Video Game / BattleTech

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Battletech is a Turn-Based Tactics mech game developed by Harebrained Schemes, a company founded by franchise co-creator Jordan Weisman, and published by Paradox Interactive. The game was funded through Kickstarter, reaching all goals with the total of $2,865,422, including PayPal.

Set in the year 3025 of the eponymous universe, in-between the third and Fourth Succession Wars, the game puts players in control of a start-up mercenary group working out in the Periphery. Apart from the turn-based tactical combat involving the series' iconic Battlemechs, players will also have to manage their company's finances and operations in between missions to survive.

The game, with a one-player-vs-one-player, lance-on-lance multiplayer mode and a story campaign subtitled Restoration, was releasd on April 24, 2018. The story trailer can be found here.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Victoria starts out as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, loyal to her father's vision. The atrocities she had committed under his orders have lead to her guilt eating away at her sanity. Even at the end she believes in the ideals she fights for, believes that the Aurigan people must follow them to survive in the cut throat arena of Inner Sphere and, especially, Periphery politics. Her dying words are filled with despair; everything she had done, everything she had betrayed or sacrificed is likely to come to naught because the Aurigans were so weakened by recent events that there was a good chance they would be annexed by their neighbours.
  • Alliance Meter: Your standing with the Great Houses. Don't expect, for example, to safely work for House Liao after working against them under House Davion's employ. There's also a general one with the Mercenary Ratings Board, which is required to hire certain pilots and accept certain contracts, preventing a light crew from accepting missions way out of their ability to handle.
  • Alpha Strike: The Trope Codifier returns! Mechwarriors will even explicitly call out that they are initiating an alpha strike when firing all of a battlemech's weapons at once. The two limitations on this is that 'mechs with different mixes of weapons rarely have all their weapons in equally good ranges (making it impossible or simply improbable to hit with everything) and that it causes heat and/or recoil build up from firing them all at once (forcing immediately subsequent shooting to be more restrained.)
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Interestingly, the game makes it so the Player Character cannot die during the campaign, they merely get wounded badly enough to be laid up in medical for months.
    • Salvaging 'mechs is rather more simplified than in the classic tabletop game - Rather than needing to collect intact body parts and weapons to assemble, you merely need to collect Salvage Parts of the mech in question after defeating it in battle (kneecapping or headchopping a mech to defeat it will guarentee more salvage) and let your techs piece it back together - the resulting salvaged mech will not only be completely intact, but also come with a full set of its loadout's weapons.
    • As in the tabletop game, you don't need to keep the ammo bin for your ballistic/explosive weapons in the same body part as the weapon itself - Nothing stops you from keeping the SRM ammo for your launchers in the left/right torso (or the AC ammo for the cannon on your arm) in the legs of your mech.
    • Unlike the tabletop game, here critical hits to the Reactor, the stock Gyro, and the Engine of your mech are not simulated/modelled. If you do install an improved Gyro, that is still vunerable to crits. On top of that, the game does not roll piloting checks for jumpjet operation even with a damaged leg, instead modelling the difficulty as Stability damage. Likewise, Through-Armor Criticals simply aren't a thing.
    • A lot of difficulty rolls are either outright smoothed out or not used. No worries about piloting checks against slipping on smooth ferrocrete floors. The Seatbelt Check is now a guaranteed injury to the pilot, but no additional damage to the mech is incurred. Instead of falling if you can't get the height needed for a jumpjet maneuver, you simply land back where you started. Furthermore, recovering from falling over is much easier than in the classic tabletop, as you no longer need to make Piloting difficulty rolls against recovering that only get harder if you're short a leg (failing such piloting rolls triggers another Seatbelt check, so it was entirely possible to literally die from Seatbelt Checks struggling to get up from being tipped over).
    • Death From Above attacks inflict less self-damage than in classic tabletop Battletech, simplified to half the damage that the attack inflicts.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You're limited to no more than a single lance (four Mechs) at a time, regardless of how many active mechs and pilots you have available. Naturally, the computer has no such restriction. This is somewhat justified, especially earlier on, first by the fact that your mercenary company is based completely on a hardscrabble Leopard (which can only drop four 'Mechs), and later by the fact that the Argo isn't a "DropShip" in the traditional dropping sense, so the Leopard has been repurposed to be just the deployment vessel... which still limits you to four 'Mechs per drop. The only hitch is that you can get to the point where you'd be able to afford a second Leopard and you have dock points for at least one more... but you can only ever have the one.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: During the early missions, as you flee from the forces attempting a coup on the noble you're working with, your character's 'Mech suddenly starts overheating as you prepare for a last stand. The Dragon mentions that a lot of Royal Guard 'Mechs have been having similar problems today. Your mentor's response:
    Sir Raju: You outnumber us, and you've resorted to sabotage... and you're gloating about it?
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI in this game while quite smart and gives you quite a hell of a time, often make questionable move decisions:
    • Having a light 'mech stand still while shooting or getting into melee range of one of your heavier 'mechs.
    • Bracing with their backs turned at your units.
    • Bracing while they are at melee range.
    • Keep firing all their weapons and get themselves overheated.
    • Sensor locking one of your units but then choose to fire at another unit instead.
    • Firing weapons from suboptimal range.
  • A Taste of Power: When you fight your way off-planet after visiting the SLDF cache through a Taurian task force, Kamea and three of her officers stage their breakout with Royal-grade SLDF BattleMechs complete with LosTech toys such as a Gauss Rifle, Pulse Lasers, ER Lasers and ER PPCs, with Kamea personally piloting an Atlas II Assault 'Mech.
  • Balance Buff:
    • While the game mostly keeps to a fairly strict conversion from Battletech rules (most TT stats have been exactly multiplied by 5), it has slightly buffed long-range direct combat (due to the bigger maps) by increasing the damage on low-calibre autocannons compared to their tabletop baselinenote  and nerfing missile damage (although missiles remain incredibly good in the view of many; see the YMMV page for more details).
    • Mech cockpits now rate for a total of 61 hitpoints worth of Armor and Structure - only a Gauss Rifle, an AC/10+ (damage), an AC/20, or an extremely lucky punch from a sufficiently massive mech can instantly destroy it in a single direct hit outside of cover.
  • Beam Spam: Several mechs are designed to facilitate energy-heavy builds, like the Black Knight (which sports room for multiple Energy weapons and typically comes loaded with Laser cannons of all sizes and a PPC), the Battlemaster (which defaults to carrying a PPC and has 3 Energy weapons mounts each per torso side), and the Grasshopper (which can mount multiple Energy and Support weapons, allowing you to set it up to bristle with Small and Medium lasers for maximum ammo-free sandblasting power). Remember to load up heatsinks for such mechs.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: The Directorate is defeated, Santiago is arrested by the Concordant and is all but guaranteed to be executed for his crimes, and Kamea retakes her rightful place on her throne, but countless innocent lives on both sides were lost in the war, Kamea herself was forced to kill her beloved cousin in what was essentially a Suicide by Cop on the latter's part, and the restored Aurigan government is still under potential threat from its power hungry neighbors.
  • Boring, but Practical: Medium Lasers are plain, mid-ranged energy weapons that do 25 damage per beam with 10 heat generated. However, they are also lightweight (1 ton per Medium Laser), and a majority of mechs have plentiful Energy Weapon mounts, so you can use a lot of them on most mech builds. Not very flashy, but this humble green laser will be your bread-and-butter weapon for most gameplay purposes.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In your first mission as a mercenary, your employer decides that A) they aren't going to pay you and B) they're going to take your 'Mechs. They're enforcing this plan with several turrets that are powered by a generator that you're standing right next to when they choose to tell you this and a couple of light vehicles. The results are predictable. It's especially blatant because they specifically hired your lance to deal with corporate security forces that they couldn't deal with themselves... and whom were also much more poorly equipped than your lance as well.
  • Calling Your Shots: There are three ways to get a chance to aim for specific parts of enemy mechs:
    • The ability Precision Strike improves your chance-to-hit and lets you make a called shot at the cost of Morale.
    • Knocking down an enemy mech by rocking them off-balance with ballistic (Auto-Cannons) and explosives (Long and Short Range Missiles) or kneecapping them will grant you a chance to declare called shots on their prone frame until they pick themselves back up.
    • Rarest of all is having an enemy 'mech overheat to the point of shutting down, rendering it a sitting duck for your lance.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • The Aurigan Reach, the Coalition which governs it, and its related characters like Kamea have never been discussed or referenced in BattleTech before, which is a little bit strange given that they're posited as being only slightly smaller and less powerful than a place like the Magistracy of Canopus, and are bigger than places like Tortuga or the pre-Clans Oberon Confederation. (Specifically, this kind of size and power, combined with their galactic position, should've made them a significant player in Periphery and Capellan/Liao politics.) That said, the region of space the Reach is in was chosen because previous canon sources had barely talked about it, no less a person than Jordan Weisman himself has worked on the story, and it's pretty clear that if the game does well, the Aurigans will likely become Canon Immigrants in some fashion.
    • The Argo is a similar foreigner - advanced Star League explorer ships definitely existed, but none like the Argo has ever been described before. Though much like the Reach, if the game does well it could easily find its way into the wider canon. The game does mention that the Argo was one of only two such ships ever made to explain its rarity; the second, the Myrmidon, was broken down for parts before being completed, as the shipyards were repurposed for war materiel manufacturing.
  • Centrifugal Gravity: The Argo has a gravity centrifuge ring with three pods. Initially, the Alpha Pod is the only one capable of holding an atmosphere (the other two are damaged and/or empty from the ship's crash and dereliction). The pods also pivot, so their "Down" direction is in line with direction of thrust while in G-exerting transit, or outward when in orbit.
  • The Chessmaster: The Magistracy's leadership is backing Kamea's revolution for a handful of reasons.
    • First, having a neighboring star system's ruler in your debt is never a bad thing.
    • Second, her usurper uncle seems to think Stefan Amaris is a positive role model.
    • Leading to the third, as the Aurigan Reach's neighbors are in a Cold War, and she's concerned that some shortsighted move from Espinosa will turn it hot, so she'd prefer to avoid that by backing the usurped ruler that has a cooler head in a Civil War, giving the neighbors time to cool down further.
    • Espinosa proves himself to be one in the opening mission - not only was he able to turn the majority of the Royal Guard against Kamea, he and his daughter also arranged for the engineers to sabotage any Mech belonging to someone not part of the conspiracy. Raju calls Victoria out for her Evil Gloating given that she won through subterfuge instead of a stand-up fight.
  • Combatant Cooldown System: The Turn-Order system, which consists of five phases: Light Mechs piloted by very skilled Mechwarriors > Light Mechs > Medium Mechs > Heavy Mechs > Assault Mechs. Within the phase, "I Go, You Go" is used along with the One Activation per Phase. Also, mechs lighter than Assault can be reserved for later use in later phases. Being subject to a Precision Strike or a knockdown will cause you to temporarily lose 1 stage of initiative for your next action.
  • Competitive Balance:
    • Ballistic and explosive weapons have advantages over energy weapons in heat/range/damage/crits, but are vunerable to ammo explosions and take more tonnage, while energy weapons generate a lot more heat. Ballistic weapons also generate Recoil that reduces their accuracy during prolonged firing.
    • Multi-shot/volley weapons can hit many, many times and have more opportunity to score crits, but the attacks tend to spread out across a mech's body rather than concentrate on a single part, unless using Called Shots. Also, Missile weapons can only ever hit the Head once per attack, and only with their first shot; if that first shot doesn't strike the head, none of the others will either.
    • Short-Range Missiles can flay enemy armor at medium range, but their launchers cap out at 6 missiles per volley and they generate a lot of heat.
    • Long-Range Missiles can reach out and hit enemies from extreme range and can be launched in indirect arcs in huge volleys with the largest launcher being able to fire off 20 missiles at once, but do half the damage of SRM warheads and the launchers take a lot of tonnage, and as the ammo stacks contain 120 warheads per ton, this means a LRM-20 launcher has just six volleys per ton.
    • Autocannons hit hard and are heat-efficient, but the higher-caliber rounds have less range and they all take a lot of tonnage. The AC/20 in particular has only the effective range of the Medium Laser and each ton of ammo is only worth 5 bursts, but in exchange it is a fearsome headchopper and can obliterate Light mechs easily while stripping lots of armor at once from heavier mechs.
    • Lasers and PPCs are light on tonnage and need no ammo, but generate loads of heat, and PPCs have a minimum effective range penalty on top of that. In exchange, PPC shots are the only energy projectiles that can inflict stability damage - and they also inflict a minor, non-stacking accuracy debuff on anything they hit. Conversely, instead of stability damage, laser weapons have an inherently higher accuracy and no recoil penalty.
      • Certain energy weapons (Large Lasers and PPCs in particular) generate even more heat than others; whilst a Medium Laser only generates 10 Heat (up from 3 in tabletop), PPCs generate 40 (up from 10). If a strict scale was followed, then they'd only generate 33. This is most likely in order to discourage excessive sniping, given energy weapons don't need to rely on ammunition.
    • Support weapons are light, combo with melee attacks, and generate minimal heat, but Vehicle Flamers have extremely limited ammunition, Machine Guns have volatile-if-plentiful ammo (200 bullets per ton, 5 consumed per burst) and do tiny amounts of damage normally, and Small Lasers only hit once and only do damage. In exchange, Vehicle Flamers can force enemies to overheat, Machine Guns have extremely high critical hit rates and are distressingly effective at hitting the cockpit and torching ammo, and Small Lasers are the most heat-efficient (in terms of damage-to-heat) energy weapons available. On top of that, all of them are only effective in knife-fighting range, although this is further compensated by them being able to bypass the evasion charges built up by a running light mech.
    • Light mechs are vunerable to withering amounts of gunfire and have limited tonnage for weapons, but in exchange they can mount many more jumpjets and run and soar across the battlefield easily. Their naturally high Initiative lets them easily outmaneuver heavier mechs.
    • Heavies and Assaults are walking walls of firepower and armor, but in exchange trade off mobility and Initiative. Furthermore, some Heavies trade off armor for more firepower, while some of the 'faster' Heavies and Assaults have a heavy engine that takes up more of their tonnage resulting in somewhat reduced armor/weapon tonnage availability.
    • Heat has been changed to a 0-100 percent-like scale, with all Mechs sinking a default of 30 Heat per turn. Overheating starts at 60 Heat, but this can be adjusted by the pilot's Guts skill and certain equipment; Guts can increase the Threshold to 75, then to 90, whilst Heat Banks increase both the maximum heat reachable (meaning a mech can shoot for longer without shutting down), and the damage threshold.
  • Cool Starship: The Argo, the first (and at this point, only) example of the Argo-class DropShip, originally designed as a Star League planetary exploration vessel and repurposed by your mercenary crew into being their home base. It's got three rotating habitation modules that fold in when it's going to accelerate, room for 57,000 tons of cargo, room enough for a proper, full-service Mech Bay including scaffolding and advanced automation, a docking collar which allows it to deploy your lance of 'Mechs from an attached Leopard-class DropShip (and would theoretically have room for more) whilst also allowing it to carry said Leopard along via JumpShip without the Leopard having to dock to the JumpShip directly (something not seen in the series or lore until now), and extensive hydroponic gardens allowing it to operate for months at a time without resupply. Now, the poor girl has seen better days when your crew first finds her and some of those aforementioned features aren't working, but put enough effort into upgrading and repairing her and she can be the equal or better of even an Overlord-class DropShip (which are the big, expensive command ships in BTech lore).
  • Critical Hit: Once you breach armor, it is possible to score direct hits on your enemy's weapons and subsystems. Getting a lucky hit to the head/cockpit can result in pilot wounds or even outright death. It takes one crit to destroy a heatsink or jumpjet, and two crits to destroy any weapons - the first crit damages the weapon and makes it hard to aim, the second outright totals it. It also takes two crits to torch ammunition - the first prevents it from feeding, the second ignites it (Boom!).
  • Death by Falling Over: Pilots get wounded if their mech falls over in battle. Naturally, this can be eventually fatal as injuries pile up, and in any case a mech that has been tipped over is a sitting duck for Called Shots until it gets up.
  • Death By A Thousand Cuts: Machine guns, SRM and LRM missile launchers don't do much damage per individual warhead, but they have several advantages thanks to their burst-fire -
    • As ballistic/explosive projectiles, they inflict stability damage to mechs, eventually making them unstable and vunerable to knockdown.
    • As they hit multiple times per volley, there is a chance some of the missiles might hit the cockpit and wound/kill the pilot.
    • Once you breach armor, each hit has the chance to inflict critical hits on exposed subsystems, and possibly even torch ammunition stores.
    • Hostile SRM carrier vehicles sport ten SRM-6 launchers, and can sandblast your armor away with a withering barrage of sixty Short Range Missiles that has a good chance to knock you flat on your back.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Mech customization, though it is limited to what was possible in 3025 - so no OmniMechs, limited hard points, and hard points limited by weapon type. This actually gives some of the variants described in the various Technical Readouts a bit more of a purpose, as their hard point layouts are different, giving you more options.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Grim Sybil's Quickdraw; The only challenge for new players is the Guide Dang It! salvage system. If you can get the complete Quickdraw intact, it will carry you in a few mission easily.
    • The second one is the prison guards' Jagermech and Trebuchet. Unfortunately you only get 5 choices of salvage in this mission, so you have to pick one and hope the randomized salvage pick the parts of the other you didn't choose.
    • If you got lucky (or unlucky) in random Assassination missions, you may end up facing some tough enemies with good 'mechs. As soon as you complete the first story mission, it is possible to face some otherwise late game 'mechs in combat like the Grasshopper, Orion, Trebuchet, Dragon, etc if you know where to go or which missions to take.
  • Early Game Hell: The first few missions after the tutorial can be brutal from a management standpoint, as the player's mercenary company is trapped in a section of the Periphery (due to some below-the-board shenanigans by less than legitimate Loan Sharks the company is in debt to) with very slim contractual pickings that payout very little. The contracts may not be particularly challenging, but the pay is low enough that the company cannot afford to spend too much on repair and recuperation, both in C-Bills and lost time that could be used taking more contracts. The mechanics of the situation drive the theme of the opening act by giving the player a sense of the desperation of down-on-their-luck mercenaries working contract-to-contract in a struggle to stay in the black.
  • Easy Logistics: You don't need to pay for fuel for your DropShip, that being rolled into "transport fees" if you travel to another system or covered by a Contract that pays for you to relocate. You don't need to buy food or other necessities, those being rolled into your monthly operating costs. Even armor and ammunition (sort of) aren't tracked: 'Mechs that take armor damage in a mission automatically have it repaired, and ammo is automatically reloaded. Extra tons of ammo are only used when altering 'Mech loadouts to add weapons and/or their ammo, you don't need to replenish every bullet or missile. Weapons that were damaged but not destroyed by crits can be repaired back into good working condition, too, and improved weapons don't lose their improvements from such repairs. On the other hand, maintenance fees from keeping your medical bay running explicitly include paying for the medical staff to oversee your recovering pilots in addition to medical supplies.
  • Elite Mook: Assassination missions tend to have the target 'mech be a lot more valuable than its escorts, so it will usually have superior tonnage. Expect to see early Heavy and Assault mechs.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: During the Grave Robbing mission, you command a lance of SLDF Royal-model 'mechs that Kamea and three House Karosas mechwarriors commandeer. These were top of the line machines meant for the Hegemony-native memeber regiments in the Star League Defense Force (as opposed to those native to the other five great realms of the League). Kamea keeps the Atlas for herself and replaces her Succession Wars-grade Kintaro with it, while she gifts the Highlander to you.
  • Escort Mission: Several missions involve escorting a convoy.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The captive Victoria Espinoza impotently rages at you from her cell on the Argo before she's handed over to Lord Karosas for safekeeping. A dialogue option is available to say she sounds like a cartoon villain.
  • Evil Uncle: Lord Santiago Espinosa, the uncle of Kamea Arano, staged The Coup against his niece during her coronation after her refusal to dissolve the legislative body and consolidate the central authority. Other than his authoritarian goals, he is also not above bombarding civilian centers and committing subterfuge during his revolt.
  • Forced Tutorial: Mastiff makes you take your Blackjack for an unskippable shakedown run at the start of the campaign. This is justified, as he requested your mech be repaired quickly and in short order so he wanted to make sure it was properly patched up before you went on duty.
  • Fragile Speedster: Light Mechs, and due to how the initiative works they can take advantage of their speed in a pseudo-Extra Turn fashion using the Reserve option. Can move right up to Glass Cannon territory when using powerful weapons like PPCs or LRM-20s to turn them into hit-and-run snipers.
  • Frozen in Time: Despite the fact that the game can allow you to work contracts for decades if you so choose, the game will always behave like it's circa 3025 in the BTech universe - there are no events related to going further up the timeline, house politics will continue to behave like it's pre-Fourth Succession War, your characters don't age, Kamea and her liberation army will wait for you to act, et cetera.
  • Gambit Pileup: One side mission is to extract a scientist for the local government. The scientist is apparently playing both sides to the point that your XO has lost track of how many layers of betrayal are going on- it's at least four.
  • Geo Effects: The terrain has a large impact on a fight. Rough Ground can make it difficult for a battlemech to keep its footing, making it more vunerable to Stability Damage and thus Knockdown. Forested areas and sandstorms can serve as soft Cover, allowing a mech to take reduced damage and impeding enemy vision. Water is difficult to ford, but it also serves as an easy way to shore up your heatsinks, allowing for more sustained fire. Marshes are difficult to wade, but improve your stability damage resistance. Geothermal and Radioactive ground impede your ability to vent heat, while fields of exposed minerals can interfere with sensors and make it difficult to aim into and out of them. Hills, boulders, and large buildings can obstruct shots. On top of that, the climate of the battlefield affects the performance of your heatsinks, with cold weather being the best and thin, hot Martian atmosphere (and lunar vacuums) being the worst. Finally, frozen ice deposits greatly help your heatsinks keep your mech cool, but are slippery and make it easier to take stability damage.
  • Good Feels Good: A random event that may crop up while in time-pass mode aboard the Argo is a distress call from a transport ship about to explode. If you rush in to the rescue (as opposed to caution or apathy), you can get +1 morale (as well as +1 rep with the local faction). It may occasionally backfire and result in the Argo taking minor damage, though.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Mechs can slug it out with each other like in the tabletop game. Furthermore, a new feature to melee is that your MechWarriors can now follow up a successful melee attack with a barrage of light ranged weapons - machine guns, flamers and light lasers - at no additional cost except for heat and ammo. The Elite tier perk for the Guts skill line additionally will knock whoever gets struck into next week... or in game terms, into the next lowest initiative bracket for a turn. Naturally, mechs with actual hands will have a natural close combat damage advantage over similar mechs in tonnage.
  • Goomba Stomp: Death From Above, also known as DFA for short, is a Jumpjet-assisted melee attack where you fly above your enemy and drop on them hard. You will take damage to your mech's legs, but this attack will hurt if it connects correctly. Also when performing melee attack on vehicles or knocked out mechs. Of particular note is the Highlander Assault mech, whose version of the DFA is lovingly nicknamed In-Universe "The Highlander Burial".
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Kamea joins the lance in her Kintaro for the planetside trip to the SLDF cache. Yang rides rumble-seat and complains about her "aggressive" piloting style.
  • Guide Dang It!: Salvaging the 'mechs they want is probably what causes most players to Save Scum the most. To get a complete 3 'mech pieces as salvage, you need to knock out the pilot somehow without causing any structural failure (AKA destroying the CT or both legs). This is mentioned nowhere in the game. Save for a lucky Boom, Headshot! from an AC 20 or PPC, there are a few ways to deplete pilot HP: Scoring a hit to the head (even MG and LRM glancing blows will do), destroying either of the side torso, causing an ammo detonation, and knocking the 'mech of its feet. It is not mentioned as well that you can get a complete 'mech even if you destroyed both torsos and one leg.
  • Hufflepuff House: The section of the Periphery the game takes place in was selected as the narrative setting because the amount of lore that had been written about it across the franchise's long history was sparse, only covering it in Broad Strokes while being touched on but not currently dominated by many other major powers from the setting. This made it an ideal place to craft an original campaign narrative within its own particular regional politics and history.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: The player characters' family came to the Aurigan Reach from places ranging from the Inner Sphere to the Deep Periphery with their family BattleMech being their major possession, being passed to the player character upon their coming of age.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The player themselves can be one based on choices made during character creation - in all cases, you are somehow separated from your family, and many choices leave your family in ruin. In addition, many impoverished mercenaries in general come from nobility.
  • Interface Spoiler: Fans who know the lore will wonder why the Leopard's Mech Bay has expansion slots for carrying 12 more BattleMechs on top of the initial six. Lorewise, a Leopard Dropship can carry a maximum of four Mechs and two Aerospace fighters or six Mechs if the fighters are removed. Those extra slots are for expanding the Argo's capacity.
    • The game also does not allow you to take jobs from The Taurian Concordat during the course of the game despite their obvious presence on the map, because of a secret alliance with the Directorate.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle:
    • The player's mercenary company has no absolute limits on how many 'mechs and spare parts than can own. However, they can only ever have a limited number of 'mechs in a combat ready state at a time. This is justified by their Signature Team Transport only having enough space in its service bays to accommodate about six 'mechs, though that number can be expanded with bay upgrades. Sending a 'mech to storage requires stripping it of its equipment and partial disassembly, and bringing it back into a combat ready state requires some reassembly and refitting, which takes time and C-Bills, so the player has to make some choices and try to anticipate their later needs. In addition, keeping 'mechs in combat ready state also costs money, giving another layer of the puzzle. It is not a good idea to get the maximum bay size quickly and filling them up as soon as possible when you are short on cash.
    • Outfitting your mechs when customising them is a matter of balancing weapons, armor, jumpjets, and heatsinks to their tonnage and weapon hardpoint limits.
  • Karma Meter: Your reputation and reliability, in the form of your ComStar Mercenary Review Board rating (which indicates how reliable you are on contracts, not how 'respectable' your missions are). Not everybody wants to hire a nobody, or a known contract breaker. Equally, you have one with each possible employer, showing how much they, personally, trust you.
  • The Kingdom: The Aurigan Coalition is shown as a minor kingdom on the Periphery being bordered by the Taurian Concordat and the Capellan Confederation, which provided an already-economically troubled realm with hostile neighbors in the centuries of Succession Wars after the fall of Star League. Despite these issues, the Aurigans nonetheless maintained a degree of power-sharing with the Council of the Founding Lords until House Espinosa staged a coup in response to the High Lady's rejection of their proposal to adopt more authoritarian practices.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: At the end of the campaign Director Espinosa surrenders unconditionally once his trump card is removed from the equation, as he knows his defeat is only a matter of 'when' and further fighting will only weaken the Reach further.
  • Lethal Joke Character: The Urbanmech. While it has terrible mobility for a 30 tonner, it also has disproportionately high armor tonnage for a light mech, can pack a nasty concentrated punch with its AC/10 primary weapon, and still retains a high Initiative.
  • Lethal Joke Weapon: Machine Guns, previously a Joke Item in other MechWarrior games. It still deals Scratch Damage like before, but since the amount of HP and damage have has been scaled down in this game (ie lost a digit) compared to Mechwarrior Online, Scratch Damage actually hurts a lot more now; these things fire in bursts of 5 for 3 damage per hit, with the only downsides being their very short range and volatile ammunition stores. On top of that, they also also extremely light (half a ton per machine gun, 200 bullets per ton of ammo) so you can make room for more armor/weapons/components alongside them, and they will fire automatically to support melee attacks, making it likely that once your punch/kick/DFA strips armor the guns can crit on the exposed internals or hit the enemy's cockpit.
  • Loan Shark: Part of the setup of the early game after the prologue is that you've fallen prey to these - you've ascended to command of the mercenary band that saved you, but you guys have ended up heavily in the red, and a lot of the banks at the point where they'll be happy to repossess your Leopard. The big turning point is the 1-2 punch of finding the Argo and meeting up with Kamea again, who offers to settle all your loans in return for committing yourself to her cause.
  • Lost Technology:
    • Thanks to the massive destruction of scientific knowledge and manufacturing infrastructure across the settled parts of the galaxy from various Succession Wars between major houses after the fall of Star League, a BattleMech became valuable enough that a family owning and operating one would be considered an equivalent to a knight. In addition, the game encourages you to disable enemy BattleMechs with minimal damage (or destroying the cockpit) in order to build yourself a new one from salvaged parts.
    • The truly crazy advanced technology that has been lost entirely to the fires of the Succession Wars - Gauss weaponry, super-light fusion engines, WarShips, myomer muscle replacement units, double-strength Heatsinks, what have you - is called "Lostech" in-universe.
    • Part of the reason the Argo is such a big deal is that it IS a giant Lostech vessel - quite simply, outside of the Overlord-class (which is, despite its size, a very simple design) nobody builds DropShips that big anymore in 3025, and certainly not with features that extensive. Hanse Davion and the NAIS would certainly like to, but in-universe that sort of thing is still decades off.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The true difficulty rating of a mission can vary slightly from the stated amount (As missions are rated in 'skulls' for challenge rating, the listed skull count can be slightly off positively or negatively). This is justified in that the intel for any given contract may not be entirely accurate, and can result in surprise early appearances by Heavy and Assault Mechs in the early game, or surprise reinforcements for or against you.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Particularly with SRM and LRM-equipped tanks, and the game demonstrates just how lethal this can be in the second contract mission for Kamea.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: The player's mentor, Raju "Mastiff" Montgomery, performs a Heroic Sacrifice in the prologue in order for the DropShip carrying Kamea to escape and protect the player character, who had to eject from their sabotaged 'Mech. At first it looks like it was All for Nothing where Kamea is concerned, but this happily turns out to not be the case.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Bulwark perk down the Guts skill line. Basically... stand still and you get Cover and all damage coming from the front and sides is halved. It doesn't protect against rear damage, and can be bypassed or outright negated by some escalatory measures, but it's a must for any mech pilot meant to draw attention.
    • As in tabletop, the heavier a 'Mech gets, the more it tends to be this (though some Heavies and a rare few assaults are designed to be more of a Lightning Bruiser).
  • Morale Mechanic: Not to the point of retreating if things go poorly, but having over 50% morale grants a combat buff, and it can be used to make a Precision Strike or activate Vigilance, which grants the effect of Guarding while allowing full movement and weapon firing (unlike the passive Bulwark or the order to Brace, respectively) while letting the 'Mech act one turn earlier in the next round.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Quite literally, as you choose the MechWarrior's background. The only constant is that you were trained by Raju "Mastiff" Montgomery, who later recruited you into the Royal Guard.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When starting a mission, a female announcer will say "Commencing deployment. MechWarriors, prepare for combat." Just like in Mech Commander.
    • One of the backgrounds on player's origin includes Deep Periphery as one of many homeworlds. While it's vague enough that you can "just" be from a truly podunk world out in the middle of nowhere, it's also easy to interpret as a Call-Forward to the origin of Wolf's Dragoons and the later Clan Invasion two decades later into the timeline of Battletech (and even leaves enough room for your character to be a second-generation Clanner agent).
    • The displays on the screens in the background of the MechLab and Barracks are formatted like BattleTech and MechWarrior character sheets. Similarly, the area of your quarters where you customize your company has a bunch of miniatures and a brush for painting. A large mini of an Atlas is even used to demonstrate your color scheme.
    • The player can have their character say "No Guts, No Galaxy!", the tagline from the infamous cartoon, during an early staff meeting.
    • Sumire Meyer's hatred toward birds comes from growing up on a planet with a large population of avian species. This is a nod to Far Country, a particularly infamous novel in the series which featured a planet with sentient birds.
    • The training simulators that the player can purchase for the Argo are based on the real life BattleTech Pods that can be found in arcades.
    • The tutorials say that the Space Is Cold trope doesn't work for 'Mechs. The trope being played straight was a common fan complaint for MechWarrior 4: Vengeance
    • The loading screen blurbs sometimes reference quotes from the Mechwarrior games or the Battletech novels and cartoon. At least one of them directly references the Somerset Strikers.
  • Never Found the Body: The case for both Kamea and Raju after the first mission. One is alive and well, hiring you to fight for her throne, while the other is also alive... but has just passed away in a Hellhole Prison before you could liberate it.
  • Nintendo Hard: Like X-COM, you probably shouldn't get too attached to your MechWarriors. They'll often scrape through with injuries rather than deaths, but the game isn't shy about punishing mistakes, and there's always a chance for an unlucky crit. Similarly, you'll have to take a certain amount of care not to get critted once you start fielding more valuable weapons, as they might be difficult to replace.
  • Non-Entity General: Averted, unlike the MechCommander games; the player character is a MechWarrior who can take the field, just like any of the other MechWarriors under their employ.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Said almost verbatim about Raju "Mastiff" Montgomery, who took a core shot to his 'mech during the Action Prologue. 3 years later, he's found... having just passed away in a Hellhole Prison.
  • Not the Intended Use: The Argo becoming your merc headquarters. The Argo was perfectly capable of carrying a few 'Mechs for protection of ground crews, but it was meant to be an explorer vessel, not a den of cut-throat robot-piloting badasses. Needless to say, your crew makes a few changes to her that more accommodates their needs (and fills that hold with 'Mech weaponry instead of the intended colonization equipment) and she ends up carrying a much bigger 'Mech compliment than was intended.
  • Oh, Crap!: During one plot mission the Taurian Concordat have this moment. They go from telling you to stand down and then mid sentence realizing that they're now facing down a lance of Heavy and Assault SLDF mechs. Including the Super Rare and Powerful Atlas 2. They immediately start screaming for reinforcments on the radio.
  • Overclocking Attack: Thanks to the overheating mechanic (see below) it is entirely possible for a 'mech firing too many heat-heavy weapons at once to blow right past its Power Limiter which would shut it down and actually take itself entirely out of commission as the internal structure melts and the 'mech falls over, not to rise again that battle. The player actually earns an achievement for doing this.
  • Overheating: A classic game mechanic. Weapons (and jumpjets) produce heat during use. Heatsinks (and cold weather/water) help leech heat. Trapping too much heat in your mech will cause structural damage as you flat-out melt from the inside, and in severe cases it can cause the safeties to kick in and shut you down until your heatsinks can get rid of the excess heat.
  • Player Headquarters: At first, a ratty little Leopard DropShip (the smallest kind of 'Mech-deploying DropShip, typically used as a full headquarters by the poor and desperate in a mercenary context). Early in the main plot, though, your crew stumbles upon an old Star League-era exploratory super-DropShip that has definitely seen better days, but is an absurd upgrade over the Leopard, and more importantly, thanks to salvage laws and a little support from Kamea you own that sucker. Over the course of the game you can restore and upgrade it into a proper Cool Starship.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: After his bloody coup, Espinoza decides to rename the Aurigan Coalition into the Aurigan "Directorate".
  • Plot Armor:
    • Of the 'Plot Ejector Seat' variety. Your Player Character has a special Commander rank that prevents them from being killed in action during the campaign - even if your Center Torso gets cored, your ammo gets torched, or someone shoots an AC/20 right into your cockpit and headchops you, you'll somehow survive that anyway (but not without injury. It usually takes three or four months in the medbay before you can walk it off even after its been upgraded).
    • Kamea Arano and Victoria Espinosa are also fairly hardy - Kamea can get wounded in certain missions, then shrug it off easily (especially during the mission to recover the lost SLDF cache, where she can get wounded badly braving the SLDF drones, then later be completely fine piloting an Atlas II to stage her breakout just a few hours later - amusingly this also applies to the Atlas II she pilots after recovering it from the cache, as it can lose limbs and weapons during missions, but somehow at the end of the campaign when Kamea gifts it to you all the SLDF Lostech weapons and Double Heatsinks are fully restored). Victoria, like the player, cannot be killed in action until her final battle at the end of the campaign - Even if you core or headchop her mech, she'll somehow eject first.
  • Power Equals Rarity: The player's mercenary company has a finite supply of weapons and equipment to mount on their 'mechs, with components being lost due to being sold off for money or wrecked in combat. Getting more of those components requires either salvage or buying them from a local planetary market. However, thanks to different levels of economic infrastructure and industrial sophistication between planets exasperated after the collapse of the Star League, some uncommon manufactures with better facilities or access to materials are capable of manufacturing higher-grade versions of 'mech-scale weaponry than might be more commonly found. These are marked with a + or ++ sign in the inventory and generally enjoy higher accuracy or better damage than their more easily rolled out equivalents.
  • Private Military Contractors: Who you play as. You will encounter other mercenary groups during your career.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: Enforced. You can play your Commander as having Undying Loyalty to Kamea Arano, but you have to do at least one regular contract mission between the "Priority," story missions. Kamea will often dismiss you with instructions to go out, finish contracts, earn money, and grow stronger before calling on you again. You can take this Up to Eleven through both conversation choices and by blowing off priority missions for months (or years) to take whatever random contracts are available (though better gear becomes more common as you advance through the story).
  • Purposely Overpowered: The SLDF Royal Battlemechs that you can use in the campaign (in particular the Royal Highlander that Kamea gives you) have superior tonnage capacity compared to regular battlemechs and superior SLDF-grade weapons like the Gauss Rifle (which hits harder than an AC/10 and has the range of a AC/2), ER lasers and the ER PPC (ER meaning extended range, so they have better maximum effective range), and Pulse Lasers (which are more accurate at close range and hit harder than regular Medium lasers), but above all, they also have the fabled Double Heatsinks, which reduce 6 heat per turn instead of 3. Of special mention is your Royal Highlander, which can carry its full loadout while having maxed armor and maxed jumpjet loadage at the same time, making it superior in firepower, durability, and heat efficiency.
  • Railroading: One specific instance: while you're free to work for anyone else, you cannot decide to betray Kamea and work for Santiago and his Aurigan Directorate; for story missions, you'll always be working for Kamea's army to restore the Coalition. This does at least have some justification - between being Raju's student, being sabotaged in the tutorial mission, and having sided with Kamea during the coup, Santiago wouldn't be terribly inclined to trust you (and vice-versa), and also, if you betrayed Kamea, she'd just sell all your loans back to the banks and sharks, who'd come after you HARD for the incredibly valuable Argo - but it is still the one path players are notably forbidden from taking.
  • RPG Elements: In addition to the Skill Scores and Perks mentioned below, the campaign does have some of these elements. Your character isn't a full-bore MechWarrior RPG character - they lack things like Learning (from oldschool MW), Intelligence, Wisdom or Charsima (from later or universal) stats - but the background you choose for your commander will influence dialogue options, events and a few other things.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: One of the advantages of being a mercenary is that the player character can pick their battles, and sometimes that means they can pick when they have had enough of a particular battle and can abort it at their discretion. However, if they fail to achieve their contracted objective they will not receive the full payout for the mission, and if they fail to achieve their contracted objective and fail to even significantly damage the enemy the Mercenary Review Board will consider that a "Bad Faith Withdrawal" and dock their reputation for agreeing to a contract they clearly had no intention of seeing through.
  • Sensor Suspense: If a unit's within your Mechs' sensor range, but you don't have visual contact, it's depicted as a blip with information on what type of unit and how heavy it is.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • The Atlas II would not be seen in the Milky Way after the Second Exodus of 2801 until the Clan Invasion in the 3050s, when Kerensky called for his Second Exodus all Atlas II pilots answered and took their mechs with them. The game seems to posit that they missed exactly one, but that still flies in the face of previous canon.
    • The first working SLDF Memory Core wouldn't be discovered until 3028 on the planet Helm. Here, the concept of a memory core is general knowledge, and Castle Nautilus is visited in hopes of discovering "another memory core".
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In a fairly unique twist, Victoria's motivation for the game past the prologue is largely ensuring that the Directorate itself doesn't become this. Especially once she agrees to her uncle's plan to attack Perdition in a False Flag Operation to get the Taurians on the Directorate's side, she absolutely has to win, no matter what, because otherwise killing Mastiff, killing the people of Perdition, and deposing the woman who was basically her beloved sister for most of her life would all be for literally nothing and she'd be nothing more than a monster. When Santiago prepares to surrender, she completely loses it, as it really begins to look like even her dad didn't really believe the things he was telling her. Her Last Words are basically her bitterly choking on the fact that ultimately, all her fears have come to pass and she'll just be remembered as a monster.
  • Shout-Out:
    Tis But a Scratch - Remove one arm
    It's just a flesh wound - Remove both arms
    I'm invincible! - Remove both arms and a leg
    We'll call it a draw - Remove every limb
    • A very subtle one; one of the voice sets for pilots is referred to as 'm_vizzini01' in the game's files, and sounds - surprise - like an imitation of Wallace Shawn's portrayal of Vizzini in The Princess Bride.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: While RPG elements will not be as extensive as in HBS' Shadowrun games, pilots will have skills and/or perks tailored to specific 'Mech weight classes.
  • Space Is Cold: Averted; hard vacuum is even less efficient for sinking heat than desert environments. The heat sinks work mainly by conducting waste heat off its vanes and into a fluid medium (water, atmosphere) which then convects away from the mech. If there *is* no fluid medium, all it can do is radiate, which results in a glut of heat to dispose of.
  • Space Pirates: Common early game enemies, and one of the possible character backgrounds for your protagonist. They continue to be an acceptable target for missions throughout the game, especially in areas with only one active faction (e.g. post-campaign Restoration territory).
  • Spoiler Opening: Kamea Arano dies in the prologue mission! OH NO!... well, this would certainly be a twist, except that the initial opening of the game has Kamea narrating to you as Queen of the Reach, talking about her campaign to take back the throne, and your part in it, in the past tense. So it's not exactly a huge shocker when you find out she's alive.
  • Subsystem Damage: Mechs are divided into several major body parts (Head/cockpit, Left/right/center torso, arms, and legs), with your heatsinks, ammo bins, weapons, and jumpjets mounted on specific parts of the superstructure. It is possible to take damage to your subsystems and lose them, forcing you to swap in replacement parts. If you're extra unlucky, a crit can cause an internal ammo explosion, which can be potentially lethal to the pilot. Destroying a body part will outright eliminate all components attached - hitting the Right Torso will also take their Right Arm alongside it, plus all weapons stored in both body parts. Especially severe damage to the torso can bleed through to connected body parts, like the head/cockpit, resulting in more pilot wounds and possible death. One way to protect ammunition and vital weapons is to "pad" the body section with extra systems and components like heatsinks, jumpjets, and "expendable" weapons (like Medium/Small Lasers) that you don't mind using to tank crits over your more precious AC/20.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Enemies will never retreat or surrender (unless the mission objective is to prevent them from reaching an extraction point), even if they're being utterly crushed. It makes sense for pirates, since Bad Boss and You Have Failed Me are heavily in play with them, but for other factions it does not, since at the time this game is set, mechs are especially valuable and it's considered far better to let the enemy take what they want (up to and including entire planets) than risk the destruction of your essentially irreplaceable mechs.
  • Take Your Time: Despite being depicted as a fast-moving civil war, all of the main story missions for Kamea will wait for you to take them, and waiting to do so has no negative impact. The game doesn't even really acknowledge if it's gone beyond 3025 in terms of time taken.
  • Tanks for Nothing: Only played straight with weaker tanks like the Scorpion. This is actually averted the first time in the series. The Bulldogs which were just annoying pushover in Mechwarrior 2-4 and Mech Commander are significantly more dangerous here, are quite capable of knocking out mechs if they manage to get flank/rear shots, and a stomp from a light mech is often not enough to destroy them. The previously laughable Striker is now capable of indirect fire. Heavier ones like the Schrek, Alacorn, Demolisher, and Zhukov should always be treated with caution due to their firepower. The missile launcher vehicles, meanwhile, are now completely terrifying.
  • Tank Goodness: Players can encounter friendly and hostile tanks in the field. While many are significantly weaker than Battlemechs, some like the Demolisher tank and Schrek PPC carrier are formidable vehicles in their own right that can dish out significant damage against Battlemechs if underestimated. (To the sadness of some players, you cannot purchase or control your own tanks.)
  • Treacherous Quest Giver: The first employer who hired you turn on you as soon as you are done.
  • Turn-Based Tactics: Like the tabletop game it is based upon, though unlike the defunct Tactics game, it is not a straight copy-paste cloning of the tabletop rules to a computer game.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Grim Sybil is probably the first opponent you face who uses a heavy mech against you. Downplayed since her mech has an poor armor debuff to make it easier for you to defeat it, and the Quickdraw doesn't have any particularly dangerous 'can opener' weapons like a large autocannon or PPC.
  • Was It Really Worth It??: As revealed in the opening cutscene, Kamea does reclaim her throne and become High Lady of the Aurigan Coalition. However, the Reach has been greatly weakened by the civil war, and though the Directorate was a certainly amoral regime with its gulags and false flag terrorist attack, things were better for most people. It remains to be seen if Kamea's civil war saved the Reach from a tyrant or doomed it to the predations of its- far stronger- neighbors.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Director Espinosa really does want what he thinks is best for the Reach, and had Kamea followed his advice and seized power, would have followed her unconditionally. His coup was an attempt to wipe out the bureaucratic gridlock that had led to the Coalition's decline. However, some of the actions undertaken by the Directorate certainly cross the line, namely the gulags on Weldry and staging a massacre in the Taurian Concordat that was blamed on the Federated Suns to make the Concordat more open to an alliance with his country to fight Kamea's Restoration.
  • What a Piece of Junk: The Argo, at first. When you first find her, she's... bigger than the old Leopard, at least. And her engines work... once Murad furiously beats them with a wrench, at any rate. And, hey, you own her via salvage laws and via Kamea's support. So that's, y'know. That's cool. Saying anything about her beyond that is going to require a non-zero amount of C-bills.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Once you complete the main story campaign, you can keep playing with your mercenary team basically forever if you wish, with randomly-generated merc missions popping up all over, although the actual world-state won't truly update past 3025.
  • Written by the Winners: One of the themes of the campaign is this - that history, as people perceive it, is dictated in part by those who succeed, perhaps even without their meaning to dictate it. Kamea grapples with this idea, and the public perception of her virtue and heroism versus the failures she believes she is responsible for but get glossed over. More interestingly, Victoria is also keenly aware of this - a large part of her motivation later in the game is ensuring the Restoration fails, because if the Aranos return to power, she's just going to be remembered as a monster who threw away all the good things in her life, as opposed to someone who sacrificed for the good of her country.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Discussed after a mission liberating political prisoners from a Hellhole Prison, as Madeira points out that Espinosa's Propaganda Machine will paint it as a terrorist attack on fine, upstanding military members which unleashed thousands of cutthroat criminals back into the Reach.

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