Mechwarrior Wars: Living Legends Is Less Living

By Alec Meer on January 21st, 2013 at 11:00 am.

Undaah da seeeeee

There’s a downside to the official comeback of iconic stompy robo-suit game Mechwarrior, and that’s the end of ongoing development for fancy-lookin’ Crysis mod Mechwarrior: Living Legends. While initial word that this free multiplayer total conversion was facing its last stomp led the community to suspect legal action by the people behind the new official game, Mechwarrior Online, the claim now is that MLL development is winding up through mutual agreement.

Another thing to note is that MLL isn’t being shut down, only that there’ll be no more development of (and presumably support for) it from now-ish on. The community can still go play it, though I would imagine Mechwarrior Online devs Pirhana Games are hoping they’ll jump ship to their free-to-play official game instead.

Claims ‘Criminal’, lead at MLL dev Wandering Samurai Studios:

“There has not, nor has there ever been, any legal action or threat of legal action leveraged against the MechWarrior: Living Legends development team. This was an assumption of a small amount of volunteers based on incomplete information. To clarify, the decision to discontinue development of MechWarrior: Living Legends was made by the founders and owners of the project. On behalf of all the people involved in MechWarrior: Living Legends we must sincerely apologize to all parties affected by this miscommunication.”

Similar is claimed by Mechwarrior Online’s Ross Bullock:

“We both realized that the MWLL community was small and it really wasn’t competing with MWO but still each time a feature was added to MWLL that was in MWO it felt as though we were doubling up effort to restore this great brand.

I expressed that we were not trying to shut anyone down but asked him how we might meld the two communities better and even look to possibly hire on any great talent what was in that project. ( Hey MWLL guys send in those resumes ) For a long time the IP was in the wind and MWLL is one of those games that really kept MW on peoples minds so the project and the individuals have our up most respect.

We discussed this topic for a little while but again it was friendly and there was no threats of shutting the mod down just more of a sense of “Why are we doubling up efforts here?”. After the show he contacted me expressing that they really wanted to finish what they started with MWLL and had a set of features that they would like to get done and asked if that was okay with PGI. They presented a very professional plan on the remaining work they wanted to complete and stated after that it would be time to stop production on MWLL. I thanked them for the plan and said that it all sounded great.”

It’s tempting to speculate, innit? I probably shouldn’t, though. At least no-one’s in court, at least the game wasn’t abruptly ripped off the internet and maybe some folk will end up with better jobs too.

And the new 0.7.0 patch for Living Legends is to be its last, after almost four years of development. Included in the update are the likes of “several new mechs and vehicles, some new maps, a brand new HUD for mechs and tanks, a bunch of rebalancing and fixes.” If you want to play MLL, now is probably the best time to do so, for fear the servers become ghostly over time.

You can download version 0.7.0 here (or via torrent), and fill your eyes and mind with information about the Crysis Wars mod here.

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46 Comments »

  1. caddyB says:

    It’s such a shame MWO is unplayable for me. I love battletech.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Depending on which way it’s unplayable for you, it might be worth poking it back every month or so. They’re still patching it about pretty heavily, and fixing up the netcode for being able to hit fast mechs is on the agenda.

      • caddyB says:

        It’s the netcode, yes :] I hope they fix it eventually.

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          PoulWrist says:

          They’ve been updating that the last two patches, with movement code being updated, and I think that tomorrow, the 22nd, they’ll patch out round 1 of netcode optimisation, which should help with lag problems by having the server check your firing up against where your target was the latency ago, instead of where it is now. Should help some with the lagshielding.

          • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

            Hopefully the patch is really something. The lagshield got even worse last patch, it’s frustrating beyond words to have a 50ms ping and watch every single laser being drawn right through the center torso of that raven and getting not even one point of damage.

    • Dana says:

      LL is much better though.

  2. Yosharian says:

    When will we have a good singleplayer campaign-focused Mechwarrior game? Bugger this industry

    • wodin says:

      +Infinity

    • Svant says:

      This, give me a new game in the same vein as Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries. Not free2play multiplayer arena crap.

      Or if you really really have to make it multiplayer, go all in MMO planetside style at least…

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        Hypocee says:

        Though I generally agree… Yeah, who would want to run a bunch of mechs around against other people? What a perversion of the original purpose of the IP!

      • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

        Yeah, that wouldn’t be so bad. When I first heard of MWO I was thinking it’d be like NetMech where there were objectives that had to be shot, complex asymmetrical affairs where different classes have legit tactical roles and everyone ignores mediums. While MWO is pretty fun, right now it’s just glorified deathmatch on four maps, and it’s not even all that glorified.

  3. LionsPhil says:

    Hey MWLL guys send in those resumes

    Well, all credit to them, both parties seem to be being very reasonable and constructive about this.

  4. hermpesaurusrex says:

    this is incredibly disheartening considering that living legends is imho a far superior game to mwo. i will be sure to play the ever living fuck out of it until it fades away…what an awful start to my day.

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      PoulWrist says:

      Sure. But you can still play it. It’s not being shut down or anything.

      And well, who knows where MWO will be in 5 years when they’ve caught up with the dev time.

      • Mattressi says:

        Hell, after 5 years time, I might be able to buy a ‘Mech in MWO!

        • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

          In your first 20 or 30 matches you get 25 million cbills now. No excuse for not being able to afford a mech, they just dole out the dosh, free of charge.

          • Mattressi says:

            Awesome, I haven’t played since a little after launch. I remember it taking a REALLY long time to get anything which wasn’t a light. Which sucked, because I’m in Australia and their netcode sucks balls, so playing as a light was difficult. Well, playing as anything was difficult. Maybe I’ll go back once they’ve finished fixing their horrible horrible netcode.

  5. thomasjblack says:

    There’s also a way to install and play this mod without paying for Crysis Wars/Warhead.
    If you block the port used by GameSpy to validate CD-keys on the server side (29910) , it assumes that all clients have valid keys. Then you can join the server with a bogus key (all zeroes for example). All you need is the installation media or Crysis Wars trial to install the mod on top of.

    Off the top of my head, at least the european funbocks servers run with cd-key checks disabled. So, try it, enjoy responsibly and stomp away!

  6. Dominic White says:

    The issue seems to be that there’s a lot of talent on the MWLL team working for very little result – the community was tiny and the crew were unpaid. I’d imagine that there’s a few MWLL people who would be very happy to join a studio that’s willing to give them real money.

    • Arona Daal says:

      The Community is very small,from Europe about 20 to 30 online in the Evening.

      And i find that not hard to understand.
      Although the Mod is pretty well made in many Aspects, is has little incentive (for me at least) to put much time into it.

      Why? It is essentially Team Deathmatch between Mechs all the Time.
      There are other Choices like Powered Infantry,Tanks and Planes.But they are either very sluggish (Tanks /Planes) ,or mostly useless (BA).

      If I want a complex,tactical Mp shooter there are other more fulfilling Choices in the long Term (Arma 2,Project Reality).
      And there is no Lack of faster, more “fun”,Shooters for free (Tf 2 ,Ps2 and so on).

      Essentially if everyone is a giant stomping Robot,noone is.
      Add to that the Prerequisite of Crysis Wars and its pretty clear why the Community is so tiny.

      But shooting Mechs in the Crotch as Battlearmor was entertaining,for a while.

      Edit: If they give the Source Code free,someone
      can continue it within an altered Setting ?
      Reminds me of Natural Selection which was inspired from Starcraft which was “inspired” by Warhammer 40K.

      Its not like Battlemech has a Monopoly on Combat Walkers.

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        lurkalisk says:

        Sorry, only slightly off topic but… If NS was inspired by Starcraft, then that inspiration is really just something they both share that came from Aliens, which also greatly influenced aspects WH40K.

        I just felt like mentioning that. I do suppose it reinforces your main point, though.

  7. Nallen says:

    I think MWLL is the best mod I’ve played, a really incredible piece of work. Congratulations to the team on what they achieved.

  8. Heliocentric says:

    When great mods get bullied into submission but fear the legal departments of the pay2win games and hope to get jobs there… Yeah.

    Welp, another game without grinding or p2w just died, the hackers will own it now, no support means no hacker countermeasures.

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      oWn4g3 says:

      Why would hackers play a “dead” game? Also I don’t think MW:LL did much against cheaters (if it was a problem at all, I don’t know) as it was only a mod based on CryEngine.

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        Malibu Stacey says:

        Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

    • ilves says:

      Pay2win? Have you played MWO? What’s Pay2Win about it?

      • AlienMind says:

        Everything.

        • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

          Every single item that can be bought with cash can also be bought with in-game credits, except about 3/4 of the colours of paint. When you start out the game you’re given 25 million cbills, enough to buy two 100 ton mechs and customize them. I’m failing to see the pay to win part.

  9. DK says:

    The worst part is that MWO claims that MWLL was taking features from THEM and putting them into MWLL later. There is literally nothing MWLL didn’t have first.

    “We both realized that the MWLL community was small and it really wasn’t competing with MWO but still each time a feature was added to MWLL that was in MWO it felt as though we were doubling up effort to restore this great brand.”

    ^ That is a bold faced LIE and pure revisionist history.

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      Cinek says:

      100 times this. MWO feels like a semi-completed copy of MWLL with most of the great things it had taken away completely from the game. And now THEY claim that MWLL COPIED MWO?!

      WHAT THE FUCK?!

      • pepper says:

        Agreed, I had to read that sentence twice. MWO is a small rip-off compared to MWLL. Also its a horrible boring grind on only 4 maps in which all you can do is play a glorified TDM game.

  10. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    Sad news, and honestly if Piranha did pressure them to stop then ugh, that’s just nasty.

    What’s even sadder is how far behind MWO is by comparison and how much worse it played – at least I found during MWO’s beta to the various iterations of LL I played.

    Here I was expecting MWO to fill in that commercial gap, and it felt like a major step back by comparison. I’m just hoping it can attain the same feel and interesting dynamics of LL, and that the devs (who were unbelievably professional in what they produced) go on to great things.

    • Taidan says:

      There’s no doubt at all that Piranha asked them to stop development, for fear of the competition, Russ Bullock admits as much in his statement. It also looks like it done without any official legal intervention, which is nice.

      My guess is that somebody at Piranha finally got sick of the “MWLL is a free mod that does everything better” meme that’s been endlessly repeated for the last six months on the MWO forums, quietly consulted their lawyers, and then went and gently informed the Living Legends guys that development had to stop, and it would be all-around better for everybody if it was voluntary.

      They probably put a clause in at the same time to let the game live on in the wild without (major) updates if the MWLL guys didn’t stir up any ugly publicity on the subject.

      • wolfinexile says:

        Feels like that to me too. MWLL didn’t seem like it would just abandon the development unless they were asked to, because it still was very much in active development when MWO came out.

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      Wisq says:

      Edit: Never mind, I wasn’t fully aware of the legal situation. Original post below, for context.

      Frankly, far from being “just nasty”, I think this is the most positive outcome you could reasonably expect for this sort of thing.

      When you’re the official rights holder / licensee for a particular IP, developing a new game based on it, and a pre-existing fan-made effort (based on that IP) is kicking your ass, you’ve basically got three options:

      1. Cancel your own development
      2. Let them keep going
      3. Make them go away

      Obviously option #1 would only be applicable if you’d lost all faith in your ability to produce a working title. Unless something has significantly changed since you started the project, that one’s out.

      Option #2 is tricky, because their mere existence has the potential to destabilise your own efforts, either by drawing users away or just by stealing your thunder. I don’t know of any company that would be willing to take that risk. (No, not even Valve; see below.)

      There’s also the health of the franchise itself to consider. Think about it: If you (as a licensed dev) succeed in revitalising the MechWarrior franchise, you’ll introduce a whole new generation of gamers to the MechWarrior universe. If you fail, all that’s left is a small mod project that only a small group of existing fans even know about, much less play. So ironically, if that fan project threatens your own project, they’re effectively threatening their own beloved franchise’s future.

      So that just leaves option #3. And that brings up more options:

      3a. Target them with aggressive legal threats
      3b. Absorb them
      3c. Get them to cease work amicably

      Option #3a is what almost any company would do. It’s what the law says you can do. There’s a brief PR fallout, but only amongst those who follow gaming news, and only for a limited time until they all forget or forgive — captive audience and all that.

      Option #3b is what Valve has done, repeatedly. Granted, usually it’s because they like what the team is doing and want to get in on that, not because they have a competing franchise and want to eliminate them. But the effect is the same: The team stops working on their freebie efforts, and starts working on a paid-for project under the company umbrella. (Unfortunately, it’s less applicable in cases like this, where you’ve got an existing dev team and you’re not just looking to scoop them all up.)

      So then we’re left with option #3c, a.k.a. “what happened in this case”, a.k.a. “about the most positive outcome you could reasonably expect in this case”. No legal threats. Maybe some pressure. But you’re not demanding they take it down, you’re maybe even letting them finish what they started, and there’s good PR all around.

      So yeah. Really, I totally get why people would be disappointed by this — the freebie effort is (reportedly) currently better than the official one, and it’s a shame that they’re shutting down. But when you look closely at it, there aren’t really any other reasonable options.

      The law isn’t based on quality, it’s based on who has the rights — and doing a better job than the official rights-holder isn’t going to save you. When you make a mod based on an existing franchise that you have no rights to, you’re implicitly accepting the risk that this sort of thing is going to happen sooner or later. This is the best outcome you can expect, and it’s a breath of fresh air compared to how these sorts of things have been resolved in the past.

      • bad guy says:

        MWLL has non-commercial rights to the IP of Mechwarrior granted by Microsoft since the beginning of the mod.

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          Wisq says:

          Oh. Well, whoops. :) I guess I can take back most of what I said. Except this part (which I admittedly edited in when I realised I forgot it):

          There’s also the health of the franchise itself to consider. Think about it: If you (as a licensed dev) succeed in revitalising the MechWarrior franchise, you’ll introduce a whole new generation of gamers to the MechWarrior universe. If you fail, all that’s left is a small mod project that only a small group of existing fans even know about, much less play. So ironically, if that fan project threatens your own project, they’re effectively threatening their own beloved franchise’s future.

          So, there’s that, I guess.

  11. dsi1 says:

    Always sad when the better game loses.

  12. Androktasie says:

    0.7.0 is an incremental patch. You’ll need the main client, and then the 0.6.0 content (2GB) and 0.6.1 patch through the game’s automatic update process before you can apply 0.7.0.

    Or for the LAN Party hosts and archivists among us, here’s a mirror with all the goods setup for offline install: http://www.mw-ll.org/

  13. AlienMind says:

    Piranha DID ask them to stop:
    http://forum.mechlivinglegends.net/index.php/topic,18949.msg338030.html#msg338030
    That Korjax guy is as long on the team as I can remember (0.3 I suppose).
    Oh well, If you can’t fight them, you buy them.

    Hey, MWO pr guy, look how I “meld the two communities better”:
    I just uninstalled MWO. Permanently.

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      Cinek says:

      The founders of MWO were mostly bought by Crytek before MWO came to the daylight. Most of them worked on Crysis 2. So: It’s not like Piranha games bought MWLL founders, but (partially) Crytek did. Other than that: Korjax is right.

  14. P.Funk says:

    I think that this is going to be one of my favourite examples to use in the ever lasting argument you have with idiots about how hard it really is to develop games. Console nerds won’t understand, people who don’t appreciate mods don’t understand. If a mod team working for no money can create a product which is better than and compete with something that spends millions to market itself, well…

    MWLL and a million others are the reason I’m always a PC Gamer first. No console game will ever be that good, and whats more mainstream console game developers will never be pressured to up their game or pay attention to new ideas being put forth by the unpaid but passionate modding communities.

    This is what makes PC games what they are.

    Tip of the hat to MWLL and all its devs.

  15. hunsnotdead says:

    So World of Mechs is officially the only legit BattleTech game huh? Such sad times.

  16. codejack says:

    Another example of a crappy game displacing a good game.

    MWO sucks; Piranha needs to fire everyone involved and bring in competent developers to redo the mechanics and develop an actual game.