Take a Tour of the Mechwarrior Online MechLab

Take a Tour of the Mechwarrior Online MechLab

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The boys in the MechLab are ready to show off the detailed customization options in Mechwarrior Online.

Customizing mechs in Mechwarrior Online might seem a bit intimidating to newcomers but it's actually a relatively straightforward process. Put simplistically, everything in the game - guns, armor, miscellaneous equipment packages - weighs a certain amount and takes up a specific amount of space, and each mech can hold a certain amount of weight in a specific number of places. The idea, then, is to cram in as much stuff as you can to fit your particular purposes or play style: mobility, firepower, survivability, or whatever it is you think will keep you alive and in the fight. Think of it as kind of like dressing up a paper doll, except the paper doll is 85 tons of towering death and the cut-out clothes are autocannons, heavy lasers and LRM launchers.

A more detailed breakdown is contained in the latest Mechwarrior Online dev blog, which explains the game's hardpoint system, component swapping, armor distribution and more. Basic customization options are universal - if you can cram it in, you can have it - but some components, like jumpjets and upgrade modules, are chassis-specific. There are plenty of visual modifications on the table too, from basic colors to camo patterns, decals and premade skins, although the tutorial offers an unusual warning to anyone thinking of making their mech a little too fabulous for the field. "Selecting bright pink as any color level results in Paul's weapon systems automatically locking on to your 'Mech whether visible or not," it says, referring to Lead Designer Paul Inouye. "Just a heads up."

The process actually appears quite similar to that of the original P&P game, so old-time Battletech fans should feel right at home. And while customizing mechs can give players a big edge on the battlefield, trying to come up with the ultimate killer design is also a fun way to indulge your inner ultra-nerd, for whom merely stomping around a fictional battlefield in a pretend giant robot doesn't quite cut it. Autocannon or PPC? Jumpjets or more armor? CASE or the power of prayer? These are important decisions, people!

Mechwarrior Online, the free-to-play multiplayer resurrection of the classic Mechwarrior franchise, is in development now at Piranha Games and slated to come out later this year.

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Andy Chalk:
CASE or the power of prayer? These are important decisions, people!

Pfft just dump that spare ammo in the open head slot because lets face it them blowing off your head armor and causing an ammo explosion is the least of your problems and perhaps a good time to reconsider waging interplanetary war from within an Urbanmech.

OT: While I appreciate humor I wish they would have held off the explanation until they could show us a glimpse of what the mech lab will actually look like.

The decision for CASE or not is really not all that complicated. It's all about survivability. If one has a ton of machine gun ammunition and the option to use CASE, there is no excuse not to - if it goes off it doesn't matter where in the mech you installed the ammunition. Better questions are "should I install ammunition in a single side of my mech" thus reducing the maximum number of cases to 1.

Harder questions are if you should use an XL engine. Sure it means higher speed and lower weight but those side torso engine slots don't just take up space when you're trying to jam in more guns; they make it significantly more likely your mech can be taken out by chance. In some cases it is obvious: an XL engine gives the Banshee Speed far beyond what most assault mechs could hope for and grants the ability to actually give it sufficient armament to justify it's weight. As it was, it was well armed for a mech less than half it's weight and against an assault mech there was no contest.

Also, how did I never hear about this before? I need to look into this to find out where I can ship my future paychecks since I clearly no longer need them.

You come in here to reminisce about the first (and only) time you played the pen and paper Mechwarrior with a friend and got a sweet head-shot to win the game. Then you read the first two comments and realize you are hopelessly out-nerded :P

Dear PB: please don't give this game an evil pricing model, because I really, really, really want to play it.

If it's at least as good as Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries it'll be worth the price.

Eclectic Dreck:
The decision for CASE or not is really not all that complicated. It's all about survivability. If one has a ton of machine gun ammunition and the option to use CASE, there is no excuse not to - if it goes off it doesn't matter where in the mech you installed the ammunition. Better questions are "should I install ammunition in a single side of my mech" thus reducing the maximum number of cases to 1.

Pretty much! Soon as CASE came out, the flow chart was pretty simple: Will this ammo kill/cripple the mech? Throw on the CASE. There was pretty much no situation where the CASE wasn't worth it's weight--hell, you'd be better of scraping off armor before ditching a CASE.

Unfortunately, I kinda feel like it was decisions like that that inevitably lead to the MW Tabletop game turning into kind of a mess. A few too many variations or new upgrades that were such painfully obvious no brainers that just muddled things for new players and were meaningless to veterans--kinnnnnd of like how Clantech was pretty much objectively better then IS equivalents in all but a few oddball places (Triple Strength Myomer MELEE MECHS BABY, YEAH so sad that we won't see them in MWO yet )

I remember playing Mechwarrior Vengeance quite a bit back when I was a youngling. I remember none of these things about CASE or whatnot - I just stacked out an Atlas with enough firepower to blow up the moon and stalked around streets blowing small mechs to smithereens.

THE ULTIMATE MECH......

A Jenner with 7 medium lasers...

Sourman:
You come in here to reminisce about the first (and only) time you played the pen and paper Mechwarrior with a friend and got a sweet head-shot to win the game. Then you read the first two comments and realize you are hopelessly out-nerded :P

Ha, yeah. I get the same feeling. Love me some Mechwarrior but I'm definitely not in the same league as the true hardcores.

Bluntman1138:
THE ULTIMATE MECH......

A Jenner with 7 medium lasers...

Thank you! I've been saying that for years, while every Tom, Dick and Harry just want to run around in an Atlas. I loved how slow assault class mechs were in MW3. A Kit Fox with only medium lasers could zip in behind a Dire Wolf and tear it a new one!

Sourman:
You come in here to reminisce about the first (and only) time you played the pen and paper Mechwarrior with a friend and got a sweet head-shot to win the game. Then you read the first two comments and realize you are hopelessly out-nerded :P

I got the same impression dude. I haven't played this game since it came out on the PC way back when. I thought it was just a fun little battle-suit game where the only real stradgy was circle-strafe and don't overheat. I don't have a clue what the first two guys are talking about. Oh well, I'll still get this game and play for fun, especially if it is free to play. How can anyone pass that up?

Kahunaburger:
Dear PB: please don't give this game an evil pricing model, because I really, really, really want to play it.

free to play model

so you don't have to spend any money on it, but most people will spend some money, and few people will spend a LOT of money

Bluntman1138:
THE ULTIMATE MECH......

A Jenner with 7 medium lasers...

This is true. Laser boats ftw. Does anyone know if they have directional jetting planned for this game?

Ralen-Sharr:

Kahunaburger:
Dear PB: please don't give this game an evil pricing model, because I really, really, really want to play it.

free to play model

so you don't have to spend any money on it, but most people will spend some money, and few people will spend a LOT of money

The real question is whether they're paying money for hats (or paint jobs, or whatever) or whether they're paying money for weapons. Big difference IMO.

 

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