Marauder first impressions (post-elite)

I can't decide if it looks like a bipedal dinosaur or a Xenomorph queen.
After all the hype (well at least on my part) the Marauder is finally here! So how is it? Is it the 75 tonner the IS deserve? I mean it has a great frontal profile and scaling, a good amount hardpoints with a good mix of ballistics and occasional missiles, jump jets, mobility, high hardpoints . . . basically a lot of things that the Orion and the Black Knight aren't. It was hard not to get hyped.

Then the patch dropped and I eagerly jumped into the 'Mechlab and was greeted by my newest toys. It's been a while since I got these goodies on time. "Just slap some good builds on these and we'll have a great time for sure!"

However as I started building them, I realized it was a bit harder than the usual. See, you can't just build a laser/Gauss vomit and go to town with these. Most of the builds I came up with were either "old meta" that had questionable effectiveness right now (such as 2xPPC+AC20) or builds that looked like something out of the medium-land (AC20+5xML). This is mostly because of the almost-mandatory (my thinking at the time) STD engines and the extra tonnage needed for the jump jets. Most Marauder builds utilize heavy ballistics so that also leaves little tonnage for back-up weaponry and other equipment.

Then during my first drops, the Marauder naturally didn't perform exceptional in any way. It did 300 damage there, 400 there and generally it felt like this thing had a lot of trouble putting out damage. Impatient, I even basic'd all of my variants with GXP to see if it was indeed because of the lack of extra "oomph". Nope. Eventually I started getting distracted by other 'Mechs with amazing new quirks and I switched. It had been a very long day and maybe I was too tired to make this 'Mech work?

The next day I picked them up again. This time I focused on getting used to the characteristics of the 'Mech. How do I spread damage the most efficiently? How is the weapon convergence? What fights can I take and which ones I should avoid? Can I shoot over this obstacle without blocking my weapons? Can I run hot or should I go for heat efficient builds? This is when the hitboxes clicked with me. See, everybody was expecting the good ol' Stalker hitboxes on this. STs suck up everything from the sides and even front while the CT stay relatively untouched — nope. These hitboxes are nothing like a Stalker's. It is entirely possible to get insta-cored from the front if you face-tank too much. The 'Mech reacted to torso twisting very well and it wasn't fragile at all. Interestingly even legs and arms blocked damage unexpectedly.

On the third day (which is today) I think I finally got it. This thing tanks like a beast, so the solution was to make builds that use it! The Marauder is definitely not a 'Mech that relies on devastating alphas. Looking at its hardpoints and quirks, it is more of a DPS machine. Since your frontal profile is so small, you can actually face-tank pretty well with some twisting needed here and there. After I did these changes to my builds, it suddenly started performing as well as it should. Averaging about 700 and topping at just a little over 1000 I had a blast eliting all of my three variants (still on the fence about the BH).

An interesting encounter

The highlight of the day was in a match on Alpine. I had an XL build with 2xPPC+AC10+2xML and after being forced to AFK due to someone knocking on the door (sigh), I eventually found myself in a 1v2 fight against a 3xLPL Thunderbolt and a Hunchback.

I was on the radio hill, behind the enemy lines when I saw their whole team march in front of me while steamrolling my team. I waited patiently while the conga line disappeared over a hill, but I noticed a HBK(AC10+5xML) and a TDR(3xLPL) stayed behind, shooting my team from the hill. I climbed down slightly and shot the back of the HBK and I managed to tap the TDR with my PPCs as well. This resulted in two very angry 'Mechs barreling towards me and taking on two brawly 'Mechs in a sniper was the last thing I wanted. Still, I also climbed down to meet them on even ground (the MAD has trouble looking up and down) while working on the LPL shoulder of the TDR. As I cored it, the HBK started applying his full DPS on me with his AC10 and MLs. The TDR was on my right and the HBK was on my left, so my left side started taking lots of punishment. Now they were both inside my 90m PPC minimum range too, so I had to bank on AC10+2xML. When the HBK managed to core my left torso, I had successfully disarmed the TDR and aloready switched onto the HBK. Surprisingly he made a mistake and got pulled to range over 90m, and his torsos popped after three alphas. He still had a head laser so I killed him. The disarmed TDR however was amusing me with his attempts to block my shots so I left him alive. Eventually, I was lured to the top of the candy mountain where I met an ML/MPL Black Knight which made short work of my damaged 'Mech.

Still, winning a 2v1 fight against two opponents was when I realized that the Marauder indeed had good qualities and wasn't just an average 'Mech.


I don't want to talk too much about it since my gameplay and my builds haven't fully settled yet. In the coming days (if I find the time), I'll keep posting my impressions which will eventually result in a review. However, if I wanted to give a TL;DR for those curious, I'd do it like this:
  • It is a very tanky 'Mech. With some effort you can tank every single torso component down to red structure. I'd even say that at mid-long range, this thing is even tankier than an Orion.
  • It has great scaling and an amazing frontal profile. If you face your opponents and avoid showing that huge side profile, you can afford to face-tank and outtrade your opponents.
  • Therefore, DPS builds work really well on this. UAC5s, triple AC2s/AC5s, SRMs and pulse lasers are your friends.
  • It looks amazing, but I found the animations a bit crude. They don't do justice to the great model (personal opinion, apparently some people think they're fine).
I'll post my initial builds in the next article.
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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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