room, kill things, broadcast, get ported back out to the next building.

(from the City of Heroes album)

And into the next one.

(from the City of Heroes album)

And into the next one. Rinse, repeat, burn.

It was an ultimately exhausting few hours, and it did make me seriously wonder why I was bothering to do this at all. Yet again, just like Second Life--when something that is supposed to be stress relief and a game becomes tense, stressful, confusing work...something's gone wrong somewhere.

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