So a few things have happened.
First off the new barracks is finally under construction after a meeting with my project manager. It went very well thank you, and he agreed with me on all points. I’m sure that fact that I had to lay my loaded sidearm on the table (due to it digging into my hip while seated, honest) had nothing to do with it.
Second, Kenneth has redecorated the offices. I’m sure the colour scheme was chosen to frighten Patrick away (his semi-permanent hungover state will not cope with this palette…) and all I can say is that I’m glad the wife chose the colour scheme for our new abode.
Third, I had a trot up the mountain…
Yes, I won.
No, I shouldn’t have.
Allow me to ellucidate.
Now I’m not going to turn down the chance of a 70 ton Cruiserweight contest; it is after all my bread and butter. But I have noticed that the competition in my bracket is getting tougher and tougher since I took a sabbatical.
None comes tougher than John Thorson of the Northwind Dragons. Check the comments on his clan page… “His 70T is better than your main”… I would tend to believe this to some degree. He has humbled me on more than one occasion on the mountain, but this time instead of simply settling for a lower medal, I took the opportunity to test hard against him.
Using my normal 70 ton war formation, I went against him and he could beat me every time. It did however give me a shed load of data with which to work, and from the battlecam replays it was obvious there was a fair bit of difference between us. He shot more often, landed hits more often and dodged incoming fire more often.
It was obvious that unlike me he had stripped his mechs of all Auto-Repair which would probably account for the dodge and more accurate fire, but for the life of me I have yet to work out where he is getting the speed from. Never rest on your laurels and assume you can’t improve.
He also had a particularly troublesome Krampus line that was doing the bulk of the damage.
So, with an equipment swap and formation change to try and deal with the Krampii on my part, I retested and was more than surprised with the improvement. Instead of wiping me every time, he could now beat me perhaps… 9 out of 10 times?
It was just damn unlucky for him that attack number 10 went in just before the whistle blew.
Anyway, as I lay stretched out on the couch (shivering, puking and waiting for my eyes to uncross…. 50 dump shocks in the space of 15 minutes can do that to a chap…) and generally recovering for the next few hours, I had time to ponder my newfound respect for dodge and idly flicked through the trade mags to see what was new in the world of mech evasion enhancements.
It was this little piece that caught my eye… the new Crystal based light mech Blade Controller cockpit piece.
Let’s have a look at the stats. 30 Crystal, 99 Bioptics and 149 Ferrite gets you a cockpit piece that will fit in 30 to 40 ton mechs and gives 5 enhancement to precision and surprisingly a 1% increase in dodge.
Now that’s not a normal thing… as we know dodge is normally associated with Chassis kit, and it was enough of an anomaly for me to give it a second glance and some consideration.
Now, I’m going to look at it from two points of view… that of the newbie pilots and also the hoary old vets that drop down to the little chaps during war specs or KotM events.
And the reason I’m doing that is the two scenarios are very different… light mech fights carried out by the big boys are 1 shot kill affairs due to the damage our big guns can do. Newer pilots however are more protracted affairs, needing 2 or more shots to take out a mech and in some cases they can be real marathons as AR is able to keep pace with inflicted damage.
Comparing it with other crystal pieces, it loses out in the precision stakes to both the Rackmount and the Sighting AI by a percentage point. Its still better than the likes of Cup Holders and Telescopic Sights.
The key thing for the newer player though is that it lacks the crit kill ability of the Rackmount, and we all know a lucky shot can turn the tide of a battle. If your shots aren’t strong enough to put an enemy down by themselves, the ability to put them down by hitting a vital component is key. And of course you definitely want the crit
kill when it comes to the nasty stuff you smack yourself against at raid time. If its a trade off on accurate shots or getting out of the way, go for the one that can put an enemy down straight away.
Destroyed mechs can’t fight back.
But past those new levels where you have collected some good weapons, invested in the skill to enhance their damage and can call on Honour Guard drones to really pack a punch, the crit kill becomes less important. You now stand a chance of taking a mech out just with raw damage and unless you are retaining 30s and 40s as your main defensive spec, you are unlikely to invest heavily in Niode equipment for them.
In those circumstances, you are swapping out 1 accuracy for 1 dodge per unit because the Crit of a Rackmount has become a moot point. If you can’t match the rate of fire of your opponent then maybe you need to just not be there…
The Large Grey Quadrupedal Pachyderm who is waving its proboscis at us from the corner of the room is of course the issue that for the little mechs, you can only fit a few cockpit pieces in to start off with… 3 tops. Saying that, some of the mechs in that range have only a single chassis slot.
In those cases its worth a second look.
The Elephant thundering through my brain from the multiple thrashings that Mr Thorson gave me says so….