Champions Online: Desert Disaster Survival Guide

The crisis zones in Champions Online are like those fantastic five or six issue story-arcs from your favorite comic series of old. Last week we brought you the Crisis in Canada guide, and this week we're covering the Desert Disaster from the first steps out in the sands to the final confrontation with a radioactive super-villain.

“An urgent distress call from Project Greenskin came in just as the Qularr invasion fleet struck the city.  The transmission was somewhat garbled by interference, but as best we could make out, the base there is under assault by a group of radioactive mutants and in danger of being overrun.

I have sensed troubling changes in the mystic currents of that area.  I am going there to investigate and I need your help.  I hate to ask after all you’ve done here, but a hero’s work is never done.  Every second counts, so we must leave soon.”


You’ve saved Millennium City from the Qulaar invasion, not only earning the eternal respect of the Champions, but the key to the city from Mayer Bissell himself. No sooner have you begun to celebrate your victory amidst a crowd of cheering onlookers than your attention is diverted by two Champions greatly in need of your assistance; Witchcraft and Ravenspeaker. The former requests that you fly with her to Project Greenskin, where the PRIMUS soldiers are under siege from radioactive zombies, and are in desperate need of your help to ward off the sheer number of them. 

Think of the crisis zones in Champions Online as a cool story arc spanning a few issues of your favorite comic series, only instead of watching the action unfold with each turn of the page, you get to be part of the action and play the hero. This guide will provide a walkthrough of the Desert Disaster crisis zone, and we’ll do our best to keep you from getting radiation poisoning while you’re out there.

Before diving headlong into the details on what makes this particular crisis zone tick, here are a few basic tips that should prove useful in your mission to rid the desert of radioactive zombies and help PRIMUS get back on their feet in the area:

  • You have the option to travel between the Crisis in Canada and Desert Disaster at will, though you can only complete one of the two zones’ final boss missions to complete the mission arc.
  • While you’re not required to select a crafting profession to complete the crisis zone, the result of the quests listed below will be a Radiation Shield device that will be extremely handy once you reach the final boss confrontation at the end of the mission arc.
  • Around the statue of Grond, you’ll find radioactive bomb carriers.  Be careful to defeat them quickly and then disarm the bomb using “F” before it explodes in your face.  Or just run away like Sir Galahad if you’d prefer.
  • Most of the enemies in the desert have ranged attacks, so don’t be too surprised if you wind up being pelted with radiation from afar.  The only real danger you’ll face is when the hulking mutated behemoths are running amuck.  They’ll be the guys with four arms… can’t miss ‘em.
  • Built Ferd Tough is an optional quest specific to the Desert Disaster zone.  It’s not necessary for you to complete it, and it requires a team of at least three heroes, but the battle is a ton of fun, and the rewards more than worth it.
  • Each mission listed below will have the mission level in brackets for easy reference.
  • While the entire crisis zone can be completed solo, grouping can increase the challenge (and potential rewards) thanks to the Reinforcements system. This holds especially true for the final confrontation with Gigaton, which becomes a much more challenging (and fun) mission should you opt to go into the Forest Tomb with a few friends.

    A Crafty Contrivance 

    Upon reaching the desert, your first stop will be the head of Project Greenskin, Robert Kaufman.   The soldiers right next to the helicopter when you land will direct you to an elevator that will take you up into the fortress and to Kaufman himself. He will serve as your primary contact throughout the mission arc of Desert Disaster. Along with the opening missions in the main quest chain, he will also offer you a quest that will set you on the path to selecting one of the three primary crafting professions. While full details on the crafting system are beyond the scope of this guide, the following information and quests will get you headed in the right direction. 

    [7] A Crafty Contrivance  

    CONTACT: Robert Kaufman

    QUEST TYPE: Locate NPC

    OBJECTIVES: Speak with the Arms, Science and Mysticism Crafters.

    DETAILS: After speaking with each of the trainers located at Project Greenskin, select which of the available professions you want to learn. Each one will tell you just what each profession is capable of creating, and there’s no wrong choice here.  Pick whatever suits your fancy! 

    [5] Begone Fission! 

    CONTACT: The crafting trainer for your chosen profession

    QUEST TYPE: Collection / Crafting

    OBJECTIVES: Gather 3 common components based on your chosen profession.

    DETAILS: The requested components can be gathered fairly quickly by checking your map for a highlighted area where a small grouping of Skill Items is located. Once you’ve collected all 3, return to your trainer who will give you a Development recipe for a Radiation Shield device based on your profession, as well as the final component needed to create the device. Upon creation of the device the quest will update automatically and grant you a decent amount of XP and Resources for your efforts.  You can repeat this recipe as many times as you’d like to increase your crafting skill while in the crisis zone. 

    Optional Missions 

    Force Station Steelhead

    Robert Kaufman is your main go-to guy for all missions in the desert, but there are a few additional quests that can be discovered as you head out from the protective walls of Project Greenskin. While optional, these will add a nice boost to XP and can be completed fairly quickly in areas where you would already be questing.  Some good rewards for your level are involved too. 

    [8] Built Ferd Tough 

    CONTACT: Colonel Vanderbilt

    QUEST TYPE: Super-Villain Fight

    OBJECTIVES: Defeat Ferd (Suggested 3 Party Members)

    DETAILS: Ferd’s a big ol’ nasty mother of an Irradiate, and he’s causing PRIMUS a heap of trouble out in the desert.  Bring a couple friends for this one, as it’s not at all intended to be solo-able.  When you see the warning that he’s about to use a charged attack, bring your block up and keep pounding him the rest of the time in between.  With three or more heroes to contend with, he’ll never stand a chance. Once you’re done, head back to the Colonel for your reward. 

    [5] Grond Theft Altercation 

    CONTACT: Object found on ground near Ferd

    QUEST TYPE: Item Discovery

    OBJECTIVES: Take a piece of Grond statue back to Robert Kaufman.

    DETAILS: Near where you fight Ferd, you’ll see pieces of debris on the ground.  Interacting with one will start a quest to return the broken piece of Grond’s statue back to Project Greenskin.  Do so for some decent XP and monetary rewards. 

    Main Mission Arc: Disaster in the Desert 

    The following list details the main quests you’ll need to complete in order to advance through the story arc in the Desert, the majority of which will be granted by Robert Kaufman at Project Greenskin, while others will come from Colonel Vanderbilt just outside the fortress. You’ll spend your time pounding a lot of Irradiates into the ground, as you unravel just who caused the shield around Project Greenskin to go down.  The whole thing will culminate in a massive battle, that will test all the skills you’ve learned up to this point. 

    [5] Assault on Greenskin 

    CONTACT: Kaufman

    QUEST TYPE: Combat/Rescuing

    OBJECTIVES: Defeat Irradiates (10) / Rescue Scientists (5)

    DETAILS: Right down the way from the helicopter where you landed in the desert there are herds of the Irradiates beating on the Project’s scientists.  Kill the Irradiates and rescue the scientists to complete the mission. 

    [5] Rounding Up Rads 

    CONTACT: Kaufman

    QUEST TYPE: Collection

    OBJECTIVES: Collect 5 planted rockets from around the Grond statue.

    DETAILS: All around the statue of Grond are Irradiates with rockets strapped to their back, trying to blow up the homage to the Desert’s behemoth.  Your task is to pummel the Irradiates and collect their uranium-armed rockets after doing so.   

    [6] A Question of Suppression 

    CONTACT: Kaufman

    QUEST TYPE: Activate

    OBJECTIVES: The defense turrets surrounding Project Greenskin are offline due to overheating.  Go out and reactivate them.

    DETAILS: This one’s a rather straightforward task.  There are small green circles denoting where the turrets are, and all you have to do is interact with them to bring them back online.  Be careful though as some are guarded by Villain-level Irradiates who hit a little harder than average.  

    [7] A Second Helping 

    CONTACT: Kaufman

    MISSION TYPE: Contact

    OBJECTIVES: Head north into the Burning Sands and locate Colonel Vanderbilt to continue the mission arc.

    DETAILS: Really simple, as it’s marked on your map.  North out of Project Greenskin you’ll find the Colonel holed up around some hum-vees and sandbags.  Talk to him to advance the mission arc. 

    [7] Doomsday Clock Ticking 

    CONTACT: Colonel Vanderbily

    QUEST TYPE: Combat / Device Deactivation

    OBJECTIVES: Defeat Brother Alamogordo and use the code found on him to deactivate the massive nuclear device nearby.

    DETAILS: This one’s entirely doable solo, but it may be a little difficult due to the radiation surrounding Alamogordo.  If you have any extra radiation-defense items, now could be a decent time to use them, but you may wish to save them for what comes after this quest.  Alamogordo is a straightforward enemy, just with a lot of hitpoints.  Use block when he’s charging his attacks, and pound him the rest of the time with your own.  When he drops, use the Sequencing Code found on his person to deactivate the bomb in the middle of the pool of radiation. 

    [8] Radiation Domination 

    CONTACT: Colonel Vanderbilt

    QUEST TYPE: Item Activated

    OBJECTIVES: Take the note found on Alamogordo to Colonel Vanderbilt – Defeat Gigaton within the Radiation Vault

    Force Station Steelhead

    DETAILS: The note tells of a servant of Dr. Destroyer, Gigaton, and his plans to destroy Project Greenskin at the behest of his master.  It states that he is hiding away inside the Radiation Vault and using his powers to power the radiation shield that surrounds Project Greenskin.  If he’s behind this, you’ll have to confront him and bring him to justice for his actions.  

    The Radiation Vault 

    Apparently Black Talon wasn’t the only Master Villain enacting plans as dictated by the one and only Doctor Destroyer. Kigatilik is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s up to you to see to it that he’s not summoned by Rakshasa or who knows what terrible fate he could unleash on Canada or the rest of the world? 

    [8] Gallant Major Gertz and His Courageous Crew 

    CONTACT: Colonel Vanderbilt

    QUEST TYPE: Rescue

    OBJECTIVES: Find Major Gertz and his Courageous Crew within the Radiation Vault.

    DETAILS: This is really just the beginning quest to get you to go inside of the Vault.  Once in, you’ll receive a contact from Colonel Vaderbilt detailing what you need to do next.  Apparently, inside of Major Gertz’s backpack is an anti-radiation device you’ll need to fight off Gigaton and his minions.  As you fight your way through the fairly straightforward instance (be sure to toss the many forklifts lying around as weapons at your enemies, they pack a nasty punch), you’ll face quite a few villain-level Destroids.  But it’s nothing you can’t handle.  Save the radiation device for when you must face Gigaton. 

    [8] Radiation Domination (Boss Fight) 

    CONTACT: Colonel Vanderbily

    QUEST TYPE: Master Villain Confrontation

    OBJECTIVES: Defeat Gigaton

    DESCRIPTION: Once you’ve found and rescued Gertz’s crew, you’ll make your way to a large cavernous opening in the Vault, where you’ll see Gigaton hovering in all his glory above a trapped and deranged Major Gertz. As you approach, a brief cutscene will play showing that unfortunately you’re too late to prevent Marjor Gertz from being harmed. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to activate your Radiation-shield device, as the whole area is filled with radiation.  

    First you’ll have to beat up on Major Gertz, which should prove an easy task, as he behaves like a normal enemy.  But he can pack a punch, and once you’ve drained his hitpoints enough he’ll shout something insane and run off… leaving Gigaton quite peeved and ready to mop the floor with you.  

    Force Station Steelhead

    He hits extremely hard, but your Radiation-shield device should go a long way to helping you remain protected.  Just watch out for his charged radiation attacks, and use any objects around the Vault you can find to hurl at him.  If you’re in a group, he’ll have more defense and health, but we always found it easier to handle him with 2 or 3 partners on our side.   

    Once you’ve defeated him, the Vault will start to collapse.  No worries, as it’s just for effect.  Run back out to the front entrance and leave the Vault and find Kaufman for your reward… and the chance to move on to the real Desert zone! 

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