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Deep dive into late-game strategy: 33-36, over 115 level deficit, 5 setups.
Hello Afkarena community! I'd like to make a series about late-game (31-4+) strategy concepts targetted at experienced players, and open to everyone. I'd love to get your feedback and give away what I can so people really enjoy what I feel like is the best thing about the game: The strategic element of it.submitted by Leanker to afkarena
I'm Linker, the leader of The Rebirth. I'm playing since late S90 ( 1.5 years ) and as of now I've gotten to 33-40, KT 548 and Ro8. Update: Deleting spend stats for now, I'll verify and update.
In this, I will review my solution as an example, explaining my approach to advanced teambuilding against a multi-set campaign at a high-level deficit.
Without further ado, Here's my solution for 33-36.
For reference, find my arsenal below.
33-36 is very tanky. With 4 Grezhuls who passively resist magic damage and 3 high-level Seiruses who reduce most damage they take by 50% supported by many healers, secondary tanks, and CC - When I see a stage like this, I instantly think of timing. Losing because of time is the worst way to lose, since 5 setups already take a lot of time to replay. This means where timing is a concern I'll prioritze counterhealing to healing, Penetration to defense and risky infilitrates and invades to prolonged battles.
The next thing that comes to mind is the faction layout:
Picking the carries:
Although I belong with those who believe the game definitely becomes less carry-centric over time, because of the tankyness and factions as well as my own arsenal shortcomings, I know in this case I should start from the carries. I heavily suggest at this point, if not before, to watch the replays. I am old enough to remember the time when there weren't replays and you had to youtube search stages and hope you're lucky enough to find a close enough stage to yours with a close enough set of heroes - however, the times have changed. We have replays, Macros, online videos, and much more content by great creators like Aesyr, Volkin, as well as myself ( WIP ).
Optional carries(see: team):
Starting from Eironn, for me he obviously belongs in Set 3. Many graveborns, no counters like the maulers in Set 5 and low early-fight CC all make it a natural fit.
Team 5 has many threats to interrupt, and so Carryless interrupts seem natural there. Nara and Athalia fit great there for many reasons; It's also a common pick in the replays.
Team 4 is heavy on ramped-up CC which I want to reliably counter, fast. With the likes of Athalia already belonging in Setup 5, Gwyneth is the best pick here; Note the static backline as well.
Left with team 2 and Team 1, I was wondering if Safiya is a good carry for either. Eventually, I decided against it; she just wasn't reliable enough: She didn't kill Ulmus once he ulted in set 2, and has many counters like Ross immunity frames and rowan ult in set 1; Those setups have too much healing that I have to stop. I decided I cannot let the Ulmus ult, so some sort of Ezizh energy setup will fit in Team 2.
Calculating what I have left, I noticed many Khazard SI heroes; Khazard SI benefits team CC, prolonging all teamwide CC conditions slightly longer than they would usually last. A khazard ferael combo started forming in my mind, countering all healing and bursting enemies just fast enough to earn the win or lose fast when trying, so I can replay faster.
There are many approaches to team building. Knowledge of synergies, matchups and counters can let you customize a solution thats adjusted for your own team; otherwise, replays help a lot. For me I've already decided on the general formations once I've decided on my carries; all thats left trial and error.
Team 1: Khazard.
This set might seem odd to some of you. You may be asking: No factional bonus, No big DPS, What is the thoran doing there? Well, there's one uniting factor: Khazard. Khazard's Signature item, The Frigid Aura, makes it so the duration of most negative debuff effects affecting all enemies on the battlefield is increased by 30%, scaling up to 60% when he's +30. Another incredible ability he has is near-perma CC in his ult, The Frozen Mist: enemies with health lower than 30% will become frozen until the are able to recover 30% of their health or the mist disappears.
Thoran is a useful tank: anything in that slot is going to take shots from the Morvus, who's no joke at 115 level deficit; Thoran however is one of the heroes that can make the best of that situation. He rapidly reflects the damage taken, and after his initial "death" he revives, providing team CC that Khazard extends.
Ferael also has team CC in his spirits; He also has counterheal and useful damage to burst enemies down to Khazard's ult range. Tasi can frontline, teleporting away while debuffing enemies attack; Eventually she ults, making the whole enemy team fall asleep for almost 7 seconds including Khazard's buff.
Lastly Naka is a tech pick that's used to CC Rosaline before she spirals her deadly % damage.
Team 2: Celeshypos & Fawkes
Knowing I want to free Talene for the fifth setup, I instantly drafted in the energy comp: Rowan, Twins, Mehira and Ezizh. Thats a very high power level comp, they do fine even without talene at 115 level deficit; I paired them with Fawkes because of his ability to remove shields and provide a useful defense buff for the twins, which allowed them to frontline consistently gaining energy fast enough to prevent unwanted ults throughout the whole match.
Team 3: Wilders Safiya
If there's one setup that beginners can add to their toolkit from this post, its this one. Eironn, Safiya, Wilders. It works like a charm;
In this case, Safiya was needed simply to apply her passive as Eironn pulls enemies towards the backline. Lorsan and Lyca are great support for Eironn, increasing his burst damage as he gains haste and energy. Since Lorsan links Shemira, Eironn can be positioned in the backline to fully utilize Safiya's passive. Saurus is a good tech pick, but wasn't necessary here - other options which would work include Nemora, Seirus, Ulmus and Brutus.
Team 4: Gwyneth
While this setup may look benign at first look, some thought went into it. Arthur is absolutely needed, as the overall damage output is surprisingly high from arden and morvus; otherwise Khazard could have definitely used Arthur's crit enhancements. Cecilia is another tech pick: Arden occassionally gets to ult, allowing him to 1 hit most of my comp. Cecilia's ring makes it so he 2 hits each team member, buying my Gwyneth precious seconds in that case to regain control of the setup.
Team 5: Celesgraveborn
This one is pretty straightforward: Athalia and Nara have to stop Saveas and Shemira here. Nara goes on the bottom to ult brutus; Orthos frontlines with Chalice to take the heat from Kelthur and the rest. Talene is needed with Orthos here, since he does not regenerate health at the first 15 seconds of the match; Wukong is another crucial pick here, as Kelthur's strong hits get very hard to handle over time. Wukong's SI allows him to hold any burst damage at bay, especially once he ults. That came clutch in the eventual winning replay.
Honorable mentions that didn't make it:
Battletech Extended 3025 - Commanders Edition. Full review, rundown and tactically practical assessment.
Just want to leave a little (edit: LONG) review of for BEX. Fair warning, I like to be thorough and I want people to know how it plays in detail because I think there’s a lot of people that would enjoy it... but perhaps are put off by having to deal with mods, or worried about changing the game too much.
I’m going to go into specific detail about as much as I can. I’m a massive strategy and tactics gamer. Started with Battletech and 40k then eventually got into pc shit. I literally have everything even remotely strategy. Been playing since XCom UFO Defense and MechCommander. Strategic depth and variation is absolutely essential for replay value. As well, stuff needs to make sense and allow for min maxing across multiple aspects.
My main branch of games are titles like Project Zomboid, Total Warhammer (all TW really), Rimworld, X-Com 2 / Long War... those are my fucking jam and they all did a really amazing job at mod integration that extended life of game faaaar beyond my initial investment. What’s more is they’re all easy to mod and tweak. Well thankfully Battletech is joining those hallowed ranks and not by default, or nostalgia, or almost as good... hands down quality confirmed outstanding gameplay delivery is what the full game + BEX deliver. I’ll try and convince you of that now.
TL:DR HIGHLY RECOMMENDED If you don’t at least try it... you’re getting about half the Battletech experience as everyone else. Maybe even less.
BEX is much closer to the game I had in mind as a whole. This is due in huge part to the ModDev but the foundation that HBS laid really left a lot of room for modders to step up and boy did they ever.
I always do a vanilla playthrough on any game before I start modding. I want to know how the game plays as the studio intended before I assess and attempt to correct any issues.
Played the campaign, enjoyed it, was way OP by the time I got to last missions, had every mech, all the best parts, nothing the enemy did even tickled. What’s more... I felt something was missing. So? Mod time.
I went with Battletech Extended 3025 Commander’s Edition because it was the closest to vanilla gameplay while adding a ton of features that i felt were either missing or not utilized to their full potential in base game.
I will try Battletech Advanced after and prolly RogueTech after that. Didn’t choose BA because I wasn’t really in the mood to start messing around with MechEngineer, as well as Bigger Drops and Mission Control which imo change the game by quite a lot.
Additionally because BEX is fairly low impact, a number of stand alone mods work along side it, and the way it’s coded makes it very easy to adjust values and tweak things you’re not happy with. This also helps with compatibility, as standalone mods are easier to incorporate into the main mod branch; if they’re not immediately compatible. Anyone who has any questions about that, feel free to ask.
I’ll go through the features now as the review.
I was reasonably pleased with the variety of mechs in Vanilla... but as someone who has prolly upwards of 100 big fancy lead lads, I definitely wanted more.
This mod scratches that itch beautifully. Almost every deployment there’d be a new mech, or a rare mech, or a variant.
In theory? Yeah I mean a lot are pretty interchangeable. In practice? It was awesome seeing so many different variants, entirely new Mechs and tons of vehicles. Faction specific variants really added a lot more than I thought it would. Each faction has their go-to designs and depending on what territory you’re in... you face an entirely new style of play as each house fields more of their own variants which are outfitted according to lore. This causes the enemy Mechs to play differently.
For example, in an unclaimed system, I might just be fighting a couple regular, vanilla Phoenix Hawks, but if I go into Free Worlds territory, I start running into their variant which has more armour, is faster and has two ER L Lasers. Not a huge difference but two of those guys hopping around is much more of a threat than the PHX-1. This means your tactics, loadouts, Mechs and play style have room to be adjusted, in order to compensate for the new threat as opposed to just running the same 4-6 Mechs in a doom star of death.
Magnify that by every house, plus SL variants... your gameplay loop stays interesting and engaging for much longer.
Additionally you can choose your starting house, which will draw a series of random Mechs from that house’s specific pool of variants and ‘commonly used’ Mechs. Adds a nice little touch of personality to the start of a career.
All the models are top notch and everything stays very close to, if not identical to lore.
Pilot and Mech Quirks
So in the original TT game, Mechs have quirks. Nothing drastic, but enough to make the Mechs feel more unique. This has been translated into the game as buffs or debuffs for your Mechs. Spider has no ejection seat, Centurion has non standard parts, (on TT campaigns this made it harder to repair and keep in the fight.) In this game it translates to higher cost for repairs. There’s at least one for every individual mech although ‘non-standard parts’ may be a quirk on a number of different Mechs. Some Mechs have bureaucrat bonuses like repair speed, cost etc, some have combat bonuses like chance to hit or be hit, bonus to energy weapons etc. The ModDev has not added any of the quirks that are just straight crap. Like if a quirk was ‘cant walk backwards’ he didn’t add that. There’s tons of cool little quirks that when played right can offer a real advantage.
Pilot quirks operate in a similar way but are tied to their backstory. So if pilot was ex-house guard... he would get the tag ‘Military’ and have a larger starting pool of XP. A former mechanic will have the tag ‘Mechanic’ and will add mech tech points. Some pilot quirks are things like, Brave, Officer, Criminal. Brave increases your Panic resistance (I’ll explain in a bit). Officer gives extra XP to everyone on deployment. Criminal gives you extra cash from pirate contracts. Some pilots have hit modifiers, some have crazy good combos like, Officer, Brave, Mechanic, Military, Dependable etc etc and suddenly hunting for pilots is fun again.
Just minor adjustments really. Gunnery skill is 2% per level instead of 2.5, the piloting tier 2 skill you potentially keep evasion charges even when fired on. Then there’s a few tweaks here and there which I felt were warranted and balanced, but nothing crazy.
Fuck yes. In my campaign run I found it really immersion breaking, that no matter what, enemies just kamikaze into you. I just killed 3 Assaults, 2 Heavies, 2 Meds and the last locust left is gonna charge my Atlas and kick it in the shin after I blew off a leg and all it’s weapons?
Uhhh. Pretty sure that’s not how combat works. In fact I’m positive that’s not how it works.
Panic fixes a bunch of things simultaneously. Now if I leave one dude out in front, who then takes 6 alpha strikes to the face... that pilot is freaking the fuck out. This gets worse according to damage. If my first shot blows off a side torso and strips the armour off the CT, unless pilot is decently levelled, their panic state will go up. Now when you want max salvage you can repeatedly hit a decently wounded Mech with a few lasers a turn, slowly raising their panic. Instead of having to use a called shot and blow off that final leg but also reduce my salvage... I can pepper freaked out pilots with small stuff and they will bail out (destroying the head) but leaving the rest of the Mech intact. You get a lot more 2/3 pieces kills. Only way you can get the full 3 is a headshot.
Might seem cheap... it’s not. If you’re in a 3 story mech, wrapped around a fusion engine that’s on fire, wounded, half your lance gone, redlining on two of your main weapon systems knowing that as soon as that blue and gold Archer’s launcher’s cycle, you’re getting another 60 fucking warheads, warning sirens going off, blood running down your coolant suit and then a couple medium lasers hit and peel off the last of your torso armour... you’re not waiting for that next salvo. You are BAILING THE FUCK OUT. Bill me bitches. You’re just a lowly house mech warrior. Not some shit hot mech jock. Pilots that are levelled, they are much harder to get to bail out. It works perfectly. You get more salvage overall... but that’s the way it worked. If Natasha Kerensky can bail out leaving behind a warhammer and a marauder, basically untouched... someone with your skill would be scoring decent salvage.
I never had to eject during my campaign run so I had never seen the animation before. Well... let me tell you...
I got my first decent medium mech and took it out on Op... came across another hefty boi, an Archer, their cockpits are a little easier to target at the right angle, so I figured full face alpha to get his attention and then go for the cockpit.
When I unleashed that alpha strike to the face I got some dopamine I haven’t had since I played MechCommander. In MechCommander I was about halfway through campaign and it was the first time my lance had faced clan tech. All of a sudden an awesome and a Mad Cat came charging down a hill at my already banged up medium lance. Uh oh. So I did what any good pilot would do... I waved the conventions of warfare and aimed specifically at the cockpit. Once you did that enemy Mechs would start trying to do it to you. Retaliation for trying to kill man, not machine. I hit the Mad Cat perfectly, the Clanner ejected and suddenly I had a brand new untouched (mostly) Mad Cat. In BEX the big stompy gods blessed me with my first archer. Signature mech of Wolf’s Dragoons. It was a super cool moment watching that escape pod climb and a WHOLE GODAMN ARCHER just sort of faceplant.
What it boils down to is that now there’s a whole new layer to combat. You don’t need to kill every pilot or be a leg sniper extrodinaire, you just need to pay attention to the enemy panic states and plan your strikes accordingly. There’s nothing better than facing off against 3 badly damaged assaults with your heavy flanker who barely managed to blow off enough parts of the enemy. that they’re not big threats anymore, so you multi target a couple lasers each and watch as one by one you either core the enemy Mech or the pilot ejects from their flaming ruin of a Battle Mech..
This is especially noticeable fighting assaults. In vanilla, if you wanted assault salvage... you basically had to headshot. If you didn’t, it took so many hits to blow the required pieces like side torsos and a leg, that 9/10 times the mech was one hit away from being a Volvo that went through a compactor leaving you 1 measly piece of salvage. Now if I have just brutalized an assault Mech and it’s missing a side torso with heavy damage, if I pop it in the face and wound the pilot... he’s bugging the fuck out leaving me with at least two pieces and I don’t have to keep whittling away at this behemoth forever. Because if I don’t put him the fuck down, he will just come over and kick me again and again until I put him out of his misery.
It just makes the game feel more dynamic, with more victory conditions and strategies. Also... it feels like you’re fighting other pilots... not just an endless train of soulless bots.
Furthermore your guys can panic just like AI so sometimes you need to take someone off the line and sprint them the fuck out of dodge. The enemy will do this as well. Whereas in vanilla, Mechs would almost always just keep coming no matter what. In BEX if you blow of an arm and get the pilot starting to panic in one salvo, chances are that mech will get the fuck out of dodge and hide behind something. Which... ok not exactly super tactical... but whatever it’s what I would do lol.
What this translates into is that suddenly your medium threat manager can help with a bigger target until the little guy gets back. It might seem small, but it breaks up the monotony of 4 x 4 Mechs standing in a field facing each other taking turns hammering the fuck out of one another. Now there’s more movement as enemy pilots try to keep their panic levels down. I mean... i just melted that dude’s shit... if I was him, I’d back off... and they do.
As for your pilots. Only had one punch out so far... and it was for the best really. That mech was falling apart and I would have likely lost valuable weapons and double heat sinks, trying to get one more round out of it. As long as you’re rotating your Mechs out of the lead spot, it’s not a huge factor for you, but you definitely can’t ignore it. Enemy is ruthless too. If they’re all shooting at Steve and he starts to panic... maybe it’s just me but everytime it seems the enemy will immediately start focusing fire, trying to get him to eject, which is something I would do if I was piloting a mech the size of a building. That Mech looks fucked up? Perfect. Fuck it up more.
Panic is the mechanic I was least sold on, because sometimes in games like XCom 1 it’s just weird and forced. I thought you were best humanity had. Yet your response to missing a shot was, to freak the fuck out, kill your fire team, drop your weapon and run...
Not very cash money of you. However this panic system is implemented VERY well and it became one of my new favourite aspects.
If the increased salvage is a problem, just start your game requiring more of it to build a mech.
The Argo has been slightly reworked so that each one of the three bays can be repairing a mech... like it’s supposed to be. Merc Pilots are expected to maintain their Mechs. Get to work you lazy fucks! It always bugged me that on a ship the size of the Argo that can hold a COMPANY and a half worth of Mechs, Los-tech comin out the ying yang and the repair crew is only working on one mech at a time. This is not what we finna do.
Well now there are upgrades that allow you to repair 3 at once, eventually all at regular repair speed. As well a final upgrade lets you combine pieces of different variants (provided stuff like engine and armour type is same) Which means you can finally run that variant you can’t find anywhere, simply by combining other variants you have as scrap. It’s a much better experience I have to say.
With the variety of Mechs you end up having, you’re often pulling from storage and equipping. If you have to repair 5-6 Mechs after completing a system, then pull 2-3 from storage and equip to run a flashpoint... in vanilla that would take like 30 days easy. If not more. In BEX, just pick one of three bays stop work on whatever, add your slightly wounded mech and you’re ready rock. This makes trying new Mechs, loadouts and lance combos, much more viable and fun. Small change, huge difference, lore and reality compliant.
So the entire Inner Sphere map is in mod. Probably 1000 or more systems (idk lol). Jump speed has been adjusted so that even a system on total other side of galaxy, works out to about same as if you had to make an annoying local jump that needed a whole bunch of stops. Galaxy is huge though and it feels more alive because of it. There’s a reason for that.
Galaxy At War
So the map is huge, but who cares. It might as well just be one system as there’s nothing really unique or whatever about the systems. You could bounce between 3 planets for whole career and you probably wouldn’t notice any difference to flying around. So then what’s the point. My imagination can only do so much if the lifting before it gets bored. Well now you have a reason. You can take priority contracts which operate sort of like a flashpoint. Difference is you will be told how many drops you need to complete in order to conquer the planet. You’ll also be getting similar flashpoint style batch of loot awards at the end. You will drop, do a mission then have 3 days or so to wait until the next contract for that planet pops up. Rinse repeat. Once planet belongs to whoever you work for... it changes borders of territory on map as well as giving you a big faction rep boost. This is also awesome as when you take every contract in a system... sometimes you will drop a level or two in rep if you just get stuck with mostly pirate contracts etc and have to fight or run out of cash. Now you can get a guaranteed number of contracts, decent rep boost and a goodie stash at the end.
I’m certainly not planning on a galactic take over like stellaris... but it it does add some dynamic depth and new twists on the ‘Big robot smash’ gameplay loop.
ModDev has added a fatigue mechanic. At first I wasn’t a huge fan, as one deployment required 5 days of ‘recovery’ in the beginning. Once you’re at Guts 10 it’s more like 1-2 days. However at the start when you only have so many pilots, I would just have to keep running my tired pilots on consecutive drops. It felt a little weird to me to to do 3 consecutive drops and as a result need 14 days off. It also felt weird doing 9 drops in a day with no downside. Mech Jockeys often take stims and what not, as you can be piloting for extensive periods of time that you just can’t show in a game like this. However that still didn’t really account for this super shit hot Merc needing two weeks paid vacay for doing 2-3 days of consecutive drops.
*STARES IN JAIME WOLF.*
So I asked ModDev about it and he had a pretty good explanation. Essentially all fatigue does is set your mood to grumpy. The result is that you generate resolve slower. It actually works really well. In the beginning when you’re not that good and having to do multiple drops a system. Your pilots are just not able to use specials that often. Which is good because specials act like a crutch especially with light Mechs. Not that anyone needs it... but it speeds you out of the early game. Eventually the Argo, Mech based comms gear and monthly funding will make special abilities available more frequently but nowhere near vanilla, typically one every 1.5 turns with good morale and at least two +++ comms units.
This works well, because now your pilots are good, Mechs are good, weapons are good. In the campaign my gauss hunter was doing called shots every turn and headshotting 7/10 times. Now I really have to plan ahead. As in I know a called shot will take this mech down, but I wont have enough resolve til next turn, so I need to attack a different mech rather than keep pounding the guy that called shot will easily finish. It’s a small thing... but it adds up.
The last great effect of fatigue is that combined with the different buffs that pilots can have, you want as many pilots as possible. That way when they get fatigued you can always sub one or two guys in who will be in good mood so their abilities will cost less. I have 14 now and 4 are wounded, the rest are tired and I just dropped my last two happy guys with two rookies on a 5 skull to finish the system. Then in jump space, they all recoup. Max days you can have fatigue stack until is 14. Approx 5 per mission and then it stops getting worse.
So the vanilla game starts in 3025 I believe. There wasn’t a whole lot going on during this period. I mean still major stuff... but comparatively, it was calm. However, you speed the clock up to 3060, now the Clans are in the picture, the helm memory core is being distributed, and SLDF tech is making a comeback. To choose the date you start your career on, when you load into the career, let one day go by and it will prompt you to pick a timeline. I always choose 3053 I think, right after Tukayyid.
This means that new and advanced tech is starting to appear across the IS. Which translates into MOAR SHIT. Shiny. If you choose the earlier dates you won’t see much if any SLDF variants, LosTech, advanced variants with endo and ferro armour, bigger engines, double heat sinks etc etc. Much closer to vanilla just with more Mechs, variants and the extra gameplay features. After Tukayyid you start seeing some advanced lances with SLDF variants, there’s more Gucci tech to be found, and it’s generally a bit harder as you run into advanced variants earlier, nothing crazy though. However getting your hands on one of those SLDF variants can really take a weak medium lance and give it someone who can hit hard and keep up.
Small Gameplay Adjustments
These things aren’t worth their own category so I’ll just talk about em all together. All the weapons have been rebalanced so that their damage range is much smaller between weapon types. So running a god tier LRM boat or whatever... isn’t that lucrative as it’s basically putting out just as much damage as everyone else. This means that rather than just moving your mobile castle around soaking up hits and every now and then launching a full alpha, what really matters is choosing the right weapon type to use on which enemy, making sure they’re in the optimal range band and knowing how many more hits a mech can take before its in trouble.
Rarely will the opening enemy salvo from off screen, blow your arm off, wound your pilot and unsteady your mech. Damage is adjusted down I believe but only by a touch, however the result is significant. It doesn’t slow things down at all. Just a takes a little longer. Instead of 4 alpha strikes to kill a heavy, now it might take 6-7 depending on mech and if it’s in cover or if you can even hit it lol. Or it may only take 3 decent hits because they eject.
It’s much more dynamic and varied.
Aim percentages have been slightly nerfed. The highest percentage you’ll get for a called shot headshot is 15% even in a marauder. This might sound terrible, but honestly with a marauder and gauss... nothing mattered anymore. 4 turns 4 headshots mission compete. Yay. New Mechs? Didn’t matter. Nothing is better than a mech with gauss and headshot. Everyone on the other team dies screaming in their cockpit. Strategy? Didn’t matter, it’s an assault mech... just walk it right up the middle.
Now headshots are ‘phew! ho lee shit that was close.’ Or ‘OMG I NAILED IT.’ They’re rare and often don’t work so you’ve gotta pick your battles. Do I core that still fully operational Crusader who has no CT armour left? Or do I go for the headshot of the mech that I need pieces from and is totally undamaged, taking them out of fight completely. Half the time, what you plan doesn’t work, quarter of the time it works if you really plan ahead, quarter of time something totally unexpected happens for better or worse.
LOS markers have been altered slightly for visibility purposes.
There are a ton of new vehicles and vehicles have been made tougher. The only thing you’ll be killing in one shot is light hovercrafts and shit. Everything else is much more robust as well as deadly. Not overly so... but you won’t be able to just send 20 missiles up the ass of a tank and blow it to fuck. A full volley from a missile carrier at the correct range with good target lock? Anything less than a heavy will die. I use L Lasers to melt and a missile salvo from same mech. Lasers melt armour and if they reveal structure, missiles arrive split second later and often blow structure. Tons of vehicle variety as well. Now vehicles are actually something to concerned about, as more than once I’ve run up on what I thought was a leopard or something, but was actually a von luckner or a behemoth. One alpha. Shadow Hawk lost 2/3 of its armour. Some tanks have almost as much armour as a medium mech. o.0
ModDev tweaked the AI, unsure exactly how but I know it plays better. Enemies are far less prone to suicide charges to contact and will frequently stay just beyond sensor range to hammer LRMs, or they will disengage all together and start moving around cover to attack your flank. They are also much better at swarming it seems. Say for example, you assassinate the target and the two lances nearby start moving towards you, they don’t do it like idiots, they stay spread out at the limits of your sensor range, trying to stay in cover, they frequently make moves back and fire, forcing you to advance to contact. They’re merciless with picking off units in the open or with weak spots so you can’t just go chuckin your Mechs all over the place.
If you have your Mechs in a tree line facing a clearing that you need to cross to get to more cover and get in range... if you’re not paying real close attention... the mech who should be fine for one turn in the open... gets hit with an alpha from every single enemy. If they weren’t in range they come charging over to chuck rocks at your dude in the open. This kinda stuff is hard to quantify, but In general the behaviour and reaction of the enemy was much more like an actual opponent than a lemming rush of Mechs who just stand there once they’re in range and keep firing until they die or you disengage.
Some god tier weapons have been slightly nerfed. Stability dmg on +++LRMs is lower, some of new weapons are less ‘melt their whole shit’ and more ‘sucks having only one leg, eh bitch?’ They still feel powerful, but they won’t overcome bad tactics. Auto cannons have had heat reduced and recoil on 2 models has been removed. Everything has been balanced around medium lasers, which I was skeptical of at first but the equalizing effect made it much more like a tactical fight rather than me just chewing parts off the enemy Mechs and watching their pathetic attempts to respond. Or knocking assault Mechs over every turn by using a stalker loaded with +++LRM20’s. I loved my LRM boat in the campaign, but it was definitely OP and slightly ridiculous. Knocking over an Atlas should be nigh on impossible. The amount of force it would take to tip something that weighed 100+ Tons... is A LOT. Terrible at math and physics lol.
Nevermind that knockdowns are practically useless. Mech takes no damage from fall and can often just get right back up before anyone can do anything. This can be mitigated somewhat by paying attention to move order, but not nearly enough. IMHO you get knocked down, you’re down til the end of the turn or you take severe damage to rear armour, not enough to expose structure... but enough that you’re ass is in the breeze when you get back up. In BEX can still knock Mechs over but it’s usually only with sustained missile fire and after about two turns with a number of Mechs using AC + LRM.
Better Headlights It jacks the light value of the headlights up. In night battles it’s so much cooler, same with the ‘dark side of the moon’ missions. Small change, big difference.
Engine Initiative Initiative is now based solely on how far a mech can move. If it can run far, it goes earlier. This ignores class initiative restrictions and makes taking ‘fast moving heavys’ a much more viable tactic.
Armour Upgrades BEX adds new Mechs with Ferro and Endo armour, but there’s no reason that a current mech couldn’t have their armour upgraded. This mod adds equipment that simply reduces the weight of your mech, but takes up internal slots, which allows you to add more armour or whatever weapons / equipment you can fit. This one required a bit of json and excel sheet editing to get into BEX, but it was shit simple and ModDev has explained how in the mod comments on Nexus.
Advanced Difficulty Settings Just provides more tweakable options. Say you thought 3 days was way too long for Yang to mount a PPC, you can reduce the time or raise it. Same thing with various costs etc etc.
Industrial Systems Adds a few industrial type heat sinks. Very rare, prototype / industrial heat sinks. Just think rogue tech. I don’t know if they’re canon... but they are certainly not magical. They just take up a lot of internal space and weight. Imagine a heat sink for an old SLDF assembly line robot. A giant sized thing that’s super effective. Basically you can get more cooling per ton the better of these industrial sinks you can find. Eventually all the way up to 7 heat per ton with a sink that takes up 9 slots and weighs 7tons. You’re a merc scouring the entire known galaxy... you’d probably come across some unique and interesting items. Haven’t even seen any yet in my game and it’s 400 days in.
Special Equipment in Stores If it’s a piece of gear on a mech... you can buy it in a store. Not common... but it’s out there. I like this because it just adds more shit to collect and hunt, stays within lore and reality, while also giving you more customization options. Basically Mech engineer light.
Melee Mover Let’s you move your mech to any position for melee if the enemy mech is standing right next to you. Just like enemy. Also allows to you to sprint to melee, which is logical. If I can get next to you, I can punch you. That part can be turned off or on.
Commander Perks Takes the starting background you picked for your commander and translates that into perks like the rest of the pilots. Since commander XP doesn’t count toward Kerensky achievement and you don’t have any bonus perks. Most Kerensky guides say to just leave commander on ship forever and ignore them. However that just seems weird, so this mod actually gives him at least SOME purpose
Bigger Drops & Mission Control Don’t have them installed just yet, but both are confirmed working as add-ons to BEX.
Once I get to the point that I have a pretty high tier lance and loads of Mechs, the game stops being fun because I’m just walking all over anything in my way. So the plan is to then install these two mods which will not only give me new maps and different spawn points, but it will also throw more enemy Mechs at me on missions, while forcing me to use more of my team on drops... meaning more damage... meaning more Mechs need to be at the ready. Figure it’s just one more way to actually make this career run a little more interesting and less of a plateau mid way.
The mods that add new equipment... some required slight json editing... but nothing much. I don’t know shit about code and I figured it out pretty easy. Furthermore... the way BEX is broken up into sections it’s really easy to go into aspects of it and adjust them slightly. BEX uses heat reduction on the some of the ++++++ LRMs instead of 2 stability. Since missile heat was never a problem for me I simply adjusted the tonnage instead. So rather than just having -5 heat and 50% crit, they also weigh one ton less.
There are three core aspects of mod I changed.
One was to remove 3025_extended_plus from the mech list. This list has a number of substitute Mechs ie. Mechs that don’t have their own unique model so they use another Mechs model but with the original mech specs like say the Hatchetman model subs in for the Axeman... just a little bigger. This includes some more drastic resizes. Like taking a Battlemaster and making it teeny to sub as a scout mech chassis with no model. The teeny Mechs just break immersion for me, but they’re not bad or anything.
Two was to adjust XP level ceiling caps. The way it’s set is you can only get so many XP from each level of difficulty 1 skull, 1.5 skull etc. I’m playing with ‘slow progression’ so I just didn’t want to be running into a situation where I was barely getting any XP as it is and then suddenly I’m not getting any from missions and have to start taking more risky contracts.
Three was to adjust the rewards for the Galaxy at War missions I mentioned before. Those missions don’t take into account difficulty of missions or faction rep. Level 1 rewards are nothing special by 1/4 of way through game which is when you can actually start doing those events and not get hammered. So I changed the rewards a little. I just tweaked code so that when it says level one rewards... it’s actually a level 3 payout. Which isn’t anything mind blowing but at least has a decent chance of 1 or 2 useful things. Keep in mind you get the salvage from the 5-6 missions it takes to complete the event. With good faction rep you also get bonus salvage rights too. They’re a pretty cool little way to boost you every now and then. Especially if you have a lot of repairs to catch up on. Each event takes about 15 days with a drop every 3 or, so pace is good, but still allows you to do all the refits and shit while still earning regular coin.
That’s pretty much it lol. This mod will give you a much richer, tactical, lore filled, dynamic play through while staying true to the roadmap of HBS and the original FASA game. It’s a great way to push the limits a little bit and get used to both modding and new mechanics. A nice jog around the park before the intense obstacle park that is Rogue Tech or BA 3062.
Doesn’t slow system down at all, installs easily and is very compatible. If anyone wants help with any of that, lemme know and I gotchu.
This is the game now, gentlemen. No more development. If it’s ever going to see a sequel or cheeky DLC... it’s going to be the modders who keep people coming back to try new things and keep player counts high. So it’s in all of our best interests to try one of the big 3 mods.
I couldn’t be happier. I liked everything so much I just started a new career to do my Kerensky run, 6 piece salvage, stingy cash rewards, normal salvage, CT kills, Full Lethality, slow progression, normal enemy strength, rare pilots normal, rare salvage on. That puts you at the 1.00 score modifier which you HAVE to use in order to reach the Kerensky score. When you choose 6 pieces of mech, Mechs drop more pieces. If you core a mech, there might be two pieces, sometimes only one, usually two. You can usually only pick 3... but if you core all the Mechs you don’t care about and then headshot the one you want... there will be less total pieces of salvage so you will end up getting all the pieces anyways.
I’m playing as Natasha Kerensky’s Son, Aleskander (made up) i’ve just returned from clan space after being given permission to hunt down some former members of the Word of Blake. They owe the Dragoons and so they owe the clans. However my real purpose is to hunt down clues about a potential Clone of Colonel Wolf. I stopped in the Draconis Combine to repay an old debt and when the daimyo heard what I was doing, gave me a trio of Mechs as a token of Kurita’s respect and to repay the sworn honour debt they owe the Dragoons. Shiny. From there I flew out to the Reach where my adopted grandfather had marked an ancient SLDF cache. An old battlefield that covered an entire planet called Cate’s World. Cache turned out to be the Argo and whaddaya know it still had a mech in the hold. An Assassin 21 running a Snub Nose PPC with an SLDF UAC5 as a spare. Colonel Wolf always knew where the good shit was. Nothing crazy, but between my new lance, two solid weapons and a tight f’ing budget... I’m set to smash and grab my way into the heart of the inner sphere and find the last hope the Dragoons have of establishing their place among the stars.
Used the save game editor mod to give myself a Vulcan 2T, Kurita variant Firestarter, Panther, and Kurita variant Jenner. Reason being... I would never start a merc company/adventure with a bunch of trash light Mechs. I’d work solo until I had enough for a strong light medium lance. Which so far is barely hanging on against light Mechs. Light Mechs are death traps lol. Because of the 6 pieces and stingy pay... I will be in these Mechs for a while maybe picking up another Firestarter here or there if I’m lucky, but I won’t see many medium Mechs on the difficulty level I’ll be able to handle until I get some money or Mechs and even if I get lucky I’ll still need to kill two to get enough. If I’m unlucky I might need to kill 3 shadow hawks to get enough, assuming I’ll even see 3 of the same medium Mech on low skull missions. Problem is my lance is so light, they’ll get chewed apart by medium lances, while not being able to hit hard at all. Not to mention that if I do a drop on a 1.5 skull I can usually make it out with no structural damage, but if AI does the old switcheroo and once I’m on ground, ups it to a 2.5 skull... my light medium lance would barely make it though usually. So I definitely can’t take any higher level contracts, especially as I need all the faction rep I can get for discounts, access to faction store, etc etc so I can’t withdraw every other time.
I have to take relatively easy contracts to make sure my repair time isn’t excessive or too expensive. So I figure this lance is tough without being OP, and squishy without being a wet paper bag. I won’t be able to afford buying a new mech for months probably, building them will be hit or miss if I can at all. Plus it’s Kurita themed which is a good narrative start point. I was honestly dreading doing the Kerensky... I’m fuckin stoked now lol
Anyways. Thanks for reading all this. I hope I’ve convinced you to give the mod a try. Author has plans for more stuff and it all sounds cool af. However for continued development, it’s gotta have interest and not for nothing, but I know of several games that said they were DONE and a year later player counts and community was still active as fuck so we got another couple DLCs. In fact one of them Battle Brothers just announced ANOTHER random DLC because we won’t shut up about it and we buy them. So... You never know =)
Thank you for coming to my Mek Talk I’m Aleskander Wolf, Fuck The Word of Blake.