Your Key to the Vaults of Heaven
Don't let anyone's political speeches or ideology confuse you - this is a resource war. The more resources you have at your disposal, the more flexibility you have in salvage selection and initial team composition.
Often, resource locations will give you clues on how to approach a base or the location of juicy targets of cash-portunity. Resource Buildings and trucks are often situated at the edges of installations and bases. Studying the location of all available resources at the beginning of a mission can aid you in planning your overall strategy and approach vectors.
Knowing how many RPs are available in a mission can help you decide whether or not to pick up that Raven you just crippled, or to hold on to your RPs until you run into that juicy Zeus. It can also help you decide between that extra mech and a critical repair need.
You will need to repair occasionally. If a weapon is totally destroyed, it cannot be repaired in-field and you'll lose it for the duration of that mission. If a weapon or sub-system is yellow, try having that mech stand in back of a formation so that fresher mechs can take the first few hits of enemy fire. Rotate front-liners so that damage is spread evenly across the whole team. When everyone is showing yellow or orange damage indicators, back off to a secure area <if possible> and hit a Repair Bay or bite the bullet and call down a Repair Truck. If you keep the damage spread and minimal, you should be able to repair the whole team from one Repair Truck and still have some points left over.
Company B usually uses a quick spotter (called The Goat) to poke ahead and flush out enemy positions. A well-armored Men Shen is ideal for this purpose with its' speed, jump capabilities and its' Intermediate Sensors. If the rest of the team stays hidden, the enemy mechs will lock onto the Goat and doggedly pursue it, even into the face of your welcoming fire. This keeps the repair bills low, as you'll usually only be truly repairing the Goat and the rest of the team will only need their lipstick and nail polished refreshed for a very reasonable fee.
Your Holy Grail
Your RPs vanish at the end of a mission, so don't waste them or ignore them. The RPs spent on one Artillery Piece can just about gain you another mech with more overall firepower and flexibility, so think salvage first.
Salvage is also your key to immense profits, giving you more freedom to experiment with different mechs and customizations. Even mechs you don't really want are C-bills in your pocket.You can always buy downed mechs in the after-mission screen, but it's a lame Merc Commander who settles for a measly 20% profit. Salvaged mechs, on the other hand, are 100% pure profit; you don't even have to spend C-bills repairing them. Aren't contract clauses a wonderful thing?
Many mechs with advanced capabilities will become available in-field long before they show up on the market for sale (for instance, Starslayers do not come to market until you take contract with House Liao, yet they are invaluable in your initial campaign against House Liao itself!) so look for new mech types in your skirmishes. These advanced mechs, with their heavier weapons and better electronic capabilities, will aid you greatly in your missions. You might want to hold off on salvaging that Urban Mech if you know a zesty Lao Hu awaits you just around the corner. And try really, really hard not to critical them!
Thinking salvage can also be crucial in choosing your initial drop team. Rather than concentrate on heavy, brute-force mechs that eat up weight and reduce the overall size of your team, you can concentrate on dropping skilled pilots in well-thought-out assault teams and picking up muscle in-field.
The Thing That Steiners Lack
The first tab on your display is the Minimap, which you'll see here at the beginning of each mission. You are Green; Friendlies are Blue and Enemies are Red (Help save Carver 5 with your incredible Green Dot from the menacing Red Squares!) *ahem* The Minimap should be self-explanatory; if it isn't, send it to its' room until it decides to behave.
The second tab is for your Support Options. We don't use it for very much but Salvage and Repair in these missions. Occasionally we amuse ourselves with Minelayers but that's about it. Why? *sigh* ok...
Once you have good and fast Scout mechs, Scout Choppers become silly. They are unarmed and can be shot out of the sky like pigeons. They are also one-use items, unlike a swift Anubis, which also has some gunnery going for it. So you are wasting 2000 RPs. Tsk tsk. Sensor probes? Tsk tsk tsk. Don't be lazy; run there in your fast Men Shen.
Why use RPs for an Artillery piece? Unless enemy mechs all stand motionless, you only get a few connects before this thing is overrun. I suppose you could use it to frighten off a Catapult, but i haven't checked the range on the 'pult vs the Artillery. A big waste of RPs! Shame! You can squeeze a Repair Truck out of that, or two Minelayers, or add 2000 more that you wasted on your silly Scout Chopper and you'd an in-mission salvaged mech! Pshaw!
Bomb Run... or Shilone Bomber or whatever... you can see how much we value it here at Company B... i think it has something to do with those new-fangled flyin' machines or whatnot... if i remember, i spose i'll have to tell you.
*A Note On Mines:Mines can be fun and definitely effective, although many times, even if you know the enemy's path, they can surprise you by going another vector and missing most of your mines. However, Company B frowns on them for another reason: a perfectly good salvageable mech can be fatally crippled or pushed into overload when revived in a mine field. Unless you use a mech on Force Fire to destroy every single mine in a clear path and then micro-control the salvaged mech, even one mine hit to that mech <remember, mines don't discriminate between friend or foe> can send it into Critical before you can get it to Repair and all you'll get for the RPs is a pretty but sad light show. This you don't want. So play easy with mines.
So that's it for Support. Just focus on the pretty airplane with the little fans on top. It is your god now. Treat the Repair Truck as you would a crazy ex-lover, who you sometimes leave your enchanting new lover (Salvage) for to go and make out with for old times' sake just so she doesn't kill herself with pills while listening to sad music. But it isn't a serious thing. You should be better than that; not so needy. If your roving eye should happen to glance upon the Minelayer truck once in a blue moon, well; that can be forgiven with prayer and a strict shriving if you promise to show us the hilarious combat footage. But listen ye well: let not the Devil of Options sway you from your path of Salvage and Redemption through C-bills and Excellence. Amen.
The third tab is Info. This tab will give you info on any targeted mech. You can use it to check the pilots and loadouts of your own mechs, but it is more valuable in showing you how much damage a downed mech has taken and how many of its' primary weapons systems remain intact. This will help you decide which mechs to salvage - if you only need them to march to Extract, by all means salvage the heaviest and most-expensive mechs no matter what their damage. They all get magically repaired upon Extract.
If, however, you need to bolster your team with captured mechs, you might opt to take a smaller but weapons-intact mech over a larger but essentially gutted mech. In the above illustration, the poor little Jagermech has got two blowed-off arms (awwww). But since he came with 3 equally cloddish brothers, i'll root around until i find a more-intact one (if there is one), because they are worth more than the permanently brain-dead Wolfhounds and Ullers which accompanied it.
Remember, in-mission salvaged mechs can be repaired, but lost weapons systems cannot be replaced, so revive the most fightin'-est mechs you can with the most intact parts if you're counting on latecomers to your fraggin' party. (Another good reason to train Sharpshooters early and often. See? We know what we're doing. Trust us)
Mechs, when left on their own, tend to charge into situations without much finesse or common sense. Well, they're just Grunts, whaddaya want? Your mechs will move via any path they deem usable, so the only way you can get them in a particular formation is by using the "hold position" (i.e. STOP) command.
I confess to having no faith in the machine AI. Pilots will hesitate if given a Move order when there is not a clear line-of-sight to the position. Pilots will also walk into installations and battle wreckage and get stuck, which you won't notice until you realize your right flank is wide-open. If pilots are grouped together, they may balk at a Move order if their paths will cross in carrying out the order.
So I depend on micro-management and Hold Position a lot. Hold keeps formations tight and prevents a faster mech from rushing into battle ahead of its' beefier support team and becoming exposed. Setting up a good Bowl formation on Hold allows for supreme cover fire while nimbler mechs dart in and out of the formation assassin-style, ready to offer assistance wherever a bottleneck occurs.
You can arrange three jump mechs in a Star formation and use them as an installation raiding team. If the mechs are well-armoured, they can leap the wall, gain control of or destroy turret and gate controls and hold out until your main force breeches the weakened defenses of the installation by issuing the Hold command and making them stay put and guard the controls.
Stay High & Keep Rolling
All of the Battlemech games, including MC2, give you +10-20% Attack score for being higher than an enemy mech, so study the terrain map closely and choose higher elevations when you can. Being at a height advantage gives you more chances of a Critical Hit <full impact damage>, and since you are training for accuracy and deadliness, this would be a good thing for you to work into your training plan, increasing your chances of those one-shot kills.
It happens; mechs get stuck and won't respond to Move commands. They can be repaired; they will fire from a standing position, but you will be unable to move them for the rest of the mission. This can result in you being unable to complete the mission if you are required to make it to an Extract Zone. This can also make your blood pressure rise incredibly high in a short period of time. Ramming the stuck mech with another mech (see pic, left; the 'Hu is stuck) is ineffective; the stuck mech acts like a ghost and offers no resistance.
It can be killed, however, either by enemy fire or your own. In most cases you'll have to destroy this mech to finish the mission (grrrrrrr)
If this happens to you, you can leave the stuck mech in place to serve as a standing turret or a "shell magnet" if it happens to be in a useable position for the mission duration. If not, your only choice is Self-Destruct, which doesn't always work with stuck mechs. You may have to use Force-Fire on the stuck mech to get rid of it if it is hanging up the mission's end.
One thing that seems to get mechs stuck: giving a second Jump command too soon after an initial one. If the mech hasn't straightened back up from its' jump posture and you issue a second Jump command, the mech will flop over on it's ass like it has slipped on ice. Then it will get up but be unable to move.
Mechs also seem to get stuck if they happen to jump into a very narrow space, like between a wall and a turret, or between liquid storage tanks, so make sure the space you are jumping to is not too narrow or tight. This can also happen if you are jumping up a mountain; you may jump to a space that will not let you move if the slope is extremely steep. If you have to fiddle extremely to get a Jump cursor on a spot, it's probably a dangerous spot to jump to and should be avoided so as not to lose a team member to this aggravating bug.
Frequently the above bug will show up more often as a reluctance on a mechwarrior's part to move off her cushy buttocks when you've given an order. Out of a group of 4, three may begin running while one stays stubbornly put, mumbling over her knitting and gumming her breadsticks. Just issue the order again, meanwhile making snide remarks about senility and shell-deafened grannies. Always check to make sure your mechs are following orders before hopping around on the map view.
Watch out for base doors! If your mech is standing on a base door when it's recessed into the ground, when the door closes again, your mech will be destroyed. No mech is immune. So make sure you're on one side or another of doors, not on them!
The game tends to chug frame rates, no matter how fast the graphics processor and CPU, when encountering masses of LRM and turret fire (for comparison, I run MC2 on a PIII 1.6Ghz, 384MB -8ns DIMM, 32MB ATI Rage2). Turret installations of over 4-6 appear to be the worst culprits. I used to try to capture all the LRM and Autocannon turrets, but I discovered that in many cases I didn't actually need them. I began destroying turrets, which seems to help somewhat in the chug department. Better still is destroying the controls, although in some cases this doesn't really improve the frame rate dramatically.
This problem persists no matter how many of the graphic options are turned off. Pray for a patch; in the meantime, allow for delays when targeting objectives surrounded by many turrets.