MechWarrior Online World Championship Tournament Announced With Stock ‘Mech Restriction

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

The MechWarrior Online World Championship tournament has just been announced with a surprise twist.

Stock ‘Mechs. That’s right: rather than taking out the highly customized, tuned, and optimal loadouts that all these pro-MechWarriors are used to, they’ll be confined to using the as-stock weapons, ammo, and armor that you can find on any of the old TRO’s.

PGI announced their latest iteration of the MechWarrior Online World Championship tournament on Twitter, with CEO Russ Bullock writing that the team “wanted to do something different” when it came to this year’s competition. That difference evidently being to lock everyone into using the configuration that most ‘Mechs came in as they were originally purchased.

I say “most” since that’s not the only restriction. The tournament has been limited to Inner Sphere-only technology circa 3039, with PGI providing a list of eligible ‘Mechs and variants on their MWOWC rules page.

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

Teams are comprised of 8 players, just as last year, with no team being able to field more than three ‘Mechs in any given weight class. Also, no duplicate chassis are allowed, so if someone takes a Wolfhound then nobody else on that team will be able to. Quirks, skill points, and consumables will all be as normal.

The stock-class restriction was quick to draw both criticism and praise from the MechWarrior Online community. Many professional players lamented the fact that stock-class ‘Mechs are perhaps even less balanced than the current metagame present at the highest levels of competitive play. Most competitive builds are mission-focused to bring down opposing ‘Mechs, but stock builds are made for the larger BattleTech lore, which often pits ‘Mechs against other opponents such as infantry, tanks, and AeroSpace Fighters. Those sub-optimal chassis are likely to be overlooked entirely as competitive teams scramble to find the best anti-’Mech chassis available.

However, stock-class tournaments aren’t entirely new to MechWarrior Online, with many beer-league teams playing in such casual tournaments throughout the year. Those MechWarriors may be encouraged to give the competitive scene a try with these new rules and restrictions.

But while the unrestricted MWO strives for balance among all ‘Mechs (with varying levels of success), stock ‘Mechs were never designed to be equal. There will be clear winners and losers in the list that PGI has provided. For example, I think it highly unlikely that the stock Locust will see any amount of play. The stock version has virtually no armor, and without the benefit of 3050s-era weight-saving technology to give it a larger engine, it runs too slow to dodge any shots.

There’s also some clear winners on the list. The Wolfhound was already a favorite among pro-players, and the stock loadout of four Medium Lasers and one Large Laser is essentially a viable laser-vomit build even unmodified. It will certainly be much slower than we’re used to seeing on the competitive stage, and it will run vastly hotter thanks to single heat sinks, but as a light ‘Mech, it seems like the best of the bunch.

Other laser-vomit builds, such as the Crab, the Grasshopper, and Black Knight are also likely to be popular as they’ll allow for pinpoint damage without needing to worry about ammunition. Another possible ‘Mech to watch out for is the Archer. Without AMS or ECM to provide protection, LRM-boats such as the Archer could spell a quick death for any light ‘Mechs caught out of position, especially since those light ‘Mechs will be moving far slower due to a lack of XL engines.

As for assault ‘Mechs, the King Crab is likely to be popular, but with only two tons of ammunition split between either torso, each powerful AC/20 will only have 7 shots to connect with. Professional players are good, but even the pros might not be able to make 7 shots work in the long run.

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

courtesy of mechwarrior.com

As for why PGI decided to go with stock ‘Mechs, it seems likely to do with the upcoming release of their latest game, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Much like Harebrained’s BattleTech, MW5 is set to take place before the Clan Invasion around the year 3025. By showing off competitive players in ‘Mechs that will likely be found in MW5, PGI turns the tournament into a publicity stunt for their game’s release.

The tournament begins on June 21st, which gives competitive teams a few weeks to look over the approved ‘Mechs and see what might work in an 8v8 competition.

This will surely be a MechWarrior Online World Championship unlike any other. We’re certain to see some new faces and maybe even some new strategies thanks to this restriction.

Or it might turn out to be a boring fight between Wolfhounds, Grasshoppers, and Crabs. We won’t know for sure until later in June.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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7 thoughts on “MechWarrior Online World Championship Tournament Announced With Stock ‘Mech Restriction

  1. Kuma8877

    I’m intertube famous!

    While I understand the mech to mech imbalances of stock (though teams will essentially be balanced by limited selections), I still maintain that as a viewer (not a competitor) this is very exciting. Clearly none of this was done for the sake of diversity on the field, the limited chassis choices make that self evident (which I don’t understand everyone missing that point), it’s solely about finding out who the best is outside of optimum conditions. No one is realistically expecting a beer league group to come in and sweep the WC, but I fully expect there to be some shake up at the upper levels which makes it more exciting as a viewer overall.
    It’s no different from taking someone who races cars in non restricted competition (race what you bring) where the car setup is often more important than the driver (within reason), to placing them where the car is essentially equal to everyone else on the track (stock car, restricted comp or bracket racing) and seeing if their skills now match their prior performance with things being equal other than the pure skill of the pilot or driver.
    Of course, the guy who brings a Honda Fit to the track when the field contains Supercars like Ferrari, Porsche and Lambo’s is going to lose, but what happens when the drivers are all in cars that occupy the same powerband and basic handling level? Who can make the most out of it amongst the elite players? I really want to know the answer to this, and I know I’m not alone.
    I asked this on redditt but it got buried, Would attitudes change, if viewership went up overall for this season (and over it’s course) in comparison to previous seasons?

    Reply
    1. BanditB17

      Would you rather watch 50cc races in Mario Kart over 150cc? This may lack some of the BANG POW that made high PPFLD builds fun to watch. My biggest concern is that every fight becomes an aggressive sustained DPS deck with no real thought on strategy or positioning. Conquest with slow lights will be pretty painful as well.

      Reply
      1. Kuma8877

        Honestly Bandit, it depends on who the drivers are. While slower, the novelty isn’t necessarily in the speed and the pows, but the creativity/skill the teams will have to employ in the moment because that’s all that separates them now from their peers. I know I won’t convince anyone inside of the comp sphere that this is actually exciting, but from outside that sphere (knowing the level of play and learning about some of the players/teams now) it is really exciting to some of us.

        No one participating inside of the Hunger Games thought the challenges added were fun to deal with, but the crowd watching…. the challenges made it more exciting to view.

        Reply
  2. TRAVIS HALVERSON

    Back when I used to play MWO, I would occasionally use stock mechs. I wanted the feel of the mech before I decided what changes needed to be made. Sure, it wasn’t competition level, just a bunch of PUGs, but I did alright. In fact, I left my Shadow Hawk, Wolverine and Cataphract stock. What some of these MWO players easily forget is that going optimum or meta all the time can actually hurt in a longer team based game. Sometimes, a little lrm rain is a good thing, as long as it’s not the only weapon you have. Lasers are good but run hot. ACs are good, but even they run out of ammo if that’s all you use. Having different weapons on your mech for different situations can make you more useful to the team overall. And if you want more specific weapons, find a mech that specializes in what you’re good at.

    Reply
  3. Skigress

    I also run a stock load out when I first run a mech, then modify it as I see fit. I remember when the warhammer was released and I piloted it super aggressively and led a charge headlong into the opposing team. I got right up into an assault mech’s face and they had no idea what to do as I stopped using my ppcs at their minimum range and wailed on him with the mini-guns, mlasers, and Srm 6. The point is a properly piloted stock load out can be quite fun both to watch and pilot. I also love the era chosen as the range bands tend to be shorter than during the ER era.

    Reply
  4. CarcerKango

    I think for the medium bracket, a contender to watch out for might be the Blackjack, especially the BJ-1 with its ability to suppress and disorient with a hail of AC2 fire, with medium lasers to cut up anything that gets close. Could be a favored companion ‘mech to the bigger stuff, since it has similar mobility. And the Blackjack would benefit greatly from having bigger. scarier ‘mechs nearby to take the weight of enemy fire off it so it can keep nibbling away with its cannons…

    Reply

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