This guide is a walkthrough to the first day or so of gameplay, in order to maximize Mecha firepower. It includes both character guidelines, and plot spoilers.
Quick start quide to being a Mecha Mauler:
Male (To allow flirting with most of the important NPC's) Arena Pilot Career Character Traits: Pragmatic x3 (for ease of Cyberware later) Reflex 15 Speed 15
Mecha Piloting 6 Mecha Gunnery 6 Mecha Repair 5 Conversation 3 Flirtation 3 Science 3 Athletics 1 (these three are important to buy early, as they benefit most from direct XPs) Concentration 1 Shopping 1 (if points left over, take a point or two of initiative, spot weakness, mecha engineering, dodge, small arms, in that order)
Finish talking to Hyolee, then wander around town till you find the free cellphone on the ground.
Call Vikki and sweet talk her to get her reaction up above 50%, rest and repeat if necessary.
Call the Arena manager, ask about fighting, admit you have no mek.
Talk to Vikki again, say "Couldn't you just give me one." Get a free Aranos. (Taking the test instead provides a mech you can sell for a higher price, but with a worse sensor, and your character may not know the right answers, which gives you no mech.)
Take any equipment you want off the mech, especially the sensor, then call Quentin and sell it. Check his shop for any equipment you want to buy: Ceram breastplate, ceram arm plate X2, ceram leggings X2, recce helm, laser rifle X2
Talk to Megi, say: "Give me the tutorial."
Talk to Quentin, buy anything you need. When he asks "Did you find what you need," if you didn't, say no and he'll restock with different equipment. Repeat until you have at least your full set of armor.
Do not go to the arena. Now talk to the Ticket Agent and bus to Snake Lake. If you receive e-mail about your life being in danger there or whatever, do not talk to any NPC's except the ones you're sure about. Do your best not to trigger the main plot for as long as possible.
When the bounty hunter asks you if you've seen anything, you can get an extra point of pragmatism by asking "How can I benefit from this?" Or heroism with the "how can I help" line. (both useful, heroism gets you more missions later)
Talk to the Guardian he names (and chat him up to raise reaction), then the bandit, then find the sewers down. Do *not* fight your way through these sewers. Just run around the first floor like a madman till you find the datacard, then dash back out.
Talk to the Guardian again (chat to raise reaction), accept his mission, and he should give you a free Buru Buru to help him clear the way. With your skills it should be good enough. Afterwards when you go into the dungeon, don't just bump into the pods to examine them. Instead use Science on them, and possibly get an extra 100 XP.
(ALTERNATIVELY: You can also talk to the bandit, if you prefer to follow the path of larceny. The Bandit will likewise offer you this mission, and can join you as a lancemate afterwards.)
Afterwards strip any equipment off the Buru. Be sure to SAVE and make the attempt to remove the Hoverjets. You may need to spend some XP on Mecha Engineering to get up to 2 or 3 at least. Alternatively, just strip the legs off and remove the jets from them later. Try to be conservative with XPs. You need at least one hoverjet.
Editor's Note: The hoverjets are too heavy to store in personal inventory, so transfer them to the inventory of a mecha that you do not plan to sell yet.
Take the bus to Snake Lake Corporate, and sell the Buru. Head back to Snake Lake, talk to the Ticket Agent, bus around to Wujung.
Walk into the desert, skip Last Hope, and head south to the Temple. Once there, talk to the mechanic, who will offer you an abandoned Esher to get home. How nice. Ride it back to Snake Lake, strip any equipment you want/can out of it, then head to Snake Lake Corporate and sell it. (at this point you could just keep it, but why?)
- SIDENOTE* At any point during this journey if you hear the rumor 'X has been getting a lot of good junk at his/her garage' talk to that person and chat them up. As long as you have less than 3 mecha there is a chance they will give you a personal scale mission to clear out some monsters, and give you a Buru Buru in return. Strip it and sell it as usual. If you don't get the mission, rest and rechat them until you do.
Back to Hoyge to Build a MechEdit
At this point, head back to Hoyge, talk to the arena manager, kil the rat, talk to Quentin, get the free xps, keep the Corsair. It's the best unit you're going to get for a while. Talk to the Ticket Agent and get everything else shipped here.
Dump the too expensive rocket pod, and strip out the wheels from the corsair. Put in any Hoverjets you've gathered, either equipped to mounting points, or installed if need be.
Install the great sensor from the Aranos in the head. Since the cockpit is there, if you lose the head you lose anyway, and the bonus to Sensor range is great.
(Remember! Always switch to walk mode to turn! Turning is *far* faster when walking)
Keep the Laser cannon, and add the Shaka cannon from your Buru Buru, or, if you were lucky and got a Nova Storm Buru Buru, add both storm pistols. If you got the Nova Storm, strip the nova cannon out of the body armor before equipping it. It's probably not worth the weight. Alternatively you can also add the rattler cannon from the Aranos if you kept it, or the weak, slow, and heavy but good range PAR-6 from the Esher. Equip any arm or leg armor from your Buru.
If you found a targeting computer anywhere, also install that.
Aim for a -2 MV, -3 at the absolute worst. If you don't have a targeting computer I recommend not going below -2 for now.
(With your hoverjet/s there is also a hidden Buru Buru over on Tokto Island along the beach, but it requires mid-high Awareness to find. Not worth the effort.)
Head into the Hoyge mines, best to just hurry through and not stop to try to kill stuff. With lasers might as well shoot as you move though, since there is no ammo lost. on level four or five stop beside a pile of rubble, SAVE, then use Science on it to learn that it contains ore. Head all the way out through the elevator to get a Wolfram. Go back into town.
Talk to the ticket vendor to bring the Wolfram to you. Put the helmet on your Corsair (critical to protect from one-shot headshots) and probably sell the rest (ALT: You may want to keep this one for now, see below). The pickaxe is strong but heavy, and the mining laser probably isn't worth its weight, although it might replace a Shaka Cannon.
Other Hoyge QuestsEdit
Talk to Megi. Do not just blurt out about the ore unless you're desperate for Heroism points. Instead mention that you found something to make Hoyge rich, and when she asks, tell her. Don't try to blackmail her unless you want to be a villian. Taking the suggested route gets you 25k cash and no reputation. Blurting out gets you some Hero rep points and a *small* chance of the 25k. Blackmailing gets you villianous points.
Talk to Hyolee again, chat her up to get reaction up. If nothing happens rest and repeat, she should say "I almost remember something I've forgotten", talk to her again and if her reaction is high enough she'll ask you to retrive a notebook. Ask her "Who is Fluffy?" and when she answers if you succeed at a Science skill roll the option "Why do you have a dinosaur?" will get you an extra 25 xp.
Go to the research station NW of town, run through, avoid Fluffy, find the book, head back, give her the book, assure her that fluffy is fine (or if you wan'ted to be villainous (and get some villainous rep), shoot fluffy then tell her fluffy is fine and laugh while imagining her poor heart breaking when she goes to check up later.)
Head back over to Snake Lake, Chat up the Guardian you first talked to until his reaction is high enough that he's willing to join your Lance. Stick him in any mech available for now.
Onward to VictoryEdit
Now do the Arena circuit from Hoyge to Gyori to Namok, with missions in between until happiness occurs. Your first 1000XP should go to the Tech Vulture talent. Alternatively, if you plan to try to take on the XRAN Bounty Hunter plot, you could buy the Stunt Driving talent first, then Tech Vulture at 10,000 xp.
As soon as you get to around 20-25 Reputation you should pick a faction to join and do so, so that you start gaining Faction XP as early as possible.
Some notes: The best shops for mecha parts are the Gyori Kettle Industries cave mechanic, Silver Virtue in Namok Spaceport, the mechanic in Namok, Elite Armaments in Ipshil, Automata in Snake Lake Corporate Zone, and the Black Market in Snake Lake Waterfront (To find the Black Market, talk to the Bounty Hunter in the waterfront till he mentions pirates having the best loot, then talk to Miaga and ask about the Black Market.)
If you can, remember to keep checking the shops for a targeting computer (hopefully a 4 or 5, but anything helps.) The only weapon definitely worth buying is *possibly* the Vulcan Cannons, although they have pretty short range. The Drone Launcher might be an option as well, since your own skill doesn't really affect it much and it doesn't weigh all that much. Reloads can be relatively expensive, but it can keep you alive while the enemy wastes shots on the Drones.