Sunday, 24 March 2013

State of the game - Mechwarrior Online


It has been a while now since the open beta launch of Mechwarrior Online and it would be a lie to say it was a complete success.

Now this isn't to say the game is terrible in fact it's pretty good, it just gets continually let down by niggling bugs and balance issues.  The most common complaint I have seen is based around the Raven 3L which is notoriously hard to kill compared to it's peers in the light mech class.  Although recently changes have been made to make this easier to hit such as the weapon fire state rewind for lasers which makes it easier to hit targets when your ping is over 100.  The Raven has also seen it's leg hitboxes reworked to allow easier leg shots.

This is an example of how the developers have listened to feedback and improved the quality of the product to allow a more balanced level of gameplay.  There are numerous smaller bugs that don't exactly ruin gameplay but they do become annoying, such as the minimap vanishing or not being able to see friendly and enemy mechs.  Players also experience different levels of disconnects and crashes during play.

Issues such as these do colour a players opinion on the overall game and really give it a negative slant, but when you look at the product as a whole you begin to see that really PGI have done a pretty amazing job considering the huge obstacles they had to overcome from a rabid tabletop fanbase and a hardcore competitive playerbase.  Balancing a game that originally played fine on a table to the online space must be a titanic task to take on and more importantly get right.  No developer is going to get it right straight away yet many seem to think it should be.

My take on Mechwarrior is that it's great to see a franchise that was killed by Microsoft come back from the dead and look this good doing it.  The lack of maps is slowly being addressed each month as new content is added, now we are on a mech per month and map per month along with a slew of fixes and additions.  Next month we can expect to see the new artillery and air strike modules which could potentially eliminate base rushes entirely with well placed strikes.

Next month will likely see the next phase of either the weapon state rewind or netcode improvement along with the awesome looking Highlander assault mech, a real beast on the battlefield.  I think the current state of Mechwarrior Online certainly shows a huge improvement over their earlier work progress.  The team now produces content at a regular pace and are on top of most issues even though fixes for them are sometimes slow in being implemented.

Really Mechwarrior Online is a great game and it's a free game.  The combat is visceral, the mech designs are amazing and the future for this game is looking bright as we get ready for the infamous clan invasion and all of the new weapons that come with them.  I would advise avoiding most of the forum content outside of official developer updates and announcements as the only players who use the forums are the ones who complain about virtually every little thing.

Check it out at www.mwomercs.com and if you like what you see have a go, as the game has become more welcoming for newer players with the introduction of the training ground and new players guides on their youtube and forum links.

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow for my weekly TNA review.

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