Hawken on Steam: examining the state of the game after two years of new mechs and balance changes

Omri Petitte at

Ever since its open beta began in December 2012, Hawken's basics have been easy to pick up. Big, stompy robots shoot and scoot with agile dodges. The modes are a slice from the same shooter pie everyone's familiar with, and it's a snap to load up and jump into a team deathmatch in less than a minute. Maps paint worlds of well-worn neon-lit cityscapes and desolate badlands. Hawken is like the mohawked, studded-jacket-wearing punk brother of MechWarrior Online: a youngster with a brash streak, but definitely its own brand of cool.

Hawken's also growing up. It transitioned to Steam last month, moving away from a dedicated launcher and enticing new recruits with an Early Access initiative and a couple purchasable bonus packages. Now it's once again fully Free to Play. Two years of patches and adjustments have streamlined Hawken and stripped away unused features, making it easier to get into than ever. After two weeks of playing Hawken on Steam, I'm still skeptical of its F2P monetization, but faster-paced combat reminiscent of Quake and new mech classes kept me coming back for more.

MechWarrior Online's Launch Module to bring heavily improved matchmaking on April 29

Omri Petitte at

Even a game about titanic, stompy robots with laser cannons and violent paint jobs isn't immune to the challenges of multiplayer matchmaking. Piranha's MechWarrior Online is loads of fun of the heavy metal variety, but balancing various weight classes and pre-formed groups against public players sometimes delivers some frustratingly lopsided rounds. Pilots should scratch the date of April 29 into the side of their cockpits, as that marks the new Launch Module's, well, launch. The module will overhaul MechWarrior's system for matching similarly skilled players together in evenly balanced teams. It's all explained with plenty of text and pretty charts in an official forum post.

Hawken to add leaderboards, part of plan to boost competitive play

Patrick Carlson at

Hawken devs are looking to roll out official leaderboards for the free-to-play game in November, according to Adhesive Games' latest community updates. The move is part of a plan by developers to make the mech shooter a home for competitive as well as casual pilots, says game designer Chris Vance.

Hawken ascends to a "new age" with its biggest expansion yet

Katie Williams at

If you were worried that Hawken and its giant stompy robots just weren't big enough, fret no further. Though a little later than we expected, the mech-piloting game today got even bigger with its newest update, Ascension, bringing on all sorts of additions and changes—from new game modes all the way through to fashionable Oculus Rift support.

Latest Hawken update may deploy by the end of month, should bring major changes

Patrick Carlson at

Crunchy, bullet-ridden, free-to-play mech shooter Hawken is currently getting a major overhaul that may go live by the end of the month, according to a recent update by Adhesive Games producer Jason Hughes. Current goals for the in-beta game include new matchmaking and customization tools as well as the integration of bots to training modes for new players, among many other proposed changes.

Latest Hawken update brings a new map: the desert-based Facility

Katie Williams at

A new Hawken patch introduces your latest glimpse of mechs banging around gracefully in the desertscape. According to level designer Tyler Buser in this map overview video, Facility is a map carefully crafted so that "no capture point is ever too far to engage, nor too safe to leave undefended." Sounds like a good source of drama between our favorite giant robot buddies! This is the patch's biggest feature, which also comes with a slew of new customizations, as well as balancing and interface improvements.

MechWarrior Online update adds Death's Knell, nostalgic startup sequence

Omri Petitte at

Stomping right behind the Spider Mech that launched last week, the Death's Knell is a new and agile robotic warrior included in MechWarrior Online's latest update. As a bonus, a familiar-sounding startup sequence for series veterans now plays whenever you switch on your towering titan.

Meteor expects League of Legends-like success for Hawken, receives $18 million in funding

Omri Petitte at

Hawken publisher Meteor Entertainment definitely recognizes the appeal of smashing bipedal robots together, which is why CEO Mark Long told GeekWire he hopes the upcoming multiplayer mech-mania will supersede reigning crowd-pleaser League of Legends in both popularity and revenue, boldly predicting a profit pull of $100 million and a nearly 10 million-strong community by next year.

Composite images tease new MechWarrior reboot; robo-battle enthusiasts rejoice

Lucas Sullivan at

If you're a fan of the classic MechWarrior series—and something tells us you are—get ready for some intel that will make you motorized head spin. Recent tweets by @InnerSphereNews, the news source for the human homeworld of Terra, show a string of images resembling components to a gargantuan killing machine. Put all the pictures together, and you get most of an announcement for the long-awaited return of the MW series in 201X, alongside a Mech complete with shoulder-mounted rockets and laser-sighted machine gun fists. Could we be seeing the first glimpse of the new BLR-1G Battlemaster or PXH-1 Phoenix Hawk? No matter the Battlemech, we're fervent with anticipation to hop back into the cockpit of a five-story, 100-ton weapon of mass destruction.