Here are some MechWarrior Online LRM Tips by Tesunie.
- When your opponent is “bobble” or “pop tarting” up and down a cliff, letting you get lock ons, fire and not hitting. Knowing enough after a couple of times of this and not causing damage to stop shooting at them and to reposition yourself into a new spot to actually hit them anyway, is a skill.
- Knowing when a hill, ridge or building is in the way and will block your shot and not to even bother shooting till you have bypassed the obstruction is a skill. It’s handy to not waste all your ammo into a building and hill.
- When someone gets too close and (if you are not smart enough to place defensive weapons) can’t shoot at them with your LRMs, to ignore them, deflect damage by moving (twisting your torso to spread the damage as much as possible) between shots, while trying to maintain that lock), and shoot at a target you can actually hurt is a skill. (Instinct always says to shoot and destroy what is closest or hurting you. You have to overcome this and call for help while throwing LRMs where you still can.)
- If a target has ECM, to learn and be able to blind fire your missiles and still hit. (Also referred to as Dumb fire.) This is where true skill with the weapon will show. Sometimes, not locking on and shooting blind LRMs can be a great way to get a couple of volleys on, say, an Atlas who is standing back and sniping in the distance. No warning bells go off for him telling him missiles are coming in, and you can pepper him (or any stationary target not paying attention) with LRMs. (LRMs will arc and hit the ground where your reticule is positioned. So you don’t really aim at the mech, but just behind him if you can, if not at his feet.)
- Learning how to spot for yourself. Sometimes, even with LRMs, it is best to hang with the pack (although, in the middle or back of the pack I will admit) for your own protection. If there is no pack, you can and should also move to see your own targets. This takes some skill, especially in ECM land. It’s okay to take some damage, as long as you dish more than you take.
- Learning to type while being shot at for communication (for any Assault mech really, but especially for LRM based designs) to request aid and help. (Don’t know and can’t tell you how many times my “I NEED HELP! E3 (or whatever)” has saved my skin.
- You have to learn to read the map. Learn to observe the flow of battle. If you see only a couple of enemies being spotted over that ridge, and it’s “too quite” behind or to the side of you, probably someone is going to pop out there, seeing your stream of LRMs, and it’s really not wise to stand still and wait for them to come. Trust your instincts. Stay on the move.
- Resisting the urge to “stand still and just unload with all the other LRM people in the back”. This just leads to one GIANT target for any fast mechs (especially ECM ones that lock down your targeting abilities) to come charging right into you and rip you and your LRM buddies apart.
- Not “boating” LRMs only onto your mech for “maximum damage in my role”. It’s asking to be killed. I have, and will, charge such LRM designs, and win every time when left alone to do so. (Reminds me of my Stalker vs Stalker exchange. I saw all the enemy Stalker had was 4 LRM 20s and TAG. I laughed, crawled my butt over there taking his LRM damage, closed in beyond minimum range, even for my own LRMs, and plowed my 6 Med Lasers into him. He didn’t stand a chance.) Place a few defensive lasers on your mech. 2-4 med lasers (preferably 4 depending upon weight class) to defend yourself.
- Learning that you should always be trying to reposition yourself into a better tactical position. People can trail your LRMs back to you. If you stand still they will find you, and close in with you. It takes skill to know where to be, and where not to be, and when and where you should and shouldn’t be there. Move around, even if you are slow and crawl.
- LRMs, despite what you might originally think, have a MAX range. This range is 1000M. No more than that (unless you really seem to know your weapons and distances. I’ve gotten a few hits outside this range, but it’s really tight). You also have a MINIMUM range of around 180-200M. I’ve hit targets around 190m before, but I tend to prefer them around 200m.
- LRMs are bad against lights at long range. People tend to loose their spotting locks, and they tend to outrun/dodge/make the missiles chasing them hit other things. I find, it is best (unless they have no shelter like they are sitting in the middle of the lake) to not shoot LRMs at lights, besides to get the warning bells going in their cockpit and have them run and hide. Best to shoot lights with LRMs at mid range. Gives them less time to duck for cover.
- LRMs can be great to force someone into cover, merely by letting them hear that missile lock has been achieved. Sometimes, if you see a friend being hounded, it is great to shoot LRMs at the foe, even if you know it wont hit. It might force them off your friend, who can later on possibly protect you from someone who got to close. Them being dead, doesn’t help you.
- Despite common belief, LRMs are not “Fire and Forget” weapons. Once your volley is in the air, you must maintain your lock on the enemy for them to continue to be guided to your target. If you lose this lock (lock on and shoot at someone else, etc), your missiles will no longer track and follow in onto the target. They will, however, hit the last spot they tracked the target when the lock was lost. This means, if you lose your lock and your opponent was standing still, you will still hit. If you lose your lock and they are running, you probably will miss unless you literally lost the lock JUST before the missiles hit. Aim at, and fire at, one target till either you lose the lock, a better target comes up, or your target is dead or hiding and isn’t getting hurt.
- Sometimes, it is best to only shoot one volley out, wait and see if it hits and causes damage before continuing. Unless you can see your target, you are essentially shooting blind, your missiles being guided by your friend’s targeting systems. LRMs are dumb. They will not dodge around a building or hill (or even another mech, friend or foe) to hit your target. They shoot at an upward angle, and fall in a downward angle. Watch the angle. It will tell you if something may or may not hit.
- On to Artemis. Artemis is great, if you can afford the extra weight for it. However, (as far as I know) Artemis is useless unless you, yourself, have line of sight and is spotting your own target. If someone else is spotting your target, Artemis will not work. It is a waste of weight.
- Some LRMs systems are best when broken down. LRM 5s are very economical, if you have a lot of missile hard points. 3 LRM 5s weight less than a single LRM 15 (from my last recollection), yet will launch the same number of LRMs into the air. (LRM 5s also seem to reload faster, but cause more heat.)
I shall now admit that, yes, LRMs are easier weapons to use, but they are by no means “skill-less” weapons. They have to be used correctly. You have to know when to shoot. Anyone can shoot them at any lock they can get, but it takes skill to know where you need to be, what targets you should shoot at, and to learn when a target isn’t/can’t be hit by your LRMs. The most skilled use of LRMs require even MORE skill than any other weapon in the game, and that is to blind fire your LRMs and be able to actually hit your target!
So, in retrospect, LRMs can be easy weapons to learn and use, but they can also, as counter to that statement, be one of the hardest weapons to use well and reliably in the game.
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