Interviews

MechWarrior Online - New Details Revealed

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The 90s was a great period for video games. PC gaming was flourishing,   left and right, new ideas and new games were taking shape, and a franchise called MechWarrior was capturing the hearts of gamers everywhere.  With a futuristic universe with a surprising amount of story, giant robots would stomp around and blast each other and their surroundings with a plethora of missiles, railguns, and whatever else you could slap on the mech with the excellent customization options.  Sadly, the franchise lost steam with the on-again off-again cancellation of MechWarrior V in the new millenium and has been quite silent in the video game market, especially on PC.

ItÂ’s time to revive the legend.  Piranha Games, led by a team of fans who has been playing the series since its creation, are spearheading the effort in the newly revealed MechWarrior Online.

Massive Team Battles and Player Freedom

This is not going to be limited to 8 or 16 players like a console game.  24 players will be duking it out on any of the maps, which helps capture the original spirit of the universe.   Upon completion of a level or objective, they wonÂ’t exactly gain experience but loyalty.  Loyalty is dedication to a faction, whether it be player or non-player based, and theyÂ’ll earn military ranks in the process which can unlock both standard options, and player-designated options.    Russ Bullock, President of Pirahna, told us that “A full set of tools will be available to designate rewards to players, similar to guild systems”   However, it seems that the potential to increase in rank is purely upon the playerÂ’s actions, rather than the guild leaderÂ’s favoritism.  ThatÂ’ll please a lot of people IÂ’m sure.

DonÂ’t like the idea of being forced into a guild?  No need to!  Lone Wolf missions are in and function as bounty hunter-style kill missions, among other things.  With no loyalty, you are the ultimate pick up player or mercenary to fill out a team in a pinch.

All of the Classic Tactics

While most action games these days could be played effortlessly by a controller, MechWarrior fans know better than to think they can handle everything with a couple of analog sticks and a few buttons.  All of the features such as torso turning, individual and group weapon selection and group firing, and more tactics that are staples of the series will return.  The Creative Director, Brian Ekman, elaborated “While technology has evolved, Battletech is a 30 year old IP.  We are confident that weÂ’ve created a game that can appeal to everyone, including both the completely new and longtime veterans of the clan wars.”

No Grind, No Problem

With Ekman coming out and flat out saying, “You wonÂ’t have to grind to access your favorite mech” that should alleviate one of the major problems on the minds of fans.   However, there are three progression paths:

  • The pilot – Universal to all mechs, you have a customizable skillset to perhaps reduce heat consumption and increase jump jet duration of whatever you pilot
  • The mech – Each mech will have some special unique options available to it to help each model fill a tactical role.
  • The faction – Gaining ranks in a faction will confer bonuses related to the factionÂ’s beliefs and theme.

While there might be some lucrative skill that you want to earn as fast as possible, the idea is that if you want to play a mech style at any given time, you have that option.  There is no free to play selection of only those mechs for that week or any of that nonsense.  Save that for the MOBAs, this is MechWarrior!  It isnÂ’t necessarily about killing to progress either.  You will be rewarded with experience depending on how well you fill the mechÂ’s role that youÂ’re piloting, which should make the light scout players breathe a sigh of relief.

Worlds of Competition

All engagements will be against other players, at least for the time being.   Bullock and Ekman did express interest at the adding of PvE content after launch, but for now, itÂ’s time to man up and face your foes.  These battles wonÂ’t just take place in wastelands and destroyed cities either.  The Inner Sphere will have snow, jungle, and more types of vivid environments to distract you from the oncoming missile barrage.

“Our goal is to create a game worthy of the franchise that everyone can enjoy”, Russ Bullock concluded. With a free-to-play model and so much content available from scratch, Piranha just might be able to make that long-sought after dream a reality.  Look forward to more news and details on the systems of MechWarrior Online as they become available in 2012.

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