Community Outreach – MRBC’s Doyle

Welcome to Community Outreach, where we here at Sarna reach out to learn more about other BattleTech communities and the people that shape them. This week we interview Doyle, the founder of the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission (MRBC) league for MechWarrior Online. Enjoy!

Sean (Sarna): So, to start off, how about we begin with “who are you?” Briefly introduce yourself.

Doyle: I’m Matt Doyle. I’ve been playing MechWarrior pretty much since the start, competitively since the start. I’ve been involved in top-level European competitive teams since very, very early on. Ex-SJR [ed. Steel Jaguar], we broke away to form our own unit, which its current iteration is 9th Sanguine Tigers, and of course, I’m the founder of MRBC League.

Sean: What is the MRBC?

Doyle: Well, I would say it’s the most accessible and biggest, player-run competition these days in MechWarrior Online. We’ve been around a long time, so I guess we’re now the longest running as well. And yeah, it works as a league, hence the name MRBC League. It’s accessible to teams of all levels from the very bottom right to the very top. You can always enter at the bottom division and have fun, just as you can be a top-level team fighting it out for the title of Division A as well.

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The Art of BattleTech – A Retrospective

From its earliest days, the art of BattleTech has evoked a strong emotional connection from its audience.

Awe, fear, joy – the sight of these giant death machines has struck a chord with many a fan.

With such emotion, and with many companies paying for the privilege, the original board game has fueled the imagination of countless artists, each bringing a slightly different vision of our most cherished ‘Mechs.

Today we put in our fancy monocle, start sticking out our pinkie finger whilst holding a saucer of tea, and take a critical look at the art of BattleTech and how it has evolved over the years.

Locust

We begin our analysis with a classic design first seen in BattleTech’s second edition. I can think of no other ‘Mech that better exemplifies the evolution of design that has been a hallmark BattleTech.

First, on the left, we see the original work penned by Duane Loose, whose Macross inspiration can be clearly seen in this image from the 3025 TRO. Next we see a logical refinement, nearly identical but cleaner, more streamlined. Third we see the Phoenix design, a complete reimagining of the chassis due to a legal dispute preventing the ‘Mech’s original artwork from being published. Fourth we see the modern iteration of the Locust for the Alpha Strike miniatures game. Note the return of Unseen design elements, such as the chin turret, while retaining the somewhat bulkier legs and hips assembly of the “phoenix” design. Finally, the most modern incarnation by Alex “Flyingdebris” Iglesais, which takes consideration of MechWarrior Online’s mechanics for his version, removing the turret but retaining the squat legs and fuselage.

Wolfhound

A ‘Mech that has seen perhaps less change but no less refinement is the Wolfhound. The earliest illustrations seem almost quaint when compared to the later works.

The first image is almost like a babe taking its first tentative steps, the artist’s perspective lines still showing around the shoulder cowls and large laser. The second has more bold movement, but still seems unsure and hesitant. Next we find the Wolfhound has finally found its stride, confidently surging forward while firing. The artist has clearly taken into account the design’s full-head ejection system by giving the cockpit the boxy appearance of a spacecraft. Finally we see the Wolfhound as a mature adult, striding with purpose and without the need for flashy fireworks. Game design considerations take the fore once again, as the rear-firing medium laser is moved to the front. The boxy cockpit also found a few additional angles while retaining its essential form. The Wolfhound’s evolution is subtle, and yet profound.

Crab

I have always found the Crab to be a delectably mysterious ‘Mech.

The earliest iteration’s right claw enclosed laser made perfect sense, but the closed fist of the left hand would always fly in the face of the technical readout’s insistence that the left arm actually possessed another large laser. Then we see what would appear to be a laser atop the left hand, but find the small laser mounted on the head to be absent. Our third refinement would not only find that small laser, but add a measure of symmetry to the design by giving it claws in both arms. And finally in our last work we find the elusive cockpit, conspicuously lacking from all previous imaginings of the chassis.

Marauder

The Marauder is a delightful case study of law, game mechanics, and lore battling for supremacy in art.

The first presents the ‘Mech in all its imposing glory, 80’s stylized background providing a sense of scale. The second image gives us some insight as to the ‘Mech’s true personality, all carefree and whimsical. Dark days are ahead for our jolly death machine, as legal issues would force a drastic design change.

In our third picture we find the Marauder to be all business, having donned the serious attire of a BattleMech beset by lawyers. But as soon as the litigious atmosphere recedes we see our friendly Marauder has returned, perhaps somewhat chastened by his time as an Unseen ‘Mech. Finally, the MechWarrior Online version combines the earnestness of the Phoenix era design with the eccentric flare of the original; most notably one sees the autocannon slightly offset to the right, more in keeping with the technical design specifications of the chassis than an artist’s imaginings of the classic machine.

Atlas

Few ‘Mechs are as timeless as the Atlas. Despite its years, we see that the overall look has hardly changed at all. If anything it has only gotten more brutal and monstrous – the eyes becoming sunken slits, the cockpit descending beneath and betwixt two shoulders more massive than its skull-like head. A truly fearsome sight.

Most interesting about the design is how long it took for the art to actually catch up with the armament. In the beginning we see clearly the arm-mounted laser, SRM-6 and Autocannon, but the LRM-20 is nary to be seen. In the next two works we see what appears to be two LRM-10s rather than the single LRM-20 the ‘Mech actually carries, and one of the rear-mounted medium lasers seems to have found it’s way to the fore. The most modern depiction of the Atlas retains the double LRM-10 as a nod to the artist’s which came before, while also bringing the other rear-mounted medium laser to the front so it can once again be with its sibling. Unfortunately, modern Atlas pilots will no longer have satellite television, as the dish antenna on the cockpit has been removed due to budget cuts.

All of these are fine examples of where BattleTech art has come from, as well as where it is going. We here at Sarna can’t wait to see what artists will imagine next.

We leave you with a question: what ‘Mech do you think has evolved the most drastically? Leave your reply in the comments!

MechWarrior Online Skill Tree Implementation Indefinitely Delayed

In an announcement on twitter as well as the MechWarrior Online forums yesterday, Piranha Games Inc. President Russ Bullock announced that the implementation of the planned Skill Tree Enhancement will be delayed as the game’s designers continue to develop and refine the Skill Tree.  

The overhauled skill system has been a contentious issue for the MechWarrior Online Community. The stated goal of PGI was to enhance the player experience by allowing the player to customize their mech’s performance to fit their goals, while also promoting a ‘Mech build diversity in the game. Additionally, the skill system had the long term goal of phasing out the “quirk” system, often criticized for adding a layer of obfuscation to ‘Mech performance that is difficult for new players to understand.

However, many players felt the Skill Tree enhancement were an attempt by PGI to roll back pilot progress and introduce a pay-wall for veteran players in order to regain their standing. This was considered especially galling, as some players have spent thousands of dollars on MechWarrior Online already. The player backlash was mounting, resulting in some pretty intense YouTube and twitter rants.

With yesterday’s posting, PGI has told players that they recognize the deficiencies of the proposed Skill Tree build, and will be taking into account player concerns regarding lost progress and pay-walling. With no updated release date provided, the intent is clear that PGI will go back to the drawing board in order to correct these shortcomings. Hopefully this marks a turn in the conversation, one which MechWarrior Online players will be quite happy to hear.

Did You Know? BattleTech Was Originally Called BattleDroids

In an alternate reality where Star Wars doesn’t exist and BattleTech reigns as the penultimate science fiction franchise, it wouldn’t be called BattleTech – it would be called Battledroids.

For the tale of how Battledroids would eventually become BattleTech we must head back to the hazy days of 1984. FASA had just released their first successful table top RPG in Star Trek, and were eager to expand their product line. Then, at a hobby and trade show, Jordan and company came across a vendor importing miniature model kits of giant robots from out of production anime such as Macross and Crusher Joe. Having overestimated their appeal in Japan, the model kits were being dumped on the North American market, allowing FASA to pick them up for a steal. Thus, BattleTech can trace its artistic origins to old anime (which would eventually result in the “Unseen” ‘Mechs). FASA reached out to those Japanese companies for licensing of the imagery, and the original Battledroids boardgame was born.

The combination of striking and exotic art, war machine romanticism, and epic history would prove to be a winning formula

While the art was licensed from anime, the game’s design and story were all American. Jordan had the idea of removing the mystical element of the anime robots and replacing it with a more classic affection that a World War Two pilot would have for their fighter plane or tank. Patrick Larkin and Steve Peterson would come up with the back story of a Star League, Great Houses, Succession Wars and centuries of warfare. The combination of striking and exotic art, war machine romanticism, and epic history would prove to be a winning formula, eventually producing a much larger universe than the original board game intended.

But it wouldn’t be BattleTech without legal issues. After 5000 units in sales, Lucas Arts sent a letter to FASA explaining that the term “droid” was trademarked to the huge Star Wars franchise, and demanded that FASA stop using it in their games. Explaining in an interview, Weissman contended the word “droid” predates Star Wars, however would eventually back down and change Battledroids as not only could FASA simply not afford a legal battle with a much larger company, but FASA was also in negotiation with Lucas Arts to produce a line of Star Wars board games. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valour in the face of a double financial whammy, Battledroids became BattleTech in its 2nd edition printing.

The contents of a Battledroids box would look mostly similar to earlier BattleTech printings, but have a few key differences. First, only 10 ‘Mechs were present (the Stinger, Shadow Hawk, Archer, Griffin, Warhammer, Phoenix Hawk, Marauder, Crusader, Wasp, and Rifleman). Next, there were actually three sets of rules depending on how into the game mechanics you wanted to get. Basic rules would greatly simplify the game, not even taking into account differing ‘Mech loadouts and armor, or even torso twisting. Advanced rules would add much of the board game’s rules back in, but leave out a few complications like critical hits and pilot skill rolls. Expert rules largely resemble the rules of today, with some differences in ‘Mech construction (Jump Jets only weighed a half a ton at any ‘Mech size, for example).

And of course, you got 2 little plastic models of a Griffin and Shadow Hawk – the very models that Weissman picked up from that anime vendor and inspired it all.

We really should thank Lucas Arts for forcing the game to become BattleTech. The term would eventually produce BattleMech, giving us the word ‘Mech we all know and love.

And by the way; ‘Mech is trademarked. Just incase Star Wars wanted to use it.

Community Outreach – No Guts No Galaxy’s Bombadil

Welcome to Community Outreach, where we here at Sarna reach out to learn more about other BattleTech communities and people that shape them. This week we interview Bombadil from No Guts No Galaxy. Enjoy!

 

Sean (Sarna): Hi Bombadil! Let’s start with a brief introduction. Who are you?

Bombadil: My name is Daeron, or “Bombadil” to some, and I’ve been a BattleTech fan for about as long as it is possible to be one. I’m married and have three kids, have lived in California my entire life, but am currently in the process of moving North to be closer to all things BattleTech and MechWarrior (Piranha Games, Harebrained Schemes, and Catalyst Game Labs are all in the Pacific Northwest area).

Sean: What IS No Guts No Galaxy? That is, how would you describe it to someone who doesn’t know much about it?

Bombadil: Simply put, NGNG is a hub for what’s happening today in the BattleTech and MechWarrior franchise. With close relationships to Piranha Games, Harebrained Schemes, and Catalyst Game Labs, we cover everything from MechWarrior Online, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, the BattleTech turn-based strategy game from HBS, the BattleTech tabletop game, as well as the many novels (both classic and new releases). We’re also content creators, and over the years have worked on or helped facilitate a lot of projects that we’re very proud of, including web comics, an animated series, and we have even released five MechWarrior-inspired music albums with hopefully another coming out in 2017. There are many talented people in this community, everything from artists to programmers, and we’ve had the honor of working with some of the best.

Sean: When did you start No Guts No Galaxy?

Bombadil: Phillip Langenberg (NGNG co-founder) and I started NGNG back in 2009 while playing MechWarrior Living Legends, which is where we met. We were also both a part of that dev team for a while. Back then it was really just a community Teamspeak server where we would hang out with our friends and talk about BattleTech all day. We launched the podcast in late 2011 when PGI first announced MechWarrior Online, which is really the start of what NGNG is today.

Sean: What made you want to start No Guts No Galaxy?

Bombadil: As I mentioned before, it started off as a community for our Living Legends friends, but then we noticed that the BT/MW community seemed very fragmented at the time, so it also became an attempt to bring us together to play and discuss our favorite game in all its forms.

We noticed that the BT/MW community seemed very fragmented at the time, so it also became an attempt to bring us together to play and discuss our favorite game in all its forms.

Sean: When did you get into BattleTech?

Bombadil: It was 1984. I walked into my local game shop, and the BattleDroids (before they switched to BattleTech) box set cover with that classic Warhammer image was staring at me from the shelves. It was love at first sight, and the rest is history. If my 12-year-old self only knew what I’d be doing 30 years later!

Sean: What’s your favourite ‘Mech? An all-important question.

Bombadil: Easy, that aforementioned Warhammer will always be my baby. But being the old grizzled MechWarrior that I am, I am very partial to the Inner Sphere and their ‘Mechs, though I don’t mind salvaging Clan tech. I especially like most of the Unseen that I also knew from Robotech, such as the Marauder, Rifleman, Archer (Alpha Lance power!) and so on.

Sean: What parts of BattleTech do you play? Perhaps a better question, what haven’t you played?

Bombadil: I don’t believe there is any version of BattleTech or MechWarrior that I have not played, including all of the video games, tabletop, and the card game. I’ve even played several fan-made games in various forms.

Sean: How has No Guts No Galaxy collaborated with official BattleTech content producers, like Catalyst Games and Piranha Games?

Bombadil: As soon as we started the podcast, and we knew people were listening, we began reaching out to anyone and everyone that had anything to do with BattleTech and MechWarrior, including both Catalyst and Piranha. Thankfully, both were very receptive, and we began to do interviews and sponsored giveaways on a regular basis. Most recently, we’ve partnered with Harebrained Schemes to host the monthly BattleTech developer Q&A streams on our NGNGtv Twitch channel on the second Tuesday of every month starting at 12pm PDT.

Most recently, we’ve partnered with Harebrained Schemes to host the monthly BattleTech developer Q&A streams.

Sean: Let’s talk numbers. How BIG is No Guts No Galaxy?

Bombadil: On YouTube, we’re about to reach 14,000 subscribers, and we receive an average of around 50-75,000 views a month. On Twitch, we’re almost at 12,000 followers, and have had over 1.25 million views. Most of our podcasts get 3-5,000 listens in the first month or so. It’s a small, but very dedicated and passionate community.

Sean: What’s in store for No Guts No Galaxy in the future?

Bombadil: As I often say, and I’m sure you guys at Sarna know this as well, it’s a great time to be a BattleTech and MechWarrior fan! With the ongoing development of MWO, BattleTech from HBS coming out this year, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries next year, and the continued release of products from Catalyst, there’s a lot to celebrate now, and look forward to in the near future. All we need now is that movie we’ve all wanted! We will continue to cover everything as best as we can, including the new games like BattleTech and eventually MW5. We would also like to increase our coverage of the tabletop and novels with more regular visits from Randall Bills from Catalyst as well. Oh, I’d also like to get back into MegaMek this year, as it’s been awhile.

Sean: Anything else you’d like to share? Feel free to get shamelessly self-promoty :)

Bombadil:  I don’t know when this interview is going live, but I will be making a guest appearance on the HyperRPG BattleTech tabletop show “Death From Above” on Friday, March 17th starting at 6pm PDT. I’ll be working the MWO booth at the LANtasy event in Victoria, BC over that weekend (March 18th and 19th), more information on that can be found at LANtasy.com. I’ll also be co-hosting the patch-day stream live from PGI on March 21st, where we’ll be discussing the patch and interviewing developers while the client patches, starting at 10am PDT on twitch.tv/PiranhaGames. Finally, you can find me on the NGNG podcast, which we record live most Wednesdays at 6pm PDT on twitch.tv/NGNGtv, with our show archives available at youtube.com/NoGutsNoGalaxyTV and soundcloud.com/NoGutsNoGalaxy.

Incredible thanks to Bombadil for agreeing to sit down with us. Tune in next time for Community Outreach!

BattleTech Backer Beta Delayed

 

In sad news, Harebrained Schemes have announced the planned Kickstarter Backer Beta will not be available on their target date of March 15. In an update on the BattleTech Kickstarter page, senior producer Chris Klimecky reported that planned upgrades to the game’s engine as well as development infrastructure went a little off the rails, necessitating the game’s delay while HBS worked out the bugs. However, Chris also wrote that they’re back on track, and working diligently to meet a revised release date of Late Summer/Early Fall.

While certainly unfortunate, the update shows Harebrained Scheme’s commitment to transparency and open communication with a community that is waiting eagerly to get their hands on a hotly anticipated title. Waiting a few extra months is a small price to pay for a polished and bug-free game.

For the full release, check out the Harebrained Schemes Kickstarter page here.

Did You Know? – Fan made TRO 3028 is better than the originals!

Welcome to Did You Know?, a new column exploring the weird and obscure corners of BattleTech. Today we take a look at Technical Readout 3028, a brand new, fan-made TRO that reimagines the classic Technical Readouts with modern rules and art. Enjoy!


image courtesy of Michael Todd

The BattleTech Technical Readouts historically have given every ‘Mechhead exactly what they want; all the numbers that detail the ‘Mech’s in-game performance, a detailed history and backstory, and a big glossy picture. TRO 3028 has all of this in spades, but what makes TRO 3028 so special is not only does it improve on the old school TRO’s by adding modern art and quirks to classic BattleMechs, it’s also completely fan made.

One of my fondest BattleTech memories is of an old spiral notebook I’d made back in high school called ‘Honest John’s Refits’

TRO 3028 comes from a collaboration of fans, but the driving force behind the project came from one man; Michael Todd. Hooked on BattleTech after picking up TRO 3025 as a kid, he’d always dreamed of making his own Technical Readout. “One of my fondest BattleTech memories is of an old spiral notebook I’d made back in high school called ‘Honest John’s Refits’,” he describes in a nostalgic post on the Harebrained Schemes forums. But work and school would always come first, and time would see Michael playing less and less. Eventually he sold his prized BattleTech collection to make way for a home and a family.

Then, years later, a call from an old college friend, and an invitation to a monthly BattleTech game was all it took for the bug to bite back with a vengeance. “Since I’d been away from the game for close to a decade at this point, I had some serious catching up to do.” In a mad frenzy he caught up on the novels that had been published in his absence, repurchased the old TRO’s, and made a tragic discovery. “It was missing all the BattleMechs I grew up with,” he lamented, regarding the loss the “Unseen” ‘Mechs from the modern 3039 TRO.


image courtesy of Michael Todd

There was one silver lining to be found; “I discovered Alex had re-imagined many of the original BattleMechs for MechWarrior Online.” These modern renditions of classic ‘Mechs were clean, detailed and intricate, far more interesting than the originals. Then with the announcement of Harebrained Schemes upcoming turn-based computer version of the classic BattleTech game, and the “Unseen” ‘Mechs return to the BattleTech fold along with yet more modern art, he knew there was a golden opportunity to recreate that magic he found in the old 3025 TRO.

For a long time I worked in solitude, harvesting art primarily from the MechWarrior Online forums

So Michael set to work. “For a long time I worked in solitude, harvesting art primarily from the MechWarrior Online forums,” but after posting progress on BattleTech forums, it wouldn’t take long for his project to grow. First came Justin Kase, who took the MechWarrior Online art and along Odanan’s templates repainted those ‘Mechs in the style of the old TRO’s, with unit colours and insignias. Then SpOoKy777 became involved by providing full page art spreads to break up each section. Finally after a dozen contributors and editors gave their piece, the dream was realized and TRO 3028 was born.

Packed with interesting lore based largely on canonical sources, TRO 3028 is a must have for any fan of BattleTech. But first and foremost, TRO 3028 is an invitation for players who might not be familiar with the tabletop game to come play classic BattleTech with the ‘Mechs they recognize from modern computer games.

Best of all, it’s completely free. Go pick it up. You’re sure to love it.

BattleTech Technology – Today!

At the heart of BattleTech is… well, really, a space opera unlike any other. But right beside the heart (maybe the left ventricle) is the traditional Sci-Fi focus on futuristic technologies. Giant robots, powered by fusion engines, bristling with lasers and advanced particle weapons, being flown around in spaceships that zip from planet to planet, then to entirely different solar systems. All of this sounds like technology so far in the future that we can only dream of it in books and video games. But how far off is the technology of BattleTech from today’s? The answer may surprise you.

Lasers

Lasers aren’t really a new technology at all. The word laser actually stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”, and it’s been around since the 1960s. Lasers have all sorts of real-world applications, from optical disk drives, to laser printers, to barcode scanners, to fibre-optic cabling, to DNA sequencing, to medical surgery, and even manufacturing and welding. The weaponization of lasers on the other hand hasn’t quite caught up with BattleTech, although we are getting awfully close.

Currently the United States navy has one active laser weapon system in service. The AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System is mounted on the USS Ponce, and while it hasn’t been used in combat, it has been successfully tested against simulated attacks by small boat and unmanned aerial drone. Fans of the MechWarrior games might be a little disappointed though; there’s no flashy green beam that melts whatever it strikes. Instead, it’s just a lens that gets pointed at something, and then that something explodes without any warning or fanfare.

Particle Projection Cannons

Particle cannons go by many names in the realm of science fiction: phasers, particle accelerator guns, ion cannons, or proton beams just to name a few. The general idea behind them is the same no matter what you call it – super charge a bunch of subatomic particles, and then direct them out at high velocity in as straight a line as you can manage. Those particles then impact the target disrupting its molecular cohesion. Violently.

So far, particle cannons remain firmly in the realm of science fiction. While we can certainly get subatomic particles up to speeds that would be horrifically damaging, it takes an area the size of a small town to get them going that fast. Or maybe not – the SLAC National Accelerator laboratory has reported getting particles up to speed in as little as 30 cm. Miniaturization, and possible weaponization, may be just around the corner.

Gauss Rifles

Gauss rifles, also known as coilguns for reasons that will become evident, use magnetic fields in order to accelerate a projectile up to catastrophic speeds (at least, if you’re on the receiving end). One or more coils (see?) of conductive material is wrapped around a barrel and an enormous amount of electricity is pulsed through them. Inside the barrel is a ferromagnetic projectile that is grabbed by the magnetic fields produced by the coils and then whipped out of the barrel at extreme velocity, like so:

Coilguns are actually nothing new. First patented in 1904 by Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland, Gauss rifles have been around for over a century. Many hobbyists even make them in their garage. So why don’t we see them more often? Well, historically they haven’t been very practical. The energy requirements for military applications of a coilgun are immense, even if you use a small projectile. Consequently they’re just more expensive to operate than regular guns using chemical propellant. However, as superconductive technologies become more readily available, coilguns are getting a second look by militaries around the world.

Why the name Gauss? It’s a reference to Carl Friedrich Gauss, the German mathematician who was one of the founding fathers of the equations governing electromagnetism. He’s no Maxwell, but I guess having a gun named after you is pretty cool.

Myomer Muscles

In case you haven’t clicked the link, Myomer Muscles are what makes ‘Mechs possible. They’re the electroactive material that expands or contracts depending on whether there’s an electric current being run through it – just like the muscles in a human body. When BattleTech was just being born this was all still theoretical, but now it’s crossed from the realm of science fiction into science fact.

The theory behind myomer materials was first laid down in 1880, when Wilhelm Röntgen first conducted an experiment whereby a rubber strip was sprayed with electric charges which caused the charged parts of the rubber to contract. In the 1960’s and 70’s it was discovered that other polymers would react in the same way. Flash forward to today and we now have thin elastic materials that contract with small amounts of electricity, or muscles that are a thousand times more powerful than a person’s. The obvious application would be the replacement of limbs for victims of terrible accidents, but we here at Sarna know the best use would be to make multi-story killer robots.

Fusion Engines

As a gross simplification, fusion power happens when you slam two atomic nuclei together, which produces a brand new atom and energy. A lot of energy. Only problem is, how do you get two atomic nuclei to slam together and stick? Well, there’s lots of different ways ranging from magnetic containment (like in BattleTech), lasers (is there anything they can’t do?), or if you’re really strong you can even pinch ‘em together. Historically, all these methods took far more energy just to get those nuclei to fuse than you got energy in return, making fusion a less than ideal power source.

We’re getting pretty close though. In 2014, the US-based National Ignition Facility produced the first net-gain fusion reaction. Both MIT and Lockheed are working on making compact fusion reactors that will hopefully bring fusion power into the economically viable zone in the next 5 years. How long it will be before we’re able to power giant walking death machines with miniature suns inside is anybody’s guess, but it’s looking like that day will be sooner rather than later.

DropShips

Humanity has had functional space ships for several decades. The Space Shuttle is the most well known craft that has catapulted humanity to the stars, although the Soyuz crafts are by far the most widely used. Both options still had the problem of having non-reusable components; the booster rockets for the Shuttle, and pretty much everything but the crew compartment for the Soyuz.

Sadly, DropShips may be the technology that is furthest away from seeing reality. There are certainly planned refinements to the Soyuz style rocket technology, like the Falcon 9, but so far the enormous energy requirements of getting something as large as a DropShip to space and back is just well beyond our current knowledge. But there is hope – private companies are developing space planes that are designed to operate both in atmosphere and out. It’s a far cry from being able to take a lance of multi-ton humanoid tanks to the moon and back, but it’s a start.

Kearny Fuschida Jump Drives

Okay, I was wrong – this is actually the furthest away from reality. So far looks like there’s still a lot of complicated math involved before we can travel between the stars.

BattleMechs

I’ve got a surprise for you; they exist! Sure, they don’t have legs, and they’re not powered by a fusion engine, and you don’t need a neurohelmet to control them, but they’re giant robots. And they aren’t just being used in fictional combat – they’re gunna actually fight.

What a time to be alive.

Someone did the math on how many ‘Mechs you kill in MechWarrior 3

MechWarrior 3 is somewhat unique in MechWarrior series. Whereas in every other game each engagement is a single battle where the player may kill a half-dozen enemy ‘Mechs and then move on, MechWarrior 3 is essentially one long guerrilla operation. In other games, when it’s all said and done you fly away in your dropship, sipping space martinis and laughing merrily at all the whacky robot hijinks you got up to. In MechWarrior 3 you don’t have that luxury – you’re stuck dirtside, on the run, fighting to survive wave after wave of Smoke Jaguar warriors.

So how many ‘Mechs did you bust on Tranquil? Reddit user hydra337 has helpfully done the math.

Short answer: it’s a lot.

Long answer, you destroy 168 points worth of ‘Mechs, Elementals, tanks, and VTOL’s, or roughly an entire clan Galaxy.

This has some interesting implications for the sneak attack on Huntress as well as Operation Bulldog. As hydra377 puts it:

“The Smoke Jaguar forces that did go to Huntress were enough to overcome Serpent, but not enough to eradicate them wholesale before Bulldog arrives. If that returning homeworld force had an extra Galaxy however [like the one you destroy in MechWarrior 3], Clan Smoke Jaguar may have been able to destroy Task Force Serpent, regroup, and be much more prepared for the Huntress assault of Bulldog.”

Trial Under Fire, the book based off of MechWarrior 3, is considered the canonical version of events, and in that story Clan Wolf actually does most of the destruction for you. But in our hearts we all know who the real hero of the story is.

With much thanks to hydra337 for agreeing to let me post his work!

A chat with MechWarrior Online Champs: Empyreal’s prtNspz – Full Interview

As reported in our last article, MWO World Championship  tournament wrapped up last year to much fan fair at MechCon 2016. The team crowned best in the world was Empyreal, taking the championship with a stunning 81-0 record. We sat down to speak with one of the players of Empyreal, Nik “prtn_spz”, to learn about his journey from the cold wilds of St Petersburg Russia to the slightly less cold winner’s circle at MechCon in Vancouver Canada.

(Sarna) Sean: How about to start off we get a little about yourself? So who are you?

prtn_spz: Well, my real name is Nikita, or in short is Nik. I’m living in St. Petersburg. And yes, I’m a BattleTech fan. Been playing BattleTech games a lot and been reading books as well. So that’s how I came to MechWarrior Online. And, yeah, I set up with this game and met lots of friends, and that’s how I practice my English. It’s not perfect though, unfortunately.

Sean: It’s pretty good to me.

prtn_spz: Well, that’s good to hear.

Sean: So because it’s sarna.net we’re all giant BattleTech fans.  What else besides MechWarrior Online have you played in the past?

prtn_spz: I played MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries as well as MechWarrior 3. I also used to play MechCommander, not for so long. So my main games were MechWarrior 4 and 3. I played MechWarrior 4 the most.

Sean: How’d you come up with the name “Proton”? Or the shortened form that I tried to track you down with, prtN_spz?

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