I’m in that middle slump between the holidays. I don’t actually get the full week off, so I’m in for a few days before heading out for another alcohol-fueled adventure celebrating the renewal of the Julian calendar. It’s just long enough for me to forget that wine really shouldn’t be combined with the vast quantity of beer I received for Christmas. The good news is I managed to get my covid booster just before the holidays, so I’m reasonably sure all this cavorting isn’t going to get me sick. Reasonably.
Anyway, welcome to the end of 2022. It’s been a banger year, and to close it out, we got some more BattleTech news for you. ‘Cause that’s what we do around these parts. Strap on your neurohelmet with antlers, because it’s that time of year again.
More BattleTech Comics, Please
Last we saw meltdonw14, they were busy creating a scene from Close Quarters featuring a Crusader punching the head off an Atlas. Now, meltdonw14 returns with an even more extensive four-panel comic of a Shadow Hawk infiltrating an enemy base.
The comic is based on the short story included in the BattleTech Beginner Box Set, “The Golden Rule.” Note the Whitworth that’s standing in the gantry with its unmistakable helmet and handless arms. If we’re lucky, we might even get more than one page of this short story, although fleshing the whole thing out as a comic might be more work than we can reasonably expect. Somebody pay this person to keep making BattleTech comics!
Fusion Now Generates More Power Than It Uses
There are a few ways you can do giant robots in sci-fi. First, there’s massive batteries that hold enough charge for said robots to engage in combat, although usually without using energy projection weapons like lasers and particle accelerators. And then there’s fusion power, something that just got one step closer to becoming reality.
Researchers at the Energy Department’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have created a new magnetic field setup that tripled the power created by a fusion reaction in a lab. You can read all the science-y stuff in the full report, but the key takeaway is that this is the first-ever fusion reaction that actually generated more power than it took to initiate fusion--the key requirement for actually generating power.
The whole thing involves almost 200 lasers blasting a couple of hydrogen isotopes until they produce x-rays and implode, causing the extreme pressure and heat required for those isotopes to fuse. This new setup resulted in more power than ever before, but it’s still not enough for a sustained fusion reaction, which is what we’d need for an actual fusion power plant.
Science sometimes happens in baby steps, but it really looks like we’re going to crack fusion power in most of our lifetimes. Give it a decade or two and we might actually have a running reactor powering a commercial grid--or at least, providing some of the grid’s power. Even if this technology doesn’t become small enough to power a six-story robot, it’s still going to be a big win for humanity and our search for energy sources that don’t require fossil fuels or traditional nuclear fission (not that there’s anything wrong with fission, but people still seem a bit too squeamish over splitting a few atoms to power a grid).
MechWarrior 2 On The Steam Deck
Some of you might have heard of the Steam Deck, a handheld PC that sort of takes the Nintendo Switch form factor and turns it into something a bit more powerful and much more useful. Not every game on Steam can run on the Deck, but a lot of them can, and besides Steam, the Deck can also run some interesting software. This apparently includes a PlayStation emulator, which means you can play the PlayStation version of MechWarrior 2.
I know this for a fact because German Twitch streamer Timeras proved it with his Deck earlier in the month. Yes, the PlayStation version certainly isn’t the best version of MechWarrior 2, but outside of MechWarrior 5, it’s probably the best MechWarrior game that actually has controller support. Anyway, just an idea for those of you who have a Steam Deck.
Who Says Banshees Are Bad?
I did. I said Banshees are bad. But I also admit that the BNC-3S is actually a fantastic ‘Mech and in no way deserving of the term “bad.” It also looks badass, which is the exact opposite of bad. English is weird.
Kudos to fed0tich for this one. You can see their work in a few other past posts with unique spins on classic ‘Mechs, and I appreciate ’em every time. Especially when they’re of favorites like the Banshee.
Kell Brothers Come To Gallery 3025
While it’s important to recognize the ‘Mechs and many other machines of BattleTech, it’s also important to recognize the many people too. It doesn’t get more iconic than the Kell brothers, who are both featured in Gallery 3025’s recent post by Bruce Patnaude. I especially like how Bruce gave Patrick a bit of a makeover compared to the image that Sarna has in its database, which is… yeesh.
Usual pitch for Gallery 3025, a community-supported Patreon that pays artists to keep creating BattleTech art. Sign up for less than a coffee a day over on the Gallery 3025 Patreon here.
The Magistracy Has A Fan-Made 3160 TRO Now
Y’all want some more fan-created content? Of course you do. Magestrix Riley of the Magistracy of Canopus has informed me of a new fan-made technical readout available now over on her Patreon. The Magistracy Intelligence Report: Technical Readout 3160 contains over 120 units and more than 200 pages of BattleMechs, OmniMechs, IndustrialMechs, and combat vehicles right up to the year 3160. And because this is the periphery we’re talkin’ about, they all have their own very unique style.
The great thing about the periphery is there’s a lot of room for storytelling. That’s why HBS placed BATTLETECH way out in the periphery, and while it means having clean access to replacement parts can be hard to come by, the Periphery offers that 3025-ish nostalgia even when it’s 3160. All you gotta say is that it’s some periphery merc unit running around doing what they can with what they have.
Although I should note that this fan-made TRO assumes (probably correctly) that the Magistracy has kept up with the advances of defense technology in the rest of the Inner Sphere. Some of these ‘Mechs are real fighters and not just nostalgia trips. Be warned.
MechWarrior Online Has Tons Of Holiday Stuff Up For Grabs
It’s the holiday season, and like many live-service titles, MechWarrior Online is giving away a DropShip-load of free loot in the spirit of the season. We’ll get to that free stuff in a minute, but first, some patch notes.
December’s patch brought the Hatchetman for those who purchased it. Expect the C-bill versions to be available later on. There are also a few new Platinum Collections to grab in both Inner Sphere and Clan flavors. Nothing too ground-breaking to report on new ‘Mech Quirks, except for the Zeus getting a built-in speed tweak for the ZEU-6S, ZEU-5S, and the ZEU-92S. The Cyclops has also finally received a quirk pass, although it mostly seems to be about removing weapon-specific quirks for more general quirks, which should help improve build variety.
Alright, time for the loot. MechWarrior Online‘s Stocking Stuffers Lootbag event started a few weeks ago, but you still have until Jan 2 to earn as much free stuff as you can just for playing the game. Mech Bays, general skill points, C-bills, and MC are all up for grabs alongside some festive cockpit decorations. Now is the best time to stock yourself for the new year, so head into MWO and shoot your friends.
And that’s not all. There are seven free Premium Days up for grabs just for redeeming the code “happyholidays2022” (without the quotes). Redeem that code before January 5 at midnight. Also available until January 5 are sales on MechWarrior Online bundles and ‘Mech packs as well as half-off MechWarrior 5 and all DLC except for Call to Arms, which is just 33 percent off.
Catalyst Issues Mercenaries Kickstarter Preview And The Most Colorful Arcade Operations Yet
As reported last month, the Mercenaries Kickstarter is coming March 23, 2023. We already have a pretty good idea of what we’re in for, but Catalyst’s new preview document gives us an excellent sneak peek at two of my favorite bad ‘Mechs, the Quickdraw and the Assassin. We also have a great look at the Mercenaries box which reveals the Starslayer and the Devastator as two more ‘Mechs likely to appear in the box, otherwise it’d be sort of weird to have them so prominently featured.
I’ve already spoken at length on the flaws of both the Quickdraw and the Assassin, so I’m just going to say that these new sculpts make it appear as though neither ‘Mech is an absolute dumpster fire. These are great, and I will definitely be getting the Mercenaries box set just so I can have my beloved Quickdraw sitting on my shelf. And might I add, kudos to Catalyst for giving the Starslayer a center-stage position in the coming Kickstarter. The Starslayer kicks ass and it’s an absolute crime that it was only featured in MechCommander 2.
The other big beat for December is Arcade Operations: UrbanFest, a new entry to the PseudoTech sub-brand that reimagines BattleTech in fun and hilarious ways. As the cover and title suggest, UrbanFest brings the sort of “power and excitement that can only come from thirty tons of slow-moving metal, and limited firepower!” Expect to read “tales of heroism and adventure that only the most unassuming of BattleMechs can deliver,” as well as new sim-game rules for UrbanMech-centric scenarios. There are also a few new UrbanMech variants and “never-before-seen technologies,” which make UrbanFest an absolutely essential read for any UrbanMech aficionado.
An update on the ilClan Recognition Guides before we move on. Volume 28 is available now, while Volume 29 arrives on January 6, Volume 30 on January 30, Volume 31 on February 3, and Volume 32 on February 17. Mark your calendars.
Bring The Classic Marauder Home For The Holidays
Courtesy of the same modder that brought you the Timber Wolf, Mad Dog, Summoner, and Hellbringer mods for MechWarrior 5 comes this new mod that would almost certainly get everyone sued if the Unseen was still a thing. It’s a mod that replaces the MechWarrior 5 Marauder model with something loosely based on the original Duane Loose sketch, itself based on the Zentradi Tactical Pods from the Macross anime. It looks gangly and bizarre--like some sort of alien craft stomping around on feet that look too big for its spindly legs to lift. The model itself looks fantastic, with textures and fine elements that identify this thing as a ‘Mech and not an alien creature, but it really shows the vast shift in design BattleTech has taken over the years.
You can download the Classic Marauder mod on Nexus Mods or MechWarrior 5’s Steam Workshop.
Tex Talks Charger
Exactly one year after the Charger was inducted into the storied library of Bad’ Mechs, Tex offers his rebuttal in Tex Talks BattleTech: The Charger. As with every Tex Talks BattleTech, Tex offers an hour of context and thorough analysis that I’m just not able to produce on my own. Tex also offers a wildly entertaining explanation and defense of the Charger, such that even I might consider this horrible, horrible machine when choosing my next Kuritan assault ‘Mech.
As far as I’m aware, the Charger didn’t survive into the ilClan era, so it seems unlikely for the Charger to make it into the Mercenaries Kickstarter. But I sincerely hope that it does. Like the UrbanMech, the Charger is so colossally terrible, but in the completely opposite way--where one is all speed and no guns, the other is no speed and all guns. The two belong together like yin and yang. If the original Kickstarter had UrbanMechs as add-ons, let’s hope the Mercenaries Kickstarter chooses the Charger as its dilapidated mascot.
Incoming Holiday HPG Message: Merry Christmas
Hey folks, thanks for passing this around, however, I am not the author (much as though I would like to claim credit for it). This little ditty was written by Mike Ritchie at Rather Dashing Games! https://t.co/PDQyXvwV8D
— John Helfers (@Radiojonnypanda) December 25, 2022
Although attributed to BattleTech short story writer John Helfers, Helfers himself clarified that “this little ditty was written by Mike Ritchie at Rather Dashing Games!”
- Twas the night before Christmas, and throughout the Inner Sphere
- Dropships were swarming, while escorts flew near.
- Tactics were formed, ammo loaded with care,
- In hope that their enemy soon would be there.
- The ‘Mechs were poised to bring death from afar,
- With pilots in coolant vests and old battle scars.
- With Mama in her Atlas and I in my Mad Cat,
- In anticipation of glorious battle and danger we sat.
- When what from the glow of my HUD I could tell,
- Was a miniature Urbie and eight tiny Elementals,
- With a little old pilot whose maniacal glee,
- Led me to know it must be Kerensky.
- More rapid than LRMs his courses they sped,
- Firing plasma and lasers to make many dead.
- As rapid he came, he jumped out of sight,
- Exclaiming to all, “Have a great Christmas fright!”
Clearly that’s a Ghost of Christmas Past because there’s no UrbanMech in existence that can rapidly do anything, let alone carry eight Elementals.
Wishing You A Safe And Happy Holidays
That’s it for December, and 2023 is right around the corner. The new year has lots for us to look BattleTech fans to look forward to, from a new BattleTech Kickstarter full of new mini designs to a brand-new MechWarrior 5 expansion centered on the Free Rasalhague Republic. There were plenty of surprises to excite us throughout 2022, and I don’t expect 2023 to be any different.
And as always, MechWarriors: Merry Christmas.