Happy New Year, MechWarriors.
It's already time for another reflective glance on an entire year of MWO development. However, as the entire team and I return from our Christmas break I don't think I will have time to do a 2015 retrospective full justice just yet. To get a good grasp of everything that has happened in the last two years you can view the recent 2 Year Review video shown at our Steam launch party in December.
2015 was our most productive year to date, and it's going to be tough one to beat, but considering what we've got in the pipeline for 2016 I think you can look forward to another stellar year for MechWarrior.
Here is the current road map for January 2016:
Take note that January will only have a single patch this month, on Tuesday January 19th, so all of the items listed in this road map are set to arrive in that patch.
Release of the Warhammer
I can't express how much this means to me personally. This was the original ‘Mech that introduced me to the franchise, and was the BattleMech I would choose in the very first pen-and-paper experiences. We have taken some extra time to react to some player feedback on the positioning of the arms and cockpit placement and size. We will take extra care in the coming days to make sure the quirks pass is as solid as possible out the gate, and speaks to its legacy of weapons.
New Quick Play Map – Polar Highlands
MWO is getting a brand new map, and a very big one at that. Originally we set out to do a modernization pass on Alpine Peaks, but during that design process we came to the conclusion that it would make things easier, and would produce better results, if we just started from scratch with a brand new design. So this is not a "New Alpine Peaks", but a new map altogether. It takes more of an old school approach in its design, featuring a mostly even elevation throughout, but with some shallow trenches and larger rocks for cover. We are hopeful that this will introduce an interesting and all new style of game play to MWO.
As Polar Highlands is a new map and not a redesign of Alpine Peaks, Alpine Peaks will remain in rotation in its current form for now. However, we’re going to continue looking at simpler ways of improving Alpine, such as through the adjustment of spawn locations.
Pilot Name Changes via Website
Players will finally be able to initiate name changes without needing to contact Support services.
The first name change using this system is free, regardless of whether you’ve received a manual name change from Support in the past.
Once you’ve used your one free name change, any subsequent name changes will cost 4500MC (~$25USD).
Improvements to the Directional Arrow
**THIS HAS BEEN PUSHED TO FEBRUARY**
The Directional Arrow visual aid has been improved with a new look, and will now display correctly over terrain geometry instead of clipping through it.
Hit Box revisions for Hunchback IIC
The Hunchback IIC hitboxes are being adjusted to provide some minor improvements to its armor tanking capabilities, with a portion of the Right and Left Side Torso’s above and around the shoulder area being shifted to the Right and Left Arm hit boxes.
New Laser Visuals and changes to Range value displays
Laser visuals have been changed so that beam will appear thinner the further it travels. The beam will also stop rendering at the point where the laser no longer applies damage. This means you will no longer have lasers look as though they are hitting and doing damage when in fact they are out of range, which should provide you with better visual feedback on the hit state. Additionally, some minor FPS gains may be seen as a result of these visual changes.
There have also been minor changes to the range numbering and coloring on the weapon load out HUD to better convey when the weapon is doing full, partial, or zero damage.
Breakable trees and roots in Viridian Bog
Thanks to the extra efforts of our level artist we have made an initial round of improvements to Viridian Bog. This should be considered a first pass, as we will continue to improve collisions and general playability on this map in later patches.
Breakable trees and roots in Emerald Taiga
As the Faction Play map with the highest number of trees we have also performed an initial pass on Taiga to make the trees and roots breakable.
That covers the bigger items you’ll see in January. 2016 is going to be a busy (and awesome) year for MechWarrior, and we’re excited to share some of our plans with you later. Until then, and if you haven’t already, check out the Faction Play Phase 3 Sneak Peek video for a look at what’s coming to Faction Play this year.