- 1 Economic Overview
- 2 Part Two: Maximize Your C-Bill Gains
- 3 Part Three: How to Make Every C-Bill Count
- 4 Part Four: Spending Your MC Wisely
- 5 References
What are C-Bills?
ComStar Bills, or C-Bills as they are known in game, are the primary currency in MechWarrior Online. C-Bills are the “in-game” currency; which is to say you can earn C-Bills by playing the game, you do not have to buy them directly.
C-Bills are used to buy the following:
- New Mechs (Except Hero Mechs)
- New equipment
- Mech upgrades (Such as Double Heat Sinks)
- Some of the Mech paint colors
How to get C-Bills
There are only two ways to get C-Bills. The first (and best) way is to play matches. A player in a trial or normal mech without premium time will make from 30,000 to 100,000 C-Bills per match. For premium players with a Hero Mech, that range may increase to 50,000 to 180,000 C-Bills per match. The second way to make C-Bills is to sell mechs or equipment. This route only gets you 50% of the original price of the item though, so be mindful of that before you hit the sell button.
A recent change added a significant “Cadet” C-Bill bonus for new players during their first 25 matches. After your first 25 matches you will have about 8 million C-Bills from this bonus. Starting on your 26th match you will be earning C-Bills at the normal rate.
General Value of C-Bills
To understand the value of C-Bills we need to compare what it takes to get them, and how many you need to get specific things. A typical player will do around 12 matches per hour of play time. A typical player with no premium time or hero mech will also make an average of around 58,000 C-Bills per match. This average will go up or down depending on player skill and play style, but it is a good baseline number to use. With this in mind we can make the following observation.
- 1 Hour of gameplay with no bonuses ≈ 700,000
- 1 Hour of gameplay with Hero Mechs ≈ 910,000
- 1 Hour of gameplay with Premium Account ≈ 1,050,000
- 1 Hour of gameplay with Premium and Hero Mech ≈ 1,260,000
Now that we know what it takes to get C-Bills, we can look at what you can spend them on. This list will give you an idea of how many C-Bills you will need to buy 'Mechs of different sizes, as well as the more major pieces of equipment.
Equipment C-Bill Cost Examples
- Light Mechs: 1,500,000 to 5,500,000
- Medium Mechs: 3,000,000 to 7,000,000
- Heavy Mechs: 4,800,000 to 10,000,000
- Assault Mechs: 6,500,000 to 14,000,000
- Weapons: 50,000 to 600,000
- Standard Engine: 800,000 to 2,200,000
- XL Engine: 2,600,000 to 5,800,000
- Double Heat Sinks Upgrade: 1,500,000
- ECM: 400,000
From this information we can make a fairly accurate table of how much play time it takes for a non-premium player to earn enough money to buy and equip a new 'Mech.
Playtime Needed To Buy A New Mech
As you can see, even for a free player the time it takes to earn a new 'Mech is not outlandish. The Cadet bonus will help you quickly buy your first 'Mech, and after that someone who plays regularly should be able to buy one or two new 'Mechs every week. Of course, you only have four 'Mechs bays to start with, and that is where MC comes into the picture.
What is MC?
Mech Credits are the “real money” currency used in MechWarrior Online. You cannot earn MC in the game, you can only buy it for real world money. Most of the things MC can buy are not purchasable with C-Bills.
MC is used to buy the following
- New Mechs (Including Hero Mechs)
- New Mech bays
- Premium Account Time
- New paint patterns and colors
- Vanity cockpit items
- Conversion of Mech Specific XP to Generic XP
How to get MC
MC can only be obtained through the MechWarrior Online website. The normal cost breakdown is as follows:
- 25,000 - $99.95 (~250 per $1)
- 12,000 - $49.95 (~240 per $1)
- 6,500 - $29.95 (~217 per $1)
- 3,000 - $14.95 (~200 per $1)
- 1,250 - $6.95 (~180 per $1)
Notice that the larger the MC package, the less it costs per MC. Keep this in mind and plan accordingly. The next section will give you an idea of how much MC you will need to get what you want.
General Value of MC
Since the cost of MC depends on the size of the package you buy, there is no exact dollar to MC ratio. For simplicity we will use the 6500 MC package, which gives us a ratio of about 217MC per US Dollar. The following list will show you the general MC ranges you will deal with for the primary things MC is used for.
- Buying a New Mech: ≈ 400MC / $1.84 per 1,000,000 C-Bill cost of 'Mech
- New Mech Slot in Mechbay: 300MC / $1.38
- Convert 10,000 XP to GXP: 400MC / $1.84
- Hero Medium Mech: 3,750MC / $17.25
- Hero Heavy Mech: 4,500MC-5,250MC / $20.70 - $24.15
- Cockpit Items: 100MC-1,000MC / $.46 - $4.60
- Camo and Paint: 250MC-1,500MC / $1.15 - $6.90 (Note: Cost USED TO BE per 'Mech, per application, BUT IS NOW an unlock.)
- 30 Days Premium Time: 2500MC / $11.50
- Camo and Paint: 250 -1,500 / 250 ≈ $1.00 - $6.00 (Note: Cost USED TO BE per 'Mech, per application, BUT IS NOW an unlock.)
Note: All costs are in US Dollars.
Part Two: Maximize Your C-Bill Gains
How Boost Your C-Bill Gains
There are several things you can do to increase the rate you earn C-Bills. 700,000 C-Bills per hour is a good baseline number, but with the right combination of bonuses and strategy, you can boost this all the way up to around 1,500,000 or even 2,000,000 C-Bills per hour. The following tips are listed in order of how much they impact your C-Bill gains.
There is nothing that impacts C-Bill generation as much as having premium time. Premium boosts your C-Bills earned by a flat 50%. So if you did good in a match and earned 100k C-Bills, premium lets you walk away with 150k. Even a mediocre player with premium time is going to earn C-Bills faster than a good player without it. When buying premium time, keep in mind that it counts down regardless of if you are logged in. If you buy 30 days, that time expires exactly 30 days from the time you bought it. Also note that just like buying MC, premium time costs less the more you buy at once. Therefore the 1 day, 3 day, and 7 day packages are of a lesser value. If you are going to go premium, try at least 30 days of time, and the cost is more reasonable.
There are currently 20 hero mechs in the game, with new ones being released every couple of weeks. These unique mechs can only be bought with MC. But they have a powerful feature. All hero mechs have a 30% bonus to C-Bills earned when playing them. Just like premium time, this bonus takes your end of match C-Bill total and adds 30% to it. What’s even better is that this bonus stacks with premium time. If you are on premium and play in a hero mech, you are getting a full 80% more C-Bills for each match. Stacking these two bonuses takes that 700,000 C-Bills per hour figure, and pushes it all the way up to 1,260,000.
There are four Founder mechs. These mechs are identical to the matching standard model they replace. All Founder mechs have a 25% bonus to C-Bills earned when playing them. They are available exclusively to Founders who supported the game in early beta, and can no longer be obtained.
Update: As of 9/23/14 Founder Mech will be at 30% C-Bill bonus bring it up to Hero Mech Level
Play To Win
Recent economy changes have removed the large C-Bill reward for winning a match. You now get a flat 25,000 C-Bills when the match ends, regardless of if you won or lost. However, winning your match is still going to massively increase your C-Bill rewards, for two reasons. First, the winning team gets a “Salvage” bonus typically ranging from 10k to 20k C-Bills, but I have seen it go up into the 40k range. Second, the winning team generally has a lot of kills, which means you are getting a lot more from the kill and kill assist bonuses. The easiest way to accomplish this goal is to play with friends in a premade team. If you only PUG, then make sure you are staying with your team mates and working toward winning the match.
Keep It Short And Sweet - Assault Beats Conquest
If your focus is making C-Bills quickly, the assault game mode is the way to go. Conquest mode recently got a tweak that brought the per match C-Bill gains on par with assault mode. But conquest matches still take quite a bit longer than Assault matches on average. PGI recently reported that the average time for assault games was less than four minutes. The average length of conquest games is not currently known, but it is definitely higher than four minutes. Another factor is kill count. Assault games end with the full destruction of the losing team over 90% of the time. But conquest games are now frequently won by points, and those enemy mechs left standing are lost kill and assist C-Bill bonuses, which as you are about to see, are very important.
Know Your Bonuses
The final tip for boosting your C-Bills is to know exactly what earns you those C-Bill bonuses at the end of a match. The following shows all the factors that go in to your end of match C-Bill total.
Assault Game Mode
- Win/Loss/Tie = 25,000
- Team Kill = -10,000 * how many teammates you have killed
- Component Destroyed = 2,100 * how many components you have destroyed
- Enemy Kill = 4,300 * how many enemies you have killed
- Enemy Kill Assist = 6,500 * how many kill assists you got in the match
- Savior Kill = 3,250 * how many enemies you damaged within 10 seconds of their destruction when they also damaged a heavily damaged teammate within 10 seconds of their destruction
- Spotting Assist = 2,100 * how many spotting assists you got in the match
- TAG/Narc Assist = 2,100 * how many TAG/Narc assists you got in the game
- Grid Neutralized = 750 * how many turrets you have destroyed
- Damage Done = 21 * how much damage you did in the match
Conquest Game Mode
- Win/Loss/Tie = 25,000
- Team Kill = -10,000 * how many teammates you have killed
- Component Destroyed = 1,100 * how many components you have destroyed
- Enemy Kill = 2,100 * how many enemies you have killed
- Enemy Kill Assist = 3,200 * how many assist you got in the game
- Savior Kill = 1,600 * how many enemies you damaged within 10 seconds of their destruction when they also damaged a heavily damaged teammate within 10 seconds of their destruction
- Spotting Assist = 1,100 * how many spotting assist you got in the game
- TAG/Narc Assist = 1,100 * how many TAG/Narc assists you got in the game
- Damage Done = 21 * how much damage you did in the game
- Resource Bonus = 12.5 on a loss or 50 on a win * how many resources you have collected
As you can see, the largest C-Bill bonus is for kill assists.
Conclusion - The story of a Flame
To help tie all this information together, let’s consider the story of a Flame pilot whose goal is to make the most C-Bills per hour possible. The Dragon DRG-Flame is a Hero Dragon 'Mech and this pilot has active premium time, so he is already making 80% more C-Bills from that. He only plays assault mode because he knows he can play a lot more matches per hour that way. He only plays PUG matches, so during his games, he sticks with the group and whatever plan arises. His load out of lasers, SRM missiles, and an AC mean he can maintain damage during the entire match. He brawls with his team and is sure to blast every target of opportunity he has so he does not miss out on any kill assists. When he spots a target with an exposed arm or shoulder, he blasts it off to get the component destruction bonus. He always targets any enemy he sees and earns extra spotting assist C-Bills for his trouble. And finally, if he can see his team is clearly getting wiped out, he does not run and hide. He stays and fights, earning extra damage bonus, and dying faster so he can get on with the next match.
Part Three: How to Make Every C-Bill Count
Regardless of how to earn them, once you have a nice stack of C-Bills, you want to make them stretch as far as possible. While there is nothing you can do to reduce the cost of new 'Mechs or equipment, a little smart planning on what you buy can save you a lot of C-Bills over time.
Once you have three or four 'Mechs in your mechbay, you will find you don’t play all of them every day. Most people will typically be playing one or two of their current favorite mechs at a time. Rather than spending C-Bills to fully equip every mech you own, you can save a lot by sharing items between 'Mechs. For example, a single ECM unit can be swapped between all your ECM capable 'Mechs. Modules are another great item to share because of their massive cost. If you have two 'Mech builds that use the same Engine, 10 seconds per match of switching the engine between them can save you 2-5 hours of grinding C-Bills needed to buy a second one.
Plan Ahead When Buying XL Engines
The most expensive items in the game are the XL engines. These bulky but light engines are crucial for a lot of 'Mech builds that are otherwise impossible. But the price of entry for these high tech engines is staggering. XL engines will set you back two million to six million C-Bills. Before you drop a huge C-Bill stack on an XL engine, consider two things.
First, can that engine be shared between other 'Mechs you own or plan on owning? Perhaps you are looking at and XL300 for your Jenner, but you own a lot of other light and medium 'Mechs. While it will work out fine for any Jenner you own, it won’t fit on any other light 'Mech chassis, or most of the mediums for that matter. An XL245 on the other hand can be shared between almost all the lights and mediums. The following list shows some of the XL engines that share well.
- XL210: Fits every 'Mech in the game.
- XL250: Fits almost every 'Mech in the game and is the lightest XL with the full 10 internal heat sinks.
- XL300: Fits about half the 'Mechs in the game, and is at a sweet spot for performance, heat sink slots, and weight.
- XL340: Largest XL that still fits in a fair number of 'Mechs.
The second consideration when buying an XL engine is based on what 'Mechs you plan on buying in the future. Maybe you want an XL for your Jenner, but are also planning to buy the Raven RVN-3L you keep hearing about. The Raven comes with an XL engine, so you may be able to just use that for your Jenner build and not buy a duplicate XL. The following list shows all the 'Mechs that come with XL engines.
- Raven RVN-3L: XL210
- Cicada CDA-3M: XL320
- Centurion CN9-D: XL300
- Trebuchet TBT-3C: XL300
- Trebuchet TBT-7M: XL250
- Cataphract CTF-IM: XL280
- Cataphract CTF-3D: XL280
- Orion ON1-M: XL300
- Awesome AWS-9M: XL 320
- Stalker STK-5S: XL255
- Atlas AS7-K: XL 300
Think Before You Upgrade
Mech upgrades, such as Double Heat Sinks and Endo-Steel Internals are very valuable tools in your 'Mech building. But these upgrades are also expensive, and one way transactions. If you put on Endo-Steel, and then decide you want it off, not only will you not get your money back, you have to pay even more to switch it back to standard. Ferro Fibrous Armor is another tricky upgrade. Endo-Steel armor always gives you more extra tonnage, and very few 'Mech builds can run both ES and FF at the same time. The bottom line is, fully plan out and research your 'Mech build before you spend C-Bills on something you may not need.
Don't Sell Equipment
My final piece of advice is simple; try not to sell your equipment. It may be tempting to convert a weapon you never use into some C-Bills, but if you plan on playing the game over any amount of time, chances are you may just end up buying that weapon back later. That XL engine you pull out of your AS7-K may be useless to you now, but you will be kicking yourself later if you want it and have to pay millions to get it back. Patches change weapons, new mechs fill niches, and even the much maligned flamer may someday be useful. (It now is good for criticals)
Part Four: Spending Your MC Wisely
Many people who play MWO will never buy any MC. Other than the limiting factor of only four 'Mech bays, there is nothing to keep a free only player from getting just as much out of the game as someone who buys MC by the truckload. However, for those that do choose to buy MC, there are some definitely value considerations on how to spend it. The following list of what to spend your MC is arranged by highest value to lowest.This is a completely opinion based list so be sure to consider the reasoning behind each listing. The only person who can ultimately decide what is worth spending your hard earned money on, is you.
Unlocking Mech Bays for 300MC per Bay
Unlocking a new 'Mech bay costs around $1.38 in US Dollars. This is a fairly low price, and if you do not unlock any new 'Mech bays, you will be limited to playing with only 4 of the currently 54 unique 'Mech variants. A great deal of the fun in MWO is building, tweaking, learning, and mastering a new 'Mech. Because of the fairly low price, and how important it is to getting the most out of MWO, I consider unlocking 'Mech bays the best use of MC.
Adding Premium Time
Premium time is a great investment that will speed up your C-Bill gain like nothing else. No matter how much MC you have, you still need C-Bills to load out your 'Mech. Premium time not only boosts your C-Bill gain by 50%, it boosts your XP gain by 50% as well. At about $11.50 for a month worth of premium, the cost is not unreasonable, and the gains are quite high.
Buying Hero Mechs
Hero Mechs are unique 'Mech variants with a custom paint job and a 30% boost to C-Bills you earn using them. Unlike premium time, hero 'Mechs are permanent, so you can access that 30% bonus any time you want for the rest of your MWO life. But most people don’t want to play with the same 'Mech all the time, and eventually your hero 'Mech may start to feel like a grind to play. Since premium time boosts C-Bills on any 'Mech, hero 'Mechs are just not as good of a value. Of course nothing boosts C-Bill gain like having both at once.
Converting XP to GXP
Whenever you earn 'Mech specific MXP, you also earn a small amount of general XP, or GXP. While 'Mech XP can only be spent on the 'Mech that earned it, GXP can be spent on any 'Mech you own. More importantly, GXP is the only way to unlock Modules on the Pilot Tree. GXP takes an eternity to earn naturally. But if you want to get your hands on module goodies faster, you can spend MC to convert you XP to GXP. To convert the 15,000 XP needed to unlock the most expensive modules only costs 600MC, or about $2.80. The cost is very reasonable, and it can save you a huge amount of time.
Buying Cockpit Items
Cockpit items are a completely vanity buy. They range from bobble head dashboard figures you can see as you plod along in your 'Mech, to noble house banners that are not even in view unless you specifically turn to look at them. These items range from 100 to 1000 MC, or from about $0.45 to $4.60 in US Dollars. Your cockpit items are visible to other players when they spectate you and they can be traded between 'Mechs; once you buy them, they are yours forever.
Buying Mech Patterns and Paint
Custom 'Mech paint jobs were recently introduced into the game. The paint jobs have two parts, pattern, and color scheme. Patterns can only be bought with MC. Most of the paint colors can also only be bought with MC, but there is a small set of basic colors that you can buy with C-Bills. Paint job costs depend on the pattern and paints you use, and will run you anywhere from 250 MC all the way up to 1500 MC. Currently, paint jobs and pattern purchases are unlocks. So if you spend a chunk of change on painting your Atlas all purple (which is awesome), and then get tired of being mocked in matches, you don't have to pay again to go back to your original scheme.
Buying Non-Hero Mechs
The least efficient use of MC is to use it to buy normal 'Mechs. A single 'Mech is going to cost you anywhere from around $5 for lights, to over $15 for assaults. For those prices you could keep yourself in premium time and earn more than enough C-Bills to buy the 'Mechs you want with. If there is a new 'mech coming into the game soon, try to save up your C-Bills ahead of time so you are not tempted to drop a massive chunk of MC to get it on day one.
- Much of the content of this page is based on the C-Bill guide written by 80bit