BattleTech’s Heavy Metal expansion arrives on November 21st, and it is bringing 470 metric tons of new weapons and ‘Mechs.
We got a lot of exciting ground to cover here, so we’re just going to dive right in. The new trailer for BattleTech’s upcoming Heavy Metal expansion just dropped and brought with it the juiciest of new info, starting with a brand new, never-before-seen BattleMech, the Bull Shark.
From the trailer, the Bull Shark is a 95-ton assault ‘Mech armed with a Thumper artillery cannon. That’s all we got. Judging by this beast’s appearance, it seems armed with autocannons above machine guns in the arms, as well as a quartet of lasers mounted across its two burly shoulders.
I’m just speculating here, but judging by the name, we could be looking at a design from the old Rim Worlds Republic. History students will remember that as the home nation of Stefan Amaris, better known as Amaris the Usurper. So that’s pretty cool.
As with MechWarrior Online, this new design’s canonicity is going to be a matter for debate for some time. I dunno how much Catalyst was involved in the Bull Shark’s making or if it will eventually get their seal of approval.
The remaining seven designs will be something we’re all familiar with. Starting from the small, Heavy Metal brings us the Flea, Assassin, Vulcan, Phoenix Hawk, Rifleman, Archer, and Annihilator. All of these appear to be models taken from MechWarrior Online, with many being classic designs that are fan favorites.
Some of you might be wondering about the Warhammer and Marauder, two classic heavy ‘Mechs that were long rumored to be coming in Heavy Metal. They are not part of the expansion. Instead, they’ll be given to everyone FOR FREE as part of the 1.8 update, no Heavy Metal required.
New ‘Mechs leads us to new weapons. As shown briefly in the trailer just before we’re showcased the Bull Shark, a screen tells us each of the new weapons systems that will be added in Heavy Metal. A lot of these technologies normally wouldn’t be seen in the Inner Sphere until well after that Clan Invasion, so we’re playing a bit loose with the timeline here. One wonders just how Harebrained is going to explain their presence in the pre-Fourth Succession War era.
Anywhoodle, we’ll all recognize Inferno Missiles, TAG, NARC Beacons, and Ultra and LBX Autocannons, and yes, they’ll come in the full range of 2/5/10/20 and not just the Ultra AC/5 and LB 10-X as they first appeared in the Clan Invasion era. Snub PPCs are also coming, which is a Second Star League-era technology from the Draconis Combine and definitely not something we heard about before then.
A new ‘Mech-sized mortar will almost certainly be the Thumper Artillery System. Although normally mounted on vehicles, ‘Mech-mounted Thumpers weren’t entirely unheard of.
Finally, COIL Lasers are described by Polygon as having a “charge-up” function. The more you move before firing, the more damage they deal. Their exact function is unknown at this time as they don’t seem to have any classic BattleTech analog.
These weapon additions are really throwing the timeline for a loop and I do not know how to feel about them. One thing I will definitely appreciate is the new Flashpoint mini-campaign that will be added with Heavy Metal. It will feature Wolf’s Dragoons, Natasha Kerensky, The Bounty Hunter, and a mysterious derelict spacecraft. We can likely assume there’s going to be some of this amazing tech on that spaceship, so maybe that will be out explanation.
I also see mentioned on the Paradox forums post that there will be official mod support added for the first time, so everyone playing with RogueTech installed is going to be super excited about that. I can’t find a better source for that though, so this might just be wishful thinking.
Heavy Metal arrives on November 21st for $19.99, or nothing if you already purchased the Season Pass. And remember: you get the Marauder and Warhammer for free even if you don’t buy Heavy Metal, but you should totally buy Heavy Metal. It looks like it’ll be the best expansion for BattleTech yet.
And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.
thanks to the endless power of retcon, the SN-PPC was apparently a prototype SLDF design, as Kernesky’s personal Orion was carrying one. Again, thanlks to Retcons.
I hate retcons.
The snub nose ppc was also on a variant of the Falcon that was used towards the end of the Star League civil war and is in the Operation Klondike book.
I was thinking the EXACT same thing when they had the full LB-X and Ultra ranges. It took the Clans showing up for the Inner Sphere to reverse-engineer said systems (same with the smaller ER lasers and larger Streak racks).
The Bull Shark is…interesting. Though I imagine if this was one of Amaris’ designs, like the LAM I’m sure if the Clans saw these they would have wiped them out (though don’t ask anyone why Sea Fox got away with changing their name to Diamond Shark because of the Rim Worlds Republic’s being a shark…but logic). Not to mention without the weight saving chassis, armor and engines, I don’t even know how this is legal (as I think it’s 40 tons for the LB-10Xs and Ultra AC-5s, another 10 for the Thumper cannon…if that’s a full Thumper piece though, that’s kinda illegal).
Just don’t get me started with the Coil weapons. I’d much rather have the LosTech Guardian ECMs and Beagle Active Probes and Streak SRM racks in their place. I can imagine mods not having Coil weapons as they try to stay to canon as much as possible.
Hopefully though, if there’s enough support, HBS/Paradox will have another expansion in the works or free patches that add more ‘Mechs in (the Dervish, Charger and Flashman come to mind).
I was hoping against hope that they’d use some logical and canon gymnastics to pull a Nightstar out of a hat, and this Bull Shark sounds like it’s basically a Nightstar so I’m all for it! That and Annihilator should shake up the presently rather boring late-game builds.
I’m less hot on Doc Brown’s time traveling weapon shop, but there again BT gets pretty boring after a few too many repetitive battles so more variety is probably worth it. MW4 Mercs wasn’t great because it happened to be set during the FedCom Civil War, it was great because the mechanics, missions, mechs and weapons offered a lot of replay value. Something that all of the HBS games have struggled with thus far.
That’s what happens when the game is set during what is literally the most boring part of the Battletech timeline. Say what you will about the Clan Invasion, or the FedCom Civil War, or the Dark Ages; at least they are more exciting periods in Battletech history than the point of lowest technology and civilization.
But for some reason I cannot comprehend, Battletech boomers in general are in love with this period, and this game was set during that era, which was a mistake. The Heavy Metal DLC seems to be the devs’ way of acknowledging that mistake with a greater selection of weapons and tech.
In my opinion, “muh 3025,” isn’t sufficient justification for a game setting. It should have been set during the Fourth Succession War or between the war and the Clan Invasion.
Considering the game is aimed toward a demographic that isn’t very familiar with the franchise, it makes sense to start it with the most basic technology. It establishes the states of the Inner Sphere before the Clans have a chance to overshadow them. I think it was the right idea, and now that its players are up to speed, there’s still ample room to expand.
Respectfully, I must disagree. This game seems like it was made by Battletech boomers, for Battletech boomers. It’s an adaptation of the tabletop game that almost no one plays aside from long-time Battletech fans, and they are among its most ardent defenders. Having read the Steam reviews, it seems that newbies to the game tend not to like it very much, largely because of gameplay decisions that the boomers love and will defend to the hilt, like deploying only a single lance and the limited level of technology. For anyone, like myself, who grew up playing Battletech-based video games, a lot of the gameplay feels like a step backwards.
It very much was made by Battletech Boomers, Jordan Weisman is on record saying 3025 is his favorite era so it’s no surprise we got the game set in that timeline, and I’m right with you Kdog, if Battletech had stayed in 3025 forever I would never have cared about it as a franchise, 3025 is duller than dirt.
Thankfully, Battletech’s timeline goes through transitional settings that can be perceived as anything from slick, ultra-modern, galaxy-spanning regimental fighting to Mad Max-ian survival/desolation to feudal knights and lieges to full-production warfare amidst a checkerboard of proxy neighbors to terrifying cybernetically-enhanced terrorists with chemical weapons and nuclear weapons. It’s up to players to pick an era appeals to them and roll with it and I do see the appeal.
3025 has the advantages of being the simplest conceptually and technologically, perfect for introducing new players. I had heard that Weisman was restricted to a certain time period but this kickstarted game obviously did better than expectations and has outgrown the original intent. I would have very much preferred a module/expansion to roll forward the clock and kept anachronistic pieces where they belong.
I like all of the eras personally, but this morose, tired, and crumbling Inner Sphere theme is at odds with the exciting, flashy, seductive allure of being able to hand wave the repair/manufacturing restrictions away however the devs want. The Argo, the Raven, ECM availability and actual capabilities in-game, a brand new mech that appears to exceed construction rules, [even more] new laser types, and the subversion of lore clear across the board for the stated technologies…. and we haven’t even brought up the sudden appearance of the Arano Restoration as a canon faction with its own “House Book”.
I like “muh 3025” and would have rather preserved what it represented. Everything on display in HBS’s Battletech is getting harder to take seriously as being integrated with established lore and…. well, the entire universe that has been built upon for decades. I feel like Battletech is experiencing some form of reboot without us even logging out of the system first.
HBS: Just flash forward in the timeline instead of accelerating the discovery of technology by a century. Don’t just shoehorn in your corner-cutting ideas in lieu of using source material as guideposts. The Battletech franchise is worlds bigger than sales for this one video game’s third DLC package.
A timeline shift and choose-your-ruleset option are both probably way too ambitious for HBS’s schedule and budget. Separate standalone release isn’t a great solution either; they did something like that with Shadowrun and nobody was particularly happy with the result. They’re all good ideas in theory, just tough to build a video game around.
IMO retcons are not a bad thing if they’re done surgically and provide a significant net benefit to the game. Games Workshop is famous for playing so fast and loose with the broad brush that one can’t really treat their source books as anything deeper than temporary fluff, but BT’s various franchise stewards have always gone too far in the other direction, stubbornly refusing to fix glaring problems or explore new ideas once a given era gets marked as done. Look no further than the Unseen themselves, an artificial balance gap that FASA should have dealt with 20 years ago. Space is a big place, so with some sensible storytelling it’s not difficult to add just about anything and still avoid totally wrecking established canon. “This one time on the edge of nowhere some nerds did a thing, but without a major-state backer it inevitably landed in the dustbin of history.” Plus it’s a video game, and those are all explicitly not canon if for no other reason than that they inherently involve a single guy and/or lance destroying about three Inner Spheres worth of military hardware.
I don’t know if HBS is clever enough to pull it off, but I’m willing to give them a chance on this one. Plus I want my ersatz Nightstar. :p
the reason people love 3025 is because it’s a era that feels smaller, more intimate and like we can impact it more. a company of mercs shifting the balance of power in a civil war in the periphary in 3025 is belivable. in 3067 it’s silly.
Well, they are finally giving us the Warhammer and the Marauder; as we were promised during the Kickstarter. That’s good. I would have been unhappy – to say the least – if the rumors of those mechs being part of the DLC turned out to be true.
Well, at least we’re getting some of the Unseen even if not those two. It’s a start.
I guess it was matter of time until HBS’s owners encourages original designs to be added to the mix. You can’t in-direct Saw-off Artillery gun, it was introduced in 3012, so it does belong with ring of tech. How heck a 95 ton Succession Wars era machine can be packing that thing is questionable. Comstar barely figured out how a Catapult could get arms when the Clans invaded with mech they designated “MadCat”. Clan Endo steel & Ferro-Fibrous is your friend you’ve not meet yet.”
It does lead me to wonder if this non-canon design going end up in MWO. I doubt it, not with a Artillery Cannon. They won’t need to introduce a completely new weapon, frankly the real thing is not terrible accurate.
The sad part is, if HBS wanted to introduce a mech with an artillery piece on it they could have done it without breaking canon, one already existed. The Helepolis. Star League mech, so easily enough handwaved to be found in a Brian cache somewhere.
Instead, we’re introducing something new, New, NEW! Dontaskwhynobodyhaseverseenonebefore.
The new weapons, decades before they should be appearing ingame outside of the clan homeworlds.. ugh. Never before heard of energy weapons to go along with our never before heard of mech. Double ugh. For the ultras/LBs I can at least hope it was to have their code as part of the packaged game instead of inserted after via mods. And that the modding community will, once hotfixes for 1.8 settle down, be coming out with mods to put all this newtech in its proper era.
The release date is the 21st, not the 12th, sadly.
Whoops! I must have gotten the numbers flipped. Fixed it!
I can’t say I understand what the upset is about weird new niche tech or retcons – BattleTech’s had them since Tales of the Black Widow back in ’85 gave us a Super Griffin with prototype jump jets that disappeared for several decades, and TRO:2750 in ’89 introduced a whole slew of Star League tech that was suddenly there all along in 3025, but in downgraded form. As far as I’m concerned, the Bullshark and COIL fit right in with the Marauder 4X, binary lasers, listen-kill missiles, and other tech that might have seemed like a good idea for a while, but ended up drawing a solid “meh” from IS defense contractors and relegated to obscurity.
Besides, between lost colonies, Star League caches, ComStar chicanery, and Periphery nutjobs, there’s probably all sorts of crazy crap floating around in 3025 that’s partially kept quiet, and partially disregarded by people with more important or realistic things to think about. (“Got your ass blasted by a Cicada with some kind of charging super-beams, huh? Sure, the Leftenant’s totally gonna believe that. I bet it also turned magically untargetable, like that dumb story about Morgan Kell, am I right?”)
Add to that ComStar AND the Wolf’s Dragoons were both big about covering up anything to do with the SLDF and/or the Exodus. Case in point, the Tirpitz Incident.
Thing to also remember is LosTech isn’t necessarily completely non-existent. It’s more the fact it’s impossible to manufacture (especially when ComStar assassinates anyone who tries to reverse-engineer it).
Only reason why later on you get folks who have no idea what a weapon is (Phelan, for instance) is more the fact they weren’t history buffs.
apparently people have crunched the numbers and this mech ONLY works if you go with clantech (for everything other then the thumper canon)
Spoilers: the BSK-MAZ IS Clantech. Just can’t mention WHICH clan made this design though. >.> Just don’t ask how afterwards even your lowly planetary government can get their hands on the M3 variant. :P