MechWarrior Online General Tips

MechWarrior Online General Tips by Steven Dixon

The reason for this post is to give some of the new players some tips and tactics to help them get a head start in MWO. These tactics are mostly for players that aren’t grouped and probably won’t communicate with others at all and are probably using trial mechs. If you have any tips or advise please post them. I added a few tactics at the bottom that are aimed mostly at new players.

General Tips

This is still Beta: the game is still in open beta, there are a lot of bugs and missing features (limited maps, game modes, mechs, ect). There will be problems, it’s a good idea to just accept it. This isn’t to say that you should be quiet and blindly trust PGI, far from it, make your voice heard. The key is to post intelligent, useful, constructive criticism or ideas, not to make winny, entitled rants. Those posts are just going to be ignored by the devs and don’t do anyone any good.

Matchmaking is broken: this goes along with the above tip, matchmaking fixes are on the way. You will be steamrolled by another team on occasion. Use it as a learning experience, see how they coordinate, ect. Try not to stress out, you will get c-bills whether you win or lose (if you are in a trial mech).

You only start with trial mechs: unless you pay money you will start with 4 trial mechs until you can buy more with c-bills, these mechs will occasionally rotate. You don’t get as much money in a trial as a real mech, you don’t get any xp and you can’t customize them. On the plus side you don’t have to pay for repairs or ammo, so they are good for learning.

Movement is like a tank: your movement controls work more like a tank simulator rather than a FPS, but you probably figured that out on your own.

You have two different targeting reticule: you have both a circle and a crosshair. The circle is for your arm and the crosshair are your torso weapons. It takes a little practice but you’ll get the hang of it.

Heat is life: heat is one of the most critical aspects of MWO at the moment, particarly if you are using a stock mech. Learn to create weapon groups. You can key groups to keyboard or mouse keys, so you could group your large lasers to mouse1, your missiles to mouse2, one large laser to ‘t’, ect. The best way is to stagger your groups rather than just alpha strike and then wait.

Movement is also life: its generally a good idea to keep moving, particularly if you are in anything smaller than an assault. Circle strafing is generally the best way to avoid the enemy hitting you. New players in particular will have a hard time targeting you. So practice aiming while moving.

Targeting is your friend: it is very important to target your enemies. Map your ‘next target’ button to whatever key you like and try to remember to always use it. This will give you more info about your opponent and it will allow allies with LRMs to indirectly hit them. If the enemy has an empty red triangle above them, then no one has targeted them, if it is a solid red triangle then someone has targeted them.

Legging isn’t the best strategy: if there are any MW3-4 vets that are just coming in, legging really isn’t the best strategy for the most part in this game (although it does still work), better to go for vulnerable weapons or the head or just the center torso.

Bigger is not better: veterans of past mechwarrior games or World of Tank vets are generally used to the concept that light mechs are for starting players and the larger mechs are for the veterans, this isn’t the case in MWO. Each mech is viable and important. Learn to play your roll, don’t worry about grinding enough c-bills to buy an atlas so you can start ‘really playing the game’.

You don’t need to suicide-scout: if anyone is coming from World of Tanks, you are probably familiar with the concept. In that game a light tank really has no chance against a large tank so you just run in and die until you grind up enough money for a larger tank; in this game a light mech is completely viable, even for veterans, and can do many different tasks. Learn to play your role and you’ll have more fun (and you’ll become a better player).

You aren’t a clanner so don’t focus on just one mech: new players sometimes get tunnel vision and exclusively target one mech trying to score the killing blow. The problem is that that pursuing that mech can put them into a bad situation and before they realize it they are surrounded by enemy mechs. Rather look for targets of opportunity and be aware of your surroundings, after all you get credit for kill assists as well as landing the killing shot.

You are usually stronger in a group: even if you don’t want to talk with other players you can even informally group up simply by following the pack or even just acting as the wingman for another player by shadowing him.

There is no 3rd Person option: don’t bother asking, see the dev diaries if you want to know why, but they had their reasons.


Light Mechs: the key to light mechs is speed. They make good scouts so it’s often a good idea to move aroud trying to find all the enemy mechs. You might also be a useful spotter for fire support mechs. Try not to stand toe to toe with an assault mech and slug it out, run around and attack their rear or attack mechs that are already engaged. One of the strengths of light mechs is that they always put the base in jeopardy, if the enemy leaves their base undefended then light mechs can score an easy victory for their team, even if the enemy doesn’t leave it undefended they then waste time or effort keeping light mechs away from the base. Distraction and disruption are effective weapons for light mechs, if you can keep half the team from futilely pursuing you then your team will have a much easier time with the rest, in fact if you can lead those mechs right into a group of your allies they can rip them apart.

Medium Mechs: the strengths of mediums are mobility and flexibility. Mediums are often most effective in groups. Mediums can move to hotspots to respond to problems, such as if a cluster of enemy mechs is ganging up on one of your teammates or if your base is under attack, ect. You may even want to go for the enemy base if you see an opportunity. Remember you are a jack-of-all-trades but master of none.

Heavy Mechs: these are your brawlers, they have the speed to get to where they need to be and the power to fight it out. Stratagy for heavies is generally pretty straightforward. Just remember you aren’t invincible, use terrain wisely if you just charge at the enemy you might find yourself hammered.

Assault Mechs: assaults are a bit trickier than heavies. They are usually tougher but their speed can make them slow to respond to a changing battlefield. Assaults will often just charge towards the enemy as shock troops, this can sometimes work as they act as giant sponges to soak up damage but it will usually just get you killed. Assaults make good defenders holding key points of the map. In fact its often a good idea to stay at the base for a while to defend it if no one else is (many enemies like to ninja undefended caps), if you are confident your base is secure and your team is heavily engaged then you can act as a strategic reserve and swoop in to save the day, a fresh unespected assault mech can change the tide in many battles.

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