YMMV / BattleTech

The Tabletop game & wider universe:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Nicholas Kerensky was either a driven visionary or a figure of evil, and there's plenty of evidence for both.
    • The same can also be said for Sara McEveredy and Clan Wolverine. Innocent victims of Nicholas' manipulations, a powder-keg waiting to go off or power-hungry monsters who merely were caught out before they could act?
    • In-universe, this applies to Hanse Davion and Katrina Steiner: they're awesome leaders if you lived in the states that became the Federated Commonwealth. Not so much if you were in one of the three neighboring states that got curbstomped in the process of them carving out a territorial bridge between their realms. (And then later generations of the FedCom/FedSuns and Lyran Alliance can have an argument: were they well-meaning, competent rules whose children/grandchildren then tore apart the realm they worked so hard to build with their own petty failings, or did Hanse & Katrina unintentionally set Victor & Katherine up to fail from the start due to decisions made before Kath, in particular, was ever even born? And does this, in a way, make them ultimately responsible for the Jihad?)
    • Sun Tzu Liao: Scheming, opportunistic weasel of a ruler, or brilliant political tactician?
  • Arc Fatigue: When the BattleTech license transferred to FanPro a significant number of new material focused on the year 3067, during the end of FedCom Civil War and the start of Jihad. Another arc that has run too long is the Dark Age era, not helped when its development outside of the novels was put on hold until the Jihad arc was finished.
    • Handbook House Kurita, the last sourcebook set in 3067, was finally released in April 2015 meaning that single game year has lasted over 15 years of real time.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Catalyst Game Labs treatment of the Dark Age era, which in early 00' managed to piss off many Battletech fans for various reasons.
  • Broken Base: The Double Heat Sinks. Either you think that they unbalanced the game in favor of energy weapons or you think that they made the energy weapons viable. And whatever group you belong to, it is almost universally agreed that trying to fix Double Heat Sinks would cause more problems than it solves.
    • The Jihad and Dark Age both tend to cause this as well.
    • The Clans and their techbase, either they are the symbol of everything that is wrong with BattleTech outside of the 3025/Succession Wars era (with at most a dash of Technical Readout 2750 thrown in for "the crazy Lostech"), or their arrival was the point when BattleTech grew the beard.
    • Averted in the case of the ongoing redesigns for the Unseen spearheaded by Mechwarrior Online. While there have been minor constructive criticisms from the fanbase, the reception for the new designs has been almost universally positive. This after a long period of Broken Base between fans who wanted the Unseens back (though they were realistic enough to know that was unlikely) and those who wanted the Phoenix redesigns of the early 2000s to replace them across the board.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Looking at the long-term prospects of the setting may plausibly cause this. To be sure, in the short run there are always plenty of sympathetic characters to care about; however, both the game and its fictional universe are, in the long run, built essentially (if mostly implicitly) around the concept of eternal largely meaningless conflict between arbitrary factions because humanity is apparently forever unable to learn from its past mistakes and thus doomed to repeat them, and it becomes increasingly hard to empathize with successive generations of characters (a point the setting has well hit by now) all going through pretty much the same motions over and over again.
  • Designated Hero: When you think about it, Hanse Davion got a few hundred million people killed to impress his hot eighteen year-old Nordic wife. And to get payback from the man who tried to kidnap him and put a doppelganger on his throne.
    • The closer you look at Natasha Kerensky, the less you see a Fiery Redhead who is good at what she does and much more someone who is at best a Blood Knight, and at worst a Sociopathic Soldier (though to be fair, she would have been a type 4 after her lover was killed in cold blood) — the accounts are legion of epic (and lethal) bar fights that The Black Widow and her Black Widow Company engaged in out of sheer boredom and for the fun of it. Another account concerns a member of Wolf's Dragoons admitting that he had leaked information that made its way to House Kurita, information that contributed to the Pyrrhic Victory that the Dragoons endured on Misery. Natasha cold-bloodedly killed him, just as Jamie Wolf was about to slap the man. When Wolf called her on her murder, her response was to quote words used by Nicholas Kerensky to justify the complete annihilation of an entire Clan.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Oddly enough, the Urbanmech seems to be both this and the Butt-Monkey at the same time.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Fans of Battletech's style of mecha vs fans of anime-style mecha (ironic considering some of Battletech's original designs were from Fang of the Sun Dougram and Super Dimension Fortress Macross).
  • Game-Breaker: There are some 'Mech designs that rather tedious to fight against. A most notorious example was the Clan pulse laser/targeting computer combo that practically guaranteed hitting your target. Land-Air-mechs in hybrid mode were practically unhittable. Under Solaris rules (extreme close combat for arena battles), multiple machine guns could reduce a 'Mech into scrap metal in short order, without generating any heat points. In most gaming groups, those things were countered by house rules forbidding the use of such designs.
    • Before the new rules removed the bonus for them, Rotary Autocannons found themselves mated to Targeting Computers quite a bit. The ability to put up to 30 points of damage on a targeted location, or even at a hit bonus, proved to be overwhelming, and as of the Total Warfare rules, rotary and Ultra autocannons at anything beyond single fire mode can no longer make an aimed shot, nor can pulse lasers. They still get the standard fire targeting bonus, though.
    • Most Clantech counts, but four of their weapons stand out in particular:
      • Clan ER PPC's not only have the extended range of their Inner Sphere counterparts but also deal an additional five points of damage, meaning they can take an enemy mech's head off in one shot. This effectively makes them a much lighter and smaller Gauss Rifle that doesn't require ammo or explode when shot. Certain Mechs like the Marauder IIC and the Warhawk both in their default configuration are equipped with multitudes of the ER PPC, which can easily ravage other opposing units from afar, with the latter equipped with a Targeting Computer to make it even more frighteningly accurate.
      • Clan LRM's weigh half as much and take up half the space as their Inner Sphere variants and unlike the latter also have no minimum range, making them deadly in any situation and only get meaner with alternate ammo.
      • Clan ER Medium Lasers are basically Inner Sphere Large Lasers that fit in the space of a conventional medium laser and cause 2/3rds of the heat.
      • Clan Large Pulse Lasers have double the range of those fielded by the Inner Sphere and, yet again, also deal more damage. Combined with the enhanced accuracy of Pulse Lasers this turns mechs that mount more than one into long-distance murder machines like the Rifleman IIC. They are also the same size and mass of a clan ER PPC, allowing even non-OmniMechs mounting either to be easily customized for either game-breaker gun.
  • Genre Turning Point: In the mid-1980s, the game popularised science fiction in Wargaming, which had until then been dominated by historical games, and along with ''Warhammer, which did the same for fantasy, brought a new generation into the hobby.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Also straddling alongside Harsher in Hindsight, the Tesla Pod mechwarrior Simulator/Training Pods, over the last couple decades, have slowly become Lostech themselves, as plenty of core components have become obsolete and fallen out of production. Admittedly there have been attempts to refurbish/modernize them, but they still have been cannibalized for parts, and some of the oldest pods have developed "quirks" just like real Ancestral battlemechs would.
  • Magnificent Bastard: ULRIC KERENSKY
    • So for starters, as Khan of the Wolves, he decides that if he's stuck participating in an invasion that he and others in the Warden political faction don't want to be part of, he'll give the Crusader clans ''exactly'' what they want. You want to be known as a great hero? Well then try to keep up or have as many victories as he does. You want honor? Then try fighting with this few forces, and the handicaps he applied to his own forces. It led several times to the Crusaders, hell, the Crusader-minded ilKhan of the invasion throwing fits, and claiming "sabotage" on part of the Wolves for... performing extremely well. Yes, Mr. Warden Philosophy managed to make his political rivals act like petulant cry babies because he did what they wanted to do, wage war, better than they ever could! And he and his allies used that to their advantage to shame the Crusaders whenever needed.
    • Additionally, his treatment of captured Inner Sphere Worlds, and personnel. While the Crusader clans were busy making complacent asses of themselves, spouting "Warrior superiority" by oppressing civilian populaces (something which came to a head and he called the Crusading clans out on with the Smoke Jaguars' infamous massacres and city leveling Orbital Bombardments during the Battle of Turtle Bay) eventually leading to uprisings and unrest on their planets, the Wolves largely treated the citizenry with respect, understanding that suddenly having a new force out of nowhere to take over your planet could make transitions hard, trying their best to not interfere with the citizens' regular life during the transitions of power. Additionally, he made Phelan Kell, the son of Morgan Kell of the Kell Hounds mercenary force, who was captured early in the clan's invasion, his personal bondsman, and adviser on Inner Sphere Military matters and culture, grooming him in the ways of the Clans, eventually training Kell to become a full-fledged member (and eventually saKhan) of Clan Wolf. He also willingly accepted Com-Star's offer of working with the Clans in helping with transitional phases.
    • He managed to accidentally put an end to this temporary alliance and eventually discovers that the reason ComStar is so eager to work with the Clans is because they're trying to use the Clans to bring the various Houses under their control, when he ultimately revealed to his ComStar advisers that their goals were not so much the capitals of the various Houses, but rather, Terra itself to reform the old Star League. This eventually led to the Battle of Tukayyid, which was a win-win for Ulric. If the Clans won, they would be granted Terra, and thus achieve a major objective of Operation Revival. If the Clans lost, they would be honor bound to withdraw their forces back a bit, and not attack for 15 years. And the Clans were all too happy to accept these terms, figuring this would be an easy win, and then all decided to make large sacrifices of troops they'd be allowed to deploy, just so that what few forces that would be allowed to fight, would have the "honor" of dropping before Clan Wolf could. ComStar ultimately won overall (though, again, lost to Clan Wolf in particular), stopping the invasion.
    • Then, when he was challenged back in Clan space, by both Crusaders of his own clan, and those of other clans, he decided to have these accusations against him voted upon by the Grand Council. Despite the absolute crazy Conspiracy Theory being soundly defeated by the facts, the Grand Council voted for him to be stripped of ilKhan status, and once demoted, he plays one last truly Magnificent Bastard Move, and declares a Trial of Refusal, bid the entirety of Clan Wolf, Warden and Crusader members alike, against all challengers, and literally was laughing his ass off as he left the Council Chambers. The only thing missing was him giving a double one finger salute on his way out, starting the Refusal War against the Jade Falcons. While he did die, it did also serve to be a Taking You with Me against the Jade Falcons' leaders, helped separate and get a good portion of the Warden Wolves safely to the Inner Sphere, and even earn the respect of the Crusader Wolves.
      • Hanse Davion is basically a fusion of Rommel and Montgomery. With a smidge of Churchill, Julius Caesar and Henry V thrown in for good measure.
  • Memetic Mutation: There are some memes that have endured in the fandom.
    • MAGIC BUSHIDO HANDS Explanation 
    • Steiner Scout Lance Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon: Stefan Amaris not only kills off the Cameron family down to the children but also holds hostage and later kills off (and lies about the person being alive and still a hostage) a member of the Kurita family to keep the Draconis Combine from helping Aleksandr Kerensky and his forces which forced the SLDF to take longer to remove the Usurper, and all of this is nothing more than a big game of "King of the Hill" to him.
    • Jinjiro Kurita crosses this line almost as soon as he inherits the title of Coordinator with three words: "Kill them all." Meaning slaughter the entire populace of Kentares IV. And then casually killing a general who dares ask for clarification. And having videos of the massacres made so he could watch. ComStar members could not abide their neutrality and smuggled out video of the atrocity, and the previously-losing Federated Suns were galvanized by what went down in history as the Kentares Massacre.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap / Lethal Joke Character: The faster-playing adaptation Alpha Strike has had this effect on a lot of units that were thought of as useless in normal BattleTech, as their usefulness grows exponentially in the faster-paced play environment.
  • Status Quo Is God: The reason the Federated Commonwealth broke up among other things. When peace starts to settle in the Battletech universe, the writers simply come up with a new war.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Jihad era in the early Dark Age materials.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Many players reactions to the Dark Age period, especially the releated CMG. The reaction was far from universal, however, with the CMG not only bringing in new players, but many older players enjoying it and the changes to the setting. And, in all fairness, this has been a reaction to just about any change to the universe or game.
    • The extreme negativity of the reaction (from some quarters) to the Dark Age came about for a number of reasons.

      The release of the DA wasn't very well planned or presented, from the perspective of long-time BattleTech players. The initial DA synopsis made it feel rather like the rest of the Inner Sphere powers disappeared or fell into obscurity. The various Republic sub-factions seemed to be merely remnants of a by-gone age.

      Because of the seemingly sudden death of FASA and other things, the curators of Classic BattleTech took a long time before they could actually explain the Jihad and therefore justify what seemingly happened to the universe that lead to 3132. The pace of book releases, even for the 3067 period, slowed in the initial years of FASA's demise.

      Compounding this, the main tool for moving the fiction forward, novels, stopped happening for non-Dark Age settings. While a substitute was created on-line, those were primarily short-stories that filled in the gaps, rather than novels that pushed the storyline forward.

      These all combined to give the sense that BattleTech was dead. And therefore, MWDA was blamed for killing it.
  • Ugly Cute: The UrbanMech. Imagine R2-D2... if R2-D2 was thirty feet tall and equipped with a 12-ton autocannon.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Clan society is a strong in-universe example. If you're not badass enough to essentially bite and claw your way to the top and hold your place there against would-be challengers, eventually your fellow Clanners will start to consider you a liability to the Clan and start looking for your replacement. Clan society by and large puts little value on human life as such — it's how much somebody contributes to the Clan that counts, and with the warriors on top and naturally seeing themselves as the ones doing the most important work, it's no surprise that Clan civilians are usually considered second-class citizens and can be deployed, expended, or claimed as spoils of war as the warriors see fit.

The Video Game:

  • Broken Base: There's some base-breaking over the way the game implements a few of the classic TT BattleTech/MechWarrior systems. The biggest one tends to be the way salvage works: you don't completely salvage a 'Mech chassis bit by bit, but gain "parts" as a kind of amalgamated whole, and once you have three parts, your 'Tech crew slaps together a functioning, fully armed 'Mech out of all the bits you've salvaged. Some players, particularly veteran players, think this is absurd, both from a lore perspective, as lore-wise it is very hard to maintain and build a 'Mech, and a gameplay perspective, as the player will quickly accumulate a large arsenal of 'Mechs. Proponents of the system, however, contend that a more complicated salvage and repair system would just bog the game down with micromanaging mech salvage and that having some 'Mechs in reserve is what makes sure that the player isn't put into an essential game over state just from losing one mission.
  • Cry for the Devil: Both individuals mentioned under Alas, Poor Villain on the main page get this treatment.
    • Samuel Ostergaard's last moments in the game show him surrounded by flames as the Locura virus tears his ship's systems apart, a frame photograph of him posing with his son and sporting a proud grin, the glass cracking from the heat just before the dropship impacts on Coromodir.
    • And verbally, Victoria Espinosa tears into her father for feeding her nothing but lies about his motives and how she'd used those lies to justify murdering eleven thousand people as part of a False Flag Operation. Her final battle is at the tournament grounds where she and Kamea would have fought on the day of the latter's coronation, had the Espinosa's not initiated their coup. Even Kamea admits pity at this point.
  • Demonic Spiders: Heavy vehicles, notably Manticore, Demolisher, Schrek, and Missile Carriers. Why?
    • Manticore: A 60-ton Heavy-class Tank armed with a PPC, a Medium Laser, an SRM6, and an LRM10. Manticores are well-armoured and are deadly at all ranges.
    • Demolisher: An 80-ton Assault-class Tank armed with not one but two AC/20s. Capable of dishing out 200 damage if both shots hit, Demolishers live up to their name. They can instantly kill, 'headchop', 'kneecap', or 'core' many mechs.
    • Schreks are 80-ton Assault Tank/'Mech Destroyers mounting three PPCs and, in tabletop, enough heatsinks to fire them constantly. Thankfully this isn't true in Battletech, but Schreks are still capable of dishing out some painful long-range fire; 150 damage per volley, with no ammo limits. Anything they hit will take a minor accuracy penalty until the next turn too.
    • Finally, Missile Carriers. Formerly the laughing stock of the 'Warrior and 'Commander games, they're back with a Vengeance. Both varities are 60 tons, and dish out 60 missiles per volley (using three LRM20s or ten SRM6s), whilst having enough ammo reserved for multiple volleys (LRM carriers have a potential Alpha Strike of 240 damage and SRM carriers have one of 480 damage. For elaboration, the Kintaro medium mech can mount half as many SRM-6 launchers and thus has half the alpha strike potential of the SRM carrier). Anything that one of these monsters decides to aim at will drown in a Macross Missile Massacre, almost certainly losing most of its armour and getting knocked on its ass in the process. The worst part? LRM Carriers don't even need to be able to see you to do it, as they are capable of indirect fire.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Glitch, one of the starter pilots, is quickly becoming popular on account of having a perky, almost kid-like voice and personality, and a borderline-unhealthy zeal for her work. Read her bio and you know she is the closest thing to a Token Evil Teammate, a contrast to Medusa, the guy you have in reserve.
    (on a polar planet) "After the mission, let's make snowmen!"
    (when using the Multishot skill) "You get a headshot and YOU get a headshot!"
  • Fridge Brilliance: Flamers being limited in ammo may seem like a game balance choice until you realize these are Vehicle Flamers. Reactor-powered Flamers were introduced in 3025 which is after the Time Skip to the third mission. It's doubtful they've made it to the Periphery so you're stuck using fuel-based Vehicle Flamers.
  • Gamebreaker: Thanks to the ballistic/missile weapon damage buffs in terms of damage scaling, Auto-Cannons and SRM and LRM launchers are amazingly effective. AC/2 guns, despite being the smallest calibre of Auto-Cannon, hits as hard as a Medium Laser, and AC/5 is just 5 points shy of PPC damage, and both of them are very nearly just as accurate (barring recoil penalties) and do incredible damage per shot (AC/10 does 60 damage, and AC/20 does 100 damage but is short-ranged and has only 8 shots per ton). SRM missiles hit for 8 damage each, while LRM missiles hit for 4 each, and their launchers fire multiple warheads per volley, so SRM-6 launchers do up to 48 damage total (just 2 damage shy of matching a PPC shot if all missiles connected with a single body part) and LRM-20 launchers do up to 80 damage total per volley (Hitting harder than AC/10 shots on average), and all of them produce less heat than Large Lasers (40 damage for 30 heat) and PPCs (50 damage for 40 heat). A LRM boat-style mech configuration throwing dozens of missiles in a single volley can easily sandblast enemies and stack so much stability damage that knockdown-based pilot kills are highly viable, and the sheer volume of hits makes them likely to score crits once you sandblast off the target's armor.
    • Where they get really crazy is in the rare upgraded variants; high-end SRM models gain +4 damage, a 50% increase. Any mech with 3-4 missile hardpoints can put out upwards of 200-250 damage (plus 90-120 stability damage; 'Mechs fall over at 100 instability) in a full volley with such launchers. Only the heaviest Assaults like Victoria's King Crab or Kamea's vintage SLDF-era Atlas II can really hope to withstand that kind of firepower more than once or twice. For raw power, a Kintaro can mount five SRM-6++ launchers and hit an Alpha Strike potential of 360, while a Stalker has the tonnage to carry 4 LRM-20++ launchers for a truly impressive alpha strike potential of 480.
    • Called Shot Mastery, the level 9 tactics ability, immensely boosts your ability to take called shots. Hitting the center torso from the front goes from 33% to around 82%, legs go from around 14% to 68%, and headshots go from 2% to 18%, letting your crew reliably kneecap or One-Hit Kill enemy 'mechs with a single alpha strike. Since called shots are only limited by morale and you re-gain your morale by killing enemies, this can set up a chain reaction where you quickly core one 'mech with a called shot, regain morale, use that morale to core another 'mech, and so on, until your turn is over.
  • Goddamned Bats: SRM and LRM Missile Carriers- they don't necessarily do a lot of damage on their own, but they can quickly stagger a 'mech through a Macross Missile Massacre to the point of knockdown, which renders them sitting ducks for further attacks. Plus the damage from each missile is randomly applied across the entire 'Mech, so if even one missile hits the 'Mech's head, your pilot will suffer an injury.
    • Some light mechs, most notably the Panther and Jenner with PPC, LRM variants of Locust, and of course the Firestarter.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • Amusingly, if you have sufficiently strong Leg Servos that decrease the self-damaging recoil of Death From Above attacks, it actually repairs your mech's legs if the self damage is reduced to a negative sum.
  • Internet Backdraft: In some realms of the Internet, the existence of a pronoun selector that allows a player to choose "he", "she", or "they" has made some people upset, claiming it's Political Correctness Gone Mad. They also took issue with the majority of characters being mixed race, though that has been part of the Battletech universe long before the video game. There was additional confusion over the lack of blonde hair in the character creator, while options like blue, pink and silver were all present, leading some to wonder if this means that bleach is lostech in the setting.
    • In addition to the pronoun slider, mercenaries hired can have a male voice but female portrait, or vice-versa. Additionally, most written bios use gender-neutral terms (like 'spouse' or 'partner' instead of husband or wife) except for some main plot NPCs.
  • Memetic Loser: Dekker, the pilot who seems to get killed the most often either due to coring or getting headchopped. This is partially due to him tending to end up the Light Mech pilot in your lance, meaning that he is more vunerable to combat damage, and it certainly doesn't help that In-Universe he was once nearly killed while piloting a Locust and only Mastiff's intervention saved him from a pirate about to curbstomp his cockpit.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • An ever-growing pool of jokes about Assassination missions describing a heavily-armed and decorated mech as the target, only for it to actually be a Demolisher tank, are making the rounds.
    • "Dekker's dead." For reference, Dekker is the pilot of you starting Spider 'Mech, a Fragile Speedster that, because new players aren't great at using light 'Mechs very well, frequently gets shot and wounded early on. Since the AI focuses on damaged 'Mechs, that means that once Dekker's Spider gets damaged, everyone dogpiles on it and often kills him.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Espinosa family not only commited atrocities during their creation of the Aurigan Directorate, including the murder of Mastiff and countless dissidents in the Icebox, but by orchestrating the Perdition Massacre they quickly make themselves into utter pariahs on a galactic scale when the truth is revealed.
    • Samuel Ostergaard crosses the line when he shows that he will quite cheerfully commit war crimes and massacre civilians in order to sate his desire for vengeance on Kamea for authorizing the death of his son; even Calderon agrees that should they manage to arrest him, he would be executed for his deeds, and it is clear during the liberation of Coromodir itself that at some point off-screen the crew of his Dropship clearly had a mutiny against him due to his actions.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Hits on a mech's head, whether damaging to the cockpit or not, will cause an injury to the mechwarrior inside, and each shot that hits has a small chance of hitting the head. The problem is that the chance applies to each individual hit: an LRM-20, then, has twenty individual chances to hit the cockpit and usually will. The result is that any time you face an opponent with missiles, you can expect at least one of your pilots receiving a wound, regardless of actual damage your mechs receive.
  • That One Level: Liberation: Smithton. You face off against two full mech lances (ranging from light to heavy mechs) and 4 turrets backing them up, all of which will be within range of your mechs by about round 3 or 4 of combat. Essentially, the enemy will get three rounds of combat to your one until you start picking them off, so be prepared for long, long periods of just hearing your mechwarriors complain that they're getting shot. Oh, and the enemy has *tons* of missile and autocannon units, so be ready for casualties. You can blow up ammo crates to heavily damage enemies around them, but doing so decreases the reward you get at the end of the mission.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: You won't find many players who are crazy about light-mechs. All their advantages of high speed and initiative are made irrelevant beyond early game as they die too quickly to any decently armed enemy mech.
    • Potential aversion with the Firestarter FS 9-H: with 6 machine guns/small lasers, maxed jump jets and a pilot with Master Tactician (+1 to initiative), backstabbing the target at Phase 5 of your turn (reserving the Firestarter's action to that point), then jumping right back out at Phase 1 of the next round, turns the 35-ton Light into a Medium/Heavy hunter-killer.
    • Of course, this does mean losing out on potential 'mech salvage (backstabs are often CT kills), so YMMV; additionally, the Grasshopper GHR-5H 'mech also fulfills this role as a 70-ton Heavy-weight (and thus more survivable), so again, YMMV.