Battle Value is a point-based system for the Classic BattleTech board game to measure the battlefield value of a given unit and to balance opposing forces.
Although it does factor the quality of the pilot, prevalence of a C3 network, and the size of the force relative to the opposition into the equation it is only a rough guideline; it does not take terrain features into account and naturally cannot account for the random element inherent to dice rolling (although the latter aspect is factored into the battle value assigned to individual weapons, to a degree).
Combat Value (CV), the system's earliest (official) incarnation, was introduced in 1994 in the Tactical Handbook and values were included in several FASA-era record sheet products. There were many problems with Combat Value, and so it was replaced by the Battle Value systems.
Previously, the "Combat Efficiency Factors" system by Joel Bancroft-Connors had been published in the BattleTechnology magazine, an official BattleTech magazine which was canon in its time, but is not counted among the canonical sources anymore. The Combat Value system is thought to have been developed independently from the Combat Efficiency Factors system.
Battle Value (BV), the successor to CV, is a more refined system that takes more factors into account. The original BV formula was released in 1997 in Maximum Tech and has been tweaked a number of times since. An upgraded BV formula was presented in BattleTech Master Rules, and that version was also used in the FanPro reprint of Maximum Tech. It is now generally referred to as "BV 1".
The formula underwent a substantial revision in TechManual, leading fans to dub it "BV 2.0". It was again tweaked for the reprint of TechManual where the multiplier table for pilot skill was changed.
While work was being done on the MUL project (which includes providing BV 2.0 values for all units) it was found that the BV rules were inconsistent or unclear in some cases, leading the MUL team to implement further improvements. Their update has jokingly been referred to as BV 2.1 internally, though the system is still generally referred to as BV 2.0.
The values provided by MUL are the official values.
Since 2012 Line Developer Herbert A. Beas II repeatedly saidthat he was considering changing the BV system into a much simpler system, and that the developers were tentatively exploring various ideas. However, the overhaul of the BV system, often called "BV 3", was apparently put on the back burner and in a BattleChat on 26 January 2013 said that the current plan was to patch BV 2 and give it "one more chance" with an upcoming set of errata; in a later BattleChat (20 April 2013) he remarked that they had "put the brakes on the new BV system to see how well received the latest errata holds." He also remarked that redoing BV would neccessitate a rework on the upcoming Alpha Strike (ruleset).
- BattleBlog entry The evolution of a MUL, 23 March 2011