Friday, July 22, 2011

'Gaining Entry'

Are you lot ignoring me?
The preceding story mission was: 'Back to Mizar'

The following story mission is: 'Molikar Search'

Now then, this is a good 'un. At first glance it seems identical to 'Testing Aggro' but it's a lot tougher. While I was playing this there was a large squadron howling in frustration as they failed again and again. I can understand why, and I bet it's driven many a player to distraction.

I played it solo and in my first 8 attempts failed, by trusting to skill, judgement and luck. Then I realised that there is a systematic method of working out The Solution. In the next 8 runs in zeroed in on three numbers which would allow anyone to nail this blighter. Am I going to tell you what those three numbers are? No. Of course not. However I will tell you how to discover and apply them yourself. Then if you want to be a spoil sport and blab them all round Mizar then that's up to you.

The aim of the mission is to get three different Mantis types to damage the Aggro Beacon (AB) Layla Hornblower built for you. As on Terasa, you must get the AB to receive damage within a maximum and minimum value in 60 seconds. It's harder this time though as the Mantis are tougher. That means that the damage accumulates quicker and it's harder to stop it by fragging the Mantis. However Layla saw fit to install the AB with a Repair Droid (R2 unit), which is the key to beating this mission. You activate it by scanning the AB.

You are given directions to three locations where the following happens

  1. The AB is attacked by 4 level 35 Detonators and requires between 50% and 65% damage.
  2. The AB is attacked by 4 level 35 Marauders and requires 65% to 85% damage.
  3. The AB is attacked by 4 level 35 Pyros and requires between 80% and 90% damage.
In my first attempts I just tried to judge when I should start attacking the Mantis, hoping to kill the last when the damage was in the required range. However there were too many variables. Sometimes I got few critical hits and the Mantis lasted longer doing too much damage. Other times they did damage quicker, or slower which was just as bad. Half the time I got the Detonator attack right, but then I'd fail in the Marauder attack and have to start again. Luckily failing does not get you podded, so failure is free.

Once I realised that the variation in the Mantis and my own attacks was the problem, I came up with a theory.   If I stopped attacking the Mantis then that removed one variable completely. Second, if all 4 Mantis were allowed to attack the AB then the damage they inflicted, though greater and quicker, would be more consistent and easier to gauge. Third, the R2 unit is very consistent. I could turn it on exactly when I wanted, it always runs for 15 seconds, and it repairs damage at a fixed rate. 

Bare with me, I'm getting there. 

The practical application of this geeky variation theory is this. As the Mantis attack the AB, select it and leave the mission sidebar open, as in the screen shot above.  Watch the 60 second countdown (between the cryonite reward figure and the % complete figure) and when it gets to whatever number feels lucky to you (50 for example) scan the AB to start the R2 unit. The AB will repair faster than it's damaged and by the time it runs out it will be back at 100%. That leaves the Mantis what ever time is left in the countdown to damage the AB. So if you started the R2 unit at 50 seconds then the Mantis will have 35 seconds to damage the AB. Don't fire on them. When the timer runs out you will be told if the AB unit took too much, too little or a Goldilocks amount of damage. If the AB unit took too much then next time start the R2 unit a few seconds later. If it took too little, then start the droid a few seconds earlier. If the damage is just right then remember that number for the next attempt and move on to the next attack. 

There is still variation of course, so if in one run the Detonator attack worked with a 45 second start, then it may fail at 45 seconds in a later run. If so, just move the start by plus or minus 1 second. It just means that you are at the edge of the required range and need to nudge nearer to the middle. 

I've tried explaining that as clearly as I can without telling you the answer so I hope it makes sense. 

When I worked out my three numbers, which are the points in the countdowns to start the Repair Droid, I felt extremely smug. I'm sure others got there earlier and quicker, but I don't care. It's nice to beat a mission through using your brain every once in a while.


  1. I did something similiar when completing the mission. Although I did take a note on the timer, I didn't make it a deciding factor for when to use the R2. I instead watched the health bar of the AB and I only activated the R2 when the AB sustained X amount of damage (example, activating the R2 when half of the first bar is red).

    I didn't attack the assaulters either, just hid in a corner from DS, waiting to activate the R2. :)

  2. Hello Galaxus.

    I can see how that would work too. I'm sure there are a few solutions out there.

  3. Thank you very much Serig and Galaxus!

  4. No problem HGus, hope we helped.

  5. best method, take a tank and engi, kill 2 mantis each round, when the damage is just right, throw a bubble around it, it will get no damage until the shield runs out, by the time u kill all mantis.

  6. I'd never thought of using an Engineer to shield the beacon. Pretty obvious really. Nice one.