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CmdrBugbear

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With all the talk of greehouse gases on our little backwater lump of rock, I feel that the rest of the galaxy should set an example by reducing energy usage.

So...another themed career - no energy weapons.

In the Squadra Miope career I found myself not getting to play with ballistic weapons until the late game when the heavier mechs became available that could sport an AC20. This flimsy premise grants an excuse to play with some of these weapons.

The rules:
Only ammo consuming weapons allowed.
No energy weapons, including small lasers (flamers are ok as they use ammo).
No shopping, but any lostech that I salvage can be mounted.
Difficulty is set at >1.0:
  • Unequipped Mechs
  • Ironman off (I reserve the right to withdraw without penalty only as a result of a bug)
  • 5 parts
  • Enemy force is Hard
  • Mech destruction on
  • Salvage stingy
  • Lethality off (I love an 'against all odds' survival)
  • Advanced Mechwarriors are Rare
  • Contract Payment is Stingy
  • Mechwarrior progression is Slow
  • No Rare Salvage is Off (I wouldn't mind the chance to play with some nice toys).
I feel that pilot gunnery is going to be important so as to minimise ammo wastage.
 

MeiSooHaityu

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That's an interesting idea. I like it.

I wish I would have waited to start my run until after this post. I would have tried it. Maybe I'll give it a shot next time.

My starting Lance this time had a BJ, Vindi, 2 Commandos (1 of each type), and a Locust SRM version. I probably could have made something work.
 

CmdrBugbear

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Dec 3, 2018
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Urgh. This is tougher than I anticipated.

After stripping my starter mechs of energy weapons, I took on a one skull ambush convoy mission with an under-armed, under weight lance, piloted with rookies. What could go wrong?

A disappointing start.JPG

Bad faith withdrawl. Two mechs lost, all pilots in the sick bay. All I have left is a Commando armed only with an SRM2 !

Thank goodness the next mission I'm training up a 'B-Team'.
 

OBXandos

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I have thought about trying this as well but the problem is the weight. Even an AC/2 is more weight than its worth when compared to a medium laser. If you are running hot just melee or brace for a round. You can't do that to reduce the weight of a weapon. It just ends up being a net negative.

I really do wish earlier ballistic weapons were more viable.
 

Axterix13

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I can definitely see how it would make for a rough start, especially with the new stores meaning your first planet won't give you access to both missiles and ACs.

For the first 2 item collections: The BJ would give you 2 AC/2s. Pretty crappy until you can upgrade one or both of the ACs to a bigger type. The Enforcer is a single AC, though if you're facing light mechs, those mechs will feel it. The Centurion is the best of the lot, with both an AC/10 and an LRM/10. And the Vindi, well, crappy until you can replace that LRM launcher with a much bigger one.

Starting collection 2 gives you the SRM Commando, which is good, but the other 3 choices only have a single SRM launcher each, instead being loaded with energy weapons.

3 is about as bad You can get another of those Commandos, and a Firestarter for flamers/MGs. But the rest again is energy focused.

And then you have 4, which is halfway decent. You can hope for the Urbanmech (how often does that happen?). There are two good Locusts (for this type of game) with the S and M. And you can get the SRM Commando again. But you also have almost as much chance of getting worse mechs... a Spider with nothing but energy, the Locust which will be reduced to 2 MGs, and the LL Commando.

If you're lucky, you get 2 Centurions, 2 SRM Commandos, and an Urbanmech, If you're unlucky, 2 Vindicators, 1 LL Commando, a Spider, and a Cicada.

I guess you could make it a bit easier by allowing starting mechs to be run stock, with the caveat that you'll swap to an all projectile mech/build as soon as possible.
 

CmdrBugbear

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Dec 3, 2018
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The Enforcer without it's energy weapons is basically a vehicle for deploying an AC10. Put that in the hands of a low skill pilot and you get lots of misses (I saw six consecutive rounds miss. Not even a stray shot :-( ).

On reflection, this career is basically an easier version of Edmon's AC2 campaign. Thank goodness I didn't try that one - I've only one AC2 mounted on the Vulcan that I got in the Heavy Metal crate. An AC2 career would have meant melee-only for the first battle.

The early missions are really forcing me to realise that my previous career's late game success was significantly influenced by the fact that I had skilled pilots, and a stable of mechs that were built to suit my play style. This is forcing some creativity in tactics.
 

LucidFugue

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Yeah, skilled pilots make a massive difference because you can reliably hit enemies with 3 evasion pips even with the recoil penalties on autocannons.
With basic recruits I feel like you're gonna need to either keep the opponent at range or dogpile with SRMs and fists.
I'd personally be re-rolling starts till I got a workable lance for this.
 

CmdrBugbear

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So far it's BT 1, me 0.

Was too aggressive with the Argo upgrades, and after suffering multiple failed missions with expensive repairs, I simply didn't have enough funds in the bank to buy the time required for repairs.

That ambush convoy mission was probably a big mistake. You really don't want to go into one of those underprepared.

Time for a re-roll and try again.

@LucidFugue - you're right in that I'm going to be looking for missle mechs for starters. SRMs are far more forgiving of low quality gunnery.
 
Last edited:

KDubya

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Instead of depending on the game to give you a workable starting lance you could just edit the files. I'd see how much the basic starting lance costs in the Skirmish Mech Lab and then use a similar amount and select suitable ballistic and missile mechs.

Or just keep restarting until you get mechs that will work.
 

Dogfisc

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Instead of depending on the game to give you a workable starting lance you could just edit the files. I'd see how much the basic starting lance costs in the Skirmish Mech Lab and then use a similar amount and select suitable ballistic and missile mechs.

Or just keep restarting until you get mechs that will work.
This is a really good idea. If you don’t want to choose though, you can at least edit the itemcollection files that hold the random ‘Mech lists to add things like the Javelin, Spider-K, Humchback, Trebuchet that will give you a starting lance that fits your restrictions.
 

CmdrBugbear

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Dec 3, 2018
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Attempt 2. Same starting lance. Currently 18 days in. Got a Phoenix Hawk in the crate.

Progressing with more caution this time, and it's paying dividends. I've now only the Enforcer that is underweight, and to be honest, it's a bit of a disappointment. Only one ballistic and one support hardpoint makes this mech less than ideal for my purposes. At this point in time the only thing its really got going for it is an abundance of armour.

GRU-Enforcer.png

The Centurion is also an interesting build. Mostly stock - lasers removed to make way for more armour. In combat, I'm missing the jump jets but I think I'll refrain from adding them in. I have a tendency to be a bit of a jump jet junkie so this will be a learning experience for me. I wouldn't mind replacing the AC10 with something more long range - this thing struggles to get to the front line as it is.

GRU-Centurion.png

Removed the energy weapons from the Phoenix Hawk and put in the LB5-X that I got in the crate. I don't normally like running less than full armour but this thing can jump around so maybe the extra evasion will serve an equivalent purpose.

GRU-Phoenix Hawk.png

Now this Javelin I've yet to take out into the field, but given that my choice of loadout was either an SRM2 + 4 or 2 x LRM5, I decided to go for a long range fire support role. If I get some SRM6s I may put those in with a couple of MGs and give it a close range role instead.

GRU-Javelin.png

I have two commandos - a 2D and a 1B. The 2D is mostly stock. All I've done is replace the laser with armour.

GRU-Commando 2D.png

As for the 1B, it's another long range fire support build. Just wish I could fit some jump jets in these but it doesn't come with JJs so I must work with what I have.

GRU-Commando 1B.png

This early game with sub-optimal builds is kind of fun. Given that the AI doesn't deploy with HM weapons, I'm trying to come up with a way to justify purchasing them and I think I have an answer - I can only purchase from faction stores, meaning that I need to be allied with a house or the pirates to allow myself to use their stores. Maybe that will be an acceptable tradeoff.
 

MeiSooHaityu

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Centurion is also an interesting build. Mostly stock - lasers removed to make way for more armour. In combat, I'm missing the jump jets but I think I'll refrain from adding them in. I have a tendency to be a bit of a jump jet junkie so this will be a learning experience for me. I wouldn't mind replacing the AC10 with something more long range - this thing struggles to get to the front line as it is.

View attachment 552053
Just for the heck of it you could build an ammo only variant of the Centurion, the CN9-AH. It has an A/C20 and an LRM10.

It isn't going to give you the range your looking for (heck, both weapons are on opposite sides of the spectrum). Still, I think it is sort of neat to run an actual variant for the challenge :)
 

CmdrBugbear

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Dec 3, 2018
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@MeiSooHaityu - coupling an AC20 with an LRM? Seems a little masochistic :p.

LRMx: Min = 180, Optimal = 420, Max = 630
AC20: Min = 0, Optimal = 180, Max = 270

There is some overlap in the range of the two weapons but are LRMs more or less accurate as range increases? Then again, a multi-shot pilot would alleviate this frustration.
 

Dark Khaos

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@MeiSooHaityu - coupling an AC20 with an LRM? Seems a little masochistic :p.

Then again, a multi-shot pilot would alleviate this frustration.
Yep, the CN9-AH would work best with breaching shot, using multi target to allow striking of the 180 target with AC20 and 420 target with LRM.
 

LucidFugue

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I started my career with 2x Centurions and found them to be a very reliable machine. The AC10 & LRM combo to be pretty decent since they can pack full armor, peppering opponents with LRMs isn't a waste of a turn if you're waiting for the enemy to come to you, and they have decent malee damage which helps when those light mechs get in your face with 3+ evasion pips and your to hit goes south. Gallant Assault Vehicles always have an AC10++ with stability damage bonuses, so you can swap those in when you have time. When you're going all ballistics it's worth really leaning into knockdowns to secure pilot injuries and increase your salvage opportunities.
 

CmdrBugbear

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I'm now a few hundred days and the situation has upgraded from desperate to comfortable. The greatest source of comfort is in my roster of pilots with 5's and 6's in most skill areas - gunnery being the most important (with limited ammo, gotta make every shot count). There is around 3M credits in the bank (equating to 8 or 9 months of expenses), and the Argo upgrades are proceeding.

Salvaging mechs has been slow going. Running a lance with less than optimal firepower means that I need to be careful in taking on the higher skull missions.

What I find interesting about careers with restrictive house rules are the unexpected mech builds that get forced out of necessitiy. For example, I salvaged a Panther (hardpoints: 4E, 1M). Ordinarily I would make this a jumpy laser boat, with my second preference being to put in an SRM6 and making it a light brawler. I didn't have an SRM6 :(. I did however, have an LRM15. In hindsight, this is a much better choice. The Panther is slow, so it's going to take some time getting into close range. Much better to accept this and keep the mech on the back line than force it into a brawler role where it is ill-suited. I'll get a higher alpha (60 vs 48 for the SRM build), buckets of ammo (4 canisters), and 4 JJs to keep it out of trouble all resulting in a mech that will keep my pilot safe.

GRU-Panther-LRM.png
 

Jolly Joker

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The Panther can definitely equip an LRM20 without the Energy weapons. In my book, all Mechs that don't come with support hardpoints are eligible as long-range weapon platforms. (I reduced PPC heat to 30 with a view on the Snubs - my AC/2s also weigh just 4 tons and I made half-ton ammo crates of 12 for them. Just as additional info.)
So at first opportunity my Panthers get the short range stuff removed and an LRM10 in addition to the PPC, leaving 600 points of armor (with 2 ammo boxes), which I consider enough for a dedicated support mech, and managable heat. I also leave the JJs out, mind you.
However, with just one usable hardpoint I'd put in an LRM20 - which I suppose you don't have at this point. With 3 ammos that leaves 8.5 tons, which is either your armor and no JJs or some JJs and less armor, which I wouldn't mind a lot.

EDIT: As an afterthought, I could well imagine doing this as an Either/Or career: You can equip a Mech with EITHER Energy weapons OR ammo weapons (which would include the usable support weapons).
 
Last edited:

CmdrBugbear

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Hey JJ, I'm kind of reluctant to drop an LRM20 into the Panther - I like to max out my armour and jump jets, but then I investigated how this would look in the mech lab and you're right - an LRM20 Panther is not a terrible build.

I've kept the four jump jets in favour of less armour and ammo. That gives me 12 salvos, which should be fine for taking out one or two lances. Having said that, it's _only_ 12 salvos, so I'll need to keep in optimal weapons range to make each shot count. Hence, the need for jump jets. The Panther is not a quick mech, so I feel the jump jets are necessary for generating maximum evasion.

The placement of equipment and armour may offend some purists, but I've configured this mech with a left shield side. Again, the presence of jump jets means I can always place the non-weapons side facing the enemy.

LRM20 Panther.png

(I've put this screenshot together from the skirmish mech lab - I've yet to see whether I'm actually able to build this configuration in my career)
 

Prussian Havoc

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Hey JJ, I'm kind of reluctant to drop an LRM20 into the Panther - I like to max out my armour and jump jets, but then I investigated how this would look in the mech lab and you're right - an LRM20 Panther is not a terrible build.

I've kept the four jump jets in favour of less armour and ammo. That gives me 12 salvos, which should be fine for taking out one or two lances. Having said that, it's _only_ 12 salvos, so I'll need to keep in optimal weapons range to make each shot count. Hence, the need for jump jets. The Panther is not a quick mech, so I feel the jump jets are necessary for generating maximum evasion.

The placement of equipment and armour may offend some purists, but I've configured this mech with a left shield side. Again, the presence of jump jets means I can always place the non-weapons side facing the enemy.

View attachment 564214

(I've put this screenshot together from the skirmish mech lab - I've yet to see whether I'm actually able to build this configuration in my career)
In BATTLETECH Multiplayer, there is an increasing value on being able to do more with less.

The LRM Panther and Dual Large Laser UrbanMech have long been the fourth and Lance round-out Mech to my 15m - 25m Lances.

But then there is a Symmetry to the start of Multiplayer Matches that is not necessarily there when gaming against the AI. I say “start” of a Multiplayer Match because many sets of Tactics place a premium on bringing Firepower to bear on an opponent’s Flanks, Rear (Raider and Skirmish Tactics) and some throughout the entire depth of an Opponent’s Formation (Jump Cavalry Tactics.)

Armor/Firepower and Risk Assumption are of course the key trade-offs.

I admit to trading away even more Armor in favor of that third Ton of LRM20 Ammunition, while keeping the 4-Jump Jets and yes, a Shield Arm/Side Torso. Between that and tactics that see me close to within Melee/DFA range with the firing of that last salvo of LRMs. With 18-reloads even low-percentage shots can be taken in a “Death by a 1000-cuts” tactic to whittle away precious Enemy Chevrons and impart even a measure of instability to the Enemy. And while some high-level matches do run more than 20-turns, it is relatively easy to take a measure of your opponent within the first ton of ammo and then conserve the remaining tons.


Another key consideration is that by trading away even more Armor than you do, I have a very vulnerable Support Mech...

...a vulnerable Support Mech that has successfully baited more than one Trap, unhinging an Opponent’s more Defensive Game Plan in ultimately vain hopes of crushing an LRM Panther or Dual-LL Urbie and gaining decisive advantage.

Of course such subtleties against the AI are... well... unnecessary.
 

Jolly Joker

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Ok, so here is the Panther I currently field (in a difficult career I'm not too far in):

LRM_Panther.jpg

(Reminder: Regular PPCs only give 30 heat in my game.) So with the 60 damage PPC this guy fields a nice long range punch and at 8.5 tons of armor it's actually very solid at that. With the LRM10 one ton of ammo is enough for 12 rounds.

I got access to the Black Market and got a couple of nice toys, so I'm thinking about upgrading the guy to this:

LRM_Panther2.jpg

An ERL Laser with a solid 50 damage and an LRM15. Allows another bin of ammo for 16 rounds of fire now, same armor.

Now, if *I* would have to drop the energy weapon, I'd gain 7 tons for the first model and 4 for the second, and in both cases it amounts to an LRM 20 with 3 tons of ammo.

I can understand the desire to field JJs, though - have been a sucker for them myself. However, I think that they are not really that much of an advantage for dedicated support mechs - I mean, that guy will hang back and everyone wanting to close in on her has to get past the others first.

Anyway - I think that an LRM20 Panther will be very useful in Defend Base missions, since you can keep it near the base.

EDIT: In a muliplayer battle - without mods and + weapons - the choices are basially:
a) PPC + LRM10 for 45 heat. Could have 1 ammo (8.5 tons armor) or 2 (7.5) or even 1 and 2 JJs.
b) LL + LRM15 for 32 heat. Should have 2 ammo, therefore 7.5 tons of armor.
c) LRM20 (indeed) + 3 tons of ammo

All 3 have things going for and against them. While I like a), but I think that the combination of high heat and low ammo (12 shots) isn't that appealing (PPCs only having 30 heat makes things a lot better). b) seems to be a good compromise. Best overall damage output, 16 LRM shots and no heat problems. 7.5 tons of armor seems also just good enough - so this is fairly usable. c) offers some sub-variants (reducing armor a ton and adding either 2 JJs or another ammo). Indeed you can go with 2 ammo, less armor and full JJs as well, so this allows a lot of leeway.
All good - in a match I'd probably go for b, though.
 
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