Disassociating base Mobility attributes from Engine size is not only intended to improve baseline balance between ‘Mechs, technology bases, and Engines, but also to accomplish one of the stated design goals of the Skill Tree system. That is, to facilitate a drastic reduction in inherent ‘Mech Quirks.
As a result of this change we will be removing all of the current Mobility Quirks from Inner Sphere Battlemechs and Clan Center Torso OmniPods. Non-CT OmniPod and Set of 8 Mobility Quirks will remain.
We are fully aware that many ‘Mechs have been balanced around Mobility attributes in the past; this will continue under the new system, though in a slightly different form.
Many ‘Mechs previously balanced around Mobility Quirks will instead see those Quirks integrated into the inherent Mobility attributes of the 'Mech. Those inherent Mobility attributes will then be evaluated and adjusted against similar 'Mechs within their tonnage bracket. For example, the Phoenix Hawk will be provided with higher baseline Mobility stats compared to the Blackjack.
This is being done with the explicit intent to complement the new Skill Tree. Under the previous Quirk-based system, Pilot Skills played a fairly minor role in 'Mech performance when compared against the power of Mobility Quirks.
With Mobility boosts shifting from Quirks to inherent traits, Mobility-based Skills in the new Skill Tree will now have a much greater impact than they did under the previous system, particularly for ‘Mechs possessing higher baseline Mobility attributes.
You can find the entirety of Quirk changes in this PTS update in the PDF files linked below.
Associated UI Updates
With Mobility attributes now being determined on a per-variant basis the MechLab includes essential UI additions to clearly expose these values. These stats can currently be viewed in detail window when hovering over a 'Mech portrait. In this PTS build the information is not displayed in the 'Mech Stats window; this will be fixed for final release.
These values will factor in any relevant Skill Nodes or OmniPod Quirks the variant may currently possess. It should be noted however that these stats will only display the ‘average’ Mobility performance. Acceleration, Deceleration, and Turn Speed are still impacted by the current speed of your 'Mech relative to its Max Speed.
In-Game Mobility and the MechLab Performance Curves
While this update does remove the core link between Engine size and Mobility, this change will not eliminate the impact of higher Engine sizes on Mobility attributes altogether. Mobility attributes are now merely influenced by Engine size, rather than being directly rooted to it. 'Mechs will continue to handle differently depending on how fast they are currently going relative to their Max Speed.
While the raw Mobility attributes across this curve are now primarily determined by tonnage, the practical impact of this curve on the battlefield will still be influenced by the Max Speed/Engine Size of your ‘Mech. Put another way, while ‘Mechs with identical baseline Mobility stats will keep those stats regardless of Engine size, ‘Mechs with larger engines will still benefit from better Acceleration, Deceleration, and Turn Speed due to the higher Max Speed provided from the Engine.
While you will not see this behavior affect overall Mobility to the degree that the previous system compounded on these advantages, we did want to express that despite baseline attributes being more closely associated with a Mech’s baseline stats, larger Engines will still allow 'Mechs to boost their inherent Mobility attributes through the performance curve at lower speeds.
We wanted to make a special note about Deceleration rates due to its unique implementation. While it may not be common knowledge, Deceleration rates are primarily influenced by the tonnage of a ‘Mech, with additional attributes contributing to its total performance curve as mentioned in the section above.
As a result of this behavior, inherent Deceleration attributes may seem a bit out of sync with the other Mobility attributes. This is behavior that is consistent with how it is implemented in the main game; we just wish to highlight that it is there due to the UI now displaying its influence.
All of these above changes to Mobility allow for the following impacts toward to the Skill Tree:
• With Mobility Quirks now rolled into the base Mobility attributes of individual 'Mech variants, Skill Nodes will have greater influence over the final Mobility attributes of a ‘Mech when compared to the impact previously seen under the Quirk system.
• Creates greater value for Mobility-based Skill bonuses for ‘Mechs which possess naturally high Mobility attributes.
• Streamlines the influence of the Skill Tree on ‘Mech Mobility, providing more transparency within the MechLab in terms of how Skill Nodes influence the Mobility of a ‘Mech.
We are also aiming at providing a much better “give and take” dynamic to the way that Engines are utilized in this game. Our initial implementation of these changes aim to bring things closer toward even-ground regarding Engine dynamics. Many ‘Mechs currently suffering low Engine caps will more than likely see the greatest benefit from these changes, while certain 'Mechs greatly benefiting from the current system will see a similar impact in the other direction.
We want to heavily stress to all you reading over and testing these changes in today's update that we are examining this Mobility rework as an approach which complements the Skill Tree system as a whole, and not any one individual ‘Mech. The Skill Tree allows for much higher values then what is available in the current game, and these Skills have much greater impact now due to the way they can compound upon higher base Mobility values.
Beyond examining the baseline properties of 'Mechs, we are examining how they are impacted by the changes introduced by the Skill Tree system to better inform us on not only the initial tuning of the system upon release, but to point us in a direction toward further fleshing out ‘Mech dynamics under this system moving forward.
What we have presented in this PTS update should be looked at as a baseline from which we can better balance the game and upon which we can continue to build. We will continue to flesh out this system once we are assured that the baseline foundation accomplishes the overall goals stated throughout this post.
We very much look forward to hearing your feedback on all of these PTS changes. Thanks for testing, MechWarriors.