1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (44 votes, average: 3.73 / 5)
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MechWarrior Online

MechWarrior Online is a vehicular combat game where players pilot bipedal machines to destroy enemy players. Customize your robot with weapons and gear, and engage in 12v12 battles for experience and cash towards new equipment.

Publisher: Piranha Games
Playerbase: Medium
Type: Vehicular Combat
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Pros: +Extensive mech customization. +Tactical gameplay. +Team based gameplay.
Cons: -High learning curve. -Only three game modes. -Limited Tutorial.

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Overview

MechWarrior Online Overview

MechWarrior Online puts you in the pilot’s seat of mechanized warriors designed for a future besieged by war. Customize your bipedal machine with a huge array of weapons and equipment, mixing and matching until you find the combination that suits your playstyle. Engage in 12v12 matches across various environments, from frigid wastelands to abandoned metropolis's. Three game modes exist for you to test your skills as a pilot: Conquest, Skirmish, and Assault. But combat must be approached tactically, monitoring your systems, enemy movements, and the environment to successfully win the battle for your team. Earn in-game currency from participating in battles and purchase new mechs and equipment to dominate the future of war.

MechWarrior Online Key Features -

  • Mech Customization - an enormous library of weapons and modules can be purchased to fully customize your machine.
  • Tactical Gameplay - using environmental structures to your advantage and smart movement is the only way to survive.
  • Huge Robot Library - enormous catalog of mechs to be purchased and piloted, with more being added routinely.
  • Coordination is Key - coordinating with members of your squad and larger team is the only way to secure victory.
  • 12v12 Matches - battlefields are swarmed with 24 players divided between three squads on each team.

MechWarrior Online Screenshots

MechWarrior Online Featured Video

Full Review

MechWarrior Online Review

By, Sean Sullivan

Ever since I watched Gundams thrash each other in the depths of space I’ve been enthralled by hulking machines. Few games capture the imaginative awe of strapping yourself into the cockpit of a bipedal robot. Luckily, the MechWarrior series is a testament to a future throttled by robotic warfare. After binging on Hawken for over a month I was looking forward to an in-depth approach to combat. Launching MechWarrior Online for the first time I realized piloting a BattleMech is more complicated than anime makes it seem.

Movement

A rather weak tutorial introduces you to Mechwarrior Online’s core mechanics. Navigating your bipedal steel legs is akin to walking with crutches—not easy at first. Mechs are divided into two halves, top and bottom, that can rotate independently from one another. Your mouse controls the rotation of the top half, while WASD control the steel beams from the hips down. Pressing “F” will realign your legs with your torso, while “C” realigns your torso with your legs. It feels clunky, like a toddler learning to walk on a waxed floor. But the complex maneuvers promote calculated steps, and a tactful approach to combat.

You can set your movement speed by adjusting the throttle. Lumber forward at top speed or approach cautiously, wary of enemy fire at every turn. While the tutorial lacks a clear introduction to weapons, firing a few bursts of laser-fire shows that you must monitor heat output. Even in the far future, weapons can cease functioning due to overheating. Effectively playing MechWarrior Online entails juggling all systems simultaneously. At first you’ll struggle to walk up a highway entrance ramp, but eventually running around hulking behemoths while firing will become second-nature.

Aesthetics

You can either play in third person mode, with a camera drone showing you your robot, or from the cockpit of the machine. While a third person camera angle has the advantage of peeking around corners like DayZ, the game is designed to place you in the pilot's chair. Every match starts with you booting up your machine’s systems in an excellently designed cockpit, with a HUD to intimidate an airline pilot. It evokes an awesome sense of immersion, and small details, like a hanging ornament in some machines, adds intimacy that cements a person being in the chair. You’re not the crafted steel and bolts holding the mech together, but the pilot strapped inside the beast.

Game Modes

With no single player mode to hold your hand, MechWarrior Online is devoted to multiplayer combat. Three game modes exist, but I was thrust into the midst of Conquest nearly every time I joined the que. Resource nodes are scattered across the map and the first team to collect 750 wins. Otherwise, if there are still robots thumping around the field when the timer hits 0, the team with the most resources wins. It’s simple, and even though resource collection is the primary goal, most games are a battle royale, resembling the other game mode Skirmish. And then there’s Assault which I never randomly joined, but tasks players with destroying or defending a single base.

Matchmaking is a melange of players of all skill ranks. There aren’t enough pilots to create an effective system based on skill. So you end up drowning in the deep end, while the adults swim freely around you. All I could think was, “where are my swimmies?” I didn’t mind so much, as I could follow more skilled players in an attempt to become their doppelganger and learn the game. And you will play with people from all over the world. I bounced between North America and European servers, and player latency parallels the wide range of available mechs.

Mechs

As a beginner you’re given access to a selection of Trial Mechs, 2 for each category: Light, Medium, Heavy, and Assault. While Assault mechs are bulky behemoths designed to engage on the front lines, Light mechs swiftly scout the battlefield and can dance around heavier mechs with ease. The game wants you to earn the in-game currency as quickly as possible to purchase your own mechanized warriors. And the only way to rack up money, is to slam your trial mech against the wall of brutal combat.

Combat

With only trial mechs to start off you’re equipped with two basic weapons: lasers and rockets. They’re underwhelming compared to the raucous cacophony of fusillades launched by your more experienced comrades. The basic equipment will not be enough to topple enemy mechs; it will barely tickle them. I learned how disadvantaged I was quickly. Charging into the battlefield, playing the game like Hawken, I fired my arsenal into enemy machines, only to explode after my enemy’s rockets erupted on my hull.

Combat became guerrilla warfare. Hiding behind structures I would peek out to fire my weapons before returning to the safety of cover. There was no other way to effectively approach veteran players. And with an aging player base there were few other beginners to test my strength against. My oily innards were instantly exsanguinated by enemy machine locked onto my position. And death spells the end of your participation in battle. Mistakes mean you're sent back to the menu or forced to spectate other players until the match is finished. Realism aside, at least one game mode ought to exist where players respawn. Waiting for the match to finish before you can test your skills again feels like an artificial cap on how much currency can be earned. I have the same issue with World of Warships. As a beginner you spend more time waiting for matches than you do participating in battle.

Not The Chosen One

Perched on a snowy hilltop I spotted a lonesome opponent slowly moving across the field. Locking on, I beamed him with lightsaber green laser and unleashed every rocket in my arsenal. Alone, I circumnavigated the machine, firing away whenever my weapons cooldown was up. Assaulting the machine for five minutes seemed to do nothing as my enemy brushed off the attack. And he missed nearly every shot he took against my agile frame. But with only a few well-placed rounds, my mech gave up—shutting down before erupting in a fiery explosion. Defeat never felt so final. MechWarrior Online is not approachable or accessible to beginners. Perseverance in the face of utter defeat is the only way to gain a foothold on the battlefield. Something nearly impossible to do until you can afford a new mech.

Mech Friday

After about six games, where my ability to pilot was brought into question, I accumulated enough currency to purchase a mech. The selection is enormous, and the technical interface lead my eyes to struggle to adjust. With slightly over 2 million in the bank I was able to purchase a small selection of mechs. And once purchase you can customize its loadout.

Far from the typical loadout in other games, consisting of a primary and secondary weapon, MechWarrior Online allows full control over your machine's configuration. But with no guidance, you're left mixing and matching weapons like an alchemist searching for the Philosopher’s Stone, hoping to discover the right combination. And your tests will be met with constant failure. Do I use siege weapons or gauss rifles? Or should I focus on lasers to puncture through steel? Mixing and matching becomes a matter of personal taste with no immediately apparent right or wrong way.

The game does include Hero Mechs, only purchasable with MechWarrior Online’s cash currency. And they are quite powerful comparatively, but not necessarily sufficient for victory. Purchasing a Hero Mech bypasses the hours of grind needed to purchase other mechs. But ultimately the person who will secure victory is the one who researches loadouts, and studies the game’s mechanics like a first-generation child of Tiger parents.

Final Verdict - Good

To immerse yourself in MechWarrior Online you’ll spend hours scavenging YouTube videos for tips. And that’s mainly due to the game’s lackluster introduction to its mechanics. But players who endure will find an advanced combat simulator that rewards patience and tactics over brute force. You can easily spend the majority of playtime crafting combinations of weapons and equipment to create the perfect warrior. It caters to a specific audience; the one that shuns arcade stylized combat. As it stands MechWarrior Online is the pinnacle of robotic warfare simulators.

Screenshots

MechWarrior Online Screenshots

Videos

MechWarrior Online Videos

System Requirements

MechWarrior Online System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows Vista 32 bit
CPU: Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz or Athlon II X2 245e
Video Card: GeForce GT 220 or Radeon HD 6450
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows 7 64 bit
CPU: Core i5-2500 3.3GHz or Athlon II X4 650
Video Card: GeForce GTX 285 or Radeon HD 5830
RAM: 8 GB
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB

Music

MechWarrior Online Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

MechWarrior Online Additional Information

Developer(s): Piranha Games
Publisher(s): Piranha Games
Engine: CryEngine 3

Lead Designer(s): Paul Inouye
Art Director(s): Dennis DeKoning
Game Designer(s): David Bradley
Artist(s): Alex Iglesias, Thad Jantzi
Programmer(s): Thomas Dziegielewski

Announcement Date: July, 2009
Closed Beta: May 22, 2012
Open Beta: October 29, 2012
Release Date: September 17, 2013

Development History / Background:

MechWarrior Online was developed by Canadian video game developer Piranha Games. Microsoft owned the intellectual property rights of the MechWarrior franchise, until Jordan Weisman negotiated the license from Microsoft. Weisman teamed with Russ Bullock of Piranha Games to create a new iteration of MechWarrior. A prototype scenario was discussed in March 2009, and officially announced in July, 2009 with a three-minute trailer. Closed beta testing began on May 22, 2012 and originally Open Beta was scheduled for October 16, 2012. But Open Beta was pushed back until October 29, 2012 to rectify server instability issues. MechWarrior Online was officially released on September 17, 2013. From 2011 - 2014 Infinite Game Publishing held the publishing rights for the game, but Piranha Games acquired the publishing rights on September 01, 2014. Piranha Games continues to develop MechWarrior Online.

  • So many stats.... Looks like Armored Core / True Mech Warrior style game. I prefer something easier to get into like Hawken that's arcade-esque. But I can see the appeal

    • boomboomyeah

      Its a pretty mediocre game -> uuuuuunless you like grinding your eyeballs out for virtual things, which is far removed from an experience like MW4, hurray!

  • Rusty Bollocks

    LOL, this game is dying so I wouldn't get too excited. The end game Community Warfare attracts less than 500 players a night. The only people left are the whales who've spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars of real money. The New Player Experience is terrible as you get thrown against vets with tricked mechs while you get an awful trial mech. This game is made by a grade ZZZ shovel ware developer who never graduated to the next tier. Stay away or at least don't spend any money.

    • gumby

      It's definitely made with the hardcore in mind. It'll take hours of grinding to achieve a satisfactory level, but there is a niche audience that enjoys it. After playing I'm more inclined to stick with Hawken. I need an arcade style of gameplay at this point but I see the appeal to MechWarrior Online. An earlier me, when the game was released, would have been all about it.

  • Jam

    That video is ancient. The game is a lot different to that now.

    This game isn't dying or anything as dramatic as that, but it is a small one, so don't expect a massive playerbase but saying that I do get good quality games with very little wait time when I do play. It is a bit niche and requires some patience to learn, the new player experience is horrific, and navigating the mechlab requires some getting used to. But MWO can be a lot of fun and there are very few games that deliver the same style of play.

  • Brandon Adams

    Pros: Free, and doesn't require any money whatsoever to become decently competitive. Grind isn't all that bad compared to big MMOs. Excellent core gameplay - art, sound, feel of mech control are what sets this apart from previous MW titles. No gamebreaking bugs, stability mostly ironed out. Dev priorities have matched the community's much more closely since they bought out their publisher; refinements and new features are ongoing; studio hasn't missed a biweekly patch in almost three years. Frequent sales, contests, and tournaments. Small but loyal community in cautious-optimism mode, generating a lot of videos and events and game culture.

    Cons: Gameplay gets repetitive due to simplistic gamemodes; maps are highly confined and few in number. Planetary Warfare still consists of six maps centered around capturing anti-orbital gauss cannons, no other missions or objectives yet. No single-player. Graphical quality and balance are about a C+. New player experience is still lacking - no real tutorials, no kiddie-pool queue, "trial mechs" only now being implemented. Mech collisions are buggy and awkward. Studio not the most talented at PR, still working to shed poor reputation from previous missteps and development slowdowns.

    Verdict: Try it for yourself. You'll get a lot of help from the community. A lot of players grind out several chassis and find one in each weight class that works, get a little bored, come back a few months later once there's something new to do with the mechs. Studio is launching a big balance revamp soon and new gamemodes over the next few months; single-player component on the horizon.