Sunday nostalgia starring the Awesome

Even in the artwork it looks sad

Awesomes have a special place in my heart. I started out MWO with a Catapult-K2 (because let's be honest, it looks badass), got my actuators handed to me a few dozen times and then decided on saving up for a DDC. After a very painful grind that took a few days, I finally got a DDC. My expectation was to single handedly steamroll entire teams but it turned out that I was mistaken. I didn't know how to build properly and I realized that learning this game in a slow Assault, which is instantly primaried and focused down wasn't a good idea. I started looking for an alternative.

Then I saw the Awesome. Back then Assault choices were extremely limited, there was only the Stalker, Atlas and the Awesome. I disliked how the Stalker looked and how clumsy it was, so the Awesome was the very next best thing for me after an Atlas. I scourged the forums for comments and the impression I got was . . . not good. People complained about how easily it died and suggested going for an Atlas or a Stalker instead. I even asked Reddit and they told me the same thing. But I didn't listen. It was an Assault after all, it had to work, there had to be a way to make it work. Did I tell you how good it looked? Looks were a big factor on 'Mech choices for me when I first started playing.

In the next one month or so I devoted myself to the Awesome, starting with the 8Q. I tried PPCs, LPLs and ML+LL combinations. I went through horrendous tortures, being a newbie and playing in a handicapped 'Mech meant a lot of frustration. Though, I prefer to call this period as "Learning the game the hard way". Playing in an Awesome meant that I couldn't afford mistakes and I eventually realized them. I eventually bought the 9M and enhanced my survivability with an XL380 and it quickly became my favourite. I got to the 5th place in Assault vs World tournament in April(for the Awesome bracket).

That tournament was probably the reason I abruptly stopped playing with my Awesomes though. During that contest the ballistic HSR was in(ballistics were pretty bad before that) and the PPC/AC 'Meta mechs were dominating. The Awesome with its barn door profile was an extremely easy target for those hillhumping Stalkers and jumpjet Highlanders. After that I mostly focused on other mechs and occasionally played with various LL/ML builds. They were pretty good considering ghost heat didn't exist before. After ghost heat there were even less reasons to take out the Awesome and there were plenty of 'Mechs to play instead.

Anyway, fast forward to today. In one of the Reddit threads about my XL400 Banshee article, a few people suggested I take a look at Awesomes. That kind of got stuck in my head so when I got my MWO installation in order today, I took my 2xPPC 1xERPPC 8Q for a spin. Using the rapid-fire PPC technique, it was still pretty fun. I think the Awesome is still performs the best when played with PPCs because it gives you the least exposure time. Quickly fire those PPCs and go back into cover before the enemy finishes their laser burn or LRMs arrive. It is definitely workable when you're not forced into a brawl. The feeling of "I could be doing better in X" is still there but we're playing the AWS for the challenge of it after all, right?

PB got even more shafted with the hitbox pass
Afterwards I slipped into my 9M, my favourite. Well, not anymore. After the "hitbox pass" in December, Awesomes lose their sides extremely easy. This makes XLs on them a complete suicide and aside from the ability to mount bigger STD engines or do some quirky Streak builds, there's no point in 9M anymore. I toyed with a three builds; one was a 1xPPC 2xLL 3xML and the other was 3xLPL and 3xStreak. The first one okay but the second one forced me to brawling ranges which usually meant a quick death. I finally tried the first build with an XL380 and promptly proceed to lose my side to a Dire Whale. Meh, back to the 8Q!

Then I remembered about the old days, when laser HSR was first implemented. I used a 4xLL 3xML 8Q and proceeded to alpha stuff left and right, it was one of the rare times when I felt my Awesome was really Awesome. I did that build again and it actually felt nice. It really hurts sometimes because of the face-time needed, but then again I put out a lot of damage as well. This one did a lot better than I expected, I think I had a game with 800'ish damage and 3 kills but that was a particularly long round. It was also a lot of work staggering those LL's correctly and managing the heat, holding lasers steadily and such. After a game where I particularly got angry with my team, a sudden thought came to my mind "Hey, how about I take that 'solo proof' TBR-C build and replicate this build? You could carry easily  if needed!"

. . . lo and behold and this build was born. 26 freaking DHS cooling 4xERML and 3xERLL in a 90KPH 'Mech with jumpjets, great profile and hitboxes? Ridiculous. My first match, 5 kills 1066 damage. Second match, 3 kills 800 damage just because I was fighting with teammates for kills.

Before TBR, I could argue about the AWS having a mobility advantage over other Assaults and hardpoint advantage over heavies. Not anymore. At the moment I made that build, I realized that the AWS was truly and utterly obsolete. Goodbye sweatheart, I hope you get some developer love soon. Normally I love trying to make mechs work, but this comment comes from someone who put 75 hours of gameplay time into the AWS. This is a truly redundant mech at the moment.

PS: 8R pilots need not apply to the conclusion above, with it being the only 'Mech with 60 tubes. I also have my eyes on a 8V, it's the only AWS I haven't touched yet. It might have a better niche with those 3xM hardpoints stacked together.
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About Rak

I'm an engineer who likes to write extremely long articles about games that border simulation and mainstream.
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