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An asset is anything in the game that a player can pilot, from BA, to mechs, to aerospace, to other vehicles. The term "asset" is sometimes used interchangeably with chassis and typically includes every variant of each chassis.
One of the biggest problems many new players run into is trying to decide what asset or variant to pick for their current situation. A number of factors need to be taken into account in order to make an informed choice as to what asset to bring and when.
For a more in-depth look at assets available at the start of the game, check out the Starter Asset Guide.
- 1 Types of Assets
- 2 Sorted by Weapon Range
- 3 How do I know what asset to pick, when?
Types of Assets
Assets can be sorted in many different ways, but these are the most common:
- Weapon Range
- Asset Type (Armor [i.e. tanks and other vehicles, not literal armor], VTOL, Aerospace, Mech)
- Asset Class (Examples: Main Battle Tank, Lights, Mediums, Heavies, and Assaults, Light Tanks, Hovercraft)
- Price Category (cheap, early-game or expensive, late-game)
Sorted by Weapon Range
Weapon Range is usually the easiest way to sort assets, as tells you the most about an asset's basic combat capabilities.
Brawlers (Point-Blank to Close Range)
For those of you who like to get cuddly with your opponents, Brawling Assets are for you. Brawlers are armed to the teeth with short-range weapons, and are either a wall of armor, or are so ridiculously fast that they don't need armor. The effective range of Brawlers reach from 0m-400m, but this of course varies based on weapon loadout. Brawlers get their firepower, heavy armor, and blinding speed due to range being heavily weighted in the BattleTech universe.
Examples of Brawlers include:
Skirmishers (Close-Medium Range)
Skirmishers are the work-horses of any army. They flit from cover, use Electronic Warfare as a crippling advantage, and are at an advantage in situations where various tactics, such as Ambushes, Line Combat and Flanking, are valid means of winning an engagement. The armoring of a Skirmisher can vary greatly, ranging from the paper-thin plating of the Uller, to walls of armor such as the Warhammer, Bushwacker and the dreaded Daishi. Skirmishers are most often slower than brawlers, and usually trade any MASC for a set of Jump Jets, where applicable. As for armaments, Skirmishers are outfitted with a variety of ranged weaponry, usually focusing on burst damage and short windows of engagement. The range of skirmishers range from 400-700m, sometimes reaching out to 900 or 1000m at a stretch.
Glass Cannons(Short-Long Range)
Glass Cannons are fire-support assets, mounting the biggest, baddest guns C-bills can buy. These weapons are most often Autocannons and their variants, having both incredible DPS and burst damage. Anything with abnormally large amounts of guns for it's weight class, however, is a Glass Cannon. These types of assets come in two flavours, both of which skimp on armor. The first type is slow and sluggish, but has a serious battlefield presence. The Rifleman and the Huit are ideal examples of this kind of asset, mounting enough gun to turn most Heavies to cheesecloth in a matter of seconds. The second kind of glass cannon is fast and stealthy; Black Lanners and Solitaires fall into this category. They either follow a pattern of getting in, dishing out pain, and getting out (often overlapping roles with the scout, but more damage-focused), or engaging foes from just outside their maximum effective range.
Snipers (Long-Extreme range)
Usually mounting primary weapons designed for 700m+ engagement, Snipers are built around maintaining a range advantage, which in many cases is the only advantage of a Sniper. Snipers vary in speed based on their purpose, for example, the Puma or the Avatar can be considered fast, but not as fast as Brawlers and some Skirmishers. The only reason for a Sniper to have a speed advantage is if it is designed to kite it's opponents. There are a variety of different types of snipers, to accommodate for the large variety of long-range weapons and engagement styles featured in MWLL.
The LRM Boat
This unit mounts some sort of guided long-range missile, thin armor and often a lot of free tons for ammo. LRM Boats usually engage from their maximum range (1000m) or outwards to 1500m when used in conjunction with a NARC or TAG. They are capable in many roles such as AA, precision attacks, area denial and rage-generation.
The Artillery Piece
This category is reserved for assets that utilize the Arrow IV missile system and the Long Tom Artillery Tank. These assets take the LRM Boat theme to the extreme; with NARCs, TAG and/or C3 on the field, these assets can devastate the enemy team. However, these assets are absolutely helpless if engaged in conventional combat and require protection from teammates in order to function properly. Artillery Pieces are also very vulnerable to harassment from air units, especially VTOLs.
A popular variant of the Sniper, the JumpSniper is taking the great idea of extreme range advantage, and putting rocket thrusters on it. Poptarting can create unpredictable engagement windows, and while it isn't particularly easy in MWLL, it is effective when done correctly. Any Aerospace or VTOL with Sniper weapons counts as one of these due to the nature of how they engage targets.
Some Assets have weapon loadouts designed to allow them to be effective at all ranges, and while this may reduce their effectiveness at specific ranges, it ensures that they are always able to engage enemies. This kind of war machine is very rare in the BattleTech universe, as they are ineffective compared to specialized assets. Unless all their weapon ranges overlap, which requires a specific engagement range which isn't always possible, resulting in the general purpose asset being disadvantaged.
Scouts are typically light and fast, mounting a disproportionate engine and a plethora of electronics. Their primary purpose is to keep the team supplied with information, and keep the enemy team on their feet, with annoying, attention-grabbing attacks. A single scout mech can turn the tide of battle, keeping artillery supplied with live information, distracting and antagonizing dangerous enemies, and hammering lightly armored enemy mechs.
An important piece of equipment for a scout is the C3 module, and BHP or BAP radar enhancements. The C3 shares radar data between other friendlies within 1000m and earns you C-bills, and keeps a large team connected and updated with enemy contact info.
A number of assets are built for aiding and assisting your team in various ways:
- Anti-Air: Many Partisans and Huits are designed to function as Anti-Air platforms, where they park behind their team and work to drive off any opposing air assets.
- Ammo: APCs can be deployed and left for the rest of the battle in places to allow for teammates to reload ammo and provide friendly Battle Armor a place to spawn closer to the front.
- Marking Targets: Units with NARC rounds paint targets for other friendlies, allowing for all friendly missiles to seek without lock. Battle Armor using TAG also fit here, helping to spot for any Artillery Pieces on their team.
- Team ECM: AECM is also helpful to a team, it partially hides friendly units within 150m from radar, and temporarily disables enemy NARC beacons within that range, possibly saving the life of a teammate being hammered by missiles. Many scout units and some more support-oriented units carry this equipment, like the Raven G or Black Lanner C.
How do I know what asset to pick, when?
There's a lot of factors that go into this process and you will want to answer a few questions when looking at assets, such as:
- What is the map like? Is it flat and open, or filled with cover and very tight?
This determines whether you will want to bring a Brawler or a Sniper. Also, LRM Boats do not work well on maps that contain a lot of cover, even if there is enough room to work with as your targets will hide from your barrages or JumpSnipe you. Hovercraft like the Hephaestus and Harasser tend to be better choices on open, flat maps such as TC_DeathValley as there are less obstacles to get stuck on.
Also, large maps will typically favour faster assets, in order to get to the front line more quickly. Hotter maps will demand cooler-running assets, while cold maps allow for a wider asset selection.
When playing on an unfamiliar map, take a moment before spawning in and look around. You can also see some of the assets other players have picked, and this will help inform your choice once you spawn in.
- What game mode am I playing?
Terrain Control (TC) maps tend to call for a different approach than Team Solaris Arena (TSA) matches; since TC maps require attacking capture zones, they are often more close-quarters focused than TSA maps, even on large wide-open maps like TC_Frostbite. When playing TSA, the objective is to kill without being killed - long-range assets become more important, even on a small map.
- What can I currently afford?
Keep in mind that vehicles are more cost-effective than 'Mechs in the same category, so when on a budget and in need of armor and/or firepower, consider a tank instead.
For example, the Oro B carries more firepower and ammo than a Shadow Cat A for a full 2000 CBills less despite both assets being based around the same weapon, the UAC20. In a base defense situation, the Oro will likely be the better choice, since it can hold the line better than the 'Mech can by virtue of its heavier armor. The Oro is also much less vulnerable to being disarmed, as its main gun cannot be destroyed - the Shadow Cat, on the other hand, will often have its autocannon arm removed by a wily opponent.
- What assets am I comfortable using?
Not everyone is OK with flying a VTOL, playing as a Battle Armor or driving a painfully slow Demolisher into battle. If you're playing in a match you want to win, then by all means stick to what you're comfortable with.
- What's the current strategic situation?
Your team's situation is also a factor. If your team is being harassed by aircraft or VTOLs, you may want to help them out by taking an asset good at anti-air duties. Giving your team the support they need can turn the tide in your favour; a good example of this is supporting a teammate that has Arrow IVs by taking an asset carrying NARCs and designating targets for them to vaporize. Conversely, avoid taking assets that do not aid your team's current state - buying an ELRM asset may be a poor idea when your team is having difficulty dealing with Jump Snipers or Brawlers breaking through the lines.
When in doubt, ask your team what is needed!
- Am I spawning at my team's main base, or at a forward base?
Forward bases often have tonnage limitations, and will only allow you to purchase assets at or below a certain tonnage. This again will narrow down your choices.
- Are ammo reloads readily available?
If there are no places to reload, such as friendly APCs, 'Mech hangars or other map locations, consider avoiding assets with shallow ammo bins. Nothing is worse than running out of ammo at the turning point in a battle and being forced to retreat or dying as a result.
While this seems like a lot of things to keep in mind, the selection process will get quicker and more informed as you play more MWLL matches. Ultimately, experience is the best teacher for determining asset selection; take the time to experiment on the Free Testing servers and see what fits with your playstyle, then try a 'trial by fire' in a team game.