MechWarrior Online open Beta delayed to fix issues

13 Oct 2012  by   Paul Younger
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Piranha Games had planned on launching the open Beta for MechWarrior Online on 16 October but have now decided to delay the Beta’s launch. A statement from the development team this evening reads:

We would like to let you all know that we DO listen and DO carefully follow the forums, Facebook, Tweets, PMs and support tickets. We have a team of committed staff whose entire job is to tell us these things.

Game development is similar to trying to steer a very large ship.  To make changes in direction takes time and accurate judgement calls.  Even after the decision to change direction has been made, it takes a lot of time to make sure the change is working and the direction is valid.  A lot of the feedback on the forums specifically are in the pipe for implementation, but again it comes down to time to get them ready and tested before sending it out to you folks on the live servers.

That being said, we’d like to address the concerns and worries that many of you have regarding Open Beta, Match Making, Founder’s Premiums, Game Balance, New User Flow and the future of Community Warfare.

We have decided to push Open Beta back.  We agree that the game’s current state of stability is not allowing us to get the latest experience across to new and veteran players alike.  This is a short push back on the date and will depend on the stability and playability of the build.

The team also outlined some of the issues that have been highlighted during the on-going closed Beta test including a problem with the game’s FPS, which they are addressing right away with a patch tonight. They also mention that matchmaking is being changed for groups which is being tackled in three phases.

Phase 1:

Reduce the maximum # of players in a group to 4.  This means when players form a group, they will only be able to add 3 people.  When that group launches, they will be put in a bucket.  The match maker will then fill the rest of the 8 player team with 4 PUGs or any partial groups that are looking for a match at that moment.  The same will happen for the other team.   Matches will still be 8v8 but instead of playing against 8 people in an organized premade, you will see a max of 4.

Now before you light your pitchforks, we know that this does not address all the issues and that 8-player groups are the mainstay of community and organized team-play.  This is why we move to Phase 2 VERY soon after Phase 1.

Phase 2:

Players will be able to convert their 4-player group to an 8-player group similarly to how World of Warcraft’s group to raid conversion works.  With a click of a button, a group leader can convert a 4-player group to 8-players and invite 4 more players to the group.   There is a limitation to this however.  If the group leader decides to convert to an 8-player group, they MUST have 8 players in order to launch.  (i.e. you cannot launch a game with 5,6 or 7 players).  In addition to that, your 8-player group will be matched to another 8-player group ONLY.  This does reduce the change of finding a match quickly but at the same time 8-players teams will finally be matched to other 8-player teams exclusively.

At some future date we will also want to include the ability to challenge a specific 8-player team to a match in a competitive/eSport manner.  But as stated, this will be coming at a later date.

Phase 3

We have been examining the various ranking systems in other games/structured tournament play etc.  This includes ELO, TrueSkill and others.  Our current plan is to use a hybrid system that uses the mentality of ELO with a weighting system that we’ve determined that drives down to player effectiveness/skill in a match.  In order for this to work properly, we will need to do heavy pre-release testing before it goes live to the community and hence the amount of time to get it implemented.

We currently cannot go into detail as to how this system will work because we are not going to over-promise something that may change during implementation.  We will try to keep you as up to date on this as possible.

Having played quite a bit this week, the game does need more polish to address problems and the Open Beta delay is probably the right decision.

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