I used to be a big Battle Tech fan. Not so big that I’d read the novels or anything (that was reserved for my friend “NightShadow”), but I’d get involved in huge map sheet battles and went absolutely giddy when the MechWarrior games came out for PC. I’m not joking when I say that I would spend hours in my room (with my mom of all people) painting and detailing my battlemech minatures.
There was a source book that my friends and I would use that detailed every rule and every stat on the battlefield. Like many tabletop games, it took forever; each full turn represented 10 seconds of actual battle, but would often take 5 minutes to actually perform. While my friends and I loved all the strategy and planning that went into a battle, we tired rather quickly of battles that would last for 4 or more hours.
It was actually BattleTech that got me into PC gaming in the first place. The first computer our family had couldn’t run much in the way of graphic-intensive games, but that was fine since at the time there were none anyway. Everything else back then was some sort of “click and choose” from Sierra that didn’t interest me in the slightest. Then came MechWarrior 2, and it changed everything for me. Now, I realize that many other games out there claim to be the first “3D game” ever, but that doesn’t matter to me; MechWarrior was my first.
It stressed my computer like nothing before had. The poor 166MHz Pentium had issues keeping up with game play. The ultra-advanced ATI Rage chip with it’s full 2MB of shared memory actually failed so hard that it would only report 1MB after playing the game (I never was able to fix that). Trying to play in multi-player was a joke since the internet was nothing but a bunch of virtual billboards at the time; I once tried connecting to a friend who lived down the street from me. The connection was so horrible that he couldn’t move from his starting point. It would have been an easy kill except his sister picked up the phone and started dialing before I could lay the final blow.
MechWarrior had two expansion packs as well; Ghost Bear’s Legacy (which rocked) and Mercenaries (which might have rocked if my computer could have played it). When I moved out and lived on my own, I bought a new computer for myself and a copy of MechWarrior 3. I quickly learned that this new version almost required a joystick, as taking the time to aim with a keyboard was a easy way to be killed. Multiplayer actually worked, and I remember hopping on and duking it out with up to 15 other people (while we all complained about lag).
I was never very good at the multi-player, so I often used the underhanded tactic of loading a 100 ton assault mech (an Annihilator in my case) with 16 ER Large Pulse lasers, shooting at everyone just enough to annoy them, then hitting the “Alpha Strike” (where you fire everything at once) at one person in particular. I’d typically blast straight through whoever was unlucky enough to get the Alpha Strike, but the real key was that so much heat was generated by my mech that its reactor would go critical and I’d blow up, taking everything around with me. One death to 15 kills is typically considered a win, but it got me booted from a lot of matches.
MechWarrior 4 was the last. It was awesome as well, and played better than any of the previous games (with a noted exception of terrain damage, but I won’t go into that). And then . . . nothing. MechWarrior 5 was cancelled, and we’ve heard nothing since. MechCommander and MechCommander 2 came out for the Xbox, and while they were pretty, any true fan will agree that the experience was pretty weak.
What I don’t understand is, with how much computer technology has evolved in the last 5 years, why is there no new MechWarrior? Surely it can’t be from lack of interest! People are still actively playing MW4, and modding it to create a whole new game for lack of an official one.
It’s not like gamers are suddenly no longer interested in huge, walking, armored, machines of death. In fact, I think that’s part of the criteria for being a PC Gamer!
I want a game that combines everything developers have learned from MassEffect, the GTA series, and detail accurate FPS titles (CoD4 and Vegas 2 come to mind) and actually revive the MechWarrior title. I believe the franchise deserves a fresh start, and want to hear other’s opinion on it!