MechCommander Gold Weapons Analysis
Powering every vehicle and battlemech are weapon and sensor components. By having a thorough understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, you will have a *much* easier time dealing with enemy units. You'll also learn what to bring (and not to bring) and overall field better units. Half the battle is correctly identifying enemy units and what they carry, the other half (the technical specs of each weapon) will be adequately covered by this guide.
Although you can't change the overall tonnage, armor values, or engine size on the battlemechs, you can switch out the weapons payload. The computer will always use the mechs in their 'default configuration', but you will have a much higher degree of success if you custom fit your battlemechs with weapons that better suit the situation (or what you have to work with).
Although all weapons fall into 3 major classes: Energy, Ballistic, and Missile; there are two tiers of technology present in the game. You technology base is Inner Sphere, and the enemy's is Clan. Inner Sphere weapons *are* good, each of them having a purpose, but the Clan's weapons systems are superior. Clan weapons are a little lighter (meaning you can hold more of them), or they feature better damage, recycle, or range values. Some Clan weapons aren't vastly superior to their Inner Sphere relatives, but some are technological wonders that can turn any mech into an offensive powerhouse.
Whenever possible, do not turn down the opportunity to salvage Clan technology. It is simply too good to pass up, and honestly, your Inner Sphere battlemechs need the superior weapons. You don't want to get your pilots killed over clan technology, but certain clan weapons are more than worth a couple extra grand of repairs.
Every weapon has a cost, a recycle time, damage value, range, and load weight. Non energy weapons also have a limited amount of ammo. Before we dive into the specifics on everything lets go over each of these for a second.
Cost This value only matters when it comes time for you to sell a component back to battalion. Battalion will only pay 1/2 the cash value for anything, and even worse, the item is removed from the game *permanently*. Battalion for some reason doesn’t put the resold weapon back on the market, so everything you sell is gone for good. Keep that in mind before you decide to sell something.
Recycle Time This measures the amount of time that must elapse for the weapon to recharge or reload (and dissipate excessive heat that was generated). After a shot is fired, you must wait AT LEAST this number (of seconds) before the weapon can fire again. The weapon may not fire immediately when it is ready to (for a list of reasons we will cover later on).
Damage This tells you how hard each shot hits. When the projectile makes contact with the enemy this damage amount will be applied to the armor (or internal structure if the armor is gone / not strong enough). Higher values signify weapons that can blow straight through weaker armor to penetrate the fragile components underneath.
Range All weapons are one of three ranges: short, medium, and long. Short range weapons have a range of 0-75 m, Medium is 25-150 m, and Long is 50-225 m. Medium and Long range weapons all share one very important fact, they both have a minimum range; if your opponents get within this range of your mechs, these weapon WILL NOT FIRE, meaning those ER PPC's and Gauss Rifles are useless.
Load Weight Every mech has a limit to how much gross tonnage of weapons they can hold, and the Load Weight represents the weapon, it's ammo, and the heat sinks that need to be installed for the weapon to fire. If you have exactly 9 tons of weight left, then you simply *cannot* load the 9.5 ton Light Ultra AC on your mech.
Now that we have all of the stats that the game will give you, its time to add a few more 'values' into the pool. I have created both of these to help show you which weapons are better bangs for your RP's, and which weapons you need to avoid/sell ASAP.
Power This is how much damage a weapon will cause in a full minute of fire. We are assuming that each shot fires *exactly* when the weapon is ready to fire again, and that each shot hits its mark. We also ignore other things that would cause you to delay shooting (loss of target, loss of ammo, falling down) or that would cause your shot to miss (gunnery, moving targets, luck). This value represents a perfect world, and will in reality be far far less.
Effectiveness Divide the above Power rating by the weapon's load weight, and you get this. All it does is tell you which weapons are ton for ton better damage dealers.
Bang For Buck Divide the cost by the weapon's power rating. For mechcommander's operating on a tight budget and those that need some additional weapons, this rating tells you what's worth your money. The numbers are X Resource Points per point of power, so lower numbers are better. After all if you can spend 300 RP's or 3k RP's on two different weapons that do the same thing, you will (usually) want the cheaper one. This number also gives you a good idea of just how valuable your salvage is. Higher numbers indicate weapons that are costly for what they do, signifying weapons that are better salvage.
With all that out of the way, lets get take a closer look at each weapon, starting with the energy weapon class.
Energy weapons tend to be efficient as far as damage to weight, but suffer from longer reloads and lower damage values. Energy weapons do however have one very important trait: no ammo. Long term missions or missions will lots of targets demand that every mech you field has at least one energy weapon. Another important thing about this is that there is no ammo at risk for blowing up (ammo explosions), which in later missions starts happening more frequently due to them being more combat intensive.
Laser 1,060 RP 4.0 Tons Short Range 5.00 Recycle Time 2.0 Damage per shot Power: 24 Effectiveness: 6.000 Bang for Buck: 44.17 Large Laser 4,480 RP 9.5 Tons Medium Range 5.0 Recycle Time 4.0 Damage per shot Power: 48 Effectiveness: 5.053 Bang for Buck: 93.34
The Laser and Large Laser are the base for all energy weapons. Both fire slowly and deal minor damage, but the real reason you would want to use these weapons are that the laser's load value is fairly low and the weapons never run out of ammo. Lasers also have an incredible effectiveness rating. Loading up a mech exclusively with lasers (not uncommon with low budget commanders), produces a unit that can unload enormous amounts of firepower (in 5 second ts). The Large Laser is still a good choice, but is not quite as effective lar Laser.
Large Extended Range (ER) Laser 5,210 RP 11.0 Tons Long Range 5.0 Recycle Time 4.0 Damage per shot Power: 48 Effectiveness: 4.364 Bang for Buck: 108.54
The Large ER laser is identical stat-wise to the Large Laser except that the beam can be fired at long range. Although there are better weapons out there, this weapon is ideal for (slowly) removing pesky base defenses from a safe distance. The lack of ammo concerns means you can save your LRMs and Gauss Rifle shots for more worthwhile targets (mechs and vehicles).
Clan ER Laser 2,380 RP 3.5 Tons Medium Range 5.00 Recycle Time 2.0 Damage per shot Power: 24 Effectiveness: 6.857 Bang for Buck: 99.17 Clan Large ER Laser 9,690 RP 10.0 Tons Long Range 5.0 Recycle Time 5.0 Damage per shot Power: 60 Effectiveness: 6.000 Bang for Buck: 161.50
The clan's basic laser upgrades result in two ER lasers that improve on load space over their Inner Sphere counterparts. The large ER laser even does more damage, which makes an already decent weapon even better. Since the computer will generally fight you at medium range, these two weapons are much more useful thanks to their better ranges. Because of thier better effectiveness ratings, you should phase out your IS Laser supplies with these two cLan replacements.
Pulse Laser 1,130 RP 6.0 Tons Short Range 1.75 Recycle Time 1.0 Damage per shot Power: 34 Effectiveness: 5.667 Bang for Buck: 33.24 Large Pulse Laser 4,350 RP 12.0 Tons Medium Range 2.0 Recycle Time 2.0 Damage per shot Power: 60 Effectiveness: 5.000 Bang for Buck: 72.50
Pulse lasers are faster firing lasers than their regular counterparts. The faster firing rate comes at only a minor loss of damage, so provided your pilots are better gunners, pulse lasers provide more power and thus (over time) more damage than regular lasers. The only downside is that like most of the other energy weapons, they have larger than usual load values.
Clan Pulse Laser 1,700 RP 4.0 Tons Short Range 1.75 Recycle Time 1.0 Damage per shot Power: 34 Effectiveness: 8.570 Bang for Buck: 50.00 Clan Large Pulse Laser 8,010 RP 11.0 Tons Medium Range 2.0 Recycle Time 2.5 Damage per shot Power: 75 Effectiveness: 6.818 Bang for Buck: 106.80
The Clan Pulse Lasers are truly valuable weapons. The regular Inner Sphere Laser and the Clan Pulse Laser have the same 4 ton load value, while the clan Pulse Laser retains the same higher power. The result makes the Clan Pulse Laser the most size/effective weapon in the game. The Large Pulse laser damage upgrade, although minor, makes this weapon VERY powerful as well. Battlemechs looking for extended combat duty *need* to make room for one of these weapons. Consider the Clan Pulse Lasers two of the more valuable Clan weapons; every attempt to salvage them will be very worthwhile.
Heavy Flamer 2,030 RP 8.0 Tons Short Range 7.5 Recycle Time 5.0 Damage per shot Power: 40 Effectiveness: 5.000 Bang for Buck: 50.75
The Heavy Flamer can't fire as fast as other weapons, and the power this weapon provides is inferior to a pair of lasers, or a SRM/Streak SRM duo. So why would you want to bother with Flamers? They deal a ton of damage in one concentrated shot, which allows you to make holes instead of dents in the enemy’s armor. Even the light weight mechs can benefit from this heavy hitting weapon due to its relatively lower weight limit. Although the situation will make the final call, heavy flamers make a good addition to mechs seeking to improve their short range bite.
Clan Heavy Flamer 3,620 RP 7.0 Tons Short Range 6.0 Recycle Time 5.0 Damage per shot Power: 50 Effectiveness: 7.143 Bang for Buck: 72.40
Improvements in both load value and recycle time make the Clan Heavy Flamer another one of the more valuable Clan weapons. It can fit on mechs of any size, and can can do serious armor piercing damage. Although you probably don't want to add them to your lightest of battlemechs (low armor), they serve a very useful and lethal short range addition to any mech payload.
Particle Projectile Cannon (PPC) 6,900 RP 12.0 Tons Medium Range 7.5 Recycle Time 7.5 Damage per shot Power: 60 Effectiveness: 5.000 Bang for Buck: 115.00 ER PPC 7,210 RP 15.5 Tons Long Range 7.5 Recycle Time 7.5 Damage per shot Power: 60 Effectiveness: 3.871 Bang for Buck: 120.17
The PPC weapons are both highly preferred weapons of mechwarriors, commanders, heck everyone. These weapons both fire very slowly but deliver near devastating punch to decent ranges. The Firestarter W, a lowly 30 tons, comes with a PPC on default, and you will see very quickly that even medium class mechs can fall to a good shot from one of these things. The ER version adds 3.5 additional tons to extend the weapon range to Long; a worthwhile addition.
Clan ER PPC 21,450 RP 13.5 Tons Long Range 7.5 Recycle Time 11.25 Damage per shot Power: 90 Effectiveness: 6.667 Bang for Buck: 239.33
Several Clan improvements are good, but this one is *so* good that many mechcommanders place the Clan ER PPC as one of the most valuable and all around powerful weapons in the game. It's Long range, 2 tons lighter than the Inner Sphere version, and deals and extra 50% damage. Most other weapons make some serious sacrifices to achieve long range distance, but this weapon isn't one of them! This weapon is so useful and rare that missions where you
lose even one can be considered a serious loss. Cherish this weapon for it is one that mixes everything just right, and make every effort to salvage them.
Ballistic weapons tend to be larger than other weapons of comparable value, but enjoy very high power ratings due to their combination of higher damage and faster rate of fire. One important issue is that all of these weapons (except the light autocannons) have limited (or extremely limited) ammo constraints. You'll need to use ammo conservation intensively in order to ensure that every shot counts, and you'll have to keep in mind that as long as you have ammo for these in your mechs, you risk blowing up internally should those mechs get seriously shot up.
Heavy AutoCannon 10,890 RP 19.5 Tons Short Range 7.5 Recycle Time 15.00 Damage per shot 13 Shots Power: 120 Effectiveness: 6.154 Bang for Buck: 90.75
The Heavy AutoCannon is a truly terrifying weapon. When you see any units that carry it (Bulldogs, Hunchbacks) you *NEED* to snap to attention and immediately take them down (or run away). If left alone (or worse ignored) you will find one of your pilots ejecting before you know what happened. There are plenty of reasons to steer clear of the Hvy AC: massive load weight, long reload, expensive, and short range. To top everything off: 13 shots. That’s just over a minute and a half of firing. But the bonuses of bringing it along? It can blow arms and legs off in a single shot. A torso hit is *very* likely to penetrate armor and damage internal structure. Since most mechs also store ammo in their torsos, you're looking at a likely instant ammo explosion too. A headshot would be an instant kill. The benefits and drawbacks are severe, but with a little bit of tactical to-do, one can make the most of this very powerful weapon.
Clan Heavy Ultra AutoCannon 27,400 RP 21.0 Tons Short Range 5.0 Recycle Time 15.00 Damage per shot 10 Shots Power: 150 (180) Effectiveness: 7.143 (8.571) Bang for Buck: 182.67 (152.22)
Improvements in the rate of fire change the already deadly Hvy AC into the single most damaging weapon you can carry. You'll notice the Power rating has two numbers there. The one outside parenthesis is the true value, but one very important fact should be known, the Hvy Ultra AC can't sustain fire for a full minute. With only a crappy **10** shots, the cannon will shoot for only 50 seconds. Provided that the cannon could fire those last two shots, the power (and thus effectiveness) ratings would be what they are in the parenthesis. It goes without saying that you *must* conserve ammo with this gun. It will tear holes through your enemies fast, but if you let those precious 10 shots go to waste on armored cars (or even light mechs in the later game), then the point of bringing the weapon in the first place is gone. Unless you can guarantee a mission will be short, ONLY bring this weapon if you have a way to reload it.
AutoCannon 7,000 RP 15.5 Tons Medium Range 5.0 Recycle Time 6.00 Damage per shot 40 Shots Power: 72 Effectiveness: 4.645 Bang for Buck: 97.22
The AutoCannon sports some decent traits. Average recycle time and strong damage make the AC a good choice for combat intensive battlemechs. The ammo constraint tends to become a problem when you're midway through a fairly long mission. As long as you make sure that units armed with the AC are using ammo conservation mode to fight and saving the AC for worthwhile treats, you'll find that the AC is a very strong anti-mech weapon. Another real drawback is the slightly larger than usual load value, which makes this weapon useable only by larger mechs.
Clan Ultra AutoCannon 12,590 RP 13.5 Tons Medium Range 4.0 Recycle Time 6.00 Damage per shot 30 Shots Power: 90 Effectiveness: 6.667 Bang for Buck: 139.89
Like the Hvy Ultra AutoCannon, the Clan's Ultra AutoCannon has a slightly lower amount of ammo. Coupled with the faster firing time, the weapon will run dry in two minutes! The gun however *does* improve on load value. This is one case where the Inner Sphere has a slight advantage. If you have access to refit bays or ammo trucks, then the Clan counterpart is better, but longer missions (or more targets) may force you to stick with the regular AutoCannon.
Light AutoCannon 1,410 RP 9.5 Tons Long Range 2.0 Recycle Time 1.00 Damage per shot 100 Shots Power: 30 Effectiveness: 3.159 Bang for Buck: 47.00 Light Ultra AutoCannon 2,740 RP 11.0 Tons Long Range 1.3 Recycle Time 1.00 Damage per shot 112 Shots Power: 45 Effectiveness: 4.091 Bang for Buck: 60.89
The fast firing Light AC is a decent choice for salvaging mechs at long range, and you are very unlikely to run out of ammo, but the low damage output and large load value makes the Inner Sphere Light AC the least effective weapon in the game. You should probably steer clear of it entirely and sell it back to battalion ASAP. There are much better weapons out there for your mechs to use. The Ultra AutoCannon on the other hand upgrade fixes this problem to some extent, adding an even faster firing rate and even more ammo. The result is a higher damage output overall. This weapon should be used to take care of smaller targets at long range. If you can afford the extra 1.5 tons, take the Light Ultra AC over the regular version, and if you cant, then you are usually better off with picking a different weapon entirely.
Clan Light Ultra AutoCannon 3,550 RP 8.5 Tons Long Range 1.3 Recycle Time 1.00 Damage per shot 112 Shots Power: 45 Effectiveness: 5.294 Bang for Buck: 78.89
This Clan Ultra Cannon model actually has the same amount of ammo as the Inner Sphere cousin, but enjoys a significant load weight advantage. This means nearly any unit can field one of these, taking out small targets at long range with ease. Using this, some of your lighter weight mechs can even provide fire support in some fights without risk of being annihilated. The gun isn’t a heavy hitter, but its very powerful for how little it weighs.
Gauss Rifle 15,150 RP 16.5 Tons Long Range 5.0 Recycle Time 7.50 Damage per shot 16 Shots Power: 90 Effectiveness: 5.455 Bang for Buck: 168.33
A powerful long range weapon just like the ER PPC, the Gauss Rifle fires even faster, giving it a much higher power rating. The gun is carried by quite a few foes and can also destroy a mech before you know it. The drawback of the gun is the 16 shots that is comes with; not enough unless you can keep the gun from wasting ammo on worthless units. If you have to choose between this and the ER PPC, consider whether or not 16 shots (and not all of them will hit mind you) is enough to get you through. If you can spare a couple extra seconds of reload time, then the ER PPC is better for longer missions. But the rapid fire of the Gauss is better if you can keep the ammo flowing.
Clan Gauss Rifle 18,520 RP 13.5 Tons Long Range 5.0 Recycle Time 7.50 Damage per shot 16 Shots Power: 90 Effectiveness: 6.667 Bang for Buck: 205.78
Just like the Inner Sphere version, the Clan's Gauss Rifle has only 16 shots. This model does enjoy a weight advantage, for which could be used to add extra support weapons on your mech. The Clan's ER PPC is easily a better deal thanks to the unlimited ammo it has. That’s not to say this weapon is useless, in fact its very powerful and rare just like the Clan ER PPC. Its just that you need those 13.5 tons for a weapon that won't run dry after only a quarter the way into the mission. Again if you can refit the ammo midway through, then this weapon will pay off for you in the end.
Missile weapons are low power weapons; only in larger packs can they hope to hit as hard as other weapons. Missiles do enjoy a strong tactical benefit: they can be fired over walls and forests. This means a unit that can stay behind a wall can effectively make those ER PPCs and Gauss Rifles useless. Furthermore they are tiny and any mech can carry several of them.
The missile packs also resolve damage a little differently than the other weapons. When they fire, the fire in pairs, and not all the missiles will hit. The damage value will tell you how much each individual missile does, and the power rating will assume that at least 1/2 the missiles hit their mark.
Short Range Missile Pack 410 RP 3.0 Tons Short Range 4.0 Recycle Time 1.00 Damage per missile 62 Shots (31 salvos) Power: 15 Effectiveness: 5.000 Bang for Buck: 27.33 Clan Short Range Missile Pack 740 RP 3.0 Tons Short Range 3.0 Recycle Time 1.00 Damage per missile 83 Shots (41 salvos) Power: 20 Effectiveness: 37.00 Bang for Buck: 12.70
Short Range missile packs are filler weapons. They lack punch, and half of your shots will usually miss. But they are very light and inexpensive. You will quickly have a massive pile of SRMs, but the Clan SRMs are extremely rare (none of the clan mechs carry them, so you can only salvage them from component warehouses, of which there is only one place I know of). As long as your mechs don't already have a large amount of missiles already, there's no loss from filling those last 6 tons with 2 SRM packs.
Streak Short Range Missile Pack 1,300 RP 5.0 Tons Short Range 4.0 Recycle Time 1.00 Damage per missile, 2.00 damage per salvo 62 Shots (31 salvos) Power: 30 Effectiveness: 6.000 Bang for Buck: 43.33 Clan Streak Short Range Missile Pack 1,450 RP 4.75 Tons Short Range 3.0 Recycle Time 1.00 Damage per missile, 2.00 damage per salvo 83 Shots (41 salvos) Power: 40 Effectiveness: 8.421 Bang for Buck: 36.25
Streak Short Range Missiles on the other hand are *excellent* weapons, even for green mechwarriors. They will only fire when a hit is guaranteed (for both missiles). Even though the missiles still do 1 damage, streak SRMs theoretically do twice as much damage since both missiles will always hit. Clan versions fire even faster and weigh less, making the Clan Streak SRM the second most efficient weapon in the game. Make every effort to keep a hold of every Clan Streak SRM pack you can.
Long Range Missile Pack 1,760 RP 4.0 Tons Long Range 10.0 Recycle Time 1.00 Damage per missile 24 Shots (8 salvos) Power: 12 Effectiveness: 3.000 Bang for Buck: 146.67 Clan Long Range Missile Pack 2,340 RP 3.0 Tons Long Range 3.0 Recycle Time 1.00 Damage per missile 24 Shots (8 salvos) Power: 12 Effectiveness: 4.000 Bang for Buck: 195.00
The Long Range missles aren't as effective as their shorter range counterparts but they are deadly when grouped together and stuck on units fortified behind thick walls. Many base defenders you come across will use this tactic, so its important to learn how to counter it early. Another favorite place to use loads of LRMs are in thick forests, where it's difficult to get close to the enemy. Clan LRM versions aren’t any superior in terms of firepower, but the 3 ton load makes them as versatile fillers on mechs as regular SRM packs.
Author- Patrick H. Kerensky Version - 1.8 Micropose Fasa Interactive Fasa Corporation