Saturnine's Guide to the Classes
A common question I see people asking all over the place, on and off the forums, is the question "Which mech should I pick next?" Whenever I try to answer this question, I always do my best to see what kind of mech the person asking the question has been piloting is, then go from there and try and find out what they did and did not like about that particular mech.
As you can imagine, this tends to be a fairly time-consuming process, so I decided that I would write a guide for all of the mechs, and go over their strengths and weaknesses relative to each other. This way, people can make a more informed decision about which mech they should pick next if they liked their current mech, or, similarly, which mechs they may want to avoid for one reason or another.
Now, I am well aware that an Official Game Guide was released just recently, however I do think that this guide has its own, separate purpose in helping people come to a decision on their next mech. This guide will be giving more in-depth analysis on each mech's capabilities standing on it's own, as well as relative to the others. This way you, and others in the community, can make a more informed decision as to where to go next. This guide will hopefully be simple enough that it will still be helpful to new players, as well as in-depth enough to teach some of the more experienced pilots a few new things. Sooo... let the guide begin!
Table of Contents
- The CRT Recruit
- A classes
- B classes
- C classes
Overview: Also well known as Fred, the Recruit mech is the first mech that all players receive when they begin playing Hawken. As such, as well as because of its appearance, Fred gets a bit of a bad reputation among many players. However, that reputation is not necessarily well deserved, because even though it's the starting mech, it is still a capable all-arounder mech up through to the higher levels of play.
Weapons: The Recruit’s secondary weapon is the TOW launcher, which is pretty powerful, versatile, and easy to use, which makes it a great introduction for new players, while still being versatile enough for the advanced players. It’s default primary is the Assault Rifle, the alternate primary earned at level 4 is the SMC, and the prestige primary is the Vulcan. These weapons are all easy to use, and can be fairly powerful, making the Recruit a good introduction for newbies while still offering options for veterans. However, note that all of the CRT’s primaries are sustained fire weapons, leaving little variety.
Ability: The Recruit’s active ability is Weapons Coolant, which allows the user to immediately nullify any heat build up, even if you have overheated. This allows a CRT user to stay in combat twice as long as other mech choices, provided you can keep your health up. This leads into the next subject, the CRTs 'newbie' internals. The recruit comes with a set of internals that offer bonuses with no downsides, such as increased armor and rate of experience earned. The benefits of these internals degrade as the CRT levels up, until at level 21 they no longer offer any benefit.
Fuel Tank: 102 liters
Boost Speed: 28.44 m/s
Fuel Regen: 11.10 l/s
Run Speed: 15.5 m/s
Air Speed: 14.5 m/s
Radar: 113 meters
Cooling Systems: 3.75 seconds
Dodge Cooldown: 1.2 seconds
As a B class mech, the Recruit is average in many ways. Average health, speed, fuel, etc.
if you like the Recruit, chances are that you're a fan of automatic weapons. If you don't like the recruit, good news! There are many other mechs that you may like better. If you're moving from the Recruit, chances are you're just starting out, which means it's the best time to figure out what exactly you do like. These suggestions are fairly different from the Recruit, and represent some new play styles you may enjoy. The suggestions section on the CRT, Berserker, and Assault will be more in depth than the others, because I believe new players will be more likely to be coming from them, and will be seeking more guidance than someone coming from, say, a Raider.
If you like the CRT:
Berserker: In my opinion, this is the simplest, most obvious evolution between classes in the game. The Berserker and Recruit share the same weapons, and the only real difference between them is the B class to A class transition, and the different ability. If you want to get into the A classes coming from a background with the Recruit, the Berserker is easily the path of least resistance.
C classes: If you want to get into C classes now is the time to do it. Many people find the slow speed and lack of maneuverability of C classes hard to get used to. However, the beginning of your Hawken career is the best time to learn to play a C class. If you wait until later, you may find the slow speed extremely frustrating.
Brawler: Big, strong, and not too difficult to use. If you are just getting into C classes, this one will probably be the easiest for you to get used to.
If you want to try something different:
Scout: Not too difficult to get used to - but this is a great burst mech on an A class frame, if you want to ease into burst classes.
Infiltrator: If you want an A class, but want neither burst fire nor sustained fire, turn to the Infiltrator. This mech uses (mostly) indirect fire weapons like grenades, the Heat Cannon, and the EOC Repeater. Can be somewhat difficult, but is well worth it.
Technician: If you want to get into Hawken’s first support class, this wouldn’t be a bad time to do it. The two classes share some similarities with automatic weapons and such, so the transition shouldn’t be too difficult.
Reaper: If you want a direct fire mech in a lighter body, like the Berserker, the Reaper may be what you’re looking for. The Reaper is more precision focused than either the Berserker or the Recruit, but that may well be the direction you are looking to go coming from the CRT.
Bruiser: Try the Bruiser. Like the CRT, this guy... doesn't have the best reputation. However, there are people out there who like playing this mech quite a bit, and it may just be your cup of tea. Disclaimer: Bruiser got its iffy reputation for a reason: it’s a hard mech to get used to. But there are players out there who found it worthwhile, so you might too.
A class chassis mechs are the lightest and fastest in the game, but the most fragile.
A class mechs are the most popular in the game at present.
Overview: The Berserker is an A class mech fitted with automatic weapons and a TOW launcher, making it good for hit and run tactics. Its weapons, in conjunction with its Ballistic Barrage ability, can deal significant damage to enemies while still allowing you to get back out quickly.
Weapons: The Berserkers default primary weapon is the SMC, which is well suited to getting into combat range dealing damage, and getting back out while keeping the pressure on foes. Its alternate primary is the Assault Rifle, which allows the 'zerker to put the pressure on enemies from further away than the SMC may generally allow. The prestige primary is the Vulcan, which means the Berserker can quickly tear apart it’s opponents from up close, at the expense of some longer range viability. Finally, the TOW Launcher allows for quite a lot of options at various ranges and situations, as a strong and consistent damage dealer.
Ability: The Berserkers Ballistic Barrage ability increases damage output by 15% for 10 seconds, which really increases the 'zerkers ability to rip straight through opponents when used with the Vulcan, and adds a nice punch to the damage of the Assault Rifle and SMC.
You may have noticed... the Berserker's weapons are the same as the CRT Recruit and the Assault. This makes it a nice easy choice going from the starter mech and transitioning into A classes. However, if you've seen the CRT and the Berserker, you've seen the automatic style mechs! Moving on from here, you'll be moving into unknown territory. If you're comfortable here, so be it! But there are a lot of interesting options waiting for you.
Fuel Tank: 92 liters
Boost Speed: 33.12 m/s
Fuel Regen: 9.62 l/s
Run Speed: 17 m/s
Air Speed: 24.36 m/s
Radar: 105 meters
Cooling Systems: 5 seconds
Dodge Cooldown: 1 second
If you like the Berserker:
CRT Recruit: You may have played this guy plenty already. If not, maybe give Fred a second look?
Scout: It’s an A class, and it uses hitscan weapons and the TOW. Fairly similar! Different enough to be interesting though.
Raider: It’s a B class with burst weapons, but early primaries are hitscan, and the secondary is an inbetween between the TOW and the Grenade Launcher, so it won’t be too difficult a transition, and it will prepare you to use other mechs, as well.
If you want something different:
Infiltrator: The Infiltrator gives you some new options with it’s indirect fire weapons, making it an interesting choice, however, note that it is an A class, which means if you are looking for something more unusual, you may want to jump into...
Grenadier: If you want to go straight off the deep end and into something VERY different, this one is for you. All indirect fire weapons, all unfamiliar, and on top of all that its a C class, so it will be a lot slower than you are used to. But it is different as hell, and if you treat it well it'll treat you well back. Your enemies wont be treated particularly well at all, though.
Rocketeer: Similar thought process as grenadier. Very different weapons, very different style. You'll need to put some work in but it can pay off.
Overview: The Infiltrator is an A class mech that has a unique ability, as well as some very interesting choices for primary weapons that allow it to do some cool things on the battlefield. Its weapons used in conjunction with the Infiltrators Camouflage ability allow it to sneak up on unaware opponents and unleash an enormously powerful barrage of shots in an instant. Beware, however, experienced pilots will be watching out for the shimmer made by the Infiltrators camouflage mode, and you may well be hit, even when you thought you were hidden.
Weapons: The Infiltrators default primary is the Assault Rifle, which you are probably familiar with, though you may find its use to be at odds with the Infiltrators secondary, the Grenade Launcher. Because the GLs grenades travel in an arc, you generally have to aim above, or lead your target in order to hit them, which means you aren't aiming directly at them to hit with the Assault Rifle. However, the ease of use and strength of the Assault Rifle means you may still find you prefer the AR on your infiltrator. From here, the other options are more difficult to use, though their strength and versatility may well prove worthwhile once the learning curve is overcome. The alternate primary for the infiltrator is the Heat Cannon, which, with practice, can deal some great damage, and even has a small damage radius to deal damage on near misses. The prestige primary is the EOC Repeater, which for a long time has been famous for how difficult it is to use properly, but once learned the damage potential is enormous. Finally, the Grenade Launcher is the Infiltrators secondary weapon. Using this you can hit enemies just out of sight with solid damage.
Ability: The Infiltrators Camouflage ability allows it to camouflage itself for a while, and the Infiltrator can move around almost invisibly, and off the radar until you fire a weapon use an item, or run out of fuel. Remember that with the Invasion patch, the Infiltrator's ability time is tied to it's fuel, so if you try to use it AFTER running away, you'll find that you lose your cloak immediately. However, the actual ability cooldown is extremely short now, so you can generally go invisible any time that you have the fuel. Keep in mind that since the cloak isn't perfect, using it mid conflict is not likely to keep you safe. Instead, using it to come into a fight will allow you to single out an opponent and hit them with a huge strike before they know you are there. With the Tuning System patch, this ability also increases the speed of your mech when used like with the Raider. This speed can be increased by buying the ability upgrades made available by increasing your mech rank
Fuel Tank: 106 liters
Boost Speed: 35.28 m/s
Fuel Regen: 9.99 l/s
Run Speed: 17.5 m/s
Air Speed: 17.4 m/s
Radar: 120 meters
Cooling Systems: 4.75 seconds
Dodge Cooldown: 1 second
If you like the Infiltrator:
Scout: This’ll probably be a fairly easy transition, though note that Scout is a closer range, direct fire, burst focused class, and the Infiltrator is more about indirect fire. However, sharing the same class, a primary, and some resultant playstyle between it all, the transition between the two shouldn’t be too difficult.
Grenadier: Its basically a fat Infiltrator! Being a C class, you may have trouble getting used to the speed, but there is a lot of potential with this fatty.
Rocketeer: Again, a C class, but if you're looking for something a bit different, the Rocketeer may do you good as a transition. If you just can't handle how slow C classes are, however...
Bruiser: Try the bruiser. Like the CRT, this guy... doesn't have the best reputation. However, there are people out there who like playing this mech quite a bit, and it may just be your cup of tea. Disclaimer: Bruiser got its iffy reputation for a reason: it’s a hard mech to get used to. But there are players out there who found it worthwhile, so you might too.
Raider: If you want to move a bit away from indirect fire, try this guy out. Strong burst damage mech, and its ability eases the transition into slower mechs.
Predator: If you like going invisible, but aren't liking the fuel cost too much, try the Predator. No fuel cost for going invisible, while still being able to lay traps for your opponents and the ability to control how you come into a fight.
Overview: The Reaper was the first new mech to be released following the beginning of open beta, and it fills a role as a sort of closer range precision marksman, which is in contrast to the Sharpshooters long range role. For a while following its release, few players favoured it because it was perceived to be too weak to effectively compete at higher levels. More recently, however, more players have come to realize that while Reapers have similar weapons to Sharpshooters, these weapons on the Reaper are maximally effective at medium ranges. Now, there is a fairly large contingent of people who tend to prefer playing as Reapers, and are dominating the scoreboards in the process.
Weapons: The Reaper starts out with the AM-SAR as its default primary, which can do some solid damage if you can click quickly enough while keeping track of your target. The alternate primary unlocked at level 4 is the Hawkins RPR which is a solid closer range option, though you may become more aware of your fragility as an A class as a result. The Reaper unlocks the Slug Rifle as its prestige weapon, and many players have found the Slug to be a perfect fit on their Reaper, though it is worth noting that more and more players are switching back to the AM-SAR, and are finding it to their liking.
Ability: Precision Overdrive is the Reapers ability, which gives near perfect accuracy for a limited time, and may be best paired with the AM-SAR or Ripper, when you find you need to get those extra few shots on a tricky opponent. However, overall, many players tend not to get too much use out of this ability, because at the mid ranges the Reaper thrives at, accuracy isn't generally too much of an issue. But in extended fights, you may find that extra bit of accuracy vital.
Fuel Tank: 80 Liters
Boost Speed: 32.4 m/s
Fuel Regen: 13.32 l/s
Run Speed: 18.5 m/s
Air Speed: 16.24 m/s
Radar: 135 meters
Cooling Systems: 3.75 seconds
Dodge Cooldown: 1 second
If you like the Reaper:
Sharpshooter: This is probably a bit obvious. If you like the Reaper, but wish you had a bit more range, this is for you.
Rocketeer: Stay with me here. Rocketeer IS a fatty C class, and it uses explosive weapons and not hitscan, but it is THE long range support option with explosives. It'll probably take some getting used to, but you may find it worthwhile if you like long range damage and suppression.
Berserker: If you're more of a fan of the closer range side of the engagements Reaper allows you to become embroiled in, the auto weapon fire of the 'zerker might be for you! Alternatively...
Scout: If you like being up close, but want to stay bursty, the scout may well be for you!
Technician: If you want to get into Hawken’s first support class, going in from the Reaper wouldn’t be a bad choice. Both of the Technicians primaries are relatively similar to what is available on the Reaper, and the Ripper is of course straight off of it.
Overview: The Scout is the premier A class burst mech, sporting the games' shotguns and the TOW launcher, in conjunction with an ability that allows it to move farther, and dodge for longer than any other mech, allowing it the ability to get in and out of combat better and more smoothly than any other mech in the game, provided you play it right, and you can take your opponents out before they get you.
Weapons: The Scout starts out with the Mini Flak which lets it be very annoying to any opponents, on top of high damage potential straight from the get-go. If you feel that the Mini Flak lacks enough 'umph' per shot to get you excited, have no fear, because at level 4 you unlock the big Flak Cannon that does much more damage per shot, which means you can shred the armor of your enemies very quickly in-between dodges back into the safety of cover. Finally, if you wish you had more range than the Flak Cannons have, the prestige primary for the Scout is the Heat Cannon, which will still give you plenty of damage while allowing for more leniency at various ranges. Tie those together with the all-range potential of the TOW Rocket, and you have a mech with the potential to be seriously dangerous.
Ability: The Scouts active ability is the Fuel Reserves, which quickly replenish about half of the Scouts total fuel capacity, allowing the Scout to boost farther, or dodge for longer in extended engagements, giving the Scout the edge in survivability compared to other A classes in general. However, you have to have the skill and awareness to put that extra fuel to good use. With the Tuning System patch, this ability also increases the speed of the Scout when used, just like with the Raider. This speed boost can be increased by unlocking the ability upgrade options through mech rank progression.
Fuel Tank: 74 liters
Boost Speed: 37.80 m/s
Fuel Regen: 8.14 l/s
Run Speed: 20.5 m/s
Air Speed: 15.66 m/s
Radar: 165 meters
Cooling Systems: 4.50 seconds
Dodge Cooldown: 1 second
If you like the Scout:
Brawler: You were all expecting this! The Brawler is more or less the Scouts' fat C class cousin, packing the same great damage potential in a beefier, if somewhat slower chassis.
Raider: If you like the burst potential, but want to be bulkier, and yet not TOO slow, then the Raider is for you. Great burst damage potential on a chassis that has the ability to be the fastest class in the game.
Sharpshooter: If you have to have that high burst damage, but are really looking for that increased range, then the Sharpshooter is for you.
Infiltrator: Infiltrator is all about the indirect fire, but seeing as they share the same class and a primary, you may find that there is enough overlap in playstyle to make this transition a smooth one.
Overview: The Tech fills a support role that had previously only been dubiously held by the Rocketeer and Bruiser. The Technician comes equipped with the Repair Torch, with which you can heal allies or equipment, or use a 'vampire beam' to suck health away from enemies. The Technician has the only debuff weapon in the game, and a light damage dealer in the form of the Ripper. Watch out for the high heat gen on this mech as well, it can quickly sneak up on you if you get caught up healing allies!
Weapons: The Technician starts off equipped with the Redox-O2 by default, a weapon that fires projectiles that apply a debuff to opponents hit by it. This debuff is an armor debuff, and each projectile applies a debuff that increases with each hit up to a maximum. The alternate primary unlocked upon reaching level 4 is the Hawkins-RPR, which allows a more vanilla damage dealing option for techs that are seeking such an option. However, take note that research indicates that if you can land your Redox hits, you’ll deal a significant amount more damage to an attacker, and considering that you will probably have teammates helping you on top of that, using the Redox is something to consider. As of yet, the Technician does not have a prestige weapon, and it will likely come with a later patch. Now, for what makes the Technician the Technician; the secondary weapon is the Helix Repair Torch, which heals teammates at a rate of 50 health per second, and the user at a rate of 20 per second, so long as you are damaged, and you are actually healing your teammate. The Repair Torch also comes with an alternate fire mode that allows you to fire a ‘Vampire Beam’ that is significantly less sticky than the healing beam, but has more range to damage your enemies. The Vampire Beam is referred to as such because it heals you so long as you are damaging an opponent with it, though the healing rate is relatively slow; approximately 11 health per second. Important note regarding internals and the Repair Torch: None of the internals currently affect the Repair Torch - so don't go looking for internals to improve your healing rate. Instead look for the internals that negatively affect secondary weapons - they have no effect on the Repair Torch!
Ability: The Technician is nearly defined by its ability, like the Infiltrator. The Amplification ability changes the Repair Torch’s healing beam green, and heals friendly units at a drastically increased rate over the lifetime of the ability. The heal rate is such that a single enemy is highly unlikely to out damage the repair rate, if it is even possible. The ‘green beam’ can single-handedly turn the tide of battles, which is in itself a major point of contention for much of the community, and may well see changes in a future patch. In the meantime, the smart use and timing of the green beam is an important aspect to Tech use, and should be practiced by any prospective Technician pilot. One thing to note: the Amplification beam does not increase the damage output of the Deconstruction Beam on the Healing Torch, but it does still increase the rate of self healing.
Fuel Tank: 100 liters
Boost Speed: 31.68 m/s
Fuel Regen: 10.36 l/s
Run Speed: 21.5 m/s
Air Speed: 15.66 m/s
Radar: 120 meters
Cooling Systems: 4.25 seconds
Dodge Cooldown: 1 second
Of course, at the moment, there are no other healing or buff/debuff mechs in Hawken at the moment! So if you were looking for another support mech like the Tech, you’re out of luck for the moment. However, there are plenty of good options in the more traditional classes for you...
If you like the Technician:
Reaper: The Reaper shares a chassis class and a primary with the Technician, and so could be a likely point of entry into an offensive version of the Tech for curious pilots.
Berserker: Still small and quick, and still has those automatic fire weapons you may have grown used to on the Tech. Nice and easy choice!
CRT-Recruit/Assault: Just like the Berserker, but in a B class chassis! Fire away at your opponents and don’t worry too much if you miss a lot - your ability allows you to nullify all heat generation once a minute.
Edited by Saturnine, February 03 2014 - 08:06 PM.