MechWarrior Online Laser Weapons Guide

MechWarrior Online Laser Weapons Guide by Teirdome

A full-health Jenner burning rubber comes dashing around the corner. You smash your weapons group and send 4 Medium Lasers into his torso. Looking at the damage readout, you only see that he took some yellow damage to his center and right torso.

“WTF netcode?! I hit him with 20 points of damage!”

But did you, really?

Section I: Understanding Beam Weapons

The most important part of using a laser well is understanding the following principles:

  • Lasers spread their damage out over their duration.
  • Laser weapons deal their damage across 10 “ticks” during the duration (I think, please correct me if you have found otherwise).

Let’s look at the following chart of the beam weapons:

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Really, this data is largely redundant. You can divide things by 10 (hopefully). But seeing it draws some really interesting conclusions. Let’s look at a couple:

You’re Not Hitting That Hard

From the example above, if you were only able to keep your 4 Medium Lasers on the Jenner’s CT and RT for .1 seconds, you only did 2 damage to each location. That’s four Medium Lasers with a damage potential of 20 that only did 20% of their potential, and likely only 10% to the armor you care about. That is a TON of waste.

Track Specific Locations

At every tick a laser will only damage to the part of the enemy that it hits. So you not only need to track your target for the entire duration, you need to track the location on your target you are trying to destroy.

Always Be Trackin’

You should never fire your laser weapons and stop tracking. An extra tenth of a second of concentration pays off immensely. I am frequently shocked by how many people do this. Like a great jump shot, Lasers are all about follow-through.

Which Laser is Right

Pulse Lasers are significantly more effective at killing Lights than Normal Lasers. This is simply because a faster target is more difficult to track. If you’re only going to get half a second of track time on a light (and half a second is a really good tracking time against Lights imo), then a Medium Laser is only going to do 5 ticks for 2.5 damage. Meanwhile a Medium Pulse Laser is going to do 6-7 ticks for 3.6 to 4.2 damage. That’s a 44% to 68% increase. Considering it’s 7-9 tons (assuming SHS) for a second Medium Laser, this is a steal.

Let’s look at a graph to further explore this idea:

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This graph shows a number of really interesting things. The most interesting is how far and quickly the Large Pulse Laser runs away with the competition.

Equally interesting is that until after .8 seconds of beam on a location, a Medium Pulse Laser is as effective as a Large or ER Large Laser.

Normal Lasers are more effective at killing Mediums and larger. You’re now looking at an easier time getting a full second of tracking time when the target is slower.

In essence, the worse your tracking, the more you should favor Pulse lasers if you’re going to use energy weapons at all.

Combating Lasers

If you are fighting someone only using lasers, you need to make it as difficult as possible to track you, not necessarily acquire you. This means you need to dodge once they start firing, not before. So the second you hear the laser, put on yo’ jukin’ shoes!

The Torso-Rolling Trick
Scop said:

When you’re under laser fire, rotate your torso so as to spread out the damage. This denies a beam full focused time on a single spot. It’s an especially good idea of you’re in a slow-moving mech, precisely because it’s easier to keep the hose full-blast on one area. If your shooter is good enough to follow his chosen target despite this, well, he deserves the full damage.

Set Up Shots with Lasers

It is also worth it to wait an extra half a second to set up a shot you can more easily track than fire immediately. For example, an enemy Commando is doing circles around a friendly Atlas. Don’t fire when he’s running closest to you in the middle of his turn. Instead fire slightly before he’s running straight at or away from you. The commando will be much easier to track and you’ll do significantly more damage.

Another trick is not firing while turning left or right, but instead fire while torso twisting. Essentially, between shots you should over-steer your target a little bit. This will give you extra wiggle room for your torso twist. If it’s not going to cause you to take any damage, it is okay to decelerate a little bit for increased turning radius. Then when you go to fire, lay off the turning and just torso-twist to stay on target.

Get your Group On
SL the Pyro said:

Be aware of what lasers you have equipped on the arms and on the torso. Aligning them all to the same weapon group and then missing with some of them is just going to waste time/heat.

+-shaped crosshair = torso weapons
o-shaped crosshair = arm weapons

Unless the o is inside the + and they’re both pointed right at the enemy, don’t let loose your whole salvo; only fire the lasers that will actually hit something. Or, if you’re feeling crafty, you can hit two enemies at once by firing everything at the same time and having both crosshairs on different targets; Swaybacks are notable for this since they can have six lasers on one target and three on another.

Mouse Sensitivity and Melty-ness

Kiiyor said:

One of the most helpful things I have found for laser melting goodness, is lowering your mouse sensitivity. This allows you to track a target far more effectively. While there is no option as yet to do this in game, adding this code to your cfg will help:

Mouse sensitivity; Go to ~ C:\Games\Piranha Games\MechWarrior Online\User Config, and add the following lines

i_mouse_smooth = 0
cl_sensitivity = 0.2

The last figure (0.2) can be adjusted to taste, the default value is 1.0.

I have shamelessly poached the cfg options from BigJim in this thread:…se-sensitivity/

Awesome guide, those figures are very interesting indeed.

Lasers Might Not Be Right for You

If your skills favor twitch over track, then consider looking at more ballistic builds (specifically Gauss rifles). There is nothing wrong with having better twitch skills than tracking skills. In fact, you’re a much better person/player/philanthropist if you can admit to it.

Final Conclusion

Hopefully you’ve learned a bit more about how to use Lasers more effectively. Track your targets (follow-through). Dodge your opponents after they’ve committed to firing. And always watch that heat level between shots.

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