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…

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ย 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?

Haven’t got to it…

There’s been a significant new patch in MWO – map changes, a new mech, new hero mechs, a whole bunch of tweaks.

But I haven’t even started the game in more than a week. Honestly the motivation just isn’t there.

I’m enjoying XCom much more at the moment. I think I’m actually getting somewhere, though its hard to tell. The aliens have gotten a bit tougher in the last few outings, but my troops are still working through the missions. Teamwork is helping a lot there.ย The turn based fighting is probably simpler than the real time C&C type game, but it still has its own tricks and strategies.

I am always chronically short of money though. I’m not sure if that’s normal. I suspect that it is, as that’s how the developers have limited us. With infinite money, imagine what I could build ๐Ÿ™‚

Christmas is around the corner so work has finished for me. School has finished for Miss 5 too. Mrs is still working for a couple more days. Then its present time ๐Ÿ™‚

Merry Christmas to everyone, hope you have a great few days and get some cool stuff…. me, I’m hoping for a new bike, but can’t see a bike sized crate anywhere in the house yet, lol.