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Developer Q&A 4 - Role Warfare


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#1 InnerSphereNews

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:00 AM

Participants:

Paul Inouye – Lead Designer – Game Systems and Presentation

David Bradley – Game Designer - Overseeing 'Mech combat and BattleTech® rules

Garth Erlam – Community Manager - Editor

 

Can 'Mechs be customized to change their roles (beyond merely modules and pilot skills)? –Ghost

[PAUL] The main driving force behind roles is the modules and pilot skills you choose to focus in. You’re never going to make an Atlas run as fast as a Jenner but you can lighten the loadout of it for extra armor for example. This would allow the Atlas to play more to a defensive role but again, it’s mainly about modules/skills.

 

Let say there are plenty of assault, command, defense contracts signed and ready for deployment, but there are no free scouts around, does that mean, that other players will have to wait in some sort of queue until a scout-role player would sign a contract? –lxxxl

[PAUL] That’s not really how the contract systems work. The contracts you sign are for combat, not role.

 

When you unlock Pilot Points on the Battlemech Tech Tree (which are then assigned to the pilot avatar), do you carry those Pilot Points that you have learned (on your pilot) from one mech chassis (the one you gained the experience on and unlocked the Pilot Point with) to another mech chassis which has no experience? –Dihm

[PAUL] Yes, once you’ve unlocked something, it stays unlocked. When traversing the Mech Trees, you unlock the efficiencies of that Mech chassis. For example, if you unlock the entire Mech Tree for the Jenner 7-D, and for some reason you sell it, and for some stranger reason you buy a new Jenner 7-D, the tree for the new 7-D is completely unlocked. You would not have to re-skill that chassis. The same applies to the pilot points you earned while operating the first 7-D. When you sold the first 7-D, you retain all your unlocked pilot points.

[DAVID] When you gain a Pilot Point, you’ll always have that Pilot Point until you spend it to unlock a Pilot Skill. At that point, you’ll always have the Pilot Skill unlocked, which allows you to buy the related module to install in your ’Mechs.

 

Are there going to be re-specs, either for pilots or mechs? Or once you choose a path are you stuck? –TheRulesLawyer

[PAUL] There is no need to re-spec when you have the ability to swap any unlocked module to other BattleMech chassis. As for the Pilot Tree, you will be able to unlock everything eventually, to theoretically re-spec, you would simply just start assigning points down the new tree.

[DAVID] Players will eventually be able [to] unlock every Pilot Skill from all of the Pilot Skill Trees, and the modules related to those skills can be freely added to or removed from any ’Mech. The BattleMech Efficiency Trees are all fairly linear and, once again, can be filled completely. So there is little need to re-spec, as you can simply start focusing on unlocking different skills, without losing your current ones.

 

To sort of expand on two questions previously asked, about command, will command in any drop be established automatically by rank, or is it chosen prior to launching into the drop, for each drop? I ask because people do not generally make rank unless the Command & Staff are frivolous with their rank structure or they have not earned it. –Kay Wolf

[PAUL] Command is chosen prior to the drop. For Merc Corps, it’s up to the Merc Corp Leader or its officers to decide who’s going to be in those command positions. For Lone Wolf and Faction Players, it will come down to a calculation on their previous experience by default then it can be left up to the players of the match to swap out if so desired.

 

Is the customization of a Mech directly tied to the Mech's custom Tech Tree? Does the Mech's Tech Tree limit in any way the "fully customizable" options (other than the number of modules that are able to be mounted) such as weapons, armor, and other equipment? –GargoyleKDR

[PAUL] No the Mech Tree does not have an effect on the customization of a BattleMech other than modules equipped.

 

Let's say you level up your mech and pilot through a series of battles, and then one fateful day you have your ride completely destroyed. Do you lose all mech XP and start over in a new mech, but retain your buff pilot abilities? –BarHaid

[PAUL] You will not be able to have your ’Mech destroyed but that being said, if you somehow lost your ’Mech you would not have to rework your way through the Mech Tree. You retain your XP for that chassis.

[DAVID] Your ’Mech can never be completely destroyed. Even when it’s shot to pieces, your team of mechanics and techies are skilled enough to restore it to a bare minimum, just barely functioning state. If you pay your repair bills, they’ll be able to repair it all the way up to a perfectly pristine condition. So you won’t lose any of your ’Mech XP or the ’Mech Efficiencies that you have unlocked with it. Also, keep in mind that the ’Mech Efficiencies represent not just the small tweaks and tuning that your tech team performs on the ’Mechs that you pilot, but also your ability as a pilot to squeeze the extra mile out of every system as you become more familiar with operating a particular model or variant.

[GARTH] To be clear, you could take a damaged ‘Mech into combat, if you wanted to.

 

Similar to [another] question, but what will happen for players whose rolls overlap? Such as the lance commander for a scouting lance (Scout + Commander) - Will there be branches that go between pilot skill trees? –Orcinus

[PAUL] There appears to be a bit of a misconception in terms of selecting a role. MW:O is not trying to pigeon hole a player into a specific role and locking them in there. Any player can put Pilot Points into any Pilot Tree and gain any module they are trying to obtain through unlocks. The modules and Mech Tech trees are meant to be passive enhancements that help a player skill up in any way that suits their game style.

 

How does Role Warfare affect the Battlegrid? Will certain Role Warfare-related unlock more functionality for the Battlegrid? –Phalanx

[PAUL] When it comes to the BattleGrid, player roles and modules provide extra layers of information. Scouts and Commanders will have additional functionality added to their BattleGrid through specialized modules. This extra information they gain can then be passed on to the rest of the team.

 

what i need to know the most is some [comparison]. why would i take a light when i can take a med. and why take a med when i can fill the role with a heavy? –Geist Null

[PAUL] Nothing is saying you can’t take whatever BattleMech you want into combat under any role. But why would you take a heavy/assault class ’Mech as a scout when maneuvering is a key aspect of scouting? You would end up trying to scout with a bunch of lights ripping you apart because you can’t fulfill both duties at the same time due to distraction. If you wanted to take a light ’Mech into combat and play the part of an assault, there is nothing stopping you from doing so. If you’re skilled enough, you might just be effective.

[DAVID] There are a few reasons why bigger isn’t always better. First off, smaller ’Mechs are faster, on average, than larger ’Mechs. It’s all well and good to want to scout in a Hunchback or a Centurion, with a top speed of 64 km/h, but wouldn’t you be better off in a Jenner, running at 118 km/h? Even if scouting isn’t your thing, a ’Mech with a faster speed combined with better maneuverability and smaller size makes for a good hit and run attacker. Not only are there places where larger ’Mechs will have a harder time reaching, but a smaller ’Mechs are smaller, harder to hit targets that are a lot more difficult to track when they get in close to their bigger opponents.

 

Will we be able to transfer Mech XP either by C-bills or Premium to another mech at a reduced XP amount. (Example I have 700 XP in my catapult, but I transfer to an Atlas and pay to get 350 XP with X amount of currency.) –WerewolfX

[PAUL] Yes XP transfer will be an option. We haven’t decided exactly how we want this to happen. We’ll probably touch more on this during Mech Warfare month.

 

Will jump jet become a part of role [warfare] with types of jumpjet and [equipment] specialization for specialized roles for jump capable [‘Mechs]? –ManDaisy

[PAUL] At the current moment, jump jets are not part of role warfare.

[DAVID] Jump jets do not specifically play a part in Role Warfare. Now this doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful for someone who wants to, say, play as a Scout. It is just that there’s no specialization centered around them, other than the bonuses they receive through unlocking the related ’Mech efficiencies.

 

In that same vein, will there be any kind of skill tree established for Houses/Merc Units/eventual Clans which allows members to advance within the ranks and unlock additional perks for their lances if they are in combat (i.e. a General leading from the front, rather than being a REMF) –DarkTreader

[PAUL] Right now all skill trees enhance the player experience on a global level. House/Merc Unit specific upgrades are not part of our current design.

[DAVID] Merc Corps are free to set up their own ranks and chain of command and we will provide the tools to help them do so. However, there’s no in-game reward associated with Merc Corp rank. Faction players will automatically move through the ranks of a House by earning loyalty points, though rewards are limited to cosmetic items such as unit insignias and special titles.

 

Will a lance be forced to be composed of the four roles, or is it possible to mix and match? –Treffies

[PAUL] We will not force anything on to the player in terms of roles. It would just be highly beneficial for a lance to take advantage of the perks that each role provides.

[DAVID] It will definitely be possible to mix and match as there are no restrictions on which roles can be included in a lance. It will be up to the pilots to decide which of their ’Mechs is best suited to boost the overall balance or effectiveness of their lance and/or company.

As a commander I intend to pilot a heavy mech so as to get the combination of speed and firepower i need to contribute and stay alive while doing my job. can I combine tech and skill trees to enhance both my ability as a mech pilot AND my command abilities? It would make sense canonically for a company commander to also be a very good pilot and would make the part of the company command lance easier if they could all smile knowingly when some rude enemy [interrupted] the boss only to get carved into sushi by said irate Captain. –Semyon Drakon

[PAUL] As mentioned many times before, the player decides which skills/modules to roll with into combat. If you want to balance your piloting skills and command skills, that’s entirely up to you.

[DAVID] You have a few different options to be able to achieve the sort of play style that you’re looking for; it all depends on how you customize and fine tune them. The first is your choice of ’Mech. Not only are different ’Mechs naturally suited to different tactics (ie the Catapult is long range fire support while a Dragon is more of a faster moving brawler), but different ’Mechs come with a different number of module slots. This leads to the Pilot Skill Trees; you’re not restricted to any one tree, so you can unlock your way through them as you please, and then purchase the modules you want. So you could unlock and purchase a combination of Commander and Attacker/Defender modules that suit your style, and put them onto a ’Mech that comes with enough module slots.

In addition to all this, as you use any ’Mech in the game, you’ll earn ’Mech XP which can be spent to unlock its BattleMech Efficiencies. These will improve your ability to pilot that chassis, by providing you with permanent boosts to different systems on the ’Mech.

 

How far into each role will pilots be able to attain? Could a pilot feasibly (in time) become a master in each role as far as the respective trees go, or will certain factors prevent players from becoming a jack of all trades? –Aegis Kleais™

[PAUL] While it may take some time to accomplish, a player can fill every tree for their pilot.

[DAVID] As mentioned earlier, players will be able to fill up every one of the Pilot Skill Trees, giving them access to every module. But remember, that doesn’t mean that you can do everything at once; you’re still limited by the number of modules that can be installed on the ’Mech you’re piloting.

 

Adding on to the wealth of questions about the commander role (particularly to the point about pre-determining specific players as commanders), how would this work in relation to player established clans/merc groups? Can a clan of 12 players (for example) who want to enter a match pre-select their choice of commanders? Or if that clan didn't have a full complement of 12 players for a particular match (and thus would include randoms or lone wolves), how would the commander roles be balanced then? –breeze

[PAUL] Merc Corps have full control over their drop builds. They can put whoever they want into the command positions (team/lance).

 

I notice the med mechs fall in [a lot] of mods. Will the med mech pilot fall under the jack of all trades abling them to get more of the mods over the other weight classes? –DragonClaw

[PAUL] The Medium ’Mechs were mentioned due to their jack-of-all trades capabilities. This was not meant to pigeon hole them into a specific role. Theoretically you could customize your Medium to be nothing but an all-out scout if you wanted to.

 

If a Company Commander dies in a 12v12, will a Lance Commander be promoted to take over the job if he has the right modules installed? If both of the other Lance Commanders are alive what is the decision process behind transferring or assuming command? –Tsen Shang

[PAUL] Correct, if a Company Commander dies, one of the remaining Lance Commanders will be promoted to the position.

[DAVID] Something that perhaps we didn’t make clear is that the roles and Pilot Skill Trees of MechWarrior: Online aren’t like the classes of other games. You don’t choose to make your character as a ‘fighter’ or a ‘wizard’ upon creation and then you’re locked to that particular skill tree. In MW:O, Pilot Skills and the modules they unlock are like a library of perks and bonuses that you slowly gain access to. Because you can always unlock Pilot Skills from any of the trees and, given enough time, you’ll be able to fully unlock all the trees, the limiting factor is the number of module slots on your ’Mech. You then choose which of these modules to use, as opposed to following a predefined role.

So there is no official Commander role, there are simply people who have installed Commander modules on their ’Mech. If someone has three module slots on their ’Mech, they could install three Commander modules, one Commander module and two Scout modules, or any other sort of combination. As a result, the game does not officially enforce, or even recognize, any sort of strict Commander role. It will be up to players to decide who should bring which Commander modules (as well as any other modules) into the match, as well as establish any sort of chain of command they wish to follow.

 

Will every chassis' variant perform more or less the same role, or will we see various roles amongst each of the chassis' variants? –Halfinax

[PAUL] It will depend on how you pilot each chassis and how you configure it with modules. If you want to make a Dragon a scout, and you have another Dragon Variant that you want to have as an attacker, there’s nothing stopping you from doing so.

[DAVID] There’s nothing that inherently labels a particular model or variant as being a “scout ’Mech” or a “command ’Mech”, and any ’Mech can take on modules that were unlocked from any of the Pilot Skill Trees. That being said, different variants tend to come with differing amounts of armour, different engines, different weapons and other equipment, etc. These can leave, for instance, one variant more suited for scouting while another variant is a more aggressive attacker.

 

The blog implied that if I wanted to have a module on multiple mechs I need to buy one for each mech. Is there the ability to remove/uninstall a module from one mech and put it into another mech or is the module "fused" to the chassis and must be destroyed to free up module space? –VanillaG

[PAUL] Modules are like a piece of hardware. You can pull one out of a Mech and put it in another if you so wish.

[DAVID] You will be able to remove modules from one ’Mech and install them in another, or swap around the modules installed in a ’Mech. However, if you’re constantly swapping them between ’Mechs, you’ll probably find it more convenient to simply buy an extra module.

 

In your example, it showed 3 fully unlocked variants were needed to gain a mech's elite tier. Is this standard for all mechs? What about mechs that traditionally only had 1 cannon variant or had more than just 3? Will mechs with only 1 cannon variant have "made-up" variants. If a mech has more than 3 variants, will you only need to unlock 3 to gain the elite tier? -=Outlaw=

[DAVID] The example shown was just that, a generic example. While we’re still trying to figure out exactly what to do with models that have many variants, those that have only one or two will only need to unlock those one or two to reach the Elite Tier. The obvious trade-off is that, while it’s easier to reach the Elite Tier with fewer variants, the rewards won’t be as great.

However, for the ’Mechs that may have a dozen variants, we don’t want players to have to play through all of them before they receive any sort of reward. Thankfully, many variants don’t come into being until after the Clan Invasion and many more don’t see the light of day until the Jihad, so it will be easier for us to release them in batches and then integrate them together.



#2 Felix Dante

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:07 AM

First!

#3 Ghost

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:09 AM

I'm taking notes! Thanks for the info guys.

#4 Barantor

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:15 AM

Sounds like what I was expecting so I am well satisfied.... for now.... :(

#5 Zaius Ex

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:18 AM

I have to admit, I'm glad to see I won't have to grind through 10 variants on some mechs to get to the elite tier.

#6 Dihm

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:20 AM

Seems to confirm a lot of what we'd learned after Part 2 of the Dev Blog (that came out after my question was put in. :().

Glad to hear the control that Mercs are getting! Really like the "promote the Lance leader to Company commander on the CC death" deal, good stuff.

My follow up question to some of this would be: You mention that having the special characteristics of every role in your lance would be helpful, but what if you set up to have a Recon Lance, a Striker/Assault Lance, and a Fire Support Lance? You're segmenting your lances based on role instead of putting one of each into a lance. Will this be equally effective? I'm wondering if, for example, our planned structure won't be as effective in our use of a dedicated recon lance, since we won't be able to pass off the gathered data as easily.

#7 Garth Erlam

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:25 AM

Mixing roles helps but is not necessary. You guys take stuff way too literally :(

#8 Adridos

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:25 AM

It's a pity my internet wasn't working and my questions were just a bunch of crappy ideas I thought of in rush. Better luck next time, huh? :D


As for the answers. Nice of them to answer the same thing over a dozen times. Now I'm 100% sure how the "classes" will be handled. Problem is... they didn't restrict the commander abilities, so modules everyone will take are like this: role + support call-in. That's the only thing I think is worth rethinking in the whole system, but again, our community is known for not using creed "Purpose excuses the means" and not abusing this kind of clear advantage, right? :(

Edited by Adridos, 15 February 2012 - 10:26 AM.


#9 Garth Erlam

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:26 AM

Yes I can see how the theoretical examples will be totally abused in our system... :(

#10 IxxxI

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:27 AM

View PostInnerSphereNews, on 15 February 2012 - 10:00 AM, said:


Participants:

Paul Inouye – Lead Designer – Game Systems and Presentation
David Bradley – Game Designer - Overseeing 'Mech combat and BattleTech® rules
Garth Erlam – Community Manager - Editor



Thanks guys, good coverage of Role Warfare. Though I still unsatisfied with explanation of Commader Role and its (unbalanced, IMO) skill tree, presented previously. Getting from your answers, that any company player can fit command modules, lets say aerial strike beacon or something similar, what should prevent MWO matches from turning into carpet-bombing game? Which intricate tactics could stand against massive artillery/orbital/naval strikes?

See what that topic turns into :(? Maybe you can consider starting second Q&A for Role Warfare?

Edit: I got the answer, thanks.

Edited by IxxxI, 15 February 2012 - 11:49 AM.


#11 Dihm

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:28 AM

View PostGarth Erlam, on 15 February 2012 - 10:25 AM, said:

Mixing roles helps but is not necessary. You guys take stuff way too literally :(

No one ever said "necessary", just "more/less effective." :D

So it sounds like mixing roles, at a lance level, is more helpful than mixing roles, at a company level?

#12 MaddMaxx

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:28 AM

Who gets the BattleGrid before enough XP and Skills get generated to unlock the Module(s) to enhance said BattleGrid?

Edited by MaddMaxx, 15 February 2012 - 10:31 AM.


#13 Skwisgaar Skwigelf

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:28 AM

There would have to be some kind of mechanic limiting the support you can all in, whether it be cbill cost, LP cost, times per match or per day they can be used.......

#14 Helmer

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:31 AM

Hmmm.... what can I totally pick apart and infer and put words in the Developers mouths this week..........

Great stuff as always guys. Can't wait to hear NGNG's break down and thoughts about it all.

As well as the crazy things people infer.....

Edited by Helmer, 15 February 2012 - 10:31 AM.


#15 SilentWolff

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:31 AM

View PostInnerSphereNews, on 15 February 2012 - 10:00 AM, said:



In your example, it showed 3 fully unlocked variants were needed to gain a mech's elite tier. Is this standard for all mechs? What about mechs that traditionally only had 1 cannon variant or had more than just 3? Will mechs with only 1 cannon variant have "made-up" variants. If a mech has more than 3 variants, will you only need to unlock 3 to gain the elite tier? -=Outlaw=

[DAVID] The example shown was just that, a generic example. While we’re still trying to figure out exactly what to do with models that have many variants, those that have only one or two will only need to unlock those one or two to reach the Elite Tier. The obvious trade-off is that, while it’s easier to reach the Elite Tier with fewer variants, the rewards won’t be as great.
However, for the ’Mechs that may have a dozen variants, we don’t want players to have to play through all of them before they receive any sort of reward. Thankfully, many variants don’t come into being until after the Clan Invasion and many more don’t see the light of day until the Jihad, so it will be easier for us to release them in batches and then integrate them together.



So heres the million dollar question. I see alot of talk about varients, but nothing about a mech lab. It sounds like we will be limited to just certain varients of each chassis and no real ability to customize the mech to our liking. Any dev care to expand on this?

#16 Adridos

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:31 AM

View PostGarth Erlam, on 15 February 2012 - 10:26 AM, said:

Yes I can see how the theoretical examples will be totally abused in our system... :(


For a theoretical example, you said (dev team, not you directly) about it too many times. :D

#17 Garth Erlam

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:32 AM

"Though I still unsatisfied with explanation of Commader Role and its (unbalanced, IMO) skill tree..."

THEORETICAL. EXAMPLES. >:|

We stated those were general guides. Those aren't locked in stone, final, what is going to happen for sure, the be all end all. Etc.

#18 Dihm

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:32 AM

View PostSilentWolff, on 15 February 2012 - 10:31 AM, said:


So heres the million dollar question. I see alot of talk about varients, but nothing about a mech lab. It sounds like we will be limited to just certain varients of each chassis and no real ability to customize the mech to our liking. Any dev care to expand on this?

They did mention removing weapons from an Atlas to add more armor in the Q&A.

#19 MaddMaxx

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:32 AM

View PostAegis Kleais™, on 15 February 2012 - 10:30 AM, said:

I think it's gonna take a beta before my MYRIAD of Pilot/Mech XP, modules, trees, perks-based questions get answered. There's just too many dynamics.


That or the GDC will provide a more hands on look at things. A zillion questions remain for sure.

#20 Garth Erlam

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:34 AM

I think GDC will help a lot. We're all looking forward to it :(





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