So on Ze Discord people kept asking me about “What are the best expansions/mods to get for Battletech” and since Discord is a terrible platform made for dumb people with short attention spans, information is easily lost. So here’s a forum topic instead.
If you haven’t finished the vanilla campaign yet, finish the vanilla campaign first. If you didn’t enjoy the base campaign game the mods and DLC won’t magically make your experience better. If you haven’t played the game since 1.0, you’ll also find that there have been a lot of extra auto-generated mission profiles, several mech variants and vehicle variants, and even a couple of gameplay mechanics so there’s a quite a bit more variety in the “in-between” sections of the campaign as well.
Career mode was added mainly as a vehicle for all the stuff the DLC adds: It’s a free-roam experience where you just start with the argo and a couple of mechs, free to go where you please. Without the DLC it’ll be pretty barebones, but the DLC and practically all the mods are built around this mode.
I personally recommend all the DLC, but if you’re cash-strapped I’d recommend getting them in the order they were released:
The Flashpoints DLC introduces Flashpoints, which are career-mode or post-campaign sets of missions that include various restrictions to spice things up, as well as a couple of new mechs and a new jungle enviroment. You will encounter branching storylines, drop-weight limits, and consecutive missions where you can’t repair your 'mechs inbetween. It’s definitely the most “mission-content-for-your-buck” DLC, and I highly recommend it if you want to dive into the career mode or any mods that rely on it.
The Urban Warfare DLC adds a couple more flashpoints focused around light mechs and the excellent Urban enviroment, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Expect lots of jumpjet action to break sightlines, missed shots slamming into nearby buildings knocking them down and even the introduction of an ECM mech. It’s quite neat!
The Heavy Metal DLC adds a variety of mechs and equipment to the game, as well as a flashpoint campaign. Unlike the other DLCs this doesn’t really have a big selling point like the flashpoints or the urban enviroments: It simply gives you more battlemechs and equipment to play with as well as an IMO quite intriguing flashpoint campaign.
This equipment is also very, very good and is considered OP by a lot of people. It’s fun equipment, I like the flashpoint campaign, but this DLC is probably the “least neccessary” of all of them, and a lot of the equipment doesn’t show up in the enemies’ hands (although the 1.9 patch mitigates this somewhat).
DLC’s relation to mods
All mods make use of the DLC even if they do not always require it. In all the flexible mods, expect to see more special equipment, more battlemechs and custom flashpoint campaigns based on their respective DLC. As such, the DLC is recommended when you get into modding. In particular, a lot of mods add the “Arano Restoration” campaign back into the career mode through the flashpoint system, which is quite a lot of content.
The mods themselves.
There’s a variety of “Comprehensive overhaul” mods for Battletech. I’ve picked out 5 that I’ve played and found interesting.
No DLC required.
Battletech Revised takes the vanilla game and polishes it up. Of all the mods it’s the least adherent to Tabletop restrictions. Instead, the focus is on optimizing, balancing and refining what’s there. It’s a highly streamlined vanilla+ experience, which makes this my recommended mod for people who don’t want too much hassle.
The Hyades Rim
Requires all DLC.
The Hyades Rim is a story mod that changes the vanilla storylines and adds its own ones on top. The focus here is not on rebalancing like with Revised, it’s very much a “quest mod” first and foremost, though there are a lot of new 'Mech variants and the like as well.
Battletech Extended 3025
*No DLC required. The only mod that lets you play the vanilla campaign as-is.*Battletech Extended is all about giving you choices: Choose the complexity of your game, choose on which date in the Battletech lore you want to start (with the map changing according to the lore, including a full-blown clan invasion if you start in 3049) and choose whether you want to do the career or the campaign. It’s a huge mod with plenty of things to check out, without being overwhelming.
Battletech Advanced 3062
No DLC required
If you enjoyed Mechwarrior 4 and/or Mechcommander 2, this mod is the one for you: You will see a familiar timeframe and familiar equipment. It’s also a lot more complex: BTA includes extensive modifications to 'Mechs, including being able to change their engines. It also allows you to field more then one lance. It’s very comprehensive and rather difficult, but the way it’s been designed and polished it kinda ends up feeling like a Battletech sequel. It also contains an optional Clan Expansion that adds the Clans and a whole inner sphere map to play on. The mod also started including playable vehicles lately, although not as extensively as RogueTech.
No DLC required
Roguetech is the original mod, and also the most gargantuan and complex one. Roguetech frequently pushes the Battletech engine beyond its limits, and although all the mods here have benefited massively from performance improvements since I first created this guide, RogueTech still has a tendency to force the engine to its knees.
But in return, you get something that’s approaching full on wargame complexity: RogueTech hsas made all the vehicles in the game playable, and at full tilt you will be able to field 3 lances. It’s hit rolls are not just determined by movement and sightlines, but also by sensor buffs and debuffs. It’s difficulty scaling is also very different: You face enemies based on what your most powerful lances costs, rather then a planet difficulty that focuses on a certain tonnage. Add with that a whole bunch of (optional) weird equipment, the ability to play with basically all 'Mechs of the battletech lore including those of the Dark Age, the ability to play on an online map that reacts to what other players are doing and much, much more, and you can see why RogueTech is very popular. It also has the steepest learning curve of all these mods, due to its wargame trappings - but if wargames and having to withdraw from no-win situations are what you are looking for, RogueTech is the mod for you.