Heat Management Concepts

Advice from the Veterans:

Only fire the weapons when you know you have the right shot and make sure that you're hitting the weakest panel. Use the Auxilary Display controls (AUXIL MODE) and the Targeting MFD to select the 'Mech you want to engage and view its damage. You'll be able to see where best to hit.

Learn what weapons each 'Mech has and learn what weapons produce the most heat. Separate the heat sources. Either put the hotter weapons on different triggers or put them on chain fire... or both. This will prevent heat spikes that will likely shut down your mech.

Read the Weapons Specifications to find out the amount of heat each weapons produce.

Read about the Weapons MFD to find out about configuring triggers and setting chain or group fire on your triggers.

You'll also need to learn the right time to use the "Flush" button to flush the overheated coolant out of the system. Only flush when there's no other option. You'll keep more coolant longer if you stay off the flush button.

Read about the Heat controls and displays on the Secondary Screen .

When you are in advanced mission mode, 4 changes happen:

  1. 'Mechs can be destroyed when the Center Torso, Headshot, or both legs are destroyed. Aim accordingly.
  2. Armor is doubled. It'll take longer to destroy 'Mechs. It'll also take longer to destroy your 'Mech.
  3. Ammunition is limited and will run out. Plan accordingly and make your shots count if you have a low amount.
  4. You have to manage heat.

Of all of these, the most distracting (simply because you have to pay the most attention) is the last.

So, here's a few useful tips:

#1 - Heat effects on your 'Mech

If you're in the green, everything's hunky-dory.

If you're in the yellow, your top speed drops by ~10% and your chance of an ammo jam increases.

If you're in the red, your top speed drops to your top walking speed, the chance that your ammunition will jam increases and you run the risk of a shutdown - the higher the reading in the red, the higher the chance of shutdown.

Shut down, and you're a sitting duck. No Radar, no motion, only visuals out of the Main Viewscreen.

#2 - Jump Jets

Rising into the air on a ball of burning plasma generates heat. If you're trying to cool off, stay grounded.

#3 - Watch your Guns

Weapons generate heat. Fairly simple. Refer to the Weapons Specifications.

The worst culprit for heat is lasers. Those naughty little ER's, Pulses, and standard lasers generate heat at approximately 1 point of heat per 1 point of damage, and they recycle FAST. Usually, a laser's back online before you've vented its heat. Want to cool down or stay cool? Be stingy about the lasers.

By contrast, the PPC recharges slow. If you've got ballistic weapons, you trade limited ammo for better heat profiles; Gauss rifles, AC's, and Missiles do damage on an approximately 2:1 or even 3:1 damage:heat ratio, and they tend to recycle (except for SRM's) more in line with what they've got to work with.

One exception: Machine Guns. Machine Guns list at 0 heat, but this is misleading. If you're trying to vent, do NOT sit on your machine guns. As long as your trigger is down, your heatsinks are offline and your heat will stay put.

#4 - Alpha Strikes

Remember the training video: "The most damaging strike is to fire all your weapons at once." Unfortunately, this is also true: fire everything at once, and all that heat floods your 'Mech. Cool 'Mechs can handle it, poorly vented 'Mechs can overheat in as little as one Alpha. If you're worried about running hot, get well into the green before firing an Alpha Strike.

#5 - Watch your Speed

The faster you run, the more heat your engine puts out and the slower you cool off. Need some venting? Throttle back to 75 or 50% speed. Put her into reverse in a slow walk just to confuse someone. Let the engine sit back and enjoy a little extra cooling.

#6 - Coolant Flush

Your 'Mech will have between 4 and 8 flushes depending on design. This gets refilled when you die, the same as ammo and armor; if you're close to death, be a bit freer with your coolant to dish out some extra damage.

TAP - DO NOT HOLD - the flush button. It should take 2-3 flushes to clear you out of the red if you've gone too far. Get into the yellow and keep moving while you vent the rest.

One exception: if you're sparring with someone and you've both shut down, you might be able to beat them back online (and with a full alpha strike). Go ahead and hold that flush button to vent all you can, but remember, you won't have any left after this.

#7 - Terrain

Terrain affects you in two ways. First, there are the local things. See a puddle of water? Go walk through it or stand in it for some extra cooling. See a puddle of lava? Stay off it if you value your 'Mech.

Second, there's the maps themselves - some places are simply cooler than others and vent accordingly. On Freezer, even the laser-laden Nova Cat can let loose a few Alpha Strikes without shutting down. On Hotplate? Forget about it. Watch your heat and manage yourself accordingly. If you notice you're running super-cool or overly hot, adjust your tactics and rate of fire.

#8 - Arms

Most 'Mechs carry a number of weapons on their arms. This affects you in two ways.

First - if you can see out your side windows, try sparring with people from that angle for a while. Look right or left (left or right on your high-hat on top of the joystick) and your arm will point out that way; only the weapons on that side will fire. Use this to restrict your fire a bit as well as keep your torso out of someone's direct view.

Second - if you lose the arm, you lose the weapons on it, but they also stop adding heat to your strikes. Lost 1/3 of your lasers to that arm that's just been blasted into scrap? Accelerate your fire from the remaining weapons to compensate. A Nova Cat missing one arm is still a pretty scary opponent.

#9 - Lag Time

It takes a bit of time (1-2 seconds or so) for the effect of a fired weapon to register on the heat gauge and shut you down. Get used to this lag time. You've got about that long to tap the flush button 2-4 times (Remember: Tap, Don't Hold) to counteract the effect of firing a full alpha strike or "big gun" if you're running hot.