Wednesday, June 1, 2011

That's Gonna Leave a Mark...

So, in Oblivion recently, I remembered something important. To be eligible to buy the houses in Skingrad and Chorrol, you have to have a certain level of "renown" -- that is, fame minus infamy. Well, I'm a Dark Brotherhood devotee, so my Renown is usually very far into the negative range.

I picked up a few points clearing out Kvatch, but not nearly enough. I happened to be in the Arena section of the Imperial City; checking up on my kitty companions... andstealingthecontentsofthearenabettingboxahem.

Anyway. It occurred to me that you get fame for winning matches, with even more for being named champion. So I competed. More than twenty points of fame by the end. Oh, yes. Had more than enough to buy the Skingrad house.

Found out something else important. MCS was written by someone like me. How do I know? My CMs could never come into the arena with me to unbalance the hell out of a match. MCS companions came right on in and took great delight in wailing on the yellow team for me.

The whole experience reminded me of another arena. One where I actually like competing. The Solaris VII Arena.

It doesn't come up much here, since I never modded for the game, but I was a huge player of Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries. A lot of "purist" players came down on the game as being too action-y and not enough sim elements, but I think Microsoft struck a good balance in Mercenaries. Not as much a fan of the base game, or Black Knight, though.

Naturally, I had to reinstall the game. I got around to the Arena as soon as it became available.

I just love having Bob Uecker call the play-by-play on my mech combat.

The Solaris VII arena progresses by weight category -- you have to place in a light match to be eligible to compete for medium, and so on.

Which brings us to the eternal question: how do I kick ass when stuck in a light mech? Thirty-five tons? What am I supposed to use, harsh language?!

In games past, I've used the Wolfhound to good effect. Pulse lasers rock. I wanted to do something different, this game.

In the heavier classes, I'm a sucker for the Light Gauss, and ERPPC. Neither mounts well on a light mech.

I've also used the Puma on a few occasions, with its twin ERPPCs. Still, two ERPPCs don't give me any rapid refiring weapons for keeping someone off my back. So, I got to tinkering; playing with every light mech I could get to try combinations of weapon mounts and weight.

Did you know... that you can get an Arrow IV Missile onto a Puma...?

(insert the sound of maniacal cackling here)

I did actually later revise the design to mount four ER Medium lasers instead of the one large. Less long-range punch, but better ability to bite when backed into a corner.

I had to strip that mech down to free up the weight to mount an Arrow IV, though. By the time I could mount it, I had relegated the poor mech to using an engine I suspect was scavenged from a Geo Metro. Seriously. There are heavy mechs faster than this thing.

It was fun sweeping the light matches in all three arenas with that thing, though.

"Hey! Wasn't there a Flea here a second ago? Where'd it go...?"

When medium class rolled around, I stripped down an Uziel; mounted one ERPPC in one arm, and three medium lasers in the other, with a Light Gauss in the torso for kicks. Again, I had to strip out the jump jets and scale the engine back to one from a golf cart... but it kicked much ass.

The heavy season hasn't started yet, so I haven't decided on a design there, yet. On the one hand: I loves me some gauss weaponry, and several heavy designs can mount enough to be fun... but on the other hand: I have access to a Nova Cat. Lots and lots of pulse lasers.

The Timber Wolf/Mad Cat has its appeal, as well... but I find the missile racks wasted space, since I hunt in the arena on passive sensors to prevent enemy LRM lockon. Trouble is, passive sensors means my missiles can't get lock, either. So most green weapons are useless to me; except in purpose-made setups like that Puma where I ping active just long enough to lock and fire, then go passive while it recharges.

Several years ago on an early playthrough, I hit on a loadout for the Dire Wolf/Daishi that cleaned house amazingly. I'm trying to dredge up specifics, but all I remember for sure was that it basically consisted of ER large pulse lasers, heat sinks, armor, and engine. The idea being to run circles around the enemy while hammering him with constant laser fire. Trouble is, I don't remember the exact setup... and light and medium mechs can't handle enough lasers to be useful for such things. I'm hoping the Nova Cat will mount enough to let me get a feel for how many I need, again.

I tell you, Kiddies, there are few things in life as much fun as blowing shit up in giant robots.


  1. How about just running around in one and squashing things under foot? Not many other ways to feel superior if your operating a Locust, if I remember correctly X)

  2. Love to, can't. The engine doesn't have the capacity. You don't get to punch things with the Atlas, either, sadly.

  3. Well bugger, that's half the fun of using a Mech thrown out the door :/ Given the context of the video game, though, I guess it does make sense, I just don't have to like it.

  4. Mechwarrior 3, I think it was, had the ability set up that you could jump-jet and damage an enemy by landing on them. That was one of the things cut when Microsoft took it over from Microprose, though.

    I'm guessing the game wasn't aimed at the PnP Battletech players.

  5. lol, Death from Above. Worst. Move. EVAR. Massive style points, but massive damage to your own mech. no thanks, I'll stick with the ole dependable AC20 to the head. :P

  6. Hmm... I've never played any of the Mechwarrior games. I suppose I should look them up though, since they involve shooting at stuff...

  7. I'm thinking how much fun Mechwarrior would be as a multi-player or MMO type of game, especially if they kept it closer to what was originally intended with the table top versions. Massive carnage with group tactics :D

  8. @Herculine:

    Do iiiiiit.

    The only thing more fun than shooting stuff is shooting stuff from a giant robot.

    Like Darksong said: UAC20's and LBX20's are immensely satisfying to use.

  9. @Druuler:

    I haven't mentioned it in awhile, but I had an idea for a Mechwarrior MMO years ago.

    See, probably 75% of the framework is already in place, in the form of MW4: Mercenaries.

    For those who haven't played it, where previous Mechwarrior games were very linear -- mission A leads to B leads to C leads to D, Mercs broke that mould.

    It was set up so that you chose what planet you wanted to head to, to take jobs on. You paid jump fees, and your salaries and mech upkeep while in transit, and once on the planet got to choose missions; oftentimes allying yourself with one side or the other in the local conflict.

    What was cool about mercs, was that there was little railroading. Some planets are outright optional, some may be the only ones available for work at a certain time (the game advances by weeks), or if you're allied strongly enough with a faction.

    On top of that, there was the "free market", where you could buy and sell weapons and mechs; and hire personnel for your company. Mechs have a weekly upkeep cost, and hired mercs have a salary. You get paid a pre-agreed upon amount for successful completion of a mission.

    You can take up to two lances into a mission; and you pay by the ton for dropship deployment.

    All buying, selling, salaries, and drop fees are handled in C-bills; none of that "points" crap they pulled in Black Knight.

    Now, roll with me on this.

    Take that basic, interplanetary layout, and scale it up. Instead of a dozen worlds, there are a hundred. Each one a server, providing a persistent world; with a central master server to handle communiques, the free market, mission listings, and so on.

    Players get to log in, and take posted jobs to fight over said planets. You could assemble a team of human players, or fill in the gaps in your lances with AI mercs.

    Players would be able to offer missions on the job boards as well -- you'd have people subcontracting garrison duty, or putting their resources into becoming small military nations of their own.

    For kicks, add in infantry, aerospace fighters, and tanks for the complete Battletech experience.

    You'd have part Planetside, part Battletech/Mechwarrior, and part ARMA. A persistent, player-driven galaxy to fight over; form political factions in, take and lose bases, continents, even whole planets. Player-driven free market where someone will be willing to sell whatever mech or weapon you want, if you can afford it.

    Hell, you could have weekly matches at the Solaris arena! Imagine it! Live, web-casted mech matches with a live announcer calling the play-by-play.

    It could be the ultimate MMO!

    But no. The only MMO's we get involve people in funny hats running around yelling LIGHTNING BOLT LIGHTNING BOLT! and HOW I MINE 4 FISH????

  10. Nos, you must have missed the "Multiplayer Battletech" game that died a horrible death. Not quite in the detail you desired, but you chose a house to fight for, and conquered systems to gain resources, etc. Alas, it died from a lack of funding and was shut down. Probly the second-best online BT experience I ever had. is the archive of the info about it, and it's old community.

    The best ever for me was being accused of cheating in online MW4 play for consistently headshotting other players with my dreaded "Peekaboo Warhawk" ^_^v

  11. I apparently did miss that, yes.

    I only played MW4 online a couple times, and that was before even Black Knight was out.

    One was an interesting online game in an urban arena; dominated by a rather insane player in a Shadow Cat, armed only with an AC20 and jump jets. He jumped from building to building, hammering fire down on peoples' heads.

    The other was a one-on-one against a friend of mine, who didn't want to play anymore after one go-round with me.

    I was running a Daishi loaded down with light Gauss rifles. Kicked to passive sensors, and took a circuitous route to an overwatch of Nav Center. Waited a bit; crouched, still, and silent, and was rewarded with his Atlas running full on through the trees towards the nav.

    My first volley destroyed the weapons in the right arm. Second volley red-lined a leg. From there, I broke contact and swung around to get another vantage and repeated the process; stripping the weapons from his mech one by one until the poor Atlas couldn't take no more.

    What are the worst words a mechwarrior can ever hear?

    "Weapon destroyed!"

    I tell you, learning to hunt by sight was the best thing I ever did for my mech performance. Only have to worry about those damned BAPs; and making sure to move in such a way that you don't tear down trees.

    In retrospect, a faster mech would really have been a better choice, but I wanted sheer firepower.

    There's also supposed to be a new Mechwarrior online game of sorts, a mod for Crysis. Though I didn't read too heavily into it, since I can't run Crysis to begin with.