Wolfhound Review (and script)

It's finally done! This time I'm including both the video and the video script for those who want to read it instead. Beware though, the script is purpose written for the video. Enjoy!

Hello MechWarriors! This Rak also known as Tahribator and today I'll be reviewing the latest addition to the IS light stable, the Wolfhound.

This Wolfhound pack was donated to me by DarthPeanut so many thanks to him for making this review possible!

Before we get to the MWO's take on the Wolfhound, let's take a look at the Wolfhound in BattleTech to get an idea of its reason for existence.

Wolfhound in BattleTech

The Wolfhound was engineered by the Lyran Commonwealth for a single purpose: to counter the fast and powerful light 'Mechs of the Draconis Combine, namely the Jenner and the Panther. The first prototype rolled out in the year of 3028 and it was quickly adopted by elite mercenary units such as Kell Hounds and Wolf's Dragoons. It was the 'Mech of choice of the legendary MechWarrior, Phelan Kell who later had his Wolfhound upgraded to a Wolfhound IIC by the Clan Wolf. The serial production began in the year of 3052, just after the battle of Tukayyid.

Its looks definitely reflect where the Lyran Engineers got their inspiration from. The main shape seems to be copied from a Panther and married with the energy boating capabilities of the Jenner. It carried a lot of armor and was also designed to be easily maintained in the battlefield by the usa of standard components.

Wolfhound in MWO

So according to the lore, this is a tough and fast energy boat that should be able to hold its own against the Panther and the Jenner. How does this all work out in MechWarrior Online though?

Firstly, Alex did a great job with the artwork. Its silhouette definitely resembles the Panther but it has stronger lines and a tougher look. However, when we look at the actual in-game model, it feels like it lost some of its character during the modeling. The in-game model looks a bit crude with its sharp angled lines, especially in the shoulder area. Its legs are also much skinner, which is actually good thing in terms of gameplay, but it also gives it a more fragile look.

Disregarding aesthetics, the Wolfhound has an excellent geometry in terms of gameplay. It has big arms which look perfect for absorbing damage. The whole torso is extremely small, with the whole mass concentrated in the hexagonal shape in the middle, but it has some depth that adds to the side profile. The legs are very skinny and look hard to focus.

On the scaling department the Wolfhound gets a pass as well. It's pretty much a skinnier Panther which is already a well scaled 'Mech.

Overall, its looks are decent. It doesn't have the sleek looks of the Panther and the animations are somewhat stiffer than normal, but it's not an ugly 'Mech by any means.


When we take a look at the hitboxes, you can see that PGI took their time doing them. Frontally center and side torsos are hard to focus. The Center torso is the largest over the middle hexagonal structure, but otherwise it's a thin narrow strip. The side torsos occupy the sides of the hexagonal structure but interestingly the shoulder pads also count as side torsos on the Wolfhound. Especially shoulder pad on the right side extends over the arm. Frontally everything is nice and balanced, but keep in mind that when you twist, you'll be presenting a large side torso area to your enemies. Another interesting thing is that the laser hardpoints on the sides of the center torso also count as side torsos. This helps mitigate damage to the sides.

Hardpoint Placement

The Wolfhound is an energy boat. Each variant comes with 5 to 6 energy hardpoints which are divided between the torsos and the right arm. The left arm is unused and can be utilized as a shield arm or can be completely stripped for tonnage.

So it's just another energy boat right? And it has less hardpoints than a Firestarter, so why bother, it must be inferior right? Well, let's take a look at the hardpoint placement to see if numbers are indeed everything that counts.

As you can see, the Wolfhound's energy hardpoints are all concentrated around its center line, just below the cockpit. This means that your laser beam bundles are very tight and what you can see is almost always what you can shoot. In comparison, the Firestarter's hardpoints are spread out in a horizontal line around its waist, which means you have to be very conscious about the line of sight of your hardpoints. It also means you have to expose yourself more in a Firestarter compared to a Wolfhound.

Therefore, while it lacks the raw firepower, this is a much better peeker than the Firestarter. When married with its excellent hitboxes and tanking ability this makes it a very effective skirmisher on the battlefield. I'll speak more on the gameplay implications later, but let's take a look at the Wolfhound variants first and see what we have to play around with.


The Wolfhound is a relatively new 'Mech in our current in-game date, so just like the Mauler, PGI had to come up with some variants of their own. However since the Wolfhound is a strictly energy boat with relatively few numbers of hardpoints, it's hard to differentiate variants. Still, looks like PGI did their best to give each of them some character. Let's start with the Resistance variant, the Wolfhound 2.


This is the main production variant in the lore. The Wolfound 2 comes with one energy hardpoints in each side torso, two energy hardpoints in the CT and two energy hardpoints in the right arm for a total of six. Since the hardpoint density is shifted to the right side, this makes for the best side-peeker of the Wolfhounds. You also have the arm hardpoints for better target tracking and getting rid of UAVs, but don't expect that arm to last for long under fire. Therefore this is the Wolfhound that suffers the most from hardpoint loss.


One of the imaginary PGI variants, this variant still has six hardpoints but their distribution is different. It has two energy hardpoints per side torso, one in the center torso and one in the arm. Therefore this is the variant with the most amount of torso hardpoints. Having five tightly packed lasers in the center of your 'Mech gives this 'Mech amazing convergence characteristics. This allows for excellent target tracking with more precision, as you don't have to worry the speed discrepancy between your arms and the torso. It also allows you to take shots from the tightest of the angles such as between two opposing corners or openings.


This one is a bit of a mixed bag. It comes with one hardpoint per side torso, two in its center torso and one in its arm for a total of five hardpoints. PGI tried to offset the loss of a hardpoint with a slightly higher engine cap instead. It can mount engines up to 315 rating and therefore can do 160 KPH. However as you'll quickly recognize, the loss of a hardpoint is definitely not worth the extra 10 KPH. Therefore the WLF-1 is the kind of the "black swan" of the Wolfhounds.


This is the preorder bonus variant which is currently unavailable even for paying customers. However the loss is not too great as this variant keeps everything bad about the Wolfhound-1 without any of the good stuff. It's hardpoint number and placement is exactly the same as the one but without the increased engine cap. Instead, it can mount dual AMS. Since dual AMS is extremely underwhelming and is definitely not worth the loss of a hardpoint, this is the variant you might want to skip over the others. Perhaps if one day AMS becomes a worthwhile investment it's time will come. Until then, it's best forgotten.

Building for the Wolfhound

Making builds for the Wolfhound is very straightforward, since it's a tiny laser boat and you have so little to work with. However as I mastered each variant and then played some more, I realized certain weapon combinations tend to work better than the others. First of all realize that this is a mid-close range harasser and not a sniper. So while it's entirely possible, I wouldn't recommend you to slap ER Large Lasers on this and go sniping. That's a job that's best left for Ravens and other lights with better energy quirks and high hardpoint placement. What this 'Mech likes is a combination of either Medium Pulse/Medium Lasers, pure Medium Pulses or combination of a single LL/LPL and medium lasers for the rest. Basically if you're going to play it brawly, go for minimum face time with medium pulses and utilize its tankiness or if you want more range and versatility; combine medium lasers with a big energy like a Large Laser or a Large Pulse. I found pure medium lasers very underwhelming as they lack the punch and the face time is too long for the gamestyle this 'Mech demands.


Alright let's get to the good stuff. How does the Wolfhound play and how does it feel like? When I first received the pack, I was expecting to be underwhelmed since I didn't hear good things about the 'Mech and I didn't bother reading up much on it as I predicted it to be mediocre too. So I went in blindly and after a two hour adrenaline filled session with incredible matches, I came out extremely thrilled and surprised with this 'Mech. At that time I had also recently finished eliting my Arctic Cheetahs and they even didn't impress me this much. So much that I actually went on Twitter and congratulated Russ for perhaps the best IS light 'Mech ever since the Firestarter was introduced. Bad move. Since this was against the general opinion, some people even took an offense to my supposedly bad feedback to the developers and tried to name and shame me on Reddit. I was even called a shill for liking it. Internet drama ensued. It was sad.

Wolfhoundgate scandal shook the Reddit that day

But I still stand behind my words. Let me tell you why; the Wolfhound is an extremely balanced 'Mech. It feels very similar to the Arctic Cheetah in that regard. First of all, the Wolfhound hitboxes behave completely different from other humanoid IS lights. Since the torso is small and compact, it's very hard to focus components for your enemies. The arms mitigate a lot of damage and unlike IS lights, the Wolfhound is also very hard to leg. Out of the 145 matches I've played so far, I can count the times I've been legged with my fingers. The hitbox behaviour is very different too. A speedy Wolfhound tends to tank with its side torsos first due to its unique torso geometry. This means that this 'Mech reacts very well to torso twisting and you're not on a Center Torso timer like the Jenner. Due to this, it's very possible to tank silly amounts of damage even with an XL engine. You can even consider putting a STD in there for a mini-Atlas experience. All of this means that it lasts longer on the battlefield compared to other IS lights. For example a Firestarter has more hardpoints and potentially better alpha, but with a Wolfhound you can easily persist longer on the battlefield and easily make up for the lack of raw firepower.

Secondly, the hardpoint placement makes this is an amazing peeker. The tightly packed torso lasers beams allow you to shoot through tight gaps and holes your enemies can't shoot back from. Despite the mainly torso mounted weaponry you also have no problems tracking enemies. The extra torso twist speed quirk allows you to be very precise with your aim too. You can even track Arctic Cheetahs flying all over the place.

Lastly, the Wolfhound is very hard to disarm. If you take off its arms it'll retain at least four energy hardpoints in its torso. The same thing can't be said for its main competitors such as the Firestarter and the Arctic Cheetah. Especially the Arctic Cheetah turns into a cute kitten when you defang it by going for its fragile arms and side torsos.

All of this makes the Wolfhound a very potent enemy with a unique playstyle. The playstyle I developed ended up being a close-mid range aggressive corner peeker. You basically seek-out vulnerable enemies such as assaults, keep them occupied with constant harassment and waste their time while racking up damage. The Wolfhound face-tanks really well so whatever they throw back at you you can either evade or simply absorb it. I don't suggest getting really close, since at close range your side torsos become a huge target and an XL death is unavoidable against a competent enemy.


Overall, the Wolfhound is a great addition to the Inner Sphere light roster. I expect it to get much more popular when it gets released for C-Bills on December 15th. By then, its competitors will have their quirks brought in-line and the Wolfhound will get better quirks. So if you have an aggressive playstyle and you like IS lights, save up those 'Mechbays and C-Bills because you're in for a ride.
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About Rak

I'm an engineer who likes to write extremely long articles about games that border simulation and mainstream.
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