Author Archives: Sean

About Sean

Hooked on BattleTech at an early age, Sean honestly can’t remember whether it was the cartoon, the serial novels or the short-lived TCG that did him in. Whatever it was, his passion for giant shooty robots never died, so now he writes about the latest and greatest in ‘Mech related news.

MWO Benefit Tournament For MechWarrior Family That Lost Home Due To Fire

Battle scene

courtesy of phoenixdominion.com and by spooky777

I know it’s the beginning of the year and the last thing people are thinking of is another MechWarrior Online tourney, but this one’s a bit out of the blue for a good reason.

On January first, New Year’s Day, a fellow MechWarrior and his family lost their home due to an electrical fire. Now he, his wife, and two children have nowhere to live. There’s the usual GoFundMe set up for this sort of tragedy, but waiting for the goodwill of men isn’t really this community’s style. We prefer taking things into our own hands.

To that end, this MechWarrior’s clanmates on MechWarrior Online have organized a tournament where the proceeds will all go towards getting this guy and his family a new home. Frag some bozos in multi-ton death machines and help people out while doin’ it; what more could you ask for?

And it’s not just one tournament – it’s actually three, held on January 20, 27th, and February 3rd. Each tourney will have its own unique spin on it to keep things fresh and exciting, and everyone who enters will have a random chance to win loot from all the movers and shakers in BattleTech.

Let’s hit the deets!

First, for every $5 you donate to the GoFundMe campaign you get to pick which event you’d like to participate in. Fifteen bucks get you entry into all three. You can absolutely donate more if you like, but it’s a $5 minimum to take part in at least one tournament. Email your receipt to MYCROFT000@GMAIL.COM along with which tourney you’d like to sign up for. Your receipt is your entry ticket, so don’t lose it.

solaris7_steinercoliseum

courtesy of mwomercs.com

Next, pick your tourney. January 20th will be a Solaris-style, 1v1 tournament, January 27th will be a 4v4 tournament where teams will be randomly assigned, and February 3rd will be a standard 8v8 tournament with similar rules to the World Championship.

January 20th Tournament

  • 1v1, Solaris-style matches.
  • Single elimination, best of three games tournament.
  • No restrictions on tonnage, equipment, or consumables, so you can get an Atlas versus a Locust.
  • Once you choose your ‘Mech, that’s your ride for the duration of the tournament. No switching loadouts in between matches.
  • Registration closes 48 hours before the tournament begins.
  • Grand prize is an Ultimate ‘Mech Pack of the player’s choice, which gives you all the variants for a particular ‘Mech, the Hero variant, and a bunch of cosmetic stuff.

January 27th Tournament

  • 4v4
  • Single elimination, best of three games tournament.
  • Each team of four will be randomly generated from all participants.
  • You may change your loadouts between matches, but max tonnage is always 300 tons per team.
  • Map will always be Skirmish on Canyon Network.
  • Registration closes 48 hours before the tournament begins.
  • Grand prize is Collector Mech Pack of the player’s choice per player on the winning team. Collector ‘Mech packs have 3 variants of the ‘Mech, a bunch of cosmetic stuff, but no hero variant.

February 3rd Tournament

  • 8v8 teams.
  • Rules will be similar to the MechWarrior Online World Championships (ie. Each team can have two lights, two mediums, two heavies, and two assaults).
  • Map will always be Conquest on Rubellite Oasis.
  • The structure of the tournament will be round-robin or single elimination, depending on the number of entrants.
  • Registration Closes 96 hours before the tournament begins.
  • Grand prize is a Standard ‘Mech Pack of each player’s choice, which has 3 variants, no 30% c-bill bonus variant, no hero variant, and fewer cosmetics than either of the previous packs.

HBS Merch

Now, say you’re a terrible MechWarrior and think you don’t even have a hope in hell of winning any of these three tournaments. That doesn’t mean you still can’t win a prize! All the big BattleTech names, PGI, Harebrained Schemes, Catalyst Game Labs, and Iron Wind Metals, have signed on to offer their support and have prizes available to all tournament contestants.

How will these prizes be given away? Throughout the tournament, various members of the MechWarrior’s clan, Sixth of June [6of6], will challenge you to a 1v1 fight “with various arbitrary and absurd rules imposed from stock loadouts to battling with nothing but machine guns and no front torso armor.” It sounds insane, but fun, and you get some sweet loot for participating.

All the details and rules are naturally on the MechWarrior Online forums, along with a heartfelt response from the homeless MechWarrior at the heart of the tournament, Safety Seth:

Simpson Family

“I cannot offer thanks enough. Moments like these leave the grace of tongue lost for expression. Know that my family, my pregnant wife Tamra (Freebirth scum I know :) ), my 12-year-old son Raven, who loves the RVN-3L, Nyxxie my 6-year-old daughter, and myself are humbled at such a thing. Thank you so very much.”

January 20th is only a few days away, so be sure to donate, email, and sign up for your chance to win and help a fellow MechWarrior out while doing it. Win-win.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Community Outreach – TwinkyOverlord of EmpyreaL, Current MWO Champs!

EmpyreaL team

courtesy of mwomercs.com

Welcome back to Community Outreach! This week we have TwinkyOverlord from EmpyreaL, the reigning champs of the MechWarrior Online World Championships. We talk about how he got into competitive MWO, how EmpyreaL came to win the recent championship in Vancouver, and what the future holds for the best team of MechWarriors in the world. Enjoy!

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Animated MechWarrior Series Cancelled After Being Hit With Cease and Desist

HbIIC and MADCAT

courtesy of RoA Nitrox on YouTube

Earlier in December, we reported a new teaser video for an animated MechWarrior series to be created by Black Plasma Studios. The YouTube video was unfortunately taken down after amassing tens of thousands of views to the disappointment of BattleTech fans the world over.

We received word from the video’s director, RoA Nitrox, that Black Plasma had been hit with a cease and desist letter. But it wasn’t from the much reviled Harmony Gold – it was from Topps, the owner of the BattleTech copyright.

Topps acquired the rights to BattleTech in 2003 after purchasing WizKids, the makers of the MechWarrior: Dark Age clix system. WizKids was shut down in 2008, but Topps kept the intellectual property to many of FASA’s universes, including BattleTech.

Centurion

courtesy of RoA Nitrox on YouTube

“On December 7th, Black Plasma Studios received a cease and desist letter from Topps and the trailer was removed from the channel,” Nitrox told me via email. At Mech_Con he was able to talk to some of the PGI developers to see if there were any strings they could pull with Topps to get it back up.

PGI’s licensing with Topps is only for creating computer games, not animated series, so there wasn’t much they could do other than just add their voices to the chorus of people pleading to not kill the series before it had even begun. Sadly, Topps wouldn’t budge, so the whole thing was kiboshed.

There is, however, a tiny silver lining: RoA Nitrox was able to finangle the original teaser video after into an advertisement for MechWarrior Online. It largely resembles the original video, but with some advertising for the game thrown in and making it very clear that Topps owns the rights to BattleTech.

So, no new animated MechWarrior series. Let’s all now have a moment of silence for yet another victim of BattleTech’s litigious history.

RoA Nitrox also had a personal message he’d like to share with everyone who supported the video and his desire for a new animated series. As it’s a truly heartwarming message, I’m posting it in its entirety with minimal editing.  

“My experience [at Mech_Con] did no less than assure me that going forward with this series was what I truly wanted to do.”

“On January 17th, 2015, I found MechWarrior Online and began my journey as a pilot in this community. Within that first year, I experienced what was one of the best online communities I had ever taken part in. In early 2016, I considered the idea of attempting to create an animated series out of MechWarrior Online and started looking into what would need to be done in order to begin production. I slowly planned out the steps necessary throughout the year, eventually leading up to the first Mech_Con event. My experience there did no less than assure me that going forward with this series was what I truly wanted to do. Over those first two years, the MWO community and PGI’s engagement with it created a place that felt like a second home to me, and one I was proud to be a part of. The gears were set in motion, and for the 3rd year, I put together the trailer that I had the honor of presenting the week before Mech_Con 2017. The time of celebration was unfortunately short-lived, as the forces that be decided it was not our place to become a part of this community in the way I had hoped.

Direstar

courtesy of RoA Nitrox on YouTube

“I’ve met so many kind people who shared the same dedication to this franchise we all love.”

“In the end, I’m still proud to have had the chance to share with PGI and the community something special and to express my thanks for all the joys you have given me. Actions often speak louder than words, but unfortunately, I will not have the opportunity to continue displaying my thanks through the creation of the full series. Words are now all I have left to offer and they cannot express my level of appreciation for how incredible these past 3 years have been. Both in game, at each Mech_Con, and on my tour of the PGI studio, I’ve met so many kind people who shared the same dedication to this franchise we all love and I look forward to supporting this community for the many years ahead of it. Once more, I give my sincerest thanks to everyone and I’ll see you all out on the battlefield we know as the Inner Sphere, and the one I call home!”

Thank you, Nitrox, and we here at Sarna hope that one day you’ll be able to share your vision for a MechWarrior animated series without lawyers getting in the way.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

A Special New Year’s Community Outreach – Nic from Sarna!

This week in Community Outreach we actually look within for our special guest: Sarna’s creator, owner, and Commander in Chief, Nic Jansma. Nic takes us behind the scenes with key Sarna facts, an origin story unlike any other, and of course, what’s in store for the future of the best darned BattleTech Wiki around. Enjoy!

Second Succession War

courtesy of marcomazzoni.dunked.com

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Did You Know? – Scout ‘Mechs

Scout Mechs

courtesy of shimmering_sword on Deviant Art

There’s a certain class of ‘Mech that doesn’t get a whole lot of appreciation in BattleTech. The humble Scout ‘Mech is a much-maligned chassis, especially on the tabletop version of the game Mostly because both players can see where the opponent is moving their machines, thus making the role of forward scout rather pointless.

In computer game circles, such as MechCommander and the upcoming BattleTech turn-based game, the role of the Scout far more important. As Adam Steiner always said, “information is ammunition”, and a forward scout provides critical information regarding enemy troop movements. Knowing where your opponent is located is always the first step toward victory.

Of course, satellites still reign supreme for gathering intelligence, but you can’t always rely on satellites – especially when trying to invade a planet with a hefty complement of aerospace fighters. In situations where you can’t have eyes in the sky, you need eyes on the ground. Preferably eyes that have as much electronic enhancements as possible.

Today, we look at some iconic Scout ‘Mechs and pay them more appreciation than they have ever received.

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MWO World Championship Analysis with BanditB17 and mdmzero0

Ben BanditB17 and Mike mdmzero0

Now that the MechWarrior Online World Championships are over, it’s time to both look back at the tournament to see what worked really well, and also to look ahead to see what could be improved for next year. And I can think of no two people more qualified to speak to that subject than the two guys who have seen more of the tournament than anyone else, Ben “BanditB17” and Mike “mdmzero0”, the shoutcasters for the World Championship.

We sat down to chat about their thoughts on the most recent World Championship, the teams, and how things could be better for next time. 

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Happy Holidays from Sarna!

Atlas Claus

courtesy of @ZoredaIchaso on Twitter – check out his DeviantArt too!

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the UnionNot a creature was stirring, not even a Woodsman.

What? I’m not a poet.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from Sarna to you and yours! Hopefully, Atlas Claus will have left your house most intact after some long-range present delivery.

Watch the MechWarrior Online World Championship Finals

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

Good evening, ‘Mech fans! This is not Duncan Fisher, but now that I’ve mentioned his name you’re imagining the rest of this article in his voice, which was my plan all along.

The greatest competition in MechWarrior Online history concluded at Mech_Con 2017. This year’s World Championship finals was a fantastic display of skill from the best MechWarriors the world has to offer. Everyone was playing at the top of their game, and there were some real nail-biters that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.

While the preliminary rounds were all posted on the Piranha Games Twitch channel, this year’s finals have been posted to YouTube for everyone to enjoy. Also unlike the preliminaries, things were a bit different for the finals. The top three teams played a double-elimination tournament, meaning once a team loses twice they’re out of the running.

Each of the top three teams came to play in the grand finals, and absolutely no punches were pulled.

So without further adieu, here are your MechWarrior Online World Championship Finals!

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The BattleTech Match Of The Century: Mitch Gitelman vs. Jordan Weisman

The BattleTech Match Of The Century: Mitch Gitelman vs. Jordan Weisman

If you missed Mech_Con, then you missed one of the greatest duels of all time. Mitch Gitelman, co-founder of Harebrained Schemes, and Jordan Weisman, the other co-founder of Harebrained but also of FASA and all things BattleTech, fought to the death in their highly anticipated turn-based strategy game, BattleTech.

The stakes had never been higher for these two giants of industry. At Weisman’s suggestion, the pair agreed that whoever won the duel would take their opponent as his bondsman for a period of one week.

“Will you kneel to me, Weisman?” Gitelman asked.

“No, but you’ll kneel to me!”

“Bring it, old man.”

And thus, the battle was joined.

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Meet BattleTech’s Newest ‘Mech: The Sun Spider

 

Meet BattleTech's Newest 'Mech: The Sun Spider

Mech_Con brought a lot of fantastic new developments to BattleTech, but one of the most interesting ones was the introduction of a brand new ‘Mech born of a collaboration between Piranha Games (the makers of MechWarrior Online) and Catalyst Game Labs.

Called the Sun Spider, it’s a 70-ton OmniMech from Goliath Scorpion, a Clan we really haven’t heard from much recently until the release of The Wars of Reaving sourcebook. In it, we find out the ultimate fate of Goliath Scorpion, how they were abjured from Clan space and ultimately founded their own nation in the deep periphery.

But the Sun Spider comes before all of that, having been first conceived shortly after Clan Coyote introduced the OmniMech. It was shelved after the initial prototype proved to be too unwieldy, and only saw limited production during Operation REVIVAL.

Sun Spider

courtesy of Piranha Games

The primary configuration of the Sun Spider comes equipped with an Ultra AC/10, one ER Large Laser, and a whopping four Streak SRM-6, making it extremely deadly to anything that gets within close range. The chassis itself runs at a standard 81 kph (which I’m sure will get bumped up to 86.4 kph if it ever gets to the tabletop), and 14 double heat sinks keep the ‘Mech cool unless the pilot decides to start alpha-striking like there’s no tomorrow.

The Sun Spider‘s Quirky Birth

I spoke with PGI’s senior game designer David Bradley while at Mech_Con where he gave me the Sun Spider’s amusing origin story. Since the release of the Roughneck, PGI had been thinking of other ‘Mechs they could bring to MechWarrior Online that was developed completely in-house.

He described the original sketches for the new design as a “TIE fighter with legs”, something that would surely land PGI in BattleTech’s second legal spat with the Star Wars franchise. The design was refined after handing it over to the renowned Alex Iglesias, who both brought the ‘Mech to life and imparted his distinctive style to save PGI from a lawsuit.

Sun Spider

The next step was choosing a name. Originally the ‘Mech was to be called the “Manul” after a species of Asian wildcat. It was then changed to Sun Spider to better fit the lore of the ‘Mech, while Manul was kept as the name for the Hero variant.

Speakin’ of lore, PGI decided to take a different approach when creating the Sun Spider. Their initial in-house ‘Mech, the Roughneck, was a good first effort but just didn’t quite have the same feel as other machines in BattleTech. Let’s be honest, nobody wants to pilot a converted Industrial ‘Mech, which is why Dark Age wasn’t a very popular era in BattleTech history. To get that feeling of authenticity, PGI decided to team up with Catalyst Game Labs to see where they could insert the Sun Spider into BattleTech lore, and also get Randall N. Bills to write it all up.

Sun Spider

The final product feels just like an entry from a long forgotten Technical Readout, and has just the right tone and setting to feel like a natural part of the BattleTech continuity and not a fan-made ‘Mech roughly inserted into the universe. By using a little-heard-from Clan, PGI is able to attach that sought-after authenticity without needing to break any new ground.

You can read up on Star Colonel Tabok’s experience in Manul on the MechWarrior Online website.  

The Sun Spider is an interesting and unique addition to BattleTech, and one that helps flesh out the universe. I could see this design, and how it was created, touching off a larger debate on what is considered official canon in BattleTech, especially if it takes CGL some time to include this chassis in a new and official TRO.

What do you think of the new ‘Mech? Is the Sun Spider a fine new addition to BattleTech lore, or an unappreciated interloper on BattleTech’s hallowed ground? Let us know in the comments!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy