Category Archives: BattleTech Game

First BattleTech Expansion – Flashpoint – Arrives November 27th

We all knew this day was coming. Flashpoint, the first of hopefully many BattleTech expansions, has been given a release date of November 27th. You can pre-order now and save 10% off your purchase on Steam.

As we may have mentioned before (Hatchetman), there are several exciting new chassis to explore with this expansion (Hatchetman). First is the quick and nimble Crab, capable of operating for extended periods behind enemy lines thanks to it’s all energy loadout (still not a Hatchetman though). There’s also the Cyclops, another C-word ‘Mech that comes with a Lostech battle computer to help with team resolve throughout the fight (still waiting on my Hatchetman).

And of course, how could we forget: the melee-focused Hatchetman (YES!) which uses a 5-ton hatchet to carve its enemies into scrap.

Flashpoints themselves play out as new end-game short story campaigns that will test your skill as a commander but can come with some incredible rewards. Lostech and rare weapons are at the end of these multi-mission mini-campaigns that can range from two to six missions in length. You’ll need to bring many men and machines to take on these varied sorties as there will be no time to rest or refit before the next mission begins.

In the latest update, Mitch told us that there are approximately 30 hours of new content to be had in Flashpoint, but that seems to completely ignore the numerous hours to be spent grinding out flashpoints for that sweet sweet loot.

Also, apparently the tropical biome has spore clouds. I’m not sure what that means, but nobody has ever looked at a spore cloud and said, “Hey, that looks like a fun place to be!”

In even bigger news, Harebrained Schemes has confirmed there will be two more expansions on top of Flashpoint, with the first one being called Urban Warfare. There were a few somewhat urban settings found in the regular BattleTech campaign, but no true urban settings with enormous skyscrapers and densely packed city streets. That’s all set to change with the next expansion, coming out in the summer of next year (hopefully).

If you’re thinking there might finally be a use for the UrbanMech, then you might be right. Too bad we have to wait until the summer to find out.

Oh, and there’s a season pass available for 20% off on Steam too. I’ma get me that. Daddy likes to save his Canadian pesos.

And as always MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Harebrained Schemes Reveals BattleTech: Flashpoint Gameplay, Kills Dekker

Crab Flashpoint

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

Harebrained Schemes and Paradox Interactive just finished their first livestream gameplay reveal of the upcoming Flashpoint expansion for BattleTech.

Last Thursday, Harebrained bigwig Mitch Gitelman and lead BattleTech designer Kiva Maginn sat down with Anders Carlsson of Paradox Interactive to do a live Twitch stream of an early development build of the upcoming BattleTech expansion, Flashpoint. And they barely made it out with a single ‘Mech.

Flashpoints are a new post-campaign mission type where the player will engage in a sort of BattleTech short story. Each contract is comprised of a series of missions varying between two to six. Since these all take place one after the other, there won’t be any chance for major refits or for pilots to recover from injuries. You’ll need to have an A-team and a B-team of both ‘Mechs and pilots to replace your losses throughout the Flashpoint.

Since these missions take place after the campaign, it assumes the player is an experienced veteran and is looking for an additional challenge. Thus, the missions are likely going to be harder than your average campaign mission. However, the rewards for completing a Flashpoint can include Lostech, rare equipment, and other such goodies that might make the sacrifice in man and machine worth it.

The initial teaser made it seem like Flashpoints weren’t available until after the main campaign, but Gitelman let it drop that there are some changes coming in patch 1.3 that might allow Flashpoints to occur concurrently with the campaign–so long as you’re at an “open sandbox” portion, that is.

Obviously things are still in development and subject to change, but this seems like it’ll greatly enhance the core BattleTech gameplay.

Kiva and Mitch showed off a single mission during the stream with a new mission type called “Target Acquisition”. This new mission type requires you to bring a lance of fast but tough machines since you’ll need to split your forces to grab several key locations in order to call in an artillery drop. Each ‘Mech needs to be fast enough to get to the location quickly, but tough enough to take a beating once they get there.

Our Harebrained heroes were up against two full Steiner lances, which meant they were up against a lot of heavy firepower. Also, since they were looking to show off the new ‘Mech designs, their composition wasn’t exactly ideal. Consequently, two pilots died and one ejected (and yes, Dekker was one of them).

We got our first good look at the new Crab, Hatchetman, and Cyclops designs before most of them bought it. The Crab is as expected: swift, low-slung, and filled to the brim with lasers. The Hatchetman can be a deadly combatant in melee but is vulnerable to long-range fire. The Cyclops comes with a Lostech Battle Computer that will greatly affect your lance’s resolve, but Harebrained is still tweaking by just how much.

From the looks of things, this Flashpoint would be hard even for a fully prepared mercenary commander. Mitch said that the team had actually nerfed the difficulty twice, so maybe this is a case where some more tweaks are still in store. At least the new tropical biome looked gorgeous throughout the video.

You can check out the whole stream on Paradox’s Twitch channel, or here where I’ve helpfully embedded it for you. I’m helpful.

Watch BattleTech from ParadoxInteractive on www.twitch.tv

We don’t know when in November Flashpoint will come out, but even if it’s a little later in the month that’s still just a few weeks away. If you’ve already gone through a few campaigns in BattleTech, be prepared to dust off your old save file to get ready to drop jokers with a hatchet to the face.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

BattleTech Releases Teaser Video For New Expansion: Flashpoint

BattleTech Releases Teaser Video For New Expansion: Flashpoint

courtesy of Gamestar

BattleTech is about to get its first expansion called Flashpoint.

We knew this day was coming. BattleTech has been a great success for Harebrained and new publisher Paradox Interactive, and various HBS personalities have been dropping hints for a while that an expansion was in the offing. Now it has a name: Flashpoint.

Rather than a whole new campaign to play alongside the original, Flashpoint will instead be a whole bunch of smaller stories that are book-ended by procedurally generated missions. Some of them have to be played back-to-back without any opportunity for rest and refit, adding to the sense that you’re a mercenary company on extended operations in the field.

New conversation options, no critical decisions, and new special events will all find their way into Flashpoint’s multi-story campaign.

There’s no word on whether you retain your company from the original campaign or start a brand new merc company with the new story. We’ll have to wait for more details on that one.

We here at Sarna know that fantastically written stories will only take you so far. Harebrained knows that too. That’s why they’re adding three new ‘Mechs to the game, and for the first time ever, one of them has a melee weapon: the Crab, the Cyclops, and the Hatchetman.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment. The Hatchetman. For the first time ever, you’ll be able to swing your big, stupid ax at some schmuck and watch them literally come apart at the seams.

Unfortunately, due to the momentous occasion of the Hatchetman arriving in a BattleTech video game, I won’t be able to extoll the virtues of the Crab or Cyclops–both fantastic ‘Mechs in their own right. The Hatchetman is just that big of a deal.

Alright, let’s take a few deep breaths before we move on.

There’s a new biome, which will be very beach-y, and there’s a new mission type called “Target Acquisition” which will give your light and medium ‘Mechs something to do while the assaults facetank. Judging by the press release, it’s probably something to do with “capture the flag” or whatever.

Did I mention the Hatchetman is coming? I might have gotten excited and forgotten to mention the Hatchetman.

We don’t have a release date other than the standard “coming soon” at the end of the teaser video. If Paradox follows the same pattern with expansions for their other games (and as a player of Stellaris, I’m intimately familiar with this pattern), then we can expect a price around 20 bucks (or $30 if you’re an unlucky Canuck like I am).

Hatchetman.

And as always MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

BattleTech Tips And Tools Of The Trade

Centurion

I’ve now clocked in a solid 100 hours in BattleTech, with my latest run being focused on using what I’ve learned from my previous character to run through the plot in an ideal way. No lack of ‘Mechs, pilots, or components will mar my perfect experience. I’ll always get the ‘Mech I want, and I even went so far as to mod the game so I started off with a bespoke lance consisting of a Firestarter, Jenner, Shadow Hawk SHD-2D, and a Griffin GRS-1S.

That was just so I could have a slightly different experience than my previous playthrough. Since everything is randomized, all ‘Mechs after the first few missions will always be different outside of the story missions, so I didn’t have any concerns about boredom after I got started.

But now that I’ve achieved what I’d like to consider as “veteran” status in the game, I felt it right that I bestow upon you, dear Sarna reader, some of the tips I’ve learned in my career as a mercenary lance commander.

Locust

To start, I’ve always found that grinding out a bunch of easy missions early on will make the tougher missions that much easier for you later. The reason here is that grinding simple missions gives you XP that will make your pilots better. Once a pilot reaches certain milestones they get a huge power boost which can help turn the tide of a battle in your favor.

“Being able to move and shoot first is huge.”

One thing I’ve found to be a huge boon is the Master Tactician skill. Found under the Tactics tree at level 8, it allows your ‘Mechs to move at a higher initiative. This means that Assault ‘Mechs move at the same time as Heavy ‘Mechs, Heavies move at the same time as Mediums, and Medium ‘Mechs move at the same time as Lights.

Being able to move and shoot first is huge. If you can take out a few dangerous opponents before they have a chance to fire it will allow you to take on waves of opponents that would seem impossible to defeat on paper.

Master Tactician will always come with Sensor Lock as a secondary skill, which leaves tertiary skill to choose. I like to have a mix of Bulwark, Evasive Movement, and Multi-Target for my pilots. Bulwark is good for heavies and assaults to belly up to the line and face-tank whatever the enemy throws at them, while Evasive Movement is great for scouts and fast-movers. Multi-Target is better for missions with a lot of soft targets such as tanks or structures, but it can be difficult to predict if a mission will throw a swarm of Galleons at you or not.

Spider

What ‘Mechs you use is far more dependant on what ‘Mechs you fight than anything else (unless you want to mod the game as I did), but there are a few to keep an eye out for thanks to their weapon-efficient loadouts.

The Shadow Hawk SHD-2D is a personal favorite. You can load it up with 1,000 armor, 3 Medium Lasers, 2 SRM-6s, and 2 Small Lasers to turn it into a tough and deadly brawler. For whatever reason, the Shadow Hawk deals increased melee damage compared to other Medium ‘Mechs–closer to a 70-ton Heavy–so it’s the perfect design to get up close and personal with.

Light ‘Mechs eventually become too poorly armored to use later in the game (although I’ve heard some skilled commanders have beaten the game entirely with Light ‘Mechs), but the Firestarter is another close-range brawler that is utterly terrifying. Keep the Flamers or swap them for a battery of Small Lasers, and either way, once it gets in close whatever it’s fighting is dead.

The Shadow Hawk SHD-2D is the perfect design to get up close and personal with.

The Orion is relatively common and can be customized to be almost anything: a close-range brawler, a long-range sniper, or even a missile boat. In the Assault category, I came across quite a few Highlanders in my first playthrough and found them all to be equally amazing.

Short Range Missiles are, ton for ton, the most weight-efficient way of dealing damage. Before the latest patch they were utterly devastating when combined with Precision Strike, the ability that allows you to use morale to target specific components, but since then their ability to core a ‘Mech in a single salvo has diminished somewhat. Still, they’re potent, and a personal favorite of mine.

Laser boats were previously too hot to be effective, but the patch has also lowered the heat cost of Large Lasers to the point where they might be usable. I’ll have to do more testing, but I’m looking forward to finding a Black Knight or a Grasshopper to test it out.

If you can find a PPC+++ then they might be worth using, but generally I found them to generate too much heat for too little damage to be of much use.

Long range weapons aren’t really all that great in BattleTech thanks to a fog of war that reduces visibility to barely a few meters in front of you. If you feel you must take something with some range, Long Range Missiles are your best bet. They can fire over obstacles to soften your opponents up, and they deal a ton of stability damage with the right mods.

Autocannons are certainly better balanced in this game than on the tabletop, but they’re still not efficient enough in terms of damage per ton to compare with lasers and SRMs. On Assault ‘Mechs it’s not so big a deal since they have tonnage to spare, but on Medium and Heavy ‘Mechs, it’s strictly worse than a loadout weighted toward missiles and lasers.

One last thing: the key to success in BattleTech is using your Precision Strike and Vigilance abilities to their fullest. This means that opting for some increase morale upgrades in the early game might be even more important than faster repairs or healing in the med bay. Just have a team of 8 or more pilots and swap them out when they get a little banged up.

A veteran I may be, but I’m still far from a BattleTech expert. Think you might be one? Then submit your tips and tricks in the comment section below to prove it!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.  

stay syrupy

BattleTech Devs Talk About Making Game On A Budget

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupyPS: I FINALLY GOT ONE!

Harmony Gold vs. BattleTech – An Actual Lawyer Weighs In

courtesy of marcomazzoni.dunked.com

courtesy of marcomazzoni.dunked.com

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

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

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

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

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

BattleTech Dev Reveals Future Of The Game

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

BattleTech Early Review – It’s Real Good!

Umbra Shadow Hawk

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

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

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

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

I want to savor this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did someone say Clans?

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

BattleTech Arrives Tuesday, Solaris 7 Arrives in MechWarrior Online

BattleTech, courtest of Harebrained Schemes

BattleTech, courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

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

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

BattleTech is about to arrive.

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

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

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

courtesy of MechWarrior Online

courtesy of MechWarrior Online

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

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

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

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

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Harmony Gold’s Case Against Harebrained Schemes Dismissed!

Harebrained Schemes

Harebrained Schemes

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

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

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

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

Locust

via unitedstatescourts.org

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

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

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

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

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy