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Royalty added a new type of hostile event - the Mechanoid Cluster. These may be associated with quests, or can spawn in place of a normal raid. During this event, a fleet of drop pods will land and deploy mechanoids, walls, turrets, and assorted buildings. These mechanoids will initially be dormant and are eventually awakened by the player attacking, a Proximity activator being tripped, or a Count-down activator finishing its count down.
Defeating an mechanoid cluster grants a +4 Defeated mech cluster mood buff to all colonists and colony-owned slaves on the map. This buff lasts 10 days and stacks up to 5 times.
|Must be destroyed to kill cluster
|A mechanoid storage and deployment capsule. It can contain a number of mechanoids, ready to emerge and fight upon being awakened.
|Deploys 410 points of mechanoids when triggered.
|2 × 3
|An automated mechanoid factory. It periodically assembles and deploys new mechanoids.
|Releases 1 mechanoid of a single type periodically. Shuts down after producing 4 mechanoids.
|3 × 3
|Mech drop beacon
|A mechanoid reinforcement drop beacon. When activated, it calls in a group of mechs to land in drop pods nearby.
|Calls mechanoid reinforcements in a local area.
|1 × 1
|A proximity alarm for dormant mechanoids. If it detects a human-like threat nearby, it will awaken any nearby dormant mechanoids or structures.
|Activates any nearby sleeping mechanoids when any human steps within a 12.9 tile radius.
|1 × 1
|A timed mechanoid activation unit. After counting down, it will wake nearby dormant mechanoids and structures.
|Activates any nearby sleeping mechanoids after between 600 ticks (10 secs) and 1,200,000 ticks (333.33 mins) (20 days), averaging 267,060 ticks (74.18 mins) (4.45 days).
|1 × 1
|A shielding device which projects a momentum repulsor field. Shots can go out, but not in. This one is tuned to low angles, so it will block ground-level projectiles like bullets. The unit can be temporarily disabled by EMP attacks, either by shocking the projector unit itself, or using EMP munitions on the shield.
|Blocks projectiles from ranged weapons from all outside sources except mortars. Can be EMPed. Turns off for 1 day every 10 days to charge. Turns off permanently when the cluster is defeated.
|1 × 1
|A shielding device which projects a momentum repulsor field. Shots can go out, but not in. This one is tuned to high angles, so it will block mortar rounds. The unit can be temporarily disabled by EMP attacks, either by shocking the projector unit itself, or using EMP munitions on the shield.
|Blocks mortar rounds. Can be EMPed. Turns off for 1 day every 10 days to charge. Turns off permanently when the cluster is defeated.
|1 × 1
|A self-powered mechanoid node of unknown function. Mech nodes can be deconstructed to yield valuable resources - but only if they are captured intact. The internal micro power cell will flame out and ruin the materials if the unit takes too much damage.
|Emits light in a 1.65 tile radius. Can be claimed or deconstructed for resources.
|1 × 1
|Unstable power cell
|A mechanoid power generation unit. The vanometric power core will run forever, extracting energy from quantum foam fluctuations. An internal amplifier system makes it unstable. If damaged, the unit will generate a massive explosion. Some brave humans steal these from mechanoids for their own use as power plants or defensive bombs. However, an unintentional detonation can be devastating.
|Provides 400W of power. Explodes when damaged
|1 × 1
All condition causers must be destroyed for the cluster to be considered killed.
|An archotech device transmitting the thoughts of a mad superintelligence. It generates a massive psychic drone tuned to one gender and affecting a whole region of the planet. People of that gender will be disturbed by the effect, reducing their mood and possibly driving them insane. The effect is modulated by an individual's psychic sensitivity.
|Creates a gender specific Psychic Drone
|6 × 6
|An ultratech weapon of mass destruction designed for area denial. This device harvests available compounds and converts them into self-reproducing poisons. By spewing these into the atmosphere, it can poison a whole region of the planet.
|Causes toxic fallout across the map and a radius of 3 hexes on the world map.
|6 × 5
|An ultratech weapon of mass destruction designed for area denial. By harvesting available compounds and converting them into self-reproducing opaque molecules, it can spew enough smoke to block the sun in a whole region of the planet.
|Prevents sunlight shining through during day. Affects the worldmap with a radius of 10.
|6 × 5
|An ultratech machine that generates a sheet of exotic fields at high altitude, turning the sky opaque and blocking the sun.
|Blocks the sun akin to an eclipse. Affects the worldmap by 10 hexes.
|6 × 4
|An archotech device that generates a massive psychic suppression field tuned to a particular gender. People of that gender have their psychic activity suppressed, reducing their consciousness. The effect is modulated by an individual's psychic sensitivity.
|Inflicts upon a specific gender a reduction in consciousness and scaled to the pawns psychic sensitivity up to a maximum of 50% consciousness cap at 100% sensitivity. Does not scale beyond 100% sensitivity. Affects the worldmap by 10 hexes.
|6 × 6
|An ultratech device for controlling weather. Using chemicals and exotic fields, it forces the weather into a particular configuration.
|Causes a local weather phenomenon on the local and world map within 10 hexes.
|6 × 6
|A massive electromagnetic interference generator. It interferes with or shuts down electrical devices in nearby regions.
|Causes electrical equipment to malfunction akin to a solar flare. Affects a radius of 10 hexes on the worldmap.
|6 × 4
|An area-denial device which annihilates nearby plants without affecting animals.
In planetary wars, these weapons are scattered across farmlands or jungles to deny the enemy food or cover. They're usually associated with orbital-drop mechanoid swarms.
|Kills all plant life in a slowly expanding radius, affecting up to a 100 tile radius of the map.
Releases an EMP blast with a radius of 9 tiles when destroyed.
|3 × 3
|An ultratech device for controlling climate. Using chemicals and exotic fields to manipulate the atmosphere, it shifts the temperature in this region of the world.
|Causes the Local and Map temperature to increase or decrease by 10 degrees, whichever would be more dangerous.
|6 × 6
|Must be destroyed to kill cluster
|A self-powered, self-loading, automatic mortar. It can hit targets at any distance, over walls, but is quite inaccurate.
|The auto mortar will slowly destroy even the best defended and equipped bases from a distance, making these one of the biggest threats of a mechanoid cluster. Will fire even if all remaining cluster sleep.
|2 × 2
|Auto inferno turret
|A self-powered turret mounted with an inferno cannon. It cannot sense targets at very short ranges.
|A defensive turret that shoots incendiary shells from its Inferno cannon variant.
|2 × 2
|Auto charge turret
|A self-powered turret mounted with a charge blaster. It cannot sense targets at very short ranges.
|Defends Mechanoid clusters with a fast firing blaster, making this one of the most dangerous turrets to try to disable.
|2 × 2
|A self-powered defense turret mounted with a weak but long-ranged slug-thrower. May explode when damaged.
|A small common defensive turret used by mechanoid clusters. Fairly harmless but has incredible range.
|1 × 1
Mech clusters are best dealt with from extreme range, to avoid placing your colonists in unnecessary harm.
Alternatively, as mech clusters only have a single melee type, the Scyther, and can often, but not always, assessed to see if they contain this type before engaging, using a sufficient number of melee pawns armed with Shield belts and, if possible, Zeushammers, can be an effective tactic. Care must be taken to move colonists away from turrets and other structures before they explode, however, especially when unstable power cells are nearby these turrets, as one exploding may lead to a chain reaction wiping out all of your melee fighters at once. If a mech cluster lacks proximity detectors, you can also use the opportunity to move all of your melee fighters up to their turrets and units, minimizing the damage they can take to mere bruises from centipedes ramming them.
Nota bene: Smoke launchers and the Smokepop psycast are some of the best tools to use against mechanoid clusters and almost every stratagem, including those listed below, benefits from their employment. Turrets are a primary threat for all clusters, and turrets cannot target pawns through smoke. Placing a smoke cloud between the turret and your pawn effectively disables the turret.
Walls and Cover
If a mechanoid cluster has not yet activated, your colonists may have an extensive interval in which they can perform preparation work. Building a wall between the cluster and your base will prevent turrets from shooting your colonists, and allow your troops more flexibility to maneuver while dealing with mobile units. Be careful to use the Architect menu to remove the designation that the wall is part of the home area, lest a colonist decide to go cleaning or firefighting just in front of the wall. (Designating allowed areas for your colonists can also help keep them safe.)
If you intend to use direct fire attacks, you should take care not to wall the cluster away entirely, or you may be unable to disable the turrets. Leave a way for your troops to shoot at the cluster from cover, and provide a protected path to access this site.
If a mech cluster is well beyond your colony's abilities, you may be able to wall it in entirely while you prepare better armament. If the cluster is unable to harm you, such as by way of a condition causer or auto-mortar, you may even opt to leave it alone entirely, until a different group of uninvited guests, such as Pirates or Insectoids, wanders into the cluster and softens them up for you. Be careful with friendly factions and any incoming caravans however.
When constructing anything, be careful not to build within 2 cells of the cluster buildings or sleeping mechanoids, as this will activate it, proximity activator or not.
For a mech cluster without any proximity activators, 1 explosive IED can take out any turret or small building. 1 EMP IED has a bigger area of effect than a EMP mortar shell. IEDs can be daisy chained to cover a greater area. The IED can be set off with a targeted attack such as a sniper rifle, a mortar volley, or by waiting for an activation timer to count to 0.
Care must be taken to keep colonists 2 squares away from units or buildings while constructing the IED, to prevent the cluster from waking up.
Indirect Fire Tactics
For mech cluster without a mech high-shield mortars are obviously the best way to deal with them, especially as the mechanoids linger in a small, confined area. Prolonged shelling can easily destroy mech clusters and weaken the mobile mechanoids substantially before triggering them to attack your colony (where you can take advantage of your base defenses).
For mech clusters with a mech high-shield, you can either try to destroy the shields first with snipers, or simply overpower the shield. Firing an EMP shell into the shield will disable the mech high-shield for 1,080 ticks (18 secs) time, allowing other mortars shells to hit the cluster, or even destroying the mortar shield before it can come back online. You can't, however, use the same mortar to fire the EMP shell and an explosive shell, because the time the mortar needs to rearm is greater than the down time of the shield. That's why you need one mortar with EMP shells loaded and at least one more loaded with high explosive ones to do damage to the cluster. All mechs and mech buildings (except barricades) are fireproof, so don't use incendiary shells.
The most used strategy is to set all mortars to "hold fire" then "set target" to where you want to hit. Select only the mortar with EMP shell and click "hold fire" again, wait one second and select all the other mortars loaded with high explosive shells (as many as you can) and also click "hold fire" again. This will assure the EMP shell is fired first, disabling the mortar shield, and allowing all the other shells to hit.
Another easy way to destroy a mech cluster is to save your orbital bombardment targeters for them. These are quite rare as they are found only via quest rewards and ancient dangers. However, the damage they rain down can easily destroy even a double or triple strength mech cluster, leaving only Centipedes as survivors to assault your base. Orbital power beam targeters should not be used, as they deal Flame damage to which all mechanoids and mechanoid buildings are immune.
If a colonist has the appropriate imperial permits, they can call down either an aerodrone strike or an aerodrone salvo.
Direct Fire Tactics
The sniper rifle, triple rocket launcher, and doomsday rocket launcher are all long range weapons. The two rocket launchers also do extra damage vs buildings. Using these three weapons with a coordinated first salvo from prepared forward positions, you can inflict severe damage upon mech clusters as soon as they wake up. Opening volleys should focus on taking out any defending long-range mechanoids (Lancers/Pikemen) and the Auto-Inferno Turret.
While the Mini-Slugger Turret and Auto Charge Blaster Turret both have high range, the former has weak shots and the latter is wildly inaccurate at range, which means your colonists incur minimum risk from them by attacking from long range, behind cover, while wearing appropriate armor.
Smoke from a smoke launcher or the smokepop psycast is heavily recommended. It will prevent turrets from firing at your colonists so long as two tiles of smoke are between the pawn and the turret, while the pawn can maneuver to fire at unobscured targets or even fire back through the smoke, although with decreased accuracy.
Depending on the damage you inflict from opening salvos, and the mechanoids' behavior, you may have to decide between withdrawing to your base or mounting a shootout from your forward positions.
EMP grenades can disable both mechanoids and mech cluster buildings. Meanwhile frag grenades inflict high damage vs buildings and can destroy any mech cluster turret with two hits. Thus a grenadier team, taking advantage of cover from steel walls that often come down with mech clusters, can inflict significant damage if the mobile mechanoids can be lured away and defeated first.
Alternatively, a colonist with the Skip and Invisibility psycasts can move into a mech cluster, use grenades to quickly destroy priority targets, then use Skip to withdraw as soon as the Invisibility wears off.
Tactics to avoid
- While you may benefit from melee blocking as you face mechanoids, you should not destroy effectors with melee weapons. They are liable to explode, harming the troops who are attacking them.
- Using an imperial permit to call a light trooper squad can help you deal with mobile units, but if they are exposed to extensive turret fire they probably won't last very long.
- All mech cluster buildings, not including the condition causers, not only have a Flammability of 0%, but also take no damage from attacks with the Flame damage type. This is in contrast to, for example, a stone wall which will not be ignited by molotov cocktails but will take the 10 flame damage from the initial attack.
- Mech Clusters do not spawn elite mechanoids normally summoned by a Mechinator in Biotech.
- Implement mech shield generator charge cycle. Shields now go down for a random day every 10 days
- Condition causers and mortars now sometimes take several days to initiate threatening the colony.
- Make mortar/bullet shields shut down when the cluster is defeated.
- 1.2.2753 - Ensure all the mech cluster buildings wake up once it was attacked
- 1.4.3523 - Fix: Placing 0 work buildings beside/on mechanoids could wake them up, which could trigger them on command.