Mechwarrior Mercenaries 5: Single player inside!

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.

Targeting the most damaged location is a bit simpler than what I was talking about, but ultimately you can make sensible decisions. The bigger issue is stuff like sensor control (although that was pretty simplified in MWO wasn’t it?) and torso shielding.

I guess we’ll see what they can pull off in terms of improving the AI.

Did it? I seem to recall that it just caused minor changes in configurations… like, instead of running 4 PPC’s, you ran two PPC’s and a gauss on jumping cataphracts.

Then they added in some kind of charge up time for the gauss, didn’t they?

It seemed like everyone recognized that this was a problem, but they kept trying to deal with it in little band-aids, that folks just worked around.

There are stock mech configs which are kind of “absurd” when you add in mechwarrior style damage stacking.

As clumsy as ghost heat is it’s definitely preferable to cone of fire for example.

If you look at MWO right now there is a pretty good mix of effective builds and only some of them are pinpoint builds that you feel are a big problem.

Do they still have a competitive scene in MWO, meaning high level regulated play? It seems odd that they would have significantly more variety in the builds now than they used to, given the principles of mech design have been fairly static for like… 25 years now?

What changed to move away from high damage pinpoint accuracy builds? Did they implement some kind of new mechanic?

Yes there is still competitive play, and yes given no other restrictions competitive play will converge at the highest levels on a small handful of optimal loadouts. Do you imagine you would solve that with cone of fire?

Below the highest level of play you will quickly see more variety because brawling is pretty strong against a sniping team that can’t play optimally, for example.

In ordinary play there are many viable builds, obviously, unlike past years where you really might see almost nothing but PPCs for example.

Ok, so they still have the same balance issues. What are the competitive leagues that still exist? I looked up some of the old competitive leagues, like MRBC, but it looked like they haven’t been active for over a year.

I’d be interested in seeing some streaming footage of modern competition in MWO to see how it’s evolved. Do you know anyone producing that kind of thing now?

Limiting the ability to stack damage would almost certainly result in significant changes of the optimal builds. And again, you keep saying “cone of fire”, but that’s just shorthand, right? I mean, we both understand that we’re not talking about just always randomizing where shots land, right?

Yeah, the problem with competent players was that even at short range, sniping builds tended to be incredibly strong, since a huge single bullet punches through you just as easily at 50m as it does at 800m. “Brawler” builds would tend to just be builds that were slightly more efficient in certain regards, but ultimately such efficiency was often negated by the fact that a skilled player with large bore guns could just kill a target before efficiency came into play, and then could just chill behind cover while cooling down.

Brawling tended to require more coordinated effort than sniping, as it required being able to have a whole lance exert enough pressure on targets to exploit those efficiency gains. It also required separating targets from their support.

What’s changed that caused that?
Are those builds more competitive for some reason now, or are there just less folks who build optimal mechs and murder the people running sub-optimal builds?

In the turn based BATTLETECH game punching and stomping plays a fairly big role, any idea how that’s handled in this?

No physical combat, alas.

Current MWO world cup format is 3 mechs of each class, any tech any weapons so you should see what the ideal builds are considered to be.

Better weapon balance overall.

Here’s the thing though: You don’t really play and you haven’t in a long time… it’s all well and good to have your ideas of how all the “problems” can be “solved” but this is largely armchair mechwarrioring, not based on direct practical experience… I’m not even unsympathetic, there was a time when I would have been in favour of some sort inaccuracy mechanic based on movement… but in the end it’s just not what people want. The best players take joy in landing difficult shots and the worst players don’t want to be frustrated because they can never even hit a light mech (already a big problem for them with perfect accuracy)… so in the end it’s just not a desirable mechanic.

Ya, but I played the game for like ages dude… and the stuff we’re talking about never changed.
That’s why I was asking you what changed.

I mean, I played MW4 for the better part of a decade. I played MWO for years, starting as a founder of the game.

It’s not like I didn’t play the games. I have like… infinity hours in them. I’ve probably put more hours in MW4 and MWO than any other game ever.

Alright I apologize i didn’t want to mech shame you you just said things that seemed… out of touch? Like saying 4 medium lasers is equivalent to an AC/20 so no one should take an AC/20…

Whatever the case you can always reconnect with MWO. It’s free, a pretty fun time of blasting stompy robots to pieces.

It’s just an illustration of the principle of damage stacking. In MWO, they actually helped reduce this by introducing DOT effects to lasers, so it wasn’t quite the same issue that you saw in say, MW4.

In MW4, this difference was super highly pronounced though. There was no reason to take an AC20 really, because 4 medium lasers were just…straight up better. It weighed 4 tons instead of 14. It was instant hit. It had no ammo. And you could just take the extra 10 tons and load up heat sinks.

Now, in reality, in MW4, medium lasers were actually somewhat out of favor. You know why? Because in response to the metagame of MW3 (which was entirely medium lasers, especially since back then the mechs were pure gun-bags, so you could basically just load up anything with medium lasers). So they nerfed their heat efficiency… so everyone just moved on to large lasers, which dominated the metagame for pretty much forever. (In reality, there actually was a period of time early on in MW4’s development, where damage was calculated clientside, so the instant hit nature of lasers was less of an advantage as it eventually became, when the 1.1. patch moved hit detection onto the server)

But those specific notions can be fairly easily extrapolated out when you understand the fundamental principle.

That’s cool, at this point, I haven’t played in a few years. That’s why I was asking if anything had changed.

But like I said, I played for… ages. I played at the highest levels of competition back in MW4 days, which to be fair, was nothing like a modern game’s competitive environment. But I played in the most successful units of the old planetary leagues like TFS, UTS, NBT.

And the thing is, the game didn’t change much when it went to MWO. In terms of mech design and playing the game… it was still pretty much the same game. The guys who dominated the competitive scene in MWO? They were almost all just old MW4 players from the NBT league. They were largely the old IHx guys… previously DCM guys. We played together for years… I’m trying to remember when NBT finally wrapped things up. I think I stopped playing competitively in like, 2006? That’s the thing, a lot of the hard core MWO players early on all knew each other, because we were all old MW4 vets.

I was asking for specific changes, because I do in fact understand the fundamental mechanics of mechwarrior pretty well, having played multiple incarnations over a period of, damn, I guess nearly two decades now. I even worked with the old FASA dudes identifying and testing changes back in MW4.

That’s why I’m interested in just hearing about what kind of actual balance changes they made, if they addressed those longstanding problems that went back so long. Or if there’s live video footage of high level competition, I could easily enough just watch that and see what the current metagame is.

Nah, at this point the folks I played with have moved on, and we play other games together. Titanfall 2 took up the slack for stompy robots after MWO was done. That was probably one of the best things about playing Mechwarrior, the guys I played it with (and against). We had high hopes for MWO, as we really expected that they were gonna develop something akin to the Planetary leagues, since as a bunch of amature kids we were able to develop a whole economic and campaign based combat system using PHP, but it never quite materialized.

Did you ever play in the old planetary leagues like UTS or NBT? Man, the stuff that guys like Dark Phoenix pulled off was really impressive. I always wondered whether the PGI guys ever saw any of that stuff first hand.

Titanfall is a sad affair of blasting bags of hit points until they pop. YMMV. Fun shooter otherwise though.

I don’t know why NBT never got off the ground with MWO. There was an effort in 2017 to start it up again and I was really hoping it would find it’s legs, but it seems like people just don’t want to invest that kind of time anywmore and they are content to just play faction warfare or whatever.

I like the idea of setting gun convergence. I mean that’s a thing in flight sims, and would add a good layer of strategy to this. Alpha strikes against a specific part won’t happen unless at a very specific range…

I sort of wonder why gun convergence is needed at all in MW games. Would it be such an awful thing for weapons to be set parallel to infinity?