Screenshots!!!

Yes, here you go…

At home base, Frozen City

At home base, Frozen City

Caustic Valley

Caustic Valley

Crossing the river mouth, River City

Umm any suggestions on a way to do it better? I used the Snip Tool in Windows7 here and its a several step process that keeps me out of the game for a while as I save the pictures. What I really need is a hotkey, like the WoW one…. Hey Devs, you reading this??

I have a vague memory that FRAPS can do it too??

Another Distraction

I haven’t played for a week, which isn’t totally unknown (during the week it can be difficult to get a chance to play) but I have to admit I have another distraction.

The other week I had to get a Blu-Ray in order for my wife to watch some videos she’d borrowed from a friend. After looking at all the options, I bought a PlayStation 3. I think I it was 1999 when I bought the PlayStation (1) that is sitting in the cupboard. The PS3 is about 6 or so years old now and I’ve only just upgraded.

I got a bundle with a second controller, a couple of old games and the new Spiderman movie. Not fussed about the other stuff, but the second controller made it worthwhile.

Initially I was pretty non-plussed as it seemed like every time I wanted to do something I had to download yet another patch/app from the internet. However about a week later that seems to have stopped.

I’m enjoying the new XCom at the moment, and loving that it can play my old PS1 games. I am considering something like Hitman or Far Cry to get my fix of sneaky Tenchu like games. And I will have to look for a Rally game as well, as that’s an old favourite. And there’s a new Tomb Raider next year.

And probably a new PlayStation… oops.

I will also have a pick through a couple of shops second hand bins and see if there is anything for Miss 3 and 5 to play. (and me!)

I don’t like the disc loading method, seems a step back from the older slot load one (I have the new super slim PS3) and I did think I could play more from the HDD.

Oh, it played the Blu-Ray fine, so Mrs was happy (ish).

Post Patch Pause

Saturday morning I finally got back on for a solid hour of playing. Then I managed a repeat in the evening. In the morning I ran with a random group I found on the US Teamspeak server. Lost every single match :( Bad luck, some poor groups, some good opposition… The evening matches started badly as well, and I think we only won a few overall. Though those were the matches were I got a kill or two (argh this must have really stuffed the totally unimportant K/D and W/L ratios).

Enjoyed the matches all day, except for the match where we ended up as two friendlies (Atlas and my Cat) vs single enemy (Jenner). He killed the Atlas leaving my very non brawler Cat with half of my team spectating* through my mech.

I was getting a lot of comments about shooting snow and learn to play etc. Listening to my PUG on TS, it became apparent that they and I were seeing quite different pictures and the lag meant that I was shooting the Jenner about a second or two after he had gone past. But in my view I was shooting him (and doing stuff all damage). The Jenner eventually picked me apart as well. Not so much fun.

In other news, the patch doesn’t seemed to have affected my game much so far. A new mech, the Cataphract, has arrived. Some tweaking to some weapons, but not ones I use at the moment. There are some concerns that the lights have received an unintended boost to their lag armour**, perhaps that’s what I saw above. The worst news is that they delayed the return of the 8man. December 4 is the newest rumour.

A couple of personal developments here…

Launch Screen

I know it doesn’t look like much, but that’s a screen capture. YAY, now if I can just remember to do them in game all the better. Turns out I just needed to dig about in the Apple Support site to find out the way that this Apple USB keyboard maps to a Windows keyboard when the iMac is dual booting. So look forward to some actual screenshots from me soon. Because it isn’t exactly the most most obvious relationship.

I’ve also dug through my hoard of old PC stuff and pulled out an old 17″ LCD that I’ve added to the Mac as a second monitor. This means I can, for example, have the TS window open there and see who’s talking to me.

Oh, one last thought…. if anyone knows of any MWO blogs out there, please let me know as I’m keen to build a blog roll and community for this game as well.

*When you die, you spectate through your surviving teammates. You can swap between survivors. You can still chat too.

** Lag Armour is the nickname given the rubberbanding and lag induced difficulty in hitting the faster running mechs. Has been of varied effectiveness throughout the games development. At the moment there is some opinion that it is very strong.

Bring the Rain!

Sorry, I started a post the other day and never finished it.

spent a pretty interesting weekend in game, getting about three sessions since the last post. spent one earning some xp on my second Catapult in order to work towards Elite for that mech. The LRM nerf continues to have the LRM be more like a drizzle. It was definitely overpowered just before the nerf when they stuffed it, however it’s probably a little ineffective at the moment. I think the patch overnight was tweaking it a fraction, and to be honest a fraction was all it needed.

The matches were a mixed bag. One nasty one was a swarm of lights, almost throwing us off our game, but after a messy few minutes with chaos in the backline the brawlers came back and we ended up smashing the remaining heavies on the other side.

The next night I spent stuffing about with an AC build Hunch. I have the founders one and haven’t played a brawler since the game started. Figured it’s probably time to at least dip my toe in the water. It was entertaining and I will definitely spend some more time in that or more likely, roll out the Atlas and become target number one :)

The last night was spent back in the cat, with good results.

There are starting to be some indications of aim bots and some other hacks showing up in the game, some of my friends have started seeing very odd combat results (like frontal assaults destroying rear armour), so hopefully Piranha will jump on it pretty quick.

Overnight should have seen the latest patch drop. I haven’t had a chance to play but it should see the return of 8 man premades. Hallelujah!!! I understand that premades will be matched against premades. It will make the games tougher but more rewarding. I also wonder how it affect the skill base of both sides.

There are a few other tweaks that you can see in the notes. I hope to get online tonight or Friday to give it a go…

Scouting

Ran just three games last night. All as a scout. I needed to earn some c-bills in order to purchase my next Catapult. I’ve maxed the skill tree on the founders Cat and so will work on two more to get the elite skills. So using the scout to earn money while I get xp for the scout as well. 2 birds, one stone :)

The games went well, 2 forest colony runs and a river city match. The first was a walkover, I scouted the tunnel and by the time I’d finished they’d run into the main force and killed half the mechs. The second time, I was spotted coming through the tunnel and walked out to be greeted by all of them. Survived and made it back to our own lines missing only 1 arm. Spent the match running about trying to keep LoS on the enemies staying in cover until I lost all my weapons through damage. Kept running about but I was pretty harmless.

The third match, in River City, I scouted along the bottom of the map but ran into three mechs and got cornered and destroyed. That match ended in a loss too. 2 from 3 isn’t bad.

Earn enough to get and fit out my next Cat, so back to LRM after this. I should work on enough to try out Artemis Fire Control as I still haven’t used that yet.

An Obituary.

Oh dear, what an abismal night. With the 4man restrictions still in place I joined up and launched into a couple of matches.

I think I died in almost every match, except the one where we lost without firing a shot! What a terrible night. I think the end result was a 1-7 win/loss :(

First couple of matches were just hard fought, but in the end losses. Then we had a Frozen City map and decided to canyon rush (its a bit slow to be called a rush really) around the top of the map. As we were almost at the enemy cap, they must have tunnel rushed and our cap went down extremely fast. We lost without firing a shot.

Then there were a couple of hard fought forest colony maps. One victory and a couple of losses. One match saw the other team tunnel rush and pop out right in the middle of our fire support. Chaos ensued as the lightly armoured fire support mechs fled and the brawlers turned around and headed back. In an 8 man this would not have been as messy, but in a PUG….

Oh I can’t wait for the 8 man to return… only 10 days to go.

MWO – Patch Thoughts

Last night was my first chance to play since a couple of big changes were patched into the game.

Artemis Fire Control was added. This adds to any LRM or SRM and improves their targeting and grouping to result in better hits and hence more damage. However (and its apparently being patched tonight) this has resulted in LRMs that follow a very ballistic path and create plunging fire on the upper part of the mech, with significant improvements in damage. They are patching to turn normal LRMs back to their normal flightpath.

They have changed the way premade groups work as well. As the first stage to their process, until Nov 20 you can only form groups of 4, but you will still launch with 4 more players on your team. I’m uncertain whether this can be another 4 group, or is only singles. A well drilled lance (in BT universe, 4 mechs are collectively organised as a lance, 3 lances to a company etc) can still work well on this field, but it is more difficult and harder choices must be made about what mechs to field prior to drop.

I noticed one other change, they’ve added a great big busted container ship to the Forest Colony map. Effectively they’ve added cover on the long water side of the map. As a scout or indirect fire support mech, I love it. I imagine the long range direct fire mechs don’t.

So last night I grouped up with some AMC mates and ran a Jenner. They already had an LRM Cat, an Atlas and something else that I can’t remember, so another LRM Cat would have weakened the lance too much. At least for general work. If we could have been sure that we would have been fire support, I think it might work well.

We played about 5 (maybe 6) games. I died once after getting legged in their back line. Was never going to be pretty. Another game I spent running and hiding in the broken ship trying to keep a Cat and an Atlas in view for the FS. The ship actually. gives really good cover if you’re in close enough.

I need a lot more practice to be an effective scout, plus I really need to spend some time as a brawler, simply so I can bring more options to the team if required.

Overall, no problems with Artemis, I like the new ship and I think the 4 man rule will do two things. Drive people crazy as its annoying as its really frustrating after weeks of the full 8 man. However a tight lance will only improve their game. So I recommend for the organised players to get in there and practice with this limitation.

An Evenings Work

Image

A solid evening of Company runs tonight. One death in about 15 matches, and that was because I switched from LRM Support to a scout for several matches.

Probably the strangest match of the night was in Forest Colony. We lined up in our usual spots and the snipers traded a few blows back and forth. Quickly it became clear that this wasn’t a PUG as they didn’t come out from their positions either. For a few minutes it was still.

We pushed slowly forward staying in cover and in support of each other after about 3 minutes (matches are timed to 15min) and that seemed to break the oppositions discipline as they suddenly started popping into view one after another.

This led to their swift demise as we focused fire on them.

Our guess is that it wasn’t an organised crew, but may have been a PUG put together on a teamspeak server, rather than a completely random ingame one.

Other memorable match was living through an entire round whilst scouting, actually did that twice I think. Of course I was smashed the next time :) Well such is life as a scout.

PUG problems?

PUG problems… The open beta influx of players has seen a host of complaints re PUG v Premade matches. Similar things happened as each group of closed beta invites went out.

It centers around the feeling that the PUG players have of being set upon or victimised by the strength and coordination of the premades they face. Some games they might all be wiped from the match without a scratch on the opponents (at least nothing significant).

And I get that, that’s how my matches were going at the start of the Beta.

But is it a case of expectation management, rather than a problem with the game?

Whilst I haven’t played a lot of FPS, since my early Ghost Recon days, I get the impression from other gamers I know who spend a lot of time in the Call of Duty and other franchises, that most matches are more random in membership. And most work solo, unless they are having a proper clan match. Solo also seems to work out all right for the guys playing World of Tanks and some other online games as well

Mechwarrior isn’t like that. And I don’t think that’s clear enough to new players.

Whilst I’m not saying that everyone needs to join a house or a mercanary company, they do need to get communicating in their matches.

Get into the Teamspeak servers, get into using the ingame chat function. Even this little bit will help coord your team.

Yes, you’re going to get the heroes who rush off on their own, or the solo players who respond with abuse and ignorance (though I haven’t seen much of this myself yet). But if you can get a core of 4 or 5 to work together, that can make a huge difference to your effectiveness. I’ve won games even when we started short 3 mechs. I’ll admit, that was a Company match. But we still had to fight through 8 enemy mechs.

Even though I’ve joined a Company, I think more than half of my games are with random players. I actually find it hard to play at regular times, so I get into Teamspeak, find a group and we run together. Might never play with these guys again, but we have comms, some teamwork, and mostly we have success.

I know that there is a big chunk of the premade players who really don’t enjoy those matches where we walk all over a PUG who’s attacked us piecemeal and been torn to pieces. Sure it pads our wallet some, but I don’t remember those games. I remember and enjoy the games where it’s come down to the wire or the other team has flanked us and caught us out (or we’ve done the same) or some other hard fought match. Yes they’re not all wins, but those are the games I slump back into my seat at the end screen with a happy smile.

My point is twofold

  • it’s a team game… play that way
  • there’s more ways to communicate than having to join up with a permanent crew.

I think MWO might need to emphasis the team aspect more clearly, and provide some basic improvements to the chat setup (maybe some kind of hotkey macro texts??). I know they did set up some kind of voice comms, though I haven’t tried it.