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Galactic Conquest[edit | edit source]

At the core of the community warfare aspect of MWO are the Great Houses, or factions. The factions will battle for control of worlds, which provide bonuses to the controlling faction. There are three types of planets in the game:

  • Core Worlds – managed by the dev team and not available for player control. These will be key worlds that are important for future events in the BattleTech/MechWarrior timeline.
  • Faction Worlds – Fought over by the Great Houses. These are worlds that are not historically significant. Control of planets is handled by an influence system. Factions gain influence over planets by participating in battles on said planet. The faction with the most influence controls the planet.
  • Border Worlds – Fought over via a contract bidding system by merc corps. Expected to changed hands often with benefits going to the controlling corp. Merc corps must bid on a planet’s occupation rights via a system of contracts. Matches will be fought between the controlling corp and the challenger. The winner of the match takes control of the planet. To be clear, merc corps will control the border worlds, but they do so on behalf of the factions. For more information on this system, see Match Organization, below.

At times, planets will change status between core, faction, and border. This will facilitate the dramatic changes in territorial control that take place during the canon MechWarrior timeline.

At launch it will take only a single match to determine control of a planet. This will very likely change in the future, requiring sequenced matches to control a planet. Another interesting tidbit to note is that the community warfare aspect of the game will not be implemented until a short time (within 90 days) after launch. It sounds like this will create an early free-for-all period during which control of planets is essentially meaningless (other than bragging rights), but that is still unclear at this time. Regardless, that situation will only be temporary.

Match Organization[edit | edit source]

Matchmaking[edit | edit source]

Match size will be max of 12 vs. 12, though smaller matches will be possible. Matches will consist of either faction or merc corp players with lone wolf players thrown in to fill any empty slots. Initially, matches will essentially be one-off battles between two sides. At some point after launch there is a plan to add series matches.

In general, the matchmaking system will try to keep teams balanced for the battles. This system will evolve over time, so it would do little good to attempt to describe how they plan to balance matches at this time.

There will be friend list and chat systems in the game at launch which people can use to communicate and join matches together if they wish. PGI had also previously announced that the game would not feature any kind of voice communication feature. They have since changed their stance on the subject, and have implemented the Vivox C3 voice solution.

Not all matches will necessarily be ranked. The devs are considering options for non-ranked matches, such as a practice server for players to test out tactics and mech builds.

Reports from folks at PGI, who play the game together frequently, are that it requires a balanced force of mechs to be successful. This game is not just an assault mech slugfest.

The border world contract system works like this:

  1. The game will auto-generate contracts from different factions requesting merc corps to fight for control of a planet.
  2. Interested merc corps will place a bid for the contract. This bid must meet a minimum (reserve) amount. These contract auctions will be silent, meaning that interested corps can see the number of bids made, but not the highest bid.
  3. The highest bidder gets to contest control of the planet with the currently controlling merc corp. (Actually, I’m making an assumption that the currently controlling corp doesn’t have to bid.) These two merc corps will then duke it out for control of the planet.
  4. If a contract receives no bids that meet the reserve then the contract will expire without being filled.

In the future, merc corps that lack the personnel to properly fill a match will have the ability to sub-contract with other merc corps in order to get enough mechs onto the field.

Maps[edit | edit source]

There are currently four maps that we know about:

  • Caustic Valley (desert)
  • Frozen City (ice world)
  • River City (urban)
  • Forest Colony (forests and hills)

The dev team intends to release new maps over time, though the pace will be considerably slower than the pace at which new mechs are released due to the time required to design and build a working map.

For some matches, the map used will be random. For other match types you may be able to choose which map you play on.

During a Match[edit | edit source]

Company and lance command positions in a match are determined prior to the drop. By default, the players with the most experience will be automatically placed into command slots, but people can swap out if they choose. In the case of merc corps, lance and company command roles will often be determined ahead of time by the corp’s leadership. If the company commander ejects or “dies” during a match one of the lance commanders will automatically be promoted to fill the position for the remainder of the battle. (It should be noted that there is some discrepancy amongst the devs on this topic. Some of them are saying there is no such thing as a company commander role that the game recognizes. I guess we shall see, neh?)

If your mech gets destroyed during a match you become a spectator to the match and can view it through the perspective of your remaining teammates. Players who disconnect during a match for any reason (intentional, accidental, or via lag) will not receive the rewards for completing the match.

A typical match takes about ten minutes, though as players get more experienced the matches tend to get longer because people become more cautious.

Some matches will include objectives that must be either defended or captured. In many cases there will be structures that an attacking force will need to destroy. We don’t know what types of structures may be included or if any of them will have a game effect.

One final point of note here is that a lot of people have been very curious (concerned) about the pros and cons of shutting down your mech during a match, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This is a topic which has not been addressed by the devs other than to say that while shut down you will be virtually undetectable to enemy mechs (unless they’re using a magnetometer, I suppose). However, shut down mechs are extremely vulnerable since they are virtually defenseless aside from their armor.

After the Match[edit | edit source]

We do not currently know much about what happens when a match is over, but there is one morsel to chew on, and that is salvage. I’ll just come right out and say it: the concept of salvage is a non-starter in MWO. The folks at PGI felt that implementing salvage would be a game balance issue, and thus have opted not to go that route. Instead, players will receive a C-Bills payment after they complete a match. The better your performance in the match, the more cash you will take home at the end of it. C-Bills, of course, are used in the MechLab to purchase additional equipment, new chassis, etc.

Other Gameplay Notes[edit | edit source]

There will be a player ranking/ladder system. Private matches and leagues will not be supported at launch.

Your forum name will be your pilot name. (I feel bad for a few people.)

The game has friendly fire, so be careful not to shoot your lancemates! There will also be dynamic weather effects such as rain, fog, etc. Additionally, DFA is not only possible, it is encouraged. However, as one might expect, using a light mech to DFA an assault can have a less than desirable outcome.

The devs are working to balance legging to make it less of a problem, and report that so far it has not been much of an issue because it requires about the same amount of effort as simply aiming center mass and taking out the torso. Headshotting is quite difficult, apparently. Armor values have also been adjusted somewhat in order to balance the game and make both legging and headshots into more difficult methods of obtaining a kill.

For those readers unfamiliar with the concept of legging, it is the act of shooting out a mech’s leg in order to make it fall down and go boom. In some previous MechWarrior games, a mech could be destroyed by simply taking out one leg. In single-player games this also resulted in a tremendous salvage boon in addition to a quick kill. The team at MWO has balanced legs so that they are somewhat more difficult to destroy in the first place, but they have also made it so that mechs to not simply fall over when a leg is destroyed. Instead, the leg becomes a useless peg, severely limiting mobility.

MWO Primer Contents[edit source]