Further 'Mechitude

Penny Arcade produced a mildly amusing thing for MechWarrior Online. It's OK, but it ain't no Vault 77.

(To which there does not seem to be any good way to link. Click that link, and lie about your age, and then click the link again, and then click from the final page it helpfully shows first back to the first page...)

More importantly, if you click a button on the MWO Penny Arcade page, you can get a free day of "Premium Time".

(If your browser pops up a malware warning when you go to mwomercs.com, by the way, it's probably a false positive not a false positive, but the problem has now been dealt with. The whole concept of the hyperlink seems to be disintegrating today.)

Premium Time gives you a 50% boost to all money and experience points earned over the premium period, but once you "activate" it in the game client, you can't de-activate it again. The timer ticks down to zero over the allotted time, whether you play the game or not.

The most sensible way to use the free 24 hours is therefore, clearly, to kit yourself out with intravenous feeding and a bucket to sit on and play non-stop for a straight day over the weekend. Or, indeed, during time when you're meant to be working, studying, sleeping, collecting your children from school, governing a nation, or what-have-you.

I haven't written about MWO for a couple of weeks. There've been some changes, the most important of which is the introduction of Electronic Countermeasures - ECM.

The 1.5-ton Guardian ECM unit can be installed on exactly four 'Mech variants, so far; one model each of Commando, Raven, Cicada and Atlas. In essence, it creates a 180-metre-radius bubble around the 'Mech it's on, in which no enemy can get a target lock, unless an enemy ECM-equipped 'Mech in the same range has switched their own ECM from the standard "disrupt" mode to "counter".

There's a bit more to it than that; here's a lengthy screed on the subject. (Here's the same thing on the official forums, which as mentioned above currently pop a malware warning for me, in Chrome.)

When ECM was new almost everybody used it, which is what happens whenever they introduce a new feature. This made it pretty much pointless to launch in a 'Mech that relied on long-range or Streak short-range missiles, because you'd almost never get a lock, even if you had your own ECM with which to counter one of the horde of enemy ones.

Now ECM is no longer new and exciting, and it's become normal for pick-up teams to contain only a couple of ECM 'Mechs out of eight players, or even none at all. LRM boats are now quite useful again, though no longer the relaxing play experience they used to be. And the Scourge of the StreakCat...

...has been ended, along with the massive dominance of the Jenner and to a lesser extent the three-Streak Commando in the light category.

It's still wise to run an ECM 'Mech in pick-up games, and it's not difficult to get into those, at the low end. A Commando-2D will only cost you 1.8 million C-Bills, and a Guardian unit is only 400,000 on top of that.

(You can also buy 'Mechs, but not equipment for them, with real money via the "Mech Credits" system. A Commando-2D costs 715 Mech Credits, which is not much. PGI are continuing their merciless war of attrition against their customers' wallets by currently offering a 20% bonus on all of their Mech Credit packages; the smallest $US6.95 one therefore now gives you 1500 MC. That's enough to buy a Commando-2D and a whole other different Commando variant too, to get you started on the efficiency unlock process which requires levelling three variants of a given 'Mech to get to the tasty Elite upgrades. Unlocking Elite also doubles the effectiveness of all of the Basic upgrades, though contrary to popular belief unlocking the final Master upgrade that gives you another module slot does not double the Elite upgrades. Mech Credits are also how you normally buy Premium Time; one day of Premium costs 250 MC, and there are other packages ranging from three to a whopping 360 days. The one-day price is no more than $US1.39 even if you buy the worst-value MC package that exists; 180 days is 13,500 MC, which you could just afford with the current 20%-boosted $US49.95 MC package. 360 days is 24,000 MC, eighty US dollars if you buy the best-value $US99.95 20%-boosted MC package.)

Man, that was a big parenthesis. Here's a palate-cleanser.

Behold, fellow MechWarriors, the Noisy Cricket!

"You might want to have something to do while you wait for your mech to cool down. I watch a stream and enjoy my coffee. Or wash the dishes."

It's kind of like the last sword-fight in Rob Roy: He's only got to hit you once, fancy boy.

The tradeoffs for this thing are terrible, of course. Not only do you overheat and shut down after every shot (you could avoid this by chain-firing (this player has the same four ER-PPCs in two groups, the first of which is chained), but then heat would limit you to the same rate of fire you'd get from only two, or at most three, ER-PPCs. THe massive weight of the guns in this titchy 40-ton 'Mech also means you can only fit a tiny engine, which gives this oversized-scout-'Mech a top speed of fifty. And it doesn't have much armour, or, plainly, nearly enough heat sinks.

But, pew pew!

3 Responses to “Further 'Mechitude”

  1. monomer Says:

    I'm actually seeing the opposite with the Commando 2D, as guys in these are putting up ridiculous numbers. A 3-streak 2D with ECM running at 140 kph is almost impossible to hit, and are putting out more damage than ever. i consistently see guys in these do over 500 damage in a round, while before the patch you'd be hard pressed to break 300. Of course a full speed Raven 3L or Cicada 3M are also putting out ridiculous amounts of damage and are even harder to take down thanks to having so much more armour.

    Anyways, my own personal Ghetto 2D runs a standard 200 engine I got out of my hunchback since I am too cheap to spring for XL engines. I can only mount an SSRM2 and a medium laser along with the ECM, but I can still get to 130 kph and am surprisingly hardy unless I get surrounded or if my ECM gets jammed.

  2. RobL Says:

    So.... Hawken. Incoherent mess or twitchier viable alternative to MWO?

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