Category Archives: News

Your BattleTech News Roundup For March 2020

Summoner Wolves

Courtesy of Wolves

Welcome to your March news roundup in the wide world of BattleTech! As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, I’m self-isolating at home and scouring the internet for the latest in BattleTech news. Believe it or not, just because the world is shutting down due to a viral outbreak doesn’t mean BattleTech‘s gears stop churning.

Anyway, we’re not going to dwell on all the awful stuff that’s going on since you’ve got lesser news organizations for that. Instead, we’re going to get caught up on what’s happened this March in BattleTech. Let’s get to it!

The Summoner Is Now In Wolves

Wolves, the fan-made MechAssault remake that we previewed a few months ago, now has the Summoner (or Thor, if you’re a Spheroid) as a pilotable ‘Mech. I really like how they redid the Summoner, from the more angular cockpit to the torso-mounted lasers. They even posted a gameplay video of the Summoner in action and it definitely looks like a 70-ton ‘Mech lumbering around.

The team working on Wolves has also got an Atlas under development. Stay tuned for when that will be available in the downloadable alpha, which you can grab here.

Bombadil Leaves No Guts No Galaxy

This actually happened last month, but it definitely bears mentioning. Bombadil announced that he was leaving No Guts No Galaxy and the gaming industry in general to pursue other interests. Everything has now been handed over to Phil, including the Twitch channel, podcast, and Twitter account.

We don’t know what those other interests are, but we definitely wish Bombadil luck in whatever he chooses to pursue.

Clan Invasion Character Site Is Live

At the Star Colonel level of backing and above, Clan Invasion Kickstarter backers were rewarded with having their names added to the official BattleTech canon. This guarantees that their name will appear somewhere in sourcebooks or fiction, although the precise details of that were to be discussed at a later date.

Kickstarter Database

In order to get everyone to provide their info, Catalyst has set up a website where backers can add their personal (or online persona’s) info. I see Tex has already added his “Randolph P. Checkers” character to the database, and there are plenty of other colorful characters for you to peruse there as well even if you haven’t backed at the $300 level.

If you’re a backer, head to the website now to get your name added to the list of soon-to-be canon characters.

Catalyst Delays Clan Invasion Due To COVID-19

Well, this was almost inevitable, but with the coronavirus shutting down businesses all over the world, Catalyst has announced that the Clan Invasion will be further delayed.

Since Catalyst Games is a mostly virtual company, its operations are continuing as per normal. It’s everything else that’s coming to a screeching halt, and there’s not much that can be done about it other than wait it out.

Catalyst Game Labs

Catalyst says the delay will be “several weeks” for production and shipment, and that they’re “exploring alternative options to mitigate delays, including domestic U.S. printing.” We’ll keep everyone up to date on this one.

In the meantime, Catalyst has a 20% off sale on everything in their online store, with an additional 20% off for non-BattleTech, non-Shadowrun products. I’m not sure what those are, but you can head on over to Catalyst’s website to check out the deals.

BATTLETECH Revised Mod Coming Soon

Project XLRP2 gets a new name "Battletech Revised" from Battletechgame

Harebrained Schemes might be done with BATTLETECH, but that doesn’t mean BattleTech fans are done with it. Originally called BATTLETECH XLRP when it was announced two weeks ago (which stands for Extensive Lore and Rebalancing Project), it’s since been given a more descriptive title of BATTLETECH Revised.

According to the earlier Reddit post, a “crack commando team” plans on taking BATTLETECH and rebalancing everything to be less in-line with the tabletop game and more interesting from the strict video game perspective. This means that hardpoints might be changed, damage values will be tweaked, heat will be toned down or turned up (depending on the laser/PPC), and new, non-canon variants of ‘Mechs might be added.

This sounds like a pretty ambitious project and one to keep an eye out for. I can honestly say that certain weapons in BATTLETECH definitely feel underpowered due to adhering too closely to the tabletop rules, so this might be a way of changing things up to make more ‘Mechs and builds viable at higher difficulties.

No news on when BATTLETECH Revised will release, but expect more details “soon.”

Someone Has Finally Figured Out The Actual Damage Numbers In MechWarrior 2

MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat originally released with a manual that pretty much copied the weapon damage values from the tabletop game. However, anyone who actually played the game can tell you that they were utter BS. PPCs and LRMs did WAY more damage than they should, while Small Lasers were like shooting someone with a squirt gun.

Someone has finally gone through each and every weapon in MechWarrior 2 and figured out what the REAL damage values are. Kudos to you, Pixelmusement, for taking the time to go through every weapon and see what’s what.

I thought this was really neat and well worth a look.

Toy Galaxy Takes A Look At BattleTech: The Animated Series

Finally, YouTube channel Toy Galaxy did an interesting dive into BattleTech: The Animated Series. The video specifically looks at the cartoon and the toys that it generated, as well as the rival cartoon from Harmony Gold and the ludicrous legal battle that ensued. It’s an angle on the Harmony Gold thing that rarely gets coverage thanks to the Unseen ‘Mechs, and is again, well worth a look.

One Last Thing: Catalyst Made A BattleTech Coloring Book

Some of you might be bored because of this whole coronavirus thing. Others might have children at home due to school closures. Or maybe you just like pictures of big stompy robots. But for whatever reason, Catalyst has created a BattleTech coloring book.

BattleTech Coloring Book

It’s pay-what-you-want, which of course means “free” in my lexicon, but you do you. The BattleTech Activity Book is 56 pages and contains line art from the upcoming Clan Invasion as well as the previous Inner Sphere BattleTech Box Sets. Currently, you can only print it out in PDF form, but soon there should be a physical copy that you can order. It will likely cost more than $0, though.

That’s it for March! Join us next month for another BattleTech news roundup.

And as always MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For February

It’s been a busy month! There are lots of things happening in the BattleTech world, so instead of bombarding you all with a bunch of smaller updates, I decided to try and make things a little easier to digest. Hence the digest-style post.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it!

BattleTech Clan Invasion Kickstarter Delayed

Timberwolf

Is this really much of a surprise? If you told me that something like 90% of Kickstarters get delayed, I’d believe it. In fact, CNN says that number is around 84% (in 2012, which is a number that likely hasn’t improved in the 8 years since). I don’t think I’ve ever had a Kickstarter ship on the day they said it would at the start of the campaign, and BattleTech Clan Invasion is no different.

In an update delivered to backers a few weeks ago, Catalyst said that issues with the plastic miniature supplier mean that the first wave of shipments won’t go out until May, with the final shipments expected to complete by May 31st. Sucks, but what’re you gonna do? Nature of the beast and all that. 

As Reddit user and Clan Invasion backer Halabis so eloquently put it: “If this one ships 45 days late it will still be the least late out of every Kickstarter I’ve ever backed.”

So far I haven’t heard anything about the Wuhan coronavirus adding more delays, but if the outbreak continues I wouldn’t be surprised. Knock on wood. 

Harebrained Is Done With BattleTech, Now Working On 2 New Projects

In even worse news, Harebrained Schemes has decided that a single season of DLC is all that BATTLETECH deserves. In an announcement broadcast online earlier this week, HBS head honcho Mitch Gitelman revealed that the studio has moved on to new projects.

“I’ve returned to the BattleTech universe many times over the last 25 years and it’s become woven into the fabric of my life,” Gitelman wrote in a follow-up tweet. “My deep appreciation to the community and the amazing teammates I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside. I’m personally honored to be part of its history.”

BattleTech Infograph

This means no more expansions, and no ratcheting forward of the timeline so that we have a Clan Invasion. I know that many of you are extremely disappointed to hear this, but there is at least a tiny silver lining. First, HBS will still throw out one more free update, update 1.9, scheduled for later this month. This will include 16 new ‘Mech variants, 8 new vehicle variants, fast-forwarding travel scenes, and some additional upgrade options for the Argo.

Second, mods are a thing, and the mod community that has sprung up around BATTLETECH will be sure to continue to do great things with the game.

In a farewell post, we also got some interesting stats from the game. Apparently the most-used ‘Mechs are the Shadow Hawk, Centurion, and surprisingly the Vindicator. I suspect this is simply due to the Vindicator being one of your starting ‘Mechs and is probably the strongest one you start with. Also, Decker dies over 10,000 times per month, a number which seems ludicrously low. 

As for what Harebrained is working on now, I have no idea. I certainly hope it’s another Shadowrun game, but your guess is as good as mine. 

Someone Did The Math, And Burst-Fire A/Cs Are Way Better DPS In MechWarrior 5

This is kinda nuts, but it explains why I vastly prefer burst-fire autocannons to single-shot versions in MechWarrior 5

We’ve got Reddit user kirby3021 to thank for sitting down and doing the math on the two types of autocannons available in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. As you likely know, there are two options. The first is the usual single-shot cannon round that deals a set amount of damage to a single ‘Mech component. The other is a burst-fire that flings several munitions in a bit of a spread. This trades single-target accuracy for greater overall damage.

How much greater? According to kirby, burst-fire autocannons deal 46% more damage over time and produce 19% less heat than their single-shot counterparts.

That’s a lot, but as all MechWarriors know, DPS isn’t everything in MechWarrior. Burst-fire autocannons make it harder to hit specific components and harder to hit opponents at range, meaning it can be more difficult to down enemy ‘Mechs before they start hammering your armor. On the other hand, 46% more DPS makes it easier to core your enemies after they get up close and personal.

I’m an up-close and personal kinda guy, so I like my burst-fire cannons. Plus they sound cooler.

This Australian Guy Is Building His Own ‘Mech

And by the looks of things, it’s going to be an UrbanMech with some sort of weird ripper claw. I don’t really have anything else to say about it, but I certainly hope he succeeds. This world needs more ‘Mechs in it.

The Flashman Redesign Is Everything To Me

Flashman

Courtesy of Shimmering Sword

Last, but certainly not least, Shimmering Sword has redesigned the Flashman, and I am in literal awe. Look at this beauty. Can you imagine that something that used to look like this could one day become this menacing machine?

It doesn’t hurt that the Flashman is one of my favoritist ‘Mechs and one that I am eagerly awaiting in Wave 2 of the Catalyst Kickstarter.

That said, I do have one niggling complaint in that the redesign makes it appear like you can’t get away with calling the Flashman the “flashbulb.” Sure, it has a certain bulbousness to it, but it seems to have been greatly overshadowed by all that angular awesomeness. 

Regardless, I want it, and it almost seems criminal that I’ll have to wait 6-8 months to get it.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

MekTek Is Back

via MekTek Studios

So MekTek is back, apparently.

I should back up a bit. For those who weren’t as big into MechWarrior 4 as I was, MekTek is a collective of MechWarrior fans that got together to make their own development studio.

Their first great accomplishment was the MekPaks, a series of unofficial expansion to MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries. These greatly expanded the number of ‘Mechs you could pilot in the game, and some of my fondest memories in MechWarrior 4‘s Solaris matches was me running around in a Tenchi. I loved that thing, even if it wasn’t a “cannon” design.

Their second great accomplishment was acquiring the rights to MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries and then freely distributing it on their website. For a time, anyway. You can’t download it for free now, and even if you could, getting it to work on a modern PC is a bit of a technical nightmare.

After MechWarrior 4 had run its course, MekTek moved away from the BattleTech franchise to make a stand-alone game using the Heavy Gear license. Called Heavy Gear Assault, the game was released on Steam Early Access way back in February of 2017. I’ve never played it, but the Steam reviews are mostly negative saying that the game’s servers have shut down and you can’t actually log in or create an account.

Heavy Gear Assault stopped receiving updates in August of 2017. Since then, nothing. Not a word on the MekTek Facebook, LinkedIn, or official website.

But now, all of a sudden, MekTek has returned.

About a month ago, a Reddit post announced the return of the MekTek Discord server. I’ve been lurking there for a little while trying to see what’s going on, and from what I can tell, MekTek has big plans. The scuttlebutt is that they plan on bringing MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries back from the dead, updating it to work on modern hardware, and re-establishing MekMatch to give the game multiplayer capabilities.

Just a few days ago, another post on Reddit (and in the MekTek Discord) announced the return of MekMatch. Now if you’ve got a working copy of MechWarrior 4: Mercs you can take your big stompy robots into battle online once again.

My sources (and by that I mean me lurking in Discord) tells me that MekTek even plans for yet another MekPak expansion for MW4: Mercs. MekPak 5 is due sometime later this year.

And that’s all I know. I’ve been trying to reach out to the studio heads to see if I can get more, but they’re all too hard at work to answer my messages. I don’t blame them, but I certainly would love to know when I can re-install MechWarrior 4 without needing a degree in computer science.

Might MekTek also tackle MechWarrior 5 and its nascent mod editor? Maybe. I haven’t heard anything about that, but it certainly seems within their capabilities.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to continue my lurking and will report more on this exciting development as I learn more.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

MechWarrior 5 Mod Editor Has Been Released

Mad Dog

The MechWarrior 5 Mod Editor has arrived! Let the modders rejoice!

One of the key promises of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries has always been mod support. Mods, for the uninitiated, is short for “modifications,” although the term is often used as a catchall for everything from minor tweaks to entire fan-made expansions.

In the case of MechWarrior 5, we can likely expect some minor mods to arrive before anyone tackles a huge project like an expansion. That said, some pretty ambitious projects are already being discussed on Reddit, so we might be in store for some truly amazing things.

But first, let’s talk about this mod editor. What we have here is basically the same tools that developer PGI used to create the original game. PGI even released a guide so that someone with a little bit of game-dev experience can hit the ground running. For everyone else, a few helpful links to some Unreal 4 Engine manuals will give you some background info.

My programming knowledge ends at spreadsheets and HTML, so I will not be downloading the Mod Editor to see how everything works. I trust people with vastly more computer experience to perform such actions and report back if there are any problems.

PGI has said that they’ll be offering additional mod support over time and also mod integration and support with MechWarrior 5. For now, folks are using old standbys like Nexus Mods to catalog available mods.

The really exciting news is that people are already talking about what mods they’d love to see in the game. One mod that sounds relatively easy to do would add an entire layer of immersion to MechWarrior 5 while also sending a throwback to the game that inspired it.

Courtesy of Reddit user Shin_Ken, we have the ComStar News Bureau Mod. If you recall from MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, there was a computer terminal out Outreach that you could approach to get the latest news on what was happening throughout the Inner Sphere. It would show era-appropriate updates all based on BattleTech lore, which would be a really cool addition to MW5.

However, the big kahuna was posted a month ago just after the mod editor tool was announced. It’s called the MechWarrior “3068” Mod, and it basically takes you throughout the Word of Blake Jihad while playing as a MechWarrior in Clan Wolf-in-Exile.

3068

via Reddit

“In true MechWarrior style you’re going to see Blake‘s brutal retribution on the Inner Sphere across 3 operations, 3 planets, 17+ newly modeled, TRO-inspired mechs and an original score by Timothy Seals,” reads the mod’s description on Reddit. There’s a lot more, and it all sounds spicy in a very good way.

So far, I haven’t seen too much on this mod since the announcement a month ago, but the Discord is active and they’ve got some fantastic art and models already. Here’s hoping this gets made and maybe even inspires an official DLC from PGI.

I’m also still waiting on my Whitworth. Anyone with 3D ‘Mech-modelling experience should really get on that.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Fan-Made MechAssault Game, Wolves, Releases Demo

Cougar

Courtesy of New Day Fiction

Okay, I know I’ve pooped on MechAssault before as not a real ‘Mech game, but I’m going to eat my own words for a little bit to talk about Wolves, the fan-made MechAssault game.

First, you might be wondering how this hasn’t already been sued into the ground, what with BattleTech’s somewhat litigious history. For that, you can turn to Microsoft’s “Game Content Usage” rules, which essentially allows developer New Day Fiction to recreate MechAssault ‘Mech models to make their own fan game with a few provisos–first and foremost is that they can’t charge money for their game.

That makes Wolves a completely free fan-made project that recreates the third-person ‘Mech combat of MechAssault pretty much perfectly. And now you can get your hands on it thanks to a newly released demo.

I’ve downloaded the demo and I have to say, I’m genuinely impressed. Although there were a few graphical glitches, the core gameplay is fast, smooth, and easy to pick up with mouse and keyboard. It’s still MechAssault, which means you’re spending a lot of time managing health and ammo by picking up power-ups, but some folks like that sort of classic arcade-style gameplay rather than the more simulator-style gameplay you get from traditional MechWarrior games.

So far, the Wolves demo is just three ‘Mechs (Cougar, Blood Adder, and Arctic Wolf), one map, and one single-player game mode that is essentially just you surviving against an endless wave of enemies. There’s not a lot to it, but you can definitely get used to the game’s combat fairly quickly.

The devs also have big plans for Wolves. They eventually plan to include over 25 ‘Mechs, both single-player and multiplayer game modes, new and old weapons from the original MechAssault game, and a new soundtrack composed by Elijah Compton and Jonty Freack.

You can get the full low-down on Wolves on the Sarna page, or you can go to the official Wolves website. There’s also a Wolves Twitter page, subreddit, and of course, Discord.

If you were ever into MechAssault, Wolves will definitely bring back those memories. You can download the Wolves demo here.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Community Outreach – The Robert N. Charrette Collection

If you’re new to BattleTech, you might not know much about Robert N. Charrette. I hesitate to call him one of the founding fathers of BattleTech as that makes it seem like there’s some sort of sacred text out there, but maybe “formative” father would do just as well. Robert penned some of the earliest BattleTech fiction, including Wolves on the Border, Wolf Pack, and Heir to the Dragon, and he was perhaps the third BattleTech author I’d ever read. All those stories introduced iconic characters that would define an era in BattleTech history.

But turns out that fiction isn’t even half Charrette’s contribution to BattleTech. 

So this sort of just fell into my lap, and I have to first off thank Michael “Sigil” Todd for tossing it my way. You might remember Michael from his work on the unofficial BattleTech CCG expansion as well as the equally unofficial TRO: 3028. Michael also did a huge amount of work creating the BattleTech retrospective Unseen: A History of FASA, Battledroids and BattleTech, which if you haven’t seen you should really give a look as it might just be THE historical account of BattleTech. 

During his endeavor to get to the heart of the Unseen era of FASA history, Michael met Robert and struck up a friendship. Then when Robert needed to downsize his enormous BattleTech collection, Michael reached out to me to get the word out.

That’s when I found out that Robert is the guy who made the vast majority of the original sculpts for the BattleTech (or Battledroids, as it was called back then) tabletop game. Those ancient metal minis? Robert’s the guy who made them. 

Well, maybe not all of them, but most of them. And certainly some of the more iconic ‘Mechs such as the Phoenix Hawk, Warhammer, Rifleman, Marauder, Archer, Locust, Catapult, and even the now-legendary Urbanmech. Yes, we can thank Charrette for the first three-dimensional representation of the walking trash can. 

Robert’s collection has gotten to the point where it needs to shrink a bit, so he’s looking to off-load some of his more interesting artifacts. I was able to briefly chat about what’s being called the “Charrette Collection” and what Robert’s contribution to BattleTech in general. Enjoy. 

Battledroids Lance

via Robert N Charette


Sarna (Sean): Well, first of all, what’s this I hear about you off-loading all your BattleTech stuff? Are you abandoning BattleTech and all of its big-stompy-robot glory?

Robert N. Charrette: Not all, just most. My personal gaming interests have drifted away and I haven’t played with them in years, but BattleTech will always hold a special place in my heart.

Sarna: You’ve been a huge part of the BattleTech universe for decades. I personally have read all of your stories, but I’ve only just recently discovered that you’re the one responsible for most of BattleTech’s first-edition metal miniatures. What’s the story there? 

“BattleTech will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Robert: I believe Michael Todd covered that story in his history of BattleTech. In short, Ral Partha pitched doing miniatures to FASA when BattleDroids was released. There was some reluctance to have Ral Partha do them since they were not a specialized producer of mechanical miniatures, so a “proof of capability” model was to be produced and I got the assignment, being the most enthusiastic sculptor regarding – I believe the term of art is – big stompy robots.

Sarna: How does one get the job of creating miniatures for a nascent tabletop game?

Robert: Being in the right place at the right time and having the ability to do the work.

Sarna: Are there any particular favorites from that first set of minis you produced?

Robert: The BattleDroids? Has to be the Wasp/Stinger/Phoenix Hawk family as they all were derived from the “proof of concept” model.

Sarna: But back to the “Charrette Collection,” as it’s being called. What exactly are you offering?

via Robert N.Charette

Robert: Michael has kindly offered to help with the “downsizing” of my gaming collection. Naturally, with his interest in BT, we started there. The first offerings are a mix of items from my gaming collection, which I painted and based myself, and other, now vintage, BattleTech items that I had a hand in or managed to collect in those early days. I’m still looking for that box of BattleTech sourcebooks and such.

Sarna: How can people get in touch to put in a bid or offer for these items?

Robert: https://charrettecollection.square.site/

Sarna:  What are you up to these days? Anything else you’d like to share?

Robert:  Mostly non-gaming things. 

For about 15 years I have been heavily focused on studying Armizare, a resurrected medieval martial art written down in the early 15th century by Fiore Dei Liberi. I wrote a book on the pedagogy of the manuscript I study, give presentations on it to academics and taught classes on it at seminars across the country and in Canada, and have been slowly, laboriously progressing on a series of books relating to the understanding and practical practice of Armizare, in and out of armor.

I am also back at the modern version of what I started out doing before I took up sculpting: graphic layout work. Computers make it both easier and harder than the exacto knives and rubber cement I started with.

via Robert N. Charrette

You can check out The Charrette Collection over on his site here. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a piece of BattleTech history, and the miniatures are all beautifully painted too. I totally recommend you check it out.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

New Heavy Metal Trailer For HBS’ BattleTech Reveals New ‘Mech: The Bull Shark

BattleTech’s Heavy Metal expansion arrives on November 21st, and it is bringing 470 metric tons of new weapons and ‘Mechs. 

We got a lot of exciting ground to cover here, so we’re just going to dive right in. The new trailer for BattleTech’s upcoming Heavy Metal expansion just dropped and brought with it the juiciest of new info, starting with a brand new, never-before-seen BattleMech, the Bull Shark.

From the trailer, the Bull Shark is a 95-ton assault ‘Mech armed with a Thumper artillery cannon. That’s all we got. Judging by this beast’s appearance, it seems armed with autocannons above machine guns in the arms, as well as a quartet of lasers mounted across its two burly shoulders.

I’m just speculating here, but judging by the name, we could be looking at a design from the old Rim Worlds Republic. History students will remember that as the home nation of Stefan Amaris, better known as Amaris the Usurper. So that’s pretty cool.

Bullshark

As with MechWarrior Online, this new design’s canonicity is going to be a matter for debate for some time. I dunno how much Catalyst was involved in the Bull Shark’s making or if it will eventually get their seal of approval. 

The remaining seven designs will be something we’re all familiar with. Starting from the small, Heavy Metal brings us the Flea, Assassin, Vulcan, Phoenix Hawk, Rifleman, Archer, and Annihilator. All of these appear to be models taken from MechWarrior Online, with many being classic designs that are fan favorites.

Some of you might be wondering about the Warhammer and Marauder, two classic heavy ‘Mechs that were long rumored to be coming in Heavy Metal. They are not part of the expansion. Instead, they’ll be given to everyone FOR FREE as part of the 1.8 update, no Heavy Metal required.

New ‘Mechs leads us to new weapons. As shown briefly in the trailer just before we’re showcased the Bull Shark, a screen tells us each of the new weapons systems that will be added in Heavy Metal. A lot of these technologies normally wouldn’t be seen in the Inner Sphere until well after that Clan Invasion, so we’re playing a bit loose with the timeline here. One wonders just how Harebrained is going to explain their presence in the pre-Fourth Succession War era.

Anywhoodle, we’ll all recognize Inferno Missiles, TAG, NARC Beacons, and Ultra and LBX Autocannons, and yes, they’ll come in the full range of 2/5/10/20 and not just the Ultra AC/5 and LB 10-X as they first appeared in the Clan Invasion era. Snub PPCs are also coming, which is a Second Star League-era technology from the Draconis Combine and definitely not something we heard about before then.

A new ‘Mech-sized mortar will almost certainly be the Thumper Artillery System. Although normally mounted on vehicles, ‘Mech-mounted Thumpers weren’t entirely unheard of.

Finally, COIL Lasers are described by Polygon as having a “charge-up” function. The more you move before firing, the more damage they deal. Their exact function is unknown at this time as they don’t seem to have any classic BattleTech analog.

These weapon additions are really throwing the timeline for a loop and I do not know how to feel about them. One thing I will definitely appreciate is the new Flashpoint mini-campaign that will be added with Heavy Metal. It will feature Wolf’s Dragoons, Natasha Kerensky, The Bounty Hunter, and a mysterious derelict spacecraft. We can likely assume there’s going to be some of this amazing tech on that spaceship, so maybe that will be out explanation.

I also see mentioned on the Paradox forums post that there will be official mod support added for the first time, so everyone playing with RogueTech installed is going to be super excited about that. I can’t find a better source for that though, so this might just be wishful thinking.

Heavy Metal arrives on November 21st for $19.99, or nothing if you already purchased the Season Pass. And remember: you get the Marauder and Warhammer for free even if you don’t buy Heavy Metal, but you should totally buy Heavy Metal. It looks like it’ll be the best expansion for BattleTech yet.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

You Can Now Play MechWarrior 2 And MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries On Your Browser… Sort Of

MW2 Mercs

Great news! You can play MechWarrior 2 and MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries through your browser thanks to the Internet Archive.

First, a big thanks to Reddit user a_false_vacuum who posted over on r/OutreachHPG that this thing exists. Kudos to you! For the rest of us, gaze in wonder at what is probably the easiest way to play older MechWarrior games. 

Well, sort of. We’ll get to the big caveats in a sec. First, how does this whole thing work? Basically, the Internet Archive has an image of the CDs and an applet that runs a DOS emulator through your browser. You download the emulator and the CD, which means a 740 MB download. That might take a few minutes, depending on your internet speed.

After that, the whole freakin’ think loads in your PC’s RAM and runs from there. This has a few problems, most notably that you can’t save your game; as soon as the browser closes, everything gets wiped and you have to re-download the game all over again. You CAN save your game in a far less meaningful way by simply returning to the title screen, but once you close the window it’s game over for good.

Another problem is that since everything is done through the browser it’s a bit of a resource hog. And by hog I mean a voracious CPU-eating apocalypse. The menus and intro videos play just fine, but when you actually get into a ‘Mech the whole thing slows to a crawl.

I got about 1 frame every 2 seconds on my laptop. Things didn’t improve much when I moved to my desktop, and my desktop PC is a fairly beefy machine running most games on high graphical settings. But then again, I was using Google Chrome. Perhaps a slimmer, more streamlined browser will actually be able to get this game to run a bit better.

MW2

It’s a real shame too since I’d love to have an easier way to play some of these older games. Browser-based ‘Mech-bashing just sounds super cool and perfect for the 21st century. If someone could get this to work and tell me how you did it, I’d be awfully grateful.

I’m told thanks to the Reddit comments that the MechWarrior 2 version of the game actually allows you to download the ROM, so in theory, you can just download your own DOS emulator to play it that way instead. That’s one step more than being a browser-based game and is thus inferior, but would likely provide a far superior gameplay experience in being able to actually save your progress.

For those unfamiliar with MechWarrior 2, I did a pretty big write-up on it a little while ago. We’ll get to MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries in due time. 

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Clan Invasion Approaches $2 Million Stretch Goal, Teases UrbanMech Plushie

 

UrbanMech

So the Clan Invasion is barreling towards the $2 million milestone with about $50,000 to go as of the time of this writing (it will almost certainly be higher by the time this gets published, and hopefully be over the $2 million threshold). 

I think it’s safe to safe to say that this Kickstarter has been far more successful than anyone could have hoped. But in the waning hours of this crowdsourcing project, I come to you with a final desperate plea: we have to get over the $2 million mark.

Why? Two words: Plush. UrbanMechs.

In the utterly insane pace that this Kickstarter has been climbing, Catalyst has been adding more and more stretch goals. When it passed $1,500,000, backers unlocked the coveted Double Forces Rapid Redeployment, which allowed them to select what Star/Lance/Level II pack they’d prefer to receive rather than merely doubling whatever Star/Lance/Level II was unlocked at their backer level.

Then at $1,875,000, backers unlocked the “Beard-Off Rematch” which will see bearded Catalyst and Harebrained Schemes team members compete in a live-streamed tabletop game of BattleTech where the losers will ceremoniously remove their beards.

But the $2,000,000 mark is the true prize. The creme de la creme, the piece de resistance, the other-French-words-that-have-great-meaning-but-I-forget, is the UrbanMech plush toy.

I want it. I wasn’t going to back this Kickstarter. Even though I love BattleTech and certainly love the new designs that Catalyst has put out, I don’t really do much tabletop gaming. Worse, I don’t really have a whole lot of shelf space to display miniatures on, as pretty as they may be. 

But I don’t care. I will make space for an UrbanMech plush toy. I will store everything else in a box if I can cuddle an UrbanMech to sleep at night. I WILL REMOVE EVERY ANCILLARY PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY CONNECTED TO MY COMPUTER IN ORDER TO MAKE SPACE ON MY DESK IN ORDER TO BASK IN THE GLORY OF A PLUSH URBANMECH.

I have backed the Clan Invasion Kickstarter at the $75 USD level (which works out to something like $15,000 Canadian) in order to make this dream come true. I implore you all to do the same. If you have donated, up your donation. Convince your friends to donate, even if they’re not BattleTech fans. We have just two days left. Together, we can make the plush UrbanMech a reality.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

MechWarrior 5 Confirmed As Epic Games Store Exclusive

Enforcer

Courtesy of PGI

So. MechWarrior 5 is going to be an Epic Games Store exclusive title after all. It’s also been slightly delayed, now releasing on December 10th instead of September 10th as previously hoped.

I can’t say I’m all that surprised. The writing was on the wall, which you can read all about in Sarna’s previous coverage on the matter. Suffice to say, what was once mere rumor has now become reality, with PGI making the official announcement on the MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries website on July 25th.

What does being an Epic Games Store exclusive mean? Well, it means that MechWarrior 5 will be available only to those willing to download the Epic Games Store launcher. It will remain there as an exclusive title for one year, and then hopefully release on Steam, GOG, and other game stores on December 10th, 2020.

As for the delay, that’s covered in the updated FAQ page on the MechWarrior 5 website. The extra few months will give PGI more time to complete localization for a few different languages and also provide time for some additional marketing before release—both of which are Very Good Things™.

An AMA held on July 25th with PGI President Russ Bullock also mentioned not wanting to compete with the release of Borderlands 3, which is set to release September 13th on the Epic Games Store. No surprise there–Borderlands is expected to be a pretty big deal. 

“Our partnership with Epic Games store allows us the opportunity to make sure MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries meets our internal goal of creating the best MechWarrior game possible,” PGI wrote on their FAQ page. And while few would have been upset with a 3-month delay in MechWarrior 5’s release, there are quite a few more MechWarriors absolutely livid at the fact that MechWarrior 5 will now be releasing on the EGS after promising since the game was first announced that it would release on Steam.

And it’s resulted in many pre-order holders demanding a refund. To PGI’s credit, they’re offering a no-hassle, no-questions-asked refund to anyone who wants one, even if those pre-order buyers already used their community bonuses that were tied to MechWarrior Online. PGI also pointed out in their development update that those Community Pre-Order bonuses represent $100, $180, or $300-worth of MechWarrior Online goodies (depending on the level you pre-ordered MechWarrior 5) which they are now giving away essentially for free.

That said, many view the sudden swap to Epic as a betrayal even with the refund policy. There are also some open questions on just when PGI decided to sign a deal with Epic. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was still selling pre-orders up until May, and Bullock was even fielding concerns of Epic exclusivity in AMAs as late as April 10th, saying that the game would release on Steam and GOG as planned and they had no intent to release on Epic.

Catapult

In the July 25th AMA, Bullock stated there may have even been “a couple of days crossover” between when PGI signed their Epic exclusive deal but were still selling community pre-orders promising a Steam release.

PGi didn’t exactly have the greatest reputation to begin with, but this bait-and-switch with Epic has truly pissed-off a lot of folks. The various MechWarrior and BattleTech-related subreddits are abuzz with people expressing their outrage and that they will make full use of PGI’s offer of a full refund. 

I don’t have numbers, but we know from the previous MW5 AMA that the game received roughly 20,000 pre-orders. You gotta think that a significant quantity of those pre-orders has been refunded by now.

To get your refund, email support@mw5mercs.com. All refund requests have to be in by Septembers 1st, and please give PGI 10 business days to process your refund. They’re probably dealing with a lot of angry people, so patience will be a virtue.

Battlemaster

What will this mean for MechWarrior 5 and the future of the MechWarrior franchise? It’s hard to say. Whatever deal they’ve signed with Epic has almost certainly secured PGI’s financials for the time being, and Bullock said in the July 25th AMA that Epic provided enough data to convince him that MechWarrior 5 will still sell as well—if not better—on the Epic Games Store than on Steam.

Maybe that’s true. Maybe Epic’s smaller, more carefully curated game store will give MechWarrior 5 the sort of visibility that would have been impossible on Steam. Maybe this will result in that injection of fresh fans that an old franchise like MechWarrior desperately needs. There are certainly more than a few people that think MW5 going Epic is the right call.

It’s just a shame it had to come at the expense of so many old-school MechWarrior fans who are now angrily demanding refunds. 

And as always MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy