|“|| Tall, ominous towers of doom. Does wonders for morale|
- Anonymous GDI soldier, describing the structure
Born out of the need for a powerful defensive mechanism for Brotherhood military bases, the Obelisk is quite possibly the most powerful laser weapon in recorded history, result of Project Obelisk WDTA2411 5. It's mode of operation remained basically the same throughout the wars - massive capacitors underneath the structure amass power, which is then used to create a powerful laser beam, directed against enemies via a system of advanced optical and focusing systems. Obviously, it requires massive amounts of power to function.
During the First Tiberium War, this powerful emplacement suffered from a severe lack of armour plating, making delicate internal mechanisms vulnerable to damage and outright destruction, though it wasn't considered a major drawback, since there were very few enemies able to fire at it from outside its effective range. An interesting offshot of Nod research was the development of portable Obelisk modules, codenamed Firefly and Tarantula respectively, which utilized a similiar technology, though much less powerful. These weapons never made it outside limited field testing and did not have a major effect on the resolution of the conflict.
During the Third Tiberium War Nod themselves finally managed to conquer this task, equipping their mighty Avatar Warmechs with a portable version of the Obelisk laser. Certain other laser weapons utilised by Nod in more recent years are also based, at least in part, on Obelisk technology.
During this period, the Obelisk of light was a sloped back obelisk that ended in a large focusing crystal that projected the laser. It was under complete computer control, with humans only needed to oversee that it worked properly.
The laser beam it produced was extremely focused, and powerful enough to reduce a human target or light vehicle, such as a Humvee, to ash instantly, and do serious damage to heavier vehicles. Furthermore, its long range allowed it to engage enemy targets before they could retaliate; an Obelisk of Light had longer range than any GDI unit.
Obelisks were always a prominent part of Nod bases, especially around important Nod structures. For example, the bases defending Sarajavo featured nearly a half dozen of these powerful base defenses, including one that was specifically assigned to defend the Temple of Nod itself.
During the Second Tiberium War, the Obelisk had a much different, flatter base, with a light bar that oscillated back and forth when the Obelisk was operational, but stayed fixed when the Obelisk was not operational.
It is believed that this was a terror tactic towards enemy forces, as well as a way to quickly inform Nod forces if the Obelisk was charged or not. From the rear of the base, an obelisk-like tower, straight and capped with the firing crystal, stood.
The Obelisk was powerful enough to destroy a Titan in almost one hit. However it couldn't survive against concentrated firepower of Titans, Tick Tanks and other similar units, and also it was completely defenceless against Aircraft and Artillery.
With the Tacitus, CABAL created two variants of the Obelisk, the Obelisk of Darkness, and the CABAL Obelisk to defend its core. The CABAL Obelisk was a ground defense more powerful than even the standard Obelisks and the Obelisk of Darkness was capable of vaporising any aircraft that came within firing range. The 2 defenses were powerful but both were destroyed by the combined GDI and Nod forces.
|“|| Those Obelisks are tearing our forces apart!|
- GDI soldier at Eastern Europe
With the coming of the Third Tiberium War, the Obelisk has been greatly improved. The Obelisk, although taking much longer to charge, is much more powerful than before. Also, its weakness against infantry has been negated to some extent. This is due to the fact that the Obelisk, when facing infantry or light vehicles, uses sweeping low power laser beams to vaporize them; also, Beam Cannons can charge up an Obelisk so that its range and attack power increases, when fully charged, it becomes possibly the most powerful and longest ranged ground defense in any TWIII arsenal. The new threats that Obelisks now face are enemy aerial assault vehicles, such as GDI's Firehawks and the various deadly Scrin aircraft, including their Devastator Warships and Planetary Assault Carriers. In addition, the Obelisk still requires a tremendous amount of power, and the destruction of power plants will render it as well as most of the base useless. Artillery units like the Beam Cannon, Juggernaut or Specter can attack from outside of its range, although when fully charged by Beam Cannons its range can surpass even these systems, at least when they are used for direct fire. Also, GDI finally has developed a powerful base defence to match the Obelisk, the Sonic Emitter, which is even more powerful than an Obelisk that has not been charged up, but is slightly more expensive and less accurate.
Nod managed to develop a portable laser for their Avatars and a triple laser cannon for the Redeemer. According to intelligence, these weapons were all based on the Obelisk's technology. The unit's immense size is probably why it could use such a weapon, since a Obelisk of Light requires a large structure. Smaller lasers were also created, however. They could be fixed onto Scorpion Tanks or Venom VTOL aircraft, amongst others. The Nod Commando in TWIII also had two laser pistols.
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By the time of the Incursion War, the Brotherhood had refined the Obelisk of Light allowing it to be constructed on their Crawlers once on the field thus providing them some level of offensive as well as defensive power.
Behind the scenes
The TWIII era Obelisk resembles the old TWI era Obelisk.
Despite its inability to fire towards the sky, in Renegade's multiplayer mode, it can attack air units.