The Spring Clean ‘Em Up Event is almost over, and the competition has been fierce. With more and more tournaments coming to MechWarrior: Online, I thought it would be interesting to interview some of the top tier players. Enter Leimrey: a 23-year-old pilot from Lithuania who emerged as the victor of the Assault Versus the World event. For those of you that didn’t follow the happenings of that tournament, he scored a whopping 12,990 points during his ten best rounds for the weekend – that’s well over 1000 damage per match.
Though his performance would have been impressive for anyone, I find it particularly exceptional that he’s not a long-time player of the series. Having picked up MechWarrior 4 several years after its release, he doesn’t have the extended history with Battletech that so many top players do. But enough with the introduction; here’s what he had to say:
Q: What’s your preferred playstyle?
I’ve discovered that I really like long range support mechs like the K2 Gausscat which was the first mech I bought. However, I’m not a very patient person and this has shaped my long range playstyle somewhat. I prefer to constantly pressure the enemy from extended range and stay on the offensive, playing aggressively and trying to close the distance to get into the optimal PPC range of 540m. This sometimes backfires on me, but as I said earlier, I really don’t have the patience to camp, since I find it boring.
Q: Impatience breeds superior aiming anyways. Favorite ‘mech in MWO?
I would definitely have to go with the Stalker due to several reasons. First of all, the stalker has a unique body shape, that gives it some peculiar advantages and disadvantages. It has a very small and sleek frontal profile, which makes it much harder to hit from the front than any other assault. This makes it a perfect long range direct fire mech, since it’s harder to punch out its side torsos, compared to an Atlas or an Awesome and it’s not as tall as the Highlander, if I remember correctly. Another thing to consider is the fact that it has high mounted arm hardpoints, allowing it to shoot its arm weapons over ridges with minimal exposure. And finally, I really like the design of the Stalker. Riding a big, walking battle blimp feels satisfying.
Q: Seems like the Stalker is a perfect fit for you. Got a favorite ‘mech that’s not in MWO?
I’m split between the Clan Adder and the Clan Warhawk. Both are dedicated PPC support mechs in their prime configs and both have really good looking original designs. I’m one of those people who do not like the original Battletech mech designs for the most part, but these two mechs are really well designed and look cool. Besides, I like the idea of a fast, small profile dedicated direct fire support mech like the Adder Prime. I even configured one of my Cicadas to mimic its loadout with 2 ERPPC and I am having a lot of fun playing it in both regular and 8man matches.
Q: What is the most satisfying experience in the game for you?
Definitely playing 8man matches. There’s really nothing more satisfying than grouping up with people you can really trust and fight a long, grueling match against an equally skilled opponent. Playing against superior opponents is nothing I or my clanmates shy away from too, since it’s a good opportunity to learn some new tactics, flanking maneuvers, firing spots, pick up a new effective build or simply push your marksmanship skills to the limit.
Q: Poptart or Splatcat?
I don’t like either. However, if I absolutely must pick one, I think I would go with the poptart because it suits my playstyle better.
Q: Clan or IS?
Definitely the Clans due to all-powerful Clan ERPPC and dedicated PPC carrier mechs like the Adder and the Warhawk Prime configs. Besides, I find the Clans more interesting from the lore point of view.
Q: Missiles, Lasers, or Dakka?
Well, I can definitely say that I like lasers the most out of these 3 weapon groups since they allow you to take out specific mech components much easier and at longer ranges due to ease of aiming.
Q: Honor or Victory?
“There is no honor in defeat.” I think that it is important to always give your enemy a fighting chance, but never do it in such a way that it will significantly decrease your own chances of success.
Q: Pants or No Pants?
Hey, we Clan warriors can afford a Cooling Suit! Wearing bikinis inside their battlemech cockpits is the fate Inner Sphere mechwarriors.
Q: Did you go into the weekend with the intent to win the tournament?
I went into the weekend with the intention to do my best to win the tournament since I knew that MWO has a lot of really good Battletech veteran gamers and that the competition is going to be fierce. However, I think a lot of the MWO top players didn’t participate in the tourney for one reason or another, so I don’t really think that my win is of any importance.
Q: At what point did you first think to yourself, “I could actually win this”?
Well, I knew that I could probably get into the top 15 in the overall assault category and I knew that I could probably get into the top 3 in the stalker category, but I started considering my chances of winning the tourney only after I scored my first 1400 damage game, since pulling one of these is extremely hard now when the SRMs have been nerfed.
Q: How many hours did you dedicate over the weekend to the tournament?
I think it was around 20 hours more or less.
Q: What did you run in your Stalker, if you don’t mind sharing?
I ran only two stalker builds during the tournament, alternating between them when I got bored of playing one. My main build was the quad PPC 3F stalker which I played non stop for the first half of the weekend. Then I got bored and switched to a 5 Large Laser 5M variant because I thought it would reduce the number of accidental killshots that happen when firing PPC alphas. Truth to be told, I did pretty much the same damage numbers in both variants, with each variant responsible for at least one of my 1400 damage matches. The Large Laser variant was more effective in taking out non vital bodyparts, though. Here are these builds:
Q: With that final score, you must have had ten absolutely beastly rounds in that Stalker. Do any of them stand out as particularly memorable?
Truth to be told, I had 3 matches where I did around 1450 damage, 2-3 matches where I did around 1200 damage and some matches where I did around 1000 damage, if I remember correctly. The interesting thing is that one of my highest scoring matches was an assault match against some really good players with lots of poptarting highlanders on both sides. Basically, it turned out to be a very long and grueling long range stalemate where both teams just pelted each other with ridiculous amount of PPC fire from extended range. I wasn’t even aiming at non vital body parts that match, just shooting in the general direction of poptarting highlanders and trying to stay alive for as long as I could. I was really surprised when I saw the scoreboard and it turned out that I did around 1300 damage.
Q: Any advice for future tournament competitors?
Yes: participating in these kind of events is worth it if and only if you find the entire process fun. If you find events like these boring and consider them as a “grind”, then you should really just do something more enjoyable, since you will probably regret the amount of time you lost “grinding”.
Q: Do you have any advice for PGI about tournaments?
Yes, PGI needs to refine its scoring system so that it would be less biased towards one playstyle. For example, this particular event required you to spread your damage all over the enemy mech, delaying the kill for as long as possible and destroying its non vital bodyparts first. It punished players who are used to killing mechs fast with well placed pinpoint damage, which, in my opinion is really bad. I would also like them to give out smaller prizes to the players who placed second and third in order to encourage them to keep playing even if they think that they no longer have any chance to take first place.
Q: I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. Anyone you’d like to give a shout-out to?
Yes, I would like to congratulate all of the players who won first place in their respective mech categories and everyone who got into the top 15 in their chosen mech category. I know that many people will claim that these results can be achieved with pure luck by simply playing a large number of matches, but the truth is that it’s not that easy. Getting into the top 15 requires a combination of both luck and skill, since you need to reliably perform well to even stand a chance of inflicting the required high damage numbers frequently enough to accumulate ten 1000+ damage games during the course of these several days.
Also, I would especially like to congratulate Bata on his win in the Awesome category, since he was not afraid to work with the worst Assault in the game and still managed to achieve exceptional results even with all of the Stalkers, Highlanders and Atlases running around. He specifically chose to play a mech that is inferrior to other assaults and deserves respect for that as do other players who chose to play Awesomes during the tourney.
And finally, I would to congratulate Eclisse and Druidika on their wins in the Highlander and Atlas categories respectively. I faced off against Eclisse several times during the tourney and was fed a large portion of humble pie a little more often than I would like to admit. Also, I would like to express my gratitude to all the people who supported me, especially Kong members and my clanmates.
And there you have it. You can read the complete interview here.