Mecha Combat Edit
Combat Scenarios Edit
Mecha battles in GearHead can be broken down into three main types: Ambush, Arena and Mission battles.
Typically consisting of random raiders that strike when you're out travelling on the world map, ambush battles tend to have a lower level of opposition than missions, and will allow your character to gather salvage after the dust settles. However, there are situations where your character has made some powerful enemies. In these situations the odds will be much stiffer, and salvage will probably not be available.
In the towns of Hogye, Gyori and Namok you can find the regional mecha arenas. Your character can take part in battles here once per arena per day for a cash prize. The opposition is rarely significant, being based on your character's past successes in the arena. The cash prize is likewise not a whole lot, but after winning ten fights in each arena a grand prize is awarded that is much more substantial. Once the grand prize has been won in all three regional arenas your character will be eligible to fight in the Robot Warriors arena in Downtown Snake Lake. Prizes and difficulty here are much higher, and the grand prize is something really special.
The main 'meat' of the game, mecha missions are the jobs your character chooses to take on when offered by various NPCs. The most common goal is to simply eliminate the opposition, but sometimes you'll be asked to destroy a specific mecha, a power generator in an enemy base, or to spare a specific mecha in order to force the pilot to surrender. The cash reward for completing a mission is based on the level of opposition, which in turn is based on your character's Renown. The more famous and admired your character is, the tougher things will get.
Combat Tips Edit
It's generally considered better to have a maneuverable but lightly armoured mecha than a heavier one. If a battle goes on for too long then your armour's going to be eaten away, anyway, whereas a maneuverable mecha coupled with a good Mecha Piloting skill is going to get hit a lot less often. A heavy mecha with a powerful weapons loadout could, in theory, destroy the enemy before they're able to get many shots off. But, bear in mind that for most battles you're going to be outnumbered, which means there could be several shots coming your way for each one you fire at your enemies. Recruiting lancemates can help put the odds back in your favour, but in the late game the level of opposition is significant, so you're probably going to be outnumbered no matter how large your lance is.
Aquillion posted the following useful combat tips on the gearhead_dev mailing list:
Oh, that's a different problem. The reason why you lost a CYB-13 Monstrous so quickly is because they suck. They're alright for the computer, mind you, and can be a nasty challenge due to all their kickass equipment; but they're no good for the player. My reasoning here is simple: There are essentially two main options in mech design, heavy armor/weapons vs. lightweight maneuverability. The Monstrous falls fairly obviously on the 'heavy' side of the equation. In theory, you're supposed to need a balance between these two, and in one-on-one combat, both ways would be equally viable; but in practice, it just doesn't work that way.
Problem is, players virtually never enter one-on-one combat. It's rare to enter a fight with less than three opponents; four or five is more common. When you're outnumbered, dodging and speed have a clear advantage; with high enough maneuverability you can dodge attacks from less skilled pilots all day, but no amount of armor will keep you alive for long against even mediocre opposition. Superior weaponry--the other half of the heavy-mech strategy--is supposed to help here by letting you eliminate everyone before they eliminate you, but again, that's much less likely to work when you're up against so many people. High speed, on the other hand, lets you pick and choose the order in which you engage your opponents, and lets you (sometimes) fight them one-on-one. Because of these things, I generally don't think I'd ever want to get into a fight using a mech whose MV penalty exceeds -2 or so; I prefer -1 or 0. Of course, some of that might just be personal preference, but ultimately I think that one point of MV is going to make a lot more difference than any weapon or piece of armor you might want to sacrifice it for.
Skill-wise, mecha piloting is the most important skill in the game, and whichever weapons skill you're using is the second-most important; but I probably don't need to tell either of those things. If you really want to use a heavy mech, I'd guess that initiative would become more important (though it's pretty important already); you need high initative to take full advantage of all the weapons systems you put on a heavy mech and to take out the opposition before they can punch through your armor.
The only other advice I can give is to attack your opponents from inside of heavy forest whenever possible; that 4 points of cover is worth a lot (though not quite as much now that some weapons can burn it away). As an added advantage, that'll help keep you concealed if you have some ranks in stealth; once again, this will reduce the chances of your having to fight all of your opponents at once.
Really, I can't emphasize the forest thing enough. I've taken down teams of Monstrouses (Monstrii?) and Ovaknights with nothing but a modified Scylla before; it isn't even that hard with some good lightweight weapons.GearHead developer Joseph Hewitt has this to say regarding mecha combat skills:
All of the weapon skills have their uses, in my opinion. At least that's how I've tried to balance things... I'm not sure how well it's working.
Mecha Gunnery is probably the best all-round skill. It does not get useless later in the game, since many of the better weapons still have a DC of 10 or less (Breaker Cannon, Vulcan Cannons, etc). It's definitely one of the best skills to have early in the game since most of the ranged weapons you'll have access to will be small guns.
Mecha Artillery can be useful early on if you find some nice missile launchers, and does become more useful later in the game when large-DC guns are more common. You might not want to rely primarily on this skill since most artillery weapons either run out of ammo quickly or will overheat your mecha, but you'll definitely want to have it.
Mecha Weapons is good since close combat attacks are the most powerful attacks in the game. Close combat attacks are the only type which allow both multiple hits and the Spot Weakness skill to apply at the same time. Energy melee weapons ignore half a target's armor rating even if no critical hit was rolled. In the late game it can be difficult to get close enough to use melee weapons, but with a sufficiently speed-boosted mecha you can still do it.
Mecha Fighting is useful for a number of poorly-documented reasons. First of all, it's the skill used to block enemy attacks using a shield. This is very important for just about everyone. Secondly, the bonuses listed above for melee attacks also apply here. Third, unarmed mecha attacks cause more concussion damage than other attack types. This is the damage that goes straight to the pilot of a mecha.
Fourth, if you have the Kung-Fu talent, the penetration bonus also applies to Mecha Fighting.