Category Archives: MechWarrior Online

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

Solaris

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.

Sponsors

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.

MW5

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

Mech_Con

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.

Continue reading

Update On The Harmony Gold Lawsuit

Update On The Harmony Hold Lawsuit

courtesy of marcomazzoni.dunked.com

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 mechwarrior.com

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. 

24 Hour Mechathon In Support Of Breast Cancer Research – Oct 14

24h Mechathon

RjBass3 has returned to Mechwarrior Online with yet another noble cause providing him an excuse to sit in a ‘Mech’s cockpit and not leave for a full 24 hours.

Not that he needed the excuse, but much like his earlier Mechathon in May supporting Covenant House, RjBass3 will be blowing away weekend warriors in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month with all proceeds going to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Breast cancer is one of the most pervasive forms of cancer, with each year an estimated 252,710 women being diagnosed. One out of every eight women will contract breast cancer over the course of their lives, making it the second leading cancer diagnosis in women. And even though it’s far rarer, men can contract the disease too: over 2000 men in America are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, with around 450 annual reported deaths.

The best treatment comes from early detection and awareness, which is what Breast Cancer Awareness month is all about. Women and men alike should know how to detect breast cancer and women should schedule regular screenings after reaching a certain age.

So how will the Mechathon work? It’s simple: RjBass3 will strap on his neurohelmet and stream his Mechwarrior Online games starting at 9 AM CST October 14th on his Twitch channel, and he won’t stop for 24 hours. There will be regular food and bio breaks, but sources close to Rj have advised me that as the hours wear on and sleep deprivation starts to set in he can get a little crazy at the wheel.

RjBass’s stream will also be broadcast on the No Guts No Galaxy channel, and aspiring Mechwarriors can even join in on the fun by going into RjBass’s Discord channel and teaming up for drops. It’s sure to be a great day of ‘Mech action, so dial your interwebs to tune in on the fun or even combine forces with RjBass this Saturday.

Can’t make the stream but still want to support breast cancer research? Head over to the donation page here to make an early donation.

MechWarrior Online World Championships Second and Third Round Recap

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

It’s been another wild weekend for the Mechwarrior Online World Championship, with both the second and third round of matches having taken place in a whirlwind series of matches that pilots from all over the world battling it out at all hours of the day and night. Our resident Twitch casters must be having a rough Monday since they clearly didn’t get enough sleep last weekend. And who would with such an amazing number of games played between the best Mechwarriors in the world?

Let’s once again recap the weekend’s results and see which top three teams will be flown out to Vancouver to take part in the World Championship Finals.

The first match of the winner’s bracket brings the 228th Black Watch against EON Synergy, the top European team from last year’s championship. In the first game on Canyon Network, Black Watch tried to push through the map’s namesake canyon but lost a ‘Mech to an EON ambush. The early ‘Mech loss snowballed into a blowout, resulting in EON taking the game with 6 machines remaining. In their second game the 228th performed better, maneuvering EON into an ambush themselves on Tourmaline Desert by sending a fast group of Assassins and Arctic Cheetahs to bait EON into the open and picking them apart piecemeal.

Black Watch vs EON -

via piranhagames on Twitch

The third game was a brutal display of skill with EON eventually having three heavily damaged ‘Mechs to Black Watch’s two. It was a nail-biting several minutes as Black Watch went for a resource capture win, eventually emerging victorious with 750 points to 734. Black Watch won the match 2 games to 1 and moved on to face the winner of the Osiriz versus EmpyreaL match.

EmpyreaL had a fairly lackluster first showing against Phoenix Legion last week, coming out the winner but not showing their normal crushing display of power. That all changed when they fought Osiriz on Saturday. EmpyreaL took no prisoners, demolishing Osiriz in both games. Of particular note was an EmpyreaL Huntsman loaded with Streak Missiles that managed to use them to great effect against the Osiriz Wolfhounds. After eliminating their light ‘Mechs in both games, EmpyreaL then was able to outmaneuver and outshoot Osiriz, taking both games without losing a single pilot.

If there was any doubt last weekend as to EmpyreaL’s chances in this tournament it was silenced with this match. EmpyreaL was back, and they are terrifying.

JGx vs RJFS

via piranhagames on Twitch

Our next match saw Russian Jade Falcon Spikes against the First Jaguar Guards. RJFS continued their winning streak in the tournament, controlling both games against the First Jaguar Guards without breaking a sweat. RJFS crushed the First Jaguars in two games, eliminating them from the tournament.

Next up was the Steel Jaguars versus 228th The Wild Ones in a series of close games that showcased both team’s finesse as Mechwarriors. The first game was notable for having a series of airstrikes that totally changed the balance of power, first with a blind SJR strike eliminating a Wild Ones ‘Mech, and then with both teams launching strikes into a melee that saw each team lose pilots. When the dust settled it was down to a 5v5, with the Wild Ones just managing to come ahead in the ensuing firefight.

Wild Ones vs SJR

via piranhagames on Twitch

However, The Wild Ones would drop a heartbreaking second game. After controlling four out of five resource points for much of the game, SJR engaged in a series of firefights that would eventually leave all but one Wild Ones light ‘Mech left and only a few seconds before achieving a resource victory. But SJR managed to catch him in time and secure the win for their second game. By the third game The Wild Ones seemed to lose steam, swinging right into a firing line of SJR ‘Mechs only to be completely annihilated. The Wild Ones head home after their second loss, and SJR proceed to the next round.

The next match brought EmpyreaL and 228th Black Watch together in a clash of titans that could be a preview of the finals to take place in December. The first game began as a gentlemanly exchange of long-range fire until EmpyreaL pounced on a pair of Black Watch Hunchback IICs, quickly eliminating them and an Arctic Cheetah that came to assist. With three ‘Mechs down EmpyreaL was easily able to wipe out the remaining Black Watch machines with little effort.

Empyreal vs 228

via piranhagames on Twitch

EmpyreaL then showed their ability to brawl in the second game, converging on a Black Watch lance in the middle of Tourmaline and coming out way ahead in the close quarters combat, taking the game without a single loss. Once again EmpyreaL shows their incredible talent against one of the best teams in the world, sweeping Black Watch in two brief games.

The Steel Jaguars were hoping to keep their tournament dreams alive as their next game brought them against the European regional champions, EON Synergy. In their first game it seemed like luck was on their side as after losing a series of long-range trades SJR managed to eliminate an EON Hunchback IIC, giving them the early lead. But EON responded in kind by eliminating an SJR Hunchback with their roaming Wolfhounds. Several good critical hits then put EON Synergy ahead, who were able to then eliminate the SJR side with only a few losses of their own.

SJR vs Eon Synergy

via piranhagames on Twitch

In their second game SJR seemed to push very strongly at the beginning but EON saw the power play and pulled back before they could receive any strong hits. From there SJR seemed to go for a resource capture strategy but then again pushed hard right into the EON Synergy lines. However, this time EON was well prepared and met the SJR push with a withering fusillade that took out the entire opposing force. With their second loss SJR was eliminated from the tournament.

Unfortunately the Osiriz versus RJFS match was played at the same time as EON Synergy versus SJR, so I wasn’t able to view both matches. However, I was able to watch a replay, and the first game was a very steady progression of long-range fire turning to short range brawling, with both sides losing armor by the ton. Finally one Osiriz light ‘Mech snuck into the RJFS lines and began to take down machines left and right, leading to Osiriz taking the game.

Osiriz vs RJFS

via piranhagames on Twitch

The second game went in favor of the Russian Jade Falcons in a horrific brawl that saw both sides take massive losses. The third game on Polar Highlands, a very rare map to see, went in favor of the Russians as they pushed into Osiriz early on with the Osiriz warriors responding sluggishly, losing machines along the way. The remaining Osiriz Summoner succeeded in robbing RJFS of their final kill by running out of bounds committing the Mechwarrior Online equivalent of seppuku.

Ultimately Osiriz were sent home after a series of tough games leading to Eon Synergy and RJFS meeting for the second time in the tournament. Eon Synergy took their first meeting, but the Russian Jade Falcons put up a hell of a fight. Will they manage to defeat their rivals in the second match up?

Airstrikes and long range fire defined the first few minutes of their first game, with EON Synergy coming ahead and eventually savaging two RJFS lights. As has been shown so many times in the tournament the loss of your light ‘Mechs early on can be disastrous as it allows your opponent to outmaneuver you while denying any ability to respond.

EON Synergy vs RJFS

via piranhagames on Twitch

EON took the first game easily, but the second game wouldn’t be so simple. RJFS changed tactics, bringing an aggressive lance of Linebackers and Executioners to quickly ram into EON and force a firefight. At first it seemed to work, getting four quick kills for only two losses of their own, but the tide then turned in favor of EON Synergy as the armor of the RJFS machines began to fail. With the final RJFS ‘Mech falling they were eliminated from the tournament losing once again to EON Synergy.

With the elimination of RJFS, we have our remaining three teams to meet in Vancouver at the World Finals: EON Synergy, 228th Black Watch, and EmpyreaL. Two of these teams are veteran World Finals contenders, while Black Watch are making their first appearance on the world stage. But will either team have the strength to overcome EmpyreaL, who seems to have once again become the unstoppable juggernaut they were in the previous tournament?

Top 3 teams

Find out at the Mechwarrior Online World Championships this December 9th in beautiful downtown Vancouver Canada, where your very own Sarna reporter will tweet you the live play-by-play.

 

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 Is At It Again…

Yup. You read that right. Harmony Gold is at it again with another round of lawsuits aimed at BattleTech IP.

The story broke a few days ago (thanks to user Clanfighter for the comment tip!), and the Harebrained Schemes (HBS) and MechWarrior Online forums are ablaze. There’s a lot of vitriol being spewed (rightly) against Harmony Gold for being litigious parasites and trying to cash in on BattleTech‘s and MechWarrior Online’s success, and while that’s certainly true, there’s a little more to it than that.

First, let’s take a look at the actual lawsuit itself. Court documents filed last March by the law firm Calfo Eakes & Ostrovsky PLLC reveal that Harmony Gold is suing both Harebrained Schemes and PGI for copyright infringement on their Robotech imagery, which so far sounds just like what happened with the Unseen saga. That ended with Catalyst Game Labs releasing new artwork for the unseen ‘Mechs, and we all thought everything was done for good.

Harmony Gold apparently felt differently. The new suit names PGI as the primary defendants, saying the current models used for the Rifleman, Archer, Warhammer, Marauder and Phoenix Hawk are similar enough to the original Robotech images that they infringe the copyright. It also names HBS as another defendant saying that their use of the Atlas, Locust, and Shadowhawk are too similar to their property to be used in the upcoming BattleTech game.

Marauder PHawk

via unitedstatescourts.org

I took out some of the images filed in the court documents so we can take a look. For the complaint against PGI, you can maybe make an argument they’re similar but so similar they infringe? That’s harder to say. I’m no lawyer, but I do know that courts often look to specifics rather than general shapes when determining these kinds of cases, and you can easily spot dozens of differences between the two designs being compared.

Warhammer Archer

via unitedstatescourts.org

Rifleman

via unitedstatescourts.org

The pictures being used against HBS look even less alike. In fact, the whole argument seems spurious at best. An Atlas looks like a Crusader? A Shadowhawk looks like an Archer? A Locust looks like a Marauder? These ‘Mechs don’t even share the same silhouette, let alone any specific details. It’s like Harmony Gold is trying to say that nobody else can have giant robots since they have a passing resemblance to their giant robots.

Atlas Shadowhawk

via unitedstatescourts.org

Locust

via unitedstatescourts.org

The case against HBS is sure to be tossed as soon as it goes before a judge. The case for PGI might linger on, but I’m fairly confident that PGI has prepared for this day and has numerous counter arguments to keep their game safe.

The case against HBS is sure to be tossed as soon as it goes before a judge.

There were a few more interesting tidbits to be gleaned from the court docs. Apparently, PGI had been in contact with Harmony Gold in 2013 when they were planning on releasing the Warhammer and Marauder ‘Mechs in MechWarrior Online. Both times Harmony Gold said the submitted designs were too similar and infringed on their copyright. We don’t know what those earlier designs might have looked like, but you can see from the images above that the current models for the Warhammer and Marauder are very different from the original Robotech designs.

Also mentioned in the suit is how Harmony Gold “discovered” the infringing materials. Evidently, it was an old news post by Catalyst Game Labs on their partnership with PGI in creating some “lore vignettes” in 2016. The blog post featured a schematic image of the Warhammer, which was released in MechWarrior Online in January 2016. Both the Marauder and the Marauder IIC were released later in 2016.

Warhammer

via unitedstatescourts.org

It says something about how confident PGI is in their position that they still released both the Marauder and Warhammer despite having the court documents filed just before their release in MWO.

So why is Harmony Gold pursuing this case when they seem to have a very good chance of losing? Well, they could be hoping for a quick settlement with both PGI and HBS, however, given the strength of their defense, I doubt either would be inclined to let Harmony Gold win this time.

On the other hand, Harmony Gold has a very good reason to pursue this case as aggressively as they can. The Robotech live action movie is going full steam ahead, and there are probably plans to have both game and action figure tie-ins with the movie. Nevermind the fact the movie has no script, no cast, and has just recently changed directors to the same guy that did Stephen King’s It adaptation.

Harmony Gold could also be using this case as a means of testing the legal waters for a future lawsuit against MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.

Harmony Gold could also be using this case as a means of testing the legal waters for a future lawsuit against MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. We know that PGI’s upcoming single-player game will feature some of the Unseen designs, and if it’s as financially successful as it’s expected to be (and if the Robotech movie doesn’t crash and burn like every other live-action anime movie) then Harmony Gold could stand to make a bundle.

One thing for certain is that neither PGI nor HBS is likely to comment on the case anytime soon as the trial is set for September of 2018. Here’s hoping they lose, and badly.

New Tech in MechWarrior Online!

The latest patch for MechWarrior Online drops today, and while most patches are the usual crowd of minor tweaks and balance changes, today’s patch is a massive event that propels MWO into a new era in BattleTech.

Welcome to Civil War.

Or more accurately, welcome to the 3060s, where Inner Sphere technology finally catches up (kinda) with their Clan counterparts. Added to the game are all the best weaponry that BattleTech has ever had, including Rotary ACs, Heavy Gauss Rifles, and single shot Rocket Launchers. The Clans aren’t left out in this update either, as they receive Heavy Lasers, Advanced Tactical Missiles, and Micro Lasers.

More on the fancy new guns later. First, let’s dive into the patch notes and go over the latest event that brings us into the Civil War era.

Operation Bulldog… sort of

Operation Bulldog

courtesy of mwomercs.com

We begin with the latest addition to Faction Play, which despite the name of the patch being Civil War actually brings us back to the Invasion Era of 3057.

Called simply Season 1, the goal of the event is just like Operation Bulldog: the Inner Sphere factions have all come together to annihilate one of the clans. In gameplay terms, this means that if any Inner Sphere faction can take and hold a Clan Homeworld (Bearclaw, Strana Mechty, Huntress, or Ironhold), then the event ends and the Spheroids can claim victory.

Unlike the actual BattleTech lore, the Clans aren’t bound by the Tukayyid truce (or maybe they just ignore it – hard to say). For a Clan victory, they must reach and conquer any three Inner Sphere Capitals (Luthien, Tharkad, New Avalon, Sian, or Atreus). If they manage to do what no Clan has ever done, then victory for the Clans is declared and the event ends.

Operation Bulldog

via imgur

To conquer a Homeworld or Capital is no easy task. Either side must completely encircle the planet on the star map in order for the invasion to commence. Once it does, that capital/homeworld will become the sole point of contention for the entire Inner Sphere or Clan; everyone will pile in to either attack or defend the planet. If the defense is successful, then that planet cannot be targeted for invasion for the rest of the season.

Naturally, this event is weighted to give the Inner Sphere a bit of an advantage, as they’re both lacking in numbers as well as technology (even with the new gear that’s been released). But since both sides could certainly lose in their attempts to conquer a capital, it’s entirely possible that the season will end in a draw.

Lastly, the event also sees the addition of two new Clans: the Steel Vipers and Nova Cats. Just like in the lore, the Nova Cats fight within the Smoke Jaguar territory, and the Steel Vipers fight within the Jade Falcon territory. However, neither of the new factions have territories of their own, and any votes in war planning are done for their parent faction.

New Inner Sphere Tech

Rotary AC/5

via mwomercs.com user Sparks Murphey

Alright, alright, let’s talk about the new tech. And oh boy, there’s a lot of it.

Starting with the Inner Sphere, we’ve got a bevy of new ballistic weapons to choose from. There’s new Light and Heavy Machine Guns, Light and Heavy Gauss Rifles, LB 2, 5 and 20-X Autocannons, Ultra AC/2, 10, and 20 Autocannons, and my personal favorites, the Rotary AC/2 and AC/5.

Each of the LB and Ultra Autocannons performs about as you’d expect from firing the LB 10-X or the Ultra AC/5 (which already existed from the Clan Invasion Era) but have damage and range numbers in line with lore (if not exactly for balance purposes). The Light and Heavy Machine Guns and Gauss Rifles work the same way, with the Heavy Gauss having received some additional recoil and crosshair dancing (similar to shooting while jumping).

Rotary ACs are a brand new beast that streams out hot lead like a bullet hose. While the animation may seem satisfying, there remains some skepticism if the new Autocannon will outperform existing ballistics in terms of DPS given how often they jam and how hot they run.

  Light PPC

For energy weapons, the Inner Sphere gets the remaining ER Lasers, and the brand new Light PPC, Snub-Nose PPC, and Heavy PPC. Each of these weapons performs similarly to their existing counterparts, but with range limits (and in the case of the Snubby, range penalties to damage) one would expect from lore.

In missile land the Inner Sphere gets a bonanza, with Streak Missiles being rounded out and also with the addition of MRMs and Rocket Launchers. These last two, in particular, are proving to be devastating weapon systems in the hands of an experienced pilot who’s used to boating up dumb-fire SRMs.  

Perhaps most exciting for the Inner Sphere is the addition of new equipment. Stealth Armor, Light Ferro-Fibrous, and Light Fusion Engines will provide Inner Sphere ‘Mechs will additional toughness or sneakiness as required, and Laser AMS and Targeting Computers give Spheroids the same equipment as Clans have had for some time.

The Clans Get Something Too

  Heavy Laser

The Clans receive less gear, but what they do receive is pretty exciting. The Light and Heavy Machine Guns make their appearance again, but it’s the energy weaponry that gets most expanded. Micro ER and Pulse Lasers, and Heavy Lasers expand the Clan arsenal with never-before-seen firepower. Micro Lasers, in particular, seem a brutal addition to clan Novas which are able to potentially mount 12 of the tiny, fast firing lasers.

The Clans also receive ATMs, or Advanced Tactical Missiles, which deal more damage at close range and less damage at long range. As a cost for their flexibility, they fire fewer missiles per ton than either the Steak or regular LRMs. Rounding out the Clan arsenal are Light Active Probes, which provide fewer benefits than regular Active Probes but weigh less, Laser AMS, which provide ammo-less missile defenses at the cost of heat, and Light TAG, which is a shorter range but lighter regular TAG.

New ‘Mechs On The Way

Uziel

via mwomercs.com user Alopex

Along with new guns comes a lance of new ‘Mechs to add to your hangars. The Uziel, Cougar, Annihilator, and Mad Cat MK II are all scheduled to release later in 2017 or in early 2018, with the Uziel showing up first and Mad Cat MK II appearing last. Pre-orders are available now for these new ‘Mechs on the Civil War MWO page.

The patch also comes with an assortment of balance tweaks and bug fixes, all of which you can pour over on the MWO patch page here.

It’s an exciting new era for MechWarrior Online, so strap on your Neurohelmets and get in on the action!