Meat or Metal?

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

CmdrBugbear

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Dec 3, 2018
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Running a vanilla campaign and a career in BT:Revised (they're on separate physical machines - no black magic going on here I'm afraid).

I'm coming to the conclusion that the early game can be quite difficult while you are making do with inexperienced pilots and light mechs.

I've gotten through this early game and developed a team of pilots with skills of 5's and 6's. It's the Training Day missions that lead me to the conclusion that in the ongoing debate over whether it is better to sacrifice the meat to save the metal, I must disagree. Having experienced pilots in light mechs is SO much better than having inexperienced pilots in overpowered mechs.

Just came out of a 2 skull BTR recovery mission where I fully intended to drop a Flea with three other lights, rush the pick-up zone, then rush to the evac.

It didn't work out that way.

Instead, the Flea (which was my designated courier mech) found itself isolated from the rest of my lance with a Hunchback (AC20 variant), Shadowhawk and Kintaro in between. The Flea was able to lure the Hunchback away while the remainder of the lance kept the other two occupied.

What followed was around 20 or 30 rounds of death by a thousand cuts (for the OpFor). The Flea took down the Hunchback single handedly (lots of double turning, and acquisition of 6 or 7 evasion pips when sprinting for defence). The rest of the lance (a Jenner, Firestarter and Vulcan) took advantage of some cover to deny the Shadowhawk and Kintaro any firing opportunities while ducking out an back, attacking when they could.

I'm confident that the Flea would not have stood a chance with a lesser pilot.

This is just one anecdote - this is not data. YMMV.

But in order to spark yet another pointless debate - Meat or Metal?
 

Kereminde

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Why not both?

Look... Dekker is cursed. That's just how it is. I've rarely had him die, but he's on a first name basis with the medics in almost every game since he'll spend months at a time there. So in his case, losing the meat to save the metal is kind of... gonna happen.

On the other hand, I'll move heaven, earth, and Taurians to make sure Glitch doesn't bite it.
 
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MeiSooHaityu

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In general I look out for the metal over the meat.

I try to keep a roster of at least 8 Mechwarriors and try to rotate them enough to keep everyone at least competent. That way if I lose a Mechwarrior, I have many in back up and I can take my time hiring a decent replacement, or if I have the training pods, keep them in reserve training up until I can put them in some cake-walk grind for money missions to level them up.

Only real game change is if I am playing mech destruction on CT destruction. In that case I may eject the pilot (ultimately saving them from death), but that is still due to saving the mech. So in reality, I do tend to value the mech over the pilot.
 
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CmdrBugbear

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Dec 3, 2018
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In general I look out for the metal over the meat.

I try to keep a roster of at least 8 Mechwarriors and try to rotate them enough to keep everyone at least competent. That way if I lose a Mechwarrior, I have many in back up and I can take my time hiring a decent replacement, or if I have the training pods, keep them in reserve training up until I can put them in some cake-walk grind for money missions to level them up.

Only real game change is if I am playing mech destruction on CT destruction. In that case I may eject the pilot (ultimately saving them from death), but that is still due to saving the mech. So in reality, I do tend to value the mech over the pilot.

And this is part of my motivation in asking this question - I tend to keep my roster of pilots small, making each pilot more valuable. I'll have to try a playthrough where I max out the number of pilots.

Mod suggestion: Mechwarrior mentors - increase inspiration per round when you deploy teacher and student (how you would designate a teacher and student I don't know - maybe a pilot tag?)
 

Kereminde

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Mod suggestion: Mechwarrior mentors - increase inspiration per round when you deploy teacher and student (how you would designate a teacher and student I don't know - maybe a pilot tag?)

What if, say, it was an event which fired occasionally once you got the Training Pods repaired? (Not unlike that misplaced whale meat... maybe not AS frequent as that one seems to be...) Where you can encourage a 'MechWarrior to take an active leading role in training, which gives them a tag of "Mentor" and when they deploy with no other Mentors (OR the Commander) they increase the rate of Inspiration gain.

(Alternatively, perhaps less of a risk of imbalancing your deployment methods... when deployed they give everyone else NOT the Mentor or Commander who dropped in that mission a small % of bonus experience? If they're at a lower level of experience than the Mentor...)
 

Corraidhin

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I go meat over metal. Mechs can be repaired/replaced. Experience counts, when you lose that, it's gone for good.

Side note: Dekker is my go to badass in either an MG GRH or my preferred PHX-1B. He almost certainly has the highest kill count in my entire lance. OpFor pilots will whisper his name in fear.
 
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Shark7

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Definately save the meat. Also, if you choose to do so by having them eject, you also save the metal by default.

Dekker...for me he is a headshot magnet. I've actually lost count of the number of times he has tried to block a PPC with the head of his mech. And since this always happens early game when I only have light mechs without full head armor...well, it doesn't work out for him. On the bright side, I don't lose the mech when its clean killed by a headshot, so at least it saves the metal, right? :rolleyes:
 

Kereminde

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Side note: Dekker is my go to badass in either an MG GRH or my preferred PHX-1B. He almost certainly has the highest kill count in my entire lance. OpFor pilots will whisper his name in fear.

My first campaign has Dekker have that sort of reputation - but at the same time if anyone gets taken out in a mission, it's going to be him. (And he'll survive it.)
 

KhazadDhum

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Watch Edmons 4 light campaigns. He manages to aquire 4 firestarters and stomp the competition up to and including the Bounty Hunter/Black Widow fight. He doesn't take a ton of pilots, and generally only has a second group as a backup/second string set of pilots in case anyone gets too hurt, or fatigued (he plays a lot of modded games). So with light mechs and high evasion and decent pilots it's almost a cakewalk where he manages to save both.
 
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Shark7

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Watch Edmons 4 light campaigns. He manages to aquire 4 firestarters and stomp the competition up to and including the Bounty Hunter/Black Widow fight. He doesn't take a ton of pilots, and generally only has a second group as a backup/second string set of pilots in case anyone gets too hurt, or fatigued (he plays a lot of modded games). So with light mechs and high evasion and decent pilots it's almost a cakewalk where he manages to save both.

Exactly. The truth is that if you have 4 good lights (Firestarters) and 4 good pilots, you can take on any mission in game with a lance of light mechs and win. The key to it is playing smart and having patience to put yourself in a position that is to your advantage.
 
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Kereminde

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The key to it is playing smart and having patience to put yourself in a position that is to your advantage.

Patience is one of those things you need to train yourself to have, because if you rush things at the wrong point... you're gonna have a bad time. (Like when Mitch streams his play.)
 

Wayward Son 5

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Patience is one of those things you need to train yourself to have, because if you rush things at the wrong point... you're gonna have a bad time. (Like when Mitch streams his play.)
"Yeah, yeah, patience, how long will that take?" :D
 
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MeiSooHaityu

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Patience is one of those things you need to train yourself to have, because if you rush things at the wrong point... you're gonna have a bad time. (Like when Mitch streams his play.)

Or Tex of the Black Pants Legion. I have been watching his Scrombles playthrough and he just jumps in both feet, losing mechs and Mechwarriors. He plays default rules pretty much so a destroyed mech really isn't gone.

I do play with CT destruction causes a lost mech and I forgot how care free you can be when you can't lose a mech. I almost lost my Cataphract 1X the other day when it was my second only heavy and I thought I was going to have a heart attack (especially when it is on its back taking called shots from an entire Lance with a crit CT). Mech survived though.
 

koz-ivan

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May 8, 2018
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I don't play with mech destruction.

With that setup I do find it far easier to replace a mech instead of replacing a pilot, there is a ton of missions and time that goes into getting a pilot leveled up to the point where I'm completely happy with them.

As I see it, sending out green pilots is really expensive because the shots they miss will end up costing you in the end.

One thing that I do consider is how replaceable a certain mech is, it is a lot easier to be cavalier with a Marauder when you have 4 more gassed up and ready to go in the mechlab.

When it is your one Star League prototype loaded with 3 star equipment even heavy damage can be really expensive or impossible to recover from - this was even more apparent in earlier patches where it was absurdly rare to find some components (Gauss Rifle and ammo for example).
 
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Harmon Ward

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If you are playing with "Mech Destruction" enabled, you have to be careful with your Metal. However, a Mechwarrior takes a lot of missions to get really skilled. I tend to look out for my Mechawarriors as I would if I was role playing with friends. It is fun for me that way.
 
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MeiSooHaityu

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If you are playing with "Mech Destruction" enabled, you have to be careful with your Metal. However, a Mechwarrior takes a lot of missions to get really skilled. I tend to look out for my Mechawarriors as I would if I was role playing with friends. It is fun for me that way.

This is especially true for me too as I tend to use slow Mechwarrior progression when playing career. A combination of mech destruction and slow progression means it takes a while for a pilot to skill up, and hard to replace.

I try to hire about 7+ Mechwarriors and try to rotate them frequently to help soften a blow of a dead Mechwarrior if it happens. I try to have leveled up training pods and deploy green-er pilots in lower skull Flashpoints.

Still, a Mechwarrior loss is impactful. I try to keep them safe when I can and eject them if they are in trouble and can't get away.
 
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Kereminde

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If you are playing with "Mech Destruction" enabled, you have to be careful with your Metal. However, a Mechwarrior takes a lot of missions to get really skilled. I tend to look out for my Mechawarriors as I would if I was role playing with friends. It is fun for me that way.

And now, suddenly, thinking of seeing if anyone's come up with "Nuzlocke for BattleTech" rules...
 
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Wayward Son 5

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If you are playing with "Mech Destruction" enabled, you have to be careful with your Metal. However, a Mechwarrior takes a lot of missions to get really skilled. I tend to look out for my Mechawarriors as I would if I was role playing with friends. It is fun for me that way.
Lately I've been playing with both Mech Destruction and Lethality enabled. It casts a whole new view on the question of metal or meat when a cored mech doesn't just mean a lost mech, but almost always a dead mechwarrior, too. I find myself seriously considering ejecting when a valued mechwarrior starts taking a pounding and losing armor mid-mission.
 
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Harmon Ward

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With those parameters, it is easier to focus. The question is not really "Mechwarrior or Mech?" but, "Save what you can." I don't think there is a way to sacrifice the Mechwarrior to save the machine. However, saving the Mechwarrior when the machine is doomed would always be a good idea.
 
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