Still Early Game, 2.5 skull missions challenging, Repair times take long......doing something wrong?

Still Early Game, 2.5 skull missions challenging, Repair times take long......doing something wrong?

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In general, no. No matter if it's a LRM boat or a SRM brawler, you want as much weight as possible to go towards launchers and ammo. And when you start stacking launchers, you won't have the heat capacity to run LLs anyway. For dedicated LRM boats, you could even dispense with some of the MLs as well in favour of more LRM tubes (they should never have to fire those MLs anyway, if you don't mess up your tactics).
I disagree with this. It does make a lot of difference. LRMs don't mix well with other weapons because their extreme range AND indirect fire, which allows to put them out of harms way, downgrade armor and focus on persistent damage over several turns in a row if needed. But SRMs have the same range as MLs and there isn't any issue mixing them both, having the same range requiring LoS.

In fact if you have enough hardpoints it may be a good idea to downgrade SRMs (for example SRM6 to SRM4) in order to add MLs, as these are more efficient with Precision Shots.

And PPCs... I wouldn't include them in any early game setup. Just too hot.
 

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I disagree with this.
The question I answered was about mixing LLs with missiles, not MLs.

As you say, SRMs and MLs mix very well.

And PPCs... I wouldn't include them in any early game setup. Just too hot.
I think they're a good way to learn how to play with hot builds; I tend to get very good mileage out of both my Panthers and my Vindicators.

To each his own though, my way isn't the only way to play.
 

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Probably the biggest change I would make would be to include a couple more hole punchers. You have a lot of splatter damage with missiles and medium lasers, but nothing to open a hole and rip components off. My skirmishers need at least some mid-range capability.

There have been a lot of debates on the effectiveness of high pinpoint damage weapons. Personally, I find they help my playstyle. The splatter effect of smaller weapons can be largely negated by using Precision Shot a lot, but I find that to be a bit limited to rely upon completely. Without that you are relying on overwhelming firepower and I prefer not having to strip all the armor off of my enemies.

One of my favorite mid game builds is an AC/20 Jagermech (1 AC/20, 4 MGs, jump jets, heavy armor, maybe a ML or 2). It runs hot, but was a blast to play and did a good job holding the line. My Grasshoppers always include a large laser for a little more tactical flexibility. My favorite Awesome build is 2 PPCs, 4 ML, and jump jets. I'm a little surprised your Archer is low armor, but I can see it if you are fitting jump jets and the heat sinks for them.

I would not put a large laser on the LRM boats. Their purpose is to lob missiles. A couple of medium lasers is good for back up, mostly because of how easy it is to spare another ton or two for them. I have used mixed builds, but LRMs are more of an all or nothing weapon when it comes to most loadouts.
 

bsquared97227

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Probably the biggest change I would make would be to include a couple more hole punchers. You have a lot of splatter damage with missiles and medium lasers, but nothing to open a hole and rip components off. My skirmishers need at least some mid-range capability.

There have been a lot of debates on the effectiveness of high pinpoint damage weapons. Personally, I find they help my playstyle. The splatter effect of smaller weapons can be largely negated by using Precision Shot a lot, but I find that to be a bit limited to rely upon completely. Without that you are relying on overwhelming firepower and I prefer not having to strip all the armor off of my enemies.
I am really hoping to put an Ac/20 some place, but the problem is weight and the trade-off for armour. The vindicator has PPC's but I found it was very heat-intensive. Maybe when I get heavier mechs I'll put that back. But I agree with your point on "hole punching" -- it's not very reliable to always rely on called shots (precision strikes or after knockdowns)

I would not put a large laser on the LRM boats. Their purpose is to lob missiles. A couple of medium lasers is good for back up, mostly because of how easy it is to spare another ton or two for them. I have used mixed builds, but LRMs are more of an all or nothing weapon when it comes to most loadouts.
Yeah it's not happening don't worry. At most a M laser or two but never anything more "intense" than that.
 

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The lightest mech that can pull off heavy ballistics is the Urbanmech. It is only really effective against other light mechs, maybe early mediums, and you have to put up with its slow speed.

The first generally usable ballistic mechs are the Centurion and Hunchback. The tradeoffs are still significantly. An AC/20 is about all they have for weapons. They can still be effective and fun, but it really takes a heavy or assault mech to mount the big guns effectively.

For PPCs, only use 1 on a mech unless you are investing a lot in heat sinks. The Panther and Vindicator are both good mechs, even with their stock loadouts.

If you want to mount 2 PPCs, I recommend 10 heat sinks. The Warhammer can pull off 8 heat sinks, but will still run toasty. The stock Awesome does okay with 3 PPCs, but I find it better with 2.

A mix of pinpoint and spread damage is generally better than completely relying on one or the other.
 
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SErick

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I find the heat difference between large lasers and PPC's makes me go to large lasers if I want that targeted damage. It's true that you give up some damage, but they are lighter and you can fire them more often. One of the mechs I notice is usually shoppable is a Marauder-3R. For early game I load it with 4 large lasers and add armour and heat sinks. With the PS bonus from its command module this is a very good head shot specialist, and can core the CT on light and medium mechs very easily. As you upgrade the weapon options you can make it even more effective too. (Gauss Rifle ++, 2x LL+++, 2xML+10dmg is one of my favorite MAD-3R versions). I've used these very successfully in career runs, and have been my preferred source of direct damage.

I'm surprised no one suggested a ML build for your vindicator. Not the most high damage, but if you just go to 5xML and add armor and heat sinks it can be very effective spotter and can open up the damaged side of an enemy mech, while having the jump jets and armor to be very survivable for a 45 ton mech. That might just be my playstyle though. I tend to favor vanguard pilots - bulkwark and tactics. Reserve to the end of a turn, then jump in, jump out again with initiative, or jump into cover to get the defensive bonus.
 
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There have been a lot of debates on the effectiveness of high pinpoint damage weapons. Personally, I find they help my playstyle. The splatter effect of smaller weapons can be largely negated by using Precision Shot a lot, but I find that to be a bit limited to rely upon completely. Without that you are relying on overwhelming firepower and I prefer not having to strip all the armor off of my enemies.
It's not exactly relying on higher firepower (although sometimes it is), you can have much higher firepower with big hitters and still perform a lot worse than with smaller weapons for the same alpha damage, depending on the damage needed, and some smaller energy weapons get much more benefit from Thermal Exchangers than bigger guns.

Also can happen the opposite, it depends on the needed damage for a specific scenario. You may actually need more for firepower with bigger guns to equal chances to kill at 0-20%, for example. So in principle not any of them is inherently better... but then you add on the fact many smaller weapons are much more damage/weight/heat efficient than big hitters. Still a big factor are the exact damage thresholds and how much damage is wasted for the combinations of hits which allow you to succeed.

And as a separate issue from that, smaller weapons are more predictable with more than one consecutive salvo. One big hitter and the equivalent in smaller weapons may have very a similar chance (to kill) at some particular threshold damage at a specific location (usually head of CT) but even in that case the second will tend to be more predictable with a follow up, because if you don't succeed it is way more likely to do significant damage, while the big hitters are more an all or nothing kind of thing, depending on the weapon (not the same an LL than an AC20 when comparing them to a ML).

I would not put a large laser on the LRM boats. Their purpose is to lob missiles. A couple of medium lasers is good for back up, mostly because of how easy it is to spare another ton or two for them. I have used mixed builds, but LRMs are more of an all or nothing weapon when it comes to most loadouts.
With weight to spare I'd use it for better cooling or even JJs. A couple MLs are not going to do much if it comes at that point, it's not like they are a couple UAC20s. Add a couple TTS+++ instead, that will help to nullify the close range penalty and will make the build more consistent against lighter mechs.

A mix of pinpoint and spread damage is generally better than completely relying on one or the other.
I think it is the opposite, that the best results come from sticking to one of both types. And for small weapons in particular. They scale much better than bigger guns with multiple salvos, but if you start with very few hits you won't get that scaling, you need some critical mass.

Yeah it's not happening don't worry. At most a M laser or two but never anything more "intense" than that.
Like said above the perfect complement for an LRM boat are TTS+++. A couple of them and you'll be able to alpha full force at close range (negating the close range penalty) and also will improve your consistency at medium range against very evasive foes and at very long range (where you have long range penalty) against most foes.

Having a consistent high base chance will make easier to plan ahead. If for example you know you can one salvo kill some X type of foe (usually a soft target like a vehicle or a light mech) with max chance, having this aspect secured and not having to worry about range penalties or evasion may allow you to ignore that foe for a while, because you know you can kill it at any moment if the need arises.

I tend to favor vanguard pilots - bulkwark and tactics. Reserve to the end of a turn, then jump in, jump out again with initiative, or jump into cover to get the defensive bonus.
I don't think Vanguard makes much sense for a non-assault mech and for the tactic you describe AP works way better. Reserve into phase one, PS and push the target one init and next turn PS again, with optional jump out afterwards.
 

Chaos Theory

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A Centurion or Enforcer with an AC20 is one of my first goals in the early game. They are very useful for setting up a weak side for flanking mechs to exploit. If you're lucky enough to get an LCoil in your Heavy Metal crate, that weapon can turn any fast mech into a decent hole-puncher.

I also usually set up several faster mechs (e.g. Trebuchet, Shadow Hawk) as flankers equipped with short range weapons. Unfocused damage sucks against frontal armor but it’s pretty effective when attacking from the side. There are a lot of fast light and medium mechs to choose from and it’s easy enough to find the right mix of SRM, MLaser, SLaser, and MG that works for each one.

The important thing to remember about early game is that your mechwarriors won’t have called shot mastery (CSM), morale, or even a decent to-hit. Most of the advanced tactics simply won’t work. It is at this stage of the game where punch-and-flank is most effective.
 

SErick

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I don't think Vanguard makes much sense for a non-assault mech and for the tactic you describe AP works way better. Reserve into phase one, PS and push the target one init and next turn PS again, with optional jump out afterwards.
Agreed that using light or even medium mech Ace Pilot may be preferable to Master Tactician, but with heavies or assaults you can get into trouble with the number of enemies shooting at you first and AP may be of little benefit. I really do think it comes down to a question of play style and preferences though.
I definitely want sensor lock on these pilots because they are the ones providing the spotting for the LRM boats. So assuming sensor lock is selected you can have either bulwark, then master tactician for the initiative bonus, or piloting tree with AP. I prefer the survivability that bulwark gives, and use cover to ensure that my mechs are rarely taking more than 60% of incoming potential damage. There are lots of reasons to choose differently, for example, if I wanted an urban specialist pilot, where cover is limited, I'd probably think the AP was better. Of course, you could also argue that you don't need sensor lock if you want to do LOS targeting only, but then if you use AP to shoot and move out of sight then you won't have the targeting for your LRM mechs either. Ideally you're getting your lances progressing to heavies fairly quickly as well. For the pilots in the LRM boats all of this is irrelevant - don't really need sensor lock or AP, so there's a totally different plan!
 
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Agreed that using light or even medium mech Ace Pilot may be preferable to Master Tactician, but with heavies or assaults you can get into trouble with the number of enemies shooting at you first and AP may be of little benefit. I really do think it comes down to a question of play style and preferences though.

I definitely want sensor lock on these pilots because they are the ones providing the spotting for the LRM boats. So assuming sensor lock is selected you can have either bulwark, then master tactician for the initiative bonus, or piloting tree with AP. I prefer the survivability that bulwark gives, and use cover to ensure that my mechs are rarely taking more than 60% of incoming potential damage. There are lots of reasons to choose differently, for example, if I wanted an urban specialist pilot, where cover is limited, I'd probably think the AP was better. Of course, you could also argue that you don't need sensor lock if you want to do LOS targeting only, but then if you use AP to shoot and move out of sight then you won't have the targeting for your LRM mechs either. Ideally you're getting your lances progressing to heavies fairly quickly as well. For the pilots in the LRM boats all of this is irrelevant - don't really need sensor lock or AP, so there's a totally different plan!
For assaults I agree it's more of a tough choice but AP is very good for them too, mainly for long ranged ones, because it still helps you to maintain range against any target. Not just "hit & run" but also "hit & move away & hit & move away ....".




And for heavies it would depend what you're fighting: against other heavies you don't need MT at all, as you can reserve -> PS (push foe one init down) -> PS again next turn before the opponent. And against other assaults you already attack before. So MT only would really help your heavy against meds, which shouldn't be necessary.

But yes, it's not very straightforward for heavies + assault LRM boats, because the most effective skill would be AP (+plus BW) but that doesn't mix will with LRM boats, lacking Sensor Lock. Usually it can be worked out (with positioning and extended visual range) but admittedly not as well as with SL.

There isn't a perfect solution, really. You have to choose between more effective heavies who don't synergize that well with LRM boats or less effective (much more fragile) and less self reliant heavies who get along much better with LRM boats. Or if you have a really good heavy/assault with AP you can forget about your LRM boats (these with MT) for the most part and just clear the entire map, only using LRMs once in a while to clear some vehicle or turret (or not at all).
 

SErick

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There isn't a perfect solution, really. You have to choose between more effective heavies who don't synergize that well with LRM boats or less effective (much more fragile) and less self reliant heavies who get along much better with LRM boats. Or if you have a really good heavy/assault with AP you can forget about your LRM boats (these with MT) for the most part and just clear the entire map, only using LRMs once in a while to clear some vehicle or turret (or not at all).
So in other words, you choose a system and style that works for you :)

I haven't thought much about playing more missions solo - could be an interesting challenge. The screenshots you shared make sense - if you're going to solo a mission then SL isn't going to help. For a full lance, I sensor lock when LOS is inconvenient or dangerous, and kill when in LOS. Also handy for targeting turrets and vehicles without LOS, just to make it quicker. Not necessarily better, but I like it.

For original poster a comment on LRMs - if you can get 60LRM's on a mech, then if even one of the launchers has +dmg you can take down any turret in a single salvo. (or get to 65 LRM tubes without +dmg) Worth knowing as it just makes life simple. I would still turn your stalker into an LRM boat. I know that's not your plan, but it's what I would do :)
 
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Thorqemada

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And PPCs... I wouldn't include them in any early game setup. Just too hot.
In Vanilla game regarding the PPC i allways refit my Blackjack with a PPC and an AC5 and you can fire them almost eternaly plus still have 2 backup MLaser in case you need the Alpha or lose a weapon (this would indeed be to hot for continous use).
With the Battletech 3025 Extended Commander mod that is a whole new thing to tinker bcs the AC2 get improved - i highly recommend that mod!

And regarding a weapons mix - i personally allways prefer a weapons mix over uniform setups bcs it is more fun to play to me.
 
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bsquared97227

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Man I leave for 2 days and there's so much activity lol. Okay here goes:

For PPCs, only use 1 on a mech unless you are investing a lot in heat sinks. The Panther and Vindicator are both good mechs, even with their stock loadouts.

If you want to mount 2 PPCs, I recommend 10 heat sinks. The Warhammer can pull off 8 heat sinks, but will still run toasty. The stock Awesome does okay with 3 PPCs, but I find it better with 2.
Fun fact: after my last post I got a black knight and I'm trying it as a brawler/sniper with just PPCs and ML's. On that note, it has 2 PPCs and I think 8 heat sinks now, so I'm going to see how that works (I HIGHLY doubt I'm going to be able to alpha strike with this guy)

(also I don't use the vindicator as much now that I have the phoenix hawk and the shadow hawk, but I'll see if I want to bring it back into the fold)

A mix of pinpoint and spread damage is generally better than completely relying on one or the other.
Agree with this. Though I must say I depend a lot on LRMs

Like said above the perfect complement for an LRM boat are TTS+++. A couple of them and you'll be able to alpha full force at close range (negating the close range penalty) and also will improve your consistency at medium range against very evasive foes and at very long range (where you have long range penalty) against most foes.
Will keep this in mind. The archer really benefits from the clustering so if I can get any accuracy bonus on other LRM carriers/boats I'll take it

So in other words, you choose a system and style that works for you :)
Yup, just still trying to find out what that style is for me ;)


For original poster a comment on LRMs - if you can get 60LRM's on a mech, then if even one of the launchers has +dmg you can take down any turret in a single salvo. (or get to 65 LRM tubes without +dmg) Worth knowing as it just makes life simple. I would still turn your stalker into an LRM boat. I know that's not your plan, but it's what I would do :)
If I *ever* get 60 LRMs on a mech I'll be happy. The archer only has 2 missile slots so most it gets is 40. I guess 3 LRM-20s won't come till assault mechs
(got parts for stalker and awesome currently, both bought in stores)



May try next campaign mission soon, currently liking testing things in the contracts. I seem to be decent with escort missions but really bad at intercept convoy missions still.
 
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In Vanilla game regarding the PPC i allways refit my Blackjack with a PPC and an AC5 and you can fire them almost eternaly plus still have 2 backup MLaser in case you need the Alpha or lose a weapon (this would indeed be to hot for continous use).
Not saying they're not usable, just not good imo. Compare the 1xAC5 1xPPC 2xML 4xJJ to a 2xLL 2xML 4xJJ, a 3xLL 4xJJ setup or some variations on that.

And regarding a weapons mix - i personally allways prefer a weapons mix over uniform setups bcs it is more fun to play to me.
Sure, but that's a different discussion.

Will keep this in mind. The archer really benefits from the clustering so if I can get any accuracy bonus on other LRM carriers/boats I'll take it
The point of TTS is helping you to hit the target, and for this the Archer quirk has no bearing. Only once you've past this first check it's when the quirk comes into action.
 

gh0s7

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@bsquared97227 : there are two Archer variants, the 2R and the 2S. The former has only a single Missile hardpoint on each side torso, while the 2S has two Missile hardpoints on each ST, so you can equip more LRM's.
Personally, I prefer to have this variant with 4xSRM6 with 3 tons of ammo and a Medium Laser on each arm, and rip most mechs apart, but that's just my suggestion. ;)
 

bsquared97227

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there are two Archer variants, the 2R and the 2S. The former has only a single Missile hardpoint on each side torso, while the 2S has two Missile hardpoints on each ST, so you can equip more LRM's.
Personally, I prefer to have this variant with 4xSRM6 with 3 tons of ammo and a Medium Laser on each arm, and rip most mechs apart, but that's just my suggestion. ;)
Didn't know this, thanks for the heads up. I may not get another archer though :p

The point of TTS is helping you to hit the target, and for this the Archer quirk has no bearing. Only once you've past this first check it's when the quirk comes into action.
@Doctor Machete Can you explain this? I thought the clustering of the LRMs helps to narrow down on specific components (when using called shots)
 
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@Doctor Machete Can you explain this? I thought the clustering of the LRMs helps to narrow down on specific components (when using called shots)
One example: you PS aim at the CT with the Archer and one LRM20. You don't have a high base chance to hit but -let's say- a 50%. Second missile hits the mech but although it had an 80% to hit the CT (after passing that 50% roll to actually hit the mech) you're unlucky and it ends hitting the LT. Now the LT becomes the center of the cluster for the 3-20º missiles. The Precision Shot bonus is ignored for the remainder of the salvo, the LT gets the usual x8 from clustering and a x16 from the Archer quirk (x128), the CT receives a x4 because it's adjacent to the LT, and same for the LA.

Now from 3-20% missiles around half of them will fail to hit the mech because the base chance is 50%, and among those who actually hit the mech the vast majority will land at the LT because the Archer quirk. So while the quirk focus the missile salvo a lot you still need to actually be able to hit the mech itself, and for that improving base chance will help.
 

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There is accuracy and there is cluster. Accuracy is your chance to hit and determines how many missiles from a salvo will hit the target.
Cluster determines where on the target each missile from an LRM lands.

A TTS improves accuracy by negating penalties, so more missiles will hit.
The Archer bonus increases clustering, so more missiles will hit the same spot.