MechWarrior Online In Testing Times. The Good Kind.

By John Walker on March 6th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

I'm cooooooming!

MechWarrior Online BZZZZZTT –MAJOR UPDATE– Juggada-guggada-beeeeeooooooooooo. I speak fluent Giant Robot. The freebie stompy robots game has just added another new batch of content, which includes yet another mech to charge about in, and a tutorial zone called Testing Grounds.

Testing Grounds is a practice area, where you’re not risking bots in the arenas proper, letting you get familiar with it all without losing bits and pride. So if you were hesitant about early play seeing you on the bottom of public scoreboards, you can put aside your shame and rehearse a-plenty.

Also new in this patch are Savior Kills and Defensive Kills. The former is… oh, blimey, I’ll let them say it:

“Savior Kills give rewards upon killing an enemy Mech, if an enemy who had been attacking a teammate who has a critical component that is 50 percent health or lower within the last 10 seconds you will be awarded 7500CBills, and 150XP.”

Yeah, that. Defensive Kills are slightly less confusing:

“Defensive Kills rewards for killing an enemy Mech if that enemy was currently capping a base, anyone who had attacked the capturing mech within the last 10 seconds will be awarded 7500CBills, and 150XP.”

There are improvements for players suffering with latency issues, new pretty colours for dressing up your massive killer dolls, and indeed a new killer doll to play with: the Hero Mech, Cicada. He goes 133kph forward, 90kph backward! But actually that’s only 83mph and 56mph backward, so you know. Tricksy Canadians. Here’s a little film introducing this new chap.

Are you stamping your way about in this one?

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53 Comments »

  1. Beybars says:

    Alpine’s peak already killed my short range brawlers and now they want to add an even bigger map?

    Time to adapt using LRMs I guess.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Artemis LRMs are currently horribly brokenly good because the newly patched flight pattern makes them all hit on the centre torso rather than spreading out the damage, so they drill nice holes through to the engine.

      That said, I’ve taken my cheesy splatcat A1 onto Alpine and not always been horrendously gunned down by PPC sniping miles away from engagement range. Sometimes you can get a brawl going on it.

      Alpine in Conquest mode is the one to make all the assault-class mechs just skip over fifteen minutes of walking and disconnect, though.

      • Armagetiton says:

        Yes, that does sound broken… but every experienced Mechwarrior player knows how to mitigate LRM damage taken by spreading the damage out themselves.

    • Waswat says:

      What nonsense. My pulse laser brawler is amazing in alpine peaks. I actually prefer the map over the others since it was an honest and fun experience with a lot of great nostalgia. You just have to know where and when to attack. There are enough huge mountains for the LRMs to get intercepted by.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Juggada-guggada-beeeeeooooooooooo?

    No, YOUR mother wears combat boots!

    If you were any sort of gentleman I’d demand satisfaction on the field of honour.

  3. Niko says:

    M3CHF4C3

  4. Screamer says:

    Meh, tried this a bit, didn’t hold my attention for long. Playing 40 games just so you can afford a better engine is way too grindy.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      They have changed the economy a bit. You get a guaranteed 25 million creds in your first dozen or two matches now, and the rate of income is not as bad as it was.

      • Beybars says:

        No to mention that they removed Ream and Repair a long time ago.

      • mrmalodor says:

        “You get a guaranteed 25 million creds in your first dozen or two matches now, and the rate of income is not as bad as it was.”

        I’ve played over 30 matches since I returned to the game with a new PC and account. I didn’t get anywhere near 25 million. More like 10-12, maybe less. The rate of income is marginally better, but still insanely grindy.

        But to be fair, Hawken, which I hoped would do it better, is also a grindfest.

        • LionsPhil says:

          It’s some fixed amount (7,981,686, said the patch notes) which should be enough to buy a good (at least partially customized and upgraded, depending on what you splash for) first mech, and it’s applied retroactively should you have already played some or all of your first games. Not enough to get some of the top Assault mechs, admittedly; you’re looking at more play if you want a Warboss (DD-C).

  5. LionsPhil says:

    The bad news, though, is that on the 19th the plan to introduce purchasable coolant flushes.

    The community is rather up-in-arms about this, since it’s pretty bloody pay-to-win. The version you can grind is not just eating up your in-game money, but is notably worse in that it requires more limited and grind-expensive module slots.

    Also airstrikes and artillery, but how those will work exactly is still unknown.

    It’s rather annoying. They’re still pretty F2P-done-badly, but they’d been improving: repair and re-arm running costs gone, starter bonuses so you can get your first mech nicely kitted out without spending a week grinding on a game you don’t like yet, fixing paint to be for-keeps…now this.

    • Gurrah says:

      I don’t agree, the way I understand it CoolantFlush is a one-use item, comparable to repair kits in World of Tanks. You can pay for them with ingame cash or real money whereas the one’s purchased with real money will be a bit more effective. Still, it’s a one-use item and apart from getting you out of a sticky situation once in a while I can’t see this as being pay-to-win.

      I guess artillery and airstrikes could be used to harass a light mech that’s capping your base and nobody fast or near enough to disrupt him, and again once per battle. If you think it’s worth it invest in it, I don’t think it’ll be a balance issue.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Eww. If it’s that kind of item it sounds not only like pay2win, but awful game design. The idea of a one-use consumable item that gives you an edge in a competitive game is so stupid it hurts. It hurts even more when you can use real money.

        That is, imagining I understand right, and this is basically the same as countermeasures in Hawken. Yuck. And I just love watching people defend awful game design on forums.

        • Premium User Badge

          PoulWrist says:

          You can buy the coolantflushes for c-bills, the free money you earn by playing, and while those are both weaker in a single shot than the one you can buy with MC, real money credits, you can equip two of them and get two small doses of coolant that combined equal the paid option. So, overall the utility goes in the way of the free items, and since both are one-use, and available to everyone, and not really very powerful in the grand picture, I don’t see it as much of any pay to win scenario.

          • Premium User Badge

            DeVadder says:

            This is a text-book example of the worst kind of pay2win.
            Compare to Smite or Tribes where you can only buy prettyness and variation, but more importantly, where once you have spent 30€, you are on equal footing with EVERYONE.
            In MWO, with the new changes, if you pay 30€ and i pay 100€ i have an edge because i can use more of these one use coolants. So it does not only split the community into paying and non paying, but also into paying and paying a lot more. How huge the advantage is does not matter. Pay2Win is when you can buy advantage and worse Pay2Win is if more money can allways buy more advantage.

          • Razumen says:

            Wait, you have to pay for the ability to flush coolant now? I’d imagine that would be a basic feature like in the previous MW games. Damn, I’m getting less and less interested in ever palying this game and more sad that Living Legends was canned.

      • solidsquid says:

        Not sure I agree. If the coolant flush you buy with real money has the same effect as the one you can purchase in-game, but doesn’t use up equipment slots you need to grind to get, that sounds like the buy version is significantly more useful even if it *is* only a one shot deal. Haven’t actually played it though, so I could be wrong

    • Dude (Darloc) says:

      To be honest the pricing is very reasonable, 5000 CB for tier 1, 7500 CB for tier 2 and 25MC for tier 3. Will have to see how big of a difference between tier 2 and tier 3 in game term if you want to equip only one. I think the community reacted like a bunch of school girl who would not get to see Bieber. Some people complained that it would be a tax on player, given the price it cost you a 5th or a third of what you get every match even if you are not doing any damage. The MC cost is also reasonable.
      I do not think it will give you that of an edge, will wait to see if the 6 PPC stalker can do a double alpha without frying but I don’t think this will work. I hope they balanced it so that you can use it to get out of a sticky situation but not ignore your heat at all….

      My main grip with this game is that I can’t convince my friend to buy mech because they are too expensive, and I think if they were cutting the price of mechs they would probably make more money… Paying $20 for an assault mech is expensive.

      • LionsPhil says:

        It’s one of the things where I bet if they halved prices across the board they’d bring in twice as much. So much in this game is above the “impulse buy” threshold, and getting a good set of nicely upgraded mechs if you work it out is stupidly more than buying a new AAA game (say, MechWarrior 3, back in the day), which doesn’t leave the most charitable and carefree taste in the mouth.

  6. Gurrah says:

    What a coincidence – on Wednesdays a small (but growing) group of RPS readers gets together to celebrate the ShortRangeMissile by, well, shooting short range missiles and other assorted weapons designed to make things difficult for robots. Sometimes at each others backs, but always in good fun. Come join us this evening, who knows, we might be able to get a proper 8-mech team together.

  7. Ephant says:

    I don’t know why but I always get a feeling between facepalming and vicarious embarrassment when I watch the mech trailers.

  8. dorobo says:

    One word –> Hawken!

    p.s. where’s the news about recent hawken patch huh?

  9. Rian Snuff says:

    They’ve been doing wonderful with updates and fixing up the game, adding new content.
    For a while I couldn’t get a steady 40fps in the game. Now I’m enjoying it with higher settings at 90+ fps in most maps. I’ve really been enjoying it again finally.

    However they truly need to work on their pay/upgrade system.
    It seems to be buggy for some and is rather tedious.

  10. Gnoupi says:

    Now that’s a pretty mech ballerina!

  11. Servizio says:

    I enjoy playing this game, but I’ve reached a point where I can’t quite reconcile my enjoyment with the sense of grindyness. I really do enjoy playing it, but if I want to enjoy more variety, I have to in essence scuttle a non-trivial bit of progress in xp and cbills. I can continue piloting the mechs I have, earning xp for tediously expensive skills and saving the money I’d lose in selling the chassis, or I can just start all over with new mechs and the weapons I’ve already bought. Not such a big deal with lighter mechs, but if I buy an assault I’m committing to several million credits I won’t be able to recoup if I sell the mech. And if I want the most useful skills, I have to buy *three* assault mechs and level all of them up, something I haven’t even managed with my stable of hunchbacks that I’ve had since the game came out of beta.

    I really wish you could just hand them a fiver and double your amount of mech bays and permanently increase your xp/cbill gain. As it is, it feels like much less of a hassle to just swear off all the F2P games (again, genuinely enjoyable I as find many of them to be) for being callous money sucking skinner boxes. A game really shouldn’t make you feel so conflicted about whether you’re playing it more because it’s enjoyable or because you’re a hamster that’s been conditioned to pull a lever for a very carefully measured and calibrated portion of pellets.

  12. Ranger33 says:

    Did they ever make joystick + throttle a viable control option? Last time I tried to play you had to make your own config file and edit it to adjust settings and it sucked regardless of what you set things to. Plus they were rather snarky on the forum about even putting that much “support” towards joysticks.

    • Jekhar says:

      It’s still pretty much in the same sad state. Most baffingly there still isn’t an option for analogue turning. The reason they gave is because this isn’t considered at all in their netcode. Either you are turning or you are not. I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon, given their overall poor netcode.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Honestly, it’s very much a mouse game, since you will want fast, precise aim. Much less so than CounterStrike (or whatever the caffine-fuelled kids twitch-headshot each-other in these days), but enough that I expect trying to aim with a stick is painful.

      (Amusingly enough, though, if you look around the cockpit you can see your pilot’s arm wiggling the stick as you move.)

      • Rian Snuff says:

        Honestly, I was biting my tongue on this because I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.

        I bought into the game as soon as it was made possible.
        I bought one hero mech, and I’m fairly sure their was some bugs involved in this..
        I also accidentally spent some of the MC trying to purchase something with the C-Bills.
        At the time the interface was being very buggy and many things were very confusing.

        Long story short I have nothing left to show for it and don’t even quite understand how it happened.
        Where the MC was spent and why. Beyond the one Hero mech purchase which wasn’t even close to my total sum..

        I understand I made some user error but for one, it was due to the confusing and buggy interface at the time (Which has since been seemingly cleaned up a lot), two.. I thought I was buying more MC and was in actuality buying more Mech Bay slots. I have no idea what happened to the rest but I should of surely had a lot more to play with.

        I emailed user support and explained to them what happened, I very politely asked if it were possible to have my account reset since the game has matured a lot and I was kind enough to be an early adopter of their game, also encouraging many of my friends to play and having a “MWO night”.

        I was sadly shocked to only receive a big fat “NOPE” pretty much, and that’s that.
        I really thought these guys were better than that.
        Many people have had plenty of issues with purchases and their UI.

        It’s a spit in the face and I refuse to ever play this if that’s how they’re going to treat their paying TESTERS.

        K’ had to rant.. Sorry. Done.
        Uninstalled. Fuck them.

        (This, was meant to be an original reply.. Sorry.. I’m clearing raging, ha.. Bleh..)

        • drinniol says:

          You can go into your profile on the website and see exactly what MC was spent when on which items, if that will clear anything up for you.

        • Tiax says:

          I was in a similar situation and they accepted to reset my account. I don’t know why they treated you differently.

      • Jekhar says:

        The way i play Mechwarrior since MW2 (and both Heavy Gear games): Joystick in left hand, controlling leg turning and throttle (via coolie hat), mouse in right hand, controlling torso and weapons. It really bums me out that i can’t use my old tried and tested control scheme on MWO. I even have a Steel Battalion Controller lying around which i would have gladly taken for a spin, but no game.

  13. fredc says:

    To me, stuff like paying for mechs (as long as there are free / “trial” mechs) isn’t an issue. If you have a selection of models you don’t pay extra for, that’s good enough. If you really must have your favourite BT tabletop mech, you have the option.

    I personally think the engine is fine, crashes and dropped connections aside. What I’d really like to see is more complex gameplay, not just yet another version of deathmatch – which is what any “pubbie” MWO game ends up being. Big-ass maps, more complicated objectives that allow time for teamwork even if you don’t have a voice server setup. And of course vehicles and aerotech (yes I know ha ha).

    It seems to me that the F2P model is sort of shooting the game in the foot. They’re busy trying to develop the thing organically while making what they have revenue-generating. The latter must surely get in the way of the former. I’d be happy to pay for a non MMO and/or purely co-op with AI opponents version of the game. Still, I hope MWO eventually gets there. It is fun to play.

  14. tomek says:

    Game is great unfortunately they are going P2W now:

    http://mwomercs.com/forums/topic/103005-consumable-items-feedback/

    • Rian Snuff says:

      It’s not P2W.. But it’s getting pretty damn close to it I’ll have to admit unfortunately.
      Even as a paying customer if they get worse in this regard I’ll never play it again.

    • Dude (Darloc) says:

      Let’s wait and see shall we? At the moment it is a lot of anger over not much, the price a reasonable for the CB ones, gamewise it has to be seen how much of a game breaker it is. They might change it or alter it later on, they are not afraid to thinker with the game, they removed the tax on player from repair and rearm after all.

    • StandingCow says:

      They backtracked on that. The new system is much better.

      • Corodix says:

        True, but it’s still very much p2w in it’s new form. One consumable costs 40k, take two different ones and the chance is high that you will lose money or only just break even during a match. If you have premium (thus are paying) then you can more easily use them but it will still be very expensive. Then comes along the guy with a big wallet who uses MC, he can use them without a problem while people without MC can’t afford to. Due to the way to expensive consumable price it’s still very much p2w in their second proposal, but of course they can still tweak that (and hopefully they will).

  15. geldonyetich says:

    Do weapons still have pixel-perfect accuracy in this game?

    Speaking as an old Battletech buff (albeit not so much lately) who realized that the entire tabletop game was designed around the idea that different weapons have varying degrees of accuracy and shooting sections of enemy mechs undermines the armor system, I’ve vowed never to touch another Battletech simulator unless weapons have cones of fire, which fixes both problems.

    • StoneMason says:

      Correction, the randomised damage and accuracy was actually an abstraction of pilot skill, speed, terrain and Mech facing. If you were a good gunner shooting at a stupid pilot then you could make a called shot when you needed to. Same applies to MWO, if you give them a chance to shoot at a particular component then you’ll pay for it.

      The game has its ups and downs through the patch cycle but the core combat is a very elegant take on the Battletech rules. When you drop into a match it’s less an FPS and more 16 Mech’s on opposite sides of a couple of map sheets.

      • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

        Exactly. It’s best just to think of it as most people having higher than average pilot skill in BT.

        And to be fair, the weapons that are pinpoint accurate all either have travel time, which throws your aim off, or have a beam duration which means you have to keep your aim steady on one section, a difficult task if your opponent is moving.

    • Pockets says:

      The basic gameplay is pretty good, perpetually shoddy netcode aside. The pew-pew stuff that you mention’s actually pretty much the only thing the game does well along with making every mech useful rather than making it an arms race to get to the Atlas.

      However, everything else they’ve promised has pretty much utterly failed to materialise, all the systems surrounding the basic gameplay are dreadful (the game modes are laughably bad, matchmaking is shoddy and gives virtually no options, few maps, etc.) and the grind is awful yet the cost of a mech is roughly $10 – $30 so vastly prohibitive to virtually everyone who might want to bypass that. Plus the consumables thing that everyone’s already mentioned giving a benefit to those who can spend cash every time coming soon, yet no mention of stuff like their plan to add a wider faction war mechanic which they’d originally said would be in when they went to Open Beta and now seem to have pretty much sidelined completely.

      The sad thing is they clearly understood what it would take to make the core gameplay fun, yet now they’ve done that they’ve clearly changed tack and are focusing on monetising everything in sight at the expense of improving the game beyond a shell.

      Its fun, but kind of makes me feel exploited and dirty :(

      • LionsPhil says:

        The netcode is truly diabolical. Supposedly lagshielded Ravens are less of an issue now, but it’s been replaced with magically teleporting missiles that somehow hit the opposite side of you, which is probably the weakened armour you were turning away from the incoming blast.

  16. phanteh says:

    Anyone who accuses MWO of being grindy should go play World of Tanks for a bit. Enough time to get to tier 6+, where you stand a good chance of losing in-game cash even for a good match. Unless you’re premium, of course.

    I got a friend of mine playing. By the time his early match XP / c-bill boost finished, he had enough for an Atlas. Grindy? I think not!

    XL engines and modules are supposed to be end-game content.