Risk of Rain 2 – Mercenary Ethereal Achievement

It’s been a while since I last wrote a post on my hunt for Achievements in Risk of Rain 2 and frankly, I haven’t done much achievement-hunting in the past couple of months. I’ve still played a bunch of rounds, specifically, because I’m enjoying the game a lot and because I’m hyped for the DLC… but the actual achievement hunting had to wait as I frankly didn’t feel like playing characters that I don’t play as much. Today, I wanted to talk about how my achievement hunt has been going and how I unlocked the Mercenary: Ethereal achievement!

For starters, I finally unlocked the Engineer’s Spider Mines by beating a teleporter boss in less than 5 seconds after it spawned. Frankly, I did one-shot the boss multiples already with the Engineer but it never seemed to work. What fixed it in the end, though, was a run I did on Drizzle. A friend of mine hasn’t played the game in ages, so I hopped onto Drizzle with her and it immediately popped up after I harpooned the boss, hence unlocking “Engineer: 100% Calculated”. The other thing I did was Commando: Mastery, which requires you to beat the game or obliterate on Monsoon. This wasn’t too hard but I just didn’t ever feel like playing Commando. His kit isn’t boring per sé. It’s just that all the other survivors feel more fun. At last, I also unlocked “Captain: Smushed” which required me to kill the final boss using a Supply Beacon. Frankly, I didn’t know that that was possible and as I wasn’t too sure as to what stage was meant when it said “kill”, I had to reset once which was a bit annoying but I still got it in the end and the huge death laser that I unlocked was incredibly worth it, even if it’s a bit gimmicky.

If you want to, you can also watch my video right here where I basically just played the Prismatic Trial until I got it!

Me trying to get this achievement – and succeeding!

And well, today, I finally got the last achievement I needed for the Mercenary, bringing the total up to 104/112 achievements (aka 92% completion). I really want to 100% Risk of Rain 2 as I just love that game so much… And if possible I’d like to 100% it before March 1st (the day the new DLC comes out), just to add to the challenge. Either way, I finally got one of the hardest achievements in the game which (including me) only 8.7% of the player base have unlocked. Bragging rights acquired! The challenge of this achievement consists of three components:

  • Complete a Prismatic Trial…
    • as the Mercenary…
      • without falling below 100% Health.

Prismatic Trials are seeded runs that switch out every few days. A Prismatic Trial takes you through two random stages and in those, you’ll need to find and destroy three Time Crystals. Then you need to complete the Teleporter-Event… but you only need to beat the boss, really. Items, enemies, and all of that are seeded, so you can do the same run over and over again to improve your time. This can be already quite tricky on its own but hey, the top 10 players are displayed on the leaderboards and get absolutely nothing but glory, so that’s worth it? I never saw the appeal of Prismatic Trials until today, but I found myself enjoying it quite a fair bit, actually, so, I’m looking forward to doing more in the future!

Playing as the Mercenary adds more to the difficulty though as the Mercenary is entirely skill-based. The Mercenary is a melee Survivor that has decent damage, mobility and a cool kit but you’ll have to kind of calculate every move as you go. Your passive gives you a double jump. Yup. Your normal attacks are three slices that you can perform while sprinting. Every third hit exposes enemies, increasing damage dealt and reducing your ability cooldowns by one second. The other abilities really just add to the I-frames, mobility and damage that the Mercenary has. As a lot of it comes down to him timing his abilities well, the Mercenary has a rather high skill ceiling, meaning that it requires a lot of time to get good at him but it feels really good when you get there.

And well, the last part is a bit self-explanatory. You are not allowed to take damage. Be it fall damage or damage inflicted by enemies, you are not allowed to have less than 100% health during the Prismatic Trial, meaning that this is the ultimate challenge, I guess? Well, for the most part, you’ll probably end up cheesing this with specific seeds, I guess, but today I worked on it for half an hour, as seen in the video above! The route itself was inspired by Cabbage. Their video on the Prismatic Trial is amazing, a lot shorter, and a lot more optimised – you can find it below here! I’m no Mercenary player and without their guide, I wouldn’t have been able to do it, so shoutouts to Cabbage from the Risk of Rain 2 community!

Cabbage’s video on today’s Prismatic Trial

This run basically comes down to a specific routing that allows you to get six items in particular! You get 2x Crowbars, 1x H3AD-5T v2, and 3x Kjaro’s Band. The third Kjaro’s may be overkill but it results in a nice moment where you can one-shot the second Boss without having to risk any sort of burn trails messing with ya. What the items allow you to do is, you deal bonus damage to healthy enemies and Kjaro’s adds a lot of Burst to your damage after your initial burst, practically one-shotting bosses. Meanwhile, H3AD-5T v2 allows you to get very high up into the air, using your double-jump, Shift-R, and Right Click… and then you stomp onto the enemy by holding down the E button. I never used H3AD-5T v2 (or Stompies as I call them) because I frankly don’t like them. Having to use yet another button in Combat would be the death of me if I were to take this item… but it honestly surprised me how much damage it did right here in these few runs and I was able to finish up a few good runs in not too much times.

And yes, the challenge of this achievement heavily relies on what seed you get. Time is of the essence as you want to reduce the chance of getting hit. Hence, you want to finish stages before a lot of enemies spawn in. But in the end, we made it, getting the achievement. If you want to, you can watch my video on it but I do end up failing until the very last run. My first-ever time ranked 21st on the global leaderboard with a time of 3:48.39 (minutes seconds milliseconds) but my final run ended up being a time of 3:22.84 which is a HUGE improvement. Part of it was because I finally understood how to utilize the Expose mechanic better, thanks to a guide by FadeShock. The other part was because of Cabbage’s video and me realising how H3AD-5T v2 works and how height matters a lot. 

Shoutout to Cap for providing this screenshot!

While I initially didn’t like Prismatic Trials, I can now see how they could become something that I very much could enjoy. It’s like speedrunning (I mean, it literally is a fast run of a challenging trial… duh.) but if you mess up, you don’t lose hours of your time. You just lost three minutes. That’s why it’s easy to get back into a new run once you figured a good strat, then you try out a different thing, and learn what works best. For this Prismatic Trial, in particular, most people seem to run either Loader, Mercenary, Captain, or Bandit but Cabbage is sitting high up there on rank 3 with Rex, which is amazing. The top ranks are currently (as of me writing this) Wig on Rank 2 (Loader – 1:15.99), Cabbage on Rank 3 (Rex – 1:25.76), and G-he on Rank 4 (Mercenary – 1:25.97). My time moved down to Rank 37 btw. This sort of competitiveness paired with the community’s creativity is mindboggling and I found it interesting to see how fast people’s best times would change in a matter of hours. I could see myself getting into this stuff, although I’d have to get better at the game first before that… which is fine in my opinion, given that I love this game so much.

This is what I unlocked!

Now, as far as the remaining achievements go, I’m only missing the following few:

  • Bandit: Sadist
  • Bandit: Mastery
  • MUL-T: Seventh Day
  • MUL-T: Mastery
  • REX: Mastery
  • Loader: The Thunderdome
  • Loader: Mastery
  • Acrid: Mastery

The Mastery Achievements really just require me to play a game on Monsoon and finish a run without me trolling too much. Should be doable? “Bandit: Sadist” requires me to kill a monster with 20 stacks of Hemorrhage. I have a rough idea of how to achieve that but I just haven’t had the time to do it yet. “Loader: The Thunderdome” requires me to kill three other Loaders in the Bulwark’s Ambry, which would mean that I need to get three people to help me out… but once I’ve got three people that are willing to play a full lobby of Loaders, I should be able to get that achievement for her quite easily, I think? I’m not missing much now and I can’t wait to play the expansion with its two (?) new survivors, the updated items, more lore for the Void, the new wave mode… and all the other good stuff that is coming to Petrichor V!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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