It’s Tuesday and Piranha Games has just taken down the MechWarrior Online servers temporarily for maintenance. It’s update time!

We’ve not discussed the free-to-play Mech sim since October when MechWarrior Online entered open beta, available for download and play to any and all interested parties. Every week or two since that time, the dev team have consistently added content, mechs, as they continuously aim to improve and balance gameplay.

One of the recent big updates added a new mech, the heavy Cataphract, along with mech camo customization, meaning players can use in-game currency or real-money to paint their war machine with pretty (or menacing) colors and patterns. The game was also bolstered with more in-game features, including new types on warfare involving electronic countermeasures. Sorry, missile boats.

Needless to say, MechWarrior Online is getting deeper and deeper as weapon systems and balancing improves. And just before the holidays begin, another massive update hits today, adding not just a new mech class (the assault-sized Stalker), but a pair of hero mechs, to go along with a brand new night-focused map variant, the first new game mode, and tons of balancing tweaks.

MechWarrior Online Dragon Twins Hero Mechs

  • Conquest Mode – The first new game mode (inspired by BattleTech), Conquest Mode puts five capturable locations on the map, each of which give players points over time as they are held. Players can neutralize and then capture enemy locations by standing on them. Cooperation among your lance is more important than ever as competing teams will constantly be trying to outflank the other and new strategies will need to be formed to win the match. Note: The “any” button causes errors, so pick Assault or Conquest until the next hotfix.

MechWarrior Online Game Modes button

  • Economy Update and New Cadet Bonus Rewards — New players will receive a “Cadet Bonus” (C-Bills bonus) for the first 25 games, enabling new recruits to advance faster and purchase more powerful Mechs. Additional economy changes include trial Mechs getting the same rewards as normal Mechs (including Mech XP), a one-time bonus for existing players who have completed over 26 matches and rewards given based on active participation for each round, i.e. gameplay performance for securing a win, loss and kill values among other fairness and balance changes.  Rewards per level listed on page 2.
  • Three New Mechs
    • Twin Hero Mechs: Martin Takeda’s long-range Dragon DRG-FLAME  & Donald Takeda’s brawling Dragon DRG-FANG.
    • The Stalker Assault Mech – 85 tons, second only to the 100 ton Atlas, containing multiple missile and energy slots.

MechWarrior Online Stalkers

  • River City Night Map – Night variant of river city urban map. Night Vision and Thermal Vision will be required and weapons fire will light up the skyline.
  • More Mech Camo Patterns – Phranken Mech Pattern and Camo Spec Paint for all mechs.
  • New Year’s Items – Seven New Year’s themed items, from balloons to holographic champagne. Full list on page 2.
  • Weapon Tweaks – Autocannon shots travel faster. Full list of weapon changes on page 2.

A few of us here at Game Rant continue to devote hours to playing the 8 vs. 8 MechWarrior Online beta, and even without the community warfare aspect (i.e. the universe) setup yet, the game stands up as one of the best free-to-play games there is. And the best part is, players are never required to pay to progress. They can acccess all mech classes, all weapons, all mech and pilot skills, and all of the gameplay features using earned in-game currency from simply playing the game.

Piranha instead allows users to purchase premium time which grants bonus in-game currency (C-Bills) and experience points so they can purchase in-game items quicker. There are also special hero mechs which can only be purchased with MC (bought with real-life currency), along with cosmetic items to decorate the interior and exterior of the mech. It doesn’t affect gameplay, but it’s a wonderful way for devoted players to personalize their mechanical monster and at the same time, support a quality game which is otherwise free.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: MWO

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