Monday, January 12, 2009

BattleTech: Changes FanPro should've made for Total Warfare

For those of you who follow Classic BattleTech, they've made some changes in the newest edition, titled "Total Warfare." Some of them are pretty drastic, like the partial cover which no longer bestows a +3 to-hit modifier to attackers.

Okay, here's what I *wish* they would've changed.

First of all, no regular SRMs in Clan Mechs. At all. It never made any sense. The Clans have Streak technology, there is absolutely no reason to have regular SRMs in use. Just like you won't see a Clan Mech mounting regular ACs or PPCs, a Clanner shouldn't be using obsolete SRMs when they have Streaks.
They also could've gotten rid of the jamming for Ultra ACs. Yea, the circuit would overheat and break in 2750, but it's been 300 years. If the Clans can invent something like the OmniMech, they should be able to fix an overheating chip.

It'd also be nice to have Ultra ACs hit more often with 2 shots. Just my opinion. Right now, autocannons are somewhat neglected because of really good energy choices which can use TCs better and don't risk ammo explosions. Yet when you look at the fluff, Omnis are described as using ballistic and missile loadouts for heavy assaults because they're supposed to deliver more firepower over shorter durations, while energy loadouts deliver lower amounts of firepower but can sustain it better. This doesn't really reflect the game, where energy loadouts are about equivalent, and generally preferred. Allowing Ultra ACs to make double shots more likely would go a little way towards that ideal.

On the artistic front, one of my problems with Plog is his tendency to give Ultra autocannons multiple barrels like an RAC. This has never made sense. An Ultra autocannon fires two shots in rapid succession from a single barrel, like setting a rifle to fire fully automatic instead of semi automatic. Autocannons and Ultras should always be depicted with a single barrel, and multibarrel artwork should be reserved for RACs, since that's their whole gimmick. The Burrock is a perfect example of this irritating trend. I also dislike how he draws his lasers with the lens right at the front end of the barrel, leaving it really vulnerable.

Another art trend I think I've seen recently is the tendency to show ammo being fed into the weapon from the exterior. Not sure exactly which Mech it was, but I'm pretty sure there was one with this ammo belt feeding from an arm mounted weapon all the way up to the back. This seems really hazardous because ammo in BT is explosive and it just doesn't follow the precedent of Duane Loose's 3025 art, which has the ammo completely housed internally. Now, he did show some magazine boxes nestled right around the weapon sometimes, like the Zeus's LRM having an ammo box mounted along the arm. But an entire belt from the arm to the torso is way too much. One hit to the belt and the entire Mech is toast.

Finally, they need to take the Mech's design into account for torso-twisting. Right now, every mech in the game can torso-twist. Yet when you look at a lot of the artwork, there are quite a few designs which don't seem to have any sort of torso articulation. The Stalker and Nova come to mind.

1 comment:

  1. Autocannons have never been "single shot" weapons - read the novels. Every autocannon fires like a giant machine gun, with each "shot" being a burst of several rounds. An ultra-AC is more of the same. When a UAC fires at double rate, it is moving twice as many rounds - potentially dozens or hundreds of mid to large caliber shells. There is a distinct barrel heating problem that can be addressed with rotary weapons.

    If you look back into TR:3025 (Original) published in 1986, you'll see the plain vanilla AC/10 set in the chest of the Hatchetman has multiple barrels.