Mechwarrior Mercenaries 5: Single player inside!

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?

Could be pretty frustrating for your shots to not land where you expect given the position of your targetting reticle.

There already is a certain amount of positioning required to make sure your guns can actually clear terrain obstacles regardless of your line of sight from the cockpit. I don’t think there needs to be anything crazier than that.

The lack of localized armor sections is a limitation, as is the lack of mech customization. But the game FEELS good. They absolutely nailed the feel of a giant robot. And for a team that was creating new IP, it was a pretty impressive achievement.

Although the Respawn guys (the old IW guys) have always been really awesome at isolating how to make a game “feel” right.

Honestly though, to me, the thing that was perhaps most impressive about Titanfall was how they managed to actually balance being on foot with being in a titan. That’s a really impressive achievement, in that most attempts at combined arms in that kind of environment would either make the giant robots feel way underpowered, or way overpowered. The fact that they managed to make the titans feel super powerful, while ALSO making it so that you could still kill them as a lone pilot… that’s something worthy of praise, in terms of game design.

Ya, I poked around in there when MWO was starting up, and I recall there being interest, but I think that a big part of it was that, if I recall, there was no capacity for private matches originally, right? I might be mis-remembering though.

So for a long time, you couldn’t actually run the NBT stuff as the backend for a league.

Eventually, once that stuff was added in, I think NBT had kind of withered away, and stuff went more into the ladder leagues.

This was one of the proposals. It has some interesting issues that come up though, as a result is that different mechs have different hardpoints, which would make certain chassis more favorable than others.

Like a H6p would likely be favored in such a systenm, as a bunch of its torso hardpoints are in its hunch.

To some degree, this might be balanced out though by the fact that it’d be harder to disarm mechs with wider spread patterns… but in practice, there were actually tactical benefits to loading all your weapons into a single region, and then just shielding that section… like there were builds where you’d intentionally load everything into one side of a mech, and then just show the enemy your OTHER side when you weren’t shooting, which made it so that you would generally not lose any weapons until way late in an engagement.

This is true, although you could convey any necessary information via compound reticles. Hell, MWO already does this for arm vs. torso guns.

Did you ever play Chromehounds? That game had a very interesting way of handling weapons spread, that was totally predictable and understandable to pilots, but was much more complex than just perfect convergence.

That was another of the truly great giant robot games, that never really had a chance because XBox Live just wasn’t capable of handling it at that point.

These proposals have been made before and all I have to say is that sometimes simpler really is better.

Hardpoint positioning is already quite important, an convergence is already a factor even with everything converging automatically on the reticle… widely mounted weaponry is less desirable than weaponry that is mounted tightly together, and it actually matters out to a pretty significant range.

Best mech game ever was Chromehounds, before it was shut off.


This is a legitimate perspective. There were so many things about that game which were groundbreaking.

I could spend all day in the mech editor, balancing everything out. That’s a good sign. Also, night missions. Also, attaching a small machinegun to take care of “trash” so as to conserve ammo. Also, terrain and LOS awesomeness. Also, 6 player multi!

The sensor model in CH was super cool, in that it gave an extremely well defined role for scout mechs. Being forced to create a chain of controlled sensor towers, having the specific role of a C2 mech that needed to then be in the area, and then having that enable shared sensor data (as well as being required for communications) was just super cool.

The ability to have parties and use private chat limited the impact of the communications stuff.

Ultimately, Mechwarrior would benefit from a complex sensor/target sharing system like CH though. It was a cool feature. Being able to take down a node in the enemy’s comms network, and have them suddenly lose sensor picture of an area was cool.

The mech consrtuction, and how it was directly related to weapons’ spread patterns, was also super cool.

For those who never played:
In CH, when you fired a group of weapons, they all fired in sequence, separated by a few milliseconds. So, almost simultaneously.

However, every weapon in CH had recoil, and it was realistic, physics based recoil based on the weapon, the type of ammunition, and its location on the mech. So, a weapon on the left side of your mech would pull the reticle to the left… the further away from your center of gravity, or the more powerful the cannon, the more it would kick.

So you could create specific spread patterns by placing weapons within a group at specific locations on the mech, and have them fire in a specific order in the group, thereby using the recoil from each weapon to compensate for the recoil of other weapons in the group.

It was a super cool system… I think that someone was actually making a fan version of Chromehounds, but I forget what it was called, or what happened to the project.

Chromehounds had the distinction of being one of the few “western” style mech games, like Mechwarrior where the mechs felt like heavy war machines, as opposed to the Asian style games where robots were more fast, zippy, Gundam style things.

I played a bit of MechWarrior Online last night, and felt this in my bones.

It was a good time, though—I stuck mostly to lights and mediums, and had a few good games, although no solo kills. (My favorite mech, the 2xMLAS 1xERPPC Jenner, is more useful for harassing mechs engaged with more deadly allies than anything else.)

I think it’s really the only game in town if you want fun mech action. It is still fun blowing pieces off enemy mechs while seeing how much punishment you can take before going down in a blaze of glory.

They recently added damage taken to the end of match stats; long overdue.

I’ve been playing some MWO the last few nights, and am finding that humans do provide some spice that AIs often don’t, but it isn’t in their strategic skills.

I have a bunch of Cicadas in my hangar, because I come from the era when you had to master a whole mech family to master one chassis, so I’ve been going a bit more esoteric with the non-ECM variants. One of my favorites so far is a RAC/2 Cicada. They aren’t meta weapons, as far as I know—they don’t do pinpoint damage, they have a spin-up time, the jamming mechanic means you can only fire them about half the time. The tradeoffs seem decent for a hit-and-run light or medium mech, but that isn’t what makes the chassis good.

It’s good because the RAC/2 is intimidating from the receiving end. If you start taking hits, it looks and sounds like you’re taking fire from more and larger mechs. People around my skill rating on the pilot leaderboards will often stop an advance and look for cover. People better than me will at least look in my direction, which may leave my team an opening, and may also try to run me down, which is a chance to bait them out of position.

That’s difficult to do with a bot.