Oh. My. Stars.
It was announced back in November that the MechWarrior reboot game would finally, finally, finally be coming out in the near future (summer '12 is the projection).
Back in 2009, videos were leaked and placed on YouTube faster than you can blink for a reboot MechWarrior game. And it looked amazing. Unfortunately one of the 'Mechs featured in the video became a point of contention for Harmony Gold the folks that brought Robotech to the USA back in the 80s. They filed a lawsuit against the developers of MechWarrior Online and the game went into limbo. However, at some point later the developers for MWO decided to circumvent the main argument that Harmony Gold brought about their 'proprietary 'Mech designs' and made the game free to play much the same way that World of Tanks is free to play. At this point, the MechWarrior Online website is live and registering future players' call signs/accounts. You're damn right I got mine set up.
On the blogs, the developers have made references alluding to a projected open beta for the game in the coming months as I mentioned above they appear to be looking for a summer '12 launch date. I cannot overstate my joy at these circumstances. I've been a long time BattleTech/MechWarrior fan. I cut my teeth on MechWarrior 2 and the old BattleTech table top game. When Microsoft bought the franchise and launched MW3, I was both pleased and excited with the graphical adjustments and the storyline/plot. MW4 was alright, but seemed to be less a step forward and more a step to the side for the franchise. I also used to go and play socially at Virtual World back in the day when they had several national locations; and later when various lan gaming locations purchased the piloting pods from Virtual World and ran the upgraded BattleTech:Firestorm. Not that I'm trying to say that my BattleTech/MechWarrior cred makes me a better person, but I am trying to lay the groundwork to help you understand why I'm so excited about the pending MMO. And it's free to play!
My youngest brother and I share a lot in common regarding MMOs, and we've played almost all the same ones. We also share a lot of the same background and enjoyment in BattleTech/MW. And to be fair, he was the one who informed me about MWO. So we spent most of today discussing some of the possibilities of the game. For interested parties the game is set several months before the Clans invade the Inner Sphere and set off years of intense conflict. As such, all of the 'Mechs players will have access to will be Inner Sphere. I'm for this for several reasons that I'll list in later posts as I confirm more and better information concerning the game. It also appears that all 'Mechs will be accessible to all players; there will not be any 'exclusive' 'Mechs - and in my opinion this goes hand in hand with keeping any potential lawsuits off the developers' backs in keeping the game free to play. Unlike WoT however there will most likely be any tier system for ratings of 'Mechs; they'll most likely keep with the standard rating for 'Mechs: weight class. At this point, only four 'Mechs have been confirmed for the game: the Warhammer, the Jenner, the Atlas, and the Dragon. Personally I'm hoping that the Zeus will be included in the game, and I also hope for a pretty good amount of personalization as far as weapon mounting/configuration goes. That was one of the things that kept MW4 so fun; near endless customization. In fact, if MWO does allow for (near)complete weapon configuration then I'll be able to implement the same Zeus variant I made in MW4 that went undefeated. No I will not tell you what was on it. You want to know? I'll show you on the battlefield...hopefully...
In addition, it appears that you'll have a pretty good degree of paint/camouflage/skin customization for your 'Mech. This will be excellent if it makes it to full launch as it will make one of the aspects of gameplay fantastic. As far as it has been discussed players will have three options of play open to them - Lone Wolf, Mercenary, and House Guard. We still don't have a lot of information about these, but speculation and conjecture combined with logic would lead me to believe that if you aren't part of a 'guild'/Mercenary company your default mode of play will be Lone Wolf. I would assume that this will make it easier for Mercs to pick out the players that are without a Company. I would also make an assumption that any House Guard that a player could sign up with would essentially be an NPC operated guild. There has also been speculation/discussion that some worlds will only be accessible by certain groups - house guards fight on core worlds while mercs fight on outer rim/contested worlds.
As I said earlier, I'll keep updating with more and better information as I get it. Until then I'll leave you with this:
PS, if you like that Zeus image, you can find more MW goodies here: http://www.redbubble.com/shop/mechwarrior?page=1