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The Fine Art Of Mechlab Mech Customisation


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#1 w0qj

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Posted 22 August 2021 - 05:40 PM

<<Warning: Long posting>>

This article is meant to highlight the less obvious Mechlab mech customisation techniques, and is meant to supplement other excellent Mechlab articles such as this:
http://mwomercs.com/...h-customization
[Above article dealt with Pre-Civil War MWO technology timeline however]

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Here's my take on Archer ARC-2R, purposely putting in a few more wrinkles for the sake of MechLab tweaking discussions:

Before improvements:
A8683:C1|Qg|i^|Y?|Y?ph0|D@|Z<2qh0|D@|i^r\0|=@s\0|Y?|Y?|^Otf0|^O|^Ouf0|^O|^Ov<0w504040
https://mech.nav-alp...9ac11870_ARC-2R
~Before: 5ton LRM ammo, 4x ML, TAG, BAP, LE275 engine.

After improvements:
A8683:C1|Rg|i^|Y?|Y?ph0|D@|Z<2|mOqh0|D@|i^r[0|=@s[0|Y?|Y?|^Ota0|^O|^Oua0|^O|^Ov80w504040
https://mech.nav-alp...513c506b_ARC-2R
~After: 5.5ton LRM ammo, 4x ML, TAG, BAP, LE280 engine.

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How we got from Before to After mech layout, as below:

1. Gained 0.5ton ammo by shaving armor from head/arm/legs.
~This technique is only for extremely ammo-starved builds. Less Armor = Less Survivability.
~Removed/shaved 0.5ton armor from mech legs, and a bit from arms.
~I find that Head armor of 6/7/8 is good enough, as standard procedure. If a player is so good that he can headshot you, additional armor won't help.
~Keep moving even when firing LRM! I rock forward/backwards at a slight angle while firing at same target. Torso twist when you are taking enemy fire and do not have LRM lock on target!

2a) LE (Light Engine) for weight savings. Specifically, upgrade to LE280 from LE275 for free.
~LE275 engine because it's the first Light Engine you can put in extra 1x DHS into engine itself, saving you 3x critical slots.
~Upgrade to LE280 from LE275 as standard procedure, because LE280 and LE275 weights the same!
~The next breakpoint is LE300 engine where you can equip 2x DHS into engine itself, but this is LE300 is too heavy for Archer; you'll be stuck with LRM-only build with no lasers. Better with LE280 engine with laser + LRM20 + BAP + ammo + DHS.

2b) Stick only with "breakpoint" LE engines, if you account/economy is CBills starved.
ie: LE280, LE300, LE325, LE350, LE375, & LE400 allows user to equip 1/2/3/4/5/6 external DHS directly into the LE engine itself.
~Buying other engines in between literally cost millions of CBills, for minimal speed increase, and is generally not worth the CBills unless you have lots and lots of CBills in your account already. Try to buy above LE Engines when there is that rare "Engine" sale, for:

IS Side: buy a few LE engines at each weight class for:
LE280 / LE300 / LE325 / LE350 / LE375

Clan Side: buy a few XL engines at each weight class for:
XL280 / XL300 / XL325 / XL350 / XL375 / XL400
[Again, XL280 engine weights the same as XL275 engine!]

3a) LRM ammo placement (and ammo placement in general).
~Ammunition Bins gets used up in this order:
[Center_Torso]>>[Right_Torso]>>[Left_Torso]>>[Left_Arm]>>[Right_Arm]>>[Left_Leg]>>[Right_Leg]>>[Head]
~Credits: thanks to Aidan Crenshaw for pointing this out!

3b) Put 0.5ton LRM ammo in Right Torso, and 1ton LRM ammo in Right Arm, because 0.5ton ammo in Right Torso gets used up first.
~Put 1ton LRM ammo in Right Arm, which gets used up thereafter in above (3a) order.
~LRM ammo in arms, because these gets used up next. I personally budget myself to use up all ammo in torso/arms before my mech arms gets destroyed, hence no CASE in arms for this IS mech.
~CASE costs 1 critical lot, but weights "zero" ton. Notice that there is already an empty slot in the right arm for this above build to put in your CASE should you wish to; you do not want the (small) chance of ammo explosion!

3c) Skimming to put AMS into your mech (not recommended for this mech scenario).
~Just to demonstrate this skimming Mechlab technique; not recommended:
~Personally I'll skip the CASE, and use that empty critical slot for something else.
~For example, I can remove the 0.5ton ammo from Right Torso, remove CASE from Right Arm, leaving you with 2 empty critical slots, and put in 0.5ton missile-based AMS +0.5ton AMS-ammo which costs 2 critical slots. (In this mech scenario, you will need to shave additional 0.5ton armor from your mech to achieve this. Again, this is not recommend for this mech scenario.

4) I prefer 2x Artemis-LRM20.
~There is a noticeable difference Artemis-LRM20, vs Artemis-LRM15.
~Artemis LRM provides 30% tighter missile spread only when firing with line-of-sight.
~Using 2x Artemis-LRM20 and lasers, I would occasionally get some Killing Blows.
~Using 2x Artemis-LRM15 and lasers, I would rarely get any Killing Blows at all.
~Do not use 3x Artemis-LRM15. Use 2x artemis-LRM20. Use the weight saved for more LRM ammo!

5) TAG on left arm. Distracts foe from targeting your all important RT (Right Torso) hopefully.
~In general, about 60% of your mech's firepower would be eliminated if RT is destroyed. Practice torso-twist to use your arms to shield/protect your RT.
~Personally I would leave out TAG, and use that 1ton for more artemis-LRM ammo, because: Artemis-LRM can visually target and LRM-lock onto faraway ECM foes.

6) 4x Medium Lasers. Just enough to deter Lights, and outright kill weakened foes during endgame, especially when you have run out of LRM ammo. I find that 3x Medium Lasers is not enough to deter Lights. ymmv.
Also, 6x ML or even 6x MPL is too hot for the Archer, which does not have enough weight or critical slots for lots of DHS. With 4x ML or 4x MPL, you can shoot both LRM and your lasers at the same time for a few volleys!

7) BAP extends your sensor range.
BAP also allows me to continue firing 1-2 additional LRM volleys at my original faraway target still locked in my sights, even while I'm suddenly inside nearby foe's ECM bubble. Immediately after that, I will need my lasers for terminal defense vs Lights. (Hence I prefer 4x MPL, bit I digress).
~Credits: thanks to Scraplron Prime for pointing this out!

8) DHS (Double Heat Sinks). More efficient Cooling, at the cost of 3x critical slots per DHS.
~Always use DHS as a general rule. There are very few QP mech builds where you need to use SHS. My MAD-4HP with LRM100 needs SHS, due to severe lack of critical slots, and smaller engine.
~You almost never use SHS (Single Heat Sinks), unless you can clearly state why you need this.
eg: use SHS in Solaris7 dueling builds (increase heat capacity, kill single enemy with alpha strike(s), don't care about cooling).

9) Less obvious Skill Tree tips.

9a) [Skeletal_Density] in the Survival Skill Tree increases your mech's base heat capacity.
~I try to this max out.

9b) [Heat_Containment] in Operations Skill Tree further amplifies mech's base heat capacity further by a fixed percentage%. I try to max this out.

9c) [Cool_Run] enhances your heat dissipation, which is not based on your heat capacity, but the amount and type of heatsinks you have installed. All 5 nodes together give you a 10% increase in heat dissipation. This means if you have 10 HS installed, you'll have effectively 11. 20 HS will be effectivley 22 and so forth.
~Credits: Thanks to Aidan Crenshaw for correcting this point! Quoted Aidan ad verbatim (9c) as above.

9d) [Heat_Gen] is from Firepower Skill tree simply reduces the heat generated from firing your weapons.
~(9d) reduces heat produced from firing your weapons.
~(9a) / (9b) / (9c) reduces heat inside your mech after your weapons have already fired.

9e) Other less obvious Skill Tree tips:
~[Reinforced_Casing] in Survival Skill Tree helps protect your weapons from being destroyed by critical hits. ie: Maxing out your [Skeletal_Density] also increases your [Reinforced_Casing] nodes along the way. From experience I rarely have my weapons destroyed even after armor has been stripped away. Usually enemy has to destroy my entire torso to remove my weapons, thanks to Reinforced Casing.

9f) Other less obvious Skill Tree tips:
~[Kinetic_Burst] in [Mobility] Skill Tree makes your mech accelerate faster, potentially allowing you to avoid enemy dakka/laser/SRM/MRM fire, and to take cover from LRM/ATM.
~[Speed_Tweak] in [Mobility] Skill Tree is generally not worth the skill points for the minimal gain in top speed; suggest you spend these points in Survival Skill Tree!

10) [Endo_Steel] structure vs [Ferro_Fibrous] armor.
~Always use [Endo_Steel] over [Ferro_Fibrous] as standard procedure for more weight savings, as both consume the same number of critical slots.
~For Inner Sphere bigger/heavier mechs with more critical slots (usually Heavy/Assault mechs), also consider that rare situation of using [Standard] structure + [Light_Ferro_Fibrous] armor. A bit less weight savings, more critical slots, usually for more DHS or ammo space.
~For greater weight savings, obviously you try to avoid using both Standard structure and Standard armor at the same time.

11) Did you know that in your MechLab you can customise your mech to your liking, and test it out in [Enter_Testing_Grounds] without paying any CBills during this testing? After you are satisifed, you can press [Save] to pay CBills for your mech MechLab change!

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Sources:
https://wiki.mwomercs.com/index.php
https://wiki.mwomerc...p?title=Weapons
https://wiki.mwomerc...Armor/Structure
https://wiki.mwomerc...rmation_Warfare
https://wiki.mwomerc....php?title=Heat
https://mwomercs.com/civil-war-update

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Additional Resources:
https://mwo.nav-alpha.com/equipment
https://mwo.nav-alpha.com/mechs

Edited by w0qj, 07 October 2021 - 01:28 AM.


#2 Aidan Crenshaw

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Posted 22 August 2021 - 09:37 PM

Nice write-up!
One thin I noticed, 9c says

Quote

9c) [Cool_Run] from Operations Skill tree is a fixed percentage% cooling per second, based on your final heat capacity as calculated from above

This is wrong. Coolrun enhances your heat dissipation, which is not based on your heat capacity, but the amount and type of heatsinks you have installed. All 5 nodes together give you a 10% increase in heat dissipation. This means if you have 10 HS installed, you'll have effectively 11. 20 HS will be effectivley 22 and so forth.

#3 w0qj

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Posted 23 August 2021 - 06:39 PM

All engines are on sale at 50% Off, which now appears to happen a few times each year!
(Until early-September 2021 in this case!)

https://mwomercs.com...mc-bundles-from

IS Side: buy a few LE engines at each weight class for:
LE280 / LE300 / LE325 / LE350 / LE375

Clan Side: buy a few XL engines at each weight class for:
XL280 / XL300 / XL325 / XL350 / XL375 / XL400
[Again, XL280 engine weights the same as XL275 engine!]
Source:
https://mwo.nav-alpha.com/equipment/engines
https://mwo.nav-alpha.com/mechs

Edited by w0qj, 07 October 2021 - 03:15 AM.






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