[MS] New Pilot Traits

With this week’s update we added a few more Pilot Traits to the list you can take when creating your pilot in Campaign mode. Let’s take a look at the new additions.

For our first two traits we realized they weren’t too many traits that were strictly offensive without a catch. For instance Defiance is a powerful trait but only when returning fire or on a counterattack. We started with Gunnery Expert which was a sure fit Lt. Agar the pilot of the RX78-6 Mudrock Gundam, and you could just as easily rename it to “Marksman” or something similar and apply it to Lockon Stratos of the Gundam Dynames. The second one, Close Combat Expert, would be a melee equivalent for Gunnery Expert. These two traits give a free Focus action in their respective area <Shooting/Melee>.

Along a similar vein we now had a Melee and Ranged trait at the Cost+10 level but only had “Merciless Melee” at the Cost+20 level, so it’s only fair we come up with a 20pt Ranged option named “Furious Fusillade” to continue the alliteration. This trait gives a bonus shot and like with Merciless Melee provides additional bonus against Grunt Suits (Frame Level 1-2).

Wrapping up our new traits we put together two defensive traits to balance out Practiced Professional and Headhunter. Offensively those two traits provide a bonus Hit depending on ones pilot level. Practiced Professional represents those skilled pilots and veterans who have no trouble dealing with the rank and file so they have +1 Hit if the target is Pilot Level 0.

Headhunter is for those who seek out strong opponents, high value targets and/or try to take out the enemy Ace; this trait could apply to many it could represent Kou Uraki always trying to settle a score with Anavel Gato, it could be Yazan Gable who racks up many kills against enemy pilots or perhaps the Jesta Team from Unicorn who are dispatched to take out the priority targets. Headhunter is the inverse of Practiced Professional, it gives +1 Hit but only against Pilot Level 1+ units.

We added in two defensive traits to balance out Practiced Professional and Headhunter. Overconfident or Skirmisher which represents pilots who are adept at dealing with ordinary enemies then there is Untouchable which is for those who deal with enemy Aces. In both cases these abilities only work you have taken 0 DMG. An Overconfident character has no problem mopping up enemies but as soon as they take a hit it shatters their confidence and they lose their edge, likewise for a Skirmisher who is there to pick off easy targets then retreat. Untouchable as the name implies is only effective as long as you stay untouchable.

These two skills were created when we were designing Shin Matsunaga a OYW Ace who’s claim to fame was that he was never hit. Thus Untouchable. We wanted to be careful with how it would stack since having 2 Blocks can quickly make a Mech two hard to bring down. Prior to this Trait the only way to get 2 Blocks was to use a Super Shield which with a hefty Weight Penalty meant having a much lower Evade balancing it out. Elusive and Cover do not stack with Shields thus most units would only ever get 1 Block. Untouchable would be the first to give a second block so we had to consider how we wanted to balance it and wanted made sense thematically.

We considered making it +1 Block per turn but that became clunky since it’s verbiage did not match elusive, one more fiddly bit for player’s to remember which is something we always try to avoid. We tried a few other variations but none of them were satisfactory. Then we thought perhaps it only functions when you have not taken any damage. That was a good starting point, thus the opponent could apply some strategy and pressure that unit, send large volumes of shots (and hits) at that target forcing the unit’s owner to burn Momentum to keep them from being hit or else they lose the ability.

Sounds good on paper but in playtesting it would still be an issue since with 2 Blocks out the gate it became hard to threaten the target outside of Rapid Fire range. So we added one more limiter, the Pilot Skill of the attacker. Limiting the +1 Block to having 0 DMG and only applying to certain pilots made it a fun but balanced ability.

Take the Overconfident for example, sure they will continue to be hard to kill against grunts, but if a Skilled or Ace Pilot confronts them they will be in a world of trouble both losing the effective and very likely taking damage. Then with Untouchable it’s a great ability but only effective against Skilled and Ace Pilots who are already adept at adding hits to a target, so it helps mitigate their threat.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

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