Are PPC's underpowered or are they lore accurate?

Are PPC's underpowered or are they lore accurate?

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As the title says after reading and listening to several Battletech books it seems like PPC were a very feared weapon in game the seem very meh... do they need a boost in damage to reflect what the lore says?
 

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IMO, PPC's are pretty awesome when used right, especially the version that does 50 stability damage. If you load up a long range mech with LRM 15/20s ++(+) (60/80 stability), LB 5-Xs ++ (60 stability) and PPCs (50 stability), you can knock Mechs over like bowling pins.
 

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Apart from a brief period in 1985-86, before Technical Readout: 3025 came out, the PPC has never been the most damaging direct-fire weapon in the BT universe.

In that small time window, there were no other autocannon than what we now call the AC/5, so coming up against something that did twice that damage at almost he same range was indeed terrifying (and incidentally why only the Warhammer, Marauder, and BattleMaster sported them; those three were the heaviest 'Mechs in the 2nd edition boxed set EDIT: The Griffin also had one).

That is also the time period where the weapon's "lore status" was set, with Decision at Thunder Rift (the first BattleTech novel) coming out in 1986, with the main antagonist piloting a dual-PPC wielding Marauder against the protagonist's autocannon-sporting Shadow Hawk.

However, since TRO:3025 we've had the different autocannon (and later we also got the Gauss Rifle and all sorts of advanced tech) dethroning the PPC as the big gun of the BT universe.

Now this game does something interesting with the PPC - instead of rebalancing the damage output, they added stability damage (the only energy weapon to have that), and a stacking to-hit debuff to the target . In my opinion, that's a move that makes the PPC relevant, and even feared, in this game.
 
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Aotrs Commander

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The buff to autocanoon damage (which was, in fairness, in my opinion, rather desperately needed) also didn't help the PPC much, since the new AC 5 damage (effectively 9 instead of 5) and the AC 10 (effectively 12 instead of 10) also somewhat undermined the PPC's position (being 10). Not having +++ versions of the PPC further hurts them a bit, I think, especially as it means non-ER PPCs can't quite reach head-cropping levels and leave it competing with something like ++large pulse lasers, which do.

The stability damage and debuff is something to compensate, granted, though at the point of the mid-late game when your pilots are 10/10/10/10, I haven't noticed that the debuff seems to make a huge difference. I think the thing with (non-ER) PPCs in this game is to some extent that they aren't great on their own, you need to use them either in fairly significant numbers or with LRMs to go for stability damage; just mixing the odd one in with lasers and ACs is sub-optimal.
 
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I think the thing with (non-ER) PPCs in this game is to some extent that they aren't great on their own, you need to use them either in fairly significant numbers or with LRMs to go for stability damage; just mixing the odd one in with lasers and ACs is sub-optimal.
But if you go for stability damage then why adding PPCs when you're doing much better with LRMs alone, with high stab and Indirect Fire?

The debuff is decent when massed, like four-five PPCs, but then SNPPCs are much better at that, have much higher damage, they're very efficient for non-PS, they mix very well with ERMLs and stray shots can debuff multiple enemies with a single SNPPC.
 
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In terms of balance, I would say that the base level PPCs do fine. They are well balanced against the other weapons in their range bracket, but aren't exceptional. Pinpoint 50 damage at long range is quite good and will create weak points in even medium mechs.

The relative effectiveness drops when composing ++ versions, but I think that is more of an issue with other weapons being overpowered rather than the PPC being underpowered.

PPCs are sniping weapons and there are a few changes (restricted targeting range, removal of medium range penalties) which make range less important.
 

Mabberton

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In lore, the PPC also has the benefit of essentially infinite ammo (and no ammo rack potential) which has limited to no effect in game.

They are also about one-half the weight of the equivalent AC/10 (with ammo) and less than one-half the size (again with ammo). The tradeoff is higher heat which requires more heat sinks or intermittent firing. Smaller weight/size also makes them more compatible with small mechs and dual-range mechs using bracket-firing, but again, the BATTLETECH game mechanics do not really reward the use of either of those.

The slightly better range brackets in lore (versus the AC/10), have a bigger effect in the table-top rules where it is so much harder to hit overall.

Plus, not to be underestimated in lore and, in particular, the associated fiction is the "Rule of Cool". Who wouldn't prefer shooting fricking lightning bolts out of your mech rather than lame old autocannons. :)
 
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Doctor Machete

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Plus, not to be underestimated in lore and, in particular, the associated fiction is the "Rule of Cool". Who wouldn't prefer shooting fricking lightning bolts out of your mech rather than lame old autocannons.
That rule can be reversed. Who would want to fire boring sterile and for-the-show PPCs when you have access to good old vintage autocannons and kill with style.
 
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LongRange

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I'll use them in the early game, when the lighter weight, lower slots and no ammo are useful. You can't go wrong harvesting a Panther early. As you move up in weight class, they generally become too costly heat-wise to include in your build. UAC5 has as much range and does similar damage, for example.

I think someone did a damage/heat analysis and they seem to come up short, or maybe my Alzheimer's is kicking in and I'm mis-remembering.
 

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I'll use them in the early game, when the lighter weight, lower slots and no ammo are useful. You can't go wrong harvesting a Panther early. As you move up in weight class, they generally become too costly heat-wise to include in your build. UAC5 has as much range and does similar damage, for example.

I think someone did a damage/heat analysis and they seem to come up short, or maybe my Alzheimer's is kicking in and I'm mis-remembering.
This would be for early game, no ++ weapons and no DHS:



This is late game, ++ weapons and DHS:

 

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If you require them to be fully sinked (which takes 12 heat sinks), then they absolutely come up short. A single PPC does better because you don't need any extra heat sinks (although taking at least 2 is very helpful). A PPC with 2 heat sinks is the same weight as an AC/5 for slightly more damage and the added accuracy debuff. The UAC/5 doubles the damage for only an extra ton of weight, making it much superior (but it is considered lostech).

I think a double PPC build works with 8 heat sinks (10 would be preferable), just be careful taking it to hot environments.

Late game I do think PPCs fall off in usefulness. Early on they can one shot vehicles at range and a 50 point hit can cripple or significantly weaken some early mechs. Later you have more + and ++ gear and a 50 point hit isn't a useful on its own. I think it still makes a good secondary weapon on bracket builds (like the Battlemaster).
 
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koz-ivan

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As much as I like PPCs they are underwhelming in this version of Battletech.

Reasons why:

1. Missions are short, The PPC never running out of ammo isn't an advantage if nothing is running out of ammo.
2. speaking of Ammo, old school tabletop rules meant that carrying ammo was roughly equivalent to carrying around a bomb, there was always a chance you lost your mech to a fluke ammo crit. This version of the rules is far more forgiving.
3. Maps & firing lanes are small, long range weapons don't always get to use that range advantage.
4. PPCs run hot.
5. ACs & Lasers got more of a buff from the TT rules making them far more attractive than the PPC.

All that being said, the PPC is a great weapon in the early and mid game, and still can be a part of a late game build.
 
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MeiSooHaityu

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My only real gripe is heat. I think the damage is decent and the stability damage and debuff to Target's accuracy can be helpful. It just NORMALLY isn't the best with other energy weapons as backup due to that heat.

I think grouping a PPC with a ballistic does help. Maybe that and missiles to help keep heat managable. Unless you have a Star League era mech with engine DHS though, running 2 PPCs can be a hot loadout with most heavy or smaller mechs.

Overall I do like the PPC, but I will tend to step down to a LLaser in certain cases. I still use it though when I can find a nice niche for it. Also, sometimes a mech is just energy focused. In that case, if I can equip a PPC and keep the mech properly cool, I'll use it. Having the stability damage is a nice asset for an energy focused mech.
 

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First off, I do play with mods which have re-balanced the weapons, though the base stats on the PPC itself haven't been changed (my mods toned down the OP weapons from the last DLC).

What I have found that in all honesty, unless you have the OP DLC weapons, the PPC does actually still work favorably even into the end game. 50 damage to one location is nothing to laugh off.

The best mech I had sporting PPCs was a Stalker 4P (the 75 ton heavy version) carrying 2 PPCs, 2 LLs and 2 LRM-5s. It wasn't the stability damage that was impressive, it was the fact that coupled with a pilot with called shot mastery, I could essentially evaporate an AI mechs CT in one salvo. Even if it didn't kill it, the next mech I had to fire stood a good chance of it due to how much damage that Stalker 4P and its pilot could do the the CT of any mech. When you called shot on an an AI Awesome and watch it go from fully armored to an orange CT in one salvo, it's a good feeling.

Also FYI, that mech had a 4 ton -20% Exchanger and DHS to keep it relatively cool. My mechs all tend to run hot, but I'm used to playing that way.
 

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I like PPCs. There's a few reasons to use them, and the AWS-8Q is pretty much the purest form of "reach out and zorch someone".

But when you start moving off stock builds and getting into the statistics of the weapons, measuring them against other things... they fall short in a lot of ways. There's two reasons why this winds up being more exacerbated in this game: the fog of war and the ability to swap out weapons. If you can swap out a PPC for, say, a Large Laser, that winds up being better. If you have the hardpoints to swap it for an AC, that's even better. (Unless you have a fear of ammo explosions.) If you're after stability, then missiles are the way to go.

It's still true from my time early in the game, pre-DLCs: "Play your single-player games the way you like, and don't fret over whether you're min/maxed enough. Just have fun. Or what's the point?"
 
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In lore they were typically used as a sniper weapon I wouldn't necessarily say they were the most feared weapon. They just do damage, fairly decent damage I might add at ranges that other weapons can't fight them at. In books, or playing tabletop their "fear factor" drops as soon as you close in on them.
 

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In lore they were typically used as a sniper weapon I wouldn't necessarily say they were the most feared weapon. They just do damage, fairly decent damage I might add at ranges that other weapons can't fight them at. In books, or playing tabletop their "fear factor" drops as soon as you close in on them.
I disagree. On tabletop, where things get considerably more accurate as you close in... I find getting closer (to a point) makes them worse to deal with. Especially within that 3-6 range...
 

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I disagree. On tabletop, where things get considerably more accurate as you close in... I find getting closer (to a point) makes them worse to deal with. Especially within that 3-6 range...
It isn't the accuracy I was talking about......

It's the heat and typically mechs equipped with ppcs aside from some notable exceptions don't have alot of short range firepower, meaning they were usually outgunned. Ergo the fear factor dropped granted a lucky shot to the head or a weakened section of the mech could happen 10 points isn't nothing to sneeze at on table top. Point is PPC mech either has to run if he can, slug it out if heavier and chance overheating. Aside from the notable exceptions where you'd rather stay at range and fight the ppcs, like few variants of the warhammer or a few variants of the battlemaster. An even fewer were able to run relatively cool like the Daimyo but those mechs are rare. Mechs variants that have ppcs like the panther and awesome you want to get close and over heat them fighting those mechs at range without especially with out long range firepower is a tactical error.

Now in the video game as the OP is talking about in comparison PPC serves solely as sniping weapon that isn't reliant on ammo like so many others have stated. You also have the freedom to design mechs and skill pilots with that in mind. Their only real use is to soften up targets for your brawler/melee striker to cleave parts off them. If designed well with heat isn't an issue and you generally can pull the AI to you well they get smacked. It just depends on how one designs their lance. It's balanced enough and does what it's supposed to do in the game with what the weapon was designed for in lore.
 
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Kereminde

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It's the heat and typically mechs equipped with ppcs aside from some notable exceptions don't have alot of short range firepower, meaning they were usually outgunned. Ergo the fear factor dropped granted a lucky shot to the head or a weakened section of the mech could happen 10 points isn't nothing to sneeze at on table top. Point is PPC mech either has to run if he can, slug it out if heavier and chance overheating. Aside from the notable exceptions where you'd rather stay at range and fight the ppcs, like few variants of the warhammer or a few variants of the battlemaster. An even fewer were able to run relatively cool like the Daimyo but those mechs are rare. Mechs variants that have ppcs like the panther and awesome you want to get close and over heat them fighting those mechs at range without especially with out long range firepower is a tactical error.
One: Overheating an Awesome is a task fit for Sisyphus. It's just not really going to happen in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, because they can stagger-fire. This extends into HBS' game, as it's quite enough to shoot two while maneuvering and then use three when ready to land a major blow. Overheating a Panther is easier, but usually the DCMS doesn't send only one Panther. Usually two Panthers and two Jenners, which can pick their engagements rather well despite heat issues. (It's something I occasionally test in the Skirmish mode - the aforementioned Light lance can take on a Medium or Heavy lance with any luck. Assault lances get harder... but it's possible.)

Two: Most of this discussion has been divorced from one thing, and I have leaned into it as well. The weapon selections aren't simply meant for one-on-one fighting. (Or else you just go HCT-3X with some "tweaked" arm actuators. That thing can be frightening.) A lot of question about "to PPC or not to PPC?" is "what's your lance like?". If you have someone to bodyguard your PPC-using 'Mechs, then it's not a bad choice. If you have someone who can intercept and slide in behind an OpFor trying to get to the PPCs? That's also good. If you want to send a full lance of AWS-8Qs into the field against a comparable weight force...

Sounds like I need to open the betting pool on who's coming off the field intact.
 
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Jade_Rook

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Bracket builds and mixed weaponry are also possibilities. It is hard to spam PPCs because of the heat, but an AC/5 & PPC is about as effective and could be done well using 4 less tons*.

I often convert my Awesomes to a bracket build with 2 PPCs at range, supplemented by 4 medium lasers up close. PPCs at range with SRMs or medium lasers up close can be quite effective.

*Dual PPCs take at least 18 heat sinks to be reasonable in HBS's Battletech. That's 22 tons of heat sinks and equipment (assuming no DHS). An AC/5 and PPC build should be fine with 2 heat sinks. Including one ton of ammo that is only 18 tons.