Whatever happened to MechWarrior Online?

The game's latest update kinda isn't an update at all

    
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Whatever happened to MechWarrior Online?

Every once in a while, I’ll be tabbing through my feeds and see an update on the MechWarrior Online site. I get excited for a sec, thinking I can put it in our newsroom… but almost every time, for the last long while now, it’s actually been an update for MechWarior 5: Mercenaries, which launched in December and is not an MMO.

It seems I’m not the only one wondering what happened to the original, as MOP reader Panagiotis tipped us off to a recent thread on the official forums asking the same thing and wondering whether devs are still working on it (and just what happened to the game’s community manager). Fans will recall the last roadmap update for the game was released in June of 2018, while the last patch dropped this past September, and players were expecting some sort of reveal in January that didn’t materialize. And if Steam is any guide, the population has only continued dropping in the last few years.

During Piranha’s dev stream last week, the studio’s Russ Bullock and Alex Garden barely touch on MechWarrior Online; about halfway through, there’s a mention of MWO’s complexity in the context of modding MW5. Bullock implies the lull in the MMO’s development was down to MW5, which does make sense, but there are also no direct updates and no confirmation about the security of the IP either, leading players to worry about maintenance mode. Toward the end of the stream, he thanks players for watching. “MechWarrior Online players? Thanks. Keeping playing. Don’t worry about it.” And then he signs off. We imagine this is meant to reassure players that the game is sticking around, but it’s pretty bizarre.

Source: Official forums, SteamCharts, YouTube. Thanks, Panagiotis!

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Kero Kero

let’s be real, its been in maintenance mode for a while. I just started playing again more recently and it’s still good, games pop fast, and there’s tons of stuff to do esp for new/returning players. It might get stale but the pop is still actually more than decent enough. (unless you try to Q ina party because of bad matchmaking practices.)

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Barantor

There are unconfirmed rumors that not only were the No Guts, No Galaxy folks let go, but also Tina Benoit, their lone community manager that seemed underutilized in place of Russ Bullocks desire to talk directly to consumers.

PGI wasn’t doing well when they started MW5 and the company as a whole has a history of putting out unfinished work as we are seeing with that game. It is a small Canadian company that has never seemed to be able to fully cope with the scale of content that the MW IP demands.

Battletech by Harebrained Schemes being bought by Paradox (still headed by Mitch Gitelman of Mechcommander fame and Jordan Weisman creator of Battletech as a whole) gives me hope that Paradox might be in talks with MS to pick up the IP and really invest in it as they do with all their games.

As someone in the Battletech/Mechwarrior community I always wondered how well PGI could manage the full title without the Online version suffering and unfortunately my thoughts were justified. We’ll see what happens, but I do wonder if PGI will make it another year.

For those that love all the games associated with the IP, feel free to join us at the Battletech Games discord: https://discord.gg/JGZ7XSX it’s a several thousand strong community of fans of the IP and genre.

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Richard de Leon III

Wait a min, no guts no galaxy was fired? That explains the lack of vids from em :( if its true. I really hoped PGI was gonna do better since I actually do enjoy playing MWO, one of the few FPS games i can actually keep up with.

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Barantor

They are still doing occasional videos like the stream they did today, but they aren’t on PGI’s payroll any longer.

Sean seems to be doing more world of tanks on his streams lately.

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Ardra Ventax

What is desperately needed is a reboot of Battlefield 2142.

Rialto
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Rialto

100% agreed.

cambruin
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cambruin

Lol, “I’ll definately say a few quick words about Mechwarrior because… well, everyone’s asked me to”

More inspiring words have never been spoken.

rafael12104
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rafael12104

KekW! That is funny. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Aiun Tanks

I certainly hope they’re ignoring MWO while they try to un-fuck MW5 and de-couple it from the idiotic design decisions that ruin the single-player game for the sake of inherited PVP-oriented considerations. (Line of sight radar being hands-down the absolute worst and most nonsensical.)

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Grim? Darhk

It’s dead Jim.

rafael12104
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rafael12104

Heh. Another dead parrot. Where is John Cleese when you need him.

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PanagiotisLial1

Another thing to touch is the monetization of this game is based on selling mech packs but with no new players joining and staying long due to lack of development and no new mechs being released probably none left needs to buy most packs so my guess is their income for MWO has fallen quite low. Despite reassurances I think next year(2021) will be critical. As a battletech universe fan whole situation worries me. The owner of the IP is microsoft and their lease from MS also is supposed to end next year. Keep in mind harebrained from Paradox Interactive that makes also Battletech turn based strategy game also gets lease from Piranha, so its possible we wont see the IP for any game either in the future if Piranha doesnt renew it.

Edit:

They had also ended the cooperation with their main streamer/content creator for the previous 8 years as well:

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Arktouros

Sad news about the Battletech game. I’ve been using it to get my Mech fix since I have no interest in installing the Epic Game launcher. Was hoping at some point they’ll add a sequel that would let us import our Merc unit or something from the original game and fight against the Clan Invasion or something.

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PanagiotisLial1

Yes if the IP stays in Microsoft, they are as bad as EA. They previously kept the IP inactive from 2001 to 2010 or so. And yes I was playing all 3 games, Battletech, MW5 Mercs and MWO. Battletech is sort of a niche IP so I am not sure it can survive being long inactive either

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Arktouros

It’s survived a very long time even inactive.

What I don’t think would ever happen is my dream of a game where you play an actual MechWarrior in a living universe and traveled planet to planet kinda thing fighting in a big war Planetside 2 style. I used to spend a lot of time playing Mechwarrior Leagues back in MW3/4 where people would simulate ownership of planets then you’d actually go fight on a map to determine “ownership” of a planet kinda thing. Was super cool, but obviously super niche.

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PanagiotisLial1

That would be a nice idea – I would love too a MMORPG/MMO you can play in Battletech universe and that has both Mech and character action(like STO does with space and ground combat but different since mechs and more competetive)

edit:
for what is worth Battletech had also asked this on Twitter:

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Arktouros

It’s just so tough to do, because one of the biggest things about Battletech universe is resources are so limited. You don’t have an endless supply of Mechs in most periods of the history in game. So you couldn’t just make a MMO like setting where people can continuously join in or fight but that’s the obvious appeal to the brand.

The only real game setting I could think of that would work well would be something similar to Total War where you have over world map/resource/settlements/army control and then you have real time battle fighting with units and basic commands. You could start out initially as in charge of defense of a planet on a border, then a region of space, and eventually control of the whole faction. You’d have to manage the economic aspects like BATTLETECH’s game but also troop movements, protecting infrastructure (those critical mech facilities), producing more mechs, training pilots, etc.

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Tobasco da Gama

OTOH, I imagine Paradox would be able (and willing) to negotiate a separate license deal if Piranha lets theirs lapse. The HBS game has been both a critical and, as far as I can tell, financial success for them.

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PanagiotisLial1

I had been thinking the same but ideally I would like all 3 games to go on and improve.

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Barantor

Paradox has the capacity to take the IP places that PGI just can’t ever do, I hope this shows other companies willing to pick up the IP from MS that there is money to be had if it is managed well, PGI failed utterly in both communication and followthrough with it.

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Eamil

There’s no way Piranha won’t renew their license. They’re over as a company if they can’t make Mechwarrior stuff anymore.

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cursedseishi

I mean… It is wholly possible they won’t be able to. Mechwarrior 5 is not the sort of ‘leading’ foot you want for the series, not with the reported issues it has had. The only safety net the game has is the ‘Minimum Sales guarantee’ Epic pays out to their exclusives should they fail to meet a minimum target…

And that is if Piranha Games actually had that as part of their agreement.

Even if they did? The agreement is more to ensure a studio doesn’t just immediately fold after one release that does poorly. It isn’t a guaranteed profit-bomb to get even if you only sell 1 copy through them. If Mechwarrior 5 underperformed to the point it needed that? Well, it means there’s little new blood to attract–ignoring their game has competition already in part thanks to BattleTech and their consistent expansion releases. Not one-to-one in gameplay… but… there is overlap present.

And if Microsoft sees little or no growth with Pirahna Games handling it? Well, they’ll either demand a better cut for themselves to offset the losses however they see them hitting them, or Microsoft will just refuse and drop agreements. In which case? Well… they’ve been buying up some studio talent, they could always off-load a game to one of them or pair up with a studio that has shown promising work with the IP as is.

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PanagiotisLial1

Actually MW5 is very good(I got it and playing it almost daily) but lacks a good storyline which is typically needed for single player games with optional multiplayer. On the bright side it turns to a sandbox where you can do whatever you want accepting contracts once done with story and the maps are procedurally generated so its never doing same thing 100% even if you played a hell lot of contracts.

Its just a niche game mostly like all mechwarrior games

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Greaterdivinity

I’ve legit been thinking about this game for the past few months, actually. And wondering this very thing, because it seems to have gone dark.

That’s not a very reassuring message though…

Get outta my head, Massively and Panagiotis!

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PanagiotisLial1

Its a very unique mmo too, cant think any other like it

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losludvig

I haven’t played it that much, but doesn’t it boil down to “what if world of tanks, but mechs instead?”
There are plenty “what if WoT, but X” clones, but very few mech games, so I’ll give you that

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rayraycharlie

Unfortunately yes. I feel that removed a lot of the RPG elements of Battletech and left a game that rewarded twitch style gameplay instead of methodical/prodding gameplay that Mech fans like.
That said, MWO can be very rewarding if you have good communication and leadership on your team.