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In the 7th update to reach the BattleTech Kickstarter campaign, we're treated to a quick introduction to Harebrained Schemes lead engineer Chris Aardappel, additional details regarding the Stage 3 Extended Mercenary Campaign, and more. Let's dive further into the campaign specifics:
Even during the midst of battle, the back of every mercenary commander's mind is running a constant tabulation of the return on investment for that mission. Things may be looking good, but in the instant it takes for a PPC to arc across the battlefield, those projected profits can turn to guaranteed losses based upon the damage inflicted on the commander's BattleMechs.
One of the design goals of the Stage 3 Extended Mercenary Campaign that we're most excited about is the player's balancing act between reputation and economic reality - and the fulcrum of that balance is often the damage taken on the battlefield.
Every ton of armor and every internal component of a '˜Mech can be damaged or destroyed and that damage will persist until repaired (or until the entire component is replaced.)
So although your mercenary contract fee is established before a mission begins, the cost of executing that mission is variable largely based upon the amount of damage your '˜Mechs and MechWarriors took in accomplishing it.
Returning from a mission, you now face a choice - how do you want to address the damage your '˜Mechs have received? While the diverse skills of your MechWarriors have a large impact on your battlefield success, it is your MechTechs that will determine the cost and time of repairs, and the options you may have in refitting your 'Mechs.
Below are some of the options we'd like you to have, depending on your MechTechs, reputation, and your financial situation. (As always - keep in mind that this is our current thinking, and that over the course of development we will explore the fun of these design concepts and determine how deep each of these systems should be.)
- Do Nothing: Sometimes, it just doesn't make financial sense to repair a component right away, or at all. You can always choose to send '˜Mechs into battle with damaged or even broken components.
- Repair it: The number and experience level of the MechTechs in your outfit will determine the cost and duration of component repairs.
- Jury-Rig it: You may be able to have your Mech-Techs jury-rig a component, getting it back in working order quickly and less-expensively, but at the cost of some reliability.
- Replace it with a New Component: Just as most current automobiles are constructed from parts manufactured around the world, most '˜Mechs are constructed with components manufactured across the Inner Sphere. Not all parts may be available in all areas of the Inner Sphere, but if you can find a new part, your MechTechs can install it.
- Replace it with a Salvaged Component: Since you may not always have access to new components, salvage may sometimes be your only source for working parts. But salvage may also be your best source - because if a salvaged component is sufficiently old enough, its technology and manufacturing methodologies mean that it may outperform current day new components.
Sometimes, it may even be wisest to withdraw from the field entirely before a mission is complete. It's a tough choice to make - whether to cut your loses and preserve your Lance in better fighting shape for the next mission at the expense of your Mercenary Outfit's reputation. Or you stick it out till the end, claiming payment and the reputation boost accompanying it - regardless of the larger financial fallout it may cause the Outfit.
One of our design goals for the game is that a successful Mercenary campaign doesn't have to be an unbroken string of victories - it's possible to abandon or lose missions as well as complete them. We'll be striving to balance the game appropriately and ensure that losses can be bounced back from if you're able to adapt your approach. (This will be particularly engaging for Ironman mode, which is something we're all very excited about allowing as an option for this game.)
Our goal is for you to face a variety of complex Mercenary outfit management choices like this - where there's not always a right answer - over the course of the Stage 3 extended campaign. After all, (heavy is the head that wears the crown) - and as the leader of your own Mercenary outfit, that crown's on your head.