Category Archives: MechWarrior Online

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For March, 2024

It was a busy month! We’ve had AdeptiCon and KerenskyCon happen this month, which means we have a lot of stuff to cover. And since I don’t really have anything else to complain about this month, we’ll just jump straight to the news!

Catalyst Announces New BattleTech Products At AdeptiCon

BattleTech Mercenaries Paint Set

Before we get into the new stuff that Catalyst presented at AdeptiCon, a brief note about the early release of BattleTech: Encounters at Barnes & Noble. This game was supposed to be released after the Mercenaries Kickstarter fulfillment (on track for June), but it looks like Barnes & Noble didn’t get the memo. Higher-level Mercenaries backers will get this tabletop dice game as part of their fulfillment, so there’s no need for everyone to rush off to Barnes & Noble unless you really want to get it earlier than planned. Then I guess you’ll have two, which you can share with someone else who might want a BattleTech board game.

With that out of the way, we got two big deals out of AdeptiCon. Earlier this month we found out that BattleTech was getting its own paint set, and now we’ve learned what that will look like. Images posted to the BattleTech forums (and spread to other BattleTech social accounts) reveal a selection of colors that includes 10 acrylic paints, seven speed paints, one metallic, one wash, one primer, and one base-coating paintbrush. You can expect this to arrive later this spring.

The other big announcement is a new premium Vulture mini, or Mad Dog if you’re a Clanner. I can’t quite tell from the posted images I’ve seen whether this will turn out to be a different variant or just a repose of the existing one, but my hope is that it’s a Mad Dog Alt Config A. If anybody has a better picture, send it to me!

Mercenaries Interior Box

Beyond that, a display case at AdeptiCon shows completed versions of several previously-announced products, including Force Manual: Davion, the Legendary MechWarriors III ForcePack, the 1st Somerset Strikers ForcePack, the Battlefield Support: Battle & Fire ForcePack, the Battlefield Support: Objectives pack, a whole bunch of mugs and badges, and the fully-completed Mercenaries box set. 

And what’s inside that box set? Well, this intersects with what we’ve learned from KerenskyCon, but besides the promised minis (which look great), there are also two cardboard sheets of standees for Elementals, Battle Armor, fixed gun emplacement, ammo dumps, field hospitals, Maxim, Vedette, and Demolisher tanks, and plenty of standard infantry. There’s more, which you can see courtesy of snapshots taken by Detocroix.

One more thing announced at the most recent Catalyst news stream: BattleTech is getting a graphic novel series! It’ll be co-written by Michael Stackpole and Bryan Young (creator of the Fox Patrol), with art by our very own Eldoniousrex. A post from Young on Reddit outlines what to expect: four graphic novels, 88 pages each, one overarching story, ilClan era, mercs, and a few guest writers coming in later on. We don’t have a release date yet, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how this rolls!

Also, Some Upcoming Fiction Releases

Shrapnel 16 Cover

Also courtesy of Rem’s recent news stream, a brief update on upcoming fiction. Next month, Craig Reed brings us In the Shadow of the Dragon, which details Yori Kurita‘s rise to Coordinator. Bryan Young’s Without Question returns to Terra to tell the story of the defeated Jade Falcons in the ilClan era and arrives on May 15. Coming in July is Michael Cieravella with Trial of Birthright, which tells the story of Clan Wolf following their victory. And finally, Philip Lee’s Letter of the Law brings us back to the reformed Free Worlds League in November with the sequel to Hunting Season.

Shrapnel 16 is out with a new Fox Patrol story and cover. And for those of you who prefer to get your BattleTech fiction in audio, Close Quarters, Rock and a Hard Place, and A Splinter of Hope are all available now as audiobooks. 

The UrbanMech LAM Is Real And It Can Hurt You

Urbie LAM Box Set

Several years ago, I reported on the theoretical existence of the UrbanMech LAM. It was just sketches and mockups at the time, but the idea was there, and ideas can be very powerful. So powerful, in fact, that they can make an UrbanMech fly.

Blurry photos posted on Facebook later became an official prototype mockup, until finally at AdeptiCon, we received confirmation that the UrbanMech LAM exists physically and will be made available as part of a dedicated UrbanMech LAM Salvage Box. The box will contain all modes of the UrbanMech LAM, including BattleMech, AirMech, and aerospace fighter mode.

While the UrbanMech LAM will be a real product with actual cards for Alpha Strike, it won’t be real in the BattleTech universe. That’s because the Urbie LAM will remain non-canon and without official record sheets, even though it’s something fans are clearly clamoring for. I suspect once the record sheet issue is solved we’ll revisit the issue of the Urbie LAM’s canonicity.

Is this the April 1st product that Eric warned us about? Maybe. We’ll find out if the Urbie LAM suddenly becomes available via the Catalyst store on April 1st.

Pre-Release Urbie LAM Has Serious Up Vibes

Got a pre-release Urbie LAM from some dude on the internet. Starting to suspect it’s not an official BT product…
byu/Horseburd inbattletech

This is probably what I had in mind when the words “Urbie” and “LAM” were first introduced to each other. I’m not sure why this Urbie had to be a Pikachu as the joke totally landed without the Pokemon, but I’ll take the double-whammy. Thank you to Horseburd for… this.

Motor City Mayhem Alpha Strike Tournament Coming In May

Last month we learned about the MRC hosting a Classic BattleTech tournament in Kentucky, and this month they’ve announced an Alpha Strike tournament coming to a Detroit suburb in May. Motor City Mayhem is a 300-point Alpha Strike tournament in Livonia, Michigan starting at 8 AM on Saturday, May 18, and running all day long. 

As for the rules, your army can’t exceed 300 points and must be available during the Civil War era. You may select any faction, but your unit choices must be available to that faction. Banned units include aerospace fighters, support vehicles, experimental tech, and units with the “unknown” or “unique” designation, but ‘Mechs, combat vehicles, battle armor, and conventional infantry are fair game. You’ll also have to designate a Force Commander who must drive a size two or larger ‘Mech.

There are also several other restrictions, but you can read about ’em on the event’s rules sheet here.

The important thing to remember is that food will not be provided, so pack a lunch or prepare to get some chow locally, and the tournament scoring system isn’t just about winning games. Being courteous and respectful, having beautifully painted minis, and having a creative army list that’s fun to play against are all factors that will determine the overall tournament winner. However, there will be secondary awards provided for these more nuanced categories.

Signups are available now. And be sure to sign up as soon as possible as the venue space is limited. Also, if you want your event advertised in Sarna, just leave a comment or send me an email and we’ll get you into the next monthly news blast.

This Underwater Thunderbolt Is Shocking

Thunderbolt “Tidehunter”
byu/Existing_Notice2033 inbattletech

BioShocking, if you’ll pardon the pun. Armed with an LR Torpedo/15, three SR Torpedo/4s, several lasers, and a giant fricken anchor, you’ll never have to worry about your little sister running away ever again. Probably. Credit to Existing_Notice2033 on Reddit for this one.

Meanwhile, At KerenskyCon…

The biggest news to come out of KerenskyCon is a preview of new ForcePacks. Randall Bills revealed a series of internal spreadsheets that show tentative release schedules for a ton of new ‘Mechs. Keep in mind that these units and dates are more tentative the further out you go, but that said, there are a lot of great ‘Mechs and other units to look forward to. Kudos to Available_Mountain on Reddit for giving us an easy-to-copy list (which I’ve linked to their respective Sarna entries). 

KerenskyCon Upcoming Minis 2

KerenskyCon Upcoming Minis

And a few ForcePacks without release dates and are more just ideas at this point, but wouldn’t require much work:

Ray Arrastia pointed out on the Catalyst Discord that this list—although extensive—isn’t set in stone. Expect things to change over the year, especially for ‘Mechs that haven’t received official redesigns yet.

The good news is that some of these ‘Mechs have been redesigned, and we got to see a few of them at KerenskyCon. The Helios, Thanatos, Emperor, Argus, Hellspawn, Tian-zong, and Dire Wolf Prometheus all looked incredible, as did the Thunderbolt NAIS and hopping Starslayer. As per our January report, expect these to come in this year’s second half. 

Another interesting item shown at KerenskyCon was BattleTech: Resurgent Empires. This tabletop board game features the major houses during the Succession Wars, with plenty of cards, tokens, and little mini figures of ‘Mechs and JumpShips. I don’t know the rules, but it sure looks like a fun time.

Finally, there were several interviews conducted at KerenskyCon with BattleTech‘s creatives, but you really can’t go wrong with Jordan Weisman and Mike Stackpole talking about the early development of BattleTech. Kudos to Battle Bound for bringing this interview to the masses.

It’s Always Cooler To Look Away From The Explosion

Ammo explosion, 2024, OC
byu/Remmor inbattletech

I love the Griffin, but I’d put most Bushwacker variants over the Roundfacer. Certainly, any variants that don’t include CASE, which seems to be this particular Griffin‘s Achilles’ heel.  A fantastic art piece from Remmor over on Reddit.

MechWarrior: Living Legends Is Hiring!

MechWarrior Living Legends Logo

Got some experience with CryEngine? Want to help make an amazing free-to-play (and I mean free) MechWarrior game? MechWarrior: Living Legends is looking for a programmer to help build the award-winning mod that’s now a standalone game. 

While it’s a big plus to have prior knowledge of the Crysis engine, the ad doesn’t say you necessarily need it. What you’ll really need is C++, Lua, and Flash. It’d also be good if you understood Git and had some prior experience working on games too, but given the fact this is a passion project and nobody is getting paid (not even the applicant), enthusiasm is probably what counts most here.

Check out this link for the details and be ready to communicate with the development team via Discord.

SAN-1C, He Can Really Move

Behold the Firemoth’s true form: the SAN-1C (Finished).
byu/GillyMonster18 inbattletech

This could very well be the saddest Dasher variant I’ve ever seen. GillyMonster18, you truly are a monster.

Celebrating The Women Of BattleTech For International Women’s Day

Natasha Kerensky BattleTech Legends

International Women’s Day was March 8. I haven’t exactly conducted a census of BattleTech players, but just looking around, I’d say the vast majority of them are male. And yet, women do play BattleTech, women write BattleTech, women create BattleTech, and women are incredibly important in the BattleTech universe.

Sarna recently sat down with two women to talk about how they’re creating the BattleTech universe we all love. Jennifer Brozek has written both The Nellus Academy Incident and the Rogue Academy Trilogy, two page-turners that you should definitely read. Rem Alternis handles both community management and marketing for all of Catalyst’s games, which I know is a tough job. You can check out these interviews here.

Yori Kurita

As for in-universe women, you don’t get more badass than Natasha Kerensky, up there as the best MechWarrior who ever lived. Katrina Steiner was an incredible politician, as were Candace Liao and Jessica Marik. Yori Kurita rose from nothing to become Coordinator of the Draconis Combine, while Callandre Kell not only reformed the Kell Hounds but also regularly took down ‘Mechs in a mere tank. And let’s not forget the entire Magistracy of Canopus, a matriarchal nation in the periphery with the best healthcare in the Inner Sphere (which is perhaps the biggest reason why we should put women in charge). 

Not cool enough? Hanni Schmitt was the commander of the Black Watch during the Amaris Coup. It took two nukes to finally take her out, and she nearly destroyed the entire 4th Amaris Dragoons with just eight ‘Mechs and her Atlas. Captain Elizabeth Hazen survived the first nuke that destroyed most of the Black Watch and led a resistance movement for years before Kerensky liberated Terra. She’d eventually go on to be the founding Khan of Clan Jade Falcon, while Hanni Scmitt’s granddaughter, Colleen, would be the founding Khan of Clan Blood Spirit.

Aletha Kabrinsky BattleTech CCG

But the woman who doesn’t get nearly enough credit is Aletha Kabrinski. She became Khan of Clan Ghost Bear in nothing but a Fire Moth, a ‘Mech so fragile it’d explode if it were presented with an offensive odor. She also was a key Clan politician who managed to convince the Snow Ravens to join Stone‘s coalition to end the Jihad. Most people are either MechWarriors or politicians in BattleTech, but Aletha proved you can do both. 

Wanna learn more about the cool women of BattleTech? Come to Sarna’s Discord server and join the discussion.

Solaris Showdown Arrives In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries - Solaris Showdown Launch Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries received its sixth DLC this month in Solaris Showdown. Of all the DLC releases, this has got to be one of the smoothest—at least in terms of mod support. I saw some mods were updated for DLC 6 before it was even released, so kudos to both PGI and the many mod makers for getting things ready for Solaris Showdown

Having announcers give you the play-by-play of your destructive exploits in the arena should be core to the MechWarrior experience these days. It was also hilarious seeing the origins of Duncan Fisher, and of course, George Ledoux‘s performance was exceptional. This DLC probably has the best voice acting in the entire game. The new weapons were great, and the new ‘Mechs are even better.

But it wasn’t a perfect release. As many fans noted, the friendly AI would often get stuck in the spawning area of the later maps, making those missions incredibly difficult. We also learned that most of the new ‘Mechs added weren’t able to be salvaged when the DLC was released. That was fixed as of last week’s patch, so if like me you’re still searching for that Hunchback VEST, you should be able to salvage it from a medium ‘Mech arena contract.

Also, if you’re running into a consistent crash whenever you try to start the sixth mission in Solaris Showdown, turn off ray tracing. I kept getting a “DEVICE HUNG” error and thought it might have been a mod conflict, but it kept happening even after I’d turned off all mods. Hopefully, this will be patched soon.

Solaris Showdown is available now wherever you can download MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.

Not Even A King Crab Can Ignore Battle Armor Forever

King Crab Diorama ErofeaN

I hate battle armor, either in tabletop or video games. This King Crab, courtesy of ErofeaN, is definitely getting the worst of it from these jumping bastards. I hope they get the clamps, but I’m not holding my breath.

Hail Caesar! Now In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Caesar Mod MW5

I’ve always loved the Caesar. Even before I read Double Blind, the Caesar‘s bizarrely sloped chassis and rounded vents just called to me. I’ve been able to make a reasonable facsimile of the Caesar using Cataphracts in MechWarrior 5, but it just isn’t quite the same.

Well, now I can finally drive a Caesar in MechWarrior courtesy of SirMortimer and SankaraSamsara. The new mod uses Sir Mortimer Bombito’s model, with the animation provided by SankaraSamsara. It sure seems that cockpit will be easy to headshot, though, so maybe take as much extra armor there as you can.

You can get the Caesar over on Nexus Mods or Steam (for both vanilla and YAML). You can also check out SankaraSamsara’s ever-growing list of MechWarrior 5 mods over on Nexus Mods, which now includes the classic King Crab and Executioner.

MechWarrior 5: Clans Teased At GDC

 

GDC has provided us with a tantalizing second look at MechWarrior 5: Clans. We didn’t get to see any actual gameplay, but we did get to see the game’s home screen courtesy of Narrative Director Chris Lowrey.

As you can see, there’s a Timber Wolf standing above a star of five characters, all of whom are wearing quite a lot for a MechWarrior (I still ascribe to the “underpants and cooling vest” MechWarrior aesthetic). The menu reveals instant action, co-op, and “Switch Campaign,” which I assume means we’ll have the option to play more than a single save file’s campaign.

Sadly, we didn’t actually get to see the demo, but hopefully, that’ll arrive sooner rather than later.

Please Animate The Gimp Atlas, Please

Super Deformed hunchback IIc, warhammer IIc, atlas refit, stinger refit (my art)
byu/geergutz inmechwarrior

 

Please geergutz, give me adorable little gifs of these guys doing crazy things. I promise I’ll only use them to harass my friends and enemies. 

MechWarrior Online Receives New Weapons In March Patch

MWO March 2024 Patch Notes

This may very well be MechWarrior Online‘s biggest patch in years. We’ll gloss over the returning Lucky Charms Event, the Duncan Fisher Hero Thunderbolt, and the Otomo Pack which brings MechWarrior 5‘s Otomo ‘Mechs to MWO (with skins, bolt-ons, and a 30-percent C-bill bonus). What really makes this patch are more than a dozen new weapons and equipment that are sure to shake up the meta.

Those weapons included the Light Autocannon/2 and 5, ProtoMech Autocannon/2 to 8, Thunderbolt Missile launchers, the Magshot and AP Gauss Rifles, the Silver Bullet Gauss Rifle, the Beam Laser, the Plasma Cannon, and the Light TAG. Each of these weapons will have the same large the same stats as their tabletop versions (except for the Beam Laser, which doesn’t exist in tabletop). 

For a look at how each of these weapons performs, we turn to No Guts No Galaxy’s in-depth review. The autocannons all seem like tiny variations on fast-firing Bushmaster-style cannons, the Beam Laser is just a continuous beam that slowly builds heat, the Plasma Cannon is like a green PPC with added head damage, and the Magshot and AP Gauss Rifles are like teeny tiny Gausses. 

NEW WEAPON SHOWCASE & REVIEW - MechWarrior Online
Watch this video on YouTube.

As Sean mentions in his review, the Cauldron is aware that some of these weapons (particularly the Plasma Cannon and ProtoMech ACs) are underperforming slightly at launch, but the Cauldron would rather launch undercooked and then buff them later rather than release a completely busted weapon that warps the meta. You can expect those adjustments in April’s patch, as well as ‘Mechs being assigned quirks that affect these weapons specifically.

March’s patch has made the Cicada a bit more maneuverable, Vindicator, Nova, Kintaro, Thanatos, BattleMaster, and Highlander variants have all received buffs, and several maps have received fixes, including Solaris, Bearclaw II, Mining Collective, and Emerald Taiga. You can get the full details in the patch notes here.

This Is Why It’s Always Better For A ‘Mech To Have Fists

Brutal Punch was never the best card in the BattleTech TCG, but it sure had great art. And now, thanks to Alan Blackwell, we can experience the brutality of this punch in 3D. An incredible piece that just proves the dominance of the Atlas and why you should never close with one.

3D Artist Previews Upcoming Merlin Mini

Merlin Redesign Reddit

I’m getting a Merlin in my Mercenaries Kickstarter order, so I was extremely excited to see this preview courtesy of the modeler who created the new Merlin mini. Lizzie’s Reddit post takes us from the earliest sketch to her initial models, slowly adding detail until we finally get to a finished product ready for posing. 

I love the Merlin. Like the Grasshopper, it’s just one of those efficient heavy ‘Mechs from the 3025 era that can actually fire its entire weapons payload every turn without overheating. Plus it’s got jump jets for maneuverability, and enough armor to outlast anything in its weight class. Throw on the Easy to Maintain and Rugged quirks, and it’s a wonder you don’t see these in every major military across the Inner Sphere. Instead, you’ll see them in multiple mercenary outfits.

You can find the Merlin in the Inner Sphere Heavy Recon Lance ForcePack alongside the Charger (also redesigned by Lizzie), the Ostsol, and the Assassin. This pack will form the core of my mercenary unit as soon as it arrives in June. Lizzie, you’ve my undying gratitude for bringing these ‘Mechs to the 21st century.

Definitely Not The Battledroids You’re Looking For

These are not the Mechs you’re looking for…
byu/OhioYeti inbattletech

May the Fourth isn’t for another month, OhioYeti. Bring these two back then.

And that’s it for March! Join us next time, same BattleTech time, same BattleTech channel.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For February, 2024

Normally this is when Southern Ontario enters its deep freeze, with heaps of snow up to my shoulders where the removal services can’t get to fast enough. But this year, it’s been relatively snow-free. In fact, we’ve had more above-freezing days this month than any other February on record. Yesterday it was 16 degrees C (or about 61 degrees F). It then dropped to -6 over five hours, which was about as weird. It was almost like the weather remembered what month it was.

I won’t have to wait long for the warm weather to return. Spring has sprung early where I live, with positive temperatures expected for the next two weeks at least. Given how sick I’ve been this winter, it can’t come soon enough.

But you’re not here for the weather report. You’re here for BattleTech news, and this month we’ve got a whole lot of it. Here’s everything that happened in the Inner Sphere this February.

Wolves Wave 3 Announces Ragnarok Returns In MechAssault Fan Game

Wolves Wave 3 (MechAssault Fangame) - The Assault Continues
Watch this video on YouTube.

We start with a little love for MechAssault. Wolves, the MechAssault fan game, has been steadily working on its Wave 3 update. We already knew the Puma, Uziel, and Mad Cat would be coming in this update, but now we know the big bad of the game will also return. Prepare for Ragnarok.

Wolves Wave 3 Ragnarok

the Ragnarok (and its variant, the Ymir) aren’t specced out in official BattleTech terms, and that’s largely because they have an energy shield and a “Lava Gun.” Why the Word of Blake thought lava would somehow be more destructive than highly-excited ionic particles or a hypersonic slug I will never understand, but I do get why a forcefield might be difficult to write stats for using classic BattleTech rules.

Still, fans of the MechAssault games love the Ragnarok as much as BattleTech faithful love the Daishi or Atlas—it’s just a huge wrecking ball. And it’s coming in Woves Wave 3. It’s also coming to MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, according to a follow-up teaser that arrived the day after the Wave 3 trailer.

You can expect to experience Wolves Wave 3 and the Ragnarok soon(TM).

BATTLETECH Director Mike McCain Returns To Hairbrained Schemes As Executive Producer

Good news for HBS after a ton of bad. Mike McCain, game director for Shadowrun: Dragonfall and BATTLETECH, is back and taking over Mitch Gitelman‘s old job as Executive Producer (while Mitch takes a break and moves into an advisory role for the studio). 

“I’m thrilled to be back in the virtual office with this amazing team,” said Mike. “There will be plenty of challenges, but the creative momentum we have around this new project right now is exhilarating. We’re a small crew making something we really believe in and I can’t wait to share it!”

Mike did an incredible job adapting the tabletop BattleTech game into a turn-based video game that any fan will would love while still attracting fans of turn-based strategy games. The game started with an incredible narrative-driven campaign and later received DLC that improved the game’s galaxy-spanning sandbox into one where the player could create their own story.

The only downside to the news is yet further confirmation from Mitch that HBS hasn’t been given the license to make BATTLETECH 2. HBS has something in store, but it doesn’t sound like we’re going to get the sequel we all desperately want. A wild thing, considering BATTLETECH‘s success, but what can you do? These are wild economic times for the video games industry. We wish Mike and HBS all the success in whatever they’re working on.

A Realistic Depiction Of Ballistic Arcs Courtesy Of A Dragon

Commandos on Styk
byu/agentlou44 inbattletech

You know what I like most about this piece? Wild-Cat 144 gave the Dragon‘s autocannon rounds a ballistic arc. You’d think that a cannon on a BattleMech would fire fast enough that it might as well be a laser, but the only explanation why BattleTech‘s cannons have such short ranges is that they have extremely low muzzle velocity, so they’d drop a significant distance between leaving the barrel and impact. Kudos to you, Wild-Cat 144. I love accurate physics.

CGL Community Manager Rem Alternis Answers Questions About Community Guidelines

Catalyst Game Labs - Rem Alternis interview
Watch this video on YouTube.

Catalyst announced its community guidelines last month, and there was quite a reaction. Rem Alternis, community manager for Catalyst, has been kindly answering questions regarding the community guidelines, starting with YouTuber Critical Rocket

And I say kindly because a few people had some curiously harsh reactions to being told they couldn’t play in official Catalyst spaces if they didn’t agree to be respectful of another human’s race, religion, culture, gender, or sexual orientation. 

Expect Rem to have more words to say about the community guidelines in an upcoming interview with Sarna. In the meantime, I think Critical Rocket covered the basics, clarified some of the new rules, and noted that some previous bans might be overturned with a new appeals process. Thanks to Critical Rocket for being first in line!

Opinion: You Can’t Put The 3D-Printing Genie Back In The Bottle

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

I think the online reaction to Catalyst’s new community guidelines was overblown, but there’s one thing I did agree with. Simply barring 3D-printed stuff from being shared on official CGL channels isn’t going to stop its proliferation. There’s just no putting the technological genie back in the bottle.

Don’t get me wrong, I think CGL offers a superior product. I have both unofficial 3D-printed minis and official ones, and the CGL minis are consistently tougher, more detailed, and scaled correctly so you don’t have to worry about your Tempest accidentally being taller than an AtlasGiven a choice between a 3D-printed mini and an official one, you should always pick the official CGL mini.

But at the same time, some people just can’t get official minis. They’re either not sold everywhere, or shipping is impossible, or pewter is too expensive, and 3D printing provides a reasonable alternative to play the game. On top of that, CGL hasn’t redesigned every ‘Mech (although they’re working on it), and there are a lot of talented 3D modelers out there who are practicing their craft.

In keeping with Catalyst’s guidelines, Sarna won’t distribute mini models or tell you where to go to get them, but I do think trying to ignore them is short-sighted. 3D models could be an additional source of revenue for Catalyst. Perhaps not every ‘Mech is popular enough to deserve being manufactured in plastic and put into a ForcePack, but they’re popular enough to be redesigned in the same manner as the current generation of minis and then sold as a 3D-printable file. 

Hopefully, Catalyst’s stance (which is directed by the copyright holder, Topps, so it’s really Topps’ stance) will change in the future, especially as 3D printing technology continues to improve. If you’ve got a constructive opinion, leave it in the comments (and remember to be respectful). 

BattleTech Universe Book Reviewed By Guerilla Miniature Games

GMG Reviews - Battletech UNIVERSE by Catalyst Game Labs
Watch this video on YouTube.

For most of us, the BattleTech Universe isn’t going to be available until later this year, but a few people have received the upcoming book a little early. One of those people is Guerilla Miniature Games

We don’t get to see much of the Universe book besides the cover and the opening insert, but from what GMG describes, it sounds like this new Universe book is going to be required reading for any new BattleTech player. The rest of us might not find it quite as compelling as something like ilKhan’s Eyes Only, but Ray and Aaron have promised me that Universe will be a big deal and will have plenty for veterans too.

Catalyst Launches New Discord, Double-Sized Shrapnel Celebrates Mercs, and Previews Shared Online

Mercenaries Update
Watch this video on YouTube.

We got a load of Catalyst materials to get through, starting with the double-sized Shrapnel issue that was released earlier this month. Shrapnel Volume 15 is twice the Shrapnel you’re used to but only priced at a dollar more. Inside you’ll find tales from your favorite BattleTech authors, including Michael Stackpole, Bryan Young, and Chris Purnell, as well as newcomer Robin Briseño. On top of that value, it’s also focused on everyone’s favorite BattleTech faction: mercenaries. Grab it in digital or print-on-demand formats

Craig A Reed Blood Rage

On the book front, Herbert A. Beas’s Forgotten Worlds trilogy is now available with a new title: BattleTech: The Quest for Jardine. And for those who didn’t back the Mercenaries Kickstarter, Craig A. Lee’s Blood Rage is now available for individual purchase either on Catalyst’s store or Amazon. 

Those who were concerned with hearing about the pre-painted minis that’ll be coming in the Star League ForcePacks can (probably) rest easy. A post to the official BattleTech forums has revealed Aleksandr Kerensky‘s Orion looks pretty good. Sure, some of you folks might be able to do a better job painting an Orion, but I think this looks like a perfectly acceptable mini. I’m also told that it shouldn’t be hard to strip the paint off this thing if you don’t like it, although it’d probably be easier to just get a fresh Orion mini. 

Another surprise for Mercenaries Kickstarter backers is the Savannah Master hover tank. These speed bastards have been the bane of many a tabletop experience, and now we know what they’ll look like when they arrive later in June when Catalyst starts fulfilling orders. That’s thanks to Randall being unable to stop himself from sharing on YouTube.

Last, but not least: Catalyst has a Discord now! Wanna chat with like-minded individuals? Get the latest announcements as they happen? Share details on your preferred paint methods? You can do all this and more on the Catalyst Discord here.

Kelly Bonilla, Lead Designer For MechWarrior: Dark Age, Has Passed Away

Some sad news took place late last month but didn’t reach my ears until February. Kelly Bonilla, the lead designer for Wizkids’ MechWarrior: Dark Age, has died. 

Kelly Bonilla MechWarrior

MechWarrior: Dark Age was never the most popular BattleTech product, but I liked it. For a while in my first year of university, it was my collective obsession. The idea of getting smaller armies, pre-painted, that looked good and had simplified rules so you could fight little battles out using everything on your kitchen table held a lot of appeal. And just having play stats tracked using the circular base was genius. 

Of course, MechWarrior: Dark Age wasn’t perfect. While I liked the tanks, I didn’t like how the setting seemed to emphasize these lesser units over real ‘Mechs. And while the setting was interesting, it was a jarring mess from the Civil War and Jihad eras that didn’t get untangled until years later. 

But Kelly wasn’t involved in the story writing. She was the playtester and designer. She just cared if the game was fun, and in that, she succeeded admirably. We’re sorry to see you go, Kelly.

TheB33F Is Back!

The Longtom Artillery Incident
Watch this video on YouTube.

Holy shit, TheB33F is back! He actually announced his return in December and posted his first video last month, but I hadn’t been paying attention since his long hiatus. But he’s back and better than ever! 

For those unaware, TheB33F is the MechWarrior Online streamer who does things… differently. His builds and strategies are typically aimed more toward having fun than following the current meta. His latest videos are still that, but he’s also making more tutorial-style videos that try to teach some basic tactics and ‘Mech builds (like the Centurion video he recently posted).

While his old videos were wildly amusing, his latest videos add some footage taken from MechWarrior 5 as well as animations taken from Tabletop Simulator. It makes for a far more cohesive and elevated experience, which I very much appreciate, and maybe you will too. Check out the video above, and if you like his material, be sure to subscribe to TheB33F’s channel here

And I almost forgot! TheB33F is also contributing to the future of MechWarrior Online by designing events. Look for those in the event queue in the coming weeks.

Brawl In The Bluegrass Tournament Coming To Kentucky In April

MRC Icon

In the Lexington area for the April 12 weekend? The Rusy Scabbard will host a Classic BattleTech tournament called “Brawl in the Bluegrass.” Entry is 25$ for this MRC-compliant event, with each player required to submit an 8,000-point Battle Value list with a maximum of six units. All units must be from a single faction during the Clan Invasion era as per the Master Unit List, and only ‘Mechs, battle armor, and combat vehicles. No artillery, no unique or extinct units, and no C3 or specialized armor types (although missile and autocannon ammo types are allowed). 

Sign-ups are allowed until April 11, but you might want to ensure your place sooner rather than later as no store has infinite seating capacity. You can get the full details on sign-ups from this document here, as well as the full list of rules. Any other questions should be directed to the MechCommander Review Circuit in this Discord channel

Have an event you want to be advertised in Sarna? Reach out and we’ll get you included in the next news blast.

Big Red-40Tech’s Warhammer IIC Video Is Out, And It’s A Doozy

BATTLETECH: The Warhammer IIC
Watch this video on YouTube.

I kinda always thought that the Warhammer IIC was just this Clan-wide design that everyone made and everyone fielded. And indeed, you’ll find it in pretty much every Clan touman, according to the Master Unit List. Little did I know that the ‘Mech actually got started in Clan Star Adder. And I wouldn’t have known that had Big Red-40Tech not decided to create a four-hour YouTube video on the subject.

Yes, that’s a lot of lore for a single ‘Mech, and that’s largely because Big Red goes into the entire history of Clan Star Adder from Exodus to Reaving. Then we get into the Diamond Sharks/Sea Foxes as they distributed the ‘Mech so thoroughly amongst the other Clans that it became a common site in second-line forces everywhere. And then into the ilClan era where the Warhammer IIC can now be seen among Inner Sphere and mercenary forces too.

I can’t disparage the ‘Mech, that’s for sure. There’s nothing a Warhammer IIC can’t do aside from jump and run fast enough to keep pace with an Ice Ferret. It’s better than the original Warhammer in every way, and I know how beloved that old warhorse is. 

Check out the video above if you want the deepest dive into a single ‘Mech you’ll ever see, with special guests Tex, Frog, Sven, TheB33F, Paul, and Rem offering their voices too.  

Duncan Fisher Returns In MechWarrior 5’s Sixth DLC: Solaris Showdown

I am Duncan Fisher
Watch this video on YouTube.

Yes, he’s back. Duncan Fisher, the renowned Solaris announcer from MechWarrior 4, is returning in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries – Solaris Showdown.

There’s still time for a Clan Invasion-themed DLC, but for now, we’re getting a story that revolves around Duncan Fisher and a mysterious plot centering around the game world of Solaris 7. According to PGI’s release, the DLC mini-campaign will start on the Mercenary Star of Galatea before moving to the planet Hardcore where Mason will bump into Duncan Fisher. The pair form an unlikely alliance as they fight to get into the FedCom Unification Tournament celebrating the recent alliance between the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth.

It’s not clear why or what happens, but there seems to be some political intrigue going on that only a good ‘Mech stomping can fix. Best of all, we’ll have George Ledoux’s sultry tones guiding us the whole way. 

In addition to saving Solaris, the upcoming DLC brings a new ‘Mech: the Loader King. Fans of the Roughneck from MechWarrior Online will recognize this design immediately, but even if you haven’t played the PvP game, you might’ve noticed the Loader King as the same stationary IndustrialMech that you’ll sometimes see on urban maps or standing in enemy installations.

The Loader King will come with one Hero variant and five standard variants. We’re also getting new “arena” variants of the Corsair, Vulcan, Hunchback, Crusader, Cataphract, Orion, Zeus, Firestarter, UrbanMech, and Highlander. Expect them to come with superchargers and melee-focused weaponry.

Speaking of weapons, we’re getting a bunch of those too. New Burst-Fire variants of the Rifle series, Rapid-Fire variants of Autocannons, the Binary Laser, PPC-X (whatever that is), Medium Lance, Heavy Hammer, and Assault Greatsword. We’re also getting the Arena Supercharger, Black Market Countermeasures, and Black Market Probe. Not sure if those will be worse or better than their Star League counterparts.

While the DLC will certainly bring arena-style combat, it’s not just going to take place on Solaris 7. Arenas will appear in industrial areas throughout the Inner Sphere, which the player will progress through by accruing fame with each successful match. The more matches you win, the more variants of Arenas unlock, ranging from 1v1 matches to free-for-alls limited by ‘Mech class. There will also be optional objectives, open categories where anything goes, and more. Rewards will start at C-bills but eventually progress to “prized equipment.”

And as is ever the case with these DLC releases, everyone can expect to receive a free update with new features. This time we’re getting the new “heavy turret” as a potential spawn which has more hitpoints and hits harder than standard turrets. Otomo ‘Mechs will soon show up on the market as rare spawns, a new “repair all” option makes repairing post-mission easier, and enemy ‘Mechs will occasionally spawn with slightly different weapons than their base loadout. 

Solaris Showdown arrives on March 14 for $14.99. You can wishlist the DLC now to be informed as soon as it becomes available.

MechWarrior Online Gets Two New Legendary ‘Mechs As Talk Begins On A New PvP Game

MechWarrior Online Reaper II

Another month brings another patch for MechWarrior Online Legends and two new Legendary ‘Mechs. The first is WarhawkKasai,” which brings the game’s first supercharged chassis. The Supercharger is a locked piece of equipment and won’t be made available for other ‘Mechs (yet). It’s also lighter than MASC (usually) but doesn’t provide the same explosive speed. It only increases the ‘Mech’s maximum potential velocity and provides no boost to acceleration or turning speed.

Other than the Supercharger, the Kasai comes with three ATM-6s, two Large Pulse Lasers, and two ER Mediums. Missile velocity quirks make those ATMs a bit more deadly, and improved structure quirks give the Kasai a bit more staying power.

The Black KnightRed Reaper II” continues MechWarrior Online‘s tradition of having swords just for show. The heavy shield the Red Reaper II comes with, though, is a MASSIVE boost to the ‘Mech’s right arm armor. Two Snub PPCs, four SRM-6s, and five Small Lasers make this ‘Mech a deadly brawler, especially when you consider the shield you’ll have to chew through to start damaging this monster. Additional armor quirks for the rest of the ‘Mech make it extremely durable.

Other than the new ‘Mechs, the Cauldron has reduced the heat produced by Rotary Autocannons and Hyper Gauss Rifles, reverted the firing arc changes to LRMs from January’s patch, and given the Executioner a full quirk pass. For the full list of changes, check out the patch notes here.

And before we move on, it seems there are rumblings about a new PvP game coming out of PGI. Community manager Daeron commented in Discord that “internal discussions and planning for the next PvP MechWarrior game” are underway. No details on what this might look like or whether it’d be a stand-alone product or attached to the upcoming MechWarrior 5: Clans, but I’d put money on this being an Unreal Engine-powered game.

Raw, Sexual Charger

Next verse same as the first now in color.
byu/meltdonw14 inbattletech

I admit, I may have been too harsh on the Charger. The CGR-1A1 can jump in a lake, but the new Charger C is 80 tons of raw sexual energy—the exact same energy I’m getting from meltdonw14‘s piece here. This could be the cover of a Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure mecha manga.

MechWarrior Living Legends Update 0.16.2 Brings Fancy New Cockpits And Other QOL Improvements

MechWarrior Living Legends Timber Wolf Camos

Been a while since we talked about MechWarrior: Living Legends, the Battlefield-inspired MechWarrior game that’s entirely free-to-play because it is entirely community-supported. The latest patch arrived earlier this month and brought a slew of changes, including updated visuals for 28 ‘Mechs, AeroSpace fighters, and VTOLs, three new camo options, and the usual assortment of bug fixes. Thunderbolt missiles now have a slightly faster fire rate and the Warhawk model has been shrunken down ever so slightly. 

There’s more, but you can read about ’em over on MechWarrior: Living Legends ModDB page, which is coincidentally also where you can download this amazingly free standalone game.

Focht News Network Is Heading To Toronto Comicon

Focht Network Toronto Comicon 2024

If you’re in the Toronto area on the weekend of March 15, Comicon will be hosted at the Metro Toronto Convention Center, which is sure to be a good time. That’s because Focht News Network is putting on a BattleTech showcase, offering Alpha Strike previews to any passersby. I’m also told that Ronda Snord and a certain special Highlander might also make an appearance.

Of course, there’s going to be plenty of other stuff going on at Comicon, but BattleTech fans can certainly hang out and spread the good word of giant stompy robots. If you’re interested in local fans, head to the Focht Network Discord for more updates on local events.

A Halo Of Missiles

My brother surprised me with a commissioned Battletech x Halo crossover piece for my birthday
byu/odysseus91 inbattletech

Halo is cool and all, but I think we all know who’s going to win this battle of the brands. Not just because BattleTech is cooler, but Halo just isn’t quite as destructive as 75 tons of large lasers and way too many missiles. Unless Halo releases the Flood, but even then, I give us even odds. Kudos to tychorionDraws on Twitter for this piece.

Warframe, However, Has Too Much Space Magic

Since the Halo crossover pic was already posted here, thought I’d share the other Warframe x Battletech crossover I bought too. Credit to tychorionDraws, both pics were worth every penny!
byu/TrashCan_With_A_Gun inbattletech

I do love a good crossover, but as much as I love BattleTech, there’s not much you can do in a Crusader or Timber Wolf if you’re trying to fight cosmic forces beyond the knowledge of mere mortals. I’m not sure if there are enough LRMs in the entire Inner Sphere to bring down The Man In The Wall. More kudos to tychorionDraws, and to odysseus91 on Reddit for sharing. 

The Naga Hits MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Like An Arrow IV

I know the Longbow is still a recent addition, but you know what they say about artillery: when it rains, it pours. The Naga is the little-known Clan artillery ‘Mech specializing in delivering Arrow IV warheads to foreheads. I know Arrow IVs aren’t available in MechWarrior 5, so I assume those arms just contain large missile slots. Just throw an Artemis on your LRM-20 and it’s most of the way to an Arrow IV. 

You can get this mod on Nexus Mods or directly through the Steam Workshop.

And that’s it for February! Now I’m off to prepare my MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries company for Solaris Showdown. See you next month!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For January, 2024

Ugh. I’m sick again. The very first party I go to after recovering from COVID I come down with… something. I tested negative for COVID-19, but my friend tested positive the very next day, so maybe mine was a false negative and I actually caught COVID for the second time in less than a month.

The good news is that this second bout of (maybe) COVID seems way less harmful than the first time. My sense of smell remains entirely unaffected. The bad news is this time I have a cough that’s bad enough to keep me up at night, so despite being in bed for nine hours, I’m getting less than five hours of actual sleep.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me complain about being a plague-infested MechWarrior. You came here for the best BattleTech news of the past month, and I don’t aim to disappoint.

BattleTech Turns 40!

BattleTech 40th Anniversary
Watch this video on YouTube.

We’re starting off with a happy birthday to BattleTech! The specific birthday is August 29 with the first release of BattleDroids, but we’re naturally starting this celebration in January. I should start doing the same thing for my birthday.

We’ll have more to say on BattleTech‘s 40th anniversary later, but in the meantime, here’s Randall Bills with a message for fans from in front of more BattleTech loot than you could ever dream to collect. He’s also going on a world tour, so if you’re in Barcelona, Leeds, Edmonton, Indianapolis, Seattle, and a few other locales, you might see this bearded face playing BattleTech in your town.

Catalyst Announces Coming Releases

40th-Boxed-Sets

And by more 40th-anniversary news later, I mean right now. Catalyst has just announced two new covers for BattleTech: Beginner Box and BattleTech: A Game Of Armored Combat coming out in March/April of this year. The content of both boxes will remain the same, but they’ll have new box art with the 40th-anniversary logo.

In addition to the 40th-anniversary boxes, Catalyst has laid all of 2024’s releases, starting with the Star League Command Lance ForcePack. That’s the one announced at PAX Unplugged and will contain an Atlas II, Thunder Hawk, Phoenix Hawk 1b “Special”, and the pre-painted Kerensky Orion. Expect this ForcePack sometime this winter. The Second Star League Assault Lance will arrive in the second quarter bringing with it an Emperor, Argus, Helios, and pre-painted Daish Prometheus, along with a bonus Coolant Truck

The Third Star League Striker Star is set to arrive in the third quarter and will contain a Jackalope, Kintaro, Hammerhead, Havoc, pre-painted Lament, and a J-27 Ordnance Truck. The fourth quarter brings another Third Star League ForcePack, this time containing a Wendigo, Excalibur, Peacekeeper, Malice, and pre-painted Savage Wolf, as well as a Savior Repair Vehicle. Finally, McCarron’s Armored Cavalry is getting an Assault Lance ForcePack to round out the year’s new minis, bringing a Tian-Zong, a re-posed Black Knight, and new variants of the Awesome and jumping Starslayer. Expect that to arrive in the third quarter and be exclusive to Barnes & Noble.

BattleTech Universe

Running through the sourcebook releases, Force Manual: Davion is expected to arrive in May, and Force Manual: Kurita will arrive sometime in the third quarter. BattleTech Universe is expected sometime in the middle of 2024 (I’m guessing the summer), as is Recognition Guide Volume 2: ilClan (that’ll be mostly all the new designs seen in the ilClan Rec. Guides). 

For the latter half of 2024, we’ve got some exciting new books coming. Hot Spots: Hinterlands will arrive in September to discuss the fighting between Hell’s Horses, Tamar Pact, and Calamity Kell‘s Liberty Coalition. Then in November, we’ll get ilKhan’s Eyes Only, a sourcebook that describes the state of the Third Star League following Clan Wolf’s victory on Terra. And sometime this year, we can expect the Brush Wars series will return to describe lesser-known conflicts from throughout BattleTech history. 

Lastly, Catalyst is still working on getting more print-on-demand stuff available through DriveThruRPG, with Operation KLONDIKE, Brush Wars (rebranded as Brush Wars Volume 1), and Wars of the Republic Era (rebranded as Brush Wars Volume 2) set to get their POD releases. For more, check out Catalyst’s official news release here

Oh, I almost forgot! We’ve got some new BattleMats coming. Misery/Thunder Rift and Twycross will be out in the second quarter, and we’re getting a City/Lunar Mat too. Finally, I can stop fighting in a rocky forest and live out my urban combat dreams. 

Your Annual Reminder That Trans Rights Are Human Rights, Now From Michael Stackpole

https://twitter.com/EnbyKaiju/status/1737944154490212576

Just a quick reminder that Trans rights are human rights. Unfortunately, the fight for Trans rights in the USA has really taken a dark turn in 2023, with the ACLU reporting 508 bills targeting LGBTQ people by the end of the year. Things aren’t much better up here in Canada either, with many conservative provinces taking aim at trans kids.

So it’s encouraging to see folks like Michael Stackpole, Russel Zimmerman, and Bryan Young step up to confirm the truth: trans people are people and deserve the same rights as everyone else. In fact, we’ve got a whole video showcasing support of trans rights now in case you ever need to refer to it.

Another Reminder: BattleTech Is For Everyone

Catalyst has released its long-awaited community guidelines. They’re short, simple, and easy to understand. Respect people’s privacy and don’t release personal info. Don’t take official CGL art from a sourcebook and try to sell it on a t-shirt. And don’t make derogatory comments about “race, religion, culture, disability, career, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” 

These guidelines have apparently touched off some controversy on social media, with some pretty wild accusations being thrown around. I’m not going to repost them here, but I’m sure we’ll talk about them more next month.

Play MechWarrior 5 In VR Thanks To New Mod

MechWarriorVR Launch Video
Watch this video on YouTube.

I’ve always thought that MechWarrior is perfect for a VR experience. Any vehicular combat game benefits from the full range of head motion that VR offers, but MechWarrior 5 would be super great to experience with a headset. And now you can, thanks to a new mod from sicsix!

This mod goes further than merely decoupling the camera from a fixed viewpoint. Sicsix (along with help from Perq and Stumblingdrunk) has reworked the cockpits of nearly every ‘Mech in the game to be interactable, with physical screens and a 3D heads-up display. 

I have a VR headset. It’s a little old, but I could give this a try. And yet I am hesitant—I’ve got so much muscle memory built up over the years from using a mouse and keyboard that I fear I’ll be back at square one the moment I plop the headset over my head and start playing with twin joysticks. 

I’m sure I’ll get over my trepidation eventually. In the meantime, head over to Nexus Mods to download the MW5 VR mod. And if you need some help, head to sicsix’s Discord here.

More Warhammer IIC Propaganda

Snow Raven Warhammer IIC on Moon by Alan Blackwell
byu/Big_Red_40Tech inbattletech

We had some lovely Warhammer IIC art from Alan Blackwell last month, and now here’s some more. Bonus Shadow Hawk IIC getting its arm blown off. This comes by way of Big Red-40Tech who is still mercilessly teasing his upcoming Warhammer IIC video. There’s gonna be some great art in them thar vid, I reckon. 

Opinion: What Piece Of BattleTech Lore Is Too Deep?

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

I’ll give credit to jasonskye over on Reddit for posting this interesting discussion piece. It simply asks the question of what official lore in a particular universe is “too deep”? What piece of BattleTech lore is so specific, so granular, and so bizarre that there’s no way to “reverse the massive psychic damage you have inflicted on yourself”? 

Before I dive into some of the better responses, I’m quite keen on my Canopian catgirls and their wandering Pleasure Circuses. I think someone needs to redo the logo for Canopus Delights Limited to reflect said catgirls, but we can’t expect our BattleTech lorekeepers to spend resources on a fictional entertainment company that would likely be considered illegal in most states. 

I’ll list some of the better answers. Atmafox pointed out that the Regan-era Star Wars defense system actually launched in 1985 in the BattleTech universe, while rxmp4ge noted that the BattleTech Animated Series was semi-retconned to be an in-universe propaganda piece for the Lyran Commonwealth. And of course, we can’t forget Far Country‘s alien bird things, which Cassius_Rex so dutifully reminded us of. 

But both I and ComingUpPainting can’t help but remind you that furries exist in the BattleTech canon, and they’re technically part of an incredibly advanced society that managed to avoid the fallout of the Succession Wars, Clan Invasion, Jihad, and Dark Age. Although, those furries are still stigmatized for being kinda weird.

Okay, kinda really weird. I mean, there’s Canopus catgirls, and then there’s real catgirls. Or boys. Or in between. Or both. 

Anyway, leave your deepest lore in the comments below and try to blow some minds.

A Nightstar On Canvas

Nightstar “Painting”
byu/1001WingedHussars inbattletech

This is technically a digital oil painting, but I’m not good enough at art to tell the difference between digital oil and the real stuff. I’m a simple ‘Mech fan: I see a Nightstar, and I applaud it. Especially with the hypersonic slug making multiple shockwaves.

Kudos to 1001WingedHussars for this piece.

A “Heavily Modified” Urban’Mech Is Go For Launch

A few years back, Catalyst introduced us to the UM-L99 variant of the UrbanMech. As you might have guessed, it’s a LAM version of the UrbanMech. I’d always wondered how anything as slow as the UrbanMech could get anywhere close to flight speed, and the answer (courtesy of Eldoniousrex) is that it simply can’t; it needs catapult assistance in order to get airborne. 

I don’t know how many traditional aircraft carriers existed in the old SLDF, but this Jolly Rogers Urbie is still a worthy interceptor. Too bad I can’t see any AIM-54s on ‘er. 

If you’d like a print, coaster, t-shirt, or anything else having to do with this UrbanMech or any of the more canonically accurate UrbanMechs that are out there, Eldon is selling this design among many others over on his site. The fake magazines from Tex’s Christmas video? Those are available in The Urbie Pack

A Cornered Crusader

Here we have a commissioned piece from tychorion, and there’s so much we can unpack here. In the middle is obviously a Crusader, but I think it’s the 6T variant with all those medium lasers. To the left of it looks like a Hatchetman, but without a hatchet and instead firing SRMs. In the left distance is a Nova, although it’s been modified to have both 12 lasers and four machine guns. And finally, the ‘Mech on the right is a little too obscured for me to ID, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say Hankyu

A great piece, although I think the Crusader should abandon all pretense of subterfuge. 

More MechWarrior 5 DLC Is On The Way

MechWarrior 5 DLC News 2024

In a post that details MechWarrior Online‘s upcoming releases (more on that in a minute), we found out that MechWarrior 5 is getting yet another DLC. We don’t know what it’s about, but we should find out in early February. Possibilities include Clan First Contact out in the periphery, or possibly the Andurien Crisis. But my money is on a Clan First Contact DLC. It’d tie neatly into MechWarrior 5: Clans, and it’d be a great callback to MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries‘ first Clan contact mission where you steal a Kodiak

I’ll be sure to report on this as we learn more. 

MechWarrion Online’s First Quarter Includes New Legendary ‘Mechs And All-New Weapons

MWO 2024 Q1 Intel

I’m surprised at how MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries just keeps on truckin’, but I’m doubly surprised with the support MechWarrior Online is getting after all these years.

January brought two new Legendary ‘Mechs to MechWarrior Online in the form of the ExecutionerSovereign” and VictorLi Dok To“. The Sovereign looks like a long-range sniper with its quad ER PPCs and twin UAC/5s, plus some armor and mobility quirks to aim those guns a little easier. However, its top speed of 48 kph isn’t going to win any races, so expect to be in the backline for a while. 

The Li Dok To is the custom Victor belonging to the Kuritan general from the Fourth Succession War. In the lore, Tai-sho Li Dok To‘s Victor had an LRM-15 and 10 Medium Lasers, and that’s exactly what the Li Dok To has in MechWarrior Online. That right arm has an absolutely comical number of laser ports that make it ridiculously huge. It’s also got standard everything and far too little armor, so it desperately requires an overhaul. On the plus side, you can fire all ten of those lasers without suffering ghost heat, and the right arm has 40 extra armor. Double heat sinks alone would turn this thing into a bear. 

Elsewhere in the January patch, the Osiris received a quirk pass and the Cauldron continued to tweak with weapons, adding splash damage to the HAG series of weapons and changing LRM flight paths to be somewhat flatter. For more details, check out the patch notes here.

We also got a preview of what’s coming in February and March. February brings the Legendary ‘Mechs WarhawkKasai” and Black KnightRead Reaper II” with its introductory heavy shield (like the Centurion we got a while back). March, however, brings something exciting: new weapons. 

The Inner Sphere arsenal will receive the Light AC/2, Light AC/5, the Silver Bullet Gauss Rifle, the Magshot Gauss Rifle, and the Thunderbolt series of missiles ranging from five to 20. Clanners will get ProtoMech Autocannons/2, 4, and 8, the AP Gauss Rifle, something called a Beam Laser, and the dreaded Plasma Cannon

There will also be free ‘Mech events in February and March, with February’s ‘Mech being open to suggestions. Just leave a comment at the bottom of the announcement page with your preference for a freebie, and maybe it’ll happen.

Nova Cat Beams Into MechWarrior 5 In New Mod

The next classic mech mod for MW5 is out: The Nova Cat made by the old school legend Pawel Czarnecki
byu/BoukObelisk inMechwarrior5

The Art Of BattleTech, aka Emil, aka SankaraSamsara, has once again brought forth a great Clan ‘Mech to MechWarrior 5. The Nova Cat has the classic lines of the original model courtesy of Pawel Czarnecki, who created it back in 2002. Throw in some sweet Clan Wolf and Nova Cat paint jobs, and you’ve got something that’ll terrorize an Awesome back into its ‘Mech bays. 

Head on over to Nexus Mods or the Steam Workshop page to get your Nova Cat today.

Furries Are Making Neurohelmets?

I know I’ve already hit my quotient of mentioning furries no more than once per month, but this is actually kinda cool. Using a brain-computer interface (which presumably did not require invasive surgery), these furries can control their avatar’s ears. If it’s anything like I’ve seen in other medical fields, this involves training yourself to think a certain thing and then telling the computer that this thought pattern means twitching your non-existent fox ears. And it looks like I’m right since Rantis showcased this process in action over on their Twitter account. 

I know this is a long way from a real neurohelmet, but the concept is the same. A neurohelmet isn’t just so that a ‘Mech’s gyro can tap into the pilot’s inner ear to keep you standing. A MechWarrior is able to move their ‘Mech’s hands to grasp or even punch things by thinking it through their neurohelmet. Some ‘Mechs have actual heads that can move at a thought. Some MechWarriors are even known to perform little dance numbers with a properly tuned neurohelmet. 

There’s nothing to stop this tech from evolving from moving fake avatar ears to moving real metallic hands. Although these are furries, so it’ll probably be a mechanical tail first.

BattleTech Museum Reveals Secret Pitch Book For ‘90s BattleTech Toys

BattleTech Museum 90s Toy Line Kenner

Many of you are already aware of the Tyco toy line that was made in the mid-’90s to support the BattleTech Animated Series. I had a Mauler, a Bushwacker, and an Infiltrator. However, it turns out that FASA had been in talks with a toy company named Kenner to produce another line of BattleTech toys before the show’s release.

The BattleTech Museum showcased a pitch book featuring some very ’80s BattleTech art (and Natasha Kerensky showing an amount of cleavage appropriate for children [ie. none]) as well as some toy concepts. There’s a Kuritan general with an Atlas, a Lyran guy with an Awesome, another Lyran guy with a Warhammer that shoots missiles out of its PPC barrels, and whatever the hell a Slammer is. 

For whatever reason, Kenner didn’t jump on the toy line. Probably because they didn’t have a cartoon backing it up. That’d change a few years later with the Animated Series and the Tyco toyline, but it’s sure fascinating to see what could have been. 

Head on over to the BattleTech Museum on Facebook to see more.

A Walking Ammo Explosion, Now Animated

Jagermech on Patrol
byu/_masaka inbattletech

It’s mostly a MechWarrior 5 JagerMech with some cool new ammo feeds for its autocannons and a rotating radar dish, but I really like what masaka has done to make the JagerMech feel almost threatening. It’s too bad this thing is still going to erupt the moment I fire more than one PPC at it. Or even just the one PPC if I get lucky. 

Focht’s News Network Announces Alpha Strike Tourney For Feb 25

ROMCon Focht's News Network

In the Toronto area? The fine folks over at Focht’s News have announced an Alpha Strike tournament for Sunday, February 25. This all-day event has a $25 registration fee, but it also includes lunch, three raffle draw prizes to be held throughout the day, and prizes for placing first, second, and having the best-painted force as determined by a group vote.

Forces are 350 points, Clan Invasion era, and must adhere to a single faction (so that means no running a Hellion in your Clan Wolf Assault Star). No more than two of any single ‘Mech/vehicle, no more than five of any infantry, no more than two VTOLs total, and all attack rolls will be played with the Multiple Attack Rolls optional rules as defined on page 175 of the Alpha Strike: Commander’s Edition Rulebook.

There are more rules, but you can go to the Facebook announcement page for the full rundown. I’ll have to decide whether I want to bring the Bad ‘Mechs mercenary company or my solahma trinary of Nova Cats, but I’m certainly thinking about going. Provided I can manage to be healthy by the end of February.

Got an event you want advertised in Sarna? Drop me a line and I’ll get it in next month’s news blast.

Night Gyr Getting Blasted In The City

A Night (Gyr) Out On the Town
byu/Terraphond inbattletech

Terraphond gives us this lovely piece of a Night Gyr getting exactly what it deserves. This is why you don’t go for a night on the town alone. Always bring a wingman.

And that’s it for the first month of 2024! Join us next time as we bring all the best BattleTech news that’s safe for human consumption.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For December, 2023

I’d managed to avoid COVID for nearly three years, but my luck finally ran out just a few days before Christmas. I can now say from firsthand experience this disease sucks. Holiday plans dashed, gatherings with friends and family delayed, and my throat and sinuses are a mangled mess. Also, mint flavors are now… different. The best I can describe is that the spectrum of mint flavors has shifted. Spearmint now tastes like scotch mint, peppermint tastes like toothpaste, and toothpaste tastes like cinnamon soap. 

I’m lucky COVID merely tickled my olfactory nerve rather than shred it to pieces. Many folks who had COVID in the early days of the pandemic lost their sense of taste and smell entirely.

I will say, I’ve never experienced a virus go for the throat quite that hard. There was a moment when I was sitting naked on my couch with a fever of 103 F (that’s 39.5 C for the metric folk), elevated heart rate and heaving like I’d just run a marathon, and fan blasting away as I waited for what the bottle told me was an overdose of Tylenol to finally kick in, that I understood this was where a lot of folks didn’t make it. 

Perhaps that’s a little dramatic. There are treatments for COVID-19 now, although I’m not sure of their availability in Ontario. Nor am I sure I’d have received that treatment in time if I were to have gone to the ER, given how our healthcare system remains in tatters nearly three years later. 

All this is to say: hug your loved ones, wear a mask in public, and get every vaccine you possibly can. 

And now, onto your BattleTech news. 

Tex Talks: The UrbanMech

Battletech/Mechwarrior Lore - Tex Talks Battletech : The Urbanmech (DIRECTORS CUT)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Tex has given us a delightful Christmas gift this year in the form of Tex Talks: The UrbanMech. It’s a ‘Mech that a lot of folks have been requesting for a very long time, so I’m certain there were a lot of happy MechWarriors out there on Christmas Day. That’s nothing to say of the many thousands of dollars the Black Pants Legion raised for Toys for Tots. 

If you haven’t seen a Tex Talks, it’s a deep dive into the lore surrounding a particular BattleMech. Often that lore goes back way further than you’d expect since Tex takes a historian’s eye to his subject matter. Can’t talk about a modern jet fighter without first mentioning the Wright Brothers and maybe Leonardo (that’s DaVinci, not DiCaprio), so you can’t talk about the UrbanMech without first talking about the Star League and BattleMech development.

This one’s a little zanier than most Tex Talks, and it has way more 3D animations--both of which entertained me immensely. Enjoy it here or via the embedded video above.

Jade Turkey: It’s What’s For Dinner

Apologies to Bishop Steiner for missing this delightful custom design from last month. Twitter isn’t as consistent as it used to be. 

Broken social media platforms aside, here’s the Jade Turkey, a fan-made Jade Falcon BattleMech conceived by Dale Eadeh, modeled by Allen Blackwell, and then finally drawn on the back of an Enforcer by Bishop Steiner. It’s 95 tons, as slow as an Annihilator, and so packed full of laser heat sinks that it can actually use its arsenal of Heavy Lasers to baste any other ‘Mech alive. 

Special mention goes to the single jump jet exhaust port in the back that kinda looks like someone stuck a musket up its ass. For the full range of stats, check out the posts here

Catalyst Announces A Ton Of Stuff At PAX Unplugged For 2024

More news from PAX Unplugged
byu/Available_Mountain inbattletech

Way back at the beginning of this month was PAX Unplugged, where Catalyst Game Labs had a commanding presence. Catalyst announced a lot of great stuff coming in 2024, and we’re going to run it all down.

Let’s start with new ForcePacks. We got a preview of the Star League Command Lance, with Aleksandr Kerensky‘s Orion, an Atlas II,  the dreaded Thunder Hawk, and what appears to be the PXH-1b Phoenix HawkSpecial.” Kerensky’s Orion will be pre-painted in his canonical colors, cutting down on your paint time. Although not shown, three more Star League-era ForcePacks were announced, each of which will have its own pre-painted mini (kudos to Available_Mountain for the deets).

My Nova Cat/Spirit Cat unit will cry out for that Wendigo, but redesigned versions of the Argus, Emperor, Helios, and Kintaro all sound groovy to me! Also love how we’re getting a little extra scenery with those repair/coolant/ammo trucks. 

Along with a new ForcePack every quarter, we’ve got a DropShip load of new fiction coming too. Executive editor John Helfers along with author Michael Ciaravella broke all the good news (with a nod of the hat to Big Red for summarizing). 

As mentioned in my interview with Brent Evans, the Draconis Combine is going to be quite the hot spot for the Inner Sphere in 2024. Shadow of the Dragon by Craig Reed will reveal the fallout of the Davion invasion and how the Draconis royalty is getting along (which, if I were to guess, is violent). Phillip Lee follows up on Hunting Season with Letter of the Law, and Bryan Young will release the follow-up to A Question of Survival with Without Question

Our first book to proceed from Hour of the Wolf will be courtesy of Michael Ciaravella. Trial by Birthright will be set on Terra and continue the timeline forward with what ol’ Alaric has been up to since seizing the birthplace of humanity. And to tie a nice bow over the HPG Blackout, Bryan Young’s Void Breaker brings back Tucker Harwell in a BattleTech-style spy thriller. Expect both of these later next year.

A few more stories that may or may not be coming in 2024. Tom Leveen is going to come out with a story from the Capellan Confederation and how it’s dealing with the third Star League. Jason Schmetzer is bringing another story of the new Gray Death Legion and plans to release all three novellas in a single novel. Hansen’s Roughriders return in Blood Rage from Craig Reed, and in the more distant future, A Treachery of Ravens by Michael Ciaravella will bring us a Clan Snow Raven novel. There are also some Wars of Reaving novels in the works and a Tales of the Bounty Hunter anthology mentioned.

On the sourcebook front, we’re getting Force Manual: House Davion, Force Manual: House Kurita, and Force Manual: Mercenaries all in subsequent quarters in 2024. MechCommander’s Handbook will also be coming later in the year, as well as an ilClan-focused sourcebook called ilKhan Eyes Only. The Mercenaries Kickstarter should start seeing deliveries sometime in the spring (hopefully!), and we’re still waiting on some concrete news of how Catalyst plans to celebrate BattleTech‘s 40th anniversary—besides flooding us with a ton of new products of course.

There might be a few things that I missed, and if so, you can check out The HobbyHabit‘s videos for a more complete rundown. And before I forget, here’s MechFrog with a shot of the BattleTech Universe book’s cutaway image of an Overlord DropShip. There are also some new minis featured in the Mercenaries Kickstarter, but only for those with access. 

OPINION: Pre-painted ‘Mechs Are Fine, Actually

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

I noted some weird backlash from mini enthusiasts at the news of pre-painted ‘Mechs. Some folks seemed upset at the idea of receiving an Orion already painted to look exactly like Alexander Kerensky’s ride at the moment he tore down the doors to Unity City and accepted Stefan Amaris’ surrender. And my question is: why? 

If you consider yourself an excellent artist capable of doing a better job than a manufacturer, nothing is stopping you from buying a standard Orion ON1-K and painting it like Kerensky’s machine. There’s a bit more of an argument to be made against the pre-painted Prometheus as it’d be much more difficult to kit-bash a Prometheus together, but I’m told there are ways of re-painting minis if you really don’t like Catalyst’s paint job. 

I think for the vast majority of BattleTech fans, a pre-painted ‘Mech is just one less ‘Mech you’ll have to paint yourself. I’m no painter, personally. Heck, part of the reason why I actually liked the MechClix game was because there was no painting involved. Sure, the models weren’t the best quality, but they were sufficient to plop down some pieces and start gaming. I think there should be an entirely pre-painted line of minis for folks who love the game but don’t have the time to paint. Perhaps these pre-painted legendary ‘Mechs will be the precursor to an expansion in this direction.

Either way, people who enjoy painting their minis themselves will always have plenty of opportunity to do just that, and I think some of the angry commenters are completely out to lunch. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below.

BattleTech Comic Comes With 200% More Cat Ears

https://twitter.com/wild_cat144/status/1731678132795588940

Wild_Cat144 is no stranger to these parts. She’s made a ton of art for Tex Talks BattleTech and released a ton more for public consumption. Her most recent project is the release of Epsilon Commandos, a webtoon featuring a diverse cast of ‘Mechs and cat-eared people. You can check it out here.

Happy 14th Anniversary To MechWarrior: Living Legends

I don’t mention the fine folks who run MechWarrior: Living Legends nearly often enough, so accept these birthday wishes as my apology. The best free MechWarrior game you can download just celebrated its 14th year with several games last month, which you can take part in yourself for the low price of zero dollars. You get a lot of game for zero down, and it also comes with a passionate community that loves to organize some wild Battlefield-style big games. Do celebrate by downloading the client here.

Equilibrium Are Your 2023 MechWarrior Online Champions (Plus Ongoing Christmas Events)

MechWarrior Online‘s competitive Championship Series recently concluded with Equilibrium defeating the 5th Jaguar Dragoons to become 2023’s champions. Equilibrium had a commanding performance in the final match, sweeping the Dragoons in three straight games. Congratulations to Equilibrium and everyone in the finals. Enjoy your fabulous prizes for getting so far in the season!

In other MechWarrior Online news, the patch came a bit early so PGI could have a nice Christmas break. In the most recent patch are two new Legendary ‘Mechs, the LongbowSpitfire” and the Stone RhinoAksum.” The Spitfire is a one-shot Rocket Splat with some PPCs for backup, while Aksum is all dakka all day. As usual, both come with their own mini battlepasses that provide escalating rewards the more you play with each Legendary ‘Mech.

There are loads of Christmas events still going on, as well as a free giveaway of two ‘Mechs. One is a special variant of the WHM-6R with a Santa hat and a festive paintjob (but is otherwise a standard Warhammer), and the other is the COM-D03, an all-laser Commando with a small cockpit and a compact gyro that allows all those lasers to be mounted in the head and center torso. This makes it an interesting light brawling zombie. You can get both of these for playing just one game and getting a match score above 50 points (not hard to do so long as you show up and shoot). Remember to redeem the event requirements on the event page here.

A couple of adjustments to review. LRM-5s and the ATM-3 are now able to be grouped with larger LRM launchers without contributing to heat penalties, which should make the new Longbow a little more attractive. Rotary Autocannons have had their damage tweaked, and ECM’s jamming effect has been reduced from 120m to 90m. The biggest ‘Mech adjustments have happened to the Annihilator, but there are a few other tweaks mentioned in the patch notes here.

Shrapnel 15’s Double-Wide Issue Brings Us Fox Patrol’s Katie Ferraro

You should already be subscribed to Shrapnel, but if not, you should definitely get December’s issue. Not just because it’s like getting two Shrapnels for the price of one, but because it’s got a portrait of Katie Ferraro, captain of The Fox Patrol mercenary group. It’s nice to be able to put a face to the name, especially for a rising star in BattleTech‘s fiction.

Bushwacker Classic Arrives In MechWarrior 5

The march of modding to MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries continues with the new Bushwacker Classic mod. The Bushwacker model already exists in MechWarrior Online, but this one more closely resembles the tabletop miniature version. It also has a pretty cool skin that harkens back to the BattleTech Animated Series

We once again have SankaraSamsara (aka The Art of BattleTech, or Emil around these parts) to thank for taking Twdwink66’s model and animating it for MechWarrior 5. You can grab this mod either on Nexus Mods or MechWarrior 5’s Steam Workshop.

Star Adder Warhammer IICs Under A Starry Sky

Star Adder Warhammer IIC By Alan Blackwell
byu/Big_Red_40Tech inbattletech

Big Red 40K is set to debut a video on the Warhammer IIC, perhaps one of the best Clan “upgrades” the Inner Sphere has ever seen. He contacted Alan Blackwell to paint this stunning piece of two Star Adder Warhammer IICs in a snowy tundra beneath a brilliant aurora borealis. It’s an incredible piece of art that absolutely deserves showcasing. And you should check out Big Red’s video on the ‘Mech when it arrives.

Your Reminder That Magistracy Monthly Is A Free-Fanzine With Production Value

https://twitter.com/MagestrixRiley/status/1734302506606293068

For example, here’s a piece you’ll find inside the December issue of Magistracy MonthlyIssue 24 has a bunch of things, including fan-made TROs for ‘Mechs, one for VTOL, tons of custom art, and short stories from fans about lesser-known people in the far-flung corners of the Periphery. It’s worth a read, especially since it’s free.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Gets Pinball Mod

Traditional Mod Game play Short
Watch this video on YouTube.

No, this isn’t a mod you can just download on Nexus Mods or Steam. This is an actual pinball machine. Most pinball machines are already so wildly complex in operation that I can’t even begin to describe them, let alone provide advice beyond “hit the ball with the paddles.” Any pinball machines made today are infinitely more complex than the machines I played as a kid. 

But I can appreciate the attention to detail in this mod. The playfield is covered in BattleTech art. The display screen uses actual MechWarrior 5 gameplay footage and sound effects. Ryana comes on every once in a while to quip about your progress (or lack thereof), and losing a ball results in your ‘Mech exploding. 

Beyond Pinball has an entire series of videos dedicated to this mod, and he’s even gotten the attention of PGI president Russ Bullock. Maybe we’ll see this pinball machine become an official product someday. 

Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays From Sarna To You And Yours

Running a holiday-themed event this weekend, just finished the terrain and main objective.
byu/AlwaysUpvotesTheVIII inbattletech

And thank you to AlwaysUpvotesTheVIII for this holiday-themed UrbanMech. Santa was very generous to this Urbie.

That’s it for December and 2023. It’s been a hell of a year for BattleTech, a hell of a year for me personally (with one hell of a sendoff), and judging by everything announced by Catalyst, it’s going to be one hell of a 2024. We’re getting a new MechWarrior game, we’re getting a ton of new fiction, we’re getting new sourcebooks, and we’re getting new minis. Who knows what else 2024 might have in store?

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

Christmas Mechs

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

Big BATTLETECH News:
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

https://twitter.com/BungletechTweet/status/1717266361150513161?t=s8Wz-DJk-PJWpqyvrGqK-Q&s=19

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

Ambush
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

ARCHAX

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

https://twitter.com/IdleSloth84_/status/1705669502690595277

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

https://twitter.com/ArtofBattletech/status/1705247211267694664

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

https://twitter.com/einherjarvalk/status/1685570239755390976?s=20

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

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.

RGV1-Classics

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.

Myomer

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

Superconductor

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

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 Itch.io 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 https://patreon.com/CelestialMechWorks
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

https://twitter.com/ArtofBattletech/status/1666140608748978188

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