MechTrivia, continued

Herewith, a few more tips for players of MechWarrior Online who are by some cruel turn of fate even worse at it than I am.

For the complete newbie: Yes, there is teamdamage in this game. You are not Friendly Fireproof.

For this reason, shooting guns at the start of the round when you're surrounded by close-packed teammates will make those teammates nervous. Shooting weapons that require ammunition is particularly unsettling. (A certain amount of celebratory gunfire occasionally breaks out at the end of a round.)

Only once have I been one-shot-killed in the first second of the game by some doofus in an assault 'Mech who spawned right behind my humble Commando. I've been winged plenty of times, though, often when there's no enemy even in sight, let alone near me.

If you're just shooting to see whether your weapons are in chain-fire or normal mode, you don't have to; in chain fire, a little highlight box thing runs down through each weapon group in the bottom-right display. In normal-fire mode, there's no animation there.

Slightly less obviously, you should not only refrain from shooting your teammates, but also avoid forcing them to shoot you. Do not, if you can help it, run your 'Mech between a friend and the enemy he's shooting at.

And, conversely, be alert for friends running into your firing line, and if you've already got a laser or something firing, yank your crosshair up or down to try to miss them.

Trial Atlas 'Mech

Chief among the teamdamage offenders in the early game are newbies driving the trial Atlas.

As I've said before: Do not do this. That 'Mech is not for you.

On the face of it, the trial Atlas (and other big trial 'Mechs with lots of weapon systems; they switch the trial 'Mechs around from time to time) seems like a great idea. Not only is the Atlas one of the archetypal BattleMechs and as big as 'Mechs get, but this particular model is well armed, heavily armoured, and of course free. In the hands of an experienced player, the stock AS7-K is a very dangerous opponent.

But it is sloooooow. Top speed 48.6 km/h.

I think that's the worst thing about it, for newbies. Mobility is immensely important when you're not sure what you're doing, and any 'Mech with a top speed under 50 km/h is likely to be difficult for an experienced player to use well in a lot of random pick-up games, let alone a newbie. The classic situation in which a fast 'Mech runs round and round a slower one shooting it in the back without even being shot back occurs frequently with trial Atlases.

(Real newbies will drive their slow trial 'Mech in a straight line shooting at someone way over there somewhere, and completely fail to notice that there's a scout 'Mech running at 25% throttle right behind them, shooting them in the back over and over and over without even having to steer.)

And to add insult to injury, the AS7-K's anaemic little engine actually isn't very little - it's of the lighter but larger "XL" type, which means it takes up space in the left and right torso. If any part of the engine receives a critical hit, the 'Mech explodes no matter how healthy the rest of it is. XL engines make it much easier for this to happen.

Engine specs

On the subject of engines, there are engines with different ratings, but the same weight.

There is very little reason to buy a 7-ton 160 engine when you could buy a 7-ton 170. Only if the higher-rated engine needs more heat sinks than you can cram into your 'Mech should you go with a lower-rated engine of the same weight. I was wrong about that, as per Itsacon's comment below. There is actually no reason besides price to get a lower-rated engine with the same tonnage.

Selling a 'Mech

And when you sell a 'Mech, you don't have to, and shouldn't, sell all the equipment in it (the optional "Item Value" checkbox). Only sell stuff you know you're never going to use, like spare engines if you've got a pile of one size, heat sinks if you've accumulated a zillion of them, and non-Streak SRMs and autocannons if, like me, your ping is lousy.

And finally, If you're overheating, slow down. The higher your throttle setting, the slower you cool off.

7 Responses to “MechTrivia, continued”

  1. TwoHedWlf Says:

    Speaking of high ping, if you can see you're hitting someone are you actually? Or is it like some where it may look like you're hitting them but because you're a quarter second delayed your shorts are actually passing behind them?

    • TwoHedWlf Says:

      Also, I've been hilariously unsuccessful with the atlas. First try, "Hey, some bad guys, I'll trudge over there and*BOOM*"

      There were about a dozen comments from my team after that along the lines of, "Always gotta be one suicidal idiot in an atlas..."

    • dan Says:

      Yes, apparent hits can miss, and apparent misses can hit. This includes when you're dead and viewing out of someone else's cockpit. You can tell if you're doing damage, however, by looking at the target-status display at the top right; if bits of the enemy schematic are lighting up, you're hitting them.

  2. Itsacon Says:

    Only if the higher-rated engine needs more heat sinks than you can cram into your 'Mech should you go with a lower-rated engine of the same weight.

    This is, quite frankly, wrong.

    All engines require 10 heatsinks. A number of those fit INSIDE the engine (this number is weight of engine/25), the rest has to be placed somewhere else in the mech. This means that in some cases, the extra weight of the engine is offset by a reduced amount of heatsinks elsewhere in the mech. For example, a 245 engine weighs in at 17 tons, a 250 engine at 18.5 tons. But the 245 comes with 9 heat sinks, and thus requires an extra, with a total weight coming in at 18 tons, while the 250 comes with all 10 needed, so the effective weight difference is only half a ton.

    There are two cases where upgrading an engine one step higher costs no weight, but does free up a critical slot:
    120-> 125 and 220 to 225 (both normal and XL).

    Above 250, you don't get extra heatsinks above 10, but you CAN fit extra heatsinks inside the engine. If you're short on space but not tonnage (a common problem with heavy and assault mechs) this can be an interesting upgrade: faster speeds, shorter cooldown, no less space for ammo. Especially with the double heatsink upgrade (which really eats into your critical space), this can be a life-saver.

    So the only reason to go for a smaller engine with the same tonnage, is because of price.

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