(As seen here: http://wargamedork.blogspot.com/2012/10/mechwarrior-online-closed-beta-some.html )
Well since then tons of bugs have been fixed, new content (mostly new mechs and tech items) has been added, and there was a massive uptake in game speed and performance.
Let's take a look at my continuing robot smashy space adventures, shall we?
We start here with one of the extra mechs they have added over the months. The Stalker! Here showing off the camo patterns they have now, most of which cost real money. You can also buy HERO mechs which cost a good 30+ bucks but provide a permanent 30% in game money bonus when using them. They also have special paint schemes.
Here is the area map you bring up with the B key. It is showing capture points from the new game mode, Conquest. Which is basically the same as Assault but instead of kill or capture enemy base you have multiple capture points all over the map and points go up the longer you hold an area. Whoever gets 750 points first wins. Or like usual, kill off the other side. This does help keep games from being a camping festival and keeps the fights moving as hiding out won't win you the match.
Combat in Thermal Vision in a Conquest match. Note the Atlas on the enemy side is glowing bright red while my teammate is mostly bright green. The hotter your mech is running the brighter it glows in this vision mode. (Which you can get to with the H key.) On the top of the screen we see the Capture Points and who is in control of them plus the points score. On our HUD we have waypoint indicators of where each CP is.
The most recent patch has also changed the economy. Repair costs are OUT for at least the time being and the amount of money you get in a match is modified. In general I seem to be making more money than before. I sort of miss repair and rearm costs from a balance and realism standpoint, but only a bit. Also you can see the bonus money for the CP points we earned, and the yellow Premium Bonus you can get for spending real money for a timespan of increased money and XP gain. I bought 3000 "MC" for 15 dollars and a day of Premium is 250. A new Mech Bay is 300. The "Hero" mechs are 4000+, and some other things are anywhere from 50-2000.
They have added in map variants to almost all of the maps now for a little bit of variety. Here is the "River City" map's night variant. It might just be me but it seems to get lighter as the match continues, as if its night becoming day.
Sadly, Night Vision mode (N key) is still mostly useless and Heat Vision is the superior choice. But.. it looks cool as hell.
And you can paint your mechs now and buy them various patterns like that Bone one on the Stalker. I got the PC Gamer pattern from the magazine and it came with a couple extra colors. As like half the colors you could use cost MC. (You can see how much Premium Time I have left on the bottom left, with my remaining MC in the center bottom.) You also have to spend in game money to use the free colors which is ok. You can put 3 different ones on a mech. Which is nearly 1 million C Bills (in game currency you don't have to spend the real money on). So I only do it for my "main" mech of a chassis type. In this case my Atlas DC with its shiny ECM package.
Ignore the odd graphics bug at the top. This is the GORGEOUS ice map's night variant with a lovely Aurora Borealis type effect in the sky. That's animated. They have also added new terrain on most of the maps like this crashed ship you can hide in. Provides more cover and more interesting battle situations.
Going back to night fighting in the city, sometimes you can make your own light. Via shooting mechs a lot. Here is a Stalker I have utterly lit up with my ECM in Disrupt mode to make me harder to spot on sensors, to lock on with missiles, and to even scan me. You can hit the J key to switch it to Counter mode and go all ECCM to the ECM. Nice when you have Streak missiles like me that NEED a lock on to fire. ECM modules can only be mounted to certain mech types which is nice at making some mechs desirable in game.
Plus you can buy fun things to decorate your mech's cockpit! (That you can look around in by holding the Left Control key and mousing about.) Some are limited edition which I guess would be cool if you plan on selling your account later on if they allow account transfer. All sorts of special collectibles. I just have the PC Gamer and Nvidia bobbleheads.
You can have things like Christmas lights that even show up in Heat Vision, the PC Gamer bobblehead I mentioned, and stuff you can only see if you look around your cockpit. Each mech chassis' layout is different so some things are harder to see than others. I.. honestly don't really see the point in spending real money on this silly stuff. But the free ones I am all over. (I am in spectator mode here as my ride died. I didn't drop 1000 MC on Xmas lights. 1970s tech Xmas lights. In the year 3049. Huh...)
I am even running into old people from the Lum the Mad/Corpnews days! Boogaleeboo was a big name on those forums back in the day. Quite the character! Sadly he is in the WORST mech in the game, the ignoble Commando, a mech so dire anything it does can be done better by every other mech. It's only saving grace is how TINY it is compared to other mechs making it a pain to hit sometimes. Unless you take Streaks like me and then just laugh at their pitiful high speed antics. (Unless they have ECM and you don't...)
The game still needs a LOT more content and it still has issues and bugs but the foundation, the core, the ESSENCE of the game is excellent. Stellar really. I would still rather have a good single player game in a nice box but its really great for a "Free to Play" game.
And being on Something Awful.com as a member of the Word of Lowtax where we can use voice communications while playing and generally be silly makes it a TON of fun.
Seriously. Give Mechwarrior Online a shot!