A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mechwarrior Online: New Update. Artillery Strikes Out.

As is PGI's current schedule, a new patch shows up every other week.  This week was.. not so impressive.

But let's delve into it.  If nothing else its a neat way to see how a game evolves from a bare bones thing into a fully fledged game.

The first new addition is the most important.  (New Camo and Cockpit Toys don't really count.)  The Heavy Metal, the Hero class (aka GIVE US REAL MONEY FOR IT) Highlander that plays a tiny little tune whenever it gets a kill.  It is based on a mech used by Rhonda Snord of the Snord's Irregulars.  I am a bit of a BT fluff fan and I wasn't even really aware of her having this mech.  And I own a sourcebook for that unit!

In the base configuration (currently one cannot change paint on a Hero mech) our nearly bright pink Assault class mech has jump capability in a 90 ton machine.  Not the greatest weapons loadout and currently thanks to it having an XL engine it means I get kills on many of them when I blow open a side torso.  XL engines may be much lighter than normal, but the weight gained is offset by 6 slots taken up, and dying whenever either side torso is destroyed.

Here is a shot of it in game, piloted by House Liao's least favorite wanna be Starscream, Metro.  (He does not like the Word of Lowtax or our attempts to basically run House Liao via not caring and actually being interested in having FUN as opposed to taking the game and its setting too seriously.)

The weekend before this new patch we had a double XP weekend.  The XP numbers got doubled but the game really didn't tell you.  You just see BIGGER NUMBERS.  It started Thursday and went till Monday giving me two days to Elite my Jagermechs and Master the one I choose to keep.

And now that I got my little mechs done it means time to get back in my Magic Murder Bag, the Atlas D DC.  I got the best damage this match.  And also punished Word of Lowtax players Ohsh and Coolwhoami for betraying the Word.  You can note how Ohsh isn't properly in Liao like he should be (I got ragged on for about a month till I went from Davion to Liao just to shut it up.  It doesn't exactly MATTER right now anyway.), but our two errant birds were top players on their side.

The other big thing that is in fact not very big is another suite of consumables, Air and Artillery Strikes.  You have to spend CBills (or MC if you are nasty) each match and manually refit them.  They are activated using those 6 keys above your arrow keys nobody really uses much.  And are a PAIN to activate in match.  You have to have Line of Sight to your target then press the key.  Which leads to snipers sniping you and the effects are generally mild at best.  (You can have one of each.)

As we see, dropping 15,000 GXP improves the attack slightly, but weakens its' uses as harassment attacks to break up the sniper hell the game seems to be turning into.

Once you drop that sweet GXP that is so hard to earn you can also buy the Accuracy upgrade which isn't required to be mounted in a Hardpoint Slot.  See my above comment though.  Is it worth 4 million C Bills to hit a smaller location?  Right now I would say no.  But maybe once 12 a side drops happen and unified voice communications..

 Once you get your LOS and the little picture has charged to activate status you can use your once a match (unless you buy the same one multiple times I suppose..) attack.  A nice bit of locator smoke appears..

 Then the hammer drops.  Damage tends to be minor but every now and then it has a tactical use.

But the use doesn't involve making dummies go around lighting everyone on fire go away.  Teammates should not do this.  Even if folks like Metro are rumored to be using folks like this to get people to correct said attitudes with heavy firepower banned for "Team Killing".  

This upsets me because I love shooting people with canon names regardless of what side they are on.  It is like wearing a band's tee shirt to said band's concert.  IT IS GAUCHE AND SIMPLY NOT DONE.

Also if the game gets any role playing or event type stuff it is also killing immersion.  I am sorry you are not the Black Widow Natasha Kerensky nor do you run the Grey Death Legion.  And it will look silly if there are GMed type events with said NPCs involved.

Please stop it.  Please.  Do it for the Baby Jesus.  Or Raptor Jesus.  Hell, do it for Princess Celestia if helps. The King of Cartoons.  The King of all Media Howard Stern.

And spread this philosophy.  Together we CAN make a difference.  We cannot do anything about that fat nutbar in North Korea.  But we can do this.

The other bit of updating is drastic changes to Night Vision (seen here and below) and Heat Vision modes.  Night Vision is now almost useful outside of certain maps.

 Like Frozen City where it is nearly unusable in some parts.

 And Heat Vision which now had it's range reduced from the entire map to a VERY short range, and the awesome blue to red heat signature of mechs turned into this world of grey.

The path is grey.

You see before these changes, Night Vision was basically ignored and Heat Vision was almost never turned off no matter the visibility.  You could see clear across most maps and even take pot shots at a kilometer plus of range (handy since unlike stock tabletop Battletech weapons have reduced but not eliminated damage past their normal effective ranges) turning the game into a giant camping festival.  Like Burning Man but with more ER PPC and LRM spam as opposed to stinky guys hitting on 16 year old girls.  (Chris Hansen cannot be everywhere you know!)

I am a tad disappointed in the Strike modules but I am pleased at the changes to the vision modes which should improve overall gameplay.

The game is STILL a work in progress and PGI STILL hasn't fixed the lock ups and HUD errors that occur randomly, but it keeps improving. 

Hell, it is fun enough I have even made use of MWO in tabletop:

You would think this kind of heat would bring all the mechaheads to the yard but no.  And then they missed out on this:

 Battletech players and Connecticut people make for a VERY antisocial combination.  As always.


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