Posted by BuckGB at 10:52 am on 10.6.2012 (8 months ago)
Players will start with trial mechs and as time progresses, start to fill their bank accounts with virtual money and have the option to purchase more mechs and customize them with different types of weaponry. Yes, players will have the option to add all kinds of toys to their mech. From long-range missiles to in-your-face autocannons, there are multiple high-tech ways to absolutely annihilate your enemy.
And speaking of mech damage, that is one aspect of the franchise that I’ve always really enjoyed: the strategy involved in shooting your opponent. Sure, it’s fun to shoot people in the face in most FPS games, as that’s really your only objective: shoot them dead. For the most part it doesn’t matter where you hit them. The only real difference is head shots tend to do more damage resulting in faster or instant kills. In MechWarrior games though, you’re just scratching the tip of the iceberg with head shots. Concentrate your fire on an arm to disable it and take away one or more of your opponent’s weapons. Target the engine to diminish or completely remove his mobility. Take out a leg and well… timber!
Rock, Paper, Shotgun:
Going back to that currency thing: C-bills are the game’s currency, and they’re the bit where the free-to-play aspect is going to help Pirhana actually make money. They’re slow to accrue if you’re paying nothing, and so buying in will give you access to a wider range of mechs. That’s not to say you won’t be competitive with the free mechs (you definitely will) but just that some people – you know who you are – will want that fatter, shinier Atlas. Folks are already buying the “founder’s packages” that give access to all this sort of stuff. Is it worth the money? Frankly, I don’t know, and I expect it’ll change anyway before the beta is up. Conclusions on that front will take some time to be drawn.
Another level of tactics comes into play with weaponry and overheating. The weapons fitted onto a mech are highly dependent Heavier mechs are equipped with a harder-hitting arsenal. Consequently, it's more difficult to circle strafe in combat and hit opponents that are fleeter of feet. Overheating also prevents you from firing your weapons endlessly to your heart's content. Firing a weapon brings up heat levels in your mech, and constantly alpha striking (firing every weapon in your mech's arsenal at once) is a good way to bring heat levels to a critical level. Overheating causes a mech's safety mechanics to kick in and initiate an automatic shutdown, which is something you probably don't want in the middle of a firefight. Shutdowns can be overridden, but you risk overheating your mech to the point of explosion.
That all started to change when I got involved in the portion of the game that will pay for all of your hard work: the mech and pilot customization system. Like most of the F2P games out there today, you charge some amount to your credit card in exchange for tokens for the in-game store. Those tokens buy you different mech chassis which offer different configurations of weapons and defensive attachment points to fit to various gaming skill sets. You can still buy new mechs with in-game currency but it will take a lot of playing before you can afford a new mech.
Combat in MechWarrior Online also contains everything you would expect from a proper entry in the series. Rain down destruction from far away with your LRMs (Long Range Missiles). Burn off your opponent’s armor with a shot from four fire-linked medium lasers. Blast off the arm of an opposing mech with a direct hit from your dual Ultra AC/20s (autocannons). Again, Piranha has done an excellent job of capturing the look, feel, and practical functionality of the different weapon types, and you can outfit your mech with your preferred methods of destruction.
Mercenary Credits are real life currency which you can also use to purchase parts for your mech instead of in-game currency. There isn't really a limit to what you can buy and it's not quite just cosmetic items. While I'm sure Piranha Games is already on it and has some plan in place, Pay to Win does come to mind. Granted there's always the Play to Win method as well, which I can definitely see coming into play as well. For those of you that don't know what I mean by that, it basically just means the more you play, then the more you'll get. After playing several matches duking it out against other mechs you'll get a decent amount of credits for your mech, so it's not impossible to get parts.