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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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!