Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mech Hero MMO

Lately I've been wasting allot of time playing a massive multiplayer online (MMO) game called Mech Hero. It's very similar to Star Craft or Warcraft 2100, with shades of Mech Warrior blended along the edges. What I find interesting about this one is that it is completely browser based and is built around an elegant freemium business model.

The basic premise is that you run a city, and have to selectively build the city's infrastructure to produce and support a mech army. You can harvest resources, attack random "non-player" targets, or raid other player's cities. There are bot strategic and tactical aspects of the game.

So here's what I've learned:
* Don't research support vehicles past level 2.
* Don't research armor plating.
* You don't have to research weapons sequentially, so don't invest in assault rifles.
* Until your resources exceed level 9, don't build resource storage silos past level 3. Instead, build bunkers. Bunkers don't hold as much as silos, but they protect resources from pillagers.
* The cost-benefit curve for bunkers goes exponential at level 7 and negative at 11. Once a bunker hits level 5, build another. Once your resources exceed 10, upgrade the bunkers to level 7.
* The cost-benefit curve for resources starts to suffer after level 10 and goes negative around 13 to 14.
* In the case of electrical resources, build to level 11. Upgrading one power plant to level 13 would yield a 17% boost in power for about $110K. Amortized across the four plants, that end up being about 4%. Upgrading one plant to level 12, and installing a power coil, costs the same, but increases by 8%... for all plants, giving a 30% total yield.
* Always use recon satellites in sets of three.
* Build a trading post and transport units early. Weapons can be purchased for far less than the cost to research them.
* When attacking a non-player controlled (NPC) training site, it is almost always defended by a single Raptor with either machine guns or assault rifles. Attack with 2 lasers and 2 cargo carts. The lasers will keep the mech out of gun range, and two carts will carry the full bounty.
* One cargo cart can carry about 2500 units of resources and a harvester can carry about 2000.
* Whenever you send a mech to battle, have harvesters standing by: If you lose, your weapons will be ejected from the battle in a debris field.
* Each weapon has a weight. When harvesters retrieved weapons from a debris field, the weapon's weight is the same as 100 times the resource weight. This means a machine gun with a weight of 10 will take as much space as a 1000 resources.
* Precision Laser Rifle (PLR) is the early weapon of choice. Once you have shields, start thinking about railguns and plasma weapons. Avoid assault rifles and mortors.
* Weapons that are too big to be carried be a harvester (a PLR weighs 25, displaces 2500) can be "dis-assembled" and carried by two harvesters.