Author Topic: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?  (Read 1451 times)

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Offline Valheru

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Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« on: February 16, 2017, 05:02:23 AM »
Hey All,

So I've already read in another thread somewhere and know the general answer to the question I am about to ask but it still doesn't really answer the question for myself or why it necessarily should remain this way, especially with community development starting up again / continuing:


In MWLL, why are tanks able to battle toe to toe with mechs (both fresh from a hangar with full armour) and often win?
(at least in my cases anyway)


So I did read somewhere when someone asked something very similar that while the game is called "MechWarrior", it is in fact more of a Battletech game at heart and is why we have the combined arms gameplay (which I absolutely love and think it's awesome you can take to the battlefield in so many ways) and in Battletech lore, tanks can be just as deadly as mechs are but with a bit less mobility and generally less weapons.

Now, first and foremost I am not new to MechWarrior games but neither am I a pro pilot or veteran, I can hold my own somewhat and am starting to really get past basic gameplay and into the deeper strategy in MWLL, stats and what mechs work better for different scenarios and tactics. I still am a complete newb though when it comes to Battletech lore and particular mech and vehicle stats, pros and cons though. So maybe it's completely evident to everyone well versed in this information but it doesn't make sense to me.

What makes it really a lot worse for me though and stands out visually, is the size difference and portrayal of the tanks compared to mechs. Even in a Hollander G I feel massive and powerful compared to the little tank sitting in front of me soaking up all the damage I can deal specifically to it's turret yet with both of us starting from fresh, I'm the one that is killed. It's unexpected for me and kills a lot of the fun when I don't understand why I couldn't deal with a single small tank when literally both sitting there going toe to toe with each other.

From a pure logic viewpoint, the considerable size difference to me would point to the fact the mech would carry a lot more armour than the tank and so should be able to soak a lot more damage than the tank can in comparison. That and generally the mechs can mount bigger weapons and MORE of them, so mechs should simply outgun / out DPS a tank anyway.

To me, the expected gameplay from tanks would be from a support and defence role or roving around offensively in groups of 2-3 that then pose a serious threat to a single heavy mech caught alone or a very serious threat a medium mech. Much like with BAs, by themselves a BA can still be deadly if left completely unchecked but generally can be ignored for a while and then dealt with fairly easily if you land a good shot. But as a roving group of 3-4 tanks, they become a proper menace even to some heavy mechs that don't give them due attention. I feel this is what tank gameplay should be like but sitting somewhere 2/3 of the way between BAs and Mechs in terms of a 1v1 effectiveness / threat level basis. I know a lot of it actually comes down to pilot skill and mastery (and so it should) but if you're simply sitting there trading blow for blow then I feel the mech should come out on top most times.

To me that would make much more sense in a game called "MechWarrior" where I feel mechs should be front and centre and generally be the most badass thing out there on the battlefield. Currently a small in comparison tank duking it out toe to toe with a mech, literally "tanking" more damage and coming out as the victor to me seems almost comical and not the experience I expect when stepping into a mech.

What do others, old vets and new pilots alike think regarding this and with development moving ahead, is there room for tweaking mech vs tank gameplay to rebalance it a bit more in the mech's favour in 1 on 1s? I mean, I do after all play this game mostly for an awesome mech experience ;)

- Valheru

Note: A few minor edits and additions have been made to the OP, I will only do spelling and grammar corrections from here forward though ;)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 10:49:50 AM by Valheru »

Offline Ressk [CSF]

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 05:22:16 AM »
Dollar for dollar, a tank and a mech are quite equivalent in threat potential, physical size notwithstanding.

Remember now that most of the tanks are weighed in the same scale as the mechs, for example my friend the Oro Tank. When you consider its surface area to a Mech 20-30ft tall, it would make sense that its 60 tonnes are more compactly focused, instead of spread around the legs, arms, torso, and other parts of the mech. The construction methods of the mechs and tanks likely differ considerably, with less dense but physically larger parts making up the mech for the strength to walk around, vs the heavy but effective parts of a tank.

In game balance i'm not sure, but an equivalently armoured overall mech, vs an overall tank, the tank will have stronger, though fewer, segments of armour. As its armour is not spread around LT, CT, RT, back, LA, RA, LL, RL, pod 1, pod etc, its Front, Back, Right, Left, and Turret plates will be very individually strong.

This individual part strength is also a weakness however. As a mech, spreading damage around your armour pieces is relatively easy to accomplish. Your LT can soak for CT, the arm can absorb a gauss hit, shots to your legs can save your torso, etc.

The ground pounder in the tank is less lucky. While his plates are strong, he has 5 only, and one of them is huge, directly on top of his vehicle, and impossible to rotate out of the way.The turret is the quickest path to the internal structure, and also cripples his turret traverse, forcing difficult manuevers to keep on target.

In addition, the mechs in this game maneuver beautifully and swiftly.

Tanks, on the other hand, get caught on invisible rocks, bounce like balls, and can barely crack 70KPH.

Weapon on weapon, a tank packs usually smart weapons with good focus. But, these are all in the turret, so crippling that traverse is paramount. Keep the tank forced to move to your liking, keep his turret pinged, and once it is cracked keep it pointed away from you. As well, take advantage of your vast number of hit locations by forcing his shots to go to disadvantageous locations.

Tanks are poor in open ground due to their lack of maneuverability. Tanks are strong in close, as their target can't flank or maneuver well.

In summary: respect tanks as equal combatants to mechs, but with exploitable weaknesses that generally favour mechs. Never underestimate them and hit the turret!
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Offline Terragent

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2017, 02:33:15 AM »
Ressk pretty much has it right - tanks give up a lot of the advantages that mechs get (speed, agility, the potential for jump jets, etc) in exchange for better performance in some highly specific situations (most notably a straightforward face-to-face fight). They have a harder time protecting their rear and sides than mechs have protecting damaged arms or torsos, and they can do absolutely nothing to protect their turret.

Personally, I wouldn't take a Hollander II into a one-on-one fight against any tank bigger than the Ares and expect to walk away unless I had some massive advantages (ie, starting the engagement outside the tank's maximum range, fighting in very bumpy terrain, tank is already damaged, tank has a loadout that can't fight back like the LRM Partisan, etc). If a 60 (or 80!) ton tank can't be expected to beat a medium mech in a direct fight then I'm not sure what niche that tank could possibly have.

Tanks also lose out to mechs on a bunch of quality-of-life fronts - no jump jets, poor turning circle, low top speed, bad handling on slopes, etc. It takes much longer to get to the front after spawning, and you have to be much more cautious about committing to a fight, since many unwinnable situations that a mech could run away from are situations where a tank has no choice but to make a last stand and die. Some maps are an absolute bastard to use a tank in - even small bumps in the level geometry can mess with their aim, get them stuck, or even flip them over completely, and undergrowth or debris that's just scenery to a mech pilot is often a complete visual barrier to someone in a tank (I'm looking at you, Dustbowl trees).

Also, tanks used to have to put up with this.

Offline Fury9er

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 06:38:05 PM »
It has struck me before that you can't really immobilise (terrain notwithstanding) or disarm a tank since they keep shooting and moving till they're dead. I don't feel this outweighs their drawbacks. I know that whatever mech I am in, I have to give Demos and Morrigus considerable respect, and I know Oros have armour that goes on forever. Partisans will ruin you if you ignore them and the new DSSRM one is an assault killer.

Quote
To me that would make much more sense in a game called "MechWarrior" where I feel mechs should be front and centre and generally be the most badass thing out there on the battlefield. Currently a small in comparison tank duking it out toe to toe with a mech, literally "tanking" more damage and coming out as the victor to me seems almost comical and not the experience I expect when stepping into a mech.

This is always going to be a thing with a Battletech combined arms game. Conventional forces need to be worth using, or there is no point having them.

Offline Fluffy Destroyer

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2017, 12:18:13 AM »
Tanks are more heavily armoured than 'mechs, but are far less mobile and have less weapons. For example, one of the more popular variants of the 80-ton Morrigu tank is armed with 3 Ultra AC/10's and 2 SSRM-2's, while a similarly-heavy 80-ton Awesome 'mech is armed with 4 PPC's. So, a 60-ton tank would have similar armament to a 50-ton 'mech and similar armour to a 75-ton 'mech, but the speed of a 85-ton 'mech.
heck

Offline Bill

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2017, 03:34:24 AM »
Tanks are more heavily armoured than 'mechs, but are far less mobile and have less weapons. For example, one of the more popular variants of the 80-ton Morrigu tank is armed with 3 Ultra AC/10's and 2 SSRM-2's, while a similarly-heavy 80-ton Awesome 'mech is armed with 4 PPC's. So, a 60-ton tank would have similar armament to a 50-ton 'mech and similar armour to a 75-ton 'mech, but the speed of a 85-ton 'mech.

This essentially.


Offline [n0rl] Django

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2017, 10:23:33 PM »
Since everybody here so far seems to disagree with the annotation, I guess I have to break a lance for Valheru from another veterans perspective. I neither followed the development discussions nor could I find detailed information about armor rearrangements in the changelog, so my argument is solely based on my in-game experiences.

My concern is mostly regarding the early game which in my opinion, not at last because of armor-rebalance, has changed dramatically. For better AND worse. I do agree with many of the balancing decisions that have been made and generally it is good to see assets switching positions in popularity (looking at pre-0.8 Owens D). But a major bummer of 0.8 for me has been the (in consequence quasi-) removal of a good, early Mech-Brawl. Although Owens D had admittedly been too dominant in this role in 0.7, the armor-buff and early availability of better tanks/hovers, plus the removal of any comparatively well armored starting mechbrawler, has lead mech-pilots to play much more defensively from the beginning, culminating in a tendency to kite and snipe even more, rather than getting into that goddamn base.

I fully agree that tanks, especially the heavies, have to have a distinct armor advantage over similar-sized mechs, since.. quite frankly it is the only one they should have to fulfill their primarily defensive role. But if this leads to lighter assets with an intended support/scout-role like the Chevy and the Harasser to being used as mini-Demos that can one-on-one fend off any Mech offense on any base from the very beginning, the armor-buffing in my view has been overdone. Of course, considering myself a dedicated guerilla-mechpilot that loves get in messy situations just to survive them by -0.1 CT-armorpoints, this shift in gameplay hits me harder than the second-line LRM-specialist. But I would argue that a more dynamic early-game would ultimately be in everyones favor.

So overall I guess I share Valheru's impression that tanks, as it stands right now, are a tiiiinylittlebit OP? And for me this seems most striking in the early game. But I'd be curious to see whether this is still a controversial point of discussion in devs-team, maybe us two are the only ones bitching..?  :P
« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 09:07:52 PM by [n0rl] Django »

Offline cest73

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2017, 11:29:12 PM »
the 0.8.2 vs 0.7.1 had brought quite few changes in the game/balance across everything, early game included:

1. There are no more true brawlers in the starter bracket - and that changed lot of things.
2. RTB on time - ths quite richly rewards and this is IMO, really a good thing - live another day
3. The early birds (you know who you are) have a window of opportunity to get assault in early game - per se not a bad thing...
4. The late joiners, have rarely a fair chance to jump a heavy in an uncoordinated team - in pub games, this is 85% of times - this is the problem
5. The vehicles: each strength has a trade-off - if in light, move in fast circles and concentrate fire on a single section - turret if far away, the weak rear armor if in brawl - only few tanks outlive a foe exclusively hitting their back.
6. For the tanks,the opposite is true: never allow to be hit on same section - especially the back - especially if hover tank!

The changes brought about an unforeseen thing - the current state is such that lone brawlers, although advancing in rank and funds, stand no chance versus an assault, if below heavy class, and if going alone.
The changes are such, that there are no more OP assets in classes, any OP in a class is unintentional and considered a bug, not a feature.
This in effect, mandates organized play versus the "early birds" that grew into assaults in early game.

While the 0.7.1 allowed solo play (by means of OP assets), the current 0.8.2 mandates cooperation.

If this is good or bad, time will tell, but i know in games with a decent cooperation and subordination, there is nothing as sweet as victory stolen back! :D


Offline JLZ

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2017, 10:36:40 PM »
I'd love to see some stomp damage. Probably hard to do though.

Offline Ressk [CSF]

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2017, 12:45:13 AM »
I'd love to see some stomp damage. Probably hard to do though.

Need death from above and a tow cable first.
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Offline Bill

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2017, 04:04:38 PM »
BA Claw above all that.

Offline cest73

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2017, 11:55:04 PM »
I'd love to see some stomp damage. Probably hard to do though.

Need death from above and a tow cable first.
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Offline okaolias

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2017, 01:02:27 AM »
I was looking at the armor values of separate components in the spreadsheets thEClaw extracted with HirumaKai's updated program. Vehicles are quite bizarre in their armor distribution.

All tracked vehicles (tanks) follow an armor distribution that places most of their armor on their turret, followed by front, then the sides having equal amounts and the back being significantly less armored and a weak point. "Aim for the turret" is a piece of advice thrown around quite often when fighting tanks, since they can't turn that section away from you, but the turret needs to take as much damage as their back section and one of their sides combined to be finally destroyed. Dealing enough damage on one side and then going through the hassle of circling the vehicle to keep it on your sights can often be a viable tactic when brawling, though less so when fighting from a distance.

Hovercrafts, by comparison, have most of their armor on their front section, followed by the turret, and the rest of their armor is equally distributed between their sides and back. This makes spreading damage by driving away in a serpentine pattern even more viable, and turning and burning using their superior speed isn't as much of a risk compared to continuing to circle around and fighting, since their back section isn't as much a weak point compared to their sides at first sight. Focusing on the turret is generally more viable, but their turrets are often small targets compared to other vehicles and focusing a single component can be hard as they speed all over the place. Thankfully they are generally lightly armored.

The one that's the weirdest however is the only wheeled vehicle in the game, the Chevalier. Besides having the most armor out of the starter vehicles, if the numbers extracted are truly accurate, it's the asset with the most bizarre armor distribution. Its front section is slightly more armored than its turret, similar to hovercrafts, and its back section is a significant weakness. However, its most armored parts are its sides! On the more armored variants the side armors are more durable than the front armor of Oros, there is more front armor than the Ares and the turret, while being a more viable weak point, is still more armored than Partisan turrets. In the previous versions of the game it followed the same armor distribution as tanks, meaning turret->front->sides->rear and there is still a base variant with that armor distribution. In its current iteration, brawling with one while running in circles, combined with its annoyingly small size, can really make it seem like a miniature demolisher, despite its relatively low hull.

The last piece of vehicle weirdness is damage transfer rates to hull and the partial damage transfer beginning at 75% destroyed section. In the 0.7 crucial issues thread, almost exactly four years ago, it was stated that the transfer rates from different sections were different for tanks, hovers and the chevy and Long Tom. A tank's turret only transfers damage at a rate of 0.6 even when completely destroyed! That means it would take almost double the damage to core it through a turret, making the "go for the turret" tactic even less effective. The already weak rear transfers 1.5 times the damage. Hovercrafts didn't have a lightly armored rear, but it had a 1.75 damage transfer rate! There was also no mention of decreased transfer from turret, unlike tracked vehicles, though it might just have been an omission. The Chevalier and Long Tom had a 0.9 transfer rate from both front and turret and 1.3 from rear. This would make going for the turret a relatively effective strategy against chevies.

However, these are old numbers. It was stated in the changelog for 0.8.0 that the Chevalier, Harasser and Hephaestus had their damage modifiers to splash and damage transfer rates tweaked in order to make them more survivalable, so I don't know how accurate this info is now.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 01:10:36 AM by okaolias »

Offline xInVicTuSx

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2017, 03:56:05 AM »
@Val

Mech Vs tank combat in a one on one is determined by one thing, weapons. If you try to take on a tank with something like: Gauss, PPC, ATMs, MRMs, or Large Lasers you will fail, hard.
Those weapons are all excellent at killing mechs but fail horribly at killing tanks. If you have those weapons, even if you outweigh your opponent, you should not engage with confidence.
RACs, Pulse lasers, SRMs, and Heavy lasers on the other hand, wreck tanks. So long as you're not standing still taking a pounding from the tank, you will win.
Its all about DPS against tanks, whereas mechs are more vulnerable to burst and splash damage.

This is both a product of the engine (the splash damage weapons will only hit one location on a tank usually because the locations are massive) and a product of design (everything will still do advertised damage, but some weapons are far more effective).

The larger tanks already are basically support vehicles, great in base defense and attack but poop out in the field.
The exception being the Morrigu, which pays for this with its exceptional price and extreme vulnerability to bad terrain.
Also, pure speed numbers are misleading. A damaged mech can run away and weave through cover while protecting its back if it needs to disengage. The tank can only turn around and run, exposing its rear armor the entire time. You can't weave and you cant try and lose opponents in heavy cover like forests or very rough terrain because you will be the one getting slowed down or stuck not your pursuers.
 
Expecting a group of tanks to "hold its own" versus ONE heavy mech is never going to happen, at least not with our supported player numbers. In a 32v32 or 64v64? Sure why not. But 14v14?
No way, that is a third of the team.

I will say that I'm not a fan of the 100->0 damage output of tanks, I would rather them lose their offensive effectiveness overtime rather than their mobility overtime due to damage. Their mobility is already piss poor, having to crawl back at 20kph is cancerous.

Take a UAC20 or RAC5 hollander (even perhaps the LBX hollander might work), you will dump on an Ares/chevy easily and maybe even partisan/oro if you're good or lucky, but that HVAC10 sniper? That will be awful against all tanks, solely because of how the weapon works. Same for the Gauss variants, even the Hgauss is poor against tanks in a straight up fight

@Django

The Osiris is quite good at early game brawling. The uller sadly, is having some serious problems. The Chevy very much is a mini demo and is meant to be. It has very little for weapons and some of the weirdest handling in the game (its the only tank that is better in the field than in a base). But the thought about the harasser being a mini demo.... come on now man, that's just nonsense. The hull is so low and transfer rates so high that if you lose a single location on a harasser you will get killed by one or two stray shots, it happens that fast. You have to move extremely fast and drive like a maniac to survive in those things.
The solitaire will get some armor and hitbox fixes so that will be better at brawling. I'm doing everything I can to make the uller not die horribly (but this is very difficult). Right now the Owens is in a good place, the MRM10 one does nearly as much damage as the old SRM6 model, just not a point blank. Speed is life for all light assets, I get the feeling you just want to be able to ram into enemies and straight up tank and then run away with lol speed (like the old starter owens) which is just cancer all around. I think people are careful early game because they're not very confident in lights, piloting errors will lead to death very quickly and right now there is more close range firepower on the field early game than long range. You just have to be careful to close in properly and no when to gtfo.
If you want to just run in and loltank... then take the chevy... thats what its there for. The owens can do it too but stacking a bunch of brawl weapons on it gets expensive quickly.

@okaolias

All of these "weird" values are by design and all accomplish very specific purposes.
The chevy's bizarre armor distribution are a product of its bizarre shape and the fact that it cannot turn in place like a traditional tank can. Even trying to present your front or rear to the enemy in a chevy you will most of the time be presenting one of your sides because the its so much longer than it is wide and you need to be constantly moving, which means lots of turning to avoid running into things.

All of what you state is by design, its not weirdness at all.
If the turret had just as high of transfer rate as the sides or rear on the large tanks, it would be completely pointless to go for anything other than the turret; even with those liberal numbers its often STILL the best option to just for for the turret.
Yet on the chevy, the turret is oddly tiny and out of the way, again its actually hard to hit it if you try in a battle, so packing on a bunch of armor to something that never gets hit is a ticket to garbage asset.

The concept of unified design across all assets is possible in many ways, trying to stay to tabletop rules, but there are a few major exceptions.
The biggest exception of all, which I would tell anyone trying to make a new mechwarrior game, is that the literal shape of the asset MUST determine its armor distribution.
The numbers MUST bow to the reality of what the player sees in game, if not, the asset will always be garbage and always fail, regardless of its dice roll reputation.

Heavy armor redistribution has saved the Uziel, Mauler, Partisan, Puma, Cougar, Chimera, Avatar, Hollander, Rifleman, Oro, and Chevalier from being regulated to complete shit.
Hell, even the ATLAS sucked before I decided to tweak the armor and put in a standard fusion engine which has a much lower transfer rate.
I'm probably forgetting some others here too, there is a small elite of logically designed mechs that are very streamlined and hard to focus, they benefit from the standard armor rules, anything that has a distinctive shape in anyway will suffer.



@All
The fact that you all have concerns of things being "a bit too OP" or UP or what have you, is a good sign. Because its very difficult to that point as is, there is a whole lot of backroom magic going on to make sure whatever you take will feel at least 90% worth it if you use it correctly while still not breaking any hard CBT logic. Sure mechlab would still probably break the funness of the game (not sure it would break "balance" perse) but there are LOTS of variants in the game and I push silly boats within reason to make sure everything has drawbacks. The fact that there is no 100% best thing everytime consensus is a good thing.
Even the Lanner, which is currently, quite heavily bugged, is no god.
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Offline cyofee

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Re: Mechs vs Tanks - Is MWLL unbalanced?
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2017, 05:43:52 AM »
Quote
"Aim for the turret" is a piece of advice thrown around quite often when fighting tanks

That's only ever said in response to noobs who wouldn't be able to focus another section.