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Author Topic: Of Fireflys and Fleas  (Read 2027 times)

Goose

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Of Fireflys and Fleas
« on: 14 August 2020, 16:40:43 »
Is (or was) there any body of thought on these designs?

As much help as I need getting my head around one or the other, how does one unit desire both?
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Hellraiser

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #1 on: 14 August 2020, 16:47:29 »
Cheap garrison mechs?

Support for Infantry?

Neither is a favorite of mine.

The Firefly would be a solid alternative to the Valkyrie if they didn't skimp on the JJ's.

Flea pretty much sucks but I am looking for a version of it to like since I acquired the mini for it a while back & trying to find a reason to field it.
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #2 on: 14 August 2020, 16:50:51 »
I wrote the MoTW on the Firefly so I have some bias.  It's a solid design for it's time.  It doesn't age well however.  Even still it is cheap and has limited applications in a DA setting.  In a periphery setting where there is little more than light and medium mechs, it is solid.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #3 on: 14 August 2020, 19:42:35 »
The Firefly has a very different mission profile than the Valkyrie. It's not a fire support machine, it's a berserk brawler that flays you alive with lasers, and happens to have a token long-range weapon for getting in those early hits or providing light idf support to buddies.
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Ruger

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #4 on: 14 August 2020, 22:09:07 »
The Firefly has a very different mission profile than the Valkyrie. It's not a fire support machine, it's a berserk brawler that flays you alive with lasers, and happens to have a token long-range weapon for getting in those early hits or providing light idf support to buddies.

Or smoke to cover its advance.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #5 on: 14 August 2020, 22:40:29 »
i remember i had a flea in one of my first games

the order of reaction went something like

Large Laser  :)
CT Armor:  :-\

SCC

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #6 on: 15 August 2020, 05:30:30 »
Yeah, if you've got less armor then a LRM Carrier you've got a problem, and the LRM Carrier, for all it's sins is a glass cannon, the Flea is just made of glass. Think about that for a second, when QUICKSCELL of all people is making a better design then you, you know you've mucked up.

Col Toda

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #7 on: 15 August 2020, 06:24:06 »
Controlled fires for forestry management?

Minemech

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #8 on: 15 August 2020, 09:54:53 »
 It is fun to see the look on a Lyran player's face when your Flea picks off 2 Commandos. They can rectify this with a Wolfhound.

dgorsman

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #9 on: 15 August 2020, 11:02:35 »
The Flea is the BattleTech version of the AT-ST.   Something not as powerful as a full-sized walker that can back up your bad-guy stormtroopers when facing off against the valiant player rebels, and make a satisfying 'pop' when you shoot it.
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RifleMech

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #10 on: 16 August 2020, 09:03:53 »
I like both the Flea and the Firefly. I think they're good compliments to the other Bug Mechs.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #11 on: 17 August 2020, 12:53:54 »
As others have said, the Firefly is fine in the Star League era . . .

 . . . but it needs a engine overhaul along with the guts in the Invasion & later eras.  Get it moving at least 7/11 where it cannot be run down by heavies like the Anvil, Quickdraw, Falconer or Thanatos let alone most mediums and it becomes workable but still better off going after secondary & tertiary targets where it can wreck light vehs, repair depots and more.
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Kovax

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #12 on: 19 August 2020, 12:02:43 »
The Firefly is adequate as a general-purpose 'Mech in a low-intensity setting such as counter-insurgency work facing light vehicles and infantry, or as part of a larger group.  Once the going gets tough, the Firefly cannot outrun many of the things it can't outgun.

The Flea is fairly decent against 20T "bug" opponents, but no match for a heavier unit.  The best use I've ever gotten out of a Flea was as battlefield salvage, strictly for parts.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #13 on: 19 August 2020, 14:41:47 »
The Flea is the BattleTech version of the AT-ST.   Something not as powerful as a full-sized walker that can back up your bad-guy stormtroopers when facing off against the valiant player rebels, and make a satisfying 'pop' when you shoot it.

This is exactly right.  It's a fairly cheap mech that provides extra firepower to infantry forces.  It's not that good in classic Battletech, but in a Mechwarrior scale campaign it's terrifying.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #14 on: 23 August 2020, 07:09:53 »
The Firefly is adequate as a general-purpose 'Mech in a low-intensity setting such as counter-insurgency work facing light vehicles and infantry, or as part of a larger group.  Once the going gets tough, the Firefly cannot outrun many of the things it can't outgun.
Here's the thing, in that kind of setup I'd rather just use a vehicle, like a modified Heavy Hover APC.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #15 on: 23 August 2020, 18:45:15 »
Wouldn't that depend on terrain since mechs can go places hovers can't?

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #16 on: 23 August 2020, 20:03:39 »
The Firefly I actually like.  It is cheap in the scheme of things, usable in most situations to fill out a lance, but I agree that past the tech revolution it has issues. 

The Flea......infantry support is about it.     

Now the Falcon.....can be the king of the bugs.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #17 on: 24 August 2020, 20:11:11 »
Wouldn't that depend on terrain since mechs can go places hovers can't?
Given that Kovax is saying he'll use it either in support of or against vehicles and infantry I'm guessing that he isn't planing on using it situations where a vehicles can go.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #18 on: 24 August 2020, 22:40:10 »
Could be but even in places vehicles can go Mechs do have some mobility advantages.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #19 on: 25 August 2020, 10:02:45 »
Would the Firefly be more acceptable if it went 7/11/? after 3050?
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #20 on: 25 August 2020, 20:40:25 »
Would the Firefly be more acceptable if it went 7/11/? after 3050?
It's not speed that's the real issue, it's lack of armor and weapons.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #21 on: 25 August 2020, 22:59:33 »
I think that's the first time anyone has ever accused the Firefly of being fragile or undergunned.

There are very good reasons why nobody else has said that.
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #22 on: 26 August 2020, 01:08:10 »
Yeah, its got pretty good armor for a light . . . but it needs to avoid being hit more.
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Sartris

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #23 on: 26 August 2020, 01:17:15 »
literally every variant has max armor or one point from maximum. the 4A is undersinked, though it can pop something at close range for 27 damage if it has to, which is more than a wolfhound. it's the speed that's the problem once the +3 running mod is devalued by pulse


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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #24 on: 26 August 2020, 03:23:59 »
I admit to liking the Flea, though at least some of that is due to MechCommander 2 and the FireAnt variant. The other reason is that one campaign game I was part of had the best pilot in the Merc Company generate a Flea as his family mech :P

The Flea really benefits from the tech renaissance, especially in campaign games, but yeah the only place you'll find a Flea being intimidating is in Mechwarrior scale fights.
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #25 on: 31 August 2020, 11:38:50 »
I picked up most of a Flea miniature in a box of parts, and turned it into a battlefield wreck.  That makes a good mission goal for a Mechwarrior-scale engagement: a squad or two of infantry and a couple of lightly armed vehicles fighting over a juicy piece of salvage.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #26 on: 31 August 2020, 23:35:38 »
I think that's the first time anyone has ever accused the Firefly of being fragile or undergunned.

There are very good reasons why nobody else has said that.

In the succession wars, especially with canon designs, it's a bruiser among lights. But...

When I think of Firefly, the one that comes to mind is the -4DA in Wolf and Blake. It's lancemates are a Talon, Wolfhound and Locust. Compared to the other three, which are good variants, it is undersinked (and thus underarmed,) short-ranged and entirely too bloody slow. Armor is about as good as it can be for weight. Unfortunately, it can reasonably expect to run into mediums as fast or faster than it is.

I consider the thing a deathtrap for the guy who boosts the initiative of the recon lance.
« Last Edit: 07 October 2020, 00:54:52 by Greatclub »

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #27 on: 01 September 2020, 11:44:28 »
Definitely an SLDF design.  With an army that large, they can afford to have lances or companies of slow specialists like this assigned to provide firepower to infantry formations, and faster units for independent scouting, and units in between for general combat.
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #28 on: 01 September 2020, 12:23:08 »
In the succession wars, especially with canon designs, it's a bruiser among lights. But...

When I think of Firefly, the one that comes to mind is the -4DA in Wolf and Blake. It's lancemates are a Talon, Wolfhound and Locust. Compared to the other three, which are good variants, it is undersinked (and thus underarmed) and entirely too bloody slow. Armor is about as good as it can be for weight. Unfortunately, it can reasonably expect to run into mediums as fast or faster than it is.

I consider the thing a deathtrap for the guy who boosts the initiative of the recon lance.

That's not an indictment of the Firefly, it's an indictment of the commander that assigned it to one of the worst possible jobs they possibly could have for that mech.
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #29 on: 09 September 2020, 10:56:36 »
And is a 5/8/4 really that much worse off than a 6/9/0 Wolfhound when it comes to speed?

Assuming those were the movement rates that I'm thinking off. 

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #30 on: 09 September 2020, 13:24:53 »
Every movement point is precious, and not just within recon …
Goose
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #31 on: 09 September 2020, 17:25:51 »
There are Fleas and there are Fleas.

Of the succession wars Fleas, the FLE-4 is awful but the FLE-15 is quite decent as a light infantry hunter and two medium lasers on 20 tonner is nothing to complain about.

The FLE-17 is rather underwhelming, but the FLE-16 is very nice - two medium lasers again, but this time with a 9/14 movement profile.

I've no experience of the FLE-19 and 20, but they look good on paper.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #32 on: 11 September 2020, 04:22:21 »
I like the LLaser on the FLE-4 for sniping at other bug mechs and bug hunters.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #33 on: 11 September 2020, 08:56:03 »
There's certainly something to be said for being able to hit with a larger damage cluster than any other 20-tonner in the entire setting. I think the FLE-4 wasn't toppled from that pedestal until the Wasp-C came out just recently.

As you say, it's great for hunting Bugs and other bottom-tier lights.

When did the FLE-4 come out? I imagine AoW tankers would have been utterly terrified of a machine that fast carrying a gun that could punch clean through their armor.
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Sartris

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #34 on: 11 September 2020, 09:15:32 »
about 2500, so on the tail end of the primitive equipment era

Weirdo

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #35 on: 11 September 2020, 11:09:17 »
Hmmm... A decent-sized Estevez vs Flea scenario might be fun...
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #36 on: 11 September 2020, 13:04:00 »
There's certainly something to be said for being able to hit with a larger damage cluster than any other 20-tonner in the entire setting. I think the FLE-4 wasn't toppled from that pedestal until the Wasp-C came out just recently.

As you say, it's great for hunting Bugs and other bottom-tier lights.

When did the FLE-4 come out? I imagine AoW tankers would have been utterly terrified of a machine that fast carrying a gun that could punch clean through their armor.
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #37 on: 11 September 2020, 13:36:36 »
I sit corrected. :)
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #38 on: 26 September 2020, 18:29:14 »
That's not an indictment of the Firefly, it's an indictment of the commander that assigned it to one of the worst possible jobs they possibly could have for that mech.

The unit was built out of salvage. She had no supply lines beyond barter.

Assuming that the mechs in the unit stay the same, I'm not sure what you could do - maybe swap the firefly for the griffin, dervish or cobra, but that puts a light in a heavy lance, and wastes the firefly pilot's ability to boost initiative, as that only applies when part of an all-light lance.

Given the resources and abilities you have, I really think the best solution is to replace the firefly with the first position-appropriate light you shoot an enemy out of.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #39 on: 26 September 2020, 19:11:42 »
Here's a question: How do the older Fireflies stack up against other light mechs of their era, looking solely at raw short-range firepower? Specifically, I'm talking about the FFL-3A during the Star League, and the -4A during the Succession Wars. I'll definitely concede that the Firefly has a MUCH harder time of things once REVIVAL kicks off, aside from the Clan model.
« Last Edit: 26 September 2020, 19:18:30 by Weirdo »
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
"We are the tribal elders. Weirdo is the mushroom specialist." - Worktroll

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #40 on: 26 September 2020, 20:05:47 »
Here's a question: How do the older Fireflies stack up against other light mechs of their era, looking solely at raw short-range firepower? Specifically, I'm talking about the FFL-3A during the Star League, and the -4A during the Succession Wars. I'll definitely concede that the Firefly has a MUCH harder time of things once REVIVAL kicks off, aside from the Clan model.

It isn't a wolfhound, but a just a tier below that, and above... pretty much everything 40 tons or below (save the mongoose) in tro 3039

Spector, talon, nighthawk, all of which use way more advanced tech in the 'league.
« Last Edit: 26 September 2020, 20:24:36 by Greatclub »

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #41 on: 26 September 2020, 22:30:05 »
I'm talking about raw number of damage points up close, nothing else. How many Succession Wars or Star League light mechs can put out 27 damage, plus possibly melee? None of the mechs just listed do.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
"We are the tribal elders. Weirdo is the mushroom specialist." - Worktroll

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #42 on: 26 September 2020, 22:43:16 »
i've got uh

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #43 on: 27 September 2020, 09:06:04 »
Thank you for indulging my curiosity.

How do those mechs compare to the Firefly in terms of armor/structure?
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
"We are the tribal elders. Weirdo is the mushroom specialist." - Worktroll

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #44 on: 28 September 2020, 00:55:03 »
less than a firefly.

I'd actually forgotten the original firefly had that mess of small lasers.

We all get that the Firefly genuinely was one of the best lights - pretty much a pocket medium, actually - published 1989 or before. But with the possible exception of the clan model, it hasn't aged well, and the last couple IS variants in particular are pretty fugly (in a bad way) for their era.

« Last Edit: 28 September 2020, 01:18:39 by Greatclub »

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #45 on: 28 September 2020, 10:11:39 »
Agreed. I genuinely wish that they'd gone the same route as many Fleas and boosted the speed in at least one model, especially one that retains the small lasers. Such a machine would be able to continue its role as a bully against other light mechs and vees, and also become a solid threat against many suits.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #46 on: 28 September 2020, 10:35:10 »
7/11 with 5 ERSLs?
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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #47 on: 28 September 2020, 11:26:01 »
Thank you for indulging my curiosity.

How do those mechs compare to the Firefly in terms of armor/structure?
The Commando is notoriously vulnerable
 The Hermes did not really get a strong armor variant until the 31st century, as its purpose was to be a swift scout
 The Javelin was a pretty typical light mech armorwise
  As a late addition to the game, the Firebee has comparable armor
 The Jenner D is a typical light for the era

Minemech

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #48 on: 28 September 2020, 12:15:04 »
 To add some context, if you are a light, and have ammunition, then you need enough armor over that ammunition to take a single Large Laser hit.

massey

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #49 on: 28 September 2020, 16:13:40 »
To add some context, if you are a light, and have ammunition, then you need enough armor over that ammunition to take a single Large Laser hit.

I disagree.  While light mechs can suffer ammunition explosions just like anyone else, I think they're actually less vulnerable to it.  Once somebody is internal on a light, the very next hit is likely to blow the section off.  You don't get too many chances to hit a light mech's ammo before the mech is dead anyway.  And with cheap jump jets and smaller engines, they're more likely to have good crit packing as well (base 10 heat sinks may be outside of the engine).

Minemech

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #50 on: 28 September 2020, 16:15:55 »
I disagree.  While light mechs can suffer ammunition explosions just like anyone else, I think they're actually less vulnerable to it.  Once somebody is internal on a light, the very next hit is likely to blow the section off.  You don't get too many chances to hit a light mech's ammo before the mech is dead anyway.  And with cheap jump jets and smaller engines, they're more likely to have good crit packing as well (base 10 heat sinks may be outside of the engine).
I like to call the Commando the Firecracker, and not for a positive reason.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #51 on: 29 September 2020, 09:20:30 »
The Commando and SRM Carrier are actually quite similar.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #52 on: 29 September 2020, 10:53:22 »
The issue that the Firefly has when facing other Lights is that the slightly slower movement speed doesn't allow for that extra turn during movement without losing a point of your to-hit modifier.  A 6/9/x can walk 5 and turn 1 or run 7 and turn 2 facings to get an angled shot, but the FFL either walks straight ahead, runs and makes only a single turn, or loses a point on its modifier.  The 4 jump distance won't give you the +3 to match your own penalty for jumping, while a 5 or 6 jumper would get the +3 movement modifier.  In a fight between heavier units with low modifiers, +1 taking you from 8 to be hit up to 9 is significant but not monumental, but with Lights getting high modifiers, a +1 taking you from 11 to be hit up to 12 is a 3:1 advantage.  The FFL ends up on the losing side in that situation, as a part of its intended role in a light lance.  That's a "failed design", in my opinion, although it's still got enough firepower and armor to be "useful" in some roles.

Ideally, it needs one more point of speed, or at the very least, one more jump jet, to make it competitive in a scout or scout-hunter role.  Not much use for a scout that can't run away from trouble, or a scout-hunter that can't catch its intended prey.  That leaves it either in the role of an under-weight Medium, or searching for unescorted Panthers that it can actually catch and fight.  Just about anything else can either run away from it, or it needs to run away from.

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Re: Of Fireflys and Fleas
« Reply #53 on: 29 September 2020, 11:02:03 »
I like to call the Commando the Firecracker, and not for a positive reason.

I had a nearly two decade long streak of commandos i fielded blew up from ammo explosions. it was finally broken when one fell into water after a failed PSR and had the CT flood  ;D

 

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