Nicholas Kerensky was either a driven visionary or a figure of evil, and there's plenty of evidence for both.
The same can also be said for Sara McEveredy and Clan Wolverine. Innocent victims of Nicholas' manipulations, a powder-keg waiting to go off or power-hungry monsters who merely were caught out before they could act?
In-universe, this applies to Hanse Davion and Katrina Steiner: they're awesome leaders if you lived in the states that became the Federated Commonwealth. Not so much if you were in one of the three neighboring states that got curbstomped in the process of them carving out a territorial bridge between their realms. (And then later generations of the FedCom/FedSuns and Lyran Alliance can have an argument: were they well-meaning, competent rules whose children/grandchildren then tore apart the realm they worked so hard to build with their own petty failings, or did Hanse & Katrina unintentionally set Victor & Katherine up to fail from the start due to decisions made before Kath, in particular, was ever even born? And does this, in a way, make them ultimately responsible for the Jihad?)
Sun Tzu Liao: Scheming, opportunistic weasel of a ruler, or brilliant political tactician?
Arc Fatigue: When the BattleTech license transferred to FanPro a significant number of new material focused on the year 3067, during the end of FedCom Civil War and the start of Jihad. Another arc that has run too long is the Dark Age era, not helped when its development outside of the novels was put on hold until the Jihad arc was finished.
Handbook House Kurita, the last sourcebook set in 3067, was finally released in April 2015 meaning that single game year has lasted over 15 years of real time.
Author's Saving Throw: Catalyst Game Labs treatment of the Dark Age era, which in early 00' managed to piss off many Battletech fans for various reasons.
Broken Base: The Double Heat Sinks. Either you think that they unbalanced the game in favor of energy weapons or you think that they made the energy weapons viable. And whatever group you belong to, it is almost universally agreed that trying to fix Double Heat Sinks would cause more problems than it solves.
The Jihad and Dark Age both tend to cause this as well.
The Clans and their techbase, either they are the symbol of everything that is wrong with BattleTech outside of the 3025/Succession Wars era (with at most a dash of Technical Readout 2750 thrown in for "the crazy Lostech"), or their arrival was the point when BattleTech grew the beard.
Averted in the case of the ongoing redesigns for the Unseen spearheaded by Mechwarrior Online. While there have been minor constructive criticisms from the fanbase, the reception for the new designs has been almost universally positive. This after a long period of Broken Base between fans who wanted the Unseens back (though they were realistic enough to know that was unlikely) and those who wanted the Phoenix redesigns of the early 2000s to replace them across the board.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Looking at the long-term prospects of the setting may plausibly cause this. To be sure, in the short run there are always plenty of sympathetic characters to care about; however, both the game and its fictional universe are, in the long run, built essentially (if mostly implicitly) around the concept of eternal largely meaningless conflict between arbitrary factions because humanity is apparently forever unable to learn from its past mistakes and thus doomed to repeat them, and it becomes increasingly hard to empathize with successive generations of characters (a point the setting has well hit by now) all going through pretty much the same motions over and over again.
Designated Hero: When you think about it, Hanse Davion got a few hundred million people killed to impress his hot eighteen year-old Nordic wife. And to get payback from the man who tried to kidnap him and put a doppelganger on his throne.
The closer you look at Natasha Kerensky, the less you see a Fiery Redhead who is good at what she does and much more someone who is at best a Blood Knight, and at worst a Sociopathic Soldier (though to be fair, she would have been a type 4 after her lover was killed in cold blood) — the accounts are legion of epic (and lethal) bar fights that The Black Widow and her Black Widow Company engaged in out of sheer boredom and for the fun of it. Another account concerns a member of Wolf's Dragoons admitting that he had leaked information that made its way to House Kurita, information that contributed to the Pyrrhic Victory that the Dragoons endured on Misery. Natasha cold-bloodedly killed him, just as Jamie Wolf was about to slap the man. When Wolf called her on her murder, her response was to quote words used by Nicholas Kerensky to justify the complete annihilation of an entire Clan.
Game-Breaker: There are some 'Mech designs that rather tedious to fight against. A most notorious example was the Clan pulse laser/targeting computer combo that practically guaranteed hitting your target. Land-Air-mechs in hybrid mode were practically unhittable. Under Solaris rules (extreme close combat for arena battles), multiple machine guns could reduce a 'Mech into scrap metal in short order, without generating any heat points. In most gaming groups, those things were countered by house rules forbidding the use of such designs.
Before the new rules removed the bonus for them, Rotary Autocannons found themselves mated to Targeting Computers quite a bit. The ability to put up to 30 points of damage on a targeted location, or even at a hit bonus, proved to be overwhelming, and as of the Total Warfare rules, rotary and Ultra autocannons at anything beyond single fire mode can no longer make an aimed shot, nor can pulse lasers. They still get the standard fire targeting bonus, though.
The Light Gauss Rifle, as its name implies, is a smaller version of the original model that has greater range and more ammo but deals less damage. While most heavy and assault Mechs and the heavier vehicles would rather carry bigger weaponry, put this weapon on a lighter Mech or vehicle chassis such as mediums or a few lights and with the right configurations, they can turn into extremely annoying adversaries that can easily utilize hit-and run and/or pop-and-snipe tactics, giving those who pilot the heavier models a major headache when encountering them.
Most Clantech counts, but four of their weapons stand out in particular:
Clan ER PPC's not only have the extended range of their Inner Sphere counterparts but also deal an additional five points of damage, meaning they can take an enemy mech's head off in one shot. This effectively makes them a much lighter and smaller Gauss Rifle that doesn't require ammo or explode when shot. Certain Mechs like the Marauder IIC and the Warhawk both in their default configuration are equipped with multitudes of the ER PPC, which can easily ravage other opposing units from afar, with the latter equipped with a Targeting Computer to make it even more frighteningly accurate.
Clan LRM's weigh half as much as their Inner Sphere variants and unlike the latter also have no minimum range, making them deadly in any situation and only get meaner with alternate ammo.
Clan ER Medium Lasers are basically Inner Sphere Large Lasers that fit in the space of a conventional medium laser and cause 2/3rds of the heat.
Clan Large Pulse Lasers have double the range of those fielded by the Inner Sphere and, yet again, also deal more damage. Combined with the enhanced accuracy of Pulse Lasers this turns mechs that mount more than one into long-distance murder machines like the Rifleman IIC. They are also the same size and mass of a clan ER PPC, allowing even non-OmniMechs mounting either to be easily customized for either game-breaker gun.
Genre Turning Point: In the mid-1980s, the game popularised science fiction in Wargaming, which had until then been dominated by historical games, and along with Warhammer, which did the same for fantasy, brought a new generation into the hobby.
Also straddling alongside Harsher in Hindsight, the Tesla Pod mechwarrior Simulator/Training Pods, over the last couple decades, have slowly become Lostechthemselves, as plenty of core components have become obsolete and fallen out of production. Admittedly there have been attempts to refurbish/modernize them, but they still have been cannibalized for parts, and some of the oldest pods have developed "quirks" just like real Ancestral battlemechs would.
So for starters, as Khan of the Wolves, he decides that if he's stuck participating in an invasion that he and others in the Warden political faction don't want to be part of, he'll give the Crusader clans ''exactly''whatthey want. You want to be known as a great hero? Well then try to keep up or have as many victories as he does. You want honor? Then try fighting with this few forces, and the handicaps he applied to his own forces. It led several times to the Crusaders, hell, the Crusader-minded ilKhan of the invasion throwing fits, and claiming "sabotage" on part of the Wolves for... performing extremely well. Yes, Mr. Warden Philosophy managed to make his political rivals act like petulant cry babies because he did what they wanted to do, wage war, better than they ever could! And he and his allies used that to their advantage to shame the Crusaders whenever needed.
Additionally, his treatment of captured Inner Sphere Worlds, and personnel. While the Crusader clans were busy making complacent asses of themselves, spouting "Warrior superiority" by oppressing civilian populaces (something which came to a head and he called the Crusading clans out on with the Smoke Jaguars' infamous massacres and city leveling Orbital Bombardments during the Battle of Turtle Bay) eventually leading to uprisings and unrest on their planets, the Wolves largely treated the citizenry with respect, understanding that suddenly having a new force out of nowhere to take over your planet could make transitions hard, trying their best to not interfere with the citizens' regular life during the transitions of power. Additionally, he made Phelan Kell, the son of Morgan Kell of the Kell Hounds mercenary force, who was captured early in the clan's invasion, his personal bondsman, and adviser on Inner Sphere Military matters and culture, grooming him in the ways of the Clans, eventually training Kell to become a full-fledged member (and eventually saKhan) of Clan Wolf. He also willingly accepted Com-Star's offer of working with the Clans in helping with transitional phases.
He managed to accidentally put an end to this temporary alliance and eventually discovers that the reason ComStar is so eager to work with the Clans is because they're trying to use the Clans to bring the various Houses under their control, when he ultimately revealed to his ComStar advisers that their goals were not so much the capitals of the various Houses, but rather, Terra itself to reform the old Star League. This eventually led to the Battle of Tukayyid, which was a win-win for Ulric. If the Clans won, they would be granted Terra, and thus achieve a major objective of Operation Revival. If the Clans lost, they would be honor bound to withdraw their forces back a bit, and not attack for 15 years. And the Clans were all too happy to accept these terms, figuring this would be an easy win, and then all decided to make large sacrifices of troops they'd be allowed to deploy, just so that what few forces that would be allowed to fight, would have the "honor" of dropping before Clan Wolf could. ComStar ultimately won overall (though, again, lost to Clan Wolf in particular), stopping the invasion.
Then, when he was challenged back in Clan space, by both Crusaders of his own clan, and those of other clans, he decided to have these accusations against him voted upon by the Grand Council. Despite the absolute crazy Conspiracy Theory being soundly defeated by the facts, the Grand Council voted for him to be stripped of ilKhan status, and once demoted, he plays one last truly Magnificent Bastard Move, and declares a Trial of Refusal, bid the entirety of Clan Wolf, Warden and Crusader members alike, against all challengers, and literally was laughing his ass off as he left the Council Chambers. The only thing missing was him giving a double one finger salute on his way out, starting the Refusal War against the Jade Falcons. While he did die, it did also serve to be a Taking You with Me against the Jade Falcons' leaders, helped separate and get a good portion of the Warden Wolves safely to the Inner Sphere, and even earn the respect of the Crusader Wolves.
Hanse Davion is basically a fusion of Rommel and Montgomery. With a smidge of Churchill, Julius Caesar and Henry V thrown in for good measure. His greatest ruse was his own wedding to Melissa Steiner, where he managed to keep Takashi Kurita and Maximilan Liao occupied long enough for Operation Galahad to suddenly unfold into Operation RAT, with the Lyrans simultaenously launching Gotterdammerung into the Rauselhague District. For extra points, he deliberately laid out the limited-edition dessert plates for the wedding dinner with the pictures of many major Inner Sphere worlds, most of which were actually his RAT targets in the Capellan Confederation. The words that heralded the start of the Fourth Succession War? Hanse offering the Capellan Confederation as his wedding gift to Melissa. For that extra dig of the knife (and as revenge for Operation Doppleganger), Maximilan Liao lost his composure at the announcement of war and began stealing the plates "as vital military intelligence", and the resulting panic led to his nickname of Mad Max being cemented. By the end of the Fourth Succession War, Max was so unhinged by the success of Operation RAT that his own daughter Romano Liao was able to depose him and take over as Chancellor.
Operation Galahad? Hanse's ploy to get the Capellans used to the AFFS units carrying out training exercises constantly, until they were complacent and didn't quite keep as tight a vigil as they should have when Operation RAT finally commenced. It also served to hone the edges of his growing AFFS regiments and make them more effective in battle.
As an extra subtlety, Hanse used the wedding to subtly hint to his treacherous brother-in-law Michael Hasek-Davion that his own son Morgan Hasek-Davion was more loyal to Hanse than his own father, as instead of using Michael's personal coat of arms (which subtly implied that Michael believed himself more suited to be the rightful First Prince of the Federated Suns), Morgan wore the normal House Hasek coat of arms on his livery. It also quietly signalled that Hanse knew of Michael's treachery in dealing with the Liaos and that he was manuvering against him.
Urbanmechs, and mechwarriors who pilot them effectively in battle, are considered to be incredibly dangerous to the point where the MWO side of the fandom loves to think of it fondly as the "30-ton Assault Mech". It helps that the Urbie is one of the few light mechs that can wield the heavier Autocannons, and has one of the thickest coats of armor that a light mech could physically mount. And yes, there is a special and canon build of the Urbie that was refitted to mount a nuclear capable missile launcher.
Kai Allard-Liao is generally considered by the fandom to be one of the most skilled mechwarriors in all eras of the series, even capable of schooling the finest Trueborn Clanner mechwarriors and earning their respect.
Battletech Armor is made of vampires and the autocannon shells contain holy water. Explanation A discussion on a BT thread in Spacebattles resulted in this meme about the eccentricites of how the ablative armor works in the BT universe.
MAGIC BUSHIDO HANDS Explanation A mocking term some fans use to disparage Draconis Combine and in particular Kurita eccentricities that was spawned by omake sections written for Davion and Davion (Deceased).
Steiner Scout Lance Explanation A running joke about how the Lyrans love using full lances of Heavy/Assault mechs for almost everything, including scouting.
Similarly, referring to some of the solid light 'Mechs in the Steiner lineup, like the 20-ton Commando, as "Lyran Battle Armor." Explanation Battle Armor is BattleTech speak for Powered Armor, the heaviest suits of which weigh only 2 tons, but Lyran memetic love of heavy units casts their idea of "battle armor" as full-fledged light 'Mechs.
Stefan Amaris not only killed off the entire Cameron family - even the children! - but also held a member of the Kurita family hostage before eventually murdering them too and lying about them being alive and still a hostage to keep the Draconis Combine from helping Aleksandr Kerensky and his forces retake the Star League. This resulted in the SLDF taking longer to remove the Usurper, who routinely ordered atrocities such as the massacre of entire cities as well as the murder of senior religious figures and desecration of holy sites such as the Vatican, the Wailing Wall, and Mecca. Furthermore, he was content to order the more fanatical loyalists of his Rim World Army to commit war crimes and break out nuclear and chemical weapons, rendering many worlds uninhabitable as a consequence; centuries later, the Clans that descended from the Exodus Fleet still abhor him to the point that a Clanner who was able to present the head of one of the few surviving Amaris descendants to the Khans was lauded for their kill.
Jinjiro Kurita crossed this line almost as soon as he inherited the title of Coordinator with three words: "Kill them all." Meaning slaughter the entire populace of Kentares IV. When one of the generals present asked for clarification, Jinjiro had him killed. Ninety percent of the planet's population, Fifty-two million people, were murdered by Draconis Combine soldiers with their swords over the next five months, which Jinjiro had recorded so he could watch the massacres whenever he pleased. ComStar members on the planet were so horrified they broke their neutrality and smuggled video of the atrocity out to the rest of the Inner Sphere, and the previously-losing Federated Suns were galvanized by what went down in history as the single largest war crime in Human history.
Comstar's Word of Blake operatives, in particular the ones who carried out Operation HOLY SHROUD, are universally hated for making the crapsack state of the Inner Sphere even worse by killing brilliant scientists and engineers who tried to improve the standards of living for the rest of human space, not just the ones who were trying to make better weapons of war. These "Wobbies" are considered to be acceptable targets for random violence and death by most fans.
During the Reunification Wars, General Amos Forlough pole-vaulted over the Horizon by ordering his soldiers to murder 1/10 the population of any planet that resisted, made gratuitous use of nuclear and biochemical weapons alongside conventional orbital bombardment to bring worlds to heel, and on several occasions committed genocide when faced with particularly stiff resistance. His actions were enough to spur the Federated Suns into preemptively annexing several Periphary territories around the Outback in an effort to keep them from experiencing his brutality, although the Taurians were not pleased to have the Suns take over several of their worlds in this fashion even for such a reason; in addition, the repercussions of his actions forever soured the Periphary States to the Star League, and eventually led to several of them secretly cooperating with Stephan Amaris to lure the SLDF away from Terra as part of his coup.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap / Lethal Joke Character: The faster-playing adaptation Alpha Strike has had this effect on a lot of units that were thought of as useless in normal BattleTech, as their usefulness grows exponentially in the faster-paced play environment.
The UM-R60 UrbanMech is the very definition of a Lethal Joke Character. It's a light mech that looks like a trash can and is constantly derided by those not in the know as a slow, useless piece of scrap. In fact it is the slowest mech every made, tied for that honor with an Assault mech. But the UrbanMech by default mounts an AC-10, which can kill light and medium mechs with one lucky shot, and while it's not fast, it excels in urban fighting (imagine that), where it can use it's jump jets to gain a height advantage, launch a surprise attack, and scamper off before anyone can retaliate. It's also very hard to hit because it's so damn small. And it's incredibly modifiable: you can strip the AC-10 and put on an AC-20 (the UM-R60(L)), allowing the UrbanMech to core out an Assault mech with a lucky shot, or just get a quick headshot to end things right there. You can put an MRM-40 (the UM-R68) on it, giving it the ability to absolutely wreck face if it gets in range, and destroy some of the less armored Heavy mechs in an ambush (Clan Ghost Bear did not like being hit by these). It's an incredibly slow, heavily armored, highly modifiable light mech that looks like it should be a joke. And it is. Until it destroys you.
Scrappy Mechanic: In MechWarrior 3rd Edition (still available but rebranded "Classic BattleTech RPG") the Life Paths system. Picking packages for various stages of a character's life was cool, but then there's a random event table to roll on. 2d6, the higher the better. Several events at the lower end of the table cause a character to suffer disadvantages, usually giving them negative traits, and especially for the Clan Warrior paths straight-up making progression towards being a warrior impossible (the first three or four events on the Clan tables are variations on "wash out of warrior training" barring the character from adding warrior-related Life Paths). One can reroll an event in a Life Path by increasing the cost to purchase Edge. Even if you don't get bad rolls, some character concepts require good rolls in specific Life Paths to achieve (officer training in the Inner Sphere is only available via 10+ events on a few military-related Paths). Events can saddle the character not just with negative Traits, but positive ones and skills that don't fit with the character concept. The system has been described as "set out to make a Clan MechWarrior, end up with a one-eyed pirate fry cook with a substance abuse problem and a love of 23rd century Korean opera." The next edition of the RPG (A Time Of War) did away with the randomness entirely, making everything a Point Buy System.
Status Quo Is God: The reason the Federated Commonwealth broke up among other things. When peace starts to settle in the Battletech universe, the writers simply come up with a new war. In-universe, but not common knowledge, is the fact that ComStar really wants to maintain the status quo, and has the resources and ability to keep forcing the Successor States into war.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Many players reactions to the Dark Age period, especially the releated CMG. The reaction was far from universal, however, with the CMG not only bringing in new players, but many older players enjoying it and the changes to the setting. And, in all fairness, this has been a reaction to just about any change to the universe or game.
The extreme negativity of the reaction (from some quarters) to the Dark Age came about for a number of reasons.
The release of the DA wasn't very well planned or presented, from the perspective of long-time BattleTech players. The initial DA synopsis made it feel rather like the rest of the Inner Sphere powers disappeared or fell into obscurity. The various Republic sub-factions seemed to be merely remnants of a by-gone age.
Because of the seemingly sudden death of FASA and other things, the curators of Classic BattleTech took a long time before they could actually explain the Jihad and therefore justify what seemingly happened to the universe that lead to 3132. The pace of book releases, even for the 3067 period, slowed in the initial years of FASA's demise.
Compounding this, the main tool for moving the fiction forward, novels, stopped happening for non-Dark Age settings. While a substitute was created on-line, those were primarily short-stories that filled in the gaps, rather than novels that pushed the storyline forward.
What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Clan society is a strong in-universe example. If you're not badass enough to essentially bite and claw your way to the top and hold your place there against would-be challengers, eventually your fellow Clanners will start to consider you a liability to the Clan and start looking for your replacement. Clan society by and large puts little value on human life as such — it's how much somebody contributes to the Clan that counts, and with the warriors on top and naturally seeing themselves as the ones doing the most important work, it's no surprise that Clan civilians are usually considered second-class citizens and can be deployed, expended, or claimed as spoils of war as the warriors see fit.
The Video Game:
Anti-Climax Boss: Victoria and her lance in the final mission. While three of the four mechs in her lance are assault-class (the only non-assault Mech in her group is the JagerMech, the weakest of the four), the mission has a Good Bad Bug in that her lance will not move forward to engage at your lance while you are outside their sensor range. If you've brought long-range weaponry like PPCs, Large Lasers, and LRMs for your mechs, you can happily plug away at Victoria's lance while they'll just stand by and do nothing. You can simply manage your heat levels by bracing and repeating the process for several more rounds until Victoria and her lance are eliminated. Then you can sit back and watch the epilogue and credits roll.
Broken Base: There's some base-breaking over the way the game implements a few of the classic TT BattleTech/MechWarrior systems. The biggest one tends to be the way salvage works: you don't completely salvage a 'Mech chassis bit by bit, but gain "parts" as a kind of amalgamated whole, and once you have three parts, your 'Tech crew slaps together a functioning, fully armed 'Mech out of all the bits you've salvaged. Some players, particularly veteran players, think this is absurd, both from a lore perspective, as lore-wise it is very hard to maintain and build a 'Mech, and a gameplay perspective, as the player will quickly accumulate a large arsenal of 'Mechs. Proponents of the system, however, contend that a more complicated salvage and repair system would just bog the game down with micromanaging mech salvage and that having some 'Mechs in reserve is what makes sure that the player isn't put into an essential game over state just from losing one mission.
The developers took note of this and eventually amended the system by allowing players to fine-tune the salvage system every time they start a new game: The necessary components needed for a full mech can be increased to any number up to eight parts (one for each of the eight sections), and there are options to remove the free weapons from a newly assembled mech (forcing you to salvage or purchase any weapons you want to put in it as well) or to make newly assembled mechs need a final round of repair (they start out with no armour and 1 HP in every location) for a significant C-cred investment to finish it.
The Vent Coolant ability introduced with the skill rebalance became something of this. Fans praised its gameplay utility, replacing a useless ability in return for Power at a Price useful for energy weapon builds (letting you sink all your heat in return for a wound on the 'mech's pilot), detractors pointed out just how incredibly lore-inappropriate this ability is for the setting and its inherent Fridge Logic.
Continuity Error: The Catapult variant CLPT-C4 has not actually been developed in the time frame of the game: the game takes place between the Third and Fourth Succession Wars (3022-3028), and the C4 variant wasn't developed until 3039. Even the C3 variant (which is very similar) wasn't developed until 3033, and the very recognizable K2 variant wasn't developed until 3030.
Samuel Ostergaard's last moments in the game show him surrounded by flames as the Locura virus tears his ship's systems apart, a framed photograph of him posing with his son while sporting a proud grin, the glass cracking from the heat just before the dropship impacts on Coromodir.
And verbally, Victoria Espinosa tears into her father for feeding her nothing but lies about his motives and how she'd used those lies to justify murdering eleven thousand people as part of a False Flag Operation. Her final battle is at the tournament grounds where she and Kamea would have fought on the day of the latter's coronation, had the Espinosa's not initiated their coup. Even Kamea admits pity at this point.
Demonic Spiders: Heavy vehicles, notably Manticore, Demolisher, Schrek, and Missile Carriers. Why?
Manticore: A 60-ton Heavy-class Tank armed with a PPC, a Medium Laser, an SRM6, and an LRM10. Manticores are well-armoured and are deadly at all ranges.
Demolisher: An 80-ton Assault-class Tank armed with not one but two AC/20s. Capable of dishing out 200 damage if both shots hit, Demolishers live up to their name. They can instantly kill, 'headchop', 'kneecap', or 'core' many mechs.
Schreks are 80-ton Assault Tank/'Mech Destroyers mounting three PPCs and, in tabletop, enough heatsinks to fire them constantly. Thankfully this isn't true in Battletech, but Schreks are still capable of dishing out some painful long-range fire; 150 damage per volley, with no ammo limits. Anything they hit will take a minor accuracy penalty until the next turn too.
Finally, Missile Carriers. Formerly the laughing stock of the 'Warrior and 'Commander games, they're back with a Vengeance. Both varities are 60 tons, and dish out 60 missiles per volley (using three LRM20s or ten SRM6s), whilst having enough ammo reserved for multiple volleys (LRM carriers have a potential Alpha Strike of 240 damage and SRM carriers have one of 480 damage. For elaboration, the Kintaro medium mech can mount half as many SRM-6 launchers and thus has half the alpha strike potential of the SRM carrier). Anything that one of these monsters decides to aim at will drown in a Macross Missile Massacre, almost certainly losing most of its armour and getting knocked on its ass in the process. The worst part? LRM Carriers don't even need to be able to see you to do it, as they are capable of indirect fire.
(on a polar map) "After the mission, let's make snowmen!"
(when using the Multishot skill) "You get a headshot and YOU get a headshot!"
(after delivering heavy damage) "You'll take my hits and LIKE it!"
Fridge Brilliance: Flamers being limited in ammo may seem like a game balance choice until you realize these are Vehicle Flamers. Reactor-powered Flamers were introduced in 3025 which is after the Time Skip to the third mission. It's doubtful they've made it to the Periphery so you're stuck using fuel-based Vehicle Flamers.
Fridge Horror: May kick in when you pay attention to the flavor text of the Argo's drive upgrades. The final one brings the ship's acceleration up to 2g - twice the gravitational force the human physiology evolved to bear - and everyone aboard has to endure this for days, sometimes weeks on end every time the Argo commutes between planets and their jump points. That can neither be healthy nor comfortable, so it's no wonder Farah mentions that the crew will complain when you commission the upgrade. What is a wonder is that it doesn't have a detrimental effect on your Morale Mechanic.
Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that it's only the acceleration that involves higher gravity thrusts. Once the Argo is up to speed, the engines cut off or cut back to the normal 1g gravity and everyone is happy. 2g is painful but limited.
Gamebreaker: Thanks to the ballistic/missile weapon damage buffs in terms of damage scaling, Auto-Cannons and SRM and LRM launchers are amazingly effective. AC/2 guns, despite being the smallest calibre of Auto-Cannon, hits as hard as a Medium Laser, and AC/5 is just 5 points shy of PPC damage, and both of them are very nearly just as accurate (barring recoil penalties) and do incredible damage per shot (AC/10 does 60 damage, and AC/20 does 100 damage but is short-ranged and has only 8 shots per ton). SRM missiles hit for 8 damage each, while LRM missiles hit for 4 each, and their launchers fire multiple warheads per volley, so SRM-6 launchers do up to 48 damage total (just 2 damage shy of matching a PPC shot if all missiles connected with a single body part) and LRM-20 launchers do up to 80 damage total per volley (Hitting harder than AC/10 shots on average), and all of them produce less heat than Large Lasers (40 damage for 30 heat) and PPCs (50 damage for 40 heat). A LRM boat-style mech configuration throwing dozens of missiles in a single volley can easily sandblast enemies and stack so much stability damage that knockdown-based pilot kills are highly viable, and the sheer volume of hits makes them likely to score crits once you sandblast off the target's armor.
Where they get really crazy is in the rare upgraded variants; high-end SRM models gain +4 damage, a 50% increase. Any mech with 3-4 missile hardpoints can put out upwards of 200-250 damage (plus 90-120 stability damage; 'Mechs fall over at 100 instability) in a full volley with such launchers. Only the heaviest Assaults like Victoria's King Crab or Kamea's vintage SLDF-era Atlas II can really hope to withstand that kind of firepower more than once or twice. For raw power, a Kintaro can mount five SRM-6++ launchers and hit an Alpha Strike potential of 360, while a Stalker has the tonnage to carry 4 LRM-20++ launchers for a truly impressive alpha strike potential of 480.
Called Shot Mastery, the level 9 tactics ability, immensely boosts your ability to take called shots. Hitting the center torso from the front goes from 33% to around 82%, legs go from around 14% to 68%, and headshots go from 2% to 18%, letting your crew reliably kneecap or One-Hit Kill enemy 'mechs with a single alpha strike. The nerfs to the morale system and stability damage reduced how often you could take advantage of it, but it is still an extremely powerful ability for certain Alpha Strike builds.
Stability damage isn't a Gamebreaker on its own. But 'Mechs that designed to take advantage of it can be. Any time a 'Mech is knocked down, the pilot takes damage, and if the pilot takes enough damage, they die and you can get full salvage of their 'Mech (pilots also take damage from head shots, left and right torso explosions, and ammo explosions). Any 'Mech that specializes in throwing a ton of missiles at an enemy will inflict a lot of stability damage, making the Trebuchet one of the most valuable early 'Mechs, and the Catapult (especially the C4 variant, which is actually anachronistic) one of the most sought after. Mounting them with LRM racks that inflict extra stability damage without increasing actual damage makes them 'Mech Scavengers: just pick the enemy mech that you want and pummel it with missiles (and maybe a punch or two) to knock it down and get full salvage. There's still some luck involved (you can still core out a 'Mech by accident, and ammo explosions can rip through a 'Mech's core without warning, especially since missiles have the second highest crit rating in the game), but for the most part, LRM boat 'Mechs are the best way to build up your arsenal.
Goddamned Bats: SRM and LRM Missile Carriers- they don't necessarily do a lot of damage on their own, but they can quickly stagger a 'mech through a Macross Missile Massacre to the point of knockdown, which renders them sitting ducks for further attacks. Plus the damage from each missile is randomly applied across the entire 'Mech, so if even one missile hits the 'Mech's head, your pilot will suffer an injury.
Some light mechs, most notably the Panther and Jenner with PPC, LRM variants of Locust, and of course the Firestarter.
Amusingly, if you have sufficiently strong Leg Servos that decrease the self-damaging recoil of Death From Above attacks, it actually repairs your mech's legs if the self damage is reduced to a negative sum.
Occasionally enemy units spawn outside the map. When this happens the enemy AI becomes completely confused and will refuse to move those units anywhere leaving them sitting ducks.
Assassination missions will sometimes spawn a Demolisher tank for the target instead of a 'Mech, due to a programming oversight that selects the target based on tonnage without regard to the actual vehicle type (see Memetic Mutation). No question, Demolishers are mean, but can still be easily killed if one of your 'Mechs can get close enough to Goomba Stomp it.
Memetic Loser: Dekker, the pilot who seems to get killed the most often either due to coring or getting headchopped. This is partially due to him tending to end up the Light Mech pilot in your lance, meaning that he is more vunerable to combat damage, and it certainly doesn't help that In-Universe he was once nearly killed while piloting a Locust and only Mastiff's intervention saved him from a pirate about to curbstomp his cockpit. He also seems to have a disproportionally high chance to trigger negative outcomes in most events he stars in, leading to players just firing him out of frustration or annoyance if they can afford to. Either way he'll probably leave your employ rather sooner than later. This was noticed by Harebrained Schemes, who added a secret achievement in 1.3 for finishing the campaign with him still alive and in your employ.
An ever-growing pool of jokes about Assassination missions describing a heavily-armed and decorated mech as the target, only for it to actually be a Demolisher tank, are making the rounds. This is due to an oversight in the target definition files, which use a tag system; it states the target must be a mech and of a certain weight class but it doesn't specifically exclude anything with the tracked, wheeled, or vehicle tags. Computers are only as smart as you tell them to be, unfortunately.
"Dekker's dead." For reference, Dekker is the pilot of you starting Spider 'Mech, a Fragile Speedster that, because new players aren't great at using light 'Mechs very well, frequently gets shot and wounded early on. Since the AI focuses on damaged 'Mechs, that means that once Dekker's Spider gets damaged, everyone dogpiles on it and often kills him.
The Espinosa family not only commited atrocities during their creation of the Aurigan Directorate, including the murder of Mastiff and countless dissidents in the Icebox, but by orchestrating the Perdition Massacre they quickly make themselves into utter pariahs on a galactic scale when the truth is revealed.
Samuel Ostergaard crosses the line when he shows that he will quite cheerfully commit war crimes and massacre civilians in order to sate his desire for vengeance on Kamea for authorizing the death of his son; even Calderon agrees that should they manage to arrest him, he would be executed for his deeds, and it is clear during the liberation of Coromodir itself that at some point off-screen the crew of his Dropship clearly had a mutiny against him due to his actions.
Most Wonderful Sound: Although it probably uses the same sound file as any other 'Mech component destruction, the resounding crack of an enemy 'Mech's cockpit exploding is always a very satisfying thing to hear for any number of reasons, but especially when it's the only section to go up in flames.
Scrappy Mechanic: Hits on a mech's head, whether damaging to the cockpit or not, will cause an injury to the mechwarrior inside, and each shot that hits has a small chance of hitting the head. The problem is that the chance applies to each individual hit: While an Obvious Rule Patch prevented LRM racks from doing this (limiting it to one chance for a head hit per rack), every other multi-shot weapon (like machine guns and SRM racks) still get multiple chances to hit. The result is that any time you face an opponent lots of SRM racks like the SRM carrier, you can expect at least one of your pilots receiving a wound, regardless of actual damage your mechs receive. This can be mitigated later in the game by using a part that allows pilots to ignore 1-3 such wounds.
The reinforcement system in multi-lance battles. Reinforcements are triggered by an enemy lance taking sufficient damage or by the player's lance advancing to a certain point in the battle map. When reinforcements arrive, they are immediately given a full round worth of actions, provided their initiative pass hasn't happened yet, and share line-of-sight with existing units on the map. Since movement or damaging an enemy 'mech usually happens at the end of a 'mech's turn, this means said 'mech can arbitrarily and suddenly trigger an entire extra lance's worth of LRM or PPC fire coming in from an area of the map you have no vision of yourself, which is especially bad in the lategame where practically all 'mechs are assaults and your last activation suddenly doubles the enemy lance size. Also, Darius will usually only chime in with "I've got eyes on enemy reinforcements" after the first barrage has hit home.
That One Level: Liberation: Smithon. You face off against two full mech lances (ranging from light to heavy mechs) and 4 turrets backing them up, all of which will be within range of your mechs by about round 3 or 4 of combat. Essentially, the enemy will get three rounds of combat to your one until you start picking them off, so be prepared for long, long periods of just hearing your mechwarriors complain that they're getting shot. Oh, and the enemy has *tons* of missile and autocannon units, so be ready for casualties. You can blow up ammo crates to heavily damage enemies around them, but lighting off more than two decreases the reward you get at the end of the mission. And on top of that there is another secondary objective to destroy two fleeing trucks, one of them activating very soon after the start of mission which forces the player either to field fast light mechs that are already too fragile at this point of the game, or rush at least one heavier mech to it, also bringing the mech at the line of sight of the enemy much sooner.
You will learn to hate that planet, especially during the second mission there; Defense: Smithon. The above scenario? Reverse it - except you're still outnumbered. You have to fight ten enemies ranging from light to assault mechs, and they are attacking dropships evacuating the planet's civilian population — unless you let them wail on you instead.
Enemy Commander: I take no pleasure in this, Lady Arano, but we're under orders. You can end this by surrendering to Commodore Ostergaard. Until you do, your people will suffer for you.
That One Sidequest: Two, actually, as far as the randomly generated contracts are concerned - the always unpopular Escort Mission, and the Target Acquisition missions. The former sucks because enemies always go straight for the convoy you must protect, and although the vehicles can shoot back, their resilience is absolutely no match for the level of firepower arrayed against them. It's depressingly common to lose half the convoy or more in a single turn if you didn't manage to aggro all hostile mechs on your lance immediately. Target Acquisition is a pain in the behind because it's a Timed Mission against overwhelming opposition, leaving you the choice between going in with fast 'Mechs and get hammered, or going in with assault 'Mechs that can take the beating but have a hard time even reaching the target zones before the timer runs out. You can often call in a supporting lance from your employer in these missions, but even they don't help that much when the hostile 'Mechs stubbornly ignore them to stomp your lance flat instead.
It's possible that you can get an early Ambush Convoy mission with three factors working against you: first, the convoy starts on one corner of the map and is trying to get to the closest other corner of the map, and it's all on the far side of the map from you; second, the convoy is all equipped with LRM attacks, which means once you engage the escorts, the convoy will continue running to their destination, while also pelting you with missiles that you can't do anything about; third, the enemy 'Mechs all have +1 initiative bonus, and since it's early in the game and they're all light 'Mechs, they're all moving before any of your 'Mechs, and they will pummel you. Even if you manage to take out the escorts, chances are the convoy will be too far away to catch before they manage to escape. And given the way that missions are created, this type of mission is almost guaranteed to show up within the first few days of a new Career mode playthrough, looking like an innocent Ambush Convoy mission with a 1 skull rating and a below-average payout.
Tier-Induced Scrappy: You won't find many players who are crazy about light 'mechs. All their advantages of high speed and initiative are made irrelevant beyond early game as they die too quickly to any decently armed enemy mech, and the Evade mechanic that was supposed to favor light mechs is not enough to compensate for the eventuality that they WILL get hit by something, often leaving them half dead.
This is slowly being reversed as the game is updated: new, more versatile light mechs are constantly being added, such as the well-armed and armored Javelin JVN-10Fnote which combines the four medium lasers of the Jenner JRD-7 with the 80% of the armor of the Panther PNT-8R, and 80% of the mobility of a Spider SDR-5V, and the introduction of the Raven RVN-3L electronic warfare 'Mech, which makes stealth, sensor scrambling and probing actual tactics instead of passive effects.
The Juggernaut ability (requiring guts 8) was generally considered this. It came too late in the game to be much of use, assault 'mechs were immune to its effect since there is no initiative count below 1, and it had anti-synergy with the level 4 guts ability Bulwark because Bulwark required you to stand still while melee attacks require you to move. It was eventually replaced with Vent Coolant for this reason.
Speaking of Bulwark, it was considered this at launch for the opposite reason: Its effects (gain 50% damage resistance if you stand still) was generally considered too powerful for how little investment it needed and made the entire mobility tree somewhat obsolete. This was especially in the late-game where the benefits of moving (evasive pips) were generally useless anyway because assault 'mechs are slow and all pilots have high gunnery, leading to a gameplay meta of immobile gunnery platforms standing still and trading shots with each other. It also made the level 8 gunnery ability, Breaching Shot, near mandatory in order to counter it. The skill was eventually re-designed for this reason, and now gives a flat 20% bonus to defense if you brace (for 40% damage reduction total) and lets you combine cover, brace and Bulwark for a maximum damage reduction of 60% (which is where Breaching Shot starts to become incredibly useful), while also activating even if you move, discouraging stop-and-shoot tactics.
Ugly Cute: The always-popular UrbanMech lost nothing of its strangely endearing ugliness in its transition from the tabletop, despite looking more than ever before like the "walking trashcan" Yang describes.