If you've been wondering how the real-time "Community Warfare" is going to work in MechWarrior Online, the latest Piranha Games dev blog is here to help.
One of the coolest things, potentially at least, about the upcoming MechWarrior Online is the promise of an organic, "living" Inner Sphere in which the fortunes of Houses, merc units and other factions will wax and wane in real time. But how exactly is that going to work?
"It all starts with the concept of the Inner Sphere and a living timeline," developers Paul Inouye and Bryan Ekman wrote in a new dev blog. "Wednesday December 7, 2011 is Wednesday December 7, 3048. This means that every time you log into MechWarrior Online, something new has happened. News updates via the ISN feed, news reporter features and battle feeds keep players up to date on current events."
Staying up to date will be an important part of the game because the nature of faction warfare means that things can and will change quickly and regularly. Players will be able to join a faction - a House, the FRR, whatever - or a mercenary company, or operate as a "lone wolf." The Inner Sphere itself will be divided into three types of worlds: Core Worlds, managed by the development team, that are "necessary for future planning and part of major historical events"; Faction Worlds, that do not play a "significant" historical role and that are fought over by Faction players; and Border Worlds, contested by mercenary companies by way of a contract bidding system and that have no impact on historical events.
Each type of planet offers particular bonuses to controlling factions or mercenary companies, and planets can even change from Border to Faction to Core and back as the needs of the game evolve. Players [except for Lone Wolves] will also earn "Loyalty Points" as they play, which will determine military ranks, the types of contracts available to merc companies and other bonuses. To encourage regular play, Loyalty Points will also be taken away from inactive players, which could lead to reductions in rank and loss of influence.
This is all based on beta concepts and Piranha said everything is subject to change as testing progresses, but the multiplayer-only nature of the game suddenly isn't sounding so bad after all. Full details of Piranha's plans for MechWarrior Online Community Warfare can be found at mwomercs.com. [There's also a really groovy map - don't miss it!]