Here's a MechWarrior Online Spotting Guide by Tesunie.
Any LRM boat pilot (which I am not, but I do still carry LRMs), can probably tell you that they hate people who can’t spot. Here is how you can help yourself, and your LRM team mates, to get the job done.
- Unless you are in an enemy ECM field, you share target data with all friendlies.
- You do NOT share data that is just you looking at them. Spotting isn’t just seeing the enemy, but actually relaying that information back to your friends.
- Data is relayed when you have a lock on a foe. That means, press R to lock on to a target.
- If you loose your lock, so does your allies. Weather it be from ECM interfering, losing line of sight, having your target get behind you, etc. If you lose lock, so does any support you might have.
- Keep your locks. Don’t change your lock every two seconds. If you do, then your LRM users will want to kill you. The more solid you can keep a lock on a target, the more likely friendly LRMs are to be able to get to said target.
- “Spot” targets that you need help with. Something that the LRMs can do the most good with.
- If you have ECM, don’t forget there is a second mod. The counter mode will turn off one enemy ECM in range. (Hint, if you have an ECM target, you might want to cut it’s ECM AND lock on. That way, when your allies see the ECM crossed out on the enemy as well as target information, most LRM users just LOVE to pelt them a little revenge.)
- If you have ECM, and is fighting a mech with loads of SSRMs or LRMs that were shooting at your friends, now might actually be a good time to keep your ECM up. Us LRM users like people to spot for us, but not if it’s going to cost you your mech to do so. If you see a SSRM stalker, for example, keep their SSRMs turned off. Save yourself the damage on this one. Any LRM boat who argues against you on this one, is a glory hound and should be ignored.
- Don’t keep your lock on things that LRMs can’t help with. Unless you need the data yourself, lock on to targets that the LRMs can help with. Ex: You have a fast mech that keeps ducking behind cover, or an Atlas standing in the open. Lock the Atlas, as he’s got no cover for the LRMs. Hunt the fast mech as best you can.
- COMMON MISBELIEF: You do NOT need special gear, such as TAG or NARC to spot. Anyone can do so, provided ECM isn’t messing it all up.
- If you aren’t seeing LRMs coming in, either your team has none (I would hope LRM users would announce themselves, but you can always ask if anyone has LRMs) or they are being blocked my some obstructions. If you suspect a hill might be in the way, try to lure the target out into the open, where your friends can help, LRM users and non-LRMs.
- NEW: If you see a symbol near your Target that looks like 3 missiles, KEEP THAT LOCK! LRMs are on their way, and we really wouldn’t want them to loose that lock half way through and end up missing, would we? (Note: LRMs require a lock the whole time missiles are in flight if they are to track and home into a target. Loosing a lock half way through it’s flight can be very… detrimental.) Only time you should break a lock like this, is if your own survival depends upon it. Otherwise, keep it till the incoming missile symbol disappears, which should be with explosions of LRMs on them. (If you don’t see the LRMs hitting after the symbol disapears, feel free to break the lock by that point.)
- Even if you have LRMs, always try to spot for yourself. Hiding and trying to avoid combat by using only indirect fire LRMs usually is not that effective. An LRM boat’s spot is in the back, behind their allies, but not so far back no one can help them. Be near your allies, and not too far. That way, you can spot for yourself with better accuracy and have support if people get too close to you.
- TAG does not last forever. You need to keep a target in the TAG beam the whole time. If you lose your hit with it, you have a few moments to bring it back before the effects of TAG are lost.
- TAG is not a TAG and forget weapon. Keep it on them like you are hitting with a laser.
- TAG improves grouping of missiles when a target is being hit by it.
- TAG does not (as far as I can tell, I could be wrong here) improve lock on times. Just missile cluster.
- If an opponent is hit with any missiles while being TAGed, you get a nice bonus.
- TAG does no effect once the user with TAG is inside an ECM bubble. However, TAG can mark someone inside ECM if the TAGing unit is outside the ECM bubble and TAGing into the bubble.
- NARC makes a target lockable to your whole team for a short while after they have been hit by the NARC pod.
- NARC is suppose to make a target targetable by all allies, till it runs out of time.
- Is suppose to improve cluster hits for LRMs. Untested by me at this time.
- Does not work if the unit hit with NARC is inside ECM.
- If you, the spotter, has Artemis but are not shooting missiles at the target, your Artemis DOES NOT provide any bonuses to allied missiles. It only works on your own missiles.
- If you are the one with the LRMs, Artemis does not cut through ECM, but it does improve lock on time, and cluster.
- Artemis (from a spotting point of view) is useless. It will not help your team mates at all, and only helps yourself.
To sum this all up, basically, just lock on to someone with R, and keep that lock onto the same until you no longer can, find a better target, or you/they are dead. Do not sacrifice yourself for a spot if you can survive otherwise. Keep locks as much as possible. That means, keep your eyes on the enemy you intend to spot, and don’t let them leave your sight.
Spotting is a team dynamic. It is to help provide information for your team, and to help you “call in support” from other units in your team. Though it might result in some “kill stealing”, killing a target is not the goal. Winning the engagement is your goal. If the LRMs take the kill, don’t worry about it and go on. They are doing their job in providing your support, usually at great peril to themselves. (If they boat the LRMs, they gain a great penalty of a 180m minimum range, where the LRMs will do nothing at all.)
This is a team game. Treat it as such. Spot for yourself. Spot for your team. You and your team should be counted as one. Share Victory. Share Defeat. You do not win alone.
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