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MechWarrior Online posts Community Q&A

MechWarrior Online developers answers questions about the upcoming game.

From their website:

Community Q&A 2 – Community Warfare


Matt Craig – Technical Director – Head of Engineering

Bryan Ekman – Creative Director – Head of Design and Vision

Paul Inouye – Lead Designer – Game Systems and Presentation

Matt Newman – Producer – Project Planning and Management

How large are you planning to make match sizes in terms of number of players? 4 vs 4, 8 vs 8...etc. –Red Beard
The current plan is for a maximum of 12 vs. 12 so long as we can ensure a solid play experience for that many players, otherwise we would fall back to 8 vs. 8.

Will there be open servers with no impact on the worlds? –Technoviking
All Ranked matches affect the Inner Sphere. We are considering several options for non-ranked matches, such as a practice server for players to test out tactics and BattleMech builds.

Are you guys going to have special event matches for historically-important worlds that are more formalized, one-off, wave-style matches? –GaussDragon
The problem with historic battles is they have predictable and necessary outcomes. We are looking at creative ways to involve the community in these key events.

Can a Merc players ALSO be faction player, as in belonging to a Merc Corp AND faction rank? –Agasutin
Once you’ve decided on your role in the Community Warfare aspect of MWO, you stay in that role. It is possible to switch but it is not possible to be in multiple roles at the same time.

Will faction affiliated players be able to play with lone wolves in the "random matches" at will? –That Guy
Yes. The faction players will have their ranks filled with lone wolves in the event that not enough players can be found for a given match.

How will it still be desireable for someone, to play as a Lone Wolf when there is no special content to be earned that way, or is there going to be other stuff which only a Lone Wolf can acquire? –Sesambrot
While Lone Wolves do not participate in the faction aspect of MWO’s community warfare, they will play an integral role in lending their services to faction and merc units. Post launch, we plan to give lone wolf players a broader set of roles in the universe.

In the Dev Blog 1 it was mentioned "The Merc Corp must have a minimum amount of loyalty points with a faction before they are able to engage in planetary combat on behalf of that faction." How will they gather that minimum amount of LP before being able to fight for that faction, if they are not allowed to fight for them? –Amechwarrior
Every Merc Corp will start with a small amount of LP in each House. This would be considered the “neutral” amount of LP required for small contracts issued by the Houses. From that point on, any actions taken by the Merc Corp will result in LP gains with one House and LP losses with another. LP is exactly what it sounds like… loyalty to a House.

Will there be sub-units to join within factions? In other words, can my friends and I join a specific regiment in order to assure that we will play together beyond lance-based formations? –Kudzu
As part of ranking up players will be able to join faction units. Post launch we will support the ability for players to create their own faction units.

Can a series of Matches (say on differing planets) be offered and then fought one after the other against different factions or Merc Corps? –MaddMaxx
This is ideal and will probably not be ready for launch but it will be in the game shortly after.

Since a contract system is being used for merc corps. What prevents a merc corp from bidding 1 c-bill for every world they want to fight on if they have sufficient money saved up from previous operations? –Black Sunder
The bidding on a contract involves a minimum bid (i.e. reserve). The bidding is done in a silent auction format where you will not be able to see bids made by other Merc Corps. You will only know that there have been X number of bids placed which all exceed the minimum bid amount. If this reserve is not met, the contract expires.

Is it possible to change status as a player from one to another. For example, Lone Wolf > Faction Player and back etc? –sadamle
Yes players can switch player types but it will be at a cost. A lot of the rewards associated with one player type will be lost during the transition. We don’t want players flip flopping back and forth between play types, hence there will be an amount of sacrifice you must agree to in order to switch.

How is faction imbalance going to be dealt with? –Kaemon
There are a number of mechanics that solve this issue. It’s a matter a choosing which one fits best with the theme of MechWarrior. Certain incentives can be provided to join a specific House and there can be kickbacks in terms of lower operating costs if you are in a less populated House. We are still addressing this issue and will let you know in a future update as to our conclusion.

Do factions have access to unique mechs or weapons? -cobrafive
No. Prices may vary, but everyone has equal access to items.

So, what kind of external third party league integration is being considered in relation to the community combat? –Pht
Since MechWarrior® Online™ is by nature a competitive game, we’ve designed all aspects of gameplay to feed back into a variety of scoring systems to generate ladders, rankings/leaderboards, and statistics. We do not plan to support private matches or leagues at launch.

Why is Loyalty decay needed in the first place, and what plans are there to safeguard the interests of a player who's real life interferes with his ability to continuously gain Loyalty? –jojobear
I’ll try to cover this in as much detail as I can since it’s a burning topic in the forums. Loyalty decay is something that we want to implement to reward players who are truly dedicated to the game. This is not a measure of passion or loyalty to the game but a mechanic to keep the top tiers of player ranking in a highly competitive state.

I’m going to take a step back and explain the 3 underlying systems that equate to player progression. These systems are Pilot Leveling, Mech Leveling and Faction Leveling.

Pilot Leveling – Experience Points (XP) are rewarded for in-game actions and completion of objectives and winning matches. XP is a running accumulator that does not decay or take anything you’ve earned away. This is the same mechanic found in most games that have an XP leveling system. We’ve added a slight modification to this system in which you can train your pilot using the XP you’ve earned.

Mech Leveling – You earn Mech XP (MXP) for some in-game actions and match wins. This information is stored on a per chassis basis. Similar to the Pilot Tree, BattleMechs have an efficiency tree. Mech XP is used to purchase these efficiencies.

Faction Leveling – For certain in-game actions and fighting for a specific House, you will earn Loyalty Points (LP). LP does start to decay after a grace period of in-activity. Accumulating LP allows you to get a military rank within the House you’re being loyal to. The ranks in a House give you benefits and rewards that vary as you climb the military tree.

Now concerning Rank and Loyalty Point Decay…

Once you have achieved a rank, you keep that rank and all of its benefits… PERMANENTLY. Loyalty Decay starts to happen when you as the player have become in-active for a long period of time. Yes, there is a grace period during with Loyalty Decay will not happen. We fully understand that not all players will be able to play every day and we take this into account with this said grace period.

If you as the player are MIA for an extended period of time, it is understandable that you lose loyalty with the House you are representing. While you may lose loyalty, you do not lose your benefits and rewards. Let’s say for example that you’ve reached the rank of Captain and have 5,000 LP. If your extended leave causes decay to kick in, you will not lose the rank of Captain. Instead, what will happen is, your rank will change to Honorary Captain. Now let’s assume that you are away for so long that your LP has dropped to 3,000 LP. In order to remove the “Honorary” part of your rank, you’ll have to gain 2,000 LP. All the while, you will NOT lose access to the rewards and benefits of a regular Captain. As a Captain, you would have been entitled to X C-bills as a salary per day as long as you logged in. As an Honorary Captain, your salary will be reduced slightly but returns to full once you become an active Captain again.

One last point, Rank does NOT equal command during a match. You do not get to tell people what to do because you’re senior rank, you do not make important faction calls, etc. Rank is purely a reward system for consistent and successful gameplay.

Will Mercenary units be able to purchase/utilize custom skins and logos for their unit members? –Mason Grimm
External player generated content will not be available at launch. We plan to provide players with a set of tools and in-game content for Mech and Merc Corp customization.

Considering the unstable nature of internet gaming, (dropouts, severe lag, etc.), how will these be handled in regards to LP if a match gets disrupted? Will partial LP be given out or will the match have to be done over? What if several participants lose their connection and greatly unbalance the match in favour of one side? –Gemini
No special concessions can be made for disconnects or severe lag, if a team loses a match due to these factors then it’s just bad luck. Anything we could add to detect these conditions and declare the match void opens the door to worse exploits where players purposefully disconnect to void match results when they are losing. These situations are very hard to deal with as a disconnect from lag looks identical to an intentional cable pull. All players in a match when it ends will get the match rewards, disconnected players will not gain any progression as rewards are handed out at the end of a match.

Since player rankings were brought up in direct comparison to games like the Call of Duty series or Battlefield series, what can we expect to see in terms of "special privileges" as you earn promotions? I know in the Battlefield games, for example, higher ranks not only unlock additional equipment, in several games they actually influenced your opportunities to become battlefield commander. –Ghost
Battlefield and Call of Duty are a different weapon/play mechanic than what makes up MechWarrior. In the two FPS’s mentioned, all weapons are very close in terms of efficiency of poking holes through your opponents. If they give you a “better” gun for being a higher rank, it’s not THAT big of an issue because in the end, a bullet hitting your target is a bullet hitting your target. In MechWarrior, this is not really the case. There are a lot more traits of firing a weapon that you need to pay attention to in order to keep it and you in working condition (heat, weight, weapon type, etc). That being said, we will not be providing weapons or Mechs at higher ranks, but we will provide low to zero impact items such as skins and other visual customizations.

Who controls how Merc contracts are put together and presented to various Merc groups? –Skwisgaar Skwigelf
For launch Merc contracts will be computer controlled eventually if desirable these could be opened up to the player base.

Your Merc Corp HQ is fitted with a virtual bulletin board that displays available contracts. These contracts, as Matt has said, will be computer/game generated depending on what’s happening in the InnerSphere.

Will mercenary companies be able to hire one another for missions? I know you mentioned bidding to fight, but say if one side is putting up 2 lances, but the attackers only have 1 lance active. Could the attackers pay allies to join them on contract for that mission? –Cattra Kell
Post launch.

Will planetary control come down to one/a few games, or will taking over a planet require much more 20 games? –Cyttorak
At launch planetary control will consist of single matches though over time we intend to add support for sequenced matches.

Can members of a Mercenary Corp also work directly for a faction, and in addition to this if no, is there any way for Mercenary Corps to assist in the fight for faction worlds, not to take for themselves, but to assist the faction. –Haeso
Yes Merc Corps work for factions, though the planets taken working for a Merc Corp are different from the planets taken when working within the faction.

(BONUS MATT QUESTION) Are hula-girls in any way connected to community warfare?
No the Hula girls do not give a 10% buff your your loyalty points nor do they prevent LP decay ... was that what you wanted me to say Paul? Can you untie me now?

He can untie you when he’s done tuning the hula girl physics and not a minute sooner…

PS. Thank you for your questions everyone, they've been great as usual! Also everyone might want to check their forum profiles for a certain feature we've enabled today. Cheers!