Thursday, 8 August 2013

Mechwarrior Online brings 8 more friends to the field


Yes the long awaited 12 vs 12 feature of free to play MMO game Mechwarrior Online has finally launched.  It has been a long time coming and I imagine for some, a feature that was never going to make it into the game.  PGI have been accused of dragging it's feet when it comes to new content, especially where it concerns the big features such as community warfare, 12vs12, weight limits, new modes and maps.  Of course we don't know exactly what is happening in their offices day by day, unless we had some kind of access to a set of internal security camera's so we could spy on them as they worked.  I would imagine some of the more vocal elements on mwomercs.com would probably welcome the ability to spy on the development team, and also demand the ability to shout obscenities at them.

But PGI have given us some new mayhem to distract ourselves with.  12v12 creates an entirely new dynamic on the maps both old and new.  Previously unused routes of attack are now areas of ambush, Alpine peaks suddenly becomes enjoyable and river city is basically a metal moshpit.  Yes some of the maps are probably too small for 24 battlemechs to be stomping around, but the combat does at least kick off faster and you are more likely to get a kill or two during these matches, simply because of the amount of firepower being brought to bear on targets.

So here are some basics for surviving a 12vs12 deathfest:

  • Don't split from the herd.  Usually anyone who moves away who isn't in a very fast moving light will die relatively quickly.  A lone medium, heavy or assault 'mech will not last more than a few seconds when several of the other team spot you.
  • Focus fire has always been a big part of the tried and true 8v8 strategy, but here it is very easy to keep switching targets as they fly past you during a melee. Stick to your target and don't switch until it's dead.
  • keep your 'mechs head on a swivel.  Now that the maps are more populated you can expect to see attacks from previously quiet locations on some maps.  
There are probably more minor wrinkles you could figure out as you play, but these three points are key to survival.  It will be interesting to see how tactics develop as a result of these new players or if old tactics will remain true, just with more bodies.  one of the biggest issues that has arisen from this addition is the question of 'mech longevity.  Some players feel that the 'mech die far too quickly and with an extra four players per team, 'mechs do die a lot faster than previous.  I would agree that maybe a small increase to hitpoint should be added to compensate for the extra potential damage during matches.  Nothing major of course, just enough to give the same average survival time as 8v8.

Still I am confident that PGI will address any issues that arise from this and like any new feature released into the wilds of online gaming problems will arise.  That is the beauty of PC gaming, issues arise where testing failed and the developers can fix them. 

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