Piranha Games explains how "information warfare" will help rule the battlefield in the upcoming Mechwarrior Online.
All the firepower in the world doesn't mean much if you don't know where to point it. That's where "information warfare" comes into play: figuring out where your enemy is and what they're up to, while preventing them from doing the same to you. That sort of tactical chess game will play a big role in Mechwarrior Online, as players make use of the "BattleGrid" to manage the flow of combat information.
The BattleGrid is "a combination of command center and dynamic battlefield map" that will offer a scalable, top-down map, objective and waypoint markers, Friendly and Enemy unit markers, support units and orders. But not all information will be available to everyone, as each Mech will support "modules," linked to the Pilot Tree and unlocked by training various skills, that provide different types of information.
Targeting information will be available solely through "Line of Sight/Detection," or LOSD, which means that if nobody on your side can see an enemy unit, it is effectively invisible; lose LOSD in battle and you lose all current information about your target. But having LOSD doesn't mean you'll know all there is to know.
"Details about a target are not inclusive, and is now layered based on the type of modules and BattleMech you are piloting," the team explained. "The concept helps emphasizes using specific Mech and Module combinations to gain and share enhanced targeting information."
LOSD can be had through direct line of sight, radar, top-down satellite scans, localized UAVs, battlefield detectors and other friendly, non-Battlemech units in the field. Detection devices may also support multiple modes including night vision, thermal vision and "magnetometer assisted," which will be a huge boon in close-quarters urban combat. Countermeasures will be at hand, however, allowing players to block, spoof or even intercept and decode enemy communications and intel.
It all sounds very cool and anything that encourages proper mixed-unit tactics, as opposed to the traditional mad rush for the Assault class that these games usually devolve into, is okay by me. I'd be thrilled to take a Jenner into combat if there was a chance I could do something more with it than just be the first to die. A more detailed breakdown of the information situation can be found at mwomercs.com; the free-to-play Mechwarrior Online is set to come out later this year, exclusively for the PC.