In its original form, BattleTech always gave you and your giant mech mercenary company a safety net. Yes, the need to pay the bills and fix your equipment lent the game a nice structure and additional stakes to every mission, but it was always undercut by a narrative campaign that was designed to let you get regular infusions of cash and equipment that made you feel a bit more like a trust-funder than a scrappy underdog. You might have left bits and pieces of Mech-and-Warrior scattered all over the deserts of Smithon but in the end you got a fat paycheck and fresh gear that went a long way to replacing your losses and improving on what you had.
As someone who has put a lot of time into battletech, this isn’t quite true. Old bulwark was really overpowered, it was pretty much a must take skill at tier 1 meaning you can also pick up master tactician in tactics. HBS wasn’t thrilled that everyone was essentially taking the same 2 skills so a few months back they pushed some changes to the beta branch and asked for player feedback. That nerfed version of bulwark never made it live, it got rid of the passive 50% damage reduction from standing still but made you nearly invincible when guarded. Partly because evasion works a lot better for the AI than for players, what with how %damage reduction scaled linearly with incoming damage while evasion stacks are more effective the less enemies you are facing and you are always outnumbered.
The version in flashpoint is somewhere between the 2, it makes guarded stacks with cover now (like the beta version) but increases the dmg reduction from cover to 40% from 10 (guarding is now also a 20% damage reduction by default, rather than the old 50%). It’s honestly still head and shoulders above everything else at tier 1 even if it’s technically 20% less effective than it used to be and the new piloting/guts tier 2 abilities aren’t nearly as good as master tactician but there’s a cyclops variant you can use to give your whole lance +1 initiative to at least open up some options once you get to assaults.
Rob is entirely correct about the hatchetman though, it’s just a bad shadowhawk.
I started a fresh career in Flashpoint and I’ve really been enjoying getting to use lighter mechs again. Turns out Panthers and Commandos can do some serious work when they are matched up against light and medium mechs.
I’m not feeling the financial precarity yet, but things have been going pretty well so far. I got an inkling of what it’s going to be like when my Spider got its arm blown off and it cost half a months upkeep/salary to put it back on. Coincidentally I lost that arm on a mission I was doing for House Marik. It was a 1.5 skull mission and a LRM carrier showed up trashed us, honestly I was extremely lucky we only lost an arm. So I fully agree with Rob that the Successor States are trying to screw you over.