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Crits And You - A Brief Guide

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#1 Selfish

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:44 PM

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An Introduction


Hello there! I posted the Critical Hits and You - A Brief Guide shortly after the release of Open Beta. I found that general knowledge on Critical Hits and how they worked was not only lacking, but often based off wrongful, wild assumptions. Well I'm not sure much has changed. I still happen into threads where people make common mistakes when talking about Crits. I don't blame them. The system can be extremely obtuse, and I hope to once again combat these with easily accessible knowledge.

This guide will be available here on the MWO forums, and here [when released] on the QQmercs guide forum. The guide has also been hosted on several other sites, and translated into several languages. Just be aware that this major revision (8-26-13) may be markedly different from prior versions.




Contents

1. Confusing Terms and Clarifications

2. How Critical Hits Work

3. Ammo Explosions and Explosive Damage Transfer

4. Critical Damage Transfer

5. Adjusted Crit Value Weapons

6. Critical Offense

7. Critical Defense

8. Conclusion


1. Confusing Terms and Clarifications:
This is quite probably the most necessary section you need to know to understand this guide. Without an even understanding of the terms being used you WILL become confused. I guarantee it. These are often terms that get lumped together in one's brain. In this guide, however, these terms are kept separate to facilitate description of the critical process. Refer to them if you ever get confused!

"Crits" - This word may be used interchangeably between Critical Hits and Critical Slots. The Critical Hit is determined by the first roll of the critical system. The Critical Slot is the amount of slots an item takes up within a mech's component. The number of Critical Slots, compared proportionally against the other items in the same component, determine the chance of a successful critical strike landing on the item.

Incapacitated - When a mech is incapacitated it is no longer able to be played. You lose control of the mech until it is repaired, and are put into spectator mode. In a match, it is easy to describe this as being "destroyed" or "dead".

Destroyed - While this can refer to the status of a mech as stated above, I also use it to describe the status of a component or even items/equipment when it is struck by a critical hit of sufficient damage. The target of the destruction should be referenced when it's used to help keep this clear.

Component - A mech is made up of eight (8) components. These are Head, Center Torso, Left and Right Torso, Left and Right Arm, and Left and Right leg. These are what you see on your paper doll (the little mech readouts that show damage on your screen). If you lose one of these, you lose whatever is stored inside it (weapons, ammo, engines, etc.). Special notes: If a side torso is destroyed, its corresponding arm (if it's still attached) will also be lost. If both legs are destroyed, the mech will be incapacitated. If the head component is destroyed, the mech will be incapacitated. If the Center Torso is destroyed, the mech is incapacitated.

Equipment or Item - These are weapons, engines, electronics, heatsinks, ammo, etc. that are stored within components. When a component is critically struck, the equipment/items are what take the hits.

Engine - Now that the above terms are described, we can discuss the current implementation of the engine. If the component your engine is stored in is destroyed, you will be incapacitated. If the engine (an item in all mechs) is destroyed by crits: nothing happens to your mech. Currently, the critical hit system cannot incapacitate a player by destroying their engine. You must destroy the component that has the engine within it!


2. How Critical Hits Work

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Critical hits are not like your usual crits in other games where they just deal additional gobs of damage. It is initially better to think of them as a separate damage system that attacks the items an opponent has stored in their mech. Dealing small bits of extra damage to an opponent with critical hits is a recent addition. We'll get to the 'regular' damage dealing properties and other quirks of the crit system later. First, we need to see just what a crit is and how it works.

Each component on a mech has two layers of health. Armor is the first layer, and is visible as a line surrounding your mech's paper doll components. If armor is struck there is no chance for a critical hit—there is no such thing as a “through armor crit”. When armor is depleted the second layer, or Internal Structure (IS), becomes exposed. Internal Structure is visible as the solid components of your paper doll mech, and are outlined by armor if present. IS health is always a fixed amount of (Total Possible Armor / 2). The only component that doesn't follow that scheme is the Head, which has 18 Armor max and 15 Internal Structure for a total of 33 HP. Now the important part: Critical Hits can only occur when an attack strikes an UNARMORED component. Only Internal Structure has a chance to be critically hit!

Whenever Internal Structure is hit by an attack the system rolls for a critical. The general chances of crits for almost all weapons in the game are as follows: 1x Crit = 25%, 2x Crit = 14%, 3x Crit = 3%, No crit = 58%. These numbers are just the general or “stock” chances. Weapons like the Flamer, LB10-X, and Machine Gun use individually tailored crit chances and multipliers. Critical hits deal their damage to items stored within the component, and then a small percentage of that damage to the component itself. Some items (Ammo + Gauss) have a chance of dealing (sometimes extreme) damage to your internals if they are destroyed, otherwise termed Ammo Explosions.

I find people get confused at this part, so let's ignore crit damage transfer/ammo explosions for the moment and examine the 1x, 2x, 3x crits. Crit rolls use the base damage of the weapon that caused the crit, and are not multiplicative despite having an X in their name. Let's say you score a 3x Crit with an AC/10. It's 10-10-10 damage that will be dealt to the component. As you can see, the damage is not all bunched up in one giant piece (30). It is actually three separate rolls of 10 damage each. This is important because crit rolls that exceed the health of an item don't apply their remaining damage to another item.

If there is a crit, there is a another roll to determine where it lands inside the unarmored component it occurred in. Ever wonder why the sizes of items in components are called critical slots? Every item takes up a certain amount of slots, and has a set HP that absorbs crit damage before being destroyed. The chance of a crit landing on an item is directly proportional to how large the item is compared to all the other items stored with it. If you have a DHS (3 critical slots) and a medium laser (1 critical slot) in a component, your odds of a critical strike landing on the medium laser is 1/4—or 25%. When an item is destroyed it is removed from the "crit table" of a component. If you lose that DHS, the Mlas now has a 1/1 (100%) chance of being hit by a crit.

*Mechanical Note: Thanks to Kaeb Odellas' work, we know that whatever weapon that exposes a mech's internals will trigger a crit roll using its base damage. This means that if you fire an AC/10 into an armored component that has 5 HP, you will deal 5 damage to the armor, 5 damage to the internals, and trigger a critical roll that will strike normally as an AC/10 (10, 10-10, and 10-10-10). If they look weak, hit them with the hardest thing you've got!

For those that hate reading, I've devised a flowchart to summarize the general process of how crits happen (using general crit values).

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3. Ammo Explosions

And Explosive Damage Transfer

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An ammo explosion can occur when a ton of ammo (or the Gauss Rifle) get critically destroyed. This can happen in two ways: The explosive item is destroyed by critical strikes, or the component the item is stored in is destroyed.
In the case of component destruction, it is important to note that components that “fall off” are not counted as being destroyed. So if you have ammo in your left arm and your left torso is destroyed, your arm will 'fall off' but it will not trigger an explosion roll.

All ammo currently has 10 HP and takes one critical slot. When destroyed, it has a 10% chance of exploding, or “cooking”. If ammo cooks it will deal the remainder of its ammo amount multiplied by its explosive damage to the Internal Structure of the mech. Keep in mind that the explosive damage of ammo is not always equivalent to the damage the ammo itself can deal. Updated explosive damage and stats can be found here: http://mwo.smurfy-net.de/#ammo_types

If the component an ammo explosion occurs in is destroyed via explosion damage, the remainder of damage will then transfer to the nearest innermost available component. Unlike standard damage transfer this damage is not reduced by 50% as it travels from component to component, and it completely ignores armor. This makes ammo explosions potentially very deadly, and is the only way besides overheating that a mech can be destroyed with armor still on its important components. The transfer path of an explosion is always “inwards” and ends up at the CT. Let's say your left leg or arm are destroyed, where is the damage going to transfer? Your Left Torso. If that's destroyed, the damage then transfers to the Center Torso.

The Gauss rifle and its ammo are exceptions to the standard rules of ammo explosions.The Gauss Rifle itself has 5 HP and a whopping 90% chance to explode when it is destroyed. It deals 20 damage to the component's internals and otherwise acts like an ammo explosion. Gauss ammo, on the other hand, cannot explode. If it is critically destroyed you simply lose the unspent ammo. This is often why you see Gauss ammo stored with the gauss rifle itself, as it can safely reduce the odds of the Gauss being critically hit.

C.A.S.E. is a form of explosion damage prevention—not critical hit prevention--but it isn't very good at what it does. If your ammo is struck and begins to cook off, C.A.S.E will prevent the damage from moving past the component your C.A.S.E is stored in, but you will still lose that component. This means C.A.S.E. does nothing if you are using an XL engine. The devs are currently looking at ways of increasing the viability of C.A.S.E, so this may change in the future.

For those interested in what an Ammo explosion looks like.



While noticeable on the paper doll, it also has a yellow/white graphical spark effect in the component that is currently cooking. Look for it!



4. Critical Damage Transfer


Critical Damage Transfer is the newest addition to crits as of (6-8-13), and it's the third form of damage transfer to be added to the game. The esoteric difference from the former two is that Standard Damage Transfer (50% reduction per component) and Explosion Damage (See above) concerns a transfer of damage between components. Critical Damage Transfer is defined by damage transferring from the crit system back into standard damage—it all stays in the same component. Confused yet? Relax, it's fairly simple.

15% percent of the damage a crit deals to a component, regardless if it landed on an item, is also dealt to the Internal Structure of the component.

See? We got it! If not, let's look back at our example involving the 3x Crit with the AC/10. We are dealing 10-10-10 critical damage to the component. How much damage are we actually dealing to the component instead of the items within it? Well 15% multiplied by 10-10-10 is 1.5-1.5-1.5, or simply 4.5. You have just dealt 4.5 additional damage to the component hit with the AC/10 for a total of 14.5 damage. Best part? You still dealt 10-10-10 critical damage to items within the component.


I've included more in-depth information on this process (and critical damage in general) in Chapter 6 -- Critical Offense.

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5. Adjusted Crit Value Weapons



Critical or "Crit-seeking" weapons are weapons that have had their crit chance and/or crit multipliers changed by the devs. This means they either crit more often, or crit relatively harder than other weapons. Let's start with their crit chance increases, and move on to a weapon by weapon analysis.

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Adjusted Crit Chances






LB 10-X & Flamer
1x Crit = 39%
2x Crit = 22%
3x Crit = 7%
Total Crit Chance = 67%

Machine Gun
1x Crit = 31%
2x Crit = 17%
3x Crit = 4%
Total Crit Chance = 52%


The Flamer



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(?? Recycle ??)
1x Crit = 0.44 Damage
2x Crit = 0.88 Damage
3x Crit = 1.32 Damage

The Flamer is undeniably the weakest weapon in the game. It adds small scaling heat, cannot shut an opponent down via overheat, is hot itself, and even with its crit buffs cannot manage a simple task like critting a single 10 HP item in a component. On top of being generally terrible at everything it was designed to do, it is a very short range hitray weapon (like the Machine Gun). It requires 100% uptime on an opponent to see its already low "on-paper" damage. I'd advise avoiding it until further tweaks to how the weapon performs.

The Machine Gun



Quote

(0.1 Recycle) (9x Base Bullet Damage)
1x Crit = .9 Damage
2x Crit = 1.8 Damage
3x Crit = 2.7 Damage

Average Critical DPS: 6.93

Look at that recycle of 10 shots per second. Now look back at the total crit chance. Now look at the 9x Base damage multiplier. This weapon is now diamonds! The Machine Gun has made some great strides in terms of being able to both crit and deal damage. It's counterbalanced by having the hardest aiming mechanic in the game in tandem with needing to hit unarmored components at very close range. If you can control them then Machine Guns are very effective crit-seeking weapons, and they can deal decent damage to unarmored components as well.

It would be helpful to explain just how to control them. Machine Guns are Hitray weapons (like the Flamer) and, as far as I know, the only weapon in the game with a randomized cone of fire. Those machine gun projectiles you see shooting out of your mech? Yeah. They're fake. You're really shooting a laser that strikes your reticule most of the time. It is imperative that you do not lead with the MG. Fire exactly on the component you want to hit and keep it on there.

As this weapon is often used for clearing out components of their items, I've included a handy chart to show the average time it will take to destroy an item.

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The LB10-X

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LB10-X (2.5s Recycle) (2x Base Pellet Damage)
1x Crit = 2.0
2x Crit = 4.0
3x Crit = 6.0


Avg. Crit Damage per salvo (All pellets hit) = 20.2

The LB10-X has long been a less than viable weapon. It had too large a spread to keep damage on target and its ability to crit was much less than the AC/10. I'm happy to say that these issues have been mostly rectified. It's now an average weapon like the AC/10, and if used en masse (2x, 3x) can be very solid for brawling--the old DDC 2x LB10 build only got better.

Thanks to Critical Damage Transfer, its higher crit chances, and increased crit multiplier the LB10 now does, on average, about 13 regular damage to unarmored components per salvo. If the stars align, you can deal up to 19 damage on a salvo--just don't bank on that.

6. Critical Offense









Critical Burst or "Critical Penetration"


The basic rule covered here is a game of One-Hit KO's. I term this critical penetration (or crit pen), and it's the most widely used crit strategy simply because it comes in tandem with burst weaponry. If you can match the item HP with your weapon, you have a 42% chance (general crit) of destroying it with every shot.

The removal of a critically large item (like a DHS) can significantly improve your odds of striking smaller items that remain in the component (like Lasers). For example. Let's take a component of three items. They each have 10 HP and take up one critical slot. There is a 1/3 chance of a roll landing on each item. Now, let's say you hit the component with a single crit from an AC/10, what chance do you have of destroying a specific one of the items? 1/3 or 33%. Let's say that wasn't the item you were going for. Destroying at least one item means the odds are changed in the component. It's now 1/2. You have a 50% chance to destroy the item on your next AC/10 crit.

For most low damage burst like the AC/2 and AC/5, they are simply at a disadvantage when it comes to scoring crits against small critical size items with 10+HP--provided their opponents buffered/padded well. All weapons tend to do well enough if there's a 100% chance every crit lands on a single item.

Target Item HP Values


18 HP - AC/20

Effect? The weapon is critically destroyed. Inoperable for match.

The AC/20 has since become a fairly healthy weapon. Given its massive critical size and unwillingness to be buffered this is a good thing. The only weapon that can critically destroy the AC/20 in one basic crit is the AC/20 itself.

15 HP – Engine

Effect? Nothing. It does absolutely nothing, yet. A critically destroyed engine does NOT destroy you in game. The only way to 'kill' an opponent through their engine is to destroy the component it is housed in. For STD engines this is the Center Torso. For XL engines this is the left, center, and right torsos. Hopefully this clears confusion: Critically destroying an engine does not kill you in game.

Weapons: The Gauss, and also the AC/20, are the most efficient at critting this item, but until it has an effect it's a wasted notion.

10 HP – All items sans Engine, Gauss, AC/20, and ECM

Effect? Ammo can explode, and that seriously hurts. Destroying heatsinks reduces heat efficiency. Destroying weapons puts them out of commission.

Weapons: 10 Damage burst weapons are the most efficient here, but anything that can deal more than that are great too. The AC/10 and PPC are the most efficient weapons for seeking critical hits at this item level. The AC/10 has the fastest refire (2.5s), so it gets the fastest attempts at one-shotting items in a component. The PPC has more range, is ammoless, and has an incredibly fast travel speed. The Gauss and AC/20 are also very solid at critting components, but fire slower with more damage.

Electronics: Both the Command Console and Beagle Active Probe (BAP) have 10 HP, and can be critically destroyed.

5 HP - Gauss

Effect? 90% chance of guass rifle explosion when critted. Deals 20 internal damage to the component. Damage mechanic is identical to an Ammo explosion (ignores armor).

Weapons: The UAC/5, closely followed by the AC/5, are now the most efficient crit seekers of the Gauss rifle. Which, as of 9-3-13 received an HP buff. Still, the large size of the weapon can still mean that most builds will have a good chance of critting out the Gauss before its component is destroyed.

3 HP – ECM

Effect? ECM ceases to function.

Weapons: I wouldn't recommend picking weapons to seek out crits on the ECM. The smaller calibre of weapon needed means almost all weapons have a serious chance at messing up this module, and most mechs that carry it are either difficult/inefficient to focus shots onto a side torso (Every Light) or way too easy to disarm via destruction (LT of a D-DC).




Critical Damage Per Second



What if you don't have burst, but have a weapon that fires fast, or has the adjusted crit rates to knock items out of a component? At that point you'd judge a weapon not on its ability to flip a coin and hope you knock out what's in the component, but instead apply enough average critical damage to the component to ensure you rip everything out of it in a timely fashion.

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As you can see, there's not many weapons that are specialized in this area. The MG is very effective at this, and the LB10X remains a hybrid freak that straddles both worlds. When both are massed they are fantastic at destroying items in components.


Critical Damage Transfer


Critical Damage Transfer doesn't just affect the “Crit seeking” weapons like the Machine Gun or LB10-X. It helps boost all the potential damage you can deal with every weapon—provided the component you hit is unarmored. Let's begin our examination by looking at how much potential critical DPS relates to CDTPS (or real damage dealt to a component via crits over time). Keep in mind that damage per second is just one piece of the puzzle. The current "cheese" builds in the game have fairly low DPS but high burst. CDTPS charts will mean little to assessing those kinds of weapons.

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The MG and LB10X, both the Critical Seeking adjusted weapons have some hefty increases in this department. This is generally where players will stop and say, "OP! Nerf!" Don't forget that CDTPS is a small chunk of actual damage. Let's look at CDTPS and DPS combined to get a full picture of a weapon's potential DPS range.

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See, isn't that better? This chart more accurately shows how much damage weapons deal over time to unarmored components. LB10x's and MGs have become fairly useful provided their targets are unarmored, and this gives a boost to several previously useless mech variants.

Weapons that 'kill via DPS' like the UAC/5 or AC/2s are still on par or better than the 10X--and are usually massed as much as MGs. This means the LB10X and MGs are simply not competitive with these ballistics until they manage to find unarmored components up close and personal. A fair trade for losing the insane range and accuracy of the AC/2 or UAC/5.

To further highlight the LB10, let's take a look at burst weaponry's average salvo damage versus internal structure.

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This chart is an approximation of how much AVERAGE critical damage you will see every time you fire the weapon. All of the non-LB10 burst weapons are "All or nothing", so this chart has little impact on their actual performance on a shot-by-shot basis. What it does do is highlight the strength of the LB10x. It is the exception to "burst" because of its ability to get 10 crit rolls into a component per salvo. As you can see, it fairly reliably scores 13 damage per salvo.

While the LB10X will see slight increases in damage versus IS more reliably, giving it a larger overall increase to average critical damage dealt per salvo, the cost is that this reduces its chances at seeing its low/high end in potential damage. The AC/20, for example, has a 3% chance to see a 3x crit, or 29 damage, versus internals. The LB10 has the same possible crit range of the AC/20, 9 potential damage, but needs to land ten simultaneous 3x crits (each with a 6% chance to occur) to see that result. The LB10 crits reliably. The AC/20 crits HARD.

Since Average Crit damage is often misleading to how burst weaponry really performs, I've created this next chart to show the range of possible damage a weapon can deal on crits.

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Unsurprisingly every weapon got better. Weapons that deal more damage, or have adjusted crit rates, received larger increases than lower damage weapons. The blue line is your standard non-crit shot against an unarmored component. To figure out the rest, you need to find the weapon you are interested in and compare its 1x, 2x, and 3x crit chance with the weapon's crit range. For all weapons except for the LB10x, MG, and Flamer, that chance is [1x = 25% ; 2x = 14% ; 3x = 3%]. That's the percent chance you have of seeing the listed damage.




7. Critical Defense



Critical hits are going to happen. You can't prevent them from happening once your internal armor is exposed. You can, however, change the percentage they have of striking items you don't want to lose. I call this item or crit buffering, since it involves filling a space with mostly neutral or beneficial items that take up critical slots. The proper defense against crits involves identifying what is dangerous or important to you, like ammo or an AC, and stuffing its component with other things that will help take hits for it. The following three systems are widely employed by pilots depending on what kind of mech they are building. Check them out.

1. Buffering/Padding

The percentage of an item being hit is based off the number of critical slots an item occupies compared to the other items within that same component. This means items that take up more critical slots, like the AC/20's whopping 10 crits, are more difficult to buffer. Buffering is a game of proportions, which means adding too much results in less benefit. It also makes it riskier to lose the component you've buffered, as it's now full of often beneficial items you've used to take up space. Buffering is often used to protect weapons. Your opponent either knows, or can deduce, the exact location of where you have placed weapons, and may attempt to destroy them. This makes buffering (and damage mitigation techniques like twisting) your best recourse for dealing with these attacks.

e.g. A double heatsink occupies three critical slots. If you placed one in a component with a medium laser that occupies one slot, you would have a higher chance of a successful crit striking the DHS (75%, or 3/4 used critical slots occupied), and a lesser chance of the crit striking the Mlas (25%, or 1/4 used critical slots occupied).


2. Ammo Location System

This concept of ammo storage, generally exercised by LRM "boats" or mechs heavily dependent on ballistics, is to use the principles from the ALS (Ammo Location System) to keep ammo stored within a mech in rather commonly struck hardpoints. The key to this system is knowing how much ammo is in a ton, where it is stored in your mech, and in what order your mech will be using its ammo stores. This gives you a clear picture of what components are vulnerable to an ammo explosion at any given time. It also means you can use previously ammo filled components to absorb incoming damage, since empty ammo doesn't explode.
If you're going to be using an ammo dependent mech, you should read the guide on ALS. If you ever forget where ammo is stored in your mech, you can check the readout in your cockpit--yes, that little flashing mech panel accurately tells you where your ammo is stored and in what amount. The order ammo is used in is as follows: Head->Center Torso->Right Torso->Left Torso->Left Arm->Right Arm->Left Leg->Right Leg.


3. Hiding


This method is widely used in mechs that use Ballistic or Missile weapons but don't carry much ammo. The goal is to “hide” vulnerable items like some sort of apocalyptic chipmunk and just hope for a short nuclear winter. Small critical items like Ammo invariably end up hidden in the legs or head because they aren't often/easily targeted, and if you lose them the game is most likely over for you anyways. Just keep in mind some people actively search for players who stuff ammo in their socks, and if they see an unarmored leg they'll pot shot it with crit-seeking weapons just to see what you might have. An ammo explosion in a leg can be pretty nasty due to how damage transfer works.




Defensive items and upgrades explained:

Heatsinks

Heatsinks are the most common buffering equipment. This is simply because you usually need them to function, and you need to stick them somewhere.

Single Heat Sinks take up one critical slot and cost one ton. Double Heat sinks take up 3 critical slots and cost one ton. Both have 10 HP. DHS make better buffers, but they hurt your heat efficiency more when you lose them. They are also harder to fit, and cannot be placed in the legs, head, or CT (but can fit in engine slots).

Gauss Ammo

Gauss ammo is comprised of metal slugs. They can not explode if critically struck, and are effectively inert tonnage. That's perfect for critical buffering. Gauss have 7 critical slots and are easily struck. It makes sense to store your Gauss ammo in the same component as your Rifle to reduce those odds of it being critted. This won't reduce the odds of the GR from exploding. That is a 90% chance when the Rifle is critically destroyed. Do note that if the ammo is struck and critically destroyed, you'll lose that particular stack of ammo. A fair trade, if you ask me.

C.A.S.E

This item does NOT prevent critical hits, it prevents damage transfer from ammo explosions. If your ammo is struck and begins to cook off, C.A.S.E will prevent the damage from moving past the component your C.A.S.E is stored in, but you will still lose that component. The devs are currently looking at ways of increasing the viability of C.A.S.E, so this may change in the future.

C.A.S.E is considered a "Floating Point" module and has no health. It cannot be struck by critical hits.

XL & CT (STD) Engines

XL engines take up critical slots in your side torsos, but they still count as an engine. Currently, critically destroying an engine has no ill effect. This creates a shared 15 HP buffer in Side and Center Torsos for XL, and just in the center torso for STD engine users.

The Center Torso is also very high up on the ALS feed, so if you're going to be using a lot of ammo it's a decent place to store it. Just don't take a lot of CT damage before using your ammo!

Another interesting tidbit is that HS stored in engine slots also add their HP to the buffer. It is currently unknown how they specifically/mechanically interact with the engine, but it is safe to assume they will help protect whatever is stored in the CT with them.

Item Equipment (Gyros, actuators, etc.)

For all intents and purposes these are not "in the game" as of yet, but they will form natural crit buffers once/if they are. I believe it's intended that they become crittable, so if you destroy an actuator in an arm you could limit the amount of arm movement of the player. However, consider these items uncrittable until further notice/official response.

"Floating Point" Upgrades (Endo-Steel, Ferro-Fibrous, etc.)

These are upgrades that occupy critical slots, but cannot be targeted by critical hits and do not factor into critical slot calculations. They cannot be critically destroyed. If every component containing an upgrade is destroyed: nothing happens!


Fitting Considerations


Before you start stuffing every component you have with heat sinks, you need to consider how valuable the item is that you're buffering. If it's at the point where others will actively seek it out, placing the majority of your heat sinks in that component may not be such a good idea. You're essentially trying to reduce the chances that you lose an important weapon before you lose the component it's stored in. Even a small amount of buffer can reduce the critical chance on items by 20-40%. Against most weapons in the game, that's enough protection that you'll ever need.

Choosing a weapon with high critical slots makes it easier for crits to strike that weapon, and it becomes harder to buffer it because of limited critical space. If you're having trouble fitting a build around a high critical, high tonnage weapon. A downgrade could also result in an upgrade in crit protection. Do NOT go out of your way to prevent crits in this way. Don't just downgrade your AC/20 because you're afraid it's going to be critted. Critical hits happen! Fit your mech for the best damage/range of your build, and then find ways to deal with the vulnerability after.

Playstyle is often a great substitute for having 'risky' weapons like a Gauss Rifle. If you don't reach internal armor, you cannot be critted, so good damage mitigation is key. Those risky weapons often have better damage, or more range. You can keep yourself from being in bad situations just through virtue of playing smart. What I'm trying to say is that fitting against critical hits isn't everything, but there are times you should pay attention to it--especially when storing ammo or placing heatsinks.



8. Conclusion


That's it, you're done! Or are you? This primer includes a lot of information, but not all of it. If you can't find an answer to a question, are curious, or have feedback: feel free to post!

If you're interested in number soup, have a gander at my personal spreadsheet on crits. It's where I go to relax among the splendor of crits. Also, the charts you see on this page are auto-generated based on its information. It should make keeping information up to date much easier.

Thanks for giving the guide a read!
-Selfish
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Edited by Selfish, 07 January 2014 - 10:22 PM.


#2 MagicHamsta

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 05:22 PM

Good read, but me am curious hamster.
How much damage can each ton of the different ammo types do when they cook? (Is it just the damage per round multiplied by how many rounds be left?)
('-')

& do they all has the same chance to cook off and explode?

Edited by MagicHamsta, 07 December 2012 - 05:23 PM.


#3 Selfish

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:46 PM

View PostMagicHamsta, on 07 December 2012 - 05:22 PM, said:

Good read, but me am curious hamster.
How much damage can each ton of the different ammo types do when they cook? (Is it just the damage per round multiplied by how many rounds be left?)
('-')

& do they all has the same chance to cook off and explode?


I believe you're correct in that the ammo simply applies its remaining damage to the component it cooks off in, although I am unaware of a definitive answer on the subject. It could very well be a set damage amount for a ton of ammo (like the gauss' fixed 20). I haven't seen reports of anyone complaining about ammo cooking off even though they used it all, but it sounds like it would be a rare occurrence that someone used all their ammo, noticed a cook, and talked about it on the forums. If it is indeed the initial premise, that would make LRMs the most dangerous ammo to store with a whopping 324 damage per ton.

Someone would need to search the files (not sure if it'd be in there), test it, or ask a dev.

#4 Murku

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:58 PM

Building/fighting with consideration for crits is not something I've previously considered, your post was a very worthwhile read.

Not totally sure about how coring works based on your crit description, please clarify:

Given the understanding that any current non-critical system (I guess including Emptys, Endo and FF) invokes a re-roll until a critical system is acheived, does that mean any XL users should be packing their LT and RT full of crit buffering goods, or do they only get side-cored when all LT/RT armor and structure are depleted (like being legged). Does the same go for CT coring?

#5 Perfect Shadow

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:09 AM

Excellent read really insightful - Thanks :)

#6 Wizard Steve

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 04:41 AM

I'm confused by engines. Are you saying that damage to engines has no effect other than to increase repair bills? What happens once the engine is completely destroyed? If that has no effect then what's the downside to XL engines?

#7 Gigastrike

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:05 AM

View PostWizard Steve, on 09 December 2012 - 04:41 AM, said:

I'm confused by engines. Are you saying that damage to engines has no effect other than to increase repair bills? What happens once the engine is completely destroyed? If that has no effect then what's the downside to XL engines?

An engine that loses all of it'***** points by crits won't be destroyed. The downside of an XL engine has always been that you die if any of your torsos are destroyed. Engines are destroyed by structure damage, not critical damage.

#8 Selfish

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:16 PM

FF, Endo Steel, and any "floating point" systems in your mech do NOT count as critical slots. They shouldn't even be counted in the % of being hit by a crit.

The engine has 15 HP. Once that 15 HP is gone, the item is destroyed but not disabled. At the moment this has no effect on gameplay. It doesn't "core" you if it's destroyed by critical hits. It's just a broken item you need to repair at the end of the game. If the component the engine is stored in is destroyed itself, then you will become incapacitated. So for the moment (until they add an effect), the side XL engines are just extra buffer for whatever is stored in the side torsos, but if you lose that side torso you're going to have a bad day.

The critical hit system doesn't add additional damage to the component itself, it just applies damage to items within that component. So if you roll a triple crit of 10 damage, and there's only one item in the component. You just destroy the item, and the additional 20 points of damage should be 'lost'. The original hit, of 10 damage, is subtracted from the component's armor. They should really be considered two separate systems of damage.

Edited by Selfish, 09 December 2012 - 01:18 PM.


#9 Fallout23

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:11 PM

Great read. I'm just learning the mechanics of the game and have a few q's. first off, does all armor on a component need to be stripped in order to do damage to the frame and have a crit chance on that component?
Second off, after reading the part about using weapons that do 10 damage to try to crit, a 2xppc/2xac10 k2 build is rattling around in my head for a 4x crit chance alpha. Has anyone tried this and how well does it work? Is a 2xac20 just the way to go now? I like the idea of being able to stand back a bit farther with the ppc and ac10 range. My gauss/cat seems kind of scary now with the change to gauss

#10 Selfish

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 04:36 PM

View PostFallout23, on 09 December 2012 - 03:11 PM, said:

Great read. I'm just learning the mechanics of the game and have a few q's. first off, does all armor on a component need to be stripped in order to do damage to the frame and have a crit chance on that component?
Second off, after reading the part about using weapons that do 10 damage to try to crit, a 2xppc/2xac10 k2 build is rattling around in my head for a 4x crit chance alpha. Has anyone tried this and how well does it work? Is a 2xac20 just the way to go now? I like the idea of being able to stand back a bit farther with the ppc and ac10 range. My gauss/cat seems kind of scary now with the change to gauss

Yes. All armor must be stripped from a component before critical hits can happen. When the outline of the mech's component is gone and it's just "internals", every shot that hits that component will be rolling for critical hits.

I'm messing about with some crit-seeking builds myself, but don't own a K2. Do you need to make significant concessions (engine/armor/sinks) to fit the 4x crit build? Highest I've tried is 3 times (2PPC + AC/10 + 2ML) on a Cataphract, and that's a bit of a squeeze. I think a crit-centric build has merit if you could do it comfortably with enough firepower, but it's important to realize how useful straight damage is as well. Your build has a direct alpha of 40 with better range and more crit chances than dual AC/20s. If you don't have to give up too much to do it vs the x2 20 route I'd say give it a shot. It seems like it'll be extremely tough to fit.

#11 Fallout23

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:29 PM

View PostFallout23, on 09 December 2012 - 03:11 PM, said:

Great read. I'm just learning the mechanics of the game and have a few q's. first off, does all armor on a component need to be stripped in order to do damage to the frame and have a crit chance on that component?
Second off, after reading the part about using weapons that do 10 damage to try to crit, a 2xppc/2xac10 k2 build is rattling around in my head for a 4x crit chance alpha. Has anyone tried this and how well does it work? Is a 2xac20 just the way to go now? I like the idea of being able to stand back a bit farther with the ppc and ac10 range. My gauss/cat seems kind of scary now with the change to gauss


Yeah, its way to much weight to work out. I switched out my 2xgauss for 2xac20 tonight though and its pretty devastating. Kind of a one trick pony, but its got a hell of a pony kick

#12 Selfish

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:41 AM

View PostFallout23, on 09 December 2012 - 10:29 PM, said:


Yeah, its way to much weight to work out. I switched out my 2xgauss for 2xac20 tonight though and its pretty devastating. Kind of a one trick pony, but its got a hell of a pony kick

I know I saw some people kicking the idea of a 2x PPC and 1x Gauss around for the K2, but I'm not sure if it was fruitful. Either way, the 2X AC/20 can lay down some hurt, and it gives you a couple more tons to play with than a gausscat.

#13 Wrenchfarm

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:25 AM

Fascinating and well written guide! But I do have a few questions -

- Can you name some situations (other than a Gauss cannon hanging off an arm or in a exposed side torso) where it might be better to fish for crits than to just go for component/core damage? I can get taking out a dude's weapon system, but it seems like you're just going to end up taking out a whole arm or what have you.

- Perhaps I missed something, but to be clear, ammo explosions are triggered by critical hits to the ammo in a component correct? (I know this seems obvious, but I want to be clear) If so, does ammo have the same 10 health points as everything (other than Gauss or engine) has at this point? It seems like it should be super fragile, but you don't mention that anywhere. I could definitely see fishing for ammo crits as a viable strat if ammo was demonstrably easier to set off than regular item damage; For example, I already typically aim for the legs when facing a Yen Lo Wang because not only are they difficult to core out due to their slender mid-section, but Yen pilots typically store ammo in the legs and I'm always hopeful I'll set it off while crippling him. It seems like a good idea and I do cripple then kill a lot of Wangs, but it is hard to know if the ammo explosion is happening or not.

#14 Fallout23

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:08 AM

My understanding is when you see a xp bonus flash on your screen as "component destruction", you've destroyed something he's equipped. I also assumed when 3-5 of those bonuses popped at once, that I had hit ammo and it caused a chain reaction with other ammo stored there. As I stated before though, I'm just starting to learn the games mechanics.

#15 Jace11

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:22 AM

Can't overheating damage internals without touching armour? Having looked through some game files nearly all weapons have a health of 10, excepting gauss rifle with 3. Therefore crit seeking with low end lasers, seems pointless to me.

#16 Fallout23

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:57 AM

View PostFallout23, on 09 December 2012 - 10:29 PM, said:


Yeah, its way to much weight to work out. I switched out my 2xgauss for 2xac20 tonight though and its pretty devastating. Kind of a one trick pony, but its got a hell of a pony kick


Yes and no. The extra tonnage you gain going from gauss to ac20 pretty much has to go to ammo, and they run hotter. After a few alphas I find myself having to wait quite a while between rounds, or start firing only one (which isn't nearly as satisfying...lol)

#17 Jooky SeaCpt

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:58 AM

I will say that when I get into a 1v1 slug match with another (F)Atlas who has a Gauss in the side torso, I almost always destroy his Gauss before he gets my AC/20.(This was before the Gauss nerf, I haven't really seen anyone carrying them in the side torso for brawling since). Otherwise, as Selfish points out in the guide, the AC/20 is VERY susceptible to crits because of the ludicrous number of crit slots it takes up. It is also a prime target for anyone who bothers to look at their target loadout info because it does so much damage that you really do have to take it out ASAP. This is where twisting your torso away during reloading is key to keeping it as long as possible in a brawl. Despite its weaknesses the AC/20 is my favorite gun. When something must absolutely die right now, the AC/20 is what you want to shoot it with.

#18 Selfish

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:26 PM

View PostWrenchfarm, on 10 December 2012 - 07:25 AM, said:

Fascinating and well written guide! But I do have a few questions -

- Can you name some situations (other than a Gauss cannon hanging off an arm or in a exposed side torso) where it might be better to fish for crits than to just go for component/core damage? I can get taking out a dude's weapon system, but it seems like you're just going to end up taking out a whole arm or what have you.

- Perhaps I missed something, but to be clear, ammo explosions are triggered by critical hits to the ammo in a component correct? (I know this seems obvious, but I want to be clear) If so, does ammo have the same 10 health points as everything (other than Gauss or engine) has at this point? It seems like it should be super fragile, but you don't mention that anywhere. I could definitely see fishing for ammo crits as a viable strat if ammo was demonstrably easier to set off than regular item damage; For example, I already typically aim for the legs when facing a Yen Lo Wang because not only are they difficult to core out due to their slender mid-section, but Yen pilots typically store ammo in the legs and I'm always hopeful I'll set it off while crippling him. It seems like a good idea and I do cripple then kill a lot of Wangs, but it is hard to know if the ammo explosion is happening or not.

It's largely a safe bet that you can leg an opponent and fish for ammo crits at the same time. It's not that great for the salvage bill to destroy half the opponent's mech on a lucky shot, but the fireworks are pretty. If you're looking for salvage and your opponent has ammo based weaponry, you may not want to be using 10+ burst damage weapons to take out their legs. With the way ammo consumption works, the legs are going to be drawn from last.

LRM Boats and non-gauss Dakka mechs (like the CTF 4X) need a lot of volatile ammo to function properly. These are mechs that traditionally prioritize damage over things like armor. You could conceivably search for them on these guys, but if you just try and kill them normally I'm sure you'll be able to find some hits. They're the ammo piñatas of the mechwarrior world, and they're usually so stuffed they just can't keep it all in one place.

I still wouldn't say you should just search for ammo crits on everyone. It's very risky for the reward. You could've dropped all the 10 damage shots you spent softening a leg/torso into the CT and killed the opponent that much faster. Weapons are much easier to crit-seek, because you know where they are and the benefit of your opponent not being able to shoot is easier to quantify.

Ammo does have 10HP. I don't know of any additional weaknesses. The best way to search for crits against it is to use a weapon that crits it in one shot. If you're using a PPC/AC10/Gauss/AC20, then you're doing this already. What you want to look for are chained component destructions, or damage transfers (destroy a side torso and the guy's pristine center torso suddenly goes critical). Keep in mind if you destroy a side torso the arm is going to pop off and show two component destructions. Ammo does make noise as it cooks off, but I've never really felt it was distinct--I have trouble hearing it.

I briefly took out one of my cataphracts last night (PS2's x2 XP weekend took up my time) to try and farm up some good examples of what ammo crits even look like. This is the best example of the night, but it's at least 20+k xp till master on this cat so I'm sure I'll find some better ones.

http://youtu.be/7phTPTbt2j0

#19 Selfish

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:42 PM

View PostJace11, on 10 December 2012 - 08:22 AM, said:

Can't overheating damage internals without touching armour? Having looked through some game files nearly all weapons have a health of 10, excepting gauss rifle with 3. Therefore crit seeking with low end lasers, seems pointless to me.

Yes, overheating can damage internals. I'm not sure how the damage is dealt/distributed, or how the whole process works. I would HOPE that it could also crit to destroy internal equipment, but hopefully someone who knows can help out.

You're right in your laser assumption. They do a lot of hits for very little damage. You're going to get an average amount of critical damage from them that spreads out within a component full of items. This makes it terrible for crit-seeking buffered components, but they'll do well enough against unbuffered components.

#20 Fais

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:43 PM

Do you people agree that the following qoute is correct? I would like to see some in game testing to confirm this. I was defintly under the impression until now that when your engine had recieved 100% critical damage that your mech was destroyed.

"Critical damage to the side torso hit boxes of XL engines deals damage to the engine as a whole. However, it should be noted that, currently, critical damage to your engine will not disable it, but simply add to your repair bill. This is likely to change when we do the pass on the health values."





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