Author Topic: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?  (Read 27227 times)

Dayton3

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Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« on: 14 January 2012, 03:06:53 »
TRO:3025, in their introduction to Assault Mechs says that there are "very few well designed assault mechs" saying that designers had focused mainly on the classes capabilities in physical combat and seemed to suggest the TRO authors hopes for more effective assault mechs in the future.

Now,  IIRC,  there were about 10 assault mechs listed in TRO: 3025. 

Of these, seven of the ten seemed to be considered good, solid, well conceived and built fighting machines.

The only really "bad" assault mechs were the Charger, Banshee, and probably the Goliath.

So what happened to all the "badly designed" assault mechs that the author seems to imply exist.

Orin J.

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #1 on: 14 January 2012, 03:16:26 »
Lesse...there's the Zeus which had an AC/5 instead of a PPC in the base design, I can see a lot of people calling that a lemon.

The Cyclops has a lacking ten tons of armor, a feeble ability to strike outside 9 hexes and enough ammo sitting in the torso to make anyone used to post-3050 play downright paranoid of getting blown to kingdom come.

and of course the Victor has no ability to fight outside of 9 hexes at all, with only a smidge more armor that the Cyclops.

TROs are pretty bad about having an instilled in-universe bias, so i'm guessing that the character that wrote that simply had a very low opinion of some of the 'mechs.
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sillybrit

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #2 on: 14 January 2012, 03:28:33 »
Adding to the above, the Atlas isn't exactly a terror, possessing slow speed and only a single weapon able to hit outside of 270 meters.

Even the BattleMaster can be a little scary, with three out of eight of the LT criticals resulting in a boom, and it also had only a single weapon able to hit beyind 270 meters.

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #3 on: 14 January 2012, 03:43:37 »
Striker, Gargoyle, Executioner, Albatross, Banshee, Tai-Sho, Hatamoto-Chi, Cerberus, Grand Titan, Grand Crusader, Black Watch, Daboku, Mauler, Gunslinger, Longbow, Night Wolf, Ymir, Peacekeeper, Spartan, Berzerker...

While most of those received upgrades that corrected the more glaring deficiencies in design over the years, the base models are pretty insipid.

Not unusable, just poorly thought out and implemented considering the mass and cost of the 'Mechs.

Well-designed assault 'Mechs are the exception to the rule. Even the well-regarded Warhawk is deeply flawed, getting around the problem of so many fixed heat sinks by at least carrying a fair few enegery weapons in each configuration.
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rlbell

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #4 on: 14 January 2012, 04:16:42 »
Except for punching and kicking, none of the 4/6 assaults do anything that cannot be done cheaper (we are talking about an in-universe source, so c-bills matter) with a 75t heavy.  The Cyclops suffers the additional indignity of the 75t version having more armor.  The 75t Victor has the exact same armor and eight less points of internal structure, a fact useful only to the guy that salvages the wreck.

It is not that the 4/6 assaults are bad mechs, just that they are bad assault mechs
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Greywind

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #5 on: 14 January 2012, 08:19:56 »
Isn't the Victor 80t?  Don't ever recall seeing a "heavy" Victor.

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #6 on: 14 January 2012, 08:23:24 »
"Over weight, undergunned, too slow, and thin skinned" are the most common complaints of any battlemech, and the Assault Class is the most guilty because these flaws are even more glaring.

In lighter mechs, there is always the excuse that they are too small to have it all, so some trade off must be made.  Many are able to balance these issues without sacrificing too much, but the big mechs have too many fatal flaws that can be exploited by the smaller ones.

The bigger the Target, the faster it Dies.  I'll stay in something half as big and twice as fast, happy to hunt and kill the big bad slow Targets.

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Stormfury

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #7 on: 14 January 2012, 08:46:03 »
Quote
Isn't the Victor 80t?  Don't ever recall seeing a "heavy" Victor.

It is; rbell's point was that 75 tons allows for a more efficient version.

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #8 on: 14 January 2012, 08:48:39 »
Isn't the Victor 80t?  Don't ever recall seeing a "heavy" Victor.

If you've never explored the construction rules, you might never see one.  Simply put, use an engine rating of 300 instead of 320, shave a half ton from the internal structure and the weight you save on jump jets alone will be enough to add something interesting.  It still looks like a Victor and performs like one, but now it becomes a "good heavy" instead of a "weak assault" mech.

Quote
The 75t Victor has the exact same armor and eight less points of internal structure, a fact useful only to the guy that salvages the wreck.

There are plenty of designs in all the weight classes that waste weight or space in a similar fashion.  If they were all optimized to perform the same way, they'd all start looking the same, too.  That would be boring.  We don't need a TRO entry for each mech designed to fit in every weight class.

The Dark age will bring us a few interesting items along this line.  The 55 ton Miffed Kitty (MadCat III) will provide much amusement.

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Sir Chaos

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #9 on: 14 January 2012, 09:49:57 »
TRO:3025, in their introduction to Assault Mechs says that there are "very few well designed assault mechs" saying that designers had focused mainly on the classes capabilities in physical combat and seemed to suggest the TRO authors hopes for more effective assault mechs in the future.

Now,  IIRC,  there were about 10 assault mechs listed in TRO: 3025. 

Of these, seven of the ten seemed to be considered good, solid, well conceived and built fighting machines.

The only really "bad" assault mechs were the Charger, Banshee, and probably the Goliath.

So what happened to all the "badly designed" assault mechs that the author seems to imply exist.

Let´s look at it...

Awesome and Stalker are very solid designs.

Atlas and BattleMaster are a little short - okay okay, VERY short - on long-range firepower, and the Victor doesn´t have any at all. That sort of thing is forgivable in the Hunchback, because it´s cheap and doesn´t have the mass for good long-range weapons in addition to the short-range punch - but it´s NOT forgivable in an assault-class design. The Atlas at least has the massive armor needed to get close enough for its main weapons, and the LRM-20 cannot be neglected, either.

The Cyclops has all the problems of the Atlas and BattleMaster, with the addition of also having the same armor as the Hunchback (which is little more than half the Cyclops´ weight).

The Zeus okay(ish), but it´s a bit of a "neither this nor that" design - neither the massive long-range firepower of the Awesome, nor the massive short-range firepower of most other assault-class design. Neither good nor bad, I´d say.

The Goliath lacks effective short-range weapons, and has the firing arc problems that all quads share - though that usually isn´t a great problem at long range. Its long-range firepower isn´t great, either, but still better at 16-21 hexes than any stock assault other than the Awesome.

The Charger and Banshee... the less said, the better. Now, the BNC-3S, that´s a great design on par with the Awesome and Stalker, though.

So, we have 2 terrible designs (stock Charger and Banshee), 3 problematic designs (Cyclops, BattleMaster, Victor), 3 useful designs (Zeus, Goliath, Atlas) and 2 very good designs (Awesome, Stalker).

Compare that to the heavies, where there are three terrible designs (JagerMech, Bombardier, Rifleman) out of more than twice as many models - and these three are not nearly as terrible, relative to the others, as the Charger and Banshee.
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guardiandashi

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #10 on: 14 January 2012, 09:59:12 »
nitpick the weight ranges for jump jets are 20-55, 60-85, 90-100

so the 75 tonner isn't actually saving any weight on the jump jets vs an 80 or 85 tonner they will save some weight on the engine however

there are some weights that work out to be more efficient however

to go with the "where are the well designed" assault mechs question I would argue there are 3 reasonably well designed assault mechs in the origional 3025

#1 on that list would have to be the awesome its only "real flaw" in my opinion is the limited speed 3/5/0
#2 is a tossup but I would likely have to go with the battlemaster, its not that it doesn't have issues but it is a fair design at range but it is really designed for short to medium range fighting
#3 IMO would have to be an atlas granted its long range firepower is somewhat lacking (for a mech of its size) and I really wish it had 1 more ton of lrm ammo but all in all it isn't as bad as a lot of people like to imply.

the horrible mechs for assaults IMO are
charger way too fast
banshee (base model)
stalker way too many weapons
the cyclops's biggest issues are its lack of armor and limited long range firepower

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #11 on: 14 January 2012, 10:23:50 »
IMO, the Stalker is the single best Assault mech. Yes, it has a crazy number of weapons, but if you learn to bracket fire them, there is a clear set of weapons for every range. It possesses a flexibility unrivaled by any other Battlemech in the era. It has indirect long-range weapons to keep distant targets honest, hole-punching medium-range weapons, and critseeking close-range weapons. As much as I've experimented with modifying the design, at that tech level the most you are going to get by modifying it is a trade-off.

The other best is the Awesome. It's like an early Hellstar.

Another honorable mention is the Atlas. Yes, it has poor ranged firepower, but it has unrivaled armor, and close-ranged firepower. Isn't there also a configuration with medium-ranged weapons based off the Atlas II?
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Hersh67

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #12 on: 14 January 2012, 11:20:52 »
Just to point something out, when the Helm core is recovered and (slightly) more advanced components are available, how many of those 'crappy' designs suddenly become All-Stars?  The Charger gets an XL and suddenly it can mount some firepower, the Atlas gains a Gauss rifle and can be a long range killer and a beast up close.

The 'failed' assaults of 3025 are simply a product of the limitations of their tech base.  I'd take an Atlas over a Mackie-5S any day. 

guardiandashi

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #13 on: 14 January 2012, 11:42:32 »
you also have upgrades that are "lousy" that make you go what the heck were they smoking and where can I get some

one of my personal what the heck "upgrades" is the battlemaster one
now upgrading from a std ppc to an er ppc is pretty good, and dhs is great... but IMO it really doesn't need ALL 18 DHS it could stand to shave a few dhs and either add a second ppc, or add on even more close in firepower

example on the 3m battlemaster 1 full ton of ammo for 1 machine gun is beyond silly it is crazy, cut the mg ammo to 0.5 tons and put the second mg back on, usually 15 rounds of srm ammo should be plenty pull the second ton and 1 dhs and mount 2 more medium lasers or something or add the 1 ton of std armor its missing etc

the atlas could have been so much more effective with DHS etc

Dayton3

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #14 on: 14 January 2012, 11:50:46 »
Since I was asking about assault mechs, isn't there a Clan Battlemaster that is five tons heavier (90) than the original and had a combat value rating higher than most omnimechs even?

I'm not talking about the Star League Royal Battlemaster or whatever it was called that mounted an all energy weapons battery.   Doubled ERPPCs,  large pulse laser et cetera.

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #15 on: 14 January 2012, 12:08:34 »
No.  The older Clan 90 ton standard 'Mechs are the Highlander IIC and the Supernova.  The Highlander IIC is their version of the Highlander and the Supernova has much more of a resemblance to a King Crab than it ever will to a BattleMaster.  The Mad Cat Mk. II, Onager, and Night Wolf aren't related to the design, either.

Are you thinking of the Reseen BattleMaster C built on Pandora after the Falcons captured it or the mixed-tech variant used by the Red Corsair?

Martius

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #16 on: 14 January 2012, 12:10:45 »
Since I was asking about assault mechs, isn't there a Clan Battlemaster that is five tons heavier (90) than the original and had a combat value rating higher than most omnimechs even?

No, not in any canon source I know about. The Battlemaster C (build by the JFs) still has 85t. The Battlemaster the Red Corsair used was mixed tech one (found in OTP The red Corsair).

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #17 on: 14 January 2012, 12:53:21 »
TROs are pretty bad about having an instilled in-universe bias, so i'm guessing that the character that wrote that simply had a very low opinion of some of the 'mechs.
Yes. J. Edgar Hovertank is prime example here: TRO3026 calls it bad hovertank, but in TRO3039 it is perfect recon vehicle.
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Dayton3

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #18 on: 14 January 2012, 13:02:08 »
No, not in any canon source I know about. The Battlemaster C (build by the JFs) still has 85t. The Battlemaster the Red Corsair used was mixed tech one (found in OTP The red Corsair).

The little magazine called "Mechforce" IIRC that used to come out had all the combat value of the various mechs and configurations (in the case of Omnis) listed.

The highest listed regular IS mech was the Berserker (obviously this was just after TRO:3055).

The highest listed mech of all was the Widowmaker configuration of the Daishi.

All I remember was a Battlemaster (possibly called a Battlemaster IIC) that was listed as 90 tons, and had a combat value just short of a Dashi primary.

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #19 on: 14 January 2012, 13:11:32 »
Yes, the Battlemaster IIC from MECH issue 10.  Scary was a good word for it.  90 tons, 4/6/4 2 ER PPC, six ER ML firing forward and two Streak 6. Oh, and 21 DHS.   

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #20 on: 14 January 2012, 13:45:56 »
IMO, the Stalker is the single best Assault mech. Yes, it has a crazy number of weapons, but if you learn to bracket fire them, there is a clear set of weapons for every range. It possesses a flexibility unrivaled by any other Battlemech in the era. It has indirect long-range weapons to keep distant targets honest, hole-punching medium-range weapons, and critseeking close-range weapons. As much as I've experimented with modifying the design, at that tech level the most you are going to get by modifying it is a trade-off.

One man´s "crazy number of weapons" is the other´s "good firepower over all ranges".
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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #21 on: 14 January 2012, 14:06:30 »
TRO:3025, in their introduction to Assault Mechs says that there are "very few well designed assault mechs" saying that designers had focused mainly on the classes capabilities in physical combat and seemed to suggest the TRO authors hopes for more effective assault mechs in the future.

So what happened to all the "badly designed" assault mechs that the author seems to imply exist.

The book was written back in 1989-1990.  The authors might have intended a later fleshing-out of poorer designs that never happened.  The books were just getting started and they may still have thought folks would pay to read about sub-standard designs.  Of course, many TROs ended up being filled with good designs and as that sold books, plans changed. 

It seems the only real place for less-capable machines that are essentially a footnote in history is: as a footnote (or fluff bit) in a TRO.  I am not surprised they get no more mention. 

Short answer: either the writer of that particular piece of TRO:3025 misspoke - or it is unrealistic to expect the company to devote more than a few paragraphs to failed designs in nearly thirty years of gaming materials. 

Take your pick.

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rlbell

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #22 on: 14 January 2012, 14:51:26 »
Just to point something out, when the Helm core is recovered and (slightly) more advanced components are available, how many of those 'crappy' designs suddenly become All-Stars?  The Charger gets an XL and suddenly it can mount some firepower, the Atlas gains a Gauss rifle and can be a long range killer and a beast up close.


This is most telling for the 4/6 assaults.  Even IS ferro-fibrous is enough to push the sweet spot for 4/6 mechs to 85 tons.  Endosteel solidly plunks 4/6 assaults as more heavily armed and armored than 4/6 heavies.  Adding an XL engine pushes things to the point that the max payload for a 4/6 mech is 95t.  A Charger with a 400XLFE and endosteel may be on the sweetspot for 5/8 mechs (need to doublecheck).

The Stalker is a sweet machine for learning the game.  It has manageable heat problems and a weapons suite that screams 'This is how you bracket fire!'.  By admitting that staying heat neutral is not the be all and end all of mech design, it has the appropriate weapons for whatever the range to the target-- at the cost of speed.  While I am not going to say that it is the best balance of weapons heatsinks and armor, it is hard to design a larger assault that works the same way and adds a useful amount of weapons.
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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #23 on: 14 January 2012, 16:13:02 »
No, not in any canon source I know about. The Battlemaster C (build by the JFs) still has 85t.
And then is BLR-1C from novel Heir to the Dragon which is described having Cockpit Command Console (not called such in the novel though). Do we have canon (or ANY) statistics for that?

As for TRO3025 claim about majority of assaults being bad designs, it could also mean those ones that were left out of that particular TRO: King Crab, Xanthos and whatnot.
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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #24 on: 14 January 2012, 16:23:14 »
And then is BLR-1C from novel Heir to the Dragon which is described having Cockpit Command Console (not called such in the novel though). Do we have canon (or ANY) statistics for that?.

BLR-1G-DC is in RS 3039u (pg 501). It is a variant with a Command Console.

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #25 on: 14 January 2012, 18:19:50 »
Of course the stalker is incredibly flawed in that it looks like a turd on legs (literally).

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #26 on: 14 January 2012, 19:27:31 »
Now,  IIRC,  there were about 10 assault mechs listed in TRO: 3025. 

Of these, seven of the ten seemed to be considered good, solid, well conceived and built fighting machines.

The only really "bad" assault mechs were the Charger, Banshee, and probably the Goliath.

So what happened to all the "badly designed" assault mechs that the author seems to imply exist.

Well, from my point of view, those "badly designed assault mechs" are right there in front of you.  The only good assault mechs are the Awesome, Stalker, and Atlas (though I don't like the Atlas).  There are 2 really bad assault class mechs (charger and banshee).  All the others are "meh".  They are nothing more then heavies (because they play exactly like heavies) that need a diet.  An assault mech should have capacities that lesser mechs can't come close to matching... and none of the 4/6 moving assaults in 3025 can do that.

That's my personal opinion of course...
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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #27 on: 14 January 2012, 19:34:29 »
Remember, while we can look at the statistics for assault 'Mechs with our TROs, an actual in-universe examination doesn't have the same. Yes, technicians in that world can also look at armour and weapons, but there may be other facets, quirks, and implications beyond the stats. Maybe the unit just doesn't work as well as the stats imply. There are those 'Mechs that have fluff that portray them as poorly designed or performing, despite some of us who say that they are fine. It depends on an in-universe thought.

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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #28 on: 14 January 2012, 19:51:45 »
Charger has been the only mech I would call a out right failure.
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Re: Where Are All the Crappy Assault Mechs?
« Reply #29 on: 14 January 2012, 21:44:33 »
It's all a matter of preference, that and working with whatever you have.

There's a ELH Thunderbolt variant from 3050 for example, on paper it looks
relatively rubbish.  In practice i found it usually superb, and insanely solid.

But i digress, half the beauty of the game is in triumphing with whatever you
can get/or can legitimately field.  People seldom remember that, it seems many
people think only in terms of raw power or flaws that they percieve.

More fool them.
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