The Free Agent: Episode 14 - MechWarrior Online

Hello to all our new readers, and welcome back to those who have been following ZAM's bi-weekly column, The Free Agent. Our mission, as always, is to answer the question "Can gaming REALLY be free?"

Last time on the Free Agent we hunted dragons, tamed dragons, trained dragons, rode dragons and fought dragons. It's almost as if we covered an MMO about dragons or something. Oh wait, we did... To see how free Dragon's Prophet ended up being, be sure to check out Episode 13.

For this week's episode, however, it's back to mechs. But not just any mechs. This time we're hitting up a franchise with a long history in the gaming world. Dating back to 1984 the BattleTech franchise has been around for a while and managed to spawn four video games under the MechWarrior banner (plus an impressive list of related titles).

With a pedigree like that it's no surprise that there is a fair amount of interest in the latest installment in the series MechWarrior Online (MWO) from Vancouver based developer Piranha Games and publisher IGP.

I'll be honest, after playing Hawken in Episode 12, when I picked up MechWarrior Online I was expecting more of the same. What I got was a decidedly different experience.

MechWarrior Online Launches

If you hear a loud rumbling sound off in the distance today then you might want to make sure that it isn't an army of geared mechs stampeding towards your home. The anticipated MechWarrior Online has officially launched today with plenty of mechs that are armed to the teeth; awaiting players to pilot them to victory.

MechWarrior Online Heats Up


It's not just the Summer months that have gamers hot and bothered, the new Firebrand JM6-FB JagerMech has arrived in MechWarrior Online, promising the kind of metal melting power to make opponents quiver.

The Firebrand boasts twin PPCs and dual AC/2s to causes devastating damage to anything caught in open ground against this juggernaut.

The new update to MWO will also allow players to try out four trial Mechs: the Spider SDR-5D, Hunchback HBK-4P, Cataphract CTF-4X and the Atlas AS7-RS.

MechWarrior Online's New Mech Looks Pretty

Featuring a beefy arsenal of long range missiles, short range missiles, and a set of big honkin' lasers, this new hero (IE, named) mech is called Pretty Baby, and it's just been added to MechWarrior OnlineBut that's not it, either. There's a whole slew of new content in the new update, like new UI polishes to the MechLab, the in-game screen, and tweaks to matchmaking.

Julian "Mirai" Williams

MechWarrior Online Q&A with Russ Bullock

Piranha Games has been busy so far in 2013. We're only a few weeks into this year and MechWarrior Online has seen the launch of the new Spider light mech as well as the first Double XP event of the year. With the Death's Knell Hero Mech coming up right behind the Spider, it looks like they're not planning on letting up the pace any time soon. This week Piranha Games' president Russ Bullock took some time to answer a few of our questions about MWO, from the roles of the new mechs to what the future brings and even a few tips for inexperienced mech pilots.

MechWarrior Online: Death's Knell


With a couple of medium lasers on each arm, 176 points of armor and the agility to circle strafe like a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, the Death's Knell Commando Hero Mech seems suitably named.

Sparks literally fly when this beast is in play, as you can see from the video embedded at the bottom of this article. What you might also notice about the video is that a familiar voice can be heard at the end.

MechWarrior Online: Along Came the Spider


Fancy something a bit more agile and responsive in your MechWarrior Online stable?

Well, you are in luck, as the newly released Spider boasts a ballistic eight jumpjets and a turning radius that can really wreak havoc on players used to dominating with heavier, firepower laden mechs.

MWO Launches Conquest Mode

MechWarrior Online has delivered further content that the fans have asked for - more mechs, more modes and more maps.

Conquest mode is the latest addition, with capture points replacing the traditional deathmatch and base assault modes. A new night variant for River City adds more vision complexity and, lastly, two new 60 ton mechs have entered the game, Fang and Flame. 

Content patches are always great! 

Julian "Mirai" Williams

MWO Pilot Safety Guide

Those Penny Arcade guys are always looking out for us gamers, but  now they've taken it to a whole new level with the release of nothing less than the "Definitive and Esteemed MechWarrior Online Guide to Ultimate Victory." Damn straight.

Community Warfare

If the question is: what are you and seven of your closest friends going to do today? The answer is now MechWarrior Online.