MWO: King Alpha

Alphastriking is the least of the concerns for PGI at the moment.Thanks to double armor values and poor hit detection, it's very hard to core a target in one salvo except in some extreme cases.Fixing bugs and pugs should be more important...
One thing though... This does require aim, and lasers require you to track the target to get the full impact at a single point. Gauss dont have this issues, but lasers do. It also takes heavier mech to carry such large lasers which then fall prey to small mechs. Medium lasers also require you to be fairly close. Granted MWO favors brawling at this point due to map layout, and how much cover they add to the system.
It is actualy, i've been performing with a friend as 2 gausscat and we where able to 1 or 2 volley anything up to 1km with ease. And you don't need a lock to do that, just IR/Visual contact. At these range with decent pilot it's piss easy to pop a heavy or assault mech without him being able to do anything. The reward against skill of gausscat is way to big as it is, that's why they are so popular.
I fail to see the problem here. A game about stompy robots shooting big guns that do a lot of damage and we're worried about robots shooting big guns and doing too much damage? What's your alternative scenario? What is your personal vision of robot combat? How would you change the game?Not only do I not see the problem, you're also just flat out wrong. Let's take the Raven as an example. In your "alpha is king" world of MWO the idea behind fitting a Raven would be to ignore the fact that it's a light mech and just throw as many high damage weapons as its hardpoints allow and then think about speed later? Even if you don't think that, then you must think that because the Raven can't fit 5 large lasers or 2 gauss rifles that it just doesn't have a place in this game, right? Surely the light mech is just easy meat for a high alpha strike heavy or assault.-I watched a raven yesterday kill a gaussapult solo with medium lasers and streaks. I'm not entirely sure where you got this idea that if you're not toting the biggest and baddest guns that you're simply useless.-I've also watched an 8-man team of nothing but light mechs dominate matches consistently.I'm also not entirely sure where you got this idea that you could compare combat in an MMO like eve and a FPS Simulator like MWO. The two are nothing alike.
I run 5 LL on a Cataphract 1X. The heat is more than manageable, and unlike the Cat A-1 youre not limited to 270 meters.
If there was a decent netcode (which there will be eventually), light mechs would not be the problem they currently are. The fact a single hit is enough to kill a light with enough alpha (and Ive done it many times) will make lights useless against people that know how to aim. Once the code is fixed theyll become what they should be; support boats for ECM and scouting.
Agreed, it is definitely easier to get all damage in a single area with gauss. However, this is balanced by the fact that LL are easy to fit compared to gauss and you have no ammunition issues, so while you inflict a lower percentage of damage to one area, the actual damage is similar or greater due to the higher overall damage.
I've played the 5S and 5M pretty extensively - they run awfully hot to fit something like that, OP.

Those that have played competitive FPS may have recognized a trend: any weapon that can kill in a single shot gets very popular. In Counter-Strike for example, the only weapons that are used once a certain cash-threshold is passed are ones that can kill in one shot: the AWP sniper, the M4/AK, and the Desert Eagle (when you're a little poorer). Why are those weapons preferred to other, cheaper ones that might  have a higher probability of killing someone, albeit over a longer period? Sniper rifles are rampant throughout a number of FPS games: Battlefield 3 and CoD being the most obvious ones, for much the same reasons. In Mechwarrior Online, dual Gauss cannons or stacks of medium lasers are the weapons of choice for the competitive arena. In EVE, the humble Alpha Maelstrom was king for a very long time. 



It's simple maths really: ultimately, the way to ensure success in a fight is to receive the lowest amount of damage while killing as many enemies as possible. That means overall damage dealing potential isn't as important as being able to eliminate an opponent in a shorter time. In EVE, that was apparent with the Maelstrom fleets that proved so popular: looking at EFT or another fitting program, it is clear that the 1400mm Maelstrom has terrible DPS compared to, say, and Armageddon (which also costs about half the price and does more than twice the DPS). The fact that only 10 or so ships were enough to take out a BC in one volley was, however, very impressive. Before TiDi was introduced, Maelstroms also had the added benefits of working past lag and killing enemies before logistics could land reps. The only reason that Alpha fleets have disappeared is that they were pitted against ships they couldn't hit effectively (Zealots + Rokhs), meaning they effectively weren't alpha ships anymore.


In the land of Mechs

 In MWO, the same pattern is visible. While 'disruptive' weapons that keep players from shooting (like multiple Autocannons or a constant barrage of LRM or SSRM) can be very effective, they just aren't up to par with as many Gauss cannons or as many lasers as possible. This is despite the fact that generally fitting more than one Gauss cannon requires serious sacrifices in armor/engine size/ammo due to the fitting requirements. Likewise, fitting 4+ medium lasers (or 5 large lasers, a personal favorite with the Cataphract 1-X) has a similar effect. While opponents are attempting to kill via disruption and require a lengthy time to kill (the crucial factor here), two or three well-placed volleys from 2 Gauss cannons or a number of lasers are likely enough to kill them. What happens when, like EVE, this destructive capability is multiplied? In theory, with 5 large lasers, players have an alpha strike of 45. With four mechs equipped in this fashion, and some decent aim, they could kill an Atlas (the most heavily armored mech in game) in a single volley. 


Future alpha

Since there are no mech limitations in MWO (8 mans could go for 8 double gauss or 8 5xLL, though this may eventually change), it is easy to see how this would create an issue. Just like in EVE, MWO groups may run into the problem of having too much alpha and having to spread their damage out. That's a slightly ridiculous notion given that others using more conventional fitting will still require time to kill their alpha-wielding enemies, meanwhile losing an ally every 10 or so seconds. Now why should players be excited about the coming assault mech, the Stalker? It could in theory fit 6 Large Lasers, even possibly 6 Large Pulse Lasers (with decent cooling). This would give it an alpha strike between 56 and 60, enough to kill many mechs in one shot.

Needless to say, I'm very intrigued as to how PGI will manage to balance this issue out...


Member of Nulli Secunda. Have been playing Eve for close to four years, already hit by bittervet syndrome. I've played a number of games over the years and generally dab in every game that's fun.