MechWarrior Online Essential Knowledge
MechWarrior Online Essential Knowledge by Captain Stiffy
I am going to lay out a few specific game-mechanics that I feel make a really big difference but that even many advanced pilots don’t take to heart. This is the stuff that during a heated PUG you just want to scream at people because it’s so simple but until you fail it, hate it, and look it up you probably won’t know it.
For my own sake I will very briefly state – this is NOT a traditional FPS. Many of the rules of those games largely do not apply to MWO. (though of course many do)
1) TAG – I cannot stress this enough as number one. Understand EXACTLY how TAG works is critical to having an effective tool and not just wasting your teammates LRM’s.
- TAG increases the grouping on LRMS – this results in a tighter spread and more damage to a single hit location.
- If you TAG a target, your teammates are VERY likely to fire LRMs at it. This means that you DO NOT USE TAG unless you can maintain (at a minimum) the target and preferably also the TAG for about seven to ten seconds.
- Because it increases the grouping of LRM’s, TAG can sometimes seem to add additional actual guidance – but it does not if the shooter does not maintain the target. While it certainly can help get a volley of LRM’s over a cliff that a target is hiding behind, it won’t re-guide missiles unless the shooter re-locks.
- Lastly – the most important – and the BEST USE OF TAG BY FAR is to look for the ‘incoming missiles’ icon and tag those mechs. There are many many reasons for this that I’m sure you can come up with if you think hard enough but it is by far the best use of TAG.
2) Keybinds. Very critical. REVIEW THEM IN YOUR UI SO THAT YOU KNOW EVERY SINGLE THING THAT CAN BE BOUND! By default (and i will list only a couple)
- . (period) turns off the cockpit light (more useful that you think)
- / opens your missile doors. When closed these missile doors provide a 10% critical hit chance reduction however they also take .5 seconds to open after you click the button to fire. Opening them can greatly increase your ability to do damage over time.
- x stops your mech as quickly as possible (hard brake)
Using X will stop your mech. This stops you MUCH faster than holding “S”. (it stops you at the maximum possible rate by setting your speed to zero, instead of you slowly lowering your speed) I cannot stress enough how critical using the ‘handbrake’ is to maneuverability.
- Zooming is for very long range only. This is because zooming fouls your aim (greatly increases your mouse sensitivity) against long-range targets but (obv.) allows you to see them in greater detail. By far and away the biggest ultra-newbie mistake that I see advanced players making is fouling their own aim by not un-zooming.
- The zoom add-on can overcome this. This is because it provide you with a zoom that uses your unzoomed mouse sensitivity.
5) Mouse Speed
This is not farkoring counterstrike! or anything like it! Your mouse speed should be VERY low for this game because it GREATLY increases your ability to pin-point aim. Think about it- how much faster is your mouse than your torso twist? It simply does not need to be set as high as most people have it set. The higher the mouse speed, the fouler the aim. You can see where the switchover is, too – there comes a point at which your mouse (wrist/hand) speed input and your screen cursor input are exactly matched – you want it a little bit higher than this for MWO.
6) Hero Mechs
By and large, these are not good mechs. They give you a bonus to C-Bills but their hardpoints do not allow for much customization. Do not buy a hero mech thinking that it will allow you to dominate the battlefield – it is much the opposite. Hero mechs are for hero pilots.
7) ECM is another battlefield tool that is extremely underutilized though very simple in concept.
While you are using the ‘default’ ECM mode you cannot be targeted by mechs outside of a certain range. This is very useful. ECM however can also be switched to counter-mode by pressing “J”. In this mode ECM does not provide the aforementioned benefit but it does counter any enemy ECM being used within range – allowing you to then target them with your SSRMS, for example. You can see which mode you are in on your UI by your weapons.
8) Crossing the ridge in the frozen city map at the start of the game will almost always get you killed or heavily damaged. Don’t.
9) Hardpoints and mouse keys. Personally, I think that the easiest way to interface this game is to set mouse 1 to weapon group 1 and mouse 2 to weapon group 2. By default, these are either your arm or torso hardpoints (whichever primary group or by selection) but I think it is much easier to set-it-and-forget-it.
10) Listen to your teammates. Communicate. Stay together always unless you HAVE TO split up or scout. Ask who has LRM’s so that you can keep an idea of their position for TAG. Ask if anyone has NARC if you might want it. Plan. Calculate. Assess risk.
This is war, after all.