Wednesday, 8 May 2013

MechTalk - Medium Battlemechs

The humble medium mech is probably the best weight class for new players to jump into when first buying a 'mech in Mechwarrior Online.  The medium chassis offers the best balance between speed, firepower, armour and ammunition although it never excels in any single area.  Because of this balance new players can generally find their feet faster and experiment with the loadouts that suit them best when playing in both assault and conquest modes.

The strength of the medium is it's ability to fire and maneuver keeping larger heavier 'mechs on the backfoot and reducing damage taken from enemy fire.  Every medium chassis in MWO has a specific style to them but this golden rule generally works across the board whether you pilot a Cicada or a Trebuchet, the ability to stay mobile and deliver damage is what makes the medium effective against all opponents.  It does suffer from not having the speed of light 'mechs and lacking the same armour and firepower of it's heavier brethren, but overall they give a good account of themselves on the battlefield.

Tactics ÷

Medium 'mechs aren't the killers of the battlefield, more like a grunt able to move in once the light 'mechs have spotted targets and hold them in place until the heavy and assault 'mechs can move in for the kill.  Ideally two medium battlemechs should support one another to maximise their damage and keep themselves in good enough shape to continue the fight until the end of the round.  This tactic generally involves moving in on a single foe having one medium draw it's attention while the other flanks around and does the real damage to the rear armour.  In a perfect scenario the target will die relatively quickly and the roles switch for the next target.

The mobility afforded by medium 'mechs can allow them use of natural cover and buildings to avoid enemy fire before popping out and firing once more.  Against other mediums it's always handy to have support from friendlies and it's ill advised to wander off on your own with the potential threat of being isolated by enemy light 'mechs who will quickly cut down a lone medium.  As such, support should always be on hand if you are taking the lead in any attack or otherwise be ready to support friendly 'mechs when they engage the enemy.

Due to the different variants of the current medium mech lineup practically any type of play is supported from the long range sniper in the form of the Hunchback and Trebuchet, to the brawler and LRM support of the Centurion and even ECM support from the Cicada.  Again those of you taking a ECM capable Cicada should mount it ASAP to act as a team support mech.

The tactics between assault and conquest mode are negligible as the standard move and support approach works well in both modes.  The only exception is the Cicada which can quickly outflank opponents on assault for a potential base capture or quickly neutralise and capture nodes on conquest.  In this area the Cicada is perfect as it's heavier armour and weapon loadout compared to it's light brothers can give it the edge it needs when engaging light 'mechs in either mode.

Build Basics ÷

Endo Steel is a no brainer really and should be added as soon as possible.  Depending on your setup the extra 3 tons of weight can mean all the difference between mounting that Gauss rifle or making your 'mech more resilient in battle.  XL engines are a viable option and several variants come with one as standard.  Again the extra weight afforded by these is balanced by the risk or being killed quicker with a lucky side torso critical.  Still the added speed can quickly move you out of danger or get you into a better firing position, this being especially true for the Cicada which has hard to hit side torso's anyway.  Trebuchet and Centurion 'mechs can work equally well with or without XL engines while the Hunchback can work effectively as a fast close range brawler, but overall XL engines aren't a necessity for this chassis of 'mech and comes down to a personal preference.  Double heatsinks although expensive are definitely worth considering when using high heat builds such as the 'swayback' variant of the Hunchback that mounts several lasers, or CN9-AL which has a heavy emphasis on energy weapons.


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