MechWarrior Online: 'Mech analysis

So they just unveiled MechWarrior Online, a brand new MechWarrior multiplayer game that'll be F2P next year. Let's actually take a look at the images they've released so far:

The new Atlas:

For reference, here's the original Atlas D illustration from TRO 3025, by Duane Loose:

And the Atlas K from TRO 3050:

The good thing is, they seem to have added hand actuators back on, which were conspicuously absent in that CGI teaser trailer we saw last year. An Atlas without hands just isn't an Atlas, when part of its fluff is that it's known to pick up and hurl Light Mechs.

Right away I can tell that they're borrowing visual elements from the Atlas K while sticking to a pure Atlas D weapons loadout. This makes sense as, from everything we've been hearing, this new MW game is going to be a reboot for the series and will take place during the Fourth Succession War, before lvl 2 lostech arrived to give us the Atlas K.

The 3025 Atlas D had an LRM20 rack mounted in a very compact 5 tube launcher on the hip. That was always one of the Atlas's most striking features. That's completely absent from this model. There's also no omni-coupler which you'd find on the left lower torso. The Atlas K variant showcased the LRM20 moving entirely into the chest cavity, fitting in 20 launch tubes, which we see here on the model. On the left is a SRM6 launcher, shifted lower to make room for the LRM tubes and possible due to the deletion of the omni-coupler. On the center torso you can see two bulbs, presumably medium lasers. Now, this is a bit of change, as the Atlas D had two medium lasers mounted in the rear center torso. I suppose the dev team just decided not to implement rear combat entirely, and moved the lasers to the front to maintain equivalent firepower, which makes sense.

While the Atlas D design focuses primarily on torso-mounted weaponry, with the centerpiece being its tremendous AC20, it does have arm-mounted firepower in the form of two medium lasers. They're noticeably smaller and more diminutive in the game model, and now fit in rectangular enclosures. The 3025 illustration, on the other hand, had them in large round barrels that extended out well over the hand actuators. While this aesthetic change deprives the Atlas of some of its formidable presence, it matches the size of the medium lasers mounted in the torso. You'll see that the bulbs are roughly identical in size.

I like the feet, as they kept the two-toed look from the TROs. The upper thighs are a different story though. Those panels on the thighs, the criss crossed lines? Those are just so generic and lazy and unimaginative to my eyes. I can't stand that sort of paneling on Mechs, I really can't. There's no meaning behind an X on an armor panel. It looks bad and boring and empty, from a visual standpoint.

Overall, this new design of the Atlas seems markedly different from its TRO appearances. While I got a sense of towering height and immense stature from the illustrated Atlases, this new model seems a lot wider and shorter in impression. It's squat and almost looks hunched over, especially with the placement of the skull cockpit. In the TROs, the skull was firmly situated on top of its chest and rose above its shoulders. This new Atlas's cockpit is sunken down a lot further and lower then the shoulders. As a reinterpretation of the design, it's not bad. But I wish they'd gone for a more faithful representation of the classic.

MWO Hunchback:

TRO 3025 Hunchback:

Here we've got the traditional Hunchback, looking pretty much the same. The cockpit's tilted forward a bit, but otherwise retains the venetian blinds design. They added visible lasers to the arms and head where we couldn't see any on the original artwork. Arms are now rectangular blocks instead of cylinders. The AC20 looks the same size, but the bore of the barrel's been shrunk a bit, since the original's was ridiculously huge. The overall design looks shorter and wider then the original, like the Atlas, but that's to be expected from this art team I suppose. The legs look spot on, but they definitely changed up the feet, from big sturdy clompers to more delicate angular ones with two toes. I loved that they decided to keep the coil that hangs on the back of the Mech. Not sure what it was ever supposed to be, but I'd guess maybe ammo storage for the AC20?

And the Jenner:

TRO 3025 Jenner:

The Jenner's always been one of House Kurita's workhorse Light Mechs, along with the Panther, and it's clearly evident in this picture with the Draconis Combine insignia on the right leg. Of the three Mech designs we've seen so far, the Jenner has by far the most altered cockpit design, with only a singular rectangular window replacing the two large eye-like pieces of the original. Directly under the cockpit, we find two distinctive handle-like protrusions. This is interesting because they look like just the sort of handholds one would find on OmniMechs. One of the advantages of OmniMechs is the fact that they are all designed with handholds for Elementals to latch onto, enabling five of them to ride into battle on one, in a tank desant fashion. This is obviously before the emergence of OmniMechs, but perhaps we'll see some Grey Death Legion power armor? They were the first Inner Sphere warriors to find plans for power armor when they retrieved the Helm Memory Core.

The weapons loadout looks identical, and we finally get to see some open missile tubes this time, whereas the Atlas's LRMs and SRMs tubes were all closed. The biggest difference between the game model and the illustration is the fact that this Jenner is now capable of torso twisting. If you check the TRO, the design had legs that were built directly onto circular mounts joined to the torso, which prevented any sort of horizontal torso movement. This happened quite often with TRO designs, with other notable examples being the Nova, Bushwacker, and King Crab. They obviously had to alter this for gameplay reasons, because nobody's going to use a Mech without torso-twisting. They once again added two tiny toes onto the feet when there weren't any on the artwork. I'm not sure, but I think this artist just really likes toes on his Mechs. These particular toes seem extraneous and basically useless, considering how small they are compared to the actual foot.

It's strange, I'm reading the PC Gamer interview right now, and I'm not quite sure what this game is going to be like. At first, it seemed like a full fledged MMO, with grand events from the BattleTech universe taking place. And that sounded awesome. I'd love to play as the Kell Hounds fighting the Clans for the first time on The Rock (3049) and witnessing my War College computer spazzing out as it tries to identify the Mechs as Marauders or Catapults. Or battling for Terra in the apocalyptic firestorm of Tukayyid (3052). But then they talk about it some more and it sounds like it might just be F2P Counter-Strike with Mechs. Which would be... okay, but kinda disappointing compared to the first option.

1 Comments
1 Comments
Posted by Delta_Ass

So they just unveiled MechWarrior Online, a brand new MechWarrior multiplayer game that'll be F2P next year. Let's actually take a look at the images they've released so far:

The new Atlas:

For reference, here's the original Atlas D illustration from TRO 3025, by Duane Loose:

And the Atlas K from TRO 3050:

The good thing is, they seem to have added hand actuators back on, which were conspicuously absent in that CGI teaser trailer we saw last year. An Atlas without hands just isn't an Atlas, when part of its fluff is that it's known to pick up and hurl Light Mechs.

Right away I can tell that they're borrowing visual elements from the Atlas K while sticking to a pure Atlas D weapons loadout. This makes sense as, from everything we've been hearing, this new MW game is going to be a reboot for the series and will take place during the Fourth Succession War, before lvl 2 lostech arrived to give us the Atlas K.

The 3025 Atlas D had an LRM20 rack mounted in a very compact 5 tube launcher on the hip. That was always one of the Atlas's most striking features. That's completely absent from this model. There's also no omni-coupler which you'd find on the left lower torso. The Atlas K variant showcased the LRM20 moving entirely into the chest cavity, fitting in 20 launch tubes, which we see here on the model. On the left is a SRM6 launcher, shifted lower to make room for the LRM tubes and possible due to the deletion of the omni-coupler. On the center torso you can see two bulbs, presumably medium lasers. Now, this is a bit of change, as the Atlas D had two medium lasers mounted in the rear center torso. I suppose the dev team just decided not to implement rear combat entirely, and moved the lasers to the front to maintain equivalent firepower, which makes sense.

While the Atlas D design focuses primarily on torso-mounted weaponry, with the centerpiece being its tremendous AC20, it does have arm-mounted firepower in the form of two medium lasers. They're noticeably smaller and more diminutive in the game model, and now fit in rectangular enclosures. The 3025 illustration, on the other hand, had them in large round barrels that extended out well over the hand actuators. While this aesthetic change deprives the Atlas of some of its formidable presence, it matches the size of the medium lasers mounted in the torso. You'll see that the bulbs are roughly identical in size.

I like the feet, as they kept the two-toed look from the TROs. The upper thighs are a different story though. Those panels on the thighs, the criss crossed lines? Those are just so generic and lazy and unimaginative to my eyes. I can't stand that sort of paneling on Mechs, I really can't. There's no meaning behind an X on an armor panel. It looks bad and boring and empty, from a visual standpoint.

Overall, this new design of the Atlas seems markedly different from its TRO appearances. While I got a sense of towering height and immense stature from the illustrated Atlases, this new model seems a lot wider and shorter in impression. It's squat and almost looks hunched over, especially with the placement of the skull cockpit. In the TROs, the skull was firmly situated on top of its chest and rose above its shoulders. This new Atlas's cockpit is sunken down a lot further and lower then the shoulders. As a reinterpretation of the design, it's not bad. But I wish they'd gone for a more faithful representation of the classic.

MWO Hunchback:

TRO 3025 Hunchback:

Here we've got the traditional Hunchback, looking pretty much the same. The cockpit's tilted forward a bit, but otherwise retains the venetian blinds design. They added visible lasers to the arms and head where we couldn't see any on the original artwork. Arms are now rectangular blocks instead of cylinders. The AC20 looks the same size, but the bore of the barrel's been shrunk a bit, since the original's was ridiculously huge. The overall design looks shorter and wider then the original, like the Atlas, but that's to be expected from this art team I suppose. The legs look spot on, but they definitely changed up the feet, from big sturdy clompers to more delicate angular ones with two toes. I loved that they decided to keep the coil that hangs on the back of the Mech. Not sure what it was ever supposed to be, but I'd guess maybe ammo storage for the AC20?

And the Jenner:

TRO 3025 Jenner:

The Jenner's always been one of House Kurita's workhorse Light Mechs, along with the Panther, and it's clearly evident in this picture with the Draconis Combine insignia on the right leg. Of the three Mech designs we've seen so far, the Jenner has by far the most altered cockpit design, with only a singular rectangular window replacing the two large eye-like pieces of the original. Directly under the cockpit, we find two distinctive handle-like protrusions. This is interesting because they look like just the sort of handholds one would find on OmniMechs. One of the advantages of OmniMechs is the fact that they are all designed with handholds for Elementals to latch onto, enabling five of them to ride into battle on one, in a tank desant fashion. This is obviously before the emergence of OmniMechs, but perhaps we'll see some Grey Death Legion power armor? They were the first Inner Sphere warriors to find plans for power armor when they retrieved the Helm Memory Core.

The weapons loadout looks identical, and we finally get to see some open missile tubes this time, whereas the Atlas's LRMs and SRMs tubes were all closed. The biggest difference between the game model and the illustration is the fact that this Jenner is now capable of torso twisting. If you check the TRO, the design had legs that were built directly onto circular mounts joined to the torso, which prevented any sort of horizontal torso movement. This happened quite often with TRO designs, with other notable examples being the Nova, Bushwacker, and King Crab. They obviously had to alter this for gameplay reasons, because nobody's going to use a Mech without torso-twisting. They once again added two tiny toes onto the feet when there weren't any on the artwork. I'm not sure, but I think this artist just really likes toes on his Mechs. These particular toes seem extraneous and basically useless, considering how small they are compared to the actual foot.

It's strange, I'm reading the PC Gamer interview right now, and I'm not quite sure what this game is going to be like. At first, it seemed like a full fledged MMO, with grand events from the BattleTech universe taking place. And that sounded awesome. I'd love to play as the Kell Hounds fighting the Clans for the first time on The Rock (3049) and witnessing my War College computer spazzing out as it tries to identify the Mechs as Marauders or Catapults. Or battling for Terra in the apocalyptic firestorm of Tukayyid (3052). But then they talk about it some more and it sounds like it might just be F2P Counter-Strike with Mechs. Which would be... okay, but kinda disappointing compared to the first option.