Your BattleTech News Round-Up For June, 2024

Hey guys. It’s June. That means several wonderful things. First, it was my birthday. Second, the Mercenaries Kickstarter is being shipped, which is a wonderful birthday gift. And third, it’s Pride month, which means the 2024 BattleTech Pride Anthology is here. It’s the month that keeps on giving.

And it’s giving way more than just these three things. We’ve got an entire month of news to cover, including new stuff on MechWarrior 5: Clans, new Catalyst products, and new BattleTech events. It’s a packed month, so let’s dive right in.

Mercenaries Kickstarter Order Have Begun Shipping

QML Mercenaries Packages

You can read a few updates on the Mercenaries Kickstarter page to see proof of all the packages being prepared for shipping, but the real proof was when QML (the shipping company) asked to confirm my address. With one click, I’m not mere weeks away from receiving the long-awaited Mercenaries Kickstarter.

If you’ve got any problems, or you need to make an address change and haven’t received your email, reach out using this link here.

American and Canadian backers will be receiving their orders first. With orders out by the end of the month, I’m guessing I’ll receive my order the first or second week of July. Global orders will be sometime later, depending on how fast mail is in your locale. 

And as much as we love these big, splashy orders, Catalyst has stated there won’t likely be another one of the same size and scale as Mercenaries in the future. You can read our interview with Ray and Aaron from earlier this year, but the Cole’s notes version is it’s just a ton of work when these days BattleTech is large enough that retailers don’t have a problem dealing with all the logistics of selling to customers themselves.

BattleTech Pride Anthology 2024 Is Here And Additionally Queer

BattleTech Pride Anthology 2024

And of course, how could we forget this year’s Pride Anthology? Last year we received the Pride Anthology after some ado, which you can read about here. This year things have thankfully been much more mellow. After some incorrigible scamps briefly attempted to mass report the Anthology (presumably because their parents didn’t hug them enough as children), Itch.io now has it freely available to download

This year’s Anthology is bigger and better than ever, with the likes of Bryan Young and Russell Zimmerman contributing short stories, as well as Michael Stackpole writing the forward. Robin Briseno, Milla Koponen, and Albert Ross return from last year’s anthology and are joined by newcomers Jason ‘Po Ding’ Livermore, Kyle ‘Blimp’ Kruso, Ryn Mackie, Jordan Versus, Eric Haiko, Dana Harris, and Griffin Souza. There’s even a custom Longbow CRT for those who really love ATMs courtesy of Clan Sea Fox, with cover art by our very own Eldoniousrex. There’s also some delightful art from Tera, Jordan, and Samantha Richardson.

It’s kinda ludicrous the jump in both size and quality from last year. I’ve also been told that they basically got twice as many submissions as they could pack into a single anthology without making it something like 400 pages long (as it stands, it’s already a full-size paperback at 272 pages). 

And if you wanted to know what the Anthology would look like in hardcover, look no further than blimpeh’s hand-made covering here. Note the custom pin and Trans Rights Mad Dog

Head on over to Itch.io for the free download.

Pride ‘Mechs Are My Favorite Part Of June

The only thing Binary at this Pride is the TO&E
byu/AGBell64 inbattletech

There was a lot of hubbub with last year’s Pride Anthology, so when this year seemed to arrive without much controversy, it was kind of a relief. That’s not to say the fight is over--I still filter out a lot of repugnant comments on the daily, and I’m told there was still a half-hearted attempt to mass-report the Pride Anthology to get it blocked on itch.io. That failed, of course, and now there’s no warning message when you try to download the PDF or epub file. 

So instead, I’m just going to use this section of the monthly news blast to showcase some more queer ‘Mechs. That was my favorite part of last year’s Pride-Splosion anyhow. If you’ve got any queer ‘Mechs, post links in the comments. And if you need a reminder, BattleTech has a diverse community of players from all kinds of backgrounds. Don’t let the haters get you down. BattleTech is for everyone.

Pre-Painted Retailer Grinder Kit Revealed

Battletech PVC Assembly 051501j
Watch this video on YouTube.

Earlier this month, we received confirmation during one of the Catalyst newscasts that there are more pre-painted ‘Mechs coming our way. Or perhaps it’d be more accurate to call these “pre-colored.” While the pre-painted Orion from last month is all done up in Star League livery as befitting Alexsandr Kerensky’s personal ride, videos from Liya International (Catalyst’s manufacturing partner) confirm these seem to be ‘Mechs that are made in differently-colored plastics with a simple wash applied.

From the videos, we can see blue plastic BattleMasters, Awesomes, and Marauder IIs, red Catapults and Thunderbolts, grey Shadow Hawks, Wolverines, and Novas, purple Stingers and Locusts, and green Pumas and Grendels. The idea is that these ‘Mechs will go in Grinder Packs, which is the sort of introductory game format where players start off with weak ‘Mechs and work their way to more powerful ‘Mechs. Each ‘Mech is color-coded so the player can choose what ‘Mech they upgrade to when their previous ‘Mech gets destroyed.

With the ‘Mechs already coming in certain colors, all you’d have to do as a painter is apply detailing and decals. That would potentially cut down on a lot of work. We’re expecting more details in the coming weeks, but from the Tuesday livestream, it seems these kits will be for retailers only.

Oh, and if you were wondering if this might mean the potential for entire pre-painted ForcePacks, the Assistant Line Developer said “no immediate plans” in a recent AMA. More on that later. 

You Just Gotta Believe In Yourself

Luck of the Cards by DMoser

It’s been my experience that so long as you keep firing every weapon you have, even a Dragon can take down a Fafnir. But I think it’d be a good idea for the Dragon to use those feet to get behind the Fafnir first. A lot safer that way. Thanks to DMoser for this one.

MRC Announces NashCon BattleTech And Alpha Strike Tournament

MRC Icon

The MRC is back at NashCon 2024 with yet another community tournament for both Classic BattleTech and Alpha Strike. NashCon, of course, is held in Nashville Tennessee from August 15 to 18. Thursday (that’s the 15th) will just be pick-up games and socializing, while Friday will include a narrative event. Saturday will be the three-round Classic BattleTech tournament and painting competition, while Sunday will be the Alpha Strike tournament. 

Because of the need for relatively quick games, the Classic BattleTech tournament will be limited to 9,000 BV and between two to six ‘Mechs. The Alpha Strike tournament will have a 500 PV limit and between four to 30 units, and all units must be in some kind of formation. While the CBT tourney is just ‘Mechs, Alpha Strike can include vehicles, infantry, and ProtoMechs. Each round will be a primary and two secondary objectives, and points will be awarded for completing objectives and getting kills. 

For the full rules, check out these Google docs here, and for the schedule of events, check out this post here. Tickets for getting into NashCon for the whole weekend start at $55, but you can probably get a discount if you just want to go for a single day. For more information, head over to the MRC Discord or email the organizers here.

I’m Not Sure What To Call This Style, But I Like It

Trio of lights by me
byu/SirTidehunterThe2nd inbattletech

SirTidehunterThe2nd brings us a few new takes on three classic light ‘Mechs: a Raven, a Firestarter, and a Piranha. The Piranha gives me the most “eek” vibes (probably due to the insect-like fingers), but the other two are very very cool. Many thanks to you for these pieces, SirTidehunterThe2nd. Also, because I so rarely get to do this, the Piranha is 20 tons, not 25. 

MechWarrior 5: Clans Launches October 3

MechWarrior 5: CLANS - Release Date Reveal Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

Summer Games Fest has come and gone, but it brought us a brand new MechWarrior 5: Clans trailer that also gives us a release date of October 3.

The trailer is a bit different from the one earlier this year. It focuses more on the cinematic aspects of MechWarrior 5: Clans and not the gameplay, although we do get to see a Star fight a Gazelle DropShip. That Star is made of classic Clan ‘Mechs, including a Timber Wolf, Mad Dog, Hellbringer, Summoner, and Stormcrow. As expected, they’re all ‘Mechs we’ve seen in MechWarrior Online and they all use essentially the same model.

Which is fine by me. The ‘Mechs have looked great for years; what we wanted was a good story to go along with them. And that’s what this trailer certainly seems to promise with its exuberant Star Colonel (edit: apparently he’s a Galaxy Commander, according to Phil) espousing the virtues of Clan Smoke Jaguar while disparaging the “fascist” Draconis Combine. That’s quite the take, but it sounds like something a rabid Crusader Smoke Jaguar warrior would say to fire up his invasion force.

There are only a few hints of what we can expect in MechWarrior 5: Clans in the trailer, but I’m hoping we’ll see more before the game launches on October 3.

No Guts No Galaxy Interview With PGI President Russ Bullock Provides New Details On MechWarrior 5

Podcast 233 - Russ Bullock - MWO, MW5 Mercs, MW5 Clans
Watch this video on YouTube.

Not only did we get MechWarrior 5: Clans‘ release date, but in an interview with Phil over at No Guts No Galaxy, PGI President Russ Bullock gave us lots more to look forward to.

A big thing we’ve already seen from previous trailers is the cinematic experience, with Russ confirming PGI now has “dozens” of people working on motion capture. PGI hired actors from Vancouver to play MW5: Clans‘ various characters, with one even getting the esteemed role of Leo Showers (screenshots of which were shared in the podcast). In total, the game has between 90 and 100 minutes of motion-captured cinematics, making this the most cinematic MechWarrior experience ever.

We also have more information on how the game’s progression system will work. Whereas in Mercenaries pilots would level up linearly without any input from the player, now it seems like players will be able to choose MechWarrior skills at the “barracks.” There will also be a “science lab” where players will be able to upgrade equipment. There will still be some sort of currency where you’ll be able to purchase prime variants of new ‘Mechs, but new OmniPods will have to be earned through gameplay. Customization is still possible for ‘Mechs even beyond swapping OmniPods, which will require this so-far unnamed currency.

Thankfully, the Clan will at least cover your repair costs, so don’t worry if your ride gets too banged up.

MW5 Leo Showers 1

Leo Showers, courtesy of PGI

Russ also confirmed the game starts on Huntress with training and then takes the player to the outskirts of the Periphery before driving through the Draconis Combine on the way to Luthien. We know the broad strokes of how that’ll go, but the specifics of what happens to your Star will be a new story.

Mod support will be coming to MechWarrior 5: Clans, but not right away. Likewise, a physical version of the game is planned, but it’ll probably arrive after release but before Christmas. There is some “way to continue to play outside of the campaign,” with Russ hinting at a sort of new-game-plus mechanic.

One thing Russ was cagey about was the ‘Mechs in MechWarrior 5: Clans. We’ve seen a lot, and Russ also confirmed the Arctic Cheetah is on the roster, but he declined to provide a hard number of total ‘Mechs. We know there are Inner Sphere ‘Mechs too, and that you’ll need to salvage them in order to gain “resources to do your own research,” but this seemed like part of the tech upgrading path and not an admission that you’ll be able to pilot captured Inner Sphere ‘Mechs. I don’t know why you’d even want to, given how bad they are compared to Clan tech.

Later on in the interview, the two also discussed the existing MechWarrior products. First up, there might be a seventh MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries DLC on the way, but if it is, it won’t be here until early next year. All hands at PGI are working on Clans. Discussion is also underway about MechWarrior Online‘s successor, but it’s unknown if it’ll be MechWarrior Online 2 or just MechWarrior 6. Russ said it will for sure not be a F2P PvP game, and would more likely be a premium game with PvE elements. It could hypothetically take the same path as Call of Duty with a campaign and multiplayer elements separate from each other, but everything is still very much in the planning stages.

There’s more, so I encourage you to listen to the whole interview to get the inside scoop.

More Legendary ‘Mechs For MechWarrior Online

MechWarrior Online June 2024 Patch

It’s a new month and that means a new MechWarrior Online patch. This month we have two new Legendary ‘Mechs in the Stone RhinoBehemoth” and the CatapultFerroblast.” What makes the “Behemoth” special is that it’s based on the custom machine belonging to Gordon Zed of Wolf’s Dragoons Alpha Regiment. Being a trueborn Clan warrior, he kept his Stone Rhino but allowed it to be downgraded with Succession Wars-era Inner Sphere tech. It comes armed with two AC/10s and two PPCs alongside a single small laser. Without any weight-savings tech and no double heat sinks, Gordon had to decrease his Stone Rhino‘s engine to a standard 200, making it absolutely glacial. Those who purchase this Legendary ‘Mech will certainly want to re-apply many of the technologies Gordon removed in order to be competitive in MechWarrior Online.

The “Ferroblast” is somewhat more exciting. This thing has a top speed of 106 kph thanks to a 355 XL engine. It comes armed with two Snub-Nose PPCs and six Magshots, which is barely enough to be a threat at 65 tons, but I’ve always preferred speed over firepower. Both come with the usual C-Bill booster and mini battle pass providing extra rewards, including GSP, Mech Credits, Premium Time, and exclusive decals, cockpit items, colors, and bolt-on aesthetics.

On the balance side, most autocannons have seen their projectile velocity increase, all Cyclops models have received an additional 100m to their sensor range, and there are a few minor tweaks to variants of the Viper, Phoenix Hawk, Hatchetman, Cicada, Shadow Cat, and Raven. You can read all about it in the official patch notes here.

Inside Of You Are Three Timber Wolves

Three Timberwolf Moon
byu/Chainclaw inbattletech

Yes, it’s the sort of thing a ‘Mech bunny on Solaris would have on a t-shirt, but I just like the alternate take on the Timber Wolf. I’m not sure what variant has rotary cannons/machine guns in the arms alongside a pair of larger weapons, but I dig it. Kudos to Chainclaw for this one. 

It’s A Prideful Mackie

Happy Pride! Behold the Pride Mackie
byu/VersusJordan inbattletech

You’re not getting out of this without some more Pride ‘Mechs. Here we have a gay Mackie from Jordan Versus, one of the contributors to this year’s Pride Anthology. extremely clean color fades on this one alongside some excellent detail work. The only problem is getting this sort of paint job in the field would send your ‘Mech techs into conniptions. Even if you bribed him with some Timbiqui Dark, I don’t know if Fahad would get this done in time to drop.

The Gargoyle Stalactites Its Way Into MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Gargoyle Nexus Mods Mw5

Do you like the absolutely wild look of the original Gargoyle? You know, the one with the chrome dome, the big feet, and arms that end in autocannons but no SRMs? Well, we can’t have a modern ‘Mech firing missiles from nowhere, so Farseer made an updated version of the Steve Venters original, and then Emil of The Art of BattleTech modded it into MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. They also recently did the Rifleman IIC, another MechWarrior 2 classic that looks absolutely wild in MechWarrior 5. Mostly because it has a flat-paneled cockpit beneath a giant saucer. 

Head to Nexus Mods to download either of these mods, or look for them on the Steam Workshop.

Devastator Versus Fenris, Who Ya Got?

“Firefight” – BT Private Commission Ink piece #2.
byu/TheRedEpicArt inbattletech

I never bet against the Fenris. It’s been one of my personal favorites since forever, with enough space to mount a PPC and some supporting weapons, enough armor to endure a firefight, and enough speed to dictate the terms of engagement. But a Demolisher has two AC/20s, and that’s still lights-out for the likes of a Fenris.

Kind regards to Jarden Blando for inking this up in Procreate for us and Jeremy Thompson’s Classic BattleTech campaign.

Additional Pride Reinforcements Detected

Happy Pride Month
byu/ElroyScout inbattletech

Elroy Scout has shared their Star of a lesbian Shadow Hawk, a gay Mad Cat III, a bisexual Mauler, a trans Savage Wolf, and a generally queer Black Knight. Props go to the Mad Cat III for being so gay that it needs an extra slice of hex base to handle that stride. Sashay away!

Alpha Strike Is Still Not The Default Way To Play BattleTech

Results of the Game Frequency Survey
byu/AloneHome2 inbattletech

I remember playing the original Classic BattleTech and finding it… dense. After that, I stuck with the video games until I was finally convinced to give Alpha Strike a try, and now I’m loving it. I have an entire wall of minis strictly because Alpha Strike is such a vastly superior game system.

And yet, it seems I’m in the minority. According to a poll on the BattleTech subreddit conducted by AloneHome2, roughly two-thirds of the subreddit plays Classic, while one-third plays Alpha Strike with any regularity.

Admittedly, this was less than 200 respondents so there’s no telling how accurate this would be over the total BattleTech population, but still, I’m disappointed to see Alpha Strike so far behind. Is it a marketing problem, or am I just totally out of touch? Do let me know your opinion in the comments below.

The Republic Is Dead, But The Spirit Cats Are Not

AMA with Line Developers Ray Arrastia and Aaron Cahall LIVE
byu/AdrianGideon inbattletech

As is their new habit, Catalyst did another AMA on Reddit this month. As usual, there were a lot of questions asked and a lot of answers provided, but I wanted to pick out two interesting points.

First of all, the Republic of the Sphere is dead. Both Aaron and Ray confirmed that, while they loved the faction, they wouldn’t resurrect it after the thorough thrashing it received at the hands of Clans Wolf and Jade Falcon. We will, however, see something that keeps the spirit of the faction alive in some way, and we’ll find out more about that in Trial of Birthright and ilKhan’s Eyes Only.

Second, the Spirit Cats aren’t dead! Apparently, Randall Bills will continue the story of Kisho in an upcoming novel. No draft yet, or timeline on when we can expect that story to arrive, but the universe needs more Spirit Cats, so I’m signal boosting this.

There are, of course, many more topics discussed, which you can read about here.

My Dear, I Give You The Kermit Confederation

Muppet Hanse Melissa Marriage

As a follow-up to April’s shirtless Alaric Wolf image, Eldoniousrex was contractually obliged to create a very special rendition of the marriage between Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner. The catch? It had to be Muppet-themed. So in this most auspicious month of love, here we have the Muppets in one of BattleTech‘s most iconic moments. Kermit throwing up his frog paws as Maximilian definitely made my week, so thanks for that.

And that’s it for June! Join us next month for yet more BattleTech action.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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18 thoughts on “Your BattleTech News Round-Up For June, 2024

  1. EnbyKaiju

    Happy belated birthday, Sean! Another fantastic write-up and what a month it was, great as always getting to see our fellow MechWarriors flying their flags proudly and y’all here are great about supporting the community. <3

    Quick thing, on the list of authors for the Pride Anthology I got missed in what obviously was a big list of things to write about. Jamie Kaiju Marriage. A little sad I didn't have a chance to do up any special 'Mech paintjobs for show this year or organise for any more awesome shout-outs from the fandom, had a lot of moving drama going on, but with all the awesome Kickstarter stuff coming in I'm going to go big next year.

    Reply
  2. AntiSocial on Tharkad

    The main thing about Alpha Strike is it is still aimed at larger unit engagement.

    It works for small units fine, but the lack of granularity leaves a lot of players a bit bored. Since the vast majority of TT has always been lance v lance or Star, maybe a Level One, CBT simply provides more “color” than AS does. And if you came up on CBT in particular, AS can feel VERY vanilla with smaller units.

    Just my experiences/opinions.

    Reply
  3. J4yC33

    I *love* Alpha Strike, but I agree with AntiSocial on Tharkad. It can leave a lot to be desired. I think with the release of mercenaries and the vehicles that become options we might see an increase. It does make for amazingly cinematic fast playing games, even though I still play it on hexes.

    I love the hexes.

    Reply
    1. Robunos

      I’m wondering if a modernised version of the ‘Basic Battledroids’ rules wouldn’t be a better option for fast playing small unit combat . . .

      Reply
  4. Seeker

    From the AMA regarding the Homeworld Clans: “The Homeworld Clans are not gone, but any idea involving them needs to not be Clan Invasion 2 or Task Force Serpent 2. It has to be new and awesome and make us sit up in our chairs and we haven’t heard it yet… they were written out a quarter of a century real time (even though the story wasn’t related until The Wars of Reaving), and they’ve been out of the universe now for nearly three-quarters of a century. There isn’t anything to say about them.”

    So, unless I’m misunderstanding, they’ve finally come out and declared Clans Star Adder, Cloud Cobra, Coyote and Stone Lion basically irrelevant for the forseeable future? I cannot say I’m a fan of that.

    Reply
    1. Kereminde

      Far as I can tell, they’re trying to focus on the broad picture with the ilClan era within the Inner Sphere. If this is going to be where they want to put their energy, they need to put a foundation down and not rush through to another story beat. I’m not thrilled, entirely, by them leaving a chunk of space out of focus… but let’s not kid ourselves here.

      They do it to the Periphery all the darn time.

      Reply
  5. Patrick Rich

    Well, it’s now July, and I have yet to receive any info on when I might get my backerkit. All of my shipping info is up to date, all my shipping charges have been paid. The last email I got was the 6/19 one about order inquiries.

    Catalyst has failed to meet it’s deadline as far as I’m concerned.

    Reply
    1. AlanthePaladin

      If it wasn’t a Kickstarter I would agree but the stated terms and conditions on Kickstarter could be summed up as, “the date given is more of a guesstimate (Guess/Estimate) good luck.”
      Not the worst delay I have had on Kickstarter by far, that delay being “Valda’s Spire of Secrets” From Mage Hand Press, a nice big DnD 5e supplement which was delayed by like 1-2 years I think. Which was only okay-ish because they sent the PDF out ahead of time so I was only waiting for the physical book.
      Either way just have patience, I’m exited for the big delivery too.

      Reply
    2. JustinKase

      This seems a bit, trifling, though I certainly understand wanting your stuff ‘now’.

      QML is shipping the orders. There are 23,654 people that backed this KS, which is a LOT of shipping to get completed. Keep in mind that QML has other KSs they are working to fulfill – eg: I received my Crossbows and Catapults KS from them this week.

      CGL and QML also got thrown a curveball with the factory error with the vehicle mispacks, and quickly made a decision to give everyone an extra booster, along with addressing people who might receive two of the incorrect boxes. This was quickly decided (likely after temporarily halting any more shipments while the decision was made) and the free booster was tossed in to avoid slowing the process down.

      To me failure is when there is a lack of effort and good faith – and CGL is succeeding with this KS. Now, Leviathans on the other hand, that one is suffering (IMHO), likely due to being more focused on this KS.

      Reply
  6. Samuel Crosbie

    I just don’t like Alpha Strike. But that’s cause I started CBT back in 86. God I feel old. But it’s stuck with me, and I with it, to the point a company versus company or even Trinary on Trinary using clan rules, isn’t so difficult. But that’s just me. I do appreciate Alpha Strike for its simplicity, it’s just not crunchy enough for me.

    Oh! Also! Happy Birthday, Sean-type person!

    Reply
  7. James Bixby

    The Spirit Cats are the last shining light for me as a Nova Cat Fan my only dissapointment is they took up residency in the Free Worlds Leauge.

    House Marik finally happened to me!

    Reply
  8. Star Colonel Ward

    Blessed be the ilKhan and First Lord of Star League IIC, Wolf Jesus himself, Alaric Ward, for saving the month of June with the gift of an entertaining Hawk TuahC Mechwarrior.

    Reply
  9. Kurt Spearing

    Just received my kickstarter yesterday. =) so they are closer to on schedule than most KS I have backed.

    Its been around so long I think people forget what a brilliant set of game mechanics Battletech really is (granted total warfare went a bit overboard in some ways I think). Alpha strike feels just like every other mimiatures game thats out there. That is why I prefer Battletech.

    Reply
  10. AlphaBlu

    I think Alpha Strike removes too much of what makes BTech interesting to play.

    Reducing all weapons of every type to a firepower rating just sucks the fun out of combat.

    Reply
  11. Pietor Malthus

    MW5 Clans Ilkhan Leo Showers looks strikingly close to the artwork from Era Report 3052.
    Excellent work Piranha Games!

    Reply

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