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I'm sure you all have heard about the new 5-ton Jagermech skin they're releasing for $20-40. I mean I get that some people want the Rifleman but I'm kinda bored of having the same old mech, yaknow? Which is worsened by how many of these chassis have variants which are complete duplicates of each other (and with this, some of the Rifleman variants are almost identical to each other and Jagermech variants).

So let's talk about builds! First thing I gotta say is that, since 3 of the 4 are super duper similar, the builds for those 3 (so, the 3N, 3C, and LK) are pretty much completely exchangeable. Now, onto the builds!


  • Endo, Ferro (one dead arm, legs at 46, head at 16), XL280 (83.2 KPH)
  • Gauss Rifle with 2.5 tons ammo
  • 3 Large Lasers
  • 11 DHS

This is a build I run a lot on the Jagermech already (actually prefer it to double gauss even though I don't think it's as good), but obviously with more ammo and heat sinks. Though it seems like it'll be a little worse on the Rifleman than the Jager, I still think it will be the best option for the chassis, and you can do it on 3 of the 4 variants. I hope that this variant gets energy gen quirks, as it has the most energy hardpoints apart from the pure energy boat, and if you want to fit ballistics on as well as energy weapons you won't have much room for heat sinks.


  • Endo, standard armor (48 each leg, 16 head), XL200 (59.4 KPH)
  • 2 Gauss Rifles with 5.5 tons ammo
  • 10 DHS

I think that this build's sluggishness will hold it back. You can up the engine to a 225 for an extra 8 KPH, which would be workable, but that would drop you to 4 tons of ammo, or 4.5 if you really drop your armor. Hoping this variant gets ballistic cooldown quirks, as one of them probably will and this is the most ballistic focused, apart from the hero.


  • Endo, Ferro (dead arm, 54 each leg), XL290 (86.1 KPH)
  • 4 Large Pulse Lasers
  • 14 DHS

Might run a bit hot, depending on quirks, but it's a strong build and the LPL is creeping up in popularity as of late. Hoping we get energy range quirks on this variant to enable such builds.


  • Endo, standard armor (legs at 47, max everywhere else), XL225 (66.8 KPH)
  • 2 AC/20 with 6 tons ammo
  • 10 DHS

It's a little hot and a lot slow (for a "brawler), but it's the lightest viable AC/40 in the game (blackjacks and cicadas don't count). I'm not sure what quirks I want on this, maybe ballistic range and heat gen to cover the AC/40's weaknesses.

So in the end...

While I'm really not a fan of the monotony that we see in this chassis, I do think that this will be a solid mech. As far as class-matching goes, yeah it's not gonna compete, but in its weight bracket it will easily be the best 60-tonner in the game, and I think it will be better than the 55-tonners as well, though I'm not sure how much better (quirks and hitboxes will have to determine that). Could be a really nice sweet-spot mech.

Been a while since we've seen a new mech with high mounts, so I'm looking forward to it.

<a href="http://youtu.be/EJr0RQ9svX4" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://youtu.be/EJr0RQ9svX4</a>

<a href="http://youtu.be/vfmS4y5BlOQ" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://youtu.be/vfmS4y5BlOQ</a>

EUROPEAN TAKEOVER EVENT http://mwomercs.com/news/2015/07/1288-european-takeover-personal-challenge-event
ORIGINALS SALE http://mwomercs.com/news/2015/07/1287-originals-sale
ORIGINS IIC CLAN COLLECTION https://mwomercs.com/origins
PATCH NOTES - JULY 21ST https://mwomercs.com/news/2015/07/1284-patch-notes-13413-21jul2015
PATCH OVERVIEW VIDEO https://youtu.be/PPlP52KbJlI

In most games, headshots are usually a feat of skill and occasionally RNG in the form of reticle bloom. It's a way of being better than the other guy, a way of showing off your accuracy. There's no downside to getting a headshot, and the only thing you can blame for getting headshot is your opponent's skill (or your flatfootedness).

It would be really nice if that was the case in MWO. And I really think that the majority of "headshots" in this game have little to no skill involved.

Why do I think that? Well, there's a few reasons. One of the biggest ones to me is that most people usually aren't trying to get headshots. They're just too unreliable, and the closest mentality I have to a focus on headshots is trying to aim at the cockpit when I'm focusing a mech's CT - the headshot is not my primary objective, it doesn't even feel like a secondary goal. More like a nice little bonus. Except when it's not. Like when you double gauss a mech in the head when their CT is one-shot. Or most times you even hit a light mech in the head at all.

You see, there are a number of situations when you really don't want to headshot an enemy in MWO. An easy example is to look at the Locust. You see, all mechs have 15 structure and a maximum of 18 armor on their head, for a total of 33 hitpoints. The Locust's Center Torso has 12 structure, with a total of 24 armor to distribute throughout the CT. Which means that a fully armored head will be at least as durable than a fully armored center torso if the Locust has more than 2 points of rear armor - something which I would wager most people do. Many Locust builds use less than the full 18 to be sure, but the most popular set-ups for the best variant don't really have anything better to do. Making the head the toughest part of the Locust to actually get the kill through. Obviously, the Locust is an extreme example, but the sentiment of "goddamn it I hit that light mech in the head" is far too common.

And then there's the C-Bills. See, getting a quick kill helps you win the match, and both those things are more important than getting damage...but the $$ system doesn't reflect that so well. Doing 100 damage to CT a mech will get you more moola than a 33 damage headshot, as long as you have that achievement for a single headshot (as far as I'm aware, there is no c-bill reward specific to headshots in-match, please correct me if that is wrong). So the game doesn't even really incentivize to go for headshots with external rewards, unless you count achievements (I don't).

The existence of artillery strikes and RNG-based override damage also seriously drop the number of true headshots we see in MWO. Arty has been a huge contributor to headshots since its original buff, and honestly I think that maintaining it at 35 damage instead of the 30 that would be required to completely avoid headstrikes (yaknow...unless it crits...) is just absurd. Fortunately, the frequency of headstrikes has gone way down since the strike nerf and so it's less of a big deal, but headstrikes are still a huge bother to me, even when it's an enemy that gets hit by it. And as far as override headshots go...that whole system needs to be reworked. It's just so dumb and unpredictable.

Not to mention, it's a teeny tiny target. Back in closed beta, the cockpits on mechs like the Catapult, Cataphract, and the hilarious Atlas head were reasonably-sized to downright massive. And, while some of the cockpits were absolutely too large, the drastic shift to mouse-sized hitboxes has made ping and HSR as influential as skill when it comes to whether or not you get headshots. Based on the demonstration we saw in the hackusation era, even aimbots can't get headshots reliably on moving targets. The target is so damn small, which further discourages actually attempting a headshot and makes it more rare for those few that do focus on it.

Which leaves very little room for skill-based headshots. There's people like me, who kind of err towards the cockpit when shooting a large mech's CT, but that's really only partially aim-based. I don't expect most of my shots to hit the cockpit, a big part is just hoping that HSR blesses me, and that the enemy mech moves predictably enough. Not to mention that at most common engagement ranges, the cockpit is only a couple pixels across and I'll frequently have to aim away from the cockpit to be more likely to hit a target at all. I'm sure there are some people that only go for headshots or make it a centerpiece of their strategy in the game (I don't recommend this tactic, but I can get it), but I would say the rest of the most common fully skill-based headshots are when the enemy mech is stationary or overheated, which does require some aiming but indicates a misplay more than good aim.

In fact, the most common skill-based cockpit kill that I would say happens is finishing off a head which was accidentally opened by a strike or stray projectile. It's a somewhat frequent call to finish off the dude with a crit head, but frequent as in once per day or so, rather than per game. Even then, the mech is frequently crit somewhere else, easier to hit.

Unfortunately, I have no hard numbers for the frequency of any of the headshot causes, but my experience tells me that of cockpit deaths, something like...

  • 50% are caused by a strike to the cockpit
  • 20% are follow-up shots to strikes or accidental shots that opened up the cockpit
  • 10% are overridden cockpit explosions
  • 10% are completely accidental head instagibs
  • 10% had all or almost all head damage be intentional
Obviously, I'm not considering DC'd or AFK opponents in this breakdown (their inclusion would bring that last option way up). And I think that if I separated out headshots on shut-down or stationary opponents the number would go much further down. But I feel that this should all give you a sense of just how skillful I feel headshots in this game are.

So how do we fix this?

There are several options. Let's start with the simplest!

Increase the size of the cockpit. We don't want it to be the whole head of the friggin Atlas, but maybe the whole head of the Commando would be appropriate (or half of it). In the past, too-large hitboxes were like when the Catapult's and Cataphract's entire glass sections were cockpit, and yeah that was too big. But more importantly, it was too much bigger than the cockpits of other mechs. To give you a reference, the current head hitbox on the Catapult is listed in this handy dandy google doc, and I would expand it to include the window below the one highlighted. Expand the Cataphract's out to the side a bit (to those diagonal lines maybe), include all the windows on the Wolverine...etc. Basically double the size of current head hitboxes, and see how that works. And while we're at it, let's make it so that strike damage that would go to the cockpit gets redirected to the CT, yeah? Like it shoulda been done originally? Cool. Anyways, that's the solution which I think is most realistic. It will absolutely increase the quantity of lucky headshots, but relatively speaking, I think intentional headshots would go up way more because maybe some of us would go out of our way to get them, particularly once we adjust to the new system.

The next simplest way to do it would be for the head to act as hitting CT internals, maybe with a multiplier applied or with no multiplier but the damage done to all torso sections. This solves the issue of head damage feeling wasted on some mechs, and gives it a unique little mechanic. Plus it might make me take ammo out of my CT (but probably not). I'm not a huge fan of this for a few reasons. For one...it doesn't really hold true to Battletech - and I'm not talking about the Tabletop game. You're really just a pilot in this big robot, your cockpit should be a place where you can actually get shot. However, I do think that this is the best solution for gameplay - it increases average TTK, rewards skill, and eliminates the downside to accidental headshots. But I doubt PGI wants to implement something like this, unfortunately.

Solution number 3 is to get rid of the head altogether. Make it CT. Put the head armor to the CT to solve your mechlab problem. It's a thousand years in the future, what the hell is this dead reckoning nonsense.

I do honestly think that any of these would improve gameplay, (but cards on the table, I got my Frostwolf Warlord MCtech'd 3 times in arena tonight so my RNG-rage is at an all-time high), though I highly favor the first one as the least disruptive to the game and most appropriate for the IP.

So what do you think? You got a better idea, or do you think I'm a noob and my premises are dead-wrong? Either way, let me know!

Hi all! As part of our efforts to further develop the NGNG podcast, we're introducing a new segment called "Follow Up" where we'll take your specific questions to the specific devs who can answer them. Got a question that keeps getting missed in the Town Hall's, or that requires the knowledge of a specific dev that isn't available at the time? Now's your chance! Post them here, or Tweet them to us at @NoGutsNoGalaxy using #FollowUp and we'll get them answered for you!

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