Weapons are pieces of equipment that can inflict damage on a target. Weapons can be attached to weapon hardpoints found on 'Mechs. A 'Mech with no weapons is considered to have an invalid loadout, and will not be available for use.
Weapons exist as one of three types:
A weapon can only be mounted to a hardpoint of the same type.
- Laser: Laser weapons are light and take up few slots, but can generate large amounts of heat. Lasers deal damage evenly over their duration and so must be held on target to deal full damage. Lasers come in 3 varieties: pulse, heavy, and beam. Pulse lasers offer improved damage and reduced duration over beam lasers at the cost of increased weight, reduced range, and in some cases, more heat.
- PPC: Particle Projection Cannons (PPCs) are energy weapons that fire energy "projectiles" that have travel times and do full damage on impact, but do not use ammo.
- Flamer: Flamers are classified as energy weapons since they're designed to vent plasma directly from the fusion core, and thus they do not require a source of fuel. They're similar to Machine Guns in terms of damage, but they also increase the target's heat. Unfortunately, they also generate a lot of heat.
Ballistic weapons are heavy and bulky (with the exception of the Machine Gun), but generate little heat. These weapons consume ammo when fired and have a small amount of drop over distance. Ballistic weapons deal their full damage instantly on impact. There are several types of weapons that fall into the ballistic category:
- Machine Gun: fully automatic, rapid-fire weapon that has very short range and does miniscule damage, but has a good chance of inflicting Critical Hits once the target's armor is stripped away.
- Autocannon: fires either a single shell (IS) or burst (Clan) that deals the full weapon damage.
- LBX Autocannon: fires a cluster round with short range but an increased chance of inflicting Critical Hits. Each pellet deals 1 damage.
- Ultra Autocannon: Operates the same as the Autocannon but can risk jamming to fire an extra shot during the cool down.
- Gauss: Fires a single, high-damage round at long range. Each round does 15 damage.
Missile weapons have medium weight and generate a moderate amount of heat. Missile weapons fire a number of slow moving projectiles in a cone that deal instant damage upon impact.
Each missile does damage depending on its type:
- IS SRMs deal 2.15 damage per missile
- Clan SRMs deal 2 damage per missile
- All LRMs deal 1 damage per missile
- All Streak SRMs deal 2 damage per missile. These weapons track targets and require a lock before firing.
Long Range missiles have a 180m minimum range. Inner Sphere LRMs deal 0 damage within the minimum range while Clan LRMs deal decreasing damage from the minimum range to 0. The Artemis IV FCS upgrade can improve the performance of most missile weapons.
Recycle time also known as "cooldown" is the time a weapon takes to become ready to use again after firing.
Damage is the maximum amount of damage dealt by the weapon. In practice, damage can be diminished by range and partial hits.
The number of heat points added to your heat level when the weapon is fired.
Slots & Tonnage
Slots represent the amount of internal space a weapon takes up in a 'Mech. Tonnage is the unloaded weight of the weapon. A Mech must have sufficient free slots and tonnage to mount a weapon.
Optimum range, also known as "short range" is the maximum range at which a weapon can deal full damage. Unless otherwise noted, a weapon deals full damage at any range up to the optimum range
Maximum range, also known as "fall off" or "long range" is the range at which a weapons damage drops to 0. Weapon damage decreases linearly to 0 from the optimum range to the maximum range. Maximum range is generally double the optimum range.
Weapon speed, also known as "projectile speed" is the speed at which a projectile or missile will travel. Faster projectiles require less leading against moving targets.
Duration is the time a laser weapon takes to deal its full damage. Recycle time does not begin until after the duration is finished. A shorter duration makes it easier to inflict damage with lasers on moving targets and/or while you yourself are moving.
Long answer: Lasers don't do instant damage. They fire for a length of time, with the listed damage divided over that length of time. For example, a Medium Laser has a duration of 0.9 seconds and does 5 damage. If you're firing at someone and slice across them, going from the LA, LT, CT, RT, RA, and then missing them entirely for a bit before the laser stops firing, then that 5 damage gets divided between those five areas and no damage. The amount of that 5 damage that goes to each is determined by the percentage of the 0.9 seconds that it hit that area. If you want to do all five damage to a single section, then you have to hold the beam on that section for the full 0.9 seconds. That can leave you vulnerable. The recycle time (to fire again) also doesn't start until the laser stops firing. So, with a -10% laser duration perk, a Medium Laser will have a duration of 0.81 seconds instead of 0.9. A shorter duration makes it easier to apply as much of the full 5 damage to your target as possible. Pulse lasers have much shorter duration times to begin with, which most people consider to be their primary benefit. You can do more aiming, shooting, and moving, rather than aiming, shooting, waiting... and then move. ER Large Lasers will get the most out of it, followed by regular Large Lasers, then Medium, then Small, then Large Pulse, Medium Pulse, and Small Pulse, in that order. Clan lasers have considerably longer durations than the Inner Sphere lasers. You also get a slight increase in DPS and HPS (heat per second) since the true time between shots is recycle time + duration.
Health is amount of critical hit damage a piece of equipment can take before it is destroyed.
- Heat Per Second: The amount of heat generated by the weapon over time when fired constantly
- Damage Per Second: The amount of damage dealt by the weapon over time when fired constantly
- Damage Per Second Per Ton: The damage over time dealt by the weapon relative to its weight.