Three weeks in one page.

Seems like it’s been busy but not actually doing much. Often been finding myself browsing through Youtube videos at the moment or watching 80/90s movies I’ve recorded off TV (Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours and some others) not really doing much. So not much MWO or Portal.

I got MWO running, logged in and had no idea what was going on before I died. It’s still a hassle to be a solo player, especially when you can’t remember the key binds and the rest.  It’s also a pain to reboot all the time to swap OS.

School holidays came up, so I took my two girls to my sister’s property in rural NSW. Their first time on a farm and a chance for Mrs Mab to have 5 days relaxing on her own (considering I get to do that every week it’s only fair).

6 hours of driving and cold weather, but girls loved every minute. They especially loved the week old lamb that played chase almost non stop with them. Driving tractors, climbing trees, feeding ducks and horses. A great experience.

I also got a new push bike to get out there on the mountains. Dad found a great condition second hand (basically brand new) 2014 Giant Trance and brought it over for me. Just need the weather to clear up to test it out.

Took the Daytona home last time, and even managed a Putty ride while Dad minded the kids, so that was cool. Cool was a good word for the trip back in my leathers not my touring gear. Caught up to a mate on the same ride that night, just as he finished up being booked for speeding. Bummer.

Will get back into some stuff tomorrow I hope and have some more to write about.

 

MWO – A toe in the water

As you’re likely aware, I was very keen when MWO was announced and even more excited when I was invited into the Beta. However you’ve also probably read my increasing disappointment with the direction the game seemed to be heading and eventually I stopped playing. I think that was about 2 months ago.

B3F022320942E1D1B7FD2B854C870B39Discussions with other MWO players who’ve continued to play picked up my interest, and so today I dipped a toe back into the water again.

I have to say, the three games I played I was pleasantly surprised. Enough that I will go back again, and to say to others that may have quit to at least have another look.

So what has changed?

I played 3 PUG games, 2 in my Hunchie (medium mech) and one in my Jenner. I was well out of practice, so I wasn’t particularly effective in any of them.

ECM is still there, but it doesn’t seem like the steamroller it was when it started. However I temper that comment with the fact that I wasn’t running my Catapult, which is seriously affected by ECM. In the three games, perhaps half of the mechs had ECM.

They haven’t done much to the lobby, however there are significant changes to pre and post match screens, with a lot more info displayed. Even when you get killed you get a screen that tally’s your killer, the last few hits, and some other stats.

There is a new game mode. Assault is still there but so is a kind of Resource point capture game (I can’t remember the proper name). That should mix things up some, you can even nominate to play only one of the game modes prior to launch. There are supposed to be some new maps, but I didn’t see one in my three games.

Oh, and in homage to the game that really got the franchise noticed, Mechwarrior 2, they have hired the voice actress who did all of that game’s “computer” voice. It’s all incorporated into MWO. Even the mech startup internal view has yourself running the startup sequence in the cockpit. Very cool for us old MW heads.

So its enough that I will dust off my Corp membership and shake the cobwebs of the mechs….

A5D95DC470B403626F32105E5C81E5D5

 

Mechwarrior

I just received an invite to buy a founders pack for MechWarrior Tactics, the RTS game being developed alongside MWO. I am feeling a little “once bitten, twice shy”, though actually if I add SWTOR it’s more like twice bitten.

MWO, I’ve spent a bit, with the founders pack and the pc upgrades. And I haven’t felt any interest in playing it for some time, several months now. I’ve spoken to colleagues who are still playing and by all accounts it has gotten worse.

To me the game was at its peak just before they removed knockdowns. From that patch onwards the developers have steadily added complexity without balance and have introduced bugs ands instabilities into parts of the game that were working fine. Even bugs that should have been obvious from even a small amount of play testing (the screw up with missile damage when Artemis was introduced for example) before making it on the Beta servers…. one assumes they have their own internal test servers….. assumes…

ECM, by all accounts is really messing with the game. It didn’t have to be, but they’ve made it a must have for everyone, limiting your mech choices if you want to have any real chance of doing well in a match. There is no reliable way for large mechs to combat small mechs without knockdowns (in tabletop you could even fall if you turned whilst running, now you won’t fall if a mech charges into you). They are having a lot of problems with lag and rubber banding (I remember my duel with a light I think I discussed in another post).

The other concern is that some of the “news” on the website suggests that with the timeline they are running it’s about 3-4 months before we have the full Clan invasion. They haven’t even started the metagame part of MWO and they’re about to introduce a whole heap more to this game! That’s surprising a few I’ve been talking to.

The overall feeling is that they are not balancing the game properly, and spending too much time introducing new hardware, without fixing existing game and balance issues. Adding more mechs, when people really want more maps (bigger ones!) and more game types (and the metagame).

So that’s MWO… now I have this invite for the MWT founders. Same deal, instant access to beta, with varying amount of bonuses depending upon your spend. MWT is being published by the same company but it seems to be developed by someone different from MWO.

Honestly, I’m not really positive about it. Anyone else have any thoughts on the games?

Haven’t got to it…

There’s been a significant new patch in MWO – map changes, a new mech, new hero mechs, a whole bunch of tweaks.

But I haven’t even started the game in more than a week. Honestly the motivation just isn’t there.

I’m enjoying XCom much more at the moment. I think I’m actually getting somewhere, though its hard to tell. The aliens have gotten a bit tougher in the last few outings, but my troops are still working through the missions. Teamwork is helping a lot there. The turn based fighting is probably simpler than the real time C&C type game, but it still has its own tricks and strategies.

I am always chronically short of money though. I’m not sure if that’s normal. I suspect that it is, as that’s how the developers have limited us. With infinite money, imagine what I could build :)

Christmas is around the corner so work has finished for me. School has finished for Miss 5 too. Mrs is still working for a couple more days. Then its present time :)

Merry Christmas to everyone, hope you have a great few days and get some cool stuff…. me, I’m hoping for a new bike, but can’t see a bike sized crate anywhere in the house yet, lol.

Tired of not getting anywhere

I logged in for some serious game time last night. I hung about in the Corp teamspeak for a while prompting folks to get at least a 4 man going… then missed out on the invite, argh. Launched into a PUG as I was so frustrated – probably not the best mood to launch in….

Frozen City and I hung back. It was evident that there was a lot of ECM about still. The enemy pushed unmolested through the tunnel and spied me easily on my own. Never a good situation. I warned the team and backed up, but the two full frontals from an Atlas quickly cleaned me up.

In a fit of frustration I ragequit and went and turned on the PS3 again.

I have two problems – I am getting behind the skill curve with the current changes… I haven’t found a way to play within them yet. Second, I’m just not getting enough playtime to improve it. Its actually even worse than WoW was, as I could stumble my way through quests and PUG some things and still get somewhere. This game is a little more easy to learn, hard to master.

Or maybe its just me…

To be fair, I have had only three attempts at playing since the ECM patch and they weren’t very long so perhaps I just need to get in there in a serious onslaught and practice practice practice… The holidays are coming up…

Frozen City launch. About 2 mins later I'm a pile of burning wreckage :(

Frozen City launch. About 2 mins later I’m a pile of burning wreckage :(

On a better note, I am enjoying XCom. Plays very like the original. I am starting to worry that my months of hardwork (in game) is about to come crashing down as I face tougher aliens, and have some serious panic levels in some areas.. But I am having fun.

ECM Here, ECM There… ECM Everywhere

After the drama the other night, I gave up and played Xcom. Last night I tried again and I got into a group from my new clan, OMC.

It was an interesting, but not successful evening. Initially I launched into my normal LRM Cat, but it became quickly evident that too many LRM boats on a team wasn’t tenable in the new ECM world.

Spectating from a K2 Cat.

Spectating from a K2 Cat.

So I switched to my Jenner. This has some limitations now. As a scout without ECM I can be detected from some distance. I might have to investigate purchasing a Commando or a Raven if I want to continue scouting.

The games themselves were pretty average. We struck the same team several times. Heavily laden with ECM fitted mechs, including at least a lance of ECM Atlas, they proved decidedly the strengths of this ECM blob. They stayed together and meant that our limited ECM couldn’t counter act them. Equally as a blob of Atlas, they were difficult to take down quickly, meaning that they could wear us down. Three times they smashed through our lines and won the game. Even with some individual performances and some good teamwork, we were unable to beat this group.

So there was some complaints of the ECM. Not in the performance or abilities of the ECM, but the feeling was more that there should be limited in the numbers per drop. I’m not sure that this is the solution. Whether the limit is 8, or say 4 there will be groups that drop with the maximum. There has to be other ways around it.

At the moment, its a massive force multiplier. But if we can find effective counters then the teams that run ECM heavy will find themselves at a disadvantage and stop using it. I heard some talk of TAG range being lifted from 450m to 700m. Perhaps this is one. LRM boats will actually be able to self TAG (though this removes their indirectness). That’s what we need to look for.

I’ll tell you what awaits me….

Corps drama, that’s what.

Ok, as I said in … oh, no I didn’t end up posting that entry.  So I better back up a bit.

I think mid week, there was some drama in the senior leadership in the Corp. I’ve ha a two line explanation that didn’t really explain anything so I’m not going to comment on the reasons but it has resulted in a break up of the Corp with a fair chunk of the players restarting a new corp.

I hadn’t made any decision on what I was going to do, whether to stay with the old Corp or join the new one.

And tonight, I really don’t need to think about it as the old Corp has removed me from their ranks. So an attitude like that, to someone who hasn’t been involved is pretty average, and I’m not interested in pursuing the matter with them.

So it’s Friday night and I want to play in 8 mans… but I can’t get onto either TS server. This really sucks. Not involved in the drama at all and the best night of the week to play is going to waste….

Oh it looks like I’ve picked up a random group on US Beta server, see how it goes I guess.

What awaits me?

The latest patch dropped, overnight I think. Amongst the return of 8man drops, a new hero mech and the release of some more cockpit decorations (for Christmas) was the activation of Electronic Counter Measures devices in selected mechs.

It has the following effects on enemy mechs when you are within the 180m effective range:

  • You will not know where your teammates are, and they won’t know where you are, unless you have direct line of sight to each other.
  • You cannot share any targeting data with the rest of your team, and vice versa.
  • Your Beagle Active Probe ceases to function.
  • You cannot achieve any missile locks.
  • Your TAG laser can still fire but provides no bonuses.
  • Your battlegrid and targeting information will flicker.

Now as an LRM mech I shouldn’t be this close…. except this can be where the scouts who provide me with targeting information are. Outside of 200m, the mech with the ECM is hidden from the enemy observers radar systems (though they will still be able to see the mech, they aren’t invisible – I guess thermal will also work)

  • Enemy Mechs will have to come within 1/4 the normal distance (200 m instead of 800 m, by default) for hidden Mechs to show up on their battlegrid and HUD.
    • The Beagle Active Probe is of no use in extending this range.
  • It takes twice as long to achieve a missile lock against a hidden Mech.
  • Narc beacons will stick to hidden Mechs, but they won’t provide their normal bonuses until the Mech leaves the ECM’s range.
  • Artemis IV does not provide any bonuses against hidden Mechs.

Now this has a direct effect on my ability to fire at the mechs. The scouts have to be really close (but not too close, as above) and it takes me twice as long to lock up the enemy.

So what counters have we got….

ECM carrying mechs can counter another ECM mech by switching modes, that’s counter one.

TAG visually, and I can still prosecute the target. Effective range of TAG is 450m, and as long as the TAG mech is outside of the 180m, they can target the mech visually, fire TAG and this reveals the mech. Of course you will have to keep the mech TAGged. Sometimes this can be very hard.

But I think the big one will be ECM mechs being primaried in any organised action. Similar to EVE where Electronic Warfare ships are often primaried by Fleet Controllers.

I won’t get a chance to try this out until Friday I expect. The forums are already starting to buzz on this subject too. Its a new weapon and we have to refine our tactics. LRMs are still a valid weapon, but once again…. teamwork.

 

A Morning’s Work (with pictures)

I downloaded the free version of FRAPS as it has a screenshot function as well as it’s more well known FPS meter and capture abilities. I set one of my Naga buttons as the screenie hotkey, really handy. I am thinking about buying the full version as then I can save as jpg directly.

Now I just have to get into the habit of using it more. But I have used it some so you can enjoy my matches with pictures… hmm… is there any interest in videos as well?

So I joined a couple of other random guys on the North American TS server as my corp was all still asleep. I’m running the LRM Cat still, though it’s almost elite now and I’ll switch to my third version soon.

Matches are often a lot closer these days, tough as I’m losing more often than I used to, but fun and longer lasting. The small boost in LRM damage since the last patch is almost where it should be I think. Maybe a fraction more, but I’ve started registering some more kills again after a very slow few weeks.

Learned that if a friendly mech is standing in the cap, the enemy mechs do not register as capping, in effect the friendly is blocking their action. In one match, as second to last standing, with no missiles left I found myself being a target in my own cap, whilst the other mech on our side capped. A very close win.

We fought a couple of rounds on the new Frozen City Night map. The main features of this changed map is that is a cold clear night, rather than a cold snowy day with limited visibility. You can see the difference in the two screenshots below, the first is the original map, the second is the night version. Its also supposed to increase our cooling rates, but as my mechs don’t really have a heat problem on this map anyway I haven’t noticed.

Frozen City

Frozen City daytime, showing the mist and blurred conditions

Frozen City Night

Frozen City Night close to the same spot, the detail is much sharper.

Another thing added in the patch was the ability to colour your mech as you choose. It costs MC which cost real money, but some are already playing with it, such as this guy I was teamed with and his purple and orange Cataphract.

Colour Mechs

Coloured Mechs

He did mention that it seems like every time he arrives in a fight, everyone starts shooting at him. Another said that becasue his colours assault us :). I’ll finish up with some more screenshots for you.

Frozen City 2

Here’s another shot in Frozen City showing a flight of my LRMs on their way to the target

LRM Fight

More LRMs, some mine, some my teammates, greeting the enemy. The mech firing from my right has 5 LRMs in his mech, 70 missiles per shot!

Thermal blooms from LRM launch

And here’s what they look like in Thermal Imaging.