Battletech Game Design Needs Improvement

Battletech Game Design Needs Improvement

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At the time of this post, I have 121 hours of game time for Battletech. I enjoy this game and it scratches a particular itch that FASA's Mech Commander filled in my youth. Bought the game and all three expansions which adds more missions, mechs, and scenarios creating a full game. That being said, there are areas that need improvement. Every base defense scenario is at best frustrating if not unwinnable. I've encountered multiple instances where waves 2 and 3 come in and destroy the number of buildings to fail the mission the round they dropped. No amount of strategy or tonnage can account for this. When a scenario is out of the players capability and takes away agency, that is poor game design. Auto-generated missions like we see in Battletech requires more planning, forethought, and testing than per-made missions. I hate to say that Paradox came up short in this aspect. Creating a game is hard work and takes a great deal of man power. I, as a consumer, can't fully comprehend evreything that goes into it. However, with this post, I hope to give feedback to Paradox games so that they can do better next time. To make a better game that surpasses its predecessor. More Battletech please!
 
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Ken-Sw

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Game has ended development so no more changes to Vanilla - you can try mods
I Like city defense missions I find them Challenging and fun - in my 470 Hrs I believe I have only lost once or twice - a game where you never lose is boring
 
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ranger101

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In Base Defense missions the goal is to destroy the enemy vanguard (1-2 units) as quick as possible, do damage to each other mech, drawing their attention to your mechs so they don't shoot the buildings. It helps to have jump mechs to move around.

In Attack & Defend missions the goal is to defend your base & destroy the enemy base. That means leaving 2-3 mechs fighting 1-2 lances & sending 1-2 mechs to destroy the enemy buildings. If you take too long in destroying the enemy base 1-4 reinforcing lances will drop in. Buildings destroyed, the reinforcements disappear.

Strategy how many skulls is the mission? Half skull enemy is 2 mechs or 1 mech & 3 vehicles, full skull generally 4 mechs maybe some vehicles. General rule of thumb 1 enemy lance per skull of the mission. Think hard about what mechs to take. Did you take the Heavy metal crate? Do you have good melee mechs? A Firestarter does 45 points of damage, then fires its support weapons, removing 1 evasion pip for melee & 1 pip for shooting the target. If you have a Shadow Hawk add a small laser to the right arm to go with that 85 points of melee damage.

Most mechs have a right arm/torso bias, meaning all their weapons are in the right arm/torso. Take those off & all they can do is melee, buildings cannot be meleed.

Don't be afraid to reload a game that you are losing, it is one way to learn from mistakes or how to beat a mission. But above all have fun.
 

Kovax

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I agree that the random placement of enemy reinforcements can make battles unwinnable, but don't blame Paradox for it. The game was developed by Harebrained Schemes (founded by one of the original BT developers), and marketed through Paradox.

Development officially ended a couple of weeks ago, but mods are beginning to deal with a lot of the issues. I'm pretty sure that the modding community is going to take this game and run with it, and through mods it will continue to get better for the next couple of years.
 

Jamey

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More Battletech please!
We’d all like that, but sadly it isn’t coming for this game other than from mods. :(

As for base defense missions, I often have a multishot pilot in a fast medium or light with 3+ LRM launchers for them. This allows me to attack several incoming mechs before they act. Once you attack them, they will focus on attacking your mechs for a few turns rather than prioritizing buildings.

I cannot recall the last time I lost a base defense mission once I realized how to break them from their single minded focus. They’re often challenging (especially if I want the bonus for no buildings destroyed!), but fun and winnable. :)

EDIT:
Harebrained Schemes
... which is a subsidiary of Paradox.
 

EmptyPepsiCan

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I don't think I've ever lost a base defense mission. I often lose a single building and miss the bonus, but that's about it. Bring jump jets and multitarget, spread plink damage, focus on blowing off arms and torsos if you can, ignore the gimps, and use the buildings as extra armor.
 
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Eximar

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I don't think I've ever lost a base defense mission. I often lose a single building and miss the bonus, but that's about it. Bring jump jets and multitarget, spread plink damage, focus on blowing off arms and torsos if you can, ignore the gimps, and use the buildings as extra armor.
Exactly this.
 
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EmptyPepsiCan

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Are you talking about roving pods acting on their activation turn if your squad has already been discovered? If so, isn't that just a Long War 2 mechanic?

Even if it's a base game mechanic (and I'm pretty sure it's not) it's not accurate to say that it "completely booked" gameplay. Yes, it forces the player to maneuver cautiously, but if you do it right you should be in cover with at least a bit of overwatch protection when a new pod shows up. It punishes reckless play, but it's something you can plan for. And if you occasionally get caught, we'll, that's XCOM (2, Long War 2 IIRC).


Having said all that, I'll grant you that it's a BS mechanic in HBS: BT. People have been griping about it since forever. The problem with it in BT is that even if you anticipate it there's not much you can do. Sometimes a lance just materializes in your backfield, and then you have to sit there for 10 minutes as the AI tees off on you.

And having now said that, I think it's only fair to point out that, while wandering activations happen all the time in XCOM, it's very rare for mechs to just appear right behind you and wreck everything before you get to act.
 

unclecid

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At the time of this post, I have 121 hours of game time for Battletech. I enjoy this game and it scratches a particular itch that FASA's Mech Commander filled in my youth. Bought the game and all three expansions which adds more missions, mechs, and scenarios creating a full game. That being said, there are areas that need improvement. Every base defense scenario is at best frustrating if not unwinnable. I've encountered multiple instances where waves 2 and 3 come in and destroy the number of buildings to fail the mission the round they dropped. No amount of strategy or tonnage can account for this. When a scenario is out of the players capability and takes away agency, that is poor game design. Auto-generated missions like we see in Battletech requires more planning, forethought, and testing than per-made missions. I hate to say that Paradox came up short in this aspect. Creating a game is hard work and takes a great deal of man power. I, as a consumer, can't fully comprehend evreything that goes into it. However, with this post, I hope to give feedback to Paradox games so that they can do better next time. To make a better game that surpasses its predecessor. More Battletech please!

at the time of this post i have over 2000 hours of game time for battletech (between steam and paradox).
unfortunately we shall see no further development of this game from HBS.
fortunately we have the Modding Community.
there are a myraid of great individual mods out there that can fix or alleviate some of the issues with the game.
on top of that there are also many great mod packs out there to try that change the 'flavour' of the game.

do yourself a favour and try some mods.
 
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Harmon Ward

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I never get into Defend Base missions unless I have at least and hour to play. On the first turn I look carefully at all of the surrounding terrain and divide my lance to cover as many entry points as possible. Note that a Trebuchet or Catapult can support your attack on the Vanguard while it gets into position. When the OP4 mechs appear, I take the time to note their specific advantages and shortcomings. As EmptyPepsiCan mentioned above, use the buildings as armor. A Spider, for example, is going to take a long time to destroy a building, so ignore it and waste it's lance mates. In my last mission of this type the attackers were lights and mediums. One flank had a Crab, Trebuchet, Locust and Javelin. The Base was on a mountain top. The Crab needed line of site to fire. I was able to ignore it for 4 turns before it was able to climb up to line up a shot on a building. By that time, it was the only OP4 Mech on the board so it did not last long. The final result was 5 buildings damaged and none destroyed.
 

K1600Mike

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I leave 1 or 2 long range lancers near the base so they can multi target the enemy so they won't shoot the buildings. I send the recon and outrider to engage the enemy for a running battle back towards base. Once you destroy 2 of the invaders you can figure reinforcements will come from the another direction.
 

Kovax

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Reinforcements generally show up after you've destroyed 50% of the previous group, so if you take out the most dangerous two of the first group, you can usually pull all but one 'Mech back, which take them on one at a time while the remaining weakest threat plinks ineffectually at the buildings. Meanwhile, you've got 3 'Mechs maneuvering into position to take down the most dangerous unit in the fresh group.

IF NECESSARY, you may need to get the attention of more than one inbound enemy at a time, but that depends on what the OPFOR consists of, and what terrain is between them and the buildings. Losing one building isn't ideal, but beats having to replace weapons and equipment from lost body parts.
 

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Just did another Defend Base mission last night. Went out and crushed the most dangerous attacking 'Mech, blasted the right arm off the second threat, and then began softening up the remaining pair before they ever got sight of the buildings. I pulled two 'Mechs back to the base while my remaining pair began finishing off the badly damaged opposition. When a volley took the CT out on one of the remaining three, the second lance spawned immediately, on the other side of the complex and just outside of gun range. At that point, I pulled a third 'Mech back, letting my 4th finish off the remaining badly battered pair. I believe that only a single 'Mech out of the entire lance even got off a shot at the buildings.

Unfortunately, the enemy reinforcements spawned just outside of range of the buildings, so they were able to shoot at it on their first move, and took down one building in one round of fire before I could take a single action against them. Again, I targeted the enemy with the most firepower, and when that one had been partially neutralized, drew off a second attacker. The remaining pair weren't a serious threat, and didn't manage to finish off a second building. I didn't get the bonus for saving every building, but there was never any real risk of losing the mission, and I left with only minor armor damage.
 
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Harmon Ward

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I didn't get the bonus for saving every building, but there was never any real risk of losing the mission, and I left with only minor armor damage.
Exactly. Saving all of the buildings is often impossible, so get the victory you can get. At some stage, with a little luck, an experienced player who is careful will get a mission where they can save all of the buildings and also escape being torn up by the OP4. Those missions are usually quite difficult.
 

foamyesque

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I just pre-emptively write off the bonus and always max salvage on those missions. It can be done -- on some maps easier than others, particularly if you know where the spawns are going to be -- but it's not worth the headache of trying for it.
 
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unclecid

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there was a mod ( Better Base Defense) that helped alot with defense missions unfortunately it hasnt been updated in a long while.
it came out with 1.1 and worked well until about 1.7

the premise was you get 2 APC allies with techs in them.
if at least one makes it to a designated area they would get the base turrets operational next turn.

having turrets to assist you in base defense helped alot..actually made it possible (but not guaranteed) to protect all buildings.
 

Jamey

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there was a mod ( Better Base Defense) that helped alot with defense missions unfortunately it hasnt been updated in a long while.
it came out with 1.1 and worked well until about 1.7

the premise was you get 2 APC allies with techs in them.
if at least one makes it to a designated area they would get the base turrets operational next turn.

having turrets to assist you in base defense helped alot..actually made it possible (but not guaranteed) to protect all buildings.
I’ve had that with unmodded base defense. I suspect the mod just added that to all of them, rather than the subset that normally have it.

Having those turrets and vehicles out there as extra distractions is always a help in achieving a perfect base defense.
 

unclecid

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I’ve had that with unmodded base defense. I suspect the mod just added that to all of them, rather than the subset that normally have it.

Having those turrets and vehicles out there as extra distractions is always a help in achieving a perfect base defense.
ya that is pretty much what he did in addition to rebalacning the missions to account for the extra firepower on your side.
it worked really well.