Author Topic:  Roughneck: First Impressions and Review  (Read 4675 times)

20 Apr 17

Read 4675 times

Offline GMan129

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After the folks at PGI had been working on the game for 7 years, they finally got to make a brand new mech, and make it canon. I still think that's really cool. Some people are a bit put out that PGI decided to release this instead of one of the other mechs already in lore, but getting the chance to create something brand new in this universe is an opportunity that I think any fan would relish. But perhaps more importantly, they didn't mess it up.

It also helps that the Roughneck looks pretty cool, though I think that the original concept art was a bit more special than the way it turned out in game: the disproportionate forearms, RT ballistic barrel, and general gangliness seem like they've all been tuned down. I can see why they did these things: a massive barrel is going to obstruct your view, and I can see how such a weird body shape could have made movement look weird. But this has me fearful that the Hollander's (its inclusion is inevitable) Gauss Rifle barrel will be shorter than the mech is tall, which will be really disappointing. That being said, the result is still a pretty cool looking machine, and it definitely looks appropriate to the lore they've created for it as an industrial mech that's been converted for combat purposes.

Aesthetics aside, I've had a fair amount of fun with the mech, despite all the obstacles it has before it. Most classically good builds don't work well on the Roughneck, performing much better on competing heavy mechs. On top of that, the distance between the mounts is pretty extreme, so convergence is almost universally horrid between any two locations but the side torsos themselves. And the cockpit bobbed so much that the top-right screen kept popping in and out of my screen, which got surprisingly annoying.

But the quirks were good, and the fun was had. For the most part, I was driven to brawl. This was a bit surprising to me, since I expected it to be more dakka-oriented, but it ended up being quite serviceable in a short-range role. This also makes it unique as a 65-tonner, since the others are generally glass cannons in a brawl. But the Roughneck can outlive most other mechs in its class, and does so without compromising on anything but heatsinks (usually).

Let's talk about the variants themselves.



There are a lot of builds worth considering on this variant, thanks to its 4 ballistic hardpoints. You've got trip 5s, quad 2s, and all sorts of other permeations. But this DPS brawler seemed to fit the mech better than any of those, and did quite well. It brought me back to the days of the AS7-D-DC with UAC/5s, and fits nearly as many weapons. It's a good enough build, but I doubt it'll really blow your mind.

On a whole, this feels like one of the better variants. It lacks the offensive quirks that make some of the others pop, but it's still durable and the double ballistic RT is worthwhile.


Before writing this, I'd only played this particular variant twice, and I legitimately could not at all remember what I'd run in it, but based on its average damage in my stats page, I didn't have a great time. So I'm going to go give it another few chances.


Ok I'm back.

The 20% ballistic cooldown quirk on this variant is real swell, but the arms on this mech are low and wide and that's not a good combination. Sure, 3 AC/5s performed, but it felt bad and left me way too open for return fire. This one functioned much like the main build I recommended for the RGH-1A, but it got some extra speed out of the XL and a bit more damage too. Of course, it gave up the STD survivability and the high RT mounts, so...I think I still prefer the RGH-1A.

This variant didn't stand out much to me (maybe you could tell), but it definitely wasn't bad. Really, I don't think any of the variants are bad, but none of them are clear winners.


This is probably my favorite variant to straight-up brawl in. The DPS is great, weapons sync up well, and it just feels right. There are lots of permutations on the build, like the one with SRM2s, or a focus on SRM6s, but I found the 4s to be the most efficient option.

Even though it's my favorite to brawl in, its flexibility It's not the best ballistic boat (the RGH-2A has better quirks), and there's not much more you can do with missiles that's worth doing.


It's a...slightly smaller Ilya Muromets. The 15% cooldown obviously isn't quite as good as the 20% on the RGH-1B, but you get a high mount and can mount ultras, which makes up for it. I was really hopeful that 2 AC/10s would be the way to go, but...the convergence issues made it just fine. And this build has the worst convergence of all, but it still has enough firepower to make it work.

I think I was most excited about this variant, but after playing it, I think it might be my least favorite.


I call this build "Thoroughly Uninspired". Yeah, it's fine, I guess. It's also a decent option for quad Large Pulse. But damn is it boring. All energy boats are these days, but if you're looking for something a bit less boring, maybe look at boating some wubses.

It's easy to argue that this is the best variant. Maybe it's true. I'm pretty sure it is true for organized play. But in PUGs, it never really out-did any of the other variants, at least not when I was playing it.


It has a UAC jam quirk. I have no choice.

I had a good enough time. The mounts are too low for me to fall in love, but it's got DPS, it's got range, it's got legs that go all the way to the floor. It's just not great. Other versions with different lasers or even a PPC work too, but still, I'm not wow'd.

But that's a win. For a pre-ordered hero mech, I don't want to be wow'd. I want to not be mad. And I'm feelin' real zen.

Civil War?

Let's talk about how this mech could be effected by the Civil War tech. Right off the bat, I'm lookin' at all these new Ultras, LBX's, and Rotaries, and my imagination goes wild. Again, we're still stuck with some real bad convergence, but you could fit two of those newfangled RAC/5s on the RGH-1A with ease.

On top of that, all those high mounts could end up being premium real estate for good ol' Heavy Gauss Rifle. Slap it on the RGH-2A with a SNPPC to back it up, and we're in business.

Next up, I'm looking at big ol' MRM packs on the RGH-1B in particular. Not something I'm expecting to blow me away, but those high mounts could be sweet for something with a bit more range than SRMs.

And yeah, who knows how the new armor and engine types are going to change things.

Closing Thoughts

It's not a great mech. I think the general reaction from the community of it being underwhelming or mediocre is accurate, but not entirely fitting. I've said it a thousand times, if you're pre-ordering mechs in the hopes of them being better than the mechs you currently have access to, you're doing it wrong. It takes about 5 minutes to survey the mobile game market and see where that sentiment gets you. Or hell, just look at the months where the Kodiak or Timber Wolf or Dire Wolf (etc.) were exclusive. This mech ain't gonna blow your mind, but it's not bad.

And now I want to talk about one of my favorite things about the mech. When I do these reviews, I usually go over each variant, dedicating some space to talking about the variant and its build(s), and then talk about how I feel it ranks in the chassis. It's usually not hard to pick out the best variant, the second best, my personal favorite, etc. But I'll be damned if this isn't one of the most internally balanced chassis out there. Part of that comes from all the variants having similar hardpoints, but in spite of that I was able to make fun, unique builds for each. As such, I feel like this mech is easily one of the best-designed. Which...makes sense.


Good: 6
Fun: 8

I know these scores are silly, subjective, and just about irrelevant. Just kinda feels good to put abstract concepts into numerical form. Tickles part of my brain.

GMan129 is an officer of the Steel Jaguar competitive team, he is the owner of and writer for MetaMechs, and he does some writing for NGNG as well. He has been playing MechWarrior Online since the early days of closed beta, and has spent far too much time and money on this crap.
« Last Edit: 25 Apr 17 by GMan129 »