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.
The engineers at Piranha have been hard at work at their latest robot warrior for free-to-play battler Mechwarrior Online. Disappointingly, the Spider Mech isn't an octolegged monstrosity that traps its flitting opponents in webs of hardened steel. Instead it promises to be the fastest, most maneuverable addition to the Light class - with eight jumpjets to bump up the agility.
According to the press release, "Spider pilots can create nightmares for pilots of heavier Mechs on the battlefield; this is the time to watch your back!" Presumably they're working on a giant, reinforced can of bug spray for a future release.
Not zombies. Not terrorists. Not bandits, pirates, helicopters, or mutant helicopters. After dedicating my life to research, I’ve determined that mechs are the most fun thing to shoot in a video game. MechWarrior’s mechs, specifically.
What makes mechs special? They’re voodoo dolls. And piñatas.
Piranha Games is sneaking out a final content update for MechWarrior Online before the holiday break. Next Tuesday, Conquest will become MWO’s second mode—a long-awaited addition for beta players like myself who’ve put dozens of hours into the game’s fun-but-meager map pool. Read on for more details, and for other changes coming in the upcoming patch.
Mechmakers Piranha Games deployed an update yesterday to MWO's slowly-growing closed beta that adds CamoSpec, the all-important system for redecorating your mech. Well, technically our MechWarrior Online issue was the first way mech pilots could apply paint to their hulking man-panzers, but Tuesday's patch formalizes the system within the game. Inside, I've taken a minute to pop into the MechLab to check it out in a video.
There's been a bit of hesitation surrounding the launch of Mechwarrior Online, but it has finally stomped through the closed beta process and wheezed into the sunlight of open beta. The move to open beta represents the last data wipe for beleaguered closed beta pilots that have levelled up stunning war machines time and time again, only to have them vanish with the arrival of another big update.
Good news for them, then, but better news for everyone else. Anyone who fancies jumping into the cockpit can sign up for an account on the MechWarrior Online site
Stompy multiplayer robo-tactical shooter MechWarrior Online has been flip-flopping over its pending open beta for a good few weeks now. First it was kicking off on October 16th, then it was delayed, and then it didn't like the look of those teenagers so it decided to keep its giant feet indoors. Thankfully, those teenagers have now wandered off - MWO will begin its open beta (for realsies) on October 29th, or this coming Monday.
"I'd love to see a big, new ten-hour single-player campaign for MechWarrior," Piranha Games co-founder Russ Bullock said during GDC Online. He's assuredly not alone on that wishful thought -- the MechWarrior franchise's bipedal chunks of armageddon typically came with colony and clan warfare. But speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Bullock cited the industry's "really tough" expectations for including worthwhile single-player as the primary reason for keeping the action multiplayer for now.
Last week, Piranha Games announced that the MechWarrior Online open beta test would start tomorrow. Then, later last week, Lead Designer Paul Inouye responded to community concerns over instability with the news that the open beta will be pushed back indefinitely.
The wait is almost over for those who haven't already made their way onto the stompy, mech-infested battlefields of MechWarrior Online by way of key or invite. Starting next week, the beta is opening up to all aspiring combatants. You have until midnight on the 14th to become part of the Founders Program, grabbing some exclusive rewards and hipster cred that you just can't put a price on.
As much as I'd love to be a mech, there are definitely some drawbacks. You can fire a kaleidoscopic array of lasers out of your face, which is neat, but if you overdo it you shut down and have to spend several minutes gently venting hot gas, which has to be on the list of most embarrassing things that can happen in public. Perhaps that's the reason that you won't actually be the mech in Mechwarrior Online. In the cockpit, you're a pilot in a cockpit, with legs and everything.
A mech that's effective at all ranges with all lasers, that's what we like to see. The Centurion mech sounds like a good starting point for new players. A few tons of extra armour give it the resilience to last in a midfield laze-off and its flexible load out options should be fun to tinker with. The new Mechwarrior Online shows the Centurion reducing foes to scrap on beaches, in bases and tight arctic corridors. That last one looks to be Frozen City, the new map that the Mechwarrior Online devs revealed a couple of weeks ago. Take a closer look in the new trailer below.
Piranha Games have just released some new screenshots from their upcoming free-to-play game MechWarrior Online. These ones show the Catapult mech standing around a bit, flying, shooting something, looking a bit sad, looking at a tower (possibly because it's a bit sad), and then standing around a bit more. Of course, the game is likely to be a bit more interesting than these screenshots suggest - Evan was anything but bored by it in this preview. It's powered by Crytek's CryEngine 3, too, which means even a bored mech looks like a good mech.
A developer diary post on the MechWarrior Online site has sketched out how communities will fight in MechWarrior Online. For every day that passes in the real world, a day will pass in Mechwarrior Online's "Inner Sphere." There players can join factions and complete missions to earn control of the planets within the sphere.
"Wednesday December 7, 2011 is Wednesday December 7, 3048," write developers Paul Inouye and Bryan Ekman in the post. "This means that every time you log into MechWarrior Online, something new has happened. News updates via the ISN feed, news reporter features and battle feeds keep players up to date on current events."
Piranha Games and Crytek have announced that MechWarrior Online will use Crytek's CryEngine 3 for development on the F2P mech sim.
It's welcome news for gamers who feared that F2P MechWarrior would translate to "cheap" MechWarrior. CryEngine 3 powered Crysis 2, after all, and I'm sure I can't be the only one with visions of the MechWarrior: Living Legends mod for Crysis dancing through his head.
Worried that a free-to-play MechWarrior might be a cynical cash-in on a beloved franchise? So was I. But after talking with Creative Director Bryan Ekman and Russ Bullock, president of Piranha Games, I was not only more confident about MechWarrior Online, but genuinely excited about the direction they are taking the franchise.
Ekman and Bullock are serious Mech fans, and knew exactly where my questions were coming from. They were also crystal clear about one thing: this is the MechWarrior that PC gamers know and love. This is about taking the gameplay of MechWarrior 2 through MechWarrior 4 in directions those earlier games couldn't even contemplate.
The MechWarrior community caught fire in 2009 when Piranha Games released a trailer for their upcoming MechWarrior reboot, and it seemed like all Piranha needed to do was find a a publisher and relaunch the classic MechWarrior franchise.
But almost two years went by with no word on the project's status, and no publisher picked it up. I talked to Russ Bullock, president of Piranha Games', and asked about MechWarrior's missing years, and how MechWarrior Online emerged from their struggle to find a publisher. He explains how Microsoft's restrictions on the MechWarrior license made the property a tough sell, and how bad timing made a tough job impossible. Stymied by the traditional publishing model, Piranha started to take a hard look at whether free-to-play might let them make the game they wanted, without compromising its values.
After two years of near-total silence about the fate of the MechWarrior reboot, Piranha Games has announced MechWarrior Online, a free-to-play, team-based multiplayer BattleMech sim that'll go live in the second half of 2012. Starting from just before the Clan Invasion of 3050, MWO will tell the story of the Battletech universe in real-time. Each day, players will do battle on behalf of the universe's major factions, and each day in the game will represent a single day's action in the fictional Inner Sphere.
MechWarrior Online (MWO) might be free-to-play, but MWO Creative Director Bryan Ekman and Piranha President Russ Bullock insist this is going to be a proper MechWarrior game in the tradition of MechWarrior 2 through 4, not a successor to the Xbox action game Mech Assault. Ekman says joystick support is a strong probability, and both call this a Mech sim.
"I think it's really the MechWarrior you know," Bullock says. "It's fully first-person. It's not a new interpretation. We're modernizing things a little bit, I think we'll get to those questions, but certainly it's MechWarrior."
Read on for more with Piranha, and exclusive art.