As it would figure, there actually are two things I really want to talk about.
The first is an issue that has always existed in MWO, and has always really bothered me. There is no real distinction between the classes of mechs. The big, solid differences that tend to crop up are firepower and speed - as you go up in class, the mechs get slower and they do more damage. Except, there's no big jump from 35 to 40, or 55 to 60, and definitely not from 75 to 80. Everything scales linearly, except for the weight of engines themselves (which, when combined with the engine caps, is the only reason bigger mechs don't go as fast as smaller ones). Classes become simple categories, rather than distinct types of mech.
I have decent familiarity with the lore but almost no familiarity with tabletop, so I'm not sure whether there are actual
differences between the classes, or if it's all just an easy way to label mechs. That being said, I know I'm not the only one that doesn't like how few differences there actually are between the classes themselves. I'm pretty sure even the devs don't like it, due to their attempts to make infowars a thing and give light mechs more of a role.
I can get why you would want to rescale mechs so that their size is completely in-line with their tonnage; there is sort of a mathematical order
behind that which really appeals to me, it feels nice and neat and good. But I think that sticking to this formula misses an opportunity to add something
to make it obvious that the Cicada is a medium, or that the Quickdraw is a heavy.
I would still want mechs to get larger as they get heavier of course, but the scale difference between the lightest mech in a class and heaviest should be about the same as the difference between the heaviest mech in a class and the lightest mech of the next class.
This proposal is, of course, not without flaws. It further reduces the incentive to take a mech on the light side of its class (why take a Quickdraw over a Grasshopper, or Locust over a Jenner?) And it's pointless if you don't agree with me that differentiating classes is a good thing. But if you don't want classes to be distinct - both in terms of gameplay and visuals - why bother having them?
My second issue I have with the re-scale is the formulaic approach, and the formula itself. These are more commonly-discussed issues, but I hope to give you my perspective on the subject.
Let's start off by talking about the formula: I'm sure there is a reason why it's based on volume (if I had to guess, cubic meters are relatively easy to calculate and understand), but that reason has little relevance to gameplay. When you shoot a mech, you're not aiming at its water displacement, you're aiming the 2D profile that is currently visible on your screen. Obviously
, any algorithm for mech scale should be based on the size of the target that you actually see. Focusing on volume will
tend to improve the situation, but it doesn't target the right issue, and you end up with serious problems./u/arcangleous made some charts
to demonstrate something similar to this. But I don't believe that they quite grasp the heart of the matter.
It is a good stepping-off point, but...there are mechs like the Centurion, whose left arm is a literal shield which is supposed
to be particularly large in order to protect the body. There's the Atlas, which is meant to look down on other mechs; intimidating enemies with its appearance and
its weapons. And there are other mechs with unique reasons to be larger or smaller, and other factors that must be considered - like the relative importance of a hitboxes width and height, and the hitboxes themselves, and more that I just haven't thought of.
Basically, I'm saying that each mech would need some TLC; you can't just stop tweaking the size when the algorithm says it's right.
I just hope it's not too late. I mainly write these articles to get my thoughts down on "paper", but I always want them to be purposeful
, even if that purpose is just to spur conversation or give people ideas. In this case, my goal is more ambitious, and I'm afraid that adjusting the re-scale is too big a thing, that it just won't happen because it would be too large a time investment. And I'm regretting not writing all this stuff out months ago, when I first heard that it would be a linear volumetric approach applied to all
What does give me hope, though, is that originally they said rescaling all mechs was simply not an option. And somebody figured out a way to do it, which means that maybe, just maybe
, adjusting it in a future patch isn't
completely out of the question. And all of this stuff is certainly part of the MWO conversation, so there is hope. It's hard to describe this hope as more than a flicker, but it's there.
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!