Category Archives: Community

An Interview with Jordan Weisman at GenCon 50

So yeah, this one is coming is pretty late. I do apologize to the readers out there. After GenCon got really hectic for me professionally, and, well, it is what it is. 

At this point, the game has progressed a bit past the improvements of the then new patch that Jordan and I discussed, so I’m going to re-tool my original interview to be my impressions of the interview and of Jordan and what we talked about. 

GenCon 50 has come and gone. Wow. I have to pause and let that sink in every year.

I spend the better part of six to eight months in a year planning for and making sure that I get everything in my professional and personal life squared away in order to make sure I can make it to GenCon.

Now, that’s not to say that I do so at the peril of myself or those around me. No, GenCon is for me that one time of year when I don’t have to explain anything about what I do professionally or for fun to anybody. Everyone there understands it. So I tend to make sure I can go.

With the Post-GenCon Recovery Period (I swear it’s a thing!) still affecting some of us (mostly in the finance region), I need to take the time to share some key aspects of the experience. In particular, I want to share with you all the hour of time I spent talking to Jordan Weisman, creator of BattleTech and one of the heads of Harebrained Schemes, about the new computer game version of BattleTech.

A note on how I am going to reflect on this time. My recording app malfunctioned during the actual interview portion, so I only have the notes that I took from the interview. As such, I won’t directly quote Weisman unless I wrote down his exact phrasing.

First, BattleTech had a huge development release the day that I spoke to Weisman. They had just released the first multi-player backer beta build for the game, so the Harebrained booth was abuzz with fans playing the new version as well as many people standing around to watch the action on the screen, stand behind their friends, and just chat about BattleTech in general.

I met Jordan Weisman a little before our interview, stopping by to verify the time, and he said he was looking forward to sitting down, playing a round of the new release, and then talking!

Wait.

What?!

I was going to get to go head-to-head against Jordan Weisman in BATTLETECH?!!!!

I was already excited about the interview itself, but finding out I’d get to actually play a game with Jordan Weisman was icing on an already delicious looking cake.

So, the time came, and we sat down to play. We selected out Mechs and dove on in. My experience with the BattleTech Beta at that point had been in the 10-12 hour range, so I knew I was at an extreme disadvantage going up against Weisman.

I was right.

The following thirty minutes was a whirlwind of back and forth not-quite-trash-talking as I sent my Lance in hard and fast….straight into the wall of strategy and effective tactics that was Weisman’s way of war. My Lance got picked apart one `Mech at a time, and it was glorious!

After his pyrrhic victory, Weisman humbly asked if I’d enjoyed it, and of course I did!

Because I foolishly didn’t fanboy hard enough, I don’t have a selfie with Jordan Weisman for the article! This will have to do. Weisman is seen here showing off the Kickstarter flight jacket reward.

So then we sat down and talked about the game, much of which is old news at this point. But the highlights that remain with me can be summed up in a few points.

  • The BattleTech community is great, and Weisman and Harebrained love every bit of interaction they get with us. They live off of our energy, and then they give it right back us in the best ways possible.
  • The next phase for Harebrained and BattleTech in general is what Weisman called “outreach,” continuing to get the word out, and the established community is a huge part of that. Harebrained want BattleTech to find every gamer and to read out beyond the pull it has now to get even bigger.
  • Now that the core mechanics of the game itself are established, there’s still much more to do in the way of developing the story, lore, and the extended campaign. Even though we’re a couple of months down the road from when I spoke to Weisman, I know they’re still hammering away at making the campaign the best experience it can possibly be.
  • There is nowhere else that Weisman and his team would rather be than right where they, making BattleTech. They’re pumped up. They love our excitement for the game and universe, and they look forward to much more BattleTech in the future.

For me, this short game and talk with Jordan Weisman will be one of only two or three stand-out moments from GenCon 50 that I know I will keep in my memory for many years to come.

It’s not just a fanboy moment. I mean, yeah, it’s a little bit of that, but it’s also more. Jordan Weisman’s enthusiasm for BattleTech is amazing, and that really has kept me charged up for everything to do with the game(s), on the table and on the screen.

Thank you to Jordan Weisman and Harebrained Schemes for working to bring us this amazing gaming experience in our favorite universe. We look forward to its release, and hope for more after it!

First Ever Giant Robot Duel Set To Stream On Oct 17

Eagle Prime

courtesy of qz.com

It’s finally happening. The fight of the century between America’s MegaBots Inc. and Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry for the title of world’s greatest giant robot maker is about to happen.

Or more accurately, it’s already happened. The fight has yet to be aired, but the duel between the Eagle Prime and the Kuratas has actually already occurred with the whole thing being recorded and edited for broadcast. That broadcast is set to happen next Tuesday, October 17th at 7 PM PST (that’s 10 PM EST) on MegaBots’ Twitch channel.

As we reported back in August the duel between these giant death machines was to occur in September, and apparently the whole thing was done in an abandoned steel mill in Japan without any spectators – just the engineering teams from both sides. The duel was fought over several days since after each battle both ‘Mechs required repairs, and just like in BattleTech it can take a few days to repair grievous damage to a giant robot. This also explains why it wasn’t live streamed like a traditional sport since it would’ve been a few minutes of mayhem followed by days of technicians with welders and duct tape.

We’ve also learned a few more details. The commentators are Mike Goldberg of MMA fame and Saura Naderi, a robotics engineer at Qualcomm. Also, there was no scoring involved in any of the battles: matches were fought to a knockout, which meant that either the robot was completely knocked over or otherwise incapacitated.

It seems like a lifetime ago since the fight was announced way back in 2015. Now that the day has finally arrived I can hardly contain my excitement. Here’s hoping it was a good fight, and may the best giant robot win!

MechWarrior Online World Champs First Round Recap

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

The weekend has come and gone, and that means we’ve had our first round of matches for the MechWarrior Online World Championships. There’ve already been a few teams eliminated from this double-elimination tournament, with other teams proving their mettle against a field of truly awesome contenders. Let’s take a look at the standings after a weekend of ‘Mech action.

Our first match actually took place September 17th between Russian Jade Falcon/Spikes and 228th Wild Ones due to a bit of a scheduling hiccup, but there were certainly no hiccups in the match. The Wild Ones managed to take an early lead in the best of three games, taking out 2 RJFS ‘Mechs which allowed them to wrap-up the rest of the match easily. However, RJFS rallied and took the remaining two games in a brutal display of gunnery, eliminating the majority of The Wild Ones’ machines and giving them the victory.

Our next match took place last Thursday between the North American 228th Black Watch versus the Steel Jaguars, with Black Watch taking the meeting 2 games to nothing. The Steel Jaguars seemed entirely outclassed in both games, allowing Black Watch to easily move on to the winner’s brackets.

D5 vs OZ

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Last Saturday brought several games to Twitch, starting with Dropship 5 against Osiriz. This match went to its full three games with the first round a brutal battle of attrition. PPCs and laser fire lit up the map as each side traded long distance fire. Ultimately Osiriz managed to take the first game, but just barely, with the second game going to Dropship 5 by an equally slim margin on resource points. In the final round Dropship 5 once again tried to go for a resource win but fell prey to some clever maneuvering from Osiriz that managed to split the Dropship 5 forces and gang up on half of them before the other half could respond, giving Osiriz the victory.

Next we have White Death Mercenary Company against the Phoenix Legion which immediately devolved into an insane brawl on HPG Manifold. Lasers, missiles, and autocannons lit up outer space as each team ran into close quarters combat. Air strikes from both teams continually pounded the melee, getting friendly and enemy kills alike, but the Phoenix Legion strikes proved to be better aimed as they swung the first game from a 6v4 to a 3v4 in one swoop of an Aerospace fighter‘s tail. The Legion also took the second game as well, but it may have been a pyrrhic victory as this put the Legion against last year’s Champions for their next round: EmpyreaL.

RJFS vs EON Synergy

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Next, we have last year’s European Champions EON Synergy against RJFS for their second round of fights and the second round of matches for the tournament overall. The Russian Jade Falcons managed to take the first game quite soundly, but EON came back strong in the final two fights giving RJFS their first loss of the tournament. One more loss and RJFS will be heading home empty-handed at this year’s World Championships.

The Black Watch continued their winning streak in their next game against The First Jaguar Guards but not before having a trio of prolonged fights against the Jaguars. The Canyon battleground was once again covered in laser and PPC fire as both teams fielded two lances of Supernovas, Night Gyrs, and Hunchback IICs, so no argument could be made that either side had a technological advantage. The superior piloting of the Black Watch pilots proved telling, allowing them to emerge victorious after three games.

Oz vs TCAF

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Just yesterday gave us our first match featuring the Tikonov Commonality Armed Forces against Osiriz for their second match of the tournament. At first it seemed TCAF may be able to take the first match, but Osiriz cleverly managed to capture enough resource points so that TCAF was not able to respond in time to prevent a victory. Osiriz also took the second game after several ferocious exchanges of fire, with not a single ‘Mech stumbling from the battlefield without critical damage. Osiriz continues their streak without a single loss.

Emp Vs PHL

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Last year’s World Champs, EmpyreaL, had their first match of the tournament against the loveable underdogs, Phoenix Legion. Phoenix Legion came out swinging, but the tournament veterans played the long game by reserving enough armor to take them into the later stages of the game while Phoenix Legion lost too much stamina to continue. The second match was much slower than the first as both teams went for a capture strategy, but unfortunately Phoenix Legion fell prey to a surprise push by EmpyreaL as they brought their heavy and assault ‘Mechs to the center of the map in a risky move that caught out several lighter Legion machines. After securing an easy three kills EmpyreaL went on to take the win.

Our next game has Dropship 5 fighting for survival against the First Jaguar Guards. Dropship 5 managed to barely hold on to victory in the first game, but couldn’t maintain their grip to win the final two games as the Jaguar Guards rallied and took two decisive victories. This means Dropship 5 is eliminated from the tournament – a surprise ending for the current MRBC North American Division A champions.

RJFS vs WDMC

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Another team on the chopping block is White Death Mercenary Company as they competed against Russian Jade Falcons/Spikes on Sunday night. White Death seemed somewhat uncoordinated in their first game, losing a ‘Mech to a friendly fire incident. Their second game didn’t go any better, losing their entire team while RJFS lost but a single pilot. White Death Mercenary Company goes home empty-handed after their pair of losses in the tournament.

Our last pair of matches only contained losing teams, making them do or die for both combatants. The Wild Ones were looking to redeem themselves against the Phoenix Legion, and they did by taking the match two games to zero. Phoenix Legion employed some interesting strategy that flirted with brilliance at times, and perhaps with some refinement on the off-season, they’ll be able to return next year to make a more successful World Championship run. Kudos to you, Phoenix Legion, and here’s to next year.

PHL vs Wild Ones

via Piranha Games on Twitch

The last match of the weekend pits Steel Jaguars against the Tikonov Commonality Armed Forces. TCAF seemed very timid in their first match, taking air strikes and long-range fire without responding, ultimately handing the Steel Jaguars victory. The second round on HPG Manifold started in a much better position for TCAF, even taking an early kill on a Jaguar Supernova, but then the Jaguars managed to maneuver behind TCAF and start eating into their delicate back armor. After several kills, TCAF’s forces completely fell apart, allowing the Steel Jaguars to move on to the next round.

BanditB17 and mdmzero

via Piranha Games on Twitch

Thus we head into the next round with 10 teams remaining and two matches of undefeated teams that could be a preview of what we’ll find in the final round. The Black Watch and Eon Synergy will compete in a battle of European and North American juggernauts, while EmpyreaL and Osiriz will face off in a match that will end one team’s undefeated streak. Osiriz seems to be the team to watch as they have emerged from the starting round with several commanding wins already under their belt, while EmpyreaL seemed slightly sluggish in their first round against Phoenix Legion.

Meanwhile, it will be another fight for survival in the opposite brackets, as Steel Jaguars face The Wild Ones and RJFS face the First Jaguar Guards. These veteran teams are sure to put on an incredible performance to maintain their place in the World Championship.

Stay Tuned to Piranha Games’ Twitch channel for more ‘Mech action as the games resume next Friday night.

MechWarrior Online World Championship Tournament Finals Have Begun!

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

The MechWarrior Online World Championship semifinals have begun! The qualifiers ended as of September 16th, and the top 12 teams in the world have officially been chosen to represent the best that MechWarrior Online has to offer for the World Championship. It was a grueling few months of near-constant ‘Mech combat, but after months of trials, the 12 teams have taken their place in the tournament’s double-elimination seeded brackets.

First, a brief explanation of the tournament structure as things are a bit different from last year. Rather than have a separate tournament for each region and then having the top team from each region go to the Finals in Vancouver, this year there are no regions and only the top 12 teams from around the world are invited to take part in the tournament. While this does mean that there are certainly more North American and European teams in the top 12 than Oceanic teams, it also means that those teams are on a much more similar skill level, which will hopefully produce some fantastic fights.

2016 World Champs

via mechwarrior.com

Also, rather than a large round-robin phase, the tournament has been simplified to be a seeded double-elimination structure. The top 4 teams will get a pass on the first round of fighting, and then it becomes a simple matter of losing twice and you’re out. This naturally means that the top 4 teams have a slight advantage as they have to play fewer games than everyone else, but it’s far from insurmountable.

And now let’s take a look at our competitors. First, we have Russian Jade Falcon Spikes, which seem to be an amalgamation of the MRBC League’s Russian Jade Falcons and Black Spikes teams. Russian Jade Falcon was relegated into Division B during last season of the MRBC, but Black Spikes came in second place in Division A. Perhaps the best of the best from both teams will create a world champion.

 

Next up we have two teams from the massive MWO conglomerate 288th IBR, The Black Watch and The Wild Ones. The Black Watch finished third in the North American Division A standings with the MRBC, while The Wild Ones finished second in the Asia/Pacific Division A. Both are filled with veteran players that are sure to give any team they face a run for their money.

North America’s second place from Division A last season return to the World Championships, with the Steel Jaguars finding themselves opposite The Black Watch in their first match of the semifinals. The two teams faced off against each other twice in the previous season of the MRBC, with each team achieving a single victory. It’ll be interesting to see if any bad blood remains between the two North American juggernauts.

 

Dropship Five appears to have also made the semifinals, which comes as no surprise to competitive ‘MechWarrior fans. Dropship Five had an amazing performance in the MRBC’s season 9 and took top honors in North America. They’ll definitely be a team to watch as the tournament progresses.

The fourth team from North America Division A, and finishing fourth in season 9, is Osiriz. Their first year at the MRBC established themselves as a team not to be trifled with, and their appearance at the World Championships cements their reputation. Osiriz will face Dropship Five in their first tournament match, and once again both teams have an even record against each other. Who will emerge the victor in their third face-off is anybody’s guess.

  Osiriz  

Our second purely European team to make it to the World Championships is The White Death Mercenary Company. They had a fantastic 9th season with the MRBC, finishing third overall in Division A. A strong team with an even stronger history will surely go far in the this year’s tournament.

We have a pretty amazing upset for our next team to reach the World Championships; Division B Stalwarts Phoenix Legion have achieved enough victories in the qualifying rounds to secure a spot in this year’s tournament. The only Division B team to make it to the semifinals, one simply can’t help but root for the underdogs. Let’s hope they continue to impress.

  Phoenix Legion

The next team to make the Worlds is The First Jaguar Guards, our second Asia/Pacific team to prove themselves worthy. The First Jaguar Guards did not take part in season nine of the MRBC and, judging by a quick Google search, that could be owing to some internal drama within the team. However, they placed first in the A/P region the three previous consecutive years, so this is definitely a team not to be taken lightly. Let’s hope that whatever internal strife that was present is long over and the team is ready to focus on their tournament run.

Europe’s dominant force, Eon Synergy, has once again come to the World Championship, and this time they’re hoping to bring home the crown. They had a commanding performance in the European rankings with the MRBC, only losing nine of their fifty total games. They lost to last year’s champions, Empyreal, in the final round of the tournament, and I’m sure they’re gunning for the top spot this year.

  TCAF

Europe’s fourth-place team in season 9 with the MRBC, the Tikonov Commonality Armed Forces, have also found their way to the World Championships, and they’ve achieved enough victories in the qualifying rounds to be placed in the top 4, giving them a by in the first round of matches. That’s quite the turnaround for a team that had a losing record in the previous MRBC season. Let’s see if they can keep that momentum going as we head into the semifinals.

And finally, last year’s world champions have returned to defend their crown: Empyreal. This team was an unstoppable force in the previous tournament, but a year has gone by, and while most of the teams heading to the World Championships have been practicing constantly, Empyreal did not take part in season nine with the MRBC. Will their lack of tournament exposure dull their skills, or will they once again stomp every team put before them?

  Empyreal


This year’s World Championships is shaping up to be the most exciting MechWarrior Online competitive tournament to date. We’ve already had one match played between Russian Jade Falcons Spike and The Wild Ones, with RJFS emerging victorious after three extremely tough fights. If this game is any indication, this will certainly be a World Championships for the record books.

The schedule of games can be found on the World Championship website here, however the exact dates are a little up in the air right now due to some scheduling issues between the teams. We should have a clarification on the dates shortly, so keep your eyes peeled for when next to tune in to the Piranha Games Twitch channel for more giant robot action.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Harmony Gold Suing The Company That Sold Them Unseen Images?

Macross

courtesy of Forbes

Looks like I was wrong about not having any more info on the Harmony Gold lawsuit that was revealed last month. Hot off the presses from Reddit (thanks to user iyaerP) comes news that Harmony Gold is filing yet another lawsuit, but this time it’s not against a BattleTech company.

It’s against the Japanese company that sold them the Unseen images in the first place: Tatsunoko Production Co., Ltd.

For those of you that have forgotten, Tatsunoko Productions was the company that sold the license for Macross/Robotech to Harmony Gold, giving them the right to distribute the anime in North America. Harmony Gold also argues this gives them the rights to the Macross imagery, which spawned the whole Unseen debacle.

 

I say argues, since it’s also come to light since then that the rights to the Macross/Robotech imagery actually never rested with Tatsunoko in the first place. The license provided to Harmony Gold only allows them to distribute the cartoons in North America, with the original intellectual property being owned by the animation studio that created the series, Studio Nue.

Harmony Hold has even acknowledged this ruling back in 2002, but so far it hasn’t seemed to stop them from suing anyone that even remotely comes close to the Macross/Robotech aesthetic.

Flash forward to today and we’ve just got word that Harmony Gold has filed court documents last week naming Tatsunoko Production Co. Ltd. as defendants. More details available seem to indicate this is some kind of arbitration case, but the precise reason for the arbitration hasn’t been disclosed yet.

Now the question becomes what does this mean for Harmony Gold’s lawsuit against Piranha Games and Harebrained Schemes? Will the courts finally side with our beloved BattleTech producers, finally ending the Unseen for good? Will Harmony Gold finally lose all rights to the Macross/Robotech imagery and never be heard from again? Will this spell the end of the pending Macross live action film that is supposedly still in production?

Nobody knows yet, but we’re all on the edge of our seats waiting to find out.

 

Forging the Road Ahead – Local Level BattleTech on the Rise

Hello, Sarna!

It’s been a while since you last heard from me, and so much has happened since I last wrote to you about our favorite game and science fiction universe.

What have I been up to?

Well, keeping the discussion to just BattleTech, there’s still a lot to talk about.

For the past year I’ve been getting progressively more involved in the Middle Tennessee BattleTech scene, growing gaming relationships and working for ways to establish a home and give the scattered players in the region a place to gather. I wanted to sit down and take a moment to share some of what the journey has been like so far and tell about what the future might have for our group.

The T-N-T Gaming Convention, in its first held on May 19-21 in Nashville, TN, was our first stop of the year, and our Demo Team Agent organized a great Alpha Strike tournament for us at that event.

The stakes at TNT were high, with the Grand Championship belt going to the tournament winner! (Photo by: Josh Koziura)

The championship game of that tournament is here chronicled:

After T-N-T, our intrepid Demo Agent Josh once again planned an event for us at Nashcon, held June 2-4 in Franklin, TN. This time it was a multi-player mega battle that was semi-narrative, and recreated the conflict on Tukayyid between the GomGuard and the unfortunate Clan Diamond Shark.

One of the rare Diamond Shark achievements, first blood went to the Clans! (Photo by: Josh Koziura)

Sadly (depending on your perspective), history repeated itself at Nashcon, and the Diamond Sharks once more ran away to their DropShips and away from Tukayyid.

It was after the Nashcon event that I had dinner and a conversation with Demo Agent Josh, and in that conversation it was decided that I, like him, would become a Demo Agent. Together we would share the task of trying to get local level BattleTech back on the right track in our area.

Fast forward about a month, and all of my paperwork was accepted and processed, minting me as Demo Team Agent #880. Now the fun could begin.

In the time since my official commission as a Demo Agent, I have been searching for a game store for us to call home, one that would like to see us grow and that would be willing to support us.

This past week, I made inquiries at a local shop in Hermitage, TN called The Game Cave. I was already acquainted with the store owner, so earlier this week I went in with some Alpha Strike demo materials and showed him what we’re all about. He observed a demo game of Alpha Strike, and afterwards we discussed things.

The first Alpha Strike demo game at The Game Cave ended in epic fashion, with the Dragon taking a 12 Critical roll from the Zeus. (Photo by: Dave Martin)

I’m happy to say that the Middle TN BattleTech Group has tentatively found a new home at The Game Cave, starting Wednesday, July 19, and continuing on Wednesday evening for the time being.

This is a great leap forward for the local group, and I’ve already begun putting the word out that there’s a place that wants to see us come in once a week to play BattleTech and Alpha Strike!

So this is where this article leaves you, at the jumping off point for a new chapter in a local BattleTech group’s journey. As it’s my group that I’m writing about, I plan to keep you updated on how things go. Josh and I are working together to get fall tournament events planned, and if The Game Cave works out, that would be the preferred venue for any future big events.

If you’re reading this in the Middle TN area and you’re not connected to the group, please reach out using any link scattered throughout this article or leave a comment below with a way for me to get in touch. We’d love to bring you into the fold!

GenCon is coming up, too, and like usual I plan on attending, with a schedule this is mostly BattleTech related. I hope to have things together enough to do another summary for you all like I did two years ago.

Be on the lookout for more in the story of the Middle TN Battle Group, and I’ll be seeing you through my crosshairs!

 

Dave

The Wonderful World of BattleTech Memes

BattleTech is a serious game, played by serious people. In order to sit down and roll dice and mark down damage and heat for hours on end, you have to give the game your utmost in sober thought and contemplation. If you were to get even deeper and paint miniatures, you must spend painstaking weeks carefully inking, marking, and assembling your tiny metal figures until they are poised just so on a battlefield filled with the corpses of defeated enemies (or past failed projects).

But within all of that intense solemnity, there is a tiny sliver of something poking through the formal facade like a beacon. For those willing to dig just a bit further, to reach beyond the pen and paper trappings and the dozens upon dozens of paperback novels, brave adventurers will find something truly wonderful underneath.

I, of course, speak of the life blood of the internet: memes.

Although BattleTech may have gotten its start just as the internet was being birthed, it has since survived long enough to enter into the heyday of image boards and computer game forums where all good memes are born. And since I thought we could all use a good laugh, I’ve decided to share a few of the better ones I’ve found with all of you today.

Before we begin, I’d like to state that I am not the creator of any of the images you see in this article (credit is given to the original posters where possible). I am merely the one kind enough to give them the spotlight they so richly deserve.

I Fits I Sits

via community.battletechgame.com user Bombast

We begin our journey with this gem plucked from the Harebrained Schemes BattleTech forum. As you can see, this meme is a combination of the already common meme that cats will sit in anything that they can fit their bodies into and BattleTech. In this case, a CATapult has found that it has the ideal dimensions to sit inside a Masakari, much to the chagrin of its pilot.

Happy Atlas

via community.battletechgame.com user Ink Sikes

BattleTech forum user Ink Skies isn’t the first to notice the unusual placement of the AtlasAC/20, but he may be the first to make it into a classic innuendo.

Orbital Assault

via community.battletech.com
user Yen-Lo -Wang

The BattleTech forums have a particular criticism of House Steiner military doctrine, which tends to field assault ‘Mechs more than any other great house. In this instance, the dangers of dropping an Atlas from orbit without a drop pod are obvious and poignant.

Scouts

via community.battletechgame.com user Red Dox

The next criticism of the Lyran military has to do with scout ‘Mechs, or more accurately their lack thereof. Although the jab at House Marik for their use of non-‘Mech vehicles is there to remind us that tanks are still a thing. I guess.

Steiner Wealth

via knowyourmeme

Mercantile wealth within the Lyran Commonwealth is the object of this latest meme, a colorful rendition of an Atlas with some non-standard armor enhancements. One might think they could prove useful in stopping a missile or two, but the cost seems to outweigh the benefits.

Raven Arrow IV

via community.battletechgame.com user Hayashi

We return to the BattleTech forums for this work of art which borrows from another popular game, Skyrim. In the medieval world, to “take an arrow” was actually slang for taking a wife, thus preventing the guard from going on dangerous adventures. Although, I can’t help but think a Raven would be nothing but scrap after taking a direct hit from an Arrow IV.

Urbie

via knowyourmeme

As a much-beloved icon of the series, the Urbanmech is host to a slew of memes which mostly poke fun at its unique appearance. This one reverses the trend and shows the Urbie for the fierce, uncompromising death machine that it is.

What it really is

via community.battletechgame.com user Smaug

Another common meme shows the different perspectives a certain topic can have in larger society. This particular iteration shows how BattleTech is viewed by various demographics before ultimately revealing the terrible truth of our obsession.

Awesome

via knowyourmeme

BattleTech memes are not all cheap jokes and shitposting. Some of them can be a wholesome celebration of a beloved franchise. An Awesome being snuggled by an inexplicably enormous Mad Cat is one which I find to be particularly heartening.

I’d like to personally thank the many artists that created these wonderful images and hope they continue to do so for many years to come.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

A Locust Love Story

I’ll be honest, I didn’t exactly ‘get’ the whole dating simulator craze. Even when the game speaks directly to me I’d rather be spending my gaming hours in a giant robot dealing death and destruction (or a ninja, or pirate, or something similar). But dating sims? Whatever, man. That stuff is for chicks.

Then I saw the trailer for A Locust Love Story and my life will never be the same.

Born from the creative genius of MechWarriors Krivvan and Halimede, A Locust Love Story follows young Locust-chan as she attends her first day at River City High. As a transfer student just going into her second year of high school Locust is entering the prime of her combat shelf-life, but she’ll have to be careful. There are mean ‘Mechs at this school, just waiting to eat a tasty little morsel like her for breakfast!

She won’t be alone though – Locust will meet lifelong friends who will help her draw strength to overcome the many challenges that lay ahead, as well as have loads of fun along the way.

Locust and Awesome

She sure is Awesome

“We got inspired by Hatoful Boyfriend,” writes Halimede in an email interview. “Story-wise we got inspired by classical visual novel tropes and just put a MechWarrior Online spin to them.”

“The story line was to be based partially on the somewhat rocky patch and meta shift history of MWO,” Krivvan clarifies, “which I figure was probably because we were both playing in some tournaments and the first MechWarrior Online World Championship at the time.”

The entire game is built on a visual novel game engine called Ren’Py. The engine is built on the Python programming language and is relatively simple to use. It’s also the foundation for a metric ton of visual novel games, the quality of which will range from something like Locust Love Story to somewhat less reputable titles.

Griffin and Firestarter

High school can be a mean place

As for the workload, it’s a fifty/fifty split between the pair. Krivvan does most of the programming, while Halimede takes care of the visual elements. “Most of the art (besides the title screen, I would like to take credit for that) was Halimede’s thing, and she designed the characters,” says Krivvan.

“For the actual art I made up some camos to fit the Personalities – ‘Pretty Baby’ for example got the darker shades and Purple for being a bit depressing and lonely,” tells Halimede. “Then we just took pictures of ‘em in different poses, some free flight spectator shots of River City for backdrops, and an extensive photo shoot with our heroine Locust-chan for the cover.”

The intro was as simple as adding “some effects like the flower petals”, and then taking some existing sound effects and buttons from MechWarrior Online.

As for why a Locust, Krivvan isn’t quite sure. “Maybe because there was something distinctively cute and petite about Locusts?”

Locust-chan

Locust-chan

So far the game is just a trailer with what the pair have been able to finish so far, but the skeleton of a truly amazing dating sim game is there. “We originally started when both of us were still active in the MWO competitive scene and it dropped by the wayside a bit when the World Championship rolled around,” says Halimede. “In general I would love to finish it someday.”

“And there are a few surprises planned that I haven’t mentioned yet,” adds Krivvan.

I for one am on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen to Locust-chan next. Here’s hoping that Krivvan and Halimede find the time to bring this amazing ‘Mech dating sim to life.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

Meet The Streamers of MechWarrior Online

If you’re like me, then you can’t get enough robot action to merely be satisfied with the time you’re actually playing a BattleTech game. If you’re clever about it, you can stuff way more ‘Mech explosions into your day. Lunch or dinner is the perfect time to look up a caster for entertainment while you’re munching down chow. Or how about a streamer in the background at work? Bonus points if you work in an office and can somehow weave random fusion engine meltdowns into your phone calls.

Whatever you do, and wherever you are, there’s a MechWarrior Online streamer who’s there to help you get through your day with a sufficient amount of PPC blasts, and each one is just a little special.  Let’s take a look at a few of the better known streamers to see which one might be the right fit for you.

TheB33f

As a fellow Canadian, it’s my privilege to begin this list of MWO streamers with TheB33f, perhaps the most Canadian thing to hit MechWarrior since PGI bought the rights from Microsoft.

The first thing you’ll notice when you watch TheB33f’s stream is his accent, which is a Quebecois accent so thick you can practically taste the maple syrup. Besides the sweet and sultry sounds, TheB33f is also a very skilled player and a member of the 228th IBR “The Black Watch”, one of the top ranked teams in Division A of the MRBC.

While you can pick up many helpful tips by watching his Twitch stream, his YouTube channel is all about having as much fun as possible while playing MechWarrior Online. He has high quality videos featuring some hilarious builds, all edited with his characteristic enthusiasm and humor. His streams also feature some of the best music mixes I’ve ever heard.

He typically streams every Wednesday and Saturday at 6 PM EST, but keep an eye on his Twitter as he’ll announce impromptu streams when he can.

Trainsy

For a more dedicated streamer, check out Trainsy. This guy actually performs his streams to thousands of viewers for a living and his schedule reflects that, being online and gaming from 2:30 PM to 11:30 PM PST with only a half hour break in between. As a professional, he has also completely monetized his stream so that nearly everything a viewer does (besides chatting) has a small donation price beside it.

As the name might suggest, he’s taken the whole train theme to a level that might not seem healthy. But hey – strong branding is important, and this guy has it in spades.

He doesn’t exclusively play MechWarrior, but as a long time fan he’s certainly got his giant robot chops as a tier 1 pilot. He’s also a pretty chill guy, and is more than happy to answer any questions he gets asked in chat while he does mostly PUG drops. Check out his Twitch stream here, and a secondary YouTube channel here.

Molten Metal

If I were to crown a king of most helpful MechWarrior Online streamers, it would have to be Baradul and his channel Molten Metal. Something about a German accent speaking flawless English that just makes every explanation stick, y’know? Or maybe I just have a thing for accents.

Besides that, Molten Metal really is the best channel for new players to learn more about MechWarrior Online. His YouTube videos are filled with detailed analysis of every choice he makes – that means both his build choices as well as his in-game decisions.

But don’t let the German professor persona fool you – this guy has some skill, as his Twitch streams will show. He doesn’t have a fixed streaming schedule, but he generally plays every day around 2 PM UTC (that’s 10 AM EST).

LokenPlays

We stay in Europe but travel to Britain for our next streamer, Loken from LokenPlays. A semi-pro streamer, you can catch him online nearly every night at 5 PM EST (that’s 10 PM GMT), although MechWarrior is only played on Tuesdays. He’s also more here for entertainment than education, but he is sure to explain his builds in between matches.

He typically plays with a group of friends to keep the witty banter lively, and he’ll bust out some pretty hilarious voices – usually just before exploding. Seriously though, if you’re looking for a great streamer to watch as he screams obscenities at his mate’s antics, then this is the channel for you.

His MechWarrior videos don’t typically find their way to his YouTube channel, but you can watch some pretty neat Star Citizen videos there. He also has a Discord channel and Steam group for those who want to join the LokenPlays community.

NoGutsNoGalaxy

What list of MechWarrior streamers would be complete without No Guts No Galaxy? As the premiere community hub for all things BattleTech they stream far more than just MechWarrior Online, such as livestreams for the BattleTech developers at Harebrained Schemes, the No Guts No Galaxy podcasts, or whatever else Phil and Daeron feel like getting up to.

Of the two of them you’ll usually catch Phil playing MWO, and despite being a tier 1 pilot Phil has a penchant for creating some very non-meta ‘Mech builds. Expect to see a variety of chassis that you don’t normally see in game on this channel. He’s also got a classic MechWarrior playlist, so you may recognize some tunes from MechWarrior games of yore.

Right now there’s a donation challenge running where you can compel Phil to play as a particular ‘Mech or at a particular tonnage and then give him a specific goal, like killing 2 heavy ‘Mechs or only targeting light ‘Mechs. It can make for some pretty hilarious games, so why not throw them a few bucks?

Expect to see some BattleTech streams from these boys as soon as the game is released.

Got a MechWarrior streamer that I missed but really should be seen? Let me know in the comments!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy. 

Community Outreach – BattleTech CamoSpecs Online

Welcome to Community Outreach! This week we speak with Todd “Mastergunz” Farnholtz, a BattleTech Miniature painter and admin at CamoSpecs Online, the biggest site and Facebook group for miniature ‘Mech painting enthusiasts. We ask him about CamoSpecs, how it came about, and how he joined up to help define the unit colors of ‘Mechs the universe over. Enjoy!

Sean (Sarna): Who are you? Briefly introduce yourself.

Mastergunz: My name is Todd Farnholtz, but I go by the handle ‘Mastergunz’ on CSO. I joined the group in Summer of 2009 – just in time to get a single piece done and added to that year’s Gencon 2009 CSO diorama. It was a Word of Blake Raptor II and I rushed to paint it because the mini had just come out and wanted to display it on the board. I’ve been playing BattleTech since 93′,  so having an opportunity to be a part of the game I loved was a huge achievement for me.

courtesy of CamoSpecs

Sean: What is CamoSpecs? That is, how would you describe it to someone who doesn’t know much about it?

Mastergunz: CamoSpecs.com is a 100% fan run organization that provides visual references to canon paint schemes for the BattleTech universe. While we do get support from IWM (Iron Wind Metals) and Catalyst for special projects, the site and its upkeep is 100% on us. We are a dedicated group of artists that comb all available canon sources to make sure what we paint is accurate to what is written. We have even at times been asked to create schemes for new units as they were created by the authors.

Sean: When did you join CamoSpecs?

Mastergunz: I joined in 2009 after 2 failed submissions; finally made it in on my 3rd attempt.

Sean: What was the original idea behind CamoSpecs?

Mastergunz: I wasn’t around for the initial inception, which was 2 years prior I believe. The site and what it sought to do was conceptualized and inspired by the old FASA Camo Specs book showing the various paint schemes of the units in the BattleTech universe.

courtesy of CamoSpecs

Sean: When did you get into BattleTech?

Mastergunz: I started playing BattleTech in 1993 with the 2nd Edition box set after having played the old MechWarrior computer game.

Sean: And when did you get into miniature BattleTech making?

Mastergunz: I’ve always been a lover of all thing giant robots. Starting back in the 80’s with Transformers, Voltron, Robotech, etc… the 2nd Edition box set is what introduced me to miniature wargaming and painting. Kit bashing the various variants of the ‘Mechs was just something that we all did from the start.

courtesy of CamoSpecs

Sean: How long does it take to make some of these miniatures?

Mastergunz: I can’t speak for the sculpting side of things but painting a single mini used to take quite a while. In the beginning I would spend 6-7 hours on a single piece to get it to tabletop standard. As with all things in life, practice makes perfect (and learning to use an airbrush didn’t hurt) so I can finish a ‘Mech from primer to seal coat in about 3 hours now and feel it is of display quality.

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

Mastergunz: Hands down the AWS- 9Q Awesome. I’ve never been a finesse player so something that hits hard and can take a beating is right up my alley. The 9Q is the original zombie. I even have a licence plate frame on my truck that says ‘My other ride is an AWS-9Q’.  

courtesy of CamoSpecs

Sean: And what’s your favorite miniature you’ve built?

Mastergunz: My favorite ‘Mech I’ve ever built and painted for BattleTech/CSO changes constantly as my skills improve, but I’d have to say my most recent favorite was the Zeus X4. It’s a solid model with a lot of dynamics to its assembly so it doesn’t have to be static.

ZeusX1

courtesy of CamoSpecs

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

Mastergunz: I’ve played all the computer and console games, tabletop (both hex sheet and miniature rules) and little bit of Alpha Strike. I never got into the Dark Ages Clix Game but do own a ton of the models for kit bashing purposes. And of course I was a backer for the recent Kickstarter from Harebrained Schemes and am super excited for the beta to release.

Sean: How has CamoSpecs collaborated with official BattleTech content producers, like Catalyst Games?

Mastergunz: Yes. Our group leader, Ray Arrastia (who was recently promoted to Assistant Line Developer for BattleTech), is our direct liaison with Catalyst. We have been tasked with working on art for almost all of the books released in the last several years, most recently the Combat Manual: Mercenaries book and Alpha Strike.

courtesy of CamoSpecs

Sean: Let’s talk numbers. How BIG is CamoSpecs?

Mastergunz: CamoSpecs is currently a stable of about 15-20 painters, though only 6-10 of us are fairly active. You have to remember that this is a purely voluntary group and so we do what we can as real life allows.

Sean: What’s in store for CamoSpecs in the future?

Mastergunz: The million dollar question. Well I can say we have been working behind the scenes to keep things going via Facebook, mostly. Since we lost our server host in 2015 it has been a task to try and set up something that was as comprehensive and easy to use as the original site. Again, as a fan run volunteer group the time needed to essentially build a new site from the ground up is prohibitive but we are working on something right now.

courtesy of CamoSpecs

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

Mastergunz: BattleTech is my first love in miniature wargaming, and so I want to say thanks to all my fellow artist who over the years have pushed me to be better and became very good friends of mine – meeting up at cons and such. I can honestly say I would not be the artist I am today if not for their constructive criticism over the years and seeing the stuff they were turning out and making me say to myself “I want to learn to do that technique!”.

Shameless self plug time! To see some of my more recent BattleTech work (as well as not BattleTech) you can visit my painting page, Mastergunz Paint Worx, on Facebook and YouTube.

Also, some of my fellow CSO artist have a pages as well: “Captain of the Watch” Ed Smith on his Facebook page, and “B1BFlyer” Ryan Peterson runs a YouTube channel for CSO with lots of very cool tutorial videos up.

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