MechWarrior Online Atlas Tactical Tips
MechWarrior Online Atlas Tactical Tips by Scop
I have a couple tactical thoughts as a mixed-weapon Atlas brawler myself.
Take it from me, don’t assume that you’re invincible because you’re got one of the thickest shells out there. If you wade outnumbered into a furball of hostile mechs, you’ll survive for a little while, but probably not long enough to take one of them with you. Focused fire will accelerate the takedown of any mech, and you are not immune. In addition to this your size and the deserved reputation of danger makes you a popular target. The enemy team thinks that if they can crack the biggest, gnarliest nut, mopping up the rest of your lance will be easier. They’re not entirely wrong; and it’s a shame to deprive your side of all the punishment you pack into your Atlas. You’re an especially attractive target to hotshot light pilots who enjoy running circles around you and want the deserved bragging rights that come from soloing something so far above their weight class. You are Goliath, and they enjoy the chance to play David.
You have to fight smart. Your low speed can get you stuck in hairy situations like when you plod headlong into an abovementioned furball, or try to ruin an isolated LRM boat’s day only to have his backup return and start whittling you down. Your maneuverability is admittedly low, but with smart piloting you can surprise an unwary zipper trying to safely outstrip your turning radius–try cutting your throttle, perhaps even going into reverse, and change your turn direction. Even light mechs have inertia, and if they’re at full throttle their own turning time is high. Know where the enemy will be before they do, and be ready to give ’em a solid hit when they show up. When knockdowns return, in unlucky moments you’ll be bowling over the enemy (and potentially your friends, too–drive safe, good buddy). I have only ever once been knocked over in a fight, when I drove another Atlas backwards up a steep slope and he toppled onto me. Lights that try to gnaw on your ankles are especially vulnerable to love-taps sending them sprawling. I know they’re enjoying the reprieve for now, but it’s temporary.
Terrain can also turn against you when faster mechs get the high ground, outside the arc of your formidable torso-mounted weaponry. You should also be wary of the wide-open spaces, because they’re a killing ground for LRM boats. And at your speed, they’ll have ample time to pour them down before you get back into cover. Remember the trick of manually [P]owering down your mech to break a lock. Inbound LRMs, especially if they’re arcing over terrain to get to you, will go astray. When you power back up, the boats may have moved on to the next target on your side. The heat’s off you, and if you can get a lock on them you can start returning the favor with your own LRMs.
Placing and distance are important. You can mount a mix of weapons, but only your arm lasers have the wide arc of fire. Your torso weapons need the enemy to be within their firing radius if they’re going to do you any good, so play with your throttle if you need to tighten a turn and get them on-target. Also with the minimum range of your LRMs and the optimal ranges of your lasers and SRMs (and AC-20 if you’re carrying it), you have a ‘sweet spot’ of distance 180 to approximately 230 meters out there if you want to utilize your alpha strike. Closer is a waste of LRMs, further out you risk wasting AC shells and SRMs. Sometimes opportunity knocks and you gotta answer, but make a habit of it and you’ll run short on precious, heavy ammo that you had to Tetris so carefully into your chassis.
Utilize the trick of ‘rolling’ your torso when you’re under fire, especially energy weapons. This will spread their damage out across your armor. Persistence and accuracy pay off when an enemy is cracking your shell, so deny them the chance when you can. This can foul your aiming when you’re trying to line up your next shot, especially when your torso rotates so slowly, but the extended lifespan is worth it. If you lose a side torso (and you will, the armor is lighter than your center), not only do the ballistics or missiles go with it but also the arm. You’re still dangerous as an amputee mech, but don’t kid yourself, losing that AC-20 when you’re in the middle of a brawl crimps your style.
There are a lot of style and tactic considerations to any mech, especially this 100-ton steel juggernaut packing heat enough to squish cities but taking a day to get there. She’s a challenging chassis, but I think she’s worth it.