Category Archives: MechWarrior Online

The Challenge With Balance in MechWarrior Online

The Challenge With Balanace in MechWarrior Online


There’s a problem with MechWarrior Online. Actually, there’s probably over a dozen problems with MechWarrior Online, depending on who you ask, but the one we’re going to talk about today is one that is universal for any game, online or no, and that’s balance.

The subject of balance is something that has recently captured the attention of Russ Bullock, President of PGI, after an explosive video was posted by part-time playwright and full-time competitive MechWarrior critic Dane “Jarl” Crowton. The video brings a no-holds-barred message to the guy in charge of MWO in an impassioned plea to return something that has been sorely lacking in the game, and that’s game balance between various ‘Mechs, weapon systems, and even between the Inner Sphere and Clans themselves.

The Need For Balance

Now, before we even begin, we all know here at Sarna that the Clans were never supposed to be balanced. They were supposed to be vastly superior to the Inner Sphere in every measurable way, thus making for some interesting plot development. But MechWarrior Online is by design a competitive game, and when two sides square off in glorious battle neither side wants the other to have an unfair advantage as it’d take all the fun out of honorable combat. Like Clan MechWarriors or even Kurita pilots, honor is everything in MechWarrior Online.

But, as The Dane points out in his video, balance has been something that MechWarrior Online has struggled with and continues to struggle with today. And for good reason: it is vastly more complicated balancing a computer game than a tabletop one.


The Spider, a victim of of the infamous re-scale of MWO’s ‘Mechs.

For those of you who are non-MechWarrior Online players, a brief explanation. Let’s take the humble Medium Laser, a staple of both tabletop BattleTech and MechWarrior Online Inner Sphere BattleMechs. In BattleTech the tabletop game, a one ton, one critical slot weapon that deals five damage a pop is fine for several reasons having to do with the tabletop rules: fire rate is fixed at once per turn (as with many weapons), and since where you strike the enemy ‘Mech is (usually) decided at random boating up on an arsenal of 10 or 12 lasers isn’t as terrifying as even a third as many AC/20s.

Now let’s take MechWarrior Online. It’s the same one ton, one crit, five damage weapon, but the problem is the pilot can aim a bunch of them all at the same spot, making 10 or 12 of these weapons capable of coring all but the heaviest of ‘Mechs. Sure, the heat you generate will cause a shutdown, but who cares if your opponent is already dead? The incentive to boat is massive, which causes a problem when you want to encourage the equal use of the over 100 weapons systems found in MechWarrior Online.

medium laser Hunchback

The medium laser in action. Courtesy of

To try and make the weapon remotely fair, PGI attempted all sorts of solutions: they increased the beam delay, requiring the pilot to hold their crosshairs longer on the target (and thus also increase the likelihood of either missing or getting shot in return). They tweaked range and damage fall-off numbers, penalized players with extra heat (called “ghost heat”) when fired in large groups, and reduced their cooldown so they couldn’t be fired as fast as either their larger or smaller brethren. And while all these adjustments certainly changed the Medium Laser’s performance, it remains open to debate whether or not they brought the weapon back in line.

Today the Medium Laser remains ubiquitous simply due to its efficiency – one ton, one crit, five damage is simply hard to beat when you have the available hardpoints for one.

A Tangled Web Of New ‘Mechs

No other game in existence has a larger challenge with balance than MechWarrior Online.

That’s just one weapon system that challenges PGI with balance. With the recent surge of Jihad-era tech, there are now over a hundred different weapons systems in MechWarrior Online, and each of them requires the same kind of tweaking to remain fair in an online, competitive game. It’s a monumental task for a small, independent developer like PGI.

A task that PGI makes even more monumental with each passing month. For some time now, PGI has released a new ‘Mech nearly every month in MechWarrior Online, and while few players would argue against adding additional content to the game, it makes the task of balancing every chassis nigh impossible. With hundreds of different ‘Mechs to consider (if you include each unique variant of a given chassis) ensuring that each new entry to MWO’s roster is fair in comparison to already existent ‘Mechs is a task for an adaptively intelligent supercomputer and not a small team with a few spreadsheets. No other game in existence has a larger challenge with balance than MechWarrior Online.

Clan Mechs

The Introduction of the Clans was the first major bombshell in MWO balance. Courtesy of

Unfortunately for PGI, balance is a necessary component of any competitive game. If MechWarrior Online were primarily a PvE game, such as Warframe, overperforming weapons or ‘Mechs can be explained as simply being rewards for players who have unlocked enough of the game’s content to achieve them. But MechWarrior is a PvP game, requiring every weapon, every chassis, and every scrap of technology to be balanced for veterans and newcomers alike. No new player will be drawn to a fundamentally unfair game, and certainly not one as obtuse as MechWarrior Online.

Unfortunately for PGI, balance is a necessary component of any competitive game.

So how does a game with hundreds of thousands–perhaps even millions–of points of interaction achieve even a semblance of balance? I hate to use the word “unfortunately” twice in the same article, but the truth is there’s no easy way to program a computer to consider the player experience on top of all the hard math required in balancing a game. It takes years, a dedicated player base, and developers willing to listen to player feedback to achieve balance.

As small as MechWarrior Online is, there are still plenty of players willing to offer their two-cents when it comes to all aspects of the game. PGI has a public test server that allows certain players to test out larger changes, but that server hasn’t seen much use since the previous skill tree update, while there have been multiple changes to weapons and ‘Mechs in the eight months since then.

An expanded system which takes player feedback and turns it into useful data is certainly going to require a larger investment of resources from PGI than they’ve currently made, but it’s a necessary one for the continued ongoing health of the best–and the only–ride in town.

Well, at least until they release MechWarrior 5. Then it’s back to PvE madness and we can throw balance out the window.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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

Battle scene

courtesy of 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.


courtesy of

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

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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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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Watch the MechWarrior Online World Championship Finals

courtesy of

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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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

PGI Releases New MechWarrior 5 Teaser, Updates on MechWarrior Online

PGI Releases New MechWarrior 5 Teaser, Updates on MechWarrior Online

Piranha Games had a rollicking time last Saturday, culminating with a slew of announcements at last Saturday’s Mech_Con.

For the MechWarrior Online fans in the audience (of which there were many) PGI previewed a brand new map and game mode all based on everyone’s favorite game world: Solaris VII.

Welcome To The Solaris Games


courtesy of Piranha Games

MechWarrior Online is typically played as a 12v12 slugfest, where companies of ‘Mechs all rush in to make mincemeat of each other. In the World Championships, those battles are reduced to 8v8, making each team a pair of lances. In the new Solaris game mode, those battles are reduced even further to be 1v1 duels or 2v2 tag team fights.

Rather than have competitive classes divided into the standard light, medium, heavy, assault, and open class, MWO will divide things up into divisions numbered 1-7. Each division is demarcated by specific ‘Mech performance rather than weight to account for the fact that some ‘Mechs are simply better than others. This means that some lighter machines might find themselves grouped with heavier chassis – and vice versa – in a very similar way to how MechWarrior Arena handles there balance issues in their unofficial Solaris-style tournaments.

Solaris Divisions

courtesy of Piranha Games

Just like the Solaris Games, each MechWarrior will have their stats tracked and be placed on a leaderboard for their division based on their performance. And just like on Solaris, performance matters. You make money via patrons (similar to joining a stable) and the better you perform the greater your access will be to higher paying patrons. There’s also a “sponsor” system where you can be sponsored by companies like Defiance Industries and Vining Engineering (VEST) to give you a percentage bonus on your take-home pay.


courtesy of Piranha Games

It looks like they really tried to capture the feel of Solaris by also finally adding cosmetic additions to ‘Mechs. These cosmetics will be given randomly by patrons and sponsors (although, given the latest rulings against loot boxes in Europe we’ll have to see how that’s implemented), and they also don’t confer any real benefit. Strapping a giant ax to your Kodiak will not make it into a Berserker.

Leaderboards will track for a season which lasts three months before a champion is crowned and the whole thing resets for the next season. One can likely expect to see some special events happen here as well, such as a Grand Tournament of champions.

Kodiak With Axe

courtesy of Piranha Games

Solaris will release with three maps: The Jungle, The Colosseum, and Boreal Reach, with The Factory and Ishiyama hopefully making an appearance later.

Best of all, Solaris brings back everyone’s favorite announces from MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries Duncan Fisher. He’ll be joined by Lars Olafson, an actual canon announcer from the Solaris Broadcasting Corporation, to be Fisher’s co-commentator.

In what appears to be typical Russ Bullock fashion, he gave a tentative release date of “spring-ish” at Mech_Con. You can check out the teaser video below.

Along with the Solaris game mode came a new map for the standard MechWarrior Online 12v12 games called Solaris City. This map imagines a raging battle happening in the actual Solaris City, with ‘Mechs battling it out around iconic Solaris monuments in a neon-filled cityscape. It looks like there will be a few destructible objects too, which is relatively new for MWO, and likely inspired by their work on the upcoming MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.  

You Get A ‘Mech, And You Get A ‘Mech

The biggest news for MechWarrior Online fans had to be when Russ announced the largest giveaway in MWO history. For anyone that logs in to play one game on December 27th, they’ll receive 25 Stocking Stuffer clicks, 3 million c-bills, 3 days of premium time, 1250 mc (which is the game’s equivalent of about $10), and two free Hero ‘Mechs: the Roughneck and the Sun Spider.

Holiday Bonus

courtesy of Piranha Games

One of the biggest complaints surrounding MechWarrior Online is the heavy burden it places on new players, almost forcing them to spend real cash to make any progress. This giveaway is a fantastic way for new players to get into MechWarrior Online because it gives them a ton of resources absolutely free. If you ever considered playing MWO, download the client and log in to play one game on December 27th to get a ton of free stuff.

MechWarrior 5 Release Date Announced

Of course, the biggest news of the night is always surrounding the hotly anticipated MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Bullock played a brand new trailer for the game at Mech_Con, and MechWarriors old enough to remember will find some distinct similarities between the opening moments of the trailer and the opening moments of MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries. Check it out:

It really seems that PGI is trying to take the best from the two previous Mercenaries games and make a definitive single-player MechWarrior experience. I managed to get my hands on a playable alpha build later in the evening to see what all the fuss was about, and I can confidently say the game has captured the best from MechWarrior Online and MechWarrior 4, and we’ll have to wait and see if it grabs the same kind of mercenary commander feel one got in MechWarrior 2.

Russ also announced a release date of December 2018. That gives them plenty of time to polish the game and work out the bugs, which they’ll need. Even with the beefiest hardware NVidia could provide, my time with MechWarrior 5 was marred by a truly abysmal frame rate. But keep in mind that I was the last person to play the build after a full day of gameplay on an Alpha version of the game. Likely there’s just a memory leak somewhere that needs to get plugged.


courtesy of Piranha Games

The extra year will also give PGI plenty of time to make good on their two big promises of the convention: full mod support and 4 player co-op. These are modern features never-before-seen in a MechWarrior game, and I cannot imagine the fun I would’ve had if only MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries had been a co-op experience. Details are scant, but Russ mentioned it would be like replacing one of your AI teammates with an actual human being – a godsend for any MechWarrior fan.

With 2018 fast approaching, it’s shaping up to be a fantastic year for all things MechWarrior. We’ll be sure to keep you in the know with every new announcement.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Mech_Con 2017 Recap


If there were any doubts as to what is the new mecca (hah) of ‘Mech conventions, they were put to rest on December 9th, 2017.

Mech_Con brought together the biggest names from all things BattleTech, from PGI and Harebrained Schemes in video games to Catalyst Game Labs on the tabletop, and there has been a slew of super exciting announcements that will give any ‘Mech-head the chills.

We’ll certainly get more in-depth with each announcement in future articles, but first a quick recap of what went down at Mech_Con 2017.

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Update On The Harmony Gold Lawsuit

Update On The Harmony Hold Lawsuit

courtesy of

Things are looking bad for Harmony Gold, and good for our BattleTech heroes!

Piranha Games (not to be confused with the Piranha ‘Mech), makers of the successful MechWarrior Online game, have recently filed court documents that would dismiss the case brought against them by the much-reviled Harmony Gold.

If you recall from our last update on the case, there was some confusion on the part of Harmony Gold as they had entered into arbitration against the very company they said gave them the copyrights to the Unseen ‘Mechs, Tatsunoko Productions. At the time it appeared that Tatsunoko never actually owned the copyrights in the first place, which meant that Harmony Gold couldn’t have bought them and thus can’t sue anybody over them.

It looks like PGI found out how that case went since they’ve filed a request for summary judgment to dismiss the case entirely on the grounds that Harmony Gold doesn’t have the standing to bring any case of infringement to the courts.

Dismissal Dismissal 2







PGI’s lawyers make three compelling arguments that the judge should dismiss the case with prejudice:

  1. Harmony Gold does not own the copyrights for the Unseen ‘Mechs. Those copyrights are actually owned by a Japanese company called Big West Co. Ltd., a company I have literally never heard of.
  2. The Unseen copyrights were never licensed to Harmony Gold, and the licensing agreement actually excludes the copyrights they’re suing over. Which, by the way, they never owned in the first place since Harmony Gold licensed from Tatsunoko, not Big West.
  3. And here’s the big deal, and should be the nail in Harmony Gold’s coffin. That arbitration that took place between Harmony Gold and Tatsunoko in US District Court found a judgment that shows Harmony Gold officially does not have the license to the copyrights they’re trying to sue over.

That last bit is huge. If there’s a previous court case that a lawyer can point to that says Harmony Gold doesn’t legally own the copyrights, then it torpedoes their whole case. Not that it was a particularly strong case to begin with, if you remember the arguments they made when filing their suit originally.

I know that BattleTech has had some bad luck with judges in the past, but you’d have to be blind, deaf, and dumb to think that Harmony Gold has any legal standing to enforce a copyright they don’t even own. Here’s hoping the judge throws their case, and them, flat out on their asses.

And this time let’s hope they stay gone for good.


Mechwarrior Online World Championship Semi-Finals Seeding Games

courtesy of

The double-elimination tournament may be over, and we may know which teams could be this year’s World Champions, but that doesn’t mean we’re done with competitive ‘Mech action! Not by a long shot.

In preparation for the three team’s final showdown in Vancouver later in December, PGI scheduled two seeding games last Saturday to determine the order by which the teams will play. The third place 228th Black Watch took on second place EON Synergy, and the winner of that game played against first-place EmpyreaL.

As pointed out by BanditB17 during the Twitch cast, the matches are largely exhibition games, but the stakes are certainly real as all three teams will be able to scout out their opponents to discover what tactics they’ll have to defeat at the world finals. With Mechwarrior Online recently receiving a balance patch as well, it gives all teams a chance to determine if their customized rides are still tournament worthy.

EON vs 228

courtesy of Piranha Games on Twitch

Each game was best of three, with the first battle between 228th Black Watch and EON Synergy taking place on Tourmaline Desert, a map notorious for overheating ‘Mechs. Right off the bat, a 228th lance composed of Assassins and Arctic Cheetahs rushed forward to sneak beneath a ravine and pounce upon an unsuspecting EON Summoner. For a moment it looked like they’d get the quick kill, but EON responded by diverting heavier elements to thwart the assassination attempt. The light lance melted back to take resource point Theta and then hide amongst the terrain.

A bout of long-range fire began as both teams formed firing lines, with 228th maneuvering EON Synergy into a corner of the map. As they retreated an EON Summoner got caught out in the open and was nearly taken down, while EON responded with airstrikes that wounded the 228th’s own Summoners. However, EON had ceded most of the map by this point and allowed the 228th to acquire all but one resource point. EON was in danger of losing the round if they didn’t respond soon.

EON vs 228

courtesy of Piranha Games on Twitch

And respond EON Synergy did, pushing down the west side of the map to take a 228th Supernova by surprise. The 228th then seemed to panic, with the whole team turning west but dropping into a crater along the way. That crater turned into a death trap as EON ‘Mechs were able to pummel the 228th from the crater’s rim, taking out another pair of enemy ‘Mechs. Down by three chassis, 228th couldn’t survive the ensuing brawl. First drop to EON Synergy.

The second drop was played on Canyon Network, and was comparatively much less exciting. Both teams took to the ridges and mesas to set up firing lines. EON Synergy kept firing while 228th kept retreating from EON’s lasers and ER PPCs. The 228th did manage to have their lighter elements take out an EON Hunchback IIC and Supernova, but lost a pair of ‘Mechs of their own. The 228th machines then started to reach their combat loss grouping after a pair of deadly air strikes, falling like dominoes until EON Synergy emerged victoriously.

EON vs 228

courtesy of Piranha Games on Twitch

EON then went on to fight EmpyreaL for the second game of the night. Just like last year, EmpyreaL has taken the tournament by storm and has yet to lose a single game. This would be a vital opportunity for EON Synergy to search out a chink in the EmpyreaL juggernaut’s armor.

EmpyreaL wasn’t about to make the task easy for them.

The first drop once again played out on Canyon Network, with EmpyreaL bringing an eclectic mix of ‘Mechs to battle. A pair of light machine gun toting Mist Lynxes for lights along with a rarely seen Warhawk Prime dropped with their signature Streak SRM Huntsman, providing EON with some unusual targets to deal with.

Emp vs EON

courtesy of Piranha Games on Twitch

Unfortunately for EON Synergy, they didn’t seem to learn how to deal with those targets fast enough, as the Mist Lynxes and Huntsman pushed the west side of the map to ambush their Wolfhounds. Empyreal lost their Streak-Huntsman in the exchange, but by then the Mist Lynxes were able to start punishing EON’s heavier elements with impunity, tearing through their lines like buzzsaw wielding maniacs. As EON ‘Mechs began to fall the heavier EmpyreaL elements closed in to mop up the survivors, proving that light ‘Mechs can be deadly combatants if left unchecked.

Drop two had the same mix of units for both sides, but EmpyreaL swapped their Warhawk for an Ultra AC/2 boating Mauler for the hotter climate of Tourmaline Desert. At first, EmpyreaL seemed to lose out on the usual exchange of long-range fire, but it all turned out to be part of EmpyreaL’s larger strategy to exchange armor for map control. EmpyreaL’s lighter elements took the central resource point giving them 3 of the 5 available. Then they simply waited as their points began to stack up, forcing EON Synergy to attack.

Emp vs EON

courtesy of Piranha Games on Twitch

Attack they did, but EmpyreaL had taken defensive positions and prepared for the oncoming assault. After the EON rush, EmpyreaL picked up three quick kills and forced them to retreat. Unfortunately for EON, by then the resource tickets had already gotten above 700, giving them mere seconds to defeat all remaining EmpyreaL forces – a simply impossible task, given the skill of EmpyreaL’s pilots. Once again, EmpyreaL remains undefeated in World Championship games.

With EmpyreaL remaining in top form, EON Synergy and 228th will have a rematch of their latest encounter for the first game of the World Championship Finals. The winner of that game will move on to meet EmpyreaL, and by that point they had better have prepared for the onslaught of the toughest team around.

Tune in next time for our direct coverage of the Mechwarrior Online World Championship coming to you from beautiful downtown Vancouver, Canada as Empyreal defends their title.