Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mechwarrior Online Short Review

MWO is creating a lot of stir especially among its playerbase. Some of them dislike the game because of various reasons and the rest defend it valiantly. But regardless of this, is MWO a good game or is it really a big failure?

In my opinion, MWO contains some very good ideas and offers a lot of customization options which is to be expected for a Battlemech simulator. However, MWO lacks in some department, namely balance and stability. The game's balance right now is atrocious, with plenty of players using the same build and not experimenting with different builds because some builds are just too damn strong. Some might argue that there's a counter to that build but having a lot of your playerbase using the same build means there is a real problem there.

As for stability, the game is riddled with a lot of bugs and glitches. Bad netcode, making some players unable to play effectively is also a very big problem. The game also crashes too often and would also crashes when you try to quit. There's also plenty of glitches in-game like the problems with the mechlab and weirdness when mechs collide in-game.

MWO's F2P business model also receive some criticism with some players call it pay to win. I would disagree with this because everything which could be bought with real money can also be bought with in-game currency. Yes, there is grinding involved but free players can still access them, giving paying players no advantage in the long run. I get around 60-90k C-Bills per match, any just playing casually for 2 days I can already amass around 2.5 million c-bills, enough for a light mech. As far as grinding goes, it's really not that bad.

While MWO does have its negative points, it does have its positive side. The mech control feels just right and for those who wants an authentic giant Battlemech sim feel this is the game to go. There are a lot of customization to be found here which includes weapon, armor plating, and plenty of others. it doesn't have the same amount of customization as...let's say Armored Core or Front Mission but what we have now is enough to be excited about.

The information warfare side where each mech has specific role is also implemented nicely. Light mech scouts ahead and tags enemy mech, giving lancemates information on enemy position and even advanced information regarding enemy mechs like health and weapon loadout. Keeping enemies in sight is also important so that fire support mechs equipped with Long Range Missiles(LRM) can lock on and shoots barrage of rockets without having to move out of their cover.

With this system, MWO actually rewards team play and a good team will definitely dominate each battle. Coordination and clever positioning is the name of the game, regardless of what type of mech you're using. Having the largest mech around and outfitting it with the best weapons means nothing if you don't work together with your team, and this is definitely a good thing.

So, is MWO good or bad? well, it's safe to say that given the proper care MWO have the potential to be a very great game. The devs are already planning to add more mech chassis, mission types and new maps so variety will not be a problem in the long run. Bugs and balance issues are being handled, although they are doing it a bit too slow. Seeing what we have now in the game, I'd say players should just wait until the problems are all fixed before deciding to play the game. It is a fun game and I enjoy playing it, but with the problems it has right now I could see how some players would feel disappointed with it.

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