With the MechWarrior Online beta in full swing, rookie mech pilots are getting an introduction to a slew of giant robots armed to the figurative teeth with laser guns and rockets. But the choices can initially be overwhelming; with so many options, how can you possibly know which mech is right for you?
Thats where we come in. Think of this as a speed-dating session, only instead of engaging in small talk with people who definitely arent the one, youll be getting some intimate familiarity with the iconic heavy hitters of the BattleMech mythology. Technical-minded mech pilots will appreciate the info weve been provided on each metal beast, alongside our laymans-terms-impressions of what these bad boys are capable of.
Class: Light Weaponry: 4x Medium Lasers, 1x Short-Range Missiles (SRM-4)
What they say: "The Jenner's primarily laser armament and phenomenal speed helped to make the the 'Mech extremely well suited as a guerrilla fighter. The design has a top speed of 118.8 km/h. This mobility is further enhanced by the addition of five Smithson Lifter jump jets, giving the Jenner a jumping distance of 150 meters. The primary downfall of this 'Mech is also one of its assets: with such a heavy reliance on energy weapons, the Jenner is woefully light in the area of heat sinks."
What we say: If youre the kind of pilot that wants to run circles around the other mechs, the Jenner was made with you in mind. Just dont get caught cooling your engines after a long sprint, lest you get vaporized into a fine metal mist.
Class: Light Weaponry: 1x Medium Lasers, 1x SRM-4, 1x SRM-6
What they say: "The Commandos profile was radically changed with the introduction of the sophisticated COM-2D variant in 2486 that exchanged the laser weaponry with short-range missiles and turned the machine into a striker. At four tons, the armor is too light to allow a stand-up fight with heavier enemies, but it excels at hit-and-run tactics and as a scout hunter."
What we say: We recommend going Commando if you want the speed of a Light mech but still prefer to fight from a decent distance. The only problem is, youre practically dead weight once youve depleted your stash of short-range missiles. At that point, all thats left to do is suicide charge and hope to tackle a mech to the ground.
Class: Medium Weaponry: 2x Medium Lasers, 1x Long-Range Missiles (LRM-10), 1x Autocannon/10
What they say: "The Centurion was originally designed to complement the Trebuchet fire support BattleMech. To allow the Centurion to perform this duty, it was equipped with a heavy and varied arsenal that allows it to strike at enemy units at a variety of ranges. A fantastic frontline Mech, the breadth of its weapons allows for effective damage near and far."
What we say: Speaking from experience, blasting a hole through a far-off mechs chest with an Autocannon is one of the most satisfying things you can do in MWO. The Centurion is also the closest thing youll find to a Gundam in the BattleMech universe in terms of design aesthetic, which will have its own merits for certain pilots.
Class: Medium Weaponry: 2x Medium Lasers, 1x Small Laser, 1x Autocannon/20
What they say: "The Hunchback is a respected and feared Reunification War-era street fighter that has been in production since 2572. Built for urban combat and close-range brawling, this BattleMech has the heavy armor and weaponry to stand up against any foe in the dense cover of a city environment. Its heavy armament does come at a cost: a relatively slow speed and a lack of jump jets. In the open, the Hunchback's lack of long-range weapons makes it little more than a slow moving target."
What we say: Quasimodo here may not be the prettiest mech on the block, but if you like getting up in the enemys grill and walloping them in the face with your metal fists, it looks like this is your go-to machine. Youll need to bob and weave between buildings though; running out into an open field in a Hunchback is akin to throwing your life to the wind.
Class: Assault Weaponry: 4x Medium Lasers, 1x LRM-20, 1x Autocannon/20, 1x SRM-6
What they say: "Weighing in at 100 tons, boasting a small Mechs weight in armor, and having two small Mechs worth of weaponry, the Atlas is truly an awe-inspiring sight. The unyielding, deliberate movements, and Deaths-Head skull all make the Atlas a truly imposing Mech to face. The true brawler, this default configuration of the Atlas boasts an incredible array of firepower."
What we say: Now thats what were talking about. The Atlas iconic visage and frightening amount of firepower is what everyone wants when they pilot a mech, and you can bet your sweet bippy that players will flock to this terrifying metal titan. This Atlas most definitely does not shrug.
Class: Assault Weaponry: 3x Particle Projector Cannons, 1x Small Laser
What they say: "One of the more feared BattleMechs of all time, the Awesome is built around its impressive all-energy-based arsenal and heavy armor, making it a highly independent and powerful assault 'Mech. Rugged and reliable, the Awesome is traditionally used in a vanguard role when penetrating enemy defenses. The Awesome's massive firepower also lends it to defensive actions, acting as a mobile turret when necessary."
What we say: With a name like that, how can you go wrong? As one of the few mechs outfitted with Particle Projector Cannons by default, you definitely do not want to get caught in the Awesomes crosshairs. Power up, plop yourself into a defensive position, and get ready to punch gargantuan holes in the opposing mechs chassis.
Class: Heavy Weaponry: 4x Medium Lasers, 2x LRM-15
What they say: "The Catapult is an offense-oriented, second-line fire-support BattleMech initially produced on a limited contract for the Terran Hegemony. The use of four jump jets gives the Catapult a jumping distance of 120 meters and the ability to pace faster units over broken terrain. The 'Mech is also unique for having a sideways ejection system which, while generally safe, can be quite a surprise to new Catapult pilots."
What we say: Dont let the medieval-era name fool you: The Catapult is some of the finest militarized technology that the future can offer. With jumping capabilities that feel nigh-infinite in comparison to other mechs, this classic MechWarrior poster boy will have you leaping like a killer metal frog around the battlefield.
Class: Heavy Weaponry: 2x Medium Lasers, 1x LRM-10, 1x Autocannon/5
What they say: "A close assault 'Mech, the Dragons versatile design allows it to be used in both offensive and defensive operations. It boasts above-average firepower and plenty of ammunition for extended combat, while a Vlar 300 fusion engine gives it a faster-than-normal top speed. The squat design gives it a smaller profile and makes it harder to knock over, and the lack of any especially heat-intensive devices makes the use of only ten heat sinks a non-issue."
What we say: Upon entering this Dragon, youll be in full control of a jack-of-all-trades juggernaut. Whether you want to take potshots from afar or wreak havoc up close, the Dragon will abide your zealous lust for war.
Mechs for every occasion
After getting to know their innermost weaponry secrets, which of these eight mechs will be lucky enough to have you inside them? Are you a diehard BattleMech who hasnt yet seen his or her favorite mech? Let us know in the comments, but make sure to keep the robot-lovin PG.