I’ve had to give this mode a couple more tries, and my thoughts on the mode have changed a tad. Refresher, this is the tower defence mode added in Rise, where you add structures to a layout, and then face off waves of monsters. This culminates with an Apex monster that deals crazy levels of damage (scaled so that you should be in the best armor, fully upgraded, but no decorations).
First I should explain why Rampages are required. For most of the game, Rampages are quests that gate progress to a new HR. You need to go through them, but once at max level they are entirely optional… just like every other quest. The rewards from Rampages are simple, but also hidden:
- Defender Tickets. These are used to apply Ramp-up bonuses to weapons (e.g. +8 attack), craft Rampage weapons (don’t), or use in melding for Talismans
- Monster drops: You’ll get 12-16 monsters in any given Rampage, they can all drop items from their loot pool. Side note – since carting is not a penalty, you’re best getting 2 palicoes with Pilfer to maximize loot chances
- Apex quest unlocks: If you successfully complete a HR Rampage, you can unlock the monster for a solo quest. Not all of them, just 3. Azuros is the one you really want.
Apex monsters don’t have any special drops – there’s no armor or weapons from them. And they hit like friggin’ freight trains… They don’t have much more HP than a regular HR monster, but they deal tremendous damage – so you need to play nearly perfectly to kill them. So why bother? Because Apex solo hunts can give 4-8 Lazurite Jewels.
Those jewels are used for all top-tier decorations. And you’re going to need a lot of them. They have a chance to drop 1 on an Elder dragon hunt. I killed Apex Azuros and got 8.
And all of this is predicated on successfully completing a Rampage which is infinitely easier with multiple people playing. So how to do it solo?
Pick the Right Rampage
Success on a rampage is tied to the sub-quests (and are the same if you are solo or 4 players…) These smaller tasks give you significant upgrades for the battle, and you need to complete a LOT of them to get S rank score at the end. Getting Wyvernfire Artillery at the first gate is a huge advantage. Getting it before the Apex monster shows up is a requirement. There are some easy sub-quests and hard ones. The best one is the task to add 15 or 20 installations. You can add, remove, and add again all before the first wave shows up. Big perk.
The bad ones, from worst to least:
- Apply a blight. These come from monsters of palicoes. I’ve never gotten this one.
- Collect drops. You need 12, which likely will never happen solo
- Dragonator/Wyvernshot: You need to spam the kiln to refresh the cooldown, non-stop to get this one. Meh.
- Inflict a status. This is harder than blights, unless you are in melee mode and have a weapon with a high status infliction rate
- Repel monster with X: YOU need to get the last hit. Not likely with Bombs. Canon and Ballista are possible, but you need to do this before the Apex monster.
When picking the Rampage, make sure you have a good set of sub-quests to optimize your level gains.
This part comes with practice…but for nearly every battle the layout of your installations will follow the same patterns. For the auto-installations:
Ballista: Set this up in the middle of the zone, so that they can hit as many enemies at once as possible. You can usually fit 3 smack in the middle, the rest put them as close as possible.
Canon: Set up the 2 near the gate. They will focus exclusively on the gate crashers.
Wyvern Artillery: Put these on the ground, and AIM THEM to where you want them to shoot. Before the Apex, have them cross lines in the middle of the zone. For the Apex, have them point to where the Apex prepares their ultimate move (they will stop moving, and each Apex picks the same spot).
Villagers: I only use them for the Apex battle and at the last ground slot. Fugen deals massive AE damage, Iori applies blight (meh), Hinoa and Minoa deal minor AE damage (meh), Yomogi deals machine gun damage AND gives a Gong effect (!!!), and finally Utushi makes monsters rideable. The last one, use it when the Apex monster summons friends.
Manual Installations: I prefer to have canons near the front gate, and back, with Ballista in the middle. I rarely use Machine Gun, since it’s a late unlock.
Dragonantor/Wyvernshot: If you can line this up, it’s major damage. The cooldown means 1 per wave, if not realistically 1 for the entire run.
When to Enter Battle
When the counter signal is active your damage shoots up to crazy amounts. You should be in combat with monsters at this point, as you can make quick work of most enemies. Yomogi also gives this boost, so pay attention and take those monsters out.
Losing the Rampage
When the 2nd gate goes down, you lose. You will lose if the Apex monster is able to get 4 ultimate attacks off. The first one you should interrupt with Wyvernshot (for 8k damage). The second you’ll have set up Wyvernfire Artillery to point to where the monster was charging their attack the first time, and deal damage to stun them. The third, you’re going to want to use Yomogi if you can, the damage is substantial. Using manual installations is a flip of the coin, you need to deal a TON of damage in a short period of time, which is more related to the level of your base than much else.
If the monster is charging an ultimate while their friends are around, you may have time to summon Utushi which will make a nearby monster rideable. Any attack will break the monster’s concentration (not to mention insane damage to the monster).
As long as you can stop the ultimate attacks, you should be able to clear any rampage.
Rampages are the quickest method to get materials to meld for talismans. It used to be the last boss, but the amount of drops has diminished a fair bit. That said, 2.0 has reduced the requirement for talismans as you can craft more decorations. The real benefit, to me, is that completing a Rampage unlocks a solo version of the apex monster.
Farming Apex Azuros solo quest will give you a minimum of 4 Lazurite Jewels (I’ve seen up to 8). All other quests have a 50% chance to give you 1. Mastery Touch decoration needs 8 Jewels. So 1-2 Apex Azuros quest vs. 8-16 Elder Dragon quests. That math is easy.
Rampage is an interesting idea, clearly balanced for multiplayer. It would be really neat if Apex monsters had their own armor variants, to make it worthwhile to run them multiple times. I do think there’s a fair chunk of potential here, in particular if the sub-quests were tweaked to better support solo play and therefore open a few more play options during a run. I do really like that the best gear is not from Rampages, as it’s quite hard to optimize a run like you would a normal hunt. I can get Rajang down in 7 minutes… best Rampage so far is 19. So for an optional mode, it does the job quite well.