MWO: Let's Talk Weapons

I question your putting the ER PPC in the terrible weapon list. The removal of the 90m minimum range is big deal as you no longer are forced to rely on backup weapons to do damage at knife fight range; and close range where that can be a concern is really the only place that you should be firing as fast as possible. Otherwise, peak out, aim, fire, and then pull back under cover to break locks and cool down.The last time I tried it, a 3 erppc awesome could maintain a comfortable rate of fire with single heat sinks only swapping the small laser for a extra heat sink off the stock 3 ppc config. This while being accurate and capable one shotting atlases on their head or ~3 shots on the center torso.Also, I never checked the rate of fire for PPCs but it always felt ridiculously fast; I'd guess that its about a 5 second cooldown on it.
I honestly don't think the 90m minimum range is worth upping the heat by 50% though. Instead of throwing the extra heat sinks in you need to cool the thing off you could have a couple of medium lasers, which are a way better choice inside that distance anyway.Cycle time on PPCs is four seconds I think.
I think you're doing a disservice by giving PGI some cover when you say that machine guns were only useful for infantry or light vehicles in the tabletop. They got a massive bonus versus infantry, but every shot still did two damage and had a chance for a through armor critical to completely ruin even the heaviest mech's day. PGI's current implementation has not only reduced their relative damage/crits, but piled extra negatives (huge cone of fire, no half tons of ammo, the need to keep them targeted the entire time, etc) on top. In the tabletop, a bunch of machine guns could be devastating within 90 meter. In MWO, they're pretty much just noisemakers.
I think ELP showed how and why the small laser is the most effective DPSer in the game right now. Tere is a reason you see them use it for every single energy hardpoint they have. Even their Atlases now.
Yeah, I was probably unfair on tabletop machine guns to be honest. Which is probably the only time anyone's really said that.
It's definitely effective, but the effective range on it puts it at a disadvantage vs the medium, especially on slower mechs like the atlas (where you can also only mount four of the things). On a Jenner or a hunchback 4P where you can go nuts with them yeah, it's a great.
The gauss rifle issue is pretty straight forward. 0 heat, 2nd most damage, longest direct fire range, perfect convergence across ranges, more ammo per ton than other options, and faster travel time/projectile speed than other ballistic weapons. Additionally, the "weapon explosion" of a guass rifle is less than half as damaging as a similar ammo explosion for other weapon types, if you even manage to hit it. Its one drawback, longer recycle time, is negated by the fact that it can fire indefinitely on every cooldown while leaving all heat available for backup weapons as well. It is, bar none, the best possible ballistic weapon in every situation, you take it if you can fit it. It makes taking an AC20 almost silly.On the K2 front, all other Cats must mount their primary weapon systems in the vulnerable "arms". A fluke of the hardpoint system has MG mounts in the Cat's torsos count as being able to hold a gauss rifle. There's no quick fix for this, the cat inherently has the crit slots available to fit the gauss there if it's allowed. The problem is the K2 will continue to be the go-to gauss platform,and thus ballistic platform, even after ballistic focused heavy mech variants are introduced(jagermech), which have mount in the arms which is less desirable. It's telling that nerly every K2 pilot does not use the base 2xPPC loadout, but instead opts for the gausspault builds. Gauss out performs a PPC in every single aspect.
i love my gausscat so much, i often do 800+ damage per round, And i've one shotted quite a few mechs by hitting them in the cockpit.
Exactly. There is literally no drawback over using a Gauss rifle over any other projectile weapon. I use them extensively in my builds and with practice I now can hit Commando's and Jenners bobbing and weaving around me due to the projectile speed. They seriously need to cut it's damage output by 3/4, and increase the amount of critical slots they take up while increasing it's heat slightly. There is no reason to use an AC20 if you can squeeze out one more ton for a Gauss. The fact that they're easier to fit is just sad. By the way, AC20 ammo is 20dmg per shot, 7 shots per ton for 140 potential damage per ton. Gauss rounds are 15 damage per shot, 10 shots per ton for a total of 150 potential damage per ton. Just one more way the Gauss is better than the AC20.
The ER PPC does have a very specific use - killing idiots with LRMs that stay exposed. Unfortunately the massive heat generation means you're never going to top the damage charts, and even worse requires you actually AIM instead of firing constantly. One issue with new players is they assume that firing more often means more likelihood of the enemy mech dying, which sadly usually isn't true. Aim for the correct target, and only the correct target on the enemy mech.
"shorter beam duration means that it's easier to keep the damage focused on a single component, which means you have a better chance of getting a headshot"... *ACTUALLY,,, that would mean you have LESS chance of a headshot, but would do much more damage if/when you get one,,,, Then you say "That right there is six Atlases" but I think you meant to say that'S right? I hope "My Tiny" isnt paying you for these articles...Oops I meant Mittani
How do you reckon it's less chance of a headshot?Also, no, I meant "That right there is six atlases". Because that, right there, is six atlases.
the longer the beam the more likely you are to go off target but you can also correct yore aim.I don't mind the small pulse its good for really fast mechs stranded lasers just just end up cutting across there entire body while the fast shot and recycle rate gets more precise hits.
You might not mind it, but all the numbers point to it being inferior to a small laser or a medium laser. The shorter beam duration doesn't justify the extra weight and heat over the small laser and doesn't put it in the same area as the medium laser. It's not filling a niche or anything, it's just objectively worse than the other options for it's hardpoint and tonnage.
Your comment on Machine Guns shows you don't know critical hit mechanics. It's not supposed to be used on a part with armor. Is they are used right, you can fry every internal system on that armor part without destroying the part itself.

So, you've just signed up for Mechwarrior Online, you've thrown some money at PGI and been given some MC for your trouble (or you signed up a while ago and you've ground enough C-bills to buy your first 'mech), and now you're sitting staring at the mechlab. Ten 'mechs sit in front of you and you're hovering over that "Buy" button, knowing that whatever you buy is going to be your ride for the next few hours of play. What do you choose? Well, somewhat perversely, I'm not going to tell you which 'mech to buy. I'm instead going to run through some of the weapons to give you an idea of which of those you think you'll get on with and you can then pick your ride accordingly.

It's worth noting from the outset that 90% of the weapons in MWO are at least situationally useful, can work decently with a particular playstyle, or can at the very least be shoved in a hardpoint when you have spare tonnage and not be worthless. However there's a few that clearly stand out as being excellent choices and a few that are utter garbage. While this is probably going to be a little dry, I’m not just going to stick a table of damage done and heat generated in front of you: you’re going to have to suffer my horrible opinions as well as the facts. First up I'm going to run through the best and worst weapons the game has to offer.


  • Medium Laser

    Anyone who's played any Mechwarrior games or tabletop Battletech will be utterly unsurprised to learn that the medium laser is the king of MWO. It does decent damage, doesn't need ammo, takes up a single crit slot and weighs one ton. The single crit slot is a massive benefit right now as things like Endo Steel and Double Heat Sinks need a LOT of crit slots, so smaller stuff is really handy. It has an optimal range of 270m but can hit out to twice that at reduced damage. It is across the board the best single weapon in the game — a brace of them (such as carried as standard by the Hunchback 4P) can rip a hole in an assault mech in a couple of volleys and lord help them if you get behind them. The only downside is that although one by itself doesn't generate too much heat, six or seven of them can get hot very fast. Double heat sinks mitigate this a great deal (even in the currently bugged implementation), and therefore Hunchback 4Ps and Awesomes in general should be feared anywhere inside 300m.

  • Medium Pulse Laser

    Twice the weight of the medium laser, shorter range and more heat, but slightly more damage and a shorter beam duration. The medium pulse laser is a good choice if you have tonnage to spare but not enough hardpoints to double up on medium lasers. The shorter beam duration means that it's easier to keep the damage focused on a single component, which means you have a better chance of getting a headshot. Also, it makes an awesome "wub wub" noise when you fire it, making every round a dubstep party. I think it's frequently worth the extra heat and tonnage, but a lot comes down to individual play style with this one. 

  • Gauss Rifle

    If you are new to MWO, you won't have heard the constant whining about how the gauss rifle is overpowered. Or more specifically, that being able to put two of them on a Catapult K2 is overpowered. Both of these statements are false: the gauss rifle is an impressive weapon, generating no heat while hitting out to 660m and doing the second highest damage of any weapon in the game, but that all comes at a cost. It needs ammo, it has a chance of exploding if it gets hit, and the cycle time makes it a poor choice up close (though it's not impossible to hit with it at short ranges given a little practice). If you have the space to mount one as well as the ammo it needs then it's a solid choice — and if you see a Catapult mounting a pair of them, get behind something. Quick.


  • Machine Guns

    Dear lord. A weapon with a tiny, tiny range that needs ammo (which can explode when you get hit) and that does bugger all in the way of damage. Here, look at this:

That right there is six Atlases armed with two machine guns each firing on a single Awesome that is already legged and damaged. He kills FOUR of the Atlases while they plink away with their terrible machine guns. In tabletop, machine guns are for killing infantry and light vehicles - neither of which are present in MWO. As they stand they are utterly awful and the only reasons to take them are that you're a masochist or you're screwing around. 

  • ER PPC/ER Large Laser

    All the benefits of the non ER versions, plus a little bit more! More in this case being slightly increased range (of questionable benefit with the maps we currently have) and crippling heat generation! Seriously, the ER PPC requires 47 heat sinks if you want to be able to fire it over and over without worrying about a shutdown. Forty seven. Even with double heat sinks there's barely a 'mech in the game that can mount that many, so you'll have to watch your heat and not fire it too often. And that's just for ONE ER PPC. It DOES do away with the standard PPCs minimum range, but bear in mind that the PPCs minimum range only kicks in at 90m. Paying a 50% heat tax for that seems unnecessary to me.

    The ER Large laser is in the same boat - 50% extra heat for a bit of (largely useless) extra range. There’s just no point.

  • Flamer

    At one time in the closed beta, the flamer was occasionally worth taking. You could throw a few on a fast light mech, do continuous damage to your target and make them overheat a little into the bargain. No more. The flamer currently generates more heat for the firer than it imparts on the target when you start firing it, it does barely any damage, and holding down the fire button will cause your heat to continue to rise. At present it is a joke weapon that you can use as the final insult to a team you just utterly trounced.

  • Small Pulse Laser

    This is probably the worst of the bad weapons, because it doesn't fail at anything spectacularly. It's not excitingly terrible like the absurdly overheating ERs, or the noisy but pointless machine guns and flamers; it's just a heavier, hotter, worse version of the small laser. Twice the weight, does the same damage, 50% more heat and a slightly shorter beam duration. There's no situation where you're better off with a small pulse than with either a pair of small lasers or a single medium laser. Avoid, these are terrible.

That wraps up the top and bottom of the tree — next time around I'll cover off the situationally useful stuff that isn't terrible, but also isn't good enough to make taking it a no brainer.

I've been writing words on the internet for years at, but until I came to, no one bothered to read them. I like robots, space and the internet and am therefore perfect for the MWO desk.