Category Archives: Miniatures

Your BattleTech News Roundup For September, 2022

It’s September, and thanks to hurricane Fiona, an unusually wet and dismal one. I’ve also recently moved, and that wet and wild weather is making it exceptionally difficult to convince myself that I should fill my new fridge with foodstuffs. If there’s no October news blast, you’ll know I’ve starved.

But at least we’re never starving for BattleTech news here at Sarna. Here’s what I’ve managed to rustle up for September. Hope you’ve brought your appetite because this month is a doozy.

Dall-E Makes MechWarriors

Dall-E BattleTech

Courtesy of Reddit user JoseLunaArts

A lot of you have probably already heard about Dall-E, the artificial intelligence that can take text prompts and turn them into actual pictures. Depending on the prompt they can look more than a little janky, but some prompts have generated some really beautiful images. Take anything from the DnD Dall-E Twitter account and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Dall-E 2 is currently in an invite-only beta, so not everyone will have access to this AI, but Reddit user JoseLunaArts used their access to generate some BattleTech-themed images. And apparently, one of their text prompts was “Sandra Bullock as a MechWarrior,” because that’s the first of nineteen images that Dall-E 2 spat out. There’s also a lot of Milla Jovovich doing her best Natasha Kerensky impression. 

As cool as I think this technology is, it probably won’t have a lot of application in BattleTech--at least, for the time being. Dall-E needs a large database of images to draw from in order to create its pictures, and while there’s a lot of BattleTech art out there, it’s nothing compared to the vast quantity of photos of Sandra Bullock. On top of that, BattleTech‘s ‘Mechs are extremely nuanced, and Dall-E doesn’t do particularly well with fine details. Just look at the picture above to get a sense of the mishmash of machines Dall-E comes up with.

However, there are a lot of concept artists out there concerned that something like Dall-E is going to put them out of work. It’s not hard to see why; if I can just ask Dall-E to generate convincing fantasy pictures for a D&D setting, then I don’t have to pay someone to draw art for my homebrew expansion. Maybe one day it’ll do the same for ‘Mechs. 

In World Where BattleTech Was Sold At Walmart

Detocroix, who knows exactly how to get my attention, created this fan mockup of a BattleMech singles box while I was away on vacation. Apologies for not getting to this until September’s news blast!

You know how a lot of D&D, Star Wars, and various other game minis can come in little single packs? Well, what if Catalyst did the same thing, but for ‘Mechs? And what if those packs also contained other components so that you technically got four ‘Mechs in one plastic package? Sounds like a fun idea, although I know a few plasti-crack heads who would probably go bankrupt if they had to pay for each ‘Mech individually like this. So long as you can still buy box sets in bulk, I’m all for this idea. Bonus points for using Eldon’s Urbex design on the packaging.

This Is Exactly What The MechWarrior 3 Into Looked Like And You Can’t Convince Me Otherwise

Punakettu MechWarrior 3

Courtesy of Punakettu

Speaking of images that Dall-E can’t generate, this image inspired by MechWarrior 3 was recently posted to the BattleTech subreddit by Travis of the Gallery 3025 Patreon (which you should subscribe to). It was done by Punakettu, and it’s definitely how I remember the intro of MechWarrior 3. Nevermind the fact there’s another image of the true  MechWarrior 3 intro in the gallery; that second image is a fake. Punakettu’s pic is just how I remember it. 

Space Port City Biome Mod Now In Beta For MechWarrior 5

Quick MW5 Mod News Update: vonBiomes SpacePortCity! Polishing the new biome & getting things ready!
Watch this video on YouTube.

As far as I know, there’s no new content on the way for MechWarrior 5. At least, not from official sources. The good news is that means there’s plenty of opportunity for modders to expand on the latest MechWarrior title with their own little spin.

One of those modders is vonSeiten, the guy behind the vonBiomes series of mods as well as the vonHUD mod. His latest mod is Space Port City, a massive biome that turns MechWarrior 5‘s procedurally-generated maps into an enormous urban environment filled with glass-covered skyscrapers and towering satellite dishes. According to vonSeiten’s latest video, there are over 90 randomized tiles in Space Port City, which can make procedural generation difficult. That said, things seem to be coming along pretty well, with DropShips coming and going in the background. 

You can request access to the beta test of Space Port City by heading to vonSeiten’s Discord. The beta is expected to run until sometime next month before it goes live on vonSeiten’s mod page.

The Vindicator Is A Fantabulous Beginner ‘Mech

Catalyst announced the new BattleTech Beginner Box Vindicator Edition earlier this month, largely because it contains the new Vindicator miniature. For some reason, Catalyst decided to pair the Vindicator against the Griffin, which doesn’t seem like a particularly fair fight. The Griffin has the mobility advantage while the two are largely matched for armor and firepower. Hopefully, the Vindicator‘s pilot skills equalize things.

The new Beginner Box set includes a simplified 12-page rulebook, eight erasable Record Sheets, four pilot cards, one double-sided map, two plastic minis, and a 24-page novella. You can order the new box set on Catalyst’s site for $24.99.

Shrapnel issue 10 is also out, which I don’t normally consider newsworthy, but I’m making an exception here. First, it’s twice as big as usual, so if you’re looking for good value, this is the issue worth snagging. And also, there’s a certain new mini design on the front cover that happens to be a personal favorite of mine.

Clan Protectorate Heckin’ Protecc

Latest commission from u/Amenton37 finished. Sea Fox and Spirit Cat Protectorate mechs at their mountain stronghold. from battletech

SU-SMD’s latest commission (courtesy of Reddit user Amenton37) is from an era and faction we don’t normally see a lot of. Here we have a Sea Fox Regent alongside a Spirit Cat Protectorate Amarok out on maneuvers at a mountain stronghold. I was devastated to hear that the Nova Cats had been wiped out in the Dark Age, but it warms me to know that at least some of these Clanner hippies have survived to go on spirit quests in the ilClan era.

Natasha Sleeps With An Uzi Confirmed

Eldonious, our lovely resident artist who does the covers of each and every Bad ‘Mechs article, also takes commissions. One of his more recent pieces was for @AdventuringZone over on Twitter. It showcases Natasha Kerensky at two points in her career, first as the commander of the Black Window Company, and second as Khan of Clan Wolf.

I don’t know a whole lot about Clan Wolf ceremonial garb, so I can’t really comment on whether Natasha’s scantily-clad barbarian huntress look is accurate. However, I’m pretty sure that young Natasha is holding an Uzi in her left hand, which is an Israeli submachine gun that’s about as bonkers as most weapons Israel has ever produced. So now I have to look up whether the Uzi survived into the 31st century or if Natasha just had a penchant for antique firearms. 

Introducing Mech Ball. It’s like Football, But Bigger And Only Slightly Less Violent.

Mech Ball

Courtesy of Slartibrtfast

Reddit user Slartibrtfast shared several images of a custom map they’ve described as ‘Mech Ball. The map looks suspiciously like a football field, only scaled up to ‘Mech size and covered in hexagons. Slartibrtfast describes the game as two teams trying of ‘Mechs that each has their own ball and are trying to deposit it at the opponent’s goal. The first to do so wins.

Is ‘Mech Ball limited to just physical combat or are weapons allowed? Are there weight restrictions so a star of Fire Moths can’t just zip to the endzone in two turns? Can you mine your end of the field so that crossing into the goal results in the loss of a leg? I don’t have the answers to these questions. But I do know that Slartibrtfast is debating selling this map on their Etsy store page. Please do message them for additional info, and then tell me what you find out since this could be the next big thing in BattleTech.

GridlockCosplay Destroys Halloween For Every ‘Mech Dad, Ever

Battlemech/Mechwarrior Mk2, Extreme Cosplay Costume
Watch this video on YouTube.

A couple of years ago, some of you might have seen this video rolling around the internet of the world’s best dad. That’s because he’d created a ‘Mech costume where he’d carry around his daughter in a strap-on seat while he played the role of a walking death machine. The suit had a working cockpit door, a rotating radar array, a buzzing Gatling gun, and a yoke that could order daddy to pick up the pace in order to acquire Halloween candy faster. 

Now, Jack “@GridlockCosplay” Thomson is back with his ultimate creation: a fully-functional Catapult cosplay

This thing is incredible. First, it’s got a powered cockpit hatch and motorized torso allowing the Catapult a full 360 degrees of motion (far more than the actual Catapult is capable of). It also has articulated arms allowing the wearer/pilot to aim their payload with deadly precision. The legs aren’t articulated in the same way as the Catapult, but that’d be hard to do when the ‘Mech’s locomotion is entirely human-powered.

According to Thomson himself, this behemoth took two years to create and $1,000 CAD in materials. It even includes multiple two-way cameras so the wearer can actually see where they’re going. This thing is almost as high-tech as a real ‘Mech.

I have yet to ascertain whether or not you can actually put a small child in the cockpit seat. I’ll be sure to report back after I’ve found out. This thing has clearly nuked every other ‘Mech cosplay from orbit, and I’m excited to see what happens when this thing strolls down the street for Halloween.

A Marauder And A Raven Set Forth At Dawn

Dawn Patrol from battletech

1001WingedHussars gives us this painted piece featuring a Marauder and a Raven going on a “Dawn Patrol.” It looks like the Raven has gotten a head start, which is just typical of those little scout ‘Mechs. Always running off and getting into trouble. 

KerenskyCon II Teases New Minis, Vehicles, And A Strategic BattleTech Board Game

KerenskyCon II recently wrapped and we have a lot to discuss. First, hats off to the BattleTech Community Twitter account for throwing a whole bunch of pictures together from various sources to showcase what we missed.

First, there’s a BattleTech strategy game. I see cards, colored plastic minis, and boards with faces likely representing various personalities from the Inner Sphere around the year 3025. I also see a whole bunch of d12s and counters ranging from poker chips to clear plastic cubes. My guess? BattleTech Risk, but better because it’s in the future. 

Moving on, we’ve got alternate mini configurations for the UrbanMech, the ‘Mech that’s quickly becoming BattleTech‘s mascot. Next we got the BattleTech Mercenaries box sets that have already been previewed a few months ago, but I will never get tired of seeing the Nightsky, Gunslinger, Penetrator, and Sagittaire.

Elsewhere we get to see the various ‘Mech packs, such as the Inner sphere Pursuit Lance (comprised of the Cicada, Hermes II, Clint, and Dervish), the Inner Sphere Recon Lance (Firestarter, Spider, Javelin, and what could be a Spector but I’m honestly not sure), and the Inner Sphere Security Lance which consists solely of Scorpions.

I kid. There will probably be three additional ‘Mechs planned for the Security Lance, but they likely haven’t been made/decided yet (really hoping to see the new Assassin in here). Ditto the Inner Sphere Battle Armor Lance. 

Last, there’s something called BattleTech Command, which also looks like a strategic BattleTech board game, only much smaller in scale. I suspect this is going to be a unit-based strategy game, but I’m just speculating here.

All these are coming with the Mercenaries Kickstarter, which is expected to launch any day now. A good thing too as I’m pretty sure I saw a Quickdraw in there, and I needs me my favorite bad ‘Mech.

And that’ll do for September! Join us next time as we discover what fresh hell awaits us in October.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For August, 2022

August has been blissfully warm. Which is nice, since renovations have been a months-long string of disasters that have left me a husk of a man. The situation has convinced that perhaps the best life path for me is to actually quit writing entirely to focus on learning how to build kitchen cabinets and standing showers without having to pay anyone else.

While I contemplate the many wrong life choices that have brought me here, I will at least provide you all with your BattleTech news for August.

Catalyst Cuts Ties With Long-Time Author, Blaine Lee Pardoe

This technically happened at the end of July but it was basically right after we’d already published last month’s roundup. And man, this blew up my timeline along with everyone else’s. 

We’ll start with Catalyst’s statement, which simply stated it had “suspended publishing new works by long-time BattleTech author Blaine Lee Pardoe, primarily due to Mr. Pardoe’s online activities which do not align with Catalyst’s publishing vision.” Those of you who don’t follow Pardoe’s Twitter account might wonder just what those “online activities” might be and how they could be so bad as to cause a rift in a business relationship that had lasted 36 years. 

BlainePardoe

For an explanation, we’ll turn to Blaine Lee Pardoe himself, who published his side of the story in American Greatness, a news site that even its own Twitter account describes as “a hotbed of far-right Trumpist nationalism.” Blaine provides his account of what happened in an article titled “My Publisher Canceled Me in Favor of an Activist Who Threatened My Life,” where he accused Catalyst and BattleTech license holder Fanatic of caving to the demands of a “woke mob” that increasingly saw Pardoe’s political discussions online as… concerning.

I’m not even going to get into the bizarre odyssey of Pardoe’s alleged stalker, mostly because it seems like a he-said she-said that Pardoe plays up to rile his conservative supporters. 

Pardoe then posts an update to his personal blog where he goes into the call he received from Catalyst president Loren Coleman (another longtime author of the BattleTech franchise) as well as an email where executive editor John Helfers called Pardoe’s non-BattleTech work “drivel.” In case you were wondering, that “drivel” was book two of Pardoe’s Blue Dawn series of novels that describe an alternate reality where neoliberals overthrow the American government and replace it with a progressive/socialist one. 

Some of you might think that sounds great, but the blurb really makes it clear that the novel is targeting the kind of conservative audience who confuse “socialism” with “bad.” 

Helfers later apologized for what was apparently an accidental email CC, but it’s clear here that Catalyst had a real problem with Pardoe’s non-BattleTech career. Statements from both Catalyst and Coleman confirmed that this separation has nothing to do with Pardoe’s BattleTech works or novels, many of which remain the universe’s narrative cornerstones

There’s been a ton of community drama, some siding with Pardoe, some with Catalyst, but all of it just highlights how American politics has become so pervasively polarized. And that’s coming from a Canadian, a country which desperately tries to keep its nose out of American politics (barring softwood lumber or electric cars). 

Also, kudos to Insaniac99 on the BattleTech Reddit for providing links to those Facebook blurbs, since I have a general policy of staying away from Facebook as much as possible even without a category four shitstorm raging. 

Tex Talks About The Inner Sphere’s Great Houses

BattleTech 101: The Great Houses of the Inner Sphere
Watch this video on YouTube.

Another quick hit for July that I totally missed because YouTube’s algorithm is garbage. Tex and the Black Pants Legion did a new video describing the major Houses of the Inner Sphere. It’s a much quicker hit that Tex’s usual Tex Talks BattleTech fair, and is a great primer for anyone looking for a relatively quick explanation of the BattleTech universe. There’s also some new art in here too, so I’m even going to encourage BattleTech veterans to check it out. 

MechAssault 2 Mod Adds Wave Survival Mode

MechAssault 2 | Grinder Enhanced 2 (Dev Update) | Last Resort
Watch this video on YouTube.

I’ll admit it, I’ve never played MechAssault 2. But from the looks of this mod (and Wolves, the fan-made MechAssault game) I missed out on something pretty cool. But if you own a copy of MechAssault 2, you don’t have to miss out on what looks like a pretty cool mod.

Grinder Enhanced 2 comes courtesy of EliteAssault over on YouTube. It adds a new survival-based map where you get to take on waves of Word of Blake ‘Mechs using your choice of BattleMech and with the help of a few friends. Things keep getting progressively more difficult, with more enemy ‘Mechs dropping in until finally the player is overwhelmed. The objective is to last as long as possible and rack up as many kills before your reactor goes nova.

Check out EliteAssault’s Discord for directions on where to download the mod.

Catalyst Brings A Massive UrbanMech To Gen Con (And Previews Some New Stuff Too)

GenCon 2022: Catalyst Game Labs Battletech Alpha Strike
Watch this video on YouTube.

Finally getting to true August news, Catalyst was in full force at Gen Con 2022. And to prove it, they even brought a life-size UrbanMech with them. Sadly, it’s not a real UrbanMech, but a mere inflatable copy. Still, this is the closest we’ve come yet to seeing a real-life BattleMech walking around. Or waving its inflatable autocannon at us. 

Inside Gen Con, Catalyst showed off a bunch of new products, starting with the new Alpha Strike Box Set. Inside you’ll find a quick rules book, a bunch of Alpha Strike cards, some pilot cards, and 13 ‘Mechs, several of which have brand-new designs. There’s the Pouncer, a ‘Mech that proves all you need is Clan tech to make a 40-ton chassis workable, and the Wraith, a 55-ton Inner Sphere ‘Mech that proves all you need are pulse lasers and jump jets to take on almost anything. 

There were also copies of Empire Alone on sale, as well as the BattleTech Beginner Box set, a new T-shirt with a Banshee on it, and a selection of BattleTech‘s latest novels including A Question of Survival by Bryan Young and Land of Dreams by Randall N. Bills.

Elsewhere at Gen Con, Catalyst treated to a bunch of teasers for even more new models. Courtesy of the BattleTech Community Twitter account, we got to see teasers for some new sculpts. I spot a Javelin, a Clint, a Dervish, and a Scorpion, as well as Warrior VTOL and what might be the Behemoth tank. I’m sure there’s way more that I’ve missed, so please do share your best Gen Con reveals in the comments below. 

The Urbie Has The Spirit

Besides getting to see his beautiful UrbanMech design immortalized as an inflatable, Bishop Steiner also gave us… this. I’m not exactly sure what denomination this UrbanMech belongs to, but I understand that communication is the key to a successful religion, and it looks like this UrbanMech understands that too.

What If The King Crab Was In MechWarrior 3?

King crab in style of Mechwarrior 3 from mechwarrior

Honestly, this model seems like it could be good enough for MechWarrior 4. Thankfully, we never had to deal with the twin AC/20s hidden inside the King Crab‘s claws in either game, but TedwinK66’s animation does make you wonder. 

BattleMech Plush Prototypes Spotted

Archer Atlas Plushies

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the teaser of those BattleMech plushies, so it’s about time we checked in. And guess what? We got a set of pics for each of the new plushies coming. 

Courtesy of Reddit user Beskaryc117, who grabbed these pics off Twitter, we get to see what we’re in for. In the first image, we have two Archers and an Atlas. And in the second, a Phoenix Hawk. It doesn’t look like the Hatchetman is part of this set, which is a shame, but you can’t expect Catalyst to bring an entire roster of iconic ‘Mechs in a single go.

But a Hatchetman would have been nice. Outside of a Whitworth of course. 

No New ‘Mechs Planed For MechWarrior Online, But Updates Continue

Podcast 229 - Developer Chat - Q3 - 2022 Roadmap - Mechwarrior Online
Watch this video on YouTube.

And now we move on to MechWarrior Online news. And the news for MechWarrior Online is there is no news. Or there’s at least very little news. 

A new interview with No Guts No Galaxy’s Sean Lang and Matt and Daeron at PGI revealed there’s not a whole lot is going on with MechWarrior Online. New mapmaker Francois has left the company and the MWO team doesn’t have the resources to create new ‘Mechs or maps. Hence why the roadmap has been updated to not include any map after the Terra Therma rework which is still scheduled for October, and why there are no new ‘Mechs on the horizon.

Which is a shame, since apparently, the Crusader was both successful financially for PGI and a big hit with fans. The Crusader was one of the few remaining Unseen ‘Mechs that have never really been in a MechWarrior game, and it’s so nice to see that old battlewagon make its virtual debut. 

That’s not to say that things will remain this way forever. Matt and Daeron are still negotiating with the higher-ups at PGI to get the staff they need for new content whenever they become available. It might just take a little while. And we should keep in mind that staff not working on MechWarrior Online means they’re working on something else. Wonder what that might be?

Support for MechWarrior Online continues with balance updates and bug fixes. The Commando and the Cougar are the big winners in this month’s quirk pass, but there was also some fine-tuning performed on some Phoenix Hawk, Warhammer IIC, and Marauder II variants. Light machine guns were buffed, and Snub PPCs--which have dominated the meta ever since their buff in July--have been nerfed with additional heat and heat scaling. Whether that’ll be enough to stop the Snub-pocalypse in MechWarrior Online remains to be seen, but I’m at least confident that the Cauldron is keeping an eye on things and will take even more drastic steps if necessary.

And that’s it for August! Join me next time where I’ll hopefully have moved successfully and it will still be warm enough for me to call it summer in September.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For June, 2022

June is the best month. The start of summer brings the heat, while the month of Pride brings back the festival atmosphere that has been missing from Toronto for the past two years. Not that I’m willing to bake myself in the sun for hours just to watch a bunch of scantily-clad dudes walk down Yonge Street, but it’s still a nice return to normalcy.

Speaking of normalcy, it’s the end of the month, and that means it’s time for your regularly schedule BattleTech update! Let’s get started!

Call To Arms Hits MechWarrior 5 Like A Hatchet

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries DLC 3 Call to Arms Launch Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

We’ll start off with something that you likely already know from our previous reporting, but MechWarrior 5‘s third (and possibly last) DLC is available now. Building on the melee combat added in Legend of the Kestrel Lancers, Call to Arms adds a whole armory’s worth of melee weapons to MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Quickdraws are a lot scarier when they’re comin’ at you with a giant sword instead of an LRM-10.

In addition, Call to Arms adds several new biomes, 23 new “weapon-focused” ‘Mech variants, five new weapon-focused Hero ‘Mechs, and a small quest to retrieve the Hatchetman on behalf of some Lyran rebels. Contract tonnage is also a lot more flexible, and dying will just mean swapping to another MechWarrior in your lance. 

As for what’s coming next, I have no idea and everything is pure speculation at this point. But if this is truly the last MechWarrior 5 expansion, the modders are finally free to go buckwild with this game, and that’s pretty exciting on its own. 

Someone Is Making A BattleTech Player-Finder App

BattleSpots

As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, people are naturally looking to be more social. And what better way to be more social than to find a bunch of like-minded BattleTech fans to play the hit tabletop game? I’ve been seeing a lot of folks posting pictures of all those fancy new minis and complaining about not having anyone to play with, but a new app might soon eliminate that problem.

Reddit user vonseiten posted to the BattleTech subreddit their idea for a BattleTech Player-Finder and Battlereport app. Called “BattleSpots,” the app seems to be powered by another app called Spotteron, which basically just lets you geolocate other people using the app under certain categories. There’s a Discord up for those lookin’ to sign up, provide feedback, or to answer any questions you have with how the whole thing works. 

BattleSpots is available now on Google and iOS. The official site will link you to the Google Play and App Store pages.

Myomer Muscles Inch Closer To Reality

Myomer

We’ve seen a few stories about technological breakthroughs in material science that made Myomer Muscle-like fibers, but this most recent paper published in Nature Nano seems the closest yet to commercial applications. 

Researchers at Texas U. at Austin and Penn State University have created a block copolymer (fiber material) that assembles itself in water, making it easier to create than previous fibers. These fibers are also 75% more efficient than current electrical actuators, and up to 900% tougher too. Best of all, the fibers are recyclable, meaning it’s easy to reverse their water-born assembly to be used in other applications. Apparently, the researchers were initially looking for a new material to make water filtration membranes, but instead they discovered a material that could have massive applications in both robotics and medicine. 

As usual, this is all still in the research stages and hasn’t actually seen any real-world applications. But I’m hopeful for some cool bionics by the time I need my hip replaced. You can read more about these fibers over at the University of Texas’s website.

Aerospace Hangar Bay By Bruce Patnaude

Aerospace Hangar Bay By Bruce Patnaude

We’ve got two pieces from Gallery 3025 to share this month, and both of them are by artist Bruce Patnaude. The first, shown above, depicts a busy hangar bay full of Aerospace pilots undergoing preflight checks. These fighters appear to be Sholagars, but my knowledge of Drac spacers is not particularly extensive. Correct me on this one if I’m wrong. 

If you want to see more, be sure to visit the Gallery 3025 Patreon and sign up for as little as $2 a month. 

DOS Game Club Dives Deep Into MechWarrior 2 In Latest Podcast

mechwarrior_2_cover

Emil from The Art of BattleTech recently guest starred on the DOS Game Club podcast where the subject of the episode was MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat. The game that truly catapulted the series to its legendary status and cemented ‘Mech combat as its own video game genre, DOS Game Club spent just over three hours discussing the development, gameplay, and legacy of MechWarrior 2. It also started with the audio of the intro cinematic, which brings back so many memories even without the visuals. 

I knew quite a bit of the development of MechWarrior 2 from a deep dive into the 1995 classic from a few years ago, some of which was discussed during the podcast, but a lot of it was MechWarrior 2’s overall gameplay and its contribution to gaming history. No spoilers, just listen to the podcast. And of course, check out The Art of BattleTech on Twitter for even more tidbits (and some great art) from your favorite BattleTech games.

More LAMs For The LAM God

Phoenix Hawk LAM commission from battletech

We recently discussed the Phoenix Hawk LAM in a recent Bad ‘Mechs article, although the Phoenix Hawk was probably the best LAM ever produced. It never quite looked as well as it performed, which is why we can thank Reddit user fedOtich for giving the Phoenix Hawk LAM a well-deserved makeover.

Despite the quality of the image, it doesn’t seem to have created any LAM converts, judging by the comments. I’m still of the mind that LAMs should stick with their anime roots, but maybe if they had designs like this one I’d change my mind. 

UrbanMech, UrbanMech, Doing Exactly What An UrbanMech Does

UrbanMech Thumper Gallery 3025

Our second Bruce Patnaude piece showcases the venerable UrbanMech in its natural environment. It occurs to me we still haven’t discussed the severe restrictions placed on the UrbanMech due to its awful performance in several key BattleMech metrics, but I’m sure we’ll get to it eventually. It’s gotta be special for this little trashcan. 

MechWarrior Online Adds The Crusader In Latest Update

MechWarrior Online Crusader

Ever since the Unseen drama ended with the designs returning to BattleTech, fans have asked for the Crusader to be added to MechWarrior Online almost as much as they did the Rifleman, Marauder, and Warhammer. For some reason, those requests were… I don’t want to say “ignored,” but definitely filed for later consideration, which has taken years for those requests to finally be considered. And now, the Crusader is finally in MechWarrior Online.

Added in the latest patch, the Crusader comes in four different variants (the CRD-3R, 5K, 5M, and 7L) as well as the “Crael” Hero variant. All variants get +10 armor to the torso and legs as well as +15 armor for each arm, bringing it to rough parity with other Inner Sphere heavy ‘Mechs in terms of toughness. I’m no ‘Mech guru so I couldn’t tell you what the meta variants will be, but I’m lookin’ at the 3R for that extra top speed. 

June’s update also brings an all-new map to MechWarrior Online. Vitric Station is based on the Vitric Forge Faction Play map, which is a high-tech installation located on a red planet. High ground snipe lines are interrupted by larger structures in the middle along with ramps to bridges that will provide light ‘Mechs with quick access to enemy positions. It looks like teams will spawn on either end of the map and then clash in either the dense urban environment of the upper section or fire across chasms in the lower area. The shimmering blue sun is a nice touch. 

Snub Nose PPCs, Heavy Gauss Rifles, and Light Machine Guns have all been buffed, while ER PPCs have been nerfed. For the rest of the balance changes and the few ‘Mechs that have received slight quirk adjustments, check out the patch notes here

Zeus. Just Zeus.

One more before bed. Here is a Zeus. from battletech

I love the Zeus. It’s not not quite a bad ‘Mech, but having that AC/5 on the 6S model gives it a hint of that bad ‘Mech flavor. But the design just oozes charm, from those massive shoulders to the distinctive cockpit to that iconic arm-mounted missile launcher. There’s a reason why the Zeus is a classic that’s withstood the test of time. 

Here’s a Zeus courtesy of meltdonw14 on the BattleTech subreddit. It gives me the vibe of something you’d see in the middle pages of one of the earlier BattleTech novels back when they still had a few illustrations in them.

Lego Cicada Go Brrrr

Just a personal render this time, for one of the heroes in my Current Battletech (2018) run, so here, enjoy my best Melee/Flank alpha striker. The Cicada :D from battletech

We haven’t heard from the Lego BattleTech fans in a little while, so here’s a Lego Cicada from Shotgunfrenzy. The Cicada is just one of those ‘Mechs that can’t stay down despite being an objectively terrible design. I’m not sure why I haven’t covered it in a Bad ‘Mechs piece, but I’m sure the Cicada‘s day is coming. 

But you can’t deny that the Cicada is a ‘Mech with an unmistakable style. You know when you’re fighting a Cicada that it’s probably just going to run away until it can lull you into a false sense of security and then stab you in the back with it’s two medium lasers. Plus, you can never really tell if the lasers are coming from the arms or the side torsos. A mysterious ‘Mech, the Cicada.

Gaming Jay’s Crescent Hawk’s-Inspired Retro BattleTech Game Is Now Available For Download

Battle Mercs Public Alpha Release Stream – Crescent Hawks Fan Game
Watch this video on YouTube.

Earlier this month, we sat down with Gaming Jay to discuss his personal fan project creating a new version of the classic Crescent Hawk’s games. Called Battle Mercs, the game combines the metagame features of the Crescent Hawk’s games with an updated real-time combat engine that’s been compared favorably to Faster Than Light’s. Gaming Jay had been looking for private alpha testers earlier in the month, but now he’ll be looking to gather more data thanks to Battle Merc’s first public release. 

Head on over to Gaming Jay’s Google Drive to pick up your free public alpha. Keep in mind that this is still an alpha version of Battle Mercs, so it likely won’t be entirely feature complete and there might be a few bugs to contend with. Jay is looking for feedback, so be sure to join the Battle Mercs Discord to discuss the game.

Well-Equipped Mercenaries Choose The Bombardier For All Their Fire Support Needs

Double Trouble from battletech

I mostly wanted to bring attention to this piece by SU-SMD of Reddit user SupriseFormer’s merc company due to the Bombardier in the background. In an era where Archers are literally a dime a dozen, it’s nice to see the Bombardier strut its stuff. There’s also a Valkyrie, a ‘Mech that deserves more credit than it’s given, and a Marauder but for me, it’s the Bombardier the show. 

Yes, This Is A Hammerhead Miniature You Need To Buy 

Hammerhead Model

And just in the nick of time, Catalyst comes in with some great new products for June. The Hammerhead just got its first ever miniature design and that’s something worth celebrating. A 45-ton ‘Mech made by Clan Sea Fox during the Dark Age, the Hammerhead was a workhorse design that was sold far and wide. It’s Hardened Armor made it tougher than any sub-50-ton design ought to be, and its spread of energy weapons and Streak SRMs made it a threat to nearly anything at long range.

All profit from Hammerhead sales are being directed to cover the healthcare costs of one of the owners of Iron Wind Metals who has sadly been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Catalyst has also brought back the Warrior Trilogy in both hardcover and leatherback cover forms, and there’s a new novel from Bryan Young on the horizon. A Question of Survival will focus on Clan Jade Falcon’s efforts to rebuild after their loss on Terra, with the easiest way to replacing dead MechWarriors is to simply take them from a neighboring Clan. Expect A Question of Survival to receive a release date soon.

And that’s it for June! Join us next month for all the BattleTech news that’s fit for human consumption (and some that’s only been rated for dogs and cats).

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For April, 2022

Taxes. I still need to do mine, and that’s why this intro is going to be extremely short. BattleTech news for April, go!

PseudoTech: Arcade Operations Released For April Fools Day

Eldonious is the fantastic artist who does the cover images for the Bad ‘Mechs series, so of course, I’m going to plug his recent work for Catalyst’s 2022 April Fools product, PseudoTech: Arcade Operations. It’s a tongue-in-cheek sourcebook that offers alternative styles of combat in Solaris with a classic arcade flavor. Think power-ups, boss fights, and even a Tetris mode, which is both confusing and concerning. You can pick up the PDF for three bucks over on Catalyst’s website.

Wolves Previews Puma As Part Of Wave 3’s Planned Multiplayer Update

Mechassault Fangame - Wolves Wave 3 Puma Showcase
Watch this video on YouTube.

Wolves, the MechAssault fan game that’s promising to bring MechAssault kicking and screaming into the future, is gearing up for its Wave 3 update. We’ve seen the folks over at New Day Fiction make significant progress on their passion project over the years, and now they’re gearing up for the release of a new wave of ‘Mechs to be added to Wolves’ roster.

One of those ‘Mechs just happens to be the Puma (or Adder, if you’re nasty). New Day Fiction’s Pajama Boy joined texture artist Knightly Doggo to showcase the Puma in a seven-minute video posted to the MechAssaultReborn YouTube channel. Doggo confirmed a few of the features coming to Wolves, including a planned multiplayer mode that will let players browse and join servers hosted by other players. Waves 3 will contain four ‘Mechs, one for each weight class, with the Puma being the light ‘Mech and the Timber Wolf as its heavy. Best of all, that multiplayer mode will arrive with Wave 3’s launch. 

The only bad news here is that there’s no concrete launch date for Wave 3. Wolves is a fan game, so these folks all have day jobs to attend to first. We’ll hopefully get that launch date in the coming weeks. 

MechWarrior Online Dev Blog Reveals Revamped Skill Tree

MechWarrior Online May Features Update
Watch this video on YouTube.

Some time ago, MechWarrior Online introduced its worst feature, the skill tree. Requiring 92 clicks to complete and so confusing that you needed a degree in brain rocket surgery to understand, the skill tree was roundly criticized by the community at the time, and it hasn’t changed much since then. In my experience, what sucks the most about the skill tree is while it can offer substantial buffs to your ‘Mech’s performance, it becomes mandatory to take a fully-skilled ‘Mech onto the field the further up the MechWarrior Online skill rankings you are. Taking an unskilled ‘Mech into a tier-one match feels like taking a recently-be-shat baby into a sumo wrestling match. 

Thankfully, I have some good news. Developer PGI’s recent development vlog has revealed significant changes coming to MWO’s skill tree. The skill tree will become far easier to understand by breaking up trees into related groups, while the number of clicks will be reduced by letting the player just click once to unlock all skills in a node. 

What’s so amazing about this change is that you’ll finally be able to get the skills you want without being forced to pick skills you don’t want. Getting armor nodes won’t require getting skeletal density nodes, and getting the laser durations nodes won’t require getting every single other node in the firepower tree. Everything will have its own itty bitty tree so you’ll finally be able to customize your ‘Mech the way you want it.

With a few exceptions. Seismic is still locked behind at least four targeting nodes, and a fully-powered ECM is locked behind eight sensor nodes. Consumable slot upgrades are also locked behind several other nodes so perhaps MechWarrior Online will become less Airstrike Warrior Online in the near future.

Best of all is that no refunds will be necessary when the new skill tree rolls out and unlocking new skills will be a lot cheaper than before. This might even encourage new players to stick around for more than a few quick play matches. 

Matt Newman also mentions a few other upgrades coming in future patches, including a specific event queue that might arrive alongside the revamped skill tree. Both are tentatively planned for the May 24 update, according to the recently updated 2022 roadmap, so cross your fingers it all goes according to plan. 

In the meantime, there are two new Platinum ‘Mech Packs for both Inner Sphere and the Clans if you like your ‘Mechs looking like flat chrome, a few adjustments to weapon health, and several more ‘Mechs got a quirk pass in April’s patch. These include the Huntsman, Wolverine, Black Lanner, and Archer, alongside some more adjustments to the Rifleman, Hellbringer, and Dire Wolf. You can check ‘em all out in the patch notes here.

Renegade HPG Posts Remaster Of Remastered BattleTech Animated Series

Watch this video on YouTube.

Renegade HPG and The Art of BattleTech did us all a public service by using modern technology to remaster the ’90s BattleTech cartoon last year. Unfortunately, some of the episodes were still of very low quality simply due to the degradation of the source material. However, Renegade HPG has recently sourced better versions of a few of the episodes that weren’t quite up to par in his initial remaster project and he’ll be replacing those episodes over the coming weeks.

All this is to say that BattleTech: The Animated Series is back and better than ever. Check it out over on Renegade HPG’s YouTube channel if you haven’t already. Or if you just wanna binge the whole series again.

MechWarrior 5 Announces Third DLC, “Call To Arms”

Call to Arms Key Art

Last month, we found out that the Hatchetman would make its MechWarrior debut, and that it’d bring its iconic hatchet with it. Now in April, we’re finding out that the third DLC is called Call to Arms, probably because it’s bringing a full suite of melee weapons to MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.

Besides the Hatchetman‘s hatchet, Call to Arms is bringing eight other melee weapons, including Battleaxes, Claymores, Katanas, regular Axes, Trench Blades, Long Swords, Claws, and Maces. For some reason, these weapons are broken down into Assault, Heavy, and Medium categories, and it’s not entirely clear why. This might indicate that only Assault ‘Mechs can wield Battleaxes, or it might just be a handy short-hand for identifying the weight of the weapon itself. I certainly hope light ‘Mechs can still wield melee weapons since the Mjolnir seems to wield a mace just fine at 25 tons.

In addition to the melee weapons themselves, Call to Arms brings 23 new melee-focused ‘Mech variants, five more Hero ‘Mechs that are also wielding melee weapons, and an all-new animated Stormsurge skin. It certainly looks cool, but I don’t BattleMech technicians wasting optic camouflage tech on a paint job, so this skin seems a little out of place. We’ll also get three new biomes in Call to Arms to give players a little more variety in where they engage in giant robot mayhem.

Call to Arms will also launch alongside a free update that adds several new features to the game, including a flexible mission tonnage system that’ll let you take ‘Mechs way over the tonnage limit into missions at the cost of some C-bills. If I recall, there’s already a mod that basically eliminates the weight limit for no penalty, but I can see why it’d be a slightly more interesting game mechanic to sacrifice C-bills for bringing the Steiner Scout Lance on patrol. There are also a few updates to the star map and contracts screens, and a new mechanic that lets you switch to a lancemate’s ‘Mech if yours gets taken down.

And of course, there’s a five-mission questline that’ll take you to the Isle of Skye to capture a brand new Hatchetman. So you’ll at least be able to field the Hatchetman almost immediately upon getting the DLC.

So, when is Call to Arms coming out? That we don’t know. The official site says “coming soon,” so my guess is sometime this summer. After that, I suspect that’ll be a wrap for MechWarrior 5, and then hopefully onto MechWarrior 6. Fingers crossed on a Clan Invasion-themed game.

Don’t Piss Off A Wolverine

A painting of that one time my Wolverine pilot soloed a lance of light mechs and won. from battletech

Could a Wolverine solo a lance of light ‘Mechs and win? The answer to this question is apparently “yes” since that’s what happened to Reddit user 1001WingedHussars. They also immortalized the occasion in this fantastic piece showcasing the hero Wolverine charging a Wasp before blasting it in the back with a Gauss Rifle slug. Thanks for sharing, 1001WingedHussars, if you’re curious, you can get the full story straight from the source here.

Catalyst Announced New ‘Mech Packs And Mercenaries Kickstarter

Hansen's Roughriders

Catalyst just made a slew of announcements, which you can view on the official site here. Easily the biggest is Mercenaries Kickstarter, which will attempt to replicate the success of the Clan Invasion Kickstarter with 50 new plastic minis that range from both before and after the Clan Invasion. Examples include the Firestarter, Griffin IIC, Ostroc, and Kraken, but also several tanks such as the Galleon Light Tank, SRM/LRM Carrier, and Demolisher Heavy Tank. “A variety of mercenary-themed stretch goals will also be included,” Catalyst notes. If this is even half as successful as the Clan Invasion Kickstarter, I suspect we’ll see a bunch of those stretch goals become reality.

KS-Mercenaries

There are also several new ‘Mech Packs coming in autumn that might give us a taste of what’s to come in the Mercenaries Kickstarter. The Eridani Light Horse Hunter Lance includes the Sagittaire, Banshee, Cyclops, and Thunderbolt, while the Hansen’s Roughriders Battle Lance includes an Enforcer, Atlas (which is in a new pose), Hatchetman, and Penetrator. The Northwind Highlanders Command Lance includes a Highlander (of course), a Grasshopper, a Warhammer, and a Gunslinger (although the non-final example box has an Atlas), and the Kell Hounds Striker Lance includes a new Wolfhound, a Nightsky, a Griffin, and a Crusader. Later in 2023, the Gray Death Legion will bring a new variant of the Gargoyle (the C variant, from the looks of it), an all-new Regent, a Shadow Hawk, and a Catapult-K2.

New ‘Mech minis aren’t the half of what Catalyst has announced. In July, the first ilClan-era sourcebook arrives in Empire Alone, alongside two updated Tactical Operations Advanced Rules and Units with full errata. The third quarter of this year brings Technical Readout: Dark Age, which will combine ‘Mechs previously featured in Technical Readout: 3075, Technical Readout: 3085 (and Supplemental), Technical Readout: 3145, Technical Readout: Irregulars, Technical Readout: Prototypes, “and more.” Michael Ciaravella’s new novel, The Damocles Sanction, also comes out third-quarter this year, and Bryan Young’s new novel, A Question of Survival, comes out later this summer. And in the winter months, Dominions Divided tells us what’s going on between the Federated Suns and Draconis Combine, as well as how the Rashlhague Dominion is taking the news of Clan Wolf’s victory on Terra, and finally, a new BattleTech Universe primer will do its best to summarize all the important plot beats of BattleTech between now and the year 3150.

That’s not everything, of course, so check out Catalyst’s news update to get the full rundown of products coming.

Atlantic City To Host Classic BattleTech Tournament

Atlantic City Open

The Everything BattleTech Facebook page recently shared this link to what is being billed as a Classic BattleTech Championship in Atlantic City. The tournament is being hosted by Frontline Gaming Community, is being held at Harrah’s Resort, and will run the weekend of June 10. Sign-ups are available now.

I’m not a huge tabletop guy, but the rules sound pretty standard. No force may exceed a total Battle Value of 6,000, no Aerospace units are allowed, and ‘Mechs can be chosen from the BattleTech Force Packs Record Sheets Wave One, Wave Two, and Wolf’s Dragoons. Elemental battle armor is allowed if you’re going for a combined-arms Clan army. Older miniatures are allowed, but tournament organizers are encouraging at least 80% of fielded forces to use minis currently available from Catalyst and Iron Wind Metals. 3D-printed minis are banned.

Apparently, this tournament isn’t just going to be a free-for-all, and specific mission objectives will be announced in the coming days. This could greatly influence your unit composition, so check those objectives before you get your heart set.

Well, That’s A Lot Of Collateral Damage, But I Guess The Contract Has Been Satisfied…

Contract Complete from battletech

Sneaking this one just under the deadline is Reddit user yi-ngo, who posted this amazing piece to the BattleTech subreddit. It depicts the pained expression of a Davion liason seeing just what sort of mayhem this mercenary lance got up to in the service of the Prince. Or at least, that’s how I imagine it.

Tex Talks BattleTech Talks About The Warhammer

Tex Talks Battletech : The Warhammer
Watch this video on YouTube.

It has been almost a full year since Tex Talks BattleTech brought us the Marauder. Now, Tex is back with the Warhammer, and as always, it was well worth the wait. This is an even longer video than the Marauder, as Tex and the Black Pants Legion seem to have no concept of the term “mission creep.” As in previous videos, Tex starts off with an interesting subject that seemingly has little relation to the Warhammer before bringing things full circle with an insightful and detailed dive into the Warhammer’s history, and also a rundown of the most popular Warhammer variants (although, not all of them, because there are a lot of Warhammer variants). There’s also a crapton of new art from various BattleTech artists, an all-new animation from D.C Bruins featuring Randolph P. Checkers, and a full 20 minutes of goofy bullshit at the end. And yes, drunken Duncan Fisher once again makes an appearance.

There are a lot of great BattleTech fan videos out there, but it’s hard to compare them with the monumental amount of effort that the Black Pants Legion put into this one. Watch it.

And that’s it for April! Join us next time as we dive deep into another Bad ‘Mechs ahead of everything that’s happened in May.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Your BattleTech News Roundup For February, 2022

Hah! Just when you thought that Sarna’s monthly news reports were going to start off a little more cheerily with the waning pandemic, HERE COMES RUSSIA WITH A STEEL CHAIR!

But seriously, this whole Russian invasion of Ukraine is terrifying and I find little (read, no) humor in it. To everyone suffering in Ukraine, I hope this all ends soon with a minimum loss of life. To everyone outside of Ukraine, here’s how you can help.

And now, onto the news. 

Can I Interest You In Life Insurance With Kerensky Mutual? 

Elementals wrecking havoc on you Mercenary unit? Try Battle-Armor insurance! from battletech

We begin with something that just missed the cutoff for the January news blast. I’m all about the BattleTech memes, and this one from Agressive_Loafing is premium dank meme material. All they had to do was add a top hat and a briefcase and suddenly this Elemental is far less of a threat to this Zeus. Although, depending on the deductible, still a potential threat. 

The Savage Wolf Arrives In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Savage Wolf MechWarrior 5

So, remember that time a modder added the Timber Wolf to MechWarrior 5? Well, now we’ve got the Mad Cat Mk IV, better known as the Savage Wolf

Normally, this ‘Mech doesn’t show up in the Inner Sphere until the year 3136, but in this MechWarrior 5 mod, it’ll start appearing in 3058, albeit extremely rarely. Instructions on how to use a save editor to acquire the Savage Wolf immediately are listed at the bottom of the mod page.

According to the mod description by gomgom50, the Savage Wolf requires at least the Heroes of the Inner Sphere expansion and maybe the Legendo of the Kestrel Lancers, too. There’s also a version of the mod that works in conjunction with the YAML Mechlab and YAMC Clan Weapon mods. 

You might note there is a slight difference between the canon Savage Wolf and the version displayed in the mod, specifically where it comes to the placement of the Streak SRM-6s. The rear-facing launchers have been swapped to the front, making this basically the same as the Timber Wolf Alt. Config D. I think gomgom50 has done a decent job of retaining the Savage Wolf’s distinctive looks while modifying the weapons to work in MW5.

This may be the first and only time we see a Republic-era ‘Mech in MechWarrior, so be sure to give this one a try.

Renegade HPG Talks to Former FASA President Sam Lewis

Sam Lewis Talks BattleTech
Watch this video on YouTube.

Renegade HPG has once again proven in a fantastic resource for anyone looking to learn more about BattleTech’s past. This time, Travis has snagged Sam Lewis, BattleTech line developer and later FASA president between the years of 1987 to 1995. Travis went through Sam’s entire career with FASA and especially the formative years of BattleTech’s lore where Sam worked with the authors like Michael Stackpole and Anthony Pryor. He also had a hand in creating the BattleTech Animated Series, which given how much digging Renegade HPG has done on that topic, explains how Sam Lewis came to be on the opposite end of a Zoom call.

It’s a long interview that spans many topics, so be sure to set aside some time. But if you kinda already know Sam’s history and just want a bit of fun, Renegade HPG did a follow-up interview with Sam and DC Bruins where the three of them watched some recent BattleTech fan films. Sam’s delight is infectious and a real treat. Give ‘em both a watch.

Wait A Minute, It’s Not Halloween Yet!

The Black Marauder from OutreachHPG

Tychorion is an artist you should be following on Twitter. A true BattleTech fan, Tychorion shares a lot of great ‘Mech art, and I wanted to showcase one piece that recently popped up on Reddit that made me once again dive into Sarna’s vast data repository.

This is the Black Marauder, a ‘Mech that really oughtta be shared closer to Halloween. As noted in Sarna’s entry, “In some instances the ‘Mech was—always inconclusively—described to move in ways that are impossible for a Marauder (or any ‘Mech), including one tale where it was said to have turned its ‘head’ by bending its long snout just forward of the arm joints and revealed a maw with rows of serrated teeth.” 

What’s even spookier is that the ‘Mech seems to grow stronger when you line its armor with carcasses or how it turns its pilots into bloodthirsty demons. Tales of the Black Marauder started during the Fourth Succession War and extended all the way to the early Republic era. Either way, if you see a grinning Marauder turn without torso twisting, it’s time to run.

Hey Kid, Wanna Buy A Gauss Rifle? 

ArcFlash Labs' GR-1 Anvil Portable Gauss Rifle
Watch this video on YouTube.

Forgotten Weapons, a YouTuber who specializes in reviewing and dissecting firearms from throughout history both modern and ancient, recently decided to showcase something that’s on the bleeding edge of gun science. I present to you, the Arcflash Labs GR-1 Anvil; the world’s first commercially available Gauss Rifle.

Just like in BattleTech, the GR-1 uses a battery to charge a bank of capacitors that power a string of coils that magnetically accelerate a metal slug down and out the barrel. As Forgotten Weapons notes, the GR-1 is wildly impractical, not the least of which because it weighs over 20 pounds, will fry your cell phone if it’s still in your pocket when you pull the trigger and fires a small metal slug at roughly 230 feet per second. To put that into perspective, that’s basically a gun that weighs as much as two bowling balls firing a little metal pellet at about the same speed as a paintball gun. It’s enough to leave a pretty nasty bruise, but it’s not likely to penetrate the skin unless it’s fired at extremely close range. You can actually see the metal slugs drop significantly soon after leaving the barrel during the firing tests. 

Forgotten Weapons notes that the GR-1 is still in a technical alpha stage and isn’t being mass produced just yet, so we can forgive its lackluster performance. Getting one involves printing the parts via a 3D printer and then sourcing all the electrical bits yourself. And also machining the barrel and however many metal slugs you want. 

The GR-1 Anvil is a far cry from the Gauss Rifles of BattleTech which fires nickel-ferrous slugs at hypersonic speeds, but who cares? The technology is here, so you can check off Gauss Rifles from your BattleTech future bingo card.

Catalyst Announces New Wolfhound IIC Mini

Wolfhound IIC Grinner

When Phelan Kell was captured by Clan Wolf, then Khan Ulric ordered his prized Wolfhound be rebuilt from the ground up using Clan technology. This meant a brand-new XL engine, an Endo Steel chassis, Ferro-Fibrous armor, and a brand new weapons complement of one ER Large Laser, three Medium Pulse Lasers, a rear-firing ER Medium Laser, and an ECM Suite. An already capable Inner Sphere design suddenly became a powerhouse able to punch well above its 35 tons. Strangely, Clan Wolf didn’t decide to mass-produce the Wolfhound IIC, but Catalyst Game Labs isn’t making the same mistake.

The Wolfhound IIC is now available on Catalyst’s website for $14.99. Yes, that’s more than you’d typically pay per mini in other boxes, but you do get some extra goodies with the Grinner, including three different pairs of legs and four different arms to let you pose Grinner however you’d like. 

Catalyst expects the Wolfhound IIC to be a popular item, so sales are limited to two per person for the first week. They also promise that the Wolfhound IIC will be reprinted so even if they run out they’ll get more stock in future print runs.

On top of that, Catalyst is also making more Salvage Boxes available, but this time containing all 93 designs seen in the Clan Invasion Kickstarter campaign. These Salvage Boxes are fun little ways to augment your arsenal since you never know what you’re going to get. The new Salvage Boxes are available now at Barnes and Noble and Catalyst’s online storefront and will be available soon at your local game shop.

New BattleTech Plushies Have Leaked

The urbanmech is lonely no longer . . . New plushies leaked from battletech

First we got the UrbanMech, a choice that I will hardly fault Catalyst for because if any of BattleTech‘s many ‘Mechs should be turned into a plushie, it’s the Urbie. But it’s not my favorite ‘Mech by a wide margin, and I’d very much prefer something else instead. Thankfully, I might soon be able to purchase a replacement.

This photo got shared on the BattleTech subreddit. I don’t know where it originally came from (some are saying it was posted on Loren Coleman’s Facebook, but the post is gone now) and I don’t know what context this photo was taken under, but I find it difficult to believe someone would go to the trouble of photoshopping a bunch of fake ‘Mech plushies underneath the one real plushie we know about.

From what I can see, there’s a Phoenix Hawk at the bottom, an Archer on the right, an Atlas on the left beside the Urbie‘s left foot, and some strange blue ‘Mech just behind it that I absolutely cannot identify. It sort of looks like a Hatchetman, but without the right-arm hatchet. I’m sure someone will correct me, as I am also sure someone will alert me when these new ‘Mech plushies are officially announced.

New Hired Steel Episode Is Out Now!

Hired Steel: A Mech Machinima – Episode Two
Watch this video on YouTube.

Eldonious Rex, the superb artist who does the art for Sarna’s Bad ‘Mechs series, recently shared a poster done for the folks making Hired Steel, the equally superb fan-made MechWarrior video series. Hired Steel is probably the highest-quality and most intricate animation I’ve ever seen outside of a video game, so I highly encourage you to watch the latest episode which is now available on YouTube

Let’s Talk About Canopian Cat Girls

https://twitter.com/lewdwildcat144/status/1495494181757796358

So. We need to talk about Canopian Catgirls because I hear them mentioned quite a bit, and I don’t get it. I know that the Magistracy of Canopus has an exceptionally liberal and even wildly hedonistic society, which I can definitely get behind. The Magistracy even has a well-regulated sex industry where everyone is protected so long as there’s consent. Honestly, sounds like a great place compared to the rest of the Inner Sphere.

But Sarna doesn’t have an entry on Canopian Catgirls, and I can’t find anything that even mentions the possibility of ladies of the night with cat ears. My understanding here is that some of the Japanese origins of BattleTech got caught up in certain anime tropes which is how catgirls managed to make their way into the established canon. If anyone can help me sleuth this catgirl stuff out, that’d be swell. 

Something Big Is Coming From The Writer Of Star Wars: Rogue One

You might remember Gary Whitta as the screenwriter who wrote Rogue One, The Book of Eli, The Walking Dead, Star Wars Rebels, and a whole bunch of other stuff. He also hosted Animal Talking when that was a thing, and also created the pervy Wordle spinoff, Lewdle

The point is, the guy is connected in Hollywood, and now he’s teasing something big. Something with mechs.

We should note that the word “‘Mech” wasn’t used anywhere, so it seems whatever giant robot action flick Whitta is teasing won’t be a Hollywood adaptation of our beloved BattleTech. But I’m a fan of giant robots of all sorts and stripes, and I know a lot of you folks are too. I’ll stay tuned to this developing story.

Alright, that’s it for February! I seriously hope we stop living in interesting times very soon, except when it comes to BattleTech of course. Because “interesting” in a world context means “bad,” but in a BattleTech context means “cool.” 

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For January 2022

It’s January. The nights are long, the days are cold, and I’m basically waiting for lockdowns to end. Which to be fair to COVID, probably won’t change my behavior all that much. I tend to hibernate through the winter as much as humanly possible.

But just because I’d prefer to sleep my way through winter doesn’t mean you have to, and neither should you. Not because humans are terrible at hibernating, but because there’s so much BattleTech news to consume! Sarna has the best news in the Inner Sphere to start off your new year. Join me as I take a meandering tour of what’s new for BattleTech in January 2022.

Gotta Dodge Those Gauss Rifles Buddy

Headshot! by u/SU-SMD from battletech

SU-SMD is back with more art, although this time it was posted by commissioner FKDesaster. It pictures a slightly different BattleTech universe where the Goliath Scorpions were an invading Clan that met the Davion Guards on some forlorn Steiner planet. The meeting ends with a Battlemaster getting its head blown off. A great piece all around! 

Place Your Bets In Three-Way Medium ‘Mech Brawl

Hype Poster – ATOW/CBT Solaris Match-up – any predictions? from battletech

Next up we have this Solaris VII poster from mikey39800. A three-way battle pits a Nightsky against a Uziel and a four-legged Bishamon. Honestly, I’d give it to the Nightsky in this threeway, but the Bishamon has a definite mobility advantage. It’ll all depend on how tight these “garden ruins” are.

It sounds like Mikey has a bit of a backstory for these fighters which might give you an idea on where to place your bets.

Hatchetman Mod Makes Melee Combat ‘Mech Available In MechWarrior 5

Hatchetman Nexus Mods

The Hatchetman has been available in Hairbrained’s BATTLETECH for some time, marking the first ax-wielding ‘Mech to appear in anything other than the tabletop and card games. With MechWarrior 5 getting melee combat options with the Kestrel Lancers expansion, there was some expectation that the Hatchetman might find its way into the latest MechWarrior entry. Sadly, that didn’t happen, but thankfully, there are mods.

Courtesy of mod creator KodiakJ, you can now play with the Hatchetman in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. The design here is more based on the re-worked CGL ‘Mech from Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 12 rather than BATTLETECH, but it still looks great. 

The mod adds two variants: the original HCT-3F, which was introduced in 3023, and the HCT-5S, which was introduced in 3049. Unfortunately, the hatchet is mostly decorative in terms of combat, but it does have a custom slashing animation that differs significantly from all the punches being thrown by other ‘Mechs. Trust me, you’re gonna love it. 

Dolgfer Shows His Pandemic Projects

Battletech - Lego - Birth of a Battle Mech - Battlemechs of 2020 + 2021
Watch this video on YouTube.

Dolgfer is someone that I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to thanks to his incredible talents at turning BattleTech into Lego models. He recently recapped his ‘Mech hangar’s additions over the course of the pandemic, showcasing the Longbow, Hollander, Commando, Ryoken, King Crab, and Marauder. He also previewed his next project, the Dragonfly, which will be modified to be more like the MechWarrior Online version and not the torso-less canon version.

If you’ve ever wanted to combine a love for BattleTech and Lego, Dolgfer is a great place to find out how.

MechWarrior Online’s January Patch Brings Another Quirk Pass And New Variants Of Clan ‘Mechs

MWO Jan 2022 Patch Notes

January brings yet another update for MechWarrior Online. We don’t have a new map, but we do have the Predator Booster Pack bringing the Blood Asp-E and the Shadow Cat-D, a few adjustments to weapons, as well the sixth quirk pass for some underloved ‘Mechs. Well, underloved except by me of course. 

The Nova, Linebacker, Black Knight, Battlemaster, and Blood Asp all received new quirks and/or quirk adjustments. Honestly, the quirks on the Nova seem a little underwhelming compared to its immediate competition, the Hunchback IIC, so I hope that The Cauldron gives this chassis another look after obtaining some gameplay data. The Linebacker was also only slightly tweaked, but it’s somewhat more played than the Nova in the current meta so I can understand the caution here.

The Black Knight will be an energy monster with its structure quirks converted to armor and several newly added quirks across all variants. The Battlemaster should also prove to be a beast with the BLR-3M being of particular interest for its extra 7.5% top speed.

There are several other adjustments to ‘Mechs, but you can read about it in the patch notes here. And don’t forget that January’s free ‘Mech is the Hunchback IIC-A, which will be available until February 7 (provided you play the game enough, of course). 

PGI Is Giving Away Their ‘Mech Pods!

MW5 Pods

Oh, and before I forget, MechWarrior Online and MW5 developer PGI is giving away their ‘Mech pods. You might recall these custom-built pods from the Mech_Con‘s of yesteryear. Well, since everyone is working from home, PGI is downsizing its office and needs to find a good home for these old simulator pods.

The bad news is that the Razer-supplied rigs that were powering these pods won’t be coming with them, and neither will the monitors or joysticks. It’s really just the ‘Mech-inspired scaffolding. But hey, if you want your battle station to feel like a giant walking death machine (and you live in the Vancouver area), reach out to PGI to take these pods off their hands.

Renegade HPG Interviews BattleTech Cartoon Producer Kurt Weldon

Making BattleTech The Animated Series | with Producer Kurt Weldon
Watch this video on YouTube.

Renegade HPG is starting the year off right with a new interview featuring Kurt Weldon, a producer who worked on the BattleTech cartoon series. Renegade HPG remastered BattleTech: The Animated Series starting in late 2020 and thanks to his fascination with the ’90s cartoon, we get to hear some truly wild stories about the show’s development. 

This won’t come as too big of a surprise to anyone with knowledge of kids’ toys, but BattleTech: The Animated Series never would have gotten made without a merchandising deal for kids’ toys. However, the show never really hit it off with kids and was instead number one for 16 to 24-year-olds. Sadly, none of those guys are buying children’s toys (usually--I still have a Bushwacker rolling around somewhere), so the show was ultimately canceled. 

Well, that and because of FASA’s tumultuous legal issues.

There’s a lot more in the interview, like how primitive CG was integrated into the cartoon and how sometimes episodes would arrive out of order, requiring some creative editing. I highly recommend you give this interview a listen. 

Microsoft’s Activision Acquisition Brings MechWarrior IP Back Under One Roof

MechWarrior 2, GBL, MW2:Mercs

Microsoft announced on January 18 that it intended to acquire Activision Blizzard for around $70 billion. That easily makes it the biggest purchase in gaming history, ten times larger than when Microsoft purchase Bethesda last year. The deal is expected to require regulatory approval and also the approval of Activision’s shareholders, but if it does, the MechWarrior IP will be entirely controlled by Microsoft.

Right now, Microsoft licenses MechWarrior to PGI to make MechWarrior 5 and MechWarrior Online. Microsoft already owns the rights to MechWarrior 3 & 4, as well as the various MechCommander and MechAssault games, but as The Art of BattleTech notes, anything before January 1999 was still owned by Activision. This includes MechWarrior 1 & 2, Ghost Bear’s Legacy, and MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries.

Activision, being one of the worst companies in America and only interested in re-releasing games that could make them a ton of money, never bothered to make the earliest MechWarrior games available even on retro-oriented platforms like GOG. However, Microsoft has proven to be far more charitable with its older IPs.

I’m not saying that Microsoft is immediately going to remaster the old MechWarrior games and release them on Steam, but the possibility at least exists now. It’s certain that Activision was never going to do anything that wasn’t related to Call of Duty, so now there’s at least a chance.

Who knows? Maybe we really will see MechWarrior 2 remastered. 

This UrbanMech Has Cat Ears And That’s Okay

Hatchy recently shared her personal ride on Twitter, which just so happens to be a customized UM-R60 UrbanMech. But not just any UrbanMech--this is an Urbie with cat ears. I give you, the Cheap-N-Easy.

It’s a bit of a misnomer since the R60 has been upgraded with double heatsinks, Ferro Fibrous armor, and a C3 Command Unit, making it anything but cheap. The autocannon has been replaced by an ER Large Laser, the small laser replaced by a machine gun, and an SRM-2 was placed in the chest. Or what counts as the chest of a walking trash can.

Look, no one’s going to argue that putting a C3 unit in an UrbanMech is a good idea. What’s great about this thing is that it just oozes flavor out of every actuator. The Cheap-N-Easy has a story to go along with those cat ears, and you can read that story by clicking this link. 

3D-Print Some Cool Buildings For Your Next Tabletop Game

Fancy Buildings Kickstarter

3D-printing BattleMechs is no bueno since CGL owns the rights to them and they’d rather you didn’t. But 3D-printing terrain for your next tabletop game is fair play, and Rod Genardini of Melbourne Australia recently kicked off a Kickstarter campaign to bring you an array of cityscape models perfect for your next BattleTech game.

The Kickstarter features 25 files with optional hex skirts for BattleTech. Or if you want to play with these things in different tabletop games, print them without the hex base. I’m not here to tell you what games to play.

These also don’t necessarily need to be for a city campaign. Just use a smattering of these structures for a research facility or a communications array. Maybe even an HPG station. Smaller sheds and bunkers are perfect for military outposts, while skyscrapers make the perfect backdrop to an urban assault.

The campaign got started just a few days ago, so you’ve got plenty of time to figure out what level you’d like to back the project at. Deliveries of digital files are expected in April. Note, you’ll still need a 3D printer to actually turn these files into playing pieces.

Watch Out, Shrapnel—Lady Centrella Has Started A Monthly BattleTech E-Magazine

MM-Cover-1-Jan-2022

Not satisfied with turning MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries and Haribrained’s BATTLETECH into a tabletop campaign sourcebook, Riley Centrella is now after my job with a monthly e-magazine. That’s fine, Lady Centrella--there’s enough BattleTech news for the both of us. 

I kid. To be fair, this e-magazine has way more fan projects and literature than I normally get to in our monthly news blasts, and some pretty sweet fan art too. It’s really Shrapnel that should be concerned. 

You can download the first issue for free by heading over to Lady Centrella’s Patreon. Patrons get first access before the issues will become freely available. 

Wolves Teases Wave 3 ‘Mechs, Including Everyone’s Favorite

Wolves Wave 3 is coming. As a reminder, Wolves is the MechAssault fan-made game that absolutely blows my mind every single time I look at the work being done on it. We recently got to see the Raven, and now we’re getting a good look at the Mad Cat, a 75-ton beast that’s been the posterchild of the BattleTech franchise for decades. 

While Wolves’ version of the venerable Timber Wolf has all the classic lines of the original, you can see a few unique aesthetic choices that give this version a distinctly MechAssault feel. Those rotary cannons in the torso, for example, can easily be machine guns or autocannons depending on what power-up you’ve grabbed. 

If you still haven’t played Wolves, pick up the free download over on its dedicated website and stay tuned for Wave 3’s arrival.

Tamar Rising, First Of The IlClan-Era Sourcebooks, Is Available Now

Oh, almost forgot! The first of the post-IlClan sourcebooks just came out. Tamar Rising explores what happens when the two biggest Clans in the Inner Sphere beat themselves half to death and leave a whole bunch of Steiners to their own devices. Spoiler alert: things get schemy real fast.

Tamar Rising looks specifically at the former Clan Jade Falcon Occupation Zone and the many, many conflicts that arise following the Jade Falcon’s loss on Terra. The Lyrans have had a chance to lick their wounds and are itching for revenge, or maybe just an opportunity to expand their own holdings.

You can get the PDF for $14.99 or the book and PDF combo for $34.99 over at Catalyst’s storefront. There’s also going to be a live YouTube AMA on February 5 at 2 PM ET where you can ask line developer Ray Arrastia questions about the new sourcebook.

And that’s it for January! Join us next month for more giant stompy robot action.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For December, 2021

Well, another year has come and gone. This is where we normally wax nostalgic over the past year and look forward to 2022, but I’ll be honest, 2021 wasn’t all that great and 2022 isn’t shaping up to be much better. With COVID counts where they’re at, we’re certainly getting off on the wrong foot.

But I will offer some hope. Initial reports are calling Omicron slightly less deadly than previous COVID strains, so if the pattern holds with the 1918 flu pandemic, future COVID strains will continue to get milder and milder until it’s basically just another disease. To be clear, influenza still kills plenty of people each year, but it’ll be manageable to the point where things return to some semblance of normal, albeit where vaccines and masks are way more common.

It took two years for the 1918 flu to get to that point, so while 2022 probably won’t be great (certainly not at the beginning), we might see things improve by the end of 2022 and into early 2023. Hopefully.

In the meantime, Sarna will continue to be your one-stop shop for the best BattleTech news. Let’s see what happened in December.

Gingerbread Spider Goes Brrrrrr

The Gingerbread Spider: A Mechwarrior Dubstep Rock Opera
Watch this video on YouTube.

We’ll start off this last news blast of the year with some festive content sent in by a reader. Elfcat presents “The Gingerbread Spider.” It’s sort of like “The Nutcracker,” only the ballet is being performed by a light ‘Mech that was designed to fly. Almost.

I wouldn’t say that SPD-5K is a meta build, but it’s certainly effective as part of a light ‘Mech wolfpack. It’s also great for picking off stragglers that might have had most of their armor stripped from LRMs or taking fire. 

Personally, I think the Mist Lynx-G is the better Heavy Machine Gun platform, but to each their own. 

MechWarrior Online Is Giving Away A Lot Of Stuff Over The Holidays

MechWarrior Online Hellebore Outpost Preview
Watch this video on YouTube.

There’s a DropShip full of MechWarrior Online news to close out the year. First up, a patch was released earlier in the month that added MechWarrior Online‘s first new map in years. Called “Hellbore Outpost,” this map brings unparalleled verticality to an engagement. Cliffs, canyons, and raised platforms mean that fire can come from any angle, with geological formations providing ample cover for an ambush. I’ve only played it a few times, but so far I find it an interesting addition to the usual playlist.

Along with the new map comes the fifth quirk pass, and it hits some of my favorite ‘Mechs. The Quickdraw, JagerMech, Summoner, Firestarter, and Annihilator have all had their quirks adjusted. The Quickdraw in particular is finally viable in today’s meta and I quite enjoy my laserboat QKD-5K. It’s great when a bad ‘Mech turns good.

Single heat sinks also received a buff as part of this update, so certain Inner Sphere assault ‘Mechs will find it more useful to use single heat sinks than doubles.

And keeping with MechWarrior Online tradition, the holiday season brings back the Stocking Stuffer event for another year. The event is simple: play games and unlock rewards based on your match score. The more you get in a match, the more stockings you uncover. Stockings can include C-bills, MC, skill points, experience, premium time, and more. Now is the most rewarding time of the year to play MWO, but be sure to get your games in before Jan 4 when the Stocking Stuffer event ends.

But we saved the best part for last. MechWarrior Online is giving away two free ‘Mechs for everyone who logs in between December 26 and January 4 to play one match. The Mauler MAL-2P and Marauder IIC-A can be yours along with 25 Stocking Stuffers, 6.5 million C-bills, 1,250 MC, and seven days premium time. Oh, and both ‘Mechs come with a 30% C-bill boost too.

There’s also a new ‘Mech pack available with two new versions of the Sun Spider and the Roughneck. Go check ’em out on their website here.

Congrats To The 1st Jaguar Guards For Winning The MechWarrior Online World Championship Series

MWO CS2021 Grand Final - JGx vs 5JDx
Watch this video on YouTube.

The MechWarrior Online competitive scene got a big boost with the game’s renaissance this year, and although there wasn’t quite as much ceremony thanks to COVID and the lack of Mech_Con, the final games were still an exciting display of piloting from the best MechWarriors in the world.

Ultimately, the 1st Jaguar Guards came out on top, defeating the 5th Jaguar Dragoons in the final round. Ghosts of Nox came in third and the appropriately named “here 4 da loot” came in fourth. KDCM V: Trans Rights, the team that was initially told to change their name before PGI backtracked, came in seventh place.

I didn’t get a chance to see every match, but I did catch the final ‘Mech usage statistics and was incredibly surprised to see such a wide variety of chassis used by the world’s top players. Whereas previous years would often see the same ‘Mechs over and over again (I’m lookin’ at you, Hunchback IIC), this year had almost twice as many ‘Mechs make it to the finals.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the Firestarter, which has historically been one of those bad ‘Mechs that nobody really uses. I guess the recent balance passes have really shaken up the meta to the point where the Firestarter actually shines. Guess I’m going to have to give that ‘Mech a try.

The MechWarrior 5 Timber Wolf Mod Is Here

Timberwolf / Mad Cat Classic mod for Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries Trailer #2
Watch this video on YouTube.

Remember that Timber Wolf mod that was mentioned in November’s news roundup? Well, The Art of BattleTech managed to get this beaut out for Christmas

Not only is the outside a highly detailed model that brings the classic Mad Cat look into the latest and greatest MechWarrior game, but it also has a custom cockpit courtesy of Alan Yeoh. Honestly, it looks a lot like a modern fighter pilot cockpit with a few extra screens on the ferro-glass windows. It can seem a little cluttered in first-person view, but that’s why MechWarrior 5 has a third-person camera. There’s also an alternate cockpit with fewer screens but more rearview mirrors. 

As expected, the Timber Wolf is pretty overpowered in comparison to most of MechWarrior 5‘s available chassis. That makes the Timby a great choice for pretty much everything that the game can throw at you. 

You can check out the mod in action here and then head to NexusMods or Steam Workshop to download the mod yourself. 

Also, Here’s A Mad Dog Mod For MechWarrior 5

Mad Dog / Vulture Classic mod for Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries - Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

Not satisfied with just the Timber Wolf, Art is busy making the Mad Dog for MechWarrior 5 too. There should also be a Summoner on the horizon, but there’s no trailer of that delightful 70-tonner yet. Stay tuned. 

More Logistical Woes For Catalyst Orders

Don’t know if this has been shared yet from battletech

This really isn’t limited to Catalyst Games--lots of retailers are warning customers that orders aren’t arriving in a timely fashion this holiday season. Blame covid and the ongoing global logistical snafu, but if you didn’t get your Catalyst order in time for Christmas, you probably won’t get it until January.

On the bright side, the final two installments of the IlClan Recognition Guides have arrived, and since those are digital files, you can just download them now without waiting. 

Santa Nova Cat Is Coming To Town

https://www.reddit.com/r/battletech/comments/rnl9ok/santa_mech_is_here_to_bring_holiday_cheer_to_the/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share

I don’t know where Reddit user h_ahsatan got a beard to fit this Nova Cat, but I’m glad they did. Hopefully, it doesn’t catch fire when this thing lets loose with all those energy weapons. 

Duane Loose Reveals How The Stryker Was Updated Got HBS’s BATTLETECH

It’s no exaggeration to say that Duane Loose practically defined BattleTech‘s visual style for decades. The artist that penned the original drawings that appeared in TRO 3025 recently shared an interesting story on his Twitter account about how he teamed up with Hairbrained Schemes to redesign the Striker missile tank. 

Working with Mike McCain, Loose helped create several redesigned vehicles, including the Striker. Loose also dropped several sketches of the Swiftwind and Demolisher tanks, but the Striker received special attention with a set of eight sketches. You can see how the missile tanks started out with eight wheels before shrinking those down to just six by the time they arrived at the final product. 

Strikers were always the worst in that game, but at least they looked cool.

Duncan Fisher Wishes Us All A Happy Holidays!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM DUNCAN FISHER
Watch this video on YouTube.

The Black Pants Legion, ever patrons of the fine arts, asked George Ledoux to put on his Duncan Fisher persona and wish us all happy holidays. Thanks, Duncan. I think we all needed that this year. 

And that’s it for 2021! I hope you’re all staying safe, staying healthy, and are looking forward to a better year to come.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For November, 2021

I hope y’all had a good Thanksgiving weekend. Being Canadian, I already had my Thanksgiving a month ago, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat a turkey twice. Or rather, two different turkeys. I don’t bury the turkey for a month to ferment and then eat what’s left a month later. That’d be weird.

Anyway, we’ve got a bunch of BattleTech news for you, so let’s get straight to it.

Last-Minute Halloween Video Serves Up A Spooky Hellbringer

HELLBRINGER
Watch this video on YouTube.

I didn’t manage to get this one into the October news blast because Farseer Animation released it on Halloween. Given the spooky themes, it was only appropriate of them to do so, but that meant it missed my deadline by a hair.

So we’ll have a brief throwback to Halloween in today’s news. Farseer has managed to create a believable and chilling campfire tale about a cursed Hellbringer. I won’t ruin the surprise ending, but I will say it’s pretty spooky. 

PGI Dev Says Those Datamined MechWarrior 5 Files Aren’t A Clan Expansion

Another follow-up to our October news about hidden files in MechWarrior 5 that might hint at a Clan Invasion expansion. Chris Lowrey, who worked as narrative director on Legend of the Kestrel Lancers, responded on Twitter to say that the files found are mostly future-proofing for modders who might want to add that sort of content themselves. They’re mostly blank faction files that modders can use to add whatever factions they want, and because PGI put them there to begin with, it makes the odds of a future update breaking those mods entirely a lot lower.

It’s plausible, and also fits with what PGI has been saying all along in that the Clans are not coming to MechWarrior 5. At least, not officially. More on that later.

On the other hand, Lowrey also recently told The First Circuit Podcast that he couldn’t entirely rule out the possibility of a Clan-themed DLC, saying “Nothing is decided on that front.” And so far I haven’t heard of any decisions one way or another. 

Catalyst Releases New BattleTech Companion App For Black Friday Sale With Force Packs Back In Stock

BattleTech Force Packs

Of course, Catalyst is cashing in on the consumerist frenzy that happens from basically now until December 25, but I won’t go into a full breakdown of what’s available because, frankly, it’s a lot. Clan Invasion Force Packs are available if you missed out on the Kickstarter, including ComStar Level IIs, Clan Stars, and a bevy of Inner Sphere Lances, including some that weren’t available the first time around such as the Clan Ad Hoc Star and Inner Sphere Heavy Battle Lance. There’s also a bunch of non-miniature items that are back in stock, so head on over to the Catalyst store to fulfill your intense desire to spend money on BattleTech merch.

But along with all those new toys, Catalyst brings us another. The BattleTech Tactical Companion App is now available for download for iOS and Google Play. The app contains digital record sheets for every ‘Mech in the Beginner Box Set and A Game Of Armored Combat that keeps track of ammo, heat, and armor, a custom MechWarrior creator as well as several pre-set pilot cards, a lance creator, and a full game state phase tracker to keep track of your games.

And if you prefer things on paper, you can always send your ‘Mech sheets to a printer to hold something other than your phone.

More Tiny BattleTech Stores? More Tiny BattleTech Stores

I’m not sure what a chain marketing itself as Solaris VII BBQ & Bar would be offering other than booze and barbecued meats. Do they just have Solaris VII matches playing on the overhead vids? Do they have holo tables where patrons can battle it out in miniature? Do they have simulator pods where they can get as close as they can to a real-life fight? I don’t have the answers, but I’d love to find out.

I had to look up what “Chava” is, and it’s apparently a beverage served on Trell 1. Nobody knows what Chava actually is, but given the name and context of it being drunk by military figures in Decision at Thunder Rift, it’s probably sort of like tea or coffee. I imagine Chava Garden is therefore something like Starbucks, only hopefully less obnoxious with its size names. Why the fuck is a “tall” a small? Truly baffling. 

A Discussion On Why You Should Be Okay With BattleTech’s Spheroid DropShips

I suppose the Union of the two ball-type craft we've talked about would require a joystick
Watch this video on YouTube.

Space travel is hard, atmospheres suck, so an armored re-entry vehicle with tons of weapons makes a lot of sense--at least, once you have a fusion reactor that can pump out the juice to power one. But why are most DropShips basically spherical? 

A good discussion on the subject can be heard from Sacred Cow Shipyards, a dude who’s been discussing the finer points of sci-fi space travel for some time. BattleTech isn’t often a topic over those parts, but recently he did a dive into the Union DropShips and the concept of spherical re-entry vehicles in general. There are a lot of good points raised, so you should listen. Because I listened and I thought they were good points, and you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t trust my opinion at least that much. 

Clever Title About More Pokemon ‘Mechs

Lightning Lance – fourth completed Pokemech Lance. from battletech

I’ve posted a lot of Pokemon ‘Mechs over the few years I’ve been doing this. I don’t think I’ll ever stop. If you want my attention, mash together Pokemon and BattleTech minis. That’ll get you a spot in the Sarna news blast for sure. Here we have an entry from feor1300 who deserves all the praise for turning a Turkina into a Magnezone. Bonus points for the Raichu Imp. I think that Awesome is supposed to be Electivire, but I’m not too sure. It’s mostly just an Awesome with tiger stripes. 

MWO Free ‘Mech, November Patch, And Annual Rewards Program

We’ve got the usual MechWarrior Online stuff, including a free ‘Mech, not-free ‘Mechs, and a patch. 

We’ll start with the free ‘Mech, which is the Ebon Jaguar Alt. Config B. This laser boat used to be a powerful meta choice in MechWarrior Online, and it seems to still be plenty powerful. Win enough games and accrue enough match score and you’ll get one of these 65-ton monsters for free.

Next we have the annual rewards program. If you’ve purchased any amount of ‘Mech Credits in MechWarrior Online over the past year, you get the Urbanmech UM-R80. It’s basically a K9 with ECM, which means it’s the strictly better ‘Mech. If you bought any ‘Mech pack, bundle, new player pack, or more over the past year, you get the Viper Alt. Config F. It’s a machine gun boating medium ‘Mech that can fly and is my personal pick of the litter. The third and final ‘Mech is the Atlas AS7-K3 which you receive if you’ve purchased either the Stryker, Warden, Hunter, or Predator packs. This Atlas also comes with ECM and has jump jets, which is pretty terrifying on a 100-ton ‘Mech. 

If you qualify for any of these ‘Mechs, you should see them injected into your account already. If not and you think you should qualify, contact PGI support.

Last but certainly not least, we got a new patch on Tuesday. This patch is a little smaller than previous ones with fewer changes overall, but it does bring the fourth quirk pass for some of the ‘Mechs that still haven’t been looked at. The Vulcan, Dragon, Cataphract, Hellbringer, and Executioner have all received buffs, some big, some small, and some much-needed. All Dragon variants, for instance, now have armor quirks that match the Grand Dragon that was issued earlier this year. 

Next month will bring a new map and a return of the Stocking Stuffers event, so stay tuned for December stuff. I’ll hopefully have an update out before Christmas this time. 

The Clans Might Not Invade MechWarrior 5, But The Timber Wolf Will

Timberwolf / Mad Cat Classic mod for Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries
Watch this video on YouTube.

The Art of BattleTech reached out to reveal another new mod being made for MechWarrior 5 besides the one that replaces the male protagonist with a female version. It’s something that the Inner Sphere was totally unprepared for and possesses more firepower than even most assault ‘Mechs in MW5

I of course speak of the venerable Mad Cat. Or Timber Wolf, if you’re nasty.

And not just any Mad Cat. This mod is based on the original art by Steve Venters and has been modeled and textured by the “supremely talented” Alan Yeoh. It’s basically the best a Mad Cat has ever looked in a MechWarrior game.

Art tells me that the plan is to have the Mad Cat out by Christmas with the Vulture and Thor arriving in early 2022.

Lady Centrella Has Now Ported MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries To Tabletop

MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries

A little while ago, I interviewed Riley Centrella about her massive project to convert Hairbrained’s BATTLETECH into tabletop rules. Now she’s done it again but this time for the best MechWarrior game of all time, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries. And best of all, you can download the whole thing for free.

This is certainly not a campaign for the faint of heart. It contains 43 Operations spread of a 98-page document. There are 43 maps, a special record sheet for the possibly fictional Commando COM-7X, and 165 Record Sheets for all ‘Mechs, vehicles, aerospace fighters, and battle armor featured in the original game.

You can download the whole thing from Magistrex Centrella’s Patreon. So long as I get to play Deadeye’s lines during the campaign, I’ll be happy.

Robert Thurston, Author of The Jade Phoenix Trilogy, Has Passed Away

We’ve lost a legend this month. Robert D. Thurston, author of the Jade Phoenix Trilogy, I Am Jade Falcon, Freebirth, and Falcon Rising, died on October 20 at the age of 84. A decades-long career that spanned over 40 stories, Thurston provided a unique voice to BattleTech that powered some of its most memorable and defining characters. 

“In his writing and thought, he was interested in exploring alternate worlds,” his family wrote in his obituary. “We hope he is finding some good ones now.”

You can read more about Robert’s life in Catalyst’s tribute here

Personally, I will always remember Thurston’s works as just being unique amongst BattleTech fiction. He brought a nobility and clarity to the Jade Falcons that has yet to be matched by any other author. Robert, you will be missed.

Microsoft Can’t Bring Back MechAssault Because Of Engine Troubles

MechAssault

Xbox recently celebrated its 20th-anniversary event by re-releasing a ton of old Xbox and Xbox 360 games via its backward compatibility program. Although there were quite a few big names on this list of over 70 titles, MechAssault and MechAssault 2 weren’t among them. Worse still, this was Xbox’s last hurrah at updating old games for modern hardware, which means we’re probably never going to see an updated version of MechAssault

Which is a bit strange considering MechAssault was basically one of the original Xbox’s launch titles. You’d think that they’d have a vested interest in preserving their legacy. Well, it turns out they tried, but there were problems with getting MechAssault’s engine to work. 

Answering ArtOfBattleTech, MechAssault game writer and designer Tom Dowd said that early iterations with Xbox Live didn’t play well with the game’s engine, so to get it to work Microprose had to cobble something together that just fell apart when modern Xbox folks tried to make it work on something like the Xbox Series X. Fixing it would involve a lot more than just mere emulation, so Microsoft cut its losses and just gave up on it. 

A shame for MechAssault fans, but don’t fret! There’s a new MechAssault game being made by some very talented individuals that you can play for free

A Lego Catapult You Can Build In Less Time It Takes To Read This Article

Catapult-Lego

Most of the Lego sets that I showcase have been fairly intricate affairs with hundreds, if not thousands of individual pieces. Here we have something that you could probably snap together in less than 20 minutes. And it still looks damn good.

This Catapult diorama comes courtesy of xig_brick, who also posted the instructions too. If you’re not into the Catapult, you can always go for the Marauder, although it’s somewhat larger. And if you don’t have the pieces because you’re a grown-ass adult who doesn’t have a bajillion Lego sets lying around (not me, of course), then you can purchase the pieces individually from Lego. Although the future is fast turning into the cyberpunk dystopia that games like Shadowrun warned us about, at least we have Lego on-demand. 

Unreleased Prototype Turn-Based BattleTech Game Debuts After 23 Years Of Waiting

Last, but not least, we’ve got a special Thanksgiving treat for you. 

MrTalida has just published a prototype build for a canceled turn-based BattleTech PC game that was being worked on by FASA Interactive and spearheaded by Asylum Entertainment way back in 1998. Unlike MechCommander, this would be a more faithful adaptation of the turn-based mechanic of tabletop BattleTech, with little digital ‘Mechs shooting over a hex-grid digital battle map. 

The game was never announced and judging by the Powerpoint presentation I saw, FASA had trouble getting investors to put money into a turn-based PC game. A shame, since then we might’ve had something before Hairbrained’s fabulous BATTLETECH from 2018. 

Over on the archive site is a Milestone 8 build of the game that was created in January 1998. The build comes with a playable scenario, ‘Mech editor, and map editor, but it doesn’t have all the planned ‘Mechs or assets. The final product was supposed to have 120 ‘Mechs, over 40 vehicles and infantry types, and have both multiplayer and a single-player campaign.

Getting this to work will be tricky as it was designed for Windows 98. I’m no expert, but you’ll need to at least start with an emulator and then cross your fingers. Even if you get it to work it’s still a prototype and not a finished game, so don’t expect much. But it is a very interesting look at what might have been. 

And that’s it for November! Join us next month as we go over your favorite Holiday-themed gift ideas. Although by then it’ll probably be way too late to purchase a gift and have it shipped in time for Christmas. Ah well.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For September, 2021

courtesy of PGI

September will be a month to remember. This month, not only did many of us receive our Clan Invasion Kickstarter packages, but we’re also getting a very special present in MechWarrior 5. For the first time in a MechWarrior game, we’re going to be able to play giant rock ’em sock ’em robots.

And yes, I’m aware Hairbrained’s BATTLETECH did melee combat first (and also allowed shoulder charges and mule kicks, too), but there’s something viscerally satisfying about punching a ‘Mech in first-person. It’s going to be so sweet.

As usual, we got a lot to talk about so we’re not going to dwell too much on the arrival of melee combat in a MechWarrior game for the first time, ever. Don’t worry, we’ll pick that thread up later. For now, on to the news!

The MechWarrior Online World Championships Are Back

The MechWarrior Online World Championship Series is back, baby! This was technically announced at the end of August, but we’re pushing this into the September news just due to how amazing it is. 

The last time we saw an officially sanctioned competitive MWO tournament was back in 2019 when PGI held an invitational-style tournament due to falling player numbers. The 2020 tournament never happened, which was unsurprising given how PGI was hard at work on MechWarrior 5 and the pandemic was putting a stop to many game events and tournaments.

But that’s all in the past. The MWO Champion Series returns in 2021 in collaboration with the MWO Comp community, a group of die-hard MechWarriors who kept the competitive spirit alive while MechWarrior Online went through its Cauldron-fueled metamorphosis

The rules seem to be mostly the same as previous championships, with 8v8 games featuring all tech and ‘Mechs available with a maximum of 3 ‘Mechs in each class with no duplicates allowed. A 480-ton maximum is also applied, so there’s no loading up on heavies and assaults allowed.

The competitive queue is already available to all MechWarrior Online players who are part of a competitive team, with the queue open on Thursdays and Saturdays. The competitive queue closes on October 18, and then round one of the double-elimination finals begins on October 30 with the grand finals on December 11. Prizes will be both in-game and real-life cash prizes. 

It’s going to be a very interesting tournament with all the changes that the Cauldron have instituted. New builds, new ‘Mechs, and new strategies will be employed to account for the refreshed maps that have arrived throughout 2021. It’ll also be exciting to see if there are any new faces that have arrived in the competitive scene thanks to MechWarrior Online’s renaissance.

But speakin’ of new maps, a brand new refreshed Caustic map arrived on September 21’s patch, along with another quirk pass. ‘Mechs like the Griffin, Enforcer, Thanatos, Ebon Jaguar, and Rifleman are all getting revamped quirks along with many, many more designs. Check out the patch notes to see if your favorite ‘Mech just got a facelift that’ll bring it into the current MechWarrior Online meta.

See The Timber Wolf In All Its Glorious Variations

SU-SMD recently started on an expedition to draw every version of the Timber Wolf, from Prime to Z, along with unique camo schemes for various Clans employing each design. I like ’em, since you hardly ever see a Timber Wolf other than the Prime variant, with its big, boxy launchers and paired laser pods. I can’t wait till we get to the U alternate configuration for some underwater Mad Cat action [UPDATE: it’s everything I imagined.]

Sarna Unveils A Searchable Map Of The Known Universe

First off, I want to make it clear that I had absolutely nothing to do with this herculean effort. That credit all falls to Sarna Cartographer Gruese, founder and editor-in-chief Nic, as well as the team members of Operation: Doneve. This searchable map will be made available on the main site as well as in the Discord, which you can find here.

This map covers the Inner Sphere and the rest of the known universe right up until the year 3151. Additionally, each planet will have its own centered map which allows you to see which factions owned it during which period. Just click the little arrow over the map to bring yourself forward or backward through BattleTech‘s eras.

You can see the whole map of the Inner Sphere here, and get an example of the planetary-focused maps by looking at Park Place here. It took over 6 years to catalog over 3,000 planets/systems, but the results I’d say are worth it. 

MechWarrior 5 Generated 160,000 Sales For Steam Release

We don’t know how many copies MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries sold when it was first released on the Epic Games Store, but we do know how many it sold on Steam and Xbox. This comes courtesy of a recent financial report from EG7, developer PGI’s new Swedish overlords. An additional 160,000 units were sold when MechWarrior 5 was re-released on Steam and Xbox in May, with 75,000 Heroes of the Inner Sphere DLC purchases on top of that. About 81% of those sales were on Steam, so Xbox/GOG and Epic accounted for the remaining 30,000 in new sales.

That might not sound like a lot compared to all the many million-unit franchises out there, but EG7 considers this a financial success, and that’s all that really matters. EG7 will foot the bill for marketing and publishing, while PGI focuses on making new DLC and adding features to MechWarrior 5--such as the recently-announced Legend of the Kestrel Lancers. We’ll dive into that in just a second, but first… 

MechWarrior 5 VR Mod Goes Into Beta

Virtual reality compatibility was initially touted as one of MechWarrior 5‘s features back in the day, but the complexities of VR proved too much for PGI’s small development team. The feature was cut ahead of the game’s Epic release and there hasn’t been much discussion about it since then. Perhaps VR will get official support in the future, but in the meantime, we have mods.

Specifically, we have VRWarrior from modder Kitt, now available on Nexus Mods. This mod provides support for Oculus, HTC, SteamVR, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets to experience MechWarrior as never before. 

As someone who only recently got their first VR headset, there is nothing that compares to the level of immersion you achieve with VR, and especially for games that put you in some sort of vehicle. Games like Beatsaber and Superhot are fun and all, but when you can only move a few feet in any given direction before you hit an invisible wall, it sort of ruins the experience.

Sitting down in a chair with a headset and a game controller doesn’t have that problem. What VR does is allow you to move your head and look in the direction your head is pointing. This makes you feel like you’re really in the cockpit of a giant death machine, and that’s a feeling that’s difficult to replicate outside of VR. 

However, VRWarrior isn’t perfect. The mod only works when you actually get into a mission, with all the in-between menus and dropship scenes still happening on a flat monitor. It’s also still in very early beta, so expect there to be bugs (many of them are already noted on the Known Issues portion of the mod’s page). But either way you look at it, I’m excited for VR to finally find its way to MechWarrior

Gallery 3025 Brings Us Yet More Great Art

A little while ago, we saw this Archer as a work in progress, but now Jayden Morris has unveiled the finished product on Gallery 3025. It’s pretty amazing, and as always, I encourage you to assist Gallery 3025 by subscribing so they can bring even more precious BattleTech art like this into the world.

MechWarrior 5 Punches Onto PlayStation Along With New Legend Of The Kestrel Lancers DLC

MechWarrior5: Mercenaries - Legend of the Kestrel Lancers Expansion Pack Features.
Watch this video on YouTube.

Big, big news for MechWarrior 5. First, the game is heading to PlayStation. PGI senior community manager Daeron “Bombadil” Katz made the announcement on the official PlayStation blog earlier this month, noting that this will be the first time that a MechWarrior game has come to a Sony-branded console since MechWarrior 2: Arcade Combat Edition for the PlayStation. 

Besides receiving full crossplay with both the PC and Xbox versions, the PlayStation 5 version of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries will include support for the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. It’ll also come alongside a free update that lets players swap control of lancemate ‘Mechs during gameplay--another all-new feature never-before-seen in a MechWarrior game.

There’s also one other new feature coming with the free update. Fans noted in the PlayStation 5 announcement that there were some UI tweaks, and in the weapon’s table there was something labeled “HANDS.” A follow-up tweet from PGI offered a tongue-in-cheek “no comment,” but basically confirmed that the game was getting melee-based combat--a first for any MechWarrior game. 

Fast forward a week and PGI announced the new Legend of the Kestrel Lancers DLC will arrive at the same time as the PlayStation launch of MechWarrior 5. This new DLC brings MechWarrior 5‘s timeline up to the Fourth Succession War, which saw the newly-formed Federated Commonwealth steal away planets from House Kurita, House Marik, but mostly House Liao. This all-new 14-mission campaign will bring “unique mechanics, authored missions, and custom dialogue and cinematics.”

There’s also going to be new ‘Mech skins, 23 new ‘Mech variants (with a lot of Archers, for some reason), three new biomes (Jungle, Tourmaline Desert, and Megacity), five new random mission types (Scorched Earth, Objective Raid, Targeted Kill, Guard Duty, and Battlefield), and seven new quest lines including the new “all-out-war” battle scenario.

Also confirmed with the DLC features trailer was what MechWarriors have been asking for since as far back as I can remember. Melee combat will finally appear in a MechWarrior game.

It seems like it’ll be limited to just punching, which means only ‘Mechs equipped with fists will get the option to play rock ’em sock ’em robots. However, ‘Mechs with fists are the ones that often needed a little extra to feel the most impactful in the game. My Quickdraw suddenly shoots from bottom-tier to top-tier heavy ‘Mech, along with the Commando and Panther.

The mighty Atlas probably didn’t need the help, but I doubt anyone is going to complain. 

We still don’t know exactly how melee will work, but I’ll assume it’ll be like a weapon system that you can bind to a button and then launch a haymaker at anything that’s close enough. 

Lancemate ‘Mech-swapping and melee combat are included in the free update that launches alongside the PlayStation release of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Legend of the Kestrel Lancers will include the new campaign, sidequests, and 23 new ‘Mech variants. Both are launching on September 23. 

Hatamoto-Chi Is The True ‘Mech Of The Samurai

I couldn’t go without featuring SU-SMD’s other BattleTech piece, a commission from Everything BattleTech’s David for a Hatamoto-Chi in full Draconis Combine samurai regalia. This is the sort of thing that reminds you that the Dracs have a lot of very pretty ‘Mechs so long as you can get over the retro-futuristic aesthetic.

BattleTech Is Slowly Being Turned Into Audiobooks

I’m not sure if any of y’all knew this since I didn’t know it until a helpful Sarna reader pointed it out, but BattleTech’s many novels are slowly being converted into audiobooks. You can head on over to Audible to see which books are currently available, such as The Gray Death Legion saga, Wolves on the Border, and A Bonfire of Worlds. I’m a big podcast guy, so audiobooks are a great thing to slip into my usual listening habits. 

The narrators for books already converted are fine, but I’m holding out for Tex’s rendition of Michael Stackpole’s Blood of Kerensky series. Tex made the announcement on the official Black Pants Legion YouTube page, adding he’s under an NDA so he really can’t offer too much in terms of comments. All he told me was that he needed to upgrade his computer hardware just to render the audio of sufficient quality and that he considers himself an “ultimate amateur” in the audiobook biz, so don’t get too excited.

He also wasn’t able to offer me a timeline, so patience is a virtue and all that.

BattleTech Returns To GenCon 2021

Catalyst Game Labs was at Gen Con this past weekend to showcase many of the new miniatures that arrived with the Clan Invasion Kickstarter Wave 2 packages. I got mine, by the way, and the minis are superb. I hope y’all get your packages in the coming weeks. 

To really make these new minis pop, CGL, Arcturus Rising, and Iron Wind Metal set up a diorama featuring a mixed landscape battle bookended by boxes of Clan Invasion ‘Mech Packs. You can even spot a few new Iron Wind sculpts in there, including the Goliath C, Sojourner, and Archer ARC-9W. 

We’ve got Guardian982 on Reddit to thank for these pictures, which also show a brand new official Annihilator hiding behind a building. The Iron Wind Metals ‘Mechs are available on its website now, while that Annihilator comes as part of a brand new Wolf’s Dragoons Assault Star Force Pack available from Barnes and Noble. This is an exclusive item, so you can ONLY get ’em from Barnes and Noble, and it’s a pre-order item too. Shipping for these Wolf’s Dragoons Force Packs starts December 15. Inside you’ll find the aforementioned Annihilator, but also a Rifleman, Archer, Blackjack, and a re-posed Timber Wolf.

And that’s in for September! Join us next month as we head into the spooky season with some more scary announcements.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For July, 2021

It’s raining here where I am right now. A summer thunderstorm, the sort that comes on quickly, blocks out the sun, and then dumps a bucket of water over your head before leaning back into a more sustainable downpour that comes with the occasional far-off thundercrack and enough wind to rattle the branches of trees and bushes. It’s the sort of weather where you wish you could just stop whatever it is you’re doing and just read a book by candlelight.

Mostly because I’m worried one of those lightning bolts will strike my house and fry my laptop.

But that’s just how dedicated I am to ensuring you, dear Sarna reader, get all the BattleTech news that’s fit for human consumption. And trust me, there’s always a heap of BattleTech news to consume, so let’s hop to it. 

What If MechAssault Was A SNES Rail Shooter?

Just as July arrived, so too did these delightful images from MrTalida. They imagine MechAssault, a game we’ve discussed a few times around these parts, but as a SNES rail shooter instead of a 3D action game. Think After Burner, but with ‘Mechs instead of jet fighters.

As a huge fan of these classic arcade games, this set of pics hit me right in the nostalgic feels. But better, since it’s Mechs. It almost makes me wish that we had these MechAssault games instead of the brutally hard BattleTech game we got on the Sega Genesis (called MechWarrior 3050 on the SNES). 

MechAssault 2 Lives On In Garry’s Mod

Speaking of MechAssault, it’s been brought to my attention that a group of modders is trying to recreate MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf as a mod for Garry’s Mod. The current MechAssault 2: Mech Pack public beta provides potential players with access to all 15 chassis (or 33  total ‘Mechs, if you count the palette swaps and the Spider boss), as well as both Elemental and standard Inner Sphere battle armor

This is still a mod for Garry’s Mod, so you’ll need to own Garry’s Mod in order to install the MechAssault 2 pack. It’s also still in beta, although the mod creators are currently looking for others to help them complete the project and maybe recreate all of MechAssault 2 inside Gary’s Mod.

It looks like these guys have already made quite a bit of progress with almost 30,000 downloads. If you’ve got Gary’s Mod and loved MechAssault 2, check out the mod here

MechWarrior: Living Legends 2 Will No Longer Need MechWarrior 5 To Play

Podcast 226 - Living Legends 2 Dev Talk
Watch this video on YouTube.

So remember MechWarrior: Living Legends? The same folks are making a sequel, which was announced last March. At the time they planned on making it using MechWarrior 5, which would have meant you’d need to own MechWarrior 5 to play Living Legends 2, but now the dev team has announced that’s no longer the case.

JPL Studios has announced that MechWarrior: Living Legends 2 will no longer need MechWarrior 5 and will instead be released as a standalone game. Apparently, lack of access to MechWarrior 5‘s source code meant that the changes JPL Studios needed to make for Living Legends to exist as an MW5 mod were just too complex to do without knowing the ins and outs of MW5‘s code. 

This, unfortunately, means that JPL Studios is going to have to make an entirely new game from scratch. Well, almost scratch. It’ll be made in Unreal Engine (same as MechWarrior 5), but JPL will need to make all their assets, animations, and everything else on their own. And because the only way to get this done under Microsoft’s Game Content Usage Rules is to do all this without actually selling the game, MechWarrior: Living Legends 2 will remain totally free. 

It’ll also drop the “MechWarrior ” moniker because it’s copyrighted and just go by Living Legends 2. But we can call it MechWarrior: Living Legends 2 here because that’s basically what it is.

Don’t expect any updates on this project for a while. Scuttlebutt around the Living Legends 2 Discord is that we might see an alpha build later this year, but don’t hold your breath. 

As for the original Living Legends, expect to find new VTOLs in the future along with some “thoroughly reworked” flight models. 

Now This Is A Poster That Could Get Me To Leave My House

I made a poster for my upcoming demo event in Brooklyn this weekend. from battletech

Bauermeister hosted a BattleTech intro event in Brooklyn a few weeks ago, and to get everyone in the mood, they made a poster for the occasion. To say it’s pretty sweet is a bit of an understatement.

Not sure why that Clan Wolf MechWarrior is behind the wheel of what appears to be a very standard Inner Sphere Warhammer, but whatever. Rule of cool and all that.

Wolves Wave 3 Is Taking The Puma (Adder) In A Very Different Direction

I’ve never been a huge fan of the Puma aesthetically speaking. It’s a great little ‘Mech, don’t get me wrong, it just looks sort of like if a Kit Fox found a home that it started carrying around everywhere it went. The Cougar looks a lot cooler, which is likely why you see a lot more of it in various video games including MechAssault.

Wolves, the MechAssault fan game that we’ve been following for a while now, is getting ready for its Wave 3 release of ‘Mechs. And one of those ‘Mechs just so happens to be the Puma.

I’m not going to say that the Wolves version of the Adder improved substantially on the ‘Mech’s hermit crab aesthetic, but I will say it looks exceptionally unique. I’m here for it.  

Now THIS Is A Grasshopper

Reddit user Philbobagginzzz is a hobby enthusiast from Alberta, Canada who loves painting miniatures. Warhammer and BattleTech are both parts of Phil’s repertoire, but we’re going to focus on the BattleTech side in this post.

It’s a Grasshopper. But not just any Grasshopper--it’s a PURPLE Grasshopper. And the base is also the size of your fist, so it’s less of a tabletop mini and more of a figurine. It’s something that I’d be proud to mount on my mantle, and I love Grasshoppers, so it gets a pass in this month’s news dump. 

Alpha Strike Cards Out Now For WarShips, JumpShips, DropShips, And Small Craft

Alpha Strike might not get all that much attention around these parts, but it does something that I think is very important in BattleTech: it makes things simpler. BattleTech is fine for an afternoon of fighting between lances, but blow that up to a company-level engagement and you’ll be playing for a week. Alpha Strike cuts down on the dice rolls and makes it a lot easier to include large-scale engagements in your tabletop nights.

It also makes space combat a lot easier, and now that you can get Alpha Strike cards for WarShips, JumpShips, DropShips, and Small Craft, you can have a massive space fight that won’t take the rest of the year to finish. 

Both Alpha Strike card packages are now available on Catalyst’s store and Drive-Thru RPG for pay-what-you-want. That’s 140 WarShips and JumpShips along with almost 200 DropShips and smaller spacecraft. 

Also, a recent update on the Clan Invasion Wave 2 shipping: Australia and the UK within the next two weeks, mid to late August for the USA and EU, no word on Asia and “the rest of the world.” Here’s hoping Canada is considered part of the USA for the purposes of shipping. 

Crusader. That’s It. That’s The Title.

Samir Dawoud (who goes by SU-SMD on Reddit) is still posting great art online, so I’m gonna keep tellin’ you about it. This one is a CDR-3R Crusader, a classic Unseen design that only just got a visual makeover in Recognition Guide: ilClan Volume 17, which hasn’t been uploaded to Sarna yet. Until it does, this is the best-looking Crusader I’ve ever seen (I’m only up to Volume 14 in my personal reading). 

This particular image will soon be featured on a custom BattleTech card courtesy of Renegade HPG over on Gallery 3025. Speaking of which…

A Reminder That Gallery 3025 Exists And Is Doing Good Things

We’ve talked about Gallery 3025 before, and we’re going to talk about it again right now. Do you want new BattleTech art? Animations? Even more elaborate fan projects that bring the BattleTech universe to life in new ways? Then you should sign up to Gallery 3025. For a very low monthly donation, you can get quick and easy access to brand new BattleTech art and also bask in the satisfaction of knowing you’re one of the noble few keeping BattleTech alive. 

The latest from Gallery 3025 updates us on Jayden’s piece of an Archer as it gets reloaded with LRMs. The Archer is mostly done, and all we’re missing is the actual missiles, plus a VTOL and a bit of AAA. You can bet that when it’s done it’ll likely be the cover image for one of Sarna’s news blasts.

MechWarrior Online’s July Patch Brings More Balance To Weapons And Jump Jets

MechWarrior Online just got its July patch, and this month we get a weapons balance pass and a change to the new Canyon Network map that almost makes MWO feel like a live service game. 

Canyon Network has flooded as of this match! No idea what this means for gameplay (yet), but maybe it’ll mean ‘Mechs that stay low in the floodwaters will get bonus cooling while peeking above the hills will give better sightlines on your opponents. Also, it’s neat for any part of MechWarrior Online to change this rapidly, so kudos to Francois on this map update!

As always, there are too many weapon changes to just list ’em all here, but I’ll give you my quick hits. Pulse Lasers were overperforming for both Clan and Inner Sphere, so the Cauldron has decided to buff regular Large and ER Large Lasers to better compete, along with Light PPCs, Snubbies, and Heavy Large Lasers. Steam SRMs have been tweaked to better improve their striking power, and LB 5-X ACs for the Inner Sphere now take just 4 crits instead of 5. 

Another big change in this patch is to jump jets. Jumping has always felt better in certain ‘Mechs, with usually the lighter end of each class enjoying the best jump performance. The 40-45 tonners in particular made the best jumpers since their jump jets cost only half a ton but provided as much lift as you’d get on a lighter machine. 

The Cauldron’s latest changes help to smooth out jump jet performance disparity so that mounting jets on heavy and assault ‘Mechs isn’t quite so useless. Smaller ‘Mechs will enjoy increased initial thrust, while heavier ‘Mechs will have improved burn time so they can still make those high jumps, they’ll just do it more slowly.

MechWarrior Online is still in the midst of the Beach Party limited-time event where you can snatch a free Atlas if you play enough. There’s also a new Warden ‘Mech Pack coming that reimagines the Timber Wolf and Dire Wolf as old-school 3D renders sort of like how they did with Enhanced Imaging mode enabled in MechWarrior 2. They also come with some fun Elemental bolt-ons so you can bring a point of Elementals into battle (they won’t actually shoot or anything, but they look nice). 

That’s it for July! The rain has stopped here and we’re back to hot, humid, hazy weather--the kind that makes you want to just take out a book and read under a tree. This time without the fire risk.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy