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A. S. Unofficial Mechwarrior Online Field Manual

Guide Gameplay GUI/HUD

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#1 ArchSight


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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:07 AM

A.S. Unofficial MechWarrior Online Field Manual
4th Version

This guide is for new and returning mech pilots to remind themselves how a fully equipped battle mech fights on the field of war in game or real life. You'll find this guide simple and straight to the point for easy reference. I'll leave you to fine tune these tactics and strategies in the game because that's half the fun of being a MechWarrior. I will read my PM’s about this guide so you can talk to me and even suggest putting something in. Please be specific with suggestions about this guide. I will update this guide as much as I can.

  • Introduction
  • Mech Controls
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI/HUD)
  • General Tactics
  • Advanced Tactics
  • Destroying Battle Mechs
  • ECM & Spotting (Disruption/Countering)
  • Notable Item Information
  • Role Warfare
  • Specific Battle Mech Weight Class Tactics
  • Lone Wolfing
  • Team Tactics and Strategies
  • Miscellaneous and Sources
Future Content: Guide is currently finished until Battle Field Operations are significantly changed in some way or Suggestions are agreeable.


Hi, I’m ArchSight, in the past I piloted all sorts of mechs most notably the Shadow Cat for my crazy kamikaze DFA’s. I was the leader of the Creature MechWarriors in MW4. I’ve played a little bit of MW2, 3, and tesla pod with my friend. Throughout my MechWarrior gaming history I barely relied on my team. I stretched the bounds of how much a single mech can take on alone. Sense, I’m older I see the error’s of my ways back then but also know that sometimes you can’t rely on your team for every moment of the game. You have to add to its success.

MWO Mech Controls

  • “W” Throttle Up
  • “S” Throttle Down
  • “A” Turn Left
  • “D” Turn Right
  • “X” Full Stop
  • “C” Center Torso
  • “P” Toggle Power
  • “O” Override Shutdown
  • “SPACEBAR” Jump Jets (Feather the landing by using the jump jets before you touch the ground to avoid damage to the legs.)
  • “Left Shift” Toggle Arm Lock“
  • “Left Ctrl” Free Look
Weapons & Targeting
  • “R” Target Enemy 'Mech
  • ↑ Move Up Weapon List
  • ↓ Move Down Weapon List
  • ← Move Left Weapon List
  • → Move Right Weapon List
  • “RIGHT CTRL” Assign/Un-assign Weapon Group
  • “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6” Fire Assigned Weapon Group
  • “LEFT MOUSE” Fires Weapon Group 1
  • “RIGHT MOUSE” Fires Weapon Group 2
  • "BACKSPACE" Chain Fire
  • "BACKSLASH" ALPHA strike
  • "/" Weapon Cover Toggle
  • “j” ECM Toggle
  • "K" Hold to eject in Community Warfare
  • “T” Global Chat
  • “Y” Team Chat
  • “U” Lance Chat
  • “Enter” End Chat
  • “Tab” Score Board
  • “N” Night Vision
  • “Z” Zoom
  • “H” Thermal
  • “B” Battle Grid
  • “LEFT CTRL" Free Look
  • “Q” Teammate Information
  • "V" Module, Advanced Zoom
  • “F4” Third Person Combat Camera (Drone)
  • “Period” Cockpit Light
  • “Apostrophe” Toggle Cockpit Item
  • · “Delete” Cool Shot
  • · “Home” Artillery Strike
  • · “End” Air Strike
  • · “Insert” UAV
Graphical User Interface (GUI/HUD) (Thank you Greyrook for writing this)

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In the current Assault Mode, the Score Counter displays the number of mechs killed by friendly units, the game-time remaining, and the number of mechs killed by enemy units. Below this is a meter that shows how long it will take to capture the enemy's and your bases. As mechs stand in the respective base, these meters will deplete towards the center; once either meter is empty, the game is over and the team whose base remains is the winner. The progress to capture a base can be halted by both teams being inside each other’s base capture zone.

In Conquest, the score counter changes to numbers for each team that begins counting when a resource plant is captured. A meter is shown for each resource plant which also has a waypoint indicating where they are at. The meter’s blink red when the opposing team is capturing them and blink blue when allies are capturing them. Each resource plant affects the speed of resources collected by each team. The progress to capture or remove a capture of resource plant can be halted by both teams inside the capture zone. The team that destroys all mechs or collects 750 resources wins the match.

In Skirmish, the counter is the total amount of mechs the team destroys and the amount of remaining time to do it in. The team with all mechs destroyed will lose the match. If a team has more of the opposing team’s mechs destroyed and the time runs out they’ll win the match.

Attack & Defend (Going to be implemented in the future)

This element of the UI provides some of the most dense and useful information, first among which are the base locations. These are indicated by icons shaped like this (-o-), red for the enemy base, teal for your base. Enemy units will also appear as red diamonds if they are spotted by you or your team. Worthy of note, the compass is not a 1:1 readout; i.e. the compass displays about 270° around your mech, rather than the 90° of your viewing angle (credit to Sicarus).

Above the compass, yellow triangles will appear if your torso twist is not aligned with your leg twist.

The reticle is shown as two parts, the circle in the center represents the trajectory of your arms, the crosshairs represent the trajectory of your torso mounted weapons. Surrounding this are yellow boxes representing your weapon groups. As each weapon group is fired, its associated box will turn red until the weapon recycles or recharges, in which case it will return to yellow. Weapons that are out of ammo will remain red.

Locking targets is done with the circle reticle. If an enemy is spotted by you or your teammates, a red triangle will appear over the mech in your HUD, holding the reticle over this mech and pressing "R" by default will acquire it as your target.

If you have lockable weapons (LRMs or SSRMs), when you hold the circle reticle inside the red box that now appears around the enemy mech 2 concentric, yellow circles will appear around the reticle and spin. Once the circles turn red and stop spinning, that target is locked and missiles will track to it, provided there is no obstruction and you are within the weapon's effective range. After a lock is acquired, you will have some leeway with maintaining a lock, as long as you pass back over the targeted enemy every second or so, the lock will be maintained until you and your teammates lose line of sight with it or it gets into an ECM.

To the right of the reticle is the distance to target readout. The readout will gauge the distance between your mech and whatever structure/object/patch of ground the arm reticle is currently over.

This is the "paper doll" displaying the health of each component of your mech. See "ENEMY STATUS" for a breakdown.

The mini-map is one of the most important tactical aspects of the HUD. On this, you will see any nearby friendly units as teal arrows (each arrow points towards the mech's heading). Your mech appears at the center of the map as a yellow arrow that always points towards the bearing of your legs. A dashed white line extends from this arrow to help see this bearing. The top quadrant of the mini-map that is highlighted with white rays extending to the top right and left corners indicates your field-of-view. Your torso heading is always straight up on the mini-map.

In the background, you can see a rough representation of the terrain, which has a labeled grid over-layered on it so you can communicate locations easily to your teammates.

Pressing "B" by default will bring up the Battle Grid, from which a team commander can set waypoints and instructions to the team.

Battle Grid

In the top left corner, you will see a "commander" labeled with a "resign command" button if you have selected the button previously to take command. If you see these items, it means you can add a waypoint to the map which will appear on your team's compasses and maps. To do this, click a point on the Battle Grid, an "alpha" point should appear. Hover over this point and a series of icons should fade in above the point. Click on one of these icons to make the waypoint appear as that icon. Currently, there is no reward for doing this, and because only a single point can be done at a time it is not very useful. However, this is only the first incarnation, and I hope we can all at least imagine what neat tools this Battle Grid will eventually give us.

This is one of the more difficult interfaces for beginners. The easiest (albeit boring) way to look at it is as a spreadsheet. The rows of this grid are associated with each weapon on your mech (If you have weapons on both arms and torso, arm-mounted weapons will appear at the top; a space will separate these from your torso mounted weapons and the respective reticle element will appear next to each section of rows).

The columns indicate each weapon group you can assign weapons to (1-6, currently). 1 row and 1 column is highlighted, the row highlight is controlled by the up and down arrow keys, the column highlight is controlled by the left and right arrow keys. Within each cell of the spreadsheet there is a number that is either yellow (not in weapon group) or teal (assigned to weapon group). By default, all weapons will be assigned to group 1, so to prevent constant alpha striking, you must move the highlight to each weapon and press the right-control key to toggle that weapon on or off of that group.

To the right of the spreadsheet, there is a meter which acts as the weapon's recycle timer after it is fired. To the right of that is the weapon name, followed by the remaining ammunition for that weapon (the infinity symbol is used for energy weapons as they do not use ammunition).

The weapons maximum effective range is listed to remind you how far you can be without reducing your damage with that weapon. The text of the weapon changes colors to let you know how much damage you are doing at the range you are firing. What the colors are is: Green is full damage, yellow is reduced damage, and black will not affect anything at all.


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With the current game's design, it sometimes takes a few moments for the specific information about a target to appear. However, if you keep an enemy locked, all of this info will show up eventually.

Knowing your enemy's loadout has the potential to win battles for you. For instance, an enemy Awesome could be a medium pulse laser boat capable of tearing you apart at close range. Or, it could just be a stock variant with 3 PPCs which become almost useless at 90m or less. Use this readout to your advantage and as a basis for engaging targets.

The functionality for this readout is the same as it is for your mech's status in the bottom left of the screen, where each part's armor is shown as a outline that fades from bright yellow to orange to red as that part is damaged. Once the part receives enough damage, the outline disappears and damage is then applied to the part itself. If a part is missing, it means it has been destroyed and any weapons/ammunition/jumpjets located on that part will no longer be usable. In the latest patch, completely fresh and undamaged parts appear grey and transparent.

This can often be mistaken for "essential" information. While useful in a general sense, it is better to pay more attention to the enemy's "paper doll" (TARGET STATUS) in the top-right corner. This is because the percentage readout is taking all remaining armor and internal integrity into account, whereas the paper doll will show you exactly which areas have been damaged. If an enemy's health percentage is particularly low, that enemy has probably caused your team to spend a lot of ammo and time to get it there.

The exact distance between your target and the mech. Essential for LRMs as well as just generally maximizing your damage.

This feature is easily one of the most overlooked UI elements for the casual PUG player. However, as soon as you start playing in a group, this letter becomes your best friend for focusing fire. As each enemy is targeted by you or your teammates, the enemy is assigned a sequential letter from A-H. This lets your team call out targets to watch out for, fire LRMs at, going towards the base, etc. If you are using a Teamspeak/Vent/etc. server to play with your group, it would be prudent to familiarize yourself with the NATO verbal alphabet so you can call out these letters confidently (plus, it just sounds cooler). Here's the alphabet up to "L" since 12v12 will be the max:

A - Alpha (or Alfa)
B - Bravo
C - Charlie
D - Delta
E - Echo
F - Foxtrot
G - Golf
H - Hotel
I - India
J - Juliet
K - Kilo (pronounced "Key-loh")
L - Lima (pronounced "Lee-mah")

General Tactics

Situational Awareness = Situational Awareness is constantly making yourself aware of enemy and friendly activity by looking outside of the mech cockpit, listening, looking at the mini-map/radar, and checking the battle grid with the "B" key for waypoints from your commander. There is a legend inside of the battle grid that explains the different kinds of waypoints. Staying situational aware keeps you on guard and in the know.

Assess Enemy Vulnerability = This is when you see the enemy and decide on what to do. How many are there? What mechs are they using? Have they been damaged? How much armor do they have in each section of their mech? What positions are they in? What kind of environment is nearby? Do they see me? Do I have enough help? Should I run, fight, watch, or hide?

Heat Management = Heat Management is managing the amount of heat buildup the mech is taking from firing its weapons. To effectively manage heat buildup use group firing to fire weapons at different times by using the “right Ctrl” and arrow keys to select weapons into one of the six firing groups. Split up energy and missile/artillery weapons because they produce the most heat when fired. The engine of your mech produces heat when you increase movement speed so if you want to help cool down your mech slow down. Don’t rely on the shut down over ride or you’ll blow yourself up in no time by pressing the "O" key too many times. Over ride only stops the mech from shutting down while overheating but while overheating the center torso internal structure will take damage.

Piloting a mech into an ocean, lake, or river is an effective way of cooling down a mech if there is heat sinks in the mechs legs. Also avoid environmental dangers like volcanic activity that can slowly increase the amount of heat buildup and damage your mech. The maps affect heat build-up differently so be mindful of the increased heat or decreased heat your mech is taking while on the various maps. Do a weapons check by firing your weapons while not in battle and make note of the percentage of heat build-up that your weapons has caused so you can know when to fire while keeping your mech from overheating up to 100% or over. WARNING: overheating into a shut down still can cause some damage to the mechs internal structure.

Move out of Targeting = Don’t stop moving because that will make the mech an easier target to shoot. Enemy mech pilots have to compensate constantly in order to hit a moving target. Avoid attacking straight on or into large groups; attempt to circle strafe the enemy, feint left to right, or break their line of sight.

Pivot to Fire = When you’re going to fire your weapons while maneuvering cut your throttle to a lower speed. This will increase your accuracy and chance of keeping your reticules on target while you’re moving. This also enables you to take tighter turns.

Take Cover = Use the environment of the map to prevent taking more damage than you have too by going behind buildings, trees, hills, mountains and other mechs, etc. Effectively using cover can prevent you from being focus fired by the opposite team. Cover is also very useful for taking yourself off missile lock when you’re out of view of enemy players. Shutting down with the “P” key can also remove missile lock while not overheated but missiles will home into the last known location of your mech. Missiles can re-acquire lock when your mech is powered up.

Limiting exposure to line of sight of your mech is a great way to improve the chances of dodging shots and controlling where damage is taken. It’s possible when shooting weapons around or over cover by only slightly sticking out certain parts of the mech called hard points which is where your weapons are mounted on the mech. Not all mechs have equal hard point layouts to take advantage of this in the same way which adds a layer of mastery to the mech. Some will have more weapon hard points on the top or more on the left side or right side and even have top mounted weapons that are also on a side at the same time. Center torso mounted weapons can be used for either side and are usually back up weapons when other weapons are destroyed.

This isn’t the only way to play because this tactic doesn’t expose all the mechs weapons to be fired at ones which increases the damage output. Jump jetting behind cover just enough to shoot all of the weapons over a hill after you let go of space bar is one of those different ways. The speed of falling is greater than decelerating back into cover but jump jetting messes up your aim with cockpit shake until the space bar is released. While jumping out of cover taking damage before you shoot is possible. A mech that is out in the open will have its full damage output but less chance of avoiding damage taken while in a situation where it’s in the main focus of their opponent. (Main focus is where they’re paying attention)

Alpha Strike = The Alpha strike is when a mech fires all of its weapons at the same time in a group or with the use of the "BACKSLASH" key. This is the fastest way to do damage to an enemy mech but also the most risky way. It’s risky because a mech can suddenly overheat into a shut down with many heat generating weapons or HEAT SCALE from the heat buildup of shooting so many weapons of the same type. Also, that single strike could miss the target. Use Alpha strikes when there’s time to wait for the heat to go away and the weapons to fire again.
HEAT SCALE is added when there is more than the set amount of the same type of weapons being fired at the same time within 0.50 seconds.
The set amounts without heat scale penalty:
  • · ER Large Laser/Large Laser = 2
  • · ERPPC/PPC = 2
  • · LRM20/15/10 = 2
  • · Large Pulse Laser = 2
  • · Medium Laser = 6
  • · AC2 = 3
  • · AC20 = 1
  • · SRM4/2 = 4
  • · SRM6 = 3
  • · StreakSRM2 = 4
Melee = clank, boom, sorry not going to be implemented for a long time.

Ramming = Ramming is crashing the mech into another mech. A mech pilot would want to do this if they are not doing enough damage and going to die. Ramming can knock both mechs over or just one depending on the weight class and max engine speed. Also, ramming does damage to both mechs. Reliable collision detection has caused ramming to be not fully implemented yet. It does a small amount of damage.

Advanced Tactics (More difficult to perform)

Death From Above (DFA) = A DFA is when a mech jumps on top of another mech with the use of jump jets. ("SPACEBAR" key) It’s hard to get the timing just right but it’s just like ramming. It does damage to the enemy mech’s torso and damages the mech legs of the DFA’er. Also knocks down both of you. To make doing a DFA easier, jump off a cliff, a building, or a hill near the enemy and make sure they don’t expect that they are going to be suffering the effects of a DFA. Reliable collision detection has caused DFA’s to not be implemented yet. It does a small amount of damage like ramming.

Ambushing = Ambushing is a surprise attack that can be performed by shutting down a mech in a hidden area nearby the path that other mechs will take to pass by with the "P" key. Doing this is difficult because they might change direction or find the hidden mech. It’s successful when they pass by the mech and you initiate the attack from behind them. It’s possible to find you with BAP if you’re within 120 meters.

Spreading Damage = This is an old mech tactic that not many will mention to you. It will effectively keep you and your mech alive longer. You use all of your mechs armor to stay alive by spreading out the damage during a fight. To do this you have to pay attention to what your enemy is shooting at and what parts of your mech is facing them. You will force your enemy to shoot at the undamaged parts of your mech instead of letting them concentrate on finishing off sections of your mech.

You will notice that when you run your mech around your enemy in a clock wise circle the right side of your mech gets hit the most. When you run it counter clock wise the left side of your mech gets hit most. When you look to the sides the arms of your mech can get hit. When you jump jet into the air with "SPACEBAR" you can force them to shoot your leg armor. When you go behind a hill your legs are covered which forces them to shoot your torso. By doing this at the right time you can save your mech from being destroyed too quickly. Mechs that have a center torso that sticks out have a tougher time doing this but they have a less noticeable profile and have hard to hit left and right torsos.

Shot Disruption = This is when you mess up a mech pilots aim right before they are going to fire there shot off. Missing their first shot is really bad if they don’t hit you at all, especially, if it was an Alpha Strike. With a hard hitting weapon like an AC 20 you can mess up their aim. You can figure out the timing when they are about to fire their weapons. It’s right when they get into range and when they first see you. After that, you will need to start counting down their weapons recycle times to keep it up or chain fire (fire one after another) your hard hitting weapons. Chain Fire is implemented.

"Chain Fire:
  • To enable/disable selected weapon group (vertical highlight in weapon group readout) to use chain fire, press backspace.
  • Chain fire is on when you see the weapon group number flash.
  • Non flashing weapon is the next weapon to fire." (from email MechWarrior Online BETA Update)
  • It fires at 0.50 intervals when held down and fires faster if weapon group is clicked over and over quickly.
Destroying Battle Mechs

There are 4 ways to destroy a battle mech that a MechWarrior needs to decide on as soon as they see an enemy mech’s information.

They are:
  • Destroy the cockpit of the mech. (Headshots is the fastest way to kill a mech.)
  • Destroy the engine of the mech. [Located in the center torso (the Center of the mech)] If an XL engine is equipped it’s also located in the more easily to destroy left and right torsos. All three torso sections have rear armor sections protecting the back of the mech that share the same internal structure of those three torso sections. The rear armor usually has a lower amount of armor hit points to shoot through.
  • Destroy all of the weapons on the mech by destroying sections of the mech that house specific weapon hard points. (Gradually nerfs the firepower of the mech.) (Potential secondary explosion damage to nearby sections if C.A.S.E. is not equipped in the sections where ammo or gauss rifles are present)
  • Destroy both legs of the mech. (Crippling movement speed and maneuverability on the first leg destroyed)
(Any other equipment in the sections of the mech that are destroyed will lose functionality. Equipment can be destroyed before a section is destroyed if enough critical hits had occurred on it. It is more likely to lose a weapon from critical hits when it takes up a large amount of space. If there is more equipment in that space it will be less likely to be lost before loosing the whole section because there will be more parts that could take damage. When left or right torso sections are destroyed the mech also looses its corresponding arm because that section is no longer there to hold the arm on to the mech. When an already destroyed section is shot it transfers that damage to nearby sections of the mech but at a reduced amount of damage. A destroyed leg that is shot will transfer damage to the other leg but with reduced damage.)

Now you know the four ways to destroy a battle mech. Let’s get into the reasons why you’ll pick one way over the other after you see the enemies target information at the top right of your screen after pressing the “R” key to target them.

  • Enemy mech is at the right angle, position, trajectory, speed, distance, and size of the cockpit. ( Headshot)
  • Enemy mech is easy and consistent to shoot at within a timely manner. (Center Torso)
  • Enemy mech has too much firepower to deal with or too little amount of weapons. (Section of the mech that is holding the weapons)
  • Enemy mech is Fast, agile, and wasting your time. (Legs)
  • Enemy mech is alone and easy to maneuver around. (Rear of the Center Torso)
  • Enemy mech is already damaged severely in one section. (Damaged section)
You are now armed with reason and knowledge of how to take down a battle mech. Remember to be consistent on shooting the section of the battle mech you want destroyed.

ECM & Spotting (Disruption/Countering)

Guardian ECM is an Electronic Countermeasure that hides your mech from radar and any allied mech from radar within 90 meters of you. It protects mechs from lock on missiles if they don’t have a counter to ECM. It comes with two modes called disrupt and counter which are toggled by the “j” key.

ECM Disrupt mode is what hides you and your teammates from radar detection. Your mech will have an ECM icon added to it while in this mode and you’ll know if your allies are being affected by it by a eye icon that’s displayed on them. Enemy mechs will have to close to 200 meters (20 meter window) for hidden mechs to show up on HUD and battle grid. Advanced sensor range module increases the 20 meter window. Beagle active probe (BAP) will not increase the 20 meter window. It takes twice as long to achieve missile lock through ECM. NARC will not provide normal bonuses until out of range of ECM. Artemis will not provide its bonus either.

VS Disrupt mode at 90 meters or less it will be showing a low signal on the affected mechs radar mini-map and showing an icon that has three differently sized red bars with the first one filled red. The mech cannot share targeting data. Lock on missiles will not function unless the mech has a counter. TAG at 90 meters or less near a ECM disrupting mech will not allow lock on missiles to be used or the bonuses from tag applied.

ECM Counter Mode turns off the benefits of disrupt mode at close range and will stop all functions of only one enemy mech’s ECM disrupt mode. (BAP’s counter to ECM Disrupt does not stack if equipped with ECM at the same time.) There has to be the same amount of mechs with counters to stop the same amount of ECM disruption. When ECM disruption is countered it will show a crossed out ECM Icon on the enemy mech.

Other Counters to ECM besides ECM itself:
  • · (BAP) Beagle Active Probe counters ECM disruption to allow shared targeting data and missiles to lock on at 150 meters or less. The 150 meters can be extended by the advance sensor range module. It can only counter one ECM disrupting mech at a time like ECM counter mode does.
  • · NARC counters ECM by revealing the target like tag or a PPC but until the full duration of the NARC beacon expires.
  • · TAG counters ECM at 91 meters up to 750 meters away.
  • · ERPPC/PPC’s shot at an ECM mech momentarily reveals it for 4 seconds.
  • · The consumable UAV reveals nearby ECM mechs and their allies to be targeted and locked on but doesn’t remove close range disruption.
Notable Item Information
  • · UAV’s can be shot down by players.
  • · Red smoke means artillery or air strike is going to fall down on that location.
  • · LRM’s do no damage at 180 meter’s or less.
  • · PPC does no damage at 90 meters or less (not ERPPC)
  • · Gauss Rifles can explode instead of their ammo and have to be charged by holding down the trigger for one second.
  • · Flamers add heat to the mech that’s using them.
  • · UAC5 can jam after one shot.
  • · Lasers do damage over the duration of the beam to reach their full amount of damage. (have to track the target with these)
  • · Machine Guns have a higher chance to critical components on exposed internal structure of mechs.(when they don’t have that line or layer of armor over the shapes on the paper doll damage readout)
  • · Seismic Sensor module only works while standing still and also shows nearby weapon fire impacts.
  • · Target Decay module keeps a mech on radar longer for everyone to see but only stays on longer if you’re the one who spotted the mech with the target decay module. Allies that spotted the mech without target decay will not give the bonus time.
  • · Tag decreases time to lock on and decreases missile damage spreading which is stack able with the similar buffs of NARC and Artemis but Artemis will not stack with NARC.
  • · Artemis upgrade requires line of sight to apply its bonuses and will cancel out NARC bonus even when there’s no line of sight.
Role Warfare (Role game mechanics may vary depending on perspective; content of the subject can be changed.)

Role Warfare starts right when you choose a mech. Each different battle mech offers a different play style or role to master that they fit into. If you own the Battle mech you can customize it to fit almost any play style of yours but that’s too complicated so let me point out where the average differences of each battle mech weight class fits into each play style. Then I will help define the four or more roles they can full fill for your team.

Light Battle Mech Class = 20 to 35 Tons. , Very High Speed, Very High Maneuverability, Low Armor, Low Firepower, Play style is twitchy, hard to hit, and fast paced which lets it handle the farthest positions away from a group.

Medium Battle Mech Class = 40 to 55 Tons. , High Speed, High Maneuverability, Average Armor, Average Firepower, Play style is supportive of team maneuvers to quickly create demolition boxes while ensuring a low amount of damage is taken which shows strength in being flexible for multiple positions around and away from groups.

Heavy Battle Mech Class = 60 to 75 Tons. , Average Speed, Average Maneuverability, High Armor, High Firepower, Play style is like a tactical shooter which relies more on doing damage, and flexible positioning around a group.

Assault Battle Mech Class = 80 to 100 Tons. , Low Speed, Low Maneuverability, Very High Armor, Very High Firepower, Play style is being the hardest to kill and imposing the biggest threat to deter charging of your teams positions.


Scout = The scout’s role is to immediately get information about the other team in the beginning of the match by spotting targets and telling their team where the main enemy battle groups are on the map so their team can get into positions to properly defend or attack the other team. Scouts can use the listed number and letter grids of the battle grid to report enemy locations. Scouts are not post to expose themselves to taking a lot of potential damage. Scouts need a fast mech to be able to get information quickly and escape any pursuing groups of mechs.

The preferred mech class for performing this role is a light mech.
“Suggested Modules: Radar and Detection enhancements”
“Suggested Pilot Skills: Scout class skills”

Defender =

The preferred mech class for performing this role is a _____ mech.
“Suggested Modules: Assistance and Detection enhancements”
“Suggested Pilot Skills: Assistance of friendly units and Detection/Protection skills”

Support =

The preferred mech class for performing this role is a ____ mech.
Suggested Modules: (Unknown)
Suggested Pilot Skills: (Unknown)

Assault = The Assault’s role is to find favorable cover for front line positions and tactically engage the enemy team to pick them apart one at a time with the help of their team.

The preferred mech class for performing this role is a ______ mech.
“Suggested Modules: Assistance and Targeting enhancements”
“Suggested Pilot Skills: Enhanced Targeting and Assistance of friendly units”

Commander Role = Only one player can be the commander at a time. The Commander is in charge of organizing the team with the use of the battle grid (“B” key) and the take command button inside of the battle grid. The Commander uses a left click menu on the battle grid to set waypoints for the team or a specific lance to follow. Also in the battle grid is the legend that explains what kind of waypoints that the commander is using.

“Suggested BattleMech Class: Any that isn’t always busy”
“Suggested Modules: Ability to call upon support units/Radar enhancements”
“Suggested Pilot Skills: Self-defense and information sharing skills”

Lance Commander = Same as Commander role but only for a specific lance/star. It allows for adding and kicking players out of the lance/star when needed.

Almost any weight class of mechs can perform these roles but might have to sacrifice strengths to become more like the preferred weight class of mechs.

For new player’s there is a 25 game C Bill bonus given so you can quickly get a foot into the mech lab with your preferred choice of mech class that you want to pilot. It’s good to play the trial champion mechs first to get an idea on what first mech you want to buy. The champion mechs are already fully upgraded and customized. The new mech you’ll buy will have a stock load out that is not upgraded or customized.

Now one’s you own a mech you can start unlocking mech efficiencies, Pilot skills/modules, and customizing your mech so you can full fill one of these chosen roles or play styles a little better than you have before. I strongly advise upgrading a new mech to double heat sinks after being bought because standard heat sink’s cooling ability is far too low to keep up with the action.

GXP is for unlocking pilot skills/modules which you earn anytime you play one of your own mechs.

XP is for unlocking mech efficiencies which you earn only for the mech that you are playing and own. Three variants of the same mech must have basic efficiencies unlocked to allow you to spend XP on elite efficiencies. Then to be able to spend XP on the master efficiencies you must unlock basic and elite efficiencies for another battle mech of the same weight class.

Specific Battle Mech Weight Class Tactics

These are the general tactics for each weight class based on their generally known strengths and weaknesses. With customization and chassis design some of these tactics could be used for different weight classes.

Light Battle Mech Tactics:
  • Circle back where you came from on top of hills to create a quick and limited exposure time to shoot over hills.
  • Run past enemy mechs into cover to limit the amount of time you expose yourself to combat.
  • Take the low and high ground to avoid torso mounted weapons on nearby enemy mechs.
  • Lure nearby enemy mechs into areas where your team will have an easy time shooting them.
  • Force mechs to turn around so their rear armor is facing a nearby friendly that is ready to shoot them in the back.
  • Finish off hiding damaged mechs
  • Attack lone flanker’s or LRM carrying mechs to distract or destroy their efforts of weakening your team.
  • Inform your team of enemy positions and other information if needed.
Medium Battle Mech Tactics:
  • Circle back where you came from on top of hills to create a quick and limited exposure time to shoot over hills.
  • Take the low and high ground to avoid torso mounted weapons on nearby enemy mechs.
  • Side strafe with W and S, parallel of enemy mechs positions to dodge projectiles and spread damage. It works better the further you are from them.
  • Change position’s often to subvert predictable shots.
  • Find flanking positions to use against the other team.
Heavy Battle Mech Tactics:
  • Side strafe with W and S, parallel of enemy mechs positions to dodge projectiles and spread damage. It works better the further you are from them.
  • Enforce a teammate’s position with focus fire on their target.
  • When dealing with fast mechs back up the mech to cover to protect the rear end of your mech.
Assault Battle Mech Tactics:
  • Try to control cover by only going around cover and hills enough to engage only one mech at a time to limit exposure to incoming fire.
  • Try not to use shooting over hill maneuvers because climbing up a hill as a Assault mech is far too slow to be worth the potential damage before you even get all your weapons over the hill.
  • Camp a position to slow down their advance.
  • When dealing with fast mechs back up the mech to cover to protect the rear end of your mech.
Open to suggestions on this subject.

Lone Wolfing (Acting Alone)

In match made games you may be matched up with a team but that doesn’t mean team work is going to happen. People are not always going to cooperate with you and invite you to a voice chat server. For that situation, I’m going to talk about how to act alone on a team. It will be a specific way to force some team work out of them.

Stick Together = Stay relatively close to your teams main battle group. Just close enough that you are able to quickly focus fire on any targets that present themselves to attack your teammates. The best way to make sure your team sticks together is to tell you and your teammates to take baby steps. (If they understand it) Yes, baby steps taking one step at a time. It’s a staggering movement pattern that allows your team time to recheck where there teammates are and catch up so they can stick together. To take baby steps slowly move and halt behind cover while moving closer to your enemy. Your teammates will use their full speed to catch up to the group.

Priority Teaming = If your team splits up use priority teaming. Priority teaming is figuring out who you want to fight with. If you press the “Q” key information on your teammates will show up above their mechs. Use this to get to know your team quickly by recognizing what mech variants they have and how much remaining armor signified by the percentage. Knowing this can get you an idea on what kind of mech load outs they could be using. If you’re lucky your teammates will announce (if asked) what their load outs are.

Now the choice of which teammates you want to fight with should be based on how important their mechs are to your team’s success and what your mech can do for them. Lowest will be light mech/scouts/harasser/capper, than medium mechs/support role, than heavy mechs/assault role and then the most important, assault mechs/defense role. This should help you preserve your team’s battle strength high throughout the match. If your teammates are outnumbered (even when you are there) stay far away enough for you to escape when the battle goes bad so you can regroup with other surviving teammates.

Priority Focus Fire = Priority Focus Fire is figuring out what target or enemy mech to focus fire on to help your team take down mechs quickly just like a team with voice chat. This is very easy to do because all you need to know is what a full red triangle or a empty red triangle means on top of a enemy mech. The full red triangle means that your teammates are targeting this mech. An empty red triangle means nobody has this enemy mech targeted with the “R” key. The mech that has the full red triangle above its head is the mech to be focus fired on so target this mech and destroy it.

If your team has multiple targets locked with red full triangles call out the target to be focus fired either with the Alpha through Lima letter indicators near the locked targets triangle or any other specific information on the target.

Guerrilla Warfare = If caught alone do Guerrilla Warfare Tactics. Guerrilla Warfare is hit and run tactics where you can use ambushes, peck at them with long range weapons fire, or choke points. Choke points are areas on the map that become a tight fitting environment like a city or tunnel. You can lead your enemy or run to these locations so you can force them into a 1 on 1 fight instead of dealing with 2-3 mechs out in the open. As you run through choke points on the map make sure you force the enemy mechs to get in the way of each other’s line of sight. Fighting like this will significantly lower your chances of taking too much damage during a match. Adding speed to your mech will help with this. Good luck lone wolf.

Team Tactics and Strategies

Formations = A way for your team to concentrate their firepower and Armor. For example, if you have your team stand side by side with their mechs; your armor will be protected on the side your teammates are standing on and teammates will be able to fire on your target without you being in their line of sight. It doesn’t have to be done in a specific pattern but in a way that will allow each of your teammates mechs line of sight of the mechs their going to shoot at and have those lines of sight converging in an area where their weapons will do damage.
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Circle of Death = C.O.D. is where you and your team circle strafe the enemy to blockade their escape from battle. Be careful not to shoot your teammates on the other side of the circle.

Flanking Maneuver = Flanking is not just attacking the side of an enemy team. It’s having your main force pining down there defenders while the flanking group(s) of your team moves to engage that enemy team at a different direction than your main force. This is useful for narrowing down your enemy’s movement and lowering their ability to defend themselves.

Pincer Movement = When the enemy team advances towards the center of your team a Pincer Movement can be done too immediately flank the enemy team. To do a Pincer Movement have your team divide towards the sides of the enemy teams force with reinforcement on the ends of the Pincer Movement to perform a second Pincer Movement on each side to prevent outside reinforcement of the surrounded enemy team. It’s a faster more risky way of the Flanking Maneuver.

Defeat in Detail = This is something that you will naturally see teams doing in PUG matches and have a pretty good chance at failing horribly at it. Defeat in Detail is when a large number of players are used to defeat a small amount of enemy players at a time to bring down the number of enemy team members that your team will have to deal with later on. It’s post to put your team into a low risk situation of losing its strength and eventually destroy the other team. So when you see your entire team chasing a Jenner there trying to use Defeat in Detail to make it easier for them to win the match.

Charge = Charging is having your team move as fast as it can into close range to break through enemy lines. Having your team charge is useful when you need them to get out of a bad situation like being surrounded or breaking the morale of the other team. It’s also useful at taking advantage of outnumbered players and unguarded objectives but fails at attacking defensive positions.


I congratulate you if you read and practiced all that is in this guide. There is still more you can learn about MechWarrior and its origin BattleTech so I urge you to go explore the universe. Have fun stomping your competition MechWarrior.

Recommended Guides

MWO and basic military concepts
Timidity Is Not A Tactic
Online Mechlab, Maps, Stats And Data (Smurfy)
MWO Guides/Useful Info Links

Recommended Tutorials?

Kanajashis cadet video tutorials

Recommended Lobby Match Finder


Recommended MWO Communities

No Guts No Galaxy

Recommended Community Team Speaks

No Guts No Galaxy Outreach server
password: mechwarrior

Sources (Thank You)

Paper back - MechWarrior4Mercenaries Field Reference Battle Strategies (p20-22)

MechWarrior Online Developer Blogs

The Basics The in game HUD and GUI (Greyrook)

1st Version of ArchSight’s MechWarrior BattleMech Tactics and Strategy Guide

Wikipedia Maneuver Warfare

Wikipedia Tactical Formation

Heat Scale

Break Down

Guardian ECM Suite

Patch Notes - 1.2.223 - 21-May-2013

Edited by ArchSight, 26 May 2016 - 01:56 AM.

#2 KageKaze


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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:20 AM

Wow.. That is a thorough guide and breakdown of the HUD/GUI. That must have taken awhile to write out. Kudos good sir. This is the type of instruction manual I think people have really been looking for, nearly everything you need in a well structured format.

I'm also humbled that you decided to link my tutorial thread as supplemental material, thank you for that. I'm looking forward to see what else you write up, especially when the electronic warfare part starts up.

#3 ArchSight


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Posted 03 November 2012 - 10:48 AM

View PostKageKaze, on 03 November 2012 - 08:20 AM, said:

Wow.. That is a thorough guide and breakdown of the HUD/GUI. That must have taken awhile to write out. Kudos good sir. This is the type of instruction manual I think people have really been looking for, nearly everything you need in a well structured format.

I'm also humbled that you decided to link my tutorial thread as supplemental material, thank you for that. I'm looking forward to see what else you write up, especially when the electronic warfare part starts up.

Greyrook is responsible for the Graphical User Interface section. He gave me permission to use the information from his old guide. All I did was update that part.

Yes, you do make good tutorials. I had to share it.

I'm also excited for electronic warfare. In the old days I could never keep myself off radar long enough with passive radar running.

Edited by ArchSight, 03 November 2012 - 11:55 AM.

#4 KageKaze


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Posted 03 November 2012 - 12:18 PM

View PostArchSight, on 03 November 2012 - 10:48 AM, said:

I'm also excited for electronic warfare. In the old days I could never keep myself off radar long enough with passive radar running.

Right now it just feels really hard to do reliable spotting. If I see the enemy enough to lock on in a light mech then they can lock onto me and just start raining missiles on me. I've tried sneaking behind enemy lines and feeding data, but they always know I'm looking at them. I'm hoping ECM or some other form of jamming will help me see them first before they know I'm coming. I enjoy being a sneaky ******* :)

#5 Saladin Salazar


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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:52 AM

I must say this is one of the best guides I have read so far, thanks for all the hard work putting it together.

#6 Shalune


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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:24 AM

How does this only have 1 like? Absolutely stellar job. There is no better resource I've seen for a new player looking to make sense of what MWO combat has to offer.

#7 Dirus Nigh


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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:13 AM

Very good work.

#8 Tenghu


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Posted 11 November 2012 - 03:31 PM

Impressive guide, worse reading it to the end. Nice job here.

#9 Fireye


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:45 AM

Terrific guide. Would it be possible for you to upload either lightly compressed PNGs, or nearly-uncompressed JPGs for the images? It is very hard to make out the TAG and NARC indicators in your screenshots, due to compression.

#10 ArchSight


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:16 PM

K, I updated the pictures into PNGs and I also didn't upload them to be compressed in anyway. I don't see any difference though. I think it's just my screen resolution for taking the screen shots. It may be too small to show them clearly.

The TAG Icon is the square with the cross going through it and the NARC icon is the bold dot with curved lines going up.

#11 Krivvan


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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:25 PM

I may not agree entirely with all of your opinions about tactics, but this guide is very comprehensive and useful for new players.

#12 Green Mamba


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Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:42 PM

Very nice guide,good work

#13 BoomDog


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Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:59 PM

I hope they sticky this.

#14 Tuku


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:16 PM

Bump for a good guide.

#15 Krazy Kat


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Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:27 PM

Should be stickied.
Great job.

#16 Blark


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Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:37 PM

Quite comprehensive :)
Good work mate, should be stickied along with smurfys reference guide.

#17 Vosje


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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:28 AM

Really good guide. I second that sticky as this comes close to a "read this before opening your cockpit" document.

#18 Tuku


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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:32 PM

bump for great justice....and better newbies :)

#19 KageKaze


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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:09 AM

Nice to see this post got the sticky it deserved.

#20 BerryChunks


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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:38 AM

View PostArchSight, on 03 November 2012 - 02:07 AM, said:

oohhh... you better not link Guerilla (asymmetrical) warfare, homeland security will be watching you for inciting "domestic" terrorism.

Edited by BerryChunks, 12 January 2013 - 01:40 AM.

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