BATTLETECH,,,,, It's good


Behemoth and the MC are brawlers with bulwark, Dekker and a dude named tugboat sit in the lrm boats in the back. Glitch and medusa are busy being extremely dead.


Well Glitch finally bit the dust on Smithon. Got knocked down and then called shot after called shot cored out the cockpit before I got a chance to get her back up and punch out. From 100% to zero like that.


I lost Behemoth and nearly Glitch on a Taurian system in the ass-end of the sector on a mission with nothing special about it. Just mopping up the reinforcements after dealing with an uphill battle against a tough lance of heavy mechs, and both of their mechs went down to shots of varying luck.

Staring at my injured roster, I realized Glitch–out of action for two months now–was the last remaining member of my original crew. And for what? To pad my bank account, to tread water while doing missions for the Capellans and Federated Suns to undermine Taurian sovereignty?

No, it’s time to tackle the main missions more seriously. I considered reloading the mission, but felt it would cheapen this grief I felt at Behemoth’s loss and this introspection as to what my mercenary company stood for and meant, putting their lives on the line out there.

Glitch, I’m going to get you through this, I promise.


I lost Glitch on a random contract that should have been a simple milk run. Glitch was my front line heavy hitter in a Shadow Hawk geared for close range. She stayed behind to handle a mech while the rest of the lance chased a particularly pesky vehicle convoy to prevent their escape. On paper, Glitch was winning easily, but one bad call left her open with no evasion and the opposing mech fired off a close range SRM volley. Critical head hit.

Between this game and Into the Breach (and helped in no small part by being a Waypoint fan) I am experiencing a renewed love of mechs that takes me back to my high school days of Gundam Wing and Zone of the Enders.


I have a logistical question about the final mission if anyone knows off hand. I’ll mark spoilers.

I’m about to do the final mission, which the game has described as a Point of No Return and said that I will need to field multiple lances. Can anyone tell me how many lances are required?


Mechanical spoiler:

There are a couple of missions. It essentially just means that there is no time between them, so no time for repairs or recovery.
As I recall white armour gets replaced as long as it didn’t go to 0.


You want 7 capable pilots and probably 7 mechs although you likely won’t need that many. It’s just 2 back to back missions with no time to refit, so if you don’t take much structure damage you only will need to roll with 4 mechs. Any pilot that takes an injury however will be unavailable and go to the med bay, so you need 3 backups in case they all get wounded. The 4th slot in the second mission is reserved for kamea’s atlas


So I watched Austin and Rob play up until they started the first story mission, at which point I bought the game myself and dove in. The closest thing I’ve played to this is XCOM, so I’m pretty much just flying by the seat of my pants and learning as I go. I had a lot of success in the early missions, and soon enough decided to take on that first story mission myself.

Spoilers for the first story mission (Grim Sybil) ahead:
I was woefully unprepared for the low heat dissipation of the lunar environment, but I eventually managed to get through the first half of the mission with all my internals intact (though Dekker has taken a random missile to the head). Then came part 2. The initial encounter was a total slog. When I watched Austin and Rob play through this mission afterwards, they immediately recognize the Jenner light mech as a threat, and take it out before it can do any damage. But me, I don’t know the difference. I just see 3 light mechs and 2 vehicles and think, oh this is fine, I’ll just hit whoever and they’ll go down without too much trouble. As light mechs, they probably SHOULD have gone down without much trouble too, but the random hit location rolls spread the damage such that it took an infuriatingly long time to kill them. Plus, I hadn’t prioritized taking out the Jenner, so I was taking a lot of damage in return. Also, not really understanding the cover system, the enemy mechs and mine were just circle-strafing each other out in the open until I finally took them down.

Finally, Grim Sybil arrived. It was the first heavy mech I’d seen, so, terrified, I tried to hang back and focus on the medium mech that was with her. That mech, too, took forever to go down, and by the time it did, Medusa, in the Blackjack, had gotten DFA’d and was on his last legs.

Finally I turned my attention to Grim Sybil herself. I decided to start off with a PPC bolt from Glitch, who was perched way up on top of the wall that surrounded the battlefield. Imagine my surprise when the PPC bolt hit Grim Sybil’s Quickdraw squarely in the head, killing her instantly. It seemed so absurd, I thought FOR SURE it must’ve been scripted. After watching Austin and Rob’s playthrough, I’m starting to realize just how lucky it was.

Anyway, that’s the story of how I got my first heavy mech.


So, I went back and looked and I guess they never actually fixed the high/low spirits bug. So Austin’s choice with the coffee has actually made dekker and medusa upset forever.


Wasn’t that fixed a few weeks ago?


I apparently only looked at the 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 notes, whoops.


So here’s something I just discovered that y’all might already know about. After a half-dozen or so 35-LRM precision strike salvos targeting the head with 85% chance to hit and 18% chance to hit the head, in which, infuriatingly, not a single LRM hit the head, I was sure that there must be a bug. After all, 35 x 0.85 x 0.18 = 5.355 missiles that should be hitting the head every time.

Okay yeah, now that I think about it, it seems kinda broken if I could incapacitate any mech in range in a single attack.

But as it turns out, that’s not how LRMs work. Only the first missile in each LRM rack has a chance to target the head. So if you’re trying to target the head, you’re really just better off installing as many LRM5 racks as you can. Since I had two LRM10s and an LRM15, the math for me was really:
3 x 0.85 x 0.18 = 0.459 average head hits.


Yeah, multi shot weapons either hit the head once on the first hit or not at all to keep missiles/machine guns from being guaranteed pilot kill : the weapon. If you want to go head hunting you want something that does over 61 damage in a single hit, so ac10+++, gauss rifle or ac20


It’s usually better to think of these things in terms of probability of never hitting. Otherwise you end up with maths that looks linear (for average head hits) which completely obscures the probability of always missing being anything but.

10 x 0.85 x 0.18 = 1.53 missiles
35 x 0.85 x 0.18 = 5.355 missiles

So we look at those numbers and think that 35 missiles is better but even 10 missiles should hit the head once if it rolled probability every missile. However, if we calculate the probability of every missile missing the head:

(1-(0.85 x 0.18))^10 = 19%
(1-(0.85 x 0.18))^35 = 0.3%

Plotted chance to miss the cockpit (percentage vs number of rolls with these odds):



So speaking of missiles, I feel like Leg Day might be a good opportunity for a teachable moment wrt mech design and ammo explosions even though they aren’t as turbo lethal as they were in TT. So, in HBS battletech ammo explosions are way simpler and less deadly than in other mech warrior games. If an ammo bin takes a critical hit once that section has no armor left if it has more than half ammo remaining, it explodes and the section it goes in is destroyed, less than half then the feed is jammed and all that ammo can no longer be used but does not explode. Similarly, if a weapon takes a crit, the first time it gives it a -10% accuracy penalty, the second is outright destruction. So, let’s look at how austin and rob built Leg Day:

So, there are 4 spare critical slots in the left torso but all the ammo is in the right torso instead. This is actually suboptimal for a number of reasons. The first is that if either torso goes, leg day will almost certainly not be able to fire anymore, instead of just needing to protect the left torso. The second is that if the right torso takes any critical hit it is guaranteed to hit the ammo and take the torso with it, rendering Leg Day unable to fire. The last reason is that because 1 ton of ammo is in the right leg, exposing either side to evenly distribute damage is risky since 2/3rds of the right side are time bombs (one of which will also cause instant knockdown) and the left side is all the weapons that need to be protected. Instead, generally you want to cluster ammunition in the same part as the weapon that’s using it. 3 lrm launchers and 4 tons of ammo in the left torso means there’s a decent chance that a shot going internal hits one of the launchers instead of the ammo and keeping it safe. This also lets you torso twist to keep the barren, right side as a buffer since you don’t really care about it getting beat up.

Now, since the centurion has all 3 of it’s hardpoints in the left torso, you can’t keep 4 tons of ammo all in the torso if you want to fit more than 30 lrm tubes (you do) so where else should it go. Well, the CT and Head will both instantly kill the mech if the ammo cooks, so don’t do that unless you’re rob and hate your pilots being alive. The opposite side torso/arm should be avoided if possible so you can use it as dead weight. The leg…isn’t honestly the worst choice against the AI in this game. I wouldn’t ever do it since losing a leg means a knockdown but you’d probably get away with it the vast majority of the time. I’m also not even remotely expecting Austin to not have the excess there anyway now that he’s named it Leg Day. The best place is probably the left arm and an LRM boat shouldn’t take too much fire regardless and that way you can keep your entire left side turned away until you start running out of armor. There’s other more minor things, like rear armor really only needs to be in increments of 25 (the amount to stop a medium or small laser from going internal) so you can save some weight off the back or the medium laser not really having a point until you can drop the minimum range on lrms a bunch, so it could be stripped off for another free ton of space. Those last few are kind of just minor optimizations though and aren’t ever really going to have as dramatic an impact as all your ammo going up in flames.

Thank god ammo explosions can’t jump between sections in this game.


Wow! This is fascinating. I wish the game itself explained any of this.


I’ve gotten back into this over the weekend, going back and doing various contracts to build my exp and confidence until I go after Smithon.

One thing that I noticed I’ve been doing is leaning on missiles over most other things and my Lance has no AC’s at all. Am I fucking up?


I’ve generally found AC’s not to be worth it. I’ve gotten some utility from 5’s, but I feel like they just don’t do enough damage for their tonnage. Although that said I have since found some nice upgraded ones that I like.


Missiles thread a nice balance of “not too heayy, not too hot,” but their downside is that they just kind of scattershot hit all over enemy mechs, rather than being able to knock a big chunk out of a single enemy part in a single go.

Autocannons, I’ve found, have gotten more useful as I got into mechs with tonnage to throw around that was more than just “ok this autocannon is /all/ that I can stick on here.” They’re nice due to their high punch-through damage and low heat generation for flat up replicatable reliability. I think the AC/5 is one of the most efficient weapons in the game, putting the PPC to shame–sure, it weighs 3 more tons with ammo and does 5 less damage, but generating 1/4 as much heat feels so very good.

It’s interesting as I come to grips with the systems mechanically how the weapons I favor tend to shift around. I started in love with LRMs, after turning the Centurion you are given into an LRM-boat, and learned how to knock folks over; then I sort of shifted over to the punch of loading a mech up with light lasers and shotgunning them point blank with that, even if it ran hot; then I married the two concepts for a brief fling with SRMs… and finally came around on ACs as possibly my favorite weapons once I was using mechs large enough to have the spare tonnage to fit them comfortably. I find I’ve settled into a more… situational balance, now, of using tools for their designated purpose: I like my AC/20 Orion paired with some SRM4s for a point blank brawl, I like my Highlander with its big long range gun backed up by 35 LRMs for some serious stability damage; I like my Thunderbolt loaded up with medium lasers on my scout for finisher blows when I’m not sensor locking.


So, ACs are weird in this game as they’re kind of all over the place after being buffed from the garbage tabletop versions. The AC2 is still garbage, it’s 6 tons for 25 damage without ammo vs a medium laser at 1 ton. The AC5 is actually probably better than the PPC in this game. It’s slightly heavier off the bat but once you have to factor in the extra heat sinks you need to actually fire a PPC (past the first one) it pulls ahead. The 10 is weird in that it’s very close in tonnage to the 20 but for half the damage. This isn’t great, except that a + variant of the AC10 is one of only 3 weapons in the game that are capable of killing a head in a single hit giving it marginal utility, the others being the gauss rifle and the AC20. The AC20 is great, if heavy. It’s 120 points of concentrated damage meaning almost anything you hit is going to structure is not outright exploding. In general 5s and 20s are the most useful, 20s go on brawlers heavy enough to carry them and 5s on snipers that already have 1 ppc fitted to use the built-in heat sinks efficiently.