MechWarrior was a game in which I had been playing since I was a kid, the last of which being Mercenaries as I waited with anticipation for MechWarrior five to arrive. The announcement finally came in June of 2009 that MechWarrior 5 was indeed in production. You can imagine my excitement when I heard this news, but you can also imagine my disappointment when the project ran into copyright issues and had to be postponed. Luckily for fans of the game like myself, Piranha Games decided to pick up the title and MechWarrior online was born.
What to expect from MechWarrior
The best thing about MechWarrior online is that it will be entirely free to play. The downside to this of course is the fact that there will be no single player campaign as there was in previous titles. That being said the fact that it is free boast well for a franchise that is seeking new support and more fans. I see this as an opportunity, not only for old fans to enjoy a new title, but for new fans to experience what MechWarrior is all about. It’s a lot easier to gain fans and to get them interested when they are not spending money to try out a game in which they have never played before. While MechWarrior may not have a single player campaign, what it does have is a newly optimized combat system as well as a different way of playing online. You wouldn’t expect much from a free to play game, but MechWarrior could become the greatest success of this year, not just because it will gain many new fans, but because the franchise itself could have a resurgence.
What makes MechWarrior online so different from the previous games is that it will now employ the rules and regulations of Battletech, the original table top version of the game. This means that missiles and lasers will have to follow the distance rules and you will no longer be able to fire missiles from an infinite range. This will help to improve online play as it requires that players play tactically and position themselves, rather than fire missiles from the far reaches of the map, out of reach of other Mechs. They have introduced a large variety of new machines as well as many new weapons to add to your Mechs’ arsenal. Some of these include those that are present in the table top game as well as those that had been previously unplayable in the MechWarrior franchise. Each one is fully customizable and can fit the players’ style as well as providing a balance for overall combat. Your ability to choose a balance in speed and weapons will be key to your success on the battlefield. With the increase in the variety of machines to choose from, there is also the difficulty of learning what each can do and positioning yourself with the best chance to win. This is what will make the game both challenging and fun at the same time.
Since the game is played online only you can expect many different types of game mods as well as a fully functioning universe. While the project has been kept under wraps for the most part what is known is that each person will be able to play for a certain house, as was popular in the third and fourth installment. What is new about this however is the fact that what you do on the battlefield and the choices that your house makes will also affect the rest of the MechWarrior online universe. It’s not clear yet how they plan to implement such a system, but what is clear is that it figures to be like no other title from the franchise that we have ever seen. Graphics wise, the game has impressed me and for a free to play game you can’t get any better. The best part about the game is that the system requirements will be low and that bodes well for a franchise that is both trying to reinvent itself as well as bring in new fans. The improvements in both the way that the systems operate as well as your cockpit view have be excited for the game and I can’t wait to see what the improved online play has in store for us. This has been a long time coming and in a market with few Mech games, MechWarrior could re-establish itself as the leader of the genre.