The role of +++ Equipment

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Sigil

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Restricting the availability of advanced weaponry and equipment to the Player further tilts the balance of power in the Players favor.
This makes it difficult to design challenging missions for late-career/late-campaign units.
This is especially true when the Player is dropping with all customized assault 'Mechs.
Essentially, the only advantage the Opposing Force has is numerical, which maxes out at 3:1 in favor of the OpFor.
The Drop Weight of the Player can be restricted, allowing a weight advantage for the OpFor as well.
But, relying on weight restrictions can seem artificial and prevents the Player from being able to use their heaviest 'Mechs.

Judicious use of +++ equipment by the OpFor would help increase the overall difficulty of the game and help ameliorate one of the Players structural advantages.

Would modifying the chassis of all the 'Mechs to use advanced equipment provide a greater advantage to the OpFor than the Player?

For example, the value of+3 accuracy medium laser is next to nothing for late game pilot with a high gunnery, but on an OpFor 'Mech it would provide a significant benefit.
 

Amechwarrior

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It's a double edged sword and you can reference "The Raid" FP I made or any other stock or modded FPs that use upgraded gear as reference.

On one hand, the OPFOR does get a chance to deal more dmg/round with upgraded weapons, however this doesn't directly impact the lethality of the player Lance as armor is capped to an extent and more than a few assault designs already come stock with near max armor and up.

The other hand is this only accelerates the salvage rate of +++ gear making them less valuable as purchase items on the markets. This also feeds directly into making the player Lance more lethal in that they now can ensure every ML in every GHR/FS9/ETC is the right model they want to maximize lethality. I remember my end game Lances always having an array of different models for common items like AC/20s, larger LRMs and of course the ubiquitous ML.

What I found with "The Raid" was the amount of upgraded gear salvaged from missions 4 and 5 (which exclusively feature top end equipment customized units) was far more than what most FPs can grant you. I did pair this with a counterbalance of limiting Black Market access on completion, but doing this for routine missions would not have that counter.

I think there is a valid argument for equipping OPFOR however, at some point you will have gathered enough upgraded gear to run the exact models in every 'Mech you want. It really comes down to how quickly you want the player to reach this point.
 
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MarkDey

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A possible variant is to have modifications made where the OpFor equipment is not salvageable. This is done in the final mission of the Heavy Metal mini-campaign, where none of the chassis and most of the equipment does not appear in the salvage table after the fight.

Also, a related way to increase the difficulty is to increase the numerical superiority beyond the 3:1 ratio. I didn't realize that this could be done, but @Hobbes__ managed to have so many hostile lances drop into a mission where I eventually lost count. That was also combined with a significant weight restriction for all of his flashpoint and modified campaign missions where the player was usually restricted to dropping a lance of medium mechs, sometimes with one heavy mech.
 
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NGV

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In the past I've used the Elite forces mod which adds Royal mechs and lashings of Lostech to the opfor and it certainly gave rise to some epic fights that stuck in the memory

On the flip side as well as leading to a much faster progression due to the salvage opportunity's (which I didn't especially mind but might be a problem for many) it also increased the front loading of difficulty quite a bit - a lostech equiped Atlas II might appear scary but it still dies in one turn to a Marauder/Royal Pixie. Whereas a Firestarter with ER lasers/+3 defence gyro/all 10s pilot is a real nightmare early on in a career
 

Pode

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MCB has written and released on Nexus a random component upgrader that checks every OPFOR component against a weighted list for a chance of being upgraded (or downgraded, if you put lesser weapons at the start of the list).
 
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