No jokes, no quips, no higgeltybips. We’re jumping straight to the straight facts today because there’s a load of BattleTech news this month and it ain’t gonna get spoon-fed to your eye holes with flowery language about summer rains.
Besides, we got some big news to start us off.
Clan Invasion Wave 2 Shipping Has Started
Battletech: Clan Invasion Wave 2 has commenced this morning and will be our main focus for the remainder of August and into September! Tracking emails will be going out daily as we work through the project. #Kickstarter @catalystgamelab pic.twitter.com/CCpBDIuMG5
— QM Logistics (@QMLogistics) August 16, 2021
If you’re like me, you probably thought that combining all your Clan Invasion toys into a single shipment made sense. This was before a global pandemic, a global shipping slowdown, and that stupid tanker that got stuck in the Suez Canal. Time makes fools of us all, as they say, and I felt very foolish indeed for my naive decision from so long ago.
That said, our long wait is almost over. Clan Invasion Kickstarter backers will soon be shipping their Second Wave packages over the next few weeks, with deliveries expected to last into September. Emails have already started going out for people to confirm their addresses. If your address hasn’t changed, no action is required, but you might as well double-check that nothing weird has happened between now and what feels like a lifetime ago.
Sarna has a Discord!
A few months ago, an official Sarna Discord was created. It’s already grown to over 750 members, and is a great way to connect with others in the BattleTech/Sarna/Wiki community.
The focus of the Discord is as an aid to the wiki — join the #research-desk, or as #wiki-questions. If you have any technical problems with the site you can post in #wiki-issues.
Of course you’re welcome to discuss is #general BattleTech stuff or about #videogames-general — we love talking BattleTech.
Most of all, we aim to be friendly! Join us!
To Serve And Protect
Our first artist spotlight is PhearTheHam on Reddit, who posted this phenomenal image of an UrbanMech in a police uniform. We’re not sure which planet this Urbie is on, but whatever it is, it’s got an urban center with a crime problem big enough to warrant an AC/10.
So Detroit, basically.
Wolves Remakes Terra In Its Own Image
Some of you may be familiar with Founder's work already. For the past few months he's been working on bringing Terra to life with original assets taking strong inspiration from the original MA2 levels. Here's how that's looking so far… pic.twitter.com/SqQzble8f4
— Wolves (@Wolves_Game) August 17, 2021
Another month, another Wolves update. This one brings back one of MechAssault 2‘s levels using
some of the original assets completely new, custom assets [ed. PajamaBoy has corrected me--sorry about that!]. Terra certainly looks a lot different in the 31st century thanks to ComStar rule. This is what the world would look like if a telecom company took over.
I gotta say, for a completely fan-made game, the Wolves folks are better at keeping their players up to date than most AAA developers.
Eldonious Rex Makes The Best BattleTech Paperback Cover Ever
The Marauder pack book cover! Stylishly themed after classic BT novels. Check that checkered banding across the top. The Mad II is my custom chonk version. The Hatchetmen are the CGL version #battletech #mechwarrior #scifi #scifiart #Mecha #rpg #tabletopgaming #digitalart #Retro pic.twitter.com/WejtyDVP2t
— Eldoniousrex (@Eldoniousrex) August 2, 2021
Oh, Eldonious Rex, you’ve done it again. Eldonious recently released his Marauder Print Pack, a collection of original prints that would look great on a wall or the cover of the latest CGL novel. Here we see a Marauder II taking on two Hatchetmen in close-quarters combat. It’s gotta be one of the most dynamic still images of ‘Mechs fighting I’ve ever seen. Catalyst, I hope you’ve hired this guy to be your cover artist.
You can get this image along with several other Marauder-themed items (including a coaster) over on Eldonious Rex’s commerce site here.
MechWarrior: Living Legends Releases Update 0.14.4
Development continues on the old Living Legends even as a new standalone Living Legends is also under development. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot new in update 0.14.4 but there are a few notable fixes.
First, ambient temperature wasn’t updating correctly on vehicle HUDs, so that was fixed, and damage modifiers that were allowing splash weapons to crack through a ‘Mech’s head armor have been tweaked to stop providing quick and undeserved kills. Third, all ASF build timers have been set to 45 seconds from 10 seconds to prevent players from just Kamikazeing into ground objectives over and over again and wasting team tickets.
There’ve also been a few tweaks to the Kagoshima map, including added ammo buy zones on the side caps, rolling fog has been added to the lower part of the river valley, and the Karnov has been moved from the middle of the map. You should see these changes live on servers now.
Games Workshop Drives Warhammer Fans To BattleTech
Im a battletech now pic.twitter.com/4oPOJdZZ3f
— ZoranTheBear (@ZoranTheBear) August 16, 2021
I was a little late for this drama because I’m not much of a Warhammer fan, but apparently, Games Workshop has declared war on its own fanbase.
Earlier this month, Games Workshop updated its intellectual property guidelines to have a “zero tolerance” policy towards infringements. This includes “pirating books, using a 3D printer to make copies of their models, and a ban on fan animations,” according to an article from Vice.
The weird part here is that even though I’m not a Warhammer 40K nerd, I’ve still seen the incredible fan-made Astartes series on YouTube. Games Workshop actually hired that guy as well as a bunch of other talented individuals to make original content for a new streaming platform that Games Workshop is launching on August 25, so you can imagine how awful it looks for Games Workshop to suddenly turn around and say “no more fan animations, now you gotta pay for it.”
This led r/GrimDank, the official Warhammer meme subreddit, to switch to entirely BattleTech memes for an entire week, driving untold hordes of Warhammer fans to discover BattleTech for the first time.
Tex wrote up a lovely welcoming post on GrimDank, while others have taken to trying to map Warhammer 40K factions to BattleTech factions (it doesn’t always work, but the effort is what counts here). As a reporter, I just report the news, but if any former Warhammer fans are reading this, welcome! Sarna is your one-stop shop for all the BattleTech info that’s worth keeping (which is to say all of it), and I’m sure you’ll come to love it as much as every other BattleTech fan does.
MechCommander Mercenaries Returns For MechWarrior 5
You remember MechCommander Mercenaries? The MechWarrior 5: Mercs mod that turned the game from a game where you command a single lance from the cockpit of your personal ‘Mech to a game where you command an entire company from the safety of your DropShip? Well, the Steam release of MechWarrior 5 and its Heroes of the Inner Sphere DLC sort of broke the mod for a while, but version 1.3 fixes it, and it’s available now over on Nexusmods.
Besides being playable again, MechCommander Mercs 1.3 adds a few new features, such as squadmates sharing sensor data for the purposes of long-range missiles, new empty/low ammo message on the game’s UI, and has better ‘Mech AI that should be compatible with other mods (like the TT AI mods).
However, there are still a bunch of things left to do, and also several known issues in the current release. For example, if you decide you’re tired of being a bystander and you want to get back into the action by entering back into Mason’s cockpit via the F6 button, you’ll break the Mason AI if you try to leave again.
There are other issues too, so read up on the 1.3 release notes before installing.
Assassins Are Bad, But This Art Is Great
I love the Assassin. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a bad ‘Mech; it’s under-gunned and under-armored compared to anything in its class, and it’s not particularly effective in its singular role of hunting down and killing light ‘Mechs. It’s a poorly designed ‘Mech built by corporations that were looking to milk the Star League military-industrial complex and it honestly hasn’t gotten any better in the half-millennia since its introduction.
But man, it just looks so damned good, and I just love me a recon-in-force ‘Mech that can fly (even though there are many, MANY other ‘Mechs that can do it better than the Assassin).
So thank you, fed0tich, for indulging in my unabashed love of the Assassin. Please feel free to do so again at your earliest convenience.
Tex, Stackpole, Pardoe, And HPD Renegade Talk All Things BattleTech
What do you get when you combine two of BattleTech‘s most prolific authors, Renegade HPG, and Tex? Two hours of the most fascinating conversation interspersed with some amusing anecdotes and Tex’s… unique brand of humor. This interview winds its way from the Minnesota Tribe and Clan Wolverine to the author’s favorite missed opportunities for cover art to some interesting “what if” scenarios.
If you’ve got two hours to kill, you could do a lot worse than Renegade HPG’s latest interview. Check it out in the video here.
Battle Bound Answers Who Would Win In A Fight Between The Black Widow Company And The Gray Death Legion
I stumbled across Battle Bound in one of my many jaunts across the wider world of BattleTech, which is to say it popped up in the subreddit and thought it was amusing enough to watch while I work.
What we’ve got here is a group of creatives that are essentially jazzing up a BattleTech playthrough with some nice editing, some video game-inspired effects, and narration courtesy of the one and only Tex. Frankly, I’m OK with Tex becoming the voice of BattleTech--it’ll give George a break from doing Duncan Fisher all the time.
Before the main event, Battle Bound shows us a bit of BattleTech history with an unboxing of the Gray Death Legion and Black Widow Company‘s Japanese sourcebooks and even goes deep into each company’s dossier, outlining each pilot, machine, and even their ‘Mechs unique quirks. This is circa 3025, so ‘Mechs often went into battle with damaged systems that just couldn’t be fully repaired.
If you want to see a BattleTech tabletop game made as exciting as it basically can be, this is it.
Boston Dynamics Shows Off Precisely The Wrong Kind Of Robot We Should Be Making
It’s a little sad to see current robotics going in the direction of small and dextrous rather than giant and lumbering, but I guess we gotta start with baby steps, right?
Boston Dynamics is a name we’ve covered before around these parts. Being on the forefront of robotics design means we’re just itching for the folks over in Boston to invent myomer musculature, fusion engines, gyroscopes capable of keeping an 80-ton death machine from toppling over.
Instead, we get Atlas running a parkour course and then doing a backflip. It’s impressive, yes, but I think we need to collectively remind Boston Dynamics that we’re not at all interested in the cyberpunk future of robot ninjas. Give me giant stompy robots, thanks.
MWO August Patch Brings The First ‘Mech Quirk Pass And Revamps HPG Map
MechWarrior Online’s renaissance continues with yet more updates! This time we’ve got a first quirk pass to several underused ‘Mechs as well as a massively updated HPG map.
You can see the new HPG over on MechWarrior Online’s website, but it looks like the giant satellite dish has been pushed to the side and the actual battlefield is going to be a collection of ramps and technologically infused boxes. This might make the map seem a little more boring from an aesthetic perspective, but this is all to prevent games from devolving into two teams constantly circling around the HPG in a maneuver affectionately referred to as “NASCARing.”
In MWO’s first quirk pass since the Cauldron took the reins of development, a collection of underused ‘Mechs is getting a much-needed performance boost in the form of quirks. Although somewhat controversial to BattleTech purists, quirks are basically MWO’s method of balancing BattleMech designs. Because ‘Mechs come in all different shapes and sizes, some are just easier to hit than others. Some have big arms that protect the torso, some have no arms at all, and some are just giant boxes that are so easy to hit that they turn into a walking bullet sponge on the battlefield.
On top of that, certain ‘Mechs have better hardpoints, better omni-pods, or other non-equipment factors that just make them better or worse than other ‘Mechs in their weight class. Quirks give MechWarriors a reason to use a particular ‘Mech that’s just objectively worse without a little help.
In this first quirk pass, the Locust, Mist Lynx, Adder, Cougar, Arctic Cheetah, Javelin, Incubus, Spider, Arctic Wolf, Hellspawn, Ice Ferret, Cicada, Centurion, Shadow Hawk, Hellfire, Thunderbolt, Nova Cat, Timber Wolf, Awesome, Victor, Highlander, Highlander IIC, Supernova, Mauler, Atlas, Kodiak, Dire Wolf, and Marauder II all get revamped quirks--mostly buffs, although a few quirks were removed or reduced to make way for the new quirk set.
I’m particularly interested in the Ice Ferret quirks, as it’s one of my favorite ‘Mechs and it’s going to be quite a bit tougher following Tuesday’s patch. The Incubus and Cougar also look very interesting, as does the Centurion, which looks like it’ll suddenly become the tankiest medium ‘Mech in the game.
Both the new quirks and HPG remaster are live now, so go out there and blast people with some of these quirked-out ‘Mechs!
But as they say, that’s not all! There’s a free Shadow Hawk SDH-2K available for those who play the game even a moderate amount between now and August 9, and MWO community manager Daeron “Bombadil” Katz recently did an interview with No Guts No Galaxy’s Sean Lang to discuss the future of the game. There’s apparently going to be a huge announcement for both MW5 and MWO sometime next month, and PGI is also looking into restarting the MechWarrior Online World Championships and even hosting a virtual Mech_Con sometime in the future.
Now This Is A Helluva BattleTech Map
Aidan Pryde leads the Falcon Guards through Olalla during the battle of Tukayyid (3052 -Colorized-)@Blindtemple @mechtexas @tabletopbill @_1n51_ @artofbattletech @BPLTEX @Leaky_cheese @Detocroix#Battletech pic.twitter.com/9NwDASlQgQ
— Longino García (@2500kgm3) August 24, 2021
I saw this pop up in my Twitter feed and just had to share. Longino Garcia’s battle map for the city of Olalla during the Battle of Tukayyid is nothing short of sublime.
And that’s it for August! Man, the time sure does fly. I’m still waiting on my Wave 2 order, but I hear someone at the door and it could be the mail person with my box now.
Oh, and have you checked out Sarna’s interview with BattleTech Line Developer Ray Arrastria? ‘Cause you should.
And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.