Mechwarrior Online Report #2

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mechwarrior-online-raven

My interest in Mechwarrior Online has not faded which is a good sign. The developers continue to improve all areas of the game with overhauled user interfaces and balance tweaks.

Bring in the Mercenary Playlist

I’ve played to the point where I can immediately pick out the outcome of a match within the first 20 seconds. The lack of quality matchmaking and the inclusion of groups within the mix of individuals makes for many lopsided games.

They should borrow a feature from the Call of Duty games and create a “Mercenary” playlist which does not allow premade teams. It would not alleviate all of the matchmaking issues but it is a giant step forward in my opinion.

Beginner’s Zone?

Again borrowing from Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the developers should consider creating an area for new comers. It may not always be populated with new comers but perhaps it could be skewed towards bundling new comers with other new comers.

Improve the Night

I don’t mind the poorly lit night time maps but they should improve the night vision and thermal imaging views. Night vision is oddly bright and thermal imaging is far too blurry. Even after all this time I sometimes become disoriented in the heat of battle.

So Far So Very Good

Other than those items above and tough initial learning curve, Mechwarrior Online is great. A strong foundation keeps players and if they manage iron out all the issues in the periphery, I’m sure they’ll be able to draw more players in.

Mechwarrior Online Impressions

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mechwarrior-online

Mechwarrior 2: 31st Century Combat and its expansions are some of my favorite games of all time. It pushed me to learn technical skills that would help me tremendously in life. I stopped playing those games after Mechwarrior 3 because Mechwarrior 4 just didn’t click with me — it didn’t feel like a sim anymore. After that I stepped away from Mechwarrior completely.

For the next several years the only time I thought of Mechwarrior was if FASA Corporation was mentioned along side the likes of MechAssault or Shadowrun. Then I heard the Mechwarrior license was purchased by Piranha Games and that they were interested in creating Mechwarrior Online.

I was excited to hear the news and looked forward to the release of the game. But as news and e-mails of the “Founders Program” came, I became skeptical and largely ignored what was being offered. It was a free to play game so I wasn’t worried about missing out on some significant promotion. Fast forward to January 10th of this year and GiantBomb’s weekly multiplayer show, Thursday Night Showdown. It was there that I saw the first raw glimpse of the Mechwarrior Online experience. Later that night I downloaded the open beta client and began my Mechwarrior Online career.

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ASUS RT-N66U First Impressions

posted in: Gadget Impressions 0

asus-rt-n66u

My ASUS RT-N66U arrived from Amazon.ca yesterday. I installed Tomato (Shibby) on it and have it up and running.

The build quality helps justify the $150 price tag. It has heft and a solid feel unlike any router I’ve ever owned. It even has a power button and a stand which may seem like odd things to highlight but these are the kinds of features that I expect from a router this pricey.

Initial performance impressions are positive but it did not quite achieve the level of exterior wall performance I was hoping for. The 5 GHz antenna on my E4200 was good. It was able to reach all the way from the top floor to the basement with a reasonable signal. The RT-N66U signal, however, is excellent no matter where I am.

The WDS performance is better but it’s not a night and day difference. The signal strength and quality seems to be more stable than with the E4200 I previously used though. Stability with reasonable throughput (10+ Mbps) is the goal here and so far this RT-N66U is delivering on that front. I’ll check in after some days have passed. Hopefully the link stays up.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown PC Demo Impressions

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xcom-enemy-unknown

I already knew I would like to play XCOM: Enemy Unknown one day and this demo is making that day sooner rather than later.

It wasn’t a particularly long demo. As soon as I got a hang of the mechanics, the demo was already over. But it was a very convincing demo that sold me on the game.

I played the demo with a controller which naturally lead me to draw comparisons with Valkyria Chronicles, another strategy role playing favorite of mine. It felt natural. The turn based nature of it gives me plenty of time to survey the area and plan out my approach.

The game ran very well on my machine — even at 1080p. It’s not pushing the technical limits of the Unreal Engine 3.0 but it is still a nice looking game. The art style is deceptively inviting and friendly. The first time I witnessed a soldier eat a plasma shot to the face with a burst of blood spewing out was a bit shocking.

The music and atmosphere drew me into the alien invasion and the idea of building an elite force to repel the grey skinned invaders. Seeing the cross section of the underground base with all the little soldiers and scientists doing their thing was very nostalgic for me.

The demo wasn’t very long and thus I couldn’t see the outcome of the one decision I made. Help the Chinese or the Americans? Did I want money or scientists? I chose the scientists. I’m curious how influential these decisions will be in the final game. With Firaxis behind this title, I’m hoping for some eventual deep diplomatic game where I’m pissing off one nation but gaining a much more powerful ally in the process.

It may have been only a taster but I was already itching to pre-order XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Unfortunately, I haven’t stumbled across any substantial deals and I do have a sizable backlog to wade through. Maybe in the next few months.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown debuts October 9th, 2012 on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

For more information, visit the official website.

2010 PC Rev. 1.1 was used to play XCOM: Enemy Unknown demo.

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