Davids vs. Goliaths:*beginner note*: BA (Battle Armor) or Elemental is the "infantry" of MWLL. It is what you first start with when entering a game. You can then choose and buy a vehicle, but you can also choose to play the role of Dedicated Battle Armor, which means you will buy certain gear you cannot when you choose to go with vehicles (except for the APC).
The Essential guide to Elemental/BA in MWLL 0.4.x
While Mechwarrior Living Legends is a game based mainly on vehicle combat, many players might overlook the advantages playing as plain infantry brings. I have been using lots of BA since 0.1.0 and it has come to be my favourite way to play the game. In this guide i will break down why playing as BA can many a time be just as effective as manning a vehicle, can bring great advantage to your team, and how to properly play the role of BA to succeed in MWLL.
1. THE GEAR
So, you decided to go BA. Now enter the buy menu. The only buy options we will be looking at for dedicated BA are under the WEAPONS tab, and the APC under the VEHICLES tab. As you can see, there are the following items available to you:
-Small Beam Laser
(default weapon) (http://wiki.mechlivinglegends.net/index.php?title=BA_SBL
-Heavy Beam Laser
Additionally, every BA has 2 mounted SRM launchers that cannot be dropped/exchanged for other weapons.
Now, im sure many people have their own preffered configurations, but there is only one that is truly optimal in terms of damage output and flexibility. MpPPC, Heavy Laser, and as many C8 grenades as you can afford. If you dont have enough cbills for this setup, i would rather reccommend that you ask teammates for money to buy it, then buying another one. Why this is so:
The PPC is the most versatile of BA weapons. It has a rather high damage output, does splash damage, triggers an EMP that fries enemy electronics for a brief time (great in night combat, enemy loses infrared vision), shakes the enemy's view when hit, increases the enemy's heat when hit, and finally it boosts you in the opposite direction of firing. The latter prevents you from campsniping, but can be extremely useful when avoiding enemy shots, and when travelling long distances.
The Heavy Laser is the strongest of the BA weapons. When used right it will provide you with many kills and much score. It is a danger to anything that is within 175m of you. Its pinpoint accuracy and high damage output make it a must for any dedicated BA.
The C8 grenades are best simply because they do most damage. NARC and Inferno are also good for certain situations, but due to the buggy nature of grenades i believe its best to go for highest damage output.
We will cover specific tactics with these weapons later on.
You can buy your setup in the base, but it is usually better to wait and deploy the APC first, as you can gain additional cbills from teammates buying/spawning at your APC as you travel to the field. You can then purchase any additional gear, like grenades, when you deploy your APC.
2. THE APC
The Armored Personell Carrier, or APC, is the BA's best friend. It is currently the only vehicle in the game that permits you to enter with your full dedicated BA gear, so it will be your transport of choice when starting off. The main advantages of the APC are:
-it allows you to spawn as BA on its location, wherever it is on the map
-it allows you, and all your teammates, including those in vehicles, to buy gear and ammo near its location.
-it provides you with score whenever a teammate spawns at it or buys gear/ammo at it
-it allows the transport of additional BA, aside from the driver (6 iirc)
When driving the APC to the front, much like in real estate, one thing must be kept in mind. Location, location, location. Where you place your APC will be vital to its effectivness. It needs to be close enough to the battlefield so you dont travel for too long, but far or hidden enough not to be spotted and destroyed by the enemy. It is also useful if the APC is parked at a relativley accessible spot so your teammates dont spend too long reloading, but this also makes it more accessible to the enemy.
Many maps have rocks that make great camo for the APC, try ramming straight at them and park it at a unusual angle, as this will make it harder to spot. You can also park it at a high location like a mountain or even a pyramid, thus enabling friendly aeros to refill closer to the field. If the map you are playing on has one of those bases with a wall surrounding them, parking the APC right behind the wall will allow teammates to buy from beyond the wall, thus keeping the APC hidden (you must however inform them it is there).
Wherever you park it, make sure you tell your teammates that it is deployed.
3. MANEUVERING AND TACTICS
So now youve deployed your APC, bought your gear, and are ready to fight. So lets look at some advantages you have as BA over enemy vehicles:
-The ability to very quickly take cover. Remember, along with your small profile, this is your greatest advantage. Always try to make sure you have some cover nearby, and it will save your life many times. Use crouching when necessary, and make sure your not hiding in such a place where splash damage from rockets or PPC hitting a nearby wall might damage you.
-Aiming. Unlike vehicle drivers whose view turning rates are slowed down depending on the type of vehicle, you have the perfect action FPS view and aim. Use this to your advantage and try to always move and shoot at the same time.
-Distraction. It works both ways. When you are near an enemy and there are friendlies on the way, engage the target and keep evading it so you make a distraction while your allies get into position and open fire. Your target will usually engage them back, allowing you freely engage its back torso armor. But also, when you see an enemy dueling with an ally, feel free to engage. As long as the ally lives you will not concern your enemy much, but be prepared to quickly zip into cover if your ally is destroyed.
Some general tips:
It is essential that you learn to use your jumpjets properly. Only use your whole charge when you need to snipe something from high up, otherwise use short bursts and try to never be completely without. Combine sprint and short bursts for travelling horizontally.
When attacking as BA, you have to pay attention to your weapon reload times. SRMs take longest to reload, so the correct firing order for maximum damage is: PPC, HL, PPC, SRM, HL, and repeat. Dont wait for weapon to reload, learn to switch weapons in this order and you will maximize your damage output.
BA are most effective in a team. If there is another BA near you make sure you two stick together (while keeping a little distance so they dont doublekill you), as you provide cover fire and a distraction for each other.
Radar. Remember to allways select your target on the radar and read his armor status (defaults: E-nearest enemy; T-next enemy). Use your accuracy and maneuverability advantage to attack the part of the enemy that is the most damaged. When multiple targets are in range, cycle through them and check if any of them are badly damaged. Sometimes mech pilots eject from their mech, destroying their cockpit armor. If you see such a target move in at once, and spam Everything youve got on the cockpit. A single well placed PPC should kill the pilot and leave you with a mech to comandeer/destroy.
Grenades. They are very buggy at the moment. 90% you will not be able to make them stick to an enemy, but there are specific cases when you can, and it those cases C8 gives you such a damage boost you need to take that opportunity. Whenever the enemy vehicle is still, moving in the same direction with the same speed as you, or charging directly towards you, the grenades will usually stick. Also, if you manage to land on an enemy vehicle, all the grenades will stick, but careful to gtfo before they go off.
Your PPC. Use it wisely and it will save your life many a time.when you see an enemy aiming at you, splash it in the face with the PPC and its view will rock so hard it will give you the extra 2-3 seconds to get to cover. When you need to get somewhere quickly and have nothing specific to shoot at, fire the PPC in the opposite direction and enjoy a slight but important speed boost (also good when evading without jumpjets). The PPC is also the weapon with the longest range you have. If there is heavily damaged enemy running away from you, jumpjet up and keep shooting him, in many cases you will land a kill. When engaging other BA with it wait for the Enemy to come to a still point (peak of the jump or the moment when he hits the ground). This will make him a lot easier to hit.
Im hoping this will help some of the newer players and those who claim they suck at BA