Wednesday, 31 July 2013

MechTalk - Dragon


The DRG-1N was initially a failure.  Designed by Luthien armor works as a replacement for the original SHD-1R Shadow Hawk, it failed miserably to replace it when it was beaten by the redesigned SHD-2H.  Not one to take it lying down, Luthien continued to work on it's prototype eventually developing a less powerful but more efficient Dragon.  This 'mech was ordered specifically by House Kurita to begin building a private army for the inevitable fall of the Star league.

The Dragon is a fast moving heavy designed around the idea of exploiting weakness in enemy lines since mobility favours the Dragon over a more stagnant fixed fire battle.  In fact it is prudent to keep Dragon's in reserve until a gap presents itself so these quick moving close support 'mechs can rush in and widen the gap.  It also works well in a defensive role firing it's LRM's and Autocannon to support troops during an attack.

In Mechwarrior Online the Dragon has become somewhat neglected with the arrival of the Quickdraw.  It's main advantage over the Quickdraw is it's ballistics capability, but this 'mech isn't one to be ignored on the field.  The Dragon is capable of mounting some very fast engines meaning pilots can quickly support team members in distress, or extricate itself from battle when things turn ugly.  It also brings a varied mix of weapon types to battle with most variants allowing for all three weapon types to be used in various configurations.

Advantages

The Dragon can be very useful as a recon 'mech due to it's ability to mount some pretty large XL engines and as such can cover a wide area relatively quickly.  It's many possible configurations allow for multiple play styles from LRM support, SRM brawler, Gauss rifle sniping, laser boat and many mixes in between. 

It has a lower, more squat profile compared to other heavy 'mechs, meaning it can more easily utilise the terrain to cover it's movement or avoid incoming fire, coupled with it's potential high speed this 'mech can be a nasty surprise for overconfident players not maintaining a watch on their surroundings.  The speed can allow it to run rings around assault 'mechs and even other heavy 'mechs as movement is essential to staying alive in a match.

Disadvantages

Although it's squat shape does allow for easier use of cover, it also makes it very distinct and easy to identify at range, meaning players who are aware of the more common Dragon builds will exploit.  Despite being fast for a heavy 'mech it doesn't mount a heavy 'mechs armour compliment and as such is a little more fragile, in line with the heavier medium 'mechs.  As such direct conflict is ill advised against other heavies and constant movement is required to remain active on the field.

Although capable of mounting every weapon type, it cannot mount the largest.  LRM 20's and AC/20's are unavailable due to a lack of critical slots in both the right arm and centre torso.  It's LRM capability is limited so it cannot be a full LRM support 'mech, more a mobile missile platform that harasses targets.  Probably it's biggest drawback is the large centre torso which protrudes outwards from the 'mech, meaning it can sometimes benefit from not turning it's torso sideways to avoid being more easily hit in this already vulnerable section.  It can take players a little getting used to unless you have previously piloted a Stalker or Raven to be aware of the extra step or two you need to take when using cover.

Tactics

Mobility is key here as the Dragon cannot bring as much firepower as it's heavy brethren, but it can move much faster with the right engine.  Use this mobility to quickly fire and manoeuvre to cover, or if cover is not available, to quickly get behind slower moving targets.  Bring a decent selection of weapons to deal with any situation to utilise the chassis's capability for mounting energy, ballistic and missile weapons. 

Remember that unlike it's tabletop counterpart which actually revels in exploiting gaps in enemy lines, the MWO Dragon is better suited to preying on weakened targets or supporting a larger 'mech as it goes on the assault. 

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