Mechwarrior Online First Beta Look

Mechwarrior Online is a Free to Play MMO based largely on Mech Warrior the tabletop miniatures game.  It is published by Piranha Games Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

In Mechwarrior Online you pilot a Battle Mech with various sizes, speeds, weaponry and armor.  You can gain XP while playing as well as in game cash.

If you ponied up some of your hard earned money from “real life” as a Founder during the closed Beta you got some Mechs that most people have to earn by playing.  You also got some in game MC (credits) from which to purchase Mechs.  If you don’t want to use dollars then you can run with “trial mechs” which earn you in game money to purchase your own Mech.  Using trial Mechs means you don’t pay repairs but until you buy your own Mech your pilot does not earn any XP.

Another bonus of paying for play is in game money and experience gets a bonus.  Darn those rich snobs.  I paid 30.00 for the lowest “Founders” package, I did not get any Founder’s Mechs but I did get in 10,000 in game MC credits to use to buy Mechs and some upgrades.

I have been participating in the Mechwarrior online Beta for a few weeks now and now that the Beta is open to all I am going to post my initial thoughts.

First thought, Big Fun!  The game is enjoyable

Second thought, More Fun playing with people you know!

Third thought, playing in Beta’s sometimes make me sad when they reset and you have lost all the XP and cash you have accumulated.  This has happened twice in the last week or so.  To be expected but it made some of my friends upset enough to stop playing till the Beta is over.

I am going to quote an email from a friend, Michael Bennet, who has been playing as sort of a guest startup description.  I should get him to contribute, he has a good eye when it comes to describing a first look at playing.

Here is my update (kinda long)

Well I got my computer upgraded Thursday night and got MWO installed (again, had to re-install the OS also =( ) on Friday and started playing over the weekend.  I actually was able to play more than I thought.  I thought it was pretty good, it worked great on my new computer.  Right now there are only 4 maps to play on, 2 spawn points on each map – one for each side, so once you have the maps down you can start really learning tactics for each map and using that to your advantage (which can be good/bad depending on your type of game play).   I haven’t really gotten into how to form teams or using team speak . Right now it just plops everyone together and it is pretty random.  I probably play about 50 -75 games over the weekend (about 5 – 10 min a piece on average). Each game has a 15 min counter on it so that is the max to play 1 given map.  Out of those games I only saw about 3 users duplicated in any of the games. I know there are some pre-assembled groups because some users were complaining about them (pugs).  All of the maps are capture the other teams base (which has a base counter on it and the more mechs on the base the faster the counter goes down) – unless you destroy the other teams mechs (which ever comes first)

Controls are pretty smooth but as Don said you will want to configure your firing patterns right away using the right ctrl key plus arrow keys to toggle them in the groups.
After playing the amount above, I was able to get enough built up that own a Jenner and close to have enough for a Cat -> maybe a dual gauss one =) -> those seem to do well from the people I say having them.  I don’t think I will go to the heavies, I don’t think my skills are all that great to be a ground pounder.  I also don’t really want the dual LRM20 variant either, I kind of like semi-close combat.  The jenner is fun for scounting and finding targets. I find I am doing pretty well with that so far.  I would like to see them implement a War Hammer or Rilfeman option, I think those would be pretty cool also.

Since everything is random (at least at this point) it is really hard to coordinate with people and since no one is usually seen again it is hard to really know anyone or make friends.  You get on some decent teams from time to time and others you are thinking what are these people doing and how do we loose so fast. I am not saying I am an expert, I think I might be maybe a little better than average, but some people really don’t know what they are doing and it shows.
One thing that I dislike (maybe because it is beta) but when I played Battlefield 2 online we could pick different servers/groups and pick which map we wanted to play on by seeing what was available.  This just randomly drops you on an open map when you launch into action.  It will be interesting to see how they structure these things.  Also I am a “lone wolf” and not affiliated with any faction, so I don’t know if that affects my options also.  They haven’t really stated how this will work.     Also BF2 you could become “commander” of the team and squad leader and give out commands and plot pointers on the mat.  Not sure if they will do this in MWO, right now you just have someone take a leadership role (if one  does) then you usually just call out coordinates.  This is somewhat lacking from what I have seen so far.
I was looking around and stumbled on some of this information on how XP and GXP is gathered:
GXP and XP is only gained once you buy (using points/money built up in the game) a mech.  The trial mechs do not get you experience points or GXP -> but they do give you money so you can buy your own mechs.  Once you get your own mechs you do have to pay (again with in game earned money) to repair them. But what is nice when first starting out ->  Trial mechs repairs and ammo is free -> but you cannot configure them, you just get what variants they have setup.  I found GXP can be used to purchase Mechs or items on the mech, where as XP is used to gain skills (both with mech upgrades like quick turning, quicker cooling, or piloting upgrades – vision and targeting, or faster base capturing (piloting hasn’t really been implemented yet).
As far as scouting goes they haven’t implemented Beagle Active Probes yet, but I know people have been asking about it from the messages they have been putting in.  There isn’t a lot on some of the weapon features yet and controls. They have basic controls in the menu under options, but I have seen people use things like NARC and TAG lasers, but I haven’ really seen much documentation on these yet within the game.  There are a few wiki’s out there now that are starting to put that together but it almost seems like you have to stumble across it yourself.
So in Summary it has been fun and I am excited to be playing it.  The graphics of the mechs are cool especially when you see the skull face of an atlas approach.  You do get a feeling of weigh on the machines also which is good.    I will be playing for a while yet I think.  My only hope is they bring out more maps than the 4 they have. Maybe they will open up the mod pack for people to create their own maps and use them to bring the user community in.
Sorry for being long winded….
Michael Bennett”

Thanks Michael for a nice description!

You can find Mechwarrior online at http://mwomercs.com/