Your BattleTech News Roundup For May, 2023

Summer is here, and that means it’s time to go outside and play BattleTech! I recently got to play Alpha Strike for the first time using the new AI rules, and I have to say, it’s now my favorite way to play tabletop BattleTech. It’s fast, it’s cooperative, and you can play it on traditional hex maps or a larger non-grid play area. I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on this more in an upcoming article.

For now, though, we gotta get through our May news items. And I think you know the biggest thing to happen this month, but just to be sure, here’s all that happened in BattleTech for the month of May.

BattleTech: Mercenaries Kickstarter Pledge Manager Opens, Come Get Your ‘Mechs (And Tanks)!

Are you a Mercenaries backer? Then now’s the time to get your orders in! The Kickstarter pledge manager has been opened and invitation emails are being sent out. Catalyst says 15,000 of you have already locked in your orders, which leaves roughly 8,000 left to go. If you haven’t received your invitation email, do not panic. The pledge manager will likely remain open “until AT LEAST the end of June,” so there’s still plenty of time. And if you missed the Kickstarter, you can still sign up as a later backer.

I’ve got a bunch of Inner Sphere ‘Mechs and seven whole Salvage Boxes coming my way, and who knows what’ll be in those? I could have got the guaranteed Blood Asp, but that ‘Mech is just too good for my refined palette. Give me a Scorpion any day. Plus I wanted an extra Shilone since they always fly in pairs.

Easily, the biggest Catalyst news is to get your Kickstarter orders squared away and to make sure you email Catalyst with any issues you might have with your order. Be sure to check the updates page to get the answers to some frequently asked questions.

But that’s not all we have from Catalyst this month! Earlier in May, Catalyst revealed the new BattleTech: Essentials Boxed Set, to be sold exclusively at a Target near you. This box set intended for beginners features the iconic duel between Yen-Lo-Wang and Legend-Killer in the arenas of Solaris VII, locked in a deadly combat to see which machine will bow out first. Besides these two legendary ‘Mechs, the box set also includes a 24-page novella, a double-sided map, some pilot cards, and a few paper cutout ‘Mechs in case players want to try something other than the included Rifleman and Centurion minis.

And want some shirts? Hansen’s Roughriders and the Rasalhague Dominion now have their own designs on the Catalyst store, available now for $30 each.

Cut MechAssault Game Mode Revived Thanks To Modder

MechAssault | Kick It! Revived After 20+ Years! | Cut Game Mode
Watch this video on YouTube.

Last year, EliteAssault shared with us their progress on Grinder Enhanced 2, a new mod for MechAssault 2 that adds a survival-based game mode where you take down waves of Word of Blake ‘Mechs. Now, EliteAssault has returned with a cut game mode that’s been revived after nearly 20 years. 

The mod is called Kick It!, a soccer/football-like game mode that turns MechAssault 2 into an early precursor to Rocket League. You got big ‘Mechs stomping around the pitch kicking an equally gigantic ball into a net the size of a city block. Elite Assault said in their video that all the necessary files were already present in one of MechAssault 2‘s DLC, but it’s presumed to have been cut very late in development. EliteAssault just had to rebuild the mission script that activated this game mode to return it to working order.

That’s maybe understating things slightly. EliteAssault explained in his video that this took a while to figure out as there are basically no map editing tools and very few hints for how the scripting would have worked. But after significant effort, we can all enjoy Rocket League with ‘Mechs. 

Unlike Rocket League, your ‘Mech still has all the weapons it has in the regular game, so there’s nothing stopping you from performing a PPC-charged tackle in order to gain possession. You can’t shoot the ball, though, so your only option is to use your giant metal feet.

Best of all, this thing even works online, so you can play robocidal soccer with your friends. For the download link, head on over to EliteAssault’s Discord here.

Opinion Piece: Morgan Kell And The “Phantom ‘Mech”

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

This technically happened in April, but I found it so fascinating that I kept the topic to discuss here. It’s all about Morgan Kell, Yorinaga Kurita, and the events which largely take place in Michael Stackpole‘s Warrior Trilogy. Specifically, Morgan’s supernatural ability to avoid being targeted by ‘Mech systems and magically avoid incoming fire.

Last month, Stackpole took to Twitter to explain the genesis of Phantom ‘Mech (not to be confused with the Phantom). In a nutshell, a warrior who achieves spiritual enlightenment can engage this supernatural ability in life-threatening situations. A convenient way to explain how an Archer can march through an entire Kuritan regiment unscathed, or how a veteran Warhammer pilot can miss at point-blank range.

The whole thing was loosely based on accounts from Medal of Honor recipients, which probably explains why it all seemed sort of believable in his books. It wasn’t space magic, just something that a very special person can do in very special circumstances. The problem with Morgan was, he seemed to be able to do it at will.

There’s a whole section on Sarna detailing the controversy surrounding Morgan Kell’s abilities, and I agree generally that there’s no place for the supernatural in a gritty sci-fi universe like BattleTech. Give me Kai Allard-Liao or Natasha Kerensky‘s pure skill over space magic any day.

But… maybe a little space magic? There is a reason why the supernatural is such a compelling subject throughout human history. Many of humanity’s greatest leaders--and greatest villains--tried to grasp the ineffable, if not through religion then spirituality or the arcane. 

There was just something special about the rivalry between Yorinaga and Morgan that hasn’t really been captured in BattleTech fiction ever since. It’s a tricky thing to bring magic into a sci-fi world like BattleTech, and I’m not sure anyone but Stackpole could do it again. But I do miss that sometimes. What are your thoughts on space magic in BattleTech? Leave a comment below.

Introducing The Catlas

I present: the Catlas
by u/Misterpiece in battletech

I’m honestly not sure why nobody has thought of this earlier unless it was in Critter-TEK and I’ve simply forgotten. The story here is that Misterpiece reached out to fed0tich about a month ago to create this custom Atlas, and earlier this month, we got to see the fruits of this transaction. 

What’s really great about this piece is how much people have added to it. We’ve already got suggested loadouts for the Atlas AS7-KT “Catlas,” including Short Range Meowssiles, twin Heavy Paswers, and one big AC/Kittenty, which I might suggest we call an AutoCatton/20. The whole thread is well worth a read when you get the chance.

No sooner do we get the drawing we get the mini. Although, this one seems to be a bit more Alice in Wonderland-themed than strictly cat.

Argus And Firemoth Arrive In MechWarrior 5 Thanks To Mods

We got two new ‘Mechs to add to MechWarrior 5 thanks to two different modders. First, The Art of BattleTech has returned with the Argus mod featuring a model by the talented aritst, Pawel ‘Porky’ Czarnecki. This model has apparently been collecting dust since 2001 but now finally gets to stretch its 60-ton legs thanks to MechWarrior’s modding community.

The second comes courtesy of KodiakJ who brings us the Clans tiniest-yet-deadliest ‘Mech, the Fire Moth. This mod features 15 variants, one Hero variant, available in several faction patterns, and is compatible with Yet Another Mech Lab. Mercenary commanders are cautioned against using the Fire Moth as it’s extremely lightly armored and is nominally intended for Clanners to seek a noble death before reaching Solahma age. Sounds like a challenge to me.

You can get both of these mods over on Nexus Mods.

Cute Clans Might Be Better Than The Real Ones

I don’t know why exactly, but a bunch of artists decided to make May the month of adorably reimagined Clans. We have Clan Pupper, two Clan Novakitties, and one Clan Spooky Beaw. Apparently, this news blast is slightly furry-themed.

Override Engaged To Host BattleTech Event At Nashcon

In local event news, Override Engaged in collaboration with Small Town Games of Lewisburg Tennessee is putting on an event at NashCon 2023. Starting Thursday, August 17 at 7 PM, Override Engaged will host pick-up games and a night of socialization. On Friday starting bright and early at 8 AM will be a narrative-focused game on the Solaris Civil War, and Saturday will be a three-round Classic BattleTech tournament as well as the start of the painting competition. Sunday will be the three-round Alpha Strike tournament as well as another painting competition. Awards and prizes will be handed out Saturday and Sunday following each tournament.

For more details, check out the Google Doc here. And if you’ve got an event you’d like to advertise in Sarna’s newsletter, be sure to drop me a line! You can do that by leaving a comment (I read every single one--yes, even the ones I trash) or by emailing me here

The Stone Rhino Is Coming To MechWarrior Online

Stone Rhino Review - Mechwarrior Online
Watch this video on YouTube.

More ‘Mechs just keep on coming to MechWarrior Online: Legends. Following the success of the Crusader and Hatchetman, the Stone Rhino is about to make its MWO debut.

I know I may have poo-pooed the Stone Rhino in a recent Bad ‘Mechs piece, but when Clanners aren’t trying to preserve their antique, the Stone Rhino is a very capable ‘Mech. Lots of armor, big weapon hardpoints, and jump jets to help maneuver where other assault class ‘Mechs can’t, the Stone Rhino is an excellent sniper that’s just waiting to be converted into a close-range brawler. Other variants allow for missile, laser, or ballistics boating as per user preference. My only concern is that the left and right torsos are likely to be quite bulgy, requiring pilots to avoid XL engines, but we’ll have to wait for the Stone Rhino‘s release to see how its components shake out. 

Pre-orders are available now with deliveries expected to arrive by July’s patch. 

Speaking of patches, May’s patch has brought two new Legendary ‘Mechs: the CyclopsArges” and the SupernovaSeraph.” As with all the new Legendary ‘Mechs, they come with a 30 percent C-bill bonus, their own mini battle passes that’ll give you extra GSP, C-bills, MC, Premium Time, cockpit items, and some unique quirks. The Arges comes with a ghost heat quirk that lets it fire seven Medium Lasers before it starts to get extra crispy as well as a suite of sensor-based quirks that give it extra sensor range, target retention range, seismic detection range, and faster target info gathering. The Seraph, meanwhile, gets extra coolshot consumables to let it keep blasting away with its arsenal of lasers and autocannons. Both of these ‘Mechs are on sale now for $15 USD.

There are loads of small map adjustments for MechWarrior Online‘s quickplay maps, including Canyon Network, Grim Plexus, Viridian Bog, and Hellebore Outpost, as well as Faction Play maps like Vitric Forge and Emerald Taiga. Plus a bunch of ‘Mechs have received quirk adjustments, including the Wolfhound, Shadow Hawk, Archer, Nova Cat, and Cataphract. The biggest winner this month seems to be the Cataphract, with variants having their quirks streamlined and receiving various heat, range, and velocity bonuses. Of special note is the Ilya Muromets Hero ‘Mech, which now has a 5 percent speed bonus. 

As usual, there are loads of changes in the patch beyond what I mentioned here, so be sure to check out the full patch notes here.

Purple Drops, A Legendary Maps & Mechs Mechwarrior Dubstep Rock Opera, Part 1
Watch this video on YouTube.

And before I forget, Eldfat is back with a few MechWarrior Online compilations. The first is on the Free Worlds Coliseum map, and the other is on the Crucible. Lookin’ for some stompy robot action to play in the background? Can’t go wrong with these. And they’re featuring the Moonwalker, one of the new Legendary ‘Mechs.

What ‘Mechs With Reactive Armor Really Look Like

Mechs in Reactive Armor
by u/Existing_Notice2033 in battletech

I know we don’t like getting political over here, but this one made me laugh. Not only is it a good shitpost, but I personally think these ‘Mechs actually look pretty good with a little explosive reactive armor. My heart goes out to Existing_Notice2033 for the painstaking process of gluing on each of those tiny blocks, though.

Now we just need a few ‘Mechs with cope cages. Maybe in the next TRO.

And that is it for May! Join us next month for probably more furry BattleTech art, or perhaps some AI-generated art. Or perhaps both. The future is becoming increasingly bizarre.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Share this:

19 thoughts on “Your BattleTech News Roundup For May, 2023

  1. usul

    “My only concern is that the left and right torsos are likely to be quite bulgy, requiring pilots to avoid XL engines”

    Being a Clan Mech in MWO means that the only engine option available would be a Clan XL that can survive side torso destruction.

    1. Sean Post author

      This isn’t entirely true: you can get standard Clan engines, but you don’t die from losing one of them. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to say “be worried about” XL engines. One day we’ll get the Kingfisher–now THERE’S a Clan ‘Mech that makes a standard engine work!

      1. usul

        You’re right, I completely forgot the Standard Clan engine was even an option. I’ve never seen one used in a build.

        1. Sean Post author

          Most people don’t, but for the ultimate in zombie ‘Meching, you gotta go standard :)

          1. DogTribal

            I know the Stone Rhino is popular and beloved, but I’d love them to add the Kingfisher for precisely this reason. Clan Omni with standard engine and big CT laser hardpoint for your zombie-ing comfort.

        2. Just Some Guy

          They get some use on the supernova in order to max out DHS. Stone Rhino I think will be capped at 300 engine size, so it could feasibly work on some energy boating builds

  2. Craig

    Wasn’t the “Space Magic” element of the story busted, during the Silver Eagle incident with Yorinaga versus _Patrick_ Kell?

    Kell was in the Victor donated by Ardan Sortek, and he ignored Yorinaga as he blasted Panteros one by one. Yorinaga was invisible to Allard’s mech computer but he hit it with a sideways DFA attack anyway, destroying his heirloom Valkyrie and setting him up for the first Wolfhound.

    There’s considerable diatribe in the novels about the events, so much that tech expert / Heimdall spy Clovis Holstein (Lestrade) goes into the gun footage and figures that it’s the mechs’ computers that simply refuse to acknowledge Kell’s existence. His mech doesn’t IR scan, doesn’t target lock, doesn’t pop up on radar etc.

    It’s left ambiguous yet explained enough to allow for a non-space-magic hand-wave; such as the lost centuries-old technology of the Star League, which can only be duplicated and no longer designed from scratch, has a gap of understanding when confronted by a sheer force of will which simply turns it off.

    1. Gebhardt

      Dan Allard’s Valkyrie was factory fresh when he got it as a “present” for being first in class. Not entirely sure who was the gift giver.

      Also, Allard managed to kill Morgan Kell in an exercise by not aiming at the mech, but at the muzzle flash of his weapons.

  3. Samuel Crosbie

    It’s a level of enlightenment the warrior achieves when he is striving to be absolutely perfect, whilst sacrificing everything is os or ever was in the name of protecting his loved ones. The Kell Hounds, The Archon-to-be, His family. Yorinaga sought this understanding and achieved it through his desire to serve his house. Mind you, what Dan Allard did was simply target from point A to B, and Morgan was simply in the line of fire. And it doesn’t help of you physically strike the target. It is there in reality, jist not acknowledged by artificial means.

    1. Mel

      If it was a tabletop game, I would dismiss it as just an incident where Kurita simply rolled some horrendous dice at a very important moment and missed all his attack rolls. You know what, I am certain that all of us whom have played the tabletop game have had a round where even at good range and odds, MISSED every shot and I don’t believe there was anything supernatural about that. Just bad die rolling.

      In-universe, obviously, different matter. I agree that supernatural elements are not part of BattleTech, so this plus the dreams of the comstar Primus about the dreams that led to the Clans.

  4. Project Shadowcat

    Oh hey! That’s my Override Engaged artwork being used! Genuinely surprised that they haven’t upgraded it or overhauled it with another artist.
    (I’m not looking for a credit; as that was a commission, I sold its rights, too.)

  5. Steampunk Chef

    I always thought Yorinaga just rolled a 2 on every attack, then gave up in frustration.

  6. Amraphenson

    Hey! I’m from the same game the Catlas is from (currently piloting a EWAC retrofitted stormcrow myself) and it’s hilarious seeing it here. The tl;dr story is that we headshot it, salvaged it, it got headshot again, and we decided the skull was haunted so we put a cat head there because the pilot is a tiny wannabe samurai.

  7. NGTM-1R

    Frankly I’m kind of sad they shoo’d out the supernatural under Herbert Beas, and am glad they’ve been quietly ushering it back in. I like BattleTech with the occasional Phantom ‘Mech and Black Marauder lurking about.

  8. RDXsam

    There are unexplainable things happening in real life, too. Call it magic, supernatural or still-unexplained scientific fact. So, as the BattleTech universe is modeled after our own, why not there too? I’m fine with that as long as it doesn’t become a storytelling crutch. As for Yorinaga vs Kell’s case, that Warhammer’s targeting computer was at least several hundred years old at that point, so a glitch isn’t out of question…

  9. SilverCyanide

    I’m perfectly okay with a bit of space magic and space mysticism in BattleTech, it makes the stories more entertaining while evolving on a fairly “hard sci-fi” aspect on everything else. It actually make the stories “more realistic” because of how real life often has those wacky situations that can only be explained by “Well, science sorta says it works, and if we use this theorem…”

  10. Frabby

    Stackpole’s novels were not the problem.
    It’s perfectly realistic that some people want to believe so hard they’re ready to presume a supernatural thing to be behind anything thy don’t easily understand or can’t wrap their heads around. That’s the “magic” we live with in the real world. Since neofeudal MechWarriors hold themselves in very high esteem anyways it is easy to see how they might want to believe themselves that they’re supernaturally special.
    Stackpole was smart enough to leave it to the reader.

    No, the problem is that a sourcebook straight out postulated there was a magic skill and spelled it out in detailed rules. That ham-fisted approach destroyed the mystery as a literary achievement, and also did a disservice to the universe as it was described.

    As you can tell I’m hating the guts of the Phantom ‘Mech rules (but not the in-universe story, mind you!).

  11. VoodooLou Kerensky

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’-Arthur C Clarke
    The only people more superstitious than Combat Pilots are baseball players. And Im sure alot of us have experienced back to back critical fails more often than back to back head shots. The popular belief is that prayer gets messages from point a to point b so much so that the operators believed it too. So Magic via prayer is ok, because we behind the 4th wall know that magic is bullshit, no matter the source. The Drac failed his attack roll while the Kell made his piloting roll with help from a skill modifier. But I bet you cant explain how a flame keeps a propane powered refrigerator cold.

  12. Aegeus

    I think my beef with Phantom Mech is just that it seems like a non sequitur? Like, there’s no logical connection between “this pilot is super-skilled and pushing themselves beyond their limits” and “sensors on other mechs can’t see a 100-ton war machine that’s right in front of them.”

    If it was something like “this pilot is just so in the zone they can dodge missiles like they’re in the matrix” or “this pilot is so in sync with their mech that they start pushing it past its engineered limits,” that would be one thing. It’s something that’s right on the border of possibility – mechs are too big and heavy to actually dodge bullets, but you can imagine a pilot who’s good enough or lucky enough that when you fight him you *feel* that he’s fast enough to dodge bullets.

    But “this pilot is so skilled that their mech gains stealth capability” is just blatantly supernatural, because you can’t stop emitting infrared with pure skill. It’s like writing a skill that lets a pilot shoot 20 missiles from an LRM-15.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.