Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries Beginners Guide

Survive every mission type, repair your mechs afterward, and get the best equipment in Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries.

Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries isn't all stompy, explosive robot action. Turns out running a mercenary company is fairly complicated. New players may get lost in all the options and find themselves poorly equipped for upcoming missions.

This article is both a refresher for legacy players and a "get-started-quick" rundown for Battletech and Mechwarrior newbies. Below, we'll look at pre-mission strategies, mission strategies, what to do after missions, and most everything in between, how to find rare weapons, how to recruit pilots, how to get more salvage, and more.  

Don't take any contracts and start firing off missiles or lasers until you are armed with our Mechwarrior 5 starter strategies.

Pre-Mission Strategy

          Rare weapon variants offer increased firepower at the same weight

After getting a new mercenary ID and completing the first assassination mission, your crew will have three mechs available but only two pilots. Although it will cost some c-bills, immediately leave the system and head to the nearest industrial hub to recruit a new pilot. Having a third mech in your lance will make the early missions significantly less difficult.

Before taking any new contracts, always look at the local star map and check planets with icons above their names. Nearby planets may have rare weapons for sale or more lucrative contracts that are worth the cost of the travel.

When picking a contract, don't forget to expend your Negotiation Points to increase your payday. You will rapidly earn more points. You don't need to hoard them in early missions.

Damage insurance coverage and extra c-bill payouts are consistently reliable sources of income for Negotiation Points, but there's a major catch.

Salvage shares are potentially the most lucrative, since you might get an expensive piece of equipment for a mech or to replace a destroyed weapon. You can also sell unneeded equipment salvaged after a mission. In some cases, you can make more money doing that than by picking the c-bill payout option.

However, each mission can spawn a whole mech as salvage. During contracts where you will battle enemy lances, this is worth the gamble, even if it is random.

Whole mechs cost significantly more salvage shares than random equipment (usually in the 6 to 12 shares range). Since the default salvage share is 2 shares per mission, you can't take a whole mech unless you spend Negotiation Points on extra shares. Before starting the Rank 6 missions, make sure that your whole lance consists of 45- to 65-ton mechs. To make that happen, you need to salvage whole mechs and sell them.

Mechwarrior 5 Mission Strategies

Try both first-person and third-person (drone view mode) during a few missions to see what works best for you. On ice planets, it is much easier to play in third-person drone mode because you can better see the direction your legs are pointing in.

No matter your viewpoint or mission type, always follow the letter of the contract and then high-tail it to the extraction point. There's no purpose in taking damage fighting off your client's enemies if you've already destroyed the site or assassinated the mech stipulated by the contract.

The one big caveat is that more destroyed mechs means more salvage. If you pumped your points into extra salvage for the contract and there's a chance of coming across a rare mech, it can be worth taking the extra damage.

      Lock-on and take out ground or air units at range with an LRM

There is more than one way to finish a mission, no matter the type. If you have trouble with a specific contract, look for a mountain pass or side trail that leads to the high-ground. In many cases, seemingly impossible battles turn easy by getting the drop on the enemy, pummeling them from a distance, or forcing them to approach through a narrow pass.

While any mech can be deadly, keep in mind that Flamers are surprisingly dangerous because their fire overheats your mech. This is doubly true when facing multiple Flamers. Take them out quick and lure them away from your other lancemates to diminish collateral damage.

When facing larger mechs, heavier weapons like PPCs and AC/10s can devastate you with direct hits, so stay mobile to reduce incoming hit chance and stay behind large structures to avoid taking hits. You can still lock on and return fire with LRMs if you're hiding behind a building or landscape feature.

In many of the early- to mid-game missions, stay out of range and take down aerial units and ground tanks with LRM fire. If you rely on this particular weapon type, don't forget to add extra LRM ammo somewhere on your mech before the next mission.

Post-Mission Guide

Your mechs need to be repaired after combat, but "Repair All" doesn't replace destroyed weaponry or heat sinks. Instead of using that feature, go to the Edit Loadout screen and toggle the details view. If you don't, you may start the next engagement with no firepower!

After replacing any destroyed weapons, choose "Repair All" to repair armor and equipment damage. You must be on the details screen to add ammo or non-weapon parts like heat sinks and jump jets.

On the details screen, you can increase or decrease armor in specific locations. If your weapon loadout has tonnage remaining, increase your armor in vulnerable locations. If you have a heavily-armed build, you can decrease armor for more tonnage and additional weapons, heat sinks, or jump jets.

Wait for repairs to finish before taking another contract. Remember to travel first, then wait. Otherwise, you will lose time and money.

Finally, don't forget to sell old equipment if you are running low on c-bills! While it is a good idea to have extra M Lasers, AC/10s, and LRMs handy, there are only so many excess parts you really need.

Market prices fluctuate based on what faction dominates an area, so if you have good standing with House Davion, for instance, you will get better pricing in their areas of the star map.

Even though Mechwarrior 5 isn't perfect, it is a great strategy game with a lot of potential. In our review of the game, we said that the game is fun even if it is flawed. With patches and mods coming, Mechwarrior 5 seems to have a long life ahead of it. 

Mechwarrior 5 is currently out on PC via the Epic Games Store. There is no word if the Battletech Mecha game will release on PS4 or Xbox One. 

Featured Contributor

Ty splits his time between writing horror fiction and writing about video games. After 25 years of gaming, Ty can firmly say that gaming peaked with Planescape Torment, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a soft spot for games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout: New Vegas, Bioshock Infinite, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. He has previously written for GamerU and MetalUnderground. He also writes for PortalMonkey covering gaming laptops and peripherals.

Games MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Genres Action Platforms PC Tags
Published Dec. 9th 2019

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