Your BattleTech News Roundup For February

It’s been a busy month! There are lots of things happening in the BattleTech world, so instead of bombarding you all with a bunch of smaller updates, I decided to try and make things a little easier to digest. Hence the digest-style post.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it!

BattleTech Clan Invasion Kickstarter Delayed

Timberwolf

Is this really much of a surprise? If you told me that something like 90% of Kickstarters get delayed, I’d believe it. In fact, CNN says that number is around 84% (in 2012, which is a number that likely hasn’t improved in the 8 years since). I don’t think I’ve ever had a Kickstarter ship on the day they said it would at the start of the campaign, and BattleTech Clan Invasion is no different.

In an update delivered to backers a few weeks ago, Catalyst said that issues with the plastic miniature supplier mean that the first wave of shipments won’t go out until May, with the final shipments expected to complete by May 31st. Sucks, but what’re you gonna do? Nature of the beast and all that. 

As Reddit user and Clan Invasion backer Halabis so eloquently put it: “If this one ships 45 days late it will still be the least late out of every Kickstarter I’ve ever backed.”

So far I haven’t heard anything about the Wuhan coronavirus adding more delays, but if the outbreak continues I wouldn’t be surprised. Knock on wood. 

Harebrained Is Done With BattleTech, Now Working On 2 New Projects

In even worse news, Harebrained Schemes has decided that a single season of DLC is all that BATTLETECH deserves. In an announcement broadcast online earlier this week, HBS head honcho Mitch Gitelman revealed that the studio has moved on to new projects.

“I’ve returned to the BattleTech universe many times over the last 25 years and it’s become woven into the fabric of my life,” Gitelman wrote in a follow-up tweet. “My deep appreciation to the community and the amazing teammates I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside. I’m personally honored to be part of its history.”

BattleTech Infograph

This means no more expansions, and no ratcheting forward of the timeline so that we have a Clan Invasion. I know that many of you are extremely disappointed to hear this, but there is at least a tiny silver lining. First, HBS will still throw out one more free update, update 1.9, scheduled for later this month. This will include 16 new ‘Mech variants, 8 new vehicle variants, fast-forwarding travel scenes, and some additional upgrade options for the Argo.

Second, mods are a thing, and the mod community that has sprung up around BATTLETECH will be sure to continue to do great things with the game.

In a farewell post, we also got some interesting stats from the game. Apparently the most-used ‘Mechs are the Shadow Hawk, Centurion, and surprisingly the Vindicator. I suspect this is simply due to the Vindicator being one of your starting ‘Mechs and is probably the strongest one you start with. Also, Decker dies over 10,000 times per month, a number which seems ludicrously low. 

As for what Harebrained is working on now, I have no idea. I certainly hope it’s another Shadowrun game, but your guess is as good as mine. 

Someone Did The Math, And Burst-Fire A/Cs Are Way Better DPS In MechWarrior 5

This is kinda nuts, but it explains why I vastly prefer burst-fire autocannons to single-shot versions in MechWarrior 5

We’ve got Reddit user kirby3021 to thank for sitting down and doing the math on the two types of autocannons available in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. As you likely know, there are two options. The first is the usual single-shot cannon round that deals a set amount of damage to a single ‘Mech component. The other is a burst-fire that flings several munitions in a bit of a spread. This trades single-target accuracy for greater overall damage.

How much greater? According to kirby, burst-fire autocannons deal 46% more damage over time and produce 19% less heat than their single-shot counterparts.

That’s a lot, but as all MechWarriors know, DPS isn’t everything in MechWarrior. Burst-fire autocannons make it harder to hit specific components and harder to hit opponents at range, meaning it can be more difficult to down enemy ‘Mechs before they start hammering your armor. On the other hand, 46% more DPS makes it easier to core your enemies after they get up close and personal.

I’m an up-close and personal kinda guy, so I like my burst-fire cannons. Plus they sound cooler.

This Australian Guy Is Building His Own ‘Mech

And by the looks of things, it’s going to be an UrbanMech with some sort of weird ripper claw. I don’t really have anything else to say about it, but I certainly hope he succeeds. This world needs more ‘Mechs in it.

The Flashman Redesign Is Everything To Me

Flashman

Courtesy of Shimmering Sword

Last, but certainly not least, Shimmering Sword has redesigned the Flashman, and I am in literal awe. Look at this beauty. Can you imagine that something that used to look like this could one day become this menacing machine?

It doesn’t hurt that the Flashman is one of my favoritist ‘Mechs and one that I am eagerly awaiting in Wave 2 of the Catalyst Kickstarter.

That said, I do have one niggling complaint in that the redesign makes it appear like you can’t get away with calling the Flashman the “flashbulb.” Sure, it has a certain bulbousness to it, but it seems to have been greatly overshadowed by all that angular awesomeness. 

Regardless, I want it, and it almost seems criminal that I’ll have to wait 6-8 months to get it.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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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.

12 thoughts on “Your BattleTech News Roundup For February

  1. Evan Jamieson

    Not surprised the Vindicator is a popular mech. When we wrote the first Mechwarrior RPG source book Rich Meyer designed the Vindicator so that players would have a maneuverable mech that could hit opponents hard. Back in the 80s there were few mechs that could jump and had a PPC.

    Reply
    1. Firestorm43

      That’s an interesting tidbit. I never knew the Vindie was designed with a player-focused thought in mind. I always thought it was just a classic CapCon ‘Mech whose maneuverability and good punch fit in well with the fact that the Confederation military (especially for 3025 era) doesn’t quite have the stand-up fight capability of the other House armies. A decent striker/hit-and-fade kind of ‘Mech.

      I’ll say it was never one of my favorite designs, until I used it in a MegaMek AtB Mercenary campaign a while back. It’s definitely got a place in my roster now.

      Reply
  2. Lord Sevenous

    In MW5 burst fire is better to use for human players but your AI lancmates will always hit or miss completly (outside long range spread).
    AI can`t correct their aim so it`s better give them something without spread.

    Funfact: AC and other slug weapons have no true max range or damage reduction after max range. After Max range the projectiles will just go ballistic but will do full damage .
    At optimal range the slug will go where you aim up to max range there is a drop (but not too much) after this the slug will go completly ballistic.
    (My record for shooting down a VTOL (Heli type) with an AC10 burstfire is 1,5km)

    Reply
    1. Chris Lowrey

      Not entirely true on the AI part. The way the AI rolls to hit, if it hits, it will track an individual location it is attempting to aim for and fire the entire AC stream attempting to hit that individual location. The AI will track its target continuing to lead it’s target and adjusting it’s aiming until the stream is done. So if the virtual roll scored a hit and attempts to aim for the right torso, the AI will correct its aim in an attempt to hit the right torso with the full stream. You can see this attempted behavior most when in a light attempting to juke a heavier target like a Rifleman. If you charge the Rifleman and he starts his burst fire round as you whiz past, he will attempt to twist his torso to track you throughout the weapon stream.

      Thing is the AI is restricted to the same weapon stats and torso turn rates as the player, so with a burst fire weapon, while the AI may attempt to aim at a side torso, the spread on the stream can see it hitting adjacent locations or missing entirely. Additionally, the AI aim is based on the initial trajectory of the target when the stream is initially fired. While it will correct this aim throughout the duration of the stream if the target deviates from it’s initially calculated trajectory, having each projectile fire anticipating one trajectory only to have it change mid-flight naturally sees the stream scatter damage more, as there is no mid-flight projectile correction, so if the AI attempts to aim for a torso, but the target jukes the shot mid-flight, you might find the salvo hitting an adjacent torso or an arm compared to where it was initially aiming. (Or miss in the case of it deliberately aiming for an arm and a ‘Mech torso twists or turns while the projectiles are en-route to the target.)

      Weapon scatter, and constantly shifting targets is the main reason you might see shots scatter but I assure you if you face stare at a burst fire equipped AI unit at slow speeds, they will focus those components down quickly if you let them.

      Reply
  3. Bogus

    I was really hoping that Battletech would get more flashpoints and maybe resolve a few outstanding balance and gameplay issues, but considering how much gamers whined about the DLC I can’t fault Harebrained for wanting to move on. Their first Battletech game is certainly a much more complete game than their first Shadowrun game, and arguably the other Shadowruns too depending on how one values plot elements versus gameplay elements.

    Perhaps whatever they work on next will interest me.

    Reply
    1. Kdogprime

      The DLC was not particularly good. They are overpriced for the amount and quality of content provided. Every piece of DLC unbalanced the gameplay and/or broke the game entirely, which required major patches, sometimes taking weeks to fix.

      Finding fault with the DLC is not, “whining.” It is not, “entitlement,” to expect that DLC will be worth the cost and be properly balanced as well as stable. Considering what modders have accomplished with Battletech, it isn’t unrealistic to expect that the developers would at least be able to equal that effort and quality, in order to make the DLC worthwhile to purchase.

      To buy all the DLC for Battletech, you need need to spend one and a half times the cost of the base game. It’s little wonder to me that each successive DLC pack had fewer and fewer reviews posted for it on Steam, as each time one was released, fewer people were bothering to buy. The trend was becoming clear, and the DLCs just aren’t worth the money.

      Battletech should be an object lesson in how not to make and release DLCs. If HBS really cared about the longevity of this game, they should have worked on fixing bugs and gameplay issues from release, not wasting time on lackluster DLC.

      Actually, if you really want to dig down to the core issue; if HBS had wanted Battletech to have more popular appeal, and stand the test of time, they should have made it using the Unreal Engine instead of Unity. It would have been a far more stable game from the get-go. There would have been far fewer complaints about performance, and more time to fix gameplay issues like improving the UI or fleshing out the tutorial. Alas, they made a poor choice of engine, one that people who have followed this game since the kickstarter knew would come back to bite them.

      Reply
      1. KhanCipher

        And to add to that, remember the state that the game released in? It released in a state that’s imho was very much a mediocre product, not bad, but it’s not good either. I’d argue it released in a unfinished state, and also argue that if it was PGI that released it instead of HBS headed by The God of Battletech himself, Jordan Weisman, it would’ve gotten critically panned forwards and backwards to hell and back twice over. And then as soon as the Flashpoint DLC got announced, the season pass was also announced, which left a sour taste in my mouth as I felt like I was being shaken down for more money to get a more “complete” experience.

        But if you go and look around, you’ll probably rarely find anyone who shares this. Mostly because the BT ip’s fanbase is uniquely special in their ability to stick their fingers in their ears and continue saying there’s no problems at all. Up to and including dissing those who don’t think like them as not true BT fans, or some other canned response. Which i’ve had the following thrown at me.

        – “It’s only a $40 game, you shouldn’t judge it as a $60 game”, while completely ignoring that I would never approach the matter of price.
        – “You played for more than 40 hours, that means you got your money’s worth compared to going to the movie theater”, while completely forgetting that HBS BT is very much a ‘100s of hours’ type game with several things built into the design to inflate your time spent playing, and comparing to a different media medium that has entirely different standards…
        – “But the Paradox model allows for continued development of niche games”, except at the time, the paradox model with their more recent game releases was starting to show that, well, as the meme goes ‘the game will be playable after at least spending $100 of DLC’.

        And also, a lot of the problem with doing more DLC for HBS BT at this point comes down to one word, Roguetech. That one word has done a lot more for the game, than HBS arguably has done, even though RT’s creator has a bit of a personality issue.

        Reply
  4. Daniel Cooney

    The Table Top Game:
    I’m not at all surprised the Clan Invasion Box Set has been delayed. IMO Catalyst shouldn’t have gone straight to the Clan Invasion. Releasing the Inner Sphere Command Lance and Fire Lance booster sets before the Clan Invasion Box would’ve given new players more options and styles of play. Also why aren’t they offering individual mech blister packs of the nine mechs from the 2 new box sets? Ironwind metals has a slightly different pose of the ‘new’ Shadow Hawk but that’s the only one I’ve seen available.

    Reply
    1. KhanCipher

      Because IWM has exclusive rights to make and sell individual BT minis, and by selling them in packs, CGL can say that they’re selling game pieces and not minis.

      Reply
      1. Daniel Cooney

        Good to know, but it begs the question why IWM has only released the “new” Shadow Hawk. I hope Catalyst Games will start releasing “Lance Sets” sometime in future. Having to buy additional box sets just for the minis is nuts.

        Reply
  5. Rob C.

    KickStarter – I’m disappointed, but the virus was ground zero in China. It was bound muck everything. Personally, i wish they hard done separate thing for the Inner Sphere since I’m more incline get those MINIs than Clan ones. Not because I don’t care for Clans, but images/minis had already been fixed years ago verses Classic/Succession War Era ones that generally had not been touched in decades or at all.

    HBS Battletech – Disappointing, but they need move on. Their company not huge, they don’t even OWN their own company now. They could have done a Clan Invasion version of the game and i would image people would have paid for it. Unfortunately, i don’t think that will happen now or ever unless they can control themselves again. Game company needs make profits on anything they can make. Good Luck to them, better luck to the modders.

    MW5 – I’m still glad i sat out the Epic roll out, I will give them time straighten their house up if they ever “free” their game for Steam.

    Flashman – I am less impressed with the Flashman. Its more uglified to me than Chris Lewis rendition for TRO: 3025 Revised.

    Reply
  6. Ghastly

    Credit where it’s due, Giorgio Espinos helped Shimmering Sword with the Flashman redesign. The new design was based on Espinos’ Flashman art from 2013, and he joined the redesign team recently. Also, that Timber Wolf isn’t Catalyst’s new one, it’s Polygon Masterworks’ model of the MWO sculpt.

    Reply

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