MECs seem underwhelming

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WanWhiteWolf
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MECs seem underwhelming

Post by WanWhiteWolf » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:03 am

Probably haven't tested them properly but so far:

PROs
- They can tank 1-2 more hits
- They can move freely / don't care about cover
- You can take them wounded in missions

CONs
- They are very expensive
- They infiltrate harder than soldier (I can almost take 2 soldiers instead of a MEC)
- Their aim is crap
- They are easy to hit
- They are slow (12 mobility)

In LW1 they were expensive but a MEC was usually stronger than a soldier - in the right squad.
In LW2 they seem like a toy you play when you are bored and doing some Ex.Lights end game.

Plus they come up later in the game - around June / July ; or whenever you feel like taking down a 90 + Health / 6 armor Sectopod is a good idea.

Seems like a pain to get one to MSGT equivalent level. Am I doing something wrong or they are sub-par ?

stefan3iii
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by stefan3iii » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:25 am

I don't think SPARKs are OP or anything, but they're easy to underestimate.

Cost wise... they come with a free shredder gun, I think of them as being bundled with an EXO suit, which costs 60 supply, 5 alloy, 1 elerium. A rookie costs 20 supply. So a rookie in an exo costs 80 supply, 5 alloy, 1 elerium VS SPARK which costs 80s, 10a, 5e, 1c. So the costs aren't that out of whack, and a squaddie SPARK is stronger than a squaddie soldier with an exo.

They aren't really slow, a 15 mobility ranger with a rifle will also end up with 12 mobility. They're just average speed.

Their infiltration is bad, but it often doesn't matter, if you're just trying to reach some breakpoint. Their overdrive speed makes them really good on retaliations, in which infiltration speed doesn't matter. Generally, if I have a SPARK I like to bring it on the mission, because it's going to prevent wounds on the rest of my soldiers.

The only skill I really recommend is Bombard, which has infinite range, and destroys cover very reliably, and Repair, so that you can repair them at the start of a mission if they deployed with low HP. The worst thing about them is they don't get a new weapon at Coil Tech, so they're in this awkward phase where they're using outdated tech, compounded with their bad aim, means their shooty damage gets very poor near the end game. Still very good at running around and getting shot though.

Things I'd like to see:
- Some sort of aim scaling in the late game.
- Sacrifice has a bug where you can target it anywhere on the map, but he'll only run as far as he can before casting Sacrifice.
- Some sort of scaling on Strike. Or better scaling anyway, damage is anemic late game.
- NOVA is very hard to actually use well, needs a bigger AOE or something.

Dwarfling
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by Dwarfling » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:52 am

You're probably not using them right. Think of them like Breacher Assaults, with less damage but stronger tanking abilities. I'm of course talking about the middle, Tank spec, best there is IMO. Taking Bombard tho, it's so much better than Channeling Field.

- Overdrive is a side-graded Run&Gun with longer cooldown but more benefits.
- They can't really shoot at anything with cover from a distance, so either go for flanks, or get proximity bonuses, or better yet, BOTH. Or have a Sapper Grenadier help them out. Remember, at melee range you need to place them diagonally from an enemy.
- They can take hits extremely well, but that's no excuse to leave enemies uncontrolled. Your worst enemy: Snipey snakes and turrets.
- If you field them while wounded and take no damage, they go back to full health. Repair is your friend.
- They're decent overwatch breakers with Body Shield.

So pretty much you play them as you would an assault: you scout ahead and keep other pods in mind, you charge at the pod, most likely at melee range or on a flank, usually killing something along the way. Or use the heavy weapon. Rest of the team handles the other things, hopefully nothing ends up uncontrolled.

TheDarkZero
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by TheDarkZero » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:00 am

Sparks are worse the higher the difficulty, they can take like 3 hits before dying in legendary, not to mention the fact that half the enemies also have shredder, in my current legendary campaign every single other class would be better than a spark, they cost to much infiltration for what they bring, but to be fair they were also useless in vanilla so hopefully whit the buffs from war of the chosen they will be playable in the future.

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8wayz
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by 8wayz » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:06 am

Sparks currently function as a support unit. There are 3 viable ways to use them from my personal experience:

- The tanky Assault way as detailed by Dwarfling.
- The overwatch defender path, a variation on the tanky Assault, where you use them to draw fire on them and to limit enemy movement. As well as for cover with Bulwark.
- The barrage one, with abilities such as Adaptive Aim, Strike and Bombard.

Sparks get better the more you have of them in a squad, since they can Repair each other and soak up copious amounts of damage.

In general, 2 SPARKs + 1 Specialist make for a formidable team and thanks to Aid protocol will rarely get hit.

Psieye
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by Psieye » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:13 am

Back in 1.2 my one SPARK was the most dependent on cover, despite being unable to benefit in Defence from cover. In other words, I used it as a counter-intuitive 'stealth-dependent' flanker. Typically I'd lead the fight onto some rooftop such that a 'thinman jump' lets the SPARK get close-range flanks. There was that one surreal moment when 6 Advent preferred to shoot a Cpl in high cover over the SPARK standing in front of them.
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IslamDunk
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by IslamDunk » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:45 am

This post is irrelevant from the topic, but I would like to see a variety of SPARK classes instead of just one, and build one of each SPARK version in the Proving Grounds.
I wish I could have a Squadsight SPARK with good Aim progression...

By the way, does the Rainmaker actually enhance Bombard? Because the BIT is a Secondary Weapon for SPARK, not a Heavy Weapon.

Lestat13
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by Lestat13 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:32 pm

I think I've posted this before, but MEC classes were my absolute favorite part of LW1, and I really miss being able to customize a MEC's purpose to the degree of any soldier. I wish they were split up into different classes so they could explore each concept more deeply. Honestly it feels shallow having so few options. I hope that something changes, or that SPARKs get looked at more.

DonCrabio
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by DonCrabio » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:04 am

SPARK's very strong tanks for instant missions like retaliations. I tanked full Avenger defense with my SPARK + 2 Aid Protocols from Specialists, it took only two hits from two dozens of aliens.

Dwarfling
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by Dwarfling » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:18 am

The only thing I don't like about SPARKs right now is that the other builds other than the tank build make little sense. It's not gonna be hitting anything reliably from a distance once everything has +defense without getting to-hit bonuses.

LordYanaek
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by LordYanaek » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:11 pm

Sparks simply need to be able to add mods to their weapons just like everyone else. A Spark's heavy rifle with scope+exp mag+autoloader would definitely not be a joke.

Psieye
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by Psieye » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:53 pm

LordYanaek wrote:Sparks simply need to be able to add mods to their weapons just like everyone else. A Spark's heavy rifle with scope+exp mag+autoloader would definitely not be a joke.
I'd be fine if the typical wep mods were added as passives to certain perks. There are 3 intended builds for Sparks: heavy artillery, tank, OW. Bio soldiers get PCS, wep mods, inventory and perks to fine-tune themselves. Sparks only get perks, so if they're not allowed to have those other mechanical customisations then their perks need to be overwhelmingly good to compete with bio. Something like "uber combat awareness: +20 def, +1 armour, 2 OW shots (on 2 different targets)" or "every reload is free".
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Cogo
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by Cogo » Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:19 am

The Spark is one of the most powerful solder that I have.
Not for any stats, skill or weapon.

But for the awesome voice and look of... LIBERTY PRIME!

I just send him in and all the communist aliens scatters!
Cogo Hatemachine - The one you love to hate
----------------------------
Hero: "- If I pull that mask off, will you die?"
Me: "- It would be extremely painful...."
Hero: "- Yer a big guy"
Me: "- ..for you"

Thrair
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by Thrair » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:05 am

SPARKs were my baby during playtesting. They got a lot of buffs in 1.3, but I'm still very keen to hear people's opinions on them as they stand, especially relative to 1.2.

My experience in late 1.3 testing was that they were very powerful when you got them in mid-game, excelling at missions like Smash & Grab and Retals. They also were excellent tanks, though late-game you needed CD management and Aid Protocol/Smoke grenades to back them up. I argued massively for nerfing the bloody sweet hell out of Sacrifice because it was so crazy strong, but it remains an amazing tanking tool in the end-game. Toss a Tier 3 Aid Protocol on them and they're rocking 70 defense with Sac up. Add in a smoke and they're going to easily avoidance-tank every shot fired on that turn.

Their OW build is also pretty good, although less for proper OW than for retaining fairly good tankiness and eventually landing Hunter Protocol, which makes them brutally effective scouts. Meanwhile their cover-wrecking builds always struck me as fragile, but still quite effective.

Their scaling has improved, as of 1.3. Though I agree it does fall off a bit, it remains fairly good and starts high to begin with (a good thing considering you don't get them until mid-game). And late-game their tanking is more from avoidance than sheer durability. Even if their defense is boosted fairly high, the AI still has a tendency to shoot them. But shred is damn common late-game, so they can't soak multiple landed hits very well. But if you pair them with support, they won't typically need to. Just have to play around the SPARK.

What worries me the most is their straight shooty builds, which have felt anemic since the loss of NCE/HP on them. The shooty perks were more valuable on high-aim SPARKs, but losing NCE nixed that. And it was done very late in the patch cycle. Nothing for it, though. It was bugged on SPARKs. Wasn't firing properly, requiring an odd work-around to get their stats assigned consistently. And HP was entirely borked, iirc.

Dwarfling wrote: - If you field them while wounded and take no damage, they go back to full health. Repair is your friend.
Are you saying taking them in wounded and repairing them in-field gets rid of their repair time when they get back? I was sure that bug got fixed.
IslamDunk wrote:By the way, does the Rainmaker actually enhance Bombard? Because the BIT is a Secondary Weapon for SPARK, not a Heavy Weapon.
No. Rainmaker doesn't affect Bombard. As you said, it's the BIT, not the Heavy Weapon. The Heavy weapon is only attached to the BIT via animation, not actual game mechanics. As an aside, you should check out the Plasma Blaster on a SPARK with Rainmaker. It literally triples its AoE. :P 3-tile wide road of pain.

Jarno Mikkola
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Re: MECs seem underwhelming

Post by Jarno Mikkola » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:35 pm

stefan3iii wrote:They aren't really slow, a 15 mobility ranger with a rifle will also end up with 12 mobility. They're just average speed.
Yeah... you might say that, but the (Advent) Heavy MEC mobility is 17. (at least on the hardest difficulty). Normal, Advent MEC's have 14 mobility. You can see those if you play with the Loot Indicator/Additional icons mod.
And similarly the Rebel/reprogrammed MEC's have 12 Mobility... that's whole lot more on the Alien's benefit. And there's no reason for it.

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