GDC 2012: Looking at MechWarrior’s big free-to-play return in 2012

| March 11, 2012

MechWarrior is arrival back in a big way in 2012, by a pair of free-to-toy online games: MechWarrior Online and MechWarrior Tactics.

Infinite Game Publishing is bringing back MechWarrior in a pregnant way for 2012 with two hungry-looking online titles, MechWarrior Online from Piranha Games and MechWarrior Tactics from Roadhouse Interactive and Acronym Games. They’re the two free-to-play titles that give vastly different experiences: the former is each action-focused first-person mech contest game that’s been built forward CryEngine 3 and the latter is a propensity-based strategy game playable in your browser using the Unity chew-in.

I got a chance to call on both of these games in feat as the doors officially opened steady GDC 2012 earlier today.

MechWarrior Online

The direct in MechWarrior Online is to oblige players directly in the pilot’s place of their own, highly customized mech. At the inmost part you’re looking at a 12 against 12 multiplayer experience, with each team lowly into four mech squads, known because Lances in the MechWarrior parlance.

A banner 12v12 match in MechWarrior Online is a nay-respawn affair; if your mech is destroyed, your time in the be proportionate is over. These mechs are steady too; whether your is destroyed or foolishly damaged in a match, you’ll extremity to make sure it’s repaired formerly the match is over. Other modes are in posse in addition to the core 12v12. Drop Ship is the same example, allowing players to bring three mechs into battle; grant that what you’re piloting is destroyed, the nearest mech in your lineup gets dropped into the battle.

CryEngine 3 renders more impressive visuals for this free-to-toy game. The sample battle I got to penetrate played out against the backdrop of rolling ignorant hills and skyscraping rock outcroppings. Players be possible to expect to see other environments considered in the state of well: icy regions, deserts, city centers and the like. More importantly, the stand conditions in a given region can have an impact on gameplay. Your overheat-inclining mech is going to be clever to fire its weapons more repeatedly in a snowy environment than it power of determination in warmer climates.

Much attention has been oddity into the look of the mechs themselves, by each type having a unique design and be warmed. Not just from the outside one and the other. Each mech cockpit is filled through all manner of displays and readouts, and they every one of update in real-time with applicable information. Much of this information is too provided by the HUD, but the in-cockpit readouts dare more detail; the tradeoff is that you’ll want to free-look around the cockpit to take them every part of in.

The level of detail extends to war as well. As your own mech takes impair, screens will flicker, sparks will jet out from panels, waves of stir will wash through the cockpit and chunks of metal behest break off on the outside. You’ll know the effects of your attacks forward other mechs as well, with limbs fracture off under sustained fire. This isn’t proper a cosmetic thing either; shoot the the weapon-equipped bough off of an enemy mech, and that weapon desire effectively be put out of charge.

The team is putting a great emphasis in the game on role discord. You’ll earn experience on the side of taking a heavy assault chassis into the expanse and scoring kills of course, boundary scouting around and marking potential threats or softening up cold foes in more of a shore role are equally viable sources of XP. You’ll ultimately spend this XP on improving one as well as the other your mech and your pilot in diverse ways.

For those who wish to dive deeper, Piranha is planning some minutely and intricately wrought community features to give players the feel that they’re quarrel in a persistent future war. The register of the year that we use today is check in place in the game’s 3048 setting, thus there’s a sense of everything in the ongoing war unfolding in actually being time.

There’s no authoritative set of required and recommended specs hitherto for MechWarrior Online, though Piranha acknowledges that CryEngine 3 scales well. Expect the free beta to launch this summer.

MechWarrior Tactics

Also coming later this year is MechWarrior Tactics, the work of a collaboration between Roadhouse Interactive and Acronym Games. While the point of concentration can still be boiled down to “cyclops robots pounding the crap out of undivided another with large guns,” the force-to-moment play is slowed downward to tactical turn-based strategy that plays out in a diversity of environments on a hex-based grid. It’s a borer like a tabletop strategy game, barely it’s playable in some browser equipped with the Unity idler plug-in.

The self-stated goal by Tactics for the two studios is to “draw intensity to the turn-based genre” by mixing cinematic elements in alongside the occasional kindness-based, stats-focused play. Multiplayer is asynchronous, in like manner you can have multiple confrontations. There’s none limit to how many battles you can have going at any one time.

You’ll typically have existence watching the action unfold from each isometric perspective. There’s a careful exception to this, as you can see once all orders have been handed out for the period of the game’s Attack Phase. The camera switches to a dynamic, cinematic prospect as the hex grid disappears and the mechs permit loose with their varies weapons, because orders dictate.

The actual play should subsist immediately familiar to any fan of tactical have direction-based strategy games. You’ll propose your mechs around on the draw grid, taking care to be mindful of the environments surrounding you and potentially advantageous/disadvantages positions. Trees, during example, provide good cover, while elevated positions — some of which are only accessible to smaller mechs with jump capabilities — help players extend how much of the map is plain.

Once all move orders have been issued, the Attack Phase begins. Selecting individual of your mechs and clicking steady an enemy target brings up two windows: the same informing you of how damaged the antagonist is and the other listing the unlike each other weapons you’re able to produce to bear on that enemy.

While there’s an elaborate numbers dauntless going on behind the scenes, players be able to simply look at the list of weapons and how they’re paint-coded to get a sense of by what means effective an attack will be opposite to the chosen target. The color coding, in descending regular government, goes from green to yellow to orange to red.

Of conduct, combat is only a portion of the personate a character in Tactics. Gamers who enjoy obsessing from one to another building giant robots of death and desolation will be able to get their fill a glass in the Mech Bay. Parts have power to be interchanged freely between chassis’ to this place.

You might want to try kitting out your hard Atlas mech in more of a real property support role, since its slow advance makes it ideal for pounding foe forces with artillery. You could in lieu opt to load it down through lasers and other shorter-range weapons, relying on its thick armor to macerate up enemy fire on the encounter lines.

Your assortment of customization options grows of the same kind with you collect STACs, shorthand for Surplus Tech/Armament Container. These are essentially booster packs; you can pick them up while playing online in multiplayer, offline in a bot-filled drill mode (though with much less powerful gear) and in the game’s microtransaction-based lay up. STACs contain everything from pilots and chassis’ to heatsinks, armor, and, of course, weapons.

The model is to constantly push players to exist toying with new builds for their mechs, experimenting to discover more effective combinations for completing sundry objectives. You can also spend positive money on customizable elements like particulars to distinguish your mechs from others without ceasing the battlefield.

Separate from all of this is a ranking hypothesis. It’s less like the dangling carrots of the Call of Duty games and in addition like the community elements of Gears of War and Halo. Earning ranks in MechWarrior Tactics has nothing effect on the gameplay; it’s to a greater degree meant to be used as a allot of how players compare with the same another.

There’s no date more specific that 2012 for Tactics suitable now, but it seems to exist coming along well. The play in all probability isn’t for all players, limit it’s certainly a benefit-looking browser-based game and it indeed seems to nail the core goal of bringing tabletop gambling to life in a new and interesting way. Between this and MechWarrior Online, 2012 is definitely shaping up to be a good year for fans of hercules fighting robots.


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