This guide helps clear up some of the confusion about what to expect from the often frustrating BATTLETECH mission Challenge Rating system, my theories on why the system is designed this way, and how players can adjust their gameplay to this imprecise system. This guide is based on the core game, not any mods or expansions.
What is Going On?
Determining the difficulty of missions is based on a few factors, but many players (especially new players) rely primarily on the Challenge Rating of the mission, presented as .5 skulls as the easiest mission through 5 skulls as the most difficult mission. The mission difficulty is based on the hypothetical total weight of an average skilled player’s lance and mech warriors’ skill levels required to successfully complete the mission. Hence, every mission has a permissible total lance weight cap. A heavier lance weight composition presumes sturdier mechs with more powerful weapons than a lighter weight lance composition. However, highly skilled players might be able to complete the same mission with a lighter weight lance, or even with fewer than four mechs, and lesser experienced mech warriors compared to a lesser skilled player who might need a heavier lance composition of four mechs with more experienced mech warriors. Somewhere along this spectrum we get our BATTLETECH mission challenge rating.
Firstly, be aware that the averagechallenge of missions changes dramatically even with just a half skull difference. This is perhaps the biggest shock for most new BATTLETECH players accustomed to games with a less severe, and more reliable, difficulty scale. Generally, there is a significant difference between the average (there’s that word again!) difficulty of a 1.5 skull mission and a 2 skull mission, or a 2.5 skull mission and a 3 skull mission, etc.
Secondly, be aware that the actual difficulty of a mission is not necessarily reflected by its skull Challenge Rating. This is the issue which frustrates and confuses new BATTLETECH players, and is the source of many complaints. Remember that the Challenge Rating of missions is based on a fairly broad spectrum, not a narrowly fixed and reliable range. In other words, the BATTLETECH mission Challenge Rating system is purposely unreliable to a certain extent – more on this later in the guide. This really isn’t as bad as it sounds, and IMHO makes the game more fun.
Next, we’ll take a look at what the averageplayer’s lance weight composition and mech warriors’ skill levels should be to successfully complete the average difficulty of each mission skull Challenge Rating.
.5 Skull Challenge Rating
.5 skull missions are intended for the mechs and rookie mech warriors you’re provided when you begin the game. A typical starting mech group is composed of two 40+ ton mechs and three 35 to 20 ton mechs. When beginning the game in Career Mode, I usually immediately place my lightest or weakest mech into storage or sell it, keeping the sturdier mechs for my starting lance. Even though these mechs are not optimally outfitted with armor and weapons, the average player should be able to complete .5 skull missions without too much difficulty. Likewise, new mech warrior recruits without their first primary skill should perform satisfactorily on a .5 difficulty mission. It won’t be pretty, but they’ll get the job done.
Most .5 skull missions include enemies like light vehicles and 20 to 25 ton mechs with unskilled pilots. Locusts and Commandos are the most common enemy mechs for .5 skull missions. These mechs tend to have poorly optimized weapon loadouts and armor, and pilots who are oblivious to tactical heat management. Vehicles like Scorpions are common enemies too. Most enemy bases have defensive turrets with such low armor, even a few blasts from a medium laser are enough to destroy them. A .5 skull mission might only have 1 poorly optimized Locust as your enemy, while a more challenging .5 skull mission might have a combination of one to three light mechs and one or two light vehicles. Regardless, when attempting any mission with your starting mechs, be extra careful and avoid unnecessary risks at all times until you have sturdier mechs.
More to Come!
I’m super busy right now and don’t have much time to spare for writing this guide. But, I will complete the guide eventually with descriptions of every difficulty rating, additional methods of evaluating the ACTUAL DIFFICULTY of missions, and my theories on why the challenge rating system is designed the way it is.
Meanwhile, I feel like every new BATTLETECH player, or any player who is frustrated with the mission Challenge Rating system, should read the guide introduction.
Here we come to an end for BATTLETECH Guide to All Missions (Difficulty) Rating System Explained! hope you enjoy it. If you think we forget something to include or we should make an update to the post let us know via comment, and we will fix it asap! Thanks and have a great day!
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