New Tech in MechWarrior Online!

The latest patch for MechWarrior Online drops today, and while most patches are the usual crowd of minor tweaks and balance changes, today’s patch is a massive event that propels MWO into a new era in BattleTech.

Welcome to Civil War.

Or more accurately, welcome to the 3060s, where Inner Sphere technology finally catches up (kinda) with their Clan counterparts. Added to the game are all the best weaponry that BattleTech has ever had, including Rotary ACs, Heavy Gauss Rifles, and single shot Rocket Launchers. The Clans aren’t left out in this update either, as they receive Heavy Lasers, Advanced Tactical Missiles, and Micro Lasers.

More on the fancy new guns later. First, let’s dive into the patch notes and go over the latest event that brings us into the Civil War era.

Operation Bulldog… sort of

Operation Bulldog

courtesy of

We begin with the latest addition to Faction Play, which despite the name of the patch being Civil War actually brings us back to the Invasion Era of 3057.

Called simply Season 1, the goal of the event is just like Operation Bulldog: the Inner Sphere factions have all come together to annihilate one of the clans. In gameplay terms, this means that if any Inner Sphere faction can take and hold a Clan Homeworld (Bearclaw, Strana Mechty, Huntress, or Ironhold), then the event ends and the Spheroids can claim victory.

Unlike the actual BattleTech lore, the Clans aren’t bound by the Tukayyid truce (or maybe they just ignore it – hard to say). For a Clan victory, they must reach and conquer any three Inner Sphere Capitals (Luthien, Tharkad, New Avalon, Sian, or Atreus). If they manage to do what no Clan has ever done, then victory for the Clans is declared and the event ends.

Operation Bulldog

via imgur

To conquer a Homeworld or Capital is no easy task. Either side must completely encircle the planet on the star map in order for the invasion to commence. Once it does, that capital/homeworld will become the sole point of contention for the entire Inner Sphere or Clan; everyone will pile in to either attack or defend the planet. If the defense is successful, then that planet cannot be targeted for invasion for the rest of the season.

Naturally, this event is weighted to give the Inner Sphere a bit of an advantage, as they’re both lacking in numbers as well as technology (even with the new gear that’s been released). But since both sides could certainly lose in their attempts to conquer a capital, it’s entirely possible that the season will end in a draw.

Lastly, the event also sees the addition of two new Clans: the Steel Vipers and Nova Cats. Just like in the lore, the Nova Cats fight within the Smoke Jaguar territory, and the Steel Vipers fight within the Jade Falcon territory. However, neither of the new factions have territories of their own, and any votes in war planning are done for their parent faction.

New Inner Sphere Tech

Rotary AC/5

via user Sparks Murphey

Alright, alright, let’s talk about the new tech. And oh boy, there’s a lot of it.

Starting with the Inner Sphere, we’ve got a bevy of new ballistic weapons to choose from. There’s new Light and Heavy Machine Guns, Light and Heavy Gauss Rifles, LB 2, 5 and 20-X Autocannons, Ultra AC/2, 10, and 20 Autocannons, and my personal favorites, the Rotary AC/2 and AC/5.

Each of the LB and Ultra Autocannons performs about as you’d expect from firing the LB 10-X or the Ultra AC/5 (which already existed from the Clan Invasion Era) but have damage and range numbers in line with lore (if not exactly for balance purposes). The Light and Heavy Machine Guns and Gauss Rifles work the same way, with the Heavy Gauss having received some additional recoil and crosshair dancing (similar to shooting while jumping).

Rotary ACs are a brand new beast that streams out hot lead like a bullet hose. While the animation may seem satisfying, there remains some skepticism if the new Autocannon will outperform existing ballistics in terms of DPS given how often they jam and how hot they run.

  Light PPC

For energy weapons, the Inner Sphere gets the remaining ER Lasers, and the brand new Light PPC, Snub-Nose PPC, and Heavy PPC. Each of these weapons performs similarly to their existing counterparts, but with range limits (and in the case of the Snubby, range penalties to damage) one would expect from lore.

In missile land the Inner Sphere gets a bonanza, with Streak Missiles being rounded out and also with the addition of MRMs and Rocket Launchers. These last two, in particular, are proving to be devastating weapon systems in the hands of an experienced pilot who’s used to boating up dumb-fire SRMs.  

Perhaps most exciting for the Inner Sphere is the addition of new equipment. Stealth Armor, Light Ferro-Fibrous, and Light Fusion Engines will provide Inner Sphere ‘Mechs will additional toughness or sneakiness as required, and Laser AMS and Targeting Computers give Spheroids the same equipment as Clans have had for some time.

The Clans Get Something Too

  Heavy Laser

The Clans receive less gear, but what they do receive is pretty exciting. The Light and Heavy Machine Guns make their appearance again, but it’s the energy weaponry that gets most expanded. Micro ER and Pulse Lasers, and Heavy Lasers expand the Clan arsenal with never-before-seen firepower. Micro Lasers, in particular, seem a brutal addition to clan Novas which are able to potentially mount 12 of the tiny, fast firing lasers.

The Clans also receive ATMs, or Advanced Tactical Missiles, which deal more damage at close range and less damage at long range. As a cost for their flexibility, they fire fewer missiles per ton than either the Steak or regular LRMs. Rounding out the Clan arsenal are Light Active Probes, which provide fewer benefits than regular Active Probes but weigh less, Laser AMS, which provide ammo-less missile defenses at the cost of heat, and Light TAG, which is a shorter range but lighter regular TAG.

New ‘Mechs On The Way


via user Alopex

Along with new guns comes a lance of new ‘Mechs to add to your hangars. The Uziel, Cougar, Annihilator, and Mad Cat MK II are all scheduled to release later in 2017 or in early 2018, with the Uziel showing up first and Mad Cat MK II appearing last. Pre-orders are available now for these new ‘Mechs on the Civil War MWO page.

The patch also comes with an assortment of balance tweaks and bug fixes, all of which you can pour over on the MWO patch page here.

It’s an exciting new era for MechWarrior Online, so strap on your Neurohelmets and get in on the action!

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About Sean

Hooked on BattleTech at an early age, Sean honestly can't remember whether it was the cartoon, the serial novels or the short-lived TCG that did him in. Whatever it was, his passion for giant shooty robots never died, so now he writes about the latest and greatest in 'Mech related news.

4 thoughts on “New Tech in MechWarrior Online!

  1. Cade

    Sadly the ATMs are garbage as the way PGI has introduced them. Their max velocity is only 1/10th that of LRMs, and they incorporated a flat 90 meter minimum arming range. This, plus their reload times, means its near impossible to get more than one shot off at their maximum damage bracket before your target either closes to within 90 meters, or backs out of the bracket. For that matter, anything with a single AMS, normal or Laser based, pretty much is utterly immune to anything less than an ATM12, due to the ATMs horribly, horribly, slow flight times, which allow AMS/L-AMS more than enough time to take down all the missiles. Anything mounting two or more AMS/L-AMS, which, in MWO, could be either something as light as a Wolfhound or a Kit Fox, is outright immune to even dual ATM9s. In fact, the Kit Fox & Nova variants which have triple AMS mounts? They’re immune from ATMs. Period. Along with anything else within 120m of either unit. Outside of mounting them on light ‘Mechs and using them to do very minor chip damage, or use them against static base/turret targets (which is only going to be seen in any major degree in either Faction play or Incursion modes, and to a much lesser extent, Escort mode), they’re pretty much worthless and only there as newbie-bait.

    Heavy Lasers though are rapidly becoming a go-to weapon, and I’ve seen plenty of Clan builds that mount 4+ of them. Although mounting two of them finally make a Mist Lynx a viable hunter-killer against medium units, rather than a hit’n’run type.

    Micro-lasers, pulse or ER, are….nice…..but there really isn’t that many Clan units that can mount enough of them to be really useful beyond the Arctic Cheetah. On the other hand, if you do pile as many as possible on an Arctic Cheetah and equip it with an ECM, you will very shortly be absolutely hated by your opponents if they start to recognize your name.

    RACs were, during the final testing phase, and the first day or so of play, absolutely horrible due to the jamming issues they had where the build-up to max firing rate meant you only got to enjoy the max damage output for about half a second at best before you almost assuredly got a jam. Thankfully they fixed this so now you can hold the trigger down far longer (4-6 seconds in total or so) with a max DPS of at least 2 seconds or so. The downside to this is that they ramped up their heat output to rather scary heights and a dual RAC/5 loadout will stress even an Assault ‘Mech’s cooling systems.

    MRMs have the issue that, the fire one-by-one, much like Clan LRMs in MWO, instead of the massed salvo like IS LRMs. This wouldn’t be an issue except that, wherever you’re looking with your HUD crosshairs the moment you fire, is where ALL the MRMs are going to shoot at. If you are torso-twisting quickly on a lighter ‘Mech, you can actually see the MRMs launch SIDEWAYS out of the launchers if you swing far enough away, fast enough, from your initial aim point. On the plus side, if you can mount several, and are up against a slower unit that can’t move away from the incoming stream of MRMs, they effectively turn into the ‘Mech equivalent of a Flashbang in that you WILL blind your opponent completely from the sheer numbers hitting, which leaves your target wide open for follow-up MRM volleys, and/or focus fire from your teammates.

    Heavy & Light Mguns are flip-a-coin for how useful they are. Never mount Light Mguns on a Light Mech, as they can almost always close in fast enough to use Heavy Mguns to their full advantage. Probably why PGI will never announce a Piranha ‘Mech, because it’d be crazy-broken. Light Mguns tend to work in Medium & Heavy ‘Mechs that rely on medium & small lasers, although you probably want to switch back to Heavy Mguns on an Assault ‘Mech considering how often they end up going toe-to-toe with other units.

    The one weapon that I only slightly hesitate to say might not just be balanced, but broken slightly, is the Light PPC. Firing off an entire weapon chain all at once is a horrible idea, but chain-firing them on the other hand is an entirely different subject. Chainfired LPPCs are quite possibly one of the most intimidating weapons possible. I’m currently running two designs using them. A Battlemaster that mounts no less than six of them, plus a Snub-Nose in the arm for anything that gets close. I can fire all six, one-by-one, then the Snub-Nose, with little to no break in their firing rate, and can do that cycle three times on a cool map, or twice on a hot map (even Terra Therma!!) without much worry about heat. The other ‘Mech will surprise you. An Urbie with four LPPCs and twin Heavy Mguns. Its so small, plus the 360 torso twist, that you quite literally become a mobile rapid-fire ‘burstfire’ turret. Any map where you can get to a corner and peek your left arm out/over cover, means you can constantly ‘plink’ targets with little to no chance of getting shot back with any degree of accuracy by an opponent unless they’re using Advanced Zoom and have very steady aim.

    Snub Nose PPCs are effectively PGI’s existing standard Large Laser, except they don’t hit-scan and have a noticable velocity, do slightly more damage for slightly more weight, and deal splash. Outside of those changes, their damage-to-heat ratio, over time, and range, are virtually identical. Or at least as I’ve used them they’re near identical.

    Stealth Armor is tricky to use, as your friendly IFF beacon over your ‘Mech’s head disappears, which means you very likely will be shot at by your own team. A lot. On the other hand, its about as close to a Star Trek cloaking device you’ll ever get in MWO, and can be lethal in the extreme if used by a sniper like the dual Large Laser Raven. The downside of course is that Stealth Armor can only be mounted on the tiny handful of ‘Mechs that PGI has allowed to mount ECM, which generally means that the ‘Mechs that could truly benefit from it, and be real holy terrors, are unable to use it at all.

    Rockets Launchers are as we all expected, in that they’re very much a niche role piece of equipment. On the other hand, there’s already been some truly nasty builds put together on Archers, Catapults, and of all things, the oft-ridiculed Kintaro, where you pile on as many RL10s or RL15s as possible, and then use the massive savings in tonnage to mount a large amount of energy weapons. Snipe at range, and sit back until your opponents have structure exposed, and then hit the trigger for everything you have. It almost always will blow an arm off, and/or do a good amount of damage to a side-torso as well.

    1. Cade

      Didn’t previously spot it, but they updated the flight speeds of ATMs. Hallejuiah, they aren’t junk anymore, but actually quite nasty now.

  2. Cade

    Forgot to mention Light & Heavy Gauss. Oops.

    Light Gauss are wonderful as a sniper gun, but not really meant for any build designed to get in close. A pair of them will fire faster/charge faster than normal Gauss, with obviously the much lower damage, but that higher rate of fire actually offsets the lower damage by quite a bit.

    Heavy Gauss is something to be deeply respected if you know you’re facing a unit packing one, or worse, two (Annihilators love doing this). Their damage fall off is painfully quick at range, but if someone in a medium ‘Mech is unfortunate enough to get within 200m of you, you can pretty much rip them to pieces. If you’re packing two Heavy Gauss, you can make even Heavy and Assault ‘Mechs backpedal the instant you turn the corner to face them, and have fairly high odds of ripping one of their arms’ armor completely off. The downside of course is a really slow firing/charge rate, so pairing them up with other weapons (lasers or pulse lasers are recommended in my opinion) is pretty much a given unless you’re willing to deal with the fact you will be the #1 target for everyone on their team who can hit you as a free shot (since you can’t shoot back) during your cooling/charge time.

  3. Rob C.

    It will be interesting when the Fafnir shows up with it’s standard 2xHeavy Gauss Rifle setup.
    It will be bulleye on the field if doesn’t suffer from Awesome problem of being too wide that it can’t avoid being hit by incoming fire.


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