OK, talk about CV and pay to win. This one falls entirely into the optimization concept.
Example simply for discussion:
0$ player A has 4 hunchback (standard) models lance with a total CV of 6000. While is is not terribly happy with the lance, its all he has to use as this hunchback model is a common and this is the hand he was dealt (ie, cards he has received from the turning in of scrap)
50$ player B also has a 4 hunchback lance. He however has several different weapons he can apply to his hunchbacks because of STAC purchases. By making some weapon changes, he has managed to greatly increase the combat effectivness of his lance but his BV is now correspondingly higher. He is hoping that even tho he is now over 6000 CV, he can still compete against slightly heavier lances because of his choices.
1000$ player C has whatever mech lance he so chooses. By scouring the forums, he first checks to see which mechs people are claiming are under BV valued. He then checks to see which lances are highly popular (because of their commonness in stacs). He notes that players that do not spend cash on the game will typically use standardized (or close to it) mechs and thus can compute what a BV is for for most common groupings of these lances (ie 2 commando, 1 hunchback, 1 cicada could be something like 4800 BV). Knowing that if he can make a group around 4800 CV he will prolly get to face a group like this he can then tailor make lances with good weapons and armor to face his expected enemy. perhaps he drops his cicada down to a spider and ups the hunchback to a undervalued Catapult variant for example).
This is my concept of Pay to win as it applies to MWT, its not just I paid for a PPC that shoots twice every turn, its the ability to field CV CHEAP UNITS that are just as effective as normal units. In doing so you will typically get yourself a nice healthy weight advantage. It will often come down to something as simple as shaving a few CV off certain mechs to allow another mech to move up in tonnage. The shaving of CV off the one mech has to be done in such as way as to not cripple him, ideally you can shave of CV and make him even better than the standard model.
I have literally been down this road before with GMs and CV. There is a game called neveron whose combat is based exactly on table top battletech (even more so than MWT will be) and the consistent winners of these battles (arena style) were those who could field the most effective, CV cheap units available. The subjective nature of CV is its primary downfall.
As for Luck and RNG, these things just come in spurts, i find that doing everything else right (ie, getting the best units in the field) is all you can do to mitigate these random factors. It will not stop a pristine mech getting its head shot off, but that sort of thing balances itself out over time. This time you lose a unhurt mech to headshot, next time you are the guy killing mechs via headshot.
Given the relatively TINY amount of mechs available at launch (lets say there are 20 mechs which is highly unlikely), even FEWER of this mech pool will be commonly available in stacs. Simply knowing which of those 20 mechs are most common allows you to make easy guesses as to what you might have to face at any given bv range. There will be exceptions and oddball lances that come out of nowhere but you will not compose lances to fight these groups. Your lances will be made around the bestest-for-the-leastest concept. As the one poster said all plans go out the window at first shot. Well this is true, so any ideas of having missleboats stay in the back while your scouts harass the enemy will get thrown out because of some wrench the other guys throws at your plans. The only safe guard is optimization. The best lance possible to cover any situation.
Now some will say my example is extreme, but its just a reference point to show my concept for pay to win. Actual values arent known so its just for a simple discussion, but i do not think of it as a extreme example nor one without merit.
I totally think there will be cookie cutter lances because of CV, and these cookie cutter lances will be INCREDIBLY strong for their CV, because the nature of Btech players is to play the strongest units possible (cv wise). There is a reason we fear Awesomes and laugh at chargers (just talking standard variants). And before someone boress us with storys of how they beat awesomes with charger, lets just ask in a seperate poll. If you can have one of the two mechs, which would you choose? I am guessing 80%+ of the forums would rather have an awesome over a charger.
I guess that could be a simple way to look at the CV issue.. One guy will have awesomes.. one guy will have chargers. Guess which one is the guy that paid