At first glance, MechWarrior Online is likely rather daunting to anyone who isn't already familiar to how the series works. Sure, some people like their games with a steeper learning curve, but the folks at Piranha Games decided to take it easy on those who don't. So for the last few months, MechWarrior Online has seen several changes that cater to newer players: an option to lock the arms and torso, pedal controls being the new default, a separate training mode, and more.
One big feature quite a few gamers wondered about is whether PVE would ever be a thing, and rest assured, the idea isn't totally outrageous. Where once upon a time, Piranha downplayed the idea of having a Player vs. AI mode, MechWarrior Online creative director Bryan Ekman has renewed the possibility.
When speaking to Ekman and Piranha Games president Russ Bullock last week, I asked them whether an AI mode, similar to co-op in League of Legends, would ever be implemented. To that, Ekman answers, "PVE is definitely something we looked at."
He went on to say right now, additional features such as a PVE mode are on the back burner, at least until MechWarrior Online is officially out of beta. Piranha has also considered adding an offline mode, among others. So yes, we may be seeing a Player vs. AI mode eventually, just not now. For less "hardcore" MWO players, this could very well keep them in the game.
The developers are also devoted to their core audience, as evidenced by the massive patch that arrived just yesterday. With it, players found more strategic tools at their disposal, like an updated HUD that can keep track of other teammates on the field. Feast your eyes:
- Players will automatically be grouped into lances when they join a match.
- Players who are grouped together before entering the match will be assigned to lances together as best as possible.
- There is a maximum of 4 players per lance, and 3 lances per team.
- Currently, the third lance will only be created if needed because of player groupings.
- Players will now have a lance HUD element in the upper left of their screen which will inform them of their lancemates' health and grid location.
- Members of your lance will be marked in a different color on your HUD.
- In addition to taking command of the team, players can choose to take command of their lance while in the BattleGrid.
- The team commander is automatically the commander of his lance. The team commander's lance cannot have a separate lance commander.
- Lance commanders can assign orders to their lance. Only members of their lance will see the orders.
- Lance commanders are marked with captain's bars.
- Team commanders can assign orders to all lances, and see the orders given by all lance commanders.
- Team commanders are marked with a star.
- All Commanders can remove orders they have given by clicking the order on the BattleGrid and choosing "REMOVE ORDER".
- Team commanders can rearrange lance membership by dragging the players' names to different lances on the BattleGrid.
- Players can chat to just the members of their lance by pressing 'U'.
Full patch notes for Beta Update #15 can be found on the official site, of course.
Devoted fans also saw the introduction of MechWarrior Online's very first Champion mech, the Dragon 5N. Sounds intimidating, right?
MechWarrior Online is a living, breathing game. Yes, it's been in beta for some time now, but the summer launch is fast approaching, and Piranha is prepping. With launch, the community will see the new Community Warfare, a real-time model. So far, the anticipation has been palpable, but with little known about the new feature, the players have little to comment on.