Baby boating

(Again with the MechWarrior Online. Get used to it, gentle reader; there will be more.)

If you want to play a "missile boat" in MechWarrior Online - which isn't very exciting, but is a solid way to contribute to your team and make money for yourself - you have the problem that missile boats are usually heavy or assault 'Mechs. So while you're learning, your half-baked missile 'Mech may cause MechWarrior Online's... less-than-perfect... matchmaker to add a fully perked and polished enemy heavy or assault 'Mech to the enemy team.

(This will also happen if you head out in the current trial Catapult, a 70-tonner with two LRM-15s and four medium lasers.)

MWO 'Mech customisation

The solution to this problem is The Light Missile Boat, which is mildly ridiculous but actually works pretty well, and will only be matched by another light 'Mech on the other team, with any luck. (Or by some newbie in the trial Atlas, which is often even better.)

One formula for a Light Missile Boat is:

One Raven RVN-2X, which has a missile hardpoint in its right torso and four energy hardpoints split between the left torso and right arm, and an Anti-Missile System slot in the left torso. (AMS is highly desirable for missile boats, which often find themselves copping a lot of counter-battery fire.)

Pull the engine out. Stick an LRM-15 or LRM-20 in the right torso, and an AMS and one or two tons of ammo in the left torso. Add lasers of your choice to the right arm and/or left torso. Sprinkle with LRM ammo to taste. Put heat sinks in the legs (I'm pretty sure MechWarrior Online does give you the correct cooling bonus if there are heat sinks in your legs and your legs are in water). Wind up the armour, putting plenty on the back, 'cos you're not going to be fast.

Now, add the biggest non-XL engine that still fits. Enjoy your new light 'Mech that's pretty much exactly half a Catapult.

My version of this 'Mech has an LRM 15, two Medium Pulse Lasers along with the AMS in the left torso, and a Standard Engine 140 for a not-too-horribly-bad 64.8 km/h top speed. I used to have an LRM-20, but the lighter missile rack allowed the heavier, more useful lasers. You can add even more stuff if you go for structure and armour upgrades and put in an XL engine, but this'll cost you a lot more for repairs.

(On a weight-per-missiles basis, by the way, the little LRM-5 is the best; it shoots five missiles and weighs two tons, 2.5 missiles per ton. The LRM-10 and LRM-20 both give you only two missiles per ton; if you can install two LRM-5s instead of one LRM-10, you probably should. The LRM-15 gives 2.142857143 missiles per ton.)

If you want to be tricky, you can save some weight by putting no armour at all on a Raven 2X's gunless left arm. It's probably a good idea to put all of your missile ammo in the right and centre torso, in that case.

If you go into battle with an un-armoured limb there's a very good chance it'll be blown off and then, with the standard auto-repair and auto-rearm settings, you'll have to pay to put a new un-armoured arm on your 'Mech, only to have it blown off again. If you turn off auto-repair, though, you can leave the arm as a stump, and make money faster.

(For this reason, less-honourable players who want to make money fast and don't much care about helping their team may go into battle in a "Zombie Wang", a Yen-Lo-Wang with a couple of medium lasers in the centre torso, no other armament, and no arms.)

As things stand, you also get a 75% ammunition reload for free at the end of every battle. You get this reload even if auto-rearm is turned off. So for economical missile-boating, just lay in more ammo than you really need when it's all full (for both LRMs and AMS). Now the free 75% reload will give you enough, and you can head back into battle without paying to re-arm.

In a continuation of MechWarrior Online's pleasing commitment to making different 'Mechs truly different, 'Mechs fire missiles in closely-spaced volleys according to the number of physical launch tubes present on that 'Mech. A Raven 2X has six tubes, so if you put an LRM-20 on it, it will fire four volleys (of six, six, six and two missiles, respectively) in quick succession. An LRM-15 will fire three volleys.

This isn't ideal - spacing out the missiles gives enemy Anti-Missile Systems more time to fire on them, and enemy pilots more time to duck behind cover - but it works well enough. Especially if you're missile-boating correctly, with more than one of you unloading on one target.

Apparently there's at least one 'Mech with a single missile launch tube, though I forget which one it is. Put an LRM-20 on that and it'll pee out the missiles as if it's got bladder stones.

UPDATE: Ah, here it is; it's the Raven 3L...

...whose single missile tube is meant to fire Narc Beacons, not explosives.

6 Responses to “Baby boating”

  1. Itsacon Says:

    An advantage of the missiles being fired in bursts instead of a single swarm, is that when they hit, they cause multiple impacts over a longer period. If you've ever tried to keep tracking a laser over a target while sustaining multiple missile impacts, you'll know it gets a lot harder when your cockpit is shaking all over the place.

    It's the reason the three streaks on my scout-hunting Commando are set for chainfire. Keep those Jenners rocking baby!

  2. Fallingwater Says:

    In a continuation of MechWarrior Online's pleasing commitment to making different 'Mechs truly different, 'Mechs fire missiles in closely-spaced volleys according to the number of physical launch tubes present on that 'Mech.

    And it only took them *counts* seventeen years to get there!
    Fond memories of Summoners firing dual LRM20s from their tiny six-shot shoulder launcher are coming flooding back. At least hardpoints started being differentiated from MechWarrior III onward... it was perfectly possible to fire salvos of missiles from cannon arms in MW2. 4xLRM20 Marauder IIC? Why not?

    As for MWO: I don't suppose there's a way to play this game in single-player against bots? I realize it's kind of written right there in the title, but it can't hurt to ask. I really do hate playing against (or with) other humans in anything that isn't a small LANparty.

    • dan Says:

      No, there's no single-player of any sort. A single-player "training course" has been requested by a lot of people to address the needs of newbies, and wouldn't be very hard to implement. But anything that requires AI opponents rather than just dumb targets would need enough development work that I wouldn't hold my breath.

      The developers have said they'd love to make MechWarrior 5 one day, but even if MWO is a huge success, that day will not come soon.

      • Fallingwater Says:

        *sigh* was worth a shot.

        I'm depressed. Between the Crysis mod, this and Hawken, every modern mech game out now is multi-only. I want a decent campaign, dammit. :(

  3. Red_October Says:

    An LRM-20 fired from a Raven's NARC tube or the 2-tube mount on an Awesome 9M will have almost every missile intercepted by AMS. On the face of it this seems like a detriment; but it has a use. Since the missiles come one after another, the target's AMS will fire for quite some time, depleting much more of its ammunition than were it firing on the same number of missiles in a volley.

    • TwoHedWlf Says:

      Or a commando's two tubes, I've found LRM-5 ends up firing 2-2-1, and they're all intercepted. A lot more people apparently have AMS than I thought. And unless I suck REALLY bad the matchmaker seems to have a grudge against me. I played about 10 rounds and my team was slaughtered every single time. Like, everyone on my side killed vs 1-2 deaths on the other side.

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