Monday, 19 June 2017

BattleTech Backer's Beta: Addendum

So; first piece of content for both here and the channel in far too long and I pick a game that's unfinished.
Look; I swear, the next thing I cover will be an actually finished product.  Promise.

If you haven't seen the video; you can go watch it here in my usual staggered, unscripted, long-winded mess of a video style.

BattleTech: Some of the Mechanics

So I said I'd explain a few of the mechanics in here, but it turns out the manual is freely available to people without the beta so I figure it's easier to tell you to RTFM than to type them out all over again.

Okay; one thing to point out with the Initiative System that I don't think was detailed in the manual - those defensive bonuses, like the basic one based on how far the 'Mech moved as well as things like Cover and Evasive; those don't fade as soon as that 'Mech's phase first comes around, they only do when the 'Mech next acts.  So if you have a Jenner that sprinted in one round to get Evasive and then next round Reserves all the way down to Phase 1, it will still have that Evasive bonus even though it's spent most of this round doing nothing, simply because it has not acted yet.

An example of the clever stuff you can do with this initiative system is a classic Light 'Mech hit-and-run.
  • Round 1, Phase 4: You have a Locust sprint into position.  It gains Evasive and, since it's standing in forests, gains Cover as well.
  • Round 2, Phases 4-2: The Locust reserves itself all the way down to Phase 1 - while this will give the enemy more time to shoot at it, between Evasive letting it dodge roughly half the shots that manage to hit it, the defence bonus from how far it moved, and the 25% damage reduction from Cover, the Locust has a decent chance of surviving.
  • Round 2, Phase 1: Now the Locust acts, moving into the rear of an enemy 'Mech while also moving into a position where enemy Assault 'Mechs yet to act won't be able to fire on it, before unleashing hell into its poor target (I'm assuming it's an SRM-packing LCT-1S).
  • Round 3, Phase 4: Before any of the hostile 'Mechs get to act, the Locust sprints back into safety behind the nearest hill or past the rest of his lance to avoid return fire.
  • Round 4, Phase 4-2: The Locust reserves all the way down to Phase 1 again, ready to repeat the tactic.
So you see; this trick lets the Locust, effectively, act twice in a row.  After multiplayer gets added, I'll try to do up a short video showing it in action.  If you're reading this after I've done so, the video should be linked or embedded right below this paragraph.

 Sorry; not yet.

Complexities of Tabletop BattleTech

I mentioned in the video that BattleTech's tabletop version is a little on the complex side.  And it can be.  It's not as complex as it looks, but it is a little on the finnicky and time-consuming side unless you've had a lot of practice with it.  It's by no means a bad game but, well, let's just say that the quick reference cards are double-sided A4 pieces of cardboard that still leave a lot of details off and Catalyst Game Labs can't seem to format a rulebook if their life depended on it.  Anything beyond that, you might be best off asking on the video game's official forum.

Why I'm Cautiously Optimistic About MechWarrior 5 Mercenaries

A lot of people reacted... negatively, to the news that the next single-player MechWarrior title would be made by PGI (same devs as MechWarrior Online, for those who don't recognise the acronym, hence the negativity).

Now, I am willing to admit that MechWarrior Online has its flaws, but here's the thing - how many of those flaws apply to a full-price, single-player title where Clan Tech only appears right near the very end of the campaign and built on a completely different engine from MWO?

The vast majority of the complaints people have about MWO and its development seem to be tied to either its use of the CryEngine or its nature as a free-to-play game with a competitive multiplayer side and attempting to find a way to use Clan Tech that was somewhat balanced (keep in mind - before MWO, Clan Tech was always just flat-out better than IS gear, PGI were the first ones who tried to make Clan Tech a sidegrade to IS rather than just a flat-out upgrade, which goes a long way to explaining why the balance can be wonky at times).  Take away the issues related to those aspects of PGI's work, and what's left?  And out of what is left, how much of that is entirely PGI and how much is remnants of what IGP (their former publishers who went under years ago) required of them back when MWO was first getting off the ground?

I am still somewhat cautious.  I can't point to any one thing specifically and it could just be some of the overall negativity bleeding through.  Either way, I'll be reserving final judgement on the game until I hear more, but I can't just flat-out decry it, either.

Finishing Thoughts

On the digital front; the BattleTech franchise is looking pretty good.  MechWarrior Living Legends is back, we're getting a proper turn-based tactics game for the franchise at long last, the single-player side of the MechWarrior series is making a comeback (and hopefully it'll be a good one)... all we need is for "Game of Thrones In Space" to finally get a TV series adaptation.

Now if only Catalyst Game Labs would finally learn how to format a rulebook...

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