Mechwarrior Online - Initial observations after 6 months

Lately I've been playing more and more MWO and I think I've seen enough to make a post about the changes I've noticed. The game is more or less the same (duh!). However some things immediately caught my eye.

  • The game is running much much smoother than I remember on my potato laptop, even on newer maps with more detail. Props to PGI for not giving up on optimization.
Based PGI is still looking after potato computers
  • A lot less downtime between matches. Saving loadouts is instant! I've been waiting for this for so long and it's also been one of the major reasons of why I took several breaks from MWO. They also reduced the mapvote duration to 15 seconds from 30. Finally I noticed there are a lot less people failing to load into a match, so you don't wait the full 60 seconds prematch countdown as often. All of these were a huge issue for me, so I'm glad that they're finally fixed.

  • I didn't have any trouble adjusting to gameplay, despite not having touched a computer for the last 6 months! It's like I stopped playing yesterday. All systems nominal!
  • Tons of new 'Mechs and I don't know their capabilities and weaknesses. It feels like a boss fight whenever I come upon a Night Gyr or a Kodiak.
  • The meta seem to have shifted from laser vomits with Gauss to full-on dakka builds. Perhaps the infamous KDK-3 may have had an influence on that. I also noticed many Gauss+PCC builds.
  • The Summoner is finally relevant to after 3 years! Lots and lots of poptart Summoners moving around.
  • The Cyclops looks sexy as hell. I can't wait for the C-Bill release.
Did I leave the stove on?
  • The rescale seems to have breathed new life into some 'Mechs. The Catapult seems to be just the right size. Great job PGI! The Awesome is a bit slimmer and the Locust is even tinier. I've been enjoying both a lot with great success. However what the hell happened with 35 tonners? The Wolfhound, Firestarter and the Panther are all gigantic right now. The Spider is also much bigger. Why on earth would you do that PGI? By enlarging them Paul probably made a nice looking volume curve in Excel, but on gameplay terms this probably gimped them beyond salvation (I haven't tested them admittedly, but you know, common sense!). I'm also sad to see that the notoriously oversized Victor is untouched and the Zeus is even bigger. Especially the only saving grace of the Zeus was its stupid tankiness and now with its armor quirks and its relatively small size gone . . . sigh. Lots of mixed feelings on resize as you see.
  • Decals are finally here! The implementation is good, however the way some people are using them can be really detracting from immersion. I wish there was a way to disable those.
  • I want my old Frozen City back. You can keep the new one. How can you take an extremely popular, very brawly and dynamic map and replace it with a gigantic map that promotes long-range camping fest is beyond me. I mean if you're going to replace it with something that plays completely different, why not just make a new map PGI? We only have HPG left now. If they touch it I'm raising my pitchforks. Small maps are alright to keep PGI. Other than that I like what they did with the Viridian Bog, they kept the original intact with some gameplay improvements that made both spawns equal. Same for Crimson Strait.
How to butcher a fan favorite map 101
  • Game modes are still the same. No improvements here. Conquest is still Skirmish with distractions for newbies, Skirmish is still a Nascar race, Domination is pretty awesome. I haven't touched CW yet and I have no intention to do so. Never been a fan.
  • Pugstomping in the group queue is real. It seems like you don't come across many competent opponents that spice up the gameplay.
Group queue in a nutshell
  • I watched some MWO World Championship but honestly it's not very enjoyable to watch. It's probably because matches look very awkward from third person. Some immersion seems to be lost in third person especially when a brawl happens, it's like watching bumper cars. It's hard to follow what's happening. I don't know. I've probably watched hundreds of hours of e-sports content but MWO is still not clicking with me. It's much more fun to tune into a stream and watch someone play in first person instead.
  • The way they've been pumping 'Mechpacks seem to suggest that PGI is working on something else while using MWO as a cashcow. It's alright, as long as they don't come up with something stupid like Transverse. They thought they could take on Star Citizen, hah! Doing something that takes place in the BT universe would produce the best results for them. Not sure if they're competent enough to pull off a single player game though.
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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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