Free Stomp: Mechwarrior Now In Open Beta

By Jim Rossignol on October 30th, 2012 at 9:00 am.


Yes, as we’d been anticipating, Mechwarrior Online is now in open beta, which means it can be played for free, without restriction. I’ve been enjoying it a fair bit in the past couple of weeks, but then I am a sucker for both robots and multiplayer combat, so it could pretty much have been designed with me in mind. I would say that it hasn’t exactly held my attention for long periods – unlike Planetside 2, for example – so it’s lacking something in the long-term reward sense. It also offers a fascinating contrast with Hawken, the faster-paced, jetpack-heavy robo-deathmatcher that’s in closed beta right now (but should soon hit for free).

I’ve posted one of the community-made trailers below. It’s quite good.

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56 Comments »

  1. atticus says:

    Looks really nice, I must say! Brings back memories from the time I spent playing Mechwarrior 2 back in the day. Really loved that game…

    As someone who never lets the opportunity to complain about something pass me by, this is the whine of the day: There are too many MMO’s. Make more singleplayer shooters with robots and stuff. Thanks.

    • BAshment says:

      Is this being considered an mmo?

      • Sian says:

        Only by atticus. I think he’s confusing non-massive multiplayer with MMO.

        • Chalky says:

          It does have progression mechanics and is always online which makes it share many of the features people associate with MMOs. Is there a term for games like this that distinguishes them both from MMOs and multiplayer without hosted progression/grind mechanics?

          • Sian says:

            Well, progression based multiplayer if you really need to distinguish this from non-progression based multiplayer games. MMO denotes that a lot of people play together, most often (always?) in a persistent world. MWO has neither that many people per match nor is the world persistent. Progression is (and has been for some years now) a staple of almost all purely multiplayer titles, so calling a game an MMO simply on that merit would make all multiplayer games MMOs and we’d need a new name for actual MMOs. The same goes for the online part. Less and less purely multiplayer games feature a LAN mode, so the online part is kind of a given too, nowadays.

          • Neurotic says:

            Over on Massively.com we call it ‘Not So Massively Multiplayer’. This covers HoN, LoL, MWO, Diablos, Torchlights MMOFPSs etc.

          • Sian says:

            But MMOFPS are MMOs. They don’t need to be RPGs to carry a huge amount of players in a persistent world – just look at Planetside. On the other hand, Diablo and Torchlight aren’t pure multiplayer games at all. You guys at Massively lump together very diverse games in a rather narrow category.

          • atticus says:

            Sorry if I used the wrong term – I usually call all games which are online multiplayer only MMO’s. I certainly didn’t mean to use it to say the game is poor in any way – I think it looks really good.

            To clarify: I wish for a new Mechwarrior game which is not online multiplayer only, but instead focuses on a singleplayer campaign.

          • HothMonster says:

            Yeah the first M in MMO is for massively which really doesn’t apply to 8 on 8 deathmatches.

            But to your hopes; they originally wanted to make a new SP mechwarrior game but couldn’t get the funding, if only people had been making millions on kickstarter already. But they have mentioned a few times that they would love to add a SP/CO-OP component to this game so hopefully if it does well we will see that eventually.

            I too would love them releasing a SP standalone campaign or Mercs style mission generator / mercs corp manager.

          • socrate says:

            MMO usually are about persistent world with alots of people in the same place at a time and most MMO have huge surface.

            That is mostly why MMORPG are the most common because to keep the interest of player you usually have to rely on progression and story,which most of the time is easily done through item upgrade and story progression and story telling of the RPG game,so far no MMOFPS as been really successful because they tend to have limit to these and tend to rely more on exchanging territory through player vs player which always end up getting old quite fast for most people.

            Diablo,torchlight,LoL,HoN,Dota will never be MMO and are only categorized that way by some people because of lack of knowledge and misinformation or purely because site for MMO tend to want to expand their market and in doing so covert these game for no reason at all then to make them look bigger and get bigger then they should and cover the HOT game that have multiplayer in them,in doing so they are just being a disease media and throwing out misinformation about a genre and making the already stupid population even more stupid then it actually is.

            Harsh but true….game like these are just either arena multiplayer game or game with multiplayer in them which is quite common these days.

  2. Ansob says:

    How’s the free-to-play-iness? I’ve had access to the closed beta for a few weeks but never did anything with it since I’ve been playing a million other things instead.

    • Inigo says:

      It makes World of Tanks appear fair and balanced.

      • AngrySasquatch says:

        What? I agree they should make the trial ‘mechs better, but you can play for about 6 hours to afford a good ‘mech, anything from 35 to 50 tons. About 12 hours for a Heavy like the Catapult, and 18 hours for an Atlas, the biggest ‘mech there is. Light ‘mechs are also pretty good, they can rip up a lot of ‘mechs (especially fire support) and are highly mobile and can cap. Light ‘mechs have less armor, but they have more speed and a much smaller hit box. They’ve done a good job at balancing the ‘mech classes. I’d never pilot an Atlas, it’s too big and too slow. Light ‘mechs, in some ways, are the most survivable, because they can get themselves out of bad situations where other ‘mechs would just get swamped and die.

        Now, you can upgrade your ‘mech with Double Heatsinks and an XL Engine, but Double Heatsinks are pretty easy to get. My ‘mech is completely upgraded with DHS and an XL Engine in about 8 hours of play.

        Granted, it would take a new (free to play) player probably about 3 hours to earn DHS and another 9 to earn the XL Engine, but an XL engine has its disadvantages, such as making your left and right torsos vulnerable to getting destroyed – normally only center torso destroys your mech. My ‘mech is better with an XL engine, but it’s not that much better.

        • Claidheamh says:

          Indeed, XL engines are very risky, especially with lightly armored mechs. If your engine gets damaged, you’re done for the match, and XL engines are larger and thus easier to hit. And they’re even more expensive to repair.

    • Claidheamh says:

      It is similar to Tribes: Ascend. You can get an Atlas in about a week if you don’t play that much everyday.

  3. JD Jackson says:

    I can’t get logged in to the site. I’ve signed up and verified my account, but when I go to login it comes up with an error saying ‘please enter the captcha’. Only problem with that is there is no captcha showing. :\ Any ideas?

    • haradaya says:

      Maybe you have adblock or something blocking it? Try it in a different browser.

  4. JohnH says:

    Now they just need to fix certain game breaking bugs like the fact that every other mouse-click I do while playing minimizes/unfocuses the game client, fullscreen vs window mode, instead of firing my weapons…

  5. PatrickSwayze says:

    Game is instantly full of rich rich noob pickings.

    Great fun until your on a team of them, and then it becomes a heroic against all odds last mech simulator.

    If you like Giant Robots you have no excuse to not be playing this game.

  6. Mattressi says:

    I no longer have a joystick setup (and I’ve never had Track IR). Is this game playable with just a mouse and keyboard? I mean actually playable – not like how you can *technically* play DCS Blackshark with only a mouse and keyboard. Just thought I’d check before I download it.

    • razorblade79 says:

      Absolutely, mouse/keyboard work really well.

      • derbefrier says:

        Hmmm my X52 is arriving in the mail today. I will have to give this a shot if i can tear myself away from Evochron Mercenary. I hear joysticks were a little iffy and can be a pain to setup is this still the case?

        • haradaya says:

          Yes. A thousand times. I can’t map my Logitech Flightstick properly at all. It’s recognized by the game and everything, but you can’t invert an axis, and it doesn’t differentiate between positive and negative when you bind them, so you bind one axis and pray that the game handles that axis correctly. It didn’t for me, pushing forward with the stick makes the mech halt, pulling it all the way back makes it go at full speed. It’s both backwards, and handles the axis completely wrong, there’s no reverse.
          And for some reason the game ignores any profile I’ve set up through the driver program.

          Add that you have to go into a public multiplayer match each time to test out a setup, with no option of changing controls while in a match, and you got something baaaaad.
          It is beta though, and the devs are working on it.

      • Mattressi says:

        Awesome, thanks for that :)

    • Moraven says:

      My first play in closed beta I found keyboard/mouse easier and better control than a joystick. (have a good logitech swivel joystick that was collecting dust). I think if I found the right sensitivity options it would work well with the joy (also at the time joystick support was hit and miss and buggy).

  7. Pryde says:

    Why, Yoda, WHY my beloved Mechs had to be f2p? I so wanted to play ‘em and now I won’t thanks to this microtanshitcions system. This if unfair, truly and depresingly =\

    • Carbonated Dan says:

      if the traditional retail model matters so much to you why not spend $60 unlocking half a dozen mechs at once? that way you won’t have to play for free or complete any microtransactions

      • Pryde says:

        I would GLADLY throw my $60 at this game. Call me old-fashioned, but it’s either “buy and play” or subscription for mmo. Seeing how even the biggest “Founder’s pack” for MWO costing $130 offered laughable couple of months of “premium” exp we could assume that this “free to play” model doesn’t want your 60 bucks. It wants much, muuuch more. And don’t tell me “multiplayer games cost money to sustain”. Tons of multiplayer games like CS existed before this f2p shitfest. Hell, stars like Warcraft-Starcraft are “buy and play” as always. Max Payne 3. And so on. Nowadays to play f2p is to have really low self esteem. Sadly, this means my beloved Mech are crap, which I won’t play =(

        • Carbonated Dan says:

          you gave me a sad

        • Bremze says:

          @Pryde: I’ve been playing playing since early in the beta and had a lot of fun without spending a dime. Let me say that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

          The game’s free and the client is only 3GB or so. Try it or better yet find some friends to play with because the game is really fun with some coordination.

        • Moraven says:

          Easier to fund future content with options of constant revenue vs revenue only from new game sales (which spike on new content releases but do not provide as much revenue).

        • Dark Nexus says:

          “Nowadays to play f2p is to have really low self esteem”

          Sure. If “really low self esteem” actually means “more money in my bank account”.

          I’m playing more F2P games that I would have spent $60 on than if I’d actually had to spend $60 on them. So I’m spending less and getting more entertainment.

        • RevEng says:

          As somebody who ran a CS server for years, let me assure you that there is nothing “free” about it. We paid $120/mo for a 16 player server. Now, this would probably be cheaper for a company if they were hosting their own, rather than renting, but servers, bandwidth, electricity, and man power all cost money.

          Companies will make their money one way or another. Subscriptions are an obvious way of doing it, but that also puts an emphasis on playing through content as fast as possible or getting in as much time as possible in a month; neither of which is good for the player or the developer. You can also have the pay-once model, but that provides a considerable disincentive for the developer to keep the servers up and running: they get a bunch of money early on, then costs begin to exceed profits and keeping the lights on means losing more money. This is terrible for gamers, because one day they find their game — that they paid in-ful for — is no longer playable.

          I’m not saying the so-called “free-to-play” model is better. It has obvious downsides, including the incentive to the developer to make paid-for content “better” than free content, severaly hampering what joy can be had while playing for free. It can also easily lead to unbridled spending, where microtransactions quickly amount to far more than an individual would otherwise be willing to spend on a subscription or a whole game. It also quickly raises questions about who owns the items that are purchased.

          But no matter what model you pick, a game has costs and somebody has to pay them. If it’s not the player, it’s the developer, so you’ll have to handy over your money at some point, because few developers can afford to develop games and give them away at their own expense.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Because nobody will pay for multiplayer only games any more.

      • Pryde says:

        People are buying War of the Roses. Awesomenauts. Chivalry. Natural Selection 2 and many more. World’s most popular Dota 2 is free and offers ONLY cosmetics. So no, people want to buy games. It’s just shitheads at piranha blinded by coins.

      • Moraven says:

        People will pay, but the problem lies in keeping enough people active so there is actually people to play against and they can sell more copies. F2P drops that barrier at the start to get more people to play and try, converting the more involved people into paying. I have gotten way more from LoL than a $30 game. Way more than paying a $10/month MMO subscription. I have no problem time to time paying for something.

        I have gotten probably $30 from WoT. Up to Tier 5-6 tanks. Tho I have never felt compelled to buy skins (do you really see the look of another tank for long enough to notice?), gold to get item upgrades quicker or crew (convenience and how your fast your crew seems to level in the game, almost seems pay to win, but rewards using a tank for long time and getting good with it), and of course better ammo. Maybe if I was more deeply involved in the game and doing clan wars/ranked matches I would put some down.

        Then some people I know never have paid a cent on LoL and the like and are happy about it and have had a lot of fun. (Tho some finally bought the rune page pack)

    • zal says:

      Oops! I missed that part where nobody does that anymore and did. Well, at least I have a few stompy robots to show for it, its a small consolation but I’ll find a way to cope.

    • HothMonster says:

      It’s so unfair that everyone can play it for free…

  8. Neurotic says:

    I like the back-handed compliment implicit in MWO being “actually worth a damn”. Sheesh.

    • Premium User Badge

      LTK says:

      It made me laugh. I was wondering why they would ever mention Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza and Duke Nukem Forever, but yeah, when they follow it up with “comes a game that’s actually worth a damn” it makes sense!

  9. Thirdstar says:

    Come back in a month or two and you’ll enjoy it more. Right now, there’s not enough matchmaking and way too many bugs to make it worth your time.

    P.S. There’s fun game under all that.

  10. S Jay says:

    That trailer would be better if he used comic sans on the text.

  11. wodin says:

    Would be cool if I could play it rather than time out downloading patches or the game or whatever it wants to do.

  12. Taidan says:

    If you do get into this game, and fancy spending more time on there, while it’s technically “free-to-play”, I would consider it a minimum $15 purchase to be competitive while avoiding a frustrating grind. I would add that despite many bugs and problems currently present, $15 is a steal for the amount of fun MWO has to offer in its present state.

    What to spend that money on? A wise player would buy two Light or two Medium Mechs, and make sure that they are two variants of the same chassis. The way that XP trees are set up mean that you have to level three variants of the same chassis to get to the next level in the tree. Use those two Mechs to level up, and hopefully you’ll be able to afford the third by the time you’re done with the two you own.

    I’ve personally gone for a pair of Hunchbacks, with the HBK-4SP and the HBK-4H offering a good mix of hardpoints, power and speed. Don’t be tempted to stick an XL-Engine in there, it’ll cut back your earnings and make you extremely vulnerable to quick kills. Jenners are also extremely powerful at the moment, if you fancy a more nimble striker or a scouting role.

    • Bremze says:

      I disagree. By the time a new player has gotten bored with the trial mechs, he’ll already have enough money for a Jenner. No need to spend money on mechs.

      • Taidan says:

        Time to “get bored with Trial Mechs” will be very subjective, from person to person. Bear in mind that all of that time will be time spent not earning XP. Oh, and that these days, the price of a Jenner isn’t very far off of that of a Hunchback…

  13. Jandau says:

    Decided to give it a try, being a longtime fan of the MechWarrior (and Commander) games. Played several games, my reactions are mixed. On one hand, it’s got a solid base, looks pretty, tries to stay faithful to the tabletop game, has some interesting mechanics. On the other, the matchmaking is nonexistant, with teams of total newbies playing the mediocre Trial Mechs (kinda like weekly rotation champions in LoL) matched against full premades in pimped out custom mechs with exotic loadouts. There are some bugs and the latency isn’t very good for me as an European player. 150-200ms is too much and makes the game barely playable at times. All in all, the game is VERY rough, doesn’t have many Mechs (9 or 10 I think) and is a nightmare for new players.

    One might say “It’s Beta! What did you expect?”, but for a F2P game that won’t be resetting accounts on launch, the Open Beta IS the launch, and the launch isn’t looking great…

    • Thirdstar says:

      And excellent summation of the state of the game. Yes yes, it’s BETA but this is what new players are going to experience and that’s what they’re going to tell their friends. No amount of IT’S BETA is going to change that.

    • HothMonster says:

      The largest size your party can be is 4 if you are playing against pugs. Full teams only get matched against other full teams. So there is no full team pug stomping. But a group of 4 well-geared and coordinated players can burn through some new players pretty easy.

      • Jandau says:

        You are at least partially incorrect. While the max size of a single group might be 4, premades ARE being matched against new players. Not only did I witness this (matching names and they were spamming their clan info in the all chat), but it is an issue that is widely known by what I saw on the official forums.

        And even if it wasn’t the case, brand new players in Trial mechs should NOT be matched against seasoned veterans in fully customized mechs. To use LoL as a comparison, it’s like matching level 1-5 newbies against level 30s with full T3 runes.

    • Atrak says:

      The netcode does definately need a lot of work and If you think 150ms is hard to play with try it when your ping hovers around the 380-460ms mark. Damn Australian Internet. However the fact that its all server side means that shooting lasers (speed of light) at something and seeing it hit on your machine and not having it register as hit on the server is a pretty annoying and major issue at the moment. (and not just when your ping is high either).

      They also really do need to rotate those trial mechs, hopefully this is something that happens soon, the current lineup tend to heat up pretty damn quickly (Raven/Centurion) or run out of ammo (Awesome).Or just plain suck now that you cant knock other mechs over..(Dragon). Ok maybe ‘Dragon bowling’ was a little annoying but its almost worse now that nothing knocks anything over. (unless your a light fast mech in which case your probably really happy).

      At the moment its more a pay to enjoy game rather than the traditional f2p model of Have some fun, ok now you might want to give us some money to speed up that grind.

      I’ve played in the closed Beta for some time now, and won’t be spending anything for now. I will happily spend money on it eventually but as it stands at the moment Its not worth me parting with money for anything.

      Really though, anyone downloading this and giving it a go for the first time is probably not going to have a great deal of fun. They need to set up better matchmaking, or have the first 20 or so matches with other new players so that you don’t just get rolled straight away. I don’t mind the fact I have to play a rather large amount of matches to buy a mech I can customise, but frankly I’m not so sure that a new player will feel as forgiving and thats annoying as games like this need a large playerbase.

      mm that went on longer than I had anticipated, don’t get me wrong I actually enjoy the game itself, I’m glad it exists its just pretty rough at the moment which is why a lot of people were saying that its a little too early to make that move into Open Beta which really is its Unofficial Launch. Sorry to all the naysayers but the fact that premium time will begin being used up permenantly (when you click the start button) they will happily take your money for MC and anything you do with it from now on won’t be wiped, you really can’t see this as anything but a launch of sorts.

      Just a quick note – The 4 player party limit isn’t actually in the game yet, I know this for a fact because I was in a 5 man team not more than a couple of hours ago. This change however is a step in the right direction. The day before Open Beta and the day after nothing was actually patched in the game which was a little surprising but ohwell at least now when I am grinding on trial mechs to afford something half decent I won’t come back the day after and have to start again. :-)

  14. Jim9137 says:

    Let us walk in slow circles around each other, pointing with laser pointers to respective white oculars and falls ungracefully in our tied up mess of shoe lace.

  15. neonordnance says:

    i’ve been having an annoying bug that makes it hard to play. on some maps the bloom is so bright that it makes it hard to see even ten feet in front of me. dialing down all the settings to low helped, but i can still only play some maps with infrared vision on, and obviously that’s not ideal.

    anyone having the same problem?

  16. astorax says:

    I want to like this game. I even enjoy the control scheme and interface. I think it’s solid.

    However, it’s not the game I want. MW:O SHOULD be an homage to the Battletech world. There should be planet invasions, there should be base building with mech factories, etc. What we got, is deathmatch…with persistant stats. As good feeling as the mech combat is, that’s not what I wanted out of MW:O unfortunately.

    Maybe in the future it’ll expand out to include more of a meta game like I’d want to play, but for now, alas, I think I prefer Hawken for my robot mech deathmatch.

    • AngrySasquatch says:

      The developers definitely intend to have a ‘galaxy map’ (or something similar) with players aligned to the six great houses, and player-owned mercenary companies. It may take a year to get there, but it’s planned.