Category Archives: Video Games

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For November, 2023

I’m pretty sure I’d like November more if Canada celebrated Thanksgiving this month instead of last. Halloween already sucks most of the air out of October so there’s not a lot left for a turkey to breathe. Worse yet, November brings the grey months to Ontario. I probably won’t see the sun again until sometime in February when snow and ice have turned the ground into a mirror so shiny you can’t go outside without welding goggles.

On the plus side, we’ve got some BattleTech news to cover. Bust out your Turkinas and get ready to bake this bird.

A Warrior Pope Approaches

For those unaware, Pope Leo XXI was previously known as Leonard Goodnight, a former member of the First Avalon Hussars and the Grand Master of the Knights Defensor at the time of his ascension to the papacy. That ascension only happened because Pope Beneficent XVII and the entire College of Cardinals were murdered during the DMCS occupation of New Avalon

His ‘Mech, a bright gold Regent named “Justicar,” took part in the fight against the DCMS. Although nowhere in volume 21 of the ilClan Recognition Guides does it mention a fancy hat, I’d like to think it looked a little something like what Cromwell300 has produced above. Also, any excuse to refer to the WarriorPope of New Avalon.

Time To Kickflip A DropShip

Tony “Shadow” Pro Skater Hawk
byu/meltdonw14 inbattletech

Pretty sure meltdonw14 has posted something similar before, but oh well. I think I’m just a sucker for skateboarding ‘Mechs. And the fact I didn’t come up with “Tony ‘Shadow’ Hawk” first is just going to bother me for a long time.

Catalyst Teams Up With Veiled Resin For Unique Art

BattleTech Resin Reveal
Watch this video on YouTube.

There’s no denying that art is an essential part of BattleTech. CGL knows this better than anyone, which is why Randall reached out to artist Steven Michael Bohls of Veiled Resin to commission several BattleTech pieces in his unique art style.

Besides the eye-popping finished product, what makes Veiled Resin so interesting is the process by which these pieces come to life. Each piece requires careful planning and days of repeated carving, pouring, and curing. Steven isn’t even sure what the finished product will look like until layers of tape have been removed from the surface.

You can take a look at the Veiled Resin process in several videos posted to CGL’s YouTube account. The first step is to create a vector art image, either from an existing traditional painting or from scratch on a computer. The second step is to take that vector art and use it to create instructions to send to a CNC machine. The CNC machine then carves out pieces from a flat piece of plexiglass that’s usually a half-inch thick, but Steven went with a full inch for his BattleTech piece (and we do like ‘em thick in BattleTech). 

Next comes the creation of the resin that’s poured into the parts carved out by the CNC machine. This can be the most arduous part of the process as there can be multiple layers of resin required and each layer needs to cure before the next layer can be cured. Curing also needs a relatively high temperature, which is a pain when the finished product is several feet on either side. 

All that hard work eventually leads to a stunning piece of art. The one revealed earlier this month is a take on the Banshee key art from the Mercenaries Kickstarter (done by the fabulous Marco Mazzoni), but Veiled Resin has plans to do 16 smaller pieces from across CGL’s games, including Shadowrun, Leviathan, The Stormlight Archive, and at least two more BattleTech pieces (one is a Jenner running from a Warhawk, and the other is a classic Marauder also by Marco Mazzoni). 

We should see a few more of these pieces unveiled at the Dragonsteel convention, but they haven’t been posted to CGL’s YouTube just yet. I’ll be sure to update things as soon as I find out more. 

Michael Stackpole Celebrates Birthday With A Stiff Drink (And A Cool Painting Too)

Michael Stackpole Paintining

Of the BattleTech authors, it’s hard to imagine one more formative of the game’s universe than Michael Stackpole. From defining the political intrigue of the Fourth Succession War to revealing the origins of the Kell Hounds, Stackpole has been with BattleTech almost every step of the way. And to honor his 66th birthday, fellow author Bryan Young commissioned a special gift.

Many of you likely know of Stackpole, but few know of his in-universe persona, Gustavus “Gus” Michaels. That’s because he’s somewhat ridiculous. He is Michael Stackpole, but also a time traveler who was almost a thousand years old by the time he reportedly died in 3052 (although there is evidence to suggest he’s still alive, somewhere). He attributes his longevity to “time travel, a regimen of Szechuan food and indoor soccer, or a plot by the Internal Revenue Service.”

Gustavus Gus Michaels Painting

Going from author to historian, Gus was present for most of the big events of the Inner Sphere between 3028 and 3052, escaping ComStar captivity to somehow travel to Strana Mechty to witness the election of Ulric Kerensky to ilKhan.

Gus is quite the character, but he’s never had his own portrait until now. Here we have Gus during his time with the Kell Hounds, who apparently broke him out of ComStar custody in 3030. Because of course they did.

For more on Gus’s antics, check out his Sarna article here. And Happy Birthday to the real Michael Stackpole. May he live long enough to witness our journey to the stars and the arrival of giant robot warriors.

BattleTech Pride Anthology 2024 Calls For Submissions

Battletech Pride Anthology 2024 announcement and call for writers! <3
byu/Detofoxy inbattletech

After a wildly successful debut earlier this year, the BattleTech Pride Anthology will return in 2024 with a new edition. To make it happen, though, requires folks to submit their stories! 

BattleTech Anthology 2024 is asking for LGBTQ+ BattleTech fans to write in with their stories focused on LGBTQ+ themes centered around several keywords: Pirates, Anarchists, Misfits, and the Deep Periphery. You can use any or all of these words as inspiration, with submissions expected to be between 4,000 and 6,000 words. 

For more details, check out the Open Call doc here, and to submit your story, head on over to this Google link. The deadline to submit is April 7, 2024, which gives y’all some time to think of something truly fabulous. 

OPINION: Bring Back Naked MechWarriors

This opinion might be a bit like an old MechWarrior shouting at clouds, but back in my day, ‘Mech pilots wore as little as possible so they could survive the often sauna-like temperatures of a ‘Mech cockpit. Sure, they had cooling vests, but those things rarely covered their entire bodies, which often led those pilots to leave the rest as bare as possible. That’s why we’ve got so many sexy images of Natasha Kerensky in a bathing suit. 

But that’s begun to change. I guess you could say it all started with the BattleTech Animated Series where Adam Steiner and the gang would often jump into their ‘Mechs wearing their standard military fatigues, but that was a kid show, so we could forgive them ruining the lore for modesty. MechCommander and MechWarrior 4 featured real-life cinematics of pilots in big helmets and skivvies, but MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries brought us the ‘Mech pilot with a typical sci-fi spacesuit aesthetic. And here we have Hired Steel continuing this farce with their handcrafted MechWarrior

I’ll give Hired Steel some credit for the extra tubing, but my MechWarriors fought in their underpants. In fact, some of them fought buck-fuckin’ naked. There are plenty of 3025 ‘Mechs that run hot enough to cook their pilot, and I could imagine fans of the Nova Prime found it comfier to be as naked as possible before letting loose with 12 lasers.

I think it’s time I took a stand. We need to bring back the naked MechWarrior. If you agree, leave a comment below.

HBS Says No New BattleTech Or Shadowrun Games Coming

More bad news out of Harebrained Schemes. A tweet from earlier this month confirmed the worst: HBS doesn’t have the license for BattleTech or Shadowrun, preventing the studio from starting work on a Shadowrun or BATTLETECH sequel. 

And it’s not for lack of trying. Apparently, the company contacted both Microsoft and PGI (the makers of MechWarrior 5) president Russ Bullock to see if something could be negotiated. We’re not sure whether Microsoft was charging too high a price or was simply unwilling to offer HBS a license (with Big Red 40-Tech suspecting it’s the former--see below), but either way, they came home empty-handed.

It’s a crying shame. I remember replaying each and every Shadowrun game several times, and BATTLETECH remains the best tabletop-style adaptation the franchise has ever seen. Hopefully, next month will bring a change of fortune for this world-class studio.

BattleTech 40th Anniversary News Coming At PAX Unplugged

Watch this video on YouTube.

More news courtesy of Big Red-40Tech: Catalyst plans to announce BattleTech’s 40th-anniversary celebration at PAX Unplugged, which takes place the December 1 weekend in Philadelphia. Badges are still available for you to find out the moment the announcement comes (whatever that may be), or you can wait until the end of next month when we close out the year with this big announcement in Sarna’s monthly news round-up.

Elsewhere in the video, sources say we’re getting a new cover for the Beginner Box and A Game Of Armored Combat, as well as new ForcePacks. This could be a continuation of the discussion last month where we get more faction-focused ForcePacks, but we’ll have to wait to find out (although probably not long given how soon PAX Unplugged arrives).

Wanna See ForcePacks Being Made?

PVC Battletech Packaging CAT35756 102423
Watch this video on YouTube.

On one of my many nights on YouTube, I came across a curious video recommendation. I’d always known that Catalyst’s minis were manufactured in China (CGL mentioned it many times during the Clan Invasion Kickstarter), but I never knew which of the many manufacturers in China it was.

Turns out it’s Liya International, an OEM Plastic Manufacturer. And if you want to see the secret sauce as it’s being made, they’ve got a whole YouTube channel full of CGL products being constructed.

These videos show everything from the plastic injection molds to the workers cutting the bits and pieces off just like it’s a plastic model kit. The assembly workers take those bits and pieces and assemble them into the ‘Mechs we all know and love. A lot of those pieces just snap together with a little dab of glueexactly like a plastic model.

Once the mini is assembled, they’re taken to an assembly line where the workers place each figure in a plastic tray which is then enclosed in the appropriate ForcePack box, ready for shipping. If you queue up a bunch of these in the right order, it’s basically like a How It’s Made video.

What’s interesting is that Liya doesn’t just do the plastic minis. They also have partners that print the posters, map packs, data sheets, cards, booklets, and everything else going into the completed Mercenaries box set. Everything is sent to Liya who then packages it all up. About a month ago, Liya posted a video showing completed Mercenaries boxes being assembled.

We don’t necessarily know how long ago this video was taken, but if you wanted proof that CGL is getting products, here it is. Because we don’t know when these videos will be uploaded, we can’t guess when the Mercs Kickstarter will ship (especially since CGL might still be waiting for boxes to arrive), but we can get a good look at what we’ll be receiving sometime next year.

A Fire Moth Goes Postal

Fire Moth PostalMech: Your package of Elementals is out for delivery!
byu/Stretch5678 inbattletech

The Fire Moth is famously considered the best Elemental taxi the Inner Sphere and Clan homeworlds have ever seen. That’s largely because it can dash (if you’ll pardon the pun) over 200 kph, dumping its Elemental passengers at the front and then retreating before the enemy can even blink.

Thanks to Stretch5678, we now have a Fire Moth model that accurately depicts its battlefield role. Keeping all its Elementals in a bag is perhaps not as efficient as having them cling to various handholds covering the ‘Mech, but it’s certainly adorable.

PixelMech 3D Shares New Explosive Update

PixelMek 3D pre-alpha, now with 100% more destruction effects!
Watch this video on YouTube.

It looks like development of PixelMek 3D is coming along nicely. You may recall PixelMek from September’s news blast as the boomer shooter Doom-like version of MechWarrior that never quite existed but we always kinda wished had. The latest video update reveals a new milestone has been reached: you can blow stuff up

Destruction is a key aspect of any MechWarrior game. There’s no sense of satisfaction if ‘Mechs just wink out of existence after receiving a threshold of damage; bits of them gotta come flying off as their ammo cooks off in bright, colorful explosions, culminating in a tiny supernova as fusion engines breach. Mechteric hasn’t quite reached that level of destruction, but turrets explode, choppers fall out of the sky leaving trails of smoke, and infantry disappear into red mist. 

‘Mechs seem to crumple in on themselves before disappearing in a fireball, which is a step in the right direction but not quite what I’m looking for. I want arms to shoot off in opposite directions once a ‘Mech’s reactor melts down. Perhaps lighter ‘Mechs can have custom animations where a leg comes off at the knee, causing it to face-plant into the ground before it explodes. 

There are also no shadows or light sources from these explosions, but one step at a time. Be sure to stay tuned to Mechteric for more updates.

Who Parked This Night Gyr In The Middle Of The Road?

Mechwarrior, 2023
byu/Remmor inbattletech

This Night Gyr seems to be posing for a Jade Falcon recruitment photo, which is a little weird considering the Falcons famously hate Freeborn recruits, but I guess times are tough for our little green birdies. At least they hand out some pretty sweet helmets. Kudos to Remmor for sharing. 

Owenses. That’s The Plural For Owens, Right?

I haven’t seen the Owens in action since MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries. It’s nice to see this 35-ton Omni Jenner hasn’t been entirely forgotten. Even the C variant on the right is no powerhouse, but I still like ’em. Thanks to Oswald for posting.

The King Of Lego Crabs

Very delayed, but finally done, My best friends favourite chassis from the Battletech Universe, the King crab, this variant of her’s has dual RAC/5’s, twin clan LRM/20’s, oh and of course our beloved C3 network, barely anything can escape her grasp :D
byu/Shotgunfrenzy inmechwarrior

We love Lego BattleTech around these parts, so when Shotgunfrenzy shared their latest commissioned piece, I had to make sure y’all saw it too. It’s a custom job with two RAC/5s and twin LRM-20s, but it looks good enough to be a cannon design. Tragically, I don’t think Shotgunfrenzy shares build instructions, but maybe some of you can figure this monstrosity out just by looking at a spinning gif.

MWO Introduces MechWarrior’s First Shield In Latest Patch

Centurion Onyx MechWarrior Online

MechWarrior Online introduced us to the idea of the “shield arm” way back when it first launched. The idea is to torso twist such that your arm takes incoming fire and not your more important bits. This works best when the shield arm doesn’t contain any weapons and has maybe a slightly enlarged shape to better obstruct the rest of the ‘Mech, such as with the Centurion or Griffin. It didn’t have any more armor than the other arm, but offering it up as a blood sacrifice effectively enhanced your ‘Mech’s overall toughness. 

Fast forward a few years and now MechWarrior Online is introducing the very first actual shield to ever arrive in a MechWarrior game. This shield, as part of the new Legendary Centurion “Onyx,” actually provides additional armor and structure to the Centurion‘s traditional shield arm. It’s also huge, protecting the majority of the ‘Mech. It cannot be removed, but you probably don’t want to. The LB 10-X autocannon and paired Snub-Nose PPCs provide exceptional punch while the shield absorbs incoming fire. Just twist, and fire, and twist, and fire like it’s an ’80s exercise cassette tape.

The Onyx is also delightfully colorful and comes with the usual Legendary battle pass, which provides escalating rewards of GSP, C-Bills, MC, Premium Time, and exclusive cosmetics the more you play it.

The next big surprise in the most recent patch is a new map: Bearclaw II. Krazzdaxx’s latest creation is a subterranean ‘Mech factory built into the side of a mountain. It offers plenty of close-in combat thanks to all those tunnels and buildings, but also longer sight lines if you wander outside to the surrounding ice lake. 

In terms of balance, lots of ballistic weapons have seen their ammo-per-ton increase, while a smaller quirk pass has adjusted several variants of the Viper, Centurion, Thunderbolt, Orion, and Marauder II. Players also received their Annual Rewards Program items in the latest update. For more details, check out the latest patch notes here.

And just in the nick of time, the Longbow is coming to MechWarrior Online. We probably could have guessed given its presence in MechWarrior 5′s latest DLC, but now we have confirmation. Unlike MechWarrior 5, not every variant is a missile boat either; PGI did some digging in the old archives to find a few ballistic-focused versions to field too. Head over to this page to learn more about the Longbow‘s variants and the current Longbow event.

The Fafnir Arrives In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

We have yet another mod from The Art of BattleTech. Once again, we have Pawel Czarnecki to thank for this Fafnir model, which harkens back to the style of MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries rather than the one featured in MechWarrior Online. This Gauss-toting beast is more than capable of wrecking any ‘Mech a merc could meet and is especially adept at turning cockpits into crematoriums.

As usual, head on over to Nexus Mods or the Steam Workshop to download the Fafnir for MechWarrior 5.

Magnetic ‘Mech Bay Blows Me Away

Mech Bay 2
byu/Fox-Fi inbattletech

I’ve started to really get into BattleTech terrain that goes the extra mile. Recently, we looked at Cross Electric Designs’ ‘Mech Bay with its battery slot and inset grooves for adding your own LED lights (which you can read about in our previous coverage here). But if illumination isn’t your thing, how about a magnetic ‘Mech Bay door?

Here’s Fox-Fi’s personal project of a working magnetic ‘Mech Bay. Both the roof and door connect to the bay via magnets, allowing you to have the door in an open or closed position. It’s great, and their Reddit post has a lovely reference to MechWarrior 4

Fox-Fi’s love of MechWarrior 4 is apparent in another project: the Repair Bay! This one actually has sliding doors just like the repair bay in MW4 (which this is clearly modeled after). They even gave it the appropriate hazard stripes. Beautiful. Great work, Fox-Fi!

Camo Specs Brings Us The Free Jade Falcon Paint Guide

Camo Specs Online Jade Falcon Paint Schemes

Last month we had the Smoke Jags, and this month we’ve got the green birbs. Just like last time, this guide provides the color schemes for the Jade Falcon touman, with plenty of Galaxies to choose from. I’ll spoil things for you a bit: they’re mostly green, although I really dig Lambda Galaxy’s sandy paintjob with gray highlights. I also like how they’re mostly second-line garrison units. Give me Clanners with standard engines!

Head over to Catalyst’s store for your 100% free download. 

Happy Jade Turkey Day!

I had my Thanksgiving last month, but I know the majority of you celebrated this holiday last week. Here we have another ‘Mech that looks like a turkey courtesy of the Mercenary Star Podcast. Thank you for the turkey-’Mech.

That’s it for November! Join us next month as we find out how BattleTech will celebrate its big four-oh birthday next year, and what new products might arrive just in time for the holidays.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy


Your BattleTech News Round-Up For October, 2023

It’s the spooo00OO0oooo00oOOOooky month! I don’t really have anything scary to offer other than my ability to mix capital Os and zeroes together to create a ghostly sound, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all appreciate the terrors that October brings. And also some BattleTech news.

As always, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so we’re just going to hop right into it. Be sure to pack your pillow case, ’cause we’re going all night long.

Why You Never Shut Down In Front of A Wobbie

Hellish Celestial
byu/Akella333 inbattletech

We’ve got Akella to thank for this commissioned piece of a Seraph moments away from eviscerating an unfortunate Kodiak. This pic definitely gives me strong vibes of the original MechWarrior cover, only the Seraph is way more menacing than a Warhammer ever could be (no offense to the Warhammer). 

If you’re lookin’ for the ‘Mechs without the effects, check out this version over on Akella’s Twitter account

It’s Like A Snow Leopard, But Deadlier

Winter Patrol, digital oil painting by me.
byu/aa-ron-dakota inbattletech

This incredible digital oil painting comes courtesy of Aaron Harris, an artist currently working for Catalyst. I wish I was more of an artist so I could point to other famous paintings of pastoral war scenes that surely inspired this piece and nod sagely over my vast artistic wisdom, but I’m not, so I won’t. I just think this looks really good. Thanks for sharing, Aaron. 

Prints are also available for purchase. Check out this link here

OPINION: C-Bill ‘Mech Prices Never Really Made Any Sense

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

I saw this post on the BattleTech subreddit a week ago, and I felt a certain kinship with iamfanboytoo. I might have made their point a little more diplomatically, but the gist is certainly true: C-Bill prices never really mattered. Don’t get me wrong--the Inner Sphere is still definitely a capitalist society (broadly speaking) and money still makes the galaxy go round, but even when the C-Bill was the dominant currency for everything, it still never made sense.

We’ll take 3025 as our base example. We have a bunch of ‘Mechs on Sarna with prices listed in C-Bills, which we assume to be the price you’d pay if you wanted to buy that ‘Mech from some theoretical ‘Mech dealership, but that’s hardly ever the case. For starters, ‘Mech dealerships aren’t really a thing in most places around the Inner Sphere at the time. Second, those prices would fluctuate wildly depending on where you are and who you’re buying from. Getting some junked-out heap in the middle of the Periphery is probably way cheaper than buying a ‘Mech straight from the manufacturer--if that manufacturer even lets you buy a ‘Mech at all, given how most factories’ production runs were already bought and paid for by House militaries.

Once you throw time into the mix, C-Bill pricing makes even less sense. Sure, standard fusion engines might start out cheap as they’re the most numerous engines produced in 3025, but by 3060, the standard had long since moved to XL engines. And just as your compact disc player became cheaper than a vinyl record player in the ’90s, so too would an XL engine become cheaper than a standard fusion engine as manufacturers all retool to mass-produce the latest and greatest tech. Therefore, doubling the price of all these 3060s-era ‘Mechs just because they have XL engines didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now. 

And what about the Clans? They never used the C-Bill as a form of currency, so having a Timber Wolf listed at 24-million-odd C-Bills is an outright fabrication. The Clan lower castes have “work credits” to facilitate daily commerce, and the merchant castes all use the “Kerensky” as a unit of currency for larger industrial transactions, but both of those could be redistributed at the whims of the Clan leadership. (Having taken a few macroeconomics courses, one wonders how any of the central bankers at any of the Clans stayed sane.) In any case, nobody has ever gone to the Jade Falcons and asked to buy a Summoner for a cool 21 million C-Bills.

I get how it was helpful to understand the “cost” of a certain unit by assigning it a price in C-Bills, but it was always a misleading identifier at best. Just as they do today, prices would fluctuate wildly as time, technology, and universe-changing events progressed. As of the Dark Age and the IlClan eras, C-Bills are no longer the de-facto currency anyway. 

So, what’s expensive, and what’s cheap? As it does in the real world, that’ll depend on who you are, where you are, and what you’re trying to buy. By 3150, trying to buy a Griffin in the Lyran Commonwealth--an older design that’s been in mass production for centuries--would probably cost you just a few million Kroner. Meanwhile, trying to buy a Dominator from Clan Wolf would likely be outright impossible, given how it’s a brand-new design that’s being made specifically for a single military. You might be able to buy a Thresher Mk II from a wandering Sea Fox arms dealer, but you’ll probably have to pay a pretty penny--especially as the Sea Foxes will add a surcharge for currency conversion. 

I agree with iamfanboytoo; it’s time to leave the C-Bill behind. Don’t agree? Leave a message in the comments. Remember, no pitchforks allowed. 

News From Spiel Essen On Mercs Kickstarter And BattleTech Aces

GIANT Battletech News!
Watch this video on YouTube.

More news from Germany! Spiel Essen, one of the big gaming-related events out in Germany, brought with it some updates on the Mercenaries Kickstarter (with a shoutout to Big Red-40Tech for covering this earlier in the month). According to CGL folks at Spiel Essen, the miniatures are all done and raring to go, but we’re still waiting on a shipping date due to all the other stuff that came along with the Kickstarter--I’m talking dice and plushies and keychains. I’m still personally holding out hope that we’ll get shipping this year, but Big Red thinks it’s more realistic to think 2024. Considering that’s what the Kickstarter says, he’s probably right. 

Other news involves BattleTech Aces, the single-player BattleTech product that was playtested in the Mercs Kickstarter and I had quite a few positive things to say about it. We can likely expect an announcement for a new BattleTech Aces box set in “the next little while,” which might be as soon as two months. No word on what ‘Mechs might be in the box, which is likely what’s keeping the announcement from being sooner.

And finally, there’s demand for Catalyst to release more faction packs a la ComStar and the specific mercenary regiments rather than the generalist Inner Sphere and Clan packs that have been released in the two Kickstarters. Catalyst is looking into faction packs for various nations, Clans, and other major groups, but no timeframe on when we can expect an announcement.

Big Red also noted some tough news for Harebrained Schemes, which we’ll cover in our next section.

Tough Times For Hairbrained Schemes

Hairbrained Schemes Logo

Things aren’t looking so great for BATTLETECH developer Hairbrained Schemes. While its past licensed games--including the various Shadowrun titles and aforementioned BATTLETECH--were financial winners, its latest title hasn’t lived up to expectations. Although well-reviewed, The Lamplighters League didn’t capture sales, and with publisher Paradox falling on tough financial times, Hairbrained Schemes and Paradox have now parted ways. 

Worse, Hairbrained has reportedly been forced to lay off roughly 80% of its staff. There’s a resetera thread from a staffer that lays out the story. According to the post, HBS tried to sell Paradox on BATTLETECH 2, but Paradox didn’t want to pay Microsoft its licensing fee, so HBS went with The Lamplighters League. But without a built-in audience, Lamplighters League didn’t sell. Paradox then wrote the game off as a loss.

“Paradox has refocused its strategy towards its core niches within strategy and management games with endless qualities,” said Paradox chief operations officer Charlotta Nilsson in a prepared statement. “We and HBS’ leadership have been discussing what would happen after the release of The Lamplighters League, but a new project or sequel in the same genre was not in line with our portfolio plans. Hence, we believe that a separation would be the best way forward. We’re very happy that this talented, gifted studio has the chance to continue and can’t wait to see what they will make next.”

This doesn’t leave HBS in a great spot. We know that Paradox has retained the rights and source code to BATTLETECH, so if HBS wanted to make a sequel on their own, they’d have to start completely from scratch and with a drastically smaller workforce.

On the other hand, BATTLETECH was originally funded through a Kickstarter campaign, and with Microsoft saying they’d be more than willing to revisit old franchises, there’s nothing stopping HBS from simply Kickstarting BATTLETECH 2. Plus, HBS has a proven track record of being able to make fantastic games, so perhaps another publisher partnership isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Maybe they could go with a different game engine than Unity, though, given that company’s recent kerfluffle.

We’ll have to wait and see what Hairbrained does next, but at least the company seems to be in good spirits. I’d also be super interested in another Shadowrun game. Just sayin’.

The Art Of BattleTech Announces MechWarrior 2 Remake Project

Mechwarrior 2 Remake Showcase - Clan Wolf - Mission 1 Pyre Light
Watch this video on YouTube.

You might recall The Art of BattleTech (aka SankaraSamsara, or Emil) from various MechWarrior 5 mods that add classic Clan OmniMechs, or from an essay we recently published on what MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries gets right and what it gets wrong. Emil has just announced that he’s embarked on his most ambitious project to date: a recreation of MechWarrior 2 in MechWarrior 5: Mercs.

So far, the mod is mostly a proof of concept and only has the first mission for the Clan Wolf campaign, “Pyre Light.” It uses the modded ‘Mechs that Emil and company have created for Mercs, with players accessing the Clan Wolf campaign by starting a new career. This brings up a facsimile of MechWarrior 2‘s menus with a MechWarrior 5-style briefing screen.

Compared to a regular Mercenaries mission, Pyre Light in the mod is mostly an empty desert. You do indeed destroy a chemical plant, inspect a firebase, and blow away a few light ‘Mechs exactly as you did in MechWarrior 2, but with way more visual and audio fidelity. It’s a vastly different experience, one which Emil has previously described at length.

I’ve spoken with Emil about his most immediate future plans. Besides adding in other missions, he wants to throw in the original MechWarrior 2 cinematics and allow the user to choose between the original soundtrack by Jeehun Hwang or the remixed version from Timothy Seals. 

Remaking these missions is still a ton of work, so consider hopping over to Emil’s Patreon if this is something you’d like to support. You can download the MechWarrior 2 Remake Project over on Nexus Mods

And just in time for the MechWarrior 2 Remake Project, Emil has announced the Jenner IIC mod is now available for MechWarrior 5 with a model created by FarSeer Animation. Grab this one on Nexus Mods or Steam Workshop.

Camo Specs Online Partners With CGL To Offer Free Clan Smoke Jaguar Paint Guide

Camo Specs Online, your one-stop shop for BattleTech faction and unit paint schemes, has paired up with Catalyst to offer a guide to painting units within Clan Smoke Jaguar. This is likely to do with MechWarrior 5: Clans as you’ll be a Smoke Jaguar MechWarrior in the upcoming game, but it could just be the first of many guides as Camo Specs is warning us that something else will be arriving November 17

The guide itself is available from Catalyst’s online store for zero dollars. That’s right--it’s free. Inside the PDF you’ll find paint schemes and unit insignias for Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Kappa, Nu, Tau, Psi, and Omega Galaxies, as well as step-by-step instructions for how to recreate the complex jaguar fur pattern of Alpha Galaxy. If you’re looking to paint your own Smoke Jaguar units, then this is an invaluable resource you’ll definitely want to grab. Hats off to Camo Specs for putting this together!

PGI President Russ Bullock Shares More Details On MW5: Clans With No Guts No Galaxy

Podcast 232 - Russ Bullock - MW5 Clans, MW5 Mercs, MWO
Watch this video on YouTube.

We’ve got a few more tidbits on MechWarrior 5: Clans courtesy of No Guts No Galaxy. In an interview with the PGI president, Russ Bullock discussed the origins of MechWarrior 5: Clans as an offshoot of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, taking the opposite approach of MechWarrior 2 many decades ago (that game starting with the Clans and then going Mercenaries rather than the other way around). Bullock also admitted that MW5: Clans started life as an expansion, but it quickly became apparent that MW5: Mercs wouldn’t be able to handle all the things that PGI wanted to do, so when the decision to upgrade to Unreal Engine 5 came down the pipe, it only made sense to make an entirely new game. 

Russ had some really good things to say about the coming MechWarrior 5 sequel, with a lot of discussion centering around the storytelling that will be present in MW5: Clans. Specifically, the game will have over a dozen actual characters “with dialog” and “Unreal 5-quality cinematics.” Sounds like we’re going to have more than just Ryana doing the talking this time around.

My personal take? PGI is making the MechWarrior equivalent of Ace Combat 7 or Armored Core 6. Probably far less anime-inspired, but it sounds like there will be similarities in terms of structure, ie. missions having voiced briefings before (or perhaps after) they start, and major story beats will be accompanied by both in-game and cinematic sequences. And if that’s the case, I’m all for it. I love what Bandai Namco has done with its action franchises, with both games being some of my favorite action titles in recent memory.

There was also some discussion on how PGI is expanding its skill base by hiring actual character artists. MechWarrior 5: Merc‘s characters were either 2D avatars or stock Unreal models modified to become Ryana and Fahad. PGI now has a team of a dozen or so people who can create human characters from the ground up, including animation and mocap, so we can expect way more people to be part of MechWarrior 5: Clans‘ story. 

The cinematics themselves sound like they’ll be outsourced to other companies, one of which might just be TMC--the makers of Hired Steel and the MechWarrior 5: Clans teaser trailer we saw last month.

Other quick hits include “incremental improvements” in ‘Mech combat compared to MW5: Mercs, continued support for mods (yay!), and continued support for online co-op without committing to any sort of PvP gameplay in MW5: Clans

There’s more of course, with discussions on the future of MechWarrior Online (largely status-quo) and how a game like MechAssault might be a good thing for Microsoft to revisit as it brought a lot of folks into the BattleTech fold. But you can hear more about that in the video embedded above.

BungleTech And Other BattleTech Podcasts You Should Listen To

I love podcasts. I listen to them every day while I’m cooking or cleaning or going to the gym. And now I’ve discovered an entire ring of BattleTech podcasts courtesy of BungleTech hosts Nathan and Mike.

BungleTech is itself a BattleTech podcast that recently interviewed a whole bunch of other BattleTech podcasts, including Renegade HPG (there’s literally nothing Travis doesn’t have his hand in), BattlePod, On The Origins of BattleMechs, The MechBay, Battle Babes, Mercenary Star, Of ‘Mech’s And Men, The Valhalla Club, Wolfnet, The Calgary BattleTech League (shoutout to my Western Canadian peeps), Battletopia Stories (who also does the lovely audio plays of the Bad ‘Mechs series), and Unicorn Company

Interviewing this many creators took a whopping four hours, so be sure to have a lot of cleaning/cooking/gyming to do before embarking on this particular journey, but know that you’ve got a great chance of picking up a new favorite podcast if you do.

The BungleTech podcast also recently conducted a survey of listeners where they revealed their favorite ‘Mechs in each weight class (Locust, Hunchback, Warhammer, and Awesome), favorite weapons (PPCs, of course), and even their favorite three design quirks. Nathan and Mike weren’t exactly scientific in their process, and respondents often added their own special flare (this is why you don’t leave blank fields for responses, guys), but any community outreach is good outreach.

Last of all, they’re giving away a cool new tabletop game mode where you hunt down the legendary Black Marauder. Nothing says it’s the spooky season like trying to destroy a ‘Mech possessed by a demon. Check ’em out on Spotify, Anchor FM, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get podcasts.

Grayson Carlyle’s Marauder Finally Becomes A Card

By now, you all should know Regengade HPG and his love of the BattleTech CCG. You should also know that he’s been expanding the CCG with brand-new cards that he personally created. Here we have Grayson Carlyle’s MAD-3R Marauder, which survived for 25 years until the Clans invaded Sudeten.

Art for the card comes courtesy of the prolific Eldon Cowgur (aka Eldoniousrex), but the text and stats are all Renegade HPG. Expect to see this and more in the upcoming Payback expansion, and head to the BattleTech TCG Discord server for more details.

MechWarrior 5 Concept Art From The Early 2000s Surfaces Online

Heinz Schuller, the art director for MechAssault, MechAssault 2, and MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries, has shared a number of concept art pieces that were to be used in the proposed MechWarrior 5 project that ultimately never received the green light back in 2003. Besides being cool concept art for a canceled game, what’s interesting here is just how wildly different these ‘Mechs are from their original designs.

The Wolf Trap, for example, bears almost no resemblance to the classic image from TRO 3050. It looks far more tank-like than the original, with its left hand replaced by a smaller autocannon and a head that’s just a sloped canopy. The Vindicator also loses its hand in favor of a weapon’s barrel, and the Fenris looks almost nothing like the Ice Ferret we all know and love.

The existence of the Toyama meant that it’s likely the Word of Blake would have been the game’s villain, but we can really only speculate. The game never got to the writing stage, and documents from the era are few and far between. That’s what makes this treasure trove so special. Thanks, Heinz!

BattleTech Universe Previewed By Catalyst

BattleTech Universe Preview
Watch this video on YouTube.

We know that CGL has been working on a new Universe book for BattleTech for some time. That’s the book that tries to explain the entire BattleTech universe in a single volume, which is quite the task given how big a universe it really is. Managing developer Randall Bills recently revealed just how much progress Catalyst has made in a preview posted to the CGL YouTube channel.

What we saw was… huge. Mostly because there will be several different versions of the new primer, one of which will include a packaged set with maps, art prints, and a lovely box that provides the “all systems nominal” message whenever you open it. Then there’s the BattleTech Universe book itself, which will contain all the relevant information players will need to get caught up to the current point in the BattleTech narrative, but also something called the BattleTech Remembrance, which will include personal messages from over 50 authors and creators, including BattleTech creator Jordan Weisman

Randall said he’d be “carefully scrutinizing” every page--and there are a lot of pages to look at--before sending the final version for printing. Randall expects it to become a “new high watermark” for the industry, and folks will be looking to BattleTech to see how games should be historically preserved. This looks like the sort of bespoke product that every BattleTech fan will want to have on their bookshelf or sitting on their coffee table. 

Still no word on when we’ll see the BattleTech Universe book hit store shelves, but it sure seems like we’re on the home stretch.

BattleTech World Wide Event Coming Next Month

You might have seen signs for this at your local store, but there’s a new worldwide event coming in November. “At The Cost Of Bootlaces” will see the Capellan Confederation face off against the IlClan in a titanic clash that will test Clan Wolf’s supremacy in the new era. 

Of course, which side wins will be totally up to you! Head on over to your local game store and sign up for the BattleTech 2023 Worldwide Event, which will be at various times and places between October 31 and December 31. 

MechWarrior Online Patch Brings New Legendary ‘Mechs And Halloween Events

Marauder Blight MechWarrior Online

Another month, another patch! MechWarrior Online has a ton of stuff going on, including the usual Halloween-themed event and sale, the ongoing MechWarrior Online Championship Series, several ‘Mech and map adjustments, and two new Legendary ‘Mechs.

The first is Blight, a Marauder with two guns on its armored carapace instead of one! They’re both Ultra AC/10s in the right and left torsos protected by CASE, which is a little weird since the ammo for these guns is located everywhere except the right and left torsos. Owners will likely modify this immediately after purchasing the ‘Mech for $15. 

The second is Gorewing, a new Legendary Vapor Eagle variant. A slow brawler rather than a jumping sniper, the Gorewing mounts twin LB 10-X autocannons and five ER Medium Lasers. It’s not particularly fast, but it’s got jump quirks and a lot of additional armor in those arms, so expect this thing to be a highly-mobile medium-range striker.

On the quirk side, the big winners this month are Locust, Blackjack, Trebuchet, Thunderbolt, and Charger with significant buffs across the board. A few variants from other ‘Mechs also received smaller tweaks, and the new Hyper Gauss Rifles have had their projectile spread drastically reduced. Finally, Viridian Bog no longer has a lily pad forest in the lowlands, which will go a long way to improving your odds of hitting a fleeing light ‘Mech on that map.

We know that PGI considers MechWarrior Online will maintain the status quo for the next year, but that doesn’t mean the Cauldron is sitting on its heels! Check out this interview between No Guts No Galaxy and Bear_Cl4w of the Cauldron to learn of the big changes coming in the MWO pipeline.

The Urbanhonk Strikes When You Least Expect It

I’ll be the first to admit the barrels on some BattleMechs are… questionable. The Thunder, Striker, Victor, and various other ‘Mechs with a veritable keg for an arm all come to mind. Which is probably what inspired hobo freelance artist DMoser to create what he calls “The Urbanhonk.”

I’m on the fence as to whether or not this is a significant enough improvement to warrant its own alphanumeric variant code. Thanks, DMoser, for this. Whatever it is.

BattleTech Instant Action Scenario Pack Available Now

Battletech: Instant Action, a Classic Battletech scenario pack for pickup play
byu/Rawbert413 inbattletech

Having trouble coming up with a scenario to play with your local BattleTech tabletop group? Or are you just looking to spice up your games with a little bit of chaos? Then the Instant Action Classic BattleTech Scenario Pack might be for you.

We have Rawbert413 to thank for this little download, which you can grab here. The PDF offers what is called the “Mission Matrix,” which determines the scenario you’ll be playing. Each player privately chooses either “Confront, Hold, Recon, Destroy,” or “Salvage.” Players then throw their choices in a hat and two of them are selected. Whatever two choices are drawn then determines the scenario based on the Mission Matrix.

Say the two choices are “Hold” and “Destroy.” You then consult the Mission Matrix and see you’ve selected the “Bombing Run” scenario, where the “Destroy” player has to run their ‘Mechs into the “Hold” player’s area in order to lay their held satchel charges and blow up some important objective. The defender has to “hold,” but the attacker is also “holding” something, and of course, there’s destruction all around.

What if you get two of the same choice? For example, if you get “Confront” and “Confront,” it’s assigned the scenario “Circle of Equals,” which is basically just two sides beating the crap out of each other until one side submits. “Recon” and “Recon” results in “Scout Clash,” where the objective is for each side to scan as many data nodes as possible and then retreat back to base. “Destroy” and “Destroy” results in “Hot Potato,” which eventually results in a hilariously large explosion, but not before there’s plenty of physical violence. 

I like this idea a lot, and I think it can definitely spice up a stale player group. Check it out courtesy of Rawbert’s Reddit post here.

Those Searchlights Aren’t Really Going To Help…

Lone scout, 2023
byu/Remmor inbattletech

I do wish searchlights were a feature you could activate in some MechWarrior games, but I don’t think they’re going to save this poor Phoenix Hawk. With thanks to Remmor for the post and Faut for the art (or possibly Faul, it’s hard to tell based on the font).

And that’s it for the spookiest of months! Join us next time as we head into the somber month of November before we catapult ourselves into the consumerist frenzy of December. We’ll be sure to report on all the new BattleTech products that hit store shelves this holiday season.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy


Your BattleTech News Round-Up For September, 2023

It’s been an eventful September. We had the hottest summer in human history, Hollywood writers secured a historic contract that prevents them from losing their jobs to AI, and best of all, we’ve got a DropShip-load of BattleTech news to cover. So let’s skip all this historic garbage and get straight to the news that matters!

MechWarrior 5 Clans Announced 

MechWarrior 5: Clans Teaser
Watch this video on YouTube.

Looks like the speculation is over a lot sooner than I thought. The next MechWarrior game is not MechWarrior 6 but is instead being called MechWarrior 5: Clans

The news first broke through a leaked version of the article coming in the next issue of PC Gamer. We’re only discussing it here since most of what we learn in the article is also available to peruse on MechWarrior 5: Clan‘s Steam store listing, which went live a few days later (presumably because of the leak). 

We’ve got a lot to unpack here, so we’ll start with the article. It’s intended to explain the universe to non-BattleTech players, so we’ll skip a lot of the general stuff and get right to the specifics. We’re playing as Clan Smoke Jaguar during the invasion of the Inner Sphere. One early mission--perhaps even the introductory mission--is confirmed to take place on the pirate-controlled world of Santander V. This earliest known battle between the Smoke Jaguars and the Inner Sphere involved saKhan Sarah Weaver bidding against Clan Ghost Bear to destroy the pirate band Santander’s Killers, and would place the player as a MechWarrior in either the Shroud Keshik or the 362nd Assault Cluster

There are several confirmed ‘Mechs in the article, including the Timber Wolf, Mad Dog, Summoner, and Dire Wolf, although fighting against pirates and the Draconis Combine presumably means we’ll see a lot of Inner Sphere designs too. I think it’s safe to say we’ll see a bunch of Clan ‘Mech models that are already represented in MechWarrior Online and are era/faction-appropriate, such as the Mist Lynx, Nova, Stormcrow, Ebon Jaguar, Warhawk, and more.

MechWarrior 5 Clans Alex Igelsias Key Art

Emil has already talked at length about what MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries does right and what it does wrong, so I’ll be brief when I say Mercenaries‘ biggest shortcoming is storytelling. Too many missions said that we were trying to save the noble from an invading force, but what we actually did was fend off waves of randomly spawned ‘Mechs on a randomly generated map. We never saw the nobles, the invaders never acted like they were trying to complete their own objective, and the mission felt like every other mission--a festival of destruction that ends with you atop a pile of wrecked ‘Mechs. 

It sounds like PGI is taking a different direction with MW5: Clans. The terms “handcrafted,” “bespoke,” and “visual storytelling” all got bandied around in the article, with levels being designed to produce evocative visuals as well as memorable encounters. We can also expect a different audio experience. Where Mercenaries was all about chunky metal guitars evoking a similar soundscape to MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, MW5: Clans will try to emulate the synthesized ambiance of the original MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat.

Head over to the Steam store listing and we find out MW5: Clans will have an “expansive campaign” with “well-crafted characters and moral quandaries.” There’s also going to be a “revamped MechLab” with a new “hardpoint and OmniPod system.” 

I gotta give kudos to PGI on this one. The first MechWarrior 2 covered Clans Wolf, Jade Falcon, and Ghost Bear (with the expansion). We’ve never had a MechWarrior game where the Smoke Jaguars were anything but the villain. There’s lots of room for storytelling here alongside some classic ‘Mech versus ‘Mech action.

There are a few other things worth noting. The teaser video you see above was created by the same folks who made Hired Steel, which explains its incredible quality. They’ve even released a behind-the-scenes video on how they made the teaser. For more analysis on where the campaign could go and what ‘Mechs to expect, I’ll direct you to Stormwolf’s excellent breakdown on the subject here. We know MechWarrior 5’s game engine is being upgraded from Unreal 4 to Unreal 5 (here’s hoping my current rig can keep up). And we’re getting MechWarrior 5: Clans way sooner than I expected. The game drops sometime in 2024. 

There’s more in PC Gamer’s article, so do pick up their next issue whenever it arrives. I don’t really follow print magazines, but I assume they’re still on a monthly schedule.

OPINION – ‘Mechs That Need To Be In MechWarrior 5: Clans

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

Stormwolf has given us a list of ‘Mechs already modeled in MechWarrior Online that we could see in MechWarrior 5: Clans. However, I think it’d be a huge waste for PGI to release a new game without any new ‘Mechs that fans haven’t seen before (or at least, not in a long time). 

A new game means new ‘Mechs, and I’m going to throw out a few names for ‘Mechs that absolutely should be in MechWarrior 5: Clans. First and foremost, the Firemoth, Inner Sphere reporting name Dasher. This ‘Mech was deemed too fast to put into MechWarrior Online as a potential top speed of over 200 kph would outrun the game’s polling rate, making accurate prediction of shots utterly impossible. But that problem doesn’t exist in a PvE co-op game with at most five players.

We haven’t seen the Firemoth since MechWarrior 2. It’s time to bring this fast boy home.

Next on the list is the Kingfisher. Although more commonly found in Clan Ghost Bear’s touman, it’s still conceivable to find them in second-line Smoke Jaguar units. The Kingfisher is a personal fav since it’s one of the few Clan OmniMechs that doesn’t have an XL engine, making it an extremely tough ‘Mech to bring down. 

And finally, the Black Python, Inner Sphere reporting name Viper. No, it’s not an OmniMech, but it is still a powerful 75-ton machine with all the bells and whistles the Clans are famous for, plus a targeting computer to turn those Large Pulse Lasers into crit-seeking snipers. It’s a wonder this ‘Mech even exists in-universe, but it’d be amazing to see it in a new MechWarrior title.

A few more names to drop: Conjurer, Horned Owl, Bane, Glass Spider, and the unsung IICs. There are over a dozen ‘Mechs that haven’t been made in MechWarrior Online that are easily appropriate for the Smoke Jaguar invasion. List off any I’ve forgotten in the comments below. 

This EIGHT HOUR Video Comprehensively Tells The Story Of The Amaris Civil War

BattleTech Lore & History - Star League Civil War: A Complete 35 Year History (MechWarrior Lore)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Sven van der Plank has been producing long-form BattleTech videos on YouTube for some time now, with deep dives into some of BattleTech‘s most lore-heavy topics. However, none of them compare to the massive eight-hour video he produced for the Star League Civil War, with the help of many notable individuals from the BattleTech community. 

Each subject is accompanied by in-universe art or custom animations created to explain everything from the force dispositions of the Inner Sphere nations to the massive body count the war eventually generated. Occasionally, you’ll get the likes of Tex or BigRed40 jumping in to lend their voice when Sven needs a well-deserved break, but then he just gets back to explaining every facet of the subject in meticulously well-sourced detail. And it’s all set to music you’ll recognize from past BattleTech games. 

I’ve been leaving this video on in the background when I don’t necessarily need my language centers online, and I’m still only halfway through. This is an all-day lecture, but it’s so well done that it’s worth the investment unless you’re already well-versed in every aspect of the BattleTech timeline between the years 2700 and 2800.

As impressive as this video is, I think I prefer his more recent series which divides the First Succession War into more manageable 30-minute chunks. I’ll get through this video eventually, and you all should definitely subscribe to Sven’s channel for more.

Another MW5: Mercs DLC Is On The Way Alongside A New MechWarrior Game In 2027

EG7’s 2023 Capital Markets Day
Watch this video on YouTube.

Enad Global 7, the parent company of MechWarrior 5 developer PGI, released a video showcasing the company’s future plans, and MechWarrior is a big part of them. We already know about MechWarrior 5: Clans coming sometime in 2024, but I was surprised to see the presentation reveal yet more MechWarrior is on the way.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries won’t be finished after The Dragon’s Gambit. Another DLC is planned for sometime in the first quarter of 2024. There’s no info on what the DLC will entail, but given it’ll arrive before MechWarrior 5: Clans, I’m guessing it’ll link the two games by pitting our favorite lug-head mercenary against the Clans in the early years of the Clan Invasion. There are really no notable events after the War of ’39 until the Clans invade, and it’d make sense to join the two MechWarrior 5s narratively.

There’s also another MechWarrior game currently in the “ideation phase” that is targeting a release sometime in 2027. We again have little info as this phase is typically just folks spitballing ideas to see what sticks. It’ll be along the same lines as MechWarrior 5; a small-scale co-op game with an initial price tag and DLC released every few months. However, the future of this game is entirely dependent on whether Microsoft agrees to extend the MechWarrior license beyond 2025. 

Given MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries sold over a million units over the course of three years, I can’t imagine Microsoft saying no to an extension. 

The presentation also gave us a tiny insight into the financial performance of MechWarrior. The development budget for this new MechWarrior title coming in 2027 is around $20 million. Given the presentation said that it expects the financial performance of this game to be the same as MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, that means Mercs probably had a budget of around $20 million too. And since we know it sold a million copies priced at $40 bucks each, that’s at least $40 million in revenue, not counting DLC. Not exactly GTA money, but certainly a healthy profit.

PGI president Russ Bullock was in Stockholm to discuss the future of MechWarrior with his Swedish overlords last week. And judging by the fact there weren’t any follow-up tweets, I assume what we see in the presentation is what’s happening. I’ll be sure to keep my eyes peeled for news on this future MechWarrior game, which I’ll now start referring to as the new MechWarrior 6.

MW5: Mercs The Dragon’s Gambit DLC Has Arrived

The Dragon's Gambit Launch Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

Speaking of MechWarrior 5 DLC, The Dragon’s Gambit is here, and I haven’t had a chance to play it yet. I do own it, but it’s been a crazy month and I’m burning the midnight oil getting this news blast out. You can watch the launch trailer to get an idea of what we’re in for. I’m not sure why Arcturus is being showcased in the trailer as that planet wasn’t a battleground in the War of 3039, but I will find out just as soon as I get a chance to take the Bad ‘Mechs (that’s the name of my mercenary company of course) into the new campaign. 

We do have some new information to go over courtesy of a recent news post on the MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries site. Custom difficult options are now available under the Gameplay tab in the Options menu. These custom options allow players to adjust things like the storage cost of ‘Mechs and ‘Mech upkeep as well as the penalties applied to contract payouts for going over tonnage. You can even set these penalties to zero to effectively have no tonnage limit to any mission.

There are also the new “Otomo” ‘Mechs, which are upgraded versions of ‘Mechs typically found in the DCMS. For example, the DRG-1G-S Grand Dragon has near-maximum armor, an array of formerly LosTech lasers and enough heat sinks to use them. The HTM-26T-S Hatamoto-Chi carries a standard weapons complement but is slightly faster and more heat efficient than your typical Hatamoto. Conversely, the CLPT-K2-S Catapult is slightly slower than a typical K2 but replaces the machine guns with AC/2s. For more all the Otomo ‘Mechs and the customizable difficulty options, check out the news post here.

There’s also a huge sale going on where you can get MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries and most of its DLC 50% off. If you haven’t given this game a try, now’s a pretty good time.

Jason Youngblood’s Phoenix Hawk LAM

Jason Youngblood Phoenix Hawk LAM by Victor Yanez

It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Gallery 3025, but I’m glad we have a new spectacle to share. Here we have Jason Youngblood‘s Phoenix Hawk LAM by Víctor Yáñez. As Travis states in the post, there’s very little LAM art out there that isn’t just Macross. It’s good to see this very unique ‘Mech in its prime. 

But also, I’m glad that BattleTech‘s design went more toward ‘Mechs “as tanks with legs” rather than “fighter jets with legs.” Still, great art here. Sign up to Gallery 3025 to help produce more great art like this. 

Wolves Previews Multiplayer Update

MechAssault Fangame | Wolves Multiplayer Preview 4K HDR | 5.1 Surround
Watch this video on YouTube.

MechAssault fans should already know all about Wolves, the MechAssault fan game from Pajama Boy and New Day Fiction. Previously, the game’s only mode pitted you against waves of enemies until your ‘Mech finally gave out. However, that will soon change with update 0.5.8 and Wave 3. Wolves is getting multiplayer.

The trailer above showcases three players in a free-for-all. I don’t know if that’s the maximum number of players possible, but I’m hoping Wolves will be able to add a few more for a real Grand Melee experience. 

Wave 3 will also add new ‘Mechs, new skins, and better graphics, including 4K and HDR. You can download the current build here, and expect more previews to be coming soon.

My Lil Mechwarrior: Hell’s Horses Ride at Dawn

She is mechwarrior
byu/Zemerpone inbattletech

I can’t take credit for that title. That belongs to Captain_Vlad, while the art belongs to Zemerpone. I love seeing BattleTech through the lens of different art styles. I was never a brony, but I can still appreciate good art when I see it. And a good joke.

There’s A Reason It’s Called The Executioner

byu/Procurator-Derek inOutreachHPG

This is but one of a three--part series from Tychorion. The first is of an Executioner getting the first blast on a Crusader, while a pack of Pheonix Hawks and Firestarters finish it off in the second piece. The third involves an Incubus taking on a pair of Blood Asps, which will certainly go just swimmingly for the 30-ton ‘Mech.

These are all clearly inspired by MechWarrior Online, with that third piece being set on Tourmaline. As I said, I love seeing BattleTech in different and unique styles, and this definitely fits the bill. Thanks, Tychorion!

Hover Crab Is The Next Step In Crab Evolution

John T. Railcrab presents the latest in hover craft technology…
byu/meltdonw14 inbattletech

I don’t really have an explanation for this, other than evolution generally seems to favor crab designs over all others. Maybe that’s true of hovercrafts too? Maybe we should ask meltdonw14.

Pretty Sure That Highlander Just Crushed An Aggro ‘Mech

No Rest For the Accursed – Ink piece for Shrapnel Mag
byu/TheRedEpicArt inbattletech

A piece from Jared Blando that was featured in Shrapnel issue #13 for the story No Rest For The Accursed. This is why you don’t take an AgroMech (or a logger ‘Mech, as in this case) against a Highlander IIC. Stunning ink work here. You can see another of Blando’s pieces in this post.

A New Giant Robot Has Arrived


You might remember Kuratas, the giant Japanese robot that fought Eagle Prime Mk III back in 2018. Afterward, Kuratas seemed to disappear from public view, but a new Japanese robot has arrived that seems to have picked up where Kuratas left off.

It’s called ARCHAX from Tsubame Industries, which plans to actually sell this four-legged robot for 400 million yen each (or roughly $2.7 million USD). ARCHAX is 4.5 meters tall (a little under 15 feet) and weighs in at 3.5 tons. The human pilot sits in ARCHAX’s chest and is propelled along by wheels located on the mech’s four legs. The pilot navigates using nine cameras placed around the exterior, and two joysticks control ARCHAX’s arms. 

It’s not exactly fast. With a top speed of just 10 kph, ARCHAX is slower than an UrbanMech. It also has no weapons as guns are illegal in Japan. 

This begs the question of who will buy ARCHAX and what it might be used for. The answer to both is “nobody knows.” The articulating hands could theoretically pick up and deposit cargo, but there’s no reason to use ARCHAX over a forklift at present. And it’s so slow that you might as well get on a bike if you want to get someplace. Probably easier to park too.

But hey, we’re not going to look a gift mech in the mouth. Expect to see more of ARCHAX during the Japan Mobility Show later this fall.

The Black Knight Leads The Way

This particular Black Knight, courtesy of fed0t, was clearly inspired by MechWarrior 5‘s BL-7-KNT-P. It looks like she’s seen better days, but is still more than capable of leading the fight for a band of less technologically advanced soldiers.

UrbanMech IIC Arrives In MechWarrior Online

UrbanMech IIC Hashke

MechWarrior 5: Clans sort of sucked all the MechWarrior oxygen out of the room, so we’re just going to quickly hit the highlights for this month’s MechWarrior Online patch.

The biggest that I can see are two new Legendary ‘Mechs that are both UrbanMech IICs. That’s right: now you can put Clan tech on your 30-ton trashcan. The two Legendary ‘Mechs, named “Hashke” and “Abbaddon,” basically just double down on the UrbanMech‘s penchant for having a big cannon supported by tiny lasers. They also have armor, heat, and firepower quirks that put the other Urbies to shame.

Along with the UrbanMech IICs comes a new Legendary Atlas, called “Warlord,” which mounts two LB 20-Xs and waddles somewhat faster than most Atlases. The patch also brings balance adjustments to ‘Mechs and weapons, including quirk passes for the Bushwacker, Orion, Executioner, and Stone Rhino

There’s a lot more in the patch notes, such as the MWO Champion Series support pack that’s on sale now as teams battle for MWO supremacy. Read all about it on MWO‘s website here.

Phil Spencer Says He’d Love Xbox To Return To MechAssault/MechWarrior Games

I know that one executive merely saying something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, but it’s still nice to hear Phil Spencer reminisce about MechAssault and MechWarrior. Speaking at the Tokyo Game Show, the Xbox head honcho said, “I always wanted us to go back and revisit MechAssault MechWarrior space, I think there’s a lot we can do. There’s so much about that whole franchise that in some way was ahead of its time, and it would be nice to get to go back and revisit.”

No sooner did Spencer make the comment did the official Wolves account offer its assistance in reviving MechAssault. Considering these fine folks have done a great job making a fan game with literally zero budget, I could only imagine the amazing work they’d do with Microsoft’s money.

Spencer added Xbox doesn’t “have a plan today,” but maybe that’ll change with a little help from Wolves. Fingers crossed, guys.

The Mercenaries Kickstarter’s Pledge Manager Has Officially Closed

Eridani Light Horse Mercenaries Kickstarter

Catalyst is still hard at work on the wildly successful Mercenaries Kickstarter, which is why we haven’t heard from them in a while. The latest update is that the Pledge Manager has closed and everyone should see the charges appear on the credit cards (or whatever your payment method was) very shortly. 

Next will come the actual fulfillment of the orders, which will hopefully be fairly quick. I’d love to get these boxes in before Christmas, but Catalyst has not provided a specific timeline for when everyone will get their packages. Hopefully, we’ll get that timeline for next month’s news.

MechAssault 2 ‘Mechs Now Available For Gmod

Gmod: NEW Mechassault 2 Battlemech NPC Quick Showcase
Watch this video on YouTube.

Major BioMech has tipped me off to a new collection of ‘Mechs, tanks, and aircraft for everyone’s favorite stand-alone Half-Life sandbox, Gmod. This time, all the MechAssault 2 units are fully functional NPCs, allowing you to fight them in your own ‘Mech or watch them fight amongst themselves. You can even have those same ‘Mechs fight completely non-BattleTech characters to see who’d win.

The mod comes courtesy of Dopey, who also created the original driveable MechAssault ‘Mechs. Thanks for the great work!

The Kit Fox Arrives In MechWarrior 5

Kit Fox / Uller (Classic) mod for Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries
Watch this video on YouTube.

Speaking of mods, we have SankaraSamsara (also known as The Art Of BattleTech) and Maxim2016 to thank for the all-new Uller mod for MechWarrior 5. Maxim2016 provided the model, while SankaraSamsara created the animations. Note that it’s not a perfect recreation of the old-school Kit Fox design as MechWarrior 5 requires all ‘Mechs to torso twist, which the original ‘Mech couldn’t really do without having its arms hit its enormous backward-facing knees. The variants also don’t exactly match the canon versions, but they seem plenty powerful at least.

Head on over to Nexus Mods to download the Kit Fox mod.

And Also The Nova

SankaraSamsara also worked with Michael Long to bring the Nova to MechWarrior 5. Again, the same issues apply with the Kit Fox as the Nova shouldn’t be able to torso twist. The solution, much like in MechWarrior 2, is to give the Nova an extremely limited torso yaw value, allowing you to slightly wiggle your torso. Head on over to Steam or Nexus Mods to download this mod, including one compatible with Yet Another Mech Lab

Always Check Your Six

Little short comic me and a few of my friends help put together. Hope you guys enjoy
byu/meltdonw14 inbattletech

Meltdonw14 is back with another piece, this time a comic series featuring several AeroSpace fighters. I’ve always loved the Corsair, and it’s great to see one take out a Stingray even if it does get knocked out not a few moments later. The trouble with being an AeroSpace jockey is that you’re in pretty much the most hostile environment imaginable. ‘Mech pilots don’t always have the option of ejecting, but AeroSpace fighters can never just abandon their ship. That makes it all the more important to always check your six.

It seems like meltdonw14 is on a bit of an AeroSpace kick since there’s also a close-up of a Corsair pilot and the oft-forgotten MechBuster.

PixelMek 3-D Imagines MechWarrior As A Boomer Shooter

PixelMek 3D pre-alpha, now with music and sound effects!
Watch this video on YouTube.

Let’s consider an interesting hypothetical: what if MechWarrior 2 was made not with full 3D models but instead with Doom-like sprites? Then you’d probably wind up with something that looks a lot like PixelMek 3-D from Mechteric. 

We got to check out an early alpha build in the video above posted earlier this month. It’s very clearly not done as there are no sprites representing ‘Mechs that are not facing directly at the player, and there are no explosion animations, the basics are all here. Everything is being made with contributed pixel ‘Mech artwork and free assets, while the game itself is being written in Golang. 

You can also check out Mechteric’s older version of PixelMek, which is more of a strategy game rather than a first-person shooter.

Nick Kerensky Was A Furry Confirmed

This probably comes as no surprise to a lot of you, but I think this is the most logical explanation for the Clans. 

And that’s it for this month! Join us in October for yet more BattleTech action from around the Inner Sphere.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For August, 2023

August has been a trip. I received my first communicable disease since the pandemic this month. It was just a cold, but after having evaded pretty much all infections for over two years, it still felt like I’d been run over by a mucus-filled buffalo. Worse, it came just as I was about to head to the wild Canadian north for a camping trip. I’m glad the vultures didn’t spot me (or hear my wheezing coughs) for they certainly would have correctly identified me as the weakest member of the herd and liable to drop dead at any moment.

As always, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover for this month’s BattleTech news round-up, starting a ‘Mech that has been patiently awaiting its time in the sun.

Tex Talks BattleTech: The Hunchback 

Battletech/Mechwarrior Lore - Tex Talks Battletech : The Hunchback
Watch this video on YouTube.

As promised, The Black Pants Legion has brought us Tex Talks BattleTech: The Hunchback last week. A two-hour tour de force, the video covers the Hunchback’s origins as a purpose-built city fighter prior to the Reunification War, the Hunchback’s many variants, and some of its veteran pilots. It also dives deep into the psychology of Hunchback pilots, which can largely be summarized as “big cannon goes boom.” 

I’m hardly criticizing. The Hunchback is probably one of the best medium ‘Mechs ever made, and after almost six centuries of iterations, it remains the preferred choice of a very specific type of MechWarrior.

And as you may have noticed from the video, there’s a lot of custom art and footage featured in the Hunchback video. Some of it comes from Locust Labs, which we’ll be speaking to shortly, and a lot of it also comes from EldoniousRex, our own resident Bad ‘Mechs artist. You’ll be able to purchase some of this fine art soon with the upcoming “Hunch-Pack,” which will contain five prints, two stickers, and several coasters. Stay tuned to Eldonious’s Twitter for when that becomes available.

I sincerely hope that the painting of the Hunchback 4P rockin’ out is one of those five prints. 

Opinion: Is It Swayback Or Partyback?

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

I admit to being a late adherent to the Hunchback Orthydoxy. To me, the Hunchback has always been an AC/20 in the right shoulder and little else. Only with the release of MechWarrior Online did I discover there are actually a ton of Hunchbacks out there that are all wildly different, and many of them ditch the AC/20 for a collection of smaller, more reasonable weapons. These Hunchbacks are known collectively as “Swaybacks” because they generally lose the Hunchie’s characteristic hunch.

Except for the Hunchback HBK-4P. This Hunchback replaces the AC/20 with six more medium lasers and enough heat sinks to at least consider firing them all at once without immediately melting its reactor. Since these medium lasers are all where the AC/20 used to be, it’s still got a hunch. And for me, it also had a different name: “Partyback.”

I did not invent this name. It first came to me from TheB33F, who used it to describe a very specific custom variant of the 4P with all small pulse lasers. The Partyback’s genesis isn’t too hard to fathom as an all-laser Hunchback is basically a walking laser light show. And it just made more sense than “Swayback” to me, so for the 4P variant at least, the name has forever stuck.

But has it for you? Is the HBK-4P still a Swayback or is it a Partyback? And do Hunchbacks like the 4SP and 5H also receive the Swayback moniker, or do these have even more unique names that I’ve never heard of? Do let me know in the comments below.

The Urbie Has Risen

Found an Urbie.
by u/JSFetzik in Battletechgame

I wasn’t at Gen Con this year, but I hear it was a blast. And I also heard there was yet another giant inflatable UrbanMech sighting. Be sure to share your inflatable Urbie pics in the comments!

Valk Makes Zelda And Metroid Minis For Gen Con

Gen Con was earlier this month, and one of the events involved a BattleTech tournament where the winners were awarded custom-painted figures. Valk here decided to paint up a Night Gyr Prime and a Vindicator as Link from the Legend of Zelda and Samus from the Metroid series

I’m not surprised by how good these figures look. I am surprised how the Vindicator somehow became the perfect ‘Mech for Link. You’d think it would have been the Centurion with its built-in shield, but now I can’t think of any ‘Mech other than the Vindicator as Link’s ‘Mech.

There are a few other potential Samus ‘Mechs. The Vulcan comes to mind, as does the Nova Cat--all you really gotta have is a rounded cockpit and big shoulders. The Night Gyr is a fine choice though. Kudos to Valk for these exceptional pieces, and jealousy to whoever won these ‘Mechs at Gen Con!

Mercenaries Kickstarter Pledge Manager Is Set To Close September 15

Banshee Crusader Eridani Light Horse Mercenaries Kickstarter

Catalyst didn’t make any big announcements at Gen Con, but it did make some waves on the Mercenaries Kickstarter. The Pledge Manager is open for all to finalize their orders and pick up whatever add-ons they might like. I had an extra $5 kickin’ around when I went in to finalize my order, and that’s most of the way to a Salvage Box that I couldn’t help but pick up another Visigoth so I could have a flight of two. 

You too might have some cash left to spend, so be sure to check in on the Mercenaries Kickstarter Pledge Manager and complete the associated survey. The Pledge Manager is scheduled to end on September 15, with shipping details to be finalized afterward. If things stay on schedule, we might even see the Mercs Kickstarter arrive before Christmas.

BattleTech Now Third Biggest Miniature Franchise In The World

BT Wallpapers 2023 McCarrons Armored Cavalry

Courtesy of Catalyst Game Labs

Here’s an interesting statistic courtesy of ICv2: BattleTech has broken into the top three best-selling miniatures brands, beating out Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Star Wars Legion, and even D&D Onslaught. According to the publication, sales have tapered off for Warhammer 40K, which suppliers blame on a lack of new products and available restocks. BattleTech, meanwhile, has started sets “widely available, which removed the biggest barrier to sales on the line.”

This comment seems to confirm Brent’s comments last month that BattleTech is seeing solid logistics for the first time in its history, and it’s translating into stronger sales. One interviewed store owner said that BattleTech‘s playerbase has even quadrupled since the beginning of the year. That’s great news for BattleTech!

Did You Know An Atlas Is Actually Just Four Urbies In A Trench Coat?

Anyone have stats for 4 Urbies in a big coat?
by u/opposhaw in battletech

I certainly didn’t know. But now that you mention it, that Atlas sure was walking funny… Kudos to Opposhaw on Reddit for mangling four UrbanMech minis to produce this work of art. 

CutesyTech Makes Clans, Houses, And Merc Units Adorable

As requested! More Cutesy tech!
by u/bleptarts in battletech

A few weeks ago, Bleptarts gave us a preview of the CutesyTech logos for several Clan factions. Now we’ve got a much larger selection of Clans, several mercenary companies and minor factions, and the Great Houses. If someone can turn these into a mod pack for MechWarrior 5, I’d be awful grateful, but I’ll settle for a few real-life sticker packs. 

Javelin Versus Spider, Who Ya Got?

Played Battletech with a friend for the first time and i decided to draw how it ended~! ( with my Spider blowing his Javelin’s head off point blank lol )
by u/ladynibiruart in battletech

Personally, I’m usually going to give this fight to the Javelin. It’s hard to argue with two SRM-6s in a one-on-one duel. Sure, you’ll probably run those ammo bins dry in a real battle, but honorable single combat? Few light ‘Mechs will survive 180 SRMs. Unless that is, that Javenlin takes two medium lasers to the face. 

That’s apparently how the fight between Lady Nibiru and her friend ended. I hope she was in the Spider. Thanks for the great art!

Gaming Jay’s Crescent Hawks Game Has Become Metal Mercs

MetalMercs - The Confederate Vanguard Union - Background and Demo
Watch this video on YouTube.


You may recall Gaming Jay’s Crescent Hawks remake from last year’s interview. Heavily inspired by Crescent Hawks’ Inception and Crescent Hawks’ Revenge, Jay updated these old games with new real-time mechanics, an expanded database of ‘Mechs, and a campaign that goes up to the Clan Invasion.

One year later, and Jay’s Crescent Hawks’ remake has become an entirely new game called Metal Mercs. The game is no longer set in the BattleTech universe, but it’s got an entirely new selection of Great Houses, ‘Mechs, history, tech, and lore. But don’t be fooled by the new coat of paint--this game is still essentially the same one that Jay has been previewing for the better part of a year. You still gotta take your mercenary lance from plane to planet, smashing mechs, salvaging mechs, and making sure your finances don’t fall into the red. 

Metal Mercs is still in development, but a playable demo is “just on the horizon.” To get access to it, sign up for Jay’s Patreon here, and head over to the Metal Mercs Discord for up-to-the-minute updates.

Alpha Strike App Made By Fan

I made a small web app to replace Alpha Strike Cards
by u/cool_dad69 in battletech


Unfortunately, the official BattleTech app only works on tablet-sized devices, so if you don’t have an iPad (or similar) you’re out of luck. Or at least we were until cool_dad69 made this Alpha Strike web app

The app is simple. First, add your units by clicking the button and searching for the ‘Mech’s (or vehicle’s) name. Select the skill level of the pilot in the card preview, then click “add unit to force.” You’ll then have the unit displayed on the site. You can click on armor, structure, critical hits, and heat scale icons to keep track of those statistics, and it even keeps track of when a critical hit reduces your damage or movement speed. Just keep adding units until your force is fully represented, then go out and play. 

The app isn’t perfect, mind you, as there’s not enough space on the page for larger engagements with multiple lances. But if you just want a quick lance-on-lance game, this app is perfect. I’m definitely saving this for my next Alpha Strike game, and you should too.

MechWarrior Online Gets New Weapons, New Legendary ‘Mechs In Latest Patch

MechWarrior Online August New Weapons
Watch this video on YouTube.

Big news for MechWarrior Online this month. For the first time in an age, MechWarrior Online is getting totally new weapons.

First up is the Hyper Assault Gauss Rifle family. These weapons appear to function like a ballstic version of a pulse laser, but they do have a projectile velocity, so don’t expect these to be hitscan weapons. What you can expect, however, is massve damage. The HAG-40 fires eight shells for 40 total damage, while the HAG-30 fires six for 30 total damage. The HAG-20 fires just four shells, has the smallest spread, lowest cooldown, and does a total of 20 damage per blast. Weight and crit-slot requirements are the same as the classic tabletop game. 

Next up is the Binary Laser Cannon. Essentially two large lasers fused together to fire at the same time, the Binary Laser Cannon deals somewhat different damage in MWO than it does on the tabletop, with 18 damage for a full blast and 13 total heat. The Binary Laser Cannon weighs nine tons and requires four critical slots, making it a somewhat lighter option for ‘Mechs that would otherwise mount two large lasers. 

And finally, the X-Pulse Lasers have arrived. These rapid-fire lasers offer low damage but higher overall DPS, able to chip their way through armor with prolonged firing. The downside is that you need to face your target for extended periods, making the wielder vulnerable to return fire. These will likely be best used on Inner Sphere light and medium ‘Mechs for hit-and-run strikes against unaware opponents.

MWO is also bringing two new Legendary ‘Mechs in the Stalker “War Emu” and the ViperScaleshot“. The “War Emu” is a great name, and it seems like a decent ‘Mech, with four AC/5s and four medium lasers in its stock build. There are still some missile mounts in the Stalker‘s stubby arms and an extra ballistic mount in the head, providing some alternative build options for tinkerers.

The Scaleshot offers lots of SRMs with some supporting missile quirks alongside some boosted armor. This thing looks like the perfect high-speed brawler, fast enough to dictate engagements and quickly destroy wounded or low-armor ‘Mechs. As with all Legendary ‘Mechs, the Scaleshot and War Emu both come with itty bitty battle passes that award cosmetics, C-bills, MC, and GSP. 

But that’s not all. The August patch also brings quirk adjustments to the Adder, Phoenix Hawk, Nova, Gargoyle, and BattleMaster, with a few select variants of other ‘Mechs getting a few tweaks too. Rifleman weapon slots have also been adjusted so that energy weapons on the arms will prioritize the higher secondary hardpoint, and you might notice your HUD’s damage readout more quickly updates damage done to your ‘Mech.

Last but not least, the MWO Competitive Championship Series for 2023 is back for another year, with the Comp Queue now open for you to create teams. For rules and potential rewards, check out this post here, and for more on the August patch, you can dive into the patch notes here

Move Over Centurion, This Roman-Themed Hunchback Is Coming For Your Job

Custom Hunchback Project
by u/Philbobagginzzz in battletech

In honor of the Hunchback‘s debut in Tex Talks BattleTech, here we have a Roman Gladiator-styled Hunchback from Philbobagginzzz. I have no idea what variant of the Hunchback this mini might be emulating or if it might be an entirely custom hunchback with a totally new armament. 

But something tells me guessing what this thing is bringing to the party isn’t nearly as important as how well it’s dressed. It’s got a shield, stylistic armor covering its crotch, and battlefists with giant brass knuckles. This thing is going to be the life of the arena, provided it survives the first round.

The Periphery Podcast Corporation Celebrates BattleTech In The Southern Hemisphere

Shrapnel, the kind bloke who has taken it upon himself to turn the Bad ‘Mechs series into short audio stories, has taken the next logical step in his auditory journey and started a podcast. The PPC (Periphery Podcast Corporation) has just had its inaugural episode over on Spotify where we get to meet Stuart (Shrapnel) and Jamal, hosts of the new podcast, and find out what topics they’ll be discussing in the coming months. Expect interviews with artists, designers, painters, and other content creators as the PPC explores the BattleTech community of the Southern Hemisphere. That’s the one with Australia in it, or so I’m told. 

Head on over to Spotify to subscribe. And for more of Shrapnel’s content, check out his YouTube channel here.

Andrewlik Offers Longform BattleTech Playthrough With Voice-Acted Lines

The Steel Beast - Battletech Shenanigans
Watch this video on YouTube.


Hairbrained’s BATTLETECH was and still is a fantastic game, and one that I encourage everyone to play--especially if you’re not a fan of first-person shooters like MechWarrior 5 and MechWarrior Online. But as amazing as BATTLETECH was, it wasn’t perfect. For starters, it had very little voice acting in between missions.

Enter Andrewlik. He’s gone to the trouble of actually getting a crew together to read out the lines that never received voice acting in the original game and he’s posted his work to YouTube for your viewing entertainment. Expect a few memes here and there for good measure. It’s a great way to get a preview of BATTLETECH if you’ve never played before, but just keep in mind there’s less talky talky in the actual game.

Fly High, Phoenix Hawk

I’ve always loved ‘Mechs with more jump jets than makes sense, with the Phoenix Hawk being pretty high up on my list of jumpy jumpy ‘Mechs (just shy of the Spider, honestly). Here we have a flying example from the 2nd Tikonov Lancers courtesy of Oshlet on the app formerly known as Twitter. Great work. 

The Uziel Mod For MechWarrior 5 Is Here

The Uziel (classic) mech mod is now out
by u/BoukObelisk in Mechwarrior5

We can once again thank SankaraSamsara (aka The Art Of BattleTech) for bringing us MechWarrior 4‘s Uziel as a mod for MechWarrior 5. Pawel Czarnecki created the model, which was inspired by Mark Duncan’s original render for MechWarrior 4‘s promotional artwork, and SankaraSamsara did everything else. Just based on the screenshots, I can see there are at least two variants of the Uziel that’ll be available, although there may be more. 

Download the Uziel Mod at Nexus Mods or on MechWarrior 5‘s Steam Workshop pages. And if you don’t want to just wait for the Uziel to pop up at your local ‘Mech dealer, be sure to use the ‘Mech Delivery mod.

Gotta Go Fast, As They Say

Sonic Boom!
by u/Pale_Professional_73 in battletech

I’ll admit, the Spider is one of my favorite light ‘Mechs. And Sonic the Hedgehog is my favorite ‘90s-era Sega mascot. Combine the two and you get another video game crossover that I simply cannot ignore. Kudos to Pale_Professional_73 for turning the Blue Blur into a ‘Mech with a significantly higher risk of death. That’s not just due to the speed; the Spider doesn’t have an ejection seat. 

And that’s it for August! Join us next month as we enter into the terrible time between summer and winter where the trees turn color and it gets either very hot or very cold, often with little in between.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

An Ode To Light ‘Mechs: Why BattleTech Needs More Light ‘Mech Love

BattleTech HBS Raven

So here’s an interesting tidbit I just found out about in MechWarrior Online. In a recent video from No Guts No Galaxy, Sean Lang discussed how PGI is working on “multiple MechWarrior projects,” one of which is the Dragon’s Gambit for MechWarrior 5 and another is mostly likely MechWarrior 6. In that same video, Lang also discussed some new Legendary ‘Mechs coming to MechWarrior Online, noting that they were both assault ‘Mechs. Most interestingly, he noted that light ‘Mechs apparently suffer from poor sales, with light ‘Mech packs selling far below medium, heavy, and assault ‘Mechs.

You could argue that light ‘Mechs simply have less battle impact in a competitive game like MechWarrior Online so players are far less likely to spend money on them. You could also argue that light ‘Mechs are far more difficult to pilot, what with their extreme speed and poor armor making them prone to running into walls or blowing up when they get hit by 18 PPCs. Or you could argue that the average BattleTech fan prefers to stomp around in a big hulking heap of metal rather than something relatively nimble.

Any of these hypotheses could be correct, or perhaps it’s a combination of two or even all three. And being unable to let any good hypothesis writhe on the vine, I set out to determine which is it through a number of polls on various BattleTech Discord servers.

BattleTech HBS Locust

I asked a very simple question: “What is your favorite class of ‘Mech?” My hope was to discover if MechWarrior Online’s distaste for light ‘Mechs was something that was felt across all BattleTech communities, or if there was something specifically going on in MWO. The results were surprising, to say the least.

We’ll start in the Star League Discord server–a diverse place with loads of Pride flags and references to Canopian cat people. My kinda place. Anyway, my impromptu survey initially started with very interesting results, with medium-class ‘Mechs just edging out heavies. And rather than lights, it’s assault-class ‘Mechs that are the least popular, with light ‘Mechs comfortably in third place.

Next, we head to the Focht Hyperpulse server, which is also a diverse place but there are fewer Canopians and more Canadians. Once again, we get a very interesting result. This time, heavy ‘Mechs come out well ahead, followed by mediums and then lights. Assaults are once again in last place as the least preferred ‘Mech class. 

Finally, I did another poll in the Sarna Discord server, perhaps the best place on the web outside of Sarna itself. I thought here we’d get a much more representative cross-section of BattleTech fans, but even here I was surprised by the results. Heavies are once again in the lead, but medium ‘Mechs managed just to squeak out ahead of assaults. Lights, finally, are dead last by a margin of two to one.

From my brief and very unscientific research, we see that heavy ‘Mechs are most likely the most popular class by a fair margin. It’s actually neck and neck between light ‘Mechs and assault ‘Mechs for who comes in dead last. 

Commando versus Locust

I’m as surprised as anyone. I would have expected assaults to be top of the heap as everyone seems to love their Awesomes and Atlases, but they’re actually as maligned as Locusts and Stingers. Meanwhile, mediums and heavies are far and away the most popular classes, which is slightly curious. You’d have expected to see more medium ‘Mechs being sold in MechWarrior Online, and a campaign with drop limits centered around heavies in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, but instead you have lots of assault ‘Mechs being sold in MWO and an end-game in MW5 that basically requires the Steiner Scout Squad.

Perhaps there’s a bit of a disconnect between the data of these polls and what people really spend their money on. Perhaps people want assaults in PGI’s games because those games are designed around assaults being the most effective ‘Mechs. And perhaps with this data, they might decide to refocus things to favor mediums and heavies in MechWarrior 6. We can only hope.

But one thing is clear: light ‘Mechs are certainly the most maligned class. They’re tied for the least popular class in BattleTech, they’re not purchased in abundance in MechWarrior Online, and they’re mostly beginner Mechs or used for niche roles in MechWarrior 5. 

And that sucks, because I think light ‘Mechs are the best.

Think about it. For the price of one Atlas, you can have a demi-company of Locusts. You could even stack them two in a ‘Mech bay thanks to their narrow profiles, allowing you to stuff twice as many inside a DropShip. They rely on speed and stealth for protection, meaning you’re either a write-off or pristine, with very few repairs needed after a successful mission. Light ‘Mechs can still bring plenty of firepower to the table, as anyone who’s ever faced a lance of Panthers can attest. Plus, they’re cute! who hasn’t looked at a Locust or a Kit Fox and thought this thing looks freakin’ adorable?

I can hear your argument even now. “But Sean, there’s no great BattleTech heroes that ever piloted light ‘Mechs,” you complain erroneously. For indeed, there are loads of great light ‘Mech pilots!

Phelan Kell (Ward)Phelan Kell BattleTech Legends

The son of Morgan Kell and Salome Ward, that man who would eventually become the Khan of Clan Wolf-in-Exile spent the vast bulk of his career piloting a Wolfhound he named “Grinner.” That Wolfhound would get a Clan-spec upgrade after his capture by Clan Wolf, which would later be dubbed the Wolfhound IIC. At various points throughout his career, Phelan would also pilot a Kit Fox, a Mercury, and a Solitaire

Katie Ferraro 

Fox Patrol‘s founding member, Ferraro found a long-abandoned Kit Fox on her home planet of Jerangle. Once a Kell Hounds ‘Mech, it had been left abandoned in the jungle for decades. Ferraro would repair the Kit Fox, which she dubbed “Kagekitsune,” and used it to drive off a pirate gang to save her hometown. She’d eventually go on to found Fox Patrol where she pilots Kagekitsune to this day.

Aletha Kabrinski ERA Report 3052Aletha Kabrinski

The former Khan of Clan Ghost Bear spent most of her career in a custom Fire Moth armed with an ER large laser and a trio of ER small lasers. With little armor protecting her from enemy fire, Aletha relied exclusively on the Fire Moth‘s ludicrous speed to outmaneuver foes.

Daniel AllardDaniel Allard The Kell Hounds

The brother of Justin Allard and renowned commander in the Kell Hounds mercenary unit, Allard piloted a Valkyrie until a battle with the Genyosha on Styx. Afterward, he was given a new Wolfhound which he piloted until his death. 

Zane Nova Cat

MechWarrior Zane proved to be an instrumental figure during Clan Nova Cat‘s Abjuration in the 3060s. His visions provided guidance and warning to the Nova Cats, allowing them to survive during a tumultuous time in the Clan’s history. Zane started his career in a Jenner IIC 2 but later transferred to a Pack Hunter provided by Clan Wolf-in-Exile.

Minobu Tetsuhara

Liaison officer to Wolf’s Dragoons during the mercenary unit’s contract with House Kurita, Tetsuhara’s family Panther was called “Katana Kat.” After the ‘Mech was transferred to Testuhara’s brother, he’d pilot a DRG-1N Dragon

Robert Grey Sword and the DragonRobert Grey

A MechWarrior in The Fox’s Teeth of the Seventh Crucis Lancers, Grey served in the Third and Fourth Succession Wars, the Ronin War, the War of 3039, the Clan Invasion, the FedCom Civil War, and the Jihad. Grey piloted a Stinger, then a Hornet, and finally an ALM-8D Fireball.

As you can see, there are plenty of great and noble figures who can get the most out of their light ‘Mechs, and you can too! Just trade in your Atlas for a bevy of Commandos. You’ll be glad you did.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy. 

stay syrupy

It’s The Economy, Stupid! Understanding And Comparing MechWarrior 5 In Its Historical And Economic Context

When I asked for community opinions surrounding MechWarrior 5, Emil of The Art of BattleTech gave me everything you see below. Even quoting liberally, Emil had way more insightful things to say about how MechWarrior 5 fits into the MechWarrior franchise than I could fit into a single article. So rather than keep this treatise in my Google Drive, I thought I’d freshen it up for publication here. Light editing has been done for clarity.

MechWarrior 5 Firestarter Jagermech

Coming from an academic background in what’s called ‘game studies’ (I have a Ph.D. in the field and work in academia as a postdoc at the moment), I think understanding video games and their different qualities and features can go a long way in comparing and analyzing their strengths and flaws – at least when speaking about games that appear similar but still have very fundamental differences. This approach makes it easier for us to understand games better and more precisely.

Such as the over 30 years of excellent MechWarrior games that we’ve been very privileged to experience. Personally, I’d say that there are some things that previous MechWarrior games do better than what MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries does. One thing that’s very subjective to discuss is the tone and atmosphere. For me, MechWarrior 2 really excels at this, where it is not afraid to have quiet moments in between the intense ‘Mech combat moments. In each mission, there is this quiet lull on your way to a nav point or a mission objective until you’re greeted with the foreboding “enemy power up detected.”

This quiet but increasingly intense feeling as you head towards facing some very dangerous ‘Mech combat makes the different moments more distinct to really underscore the intensity of ‘Mech combat. All of this is juxtaposed with a really impressive soundtrack by Jeehun Hwang and Gregory Alpers. And that I think is one thing that I would like more of from MechWarrior 5; to be confident enough in its ability to build up atmosphere and let players soak in the environment; the heavy sounds of the ‘Mech, and the characters over the radio be the only companions on these desolate planets. Instead, much of MW5 suffers from a modern game design trope where there has to be something to shoot all the time otherwise it’s boring for the average player. Vehicles and VTOLs and turrets constantly spawn in the ‘quiet’ moments to make sure the player isn’t looking at their phone. This takes away from combat being important or distinct enough. “Too much of a good thing” is the expression, I think?

But I think I’m also in the minority in wanting more quiet moments because I’ve seen Twitch streamers complain about MechWarrior 5 when there have been instances of walking from A to B without any shooting or killing in the few instances that they appear. I could also imagine PGI’s own playtesting showed that players felt more entertained with having these vehicle spawns and no quiet moments. So, I definitely understand why game design from 1995 cannot be a thing in 2023 where there’s less time for things and more media and other games and phones vying for attention. As one solution, I’ve personally made the Atmospheric Vehicle/VTOL/Turrent Spawn mod that drastically reduces the amount of brainless fodder that the game throws at the player. I appreciate the modding tools that PGI has provided to give us niche players what we want.

MechWarrior 5 Hunchback Archer Jagermech

Another thing one might mention is the linear, scripted missions that are memorable or provide some interesting encounters that MW5 does not have as many of. I think MW2 is the best example of such memorable experiences. Just to name a few that to me provide such memories:

  • Blade Splint where you have to scan and inspect a building that functions as the Jade Falcon’s power converter. After you destroy it, a host of heavy mechs enter the mission area and start hunting you after you’ve already been bruised and damaged from battling several ‘Mechs defending the power converter.
  • Temper Edge where you have to defend the Tarantula quad mech. Because this little Quad ‘Mech is memorable.
  • Sable Flame where you have to defend the city on the moon with low gravity and if the dome gets destroyed, the population is jettisoned into space / killed off from the loss of oxygen. There’s no fire or smoke due to it being on this oxygen-less moon.
  • Aquiline Fire where you have to locate a crashed dropship. No nav points are available, so you have to rely on your satellite link and visual identification to locate it.
  • Velvet Hammer where the player has to pose as a Jade Falcon ‘Mech and infiltrate the base that houses a terraformer unit that you then destroy
  • Umber Wall where you have to defend a convoy where on the top of the mesa canyons, a Rifleman IIC and a Summoner jump jet down to attack the convoy
  • Or in MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries where you are captured by the Clans and have to escape in a vehicle. Or the memorable Kodiak mission that lets you keep it for yourself rather than return it to your employer (I think it was Kurita).

MechWarrior 5 does not have a lot of these scripted moments that stay with you. I guess I just really miss nav points. But I think the last part of the MW5 campaign has some cool moments such as the big crashed DropShip, finding the Nightstar in the hangar, having that last stand against ComStar, or destroying the Liao ‘Mech factories.

But does this mean that I would have wanted MechWarrior 5 to try to emulate or achieve the same as MW2 did for me back in 1995? No, actually not, because clamoring for something that was unique to that historical moment to be replicated again is simply not possible. More importantly, MW5 excels in other areas that I think we as old nostalgia-blinded MechWarrior and BattleTech fans tend to forget. MW5 is leaning more toward a free-roam mercenary Inner Sphere experience à la the first MechWarrior. This type of systems-oriented design can give rise to unique experiences and moments in every uniquely procedurally generated mission.

Speaking in terms of pure features, MW5 really trumps the previous games as this mech simulation game. Just to make a list of things:

  • Faction play lets you work for and against certain factions
  • Free-roam Inner Sphere map
  • 57 different ‘Mech chassis [soon to be 58! -ed] in very high-quality models that change their visual looks depending on the weapon loadout
  • First melee combat in a MechWarrior game!
  • Procedurally generated maps and missions that are sufficiently varied to make most missions feel unique (further enhanced by mods such as VonBiome and Coyote Missions) and enhance the free-roam mercenary experience.
  • High fidelity and animated environmental destruction. Having a ‘Mech fight among buildings that basically allows you to play the MechWarrior 3 intro segment with the Summoner.
  • Unique and highly detailed ‘Mech cockpits unique to each ‘Mech (exceeding the pinnacle that was MW3’s beautiful cockpits)
  • Procedurally generated pilot management and skill system
  • Airstrike support and artillery bombardment
  • 21 campaign missions in the vanilla game
  • 14 scripted missions in the Legend of the Kestrel Lancers DLC
  • 12 scripted missions in the Rise of Rasalhague DLC
  • Enemy ‘Mechs change their appearance according to the faction they represent
  • Tons of different camo patterns that players can customize the colors.
  • Lore accurate news segments and weapon and ‘Mech introduction dates.
  • 4-player coop across the entire experience
  • Modding tools and ongoing support to modders by PGI for over 3 years with some very high-quality mods

This amount of content and complexity has not been seen in a previous MechWarrior game and I think it does a disservice to the game’s strengths to demand that it does what MechWarrior 2, MechWarrior 3, and MechWarrior 4 did in their scripted campaign design, simply because they are very different games and emphasizing one aspect of a game in its development (e.g. allocating more resources toward more scripted campaign missions) takes away from other aspects of the game (procedural mission generator, faction play, free-roam Inner Sphere experience). In that sense, while I think MW5 could be strengthened in certain areas, it also excels in others to be its own unique and special MechWarrior experience. In a sense, you can look at the MechWarrior games as your children: you love them all equally and they do their own things in their own unique way.

MechWarrior 5 Jenner Cataphract Cockpit View

As a researcher, the crucial thing I’d also emphasize is the importance of historical contexts and their impact on genre qualities and game characteristics. In the early to mid-’90s, production budgets were lower and the team sizes were smaller, so more experimentation was encouraged as there was simply less financial risk. This is also why a lot of today’s genres were invented or came to be in the ’90s. At the same time, market realities and consumer expectations in the PC space were more open, as the PC was still a bit complex to handle in terms of user interface (think navigating DOS for instance), so the targeted consumers for games like MechWarrior 2 also had more familiarity with using the entire keyboard or owning a joystick. We saw this with the prevalence of the flight sim genre in the PC space which was simply one of the more popular and money-generating genres in the ’90s in the PC space (think back to Microprose’s portfolio). 

At the same time, it was normal to have games that lasted no more than 10-15 hours of playtime, and that was considered a premium game worthy of the $40 to $50 entry fee. These things are important to understand because they help explain MechWarrior 2; the lower budgets combined with the expected target audience and their own expectations for a quality product meant that MW2 was able to uniquely flourish and excel at the master level that it did back in ’95 (and I’d argue still today in many aspects).

Of course, production budgets and consumer expectations changed with time after MW2. Many ‘Mech sim games tried to replicate MW2’s smashing success (Shattered Steel, Earthsiege 2, G-Nome, even Activision themselves tried to do the same with Heavy Gear 1 & 2 after their license with FASA wasn’t renewed), but the genre just never could meet the rising production costs and the sim genre was not able to expand its consumer market enough to cover the rising costs. Microprose and Hasbro really tried their best with MechWarrior 3 and gave it a huge marketing campaign (see their E3 showing in 1998), but they also had money issues from other sectors that forced them to close soon after MechWarrior 3 was released. We probably saw this attempt to match the higher consumer expectations with MechWarrior 4 that included – at the time – lavish FMVs with actors and costumes and editing that really tried to appear big budget on the likes of Command & Conquer and other FMV-heavy games of the era. MW4 also famously went away from the gritty tone and simulation-heavy standards already set by MW2 and MW3 (lots of people complained about that online back in the day) and instead went towards a more colorful, round, and soft aesthetic with ‘Mechs looking more toy-like (see also MechCommander 2’s change in art direction), as well as more ‘arcadey’ and straightforward gameplay.

Unfortunately, the market never really grew enough to match the extra costs with higher fidelity productions in the late ’90s and early 2000s. As Mitch Gitelman himself noted in an interview with No Guts No Galaxy, MechCommander 3 was never greenlit by Microsoft because FASA Studios failed to grow the market; MechCommander 2 matched what MechCommander had sold, but it didn’t grow. This is also why we saw a lot of PC developers entering their twilight years instead of trying to expand towards the console market (also when you’re owned by Microsoft and have to push for their first entry into the console market against Sony, Nintendo, and Sega). Ultimately, this is also what made Microsoft kill off the MechWarrior series after MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries when they canceled FASA Studio’s MechWarrior 5 due to the Xbox (as per IGN reporting back in the day).

The point of why I’m bringing up the historical context is to understand the genre characteristics of the MechWarrior games. MechWarrior 2 was sim-heavy and followed both the complexity of the contemporary space sims and flight sims back in the day. MechWarrior 3 was the result of a tumultuous development where Zipper Interactive had to be brought in by Microprose and salvage the project that FASA couldn’t execute. MechWarrior 4 included relatively costly FMVs and a character-driven campaign to make the product seem more feature-heavy and competitive in the PC space at the time. It also made the gameplay more accessible and the aesthetics more appealing in order to widen the market.

MechWarrior 5 Stalker Hunchback

This brings us to MechWarrior 5 which should also be understood in its historical context. The story behind that game is that Piranha Games Interactive showed off their alpha trailer back in December 2016 and had a preliminary crew do the procedural mission generation. This preproduction occurred at the same time PGI was also doing content and updates for MechWarrior Online. Yet during its three years of production until its release in December 2019, PGI never got a publisher to help support the funding and development of MW5. At the same time, lead designer David Forsey was forced to take medical leave after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, but he’d later return to continue working until his recent retirement this year. This meant that PGI themselves had to bet the farm on MW5 and do everything by themselves in terms of QA, marketing, and distribution (things that publishers usually take care of).

Not even Microsoft helped out with things, despite this being their own IP. At the same time, PGI has never made a single-player product – they’ve always been a PvP-oriented studio. This of course means they’re relatively inexperienced when it comes to single-player design and narrative design (the latter of which has been criticized for the vanilla campaign in MW5, but much improved with the two mini-campaign DLCs like Kestrel Lancers and Rise of Rasalhague). Instead, what PGI was able to do was focus on game systems (procedural missions and biomes, faction play, pilot management, economy management, lore-accurate ‘Mechs and equipment) and content (tons of ‘Mechs, variants, biomes, destructible buildings). What I think MW5 really excels at is being a free-roam, high-fidelity mercenary simulator. It might not facilitate a great narrative and it might not have scripted, linear missions that are as memorable as earlier MechWarrior games, but it has a ton of features that cultivate a really amazing mercenary company simulation.

From a business perspective, I can tell you that MW5 would be absolutely dead in the water if they had gone with a scripted and linear campaign like MW2, MW3, or MW4 because the experience would be over after 10-20 hours and then you’d have 80 percent of consumers complain that there are not enough hours of gameplay per dollar spent. That’s just the market for premium titles these days – literally no mainstream medium or triple-A studio makes such smaller games these days due to market realities and expectations. This means that we could have potentially gotten a scripted campaign as memorable and epic as MW2 and MW3 and MW4, but then we wouldn’t have the game systems like the procedural and open-ended Inner Sphere map and faction play and tons of different ‘Mechs simply because game development is more about priorities and avoiding feature creep.

I think this is an important point for MechWarrior and BattleTech fans to understand: game development is not easy, it’s super tough, and it’s frankly a miracle that any type of video game even ships and gets released. Consumers are quick to ask for feature XYZ or say, “Why don’t the developers simply make this feature, it’s so easy,” without ever understanding how absolutely complex and difficult it is to make a game with all the interlocking segments affecting each other (design, art, code, sound, etc.). As a developer, it can be disheartening to see the blood, sweat, and tears you put into a game to make it work and then be met with some person who paid $50 for the product to call you lazy or talentless because “Why didn’t they just make a game with features only possible through the budget and manpower like Call of Duty?”. With MechWarrior 5’s case, you have zero funding, no publisher helping out, and you’re betting the company on this one title that would sink the ship if it didn’t meet sales expectations.

MechWarrior 2 had Activision behind it and millions of dollars in marketing and MechWarrior 4 had the juggernaut that is Microsoft behind its promotion, yet MechWarrior 5 had a small 60-person company in Vancouver and nothing else. This is not to excuse the differences between the different titles but to understand them and the condition they derive from. I think that’s key for MechWarrior and BattleTech fans to really understand.

MechWarrior 5 Warhammer Awesome Cockpit View

This brings me to my final point, that comparing and contrasting MechWarrior 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 to each other is not so much of a lesson in which game is better, but instead which context the games derive from. Given the circumstances, MW2 was a daring and innovative masterpiece that combined its adherence to simulation in terms of gameplay and audiovisuals in a sublime way that shattered sales and review scores at the time and spawned a dozen of copycats. MW3 followed in MW2’s trajectory and elaborated on this sim-heaviness in a time when mech/flight/space sims were in their twilight years. And MW4 provided a more character-driven, scripted MechWarrior experience that was more accessible and engaging for more people who weren’t necessarily enticed by the gritty simulation qualities that MW2 and MW3 had shown.

Finally, MechWarrior 5 excelled at providing tons of content and features that no other MechWarrior game had previously and provided a systems-oriented procedural experience that lends more from MechWarrior 1 in its free-roam, mercenary company nature than it does from the more scripted nature of something like MW3 or MW4: Mercs. And knowing what I know about the games industry and being risk averse, MW5 is a premium product appealing to a niche audience that I think MechWarrior and BattleTech fans should be cherishing the hard-working people at PGI for bringing into this world. If it had a different publisher or developer and a higher budget that would make more features possible, it also would be less sim-like and more straightforward. It is a miracle that MW5 and its three-and-a-half years of post-launch support exist and we should be super supportive and feel super privileged that we will be getting another MechWarrior from PGI in the future. 

Thanks again to Emil for sharing this thoughtful analysis of the MechWarrior franchise!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy


Your BattleTech News Round-Up For July, 2023

July is not traditionally a particularly busy month for BattleTech, with Gen Con usually taking up all the oxygen until August. However, we seem to have gotten a blockbuster month for BattleTech news, so I won’t waste time. We got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s hop to it!

New BattleTech Products From CGL For July

Proliferation Cycle Pack

We’ve got a bunch of new product announcements from Catalyst Game Labs, starting with one that just snuck in at the end of June. The Proliferation Cycle pack is now available, containing seven of the earliest BattleMechs known to mankind. They include the Firebee, Gladiator, BattleAxe, Ymir, Icarus II, and of course, the Mackie. It also includes the first OmniMech, the Coyotl, which remains fairly effective even to this day.

Snord’s Irregulars Assault Lance is also available, which includes the Spartan, Guillotine, Highlander, and the utterly disgusting FrankenMech, and there’s an entire UrbanMech Lance with a new pose of the R60 and three new variants, including one from the ilClan era. Head on over to Catalyst’s web store to order these little beauties.


Later in July saw the release of the Gray Death Legion Heavy Battle Lance pack, which includes a jumping Shadow Hawk, new variants on the Gargoyle and Catapult (which appears to be the K2 variant), and the new Regent (which is like a Hauptmann, only it’s made by Sea Foxes). Grab that exclusively at Barnes & Noble. A collection of new plushy patterns have also been released (including Archers in both Wolf’s Dragoons and Kell Hounds colors) as well as the BattleTech Activity Book 02 in both print-on-demand and pay-what-you-want PDF.

And most recently, BattleMech Recognition Guide Vol. 1: Classics is available now in digital and print formats. This guide focuses on some of the best-known ‘Mechs of the Inner Sphere and Clans but rebuilt with ilClan-era tech. It contains materials originally published in the Recognition Guide: ilClan series. Grab it on the Catalyst Web Store or through DriveThruRPG

CGL Has Stuff Going On At GenCon

We are just days away from Gen Con Indy, and Catalyst Game Labs has a lot of stuff going on. So much stuff that I had to scroll for several pages before I finally got to the end of the CGL’s section of Gen Con’s event finder. A lot of the more popular events are already sold out, but there are stil plenty of activities with space available.

Thursday will see Alpha Strike Academy, BattleTech mini painting classes, the Solaris Melee Challenge, Raise the Flag, and both Grinder and Feature events, as well as BattleTech Bootcamp (which unfortunately seems to be sold out). The BattleTech Championship Circuit begins Friday, with continuations on Alpha Strike Academy, Raise the Flag, and the Solaris Melee Challenge. This continues into Saturday with an Alpha Strike scenario called “Battle of the Super Heavies,” and even more BattleTech Total Warfare scenarios. 

There are loads more than what I’d just briefly listed above, so check out this list to sign up for events. Gen Con runs from August 3 to 6 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Get your tickets here.

And since Gen Con is BattleTech‘s biggest convention of the year, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about some new product announcements. Expect to hear more on that in next month’s news roundup.

Opinion: Is the Size And Weight Of ‘Mechs Accurate?

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

In this month’s opinion, we’re going to take a look at a question posed by user agent_venom_2099 over on the new-and-improved BattleTech subreddit. The question: does 31st (and 32nd) century weight seem accurate based on what we know of modern-day military hardware, such as tanks?

The key comparison is the M1A1 Abrams, America’s main battle tank. Weighing in at almost 70 tons, an Abrams is roughly 10 meters long, three meters high, and a little over three-and-a-half meters wide. The exact dimensions of ‘Mechs aren’t often discussed, but the similarly-massed Warhammer is often portrayed as around 12 meters tall and four meters wide at the shoulder. 

The Warhammer seems larger dimensionally, but we should remember that the Abrams is basically a metal brick with tracks on each side and a turret in the middle. The Warhammer is a hollow armored carapace over a metal skeleton with a fusion engine in the center and PPCs on either side. 

Is it accurate to say these two machines are equivalent mass? I’d say so. Sure, the Abrams is likely denser and smaller by volume, but that’s just tanks for you. ‘Mechs are supposed to move in ways that tanks can only dream of, and that additional mobility likely just means ‘Mechs aren’t as dense as traditional tanks. This could also explain why heavy tanks like the Manticore II are often shown as smaller (by volume) than ‘Mechs even though the Manticore II weighs in at 70 tons--even heavier than an Abrams.

What do you think? Should ‘Mechs be heavier than they are, or do you think their general size and volume are appropriate for their mass? Let me know in the comments below.

Lego Thor Comes With A Removable Reactor, Sensor Module, And Pilot

Lego Summoner (Thor)
by u/cosmicmoonglow in battletech

We love to see Lego ‘Mechs here at Sarna, and we’re even more impressed when you can actually put a little Lego figure inside one. I’m doubly impressed that this Thor not only has a functioning cockpit but also one that can eject the pilot before its ammo explodes.

On top of that, this Lego Thor has a removable reactor and sensor module so you can showcase it undergoing maintenance. Unfortunately, we still don’t have the schematics to make our own Lego Thor, but creator cosmicmoonglow has promised to post them after tinkering a bit with the design.

Longbow Coming To MW5 In The Dragon’s Gambit DLC

As hinted last month, it turns out we haven’t seen the last of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries after all! The Dragon’s Gambit brings an all-new campaign that takes place during the War of 3039. Where in Legend of the Kestrel Lancers players sided with the Federated Commonwealth, this time you’ll be hired by the Draconis Combine and paired with the 5th Amphigean Light Assault Group on Vega. According to Sarna’s records, the 5th Amphigean faced off against the Grave Walkers, Seventeenth Recon Regiment, and Snord’s Irregulars before being eventually forced off-world. Does this mean we’ll be fighting a losing battle? We’ll find out in a “handcrafted campaign” that spans 15 missions--the most of any MechWarrior 5 DLC yet.

In addition to the new campaign, MW5 is also getting a new ‘Mech: the Longbow. A classic Unseen design, we haven’t seen the Longbow since MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries. At 85 tons, the Longbow is the classic assault artillery machine, capable of launching flights of 50 LRMs at a time. However, it’s not something you couldn’t already do in the Stalker. There will be a new Hero variant called the Hailstorm, however, so expect it to be the most unique of the Longbows.

Besides the new ‘Mech, there will also be “high-tier weapons caches” in every campaign mission, new “Otomo” variants of Combine ‘Mechs (including the Dragon, Mauler, Catapult-K2, BattleMaster, Charger, and Hatamoto-Chi), as well as new co-op instant action modes that will come as a free update to all MW5 owners. 

The Dragon’s Gambit arrives on September 28. Check out the official site for more info.

Multiple MechWarrior Projects At PGI?

Multiple mechwarrior projects in development?
Watch this video on YouTube.

The Dragon’s Gambit might not be the last MechWarrior 5 DLC. According to No Guts No Galaxy’s Sean Lang, MW5 developer PGI has “multiple MechWarrior projects in development,” with at least one new title that’s almost certainly MechWarrior 6

Speaking with Daeron “Bombadil” Katz over at PGI, Lang found out there’s a “new project” in the works that’s confirmed to be a new title release. He speculates that it’s MechWarrior 6 and it’ll be set during the Clan Invasion. Given how MechWarrior 5‘s DLC has been slowly working its way through the pre-invasion highlights, that theory doesn’t sound too far-fetched to me.

There’s also some speculation that MechWarrior Online 2 is in development, or that MechWarrior 6 will ship with expanded multiplayer capabilities that’ll effectively sunset MechWarrior Online. Note that this is purely speculation and we haven’t received any official announcements outside of The Dragon’s Gambit DLC.

I should also note that new games typically take a while to create, and Lang suspects we won’t see MechWarrior 6 for three to four years yet. This would necessitate an extension of PGI’s MechWarrior license, which is set to expire in 2025. Given the new game in development, I’d suspect that extension has already been granted or is basically a sure thing.

As for MechWarrior 5, PGI president Russ Bullock strongly hinted on Twitter that there’s more DLC on the way. But after the War of ‘39, there are basically no big in-universe events until the Clans are encountered in the deep periphery by ComStar in ‘48. One more DLC that serves as a prelude to a Clan Invasion-focused MechWarrior 6 would make a lot of sense. Maybe we’ll find out in “a couple of months.” 

The Stone Rhino Arrives In MechWarrior Online

Stone Rhino MWO

Lest we forget, MechWarrior Online is still here, and it’s still getting new ‘Mechs. The Stone Rhino has arrived, and it’s a terrifying monster of an assault ‘Mech that really seems to be the in-game equivalent of the Inner Sphere Fafnir. Every Stone Rhino variant is available save for the Stone Rhino 5 and 8, which is interesting given that the Stone Rhino 6 has 14 medium pulse lasers, enough to cause most ‘Mechs in MWO to self-destruct if fired all at once. In comparison, the Stone Rhino 5 would have merely brought four LB-5X autocannons and six ER medium lasers, while the Stone Rhino 8 would require Dark Age technology that isn’t available in-game yet.

Never fear, for the hero variant of the Stone Rhino, called the Koloss, is far more terrifying than any Stone Rhino ever produced. Five SRM-6s, two LB 10-X ACs, and five ER medium lasers are combined with MASC to make this a fast-moving brawler with punch enough to down most ‘Mechs in a single blow. Head on over to the MechWarrior Online store page to purchase the Stone Rhino packs now.

There are also two new Legendary ‘Mechs, and surprisingly, they’re both Annihilators. One, appropriately called Gausszilla, is armed with five Clan-spec Gauss Rifles, albeit at the steep price of a waddling speed of 32.4 kph. The other, called Stone Crusher, is armed with an array of Inner Sphere medium and large lasers tied to a targeting computer. Both come with mini battle passes that grant premium time, general skill points, ‘Mech credits, and cosmetics. 

July’s update also brought us a new map, Ceres Metal Scrapyard, as well as adjustments to weapon performance and ‘Mechs. Most notably, Inner Sphere PPCs now deal some damage below 90m, Marauder IICs and Mad Cat Mk II’s have had their agility stats adjusted, and another round of quirk tweaks have hit a number of designs, but mostly seem centered on the Executioner, King Crab, and Uziel.

As always, get the full patch notes on MechWarrior Online‘s site. 

Blood Asp And Masakari Mods Now Available For MechWarrior 5

You just can’t keep the Blood Asp down. Even though it’s only ever flirted with the video games, appearing in MechCommander 2, MechAssault 2, and MechWarrior Online, and even though I can think of no particularly noteworthy pilots, fans just love this 90-ton assault ‘Mech. I think it’s mainly down to its striking over-the-shoulder Gauss Rifles in its primary configuration. We’ll be seeing more of these beasts from Clan Snow Raven as we head into the ilClan-era, and we’re also going to see the Blood Asp make its debut in MechWarrior 5 thanks to yet another mod from SankaraSamsara. 

We once again have Pawel Czarnecki to thank for providing these 3D models that have been up-scaled and animated for MechWarrior 5. As with the rest of SankaraSamsara’s mods, you can get the Blood Asp via Nexus Mods or from the MechWarrior 5 section of the Steam Workshop. The Mech Delivery mod can help you find your Blood Asp without having to visit a bajillion planets in the outer periphery.

And no sooner do we get the Blood Asp than we also get the Masakari, or the Warhawk for all you Clanners out there. As with the Blood Asp, head on over to either Nexus Mods or Steam’s Workshop page for MechWarrior 5 to download.

Myomer Muscles Once Again Inches Towards Reality

Myomer musculature is once again in the news thanks to a team of researchers from Penn State University. They’ve developed a new type of ferroelectric polymer nanocomposite that “significantly reduced” the amount of power required to obtain an effect, “expanding potential applications” to include things like medical devices and robotics.


We’ve been keeping tabs on the development of myomer for some time, and what’s always held these ferroelectric polymers back is how much power is required to actually get them to move. This new polymer requires “less than 10 percent” of the power other polymers required for a ferroelectric phase change. 

“Typically, this strain and force in ferroelectric materials are correlated with each other, in an inverse relationship,” said Qing Wang, research lead and Penn State professor. “Now we can integrate them together into one material, and we developed a new approach to drive it using the Joule heating. Since the driving field is going to be much lower, less than 10%, this is why this new material can be used for many applications that require a low driving field to be effective, such as medical devices, optical devices, and soft robotics.”

Soft robotics refers to the development of robots that use flexible or “soft” materials in order to make them safer for humans to work with. Doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that a ‘Mech would be concerned with, but it does sound like the exact sort of thing that would be useful in a bionic arm, for example. 

For more on this exciting development, head on over to SciTech Daily

Warzone Houston To Host BattleTech Event And Alpha Strike Tournament

MRC Warzone Houston

Warzone, Houston’s largest wargaming event, is back for its fifth year come September 22 to 23. Although I see Warhammer takes the top three slots on the Warzone homepage, BattleTech is going to be there too with a narrative event, casual games, and an Alpha Strike tournament.

On Friday, the “Death of Hope” narrative event will start at 11 AM sharp and pits FedSun and allied mercenary forces against House Kurita in a daring strike that takes place during the First Succession War. The event is expected to take all day long as players go through “a large-scale, integrated scenario at the scale we rarely have the time/logistics to pull off,” according to event organizers. Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the venue, and organizers will “likely order pizza” at around 5 PM, so feel free to pitch in for dinner.

The casual Grinder event will also take place on Friday but doesn’t have a specific start time. As a casual event, new players are encouraged to learn the rules of BattleTech, starting in a smaller ‘Mech and working their way to larger machines as their earlier rides get shot up. All supplies will be provided, so there’s no need to come with your own minis.

The Alpha Strike tournament on Saturday, however, will require people to bring their own 400 PV armies. You’ll also need to register for the tournament by providing a list. Games start at 10 AM and run into the evening, going through a series of missions that will have a two-hour time limit (or 15 turns, whichever comes first). For registration and the official rules, check out this PDF

Entry to any of these events will be $20, with more details available on the Warzone Houston website. [UPDATE: There’s been a few changes to this event! See the comment below for more!]

Focht News Network Coming to CNE And Other Convention

Focht News Network Logo

The fine folks over at the Focht News Network also have some big plans for August. You can expect to see them at GenCon, but also up in Canada, they’ll be the Gaming Garage at the CNE, Canada’s largest (and only) national expo. The Gaming Garage will also host an esports competition, a robotics competition, and a pinball tournament, but it’s the tables that’ll host Focht News that’ll have ‘Mech minis on an expansive battlefield.

I’ve been told that this year’s setup will be quite impressive, so if you’re in the Toronto area, come on down for some BattleTech games. I also got roped into volunteering on Saturday, so you can expect to see me there! Focht will be at the CNE from August 18 to 20.

You’ll also be able to find Focht at Fan Expo Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Center from August 24 to 27. I’ve got a prior engagement, but I’ve been told that my absence won’t stop the BattleTech fun.

Unearthed Japanese Ad For MechAssault Is Very Early 2000s

Japanese Original Xbox Game Promos Compilation: Mechassault, Halo 2 And More!
Watch this video on YouTube.

Major BioMech recently unearthed this Xbox promo for the original MechAssault and man, it’s a trip. Thought lost to history, BioMech had it on a demo disk and uploaded it to YouTube for preservation purposes, and because it’s a neat look at advertising from the early 2000s. 

MechWarrior Living Legends Gets Its Long-Awaited Heavy VTOLs In Latest Update

Anhur Prime MechWarrior Living Legends

We’ve got updates for all the major MechWarrior titles this month, including MechWarrior: Living Legends. Update 0.16.0 has added all-new Heavy VTOL units, the Karnov and the Anhur, which are like the regular light VTOLs but with tank turrets mounted on their sides. In this way, players fly the VTOL and take aim with their turrets might like how they’d control a standard tank or ‘Mech.

Being larger and heavier than standard VTOLs, expect these Heavy VTOLS to maneuver more slowly but offer better firepower and increased armor protection. In addition, both the Karnov and the Anhur can act as Battle Armor spawn points or ammunition stores, allowing your team to put increased pressure on the front lines of battle.

Update 0.16.0 also brings some new weapons! The Rocket Launcher 10 is now available and works exactly as you’d expect, and the AP Gauss is available but only on the Anhur Heavy VTOL.

There are some other tweaks and weapon changes, but you can read about ’em on the MechWarrior: Living Legends ModDB page here. You can also download the game there, which I hasten to remind you, is totally free.

That Crab Is About To Have A Very Bad Day

Panzerbunn Atlas Crab

Courtesy of Panzerbunn

I’m not entirely sure what that Atlas is wearing on its head, but it sure does seem like it has a bit of a Christmas in July theme going on. Anyway, artist Panzerbunn is giving us a prime example of why you should keep your Crab well away from an Atlas, lest you eat a fist with 100 tons behind it. 

Kudos to the stalking Stalker in the background, although I don’t think it’s going to have much left to do once that fist lands. 

Renegade HPG Interviews BattleTech Art Director Brent Evans

A Conversation with Brent Evans | Art Director for Catalyst Game Labs and BattleTech
Watch this video on YouTube.

CGL Art Director Brent Evans recently sat down with Trevor at Renegade HPG for a chat on the current state of BattleTech. It was a delightful conversation on where the game has been and where it’s going, as well as a fascinating look at the business of producing all those high-quality miniatures for the Clan Invasion and Mercenaries Kickstarter.

I won’t go into too much detail, but it was wild to hear how Chinese manufacturers have their own proprietary software that compels them to rebuild 3D models sent for manufacturing. There’s also the strange politics of plastic manufacturers where larger orders always get preferential treatment. Evans admitted that CGL has been bumped before, but after years of carefully cultivating business relationships, they now have a reliable pipeline to get minis into boxes.

Evans argued that BattleTech’s success today is built on the foundation of solid logistics--something that parallels well with a popular maxim in warfare. For the first time in BattleTech history, Evans said, CGL has been able to keep the primary edition of the boxed set in stock at retailers for over 12 months.

But perhaps the most interesting subject would be the upcoming products. There’s the BattleTech Universe book, an updated and expanded version of the small primer included in the introductory boxed sets that attempts to explain the BattleTech universe. That’s expected to arrive something in October or November. There are also Faction Box Sets on the horizon, although CGL is still working out the details on what ‘Mechs go in which box. Major Houses and Clans will come first, followed by Dark Age and other smaller factions.

Evans didn’t say this, but I suspect we’ll see individual new ‘Mechs appear in these Faction Boxes in order to provide a compelling reason for fans to open their wallets and to keep retailers from seeing certain boxes sit on store shelves. No time frame on when that’ll happen, but I’m going to throw my request for a Cestus in right here, right now.

There’s a lot more discussed, so do check out the full interview in the video here.

ProtoMechs Are Basically Aliens

“Dying Breed” – Ink piece for Shrapnel Magazine
by u/TheRedEpicArt in battletech

I never liked ProtoMechs. They’re a neat concept, but they’re verging a little too closely to the realm of anime and exosuits rather than ‘Mechs. And it seems like I’m in the majority since ProtoMechs have been largely abandoned by the Clans that were tinkering with them.

The Delphyne, in particular, always seemed the most monstrous and alien of the ProtoMechs. Here we have Jared Blando’s piece for Shrapnel #12 showcasing just how monstrous this little devil can get as it blasts a Wasp‘s cockpit with its mouth-mounted medium pulse laser. Thanks for sharing, Blando!

The Black Marauder Doesn’t Wait For Halloween To Terrify MechWarriors

As we’re all aware by now, the Black Marauder is a personal favorite, and Dusk Haunters‘ sculpt naturally caught my attention. It’s got teeth, eyes, and even chains wrapping around this hell-born ‘Mech. Be sure to bring this piece back out for the spooky season.

Commandos Rock. Period.

Give yourself five more tons to play with and never even consider running a Stinger or a Wasp again. Oshlet proves just how amazing the Commando is with this piece showcasing the many missiles this potent Steiner scout ‘Mech can spam at short range. Commando fans, unite!

Sooo… Superconductors Could Be A Thing


Pretty much everything in BattleTech, from fusion engines to Gauss Rifles, is predicated on the existence of superconducting materials. It’s not really discussed much in lore because it’s sort of boring to talk about wires, but it’s a technology that is essential for other technology to flourish. And now, three researchers at Cornell University say they’ve invented the world’s first room-temperature superconductor.

Previous superconductors have always been hard to make or only worked at super low temperatures--like, near zero degrees Kelvin. This superconductor can be made at room temperature using nothing but a mortal and pestle, a vacuum, and a furnace. And if it’s real, it’ll pave the way to fusion reactors, high-storage batteries, quantum computers, and more. This could very well be the discovery that saves humanity from climate change.

It could also give us giant robots. Fingers crossed for both.

Reminder: Override Engaged To Host BattleTech Event At Nashcon

MRC & Nashcon With Warning44 and Vapor
Watch this video on YouTube.

I mentioned this event already back in May, but Sam has returned with more details and some informative videos to let people know what’s going on in Nashville.

As a reminder, Override Engaged/MRC will be hosting a BattleTech event at NashCon 2023 starting Thursday, August 17 at 7 PM. Opening night will be pickup games and socializing, while Friday will begin the narrative-focused Solaris Civil War scenario. Saturday will be a three-round Classic BattleTech tourney and a painting competition, and Sunday will be a three-round Alpha Strike tourney and the conclusion of the aforementioned painting competition. Expect rewards and prizes to be handed out following the conclusion of each event.

We’ve got a Google Doc with more details as well as an hour-long video explaining the whole event. 

Apparently, MRC is a pretty active group. Sam gave me a rundown of the events they’ve run throughout May and June:

“In May we had the largest recent Classic Battletech tournament, with initially 39 players from all over the world joining the MRC Discord to battle out ‘Tukayyid Heat,’ with 74 matches played across the month of May using MegaMek,” Sam tells me. “In June we followed that with a 10,000 BV2 force limit set within the  Late Republic era tournament, again within the MRC Discord, using MegaMek that saw another 20 players play 32 games across four weeks. This event saw most of the entire combined arms available unleashed, including vehicles, VTOLS, and Battle Armor/Infantry. Finally, we are wrapping up a July event, also within the MRC Discord and using MegaMek, focusing on the Pre-Operation Klondike preparations, using all 20 original Clans and First Succession War-era ‘Mechs, to which Organizer Pirate has put out a few fun introduction videos. And we do have one more tournament already being prepared, another combined arms, 10,000 BV2 force limit set within the Dark Age era, again within the MRC Discord and using MegaMek. All details can be found within the MRC Discord.”

If you’ve got any events you’d like advertised in Sarna, give drop me a line either here or via email. 

And that’s it for July! Join us next month for another toasty recap of all the BattleTech news that’s already happened.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

How Nostalgia And MechWarrior 5 Could Mean A Better MechWarrior 6

My friends have often told me that there’s something wrong with me. I seem to be missing the nostalgia gene that has so many MechWarrior fans replaying the older games instead of the new hotness. I speak of course of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, the greatest MechWarrior game yet made.

I made that statement when I gave my initial impressions of MechWarrior 5, and I still stick by it. And yet, so often do I read people pining for MechWarrior 2 or 3 or 4, explaining in flowery posts how these games are somehow superior despite their age. 

I don’t get it. I’ve played every MechWarrior game, I’ve loved every MechWarrior game, and yet I don’t get fooled into thinking the Timber Wolf in MechWarrior 2 looks better than a Marauder in MechWarrior 5

But let it never be said that I’m not capable of growing, or getting to understand other people’s points of view–even if I think they’re wrong. So in a quest to change hearts and minds (possibly even my own), I ventured into the BattleTech community to better understand why people seem to think that the older MechWarrior titles surpass MechWarrior 5. And in that journey, I may have discovered the perfect way to blend the old and new schools to make a truly phenomenal MechWarrior 6.

Nostalgia Is A Helluva Drug

MechWarrior 5 Warhammer Building Explosion

Before I set out, however, I decided to first check in with an expert on why some fans love the old over the new. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug, as they say, and I really wanted to know the high that I was missing.

“A positive memory can be triggered by a sound, a smell, a certain image, or a thought,” explained psychiatrist Michael Feldmeier in an interview with Wired. “This in turn triggers a person’s reward center in their brain to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and salience. People can gravitate towards retro gaming as they are seeking a known trigger for a positive emotional response.”  

“We have the rose-colored glasses. It’s literally serotonin, endorphins–the brain fries with nostalgia, overriding objectivity.”

So, nostalgia is a drug, and it might be driving people to older games. That’s not to say that you can’t get a similar or even greater hit of dopamine from playing a new game, but older games can do it reliably–at least, in certain people. Throw me back to MechWarrior 2 and I’ll certainly remember things with a sense of fondness, but I won’t get the same dopamine kick I’d get out of playing a newer game.

Certainly, nostalgia is keeping older MechWarrior titles on a bit of a pedestal. “I really wanted it to, but I’d rather play the old games–especially the MechWarrior 2 trilogy–than the new one whenever I want first person ‘Mech action,” Pastor Recoil told me, summarizing an opinion shared by many of the people I spoke with. When I asked why, he told me that MechWarrior 5 felt too “slick,” and that MechWarrior 2 just “had that vibe.” 

Given his profession, I chalked up Pastor Recoil’s vague explanation to his attunement with the ineffable. I preferred the more scientific explanation, and it was heartwarming to find out I wasn’t alone in that respect.

“It really is a nostalgia thing with MW2,” Bishop Steiner reiterated. “We have the rose-colored glasses. Why? Same reason old farts say there are no good movies, music, etc. It’s a simple fact, the things of our teens and early 20s create those strong bonds, and very little that comes later ‘settle’ in the same. 

“It’s literally serotonin, endorphins–the brain fries with nostalgia, overriding objectivity.”

It would be all too easy to just end things right here and conclude that everyone who loves MechWarrior 2 is simply blinded by nostalgia, unable to see the numerous improvements MechWarrior 5 has made. But again, this is about personal growth. Rather than take the easy way out, I reached out to Emil of The Art of BattleTech, someone who’s made the MechWarrior series their academic vocation with a Ph.D. in game studies, to better understand that “vibe” Pastor Recoil was talking about. 

“MechWarrior 2 really excels at [tone and atmosphere], where it is not afraid to have quiet moments in between the intense ‘Mech combat moments.”

And oh boy, did he have a lot to say.

“There are some things that previous MechWarrior games do better than what MW5 does,” Emil began in an explanation that spanned several pages. “One thing that’s very subjective to really discuss is the tone and atmosphere. For me, MW2 really excels at this, where it is not afraid to have quiet moments in between the intense ‘Mech combat moments. In each mission, there is this lull and quiet on your way to a nav point or a mission objective until you’re greeted with the foreboding ‘enemy power-up detected.’ This quiet but increasingly intense feeling as you head towards facing some very dangerous ‘Mech combat really makes [each moment] more distinct and different from each other to really underscore the intensity of ‘Mech combat.

“Instead, much of MW5 suffers from this modern game design trope where there has to be something to shoot all the time otherwise it’s boring for the average player. Vehicles and VTOLs and turrets constantly spawn in the ‘quiet’ moments to make sure the player isn’t looking at their phone. And this takes away from combat being important or distinct enough.”

Emil admits that these quiet moments might no longer be viable in the modern gaming market, where letting up the action even for a second might lose your younger audience. But for older players, the constant influx of targets in MechWarrior 5 was definitely a turn-off.

“It feels soulless to me. Dilluted by turrets and vehicles,” author Russel Zimmerman said. “I modded the snot out of it to make the turrets and vehicles go away so my stompy bois could shine.”

Emil went so far as to create a mod specifically designed to change MechWarrior 5’s pace to be closer to MechWarrior 2’s. This customizability–largely due to MechWarrior 5’s active mod community–is a point we’ll return to later.

Memorable Moments, Features, And Feelings

MechWarrior 5 Locust vs Panther

What Emil kept coming back to, and what I heard again and again from the BattleTech community, is that MechWarrior 2 just had more memorable moments. Fighting the crusader Wolves for stolen genetic legacies on an orbital platform in Ghost Bear’s Legacy, or defending a convoy from Rifleman IICs and Summoners that jump down from towering mesas in MechWarrior 2‘s Umber Wall mission are both standouts. It’s the same with escaping the invading Clans in a stolen Kodiak in MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, or fighting Galaxy Commander Brendon Corbett in the middle of a volcano in MechWarrior 3

I admit, it’s hard to think of those same sorts of setpiece moments through MechWarrior 5’s campaign. Perhaps finding the Nightstar, or defending the Kestrel Lancers on Tikonov, but neither really reaches the same level as MechWarrior 4’s Solaris games. A problem when most missions–even the high-value sidequests–make liberal use of procedural generation.

“Much of MechWarrior 5 suffers from this modern game design trope where there has to be something to shoot all the time otherwise it’s boring for the average player.”

MW5‘s procedurally generated stuff means you are basically replaying the same five missions over and over again, with slightly different window dressing,” Bishop Steiner added. “MW4 even with the ‘wrong’ ‘Mechlab, had unique missions, and was easily the best for replayability.”

The thing that each of these missions all had was something unique–either a unique setting, or unique actions from enemy units, or a unique objective for the player. Despite always being different, procedurally-generated maps and missions all feel like they have a certain sameness. 

“But does this mean that I would have wanted MW5 to try to emulate or achieve the same as what MW2 did for me back in 1995?” Emil asked. “No, actually not, because clamoring for something that was unique to that historical moment to be replicated again is simply not possible.

“But more importantly,” he added, “MW5 excels in other areas that I think we as old nostalgia-blinded Mechwarrior and Battletech fans tend to forget.” 

Here’s where Emil and I get onto the same page. That procedural generation, for example, is actually quite powerful. There’s way more overall variety in MechWarrior 5 than anything ever seen in MechWarrior 2, 3, or 4–so much so that it all kinda blends together. They might not stand out compared to the setpiece moments of earlier titles, but that’s partially the point. MechWarrior 5 wants you to tune out and get lost in the wanton destruction. 

“MechWarrior 4 even with the ‘wrong’ ‘Mechlab, had unique missions, and was easily the best for replayability.”

And it’s that destruction where MechWarrior 5 truly shines. In no other MechWarrior do you truly get the sense of being in a multi-ton walking death machine. In no other MechWarrior can you literally walk through buildings and watch concrete tumble off your ‘Mech’s shoulders. There’s a weightiness to your movements, shock as you’re struck by missiles and PPCs, and satisfaction as a well-timed alpha strike cores a Locust and sets off a massive explosion. 

I wouldn’t want MechWarrior 6 to ditch procedurally-generated missions. I’m the sort of player that likes to enter that flow state and grind out contracts to build up a stable of ‘Mechs before I embark on a longer campaign. Whether you like them or not, having those missions available is strictly a bonus. 

MechWarrior 5 VTR-9A1 Victor

There are other features too. Melee combat, airstrikes and artillery bombardment, a reputation system, nearly 60 ‘Mechs with three to five (or more) variants each, customizable paint schemes, and four-player co-op are all features that no MechWarrior has ever accomplished. For the first time, you can paint your Hatchetman whatever color you want and then wield it against foes while your friend launches waves of LRMs in support. That’s incredible, and something that easily matches those more cinematic moments from older MechWarriors.

I will admit there are technical issues in MechWarrior 5 that were better solved in earlier games. MechWarrior 4’s animation, for example, was top-notch, with every ‘Mech receiving both a walking and running animation that switched seamlessly once the pilot reached sufficient velocity.

“MechWarrior 5 excels in other areas that I think we as old nostalgia-blinded Mechwarrior and Battletech fans tend to forget.”

But even here, not everyone agrees. “I feel like walk cycles were one of those top five things for people to complain about in the MechWarrior Online/MW5 games whenever people want to whine about how good they’ve convinced themselves the old games are,” Ultra-Laser told me over Discord. “Hell, I counted it as a win when I got someone to admit that the Grasshopper‘s bouncy walk cycle was cute. Name one MW4 ‘Mech with that kind of Hop!”

Our conversation eventually descended into what I’ll generously describe as the BattleTech equivalent of a foot fetish, but that’s a topic for another article.

People have told me that they preferred the sounds, visual effects, voice acting, and cockpits of older MechWarrior games–all of which have been vastly improved since MechWarrior 5‘s launch through mods. Some mods even restore aspects of older MechWarrior titles, like the Bitching Betty mod which brings back the “all systems nominal” gal of MechWarrior 2.

PGI could do a better job of fostering its mod-maker ecosystem by perhaps integrating popular mods or giving mod-makers previews of coming DLC so that each update doesn’t break everything, but there’s no denying how MechWarrior 5 is the most flexible and customizable MechWarrior to date.

What We Could Learn For MechWarrior 6

MechWarrior 5 Firestarter vs Hunchback

What everyone kept coming back to is feelings. The feeling you get from MechWarrior 5 is mostly one of mindless destruction, or being in a shooting gallery where you and your merry band of mercenaries blow through entire battalions of ‘Mechs and armor. That’s certainly a potent feeling, but for some, it’s not enough to surpass the entirely different feelings offered in older MechWarrior titles.

So, I get it. What it boils down to is that I’m just more of an action junkie than the MechWarrior fans I spoke to. For them, the allure of MechWarrior 5’s “slick” combat just can’t compare to the cinematic, set-piece moments found in MechWarrior 2, 3, or 4. I can disagree, but I can acknowledge the appeal of more scripted moments. 

The good news is that MechWarrior 6 is most likely on the way. We haven’t received an official announcement or anything, but PGI has hinted rather strongly that one is coming soon. And since it’s still coming from the same developer, we can safely assume that much of the same technology that went into MW5 will be there as a strong foundation for MW6. That means MW6 will already have the great combat feeling of MW5–we just need to throw in some of the lessons of older MechWarriors.

It’s going to be a tricky thing. There’s a bit of a disconnect between the two camps of players. If you tone down the combat, you lose the adrenaline junkies. If you keep it where it is now in MechWarrior 5, you lose the players that pine for the pacing and gravitas of MechWarrior 2 through 4

What I think it’ll boil down to is a slight refinement. To use an appropriate BattleTech metaphor, MechWarrior 5’s procedural generation and ‘Mech combat are the myomer muscles of a good game, but they’re not really going anywhere without a chassis to ride on. That chassis will be a compelling story set in the BattleTech universe and interwoven with memorable moments in unique environments. 

And even more good news, that’s where PGI is already headed. Legend of the Kestrel Lancers and Rise of Rasalhague both featured far more intricate missions and more non-procedural maps than anything found in MechWarrior 5’s main campaign. PGI is already refining these more memorable moments in MechWarrior 5’s DLC, which makes me very hopeful for MechWarrior 6.

MechWarrior 5 Hanger

Thanks to everyone I spoke with for this piece: Russel Zimmerman, Bishop Steiner, Steven, Pastor Recoil, Ultra-Laser (I’m here for the Grasshopper bounce), Detocroix, and Birthday_Truck, who made an excellent video critiquing MechWarrior 5, especially when it comes to its technical aspects. I encourage everyone to give it a look.

And a special thanks to The Art of BattleTech, who literally wrote me a treatise when I asked for his opinion on MechWarrior 5 compared to older MechWarrior titles. I’m sorry I couldn’t put even a fraction of what he wrote into this piece, but I’m lookin’ to post it separately just so I can point to someone who truly knows his MechWarrior.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.stay syrupy


Your BattleTech News Round-Up For June, 2023

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the forests are all on fire. Welcome to summer in 2023! Not only is it the season of sun, sand, and swimming, but it’s also the season of BattleTech! We’ve got a DropShip load of art, stories, videos, and news from across the Battletech universe, but we’re going to kick things off with a world first for the franchise.

Queer And Allied Writers Bring Us BattleTech Pride 2023 Anthology

2023 BattleTech Pride Anthology

Courtesy of Detocroix

June is the month of Pride, and to celebrate BattleTech being for everyone, several LGBTQ+ BattleTech writers got together to produce an anthology of short stories revealing that queerness does indeed exist in the 31st and 32nd centuries. Robin “Valk” Briseno, Albert “Blundering Albatross” Ross, Allen “Highmont” Nickloy, Detocroix, and Russel Zimmerman all contributed their works, with a forward provided by authors Bryan Young and Michael A. Stackpole. That incredible Bullshark cover art was provided by the talented Samantha Richardson, and there’s even more interior art courtesy of VersusJordan.

I won’t get into any spoilers, but I will say that all five of the short stories you’ll find within are entertaining in their own unique ways--just like Pride should be. Not all of them are about MechWarriors. Some don’t even portray MechWarriors in a particularly flattering light. Even still, I ate this anthology in an afternoon and enjoyed every page.

Up until Fox Tales and The Nellus Academy Incident, I’d never read about an even tangentially queer story set in the BattleTech universe. That’s not to say that BattleTech didn’t still speak to me, but the predominantly hetero-centric motivations for its characters certainly didn’t. Something like this though, makes me think that BattleTech is for everyone.

Best of all, the BattleTech Pride Anthology is 100 percent free. Head on over to to download the anthology in your preferred file format.

Pride Anthology Causes Major Shakeup In BattleTech Reddit (And Opinion)

Pride Blackjack

Courtesy of Snake of Limited Wisdom on Reddit

Now that we’ve gotten the Pride Anthology out of the way, let’s talk about the unfortunate fallout that the Pride Anthology caused on the BattleTech subreddit. This is both a longer story and a bit personal, so consider this in lieu of the usual opinion piece.

It’s no secret that I’m a frequent visitor of the BattleTech subreddit. I’m honored to have had Redditors repost the Bad ‘Mechs series there, and I’ve always loved looking at the various miniatures and personal projects shared by BattleTech fans. And while the rest of my Reddit feed always broke out into rainbow colors every June, the BattleTech sub remained chromatically muted. 

For years, I thought nothing of it. I just assumed that there wasn’t a whole lot of overlap between the queer community and BattleTech. It’s only in the past year thanks to sites like Discord and Twitter that I’ve discovered there’s actually quite a vibrant and active queer community that loves its big stompy robots as much as I do. But even that wasn’t enough to get me to suspect something was up with the BattleTech subreddit. 

Pride Hunchback IIC Courtesy of Metalzarak on Reddit

Courtesy of Metalzarak on Reddit

It wasn’t until the Pride Anthology came along that I found out what was actually going on. It turns out the BattleTech subreddit moderators had been trashing any posts having to do with Pride or LBGTQ+ themes. Any rainbow-colored minis, any Trans flags flown on a Timber Wolf‘s arm, or any discussion at all about homosexuality in the BattleTech universe was effectively banned on the BattleTech subreddit. 

We’d never would have found out if it wasn’t for the big splash made by the Pride Anthology. Only after several Anthology posts got removed did folks notice that it wasn’t just the Anthology that was having trouble sticking to the BattleTech subreddit. Eventually, the moderators came clean and provided a curiously tone-deaf explanation as to why the BattleTech Pride Anthology wasn’t worthy of the BattleTech subreddit.

According to Mr_Severan, one of the now-former BattleTech subreddit moderators, any queer content (including the Pride Anthology) broke Rule 1, which forbade any discussion of “real world politics.” Apparently, the existence of LGBTQ+ people was considered too political, and the moderators were instructed to remove any posts that even smelled slightly gay. I’m not even going to get into the bizarre 1988 excuse, as though queers didn’t exist before or after that year. 

The post is now deleted, but I’ve read it, and it’s all garbage; that’s probably why it was deleted. And to his credit, Mr_Severan has since admitted such and apologized. But it served to further galvanize the queer BattleTech community, who brought the controversy to the attention of Catalyst Game Labs. Anthology author Rusty Zimmerman, alongside CGL community and marketing director Rem Alternis, went to the heroic effort of setting up an entirely new subreddit called r/OfficialBattleTech over the course of a single night in order to both distance the brand from the toxic moderation policies of r/BattleTech and to provide a CGL-approved presence on Reddit.

Pride 'Mechs Courtesy of enbykaiju on Reddit

Courtesy of enbykaiju on Reddit

And for a while, r/OfficialBattleTech was the queerest subreddit I’d ever seen. Every post was a rainbow-colored ‘Mech or a King Crab in trans colors that said “This machine stomps fascists.” It was beautiful. I’d never felt more like a part of a community than during that single weekend when r/OfficialBattleTech was operational.

The subreddit didn’t last very long, and that’s because the owner of r/BattleTech, ddevil63, returned from a 15-year exile to boot the entire moderator team that had been screening queer content.

“I originally created r/battletech 15 years ago because I wanted a place to talk about Battletech on Reddit,” wrote ddevil63. “I have not been active as a moderator or contributor but I regularly read posts and comments. Yesterday was when I became aware of the removal of the Pride Anthology post and the rightfully deserved backlash. I have no moderation or community management experience but I’m trying my best to right any wrongs.”

Timber Wolf

In an AMA over on r/OfficialBattleTech, Catalyst reps including BattleTech line developer Ray Arrastia revealed they were in contact with ddevil63 to discuss the future of the two subreddits. It was eventually decided that the two subreddits would merge, with r/BattleTech becoming the official subreddit of BattleTech on the site. Additionally, a new set of community guidelines were established, among them being the number one rule from r/OfficialBattleTech: “BattleTech is for everyone.”

The thing that stuck with me through the whole ordeal is how it made me realize silencing all discussion of anything LGBTQ+ related really made me think that there wasn’t a single queer BattleTech fan out there in the whole universe. For years, I thought it was just me. It drove home how effective silencing discussion of LGBTQ+ concepts can be at isolating people; at making them feel sad and alone even when it’s about something that should be fun and inclusive. 

I’m glad this story had a happy ending. Color has returned to the r/BattleTech subreddit, and while it doesn’t have quite the same number of pride flags being flown by Atlases, Centurions, and Elementals, I still see them often enough to be reminded that BattleTech really is for everyone.

However, there are lots of places that aren’t having a happy ending this Pride. Laws are being signed throughout the US that prohibit the display or discussion of LGBTQ+ concepts, which will have an equally isolating and harmful effect on queer people--especially children. It’ll also be a lot more destructive than just a bunch of mods removing Pride posts on a subreddit. That’s why it’s important for us to talk about these things here, now, so that nobody is made to feel alone. 

And to anyone who wants to argue that the existence of LGBTQ+ people is “too political” for a BattleTech news blast, I can comfortably say you’re wrong. It’s never too political to stand up for what’s right.  

Happy Pride everyone.

Pride 'Mechs Courtesy of SneakyZaku on Reddit

Courtesy of SneakyZaku on Reddit

Mod Brings Back Ejection Seats To MechWarrior 5

Ever since the very beginning of MechWarrior, a downed ‘Mech didn’t necessarily mean a dead pilot. More often than not, pilots would eject from their doomed machines to fight another day. Get knocked down in MechWarrior 2 or MechCommander, and you’d be treated to an ejection seat rocketing away. Usually.

MechWarrior 5, however, assumed that you turned your ejection system off for some reason. Your ‘Mech being downed meant you died and the mission would have to be restarted.

This mod doesn’t stop you from having to restart the mission, but MagnumGB has given MechWarrior its ejection seat back. As you can see in the video above, getting your ‘Mech shot out from under will result in a rocket literally being fired under your ass. Rhiana will then call for recovery teams which will hopefully find you before an errant autocannon round punctures your parachute. 

You can find this mod over on MechWarrior 5‘s Steam Community Workshop page as well as Nexus Mods (eventually).

The Chimera Leaps From MechWarrior 4 To 5 Thanks To Mod

The Chimera, my latest classic mech mod is now out for Mechwarrior 5. This marks the 11th classic mech mod that I’ve made, so if you want to support me doing more, I’ve launched a Patreon to help motivate me to continue the modding work
by u/BoukObelisk in Mechwarrior5

I can’t say the Chimera was my favorite medium ‘Mech to come out of MechWarrior 4, but it was fast, came with a big MRM-20 that was a lot of fun, and was a reasonable choice to give to your lancemates early in the game. And now you can do the same thing in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries thanks to this mod from Pawel Czarnecki and SankaraSamsara.

As with last month’s Argus mod, Pawel Czarnecki made the model while SankaraSamsara did everything else. And as with the Argus mod (as well as SankaraSamsara’s other mods, including the Hellbringer, Summoner, Mad Dog, Timber Wolf, Hellcat, Stone Rhino, and more), your best bet to find this ‘Mech without touring the entire Inner sphere is to download and make use of the ‘Mech Delivery mod, something I sincerely hope gets incorporated into the base game eventually.

Download the Chimera Mod on either Nexus Mods or MechWarrior 5’s Steam Workshop page.

A Sunset For A Wolf

A Sunset for a Wolf - by Wild-Cat 144

A Sunset for a Wolf – by Wild-Cat 144

Before the r/OfficialBattleTech subreddit was taken offline, there was a flood of posts as CGL tried to get the word out to the community. Now that it’s gone, some of these posts will sadly be lost. Luckily, I’ve snagged a few choice pieces before they went back to being merged.

This one from Wild-Cat 144 is great because it shows a Clan Wolf MechWarrior wearing a bikini and perhaps the worst Mad Cat variant of them all, the Timber Wolf Alt. Config B. If I recall correctly, some MechWarriors got into their ‘Mechs wearing nothing but a cooling vest. Food for thought.

Lincoln Osis Says Screw Your Holotable!

Lincoln Osis from Sharlin648

Lincoln Osis from Sharlin648

Poor Lincoln Osis. It would be many years since his Clan Smoke Jaguar days before he’d see another victory, but we can always remember his goatee, cape, and dreamy mohawk hairdo. Too bad about the table.

This post came courtesy of Sharlink648’s artist friend. Thanks to you both!

A Lance At War

Lance by William Liu

Lance by William Liu

We also have this incredible piece from artist William Liu. This is clearly a lance making a fighting retreat as that Leopard DropShip comes in to whisk them all away from whatever it is they’re blasting. Also, that Locust can jump, which is notable as I can recall not a single Locust variant that has jump jets.


Catapult Says Trans Rights

The Art Of BattleTech (aka SankaraSamsara) also gave us a mod for MechWarrior 4‘s Catapult model, but I’m less excited for that as MechWarrior 5 already has the Catapult. This one is painted in Trans colors though, so it gets a nod. Pride and all.

What If The Steiner Scout Squad Came In A Sticker Pack?

It would probably look a lot like this. Koodos to @Erikaceous_VT on Twitter for this incredible image that seems like it’d make a great avatar for various messaging apps. Maybe even turn it into a gif for a Steiner Scout Squad emoji pack. A guy can dream.

A Slightly More Anime Phoenix Hawk

Serah and Phoenix Hawk - by geergutz

Serah and Phoenix Hawk – by geergutz

There’s a little bit of irony here as the Phoenix Hawk design originally came from anime, but I had to make sure geergutz’s latest commission made it into the news blast somehow. Don’t think the machine guns were mounted in the torsos, though I do love the way ammunition is being fed in from the gantry.

Gamma Regiment Takes No Guff

Can we have more art? Of course we can. This one comes by way of Art of BattleTech but it was commissioned by @AdventuringZone. It features Wilhelmina Korsht of Wolf’s Dragoons Gamma Regiment as drawn by Tan Ho Sim. A stunning level of detail is to be found here, from the lens flare to the painstaking recreation of the new Marauder II sculpt.

A Lego Marauder That Won’t Break Your Coffee Table

I heard you guy appreciated lego mechs. I present to you my latest build. The Marauder II MAD-5A. Hope you all like it.
by u/MoonBoots2077 in OutreachHPG

We all love a good Lego ‘Mech, and MoonBoots2077 has delivered unto us a Marauder MAD-5A that won’t break the metaphorical bank. Hansen’s Bricks are great, but some of those models are absolutely enormous and will shatter your coffee table if not your wallet. This one seems like it’ll fit neatly on a hanging shelf and won’t require a kidney to buy online.

Someone Turned Bad ‘Mech Articles Into An Audiotale

Hellbringer : Bad 'Mechs a Sarna Tale | Battletopia Stories
Watch this video on YouTube.

Apologies to Shrapnel of Battletopia, who has apparently been narrating BattleTech short stories for a while now, but I only just recently found out about his work after it was pointed out to me that he’d taken two Bad ‘Mechs articles and turned them into brief audioplays. That means they have sound effects, music, and production values that go way beyond your average audiobook.

My first time hearing the Hellbringer piece was absolutely surreal. I never really write the little vignettes at the beginning with any thought towards anything other than text, and actually hearing it work out with a bit of editing and voice acting was very cool. I think the Whitworth piece is even better just because there’s a lot more action involved, but they’re both quite excellent. Here’s hoping the Scorpion is next!

Oh, also, the Mauler is still bad

Robber Baron LAM Gives Me Strong Crimson Skies Vibes

At first, this was one of those “thanks I hate it” posts, but then I kind of thought about it for a second and decided that I actually love it. If you were to turn an Assassin into a LAM, this is exactly what it’d look like. Plus it sort of seems like it’d be right at home in the Crimson Skies universe, another beloved FASA game that unfortunately never became quite as popular as BattleTech.

I don’t think I want to add transforming robots to Crimson Skies, but I do love the idea of a LAM somehow being able to stay aloft through a three-bladed propeller. Definitely would stick to the Crimson Skies conceit of having slower-moving planes because this was all prior to World War 2’s race for bigger and better engines.

Von Solaris 7 Mod For MechWarrior 5 Is In Development

MechWarrior 5 Solaris 7 Mod Update - New Arena, Medium Mech League! Tune in for some live preview!
Watch this video on YouTube.

You want more mods? We got more mods! VonSeiten, famously of the vonBiomes mod for MechWarrior 5, has embarked on an even more ambitious project: the “vonMissions” Modpack, which will include Solaris 7.

Ever since MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, it’s been a tradition for MechWarriors to briefly cease whatever the hell they’re doing midway through the game in order to become the Solaris Champion. That tradition tragically didn’t continue in MechWarrior 5, but because MechWarrior 5 makes it so easy to mod, the tradition is kept alive thanks to vonSeiten.

Things are still in early development, but we got a sneak peek at Solaris 7 thanks to vonSeiten’s preview video above. Solaris will have leagues broken down by weight class, meaning you won’t be able to take a Centurion into the light ‘Mech league. Combat is sort of a grand melee similar to how it worked in MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries. You can see vonSeiten struggles with taking on multiple opponents in the bring and colorful arena (love the holographic advertisements). Getting blown up means you’re out of the tournament.

If you’d like to support vonSeiten’s work, consider subscribing to his Patreon where you’ll get early access to mods in development. Expect the vonMissions Modpack to arrive on Nexus Mods and Steam alongside the rest of vonSeiten’s mods.

Wolves Arrives In MechWarrior 5

Another MechWarrior 5 mod we need to talk about comes courtesy of TheMoneyMann and the Wolves development team. You might recall Wolves as the MechAssault fan game that you can download and play right now for free because the people making Wolves are awesome. And now you can play the same Mechssault ‘Mechs in MechWarrior 5.

The MechAssault Wolves ‘Mechs mod works best in conjunction with the popular Yet Anther Mech Lab mod, but you can get it to work without YAML so long as you remove the invalid slots in the ‘Mechlab. The mod provides you with the Cougar, Arctic Wolf, Thor, and Atlas, with TheMonkeyMann promising to release another wave of Wolves ‘Mechs every month.

Head on over to Nexus Mods or the MechWarrior 5 Steam Workshop page to download the mod.

Catlases Are Multiplying

So I modified a model to print my own CAtlas. BEHOLD!
by u/Menarra in battletech

I’m not sure why the Catlas has captured my fascination so much, but I’m running with this meme until it reaches some sort of logical conclusion. This model, custom-printed by Menarra on Reddit, isn’t quite that conclusion, but it’s another lumbering step on the Catlas’s journey. Perhaps we’ll see a new Catlas every month.

Sharapnel #13, Hansen’s Roughriders T-Shirt, And Misprinted Rifleman Headline Catalyst’s June Offerings

A bit of a slower month for Catalyst, likely owing to work on the Mercenaries Kickstarter. We’ve got Shrapnel issue 13 to enjoy, featuring stories from authors like Bryan Young, Russel Zimmerman, David G. Martin, and many more. The other new product is a Hansen’s Roughriders t-shirt that will show your allegiance to one of the Inner Sphere’s largest but slightly lesser-known mercenary regiments.

Catalyst had one other announcement earlier this month. After being revealed at AdeptiCon, fans found out that some of the new premium Rifleman minis had been misprinted with incorrect proportions. Catalyst is asking anyone with a misprinted Rifelman to contact them at store@catalystgamelabs to arrange for a refund or replacement.

“We apologize for the inconvenience, but hope you enjoy your complimentary limited-edition Rifle-boy,” the company wrote, perhaps suggesting the direction of those incorrect proportions.

MechWarrior Online Kicks Off Beach Party Event That Lasts All Summer Long

MechWarrior Online Desparada

Courtesy of PGI

Or at least almost all summer long. From now until August 22, players can enjoy MechWarrior Online: LegendsBig Beach Party 2023. This is a loot bag event, so if you’ve played in any other similar events, you’ll already know just how much free stuff you can get just for playing the game. On top of getting up to 400 loot bags which can contain anything from c-bills to cockpit decorations, players can earn up to four Hero ‘Mechs of their choice from each of the ‘Mech categories: light, medium, heavy, and assault. These Hero picks unlock after 250, 300, 350, and 400 loot bag redeems, with players able to get bonus redemptions by purchasing either a Platinum, Legendary, or Stone Rhino ‘Mech pack. 

June also brings a brand-new patch to MechWarrior Online. First, we have two new Legendary ‘Mechs: the Quickdraw “Desperada” and the Timber Wolf “Howl.” Both have unique quirks and paint jobs, the 30-percent c-bill boost, and an associated mini battle pass that’ll unlock GSP, MC, premium time, and more. Desperada is also wearing Trans colors--an excellent nod to Pride month--as well as the phrase “uwu” on the left leg. There are also gay and Trans Pride decals available for purchase with c-bills. 

In the balance department, the Cicada and Cyclops are this month’s big winners with adjustments made to the CDA-3M, 2A, 2B, and the Hero X5, as well the CP-11-A, DC, Z, and Slepnir. These are all buffs, so odds are your preferred Cicada or Cyclops is just going to be a whole lot better after June’s patch. The Fafnir also received some extra left and right-torso armor, too. 

The patch is available now on all platforms. You can check out the patch notes here.

Big MechWarrior Announcements Coming Next Month

Some short but also very important MechWarrior news. PGI President Russ Bullock has confirmed that there’s “lots of news coming over the next couple/few months,” and then later told No Guts No Galaxy on Twitter to expect an “announcement in July and a bigger one in September-ish.”

There are some game festivals in the UK coming in July as well as San Diego Comic-Con, so we might see an announcement at one of those. September brings PAX West and Tokyo Game Show. PAX is right around the corner from PGI’s hometown in Vancouver, so I could see a bigger announcement coming then (MechWarrior 6 perhaps?), and maybe some news on MechWarrior 5‘s Japanese localization at TGS.

Happy Pryde!

subreddit instructions unclear, painted Pryde ‘Mechs
by u/ValkyrieRaptor in battletech

Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t see this joke earlier. I’m not a huge Jade Falcon fan, but I do love me some second-line Clan ‘Mechs. They’re almost as bad as Inner Sphere ‘Mechs.

And that’s all for June! Remember, the month after Pride is wrath, so be sure to keep your heads down and avoid the rampaging queens.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy. 

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Roundup For May, 2023

Summer is here, and that means it’s time to go outside and play BattleTech! I recently got to play Alpha Strike for the first time using the new AI rules, and I have to say, it’s now my favorite way to play tabletop BattleTech. It’s fast, it’s cooperative, and you can play it on traditional hex maps or a larger non-grid play area. I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on this more in an upcoming article.

For now, though, we gotta get through our May news items. And I think you know the biggest thing to happen this month, but just to be sure, here’s all that happened in BattleTech for the month of May.

BattleTech: Mercenaries Kickstarter Pledge Manager Opens, Come Get Your ‘Mechs (And Tanks)!

Are you a Mercenaries backer? Then now’s the time to get your orders in! The Kickstarter pledge manager has been opened and invitation emails are being sent out. Catalyst says 15,000 of you have already locked in your orders, which leaves roughly 8,000 left to go. If you haven’t received your invitation email, do not panic. The pledge manager will likely remain open “until AT LEAST the end of June,” so there’s still plenty of time. And if you missed the Kickstarter, you can still sign up as a later backer.

I’ve got a bunch of Inner Sphere ‘Mechs and seven whole Salvage Boxes coming my way, and who knows what’ll be in those? I could have got the guaranteed Blood Asp, but that ‘Mech is just too good for my refined palette. Give me a Scorpion any day. Plus I wanted an extra Shilone since they always fly in pairs.

Easily, the biggest Catalyst news is to get your Kickstarter orders squared away and to make sure you email Catalyst with any issues you might have with your order. Be sure to check the updates page to get the answers to some frequently asked questions.

But that’s not all we have from Catalyst this month! Earlier in May, Catalyst revealed the new BattleTech: Essentials Boxed Set, to be sold exclusively at a Target near you. This box set intended for beginners features the iconic duel between Yen-Lo-Wang and Legend-Killer in the arenas of Solaris VII, locked in a deadly combat to see which machine will bow out first. Besides these two legendary ‘Mechs, the box set also includes a 24-page novella, a double-sided map, some pilot cards, and a few paper cutout ‘Mechs in case players want to try something other than the included Rifleman and Centurion minis.

And want some shirts? Hansen’s Roughriders and the Rasalhague Dominion now have their own designs on the Catalyst store, available now for $30 each.

Cut MechAssault Game Mode Revived Thanks To Modder

MechAssault | Kick It! Revived After 20+ Years! | Cut Game Mode
Watch this video on YouTube.

Last year, EliteAssault shared with us their progress on Grinder Enhanced 2, a new mod for MechAssault 2 that adds a survival-based game mode where you take down waves of Word of Blake ‘Mechs. Now, EliteAssault has returned with a cut game mode that’s been revived after nearly 20 years. 

The mod is called Kick It!, a soccer/football-like game mode that turns MechAssault 2 into an early precursor to Rocket League. You got big ‘Mechs stomping around the pitch kicking an equally gigantic ball into a net the size of a city block. Elite Assault said in their video that all the necessary files were already present in one of MechAssault 2‘s DLC, but it’s presumed to have been cut very late in development. EliteAssault just had to rebuild the mission script that activated this game mode to return it to working order.

That’s maybe understating things slightly. EliteAssault explained in his video that this took a while to figure out as there are basically no map editing tools and very few hints for how the scripting would have worked. But after significant effort, we can all enjoy Rocket League with ‘Mechs. 

Unlike Rocket League, your ‘Mech still has all the weapons it has in the regular game, so there’s nothing stopping you from performing a PPC-charged tackle in order to gain possession. You can’t shoot the ball, though, so your only option is to use your giant metal feet.

Best of all, this thing even works online, so you can play robocidal soccer with your friends. For the download link, head on over to EliteAssault’s Discord here.

Opinion Piece: Morgan Kell And The “Phantom ‘Mech”

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

This technically happened in April, but I found it so fascinating that I kept the topic to discuss here. It’s all about Morgan Kell, Yorinaga Kurita, and the events which largely take place in Michael Stackpole‘s Warrior Trilogy. Specifically, Morgan’s supernatural ability to avoid being targeted by ‘Mech systems and magically avoid incoming fire.

Last month, Stackpole took to Twitter to explain the genesis of Phantom ‘Mech (not to be confused with the Phantom). In a nutshell, a warrior who achieves spiritual enlightenment can engage this supernatural ability in life-threatening situations. A convenient way to explain how an Archer can march through an entire Kuritan regiment unscathed, or how a veteran Warhammer pilot can miss at point-blank range.

The whole thing was loosely based on accounts from Medal of Honor recipients, which probably explains why it all seemed sort of believable in his books. It wasn’t space magic, just something that a very special person can do in very special circumstances. The problem with Morgan was, he seemed to be able to do it at will.

There’s a whole section on Sarna detailing the controversy surrounding Morgan Kell’s abilities, and I agree generally that there’s no place for the supernatural in a gritty sci-fi universe like BattleTech. Give me Kai Allard-Liao or Natasha Kerensky‘s pure skill over space magic any day.

But… maybe a little space magic? There is a reason why the supernatural is such a compelling subject throughout human history. Many of humanity’s greatest leaders--and greatest villains--tried to grasp the ineffable, if not through religion then spirituality or the arcane. 

There was just something special about the rivalry between Yorinaga and Morgan that hasn’t really been captured in BattleTech fiction ever since. It’s a tricky thing to bring magic into a sci-fi world like BattleTech, and I’m not sure anyone but Stackpole could do it again. But I do miss that sometimes. What are your thoughts on space magic in BattleTech? Leave a comment below.

Introducing The Catlas

I present: the Catlas
by u/Misterpiece in battletech

I’m honestly not sure why nobody has thought of this earlier unless it was in Critter-TEK and I’ve simply forgotten. The story here is that Misterpiece reached out to fed0tich about a month ago to create this custom Atlas, and earlier this month, we got to see the fruits of this transaction. 

What’s really great about this piece is how much people have added to it. We’ve already got suggested loadouts for the Atlas AS7-KT “Catlas,” including Short Range Meowssiles, twin Heavy Paswers, and one big AC/Kittenty, which I might suggest we call an AutoCatton/20. The whole thread is well worth a read when you get the chance.

No sooner do we get the drawing we get the mini. Although, this one seems to be a bit more Alice in Wonderland-themed than strictly cat.

Argus And Firemoth Arrive In MechWarrior 5 Thanks To Mods

We got two new ‘Mechs to add to MechWarrior 5 thanks to two different modders. First, The Art of BattleTech has returned with the Argus mod featuring a model by the talented aritst, Pawel ‘Porky’ Czarnecki. This model has apparently been collecting dust since 2001 but now finally gets to stretch its 60-ton legs thanks to MechWarrior’s modding community.

The second comes courtesy of KodiakJ who brings us the Clans tiniest-yet-deadliest ‘Mech, the Fire Moth. This mod features 15 variants, one Hero variant, available in several faction patterns, and is compatible with Yet Another Mech Lab. Mercenary commanders are cautioned against using the Fire Moth as it’s extremely lightly armored and is nominally intended for Clanners to seek a noble death before reaching Solahma age. Sounds like a challenge to me.

You can get both of these mods over on Nexus Mods.

Cute Clans Might Be Better Than The Real Ones

I don’t know why exactly, but a bunch of artists decided to make May the month of adorably reimagined Clans. We have Clan Pupper, two Clan Novakitties, and one Clan Spooky Beaw. Apparently, this news blast is slightly furry-themed.

Override Engaged To Host BattleTech Event At Nashcon

In local event news, Override Engaged in collaboration with Small Town Games of Lewisburg Tennessee is putting on an event at NashCon 2023. Starting Thursday, August 17 at 7 PM, Override Engaged will host pick-up games and a night of socialization. On Friday starting bright and early at 8 AM will be a narrative-focused game on the Solaris Civil War, and Saturday will be a three-round Classic BattleTech tournament as well as the start of the painting competition. Sunday will be the three-round Alpha Strike tournament as well as another painting competition. Awards and prizes will be handed out Saturday and Sunday following each tournament.

For more details, check out the Google Doc here. And if you’ve got an event you’d like to advertise in Sarna’s newsletter, be sure to drop me a line! You can do that by leaving a comment (I read every single one--yes, even the ones I trash) or by emailing me here

The Stone Rhino Is Coming To MechWarrior Online

Stone Rhino Review - Mechwarrior Online
Watch this video on YouTube.

More ‘Mechs just keep on coming to MechWarrior Online: Legends. Following the success of the Crusader and Hatchetman, the Stone Rhino is about to make its MWO debut.

I know I may have poo-pooed the Stone Rhino in a recent Bad ‘Mechs piece, but when Clanners aren’t trying to preserve their antique, the Stone Rhino is a very capable ‘Mech. Lots of armor, big weapon hardpoints, and jump jets to help maneuver where other assault class ‘Mechs can’t, the Stone Rhino is an excellent sniper that’s just waiting to be converted into a close-range brawler. Other variants allow for missile, laser, or ballistics boating as per user preference. My only concern is that the left and right torsos are likely to be quite bulgy, requiring pilots to avoid XL engines, but we’ll have to wait for the Stone Rhino‘s release to see how its components shake out. 

Pre-orders are available now with deliveries expected to arrive by July’s patch. 

Speaking of patches, May’s patch has brought two new Legendary ‘Mechs: the CyclopsArges” and the SupernovaSeraph.” As with all the new Legendary ‘Mechs, they come with a 30 percent C-bill bonus, their own mini battle passes that’ll give you extra GSP, C-bills, MC, Premium Time, cockpit items, and some unique quirks. The Arges comes with a ghost heat quirk that lets it fire seven Medium Lasers before it starts to get extra crispy as well as a suite of sensor-based quirks that give it extra sensor range, target retention range, seismic detection range, and faster target info gathering. The Seraph, meanwhile, gets extra coolshot consumables to let it keep blasting away with its arsenal of lasers and autocannons. Both of these ‘Mechs are on sale now for $15 USD.

There are loads of small map adjustments for MechWarrior Online‘s quickplay maps, including Canyon Network, Grim Plexus, Viridian Bog, and Hellebore Outpost, as well as Faction Play maps like Vitric Forge and Emerald Taiga. Plus a bunch of ‘Mechs have received quirk adjustments, including the Wolfhound, Shadow Hawk, Archer, Nova Cat, and Cataphract. The biggest winner this month seems to be the Cataphract, with variants having their quirks streamlined and receiving various heat, range, and velocity bonuses. Of special note is the Ilya Muromets Hero ‘Mech, which now has a 5 percent speed bonus. 

As usual, there are loads of changes in the patch beyond what I mentioned here, so be sure to check out the full patch notes here.

Purple Drops, A Legendary Maps & Mechs Mechwarrior Dubstep Rock Opera, Part 1
Watch this video on YouTube.

And before I forget, Eldfat is back with a few MechWarrior Online compilations. The first is on the Free Worlds Coliseum map, and the other is on the Crucible. Lookin’ for some stompy robot action to play in the background? Can’t go wrong with these. And they’re featuring the Moonwalker, one of the new Legendary ‘Mechs.

What ‘Mechs With Reactive Armor Really Look Like

Mechs in Reactive Armor
by u/Existing_Notice2033 in battletech

I know we don’t like getting political over here, but this one made me laugh. Not only is it a good shitpost, but I personally think these ‘Mechs actually look pretty good with a little explosive reactive armor. My heart goes out to Existing_Notice2033 for the painstaking process of gluing on each of those tiny blocks, though.

Now we just need a few ‘Mechs with cope cages. Maybe in the next TRO.

And that is it for May! Join us next month for probably more furry BattleTech art, or perhaps some AI-generated art. Or perhaps both. The future is becoming increasingly bizarre.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy