I think the world of cataclysm would believably have some kind of mechs/power suits/exoskeletons. Basically they would range from mobility assistance for people who have lost limbs (an alternative to just growing them back/prosthetics/CBMs) to full-on military-grade battle armour.
How it would fit into current gameplay:
Now obviously this would have to be some rare, high-end stuff. No picking up a few bits of metal and chucking Metal Gear together. On the other hand I think it’s a great idea to allow mechanical-focussed players to really bloom in the late game.
As it stands players will develop their combat skills as a matter of necessity - every player will have some kind of weapon specialism by the early game, or they’ll be dead.
The mid-late game tends to hinge on finding a variety of good, well-supplied weapons to make city combat a formality, or on upgrading your actual character via mutations, CBMs, or a good enough vehicle to make combat optional. Each of these paths is obviously very diverse and interesting, but ultimately there’s only three or four viable routes for taking on the late game. I think the addition of mechs would really change the end-game up, giving a whole new avenue for taking it on.
There are two options, which would be very different in effect.
- Make mechs a kind of vehicle, but with slightly different movement based on legs or caterpillar tracks. They would be built in the same way as vehicles are, and would require similar/the same skills.
1.1) Mechs and vehicles would essentially be indistinguishable. They’d basically just be compact combat vehicles, and there’d be no actual division between the two - just the introduction of new vehicle parts like legs and arms.
1.2) Mechs would use the same building framework, and perhaps have interchangeable parts with vehicles, but they’d have different limitations. Mechs would have arm/torso/leg slots, and weapon systems for mechs would be different to those for vehicles. No cars with arms, but also more room for specialisation.
- Mechs would be a form of clothing - essentially a wearable item, but too heavy to pick up and move around (or at least prohibitively heavy). They would add a number of stat bonuses, and would automatically replace equipped weapons with whatever is fitted to the mech.
The advantage of this is that it makes them viable for indoor use (which is fair enough - there’s no reason why an exoskeleton shouldn’t be able to get down some stairs), and it doesn’t necessarily have to preclude any extensive customisation, but the overall effect may be less… solid.
- Super-secret option - use both, for different kinds of mech?