MechWarrior 4 : Greater than MechWarrior 3?

I have the Inner Sphere Mech Pack and its great, mostly because of the awesome Highlander Mech. The Black Knight expansion was good but I hated almost all of the new mech designs. I can’t wait for the next big expansion and mech pack. Been playing online like crazy. None of the servers let me use my suicide shadow-cat, strapped with high explosives :(

Anyway, MechWarrior 3, developed by Zipper Interactive was a complete action-fest, feeling more like Heavy Gear II and less like MechWarrior 2 and MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries. They did develop Crimson Skies so its easy to see where their strength lies, and I am glad they went with it, but even tho it was technically it was a great action game, as a MechWarrior title I really think it went in the wrong direction.

MechWarrior 4, I feel, sort of melded the sim aspects from 2 and the accessibility of 3 and the final product was something people new to the series could enjoy too without much stress on the noggin. But then there’s this, did it get any close to what MechWarrior is all about? I personally feel that if you think purely in terms of genre, that MechWarrior 4 is definitely a step back to the roots of the PC series (MechCommander not included in this).

In some forums when I bring up the idea that MechWarrior 4 is a step back into what MechWarrior should be I get a lot of hardcore types that complain about all the rules ‘broken’ to bring this sort of game to the masses. So maybe I am wrong. I never played those bearded-men board games. I don’t care about damage ratios n tonnage. I just like the experience of being in the seat of a 90-ton mech with a jetpack.

This also brings up an interesting question. Is it better for a game to stay true to a license yet reach fewer people, or change things in order to reach more people.

I believe a change to attract more consumers is a good thing in that it keeps a series alive longer in many cases. If the game is changed and sucks, obviously, that is no good. Most times, increased sales translates into increased longevity. At least with long running series’.

There are many Heroes of Might and Magic III diehard fans that would strongly disagree, but I personally like the changes between III and IV. I do not think it would have sold as well and may have been the end of the series if New World Computing had simply re-hashed Heroes III with better graphics. Now they are talking expansions and possibly a fifth iteration. Who knows if they would have had those anyway, but if IV did not sell well I think it would have been doubtful.

I remember at the Gamestock prior to the Xbox launch some of the Developers were asked that they thought made a great game, and most of them answered ‘a game that sells well’.

Now I see the practicality of this answer, but the idealist in me knows that in some way its the wrong attitude to have.

The essence of BattleTech is piloting gigantic tanks which beat the shit out of each other.

I totally think MechWarrior 4 is the right move. I played the hell out of MechWarrior 2 and MechWarrior Mercenaries, and Mech4, to me, still retained the core elements (balancing heat, though simplified, weaponry, and tonnage), while making it more accessible to non-hardcore-mech-sim dorks like me.

Result, anecdotally, more CGW editors got into Mech4 compared to previous Mech games.

But that’s just one editorial staff’s opinion, distilled through a peon such as I.

The hardcore bearded-men battletech type fans always knock Mech 4 when I talk about it on most forums.

One thing that bugs me about Mech4 right now is that servers won’t let me blow myself up in my suicide mech or use the cluster bombs. Players are balancing the game into a snipe fest.

Some maps you just see two mountain ranges facing each other and lines of mad cat MKII’s jumping up and down taking shots then hiding behind the mountain.

I know its a perfectly valid strategy, but guys like me want close range combat with explosions all around.

‘Some maps you just see two mountain ranges facing each other and lines of mad cat MKII’s jumping up and down taking shots then hiding behind the mountain.’


This reminds of something with the Quake 3 (or was it 2?) demo. Anyone remember the vast bitching online when Carmack put in a time delay between jumps? He said it cut down on the “ridiculous bunny-hopping.”

I dunno anything about that, but its a pretty funny sight to see in a friggin MechWarrior game.

To the games credit there are plenty of matches online that involve close quarter fighting, the trick is finding the people who wanna play the same sorta battle you do. For example today I got into a really good team match and all the combat was mixed. Some long range, some close range. The brawlers were all in the middle dueling while the long rangers covered while trying to take out the oppositions long range attackers.

I had a really cool face to face match with another Highlander pilot, I lost cause I NEED PRACTICE. It was a great experience tho.

I can’t stand MKII Jump-fests tho. LAME!

Well, I think they did do a LOT of things right with MW4. Definitely the new jump-jet system is far cooler, because playing MW2 and watching mechs “roller skate” on their jets was pretty lame. It’s a damn ROCKET in your ass, not a harrier jumpjet backpack. Also, I think the new mechlab system is uber. No more laser-boats. If it’s a missile pod, you’re not shooting 10 medium lasers out of it - and that’s GOOD.

I don’t, however, care for the whole “Clan Tech” bullshit. I played the boardgame like a devout monk for many many years, and let me tell ya - I hated the fucking clans when they showed up on the tabletop and I still hate the bastards today. The IS mechs had great personality and I really find that lacking in the new suped-up garbage. Also, the MW4 interpretation of some of the weapon damage formulas for lighter weaponry makes them almost worthless IMO. Medium laser? Why, when I can load up with Medium Pulse X Lasers instead? But, for the tonnage and heat, I’m better off getting a large pulse anyway. Ok, I’m one of those bearded farts who rolled too many dice back in the day - but that also means I’m crazy enough to make a spreadsheet to calculate all this stuff, and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the balance of what I saw.

However, for multiplay you just can’t beat it. Especially now that you can play the campaign in coop mode. It’s essentially like having a Battletech VR Worlds pod in your room. Lot cheaper too.

Now, what I “REALLY” want is Tekki’s controller hooked up to my PC.

Mech 4 is vastly superior to Mech 3. The improved loadout system really adds a lot of strategy in MP, especially if you have weight limits. Hmm, do I want this mech, which has a bunch of missile slots, or one with energy weapons slots? (Then you check if it’s a long-range map, desert map, city map, etc., and what your teammates/enemies are taking…)

Usually I only play on team servers with tonnage limits and/or interesting maps…tends to cut down on the Mad Cat/Daishi snipe fests. When you actually get into a game with teams that are balanced and work together, it’s really fun.

Oh, and I agree that the Clan stuff was bullshit…all of a sudden, you have all these uber-mechs on the scene, with weapons that are MUCH better than the IS ones. And in the computer games, it’s even more retarded – why would you ever choose an IS weapon when you could have the Clan version?

It also completely fucked up the “dying universe where nothing ever gets built” motif. Sure, it was depressing, but it was interesting!

Now it’s just Us Vs. The Kooky Aliens again.

Anybody remember what the original reason that the succession wars broke out was?

Water - H20 baby. In fact, didn’t one of the Ghost Bear Legacy missions have you fighting on an ice asteroid that was being towed to a planet?

Well, then the politics turned into a sort of “Dune - With Big Robots” and simplicity was toast. Hehe.

And why can’t Microsoft/FASA make a Succession Wars PC game? A grand 4x strategy game a la MOO, only most of the wars will be fought not with naval fleets, which are severely limited in the Battletech mythos, but with dropships and battlemechs. Maybe pick from different historical eras for the campaign, to reflect the waxing and waning power of the Houses. Maybe the ability to pick one of the “border Houses” like the Magistracy of Canopus or the Outworlds Alliance, and guide them into Great House status.

Then, have the Clans invade, and maybe a toggle box in the settings to determine whether they attack in the “traditional” area, between House Steiner and House Kurita, or whether their attack will hit a random approach in the Inner Sphere.

I seriously think a Succession Wars game, if done right, could be a huge success. Anyone feel like sending me tons of funding and teams of programmers so I can make it happen? :D

  • Balut

No one would ever buy a Battletech pen-and-paper game again, that’s why. At least, that’s the only explanation I can think of; I know this very design makes me twitchy to think about.

Whatever happened to that multiplayer Battletech game? It was a MMOG of sorts, taking place druing the Succession Wars. You got to be a pilot for a house of the Inner Sphere. I was in the beta, and while some parts of the game were fun, like joining in a massive assault with your fellow House Members to finally take that one last planet, it lacked that same epic theme by only allowing 1 lance per side per battle. It took too long to finally get a game running, and then it lasts 3 minutes. Also, it kind of felt like a multiplayer component tacked onto a real game and then the flimsy campaign-like multiplayer mode for show. I’d like to hear what happened to that game after I stopped playing.

Are you talking about Multiplayer BattleTech (GEnie, for those of you who might actually remember it), or the more recent one? MPBT was based on the original Mechwarrior engine…pretty sweet stuff! :D

Well, the tabletop Battletech game revolves primarily around tactical mech combat (Battletech) or larger-scale mech warfare (Battleforce). I don’t think the Succession Wars boardgame ever did very well, though I could be wrong, but there’s no reason a 4x PC Succession Wars game should impact the sales of the basic tabletop tactical boardgame, as they’re two different beasts.

  • Balut, now thinking of a Battletech Battleforce RTS using the Kohan engine…

A completely implemented version of either would be great, and kill off the relevant pen-and-paper markets entirely.

Balut, now thinking of a Battletech Battleforce RTS using the Kohan engine.

Am I the only person on earth who preferes turn-based games for things that require, you know, detailed planning?

Me, too. I hate madly clicking as I try to make up for the artificial unintelligence of my subordinate commanders. If I must do the tasks of more than one person, give me more time. A Battletech game using a Combat Mission “we go” system would be nice. Pausing at will like Baldur’s Gate is good, too.

For those who might be interested, there’s a Java based clone of the BattleTech board game out there called MegaMek. Pretty good stuff.

As far as I know, it’s still all Inner Sphere tech, so say hello to ammo explosions and mechs running hot. There are a few bugs in it, the most annoying of which is the hassle it takes to change your mind when moving. You have to click on a different type of movement, i.e. Jump, click on the map, then click on Walk again and click on the map again. This may have been fixed by now though. Also it seemed like there were too many head shots going on, but I don’t know for sure if this was actually a bug.

Here are the results of the first match I played. My friend had to leave soon, so he said, “Let’s just stand still and blaze away at each other and see what happens.”

Initiative Phase for Round #10

Todd rolls a 11.
Mark rolls a 8.

The turn order is:
Mark, Todd

Movement Phase


Weapon Attack Phase

Weapons fire for SHD-2H Shadow Hawk (Mark)
Medium Laser at CN9-A Centurion (Todd); needs 6, rolls 6 : hits HD
CN9-A Centurion (Todd) takes 5 damage to HD. Armor destroyed,
<<<SECTION DESTROYED>>>, Entity destroyed!
*** CN9-A Centurion (Todd) DESTROYED! ***
Pilot of CN9-A Centurion (Todd) “Unnamed” takes 1 damage.
Auto Cannon/5 at CN9-A Centurion (Todd) but the target is already destroyed!
LRM 5 at CN9-A Centurion (Todd) but the target is already destroyed!
SRM 2 at CN9-A Centurion (Todd) but the target is already destroyed!

Weapons fire for CN9-A Centurion (Todd)
Auto Cannon/10 at SHD-2H Shadow Hawk (Mark); needs 3, rolls 5 : hits RL
SHD-2H Shadow Hawk (Mark) takes 10 damage to RL. 6 Armor remaining
LRM 10 at SHD-2H Shadow Hawk (Mark); needs 9, rolls 8 : misses.
Medium Laser at SHD-2H Shadow Hawk (Mark); needs 3, rolls 11 : hits CT
SHD-2H Shadow Hawk (Mark) takes 5 damage to CT (critical.) 18 Armor remaining
Critical hit on CT. Roll = 10; 2 locations.
<<<CRITICAL HIT>>> on Gyro.
<<<CRITICAL HIT>>> on SRM 2 Ammo (45).
SHD-2H Shadow Hawk (Mark) takes 180 damage to CT. Armor
destroyed, <<<SECTION DESTROYED>>>, Entity destroyed!
*** SHD-2H Shadow Hawk (Mark) DESTROYED! ***

Whoah. Just had a freshman-year college flashback.

  • Balut