Mechwarrior Mercenaries 5: Single player inside!

It’s a combination of a few things.

First, the AI is really bad and not really good at protecting it’s mech… The AI in a necessarily turkey is going to be quite a heavy undertaking, as it would include the stuff you would have in most shooters, but with tons of additional complexity. A bunch of different weapons, potentially with C2 targeting networks… Plus things like low level piloting skills like shielding individual sections of a mech, plus targeting specific sections of the event, etc.

Then, beyond all that, is the fact that they still haven’t really addressed the fundamental issue of weapons convergence. This has always been an issue in mechwarrior titles, because it diverges from one of the fundamental mechanics in Battletech, but they still try to use other parts of Battletech.

Once you allow mechs to duct tape weapons into huge super cannons, then the armor model doesn’t really work anymore.

It lets you focus damage and just drill through a single section, bypassing most of a mech’s armor… Like what you see in the videos, deciding to simply leg a mech… And then you too the leg off almost instantly. Especially against stock mech designs that run stuff like half armor on legs.

The head is the other major problem area. In Battletech, the AC20 is a huge, bulky weapon with garbage range… but it has a very specific benefit, in that if you land a shot on a cockpit, you killed a mech. But if i can just run 4 medium lasers… It’s the same. For a trivial portion of the weight.

In Battletech, the reason that doesn’t work, is because those 4 lasers won’t all hit the same panel. You would have to be insanely lucky to have all 4 weapons ho
It, and also all hit the same panel, much less all hit the head.

Mechwarrior needs to incorporate some sort of weapons spread with simultaneously fired weapons if they want it to play correctly with the fundamental concept of balance in Battletech.

Generally, they tended to make the cockpit much smaller than it looked, so they were much harder to hit. In online play, network lag made it difficult to score headshots on moving mechs.

Also, in MW4, they fell back on a one-shot hit protection, so that no matter how much damage the cockpit took, you couldn’t die in one shot. It’s why most of us stripped the head armor, since it didn’t matter… you were gonna survive 2 shots.

I recall back in MW4, a pilot named Stalker playing for AK came up with a hilarious Uziel config with medium lasers and CSTRK SRMs.

He would use JJs to get over your mech, and then alpha the lasers and streaks into your head. This was extremely effective against the bushwhacker, which we ran a lot, which happened to have a large head hitbox when viewed from above.

The medium lasers would defeat the one shot protection, then the streaks would slam into the same location and kill you. It only worked in one battle, but it was a smart design.

It works fine. MW1, 2, 3, 4, LL, MWO and all expansions in between all pretty great games in their own right and somehow we’ve managed to avoid weird beard cone of fire or 6 different targeting reticles or whatever.

Headshots too frequent? Make the hit box way
small or remove the head or code in some other protection for the head. It’s solvable without sandbagging good shooters.

I will never understand the hilarious resistance people like you have to removing perfect precision from weapons…

I mean, hell, even in… Every modern shooter, where you are just shooting a single conventional gun, they have imprecision.

It’s not some kind of crazy idea. It’s… Basically every other game.

And in this case, it’s kind of required by the Battletech mechanics.

And sure, you can do without it… But this is what you get. The ability for any remotely competent pilot to just bore through a single armor panel.

Just maybe consider that just because I’ll have didn’t have it, that didn’t mean it wouldn’t improve the game? Sometimes, we make new things, and stuff gets better.

I mean, really dude, is being able to make a huge aloha sterile and dump it on a single panel… Of an AI controlled robot… The core source of fun for you? I can’t imagine that would be the case.

Would that actually make you have less fun? This is an honest question, as to me, it seems like it would probably make it more fun.

Modern shooters really don’t have any inaccuracy except that imposed by recoil mechanics (post first shot) or when firing without sights (necessarily our you would never need sights).

In any case no one wants the mechanics you are proposing. It has been discussed many a time for MWO and these ideas were shot down repeatedly with good reason by the competitive community and most competent pilots. You generally don’t want your skill shooter to devolve into an RNG-fest.

And yeah the games have always been fun. How strange that they achieved fun despite perfect accuracy… and even crazier, in MW4, a game you purport to have enjoyed, lasers were full damage instant hit-scan weapons. Game was somehow still fun!

Those battletech RNG mechanics are appropriate for Battletech where mech control is abstracted and other tactical factors are important. For Mechwarrior you want pilot skill to be quite meaningful since that is the whole point of the game.

Modern shooters tend to decrease precision from hipfire, recoil, and movement. You rarely have an opportunity to fire more than one bullet at a time in most of those games… In cases where you do, like using akimbo pistols… Then yeah, you have some degree of imprecision injected.

They didn’t always. But then they did.

Sure dude, I played them competitively with and against the best players. For years upon years. It was awesome.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t change. It can become deeper.

Absolutely, tons of fun!

But i already played that game. I don’t need them to just make that game over and over again.

When you fire real weapons, in the real world, you don’t have perfect precision. To me, having that kind of thing in a game which is inherently kind of simulator like, that doesn’t seem like it would be so bad.

It’s a significant component of how Battletech works. It’s an important aspect of how the weapons and armor model is designed.

Again, it’s not that it “can’t be fun” with a simpler model. Clearly it can be.

But, with the simpler model, you have what we’ve seen going back to at least mechwarrior 2… Which is that mech design tends to focus heavily on creation of very large alpha strikes and dumping that onto a single panel to drill into mechs.

This principle has dominated mech design in competitive play forever. In mw3 it was medium laser boats. In mw4 it was large laser boats. That was the most efficient way to drop the most damage onto a single panel. To the extent that you very rarely saw most of the weapons in the game, in competitive play. The balance was extremely simplistic compared to modern competitive shooters.

Now, in a single player game, it probably matters less, since lots of people won’t be making the most efficient mechs, and competing against a bunch of dumb bots in stock mechs means you won’t need to. But still, when you watch Beef play, you kind of see what you’d expect… it’s pretty trivial to just kill mechs, super fast, through either their leg or a single panel (or through huge heads, apparently)

But still, it seems like if damage from forms large groups of weapons together spread it a bit, then you wouldn’t see things like just headshotting mechs trivially… or legging then just as trivially. Or killing an atlas by only going through 20% of it’s armor.

But there’s a lot more to piloting skill than simply aiming precision.

I mean, honestly, aiming precision in mechwarrior had always been kind of a trivial compared to pure shooters. Your targets are moving super slowly, and are huge, compared to games like say call of duty or Titanfall.

If that’s the focus of what you are looking for… clicking with precision… There are better games to test those skills.

Mechwarrior always had something more going on, in tactical, coordinated armor combat. Even on the individual level, pilot skill was significant more involved than simply gunnery skills. It was sometimes called “the thinking man’s shooter”. You were doing things like managing your sensors, spreading damage across all your armor, you were managing your heat, etc. There was a lot of stuff going on beyond just shooting.

But, anyway, we’ve had this discussion before, haven’t we? And it’s moot, because there’s essentially no chance of PGI ever implementing such a system.

It just strikes me odd that you are so certain that fun depends on being able to fire 10 weapons at the same time and have them all hit the exact same location. It’s such a weird thing to place value on to me.

Which isn’t to say that I would advocate making all your weapons fire be random dice rolls. Clearly, that would awful. But still, it seems like you could implement some system that allowed some of the weapons balance and armor modeling from Battletech to be less negated than it traditionally has been in Mechwarrior.

That’s a lot of words to say you want a particular feature in Mechwarrior which almost nobody else really wants.

I’m not even wildly opposed to cone of fire weapons that would kick in while moving and get worse the faster you move … except that it simply is not an important thing and adds rng that most people will just find frustrating and honestly would probably encourage less mobile gameplay.

For single player being able to kill mechs efficiently is kinda the point of the game; each mission is a series of fights you are trying to get through without using up too many resources. Should you be able to easily headshot mechs? Probably not and that I am sure will be fixed. Should you be able to kill an Atlas by taking out only 20% of its armour? Yes. Better players will do it well and worse players will struggle and hopefully they will be able to dial up the AI difficulty to challenge the better players. taking away weapon accuracy is just unnecessary sandbagging that will hurt worse players worse than it will hurt good players anyway.

Remember when they added weapon accuracy while jumpjets were firing in MWO (a necessary and good change for various reasons imho), one of the effects was that it pushed jumpsniping out of the reach of the average player.

You don’t think you could kill mechs effectively unless you can combine small weapons into huge ones?

I mean, the overall selection of weapons actually has specific weapons designed to enable that kind of capability.

Again, that’s kind of the point of a weapon like the AC20.

But should it be as easy as it is? Because it’s pretty easy.

Really? The average player couldn’t figure out that you need to stop during your JJs for a brief moment before firing your weapons?

On some level, making more complex mechanics that players need to internalize isn’t a bad thing. It’s the act of learning those mechanics that gives a game depth, and makes it worth playing.

If everything is easy when you first start playing, then the game isn’t good. There’s nothing to get better at.

But we aren’t talking about just making every weapon random in it’s precision.

We are just saying that you can’t for 4 medium lasers to achieve the exact same effect as an AC20.

You could still use an AC20 and achieve the exact same effect. Or hell, you could use the medium lasers, you’d just have to land 4 times as many aimed shots, and deal with the additional exposure of your mech.

Do you really think that being forced to make such choices as a pilot would reduce your fun? Wouldn’t it give you a deeper, richer environment in which to play?

ALso… this…
we’re just talking here, dude. If you don’t wanna talk about it, that’s cool. Like I said, I don’t think there’s any chance at all PGI would implement any of this anyway.

Is there anything that you think they should change compared to past incarnations of mechwarrior, or should it just stay the same in your mind, with updated graphics? It seems like you’re arguing that the old game was good enough.

In terms of “no one wants it”, do you really think you’ve got a super good grip on that? I mean, based on what, a few posts in the MWO forums? How many people even still play that game? The steam charts have it at less than 600 concurrent players these days. Maybe you need to expand out beyond that group a bit.

Luckily this is a SP game, so we can mod it, tweak it and make it our own.

I do hope the AI gets a once-over tho, or I’d be very sorry about my preorder :/

Do you? You seem to be coming at it from the high-end PvP competition end of things, which, relative to the number of people who’ll buy it and play it, a vanishingly small fraction of people will experience.

Anyway, just play with a joystick instead of a mouse, as God intended, and all concerns about too-precise weaponry go out the window.

Nah, I’m just talking about what we’ve recognized as an issue for a long while, and talking about a possible solution. And one that likely won’t be implemented anyway.

On some level, I just like talking about the game, as I’ve been doing for ages.

To be clear here, I’m not really suggesting less precise weapons. It’s more about removing the ability to stack weapons perfectly on top of one another.

Like I said, the existing mechanisms in battletech and the weapons they have would still allow you to pull off the same kinds of shots. That’s one of the chief purposes of the AC20 in battletech, in that it will kill a mech with a single shot to the head.

The only things you’d really lose the ability to do at all, would be crazy things like stacking really massive amounts of damage into a single bullet, like multiple AC20’s, or 4 PPC’s, etc. But that seems like not being able to do that one thing wouldn’t really affect the “fun” for anyone.

My MWO three-PPC Jenner begs to differ! The joy of that would have been significantly reduced sans pinpoint alpha strike. (It already was, somewhat, by ghost heat.)

I could something like the classic PlanetSide expanding cone of fire working, but I don’t know if the MechWarrior franchinse is ready for that.

It’s gonna be a mighty heavy lift, I fear.

To make really “good” AI, in Mechwarrior, involves a lot of stuff… way more stuff than would go into good AI in a normal shooter. Sensor management, armor shielding, decisions about where to land your shots… all that stuff is gonna be tricky to pull off.

I suspect that they might be able to get the mechs to use cover to some extent, but generally difficulty of bots in mechwarrior just revolves around making them maximally precise with their shots, and having them always hit your CT. Essentially, the difficulty ramps up by forcing you to kill them faster, before their guns can recycle enough to burn through your core. But that’s somewhat simplistic.

It’ll be interesting if they can do more than that, but there isn’t much in the beta to suggest that they have developed much in terms of anything beyond the most basic, bare-bones “move and shoot” system.

Hmm I wonder why the AC/20 is still considered a very good weapon? Hmm.

Yes if you turn aiming into a die roll it’s one less thing to get good at. In a game where shooting stuff is the whole point…

It is amazing that you think this is the current state of play.

Yup it’s been litigated and re-litigated at length.

MWO is of course at a much lower ebb than in previous years but you can still get games more or less instantly at any time of day or night. Regardless MWO has been one of the more successful Mechwarrior games, and certainly the most successful and best iteration of mechwarrior PvP.

But you wouldn’t be doing that.
You understand that, right? You’d still be able to aim weapons with perfect precision.

You just couldn’t stack a bunch of bullets perfectly on top of each other into a single giant bullet.

Do you really think that doing such a thing is essential to the game being fun? If so, why do you think that?

Really? That’s interesting. Like I said, the steamcharts show it as only having around 400 players at most times of the day, with a peak of less than 600. That would make me think it might be hard to find a game, given those players would be spread around the globe.

I just thought of something that maybe is important to understanding your view here…
Do you believe that stacked damage in Mechwarrior is a problem at all?

I don’t know how common it is, but you can still run the MWO launcher sans Steam. Steam numbers might not tell the whole story.

Ya, that’s possible. Looking at their forums though, they still only have a handful of actual named users participating on a daily basis.

Way back in beta, we had the ability to see how many concurrent users they had from within the game, but they stripped it out for some reason.

Is it? Mulitplayer games have cruised along on less. The bigger issue with low player counts is bad matchmaking.

Yes and no. It can be a problem with pinpoint weapons where there is no way to avoid a massive alpha hitting a single location (6 PPC stalkers come to mind) but mostly it’s not because of the way the weapons are designed and balanced. I would argue limiting the ability to boat pinpoint weapons is a better way to deal with the issue so that sniping is still a rewarding pursuit.

But that’s all the weapons other than laser weapons and missiles, right? I’m assuming PGI kept the DOT effect of lasers that they had in MW5.

I recall when they tried to work around this problem… what’d they call that system, Ghost Heat? Did you think that was a good solution from PGI?

I’m trying to figure out if you think that this isn’t really a problem at all, or whether you just want some different solution.

Base turrets in MWO already shoot for your most damaged locations. These things are not necessarily that hard but an AI that can just reliably core you or leg you is not going to be fun to do missions against.

Past MechWarrior AIs were not good and it’s at least partly on purpose. The missions have to be more than fighting one mech of equal power to a standstill.

Like I said I am hoping the AI can be dialed up to represent skilled opposition but you are supposed to be, in single player, an elite warrior smashing waves of scrubs.

It worked out well enough even if it’s not my preference and the implementation in some cases was just dumb.

For single player I don’t think it’s a problem that requires a solution beyond limiting the ability of mechs to carry absurd load outs.