MechWarrior Online Review

Game:MechWarrior Online
Ten Ton Hammer
Ten Ton Hammer Rating
68

Multiplayer - 70 / 100


The entire game is multiplayer (minus the Testing Ground which allows you to test out different mech builds against non-moving bots by yourself), so the Gameplay section covers everything pretty well but I will talk about a couple aspects of the game that need tweaking to address match issues. 

The matchmaking system the game uses has seen some behind-the-scenes changes with the launch day patch, but there are still issues with it. First and foremost, there’s still an issue with PUGs (pick up groups) being lumped in with premade teams in matches. MechWarrior is very much a team-oriented game and the advantage premade teams using voice communication through out of game systems cannot be overstated. The term that’s developed over the months is pug stomping. It’s not that inaccurate a description. Perhaps the development team feels it all evens out in the end since sometimes you’re a solo player that is on the side of a mostly premade team so you get the benefit of a portion of your team working in coordination. That still doesn’t alleviate the sense of hopelessness and frustration new solo players feel when they get their asses handed to them 8 matches out of 10.

 

Another recent issue that has been of major concern to players is the addition of a third-person view (3PV) to the game. The fact that it was added at all (to appeal to a broader and more casual audience) caused enough of a stir by itself, especially since the game now defaults to that mode the first time a person logs into the game. As a result, new players may not even be aware they can switch view modes unless they go through the maneuvering tutorial. Right up until the launch day patch, 12-man premade team match players could swap between the two views and the community mushroom cloud bloomed in a horrific demonstration of rage and hate. Do I agree with their actions? No. Do I understand them? I do. In a 12-man premade team match (which by itself is the very definition of hardcore competition), being able to switch to a 3rd person view to peek around corners and buildings was tantamount to cheating. While no longer an issue in full 12-man premade team matches, this is still a problem in all other matches.

Value - 65 / 100


The value of any free to play game is always difficult to determine, but let’s see if I can give you some points of interest to help you decide what kind of value MechWarrior Online has for you. 

As the game stands right now, if you have any interest in playing a very deep and detailed mech combat game, especially one set in the BattleTech/MechWarrior universe, you can’t go wrong in terms of value if you don’t spend a penny on the game. The game is generally well done (what few parts of it there are) and if it doesn’t cost you anything more than a download and some personal time, you’d be foolish not to hop in and give it a try.

 

When it comes to spending real world cash, things get a little tricky. On the one hand, players will benefit greatly from buying premium time or Hero mechs with C-Bill (currency earned in-game) and/or experience bonuses. Trying to earn your way through the multiple pilot unlocks to get to the higher tiers takes an inordinate amount of time with bonuses. I can’t imagine how long it would take to do it without those bonuses. That said, I don’t have an issue with the cost of the premium play time if someone wants to purchase it. 

The costs of the Hero mechs, on the other hand, are far too high to make them worthwhile in my opinion. Several of them are pretty cheap, but most fall in the range of $20 to $25 dollars. I’m all for companies making enough money to keep creating new content and even making a healthy profit at the same time. Forking out $25 for a mech is just far too much. If they were in the range of $10 instead, I think the value would be there, but as it stands, I can’t advise spending that kind of money on any of them.

Lasting Appeal - 50 / 100


If the game contained any real continuity or depth of story, this score would be much higher than it is. As it stands right now though, the game is little more than a decent mech combat match grind. The game gets far too repetitive in terms of what you can actually do to give it any real lasting appeal. 

The addition of promised features such as a full faction system, Inner Sphere fighting, etc. – all of these would add greatly to the lasting appeal of MechWarrior Online, but until this happens, the score stands.

Pros and Cons


Pros
  • Wide variety of mechs available for purchase with currency earned in-game
  • Impressive mech customization
  • Free trial mech choices are swapped out frequently
  • Excellent graphics
  • “Authentic” mech combat gameplay
  • Free to play

Cons
  • Does little to no explaining in-game about most gameplay aspects (such as combat)
  • Hero mechs are too expensive for their worth
  • Heat scaling bugs still plague various weapon configurations
  • Lack of a deeper story or faction system
  • Gameplay becomes repetitive over time

Conclusion


What more is there to say, really? At the end of the day, the game is what it is and that’s not horrible, but it is average. Looked at face value, MechWarrior Online delivers a convincing mech combat experience. What the game has in single match entertainment, it lacks in overall cohesiveness and reasons for playing long term. It clearly has the potential to be much more than what it currently is, but that potential has yet to be reached. For a free-to-play title, it’s worth the price of admission, but anything beyond that will need to be determined by each individual player.

Overall 68/100 - Okay

Metacritic

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