Heat Penalty Explained Simply (with Optimal Weapons Table)

MWO Heat Penalties Comprehensive Guide

A few patches ago, a heat penalty system was introduced to Mechwarrior Online. It generates ghost heat, if a pilot fires a certain amount of the same type of weapons at the same time. The problem is: there is no explanation for this mechanic in the game. You will have to read through a lot of forum entries and do a crap-ton of calculations and experimentation to figure out, how many of which weapons can be used. This guide will provide you with a simple table from which you can see immediately if your desired weapon group is a good idea or not. At the end of this post will be a list with other resources, links, and references which you can read if you want to go more in-depth.

Heat Penalty Easy Table

The following table provides a clean and easy overview of how many weapons you can fire at the same time. The symbols will give you an idea about the heat penalties without overwhelming you with numbers and formulas. Here is how you read the table:

MWO Green Weapon Group - Heat PenaltyNo heat penalty – A green tick means that you can fire this many weapons without any penalty.


MWO Yellow Weapon Group - Heat PenaltyLow heat penalty – A yellow plus means, that there is already a ghost heat penalty when firing this many weapons. If your build is reasonably heat efficient, you can use this many weapons in special cases. However, you will sacrifice additional heat generation for more fire power. Experiment with these amounts of weapons and if you find yourself running too hot, remove the weapon.

MWO Red Weapon Group - Heat PenaltyExtreme heat penalty / Have to use Chain fire - A red cross means that you should never ever fire this many weapons of that group at once. If you do, you will generate so much heat that the additional weapon is not worth firing at all. If you still want to use that many weapons, be sure to wait .5 seconds before firing the next one. Setting such weapon groups to chain fire (default hotkey BACKSPACE) can greatly help while playing. If you click a chain fire group once, it will only fire the currently outlined weapon. Wait .5 seconds and then click again. This way, you won’t have to deal with a lot of unnecessary weapon groups. Dual AC/20 builds are an example for this.

Linked Groups – All weapons in a linked group will share their maximum alpha heat penalty. If you fire a mixture of weapons from a group (for example PPCs and ER PPCs) at the same time, you will still receive a heat penalty. In such a case, sum up all weapons and look at the icons in the group’s row for reference. For example, if you use 2 ER Large Lasers and 2 Large Lasers, check the 4th entry of LRG LS Linked Group.

Weapons which do not appear in the table have no alpha strike heat penalty and can thus be used at will in any amount.

 MWO Heat Penalty Easy Table mwo-builds.net

Examples from the Table

2x SRM2 + 2x SRM4 – SRM2s and SRM4s are not in a linked group. 2x SRM2 is green, and 2xSRM4 is green, as well. No heat penalty when firing these 4 weapons at the same time.

2x Large Laser + 1x Large Pulse Laser – Large Lasers and Large Pulse Lasers are in a linked group. In total 2+1=3 weapons. Look at the 3rd entry for Large Laser Linked Group: orange. It could work out, but is not recommended.

Interesting Links, Resources, and References

If you want to check out the mechanics and actual numbers on a more in-depth level, you might want to have a look at the following resources.

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