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Jon AS

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Everything posted by Jon AS

  1. The only reason I could see to get (moderately) excited about it if they had reworked the game mechanics of 1+2 to be in line with 3 (well, ideally more in line with Andromeda, but that was done on an entirely different engine). But the only things I've seen mentioned are upscaled visuals (not a selling point in itself, plus there's mods for that already) and an optional change to the Mako physics which, again, is not a selling point.
  2. Yes, ultimately it's a numbers game and I do think that UACs are like SRMs in that every single shot has a chance to hit the head when aiming for it, whereas LRMs or LBXACs only check once for every cluster of hits.
  3. Yup. But on the other hand, if you avoid that one pitfall, money is fairly easy to come by. Picking salvage over cash payouts becomes the way to go pretty quickly, and once you're consistently salvaging one 'Mech per mission (sometimes two or three, depending on luck of the draw), you'll never have to worry about going bakrupt again. As long as you don't piss off the pirates too much, black market prices shouldn't be a big hurdle and you can usually buy all the special weapons on offer plus the occasional 'Mech. Even if you've run out of missions and are running low on money and have to pass that neat Gauss Rifle++ that's not a tragedy, the next black market system will offer plenty of worthwhile stuff as well.
  4. Don't ever buy whole 'Mechs, get them in parts for a fraction of the cost (unless you've dialed the salvage parts required up to 8, I guess). I you want to one-shot things I'll repeat my recommendation for the Marauder. Put a high Tactics pilot in one and focus on getting headshots, you'll be swimming in 'Mech parts (and consequently C-Bills) in no time.
  5. Gotta get in good with the pirates to get black market access. You can score plenty of Star League 'Mechs there, which come with DHS.
  6. I think you're falling for a strawman if you think data protection has been major block to more efficiency in combating the pandemic. We don't need tracking apps for that, we need decent management operating with a little foresight, which we mostly didn't have at the higher levels. When I think of glaring inefficiencies in this context, I think of labs not being hooked up to established, functional systems for digitally transferring their test results months into the pandemic. And yes, there have been amazing feats of organisation at the local level. When I accompanied my mother to the local vaccination site a few weeks ago I found it to be very well run, and you could easily imagine it buzzing with people being moved through the building as if on a conveyor belt. But the thing is, I had to rely on my imagination, because the place was mostly empty. Not because of some lack of capacity: it had been no trouble at all to book an appointment for my mother the day before, plenty of slots available. I don't think that was the fault of anyone at ground level, the seeds for that were sown higher up the chain, which is where the important decisions are when facing a global pandemic. That's where we've been falling short since day one and the only reason the death toll isn't much higher than it is right now is because we got lucky, not because we were particularly good at organising a response. If you could look at any of the MPKs this past year and think that that was about the level of leadership and management that should be expected given our political system, then I think you're simply more of a pessimist than I am.
  7. A massive, massive problem. One that's emblematic of the "not planning ahead" approach I criticised earlier. The scale of failure here is unbelievable. Dear god, no. Data protection is incredibly important and should always be taken into consideration, especially when planning massive IT projects. But since our dear leaders are always looking for short term fixes instead of sitting down and developing a proper strategy (and maybe asking people who are actual experts in the relevant fields) it tends to take a backseat in implemented solutions, which usually gets combined with shoddily constructed software, sold to ignorant politicians with bullshit jargon. Some of the latest examples being Luca and Ubirch (the latter of which now apparently pretends that they never made some of their most mocked claims, despite archived versions of their own website showing just that). I shudder to think what we'd be saddled with without this "fetish". Yes, but clearly the distribution is still very uneven. It's in some ways similar to how even within individual cities, covid incidence varies wildly, with wealthier quarters being down to near zero while poorer ones have rates that far outstrip the national average. And yet the "fairness" debate in the country focuses on who gets to go for a midnight stroll or who can get a haircut without getting tested.
  8. I'd say it's the opposite: there's rarely any evidence of planning more than five minutes ahead, which requires constant course corrections. Communication has also been generally abysmal. The vaccination campaign is running reasonably well but is constructed very inflexibly, leading to long waiting times in some places, while in others capacities go unused.
  9. Ah, that makes more sense. Though I don't know how they've managed to set up vaccination centres in such a way that there's a huge discrepancy between various locations in how quickly you can get an appointment. I know that, for example, in Cologne today it was possible to book appointments for tomorrow. If there's one thing this pandemic should cure Germans of it's the belief that we're actually good at organising anything.
  10. Yeah, there's a side in the discussion that wants to frame this as vaccinated people getting privileges over the rest of the population, when it's actually just a question of lifting restrictions that could only be justified for health reasons. The "problem" here isn't what vaccinated people are free to do, it's that not everyone is vaccinated yet. And since there's no way to run a nationwide vaccination campaign without some people getting vaccinated earlier than others, that's simply the way it has to be. Congratulations on the appointment. Sucks you have to travel so far. How come there's no site closer or even in Konstanz proper? That just seems very poor planning (not exactly a novelty in this crisis, admittedly), but maybe living in densely populated NRW skews my perception here.
  11. Jon AS

    BattleTech

    Starlord is definitely bad, but I think Far Country gets a bit of a bad rep because of the whole "no aliens" thing. It's very atypical for BattleTech, being more of a high-concept sf-story in a fiction line that's otherwise entirely military sf. I feel it wouldn't hurt to try to do more different things in the setting from time to time (though lately Shrapnel magazine offers some variety). Far Country is set in a star system that's presumably nowhere near the Inner Sphere and which the human protagonists only reach via accidental mis-jump. As there is also no way to get back (and the JumpShip gets destroyed in the process), it's entirely isolated from the rest of the setting. There are worse books in the line, like some of the early Dark Age stuff.
  12. Jon AS

    BattleTech

    Yup, minus the "wait ten years" that's essentially what they did. Land in Australia, consolidate, move on through SE Asia and then split their forces with one column heading west, the other north east. And no, I really don't think it's worth reading the novel. A lot of the plot points were rather contrived and required characters to behave like complete idiots, while others kept getting lucky break after lucky break. As Wert said: Pardoe is a competent writer, but far from the most interesting one to ever write in the setting (though from what little I have gathered about the man, he might disagree with that assessment...). The novel puts a final end to the Dark Age, though I suspect that the sourcebook covering the same events, which is set to come out sometime this year, might actually make the events described seem slightly less contrived than the novel did, thanks to the greater distance the sourcebook POVs tend to adopt. It feels like at some point the developers at Catalyst decided to just get it over with in order to be able to move on.
  13. Jon AS

    BattleTech

    Yeah, this is important to keep in mind. In many ways I find the stories set in the BT universe rarely live up to the setting's potential. It's kind of the other way around: FASA shut down, then Wizkids picked up the license and developed a new, very different kind of game for it and moved the timeline forward some 60 odd years. To explain the frankly bizarre Dark Age setting (at least it was bizarre as a continuation of the original BT timeline), there were some rather vague allusions to the Word of Blake Jihad (I always feel like that name dates the story clearly to the early 2000s, though for all I know it might be a Dune reference). The story of the Jihad was later retconned-in from that basis by Catalyst, but IIRC they couldn't publish BT novels for legal reasons, so it's mostly told through game sourcebooks. I'd say it was a valiant effort, but obviously hamstrung by the circumstances of its creation. I only read some of the earliest Dark Age novels before checking out. Allegedly they got better over time, but I'm not going to make the effort of picking them up when they get re-released. I've been picking up the most recent stories as they were published and am now hoping that the new era will be handled more competently (even if the big turning point novel to get us over the Dark Age finish line was far from great; the most entertaining thing about it may have been that the plan to conquer Terra was clearly inspired by Risk).
  14. Jon AS

    BattleTech

    As mentioned, the Warrior Trilogy is a good jumping-on point, and quality-wise it's probably as good as these books get. Chronologically, the Gray Death trilogy (Decision at Thunder Rift, Mercenary's Star, The Price of Glory) comes before that. Its general vibe is probably closest to the HBS game. Wolves on the Border is another one that's set before the Fourth Succession War, and while Wolf's Dragoons, who are the focus of the story, are important to the setting in general, there's really only one scene in the Warrior Trilogy that lacks context if you haven't read it. But I do remember it as one of the better books, and it's only 99 cents in ebook form. Heir to the Dragon covers a lot of ground, timeline-wise but is probably best read after Coupé. After that it's the Blood of Kerensky trilogy, which covers the Clan Invasion. These are all definitely avaiblable right now, so that might be a good start. Also, after the Clan Invasion the fiction output multiplies, with sequels, prequels and various side stories. You can check out the list of novels at Sarna, and I just noticed for the first time that they list the years the stories are set in on that page.
  15. Jon AS

    BattleTech

    They've also re-released the Gray Death stuff and have started on the early Dark Age novels. Presumably most of the line will be avaible as POD or ebook at some point. One of the few exceptions might be The Sword and the Dagger, as the author's heirs seem uninterested in a re-release. They have also used the recent Kickstarter campaign to launch Shrapnel, a magazine dedicated to short stories and supplementary material for the game. The first three issues contain the first three parts of a continuation of Stackpole's Kell Hounds origin story. The fourth one got delayed and will probably appear in issue 5. The thing is, the Successor States have been essentially in a state of war since the end of the Star League, so there's plenty of justification to go around for anyone who wants to start anything. And while Hanse is extremely ruthless, he's clearly portrayed as the lesser evil (arguably actually in a positive light) when compared to Max Liao. Plus our POV for the frontline action during the war is Andrew Redburn, who is plenty sympathetic. Sure, but seven hundred years... BattleTech from the beginning was developed as explicitly non-static. It's basically a "future history", with the novels detailing both smaller stories and big events, with various sourcebooks filling in details. The original "now" of the setting when the game was released was 3025, by now it's 3151.
  16. Jon AS

    BattleTech

    You're not planning on doing all the BT novels, or even the majority, right? Because there's a lot of them... Good call on likening Stackpole to Abnett, that strikes me as apt comparison. En Garde is definitely one of the better jumping-on points for the universe. It's definitely where the setting takes its definite shape, where the general political landscape of the Inner Sphere is mostly shades of grey, and one needs to focus on the individuals involved to find someone to root for. Even that gets weird: a lot of the sympathetic characters in the Warrior trilogy become the agressors in an interstellar war of conquest and the reader is expected to kind of roll with it. I just started re-reading the Gray Death trilogy (which makes up three of the four novels that precede En Garde) for the first time in, uh, 25+ years. While there's some early installment weirdness, it's not as jarring as I expected. A lot of the the setting was pretty well defined early on. And even the Warrior novels have some weird stuff, most notably the Phantom 'Mech thing that Morgan and Yorinaga have going on (and around which their conflict revolves) which is never explained and then discreetly jettisoned for subsequent stories. I feel like all the Successor States were conceived as amalgamations of various 20th century nationalities from the beginning, but the emphasis was generally on one dominant facet and authors often ran with that for simplicity's sake. So the Federated Suns are mostly space British, the Lyrans are mostly space Germans (but all the protagonists from that state are of either Irish or Scottish descent) and the Draconis Combine are mostly space Japanese etc. The Free Worlds League is probably the most difficult to nail down in that respect, and that may or may not be the reason why they never seem to get much love in the fiction. Overall the setting gets more inclusive and diverse as time goes by, but even in more recent stories you will still have characters strongly identify as, eg. Scottish, despite the fact that their ancestors must have left Scotland (and Earth) six or seven hundred years ago at the very latest.
  17. I've gotten to the point in my BattleTech career game where I have too many cool toys to field them all at once and the challenge is down to roughly the same level as if I were doing this post campaign. I'm thinking I'm going to mostly focus on finishing as many flashpoints as possible while running down the clock so I can check "finifsh career mode" off my to-do list, but the only really challenging mission left should be the final fight at the end of the Heavy Metal mini-campaign. The ECM suite is one of the most broken things in the game. Yes, the enemy can use sensor lock to get at one of your 'mechs, but that still leaves 3 others completely protected and means one less enemy unit is shooting at you. Just keep your entire lance within the bubble and reserve your movement until you have to move and you'll take very little damage and basically get to pick your targets at will. You won't even need to field the (extremely suboptimal) Cyclops to get a tactictal advantage over your opponent, meaning even though your bringing a 35ton machine into an assault 'mech slugfest you're not losing that much firepower in comparison. Sure, the Raven is a bit flimsy, but there's also a Cataphract variant with ECM as well as a very rare version of the ECM suite that can be installed in any old 'mech.
  18. Exactly! And if there's one guy who clearly knows what's good for the economy, it's the one who doesn't understand the technical economic terms he's using. I haven't seen any figures on what his chances are to get into the Bundestag by direct election, but given general election trends in this country they're probably depressingly high.
  19. The base configs in the game are just the official designs from the tabletop game. They are what the 'mech in question actually looks like. Refitting BattleMechs isn't supposed to be as easy as it is usually made in video games, that's the big advantage that the later OmniMechs offer. Though as every BattleMech still has several official variants it obviously still happens. The one thing to note is that several 'mechs in the game actually have some of their lasers rear-mounted in the tabletop version. These have all been flipped around to the front for the video game. Examples include the Centurion, Quickdraw, Archer, Battlemaster and Atlas. Yeah, large lasers are good. But since you're also usually limited by the number of energy hardpoints. sometimes going for PPCs can give you overall higher damage output. Plus PPCs are just plain cooler than lasers.
  20. Wait, there's an option to have Yang customise 'mechs for you? In all my time I spent with this game I never noticed that. Of course being obsessed with medium lasers is kind of understandable, since they are pretty much the most efficient weapon. Even on the tabletop their only real drawback is limited range, which is generally not a concern in the video game. If you're going for custom builds, you can never go wrong taking a chassis with plenty of energy hardpoints (e.g. Hunchback 4P, Black Knight, Banshee 3M) and stuffing it with medium lasers and heat sinks.
  21. It's not so much balance changes as that the developers gave all the classic 'mechs special abilities to make them stand out. The Phoenix Hawk gets to jump farther, the Warhammer does extra damage with lasers and PPCs, the Archer is more accurate with missiles and the Marauder is the ultimate sniper. With a pilot at Tactics 9 the chance of an aimed shot to hit the head is 1/3. Makes for plenty of salvage. All the damage values are modified somewhat for the video game. AC/2s "should" do just as little damage as MGs, but are the equivalent to medium lasers. On the tabletop the PPC does as much damage as an AC/10, but in the video game the AC is more damaging etc. For a PPC platform, ignoring the option to simply rip the guns out of any old chassis and replace them with as many PPCs as you can fit, you've got the choice between the aforementioned Marauder, the Warhammer, their scrawny little sibling the Catapult K2 or the Awesome 8Q. The Awesome was the ultimate PPC sniper in the basic 3025 setting, one of the most efficient 'mech designs in an era that didn't go in for efficiency all that much.
  22. Those missions are fun and very convenient to do whenever most of your 'mechs or pilots are out of commission. Thanks to the map/mission design the Urbanmech is actually quite a bit more useful in the video game than it is on the table top. Small lasers, though... even on a melee 'mech I'd pick machine guns over small lasers in this game. I've gotten a bit into my latest attempt at a career. About 150 days in I managed to pick a Star League Marauder from the black market run by the friendly neighbourhood pirates. It's probably the deadliest 'mech in the game. Once you've got a pilot up to Tactics 9, an alpha strike from a Marauder is likely to blow the head of any 'mech, and the SL version has double heat sinks and comes with ER PPCs, which also do more damage than standard PPCs in this game. Of course it is a relatively fragile machine, so the game's not hideously unbalanced just yet.
  23. Yeah, only a few are really challenging with endgame 'mechs (and then the challenge usually comes from the game not letting you field an entire assault lance for that particular flashpoint) and if I were to do them again I'd definitely go for career mode. Every time I've started such a game my interest ran out after a handful of missions, though. I might give it another shot, since I've also lost interest in the games I've been playing these past few months anyway.
  24. It only lists a couple of missions in nearby systems (and if you travel there without taking the contract first, that particular mission won't be available once you get there), but if you take on a travel contract you don't pay travel expenses, so you only invest travelling time during which you can't earn money through contracts. I relly like the game, though I could never muster the motivation to get particularly far in carreer mode. It's just a bit too unfocused, and I already completed all the flashpoints in campaign mode, so nothing new to explore there.
  25. Well, his crisis management has been especially ill-advided, indecisive and infuriating. Other than that, as others have said: he was just elected party chair, if he'd been rejected for this they would have needed to go looking for a new one immediately (and at that point it probably would have been Merz *shudder*). I don't find any of the parties/candidates that stand a chance of winning the chancellorship this fall particularly inspiring, but Laschet running gives me some hope one of the lesser evils might dethrone the CDU.
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