I skipped my 2000th post either with Mapping or Mafia related things. I don't even remember which post it was. I tried to find out, but apparently only R1CH can do that! But 3000 is another milestone, and one I'm happy to celebrate. So, as is tradition, it’s time for me to give something back to the community. In this case, I’m posting a battle report from a game of Mechwarrior 4. I found the basic writeup in a really old folder on an external hard drive, and I’ve polished it up and added things I remember. Hope you enjoy!
+ Show Spoiler [Click here for Battle Report] +
Mechwarrior 4 is a 2nd-Person Shooter game from 2001 in which you pilot giant robots (mechs) and try to kill the other team’s mechs. The series is derived from Battletech, a universe which started as a tabletop game in the 80s. These aren’t your typical Japanese Mecha; Battletech mechs are very physical and realistic (at least, relatively ). The game had quite the competitive scene for an early 2000s game. I was on team , and I was rather good.
Bigger isn’t always better.
Mechs come in 5 ton increments, split into four categories, Light, Medium, Heavy, Assault. The heavier mechs can generally carry more weapons and more armor, but they are larger targets and much slower. In general, a good team carried a mix of mediums and heavies, with maybe a fast assault and a light scout to balance them out.
The following is a battle report of one of the strangest, scariest urban fights I’ve ever played in.
+ Show Spoiler [Dictionary of Terms] +
Mech: 25-100 Ton giant robot, split into four weight classes:
OPFOR: Opposing Force
Lance: Usually 4 mechs, under command of a Lance Leader
Alpha Strike: Firing every weapon at once
Heat: Every weapon generates some heat (some more than others). Overheating will cause you to shut down or even explode
Jump Jets: equipment which allows your mech to jump through the air for a short time. Only some mechs can equip these.
Passive Radar: You cannot be detected until closing within 500m instead of the usual 1000. Your own radar range is shortened to 250m
ECM: Electronic Counter Measures, equipment which reduces the range you can be detected by other mechs.
Shut down: When your mech is shut down, you cannot be detected by radar. However, you also cannot move or fire without powering up, which takes a couple seconds.
LRM: Long Range Missles, fired in clusters of 5/10/15/20
Gauss Rifle: Long Range high-damage projectile weapon
Large Laser: Long Range beam weapon
PPC: Particle Projectile Cannon, Long Range high-damage energy weapon
AC: Autocannon, ballistic semi-automatic projectile weapon, # denotes caliber. AC20 is the strongest single-shot weapon in the game
LBX: Shotgun-style Autocannon
SSRM: Streak Short Range Missiles
+ Show Spoiler [List of mechs mentioned in this post] +
Uller – 30 ton incredibly fast scout mech, with decent weapons for its size.
Raven – 35 ton scout mech. Lots of Electronics, fast.
Shadow Cat – 45 ton fast medium, can pack a large weapon and several smaller ones.
Uziel – 50 ton sniper, can mount jump jets. Uncommon in competitive play
Ryoken – 55 ton mainline mech. Fast, capable of jumps, heavy missile and energy weaponry.
Thanatos – 75 ton brawler, can torso twist 360 degrees
Thor – 75 ton workhorse, confirgurable for almost any situation.
Awesome – 80 ton energy-based mainline mech, uncommon
Mauler – 90 tonner, 2nd highest armor in the game, huge target. Extremely variable weapon set
Sunder – 90 ton Assault mech, only truly competitively viable assault. Good mix of weapons, armor, speed, and decent geometry.
Daishi – 100 ton assault mech, baddest of the bad, capable of carrying more weapons than any other mech. Enormous “Shoot Here” center torso
In a previous post I told you that the only viable Assault Mech was the Sunder. Well, this was true, but there were a couple niche exceptions, depending on the map. In Mech4, there were 3 kinds of maps: Open maps, Really Open maps, and a handful of Urban maps that completely changed how you played the game. Urban maps were short range and brutal. Supporting your lancemates was much more difficult if you were on different streets, and if you weren’t, you’d be sniped. City maps had a few straight, long corridors (the streets), and using these properly separated the good teams from the bad. Bad teams used the streets to move around. Good ones moved building to building and picked off OPFOR one lance at a time.
Urban Maps also made a few mechs more viable than they otherwise would have been. The two that come to mind are the Mauler and the Awesome. Maximum Range against a competent team in Urban territory was 500m. This made LRMs completely useless, Gauss Rifles, Large Lasers, and PPCs less necessary, and brought other weapons into the spotlight. We used the Mauler as a Corridor bully. Basically, load it with AC5s and let it clear out the wider, straighter streets. But we also had a 250m range version that had an AC20 and a bunch of SSRM4s. This guy’s role was to find an enemy and take him out of the fight, similar to an initiator/bruiser in LoL. Our 250m Mauler would find the enemy who did the most damage and occupy him, taking him out of the fight while we converged on the rest of the lance. Maulers just had so much armor, and are surprisingly fast for 90 tonners, that it’s hard to disengage, and in urban combat their geometry wasn’t as bad since sniping was so hard.
The Awesome also became much stronger in urban combat. Load it with Large X-Pulse lasers, and it would simply shred mechs who got in range. We didn’t worry about heat quite as much in the city, because disengaging for a moment to cool was much easier. And just like the Mauler, the Awesome’s terrible geometry didn’t matter as much when you couldn’t get sniped unless you were being dumb.
There were 3 other mechs we used in Urban (every team has their quirks). Thanatos was absolutely broken because of the 360 degree torso twist. With paired LBX10s and SSRMs, they would get in and just blow people up, circling around them and always being able to fire. Uziels were used as snipers. They had good jumpjets, and we’d abuse them to get on the roofs of the skyscrapers, and start firing away with our PPCs. In passive, we could scout until someone got close, then shut down on a rooftop and wait for Hammer to engage, or we could be risky and keep jumping to different buildings. And finally, ShadowCats were invaluable as heavy scouts. We ran 2-3 every time we launched, and they’d coordinate their recon and act as a screen for our main body. Between them and us Uziels on the roofs (and our Raven, never drop without one), we had excellent information while eliminating the enemy’s, allowing us to have superior positioning. The cats were usually outfitted with one long range weapon and a knocking weapon. Something like an ERLL and SSRMs, or LRM10 and LBX10. This let them cross the corridors when they needed to and get some shots off on OPFOR. Any time we saw a stray, they
could move fast and we’d pick him off before they knew what was happening. If you’re in a heavy mech and you get separated from your team, you aren’t going to last more than a few seconds against two ShadowCats designed for heavy busting with an Uziel support.
But there is one more mech I want to mention in this post. The Daishi. 100 tons, more weapon space than any other mech, and capable of carrying not one, not two, but three of the most powerful weapons in the game, or any combination of different weapons systems.
+ Show Spoiler [DANGER] +
His weakness was very obvious. That huge airplane nose was all one armor location, acting like a bulls-eye. But if he gets you in his crosshairs, look out!
And now on to the battle itself.
On the side of Good, the st, led by GdawG in a Sunder. On the side of Evil, some [Smoke Jaguar] clanners.
Map: Big City
Drop Weight: 600 tons
 Drop Composition: Sunder, Mauler, Thanatos x2, Shadow Cat x3, Raven, Uziel x2
[SJ] Drop Composition: Daishi x2, Thor x2, Ryoken x4, Uller.
In a straight up fight, we were outgunned. But we had one more mech than the enemy (since ours were lighter), and we were more mobile. This was match 2 of a Bo3, and we’d easily beaten them in our first fight on GatorBait. When we saw that they were dropping Daishis, we were a little surprised. Sure, Big City was the only map where you could even think about getting away with a Daishi, but still… Oh well, if that’s what they wanted, more power to them. We’d have to change our tactics up a bit, but no problems at all.
The plan was to have Striker Lance (3 SCats) sweep the left half of the city at ~250m spacing, while the Raven patrolled our right flank to warn against any enemy flanks. Hammer Lance would split into two sections: The two Thanatos would go to the far left, roughly 400m behind the SCat line, and move in to wreck any strays we found. The Sunder and Mauler would go right, somewhere between the SCat line and the Raven, to bolster our immediate anti flank defense. Finally, Syrus (the other Uziel pilot) and I would jump and get on top of the skyscrapers, and then provide fire support as needed with our PPCs.
Striker Lance pushed forward with the sweep. They moved up about 1000m, and got no hits on their radar. They kept moving forward, Hammer following 400m back, and us following 600m back. When the Cats completed their sweep, we knew they had to be in the left half (we'd been scouting downards). My guess was that they were in the park, and had loaded the Daishis with some serious long-range firepower. The park was the one wide open place on the map. So, our line did a wheel turn to face the park and find them.
When we did this, our Thanatoses got out of sight of each other. But we weren’t worried because we’d already swept the area. Then RedGlo (my buddy in a Thanatos), yells over the comm “What the fuck... DAISHIDAISHIDAISHI”. The problem was, he couldn’t find the Daishi with his crosshair. Then he got slammed into the ground. As he struggled to get back up, he was blown to shreds by 100 tons of pure firepower.
Well, we’d found the enemy. At this point, we couldn’t worry about the fact that we’d completely missed them in our sweep. The Daishi was now in between our remaining Thanatos and myself and Syrus, with the rest of our forces being a ways back. They immediately turned to come kill him, but if the Daishi went for Rakka (our the remaining Thanatos), we’d be SOL.
I had to get a better position. Syrus and I hit our jets and jumped to a different pair of buildings. And mid-jump, I saw it. And it shook me so hard I almost missed the jump.
There was a Daishi shut down on top of one of the tallest buildings on the map. There was no way it could have gotten there. Daishis can’t jump, and even if they could, the building was too tall to reach from the surrounding structures. But there it was. I was so shocked by this that I forgot to even shoot at it, but before I had jumped out of sight, I saw it start to power up.
“The Daishi’s on the roof! Don’t ask me how, he is!” Even as I said this, GdawG was yelling, “TWO DAISHIS 210! Striker, Air, start hitting them!” Then Rakka got hit hard, and lost an arm. “Striker, flank left. Hammer, get over here and pin them down! Neut go right and find the rest of them!”
We adjusted quickly, but just as we started to move in, a bunch more radar contacts appeared behind us. It was the rest of OPFOR, coming to cash in on a perfect Ambush-turned-Anvil strategy. Engaging either side would open us up to fire from the other, and attempting to engage both would simply be a loss. We had to find a way to get out, but there wasn’t a way to do that. Unless...
We all turned our radar to passive and ran away except for two mechs, Neut in the Raven and Feelix in an SCat. While Neut could go Passive+ECM and possibly escape, Feelix had been given a death sentence. But somehow, he managed to make his death count twice over. Not only did he buy time for us to escape and regroup, he crippled their scout UIler, so he could only limp. This made the uller essentially useless, and left them blind.
As we pulled back, GdawG asked what I meant by Daishi on the roof. Because that couldn’t be. I insisted that I’d seen it, and it explained what had happened to RedGlo. He got slammed into the ground because a Daishi fell on him. But now we needed to figure out a way to strike back.
We decided to set an ambush of our own. Hammer found a small U-shaped spot in the buildings and shut down, while Striker hid a little further north. except for Syrus and I. In the meantime, we jetted up even further behind, and started sending PPC shots at any shadows we thought were moving. We were drawing a lot of attention, but the Jaguars were taking their sweet-ass time getting over to us, protecting the incredibly slow Daishis. As they got closer, they started firing back at me and Syrus.
There’s one downside to piloting an Uziel. If your arm gets blow off, so does almost half your weaponry. Syrus got his arm blown off. Things were getting worse by the minute.
Things start getting hectic, so I’ll start providing mech counts often!
 Remaining: Sunder, Mauler, Thanatos (-arm)
[SJ] Remaining: Daishi x2, Thor x2, Ryoken x4 (Weakened, Uller (cripple)
But, fortunately, they’d taken the bait. As we backed away, and NeuterD kept an eye on them from his Raven, and as they passed Hammer Lance’s hidden position. GdawG & Co powered up and tore into them. The roles were reversed, but they still had us outweighed by at least 100 tons. To counter this, GdawG split us in reverse. Hammer engaged their Ryokens and Thors, the Mediums and Heavies, while Striker swung around and went after the Daishis in the rear. Syrus and I acted like spotters, calling out which streets the Daishis were on so that Hammer could avoid their lines of fire and sending the occasional ppc shot into the fray. And amazingly, it worked. IndieX charged both Thors with our Mauler, taking one out and distracting the other long enough for Rakka, myself, and GdawG in the Sunder to do some serious damage to the Ryoken lance.
Meanwhile, Syrus was trying to support two SCats so that they could take out two Daishis, not an easy task. But we did manage to trade one for one, tipping the balance back in favor of us. And just as quickly, we lost it, as all four Ryokens focused Syrus down.
After downing the Thor, IndieX swung back to face the Ryoken squad, and helped finish them off. We ended up trading IndieX and Rakka for three of them, while the fourth escaped to rendezvous with the remaining Daishi and Thor.
 Remaining: Sunder,
[SJ] Remaining: Daishi
Tonnage:  220 vs 230 [SJ] + Uller (cripple)
We were rather outgunned. So we needed to create an advantage. At the moment, the Ryoken was managing to keep up with our mobility, but if we could take him out, we’d be able to abuse our mobility against the Thor and the Daishi. It was my job to leg the Ryoken. A dishonorable tactic when done intentionally, but viable nonetheless. I jumped to a different building to get a shot, and midway through the jump I got hit. When I landed on the building, I skidded across the roof and fell to the ground (hooray no fall damage lol). Unfortunately, there were no short buildings near by that I could use to leapfrog up to the tall ones again. I was stuck on the ground for the time being.
They all went passive except for the Uller, so without me being up high, we suddenly had no idea where they were. But we could at least make it fair. NeuterD was sent out in his Raven (which boasted an ECM), and he snuck up on and destroyed the crippled Uller. Now both teams were blind.
We grouped up, a rather motley assortment of mechs, and searched streets in pairs, always staying at most one street away from the others. I caught a glimpse of a Daishi turning into an alley roughly 500m down the street, and made a huge mistake. I called it out and raced forward after it. I didn’t make it halfway before a Thor came from a different alley and Alpha Striked me. And just like that, I was dead.
But GdawG wasn’t going to let me throw away our chances, while the Thor’s weapons were still on cooldown, he burst out onto the same street and Alpha’d the Thor, knocking it down and sending its armor to blinking red, before running off as the Daishi walked back into the street. And out of nowhere, HavoK, our weakest player, made a huge play. While the Thor was getting back to its feet, HavoK zoomed out in our last SCat, jumped to juke the Daishi’s fire, and shot the Thor right in the chest, killing it. When he landed, he turned just in time to dodge another volley from the Daishi.
 Remaining: Sunder,
[SJ] Remaining: Daishi
Tonnage:  170 vs 155 [SJ]
When both sides are down to a couple mechs and the tonnages are roughly equal, it all comes down to luck. But luck is something you make yourself as much as random occurrence! For example, it was bad luck when NeuterD got blasted as he tried to cross a corridor. Had he waited another 5 seconds, the Ryoken would have been facing another direction. Now both teams were completely blind, instead of just mostly blind. But it was good luck when HavoK spotted the Daishi. Our Fearless Leader GdawG (like always) had a plan. If we could get the Daishi or Ryoken to face the other direction, GdawG’s Sunder carried enough firepower to destroy their rear armor. And HavoK was going to be the bait.
Sure enough, the plan worked. And as HavoK died a terrible death to focused fire from the Daishi and Ryoken, GdawG and Neutered ran up behind them and blew the Daishi back to Huntress (Smoke Jaguars’ homeworld in the lore). Then, mopping up the remaining Ryoken was easy.
I couldn’t believe we’d won that fight. But somehow we had. We’d fallen victim to an excellent ambush that involved literally impossible things (Daishis on buildings), but survived, regrouped, and counter-ambushed. This wasn’t my personal best game, but as a team it probably was.
After the match, we talked to the [SJ] guys about the Daishis on the roofs. They weren’t going to say anything, until we pointed out that we had proof and and we’d have to report them to the league for hacking. They told us that particular building had glitched geometry, and if you ran a mech into it at full speed and then got hit by another mech from behind, you’d glitch on to the top of the building. We tested it, and sure enough it worked - but we never used it in a fight and warned them not to. They did have a brilliant ambush though. A pair of Daishis, powered down, on top of a huge building... genius.
With that victory, we won the Bo3 2-0. But more than that, we realized that we should never give up, even when we were at a huge disadvantage. We’d come back from way behind with our terrific on-the-fly thinking and teamwork.
When I play games today, I try to apply this idea. “Never Give Up, Never Surrender” is a popular phrase among my LoL friends. I also recently started playing Dwarf Fortress, and god damn is it difficult. But I’m not giving up yet! And, I’m sure this philosophy will serve me well when MechWarrior:Online comes out. I’ve already got my Founders Elite package, breaking my rule that I wouldn’t buy another $60 game before playing extensively. I’ll eventually end up paying a lot more than that - I need to get a Joystick, preferably a mid-90s Sidewinder Precision 2. I use a lot of ancient gaming equipment; my mouse is 8 years old, and I’ve got a new-in-box-unopened one of the same model being shipped right now (Logitech MX-310). Even people who use nothing but Razer or Steelseries admit that it's the most comfortable mouse they’ve ever held.
I’d also like to to thank my Mafia friends who played a great game in iGrok’s Good Clean Old-fashioned Mafia, it was a lot of fun and convinced me to keep hosting and playing in games. Next up for me is Samurai Champloo Mafia and Cat-astrophe :3 Mafia with GMarshal and GreYMisT. Should be good!
The Map of the Month Pro-Am tournament is also coming up - I’m excited to be one of the Pros participating and I’m looking forward to helping an up-and-coming mapper win the prizemoney! Huge props to Plexa for setting this up.
Lately, almost everything just seems to be going right for me. I got a new terrific job, I moved to Colorado where everything is gorgeous, I’ve got a girl in my life, I’m learning to cook more, I got to hike the Flatirons (it’s a Colorado thing) - sometimes things just go right. Now if only Riot could fix their servers...
Anyways guys, this is getting long (though not nearly as long as my 1,001 Post blog lol), so I’m out for now. Shoutouts to the st of old, GMarshal, GreYMisT, Radfield, Tumba, Vorap, Sleepercells, Darkened, Nooby, Sympo, Plexa, monitor, ragoo, Rae, and all the other people I’m surely forgetting. And thanks to TeamLiquid. Sure, every community has its good and bad, but the friends I’ve made here have kept me here for more posts than on any other forum.
And finally, some more good music. A song that's been stuck in my head for months even though I don't speak the language, and I don't mind a bit:
P.S. BoxeR, if you switch to Protoss I’ll forgive you, but only if you sign my painting.