While people were busy trying to get their Grasshoppers and Zeus' to work last night, I immediately jumped into my Summoner to check it out. The reason for my excitement? That 20% acceleration/deceleration bonus. I also slapped on dual AMS for good measure to assess the effectiveness of that 30% extra AMS range.
The result? The Summoner is the most agile heavy ever. It feels almost as responsive as a SCR unless you try to turn the thing. I had the same "Voilà!" moment as I did with my Locusts. It's so easy to navigate around tight spaces, quickly peek and hide and generally be a really annoying and slippery heavy to face. Although I did not encounter any LRM heavy teams, I saw that my AMS was shooting down an unusual number of Streaks and SRMs in flight. I'll take the dual AMS to the solo queue where LRMs are more problematic to properly assess them though. With these quirks it seems like the Summoner can find a niche as a nimble heavy. The weapon quirks are not worth mentioning though. Also one thing of note is that not all SMN CT's get the same quirks. In fact, the SMN-D only has 10% acceleration/deceleration instead but it gets torso twist bonuses instead. Also some of the "useless" torsos like the Prime-RT offer extra acceleration/deceleration too.
The next stop was my Heavy Metal to check out its new 7.5% range mobility bonuses, structure bonuses and of course that monstrous +30 arm armor bonus (for a total of 90). Surprise, surprise! The mobility quirks are actually noticeable. The HM in overall feels "smoother" but the biggest difference was made by that 5% extra speed quirk. I thought it wouldn't make much difference, but oh boy I was wrong. That extra 3-3.5 KPH bonus (with a near max engine) is actually a big deal for a 'Mech that is very slow already. For example with a STD300 engine the quirk pulls you from 59.4 KPH to 62.4 KPH. That's effectively a free +15 engine rating boost. Unfortunately I couldn't put the arm armor to test as my build required a lot of face time (dual AC5s), but I don't recall an instance where my arm was cored in about 6-7 matches. With a full brawl fit the arms will do wonders to the HM's survivability. The little values on the paper actually make some difference.
I haven't tried the other HGNs yet (they get even less mobility quirks), but they should be slightly improved as well. Are these enough to satisfy the masochists still playing in this 'Mech? Yeah, somewhat. Are these enough to actually attract non-enthusiasts to the HGN platform? Not at all. For a first, I'd bump the mobility quirks into the 7.5-10% range for all of the HGNs. JJs need a slight boost as well. I don't care about how high I can get with the JJs, but give the JJs a much better initial boost! I don't want to spend the first 4 seconds slowly hovering while jump jetting.
Third stop was my CDA-3M to test the UAC5 jam reduction. Oh god. This thing must be the most annoying medium ever. When you get lucky (and it's easier to get lucky with 1/10 chance), this thing absolutely devastates the recipient and farms you tons of damage. With the ECM equipped it's also very hard to pinpoint where those damn bullets are originating from. In pretty much every match I played in the group queue I was right up there in kills/damage with my friends using "better" 'Mechs. Seriously try this! The speed is irrelevant as UAC5+3xML will handily outtrade any light that's stupid enough to engage you. Only the relatively long face-time is problematic, but due to ECM it takes a while before the enemy realizes that all that devastating screen shake is coming from a freaking Cicada.
That's all for now. Next up more HGN and LBX/SRM spread tests!