Dire Wolf

Last Updated: 3-Nov-2016

Fun fact: The Dire Wolf’s top speed is about the same as a blue whale!



The Dire Wolf (or Whale, as it’s been affectionately nicknamed) has had a reputation for being one of the most fearsome mechs on the battlefield throughout canon and the video game franchise. This remained true in MWO for some time, but now it’s much less of an issue. The Whale does still have the most devastating loadouts in the game, but its speed and hitboxes do wonders to hold it back.

The Dire Wolf variants have no difference in quirks, so the only uniqueness between the CTs comes from the hardpoints. As such, the two big winners are the DWF-W with its two energy hardpoints, and the DWF-S with its missile hardpoint and locked jumpjet, making them the obvious picks. Your pick for third variant doesn’t really make much of a difference, but you can go with the DWF-B for its extra hardpoint (still strictly inferior to the DWF-W but whatever) and more useful omnipods, or the DWF-Prime or DWF-A just in case quirks return to the whale and they get the biggest bonuses.


Chassis-Wide Information


  • Greatest firepower in the game, capable of melting anything in a matter of seconds with dakka builds, or taking mechs down in one fell swoop with Gauss Vomit.
  • Not only are its builds powerful, but there’s so many potential variations due to its hardpoint layouts. With up to 15 energy hardpoints, 6 ballistic hardpoints, or 3 missile hardpoints (the highest number of total hardpoints I can get out of it is 20, and the most weapons a mech can carry in this game is 16), there’s not a whole lot you can’t do.
  • Gets all the usual Clan perks – cXL engine for extra survivability, access to better weapons and equipment in general, you know the deal.



  • Incredibly sluggish, only hitting 52.2 KPH after speed tweak with a ridiculously slow torso twist to boot. This means you’re prone to getting left behind and either picked off by a rotation or missing the fight altogether.
  • Hitboxes are very large and very easy to isolate, which combines with poor torso twist numbers and unobtrusive arms to make it the squishiest 100-tonner in the game. Couple that with the Dire Wolf’s habit of always getting focus fired down first, and your ability to run rampant gets checked pretty hard.
  • Low-slung mounts make poking over hills a non-options, and most builds which can be made asymmetrically include a side torso Gauss Rifle, which is intrinsically risky.
  • Low-slung and wide-spread arms also mean that you have to look out for your teammates lest you shoot them in the back, in addition to suffering from serious convergence issues on many builds.


Generic Tips

  • Stay with the group, and if they don’t stay with you find another way to make sure not to get caught out. I recommend trying to direct your teammates to not leave assault mechs in the dust, but this frequently doesn’t work so anticipate which routes the enemy is likely to take and try your best to avoid them.
  • Unless you’re in an organized team with a plan to the contrary, don’t bother trying to blow off enemy weapons or non-essential bits. Just go for the killshot, because it won’t take you long to get it.
  • You may have twice as much firepower than most mechs out there, but that doesn’t mean you should be looking for 1v2s. If you’re being beaten on trades, just stop trading and find a better position.



For those of you who are not familiar with the general format, here’s how it goes (and it is different from the IS ones). We’re going to be identifying build archetypes that the mech can do, and list them in order of how awesome they are (previously I’ve sorted by range, but I’m phasing that out). I tend to either label the archetype by what their weapons and playstyle is or occasionally by name.

We’ll look at a central build or builds to fit each archetype; generally either one which can be built out on all variants, or a specific one for each variant if the variants have distinct Center Torsos. Oftentimes, there will also be alternative versions of the same sort of build which function differently in some way.

In general, the variants which can run a build will be listed in order of which does it better (obviously the best one comes first). If they’re all the same, I’ll put the Prime variant first and then list the others alphabetically.

Each archetype has one paragraph about the build itself – going over anything I feel is relevant to understanding it such as quirks, tonnage issues, how it fits the meta, my general feeling about it…just whatever. And then there’s a paragraph about using the build, going over tactics, tips, and again whatever I feel is relevant to that stuff, including links to L2P guides, on occasion.

The modules are listed in order of which one is most important and the consumables I’ve listed are the ones that are generally the best, but while leveling the mech you may want to swap the less important consumable out for a UAV. That is, if you can afford to use consumables at all (they aren’t necessary, just nice, and if you’re low on C-Bills they’re not necessarily worth it).

On with it!



Another one of the original terrors of the Dire Wolf, the Dakka Whale relies on an abundance of ballistic hardpoints to crush anything it sees. These builds may not match the Kodiak’s popularity, but they do retain their firepower edge if you can actually get into a decent position. The main drawbacks of the build (beyond the usual problems that the Dire Wolf has) are its irrelevance at range, and its vulnerability to getting poked down.

Your main super-complex technique with this mech is going to be constant spamming of your mouse buttons. Really, the hardest bit is going to be getting into an optimal position – one that gives you a decent distance to shoot at anything you see, but not so long that you’ll get sniped at. Just get a solid bead and fire, and don’t worry about ammo conversation unless it becomes a real issue – you’ve got more than enough ammo to carry the match if used liberally.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: cUAC/5 Cooldown, cUAC/10 Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This version sacrifices some of the build’s raw power to pick up more relevance at range. Generally not a great idea, since you’ll be getting out-traded by most mechs that specialize at that stuff, but it’s an option. And you can also pick up a huge Targeting Computer if you’re frustrated by the velocity.

Weapon Modules: cUAC/5 Cooldown, cERML Range

This goes the other way, focusing on something approaching brawling. Of course, this build is much weaker now that the cUAC/10 has had its ghost heat turned way up, but it’s still an option.

Weapon Modules: cUAC/10 Cooldown, cUAC/10 Range

This is a less serious, longer-range take on the dakka style. Not particularly great, but still decent enough.

Weapon Modules: cUAC/2 Range


Space Whale

Before there was Gauss Vomit, there was the Space Whale. One of the first builds to be used on the Dire Wolf, the original Space Whale was a goddamn menace, and the the style has persisted ever since. It has fallen out of favor due (in part) to its high exposure time, but it still has a simply ridiculous alpha, manageable weapon groups, and even some shielding ability.

As long as you’re not trading against more than one dude at a time, you should be able to win your trades without too much issue. For range, I wouldn’t generally recommend using your cERMLs past 600 meters or so, but your cLPLs and Gauss still do nasty damage at around 1000 meters without that much drop off. If their weapons outrange you, maybe don’t bother until the distance closes, but if you outrange them you can at least keep up the cLPL forever since you won’t have ammo or heat issues with just those. For specific info on playing Gauss Vomit builds, check out the guide I wrote on them.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: cGauss Cooldown, cERML Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike

This follows the same basic idea as the previous builds, but at a longer range. You get more ammo to compensate for missed and out-ranged Gauss shots, and 4 cERLL’s to drive the bad guys nuts. A big weakness of the build is that it suffers from major ghost heat when alpha striking so you’ll almost always want to stagger fire 2+2 – which also sucks because the cERLL’s have crazy long beam durations as is. For the most part, though, this build plays the same as the others but at a much longer range.

Weapon Modules: cGauss Cooldown, cGauss Range


Gauss & PPC

The first and favorite Whale build for many of us meta whores, this PPFLD configuration is now but a shadow of the KDK-3. While its 50-damage (plus 10 splash) alpha is not nearly as devastating as that of the Gauss Vomit’s, its absolute precision makes it an excellent mech. Even the DWF-S build’s triple jumpjet configuration isn’t enough to truly poptart, but it’s still the most brutal PPFLD mech that has jumpjets at all.

This is the most trade-oriented Dire Wolf build, with the ability to take quick shots before shielding. This helps a lot when you consider that Whale survivability is normally pretty low, but you’re still a massive target and you shouldn’t play it fast and loose when trading against a firing line. Obviously you’ll want to shield with your right side and peak out to the left of cover, to prolong your Gauss Rifle’s life as much as possible. For a lot more on PPFLD stuff, check out the guide about it.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: cGauss Cooldown, cERPPC Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike

This build would be so damn good if PGI hadn’t locked Gauss Rifles to only firing 2 at a time. But that limitation has kinda resulted in it being too bothersome to be worthwhile, and it’s never gained much traction as a “good” mech.

Weapon Modules: cGauss Cooldown, cERPPC Cooldown


Other Builds of Note

So yeah, despite being able to do anything, the Dire Wolf only really shines at a few major things. Those ones I just talked about, to be specific. However, there are a hell of a lot of other builds you can run, which I will now discuss below.

This is an updated version of one of my first and most fun Dire Wolf builds. The Dire Wolf is so not suited to brawling that it’s almost sad, but if you manage to get into brawling range against a single enemy at a time who is less tanky than you and can’t run away and is big enough that all of your weapons hit him full on…oh boy you’ll do great! Obviously this happens alllll the time… But still, if you’ve ever wanted to roleplay as a Sperm Whale this is the closest you’ll ever get (btw the Sperm Whale is such a cool animal – I looked up so much trivia about it after making this build).

If you figure out how to make this reliably work, let me know. The key is to somehow be on the front of a rotation in your 53.5KPH mech and catch an enemy mech out, or you want to coax the enemy squishy mechs towards you one at a time. But seriously, even at brawling this is out-done by the dakka builds.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: cLB20X Cooldown, cSRM6 Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Artillery Strike


Suuuper imaginative name, I know. So yeah this build is bad for many reasons (I mean, not sperm whale bad, but still), including its vulnerable to Gauss crits, major compromises required to fit it in the first place, lack of jumpjets, etc. But it is still pretty friggin’ cool. I don’t recommend it, but also I do.

It’s a weird build, but pretty straightforward (it’d be hard to be complex with only one weapon system). One weapon group for your left 2 Gauss Rifles, one for the right 2, and then one for the arms…and you’re set. Just try to not get shot…

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: cGauss Cooldown, cGauss Range

Consumables: Air Strike, UAV


I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to optimize this build, but this is pretty much as good as it got. I could list a dozen variations but I think you get the point. Ghost heat can fuck off, it’s laser time. Great range, lots of heat sinks, and easily identifiable weapon groups make this possible to play, but I wouldn’t call it pleasant.

Don’t alpha strike. Do not do it. You will die. Well not unless you override, but you will be shut down for a long time before the enemy finds and kills you. 3+3 is possible, but you’ll be swallowing around 15 extra heat total. So in general I recommend 2 at a time.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Seismic Sensor

Weapon Modules: cLPL Range, cLPL Cooldown

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike


So…it’s not that bad…but it’s also not that good, yaknow? I usually find these builds interesting, but honestly it’s just not that appropriate for a Dire Wolf so I didn’t even include it in the main section of the guide.

Focus on playing like a standard Gauss Vomit mech for the most part, but when you don’t have line of sight, or if you’ve got extra heat, or if you’re too damaged to poke out, hit those LRMs for extra damage.

Mech Modules: Radar Deprivation, Target Decay

Weapon Modules: cGauss Cooldown, cERML Range

Consumables: Cool Shot, Air Strike


And finally…


Pilot Skills

I’ve figured that this is the best skill order for pretty much any mech, and so I’m just going to customize it for mechs that have to emphasize unusual pilot skills.

Basics: Cool Run – Heat Containment – Hard Brake – Kinetic Burst – Twist Speed – Twist X – Anchor Turn – Arm Reflex

Elites: Speed Tweak – Fast Fire – Quick Ignition – Pinpoint

Then just master it. I recommend holding on to all of your variants in case the meta shifts so that you don’t have to re-buy an old one, and also because really all of the Dire Wolf variants can do badass stuff. If you absolutely need to sell though, you can sell the DWF-B if you have the DWF-W or sell the DWF-A if you have the DWF-Prime, as those variants are obsolete or duplicates. This could all change though so…don’t sell.


And that’s that. I hope you enjoy your mech, let me know if you have any questions, and as always glhf

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