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HBS_Kiva

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Hi folks! I wanted to share the final set of revisions to our MechWarrior abilities in BATTLETECH 1.3. We'd like to thank all of you in the community for your feedback and playtesting of these new abilities, and we can't wait to hear what you all think!

Piloting 5 (Evasive Movement) is now Sure Footing.
PASSIVE: 'Mechs piloted by this MechWarrior gain one bonus Evasion charge after moving (can exceed the unit's maximum). If the move is not a sprint, jump, or charge to melee, the 'Mech also gains ENTRENCHED (50% stability damage reduction).

Tactics 5 (Sensor Lock) imposes a penalty to the hit chance of the target.
This is in addition to the former effects of revealing the target and removing evasive charges. This penalty is identical to, and stacks with, the penalty from being hit by a PPC.

ACTION: Select a target within sensor range to reveal it until the end of the current round and remove two of its EVASIVE charges. The target also gains +2 SENSORS IMPAIRED effect.

Guts 5 (Bulwark) was substantially redesigned.
A MechWarrior with Bulwark increases the value of Cover or Guarded by 20%. If both Cover and Guarded are in effect, Bulwark only increases the total damage resistance by 20%. Additionally, both Cover and Guarded are each worth only 20% Damage Resistance, and they stack. The possible states a Mech can be in are thus:
  • No Bulwark, in the open: 0% DR
  • No Bulwark, in cover: 20% DR
  • No Bulwark, guarded: 20% DR
  • No Bulwark, in cover, guarded: 40% DR
  • Bulwark, in the open: 0% DR
  • Bulwark, in cover: 40% DR
  • Bulwark, guarded: 40% DR
  • Bulwark, in cover, guarded: 60% DR
PASSIVE: COVER and GUARDED states both provide 40% damage reduction rather than 20% damage reduction. COVER and GUARDED together provide 60% damage reduction.

Guts 8 (Juggernaut) is now Coolant Vent.
ACTION: This unit will remove 50 extra heat this round. For the next three rounds, this unit will gain an extra 8 heat. There is a 4 round cooldown.

Note that the heat removed applies at the end of the ‘Mech’s turn, when heat would normally be reduced; this is a bonus to that normal heat reduction. Also note that Coolant Vent does not consume a movement or firing action; the user can trigger it at any time during the unit’s turn, before the unit fires, and still take all the unit’s normal actions. Any action that would normally end the unit’s turn will do so without providing an opportunity to trigger the ability, though.
 

bluehawk1976

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This will be interesting and a bit of a headache to redistribute all the skill points to all my pilots
 

Katrina Bekers

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My dreamteam lance (four pilots including my cmdr with all 10s) will take some time to be rebuilt from scratch. But it'll be worth it. Thank you devs.
 

HvyBomber

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I'm liking the new skills, but I have a couple of questions. Does Sure Footing work if you don't move? I know I won't get the extra evasion pip, but if I got Entrenched last turn, will it carry over if I don't move? Is Bulwark still only activated if you don't move? Above it says Bulwark, in cover: 40% DR. Does this mean the turn I move into cover I get 40% DR, and if I don't move next turn I get 60%? I am really excited about the re-spec on my mechwarriors and I want to do it right.
 

Sable Phoenix

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Positioning and movement will be far more important, but I still see Bulwark as necessary, if the game's going to keep throwing two assault lances at you with every mission in the endgame.
 

Sereglach

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This is a significantly marked improvement over what was tested in the skill overhaul beta. In particular, I'm glad the coolant vent we're getting is actually reasonably balanced and nothing like what was in the Beta. About the only thing I think could have still been improved upon is allowing Sensor Lock to replace the move or the attack, for greater flexibility (especially in the late game, when your "tactics" master is likely your missile boat).

Regardless, thank you, HBS, for these improvements; and I look forward to seeing how the game continues to develop moving forward.
 

BetaXenon

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How about adding difficulty setting to allow Mech'Warriors to actually learn all available skills in Campaign and Career mode?

I know why it's the way it is, but very annoying later in the game.
 

Shiolle

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Will you alter your mechwarrior builds and/or tactics after these changes?

I don't think I will change much in my lance composition or tactics, besides the fact you now *must* have cover for all your frontline mechs. Bulwark allowed you to get damage reduction without lowering your lance damage output. Nothing changed here.

Bracing works against damage reduction in general because it makes you spend more turns killing enemies and might allow more of them to close the distance and use more weapons against you. If I'm not mistaken, now you will never want to brace without bulwark and out of cover because as the result, your lance will take *more* damage in most circumstances.

The changes don't make you maneuver more either. It might make you move even less after you found a good firing position because, as I said, cover is a must now.
 

BetaXenon

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Bracing works against damage reduction in general because it makes you spend more turns killing enemies and might allow more of them to close the distance and use more weapons against you. If I'm not mistaken, now you will never want to brace without bulwark and out of cover because as the result, your lance will take *more* damage in most circumstances.
Bracing still will help you when you when you try to close distance on close-range mech and when it's too hot in your mech. Also still useful when all you want is retreat your too damaged frontline mech back with real risk of loosing it. And sometimes you just need to steady yourself a bit. So I will not say "never" or "almost never". At least some of your mech will not be reduced into simple "fire-baits" anymore.

And no, you still need to manoeuvrer around for flanks and that evasion bonus stacks. You just need to manoeuvrer between covers. Although it's not always an option.
 

Jade_Rook

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I'm liking the new skills, but I have a couple of questions. Does Sure Footing work if you don't move? I know I won't get the extra evasion pip, but if I got Entrenched last turn, will it carry over if I don't move? Is Bulwark still only activated if you don't move? Above it says Bulwark, in cover: 40% DR. Does this mean the turn I move into cover I get 40% DR, and if I don't move next turn I get 60%? I am really excited about the re-spec on my mechwarriors and I want to do it right.
With Sure Footed I think you need to move. I would need to test it to be sure. Rotating slightly should count. Moving a pip would still be better as it gives you 1 evasion.

Bulwark does NOT require you to stand still. Moving into cover gives a Bulwark mech 40% DR and the evasion for their movement. Bracing or using Vigilance boosts that to 60%. There is no longer an incentive to stand still.
 

arghmace

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Marvellous job on revising the revision! While I in general preferred the beta changes to the original state there were at the same time some pretty annoying problems with it. Haven't yet tested this out but looks like all my gripes are answered and then some. Will buy the DLC for sure to support you guys.
 

Sable Phoenix

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These changes make the unbalanced nature of five-skull missions even more apparent. When you were guaranteed to be fighting two assault lances at once, Bulwark was the only thing keeping you alive. The problem wasn't the Bulwark ability per se, but the mission design making Bulwark a necessity. Nerfing Bulwark doesn't fix the problem, it exacerbates it.
 

HvyBomber

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With Sure Footed I think you need to move. I would need to test it to be sure. Rotating slightly should count. Moving a pip would still be better as it gives you 1 evasion.

Bulwark does NOT require you to stand still. Moving into cover gives a Bulwark mech 40% DR and the evasion for their movement. Bracing or using Vigilance boosts that to 60%. There is no longer an incentive to stand still.
Thanks for the info. Looks like I'll be taking Sure Footed with Bulwark and decide on the 3rd skill.
 

Crikk

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Personally, I didn't use Bulwark at all. I found it too niche with the "you're not allowed to move".
I went with Tactics 5 and 8 and Gunnery 5. The extra initiative point on every round of combat is awesome. Used with judicious use of Vigiliance, you can really wreck things. Have one mech go forward as a tank and pop Vigiliance. Then concentrate fire from all four mechs on the same mech and often I could take out the target before it even has a chance to shoot at me. Thanks to some lucky headshots, I have 4 Atlas (3 + campaign completion one) and 5 King Crabs (all from kills). With 4 pilots with Tactics 5+8 and Gunnery 5 I can do 5 skull missions facing two assault lances and walk away with only armor damage.
I don't see these changes affecting my style at all.
 

Lugh

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Sensorlock and Bulwark changes made the game a lot more interesting - definitely a move in the right direction!

The unfortunate part is that cover and vigilance got nerved in the process which is especially problematic for more lighly amored mechs(lights, mediums) in the later game where the hitchance are high . In other words Bulwark has actually become stronger compared to other skills because you can not compensate it's absence with vigilance or cover as well as you could before and bulwark units have 20% dmg reduction even when moving.

Possible solutions: a) make vigilance a flat 50% dmg reduction again that does not stack with anything else (admittedly a bit boring)
b) improve sure footing to give two evasion instead of one (the new entrenched bonus when walking is nice but not really a selling point for lighter, faster mechs )
c) Remove the evasive charge reduction when being fired upon and make it an exclusive part of breaching shot instead.

Personally I think variant C could be the most interesting solution to the problem.
 

TeaL3af

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Bulwark is still the best skill in the game but it no longer makes the game a tedious turret vs turret battle.

There where three big problems with late game combat before this update:
  1. Evasion fell off hard as pilots got more and more accurate in the late game. This meant focusing on reducing damage was superior to attempting (usually failing) to avoid getting hit at all.
  2. The only real way to improve your tankiness was to take Bulwark, and it was very strong: 50% damage reduction was huge.
  3. Bulwark was quite a tedious ability because it made everyone act like turrets.
These changes have fixed problem 3 but not 1 and 2. However, rewarding use of cover instead of reward not-moving makes for a much more dyanmic game, I have to actually plan my movement around the map now and make some tough decisions so overall: massive improvement.

I think in the future perhaps evasion should be a seperate chance-to-dodge rather than a negative modifier to accuracy. So even if I have my Gunnery stat makes the chance-to-hit very high, if I'm shooting at someone with 6 evasion pips then there's a good chance they'll manage to dodge the shot.

You could still display the overall to-hit % in the UI to avoid confusion (chance-to-hit x chance-to-not-dodge).
 

yrrot

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I think they'd have to rewrite some of the combat code to change it to an evade chance (since the whole thing is built on +1/-1s to hit being aggregated). One way they could get around that, though, might be to have the piloting tree give a bonus to how strong evasion chevrons are. That would also double down on letting assault mechs get more benefit from their lower chevron count by picking up more piloting skill.

That's at least my wishful thinking.

However, so far in my career play through, the skills do feel better balanced over all. I'm still heavily leaning on bulwark, but I'm mixing it around more for different pilots with skills other than multi-target breaching shot like I would have in the original skills. I don't know if it was just better luck or something got changed that i missed, but it did seem to be much easier to use and abuse good light mechs further into the career mode that I normally would have (like, taking a firestarter even though you have plenty of medium mechs to swap in).
 

TheWackyWombat

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I've been playing around with the new skills the last few days and I'm not quite sure how I feel about them so far. They don't seem better, or worse, just slightly different from before. Even though the buffs to Tactics and Piloting add a little more utility to those trees, it's not enough for me to re-evaluate those skills; Bulwark still feels like it dominates the late game. I can't say I've ever been a fan of Bulwark, in a game about balancing your damage, time and money any skill that gives you straight up DR feels too strong; On the other hand I have no idea what sort of skill you could give the guts that wouldn't be underwhelming otherwise...

Do not get me wrong, I think HBS_Kiva did an excellent job trying to balance the all the skills / skill trees, but I also think that the current system, having skills tied to the stats, is far to restrictive for the HBS team to make a completely balanced set of skills.

If HBS does re-adjust the skills in the future, the one thing I would suggest is: Provide a reason why pilots should NOT take a skill. Right now every skill is a straight up buff and some skills, like Bulwark, just work for everyone. If Bulwark dropped a pilot's movement by 1 hex, then suddenly that decision is not so easy... The skill is still useful, but more situational. Perhaps the second tier of skills could allow players to choose the new skill, or an 'improved' version without the downside instead.

The rest of the game is deep, I would just like to see either more depth to the current 'add points, get bonuses' pilot leveling system.
 

yrrot

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Apr 25, 2018
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I dislike the idea of passive drawbacks on skills. The reason you should want to Not take a skill should be that it's taking the place of a different, useful skill. Otherwise, you are just making the comparison less player friendly.

I more like the idea of making some of the skills scale based on how far into the tree you are so that you would only get the full benefits of bulwark, for example, if you also took coolant flush and maxed out guts (as in you only get the bonuses to bulwark if you specialize into defender, or whatever it is called). I think that would help make specializing into different trees have more of an impact than it currently does.

The other thing I wouldn't mind seeing to make the skill trees more robust is being able to pick between a few options at a skill node, rather than just getting the one on the tree. As in, if I didn't really need coolant flush on a pilot, I could pick a different guts skill at that spot instead. However, that opens a can of worms for balancing.