It's cool that PGI is trying alternative methods of stirring up hype, but man, I wish they'd saved it for something like the Mad Cat MK II - as far as I know, the Linebacker isn't particularly special in lore, TT, or previous MW games. That being said, I do love the way it looks - it looks to have a unique profile and I think that pixel skin
looks sweet as hell.
I think a lot of people are concerned over how it's not gonna be a great mech, but that's not something that anyone should be disappointed in a pre-order mech for. We want these things to be close to average (AKA "balanced"), and we don't want another Kodiak (though I am a bit fearful of the Night Gyr). But it is true that it probably won't be great
- it runs at the same speed as the Stormcrow with 2 less free tons despite being 10 tons heavier. You can strip both arms and drop the legs by 8 points of armor each to even up the free tonnage between the two, but there are very few builds that can be optimized for that.
But what's more important, and what I (and many others) remain disappointed in is the way the hardpoints/omnipods are distributed across the variants. Once again, in order to run the best builds possible on the mech, you will need
to pick up both the reinforcement and hero add-on packs, which is just annoying. It's happened a few times in the past and I've always said "I hope this doesn't become a pattern", but I think it has. It's not like PGI plans it that way (I can easily see how it would develop organically), but there are ways to avoid this issue, which I implore PGI to look into.
The simplest thing to do is just to make it so that buying the base pack gives you the basic variant of the chassis (with or without the special status depending on if you spent $20 or $40), and then it allows you to choose two of the four remaining C-Bill variants. I know that this would require extra work, maybe a significant amount, but...it would be an improvement in the package system that you're so dedicated to. It doesn't solve the issue of Hero omnipods, but I feel like that's a whole other issue.
But enough of that, let's get on to the fun stuff!BuildsLaser Vomit
- Armor: 28 in one arm, 2 in the other, 56 per leg, max elsewhere
- cLPL in either side torso
- 5x cERML across the side torsos
- 20 DHS, TC1
This is the most basic build I'm looking at for this mech, with some variations that use 2 cLPLs and a few cERMLs, or even smalls. It's not a very exciting build, and other heavies do this sort of thing way better, but it'll certainly be serviceable.
Unfortunately, in order to run it optimally, you need the Hero and Reinforcement add-ons. But you can run it almost as well with just one or the other, and it can still be done with the base pack, but with larger sacrifices (at least a heat sink).Wubs
- Armor: 24 in one arm, 2 in the other, 58 per leg, max elsewhere
- 6x cMPL split across side torsos
- 19 DHS, TC1
This is much more exciting, and a bit more appropriate for a mech whose redeeming trait is speed. I love this build for the Stormcrow, and while you actually lose
a heatsink in the jump up to 65 tons (lol), I'm sure it'll still be good. You can also do 9 Small Pulses or ER Meds...I'll definitely be trying those.
As with the Laser Vomit build, it does require both add-ons to be run optimally, but can be done almost as well with just one or the other, and can be done with significant sacrifices on just the base 3 variants.Brawler
- Armor: 0 in RA, 16 in head, 52 per leg, max elsewhere
- 4x SRM6 w/ Artemis (2 in LA, 1 per side torso), 5 tons ammo
- 2x SPL (RT)
- 15 DHS
Probably the most appropriate build I've come up with for the Linebacker, this one just slaps a brawler med build into it. I'm hoping that the extra hitpoints are enough to make this good, but it'll probably be pretty average for a brawler.
This build does require the Reinforcements add-on, but not the Hero, so that's nice. But you can't mount a facsimile with just the base 3 variantsFull Splat
- Armor: 51 per leg, 17 in head, max elsewhere
- 6x SRM4 w/ Artemis (across both arms and side torsos), 5 tons ammo
- 14 DHS
It's...a bit light on ammo, but you probably won't live that long anyways. I'm not super-optimistic about this build because of all the other heavies that do similar things at a higher power level, but it is at least 15 KPH faster than all of those. And for once, it's a build that the Stormcrow can't already do!
This build also requires the Reinforcements add-on, but not the Hero. Definitely can't be done on the base pack, though.Gauss Vomit
- Armor: 0 in each arm, 52 per leg, max elsewhere
- Gauss Rifle (RT), 3 tons ammo
- 4x cERML (across side torsos)
- 14 DHS
This build is so passé, but it's still decent enough. And it's pretty much the only way you're going to comfortably fit a Gauss Rifle on this thing. The more I think about it, the more I think it actually might be pretty decent on this chassis.
This also can be done with only the Reinforcements add-on, but not on the base 3.Large Pulse
- Armor: 0 in each arm, 52 per leg, max elsewhere
- 3x cLPL (2 in RT, 1 in LT)
- 15 DHS
Sure, it'll be decent enough, but the main reason I'm including this build is because it is the best build I can fit on just
the three base variants, without any add-ons.Value Assessment
If you want to be able to run all of the builds well (even if some of them aren't perfect), your highest-value pack selection will be the base $20 pack with the Reinforcements add-on. Some of the laser builds will require you to use 5 in the torsos and one in an arm instead of all 6 in the torsos, but it can run pretty much everything else without making significant sacrifices.
If you do want to run everything perfectly, though, you will want to go for the Hero add-on as well. Just
getting the base pack with the Hero doesn't open up any important options versus just the base pack with the reinforcements, but if you have your own reasons for wanting it, by all means.
The trouble with only getting the base pack is that it really only enables the 3x cLPL build, and worse versions of the laser boat builds. But it is the cheapest option, so if you're a fan of the chassis or like the look or w/e, it's a solid choice.PredictionsAfter things settle down from its release, we'll probably see this mech about as much as the Stormcrow. So, it'll be considered decent enough, but really nothing special. There are definitely some things about it that could be fun, but I imagine that (without significant quirkage) it will struggle to get over Tier 3. Which is juuust fine.
Also, the real reason PGI is hyping it up so much is because it signifies the return of true collision mechanics and tackling to MWO, a project they've been working on in secret for years. DON'T CRUSH MY DREAMS!
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. If you're interested in supporting his self-destruction, consider checking out his Patreon!