Mech Lab

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Customizing Your Mech[edit | edit source]

All of the following can be swapped or upgraded in your mech, within the MechLab:

  • Weapons
  • Armor
  • Engines
  • Heat Sinks
  • Jump Jets
  • ECM Gear
  • Modules

Hardpoint System[edit | edit source]

Mechs have a series of hardpoints on their chassis that are used for storing weapons. Hardpoints are specific to a category of weapons, either energy, ballistic, or missile. Only weapons of the same type can be swapped into a given hardpoint. Of course, this assumes that you have both the space and tonnage available to support the weapon you would like to swap in.

For example, let’s say you have a mech that is maxed out in terms of tonnage, and you’ve got a Large Laser in your mech’s arm that you would like to switch out for something else. The arm also happens to have three energy weapon hardpoints in it, but the Large Laser only occupies one. A Large Laser also weighs five tons and takes up two crit spaces. If you want to switch out that laser it will have to be with another energy weapon (or weapons) that weighs five tons or less and takes up no more than two crit slots. Medium Lasers fit that bill; they take up one crit slot and one hardpoint each, and weigh only one ton. You could put two of them in there, and still have three tons left on the mech to use for other equipment. If you happen to have some empty crit slots available, perhaps some extra heat sinks (at one ton and one crit slot each) might be in order. Although non-weapon equipment doesn’t require hardpoints, it still takes up weight and crit space.

Weapon hardpoints will only be found in places where the stock variant of the mech you are using has weapons. Example: the Hunchback HBK-4P has no weapons in the left torso. As a result, there would be no hardpoints in that location, so no weapons could ever be mounted there.

Critical Spaces, aka Crit Slots[edit | edit source]

I’ve mentioned crit slots several times throughout this primer, and while experienced tabletop BattleTech players understand exactly what those are, there are probably a lot of folks out there who are unfamiliar with the concept. For those of you who are familiar with how critical spaces work in BattleTech, you may want to skip ahead to the next section because in MWO they will work exactly like they do in BattleTech. The rest of you may want to forge ahead. This is a very important concept to understand, so I’m going to go into some detail here.

The purpose behind critical spaces is to provide a mechanism to account for the fact that the key functional components of a BattleMech take up space inside the body of the machine, and any time a mech’s armor is penetrated and internal damage occurs there is a chance that one of those components could get damaged, causing it to stop working. By key functional components I mean any component that provides important capabilities to the mech, such as the engine, computer system, arm and leg actuators, weapons, heat sinks, etc.

Every part of the mech’s chassis contains a certain number of crit slots to account for these key functional components. The amount of stuff you can pack into any one part of the chassis is determined largely by how many crit slots you have available in that part of the mech. Some of your crit slots will automatically be taken up by basic components like the engine and gyros, but others will remain available for you to do with as you please.

A mech’s arms will each have a total of 12 crit slots. The same is true of the right torso, center torso, and left torso. The legs and head, however, only have six critical slots each. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of these crit slots will already be taken up by the engine, gyros, actuators, heat sinks, and other critical systems like life support and your cockpit (because the pilot takes up some space, too). If one of these things gets hit by weapons fire that component generally stops working. The major exception is the engine, which takes up six crit slots in your center torso, and can absorb up to three hits before it quits working, although the first two hits will slow you down and cause heat buildup). Once all these mandatory components are in place you have some slots left over that are assigned to weapons, additional heat sinks, and other optional components that you may want to install. The following table gives you a quick rundown of what you can probably expect to have in terms of available crit slots:

Chassis Section Available Crit Slots
Head 1
Center Torso 2
L/R Torso 12 each
L/R Arm 8-10 each
L/R Leg 2 each

The number of crit slots available in your arms can vary depending on how the arms are designed. Some mechs, like the JagerMech and Catapult, have arms that lack lower arm and wrist actuators (which means they are also not as agile), and so they have more available crit slots in the arms.

When you add new components to your mech you get to decide where on the chassis they will go, as long as you have available crit slots and tonnage capacity to handle the equipment. There are some restrictions based on the type of equipment (jump jets, for example, can only go in the legs or torso), but for the most part the choice is yours.

Armor[edit | edit source]

Armor works pretty much exactly like the tabletop game. You get 32 points of armor per ton, which you can distribute over the chassis as you see fit. Each location on the mech can only have a certain amount of armor, which varies by weight class. You will also be able to assign armor points to rear torso locations, unlike certain other MechWarrior video games.

It is also important to note that heads and legs have additional armor than what was allowed in the tabletop game as a way of balancing out legging and headshots.

Oooh, pretty colors![edit | edit source]

Yes, you can choose the paint scheme for your mech. You will have primary, secondary, and tertiary color choices to make, as well as decals to choose. However, Players will not be able to import custom skins, decals, etc. at launch. This may become available later, but there are some serious copyright issues to consider.

If coloring your mech is too much dang work for you, there will also be a selection of skins available for people to choose from.

Other Components[edit | edit source]

New engines can be purchased in the MechLab. Putting a new engine in your mech will cause the mech’s new top speed, crit slots, and weight to be refigured automatically.

Several other advanced components from the BattleTech universe will also be available to equip in your mech via the Mech Lab. Examples include Ferro-Fibrous armor, XL engines, Endo Steel internals, and double heat sinks. The placement of equipment within the mech will be limited according to tabletop rules. For example, jump jets will only be allowed on mech variants that normally have jump jets, and CASE can only be used in the torso.

You will also be able to set up weapon groupings in the Mech Lab rather than having to do it on the field of battle.

At some point in the future it will also be possible to purchase alternative ammunition types, such as Inferno rounds. It will never be possible to purchase coolant pods.

Damaged Mechs[edit | edit source]

Naturally, your mech is going to take some damage during a match. Sometimes it will get completely trashed. The good news is that no matter how much punishment your mech endures (including getting cored), you can always repair it. Yes, your mechanics are that good. There will always be a cost associated with repairing and rearming your mech, and this cost will increase with the amount of damage you’ve taken. As long as you pay for the repairs, you will be able to take your mech into the next battle at full strength.

Weapons that get destroyed in a match are not lost for good, either. They can also be repaired in the Mech Lab. Ammunition used during a match must also be replenished, at a per-round cost. What this means is that if you only use two rounds of AC/10 ammo during a match, you will only need to buy two rounds of ammunition to replace what you’ve used rather than having to buy a full ton.

MWO Primer Contents[edit source]