Hey guys! So I figured that a big thing missing is a comprehensive guide to modules and pilot skills, not only on what they do but which ones are worth bringing on what sorts of mechs (and which ones are just a waste of time). Let’s get it started!
Advanced Zoom: Basically, this just pops up a picture-in-picture (PiP) zoom that goes in more than stock zooms do. Currently this is the only module listed under the Vision category, and it’s really not worthy of its own category in my opinion… It is nice that this module lets you zoom in further than the normal zoom limit (at a base of 4x), but that benefit is outshadowed by its flaws. The PiP bit sounds like a neat idea, but ends up being rather restrictive and causes some issues with the targeting interface, as well as not being as easy to use as the full screen zoom used by normal zoom modes. Plus it isn’t really necessary as you can usually use the normal zoom modes effectively enough and there is no real need for it. I only recommend even trying it on extreme-range sniper mechs such as ER Large Laser boats (the Raven RVN-3L and Stalker STK-4N come to mind).
Target Decay: This makes it so that when you lose line of sight (LoS) on a target, they remain targeted for longer than normal (with both module upgrades, it increases it from 2 seconds to 3.5). This is situationally a good module, but I emphasize situationally strongly. It is practically a must-have for LRM boats, and can be useful for lights who are spotting for LRMs and sort of nice for Streak Boats, but it provides a very minimal benefit for anything other than those 3 types of mech. When not in an LRM boat, it can still be useful though. Maintaining a target lock on someone for an extra second and a half can mean that you get target info on their build when you otherwise wouldn’t, it means you can track their movements better (whether they run away or get ready to peek out again so that you can pre-aim your weapons), and it also keeps the target locked for LRM boats if they didn’t have the enemy targeted themselves. Overall, it’s not a bad module, but it also isn’t good enough to be taken over other modules in most situations.
Radar Deprivation: This module is the exact opposite of Target Decay, and makes it so that whenever you break LoS between you and any enemies who have you targeted, they lose their target on you. This is incredibly useful as a counter to LRM boats, and is nice even if they have no LRM boats in order to deny targeting information and to keep information about your movements hidden from the enemy for those extra few seconds. There is no mech on which this is not useful, and it is practically a must-have for PUG matches.
360 Target Retention: This module lets you keep targets locked even if you are looking in the complete opposite direction. That the usefulness of this module is niche is quite the understatement. Honestly, there are very few circumstances in which I find this useful, and the main one that comes to mind is if you are in a light mech running away from the enemy team keeping a target locked for LRMs. Sure, it can provide a teeny tiny bonus in other situations, but they’re really not worth mentioning. Not recommended for any mech ever.
Capture Accelerator: This module is meant to speed up cap times on bases in Assault and Conquest by 15%. I may be wrong about this, but from what I’ve heard from reliable sources, it does not work on Conquest (though I have not done the testing myself). So the only reason to take it is if you plan ahead of time to do a cap rush, and this is not a recommended strategy for two reasons. First of all, turrets can make this quite the pain as they will light you up as targets for enemy LRM boats if you don’t have ECM (as well as shooting you themselves), and second of all, this is just the most boring-ass tactic which has little merit to it at all – it doesn’t even make you money quickly. Not recommended 99% of the time.
Air Strike and Artillery Accuracy: These modules are basically identical, just for augmenting different consumables, so I’m lumping them together. What they do is tighten up the spread of the Air Strike and Artillery Strike consumables by 20%. This can be useful if you have a really good strike, which is most common when you’re dealing with a camping team with Dire Wolves. But while these modules aren’t bad, they also aren’t all that great – tightening up the spread means that you can potentially deal more damage to them, but the decreased radius could also make it miss entirely if your aim on the strike is a bit off, making it a double-edged sword. This leads me to only recommend them if you are taking the appropriate consumable (obviously) and if you have nothing else to put in the module slot (which is pretty rare, but happens every once in a while).
Hill Climb: This module basically decreases the rate at which you decelerate when climbing a hill whose slope is above the threshold of your mech for slowing down. Basically, it makes it so that you climb shit faster. This is a fairly underrated module, with most people just brushing it off as a waste, but on the other hand it also isn’t that great in 99% of situations. However, it can make your life easier when running mechs without jumpjets, and it does significantly reduce the time it takes to climb steep slopes (I’ve personally used it on Atlases, Dire Wolves, and Ravens alike). As with the Strike Accuracy modules, though, it still isn’t all that great and should only be taken if you’ve got extra slots with nothing to put in them.
Improved Gyros: This module reduces screen shake when being hit by enemy weapons by the barest margin. In contrast with the Hill Climb module, its shitty reputation is completely deserved. The decrease in screen shake is not even noticeable in my experience, and it also doesn’t effect screen shake from other sources such as jumpjets at all. While it does not cause any negative effects, it is a complete waste of a module slot and so should really never be taken.
Speed Retention: This module increases your speed while legged by 30%, up to 50 KPH, which sounds rather intriguing due to how frequently you get legged in MWO. What it leaves out, though, is that these bonuses only kick in if you haven’t taken damage in the last few seconds (I’m not sure of the exact number of seconds, but it feels like 5-10 seconds). Basically, you know how if you get legged (and survive) your speed drops to 15 KPH for a little bit and then if you haven’t been shot it goes up by a bit, up to a cap of 40 KPH? Yeah, this module does not effect that period of 15 KPH at all, and that period is when most legging kills happen. So this module ends up being useless 9 out of 10 times you get legged. I’ve petitioned PGI to change its effect to just getting rid of the period where you go 15 KPH, yet to no avail. Don’t bother with this module.
Shock Absorbance: This one basically just reduces falling damage you take in any mech (by 35% in light mechs, 30% in mediums, 25% in heavies, and 20% in assaults). But due to how rare it is to take serious fall damage, and how low these percentages of damage reduction are, it isn’t all that great of a module. As will modules like Hill Climb, if you’ve got nothing better to take it does provide a neat little bonus, but it is certainly not a priority. The main use I see for it, though, is in light mechs without jumpjets.
Sensor Range: This module has two effects: one increases your maximum sensor range by 15/25% (rank 1/rank 2), and the other makes it so that you can target mechs under an ECM umbrella from further away. As it is, there is currently a small gap between the range at which you can start targeting mechs with ECM and the range at which mechs with ECM will disrupt your targeting (thus preventing lock-ons). This module increases that gap significantly, making it a very useful module on Streak boats. However, it’s not all that useful on much else except for maybe extreme range snipers or scouts. Definitely has its niche uses, like the Target Decay module, but it shouldn’t be a priority on most mechs.
Target Info Gathering: This module reduces the time it takes to get information on your target by 25% (this information being pilot name, chassis & variant, and the paper doll with weapon loadout). Contrary to what some people believe, it does not decrease lock-on time for Streaks or LRMs. This module is probably the best all-purpose module, it is never ever useless and it always helps. However, most of the time, it does not help as much as some other modules do. But if you’ve got a free module slot after putting in your top priority modules, this is definitely a good one to go for.
Seismic Sensor: This module will detect enemy mech movement within 180//250m (rank 1/rank 2) of your mech when you are standing still. And it is one of the best modules in the game, basically equating to wall-hacks with less detailed information (enemy mech movement appears as blips on your minimap, with a refresh rate of about a second). This module is almost always useful, whether it’s for detecting an enemy push or for a warning if there’s a mech sneaking up on you. Recommended on any mech that can take it.
Consumables Pilot Skills
These pilot skills don’t give you modules, but rather augment consumables that are available to players by default.
UAV Upgrade & Improved UAV: These two pilot skills increase the range of the UAV consumable by 25% and increase its duration by 15 seconds, respectively. And they are both incredibly useful, if you plan on taking a UAV, which is mainly recommended for light mechs and some brawlers. However, 9 times out of 10 the combination of Cool Shot and a Strike is just going to be more attractive for your consumable slots, since they don’t rely on your team having LRMs/the competence to make use of the information of your UAV. However, when grinding XP, the UAV can prove to be more valuable than either Cool Shot or a Strike because it gives you more XP than they do.
Cool Boost: This increases the power of Cool Shots across the board by 20%. There are no drawbacks, and since it doesn’t take up a module slot it is bloody brilliant (as long as you are taking a Cool Shot into your matches). However, there is one, more important Cool Shot upgrade that I would get first…
Cool Shot 9 by 9: This turns the Cool Shot 9 consumable into a Cool Shot 9 by 9 consumable, which equates to full-on doubling the effectiveness of the consumable. It is absolutely worth getting if you take Cool Shots. And, on a related note, don’t bother with Cool Shot 6 unless you can’t take strikes and don’t want to take UAVs for whatever reason. It’s cheaper, but that’s for a good reason – it barely dissipates any heat. I actually wouldn’t bother taking any Cool Shots until you get this 9 by 9 upgrade unlocked, as they won’t be worth the C-Bills in general until you unlock the improved version.
Improved Artillery & Air Strike: Again, I’m combining these two because they do the same thing for their respective modules, which is decrease the delay time from 5 seconds to 4 and increases the number of shells dropped from 6 to 10. These are each must-haves for their associated consumable, and as with the 9 by 9 upgrade I would recommend unlocking this before you even bother with the Strikes. In general, Air Strikes are more useful as you can aim them, but Artillery Strikes can be placed in the middle of an enemy position for maximum effectiveness and so are worth having too. I’d recommend getting the Improved Air Strike first and sticking with just that strike while you save your GXP for other things, and going back to get Improved Artillery Strike later when you’ve got nothing better to spend GXP on.
Range & Cooldown
Ok obviously I’m not going to go over every single weapon modules, but to give you an idea, range modules increase the range of the weapon they’re for by 2% per level, up to 10% at level 5, while cooldown modules decrease the cooldown of the weapon they’re for by 2.4% per level, up to 12% at level 5. To fully unlock a weapon module to level 5, it will take 3.500 GXP, and it is definitely worth getting a chosen few to level 5 over getting a bunch to level 1 and 2. In general, I would start by buying weapon modules for the builds you play/like to play most, and just continue expanding your collection as you find new builds that you want to improve with weapon modules.
In general, cooldown modules for your primary weapon system(s) are better as they provide a direct increase in your DPS, but I sometimes will switch this up a bit. First of all, I like to use cooldown modules in order to sync up cooldowns between 2 weapon systems whose cooldowns are usually different that I want to fire together. Let’s take a typical Timber Wolf TBR-C as an example. The weapons sync up in terms of beam duration and range very well, and are often used in conjunction with each other. But, the cERMLs are always off cooldown about a quarter of a second before the cLPLs are, which can be annoying because you want them to sync up as perfectly as possible, and also because the cERMLs have less range and are less heat-efficient, so you want to fire your cLPLs more than the cERMLs, not the other way around. However, this problem can be fixed by putting on a cLPL Cooldown 5 module, which causes them to sync up almost perfectly (the cLPLs get off cooldown just a fraction of a second before the cERMLs do, but the difference in timing is much lower and you want your cLPLs more anyways). So that’s a good example of an alternative way to use the cooldown modules besides just putting on the module for your most-used weapon system.
But what about the range module? Of course, you can use that to just increase the range of your primary weapon system, but if we look at that same Timber Wolf TBR-C build we find that we can also use it to make the ranges of our weapons more uniform. The cLPL and cERML are both medium range weapons (though the cLPL is practically a long range weapon these days), but often you’ll engage at ranges within the cLPL optimal and outside of the cERML optimal range. To help alleviate that problem, you can stick in a cERML Range 5 module, to bring the ranges closer and make your mech more effective at typical engagement ranges due to your cERMLs doing more damage outside of their standard optimal range. This is actually the module setup I prefer on the TBR-C laser vomit, and has let me to have more success than with the cooldown module on either the cERML or cLPL.
Like I said earlier, your best bet is usually do use a cooldown module over a range module for the direct increase in DPS, but as always there are times when I wouldn’t. These times are mainly when your build is very hot and/or range limited. I feel a great example for this is another TBR-C build, the cMPL boat. A cooldown module is more likely to lead you to a speedier overheat than any real increase in DPS, and the range limit on the stock cMPLs can be rather restrictive.
In the end, though, it is up do you which one(s) you use, and you may have to do some experimentation to see which setups work best for you, as a lot of this is a matter of feel (though you can always check out my Master Guides which have weapon module recommendations for the mechs I’ve written about).
AMS Overload: This module increases the rate-of-fire of AMS by 10%. This can be really useful if you’re relying on your AMS, such as on a triple-AMS Kit Fox or any of the many mechs that use dual AMS. It can also be useful if you just don’t have anything else to do with your weapon module slots and have an AMS on your mech. Other than that though, you’re almost always better off with a different weapon module.
Enhanced NARC: This module increases the velocity of NARC (and cNARC) by 20%, bringing it up to 600 m/s. It also increases the duration of NARC to 30 seconds, up from 20. Basically, if you’re bringing a NARC, you pretty much have to bring this because it makes it way more annoying to the enemy team and means that you can have about half the enemy team NARC’d at a time, optimally (though it rarely works out that way thank god).
So obviously you can’t just buy all these things at once (I mean, unless you’re loaded with oodles of GXP and C-Bills, in which case you probably already have them all and don’t need to worry about which ones to get first…), so I’m laying out a basic priority on what order to buy modules in.
Top Priorities: Radar Deprivation and Seismic Sensor
These two are by far the most useful mech modules right now, and mech modules are the most all-around useful modules at the moment as you don’t have to pay C-Bills to restock them (as opposed to consumables), and they are applicable on every mech no matter what weapons you have (as opposed to weapon modules). The first module I would unlock & buy is the Radar Deprivation module (15,000 GXP). LRMs are massively annoying in the PUG queue and being able to break target lock instantly by breaking LoS has a huge effect on your survivability in that environment.
After unlocking that, I would save up your GXP for unlocking Seismic Sensor (7,500 GXP) and its upgrade (10,000 GXP). It’s useful to have in the non-upgraded form so if you have the C-Bills you don’t have to wait until it’s upgraded to buy it (and you don’t have to buy an upgraded module either, the upgrade is applied to your already owned module), but if you’re hard up for C-Bills you can wait until you get the upgraded Seismic Sensor I suppose. Like I said earlier, this module is as close as you can legitimately get to wall-hacks in this game, and is useful on every mech no matter what.
When you are running a mech with only one module slot (which is the case with many if not most non-mastered mechs), you will have to decide for yourself whether you want to bring Radar Deprivation or Seismic Sensor. Personally, I like seismic in brawlers and in super-long range mechs, so that I know where to pre-aim and I get warnings if a lmech is trying to sneak up on me. Radar Deprivation, I like to take on any mechs that like to trade with direct fire, such as laser vomit or poptarts, or just general DPS mechs. In all other cases, you may just have to feel it out for yourself.
Second Priorities: Consumable Pilot Skills
All mechs have two consumable slots, and the two best consumables to have on your mech are almost always Cool Shot 9 by 9 and Improved Air Strike. This does involve a few upgrades though. The most effective path way to upgrading these consumables is to first get the Cool Shot 9 by 9 upgrade, which will give you a seriously useful coolant flush ability and is useful in almost every mech. Next, I would unlock the Improved Air Strike or Improved Artillery Strike skill so that your Strikes get the fantastic bonuses and become way more useful. As to which one to unlock, I recommend the Improved Air Strike because I find it to be more useful more often, but if you personally prefer artillery strikes over airstrikes, you can get Improved Artillery Strike instead. After this, I would get the Cool Shot Boost skill, as it does not increase C-Bill costs and all it does is make your Cool Shot more effective. I should point out that there is a third possibility, which is to get UAV Upgrade & Improved UAV. If your focus is on getting more XP rather than getting the optimal module setup for your mech, I would skip getting either Improved Strike and go for the UAV bonuses (I’d get UAV Upgrade first).
Third Priorities: Weapon Modules
Now that you’ve got your optimal setup for mech modules and consumables unlocked and purchased, you can make a fully optimized mech by purchasing weapon modules for it. The piece I wrote on weapon modules earlier covers pretty well which ones to buy in what order (basically, whichever ones are most appropriate for the mech(s) you like to run).
The Rest of the Useful Ones
So now that we’ve got those out of the way, what else is worth buying? Well…
UAV Upgrade & Improved UAV if you chose to go for Cool Shot and a Strike for your first two consumable upgrades, you’ll want to get these so that you can run UAV’s optimally as well when the situation calls for it.
Improved Artillery Strike or Improved Air Strike: You should have both of these unlocked, not only so you can get a feel for each to see if you have an odd preference, but also because some mechs do better with one or the other (arties are often better on lights, for example).
Target Decay: If you’re evil and like running LRM boats, or like the bonuses anyways..
Sensor Range: If you’re just a little less evil and like running Streak boats, or like the other bonuses anyways.
Enhanced NARC: If you’re even more evil and like running mechs with NARC.
Target Info Gathering: If you’ve got a mech with 3 mech module slots (so, 2 mech module slots and the flex slot you get when a mech is mastered), this is the most all-purpose useful module after Radar Deprivation and Seismic Sensor.
Hill Climb: If you run a lot of jumpjet-less mechs with an extra module slot after seismic and radar deprivation, this can be a good choice to take over Target Info Gathering.
Shock Absorption: If you run a lot of jumpjet-less fast light mechs like the Locust with an extra module slot after seismic and radar dep, this is another good choice to take as a third module.
AMS Overload: If you run mechs with multiple AMS or have mechs with extra weapon module slots.
And More Weapon Modules: Like, all the more weapon modules. For all your mechs. Just get them all.
And the Leftovers
If you’re done with all of these and you’ve got GXP left, you can either save it up for when PGI releases more modules (pretty rare, but it happens), or just blow it on the rest of the mech modules (like I do). You’ll never really use the rest of these modules. but who knows, maybe you’ll find that you like one of them for some super-weird reason.
That should be just about it! I think it’s plenty thorough and I’m happy with this guide, but if you see a mistake or have some different ideas, or questions or whatever, feel free to share them with me on the MetaMech forum! I hope you found this to be useful, and maybe even enjoyable (stfu GMan ur so dry). I’ll see you on the battlefield! glhf