BattleTech Update

I restarted a while back, but other priorities has meant not a huge amount of gaming time. Overall the restart is going well, and I am happy that I made the right decision.

I did a bunch of missions in the early game, building up cash. I didn’t really have much luck finding heavier mechs, but I think I picked up a medium before moving into the story missions.

Currently I’ve just completed the Liberate: Smithon mission that caused so much grief. This time I had a Jagermech, Dragon, Shadow Hawk and Centurion. Two heavies and two mediums this time.

I did abort and restart a couple of times. I initially gave them a LRM focus, but realised that when I used the same strategy as my previous success, I actually wanted a big short range smash down. I sit behind this hill in the corner (right hand side) and wait for the mechs to come around and into the pass, then they each get a face full from my lance.

It worked well, and soon eight mech were down to three. There was a tense moment in the middle when I had an almost cored Cicada, a fresh Jenner and Dragon come around the corner almost at once. This was just after destroying a Panther and Firestarter, so my lance was pretty warm. I backed off around the corner to give them a chance to recover.

The last three mech had figured out the trap but scattered, so I was able to chase them down individually. As I stayed so far back there wasn’t a lot of LRM fire from the turrets, so apart from a lucky hit from the Panther on my Jagermechs head (that didn’t take it off) my mechs were lightly damaged.

So after that mission, I have 2 heavies, a lot of mediums, and the cash to buy several more Dragons from Smithon if I wish. Argo has had a lot of upgrades already completed as well, so overall I am in a lot better position than last time.

Other games of note – I dropped in to take out a base and approached from a unusual angle. I sent the short ranged Dragon in to scout while my longer ranged mechs sat in a river to cover. Of course the enemy lance dropped in about 2 hexes in front of the covering mechs. So I had 3 mechs scrambling for minimum distance (against a bunch of lights) and another mech struggling to close the distance to join in. It was never in doubt, but it was a little mixed up.

I also did a similar obtuse approach in a 3.5 rated mission, my toughest by far. Again, assault a base, I circled around the map and approached from the rear. Here I discovered half the “reinforcement lance”, a Cicada and a Griffon waiting for their trigger. I almost cored the Cicada and damaged the Griffon before they activated, but hadn’t quite finished them off when the original lance of Panther, Hunchback, Shadow Hawk and Vindicator arrived, along with a Wolverine and another Cicada as the other half of the “reinforcements”. The Hunchback’s right torso was focused as soon as he showed up in order to eliminate that AC20.

It got pretty tense, and while I steadily wound back their numbers, the Dragon lost both arms, I ran out of LRMs on all of the mechs as well as most of the SRMs. My Griffon also lost an arm and torso. The Dragon took a Death from Above from the Shadow Hawk, but this exposed its back to several volleys from two mechs (but it still took a while, Shadow Hawks can take a pounding).

Soon after I had finally eliminated the mechs, while spending the whole time hiding out of LoS from the turrets. It might have actually been easier straight up the guts as I would have hit the lighter lance first and hopefully eliminated more mechs to start with. It wasn’t as expensive a repair bill as a I was expecting, but it wasn’t cheap.

Now I plan to hit up some more missions before the next story one on the moon.

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BattleTech – Restarting

I have been struggling the last few missions to get anywhere. I seem to be always putting things back together and am still lurching from month to month, contract to contract. Even though I’m picking up only 2 skull rated missions (out of 5) I seem to run into mostly heavies. For my lance of mediums this is a big ask, and they’ve been found wanting.

I decided to go back to the start and spend more time in the early game between story missions, running missions. I figure this will get me a better baseline to start from.

Plus I can use the lessons that I have learned along the way to perform better than before.

But there’s no way to skip the first story mission so here goes nothing…

BattleTech – Setting out on my own

After Smithon I completed the next story mission. This went much better, though the game did hang just as I was about to win. I did have a halfway through save, so the next chance I got I started from there.

This second one went much better (strangely enough) and instead of being caught separated and out of position I was able to get the lance organised to destroy the reinforcements. This saved two pilots and mechs from destruction.

After this I decided it was time to head out and try to get myself a bit of a buffer of resources and see if I could increase my mech weights. I still have to run 2 or 3 mediums and 1 or 2 heavies, but I’d like to get some heavier mechs.

So picking up the Nav charts I picked a couple of high tech level but low challenge worlds and set out away from the story zone. The idea was to hit up a string of easier missions, sucking the money up and hopefully a few bits of mechs and weapon upgrades.

There doesn’t seem to be any specific advice on whether it is better to go all money, all scrap or strongly one or the other in the game. It certainly depends upon what has happened in your career. Remember you can have a 10/10/10/10 pilot in a solid mech and a headshot takes out the mech and the pilot in one shot. Or you can slug it out with 8 mechs and barely a scratch on your lance. The random number effect can be strong in this game.

So I’ve mostly gone cash, and thankfully it has been some time since I’ve spent all of my earnings (and more) from a mission. I’m still usually a month or two from bankruptcy, but I’ve been spending on upgrades (of my ship and on upgraded ++ weapons), rather than repairs.

My idea is to do this for a little while, then head back into the story with a bit of a buffer. Research shows I’ve completed 9 of 20 story missions, so there is a bit to go. But there are some tough ones to come if I don’t gear up somewhat.

Still enjoying the game. It’s giving me some sleepy days at work meetings!

BattleTech – Liberate Smithon

I’ve finally managed to get past one of the toughest story missions yet.

Liberate Smithon sees me drop against 2 lances of mechs, supported by turrents, with the intent to capture the supply dump from the Directorate. We also tasked with protecting as much ammunition as we can and intercepting two escaping supply trucks.

You drop in the southern end of a map, on a small rise. There are small passes to the left and right as well as the option to rush straight at the base forward. There are several light mechs in the front with several heavier fire support mechs to the rear. It is also a hot environment, playing havoc with your rate of effort.

Normally people suggest three things. Drop heavy, as heavy as you can. I agree with this. Take LRMs, and again I agree there too. Also ignore the supply trucks, they’re just a distraction, most definitely agree. The trucks give you almost no time to be in position and they take a beating. They also put you out of position to take on the mechs.

There’s two more suggestions. An ammo crate in the front right is situated under a turret. Blow this one when there are a couple of mech in the blast zone, but fairly early on as well. You can usually catch at least one mech in the explosion, and some have caught up to three. They end up heavily damaged, and the explosion will destroy light ones. Do this! The turret is a threat as well and needs to be removed.

The last suggestion is to go left.

I go right. The same reason, there is a hill on both the left and right, to use as cover from the back of the map fire support. But I like the right a little more (I have been more successful that way).

I move right immediately, baiting the light fast mechs up to the small pass behind it. Focus fire each as they come around into sight.

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So at the end of the first turn, my lance has moved right, heading behind the rise in front of them. This also puts you in easy reach of the ammo crate. Stay in the cover of this hill and burn up the mechs as they try to come at you.

You will need to soak up some LRM fire, but judicious use of Bracing at the end of turns will help a lot. And also help with heat management.

With the extra kill or two from the ammo crate, I don’t need to leave this area until the last two heavies are left. This is usually a Dragon and a Griffon. Focus fire these down. Done, 2 bonus objectives. Lots of cash.

I think the move left is similar. However it’s more difficult to hit the particular ammo crate from there and I think is a little harder to actually move to while remaining in cover.

In the end I used a Trebuchet, Hunchback, Centurion and a Vindicator. All except the Hunchback ran some LRMs. All suffered some damage. But they had much more luck than previous drops involving Jenner or Shadow Hawks for example.

Hope these tips help. I went off and worked some missions up before returning to this one. Story missions don’t disappear so you can take your time. This was probably the biggest difference, I was running a heavier lance.

 

BattleTech – a longer review

Battletech – I promised a review later, and it’s now later.

I am only a little way through the story, and I know that there are many who have finished. I do not know how long the story is, I think I am up to about the 4th or 5th story mission (called Liberation:Smithon). At the moment I am leaving that mission aside as I train and gear up my lance.

My first impressions of a faithful recreation of the table top game, along with decent graphics and AI are still pretty much unchanged. The first, that its a faithful recreation of the table top is for me a real positive. I think that has made it easy for them in that balance and such have basically been play tested for 30 years. The great big positive for me is that turn based copes very easily with random interruptions. I can stop and sort out life stuff without stressing about what the enemy are up to. I know it isn’t everyone’s favourite way of playing, but I don’t mind it.

The graphics look good on my iMac. I imagine there are more impressive games and on more capable systems there are more impressive games. But graphics aren’t everything.

The story is fine. It’s very similar to the really old “MechWarrior” game, where you are a merc with a story and the intent is to carry out some contracts until you’re geared up enough to finish the story. What I do like in this version is that the story engages you as you go. In the old game every time I headed back into the story I was arrested and the game ended. I gave up and just set about getting awesome mechs and lots of money. Turns out I should have gone back at that stage.

Anyway, the game does get a little slow during some combats when there is a lot of actions queued up. The random number generator can be a bit vicious sometimes, but it works both ways. Sometimes a game will be tough, sometimes its not.

The rounds can take quite a bit of time, an hour or more. But I don’t find that a bad thing 🙂

So overall I am very happy.

One word

and it’s not Avengers, it’s Battletech.

The new Battletech from Paradox (also available through Steam) is excellent.

And personally the best news, its ON THE IMAC as well. So I can play it.

And its really interesting and really well done.

 

I’ll do a longer review with pics in a bit. But if you’ve ever been a table top player, then I think you’ll enjoy it.

Three weeks in one page.

Seems like it’s been busy but not actually doing much. Often been finding myself browsing through Youtube videos at the moment or watching 80/90s movies I’ve recorded off TV (Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours and some others) not really doing much. So not much MWO or Portal.

I got MWO running, logged in and had no idea what was going on before I died. It’s still a hassle to be a solo player, especially when you can’t remember the key binds and the rest.  It’s also a pain to reboot all the time to swap OS.

School holidays came up, so I took my two girls to my sister’s property in rural NSW. Their first time on a farm and a chance for Mrs Mab to have 5 days relaxing on her own (considering I get to do that every week it’s only fair).

6 hours of driving and cold weather, but girls loved every minute. They especially loved the week old lamb that played chase almost non stop with them. Driving tractors, climbing trees, feeding ducks and horses. A great experience.

I also got a new push bike to get out there on the mountains. Dad found a great condition second hand (basically brand new) 2014 Giant Trance and brought it over for me. Just need the weather to clear up to test it out.

Took the Daytona home last time, and even managed a Putty ride while Dad minded the kids, so that was cool. Cool was a good word for the trip back in my leathers not my touring gear. Caught up to a mate on the same ride that night, just as he finished up being booked for speeding. Bummer.

Will get back into some stuff tomorrow I hope and have some more to write about.

 

MWO – A toe in the water

As you’re likely aware, I was very keen when MWO was announced and even more excited when I was invited into the Beta. However you’ve also probably read my increasing disappointment with the direction the game seemed to be heading and eventually I stopped playing. I think that was about 2 months ago.

B3F022320942E1D1B7FD2B854C870B39Discussions with other MWO players who’ve continued to play picked up my interest, and so today I dipped a toe back into the water again.

I have to say, the three games I played I was pleasantly surprised. Enough that I will go back again, and to say to others that may have quit to at least have another look.

So what has changed?

I played 3 PUG games, 2 in my Hunchie (medium mech) and one in my Jenner. I was well out of practice, so I wasn’t particularly effective in any of them.

ECM is still there, but it doesn’t seem like the steamroller it was when it started. However I temper that comment with the fact that I wasn’t running my Catapult, which is seriously affected by ECM. In the three games, perhaps half of the mechs had ECM.

They haven’t done much to the lobby, however there are significant changes to pre and post match screens, with a lot more info displayed. Even when you get killed you get a screen that tally’s your killer, the last few hits, and some other stats.

There is a new game mode. Assault is still there but so is a kind of Resource point capture game (I can’t remember the proper name). That should mix things up some, you can even nominate to play only one of the game modes prior to launch. There are supposed to be some new maps, but I didn’t see one in my three games.

Oh, and in homage to the game that really got the franchise noticed, Mechwarrior 2, they have hired the voice actress who did all of that game’s “computer” voice. It’s all incorporated into MWO. Even the mech startup internal view has yourself running the startup sequence in the cockpit. Very cool for us old MW heads.

So its enough that I will dust off my Corp membership and shake the cobwebs of the mechs….

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Mechwarrior

I just received an invite to buy a founders pack for MechWarrior Tactics, the RTS game being developed alongside MWO. I am feeling a little “once bitten, twice shy”, though actually if I add SWTOR it’s more like twice bitten.

MWO, I’ve spent a bit, with the founders pack and the pc upgrades. And I haven’t felt any interest in playing it for some time, several months now. I’ve spoken to colleagues who are still playing and by all accounts it has gotten worse.

To me the game was at its peak just before they removed knockdowns. From that patch onwards the developers have steadily added complexity without balance and have introduced bugs ands instabilities into parts of the game that were working fine. Even bugs that should have been obvious from even a small amount of play testing (the screw up with missile damage when Artemis was introduced for example) before making it on the Beta servers…. one assumes they have their own internal test servers….. assumes…

ECM, by all accounts is really messing with the game. It didn’t have to be, but they’ve made it a must have for everyone, limiting your mech choices if you want to have any real chance of doing well in a match. There is no reliable way for large mechs to combat small mechs without knockdowns (in tabletop you could even fall if you turned whilst running, now you won’t fall if a mech charges into you). They are having a lot of problems with lag and rubber banding (I remember my duel with a light I think I discussed in another post).

The other concern is that some of the “news” on the website suggests that with the timeline they are running it’s about 3-4 months before we have the full Clan invasion. They haven’t even started the metagame part of MWO and they’re about to introduce a whole heap more to this game! That’s surprising a few I’ve been talking to.

The overall feeling is that they are not balancing the game properly, and spending too much time introducing new hardware, without fixing existing game and balance issues. Adding more mechs, when people really want more maps (bigger ones!) and more game types (and the metagame).

So that’s MWO… now I have this invite for the MWT founders. Same deal, instant access to beta, with varying amount of bonuses depending upon your spend. MWT is being published by the same company but it seems to be developed by someone different from MWO.

Honestly, I’m not really positive about it. Anyone else have any thoughts on the games?