Mech The Halls: It’s Time For A Very Hawken Christmas

Don't be fooled by their appealingly delicious exteriors. Giant candy canes are the giant robot's natural nemesis.

Now that I’ve written that headline, I actually really want a Christmas special in which giant robots grapple with issues of strained family ties, unconditional kindness despite all that, and ultimately, the merciless slaughter of the entire human race. Who wouldn’t be able to identify with that? In the meantime, however, I’ll just have to settle for Hawken’s Operation Frostburn, which buries the grimy, gloomy mech shooter under colorful mountains of Christmas cheer. Details and video of the corresponding “Wreckage” update below.

Wreckage adds a new map and a plethora of customization options. More importantly, however, it teaches grumpy old mech pilots about the spirit of Christmas by bombarding them with imagery that’d warm the frozen heart cockles of even the most jaded of Scrooges – then dice them up, serve them alongside festive stuffing and a tall glass of Eggnog, and have itself a right ol’ Christmas cockle feast.

Operation Frostburn is running from now until January 2nd, and it’ll stuff your two-ton stocking with a winter version of the Last Eco map, a snowball-chucking drone called the FROS-T1000, candy-cane-coated thrusters, holiday appropriate camo (though sadly no colossal, colossally uncomfortable sweaters), and a few other holiday-recombobulated weapons.

Also, GIANT CANDY CANES. I would absolutely risk getting stomped into a million Christmas ornament shards for those. In a heartbeat.

Who’s playing Hawken these days? I’ve been meaning to dive back in, but the gaming industry keeps making new games. I know, right? How inconsiderate. The nerve of it all.


  1. BobbyDylan says:

    Never bother with it.
    F2P games give me the same feeling as Jehovah’s witnesses knocking on my door.

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      I played it, paid nothing and enjoyed it. This also applies to War Thunder, Tribes and Planetside 2.

      Also that feeling, is it one of unbearable sexual anticipation?

    • Lemming says:

      Not an issue with Hawken personally, but I have to agree on f2p stuff. I think the thing that leaves me cold the most is when it’s news how many millions of people play ‘f2p game x.’ I mean, it’s free isn’t it? It’s not really an achievement on the same level as, say millions of WoW subscribers. It’s like if HMV offer you a free lolly as you enter the store, whether you buy anything or not, and the conclusion is ‘well, lollies are clearly our most popular item, we should just do lollies from now on’.

      • killmachine says:

        since not all free2play games are equally populated, i would say it is in fact an achievement if your free2play title has X number of concurrent players. i mean, TF2 and DOTA2 are both free2play, so is tribes ascend and hawken for example. do they share the same player numbers? nope. so valve must have achieved something that the others didn’t.

  2. Crimsoneer says:

    I’ve actually been rather enjoying Hawken recently. It’s improved quite a bit since launch, and it’s great for a ten minute match from time to time.

    • AsianJoyKiller says:

      It’s not launched. It’s in open beta. It’ll have been for a year come Thursday.

  3. Simbosan says:

    Operation Frostbum? Is that where you have to go to hospital cos you sat in the snow too long?

  4. phanteh says:

    Not all f2p games are created equal.

    People point to WoT as a game that got it right. Well, they didn’t play it enough – you just cannot progress past tier 6 (ish) tanks without paying for premium – after repairing your tank, you’re lucky to break even most of the time. I speak of this as someone who paid for many months of premium and still has a few tier 10 tanks sat in his inactive garage.

    I’ve done much the same with Mech Warrior Online, though that game isn’t nearly as grindy, despite what some people will tell you.

    The main problem with both of these games is that the devs don’t listen to their community. PGI have backtracked, ‘fixed’ problems with ham fisted solutions when there are a bevy of intelligent solutions posted on their forums almost daily, and only recently seem to have realised that they’re going to lose their community – a community that really wants to see the MechWarrior series continue and do well.

    As for Wargaming, where do you start? Their problem is WoT has been really successful. Instead of trying to fix issues that have been hanging around for years now, they’re concentrating on more games so they can make more money.

    I’ve gone off Warframe recently too, but credit where credit’s due; the Devs really care about what their players want to see and aren’t afraid to change large portions of their game in line with what the community wants. I’m certain I’ll come back to it in a few months and find plenty to keep me entertained.

    The only f2p game I keep coming back to, and believe have got it ‘right’, is Blacklight Retribution. It has been my go-to game when I want to scratch my multiplayer FPS itch, and about the only thing that stops me from reinstalling Modern Warfare for its sweet, sweet server browser.

    Well that was a bit more of a ramble than I intended…

    Hawken? Enjoyed what little I played of it. I decided to play it more when I upgraded my graphics card, which I did. I then realised that Hawken just hates AMD cards – I went from a 5850 to a 7870 and actually got slightly less FPS. The really annoying thing being that they haven’t acknowledged the issue at all, let alone said anything about it.

    I realise they’re in development, and are probably getting a pretty penny from Nvidia to implement all the shiny Nvidia proprietary tech into their game, but they’re cutting out half their potential market as far as I’m concerned, which includes me.

    So, screw ’em, and their PhysX snow.

    • Smoof says:

      I agree with you about needing a premium account on WoT if you REALLY want to progress, but honestly? You don’t need it. You can get to tier 10 with enough patience, but it’ll get tedious, unless you’re really into the gameplay.

      I’ve put over 8000 battles into WoT, have multiple tier 10’s and have given them loads of money because I really LOVE the game. That said, I’m pretty burnt out. I’ve switched over to their latest offering, World of Warplanes and am having a great time, but I’ve been on a standard, non-premium account, as I see no reason to rush to tier 10. The sweet spot in WoWP is about tier 4-5 and you can easily reach tier 4 in a couple of hours. For WoT, tier 5 is good, but I find tier 7-8 to be the sweet spots.

      That said, you are utterly wrong about Wargaming. They’ve done a massive amount to improve WoT in the time I’ve been playing (3 years) and are consistently listening to the playerbase and adjusting things. Progress in WoWP is coming slowly, but it’s a VAST improvement over where it was earlier this year in Closed Beta.