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The Haves and the Have Nots… by David McCallum # 701548

…the spendthrifts and the frugal…

…those who are ready and those that make do…

…the hoarders and the recyclers…

No, this isn’t yet another rant against pilots whose bankroll would make the Dictator of a medium sized Banana Republic weep with avarice, it is something far more insightful than that.

I know, you’ve missed me.

My sparkling repartee and wit have been absent from this publication for too long and you’ve had to put up with the ramblings of my old mate The Maroon Helmet.

Suffice to say I’m still knocking about and since its New Year and the sponsorship deals are on hold while pilots recover from overeating and various bouts of drunken debauchery (well, more than is usual for us lot at least), I thought it high time to dust off the old vee-ar board and mumble something incoherent yet utterly brilliant at you.

I had occasion to take a trot up the mountain.

Now I’m not a die hard Alpinist; I prefer to manage my level and it’s all too easy to get carried away and gain a lot of experience for little reward. I prefer to pick my battles… ones where I feel I have a fair chance at reward for the minimum of effort. Suffice to say, if you see me on the slopes once in a while, I generally mean to be there at the business end rather than make a steady income from bronze loot.

And so it was with the recent Trooper event.

Now I’d had success with this in the past by the simple expedient of actually having some Troopers to field as opposed to entering with the “additional 2 mech” that the majority of my opponents had. Coming out with a gold while fielding 4 un-enhanced mechs is something I tend not to do that often and was definitely memorable.

With these mech specific categories, especially when they are geared around a niode mech rather than crystal like ‘Anzu Runs’, ‘Ogguners’ and ‘Reverse Ratman’ it is very definately a case of those who have… or have not.

The thing is that Troopers (and Nerios for that matter) are like the tangerine at the bottom of your Christmas stocking. There’s plenty of chance to get them, they are actually nice for what they are but they always get overlooked in favour of bigger presents. Most of the time they are relegated to the fruit bowl of your hanger, possibly to get added to the guilty post festivity fruit salad where for 2 or 3 days you promise to live a more healthy lifestyle, or perhaps to be consumed almost immediately as a handy snack while waiting for the Turkey to arrive. On occassion, they may simply sit in said bowl and gather mould until eventually ending up recycled as compost.

That’s a very long winded way of saying that the odds are you are going to scrap them for niodes.

And it doesn’t matter if you are a spendthrift or frugal… a 30 ton mech is better off serving as a few upgrade levels to a line mech than it is investing in to take up to upgraded levels in the triple digits, notwithstanding the sheer time to get them there.

The weight of pressure to scrap these lowly mechs in order to gain one more piece of equipment or upgrade something you will use far more frequently can be overwhelming.. I have had it come at me from leaders and clan mates alike.

Oh, you may have the odd newer pilot who first got their licence post- 3286 (for the non historian, that was the Rise of the Specialists) who gained one early and has steadilly brought them up as they have advanced in skill… but even then, it is very rare to continue to collect them anew and advance them.

But sometimes, as a rarity, you get somebody who will look at a tangerine and imagine it studded with cloves and gilded… those mad sods who will store said orange citrus globe and instead of allowing it to wither will properly preserve it for later use.

Mad Bastards like myself or Sten. Or Claude… John, Kris and William in my division… Edmond, Polly and Richard lower down… but that is an awfully small percentage of the hundreds of pilots who take the field. You can look back in the event archive and tell them from their tonnage or point mech. Numbers count, and we had the advantage in numbers that others didn’t, even if some of out forces were only partially baked.

In this instance they… we… were the ‘Haves’.

That’s not to say the ‘Have Nots’ were in any way slouches. You see, theres that little rule in these kind of events that allows anyone brave enough to chance their arm to enter into the fray.

Because there is one more reason why Troopers and Nerios get slagged, and it is the one lightweight mech that only a fool would scrap and even the elite will invest time and effort in.

Have a look back in the archives and count them. 50 ton formations, 20 tons less than allowed which means Banshee, Orcus and Keradon have been overlooked in favour of…

The Novum.

Pound for pound the best mech there is.

You can normally count on a niode mech being a fair match for crystal mechs perhaps 20 tons heavier. In the case of the Novum, they have participated and been effective in 70 ton limited formations; a full 45 tons heavier than them.

There’s a reason why even those at the heady heights of Division one will nurture these bobbing beasts; they are THE go to mech at all points bar the very lightest and heaviest weights.

In the top 4 divisions, of the 20 gold and silver medals on offer, well over half the medalists were fielding Novum pairs either by themselves or backed by Troopers making up the numbers with more similair formations in the bronzes.

So this may have been billed as a Trooper event, but really it was all about the Novum. Other publications may give you the facts and figures, but only Galaxy Gathering gives you the in depth analysis.

It has been reported elsewhere that this was a very subdued event and it certainly seemed it from where I was sitting, which was an excellent vantage point at the top of the heap in Division 4.

Spoiler alert, yes I won, but that isn’t the point of this report. As one of the ‘Haves’ in this instance, I must admit to feeling comfortable most of the time… unlike my first tilt in Troopers my little white wonders were far stronger; 4 at full strength and 2 more coming along well, plus they had the backing of the same Novum pair that was so prevelant elsewhere. Being toward the top of the level bracket didn’t hurt either. It’s a bit of a shame really as our division had a few others who were well kitted and must have fancied their chances, however they lacked either my level, my numbers or the mech upgrades to tip the balance.

The actual point is that my vantage point allowed me an excellent view of what was going on elsewhere and there were very few distractions from what was going on in Division 1. You expect the big girls and boys to deliver the best of the best and I wish I’d had my vox tuned in to the Tri-V broadcast because the commentators would have been having a field day!

As one would expect at the top end of the totem, the ‘Have Nots’ didn’t give a monkeys chuff about the odds against them and the ‘Haves’ were being put on notice that actually having the temerity to bring Troopers to a Trooper event was not only frowned upon but set you up as ‘Tonight’s Star Victim’.

In other words, it was going off like a frog in a sock…

Most of the time on the mountain you keep an eye on only your own division, ready to counter attack as soon as you have been hit. However on occassion you drop out to scan the event wide channel which can give advance warning of movement beyond your scanners lower down the division for a late run and also gives an indicator of the other divisions.

I kid you not, positions in Division 1 were changing around once every 5 seconds as I watched the reports scroll past. The brilliant thing about it (as a spectator rather than a participant!) was that the positions changing spanned gold to bronze, so you would have somebody jump from bronze to secure silver only to get bumped just before they could do a run on gold by another pilot who had been bumped down to bronze not 10 seconds earlier!

And let me tell you, the ‘Have Nots’ may not have ‘Had’, but they were certainly going to show the ‘Haves’ what it was like to ‘Have a Bit of Barney Rubble’… if you know what I mean.

So in short, just because it has been billed as a class specific event is no excuse not to enter and get yourself some loot and glory, even if you are one of the ‘Have Nots’.

I tell you what… that Trooper event?

It was the best Novum fight I’ve ever witnessed.


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