Category Archives: Novels

Your BattleTech News Roundup For November, 2022

Literally nobody has asked me, “Sean, how have you avoided COVID for so long?” And if someone were to actually ask I’d reply that I’ve cloistered myself in my basement apartment where I only go out for food and hiss at everyone who knocks on my door, thus also providing me with a steady stream of “free” takeout food from restaurants that don’t ask me to pay in advance. However, today my streak might have been broken by a wave of malaise and mild congestion that appears to have come from nowhere. We’ll see what the swab says by the time I’m done writing this article.

Anyway, there’s a surprising amount of BattleTech news leading into the holiday season, so let’s not mince too many words getting to all these big surprises. It’s time for all the best BattleTech the world has to offer, courtesy of Sarna.

More Deets On Mercenaries Kickstarter Announced For March 2023

Mercenaries Kickstarter Kodiak Diorama via Catalyst

Catalyst has gotten some specifics with the coming Mercenaries Kickstarter. The new crowdfunding campaign, which brings over 50 new miniature designs, arrives on March 23, 2023 at 11 AM ET--the first day of AdeptiCon, where Catalyst will also be present.

“I’m an equal-opportunity gamer and enjoy playing nearly any type of game,” said managing developer Randall N. Bills in a statement. “But walking past endless tables of amazing terrain and fantastically painted miniatures is an incredible experience unto itself. If you love miniatures games, AdeptiCon is the place to be. And we couldn’t imagine a more perfect venue for launching our Mercenaries Kickstarter.”

Although primarily focused on Warhammer, BattleTech has been around for almost as long, and in recent times has even snagged a few former Warhammer players fed up with Games Workshop’s policies. Announcing what will surely become a multi-million dollar campaign at AdeptiCon is probably a big get for the convention. 

In other Catalyst news, a brand new anthology just got released on Amazon and your favorite e-publications. Fox Tales collects all five Fox Patrol short stories into a single book and includes an entirely new Fox Patrol story that’s never been published. Set at the tale-end of the Dark Age era, Fox Patrol was an independent mercenary unit that had basically three members for the bulk of its history: Captain Katie Ferraro in her restored Kit Fox, Evan Huxlet in his Locust, and Arkee Colorado in his Quickdraw.

I gotta say, I’m intrigued by Fox Tales. Not because Evan and Arkee are boyfriends, which is still a nice bit of inclusion for the 32nd century, but because the gal in charge drives a ‘Mech I’ve always loved. The Kit Fox isn’t quite bad enough to truly be a Bad ‘Mech, at least in my eyes, but it’s close. All firepower and barely enough armor and mobility, the Kit Fox defines what I like to call the “spunky” light ‘Mech. You can never write off a Kit Fox, and making the Kit Fox the star of its own novel series alongside another favorite of mine, the Quickdraw, just demands that I dust off that Kindle app and type in my new credit card info.

There’s also a new digital box version of the Jade Phoenix Trilogy, a series of novels I’ve read three times already so I don’t really need ‘em again, but you can never go wrong with the classics. And finally, the Alpha Strike Box Set is now available for purchase on Catalyst’s website. Ever wish BattleTech tabletop didn’t take multiple days to complete a game? Alpha Strike might be for you. 

No New Rommel Models As Tank Gets Axed From Future Development

Rommel Tank

Even before the official announcement of the Mercenaries Kickstarter campaign, Catalyst teased out a bunch of new model designs for tanks and VTOLs that had BattleTech miniature painters all aflutter on the BattleTech forums. Somebody asked if we’ll see the Patton and the Rommel redesigned, to which BattleTech line developer Ray Arrastia responded, “no Rommel. You won’t be seeing that again.” The scuttlebutt about town is that the Rommel is unofficially dead, potentially due to someone at Fanatics having a problem with one of their IPs being associated with a Nazi general. 

And fair enough. Rommel has often been too hyped for being the Desert Fox that folks often overlook the fact he was a card-carrying Nazi. Historians are divided on whether Rommel was merely complicit or an enthusiastic supporter of the holocaust, but the bottom line is he wasn’t a nice dude, and I’m not upset that his name won’t be used to represent a fictional tank in the future.

Plus, the Patton is basically the same damn tank anyway, so there’s no need for the Rommel to exist. The Patton/Rommel thing was a joke on the M3 Grant/Lee tanks of World War 2, and while that’s probably funny to a significant portion of BattleTech’s players, I don’t think that humor outweighs the cost of honoring a general best left forgotten.

Anyway, the Rommel will still be listed on Sarna and you can still get older models from places like Iron Wind Metals if you desperately need one for your collection. 

Crusader Callback To Comachos Caballeros

And now in Brilliant color! from battletech

I kinda wish there were more BattleTech comic strips. I know comics are way more difficult to produce than novels, but if BattleTech comics were more of a thing, we could have something like this piece from Reddit user meltdonw14

I’m pretty sure this scene was taken from the novel Close Quarters, where Father Roberto “Call me Bob” Garcia takes a swing at an Atlas in his Crusader. But it’s been years on this one for me, so maybe it was Hearts of Chaos? Definitely one of the Comacho’s Caballeros novels, that’s for sure.

Art of BattleTech Brings The Summoner To MechWarrior 5 (With A Little Help)

Summoner / Thor Classic mod for Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries - Wolf Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

After bringing us the Timber Wolf and Vulture Classic mods, The Art Of BattleTech (aka SankaraSamsara on Nexus Mods) has returned with yet another Clan ‘Mech. The Summoner is at least as famous as the Timber Wolf and Vulture, having been the personal ride of Aiden and Marthe Pryde for most of their respective careers. Ugly and imposing thanks to its asymmetrical layout, the Summoner is a feared design, and now you can pilot one in MechWarrior 5.

Like the previous mods, the Summoner is based on the original Clan design from Steve Venters. The model was done by Alan Yeoh, and Art of BattleTech has a laundry list of folks to thank for helping him figure out the animations, which you can read over on Nexus Mods. You can also download the mod there too, or just search for the mod on MechWarrior 5‘s Steam Workshop. That’s what I usually do for my mods. 

And if the Summoner is here, then you just know it wouldn’t be too long before the Hellbringer showed up. Following Steve Venters’s design meant that half the work on the Hellbringer was already done, with the legs, lower torso, and right arms shared between the two designs. Same deal with the Summoner, find the Hellbringer on Nexus Mods and Steam Workshop.

MechWarrior Online Offers Free Shadow Cat For November

Shadow Cat D MechWarrior Online Event

MechWarrior Online is giving away a couple of ‘Mechs. First, for the month of November, players can take part in the ongoing freebie event which can net them a Shadow Cat SHC-D. That’s the one with the ER large laser, twin medium pulse lasers, a Streak SRM-6, and some machine guns. And an ER small sort of as an afterthought. Honestly, you’re going to want to double up on those ER larges or lean into a medium pulse laser strategy. But first you’ll need to accumulate 9,000 total match score throughout the event. You got a few weeks left as the event goes until early December.

Next is the MechWarrior Online Annual Reward, which actually already arrived on November 22. Those that were active players during the year received 6.5 million C-bills, a free ‘Mech bay, 100 general skill points, and a year 9 cupcake cockpit item. Those that bought MC at any point throughout the year got their choice of any previous year’s light or medium Loyalty ‘Mech and 100 GSP, while anyone who purchases one of this year’s ‘Mech packs (excluding the Platinum or Booster Packs) get their choice of any light or medium Hero ‘Mech and 100 GSP. Those that purchased any of the Booster or Platinum packs will generally get a Hero ‘Mech of their choice, although the rules get evermore specific depending on the precise nature of the purchase. For more details, head on over to the annual rewards page. Note that selections must be made before January 31, 2023, so don’t expect those free ‘Mechs to arrive before then.

And finally, we got a patch with some big changes for MechWarrior Online‘s maps. Terra Therma Classic is now Terra Therma Crucible, with the second floor of the map eliminated in favor of a first floor covered in lava with much more open lines of sight. The capture point on Domination will be right in the center of that lava pool, which sounds pretty dangerous. Emerald Vale and Grim Plexus have had their terrain cleaned up, Hibernal Rift will now prevent people from sniping atop the glacier, and HPG  and Polar Highlands should now have fewer stuck ‘Mechs, and Vitric Station has received a number of smaller adjustments. There’s a few more, but you’ll need to experience those changes for yourself in-game. 

Not too many ‘Mech quirks to talk about so I’m going to skip ’em. As always, the full patch notes are available on the MechWarrior Online site

A Lego Catapult Is Here To Offer Long-Range Fire Support, One Brick At A Time

Hansen Bricks Catapult

You might remember Kevin Hansen of HansenBricks.com as the talented modeler who created this Uziel or the even more impressive King Crab. After more than two years, he’s back with a new Lego build: the Catapult

Hansen based his design on the MechWarrior Online/MechWarrior 5 version “as it was personally my favorite.” The final model is about a foot tall and uses 2,200 pieces, which you can view along with the model’s instructions over on the HansenBricks site. It’s big enough to fit a minifigure in case you wanted something that’s to scale with Lego’s itty-bitty plastic people.

Catalyst Partners With Humble Bundle To Offer The Perfect Introduction To BattleTech 

Humble BattleTech Bundle

Humble Bundle is usually where I turn to if I want lots of games on the cheap--usually from specific publishers, but sometimes it’s whatever Humble gets its hands on. This time, Humble has gotten its hands on a bunch of BattleTech stuff to offer an “Introduction To BattleTech Book Bundle” just in time for the holidays.

From now until December 16, you can get up to $350ish value in BattleTech books for the low price of $30.00. This being Humble, the idea is to encourage people to pay more for the proceeds to go to charity--in this case, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, which offers financial and other assistance to US Naval and Marine Service members and their families. 

The 28 items offered are all digital except for the BattleTech Beginner Box Set, which won’t be shipped until January. And if you can’t afford the full $30, you can still pay to receive a smaller number of digital items, which Reddit user honicthesedgehog has kindly broken down for me. All items are listed cumulatively, so paying for a higher bundle gives you everything in the cheaper bundles too.

$1+ gives you:

  • Alpha Strike Commanders Edition
  • BattleMech Manual
  • BattleTech Primer V2
  • Recognition Guide ilClan v1

$10+ gives you: 

  • Chaos Campaign: Succession Wars
  • Combat Manual: Mercenaries
  • House Arano: The Aurigan Coalition
  • Legends
  • Technical Readout: Clan Invasion
  • Technical Readout: Succession Wars
  • Total Warfare
  • Touring the Stars: Tyrfing

$18+ gives you:

  • Battle of Tukayyid
  • Battle of Tukayyid Supplemental
  • Combat Manual: Kurita
  • Empire Alone
  • Era Report 3145
  • Field Manual: 3145
  • IlClan
  • Pesudotech: Arcade Operations
  • Shattered Fortress
  • Spotlight On: Crescent Hawks
  • Tamar Rising
  • Total Chaos
  • Turning Points: Irian
  • Turning Points: Misery
  • Turning Points: Tyrfing

$30+ gives you:

  • BattleTech: Beginner Box (promo code for the Catalyst store, doesn’t include shipping)

“There are MechWarriors like you in every generation. And I have felled every last one of them.”

Nightstar Mihaly Ace Combat 7

Courtesy of ValkyrieRaptor

I see a lot of great minis being painted online, so I can’t really give them all a shoutout otherwise I’d just be gushing over minis every month. But ValkyrieRaptor made this Ace Combat 7 crossover and I simply have to gush over it because Ace Combat 7 is perhaps one of my favoritist games, ever.

Ace Combat has been around for a while, and it’s always generally the same sort of game: a flight-combat action game with an anime-inspired plot that’s about as ludicrous as you can imagine. Ace Combat 7‘s plot involved the silent protagonist being accused of murdering a former president that was inspecting a space elevator, being relegated to a penal colony of fighter pilots, and then saving the world from an army of AI-controlled drones. 

It is all bonkers nonsense, but it’s so off the wall that it’s wildly entertaining. Plus, the game really makes you feel like a fighter pilot, adding just enough real-world fighter concepts to trick you into thinking you’re the greatest ace pilot in the world without needing to have the actual knowledge necessary for a real flight simulator like DCS

Anyway, one of the characters in Ace Combat 7 is an older gentleman named Mihaly Dumitru Margareta Corneliu Leopold Blanca Karol Aeon Ignatius Raphael Maria Niketas A. Shilage, or just Milhaly for short. He’s sort of the game’s recurring antagonist and an absolute maniac at the controls of his Sukhoi SU-30, which can perform maneuvers that even the cocaine-fueled and G force-immune protagonist can’t. His line is that he’s seen “pilots like you in every generation,” and he’s “felled every last one of them.” It’s the sort of writing that I wish we could see more of in a MechWarrior game, but I think BattleTech fans have historically been a little too grounded for that sort of thing.

Mihaly’s SU-30 is a thing of beauty, and when applied to a new-sculpt Nightstar, it’s sublime. According to ValkyrieRaptor in his Clan Invasion campaign, this MechWarrior plays the antagonist in his experimental Nightstar. Let’s just hope he’s not also programming a drone army, or whoever’s playing that campaign is in for a rough time.

How Would A Goliath Wear Pants?

Goliath Pants

Courtesy of CorneliusBreadington

We’ve all wondered how a centaur would wear pants (or if it would wear pants at all), so it only seems natural to ask the same question of the Goliath. CorneliusBreadington also provides us with several additional options for the Goliath, including short short shorts. They’re like short shorts, only they somehow hide less of that booty than if you wore nothing at all.

I am very much hoping this goes on sale somewhere before Christmas. 

Stand And Deliver

Last Stand, me, 3D Studio Max + Arnold + Photoshop, 2022 from mechwarrior

I’m pretty sure this is a Warhammer IIC, one of the greatest ‘Mechs ever made and one of the deadliest combatants anyone can ever hope to face on the battlefield of the 31st century. French artist Guilhem Bedos kindly shared their work on Reddit, which is where it caught my eye. Note the almost dazzling urban camo paint scheme that really lights up with those twin PPCs. Just the thing to warm the heart with old man winter bearing down on us.

MechWarrior Online Announces Hatchetman ‘Mech That Can’t Use Iconic Hatchet

MechWarrior Online Hatchetman

I’m about as surprised as anyone on this one. After years of denying us any melee-wielding ‘Mechs, PGI just announced the Hatchetman will be coming to MechWarrior Online. However, melee weapons still won’t be usable in MechWarrior Online. They are in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, but melee weapons are just cosmetic in the online PvP of MechWarrior Online.

This obviously begs the question of just what the heck that Hatchetman will do with what amounts to a four-ton paperweight in its right arm. Judging by the pre-release specs, the weight of the hatchet is being replaced by some extra heat sinks and armor on the standard 3F-model, with similar swaps being done on the other five variants to be introduced. Early adopters can pre-order the Hatchatman Package for $40, with deliveries expected in-game on January 3.

In game terms, that hatchet will likely just extend the hit-box of the right arm to make it more like a shield rather than a weapon, thus making it advantageous for MechWarriors to place everything on the left side of the ‘Mech. That might prove effective, but there are plenty of ‘Mechs that can dead-side effectively. The real draw of the Hatchetman has and should be the hatchet, and being unable to use it makes me question why the Hatchetman is being brought to MechWarrior Online at all.

MechWarrior 5 To Receive Rise Of Rasalhague DLC In January

As hinted at last week, PGI has surprised us with more MechWarrior 5 DLC. Rumors were that PGI was done with MechWarrior 5 after Call to Arms and that it was now working on MechWarrior 6, but apparently, those rumors were false because MechWarrior 5 is heading to Rasalhague in January.

Rise of Rasalhague will bring an all-new 12-mission quest line for mercenaries to follow in their campaigns. It will also add the Crusader ‘Mech that was recently added to MechWarrior Online and a whopping 11 variants for it. It’ll also bring a new Rival Mercenaries feature, “allowing you to interact with numerous other mercenary companies and the infamous Bounty Hunter.” Working in areas garrisoned by other mercenary groups can result in hostile invasions or friendly assistance, depending on your relationship with that merc group. And doing bounties for the Bounty Hunter can result in some sweet loot.

One of the images on the Rise of Rasalhague page is for a new mission type called “Infiltration,” and I want to point out that the screen capture shows an Atlas sneaking into an enemy base to destroy several ‘Mechs before the general alarm sounds. I’m guessing the Steiner Scout Squad was called in for that particular contract.

In addition to the new expansion, a free game update will be sent to everyone who owns MechWarrior 5 with an improved AI, QOL enhancements, and an expanded ‘Mech hanger. Thank the ‘Mech gods for that last one because I was simply exhausted with swapping out ‘Mechs when I suddenly found myself on a mission with a vastly different weight limit to the one I’d just completed.

Rise of Rasalhague and the free update both arrive on January 26. And, according to PGI president Russ Bullock, there’s “more stuff in development.”

And that’s it for November! Join us next month as we celebrate the holiday season with whatever stuff you got for Christmas.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

Update: The test was negative, so I suspect the true culprit was those tacos I had last night.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For July 2022

Where British Columbia and Europe both suffer record high temperatures, it’s been uncharacteristically cool in Southern Ontario, and I feel like I’m being cheated out of my hot-hot summer. I haven’t needed to turn on the air conditioning, and I’ve even been writing these articles in sweatpants when I should be down to my skivvies. That’s just in case you were wondering what “business casual” is around here.

As always, we’ve got a Leopard DropShip’s-worth of news, so we don’t have time for me to complain about global warming tacitly avoiding my hometown just to force me to wear more clothes that I’d expect in July. Here’s what’s going on in the BattleTech world for July, 2022.

Catalyst Releases Third Founding Of The Clan Novels And Announces Store Credit For Missing Kickstarter Dice And Decks

Apparently Catalyst has had some trouble with the Clan Invasion Kickstarter’s insignia dice and pilot decks. For some backers, the dice weren’t of the expected quality while others were outright missing decks of pilots. Catalyst did say that they had a 96% successful fulfillment rate, which is pretty great considering this all happened during the whirlwind of the pandemic, but the company wants to make sure every backer is a satisfied customer.

Land of Dreams

To that end, Catalyst is now offering store credit for backers who pledged for either dice or decks. Those who had pledge rewards including insignia dice will receive at least $5 credit at the Catalyst store per pair of dice, and an additional $5 per order for the conversion to store credit. For missing decks, CGL has created the “Heroes of the Inner Sphere” deck, which will be received in addition to $15 store credit per missing deck. Those credits will be mailed out in the next few weeks. Give it a bit of time as there are 12,000 credits to be sent.

Catalyst also had some trouble getting the third Founding of the Clans book to backers as well. You can read the update on Kickstarter for the full story, but the climax is a Dropbox link that will provide backers with Land of Dreams and Jaguar’s Leap by Reed Bishop. I gotta say, putting the Starslayer on the cover of a BattleTech book is a gutsy move, but I’m all for it. 

Something Weird Is Going On With Everything BattleTech

Something is up with the Everything BattleTech group. Folks might have noticed an abrupt rebranding to “Everything Sci-Fi,” followed by this statement from Catalyst Games earlier this month. It seems that the BattleTech license holder, Fanatic (which acquired Topps earlier this year), had issues “regarding potential violations of the BattleTech rights and license.” Catalyst was contacted to discuss those issues with Everything BattleTech founder David Vivas, sending Line Developer Ray Arrastia to spearhead a “series of dialogues” with Vivas as well as other BattleTech communities.

Apparently things didn’t go well. Vivas rebranded the Everything BattleTech Facebook page to “Everything Sci-fi” and then again to just “EBT.” The Everything BattleTech Discord is currently voting on a more permanent solution, which includes fantastic suggestions like “OnlyMechs,” “Mecha Fight Club,” and “Republic of Mechs.” I’m a fan of OnlyMechs, personally.

Everything BattleTech

Catalyst’s statement doesn’t go into details, but it seems like the issue was largely surrounding the use of the name BattleTech specifically, especially on what was formerly known as the Everything BattleTech Patreon (which has now been renamed the David Vivas Patreon). The Everything BattleTech Discord server seems mostly unchanged outside of a few new channels that are helping with the rebranding effort.

The statement went on to explain Ray never made “any requirement for a comprehensive rebranding or retreat from the BattleTech fan space,” and the sudden rebranding came as a complete surprise. I reached out to Vivas for his side of the story, but he declined to comment. 

BattleTech has a long and complicated history when it comes to fan works and fan communities. Without knowing both sides of this story I won’t say whether this is just another case of an overly aggressive copyright holder or a group trying to cash in on the resurgence BattleTech has enjoyed over the past few years. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Empire Alone Reveals First Conflicts Of The ilClan Era

In somewhat more exciting news from Catalyst, we’ve got a new sourcebook to talk about. Empire Alone is the second sourcebook of the ilClan era, telling the tale of what happens in the Wolf Empire while Alaric Ward is off conquering Terra and the year following his victory. The Free Worlds League sees an opportunity to recapture worlds lost to the Wolves, which risks putting Nikol Marik in a war against Clan Wolf and potentially every Clan that acknowledges Alaric as the leader of a new Star League. And then there’s Wolf’s Dragoons, weakened after assisting Clan Wolf in defeating the Jade Falcons and then snubbed by the new ilKhan. They might be licking their wounds, but an opportunity for revenge can’t be ignored.

Empire Alone runs from the year 3151 to mid-3152 and centers around the major events between the Free Worlds League and the Wolf Empire. It’s available now at retailers and on Catalyst’s store along with the new CountersPack: BattleForce, the perfect solution to large-scale engagements.

And finally, there’s a new mini. The Timber Wolf TC (“temporary configuration”) was designed to counter ComStar ambushes during the Battle of Tukayyid. It comes armed with two large pulse lasers, two ER medium lasers, two Streak SRM-6s, and a smaller ER laser in the left torso. It also has five jump jets to escape whatever trap ComStar lays. It worked pretty well, and the mini is now available on the Catalyst web store.

Oh, and I almost forgot: there’s a new novel out for you fiction lovers. A Question of Survival reveals how Clan Jade Falcon plans to repopulate its depleted warrior caste following their defeat at the hands of Clan Wolf. The Rasalhague Dominion falls squarely in the sights of Jiyi Chistu‘s forces, and several sibkos may suddenly find themselves growing up Falcons rather than as proud Ghost Bears

An Outdoor Market For The Best Cheapest ‘Mechs In The Inner sphere

Speaking of Empire Alone, our very own Eldoniousrex created some cool-ass art for the sourcebook. Not only did he do the cover, but he also did this great landscape of a Clan Sea Fox market. Note the Griffin IIC, a ‘Mech that proves the Clans can make a better Griffin that’s lighter, faster, more powerful, and even cheaper than the original. Now that’s a ‘Mech that’s worth every C-bill. He also has an absolutely incredible new t-shirt design that y’all should definitely buy.

The Perfect ‘Mech Might Just Be The Whitworth

Whitworth via fed0tich

Some of you might be wondering why I haven’t discussed the Whitworth in a Bad ‘Mechs article. That’s because I don’t think the Whitworth is actually bad. Sure it’s a little slow for a 40-ton ‘Mech, but it can still keep up with most regiments and fulfill its role as a rapid response fire support ‘Mech. It can help lay ambushes and leap away before the enemy can return fire. And when it gets caught by faster light ‘Mechs, its heavier armor and three medium lasers are just enough to defend itself. It’s actually really good.

So it warms my heart to see someone giving the Whitworth the attention it deserves with art courtesy of fed0tich. Catalyst still hasn’t deigned to officially redesign the Whitworth, but when they do, I sincerely hope it looks something like this. 

July’s MechWarrior Online Patch Adjusts Armor Skills And Enforces Group Maximums In Quick Play

MWO July 2022 Patch Notes

A small patch for MechWarrior Online in July. No big new map or new ‘Mechs, but there’s another quirk pass, some adjustments to skill nods, and a fix for the group play restrictions in Quick Play.

Let’s talk ‘Mechs. Wolfhounds, Javelins, Hunchbacks, and King Crabs have all had their quirks adjusted, with a few tweaks made to specific variants of the Jenner IIC, Phoenix Hawk, Trebuchet, Vapor Eagle, Mad Dog, Banshee, and Sun Spider. Inner Sphere Gauss Rifles have also had their cooldown reduced to make them a little more competitive against their Clan counterparts.

Several skills have been adjusted. Hill Climb skills now actually work and make it easier to climb hills (whereas before this skill did absolutely nothing). Reinforced Casing, Torso Pitch, and Torso Yaw have all been increased, and both Armor Hardening and Skeletal Density skill nodes have been buffed across the board for ‘Mechs larger than 60 tons. There’s a specific chart in the patch notes that describes how each node changes depending on your ‘Mech’s tonnage.

Another big fix deals with Quick Play, by far the most common way to play MechWarrior Online. Group maximums have once again been brought back, meaning no team can have more than a single four-stack or a two-stack and three-stack. Previously, games were a little wonky as solo players were being matched against multiple teams, which often resulted in some terribly one-sided matches. Hopefully your matches will fare a little better.

There’s still a free giveaway going on in MechWarrior Online where you can grab a free Hero ‘Mech for earning 250 loot bags. You can easily get 10-12 loot bags in a single match, so it’s not too hard to get a free Hero ‘Mech, plus all the ‘Mech credits, C-bills, consumables, skill points, and more being given away in each loot bag. The loot bag event is on until August 4.

MechWarrior 5 Makes It Easier To Find A Yen Lo Wang

Yen-Lo-Wang MW5

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries has also received a new patch. This one is mostly game fixes, but there’s at least an adjustment being made to the spawn rates of the CN9-YLW2 Yen-Lo-Wang and BL-P-KNT2 Black Knight to make them a little more commonplace in your next playthrough. There’s also memory optimizations for both Xbox and PlayStation, and some helpful mod updates for tagging assets and tweaking player aim assist. You can check out the patch notes here to see what annoying bug you hated most just got squashed.

Explain To Me How This Even Works

Boombox Atlas via HighlighterFTW

Nevermind all the incredible talent that goes into creating a kitbash like this--I just wanna know how the hell an Atlas is supposed to fire what appears to be the LRM-15 packs of a Catapult that were unceremoniously ripped from the 65-ton ‘Mech’s body and are now being used as a giant external launcher. Does it press a ‘Mech-sized button on the side that says “FIRE ZE MISSILES” or does it just kick out the jams and beatbox its way to a swarm of fiery death? Explain this to me, Reddit user HighlighterFTW. I’m dying to know.

Renegade HPG Talks To Bruce Patnaude

Comic Artist BRUCE PATNAUDE Talks BattleTech | Gallery 3025 LIVE Q&A
Watch this video on YouTube.

Those who follow Gallery 3025 on Patreon (and you really should be) might have noticed a few recent pieces courtesy of Bruce Patnaude, a comic artist with a style very reminiscent of some of BattleTech’s earliest source books. You can see all of Patnaude’s pieces over on Gallery 3025, but we showcased two of them in last month’s news roundup.

To get an idea for Patnaude’s creative process, Renegade HPG’s Travis Gardner (who also runs Gallery 3025) sat down with him to talk about some of the fine work he’s been doing for the gallery. You should definitely check out the video above, and we hope to see more of Patnaude’s fabulous work in the future.

And that’s it for July! Join us again next month where Sarna provides you with all the BattleTech news that’s safe for human consumption.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For May, 2022

May showers have brought both flowers and flies, which for some reason have all come out and are buzzing around in my room as I write this. I’d be upset if I didn’t consider this to be the sound of summer.

As always, we got a ton of BattleTech news to get through, so let’s dive right in before this fly finds my beer. Ah, fuck, he’s already in there! Stupid flies…

MechWarrior 5 DLC Call To Arms Gets Pricing And Release Date

Last month, we found out MechWarrior 5‘s third DLC will be called Call to Arms, mostly because it adds an arsenal of melee weapons as well as the iconic Hatchetman medium ‘Mech. We didn’t know when or how much Call to Arms would cost, but we do now

Unlike the Legend of the Kestrel Lancers and Heroes of the Inner Sphere, which debuted at $20, Call to Arms will be priced at $14.99 USD when it launches on June 8. Regional pricing means that’ll vary by platform and country, but US residents should expect to pay fifteen bucks. Canucks such as myself will have to pay something like $22.50. 

Being five dollars cheaper than the previous two DLC might be indicating that Call to Arms will be somewhat lighter in content than the previous expansions. Although Call to Arms will add 28 new ‘Mech variants, five Hero ‘Mechs, nine melee weapons, and three new biomes, there’s no mention of any new story-based campaigns or scripted missions that’ll be coming with Call to Arms [Ed. My bad! There’s actually going to be a five-mission campaign where players snag the Hatchetman from the Isle of Skye]

I do get the sense that this is MechWarrior 5’s swan song, a little parting gift as PGI gets started on its next project. Whatever that is, hopefully it’ll include melee weapons at launch rather than as paid DLC later on. Then we can pay for something else, like, oh I dunno, Aerospace assets?

Redemption Rites Continues The Story Of Wolf’s Dragoons In The IlClan Era

Redemption Rites

So, spoiler alert, but it’s been a few months since the release of Hour of the Wolf, so I think it’s fine for us to drop a few plot points for the current era of BattleTech. After Clan Wolf takes Terra and rises to the heady rank of ilClan, ilKhan Alric Ward makes perhaps the biggest mistake of his career. He snubs Wolf’s Dragoons after they made a terrible sacrifice to stop Malvina and Clan Jade Falcon. Even an ilClan isn’t invulnerable and even mauled, Wolf’s Dragoons is a terrible foe.

Jason Schmetzer tells the story of Wolf’s Dragoons in ilClan era, and it’s a story of revenge. Redemption Rites is available now on Amazon or wherever you buy books.

Water, Earth, Fire, Air

Salamander Sylth Gnome Undine from mechwarrior

Once, the four elements lived in harmony. But all that changed when the fire nation attacked. Or the Salamander, I guess.

Avatar references aside, it never really made a whole lot of sense to me why Elementals were called “elementals” without having any association to the actual elements. Well, now they do, and geergutz does a great job of showcasing all for Elemental variant armors. These include the Salamander, the Sylph, the Gnome, and the Undine. The Gnome is a bit of a stretch for earth, but it is probably the most earth-bound of the Elementals that I know of.

Evolution Of MechWarrior’s Mechs In One Image

It’s sometimes hard to remember how far MechWarrior has come, but this picture from Adam Kusiak puts the game’s evolution into stark relief. I still love MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, but damn, I don’t remember the Commando being quite so goofy lookin. The Atlas too looks ridiculously blocky, but I guess we gotta give Activision some credit for getting more man-shaped ‘Mechs into the series using such primitive hardware. It really makes you wonder where MechWarrior will be in another 23 years.

Shrapnel’s Road To Tukayyid Anthology Now Available On Anchor.fm

Road to Tukayyid Shrapnel

If you’re not subscribed to Shrapnel, the monthly BattleTech magazine, then you’ve been missing out on the fantastic Road to Tukayyid anthology. However, now you can at least listen to these short stories over on Anchor.fm. This isn’t just some guy speaking text aloud either--there are some exciting music and sound effects in there too. Definitely something to snag for your next road trip or to take with you to the gym. 

Warhammer Or Cat Girl, Decisions Decisions… 

You’ve certainly seen Tex’s talk on the Warhammer by now (you’ve had a month, so there’s no excuse), and now it’s time for merch. Eldonious is promising an art pack containing many of the images seen in the Tex Talks BattleTech episode, including this one here. It’s great, Eldonious is great, and when the Warhammer pack eventually launches, I’m sure it’ll be great too.

And if you absolutely can’t wait, Eldonious already has a few of the Warhammer designs available on t-shirts. I’m not a huge Warhammer fan, but there are a bunch of other designs available too. I’m very much considering the Canopian Cat Girl Cataphract giveaway. For the ‘Mech, not the cat girl. Well, maybe a little for the cat girl. 

Mark Nicholson Leaves MechWarrior 5 Developer PGI

Mark Nicholson - PGI 3D Artist Exits - Mechwarrior Online
Watch this video on YouTube.

Mark Nicholson has left PGI, makers of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries and MechWarrior Online. We spoke to Mark not too long ago where he offered some insight into how new ‘Mechs are designed and the incredible talent required to bring these giant walking death machines to life. PGI has sadly lost a fantastic artist. We wish Mark well in whatever comes next. 

PGI Is Not Working On Lord Of The Rings Online

Piranha Games isn't helping with Lord of the Rings Online
Watch this video on YouTube.

Another quick news bite courtesy of No Guts No Galaxy. It seems that PGI isn’t supporting Lord of the Rings Online after all. That comes directly from PGI’s Daeron Katz, so it’s most likely legit. 

PGI getting taken off of the MechWarrior license to work as a support studio was one of the more depressing rumors that sprung up following the studio’s sale to EG7. With this rumor laid to rest, we now have absolutely no idea what PGI is working on aside from support for MechWarrior Online and MechWarrior 5. Silence could mean MechWarrior 6 is on the table, but we’ll have to wait and see if either PGI or EG7 makes an announcement.

MW5 Mod Imports MechAssault 2’s Atlas And Timber Wolf

Serious Sam Fusion: NEW Mechassault 2 Atlas and Mad Cat Enemy Resource Showcase
Watch this video on YouTube.

Do you like MechAssault? Then you should check out Wolves, the free MechAssault fan game that’s getting better and better every day. But if you also happen to own Serious Sam Fusion, then you should check out this new mod courtesy of Andreiki. The mod adds both the Mad Cat and Atlas models from MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf. As you’d probably expect given Serious Sam is a game where you run around on foot with a machine gun, Andreiki is recommending that anyone who wants to use these models make them the boss of whatever custom map you’re trying to create.

Major BioMech, who first alerted me to this mod, has created a lovely video showcasing the Mad Cat and Atlas in action. Because it’s Serious Sam, you can equip yourself with a laser blaster and eventually take down this 75-ton monster, but BioMech wasn’t quite able to take down both a Mad Cat and an Atlas on the first try.

Retro BattleTech Fan Game Is Looking For Alpha Testers

Retro battletech game looking for a few more alpha testers — or interested map makers from battletech

A while back, I dove into The Crescent Hawk’s Inception, the world’s first BattleTech video game. Originally released in 1988, the game was largely a text-based adventure game with some turn-based combat that vaguely resembled the tabletop rules. It had not aged well, to put it mildly, but if I’m honest, few BattleTech games have. And if I’m further honest, that hasn’t stopped me from reminiscing about MechWarrior 2, so I can’t judge anyone for doing the same about Crescent Hawk’s Inception.

The only difference between me and GamingJay is that I don’t go ahead and remake MechWarrior 2 from scratch in my spare time. Which is exactly what Reddit user GamingJay has done with the old Crescent Hawk’s game.

GamingJay is already so far along with their personal project that they’re even asking for alpha testers. You can shoot ’em a message on Reddit to ask for an alpha build of GamingJay’s retro BattleTech game and then offer your feedback for future development.

I’ve actually reached out to GamingJay and was able to briefly play a bit of alpha. It’s certainly an upgrade over the original, which now has a sort of real-time combat system reminiscent of Faster Than Light‘s. It goes a long way to making this game more interactive than the original Crescent Hawk’s games, and I think there are a lot of folks out there that might be very interested to give this home-brewed Crescent Hawk’s remake a try.

Give Me More Flashman Art, Dammit!

New here! Just thought I would introduce myself! I’m a old battletech fan falling in love with it again because of the recent renaissance from battletech

The Flashman is a ‘Mech that doesn’t get nearly enough credit from BattleTech fans. I loved the Flashman back in MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries and I lament how the Black Knight seems to have taken the Flashman‘s place as the 75-ton all-energy Inner Sphere heavy ‘Mech. Give me my pop-can laser boat or give me death.

Thankfully, Reddit user Scouttherangerdog shares my love for the Flashman, so I get to live for another day. Be sure to welcome Scouttherangerdog back with open arms and leave a like on this fantastic piece.

How To Carry Around A Company Of Mechs In A Leopard

Mechwarrior 5 is a totally accurate Succession Wars game where you really have to scrounge for equipment, every mission is make-or-break from battletech

It always did bother me how a Leopard-class DropShip, which in the lore can only carry a single lance of ‘Mechs, somehow managed to carry an entire company’s worth plus however many I wanted in cold storage in MechWarrior 5. The answer is obvious when you think about it, but it took BipBeepBop123’s diagram for me to finally figure it out for myself. 

MechWarrior Online Ditches That Terrible Skill Tree In Latest Patch

Top 5 Things You should know about Skill Tree reconfigured
Watch this video on YouTube.

The latest MechWarrior Online patch, which actually topped a gigabyte, is easily the biggest to hit the game in years. That’s because one of the core systems in MechWarrior Online has finally been overhauled after years of complaints from all walks of MWO players. Casuals hated it because it was expensive and confusing, and pros hated how long it took to unlock the tree and how many builds wasted skill points due to the tree’s design.

Well, no more. The old skill trees are gone and now you can pick and choose what skills you want and click and drag to unlock as many as you can. It’s a lot simpler, faster, and cheaper than the old tree, and there’s no need for everyone to be refunded their skill points because they’re all still present in the new skill tree. All the same, PGI has gifted players five free skill points for every ‘Mech they own so MechWarriors can further customize their rides.

Besides that, the Rouchneck got a full quirk pass while the Flea and Timber Wolf had their quirks adjusted alongside several other designs. Clan ER Large Lasers had their duration extended to combat the blue line meta, and machine guns had their crit damage multipliers reduced to make light ‘Mechs slightly less deadly. Strangely enough, SRMs all had their heat reduced, so expect to see a lot of brawling splat-Cats in the very near future. There’s also a new Platinum Collection pack that includes variants of the Spider, Cicada, JagerMech, King Crab, Incubus, Vapor Eagle, Hellfire, and Kodiak.

And that’s it for May! Join us in June when I’ll have become a year older and the rest of you will be the exact same age. Unless your birthday is also in June, in which case, happy birthday!

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 September 2020

courtesy of Eldosiousrex

Welp. It’s September, and you know what that means.

Now that we’ve gotten that crucial meme out of the way, welcome to September. I’ve got more than enough existential dread to make writing this intro extremely difficult. So instead, I’m just going to rely on that cheap laugh and jump right into the news. Because nothing blows away anxiety over the potential fall of Western Civilization than a game universe about constant, unending warfare. And giant robots.

Hire Steel Pilot Episode Drops On YouTube

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

Hey, remember that Hired Steel poster we got last month? Well, TMC is back with a pilot episode for its brand new MechWarrior machinima.

This has a whole lot of potential. The animation is only two minutes long, but the quality is superb. They’ve even got a DropShip flight deck where people move around and stuff! MechWarrior 5 could take a lesson here. Hint hint.

Not a whole lot happens; a lance consisting of a Shadow Hawk, a Catapult, a Hunchback, and a Rifleman land on a nameless world before the screen lets us know that this story will continue later. What is this lance of medium and heavy ‘Mechs doing on this apparently verdant world? Find out next month, hopefully.

Also, TMC got George Ledoux to do the opening narration, and that’s just sweet of ‘em. 

Lostech: 30 Years of Heavy Metal Mayhem

Lostech: The BattleTech Center: 30 Years of Heavy Metal Mayhem
Watch this video on YouTube.

Last month’s preview has given way to the real thing. Lostech is here, and it’s a story about Virtual World and FASA’s BattleTech Centers, two places I’ve sadly never had the pleasure of attending because I live in Canada. But I have at least experienced a BattleTech simulator pod, so I know a bit of what I’m missing.

Lostech explores not just the construction and evolution of those simulator pods, but the business side of things as well. With BattleTech and FASA founders Ross Babcock and Jordan Weisman, Virtual World developers Greg Corson, Dave McCoy, JM Albertson, and Bill Redman, as well as Virtual World staff David Abzug, Jose Corpuz, and Paul Tierney, Lostech is a meandering romp down memory lane directed by Chris “Lynx” Chapman (whom you might know from a certain MechCommander game).

There’s a wealth of information here that I am almost certain to source when it comes time for me to revisit Virtual World and the BattleTech simulator pods. It’s also great to see where FASA and Virtual World fit into the wider arcade phenomenon back in the early ‘90s. Check it out when you get the chance! Just make sure you’ve got a spare two hours or so--this is definitely a dense documentary.

Tex Impresses Again With New Documentary On The Mackie

Battletech/Mechwarrior Lore : The Mackie, The Rise of the Battlemech
Watch this video on YouTube.

I’ve probably said enough kind words about Tex’s videos to fill an entire article on its own, but I’ll say ‘em again because the Black Pants Legion just keeps getting better and better. The latest video features the same wonderful writing and narration we’ve come to expect from Tex and company, but now goes one step further thanks to community support.

In the latest Tex Talks BattleTech, we have the wonderful voice stylings of BB Wolfe and George Ledoux, as well as all-new art from D.C. Bruins, Spacer, and Eldosiousrex, plus a ton of music from Goat, Kumakin, and Jekyll. The production value has really gone through the roof thanks to all these collaborations, and I can honestly say this is the best BattleTech content being made and distributed for free anywhere on the internet.

Plus, the full story of the Mackie is truly fascinating. Not just because it’s about the BattleTech universe’s first ‘Mech, but because it’s also about the story of how all of human conflict came to be dominated by giant stompy robots. With a clear sequence of events, Tex and the Black Pants Legion make a rational case for how all war went from space-based warship battles to ground-based robo-fights without making the whole thing sound hokey or downright stupid. That’s a talent I’m not sure I could replicate.

Anyway, go check out this video and subscribe if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.

The Unofficial MechWarrior Online World Championships Are About To Start

Sadly, COVID-19 has rendered it impossible for PGI to host an actual live tournament, but that hasn’t stopped players from organizing an unofficial MechWarrior Online World Championships anyways with their support. 

The competitive queue opens to all-comers on September 29 and closes on November 10. Matches are every Thursday and Saturday, with the top teams moving on to the finals starting on November 13. The grand finals will take place on December 12.

MWO Championship

There will be both in-game and cash prizes, with the cash portion being crowdsourced over on Matcherino. PGI will supply the in-game rewards, which can be pretty substantial. First place gets a 3x Ultimate Pack consisting of 25,000 MC, 74 million C-bills, 2,500 GSP, and some titles. The top 500 players get a consolation prize of five ‘Mech Bays, 3 million C-bills, 373 GSP, and some free paint colors.

Rules are similar to previous years, with matches being fought with teams of 8 on Conquest mode. There are five maps to choose from along with a map ban phase, with air and artillery strikes allowed on both sides. Each team is limited to 480 tons, must have 3 ‘Mechs from each class, and all weapons, tech, and ‘Mechs are allowed, including Hero ‘Mechs.

Sign-ups are available via the Comp Play tab in-game, but also head on over to the MWO Comp Discord to verify your roster and ensure you’re signed up for the many rewards this tournament has to offer. The fine folks over there would also be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can read the full rules here.

Let’s Show Some Quickdraw Love

I’m currently maining a Quickdraw in my MechWarrior 5 playthrough, so these images couldn’t have better timing. 

Finished the Lineart for my Quickdraw redesign! What do you guys think of it, overall? from battletech

First, we have this one from RedCometComith. This is technically a redesign, but I can see a lot of MechWarrior Online/MW5 influence in the arms and chest. I think I like this one a little more though. MechWarrior 5‘s Quickdraw is sort of squat while this one stands a bit taller and retains some iconic features from the tabletop like those rounded ankle actuators.

Quickdraw 3D model from battletech

And then we have judosavarnas with a 3D model released on the exact same day. This one is far more traditional but no less amazing. They’re both great, and they’re both fueling my love of the Quickdraw as my current favorite ‘Mech. But to be fair, my favorite ‘Mech changes more often than the seasons, so next month it’ll probably be a Doloire or something.

Catalyst Clan Invasion Shipping Update And Shrapnel Issue No. 2

Clan Invasion

via Catalyst Game Labs

Catalyst gave us an update earlier in the month to let us know how things are going with the Clan Invasion. The big takeaway was this: “All hubs are expected to ship to backers in the early weeks of October.” So people should start to get their first wave orders sometime in October, provided of course that the USPS hasn’t been completely dismantled by then.

In the meantime, we’ve got yet more photos, yet more 3D renders of second-wave ‘Mechs, and other merch that will get shipped with the first wave. My only problem is that there’s absolutely nothing here about the UrbanMech plushie, and I’m starting to get desperate. Who do I gotta suck up to in order to spend every waking moment with a soft UrbanMech toy surgically grafted to my ass?

In other Catalyst news, the second issue of Shrapnel magazine is out now with new fiction from Michael J. Ciaravella, Jason Schmetzer, and Michael A. Stackpole, as well as “a technical readout of an unusual 55-ton Centurion variant.” There’s lots more, of course, so go order your copy and subscribe for future issues.

Oh, and there’s a new book coming out on Friday: Icons of War by Craig A. Reed Jr. This one takes us back to the home Clans to see what they’ve been up to leading into the invasion of Terra. And in typical Clan fashion, they’re all trying to kill each other. At least, I assume.

Wolves Is Gearing Up For A Big Update, So Here’s A Few Teasers

I’ve been keeping tabs on Wolves, the free-to-play fan-made MechAssault game, and it looks like there’s going to be a new update soon. There will be new ‘Mechs, new skins, a brand new HUD, and some visual effects, according to the game’s Twitter page.

One of those ‘Mechs is definitely a Hellbringer, a ‘Mech so cool that it’s mentioned with both its Inner Sphere and Clan name on our page for MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf.

I might be wrong since you can only see the ‘Mech from behind and it (of course) bears a strong resemblance to the Summoner. I’m sure Pajama Boy will correct me if I’m wrong. 

Anyone Up For A ProtoMech Webcomic?

protomech issue 1 cover (description in comments)(my art) from battletech

Geergutz over on Reddit recently posted this, and I felt like it was something worth sharing. They plan to start a BattleTech-inspired webcomic about ProtoMechs, of all things. These much-maligned overgrown battlesuits aren’t really something that gets a lot of attention these days, even in the post-Dark Age era where everyone and their pet dog have a set of power armor in their closet. 

The cover we see here apparently features a Hell’s Horses pilot and a Centaur ProtoMech. That’s about all we got so far, but you can check out geergutz’s DeviantArt page to see more, along with this neat comparison image of several ‘Mechs, ProtoMechs, and Elemental armor.

Somehow, MechWarrior 5 Wins Best Narrative At Canadian Game Awards

MW5 Wins Canadian Game Awards Best Narrative (somehow) from OutreachHPG

No, this is not a joke. I like MechWarrior 5 as much as the next guy, but a masterpiece of narrative storytelling it is not. And yet, somehow, MechWarrior 5 won the award for Best Narrative at the Canadian Game Awards.

This is what happens when we don’t get a new BioWare game every year.

Also, I LIVE in Canada and I’m only hearing about the Canadian Game Awards just now. The selection committee is a bunch of people I’ve never heard of, except for Marc Salzman and that’s only because he’s at the beginning of every in-theatre movie to hawk overpriced tech at me during the pre-show.

PGI president Russ Bullock has even admitted that MechWarrior 5‘s narrative is not the main draw, so there’s really no logic to be found here. There’s also no explanation from the judges or even a quick blurb about why MechWarrior 5‘s narrative was considered better than every other Canadian game produced in 2020. We’ll probably never know. 

And that’s it for this month! Join us next month where we’ll all hopefully have our Clan Invasion Kickstarter minis and maybe the world won’t be quite so on fire.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

June News Roundup 2020 – Supplemental

Yeah, I know, we just had our June news dump, but a few things came up that I really didn’t want to push off until July. They’re kinda big deals, hence we have a “supplemental” addition to our June news.

So, without further adieu…

New Trailer For MechWarrior 5 DLC, Heroes Of The Inner Sphere

MW5 Mercs Heroes of the Inner Sphere DLC - New Mechs and Biome Preview.
Watch this video on YouTube.

We heard about this DLC back in April, and now we get to see it in action. All seven new ‘Mechs are showcased in this trailer, which includes the Corsair, Champion, Dervish, Charger, Hatamoto-Chi, Vulcan, and Marauder II. I’m personally very excited about the Dervish, which I think would make a great early-game machine and a decent ride to throw my lancemates.

There’s also a brand new moon biome on display here that looks pretty danged good. Suspiciously good, in fact. I’m wondering if this DLC might have a few lighting improvements to MechWarrior 5’s engine.

And right at the end there? Infantry! Finally, MechWarrior 5 will feel more like a real world that is inhabited by humans and not just giant stomping death machines and the occasional tank.

Corsair

And as a quick recap, this DLC isn’t just about adding new ‘Mechs. Heroes of the Inner Sphere will add new warzones, quests, missions, and an expanded map of the Inner Sphere. The centerpiece is seven new quests that tell the stories of seven heroes along with their unique ‘Mechs.

Might those be the seven ‘Mechs that were just showcased in the video? Or will we see the tale of Grayson Carlyle and his Marauder? We’ll find out… later. There’s no release date and PGI isn’t even going to guess at a release window, so patience is a virtue here.

Catalyst Announces Two New Books And A Delay

Grey Watch Protocol

Gosh, Catalyst has a lot going on this month. Good news first: we got two new novels to pre-order. First is Grey Watch Protocol: The Highlander Covenant vol. 1, and the second is Jennifer Brozek’s Ghost Hour: Rogue Academy vol. 2. Both are available for pre-order now and will be delivered in digital format on June 26, which may or may not be after the date of this publication. If I’m late, I blame my editor.

Ghost Hour

Now the bad news: Technical Readout: Golden Century has been pushed back a few weeks. Originally scheduled to release this month, it’s been pushed back so that it can release in both PDF and print-on-demand format at the same time. If all goes well, Catalyst will also release other landscape-format products in the same way such as the upcoming Technical Readout: Irregulars and possibly even past TROs.

And a bit of more good news: Recognition Guide: IlClan vol. 2 is still on track to release next Friday, July 3rd.

Alright, that’s it for June. For realsies this time.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For May 2020

Hey, it’s May, and BattleTech is pretty okay! Sorry, that’s the best I could do to complete the rhyme.

Today, we’re going to completely ignore coronavirus just like an anti-lockdown protester and instead focus on all that’s still good in this world. And as we all know, the only things that are good are giant stompy robots.

Welcome to your BattleTech news roundup for the month of May. Let’s get this party started.

PGI Is Hiring For MechWarrior 5 Development

Katapult

We begin our monthly roundup with some big news from MechWarrior 5 developer PGI. They’re hiring! Eight new positions have opened up at PGI, including some pretty senior technical positions like Level Designer, Principal Animator, and Senior Game Designer.

As some of you know, PGI is also the development studio behind MechWarrior Online, but these positions are all calling for Unreal 4 Engine experience, and that means MechWarrior 5. MechWarrior Online runs on Crytek, an engine that’s both much older and much worse than Unreal 4. Think of Crytek as the Java of game engines--inefficient and nobody really uses it anymore.

I kid! Please don’t send me angry emails filled with Java code that will ruin my computer if I ever accidentally click the attached files.

Anyway, the fact that these are very key positions that are looking to be filled sort of implies that PGI might have lost a few people after the launch of MechWarrior 5. There’s no way you can make a game like MW5 without an Animation Lead or a Level Designer, so I’m thinking that those folks peaced-out after the game launched last year.

As we found out last month, PGI is delaying the release of MechWarrior 5‘s first DLC pack, and these empty positions might have something to do with it. That and the sudden shift to working from home and the up-ending of the global economy.

Benefits of working at PGI include flexible schedules, comprehensive benefits, and beer Fridays. Although, with everyone working from home, every day could be beer Friday. I’m having a beer Friday right now!

We Got Two New BattleTech Books!

May is turning out to be the month of BattleTech fiction for 2020. We’ve got two new novellas to tide us over until the release of IlClan, and both of them deal with events leading up to the ascendancy of Clan Wolf (I’m guessing--I don’t actually have any inside leads with Catalyst on plot development).

Shell Games

First, we have Jason Schmetzer with Shell Games. This book has to do with the Republic of the Sphere‘s incursion into Draconis space following the fall of Fortress Republic. Paladin Max Ergen sets out to capture Dieron, a Draconis district capital and home of the Dieron Regulars, but Warlord Kambei Okamoto won’t let the planet fall without one hell of a fight.

Renowned BattleTech author Blaine Lee Pardoe did a review of the story on his site, and said that “Schmetzer does a great job of taking two paragraphs of sourcebook and turning them into a story of characters, strategy, and honorable struggle.”

Speaking of Pardoe, he’s got his own book out now that also deals with Dark Age-era events. This time the focus is on Wolf’s Dragoons, the storied mercenary company that we all thought was done for after Outreach got nuked during the Jihad. They’re actually still around, and they even have a few regiments operating by the time the Fortress Wall fell.

In Divided We Fall, Alaric Wolf tries to convince Wolf’s Dragoons to return to the Clan that spawned them by sending an envoy: Marotta Kerensky. Will the Dragoons once again become Wolves, or will they keep fighting for the freedom of the Inner Sphere against Clan aggression?

Pardoe gave us a teaser earlier this month, treating us to a brand new ‘Mech on the cover of his book. It’s called the Dominator,  apparently the brainchild of Pardoe with a few tweaks by BattleTech art director Brent Evans. Speculating based on its appearance, its armament consists of an SRM-6, a PPC, either a Large or Medium laser in the right shoulder, and a rear-facing Small laser (which Pardoe confirmed in the teaser). Class, weight, and movement profile are unknown, but given the Linebacker right beside it, I’m guessing it’s on the heavier side of Medium-class.

Both Shell Games and Divided We Fall are available now wherever fine e-books are sold. Or you can just follow these links.

Pardoe Also Did A Fun Jihad And Dark Age Summary

Jihad

Not every BattleTech fan has kept up to date with current events. Some of them don’t know their Reaving from their Jihad from their Dark Age. That’s fine; Blaine is here with a fantastic way of getting lapsed BattleTech fans up to date.

Pardoe wrote a hilariously snarky TLDR of all the BattleTech events following the FedCom Civil War, from Jihad all the way to the fall of Fortress Republic.

“Almost all of the major characters, mercenary units, and a few billion passersby are killed in a fate worse than death: killed ala sourcebook footnote,” writes Pardoe, followed up by this gem about Inner Sphere savior Devlin Stone: “Stone wears a ball cap that says, ‘Make the Inner Sphere Great Again!’ – true story!”

You should read the whole thing over on his website, and also direct any BattleTech fan you know to bookmark it for future reference. And even if you already know the full series of events, it’s still well worth a read.

New Night Vision Mod Greatly Enhances Your Ability To See In The Dark In MechWarrior 5

Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries Mod - Night Vision
Watch this video on YouTube.

Consider this a little preview for an article I’ve been pondering on just what mods you should get for MechWarrior 5. Mod support is perhaps the best thing about the latest MechWarrior game, and mods vastly improve MechWarrior 5 over the vanilla experience.

For example, night vision. The base game’s night vision is pathetic--you can barely see past your Atlas‘s big toe. With the Clear Night Vision mod on, you can see everything through two different choices of night vision. You can set your ‘Mech’s HUD to produce that typical green glow that society has come to readily associate with night vision since the Gulf War, or you can get a full-colored version that more readily approximates current technologies.

Phil at No Guts No Galaxy recently reviewed the mod, and I gotta say, the difference is night and day. I’ll show myself out…

Check out the mod in the video above, and stay tuned for a list of essential MechWarrior 5 mods.

Part 2 Of Tex Talks BattleTech’s Primer On The Clans Is Out Now

Battletech/Mechwarrior Lore : Exodus to Elementals - A Primer on the Clans [Part 2]
Watch this video on YouTube.

I’ve talked to Tex before about his video series which has only grown in popularity since then (not saying I might’ve had something to do with it or anything; his work stands for itself). His Clans Primer is probably the best work produced by the Black Pants Legion to date, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting Part 2 ever since. It’s only fitting that it was released on May 20, just in time for the anniversary of the Battle of Tukayyid.

It’s hard to give spoilers for a story that you already know the ending to, but if you watch any Tex Talks BattleTech, watch this one. And then go back and watch the rest.

And speaking of Tukayyid…

Metal Core Collectibles Is Hosting An Anniversary Sale

Metal Core Collectibles

I’ve seen this guy post on the BattleTech subreddit a few times and have always been impressed by his work. If you’re not aware, Metal Core Collectibles is a series of not-quite BattleTech figures that are sort of like Mech Merc Commander from last week--BattleTech-inspired without actually having the license. They’re definitely made by a BattleTech fan though, and that shines through in the designs. I mean, there’s even a hex map in the background of most of the site’s images.

As far as I can tell, Metal Core Collectibles’ two designs--the Hammerhead and the Tyrant--are basically fan designs that somehow grew into their very own custom figurines. Both the Tyrant and the Hammerhead come in multiple variants so that you can get one with the weapons you want, and there’s a whole bunch of tanks, APCs, and choppers to buy too.

Personally, I really like the Tyrant. It looks like a Centurion-style medium ‘Mech, and I’ve always appreciated workhorse designs like that. I’m not sure if BattleTech-appropriate specs even exist for it, but it still tickles my love for giant robots.

And since Metal Core is owned by a BattleTech fan, they’re also hosting a sale in honor of both their first anniversary in operation and the Battle of Tukayyid. That’s 25% off anything in-store from now until May 27 using the code “Tukayyid2020”. Go check ‘em out.

That’s it for May! Join me next time as we explore what fresh hell June has in store for us.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Randall N. Bills Pens Free Novella For MechWarrior 5

Yes, I know the big news is that MechWarrior 5 is out, but that doesn’t mean I’ve completely lost sight of everything. I mentioned in my earlier piece that MechWarrior 5 might be light on story, but you know what’s not light on story? An actual story that was written as a prelude to MechWarrior 5

Also, it’s free to everyone and not just MechWarrior 5 owners. 

It’s called the MechWarrior 5 Origin Series, and you can find it on the MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries website in 8 installments. Written by Randall N. Bills (whom you might know from his six previous BattleTech novels and as the guy involved in BattleTech development for over 20 years), the eight-part novella tells the story of Nikolai Mason and how he came to create Nik’s Cavaliers, the mercenary company you take over in MechWarrior 5.

Any amount of BattleTech fiction is, of course, a welcome addition, but a free novella? Free is the best price of all.

You can head on over to the MW5 website to download the novella’s 8 parts in either mobi or epub formats. Or you can get it from various online retailers for exactly $0.00. I think it’s pretty spectacular that someone managed to convince Indigo to host a novel for exactly zero pay.

The Origin Series also goes a long way to fixing one of the larger omissions from MechWarrior 5. I know that the game is geared towards getting action fans into a ‘Mech simulator game, but BattleTech fans still prefer to have a bit of backstory. Motivation is key, and with the game set during the “in-between” eras means that there are no galaxy-spanning conflicts to insert ourselves into.

If you use a Kindle (like I do), use the DriveThruFiction download link. That’ll get you set up. For everyone else, you can download your own e-reader to your phone, use the online store of preference, or just murder a tree by printing the whole thing out on paper. I personally prefer the less herbicidal approach, but you do you.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy. stay syrupy

 

Talking BattleTech Fiction with Philip A. Lee

A few weeks ago, Nic managed to catch up to prolific BattleTech writer Philip A. Lee at GenCon 2019, who graciously agreed to an interview. I’ve read a few of Philip’s stories, so it was my absolute pleasure to pick his brain on how he got into BattleTech, how he started writing BattleTech, and how he managed to kill a Jenner in the most hilarious way possible. Well, he didn’t really kill the Jenner, but it was still hilarious and you should read about it.

On top of that, we also get a grade A. Lee-preview of the next story we can expect from the prolific author. So once again, sit back, relax, and enjoy another story from the many corners of BattleTech.

Continue reading

Catalyst Releases New Map Pack, New Fiction From Michael Stackpole In March Update

Catalyst Releases New Map Pack, New Fiction From Michael Stackpole In March Update

Catalyst has announced more new products to continue BattleTech’s 35th-anniversary celebrations.

Hello again, ‘Mech fans! We’re back with another update from Catalyst Games as they’ve announced new products to add to the successful release of the latest box sets, starting with the previously mentioned new map packs.

The first new map pack is simple called “Grasslands”, and as the name implies, it’s all about fighting on generally flat, grassy plains. Not a whole lot of difficult terrain, forests, or water to get in the way of a good slugfest here. Just a good, old fashioned, stand-up shootout.

Grasslands comes on 6, double-sided, 17″ x 22″ paper sheets, which means there’s actually 12 maps total. Each map can be flipped and swapped to either side and then lined up to make whatever grassy battlefield you desire. All maps feature the new art aesthetic that’s showcased in the new box sets, and 10 of those maps are brand new, never-before-seen designs.

You can pick up Grasslands for $29.99 on the Catalyst store, or wait until April 17th for them to arrive at your local games retailer.

Next up is an even more exciting map pack called BattleMaps. These are 4, larger, neoprene maps that come in 4 different flavors: Desert, Lunar, Alpine, and Savannah. But wait, that’s not all! On the other side of these maps are the Grasslands maps, so you get to double your battlefield possibilities.

Each BattleMap is 36″ x 22″ and is only available on the Catalyst web store. Each one sells for $29.99, but you pay for durability on these bad boys.

Along with new maps comes new fiction. Everyone’s favorite Michael Stackpole is back with a trilogy of new short stories that describe the Kell Hounds’ founding an early years as Morgan and Patrick Kell fought tooth and nail to create their own mercenary company.

The first book is entitled Way the Smart Money Bets and is available now, while A Tiny Spot of Rebellion arrives March 22nd. A Clever Bit of Fiction concludes the trilogy on March 27th. Each is available for $3.99 wherever good e-books are sold. Sorry, no paper release is yet planned for this trilogy.

We’ll conclude this bit of BattleTech consumerism with a bit of an update on the Beginner Box Set, which is back in stock online and in store. The reprinted Total Warfare manual is now out of stock, but a reprint is underway, while the reprinted TechManual is currently available online but not quite yet available in print–but Catalyst expects to have it available soon.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy