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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.
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Three years ago, you were part of an escort for Princess Kamea Arano for her coronation as the ruler of Aurigan Reach, but her Uncle launched a coup to overthrow her. Outnumbered and outgunned, her fleeing dropship was shot down from the air while you were forced to eject from your mech. Saved by the loyalist mercenaries, you fled to the no-mans land of the Rimward Periphery Frontier, where for those three years you were in charge of a down-on-its-luck mercenary company barely making ends meet. Until one day in 3025, you get hired by the not-so-dead Kamea Arano to help her reclaim her throne from her uncle.

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.

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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.

An expansion pack called Flashpoint, which introduces the Hatchetman, Cyclops, and Crab, and chiefly revolves around a small conflict between the Federated Suns and the Free World League, was revealed on August 23, 2018. One of the new features confirmed in the missions provided in the expansion is that of Consecutive Deployment, where players will run several fights in sequence without a chance to repair between them.

The game has its own Character Sheet for its single-player campaign here.


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This game provides examples of:

  • Ace Custom: The Flashpoint DLC introduces a handful of unique variants of regular 'Mechs that can't be obtained anywhere else. One is the BSC-27 "Big Steel Claw", a special CRB-27 Crab that sports a ballistic hardpoint in its claw; this 'Mech is always received upon completion of its mission chain. Two others are a Custom Jaegermech armed with two Gauss rifles, and a Custom Thunderbolt carrying an array of powerful LosTech laser weapons (note the "Custom" is actually part of their names). These 'Mechs can only be salvaged by headshotting the respective pilot, and they're also mutually exclusive.
  • Achievement Mockery:
    • If you manage to somehow destroy one of your own mechs due to structural damage from overheating, you get "Is it hot in here?"
    • Completely missing a called shot nets you "Had your chance".
    • Simply losing any mission against the computer unlocks the "Learn from Your Mistakes" achievement.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Victoria starts out as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, loyal to her father's vision. The atrocities she commits 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.
    • Similarly, Samuel Ostergaard commits warcrimes and wants Kamea's head on a pike for one reason — to avenge the death of his son, who was piloting the smuggling vessel that Kamea ordered destroyed. In his final scene in the game, the Iberia is crashing onto Coromodir and Samuel, surrounded by flames, looks down at a framed photo of him and his son, the glass of which cracks from the heat before the ship crashes.
  • 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.
  • All There in the Manual: Before heading to the Star League cache, Lord Karosas explains that he recovered the code breaking technology from the dead body of a Comstar Precentor who had been visiting the Reach. However, the question of why a senior Comstar official was exploring the Reach is left unanswered. The background lore reveals that Comstar was actively keeping the Inner Sphere and Periphery in a low state of technology via Operation Holy Shroud, which included locating and destroying bases left behind by the Star League Defense Forces.
  • 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.)
  • An Axe to Grind: The Hatchetman, introduced in the Flashpoint DLC, carries a retractable axe in its right arm, giving it a massive boost to melee damage.
  • 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.
    • The tutorial and the lower-difficulty missions tend to make it easier to down enemies by afflicting them with the 'shoddy armor' debuff that ensures they have very thin armor.
    • 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 Engine and the stock Gyro 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 (dice roll to see if a pilot is damaged by their 'Mech falling) 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.
    • Under traditional tabletop rules, internal ammo explosions result in damage equal to the ammunition being torched being done directly to the affected component, which will also 'overflow' into adjacent components (This can mean that a CT-mounted SRM ammo bin cooking off can result in the explosion going up and into your cockpit, with predictably lethal results). As depicted in this game, battlemechs play as though they already have CASE ammunition protection integrated ; ammo explosions "only" destroy the body part they are located in and wound the pilot from the shock of the blast. (In Classic 3025 Battletech which takes place in the same timeframe, CASE is considered Lostech in the Inner Sphere and would not resurface in a big way until some time after the Helm Core is recovered and the technology propagates once more.)
    • When a 'Mech returns to the Leopard/Argo with damages that didn't penetrate its armor, repairs are done instantaneously and cost nothing. Otherwise the game would pretty much grind to a halt every time you return from any battle, and its economic side would be even more unforgiving.
    • Most side contracts require you to reach a far-away evac zone once your objectives are completed, but if you manage to wipe out all enemies on the map (or have done so already), Sumire picks you up on the spot without you having to waste a dozen turns stomping to the EZ.
  • 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; Both times you drop on Smithon, you have to fight twelve — along with numerous support vehicles. 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.
  • Arbitrary Mission Restriction: Contracts occasionally slap you with tonnage restrictions that force you to stay either below or above a certain limit. The more restrictive ones are for individual 'Mech tonnage, others allow you more freedom of choice by capping your combined lance tonnage instead. Flashpoints in particular are infamous for doing this on a fairly regular basis, and virtually all of these contracts have you seriously outgunned as a consequence. We're talking stuff like "your four 50-tons 'Mechs against twice your number in the 75-tons range" here. Have fun.
  • Arm Cannon: A few 'Mechs with actual arms have ballistic hardpoints on at least one of their forearms that usually look like this if you make use of them. Probably the best example is the Battlemaster by virtue of looking unspeakably badass with two giant autocannons mounted on its left arm.
  • 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?
    • The "Bourbon & Battlemechs" Flashpoint gives the following description of the target building:
    Mission Control: The Stratford Narwhal is one of Garrilac's favorite watering holes. It's also a cesspool of vice, corruption, and terrible music.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI in this game, while quite smart, and capable of giving you quite a hell of a time, often makes questionable moves:
    • 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. This is actually caused by several conditions at once affecting their behavior — the AI intelligently attempts to angle to present the side with the most armor, even if it is the rear, and they tend to brace to get rid of Unsteady status to defend against knockdowns. Put the two together, though, and they end up bracing uselessly with their rear armor facing you after a certain amount of damage has been done.
    • Bracing while they are at melee range.
    • Keep firing all their weapons and get themselves overheated, although this might be a last-ditch effort at downing one of your 'Mechs.
    • Sensor locking one of your units but then choose to fire at another unit instead.
    • Attempting to fire LRM and PPC weapons at near point blank range.
  • Ascended Meme: As of the 1.3 update, a secret achievement can be unlocked by keeping notorious Doom Magnet pilot Dekker alive through the entire campaign, which may or may not include having him fight in and survive the Final Battle.
  • As You Know: Every time you add a new 'Mech to your armory, Yang gives you a brief summary of that model's strengths and weaknessess. While certainly useful to the player, this should be common knowledge for someone like the 'Mech mercenary commander you're playing as.
  • 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. This is Downplayed compared to most examples, as Kamea actually gives you one of the SLDF mechs after this mission, a Royal-grade Highlander 732-B.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Some SLDF weapons can come as this. The ER Large Laser has better range than normal ones, but generate more heat. Likewise, the M Pulse deals more damage but also generates more heat than a normal Medium Laser, and you can actually find a rare variant of the Medium Laser which does the same damage as the M Pulse but without the heat issues.
    • Allying with any faction gives you access to their special stores and... well, that's about it. These stores offer great equipment, but they're few in numbers (no more than three) while the black market does the same, is present on dozens of worlds and can be unlocked without pissing off half or more of the game's major powers. There's also no Lostech made available for purchase by forging any alliance. The Flashpoint DLC gave the alliance mechanic at least some value by unlocking the faction-specific Flashpoint mission chain that often does reward Lostech, but if that's enough to make up for alienating more or less all other Houses comes down to player preference.
    • The Banshee assault 'Mech is often considered this both In-Universe and out. Sure, it's the second-heaviest 'Mech in the game, and it's surprisingly fast for its 95 tons, but its huge engine leaves it ridiculously undergunned compared to every other assault 'Mech ever. The 3M model can mount lots of energy weapons but has such terrible heat management that it doesn't change much overall, leaving specialized melee builds as the only even remotely viable configurations, and that's always a risky approach even with something as heavily armored as the Banshee.
  • Bad Boss: Most Space Pirates has them as their leaders, in one story mission you can hear Grim Sybil shot one of her subordinate for trying to run from you.
  • 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.
    • Version 1.1 improves heat performance of most weapons, so as to make them more competitive against medium lasers.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Done subtly. Mechs are designed to operate in vacuum environments, but tanks are not. This does not stop Scorpions, LRM Carriers, or Demolishers from showing up on planets with Martian or Vacuum environments.
  • 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 6 medium lasers in the side torso sections), the Hunchback HBK-4P variant (which trades the Hunchback's infamous AC/20 for six additional medium lasers (and ten extra heatsinks), which actually increases its firepower (8x medium laser = 200 damage, while 2x medium lasers + 1x AC/20 = 150 damage)), 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.
  • BFG: Aside from all the giant guns carried by the 'Mechs and other ground forces, several huge artillery pieces make an appearance one way or another. Commodore Ostergaard's Fortress-class DropShip mounts a Long Tom artillery cannon that is shown in action during a main story cutscene. Even larger naval guns occasionally come into play when you complete a Target Acquisition contract to destroy a hardened fortification, with a naval PPC that's part of a Flashpoint mission being the most memorable example.
  • 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 once-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.
  • Black Comedy: The "Bourbon & Battlemechs" Flashpoint doesn't take itself nearly as seriously as the rest of the game (the name itself should be a good indicator already). Aside from the humorous contract briefing leading up to a drop to destroy a Bad-Guy Bar of all things, the mission steps away from the neutral "enemy reinforcements" designation and calls them "Belligerent Drunks" and "Hostile Inebriates" instead... which you'll murderize in creative ways with your Humongous Mechas regardless.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Destroying a 'Mech's cockpit kills the pilot and instantly disables the 'Mech while leaving it mostly intact for salvaging. The cockpit is also the squishiest part of any 'Mech, with less than 70 hitpoints combined. The real trick is actually hitting it. Even the best crack-shot pilots have an 18% chance at best to pull it off with a Precision Shot, so it mostly comes down to dumb luck and the Random Number God unless you're actively running specialized strategies. The Grasshopper is generally considered the best headchopper 'Mech in the game thanks to its accurate Beam Spam capabilities. Equipped with seven damage-enhanced ML+ or better, all it takes is two hits to the cockpit to kill the pilot and salvage the complete enemy 'Mech including its gear.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Medium Lasers are plain, mid-ranged energy weapons that do 25 damage per beam. 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. They originally generated 10 heat, but in patch 1.1 they were nerfed slightly by increasing their heat to 12. Even post-nerf they are still one of the most efficient and practical weapons.
    • The AC/5, LRM-10, and SRM-4 are their respective weapon types answer to the Medium Laser. For a few tons extra, they will nearly or definitely double the damage of the lowest weapon size of their class, while still having easily manageable heat, and decent ammo per tonnage. Sure, you might have to unequip that second default AC/2, LRM-5, or SRM-2 to make it work, but that just means you now have more space for ammo, heat sinks, and most likely more medium lasers, or the very least more armor and modules.
    • Cockpit reinforcement upgrade modules; these can cost a bit but even the cheapest variant could prevent your mechwarrior from spending 2 weeks in the infirmary just because that Striker scored a lucky hit on the cockpit or getting the 'mech knocked down by an SRM carrier. They also weigh nothing so you should put it in all your 'mechs that doesn't need anything else in the head slot.
    • Heatsinks. Well, yes, they are vital to prevent overheating, but having a few extra heatsinks beyond the ten free ones embedded in your engine to keep your mech running warm or even cool rather than hot can mean big dividends for your damage output, letting you fire more weapons every turn without overheating and taking damage for doing so. Each 'sink only weighs a single ton, and basic heatsinks take up a single slot in loadage bulk so you can carry quite a few extra. Doubly so their lostech double variant, which weighs the same, but sinks twice the heat at the cost of being thrice the size. It's nowhere near as flashy as other Lostech like ER lasers and Gauss rifles, but they're so practical that, once the Helm Memory Core is recovered (after the game), they quickly become commonplace, and even standard on many new 'Mech designs and variants.
    • TTS targeting computers. All they do is improve your accuracy with a specific weapon class by a small amount, but it does make your damage-dealing capability more reliable, and can even let you use weapons with slightly less penalties from being a little too near or far from your target due to effective weapon range bands.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: You can avoid the final battle of the "Bourbon & Battlemechs" Flashpoint by paying the target 250,000 C-Bills, which is the money he was owed by the guy who sent you after him in the first place. Seeing how this battle has a rather low tonnage restriction on your lance, giving him the money still leaves you in the black after factoring in your contract pay and the 'Mech repairs you won't have to make.
  • 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.
  • Butt-Monkey: The planetary governments of worlds in the neutral zone just can't catch a break. They aren't part of any faction, so running missions against them is an excellent way to farm reputation without losing anything in return. Conversely, helping them doesn't net you anything in the long term aside from slightly above-average pay. They're also by far the weakest opponent in the game.
  • 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 Resolve.
    • 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 (though hitting an enemy mech with enough sprays from flamers can force this condition.)
  • 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.
    • Confirmed: in early 2019 an official House Arano: The Aurigan Coalition sourcebook, which HBS employees helped write, was (or will be, at the time of this writing) released, canonizing the Aurigan Coalition, House Arano, and the events of this game.
    • 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.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Vent Coolant ability causes a pilot injury in return for venting all heat from the 'mech at the end of the round (before overheating would kick in). Following complaints from players about the ability's lore inconsistency and general uselessness, it was later changed to "vent a lot of heat instantly, then gain a bit of extra heat each round for the next three rounds" instead.
  • 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.
  • Chest Blaster: Some 'Mechs can mount guns in their central torso. The Zeus' stock configuration for instance has a medium laser crammed in there for a textbook example.
  • Chicken Walker: Most of the less humanoid 'Mech designs have digitigrade legs.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule:
    • A bloodless version, but still quite disturbing: 'Mechs can actually be shot to pieces if the central torso takes a truly massive amount of damage. The result is a scattered field of blackened scrap metal pieces with only superficial resemblance to what they had been some seconds prior. Lighter 'Mechs have a higher chance of suffering this fate than heavier ones, but no model is immune.
    • Chatting with your XO nets you a story about a costly campaign your merc company participated in some years back. They lost over a dozen pilots back then, most of which had to be "hosed out of their cockpit".
  • 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, deal a respectable amount of stability damage, 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.
      • Some energy weapons (PPCs and Medium Lasers in particular) generate even more heat than others. Heat values are roughly three times higher than their tabletop counterparts, which means a PPC should generate 30 heat compared to tabletop and a Medium Laser should generate 9 heat, but instead they generate 35 heat and 12 heat, respectively.note  Meanwhile, the Large Laser, which should generate 24 heat compared to its tabletop counterpart, only generates 18 heat instead, making it a more heat-efficient alternative to the PPC.
    • 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, remove another stack of evasion on top of the melee attack, 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. Double Heat Sinks, while they are certainly twice as effective as regular heatsinks at heat dissipation for the same tonnage, take up triple the space in equipment slots due to their sheer bulk and are quite rare in the time period the campaign's events take place in.
    • Melee attacks can be used freely without the need for ammo and generates absolutely no heat by itself, complete with an attack of opportunity with your Support weapons, but you need to get dangerously close to your opponent to do so. Nevertheless it remains effective, as vehicles are extremely weak to melee, and evasion is completely ignored when you haul up and punch, kick, or tackle an enemy mech; furthermore, a successful melee hit will break the defensive stance of a mech bracing against attacks, and heavier mechs can punch hard enough to even pop the target's head/cockpit instantly if their aim is good.
  • Computer Virus: The "Locura", a computer virus that was found in the Star League base and named after a local superstition on the planet it was found on. It was a fragment from the experimental Space Defense System from the Star League; an AI component that went awry and effectively became a malignant virus. It was quarantined on the Star League base to analyze what went wrong with it and was abandoned and forgotten when the League collapsed. The crew of the Argo find it, the Argo is nearly destroyed before it's quarantined in an air-gapped computer bank, and then is later unleashed on Colonel Ostegaard's heavily armed dropship.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Whenever you accept a Target Acquisition contract, Mission Control will chime in at the halfway point to remind you that yes, your time is running out. It gets annoying fast.
  • 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 machine shops and 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 if you're willing to spend twenty million C-Bills upgrading and repairing her, she'll be the equal or better of even an Overlord-class DropShip (which are the big, expensive command ships in BTech lore).
  • Crack Is Cheaper: Interstellar communication is this In-Universe. Only the ComStar-controlled HPG stations can enable realtime data transfer between star systems, and C-Bills are basically cell phone minutes. Only they're not minutes, they're miliseconds. A one-hour chat with your friend/partner/grandma therefore clocks in at 3,600,000 C-Bills; more than the cheapest Battlemech, more than your merc company gets paid for the most dangerous contracts the MRB offers anywhere on the map. Unsurprisingly, only the rich and powerful can afford to make regular use of it — and even they prefer not to, because they're entrusting a creepy technology-worshipping cult with their communications.
  • 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!).
  • Crosshair Aware: You'll sometimes see red "Dangerous" tiles on the map that warn you about any unit that stands on them being at risk of destruction. Sometimes these tiles are even encompassed by a huge red hexagon on the ground. True enough, once whatever is targeted there comes down (DropShips, artillery strikes, explosive ordnance, what have you), any 'Mech that's caught in the blast is destroyed instantly regardless of tonnage and affiliation.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Some of your assassination contracts don't outright call for the mark's heads and instead use more interesting code words to imply that inhumation is the desired result. You might be asked to, for example, "add live-fire exercises" to someone's military training drill.
  • 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. Losing both of your mech's legs, thus falling and becoming unable to get back up, counts as a mission kill and can be potentially lethal to the pilot too.
  • 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.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Can be done with Death From Above. If a pilot is killed they are permently killed while a mech, even if all its components are wrecked, can be repaired. So a crafty commander can have a mech that's on its last legs use DFA to do damage to a mech, thus knocking it out of the battle, while leaving its pilot injured but alive. The alternative are having the pilot punch out without do any damage, or risk the Mech being cored and the pilot dying.
  • Developers' Foresight: It's virtually impossible to make use of every single weapon hardpoint a 'Mech has and still have a combat-viable build. However, if you pull it off through modding or just plain craziness, all weapons will be visualized on the 'Mech's chassis, although it tends to look a bit funny in most cases. It even works (to some extent) if you increase the number of hardpoints through file editing, but the game will eventually give up if you take it too far.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance:
    • Dropping a Cyclops Z as part of your lance increases the entire lance's initiative by 1, which can let your assault 'Mechs act in Phase 2 or even 3 if the pilots are also Master Tacticians. However, dropping multiple Cyclopses doesn't improve your initiative further (and most non-suicidal Cyclops builds are too lightly armed to make this a viable strategy, anyway).
    • Comm Systems work similarly. No matter how many of your 'Mechs are equipped with one, only the highest-rated upgrade will contribute to your Resolve gain, so the best you can get is an additional +3 Resolve each turn.
    • The MRB rating seems to work along these lines, too, by comparing your current rating with the difficulty of the contract you're about to sign. Accepting a contract that has more skulls than you have MRB stars nets you a lot of points, assuming you can even accept it in the first place. Conversely, running low-difficulty missions with a high MRB rating gets you barely anything, which means by the time you hit the 900 points threshold, making further progress to the maximum of 1,000 points turns into a chore because you only gain ~2 points per successful 5-skull contract.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The Weldry prison guards' Jagermech and Trebuchet can count as this — the former can mount multiple hard-hitting autocannons and deal heavy damage from long range, while the latter has a LRM-20 and LRM-15 launcher. Unfortunately you only get 5 choices of salvage in this mission, so you have to pick one and hope the randomized salvage picks 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.
    • A certain mission which you play as Kamea will not only give you an SLDF Highlander with Gauss Rifle, but if you know what you are doing you will also salvage one of the 3 Assault 'Mechs you face which consists of an Awesome, a Zeus, and a Battlemaster. Potentially 2 if you got lucky with the salvage roll.
  • 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.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: Markham's Marauders follow the Battletech tradition of naming mercenary bands after their commanding officer. They get renamed after the Time Skip into [Your callsign]'s Marauders. You can edit the name, logo and colors at that point.
  • 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... or a lone tank of appropriate tonnage.
  • 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.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: A variation. After launching the Argo, a shuttle docks with the Leopard, the airlock door opens to reveal a very much alive Kamea.
  • Escort Mission: Several missions involve escorting a convoy. Some missions also have you escorting Kamea, but then she is usually controllable, and in one mission when she isn't, she is actually your reinforcement rather than escortee despite the objective states that she has to be kept alive.
  • 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.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: The only explanation why 'Mech cockpits always explode violently when they're destroyed, regardless of the weapon used.
  • Finishing Stomp: If a 'Mech is told to attack a prone opponent in melee, they'll invariably do so with a mighty stomp on the hapless target that, depending on the angle of attack, is highly likely to destroy the downed 'Mech if the stomp hits the head or the CT. It's one of the reasons getting knocked down is something most players try to avoid like the plague, as the AI has an uncanny talent to exploit it immediately.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Yang says not to let the name of the Grasshopper battlemech's name fool you in his run-down on the chassis. The stock Grasshopper is a solid well-cooled laser-specialized heavy mech that is typically fairly durable and has extra mobility from jump jets, yet its namesake is an insect; a naming theme typically used on light mechs.
  • 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.
  • Frontline General: Aside from you as captain of the mercenary company taking the field, Kamea will also insist on being planetside in her own mech on a few of the story missions.
  • 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.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Sometimes your lance may stop carrying out move or attack orders. You can still give the orders, and the pilots acknowledge them, but their 'Mechs stay where they are and their turn never ends. This seems to be related to excessive Save Scumming and can usually be fixed by closing and restarting the game.
    • The "Flattened Earth" Flashpoint for House Liao apparently had its outcomes switched up during development. Wiping out the dissidents eventually results in a random event that praises your crew for saving all those helpless innocents, coupled with a minor reputation loss with the Capellans. Conversely, refusing the contract triggers a different event that makes your crew feel bad about what they did. It's nothing critical in the larger scheme of things, but still.
    • Unique 'Mechs like the special "Big Steel Claw" CRB-27 Crab are very likely to disappear (read: turn into their standard version) if you put them into storage.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A few examples despite the best efforts of Harebrained Schemes;
    • There are a few contradictions between campaign cutscenes and actual gameplay as far as 'Mechs are concerned. For instance, Lord Madeira describes Kamea's Kintaro 'Mech as more or less unique in the Periphery, but chances are good you've already fought a dozen Kintaros by the time he makes that claim. Similarly, the Steiner-affiliated Flashpoints make a point about the Hatchetman being a brand-new design that no-one but the Lyrans can field... while one or two lances of Hatchetmen are already gathering dust in the Argo's cargo hold after you salvaged them from pretty much every faction there is.
    • The Suicidal Overconfidence exhibited by every enemy in the game is a direct violation of a core element of the Adventure-Friendly World's construction; the entire reason matters are usually settled by battles between small groups of Humongous Mecha is no-one likes to irreversibly damage Lostech, but everyone's willing to charge right into your lance's gunsights until you blast their mechs out from under them. It makes sense for pirates, since Bad Boss and You Have Failed Me are heavily in play with them (along with Pay Evil unto Evil punishments for most forces which engage 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. It's especially notable due to the location in which the game is set; the Periphery, where most planets are in a downward spiral due to the inability to maintain any technology. This also means that House Arano should have been absolutely vilified after the storyline mission "Grave Robbing"; no power in the Inner Sphere would care about Espinosa's war crimes after an Outpost Castle was destroyed in a clash between his and Kamea's forces, as all the Ares Conventions boil down to "stop breaking Lostech, assholes!" Hell, a Lostech site of such value could have been exchanged to any of the Successor States for a military intervention that would render the whole campaign moot.
  • 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.
  • Glass Cannon: Both the LRM Carrier and especially its shorter-range, more brutal sibling the SRM Carrier. Both tanks can be disabled by a few well-placed shots, but Crom help you if they actually get you in their sights: the SRM carrier, with 10 SRM-6 launchers and a staggering damage potential of 480, is capable of one-shotting everything up to medium-weight mechs and knocking over everything else.
    • Of the stock mechs you can take, the JM6-S Jaegermech is a classic example of this. A heavy 'mech, it slots two AC/5s and two AC/2s alongside an array of Medium Lasers that lets it alpha for about 150 damage at an extremely long range and with practically no heat buildup. Because these weapons weigh a lot, however, it has a tiny engine and armour that would look bad on a medium 'mech.
  • Global Currency: C-Bills are the universally accepted currency in all parts of the BattleTech 'verse. It's backed by ComStar, the only reasonably neutral faction in the galaxy, and valued at one millisecond of HPG timenote .
  • 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, and mechs with greater tonnage than their targets can throw their weight into the grapple to do even more damage.
  • 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".
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: It seems to be an oddly prevalent phenomenon among players to consider collecting at least one of every 'Mech in the game a high priority on their what-to-do list, to the point that affectionate terms like "PokeTech" are making the rounds in forums. That you actually earn an achievement for completing your 'Mech collection only reinforces this drive. You also gain significant amounts of points in Career Mode by doing this.
  • Green Hill Zone: The unaffiliated Periphery star systems in general are on the lower end of the difficulty scale, and the ones where you start out in the campaign even more so. It can be quite hard to find contracts with more than three skulls there even in the late game, as only a few systems even rate that high to begin with. That said, you can still get your ass kicked out there if you're not careful.
  • 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.
    • There's a looong list of lists that control what type of shop spawns what types of 'Mechs and items, influenced by things like faction affiliation, campaign progression and, most importantly, the various planet tags like Manufacturing, Research, Mining and so on. Most items require very specific combinations of these tags to spawn, but neither this mere fact nor exactly how this works is mentioned anywhere in-game.
    • Missions contain a "Danger Rating" indicating how difficult and risky the mission is likely to be, but that is an In-Universe estimate based on your best available intel, not an absolute calculation. As a result, certain campaign missions can often be a lot more challenging than their rating would suggest, and some foresight is often very helpful in getting through them without a significant likelyhood of loss.
    • To reach the highest rank in Career Mode you must have maximum positive reputation with four factions and maximum negative rep with four others when the campaign ends. What the game doesn't tell you is that not all factions count for this requirement. Only the ones you can ally with are eligible, which can screw you over pretty badly if you thought Kamea's Arano Restoration or the Aurigan Directorate count when you forge an alliance, only to discover that you suddenly lost 10,000 points for nothing.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Mostly downplayed-
    • Dr Farah Murad uses a purpose-built Codebreaker decryption tool given by Lord Karosas to unpack a SLDF memory storage drive, but she also needs to individually decrypt the contents as well.
    • The Locura berserk drone AI is able to spread itself throughout the Argo's computer systems after being accidentally unpacked and executed. Farah is able to ultimately quarantine it inside the SLDF storage drive, but it also means that the contents of said drive are no longer safe to access.
    • Late in the campaign, when the fight for the Restoration finally reaches Coromodir, Farah still requires direct access to a Directorate communications relay so that she can use an open channel there to directly upload the Locura onto Ostergaard's dropship.
    • Most generic bounty missions that require you to pull off a data theft heist require you to get physical access to the target location in order to copy out the files the clients want. This often requires you to secure the site first by eliminating hostiles.
  • 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.
  • Humongous Mecha: It's BattleTech, so yeah, loads of 'em in all shapes and sizes.
  • 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.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Sufficiently high Evasion can make pilots nearly break reality so they can miss their shots. The shooter can stand close enough to their target to touch it, yet their shots can go wide to such a ludicrous degree that, if the Random Number God wills it, some wayward laser beam of autocannon shell may narrowly miss the camera. For an almost literal example, it's also not unheard of for every single missile from an LRM-20 salvo to impact all around the target instead of hitting it, leaving it standing without a scratch in a ring of blackened soil or concrete.
  • 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.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Atlas II, your reward for finishing the game. As far as the Inner Sphere is concenred, it's the last known one in existance. And it might actually be the only one outside of Clan space.
  • Info Dump: The game as a whole is quite text-heavy. There are few voice-over lines, most of the dialogues are given purely in text form, and those often contain highlighted sections that, when moused over, bring up another wall of text full of additional background info.
  • 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.
    • Paying attention to the enemy's move order can often clue you in to what 'Mech classes you're up against long before your sensors can pinpoint the actual tonnage. Likewise, knowing the tonnages and watching their LRM, Autocannon, or PPC fire can identify 'mechs to you purely based on their sensor tonnage, turn order, and weapon loadout.
    • Contracts will often have you ambushed by enemy reinforcements, usually from a direction that lets them attack you from behind when they catch up to you. Thing is, the very fact that you'll be ambushed and the exact location of said ambushers is often shown to you before you even make your first move, which defeats the whole point of an ambush and allows you to plan your approach and positioning well in advance.
  • 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.
  • It's Personal:
    • The motivation for Samuel Ostergaard, whose son was piloting the ship smuggling weapons to Espinoza's forces, which Kamea ordered destroyed after he'd refused to surrender.
    • Several Flashpoints are given less on behalf of some state, but more on your liaison's own initiative because they have some personal beef with the contract target.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats:
    • The Shadow Hawk is noted to be one by Yang. It slots several different weapons (an AC/5, a medium laser, an LRM-5 and an SRM-2) that makes it able to fire at practically any range and condition, but its Alpha Strike damage is atrocious because of its lack of weapon overlap. It also has average armour, and pretty average mobility from its four jump jets.
    • The Highlander HGN-733 is basically the same, only 35 tons heavier and appropriately more powerful.
  • Joke Character: The Cicada CDA-2A has a mighty six tons of free weight available if you strip it down to the bare bones: It is physically incapable of maxing out its available armour, and to add insult to injury has a ballistics weapons slot when the lightest ballistic weapon takes exactly six tons to wield without ammo. Sure, it has all the speed of a Locust, but it's less offensively capable despite weighing twice as much and being an entire weight class above it, and will lose a straight-up battle with just about any light 'mech short of the Locust or the Spider.
  • 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.
  • Kick the Dog: Raju "Mastiff" Montgomery is a loyal guard/Mechwarrior to Lady Kamea in addition to being the player character's mentor. His call-sign "Mastiff" is an allusion to a breed of dog popular with nobility with hunting and more notably as a war hound, guard dog, and being known as very loyal to their masters. When Victoria tries to stop Kamea from escaping the coup, Mastiff intervenes to defend Kamea. His mech is destroyed along with him presumably while she and the player character make their escape. So in effect Victoria metaphorically kicked Kamea's dog. Mastiff survives the destruction of his mech, but is captured and tortured by Director Espinosa's forces for three years and later dies in a planetary gulag shortly before it was liberated by Lady Kamea. Effectively kicking the dog twice.
  • 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.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The "Headhunting" Flashpoint culminates in hunting down either one of two pirate gang leaders, both of which pilot 'Mechs equipped with various LosTech weapons (one wields Gauss Rifles, the other prefers lasers). Some of your command crew start arguing about who of the two is more deserving of what's coming for them, but Yang just flatly mirrors most players' opinion on the matter: that the choice comes down to what type of LosTech you want to salvage.
  • 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. The Urbanmech is also never seen under enemy control due to AI issues so the player has to actively search random stores for the Mech.
  • 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.
    • Flamers have similarly received a minor boost: While one flamer is still a prime example of Video Game Flamethrowers Suck, with its 5 damage and heavily limited ammo, mounting six of them on a support-weapon-heavy 'mech like a Firestarter and charging into melee will often force your target into overheat-induced shutdown right after you've punched it, preventing it from retaliating.
  • Level Grinding:
    • The only way to max out your MRB rating is to complete countless contracts. The exact mechanism isn't clear, but rule of thumb says that for each skull in a contract's difficulty rating, your MRB rating increases by 1. It maxes out at 1,000 points, which means 200 5-skull contracts or the appropriate number of lower-ranked missions. And when you finally get there, you receive... nothing, not even an achievement. It's a pure Bragging Rights Reward for you alone.
    • The Career Mode works similarly not only for the MRB, but also for several other counters. For instance, you get 50 points per contract difficulty skull, so a 5-skull mission is worth 250 points. You need to reach over 70,000 points if you're shooting for the coveted Legendary or even Kerensky rank, which equals at least 280 successful missions of the highest difficulty. Don't forget you're running this on a timer...
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Banshee is by far the fastest assault 'Mech available, but its massive engine leaves little room and tonnage for ranged weapons. However, speccing it entirely for melee combat, with arm mods, jump jets and up to six anti-personnel weapons, can turn this 95-tons machine into a terrifying close combat fighter that can rip through even an Atlas' torso armor in one punch to core it with the follow-up barrage. Sadly, this strategy is often highly situational and can backfire spectacularly if the battlefield conditions aren't favorable, which often sees the Banshee sidelined as an Awesome, but Impractical novelty asset in favor of more reliable 'Mech designs.
  • 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. The ability to "daisy chain" Dropships(docking the Leopard to the Argo and take both through a Jump) is a potentially game-breaking development as well.
  • 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.
    • The whole Career Mode is one to some extent. For instance, you get points for collecting one example of every light, medium, heavy and assault 'Mech in the game, with bonus points dispensed for completing each class and for finding everything. Thing is, both enemy lance composition and store contents are heavily randomized, which can result in players going the full 1,200 days without even encountering certain 'Mechs, let alone salvaging enough parts to rebuild one for their collection. That the game doesn't have an internal 'Mech list you could consult for reference only makes this worse. If you aren't intimately familiar with the game's lineup, you probably won't even know which 'Mech(s) you're missing.
  • 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. Dedicated missile boat loadouts are always highly sought-after by the player base in an effort to return the favor, with some 'Mechs being capable of launching 80 missiles in a single salvo. The Cyclops P takes it to its extremes with its ludicrous seven missile hardpoints.
  • Made of Explodium:
    • Any and all ammo bins. Some make sensenote , others less sonote .
    • Tanks always explode spectacularly even when they were merely stomped on by a 'Mech. BattleTech militaries apparently aren't big on workplace safety.
  • Mana: Although part of the game's Morale Mechanic instead of actual magic, Resolve acts more like this in combat — a blue bar that regularly refills to allow you the use of special abilities.
  • 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.
  • Meta Fiction: A bizarre case; how many videogame universes do you know of where it's acknowledged that people play videogames?
    • The training simulators that the player can purchase for the Argo are identical to the real life BattleTech Tesla Pods at Battletech Centers. Your mechwarriors go bananas over these, as such systems are effectively Lostech, especially on the Periphery(and yes, they're Lostech in real life as well; the first was built in 1990, and there's a shortage of replacement parts).
    • One that looks like the designers laughing their heads off is that you can build an arcade on your Cool Starship. It boosts morale, but occasionally you'll catch one of your mechwarriors killing time with an RPG about a mercenary group on the Periphery, focusing on the financial and tactical elements instead of piloting individual mechs — in other words, the exact game this trope page describes. You can offer advice on playing it, or shoo them back to the training simulators... and play it yourself. :P
  • 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).
  • Mood Whiplash: Due to Story And Gameplay Segregation, some particularly heavy moments in the game's story will shift to typical after-action reports, including any new 'Mechs that you acquired in the previous fight.
  • 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.
  • More Dakka: Ballistics-heavy 'Mechs can dish out enormous damage with very little heat build-up, and the smaller the caliber, the longer the range and the higher the amount of shells they release per action. The JM6-S JagerMech with its four ballistic hardpoints excels at this.
  • 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 model of the Atlas is itself another reference, being nothing less than a modernized take of the infamous Armorcast Atlas, a titanic foot-tall resin model kit worth several hundred dollars.
    • 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 tutorials say that the Space Is Cold trope doesn't work for 'Mechs; vacuum actually causes even worse heat buildup than volcanoes. 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Either you or Sumire can end up guilty of this if you don't pay attention to the red-marked "Dangerous" tiles on the map. Sumire will land the Leopard there whether you have 'Mechs in the area or not, resulting in a One-Hit Kill for anything caught in her Weaponized Exhaust. Neutral DropShips can inflict the same hurt in Escort Missions for instance, and the campaign has similar hazardous areas in multiple missions (marking incoming artillery fire or the AoE of something Made of Explodium), but in these cases it's always your fault if you take losses from them.
  • 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.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The penultimate campaign mission results in a giant Fortress-class DropShip performing a decidedly uncontrolled landing from high orbit on Coromodir. The entire process including the final impact is shown in a cutscene, but the horrific aftermath of such a massive object free-falling onto the surface of a densely populated planet is never brought up.
  • No Indoor Voice: The Steel Beast, Arc Villain of the titular Flashpoint, is a 'Mech gladiator whose dialogue texts are about 50% all caps. Gets lampshaded by your amused crew when they ask him if he always talks like that. He doesn't get it.
  • Non-Entity General: Averted, unlike the Mech Commander 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.
  • Obligatory War-Crime Scene: Nearly every main contract in the campaign has at least one performed by the Aurigan Directorate, covering stuff like inhumane Hellhole Prison camps, attacking civilian refugee transports, or gassing 11,000 innocents in a False Flag Operation to draw the Taurians into the war.
    • The Taurians themselves also have several cases of this; including summarily executing captured prisoners, attacking fleeing civilians, causing famines, and diverting commandos to slaughter the occupants of field hospitals.
    • The Flashpoint DLC seems to have it out for the Capellan Confederation on this front. Out of the 18 available missions, two can be outright refused on moral grounds, and both of these are given by House Liao. One revolves around wiping out a large group of mostly helpless political dissidents, the other is about facilitating the abduction of several FedSun nobles so that Liao can perform genetic experiments on them, the latter of which is a massive war crime even in this Crapsack World. Your crew will reluctantly comply if you accept the contracts, but they'll be very happy if you refuse, despite all the money, salvage and reputation you lose this way.
  • 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.
  • One-Man Army: You get an achievement called "One Mech Army" for completing a contract with only one 'Mech. It usually gets subverted, though, because the easiest way to do this is to drop a Spider on a Recovery contract, sprint to the pick-up zone, hope the 'Mech survives standing still for one turn, and then make a beeline for the extraction zone without ever firing a weapon.
  • 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.
    • Exploited by a Lethal Joke Character build for the Awesome dubbed the "Sleepy Awesome" (or alternatively, "the Siestanator"): It is intentionally loaded up with as many heat-intensive PPCs as humanly possible, and using them all in one round, which fries its insides and forces it to spend every other round shut off. Because a shutoff dumps all your heat, the Sleepy is back up the next round for another 300 damage Alpha Strike.
  • 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. Heat Banks and Thermal Exchangers also help mitigate overheating, the former by providing more tonnage to carry waste heat and thus improving your maximum heat threshold, and the latter by making weapons just that little bit more heat efficient and reducing the amount of heat produced per shot.
  • 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 exacerbated 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.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: While the campaign missions are the same on each play-through, side contracts are randomly generated with different maps, enemies, and mission parameters.
  • 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 Charisma (from later or universal) stats — but the background you choose for your commander will influence dialogue options, events and a few other things.
  • Rule of Cool: In-Universe, your crew considers the mere possibility of installing a low-gravity swimming pool aboard the Argo this.
    Sumire: A low-G swimming pool? What's there even to discuss about?
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • The method of combat targeting and Salvaging is a brutal choice for the player to make. For the combat, you need to draw a line between going carefully for knockdowns, kneecapping, headchopping, and otherwise aiming for mechwarrior kills, or brutally shooting down mechs heedless of component destruction; this can affect the salvage you get, as component destruction guarantees less filler weapons/heatsinks/jumpjets, but kneecapping/headchopping/mechwarrior kills means more actual mech parts to salvage, and drawn-out combat means more potential damage will be taken by your lance, increasing the risk of armor breach and weapons losses or mechwarrior injuries due to unlucky cockpit hits. Likewise, selecting your guaranteed salvage picks can be brutal if you opted to have a higher C-Bill payout - do you take home the improved (++ grade) weapon(s) for improving your current ride, choose enough salvage to complete the Medium mech you have in storage for your lancemates (or resale), or roll the dice and take one or more of the Assault mech parts and hope your employer tosses you the rest?
    • Flashpoints frequently force you to choose between 1) two equally lucrative options or 2) one morally sound option that may piss off your employer, or the pragmatic choice that gets you paid. The "Extracurricular Activities" Flashpoint has a particularly good example: do you evacuate the civilians you unknowingly endangered with your battle first, earning House Steiner's ire in the process, or do you ignore their pleas for help and trample them underfoot when you engage your designated targets as your employer demands?
  • 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.
    • The targets of Assassination contracts may decide to make a run for it rather than fight you if you seriously outgun them. This can happen regardless of the target 'Mech's tonnage and can actually cost you the mission if said 'Mech is faster than yours or the terrain is stacked against you.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • Some players opt to 'forgo' the ease of instantly readying salvaged mechs by immediately storing them so that it would take time to refit them properly.
    • Version 1.1 adds several optional difficulty modifiers that make getting shot down more unprofitable, like the "CT destruction = mech totaled" rule, a salvage slider to make missions more or less profitable in general, and a "cockpit destruction is always lethal" rule (the default setting gives pilots a difficult Guts roll to survive having their cockpit totaled around them, toggling this rule makes it always lethal).
    • And of course there's the Ironman Mode — only one save, no backpedalling, all decisions final, and losing any priority mission is an automatic Game Over.
  • 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. If it's at the edge of your sensor range, you don't know anything about it except whether it's a 'Mech or a vehicle.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • 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".
      • However, memory cores and other Star League-era lost technology are, at least, known to some people in 3025. While not as huge a discovery as the Helm Memory Core, Katrina Steiner spent most of 3004 hiding out at a lost Star League research station beyond the Lyran Commonwealth. While the base lacked a Memory Core, other Lostech items were recovered including the famous Black Boxes which provided a slower alternative to HPG communications.
    • The Cataphract, a mech designed by the Capellans in 3025, is present in the Periphery, in the hands of non-Capellan interests, the moment it rolls off the assembly line. Perhaps not totally impossible, but being part of the standard encounter table is still questionable.
    • The Griffin-4N is a Dark Age Era mech from 3083. (However, this is also a mislabeling; this is supposed to be a GRF-2N, which is in fact an SLDF Royal 'Mech. The only omission in this case is the Guardian ECM suite; everything else is accurate to the 2N.)
    • Three of the planets that the mercenaries can visit for work are named for people who died in the Word of Blake Jihad.
  • "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 Santiago'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.
  • Shoulders of Doom: A great many of the more humanoid 'Mechs like the Atlas or the Battlemaster sport massive shoulder pads.
  • 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.
    • A random callsign that can show up on hires is "RAT PARTY", after a very memorable asset you can purchase in a Shadowrun Returns: Shadows of Hong Kong mission.
    • One of the callsigns that can come up for random hirable mech warriors is "Red Comet".
    • When Sumire is describing her home planet, she says that if her homeplanet had a motto, "it'd be 'Squawk.'" Squawk is/was the battle-cry of the Word of Lowtax, the Mech Warrior Online player group from the Something Awful forums. At least one of the devs posts on the SA forums, mostly in the thread about the game, and confirmed it is a reference to the Wo L and SA at large.
    • Refitting a 'Mech with only ballistic weapons unlocks the Bullet Farmer achievement.
  • 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.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: Possible to do through the 'Precision Strike' action, and also notable for being much easier than in the tabletop game with the right Perks. The 'Called Shot Mastery' perk allows almost one in five attacks to hit the head, making it possible for certain 'mech builds (especially those that can mount large amounts of support weapons and lasers) to reliably knock a 'mech's head clean off in a single Alpha Strike.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Inverted during the Epilogue, as Kamea erases all the debt she held for your Merc company, grants you the Argo as a base, and even throws in her Atlas II mech for good measure, as she'll be seated on the throne more than a jumpseat now.
  • Space Cold War: Due to being set three years before the outbreak of the Fourth Succession War, this is the game world's current state in a nutshell. All Inner Sphere superpowers plus the various Periphery realms are constantly probing each others' borders with deniable attacks carried out by mostly unaffiliated mercenary outfits like the one you're playing as, but for now none of them are willing to openly declare war yet.
  • 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). However, carefully cozying up to them has the serious advantage of making gaining/retaining access to the black market much easier and cheaper.
  • 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.
  • Starship Luxurious: After the first act, the Argo is a beaten-up derelict, barely restored to spaceworthiness, with only about a third of the ship habitable, much of the hull and super structure compromised, the power system jury-rigged, and most of its subsystems off-line. But the ship is built to handle a much higher capacity, and with enough time, effort, and money, the it can have such amenities as a full hospital, gymnasium, library, hydroponic vegetable garden, even a video arcade and a low-gravity swimming pool.
  • Status Quo Is God: The balance of power in the game world beyond the Aurigan Civil War will never shift no matter how long you keep playing or how many contracts you complete in favor of any one particular faction. You can neither trigger wars nor conquer planets or star systems for whomever you're supporting. Granted, your small merc outfit alone wouldn't be capable of doing something on this scale anyway, but the whole game outside the campaign has you fighting half a dozen wars by proxy, so it wouldn't be unreasonable for at least one of them to eventually go hot. Not even the various Flashpoint missions change anything about that despite claims to the contrary in the DLC's advertising, probably because the many possible outcomes would threaten the game's future canonicity.
  • Stone Wall:
    • The Banshee, a 95-ton assault mech. Armour? Second-highest in the game after the Atlas. Mobility? It has an engine large enough to make it keep up with mechs 30 tons lighter than it is, and is the only mech that can mount four A-class jump jets. What else would it need for Lightning Bruiser status? Weapons? Well, that engine does take up some space. The Banshee has the lowest available free space and weapon slots of any assault class 'mech, and can be comfortably outgunned by several heavy 'mechs. In-Universe this low offensive ability for a mech of that size has made the class something of a laughingstock.
    • 'Mechs can gain up to 60% damage reduction by stacking the Cover, Guarded and Bulwark buffs. Even the lightest 'Mechs can soak up an astonishing amount of damage this way without falling (even more so when combined with their high Evasion), and assault 'Mechs like the abovementioned Banshee become next to invincible for as long as the effect lasts. They pay for this level of protection by forgoing any offensive actions.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: Played completely straight. Missed shots will never hit anything but the scenery even when there's another 'Mech in the way; they'll just pass through it without any effect.
  • 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 that aren't the target of an Assassination contract 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. This is a huge example of Gameplay and Story Segregation, as a key element of the setting is "Life is cheap. Mechs aren't."
  • 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.)
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: During the priority mission on Tyrlon, the moment you take out the third target building, the Directorate drops a full lance of three mediums and one heavy 'Mech in the middle of the street just south of Target Charlie. The map layout makes it highly likely that most of your 'Mechs will be near this spot one way or another when it happens, and at least some of them will be doing so with their back armor within knife range of the enemy reinforcements. Priority missions in general love spawning additional enemies out of nowhere, but this example is easily among the worst ones.
  • Timed Mission: A fair share of the campaign missions have strict turn limits that range from okay-ish to outright sadistic, depending on how well-equipped you are going in. Finding the right balance between 'Mech speed and combat prowess is key. Side missions can also have hard limitsnote  or soft onesnote .
  • Too Awesome to Use: The SLDF Highlander you are given halfway through the game. It is perhaps one of the most powerful Mechs in the game..... And it's full of Lostech that you literally can not replace. You will never lose the Mech itself but its one of a kind equipment can and will be lost just through attrition.
  • 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.
  • Units Not to Scale: Mostly averted. Even the shortest 'Mechs are several storys tall, behemoths like the Atlas are twice that size, and the buildings you often see on missions generally reflect this accurately. The tanks are another good example, with all of them utterly dwarfed by any 'Mech no matter their respective tonnage.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The Game. The Early Game Hell is an ongoing effort to strike the balance between "no damage but not enough payout to upgrade your mechs" and "loads of C-Bills but you only have one pilot left." And it goes Up to Eleven after you get the Argo; upgrade the hell out of it and you can repair trashed mechs in days, recover from injuries in the same amount of time, and new pilots will line up like ducks to live on a Starship Luxurious. Don't and the bank will repossess your flying junkyard.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Several Flashpoint campaigns give you the option to divert from your contract in order to help people without getting much (or anything) in return. Usually part of a Sadistic Choice, given the risks involved, and almost always a form of Self-Imposed Challenge. Of course, you're a mercenary commander, so nobody will seriously complain if you refuse to get sidetracked by a couple hundred helpless civilians.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Any achievement hunter will have to, among other things, voluntarily destroy one of their own 'Mechs through structural damage caused by excessive overheating. The chances of this happening by accident are so remote that you'll have to actively try to accomplish it by abusing purpose-built 'Mech loadouts far beyond the boundaries of common sense. Worse, this is a secret achievement, which gives you even less incentive to attempt something so stupid unless you know about it from an outside source.
  • 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 a 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 All a Lie?: Namedropped by Victoria to her father in the leadup to the final battle in the game.
  • 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 people on the core worlds (at the expense of others though). 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.
    • This is reaffirmed at the climax of the game, where he surrenders peacefully after Ostergaard's ship crashes, and desperately tries to talk Victoria out of her duel with Kamea, as Kamea's death would result in anarchy within the Reach.
  • 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.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Kamea chews out Yang for blowing up a perfectly intact SLDF base. Something that is almost a Holy Artifact with how valuable it is. Yang points that they are escaping by the skin of their teeth here, and that the Directorate would gladly loot the place to use against them. Kamea isn't happy about it, but she doesn't argue the point.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: The Space Pirates in this game are organized in small-ish clans, don't seem to have a real central command and don't seem to control any territory or manufacturing capabilities worth mentioning, yet they field the same materiel as any other faction, up to and including the heaviest assault 'Mechs, in considerable numbers. In a world where tech like this is exceedingly rare and valuable, it makes you wonder where they get all this stuff, especially since pirates are easily the most ubiquitous contract targets.
  • Where It All Began: The final fight begins on the same planet as the story started, and beyond that in the tournament grounds that Kamea and Victoria were supposed to have a friendly spar before The Coup put a stop to those plans.
  • 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, everything she'd done would be All for Nothing, and she would be remembered as a monster.
  • You Call That a Wound?: Any pilot (other than the player character) can be killed in action if they become incapacitated during combat. However, having a higher Guts skill and better quality medical facilities available to you increases the chance of them surviving that state and eventually returning to the cockpit (after a long convalescence.)
  • 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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