Harmony Gold and Piranha Games Have Settled – Probably

Harmony Gold and Piranha Games have settled according to recently filed court documents.

Unlike last time when Harebrained Schemes had their case with HG dismissed two months ago, we’re going to keep our champagne bottles firmly corked and the confetti safely ensconced in whatever container confetti is normally ensconced in (I don’t actually know anything about confetti–is it a tin? A can?).

According to court documents filed in Washington District Court on June 7th, MechWarrior Online creators Piranha Games have reached a settlement agreement with hated patent trolls, Harmony Gold.

“Plaintiff Harmony Gold U.S.A., Inc. (‘Harmony Gold’) and Defendant Piranha Games Inc. (‘Piranha’) have agreed to a settlement in principle of this case,” the document reads, “but need time to prepare the written settlement documents.”

The motion goes on to state that if things fall apart then the case will proceed as it had previously.

As for what that settlement might entail, that we don’t know. And we may never know–legal settlements are often subject to non-disclosure agreements that will prevent us from ever knowing for sure if Harmony Gold will rear their ugly heads to rain on our parade.

BUT, and I say this as a non-lawyer with absolutely no background to draw from (sorry, our resident lawyer is on vacation and wasn’t able to comment as of the time of this writing), it seems likely that PGI paid off Harmony Gold with a stipulation that they cannot come after them for their upcoming game, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.

Unless the settlement details get disclosed the only way to tell is to wait and see what ‘Mechs Piranha Games opts to put in their upcoming single-player MechWarrior game. If there’s no Marauders, Warhammers, or Riflemen, then we’ll have our answer.

On the plus side, the Shadow Hawk, Griffin, and many more Unseen ‘Mechs are still present in Harebrained’s BattleTech, so we know that whatever settlement they reached in April didn’t take those iconic ‘Mechs away for good.

We’ll be sure to keep you up to date as we get more info.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

The Succession Wars and so much more…

Way back in August 2013 we featured an article on Scrapyard Armory’s Succession Wars online game. With the surge in popularity of BattleTech both in virtual and physical formats we thought now was a good time to revisit this great game.

Based on the 1987 table top board game by FASA, Scrapyard Armory’s Succession Wars recreates the struggles of the five Great Houses in an online multiplayer environment. Players take control of the Great Houses and fight, negotiate and backstab their way to domination over the entire Inner Sphere. The board game featured two scenarios: the primary one is set in 3025, around the time of the 4th Succession War, with an alternate set at the outbreak of the 1st Succession War in 2786. Both of these scenarios have been lovingly recreated.

Since our last article the community at Scrapyard Armory has grown considerably and a team of content creators have expanded the free, playable scenarios (also called Orders of Battle) to phenomenal levels. Now you can play games ranging through the BattleTech timeline from 2550 to 3145. Custom maps for many of these games let you recreate The Age of War, the rise and the fall of the Star League, The Clans: Operation Klondike (a 2 player scenario), the 1st, 2nd and 4th Succession Wars, the Clan Invasion, the rise of the Word of Blake, and on to the Renaissance of 3145.

One of SYA’s content creators and a six-year veteran of the site, ‘Jimmy the Tulip’, spoke to us about creating Succession Wars scenarios. “What I love about what Scrapyard Armory has developed here is the flexibility to really get in and create something in incredible detail. The ability to create new maps, adding units and leaders and coming up with new ways of using the game mechanics to make something truly unique keeps me coming up with new ideas.”

Jimmy went on to talk about playing the games. “The tension can really be palpable at times, especially when you have a group all online simultaneously. Even when you’re waiting for actions to be taken you can study the map, think about strategies for taking out your opponents and really delve into what makes grand scale strategic games great. I’ve made some great friends while playing this game too. The community is fantastic.”

With a total of 19 different scenarios currently live (and more in development) Scrapyard Armory’s Succession Wars offers an immersion into the BattleTech universe in unprecedented fashion. There is a small amount of variation in the rules from the original board game in order to better facilitate the online nature of the game but, aside from that, the games play true to the nature and feel of its originator. The Development Team continues to work on ironing out the occasional bug and has provided a wide array of Orders of Battle and game options, including custom cards, the ability to play with Battle Armor units and over-size JumpShips, to provide nearly limitless replayability. A small team of Admins are also active to assist new players and veterans alike.

If you haven’t already signed up, run on over and check them out at Succession Wars. Join in one of the many games on offer or, if you’re bold, create a game of your own and take on the community there. Remember…. No guts, no galaxy!

MechWarrior Online World Championship Tournament Announced With Stock ‘Mech Restriction

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

The MechWarrior Online World Championship tournament has just been announced with a surprise twist.

Stock ‘Mechs. That’s right: rather than taking out the highly customized, tuned, and optimal loadouts that all these pro-MechWarriors are used to, they’ll be confined to using the as-stock weapons, ammo, and armor that you can find on any of the old TRO’s.

PGI announced their latest iteration of the MechWarrior Online World Championship tournament on Twitter, with CEO Russ Bullock writing that the team “wanted to do something different” when it came to this year’s competition. That difference evidently being to lock everyone into using the configuration that most ‘Mechs came in as they were originally purchased.

I say “most” since that’s not the only restriction. The tournament has been limited to Inner Sphere-only technology circa 3039, with PGI providing a list of eligible ‘Mechs and variants on their MWOWC rules page.

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

Teams are comprised of 8 players, just as last year, with no team being able to field more than three ‘Mechs in any given weight class. Also, no duplicate chassis are allowed, so if someone takes a Wolfhound then nobody else on that team will be able to. Quirks, skill points, and consumables will all be as normal.

The stock-class restriction was quick to draw both criticism and praise from the MechWarrior Online community. Many professional players lamented the fact that stock-class ‘Mechs are perhaps even less balanced than the current metagame present at the highest levels of competitive play. Most competitive builds are mission-focused to bring down opposing ‘Mechs, but stock builds are made for the larger BattleTech lore, which often pits ‘Mechs against other opponents such as infantry, tanks, and AeroSpace Fighters. Those sub-optimal chassis are likely to be overlooked entirely as competitive teams scramble to find the best anti-’Mech chassis available.

However, stock-class tournaments aren’t entirely new to MechWarrior Online, with many beer-league teams playing in such casual tournaments throughout the year. Those MechWarriors may be encouraged to give the competitive scene a try with these new rules and restrictions.

But while the unrestricted MWO strives for balance among all ‘Mechs (with varying levels of success), stock ‘Mechs were never designed to be equal. There will be clear winners and losers in the list that PGI has provided. For example, I think it highly unlikely that the stock Locust will see any amount of play. The stock version has virtually no armor, and without the benefit of 3050s-era weight-saving technology to give it a larger engine, it runs too slow to dodge any shots.

There’s also some clear winners on the list. The Wolfhound was already a favorite among pro-players, and the stock loadout of four Medium Lasers and one Large Laser is essentially a viable laser-vomit build even unmodified. It will certainly be much slower than we’re used to seeing on the competitive stage, and it will run vastly hotter thanks to single heat sinks, but as a light ‘Mech, it seems like the best of the bunch.

Other laser-vomit builds, such as the Crab, the Grasshopper, and Black Knight are also likely to be popular as they’ll allow for pinpoint damage without needing to worry about ammunition. Another possible ‘Mech to watch out for is the Archer. Without AMS or ECM to provide protection, LRM-boats such as the Archer could spell a quick death for any light ‘Mechs caught out of position, especially since those light ‘Mechs will be moving far slower due to a lack of XL engines.

As for assault ‘Mechs, the King Crab is likely to be popular, but with only two tons of ammunition split between either torso, each powerful AC/20 will only have 7 shots to connect with. Professional players are good, but even the pros might not be able to make 7 shots work in the long run.

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

As for why PGI decided to go with stock ‘Mechs, it seems likely to do with the upcoming release of their latest game, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Much like Harebrained’s BattleTech, MW5 is set to take place before the Clan Invasion around the year 3025. By showing off competitive players in ‘Mechs that will likely be found in MW5, PGI turns the tournament into a publicity stunt for their game’s release.

The tournament begins on June 21st, which gives competitive teams a few weeks to look over the approved ‘Mechs and see what might work in an 8v8 competition.

This will surely be a MechWarrior Online World Championship unlike any other. We’re certain to see some new faces and maybe even some new strategies thanks to this restriction.

Or it might turn out to be a boring fight between Wolfhounds, Grasshoppers, and Crabs. We won’t know for sure until later in June.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

BattleTech Devs Talk About Making Game On A Budget

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

In our continuing coverage of BattleTech, for which I’d say I’m roughly 2/3rds of the way through (got some Highlanders, still need to find my first BattleMaster!), the developers of the game sat down with Gamasutra to talk about building a fantastic game on a limited budget. The boys, girls, and gender non-conformists over at Harebrained sure do make it look easy, but it turns out it was anything but!

As explained by Mitch Gitelman and game director Michael McCain, there originally were plans to have a lot more multiplayer in the game that was eventually shipped. “We planned to do leagues and tournaments, the Solaris 7 setting and stuff like that,” said Gitelman, but admitted that cash constraints and BattleTech’s reliance on randomness sort of made league competition against the spirit of the game.

Rather than try to set up bracketed tournaments where luck played nearly as large a role as skill, they backed away from that and ensured the game could be played casually amongst friends. Friends that hopefully understand that a spread of LRMs can just as easily hit every one of a ‘Mech’s components or all somehow manage to zero in on its right leg and shear it off at the hip.

Another point made by Gitelman was the importance of the first two hours of any game. Steam accepts free refunds of games so long as it hasn’t been played for two hours, so it’s supremely important to ensure the player is hooked in that amount of time. That’s where McCain came in to explain that the opening tutorial and story mission were iteratively improved over many, many drafts.

“We spent a lot of time on the opening,” said McCain. “And most of it was cutting! I don’t mean that we ran out of time, it’s editing. Those first couple of missions, they were way too long, or too narratively complex, to try to land the hook of our story. I hope it works now!”

Personally, I would’ve gone with a different ‘Mech than the Blackjack, but we’re a little limited in the low-tonnage medium ‘Mech category, and I certainly didn’t want a Cicada.

“You’re testing with a dozen people and they’re carefully curated. And who they are matters at that point.”

Honestly, I think the opening is great. The cutscenes also display a unique art style that really sets it apart from the rest of the gameplay and somehow emphasizes the gravity of the overarching political machinations that are always afoot. Even though this is the Periphery, it still feels just as grand as any of the power plays made by the Great Houses.

Finally, it came to beta testing. Testing out the game engine and multiplayer aspects were something that Harebrained managed via the Kickstarter process and surely gave them a lot of valuable info, but the campaign was something that needed faster (and above all, cheaper) refinement than a massive open beta could offer.

McCain reveals that BattleTech’s campaign was tested in-house and with a select group of outside testers. At that point, the beta test is no longer the statistical grind that happens with larger developers, and the people selected have enormous power to sway the direction the game goes.

“You’re testing with a dozen people and they’re carefully curated. And who they are matters at that point.”

In a larger test and a statistical method, you can just let the math do the talking. But, as Gitelman explains, that’s a lot tougher when there are only a dozen testers. “One of the things that often happens with playtesting, if you’re not careful, is you’re looking for the loudest voices, or the largest number of people all saying the same thing, rather than looking for what’s really going on behind what they’re saying.”

Lucky for us it seems that Harebrained’s relationship with their testers is a good one, and seems to be representative of the larger BattleTech audience. I haven’t really heard any complaints on the story at all, with most of them limited to technical issues that get further ironed out every day.

It’s definitely interesting to get the industry-side take on making games, and I encourage you all to read it all first hand over at Gamasutra. As for me, I’m getting back to BattleTech on my seemingly endless quest to find a BattleMaster. At this point, I’d settle for a Banshee.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupyPS: I FINALLY GOT ONE!

Catalyst’s BattleTech Lead Brent Evans Interviewed On Upcoming Box Sets

While things have been pretty exciting on the video game side of BattleTech, the tabletop side of things is also having their own renaissance with the upcoming release of two brand new box sets.

Catalyst Game Labs’ own Brent Evans is on the warpath ensuring that every news site worthy of the name gets the heads up that new products are just around the corner. He and a group of tabletop game developers were recently interviewed by TechRaptor on the upcoming games, and while there wasn’t a whole lot that we didn’t know about from the last time we here at Sarna spoke with Brent, there were a few neat tidbits that are certainly worth sharing.

Box Sets

courtesy of Catalyst Game Labs

First, there will be no new rules or revisions to the core tabletop game, but there will be some streamlining as well as a “tips of the trade” section to help new and veteran players simplify and speed up gameplay. It’s something that’s been discussed but never really implemented and should be a nice addition to the core box sets.

Brent also discussed some of the nu-seen or re-seen designs and how Catalyst, MechWarrior Online developers PGI, and BattleTech makers Harebrained Schemes all engaged in artistic “one-upmanship” to make our beloved ‘Mechs bigger and badder than ever.

“The video game designers have pushed the look and feel of BattleMechs in wonderful new directions, while we endeavor to stay closer to the spirit of the originals – which is frankly as it should be in an IP with multiple licenses,” revealed Evans during the interview. “PGI brought in Alex Iglesias as their Lead Art Designer and we answered back with Anthony Scroggins. Then HBS unleashes Mike McCain on the Inner Sphere so we raise the game with Marco Mazzoni.”

Really makes you wonder what would happen if we got all those artists into the same room. Or better yet, hold a contest to see which one can make the best redesign of something obscure that hasn’t been touched recently, like a Hatchetman or a Bombardier.

Finally, we get a glimpse at what goes on in the minds of some of BattleTech’s key players. Specifically, what they’re favorite ‘Mechs and factions are!

Brent is partial to the Shadow Cat for its speed and power and admits to always tapping Clan Wolf when it comes to making his units. Ray Arrastia, BattleTech Assistant Line Developer, admits to being a fan of the classics and picks the Marauder as his favorite while enjoying the Federated Suns as the universal good guys (most of the time). Catalyst Fiction Director John Helfers goes all-in on the Battlemaster, a superb choice, but laments the destruction of his favorite clan, the Smoke Jaguars.

Senior Editor Aaron Cahall is a MechWarrior after my own heart. He picks the Wraith as his top ‘Mech, while goes for the equally obscure Outworlds Alliance as his favorite faction.

For more, you can check out the interview here.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Harmony Gold vs. BattleTech – An Actual Lawyer Weighs In

courtesy of marcomazzoni.dunked.com

courtesy of marcomazzoni.dunked.com

There’s been a lot of speculation on the Harmony Gold v. BattleTech lawsuit, and I’m sorry to say some of that speculation may have come from this very publication. Previous articles from yours truly may have made it seem like the ongoing lawsuit is on its last legs and that we were all moments away from our triumphant victory.

That may have been more wishful thinking on my part, as it turns out. But, rather than me preface every article with the now-standard “I’m not a lawyer, but”, we’ve reached out to an ACTUAL lawyer to get his professional two cents.

Let me introduce you all to Robert Spendlove, an intellectual property lawyer and partner at the law firm of Laubscher, Spendlove & Laubscher. In his own words, Robert “has worked extensively in the gaming and toy industry, for and against such companies as Nintendo, Zuru, Disney, Turbine, and Sony.”

But more importantly, Robert is also a huge BattleTech nerd with over thirty years of losing countless hours to various iterations of the franchise on either tabletop or personal computer. This guy knows two things: BattleTech and IP law, and he’s also pretty damned good at explaining the two.

So good, in fact, that he wrote a big long essay on the current state of the lawsuit that I just couldn’t bear to slice and condense. Thus, to correct my own mistakes and give us all a unique insight into what’s going on, I present to you Robert’s take. Enjoy! Continue reading

BattleTech Dev Reveals Future Of The Game

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

BattleTech is a hit. We know that for certain because a Harebrained Schemes developer did an AMA on the BattleTech subreddit. He was also kind enough to give us an inside look at what’s in store for the future of the best-darned BattleTech game to hit our collective hard drives since MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries.

Your favorite BattleTech game might be different than mine, but remember: you’re wrong. 

The AMA was hosted by Tyler Carpenter, an HBS game designer and writer that had a huge hand in the making of BattleTech as well as a bunch of other Harebrained titles. Among the hundreds of questions answered quite a few of them were pertinent to just where HBS plans on taking BattleTech in the future and keep this still very young game alive for a very long time.

First off, HBS is going to be holding meetings soon to discuss internally what kind of expansions BattleTech will get. When I say the word “expansions” I’m talking about both paid and free DLC. What that’ll look like is still anybody’s guess, but marching the timeline forward into the 3030’s era and the Fourth Succession War would make a lot of sense to me.             

Or, y’know, we could just hike it all the way to the 3040s and do the Clan Invasion. I’m sure nobody would complain about that.

As for free DLC, Tyler mentioned they’re looking into expanding the types of missions you’ll find as random contracts to better include different encounter types. There will also be an additional emphasis on non-combat roles so that light and medium ‘Mechs might have more usefulness into the late game.

Another addition discussed would involve “broader systemic gameplay, recurring enemies with grudges, contracts that aren’t what they seem, and ‘unexpected events’ in battles” to make the world seem even more alive and fluctuating than it already is. This also includes more random ship events to keep things interesting on the long transits between contracts.

Technical improvements are at the top of the list for Harebrained in terms of game development. Things have gotten a lot better since release day, but there are definite performance gains to be had, especially on older systems. Ultra-widescreen compatibility issues are also at the top of the list as the technology becomes more widespread.

Although I personally enjoy it every time my ‘Mechs slowly marches forward with guns blazing, I admit that it may eventually become tiresome. For that day, Tyler said that HBS is working on general ways of speeding up the game so that we don’t have to wait for the animations to complete every single time.

Greater control of the game’s variables is also being looked into in the form of a giant menu that will allow the player to fiddle with the game’s mechanics. Imagine a bigger early-game ‘Mech selection or a much more frequent incidence of random encounters. Or just the ability to dial the difficulty of the game up to eleven. The replay value here is enormous.

Of course, we can expect more ‘Mechs to get into the game, but he was mum as to just which ones are in development.

There are a few more specific game mechanics that are being looked into, such as the Juggernaut skill being a little too powerful, and the Lostech weapons are likely to get more powerful after a weapons balance pass. Additional technical aspects, such as Linux support and localization for sale in other countries are also being looked into.

There’s tons more that Tyler also discussed, and you can get a good prospectus from a handy post that summarized the whole thing (thanks Aries37!). The one thing that we can take away here is that BattleTech is a solid success and that Harebrained has made sure their baby can crawl, but pretty soon she’s going to run.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

BattleTech Early Review – It’s Real Good!

Umbra Shadow Hawk

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

BattleTech is here, and it is much better than any of us could have hoped.

It’s not perfect, mind you, but it is a fantastic success financially, so whatever is wrong we can expect to eventually be fixed. And since what is right is so very, very right, then any true BattleTech fan owes it to themselves to get their hands on this game.

I won’t lie to you: I’m nowhere near done this game. Unfortunately, the life of a writer doesn’t provide nearly as much free time as my cavalier attitude and love of giant stompy robots would have you believe. And what few hours I have throughout the week to devote to this game I do so lovingly, without any desire to rush through the campaign just so I can give you, my dear reader, a complete opinion on all aspects of BattleTech.

I want to savor this.

So consider this an early review. I’ve finished the first main story quest and fetched the Argo from its moonlit prison, but I’m doing quite a few randomly generated contracts to level up my pilots and amass as much riches as possible. As I said before, I’m in no rush to get through the story campaign. And besides, rushing would vastly increase the difficulty of the game, and I am far from a pro-BattleTech player, if such a thing exists.

Let’s get the bad out of the way right off the bat. Soon after this game’s release, there was a bug that caused the save file to seem to disappear when the player loaded the game. It wasn’t actually gone, and simply reloading the game would make it appear again, but it was a shock for me after I’d accumulated a few hours only to find I couldn’t click “continue” after sitting down for some good ol’ ‘Mech action.

A quick perusal of the BattleTech subreddit notified me of the solution, but it was a few minutes of ire I’d rather not have suffered. Incidentally, the game doesn’t seem to have that issue currently, so they may have cleared that up altogether by the time you read this.

This game immerses the player in the BattleTech universe more than any other game before.

The loading times are also a little bit long. My rig is by no means a beast, but she does have a solid state drive and a decent processor, so waiting 30 seconds for a level to load is a little much. It harkens back to the days of waiting up to minutes at a time for Skyrim to load, and I have no desire to return to such dark times.

There’s also a bit of slowdown after running through a few missions. Another Reddit post said this is largely an issue with the Unity engine the game is built on, and deleting old save files seems to help. I’ve done so and it has helped a bit, but further optimization from the developers seems necessary here.

Finally, the voice actors are a tad on the cheezy side. I think comparing this game to MechCommander is a little unfair since BattleTech is vastly different and also vastly better, but MechCommander had a few more memorable voice lines, in my opinion.

Of course, I may have just not unlocked the pilot with the best lines yet.

Those are my only gripes. One has already been corrected, and the others are likely to be corrected in the coming weeks.

Now for the good, which I will also say right off the bat, does far more than just mitigate the bad. This game immerses the player in the BattleTech universe more than any other game before, except possibly MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries.

The game starts with a perfunctory tutorial and then immediately douses the player with a hefty dose of political intrigue. That’s all following the opening cinematic that summarizes the last 1,000 years of human development. And unlike most other BattleTech games, this one actually shows the transition from DropShip to JumpShip to planet.

There’s nothing better than watching your Shadow Hawk charge into an enemy Panther at full speed and take off it’s PPC arm at the shoulder.

To make things even more immersive, those transits between planets and contracts occasionally have random events that can have real consequences on your company’s performance, either costing cash or possibly providing your pilots a buff.

But the best part, by far, is the actual ‘Mech combat itself. There’s nothing better than watching your Shadow Hawk charge into an enemy Panther at full speed and take off it’s PPC arm at the shoulder. The camera seems to know the best angles to show the carnage. Even just stomping through a forest is made interesting just by having the camera provide a low-slung angle that makes your ‘Mechs appear exactly as large and intimidating as they should be.

The game mostly follows the BattleTech lore when it comes to ‘Mech construction but for a few differences. There’s a few extra critical slots on the center torso and legs, and armor and damage values don’t precisely line up. This is a good thing, frankly, as it means that AC/2s are actually worth using, but it can be a little confusing to not have the same damage values we all remember.

In general, though, a Locust will still die from a few solid hits of virtually anything, while an Atlas will take all day to bring down.

As expected from the same developers that made the Shadowrun series, the music and sound effects are all top notch. The music reminds me of the same sort that was presented in Shadowrun: Hong Kong, all orchestral and momentous during combat but gentle and soothing during downtime. Those of you lucky enough to be Kickstarter Backers will have the whole BattleTech album to download and listen to at your leisure.

One last thing that surprised me was the character building stage, which not only provides for a surprisingly in-depth selection of skin tones, facial expressions, and even camera angles for your portrait but also starts on the pronoun “they” in case you don’t want to conform to the whole gender binary thing.

I could go on about all there is to love about this game but I’d be heading into spoiler territory pretty quick. Let it be known that this game is everything we hoped it would be and more. It’s also been a huge success for Harebrained, so we can likely expect to see some paid DLC coming out real soon.

Did someone say Clans?

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

BattleTech Arrives Tuesday, Solaris 7 Arrives in MechWarrior Online

BattleTech, courtest of Harebrained Schemes

BattleTech, courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

It’s going to be a fantastic week for BattleTech video games.

The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally almost here. Steam codes have been sent to all Kickstarter backers, pre-orders are available for pre-loading, and on Tuesday, April 24th, we finally get our hands on the finished product, hot off the digital presses from Hairbrained Schemes.

BattleTech is about to arrive.

We’ve had our paws on the multiplayer beta for some weeks now (and did a write-up on the experience a while ago), but this will be the first time we get our hands on the single-player campaign (unless you were one of the lucky few influencers that got an early download to show off on Twitch). As a connoisseur of Harebrained’s Shadowrun series of games, I have high hopes that the single-player experience lives up to the high bar set by their previous turn-based RPGs.

And while we of the BattleTech faithful are obviously hyped for BattleTech‘s arrival, we’re not the only ones. As of the time of this writing, BattleTech is number two on Steam’s top sellers list, beating out such juggernauts as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Far Cry 5. That’s high praise even for a game developed by giants in the industry, let alone a small developer like Harebrained.

We’ll have a preliminary review of the game up in the coming weeks after I’ve gotten a chance to play through a few hours of the campaign.

courtesy of MechWarrior Online

courtesy of MechWarrior Online

In other news, MechWarrior Online has released their latest update that brings Solaris 7 to their online shooter. As the name suggests, rather than 12v12 company-level brawls, or 8v8 strategic fights in the case of faction play, Solaris 7 pits MechWarriors in single combat.

The game changes drastically when you only have a single opponent. Suddenly you no longer need to consider bringing enough ammunition to last you an entire protracted battle. Rather, the goal is to pump out as much damage as possible as quickly as possible to bring your opponent down before he can do the same to you. This opens up a completely new meta in ‘Mech designs, and folks are already throwing up some creative new builds on the various online forums.

On top of that, Duncan Fisher‘s announcing brings a level of immersion that was previously missing to the game, and the MechWarrior Online developers PGI are giving away a free ‘Mech just for logging in: the UZL-3P Uziel!

There’s still time to get the rewards for pre-ordering BattleTech, and MechWarrior Online is still free to play so you can download that and start playing right now. There’s never been a better time to be a BattleTech gamer.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Harmony Gold’s Case Against Harebrained Schemes Dismissed!

Harebrained Schemes

Harebrained Schemes

The case against Harebrained Schemes has been dismissed according to the most recent document in the ongoing legal battle against Harmony Gold!

The document, titled “STIPULATION OF DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE,” confirms that the judge has dismissed the suit between Harmony Gold and BattleTech creators Harebrained Schemes. The news is fantastic for all BattleTech fans and even better for Harmony Gold haters around the world. By dismissing the charges with prejudice, the judge has effectively barred Harmony Gold from bringing forward a similar case in the future.

Thanks to user CeeSea for notifying me by posting the link in the previous article on this ongoing legal saga.

Before we break out the champagne, remember that Harmony Gold’s case against Harebrained was incredibly weak. The images supplied in their arguments to the judge looked so dissimilar that even a half-blind person wouldn’t mistake the two for the same ‘Mech.

Locust

via unitedstatescourts.org

As you can see, Harmony Gold was arguing that a Locust looked like a Marauder, or whatever the Robotech equivalent of the Marauder was (Destructoid Officer’s Pod or whatever). The two only share the vaguest of similarities, and arguing the two are the same is like trying to argue a gorilla is the same as a chicken. Sure, they both have four limbs, a brain, and are carbon-based lifeforms, but that’s where the similarities end.

So Harebrained Schemes is in the clear, but that still leaves the case between Harmony Gold and PGI, creators of MechWarrior Online and the upcoming MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. In that case, PGI did in fact use Unseen ‘Mechs in both games but updated them with their own unique flair to make them somewhat more intricate as befitting a modern video game.

But as we explained in our last post, PGI found previous court case decisions that found Harmony Gold to not even own the copyrights to the Unseen ‘Mechs, and thus have no grounds to sue. We’re still waiting on the judge’s decision on that argument, but this decision in favor of Harebrained is a promising sign.

We’ll be sure to keep you apprised as this court drama unfolds.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy