Updated Wed, Oct 03, 2012 by ricoxg
Piranha did a lot of things right, but they're still missing some critical components of the MechWarrior franchise. They've built a game where the player has a single life in a match, similar to World of Tanks, but unlike WoT the mechanics of the game rewards the player for staying around to watch the whole match after they die. This doesn't really match with the run-and-gun melee that MechWarrior Living Legends promotes, and that's fine. I actually prefer a more strategy-based MechWarrior game, and I think it's more true to the franchise.
The problem is this: while Piranha has the more compelling mechanics in the simulation part of the game, there's no meta-game to make it worthwhile. There are no houses to fight for, no star maps to plan over, and there's no reference to Solaris VII (the traditional battleground planet of the BattleTech universe). The result is two halves of a game that don't really seem to match; one promotes a more strategic style of game-play that the other doesn't deliver on.
Additionally, I'm a little concerned about the game's future when there's a free mod out that includes active/passive radar, aerospace vehicles, a wide array of ground-based vehicles, access to more a lot more mechs, and the ability to play as an elemental. None of which are included in MWO, and the mod also has a wider selection of larger maps, some with unique physics and day/night cycles. So I'm scratching my head a little over why a game based on a similar engine as the mod would not look to the mod as the minimum bar.
In the end, I like the spirit of MechWarrior Online. I think it's a game with a lot of potential, done by guys who know the franchise and care a lot about it. The developers have created a strong frame-work and are promising to add in a load of cool new toys to the game that will in many ways put it a large step beyond anything to date in the franchise. Unfortunately, I'm not sure those things will counter the large holes in the existing game, and I don't think the game, at least in its current form, will be enough to pull players away from a very popular mod.