Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

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Saint
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Saint » Fri May 04, 2018 10:27 pm

It also does more than my WVR . Both weigh 55 tons and have hands. 85 dmg compared to 70
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Ceorl
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Ceorl » Sat May 05, 2018 7:11 am

Other Thoughts:

1. As folks have said, alot of damage info is too buried (how mek and vehicle construction affects damage and to-hit rolls spring to mind). For me, its quite annoying while there is a weapon range report when you move it contains little information and I have to guess which line represents what weapon.

2. Found my first Bulldog, and while the Scorps are great, the Bulldog is way to small for a 60 tonner (wonder if this will be a problem for the other vehs as well?).

3. One of the first pilots is named Glitch. She reminds me of Aerie from BG2. May Glitch die a horrible painful death (sadly while everyone keep getting headshot injuries she is scratch free so far).

4. They just repaired a 200 year old dropship in half a day? I mean I know I gotta suspend my disbelief for BT but come on, this is supposed to be groundedish sci-fi. When Battletech make the Millennium Falcon repairs look realistic you've got a problem. And all of it was just to prep for the obvious dead lord return? This game is trying wayyyyy too hard and forgetting why folks like BT in the first place. What a missed opportunity.

5. Despite all this, the basic gameplay loop is fun and doesn't seem to deviate too badly from TT. Some of the small changes are nice (buff to AC damage, though the recoil ehhh not sure yet, and trees now act to reduce damage rather than cause a flat miss), and I agree the Shadowhawk is surprisingly useful here. Just gotta close my eyes while I click through the primary quest dialogue.
Clans? I call you by your true names: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will come back to lord over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans.

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Bloodknight
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Bloodknight » Sat May 05, 2018 10:30 am

I am starting to have actual fun with this. My plan is to finish the campaign with basic loadouts, but I played around a bit, built a Blitzhawk and created a monster (I removed all flamers from an FS-9H and replaced them with 2 extra ML and 4 additional MGs. 190 dmg in a light mech :D)

Sadistic
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Sadistic » Sat May 05, 2018 12:00 pm

I have an FS like that too. give it to a pilot with the ace piloting skill and even assault mechs will drop if you can get a rear shot.

Sadistic
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Sadistic » Sat May 05, 2018 8:08 pm

Melee Banshee is also fun






*Edited by Spork to reduce the size of the images.

Ceorl
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Ceorl » Sun May 06, 2018 6:57 am

Got some good game time in today. Thoughts cause I enjoy writing them down:

1. I do not like how movement no longer factors into to-hit calculations. Unless you take the Bulwark skill it removes any calculation to simply gunning it, and makes JJs a no brainer for any mek that can fit them since you get a massive Evasive bonus and maneuverability (the heat spike pales in comparison to the protection bonus). While the bonus is balanced out by the ability to remove Evasion, on the whole the system is a simplification and I'm not a fan.

2. The heat calculation on the one hand with internal damage is generally a good idea (moving away from TT's extreme rolls such as TACs to a gradual penalty is a good thing). On the other hand, there appears to be no other penalty. A hot running mek needs penalties before the nasty damage hit to help incentive styles beyond pushing right up the cap. Again simplification.

3. Speaking of MWO, not a fan of the MG changes. MWO MGs are very very annoying, with their absurd and illogical crit bonus currently one of MWO banes. BT should have kept TW's RFMG system. Simply click extra toggle to amp up the damage at the cost of heat rather than creating magic bullets.

4. I am not liking how physical combat is calculated. You can only move to X spot and cannot pick your location, standing right next to a unit will not allow a physical attack. In essence the Charge mechanic is gone, which is absurd watching several tons of metal slam into one another. Charge and DFA should relatively similar, and regular physicals should remain. On the bright side, I like the either or choice or weapons or physicals better. That incentives play styles.

5. Your pilot needs a voice. I get that the computer speaks instead, but I'd rather that rotate with voice work (especially for Glitch, ugh she's gonna stay in my memory even as I keep promoting her). Btw, when my pilots give me a damage report tell me what section the damage is on so I don't have to check! That shouldn't have been a hard thing to record (I wonder how much companies pay by the line?).

6. Having to stare at the screen to get a mech type when you have LOS but losing it after is annoying. Just mark the mech as Type X for future player reference.

7. Breaking the initiative by tonnage is interesting but likely a bad choice long term though I need to play more. Same issue with MWO, we don't need artificial boosts to light mechs. The removal of weapon facings is probably for the worst as it simplifies the system too much by essentially removing mounting options (I'm thinking of FR there).

8. Playing this game I miss a news feed. On the same vein, MW2 at least had time gaps between contracts. These guys spend 90% of the time in space. I can't suspend my disbelief, even for ships with artificial gravity, that is sustainable by anyone cept for Jarnfolk.

9. The current MadLib style mission generator needs work. "Local Government" is one of the most boring OpFor descriptions possible, and Pirates would not involve themselves in half the mission events they are listed in this game (my favorite being defending a bank, and imprisoning an artist and his painting before trial).

10. I think the Faction Rep are a missed opportunity so far. You could insert my real flavor with these characters (hinted at when you talk with your XO bout the former commander), but right there is just alittle fluff changed based on rep.

11. I just discovered Veh Carriers . . . in a random map of course. Talk about a difficulty spike! Hell the map also spawned an HBK-4P and I blew past it compared to the SRM Carrier which required a couple reloads and careful positioning. These units will give alot of players trouble and were probably introduced incorrectly. I've killed HBKPs and Gs, Jagers, Grasshoppers, and other nasties no problem. My only death is from the Carriers.

12. So far there has been only one white guy and he's an antagonist. There has been only one white anime girl and she's the white guy's Dragon. I don't care what race and gender the characters are, but I dislike it when the writers are clearly trying to avoid inserting specific races and genders. It reminds me of a scene in Tyranny's Bastards Wound where you speak to a mother talking how she will protect her child even though the dad's dead. Cept the child is never around, the Wound appears to have no daycare system and is super deadly, and she has a full time job tending the gardens. The writer clearly wants to sell the mother protection angle, but by any reasonable analysis that kid is boned. These inabilities to ground your stories and symptoms of more serious storytelling problems that allow 200 year old dropships to become spaceborn after 30mins work. Ahh well.
Clans? I call you by your true names: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will come back to lord over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans.

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Bloodknight
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Bloodknight » Sun May 06, 2018 11:21 am

. I just discovered Veh Carriers . . . in a random map of course.
Yeah. I ran into a random mission with my medium lance of 2 SHDs, a BJ and the Centurion and the map spawned a HBK-G, HBK-P, WVR-K, CN9-AL and several SRM Carriers. I got killed in seconds. The SRM carrier is particularly nasty if you don't see it early, but then it probably should be.

Saint
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Saint » Mon May 07, 2018 1:20 am

Physical combat/melee will typically offer you 1 to 3 spots to attack from. Took me awhile to pick it up but after you select your melee target look for white movement dots surrounding the target. You can then choose which spot to melee from.
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Ceorl
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Ceorl » Mon May 07, 2018 6:28 am

Thanks Saint. I doubt I woulda figured that out on my own.

1. Aerie . . . I mean Glitch died! My first Mechwarrior death and it couldn't go to a more deserving pilot. Bless her heart to, since all the damage was on the Centurion's left side so she left the mek in great shape. We'll always remember her for her annoying voice and whining which she somehow combined with a misplaced optimism.

2. Yikes Bloodknight. Ya I just had a nasty random battle myself (not that bad), and I think the random battle generator needs some tuning. The battle risk report is almost unrelated to what you actually face in the field, and random battles (so far) are often significantly harder than campaign missions. The game finally introduced SRM Carriers into the story campaign, and said hey watch out for them, long after they appeared in random missions. Bleh.

3. Like alot of RPGs, I find myself typically leveling up everyone along a single path that fits my playstyle which doesn't encourage variation. BT would benefit by creating attributes tied to character backstories which incentive unique pilot development (Rome 2 of all things did this). The game could also provide events for players to pick up differently speced pilots for reduced cost and/or higher skill. Right now, my barracks is shaping up like a clone army.

4. Getting to some of the fatter vehs. They look good but the meks are simply too large. A 40 ton Cicada is massive compared to an 80 Demo which makes no sense. Further, my first encounter with a Manticore had it driving underwater. Very odd.

5. Watched a mek at a slightly higher elevation (not sure how this game calculates that) just kick another mek in the side torso. Gotta admit looked pretty damn good.

6. There appear to be two ways to handle movement in this game either through the piloting or bulwark tree. While I dislike the default emphasis on movement I'm a big fan of expanding the move mechanics once the levels are in place. This is a plus for me.

7. Two planetary campaigns in, and only two battles needed to take each world. I get conservation of storytelling but this is an old BT problem that was never really solved: How hard is it, and how long would it take, to secure a whole planet?
Clans? I call you by your true names: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will come back to lord over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans.

Sadistic
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Sadistic » Mon May 07, 2018 8:01 am

For some of you having really hard random battles you should go to navigation and check the planet you are on or are thinking about going to. Each planet also has a difficulty level associated with it which amplifies the mission difficulty and I don't think the game explains that to you at any point. A 3 skull mission on a 5 skull planet can still be pretty rough.

Sadistic
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Sadistic » Tue May 08, 2018 1:45 am

What exactly is wrong with letting people who want to use a "they" pronoun have it? If it makes them more comfortable, and you don't have to use it, why do you care?

Also the Periphery is kind of a melting pot of people from all over the IS, I would expect it to be pretty multicultural out there.

Ceorl
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Ceorl » Tue May 08, 2018 5:53 am

@Sadistic

You really think its a difficulty level on top of another difficulty modifier? Gosh I hope they didn't code the system that way.

@Erich

My problem isn't with multiculturalism per se. As Sadistic said, the Periphery is a pretty diverse place; especially the part where the game occurs (and I applaud the game for a Periphery setting, shame it had to be a spun from whole cloth faction). My problem is the type casting is so blatant it risks creating a sledgehammer style plot that alienates the readers. Let us draw the conclusion rather than shoving it down our throat. A good example of this problem is comparing the story of Wolfenstein the New Order with Wolfenstein the New Colossus. A cliche is fine if well told, and Batteltech's story is so far about as cliche ridden as they come, but the writing, apart from a few clever ideas, is too aggressive to engage me.

1. Didn't realize this support weapons also fire if you do a physical. No wonder Sadistic was proud of his MG Banshee. Not sure how I feel about this design choice myself, but more gameplay needed.

2. I picked up a new pilot today, a Canadian Kickstarter backer named . . . Mummy Bear. I had serious reservations but she was the best pilot in system and my guys keep getting grazing headshot rounds (I think they do it intentionally to get R&R).Her a tendency to announce damage reports starting with "uhhhh........." is not endearing. She may be shown the door.

3. I feel dirty for saying this, but I kinda miss the Stackpoles. They add a nice visual flare to the matches.

4. I wish the salvage sorted rare weapons to the top of the pool just below meks so I didn't have to scroll to the bottom.

5. Small point, but the game states from the start that your command has access to a dedicated jumpship. So why does it take three days for it to power after you arrive? SOP should be to charge soon as it gets into system case it needs to flee (which since its a military jumpship makes alot of sense). Just wasted time.

6. Finally got my first difficult campaign mission. Rated as 2 Stars, but enemy forces includes 8 mechs and at least 4 turrets with alot of PPCs and LRMs. When you first make enemy contact, a sensor lock will end your round without allowing indirect fire?! It this a bug? Seriously how does this game calculate LOS? This mission is by far and away the most annoying one I've played so far (in part because I hate puzzle box maps where the map creator has created a very specific approach you are supposed to follow, and the player is required through trial and error to memorize the pattern (Dark Souls of Turn Based Design)) so I'm gonna take some time to explain my loathing.

The small map, in which you are warned to take lrms and prepare for indirect combat, is designed with your spawn in the bottom right corner, with an enemy base to the east guarded by multiple turrets, and a road cutting west and northwest guarded by an AC2 turret (which given their buff is no small thing). A bifurcating ridge separates your spawn from the road and the enemy base. A lightly guarded ravine sits in the south west, west of your spawn. Two trucks (Mobile Command Centers so reasonably armored for 25 tons with good top speed) will spawn on the center portion of the map back to back, then head north west along to the road with a medium mek imitative.

Destroying the trucks is not a required mission objective, but any good gamer is going to try and kill them in the first go. LOS is obstructed by the ridge, so a player may either head north into the base, or west through the ravine to kill the trucks. Charging into the base is foolish, so most players will opt to go through the ravine. This is a trap. In the center of the map atop the ridge sits a mineral deposit which grants a +4 to fire into but only a +2 to fire out of. A player who moves into the deposit will be exposed to enemy fire from atop the ridge. Instead, the deposit was designed for the AI to fire upon player meks exiting the ravine (essentially as discussed below, the AI congo line survives long enough to morph into a death ball).

The solution is counter-intuitive: spawn camp. Target the trucks and indirect fire turrets, namely two LRM turrets in the base, with sensor locks and lrm fire. Then hit the enemy meks as they congo line over the ridge into your spawn. Took me three tries to work this out. I loathe this kind of map design. If you play the map the "wrong" way you suffer heavy losses and hurt your campaign progress. If you play the map "correctly" you strengthen your campaign so much that you risk upsetting the meta-balance (whether or not I actually will is dependent on finishing the game).

The lesson I take away is premade maps are all well and good, but don't get carried away when building them so that players are forced to "unlock" victory and risk upsetting the strategic flow. Map testing should create several ways to win, and a swift progression in one or two tries for first timers. I expect this design problem to continue in further core campaign maps.
Clans? I call you by your true names: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will come back to lord over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans.

Sadistic
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Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:54 am

Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Sadistic » Wed May 09, 2018 10:45 pm

It's not just that the support weapons fire after a physical attack, but also that that thing has 2 +60 damage arm mods on it. I have removed the MGs now because that thing does 250 per punch and it tends to destroy whatever location it hits, without leaving an open internals for the MGs to shoot. I used that weight to add JJs which are far more useful on it.

Ceorl
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Re: Thoughts on the New Battletech Game

Post by Ceorl » Sun May 13, 2018 5:55 am

Got some more gameplay in today, and felt like writing down my thoughts again:

1. What is the deal with all the unarmed dropships?! (Except for the TC dropship because story logic). More to the point the absence of any discussion of air superiority is disappointing. The missions are just lacking the combined arm aspect that made you in the best MW games feel like part of a real campaign rather than playing a simulator. No Battletech mission so far has come close the memorable MW4Mercs and MW2 Mercs missions (even the romp with Royals was underwhelming from an immersion standpoint). Now that I think about it, that's probably one of the reasons why I dislike the meks being so big. They should be part of the armed forces, not standing out like some over sized knights. That design philosophy is where anime lies, and does nothing for me.

2. The Star League Cache was a disappointment. That kind of reveal should not be at the half way point of a story and was over too quickly). Plus, the game did not do a good job of selling why we couldn't stay. Its an underground fortress stocked with meks. Just get everyone inside and power them up!

3. Noticing more small Combat Revisions (Stability Damage a separate modifier from Actual Damage (i.e. lasers do no damage). To my surprise on the whole I'm enjoying the combat as it avoids the extreme caution and weird range calculations that can characterize MM games. I'm not sold with all the changes, and I bet if I bothered to play multiplayer some serious balance issues would appear, but on the whole the system is faster and less RNG reliant which are pluses.

4. Missions don't have enough variety, which is causing grinding fatigue and is probably my biggest gripe with the game. This game is straddling the line, for example, between MW4 which was a series of related missions built into an overall narrative and MW4Mercs which were self-contained missions built around a general narrative. Battletech design is not working. The story missions don't have enough depth or time to engage the player, and the random missions are simply too random to make me care. Based on what is working for me so, this game should have ditched the random missions in favor of a full campaign.

5. Speaking of MW4, making its radio operator be a tactical adviser makes alot more sense than a mek company XO serving the same function. Darius should be in a mech every once in awhile, rather than the boring leader lady cameos (oh the chains of commanding, so difficult!).

6. While Indirect Fire can be ALOT more prevalent with Sensor Lock, the Brace ability helps reduce the frustration. Properly speced, LRMs are a very good weapon and maybe abit too good.

7. Weird design choice where you can't find contracts unless you're in system's langrange point, but then you have to actually reach planetary orbit before you can leave. Would have better in game logic to have the player establish contacts on the surface.

8. However this game handles the map generator (repeatedly playing on several maps makes me think the maps are pregenerated), the results are generally good but the building implementation needs works. The target buildings stand out like a sore illogical thumb on almost every map they appear in.

9. The mek repair system is generally good, but I think players are getting off too easy if they suffer only armor damage. The system needs a way to model fatigue to regularly rotate meks outs of your drop dec (the same operatives get fatigue in XCOM for example). A bad drop will see an enormous repair backlog, but otherwise your tek just kinda twiddle their thumbs outside of the odd customize work.

10. If you don't think about it too hard the story is okay, but man anytime I start picking it apart my brain begins to hurt. A Star League cache foiled by brainwashing? Ugh. Oh, and the token white teammate (unless another comes along later) has been murdered with the help of another white male villain. However, I'm more willing to let it slide cause he sounds like Jensen from the new Deus Ex games which is freakin awesome.

11. Everyone is communicating by hyperpulse communication directly beamed to your dropship? And not just local, but many planets and lightyears away. I don't remember seeing this in prior BT lore, and Comstar's absence in this is frustrating. Ahh well, missed lore opportunity.

12. I think I like the salvage system on the whole (again, removing the wild RNG swings in favor of gradual salvage that is also reflected in your contract negotiations and battlefield performance), but it needs some tweaking. Once you get all three parts, the mek shouldn't be fully repaired and there should be more purchasing of battlemeks. I'm seeing salvage and purchase as being significantly different enough to create diversity and an extra game mechanic for the players.

13. The game should have made the intercom chatter alittle more Sim gibberish like. Beyond me the fact that some com traffic is far too personal for ship wide communication, the dialogue tends to loop too much.
Clans? I call you by your true names: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will come back to lord over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans.

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