Saturday, 4 May 2013

MechTalk - Light Mechs


The light mech class of battlemechs seen in Mechwarrior online are the smallest, cheapest and therefore weakest in the game.  They typically fill the role of battlefield scouts due to their speed and manueverability.  The speed of these mechs play a crucial part in team tactics in both assault and conquest modes as they can quickly capture resource nodes in conquest and quickly outflank the enemy team for a base capture in assault.

This isn't to say that light are incapable of combat far from it in fact.  A good and patient player can whittle down opposing 'mechs with quick hit and run attacks, using terrain and cover to avoid incoming counter fire from their targets.  A typical light mech combat role is to support their heavier allies by harassing larger targets from the weaker rear side or drawing fire as friendly 'mechs move in for the kill.

Tactics ÷

The best tactic is patience, all light 'mechs are fast but ultimately fragile and thus should avoid direct confrontation if possible since going toe to toe with anything heavier will more often than not result in defeat.  Instead you should focus on detecting the enemy team as quickly as possible to relay enemy positions to the rest of the team.  In assault mode you need to be ready to either move for a base capture or be in a position to defend the base from enemy light mechs making a capture attempt, along with spotting and relaying information back to the team.

In conquest your primary role will be to capture points to keep the team score counting up.  Scouting is still necessary here but even if you are the last of your team you can win purely by points alone provided you have moved to capture often.  Combat is secondary in conquest for a light mech pilot unless your team has developed a early advantage in kills, in this scenario you should support your team to secure the victory by kills instead of points.

If you are piloting a ECM capable chassis such as the Raven 3L or Commando 2D there is no excuse for you not to mount this device.  ECM is essential to team survivability as it masks your teams positions on enemy radar.  Your tactics should alter slightly if using ECM, scouting as normal but keeping close to your team or lance to keep them from being detected by the enemy.  Also your ECM counter setting can nullify a single targets ECM signature, for example making a DDC Atlas visible to friendly units and also denying the enemy some of their ECM cover.  Soon ECM will be locked to hardpoints in the 'mechs left or right torso so be aware of the devices location and try to avoid taking damage there as much as possible or risk it being destroyed by enemy fire.  Until the patch on May 21st you should mount ECM in one of your legs to lower the risk of it being destroyed.

Build Basics ÷

When you have the necessary funds available you should invest in Endo Steel structure and a top end XL engine.  XL engines are expensive but invaluable to surviving due to the increased speed and manueverability they give.  The more weight these two items give the better as it will allow you to mount more armour, ammunition or weapons depending on your playstyle.  It's true that XL engines are riskier to use but since you are a light mech you need the speed more anyway to better function in your role.  Ferro Fibrous is another option if you have space, though it isn't mandatory as the extra slots taken by the better armour could mean you lose space for other weapons or equipment you may wish to mount.

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