from his physical mechs than from their virtual copies.
It was the first time he had experienced such a thing.

The main reason for the Blackbeak ’s lack of popularity was that it couldn ’t deliver a powerful short-term performance.
The Blackbeak ’s performance in the arena was rather dismal.
It only redeemed itself in larger battles like the 50v50 Wartorn Instances.

Luckily, the people who bought physical mechs prized the Blackbeak ’s strengths in toughness and endurance.
Sales had spiked during the peak of the Glowing Planet campaign and only tailed off after its conclusion.

According to the sales department ’s internal projections, demand for the bronze label Blackbeak would slowly decline as the limited demand for offensive knights continued to be met.

While this meant that EME would soon lost their cash cow, the LMC enjoyed a better market position.

”The market finally recognizes the efforts I ’ve made into ensuring the quality of my products. ”

His gold label mechs enjoyed widespread renown.
They had become veritable collector items.
All of the limited edition mechs he sold at the Vintage Festival gained a substantial amount of value, the most expensive ones even straight-up doubling in value.

Even though the silver label Blackbeaks differed only minutely from their lesser bronze label counterparts, the mere fact that it carried the LMC ’s illustrious label had become an added benefit to his customers.

”This is exactly what I want. ”

Ves worked hard to associate his brand with quality and craftsmanship.
He had to give up a lot of opportunities to earn a quick buck along the way, but the seeds had finally started to borne fruit.

His current goal should be to reinforce this association by publishing more designs with the same level of quality.
Once the local market got used to his standards, Ves could then start with publishing more exotic designs without fearing any rejection.

”This will take a long time to ferment.
First I have to prove that the Blackbeak isn ’t a fluke by designing a successful rifleman mech design. ”

Ves turned his attention back to the System and entered the Skills page.
The projection shifted to an array of trees, all of which kept branching out like an endless river delta.

Considering that he aimed to design a rifleman mech, Ves focused on the fundamental Skills that played the biggest role.

”Both Mechanics and Physics are vitally important to rifleman mech designs. ”

Mechanics allowed Ves to design a wholesome frame that synergized with the pilot and his piloting style.
The design of a rifleman mech required a wholly different application of Mechanics than with knights.

Knights favored brute force and robustness.
Their frames must withstand a lot of shock and should continue to function even if it suffered moderate damage.

Rifleman mechs prioritized precision and finesse.
Humanoid rifleman mechs should adhere closely to the human physique in order to maximize the transferability of a mech pilot ’s skill in marksmanship.

Battle Mechatronics applied to this as well, but Ves should first upgrade its parent Skills, hence why he eyed Mechanics first.

”I can also go with Physics. ”

Physics delved more into the science of how a mech ’s components and weapons worked.
Whereas Mechanics dealt with mechs as a single system, Physics broke it down into its constituent components.

The largest benefit to upgrading Physics was that Ves would gain the qualification to tinker with mech-sized laser weapons.
Even if he learned a fair bit about laser weapons by studying the forbidden research on gamma lasers, Ves still possessed a shallow foundation compared to those underground scientists who dedicated their lives to this field.

Upgrading his Physics Skill also enhanced his ability to optimize his designs.
He would be able to program and utilize more complex mathematical models and adjust them on the fly based on his needs.
He ’d be able to gain some proficiency into some of the higher levels of Physics and make more inroads into understanding the effects of highly energetic exotics.

”I ’ve got two good choices.
Which one should I pick? ”

Each choice emphasized different aspects of a mech.
The safest choice would be to upgrade his Mechanics.
A strong development required a strong foundation, and Ves couldn ’t think of anything that could beat Mechanics in terms of fundamentals.

Still, Ves did not lack for confidence in terms of Mechanics.
Despite his lack of Sub-Skills in this category, Ves had developed his Mechanics Skill to a deeper level with the help of his Master and his own personal experiences.

He even dared to say that his Mechanics could keep up with actual Journeyman Mech Designers.

”Upgrading my Physics presents more practical benefits.
First, the ability to modify a laser rifle is a powerful one.
Second, my ability to optimize my designs will also improve. ”

Ves focused mostly on the former, but the latter also had a lot of value.
Better optimization allowed him to close the gap against the dominant mainstream designs and their many variants.

The only downside to choosing Physics was that Ves might not be able to utlize its advantages with other mech types such as Skirmishers.

”I can always upgrade my Mechanics Skill later on.
Right now Physics is more useful to me. ”

Upgrading a Skill to Senior-level entailed learning at least three Sub-Skills and completing an upgrade mission.

”This mission may take some time. ”

Ves was worried that the System would serve him another multi-month mission.
He already had a lot of tasks on his plate.

After couple of seconds of hesitation, he decided to bite the bullet and dump 100,000 DP into upgrading his Physics to Senior-level.

A mission prompt appeared.

[Upgrade Mission]
Mission: Design and Fabricate a Functional Gamma Laser Rifle
Difficulty: C-Rank
Prerequisites: [Physics – Journeyman]

The essence of a laser rifle revolves around converting energy into a form that causes damage to the target.
Conventional laser weapons predominantly utilize the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

However, a mech designer should not be content with remaining within the boundaries of artificial rules.

Explore the potential of laser weapons and design a gamma laser rifle by yourself.
Then fabricate it and test the weapon to verify its performance.

[Physics – Senior]

The upgrade mission sounded simple.
The System only assigned a difficulty of C to this task and it didn ’t even come with a failure condition.

The only problem was that Ves could not let anyone find out what he was doing.
Producing gamma laser weapons was as bad as dabbling with nuclear weapons!

”This is illegal! ”

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