Starter Asset Guide
Welcome to the Starter Asset Guide!
This guide, unlike the Asset Bible, will go into more depth on each starter that you can buy with the initial 43,000 C-Bills you begin with in Team Solaris Arena or Terrain Control games and provide you with some recommended choices for starting out. More expensive assets and selections for Solaris Arena (FFA) matches are outside the scope of this guide. Also, this guide assumes you won't receive additional funding when you spawn in for the first time.
A key point to remember when buying a starter is that any money you have leftover at the start of the match can be used to bankroll your next upgrade, provided you either do not die or die with more money than your rank will provide you with upon respawn. This is how some veteran players springboard themselves into much more expensive assets quickly - they forgo spending all their money right away, earn extra cash from fights, return to base and sell their starter. As a result, many starters are viewed through the lens of C-Bill earning potential. Some highly specialized assets, such as the "Toast 'n Go" Harasser D, are never used as starters for this reason.
If you're unsure about any of the abbreviations or acronyms found on this page, refer to the MWLL Glossary for explanations.
Let's jump right in!
- 1 Recommended Starters
- 2 Other Starter Choices
All the assets listed in this section are solid choices on most maps for new players. These units all offer a strong balance of speed, firepower and survivability while remaining easy to use.
The Owens is the Inner Sphere's premier durable light 'Mech in MWLL. It can achieve speeds of up to 120 km/h, giving it good mobility along with some of the heaviest armor found among starters and even light 'Mechs as a whole. Most Owens variants also come equipped with BAP and C3, enabling both scouting and extra CBill generation via C3. The price the Owens pays for these strengths is its higher price tag, 90 degree torso twist range and a generally subpar weapons array. Fighting with an Owens is more about outlasting your enemy and running from anything you can't out-tank rather than burning through the target quickly.
- the Prime's main utility comes from its triple LRM5 launchers. It is a good choice on maps that are large and wide open, with good sightlines that allow you to obtain missile lock easily. On smaller maps, consider a more brawl-focused asset, such as the Owens B. It does carry two MBLs for shorter range work, but with the minimum range on IS LRMs, do not brawl in this 'Mech unless you have no choice.
- the B - In many ways, this variant is like the Prime, except for brawling. The two SSRM4s provide the bulk of your damage capabilities, with the SPLs adding extra damage where possible. As with any SSRM-based asset, the Owens B consumes ammo rapidly and it is vital to obtain extra ammo whenever possible. Luckily, the Owens' speed helps with returning to base frequently while its good armor will keep you standing in situations where other starters would perish.
The Osiris is notable for its good firepower and mobility, being both fast and typically coming equipped with Jump Jets. This package comes with a relatively low cost; as a result, Osirises are strong close-support 'Mechs for early-game brawls. Heat management is important in most of these Osirises, as they almost all utilize laser-heavy loadouts with an SRM weapon of some kind to provide screenshake and additional damage. A nice bonus of the Osiris is its full-range torso - this means you can fire on an opponent while running or even jumping away from them.
Unlike the Owens, the Osiris does not share the same durability due to its lower armor and the shape of its torso. Take care to choose fights carefully when piloting an Osiris and hold back when you are not certain of victory.
- the Prime - the four ERMBLs provide good, reliable firepower without running too hot on most maps. An SRM6 pack adds much-needed extra damage in brawls, while JJs grant extra mobility. This Osiris is a good all-round choice in most situations and it is a good wingman for a teammate where you can help out by precisely knocking out a specific component on an opponent. The short-duration nature of the Prime's lasers also allow you to jump or move out from cover, fire and return to cover easily.
- the A - featuring a trio of MXPLs, the A functions a lot like the Prime, except with a shorter range and more damage-per-second. This enables it to also accurately knock off arms or torsos from opponents, while an SSRM4 adds easy-to-use screenshake. This variant has no JJs, but makes up for that with a slightly lower price tag. As long as it can stay cool, the A can deal a lot of damage provided the X-Pulse lasers are kept on-target, and in doing so, a lot of money. Since it takes some time for the XPLs to work their magic, stay on the move and find cover once you hit the limits of your 'Mech's heat capacity.
- the D - Give a massive overhaul in 0.9.0, the Osiris D has gone from being a 'Mech nobody uses to a common sight on the field. Now sporting a pair of RAC2s, iJJs and GECM along with two spare tons for extra ammo, the D can quickly stuff static targets full of lead. It excels at popping early hovercraft open with the bonus damage dealt to them from the light kinetic damage modifier on the RAC2. Despite its strengths, it is not as durable as its brethren, nor does it have the same battlefield endurance, as the D will require ammo reloads over an extended battle. Maintaining range is key to success with the Osiris D.
- the F - this variant trades some range for a slightly higher damage curve closer in, swapping the quad medium lasers for six ERSBLs and upgrading the SRM6 to an SSRM6. It features both JJs and MASC, making it the fastest Osiris around. Generally, the F functions a lot like the Prime, except at closer ranges. Use your mobility to grab capture zones early on in Terrain Control games or to keep up with swift teammates in Harassers or Solitaires. Keep in mind that the F is more expensive, however.
New to version 0.9.0, the Anubis is a unique 'Mech in every sense of the word. It is the only 'Mech in the game to come with built-in Stealth Armor (and thus GECM) in all variants. Stealth Armor in MWLL reduces the range at which you can be detected by standard radar to 350m, making the Anubis a superb infiltrator, hunter and harassment tool. This ability does not come for free -- the Anubis carries no coolant whatsoever, which can be a liability in high-intensity fights. With a top speed of 120kph, the Anubis can keep up with most other starter assets.
- the F - very similar to the Owens B, the Anubis F is an SSRM boat. Sporting two arm-mounted MBLs and two SSRM4 packs in the "ears", this Anubis' firepower is geared towards close-range combat and is relatively easy to use. Unlike the Owens B, this 'Mech does not feature the same durability; in effect, when choosing the Anubis F over the Owens B, you are trading durability for stealth capabilities.
- the G - this variant features 5 ERSBLs, a LPPC and a UAC5. This loadout provides well-rounded firepower, blending both pinpoint damage from the lasers with a little burst and screenshake with the LPPC and UAC5. Both of these weapons are mounted in the arms and can be a bit of a challenge to use against fast movers early on. The G also features JJs, which can be helpful for traversing rough terrain or vaulting over a wall to escape a tight situation.
Of all the starters, the Uller tends to bring the most firepower to the table. In order to accomplish this, it must sacrifice armor, heat sinks, electronics and speed, while carrying a higher price tag. Ullers are somewhat slow for a starter with a top speed of only 97 km/h and carry most of their firepower in their arms, leaving them vulnerable to being disarmed during combat. Ullers also do not carry Jump Jets on any of their variants. The key to using Ullers best is not to let yourself get bogged down in a prolonged battle: pick your fights and win them quickly before the opponent gets backup.
- the Prime - this Uller features both good long-range and short-range firepower, which is rare in a starter and makes it capable across a variety of maps. The CERLBL and CLBX5 are effective at putting damage on static targets at range, while the two CERSBLs and CSRM6 form the basis of your brawling power. Take advantage of the fact that the LBX5 deals additional damage to light vehicles - this Uller can outfight many of the early tanks you will run across. The Prime will run a bit hot, especially if you lean on the large laser too much.
- the E - Built around a CLBX10, the E features some good firepower, especially close-in against light vehicles. The triple CSPL and single CDSRM4 are great for brawling while remaining fairly cool overall. With the LBX10, the E can do some ranged skirmishing as its ammo lasts: the E will suffer from ammo shortages as it cannot carry any extra ammo. With this in mind, the E is best used when you can reload easily, either at an APC a teammate brings or in a base you can capture at the start of the game. Having good aim will help you maximize this Uller's capabilities.
The only wheeled tank currently available in MWLL, the Chevalier is a quick (110 km/h) combat vehicle designed around a single primary weapon supported by a secondary weapon or array. Outside of specialized assets, such as some variants of the Osiris, the Chevalier is the only starter asset to use larger weapons such as the LXPL or Light Gauss early on. Chevaliers have a small and squat profile, making them harder to spot than other assets, especially when obscured by terrain. They also tend to feature GECM and EOptics for long-range fire support or sniping duties.
Chevaliers, with their good armor ratings, can stand up to starter 'Mechs without much worry and either brawl or perform hit-and-run attacks provided their side armor holds, as the sides are the easiest areas for an opponent to hit. A quirk of the Chevalier's wheeled nature requires it to gain forward momentum in order to turn; they are incapable of pivoting directly on their axis like hovers or tracked tanks can. In addition, Chevaliers are relatively inexpensive, giving you more money to save towards a future upgrade.
- the A - A good fire support or cavalry unit, the A is a good option for bringing AECM and C3 onto the field, while carrying a reasonable loadout in the form of a PPC and three SXPLs. As a result of its strong close-in damage potential, this Chevalier makes a great hit and run unit, zipping in and out of hostile forces provided your side armor holds -- if your side armor is about to be destroyed, retreat as fast as you can. The best thing you can do in this variant is take hits on your front armor, as it is your strongest side by a mile.
- the C - this variant is a damage-per-second (DPS) darling, as its LXPL and UAC5 let it lay down a constant barrage against any targets it sees. This is great for performing fire support roles and it has enough dissipation to keep the X-Pulse blazing away for at least a minute at a time. The C's big drawback is that it has almost no burst capabilities and thus will have a very hard time securing kills by itself, unless it can breach a rear torso to score a kill that way. Nonetheless, it can rake in a fair amount of money given time and line of sight to its targets, especially given its low price tag.
- the E - Similar in concept to the Chevalier A, this variant sheds a ton of armor for an AC10 and three SPLs. It also trades AECM for GECM, which is a boon, and even finds room for an extra half-ton of armor. The E quite durable and can brawl effectively against light 'Mechs or other tanks. Being less heat sensitive, the E is a better choice on hot maps and it is also very slightly cheaper than the A.
One of the fastest land assets in the game, the Harasser can achieve speeds in excess of 160 km/h when using the left-Shift boost feature (also known as the 'sixth gear'). Combined with its full range turret, this hovercraft can chase damaged assets down, hit and run or circle around a tougher enemy to attack its rear. This is aided by the fact that many Harassers carry weaponry on par with most light 'Mechs and are often short-range focused.
Unfortunately, this blazing speed can cause the Harasser to flip over or tumble uncontrollably in rough terrain, especially when using the boost. Harassers are also poorly armored - a few well-placed shots on the sides or back armor section can be lethal. Rotating your armor so fresh sides face the enemy is key, as is maintaining awareness of your environment since it is easy to accidentally run into a building, tree or cliff that will bring you to a dead stop in more ways than one. Stay on the move at all times and don't be hesitant to run away if a battle turns against you, especially if your side armor is heavily damaged.
- the Prime - Two SSRM6 packs are all the Prime carries in terms of weapons, with two tons available for reloads. Like any SSRM asset, you will need this ammo and reloading is a fact of life in the Prime. In exchange, you can bring down many other starters without breaking a sweat when piloted well, a matter which is simplified by the SSRM's lock-on capabilities. Chainfiring the missiles can cause enough screenshake to minimize hostile fire in a one on one scenario; it is typically unwise to be the first to rush into a group of enemy units in a Harasser, even when you have support. Since the SSRMs' lock-on capabilities simplify the job of aiming, focus your efforts on driving instead.
While not as fast as the Harasser, the Hephaestus can keep up with most other starters when using the left-Shift boost feature, achieving speeds of 120 km/h. Many Hephaestuses feature strong electronic setups, typically GECM combined with either BAP or BHP. This provides you with a higher level of intel than in other assets as you will not need to use passive radar to stay hidden. This can be a bigger advantage than at first glance; use it to inform your team of the other team's movements and strength before committing to a fight.
The lower speed threshold does mean escaping is more difficult. Luckily, the Hephaestus carries reasonable armor for its weight and a respectable amount of firepower. Rotating armor faces is less effective however, due to the size of the turret and most players' habit of targeting it first. A Hephaestus can also operate as a makeshift AA platform depending on the variant, as it has full turret mobility.
- the G - this variant is a very common asset that veteran players begin the game with, as it is very well-rounded. The ATM6 forms the bulk of its damage capability, with two CERMBLs for precision work. It can carry an extra ton of ammo, which is very helpful for battlefield endurance. BAP and GECM do double-duty: maintaining awareness while minimizing detection ranges. If the G does have a weak spot, it is that any asset that gets within 100m of it can easily kill the G as the ATM6 cannot properly track such a close target; always stay outside of this range boundary. Overall, the G is a great choice and can quickly earn a lot of CBills in most games.
Other Starter Choices
The assets listed in this section are generally more specialized in nature than the recommended starters or require a higher skill-cap that requires time and experience in MWLL matches to fully unlock their potential.
- the E - Packing two MRM10 racks, the E is better used when you are a late addition to a game already underway. MRMs provide strong damage against slower assets, but against faster ones, you will need to lead the target properly, which can be difficult with the Owens' limited torso twist.
- the G - This variant only carries one ERLBL and one LBL. While this gives it precise and consistent damage, it is underwhelming in brawls. It takes steady aim, judicious use of passive radar and some patience to bring out the best of this Owens. As a result, making a lot of money in this 'Mech is not easy.
- B - Sporting a TBolt10 with two MPLs and an MRM10 rack, this Osiris has a bit of a strange loadout and its performance can vary a lot. On one hand, it has good damage capabilities on paper, with strong DPS from the pulses and good burst from the two missile weapons. However, the majority of the targets the B will face early on are typically too fast for TBolts to hit them reliably, while the MRMs need to be led against other light 'Mechs. It is a good choice for a late-join 'Mech, like the Owens E, but should be avoided by newer players as their first asset.
- C - With a PPC, three SBLs, and an SRM6 for brawling, the C is a fairly well-rounded starter 'Mech. It can wear a target down in a brawl while saving the PPC for the right moment to secure kills or destroy components. This variant will overheat if the PPC is used too often or the Jump Jets activated a lot, especially since its heat dissipation is not great. In addition, its firepower potential drops significantly once its SRM pack runs out of ammo, of which the C carries no spares.
- E - This 'Mech is solely a sniper. The Light Gauss is all you pretty much have to work with, given that two ERMBLs won't fend off anything bigger than a Battle Armor. The E will have trouble making any amount of CBills unless it stays away from fights and even then, its damage potential at long-range is poor. Its sole saving grace is that it is cheap and mobile, featuring improved Jump Jets.
- G - Similar in concept to the E, this Osiris carries more bite than its sibling. An ERPPC is the shortest-ranged weapon it carries, with an LRM5 and a pair of AC2s to round it out. The G can be surprisingly effective in the right hands on maps that are large with many open areas, such as TC_Enkeladus. Since this 'Mech demands a lot of focus in controlling distance-to-targets and maintaining escape routes, it is not a good choice for a new player.
- the B - lbx2 boat, dangerous in brawls due to rapid-fire weapons, not as good vs fast movers due to convergence issues with the lbx2s, also not a great sniper or AA plane for the same reasons. best used to blow rear torsos open or to harass slower 'mechs later on, anything that doesn't involve leading the target much. anything with an open back in the early game is anubis-B food, mind your ammo as well
The only Raven available right away is the Raven B. This variant is designed around the LBX10, with the three SPLs providing backup firepower. With an extensive electronics array for a starter 'Mech, the Raven B is by far best suited for fire-support work. The LBX is a great weapon for plugging hostiles from range, and is capable of delivering killshots with good accuracy at longer ranges, even against opponents that are retreating to repair. C3 effectively doubles as a money printer, providing cash for spotting enemies on radar.
Unfortunately, it often fares poorly against other starter assets and is too slow to escape almost any of them, with the exception of Battle Armor or the Partisan. With zero spare tons for ammo, you will be forced to return to base for ammo at some point during the early game - as a result, do your best not to waste your LBX shots. The ammo limitations can hamper your ability to make enough money to move out of the Raven.
Deploy this Raven on maps with poor visibility, lots of visual obstacles or with easy-to-access reloads. Try staying behind your tanky, brawler teammates and assist them with pinpoint shots as well as the battlefield intel your advanced electronics provide.
- the F is primarily an SSRM-based 'Mech, with the HLL intended as a means to finish an enemy or deliver a heavy sting to anyone who stands largely still. It is capable in a brawl, yet with less armor than other Ullers, it cannot stand up to hostile fire for very long. Chainfiring the SSRMs to induce constant screenshake can help offset the F's squishiness. Liberally using the heavy laser will cause heat problems. Given the F's high price, it can be effective if deployed with something tankier like an Owens to soak damage. Otherwise, it is difficult to justify bringing this asset into a brawl as if you are caught in a bad situation, you are very likely to die.
The Solitaire is the fastest 'Mech in the game, running at an amazing 150 km/h at full throttle. Combined with its somewhat squat profile, it is a difficult asset to hit at range. Unfortunately, it can be a tough 'Mech to brawl with, as its torso twist range is very limited at only 90 degrees in either direction. This makes reducing speed necessary to circle an opponent and doing so will introduce unwanted cockpit bouncing that will ruin your aim. Solitaires also don't come with much armor, which can be a problem in a prolonged brawl. This is compounded by many of the variants' heat problems, especially in the Prime.
As a result, the Solitaire is a starter 'Mech best utilized by more experienced players who can make full use of its blistering speed and are capable of mitigating its key weaknesses.
- the Prime - this 'Mech is dangerous within 200m when it can unleash its triple HSLs and can still pose a threat with the HLL inside 600m, but only with a steady aim, as focusing all the lasers on a single component is necessary to get the most from the Prime. It pays for this firepower with being a very hot running asset and in having no other equipment. The Prime sees the most use by veterans on cold or short-ranged maps where its shortcomings are not as big an issue.
- the A - intended to be a fairly aggressive variant, the A features a bit of a weak loadout on paper. It carries a CLPL with three CSRM2s, along with Jump Jets for improved mobility. It can both poke at targets from range or close in and unload SRM volleys into the target. In order to make the most of this Solitaire, precise laser work with the LPL is needed achieve good results, along with knowing where to position yourself to keep your 'Mech in a superior position compared to your opponent.
- the B - this is the fastest 'Mech in the game in terms of raw land speed, thanks to MASC. Since its firepower is quite underwhelming, the B is best used for racing to capture zones in Terrain Control games, or as a cheap spotter using its TAG.
- the C - the quad Flamer setup should tell you all you need to know about the C; it is intended to force enemies into self-destruction from heat, instead of making money from inflicting damage. Never deploy this asset as a starter unless you are incredibly certain about what you are doing.
- the D - this Solitaire is an LBX10-based 'Mech, much like the Raven B. The D can perform ranged takedowns just like the Raven, though its supporting weaponry is arguably weaker and is even less suited to brawling due to the torso limitations. It also lacks the electronics of the heavier IS 'Mech, though being a Solitaire, it can escape from fights more easily.
- the E - somewhat similar to the B variant, the Solitaire E packs more firepower in the form of a CERPPC, with three CERSBLs and some MGs in support. With its great mobility and Jump Jets, the E can consistently harass, snipe and otherwise chip away at slower opposing units. Over time, this can net a skilled E-pilot a lot of money, though they have to play carefully to avoid taking heavy return fire and aim well to make their PPC shots count.
- the G - With a UAC5 as its primary weapon backed by an ERMBL and two SSRM2s, this 'Mech can difficult to properly utilize in close-range fights due to limited torso, and while it can be a decent sniper, it may be overshadowed by other Solitaire variants. The G's main saving grace is its low price tag; consider it primarily on hotter maps as an alternative to the D when ammo is a greater concern or you require JJs.
- the Prime - A LXPL and an SSRM6 constitutes the whole of the Prime's offensive power. It can deliver reasonable DPS with the pulse laser and while the SSRM6 can lay down good damage, its setup does not synergize as well as the C-variant.
- the D - if extreme range is what you need, this variant can definitely deliver. However, its firepower is very much mediocre, despite its incredible reach and the D will have a very difficult time bringing any target down that manages to come to grips with it. As a result, it can be a frustrating asset to generate money in given its 100% ammo-based loadout and as such is not really a good choice to start with.
- the F - this Chevalier functions much like the E, except with a 100% ammo-based loadout in the form of an LBX10 and an SRM6 pack. Its staying power is limited as it carries no spare ammo. Being the same price as the E, the only time this variant may be a better option is in case you run into Battle Armor, which the SRMs can easily deal with. Otherwise, stay with the E.
- the G - a mix between the Chevalier A and D's roles, the G is decidedly a long-range focused tank. The ERPPC does deal good damage and the LBX2 array can lay down decent fire while the PPC is on cooldown. Unlike the A, the G's firepower does not improve as the distance closes; instead, the G can find itself outmatched if opponents get too close to it, especially since it has less armor than other Chevaliers. The G is a decent choice once you become comfortable keeping opponents as far away from yourself as possible. Even then, it can be tough to upgrade out of this asset.
- the A - this is the long-range brother of the Prime. With GECM concealing the Harasser A from enemy radar, it can freely fire LRM10 barrages until it is noticed or runs out of ammo. On bigger maps or in TSA games, the A can be reasonably effective, especially when deployed (using left-Control) to shorten lock-on times. It cannot fight at short range due to the minimum range on the LRMs and should run from any approaching targets. As a result, it can be hard to make a lot of CBills with this asset. In addition, the short-range troubles make the A less suited to Terrain Control play.
- the B - similar in loadout to the Osiris A, this Harasser has two MBLs and two MXPLs. Unlike the Osiris A, the Harasser B can zip around targets to find the softer rear armor, at the cost of dealing less damage than the 'Mech. The Harasser Prime is generally better at this role than the B, while being considerably easier to use as the B's lasers require you to precisely aim while driving at high speed, which can be tricky.
- the D - the Toast 'n Go, featuring a full six Flamers. Again, as with any Flamer-based asset, never deploy it as a starter unless you know what you are doing. Its main purpose is to ruin a heavier 'Mech's day when earning CBills doesn't matter. It is completely incapable of earning cash otherwise.
- the E - an alternative choice to the B, the Harasser E packs two LPPCs and an LBX5. It works well as a hit-and-run cavalry unit for players who are comfortable quickly snapping shots before returning to watching where they are driving. It takes some skill to maximize this Harasser's abilities however.
- the F - previously, this variant was unavailable as a starter as it was too expensive. Recent changes have brought this dual TBolt5 and NARC Harasser down slightly in price to classify it as a starter. The main tactic with this variant is to stick a NARC to a target, then dive behind cover or perform evasive maneuvers while firing your TBolts around cover. Like most Harassers in this category, it takes some getting-used to, especially since without the NARC, your TBolts may not be able to properly track targets you fight in the early game.
- the G - this version can lay down a lot of fire on target for high damage with the dual RAC2 setup, provided the RACs are not fired for too long. The G does carry some spare ammo, but it can't get past the typical Harasser fragility that tends to be its downfall as opposing units will often focus-fire the G to death. With the inclusion of the new Osiris D in 0.9.0, the Harasser G has largely been made obsolete, as its sole advantage over the 'Mech platform is its speed.
A clan Chevalier, lower top speed but more pew pew, can handle awkwardly compared to the chevalier. Tracks means it can't perform the same maneuvers that the chevvy can. main saving grace is cheapness, some variants can snipe reasonably well. Also has very few internal structure points; armor breaches will rapidly lead to death without immediate action
- the Prime - decent at range, not a good brawling choice, stay away from the fray with this thing
- the A - a vehicle version of the Solitaire E. Solitaire E is better in literally every way for sniper work
- the B - a powerful brawler with two ATM3 sporting HE ammo along with two HSLs and an HML, the B is best paired with a faster asset that can draw attention while it focuses priority targets down. Its lone single HS is inadequate for keeping the B cool during sustained fights. The short-range nature of its weapons array can also pose a problem: the B will be often unable to catch targets it can outfight, while being too slow to escape from anything it cannot.
- the C - pulse boat with GECM, will run hot, no good bursty firepower and may struggle against more armored targets without consistent aim
- the D - laser boat, will run hot due to only two single HS, consider for use as a sniper
- the E - the UAC10 forms the core of the E's weapon array, with two MGs for warding off Battle Armor. Judicious use of the UAC10 can lead to good results, particularly against slower targets, but requires firing discipline to avoid overheating your only real weapon. It takes skilled gunnery to make the most of the E, even when considering its very low purchase price. Ammo dependency can be a problem on some maps as well.
- the F - HLL boat with two SSRM2s, will run hot and may be underwhelming without pinpoint aim
- the G - carrying nothing but a single HAG20, the G can sandpaper armor off of targets at range and until recently, was capable of suppressing Battle Armor with terrifying ease. However, the lack of backup weapons and dependence on ammo can make the G somewhat impractical. In a brawl, it takes perfect bursts into the same location from the HAG in order to bring down an opposing target, otherwise you will be killed while the weapon is in its cooldown cycle. If you plan to use this variant, stay with teammates or stay at range.
- the A - fundamentally, this Hephaestus is identical in overall concept to the Harasser A, except it trades a bit of LRM power plus GECM for a CMPL, TAG and a BHP. It can handle itself far better against closer hostiles than the Harasser A can, though it is forced to use TAG to guide its LRMs when trying to keep a low profile. Overall, there are more new player-friendly assets than this one.
- the B - A brawler variant, the B packs 3 CSPL and an ATM6 HE, giving it some great sustained firepower up close and personal. It is less suitable than the G on bigger maps due to its incredibly short range and requires some skill to use effectively. Much like the G, the ATM6 is the main weapon here and while it can deliver some pain, it is not capable of delivering precise damage. The B is best deployed on hover-friendly maps where closing the gap is easy, such as TC_Marshes or TC_Bogs.
- the C - This is the cheapest NARC-carrying asset in the game, which is a plus. The problem with this is that unless your team has organized around massing LRM or ATM assets to open a game, those NARCs will not be used at all, which means no bonus money for you. Outside of the NARC and its BAP/C3/AECM combo, this variant has no redeeming features and should be avoided if the NARCs won't be used.
- the D - While two UAC5s provide good, reasonably accurate firepower, the D has no support weapons, which can be a problem in brawls. When sniping, the recoil from the autocannons will force you to make constant adjustments to your aim, and it will push the hovercraft itself in a manner that can be very confusing if you are not used to it. Only take this Hephaestus if you can work with its peculiarities, as it will give you fits if you can't.
- the E - this Hephaestus carries the highest damage potential of any variant with a pair of HMLs alongside an SSRM4 pack. It has slightly better reach than the B and hits much harder than the G without the minimum range problem. Unfortunately, the high burn time of heavy lasers makes realizing this potential difficult without steady aim or a stationary target, even for veteran players. The E also runs hotter than its siblings, keeping its skill curve high.
- the F - with only three CLBX2s and an extended-range ATM6 launcher, the F has a very long range profile. Its main purpose is as an anti-air platform or a makeshift anti-Battle Armor unit, which it can do reasonably well. Since aerospace fighters are rarely an issue during the time this Hephaestus is relevant and other assets can swat BA while handling 'Mechs and tanks more effectively, the F should be left in the hangar unless you require anti-air capabilities and a TAG spotter.
Only one Ares variant is open for purchase for exactly 43,000 CBills: the Ares A. It sports a very long-range configuration with a single CERLBL, two CUAC2s, an CLRM5 and three MGs It has room for additional tons of spare UAC2 ammo, more than you will likely ever need.
While it looks good on paper, the A is a bit lackluster in practice. The UAC2s do require some time to work on a target, while the lone ERLBL is not very threatening to more armored ground assets. It can perform well in an anti-air role and is a threat to early VTOLs. Its two bright spots are its relatively high armor ratings for a starter, and with its massed machine gun array, it can deal death to any and all Battle Armor visible. This strength, however, does not come close to outweighing its poor performance in other contexts. Its maximum speed of 86 km/h beats out only the Partisan for the slowest starter award.
The Ares A is best used when you know your team will be facing down hordes of players using Battle Armor, VTOLs or stand-off assets like the Owens Prime. More open maps also benefit this starter, although the A's slow speed is a problem on large maps such as TC_Frostbite. Either way, you may be hard-pressed to recoup your money in this tank unless the opposing team ignores you.
The Partisan E, carrying four UAC2s and two MGs, is the most armored and heaviest starter available in MWLL. After the 0.9.0 update, the Partisan's firepower is now quite good. It can deliver crippling damage given enough time to bore holes into the enemy's armor. However, this is the slowest starter asset, placing it at a severe disadvantage on large maps. This is especially problematic if an enemy group catches you out of position, as there is no chance you will escape from them.
The main purpose of the E is to shoot at planes - you will typically not encounter many dangerous air assets early in a game, though the UAC2s are very dangerous to VTOLs and mid-game aerospace fighters. If you plan to bring a Partisan, try to purchase it at a forward base to reduce the time you must spend simply getting to the battle. After that, keep your distance as much as you can.
The APC is a unique case. As a combat vehicle, APCs are completely incapable of defending themselves against anything other than hostile Battle Armor and even that can be a bit of a stretch with only two MGs for defense. It is in their ability to provide ammo reloads and act as a Battle Armor spawn point that APCs show their true strength.
Players that spawn at an APC appear inside the vehicle's troop compartment and can purchase any BA weapon or grenades while inside. Friendly assets can walk up to an APC and purchase reloads for their weapons as well. All of these features are available at any time. When leaving an APC in a particular location, simply power it down with P and exit the vehicle.
APCs can also be used to rush capture zones in Terrain Control games, as the vehicle has more than enough armor to take hits from base turrets, which would otherwise kill you.
Overall APCs are godsends, even essential, for players who plan to play as Battle Armor and can be incredible irritants to opposing teams that are unable to locate and destroy it. They're also very helpful on large maps with few ammo reload points, such as the middle base on TC_DeathValley or as a support unit parked next to a Long Tom player. Keep in mind that APCs also carry a LAMS turret, but it is only active when the vehicle has a pilot at the wheel.
Just make sure to hide the APC well if you're going to spawn at it. Ditching it behind buildings or in narrow alleys is generally a good idea; some bolder players leave their APCs in parking lots on some maps, preferring to fool other players into believing them to be map objects.
Playing as a Battle Armor (BA) can be tough and it is likely you will die many times, but it can be a lot of fun and if done properly, a way to hold key map areas from the other team.
The most common weapon setup found is purchasing a Manpack PPC (BA PPC or MPPC) along with the Micro Heavy Laser (MHL). The BA PPC is effective as a ranged weapon, but it also provides a lot of recoil. This can be used to propel yourself in one direction faster by shooting away from where you want to go and also to help you evade enemy weapons fire. The MHL is the most damaging BA weapon in MWLL and can cut other starters to ribbons if they foolishly ignore you. Like any Heavy Laser, it must be focused on a single component for maximum damage; ideally, this will be a 'Mech's rear torso. Cutting the rear torso open will deliver engine damage to the enemy 'Mech, cutting their speed in half and reducing their heat dissipation. A couple more hits will certainly net you a kill.
Grenades are helpful if you can afford them, if not, don't worry about it. C8 grenades have a three-second fuse after they land, so throw them with a lead for best effect. Inferno grenades have only a one-second fuse. NARC grenades paint a target upon impact, opening them up to friendly missile fire for exactly one minute. If you use NARC grenades, do NOT PPC the NARCed target, or it will disable the NARC effect. All grenades stick to assets if they hit them, although getting this to happen can be tricky.
When playing as a BA, you will almost certainly want to buy an APC and leave it somewhere to function as an additional spawn point or simply to help you get to the front faster. Keep in mind that holding down left-Shift allows you to run, at the cost of introducing a delay when shooting, much like in first-person shooter games.
Most BA tactics involve hiding behind a piece of indestructible cover, jumping or strafing out briefly to shoot, then hiding again. If your target is alone and is a slow, heavier 'Mech, running around their legs places you within a deadzone where they cannot hit you whatsoever. Other popular tactics include quickly leaping over the target 'Mech and landing behind them, then doubling back when the target tries to follow your movement after you land. BA function best when something else can draw the target's attention, as attacking when the target is waiting for you to move is a recipe for certain death. As a BA player, you can also help keep opposing BA at bay provided your aim is better than theirs. Combined with an APC, you can also capture and hold territory in Terrain Control effectively, which can be a good option for contesting distant areas.
Also, Battle Armor players will find that they make a lot of cash they can't use - it is best to donate your leftover CBills to your team to help them fund better assets.