The Trooper Mechanaught
Following the entry- and low-tier Mechanaughts like the Pinkett or Mekhi, the Trooper is a solid representative of the next, more powerful group of Mechanaughts available for purchase. At this point in the pilot's progress, Mechanaughts become more specialized towards specific tasks and styles. Pilots will start to upgrade their own Mechanaught not as a whole set, but part by part in order to create the best mix that suits themselves. The Trooper is a well-rounded offensive and defensive design and is one of the most popular Mechanaughts available in the Exteel universe.
The Trooper is the successor to the venerable Frontliner and bests it at nearly every angle except cost, energy output, and size. Totaling in at 54,000 credits, the Trooper set costs over twice as much as the Frontliner, but is well worth every credit for the pilot who just wants to get into combat and wreck the enemy. The Trooper can absorb more damage, use energy more efficiently (not to mention regenerate energy faster), is much more responsive, and is a lot more accurate. A Trooper head has two Mechanaught Processing Units (MPU), so a pilot can purchase and equip two skills at any one time for a battle.
When you're in a flat-out competition to out-fight a similarly-ranked enemy, it's hard to go wrong with the Trooper. It's good for all situations and uses, from melee fights to long-range duels and everything in-between.
- Omega Tristone Launcher - The Omega Tristone Launcher is closely related, in capability, to its sister cannon, the Colony Burster. It has good overheat and damage ratings, and has the highest lock-on rate amongst the cannons. The Omega Tristone Launcher also has a longer range than many other cannons.
- Particle Blade – A definite upgrade from the early model melee weapons like the Crimson Edge, which looks like a medieval sword, the Particle Blade generates a focused beam of intense energy from its hilt, in the shape of a blade. Used like any normal sword, the Particle Blade does more damage and attacks faster than any heavier, metal sword. It does have a tendency to overheat a little faster, however.
- Metal Helix – Another melee weapon upgrade, the Metal Helix works similarly to the spear-like Penetrator. The main difference is that the Metal Helix features a large drill attachment on its business end, increasing its ability to damage opponents greatly. It even allows the pilot to hit two opponents at once. However, the Metal Helix also has a tendency to overheat a little faster than the Penetrator.
- Echo Blaster – The Echo Blaster represents the top tier of all available SMGs. With its low rate of fire it doesn't generate nearly as much heat as other SMGs yet can deliver more damage per burst. These advantages come at a price, as the Echo Blaster's accuracy is woeful in comparison to other SMGs and it takes some skill and effort to use it effectively.
What happens when you can't get enough people to form a large-scale competitive match, or you just want to make some money for the next group of Mechanaught upgrades? The answer is Last Stand, which allows a group of players to take on waves of computer-driven opponents.
In Last Stand mode the player team must prevent the AI from capturing two Aerogates, which are typically located a fair distance apart from each other. Every minute or so, groups of AI-controlled Mechanaughts will approach an Aerogate from various directions. While they'll attack any players that get in their way, their main objective is to capture the Aerogate by occupying it for a period of time. You can check on the Aerogate's status via its occupation meter on the screen or the map; if the bar's color is blue, that means the players control it, a grey bar indicates it's "neutralized" (the players still own it, but cannot use it to spawn from or use the nearby healing pads). If the occupation bar is red, that means the AI now controls the Aerogate and it's game over. Each Last Stand match lasts ten minutes.
Players have certain advantages; each Aerogate usually has a healing pad or two nearby to repair Mechanaughts (if the Aerogate isn't already neutralized). All players are also equipped with an extra skill slot that when activated (with the "5" key) will completely restore all of the Mechanaught's hit points. Each Aerogate also has a finite number of approaches the AI can take to get to it, meaning they are usually easily defensible-the problem is that they only attack one Aerogate at a time, so players will need to guess which the AI will attack next, or split up their resources to cover both. At the lower difficulty levels, the AI Mechanaughts are easy to kill, though each wave can consist of dozens of attackers at once. However, on higher difficulty levels, the AI will be harder to kill, and they'll hit with a lot more damage.
Players will also accumulate a separate Last Stand score, based on killing AI Mechanaughts and accomplishing separate objectives, like destroying enemy "infiltrators", shooting down a flight of enemy bombers, or beating a boss AI Mechanaught. During the weekly maintenance period, Exteel awards each player a nice credit bonus based on the accumulation of points that week on each map, compared to how everyone else did on each map. Players will also be rewarded points and credits for winning the match (and not so much for losing), just like Exteel's other battle modes.
Last Stand is an extremely useful mode for players. They can battle against scores of AI opponents and hone their skills, winning matches and accumulating hard-earned money for PvP battles. Plus, Last Stand matches can be played with a fewer group of players without having to worry about getting enough people for balanced teams. All you need is some friends and that's it.