A journey to Vancouver or MechCon 2016

Well I had the opportunity to spend a day with many fellow Battletech fans at the very first(of many I hope) Mech Con. Under this event there were folks from Piranha Games, makers of Mechwarrior Online(MWO), Harebrained Schemes, makers of The BattleTech Game, and Catalyst Game Labs, makers of Battletech Role Playing/Table Top games. This was also the event at which the first World Championship for MWO were to be held.

The World Championship followed a Double Elimination format where the three Regional Champions had the opportunity to reach the finals. The First Match was the North American Champs, Empyreal vs The Oceanic Champions,The 228th “The Wild Ones”. Empyreal showed its precision and polish as it decisively defeated the 228th in a 3-0 victory (it was a best 3 of 5 format). Empyreal next moved on to the European Champs, Eon Synergy. This was a much closer match for Empyreal but one which they again won 3-0. This was the first match where a map other than Canyon Network was used as Emp chose twice Tourmaline Desert. There strategy and practice there showed that Emp had really looked ahead to multiple possible map choices. Eon Synergy after that made sure that Tourmaline was banned and they made the final drop on Canyon Network. Again Emp showed its dominance concluding the round with a 3-0 victory over Eon Synergy. 

At this point I had to depart and was unable to see the battle between the 228th and Eon Synergy, but the ultimate result was that Eon Synergy went to the finals with Emp. 

The finals was fairly anti-climactic. Empyreal blasted Eon Synergy through 3 matches. The first 2 though Eon Synergy showed a spark and ingenuity that almost won them one of the drops. They ran out of time as Emp won that drop on Conquest Score. The final drop saw Emp massacring Eon quickly bringing about the victory. To say that this was a foregone conclusion might be an overstatement but Emp showed themselves to be as good as they seemed to be. The victory brought not only bragging rights but also the lion’s share of the $143,000 prize pot.

While I was at Mech Con I got to meet a number of fellow fans of MWO and Battletech. I really looked forward to meeting Streamers that I have gotten to know over that past couple of years. See below


Chase “Trainsy”

Phil “Sean Lang” Langenberg and Zoeff

Daeron “Bombadil” Katz

It was truly a pleasure to meet in person these folks who I have gotten to know on Teamspeak and through their streams. Apparently I was a bit of a conversation piece. I attended Mech Con dressed as I nearly always am in my Clerical attire. I also wore my 1st Crucis Recon bomber jacket. The folks in the “Tech Crew” according to Bombadil saw a “guy in a bomber jacket who seemed to be a priest.” After all the streamers I was probably most easily recognized if for no other reason than my collar. 

There was much that was announced at Mech Con, too much for a single post. I think I will end it here for right now but I will publish more as I find the time to do so. The event was great fun and was well worth the travel to get to it. You can check out the whole event out on twitch

Until later, Peace!

Father Bill 

Out of the mists of myth: The Cyclops

The patch that dropped on August 23rd saw the introduction of a new Inner Sphere Assault Battlemech, the Cyclops. This Mech’s defining characteristic is the Tacticon B-2000 Battle Computer which imputes to this Mech and all the Mechs close to it to a detection range extension 150% of standard. This is quite a benefit that alone makes this Mech worth getting. In addition it has a wide variety of build possibilites for the chassises avaialable.

My favorite version has to be the Sleipnir, This Mech has quad ballistic hard points in its side torsos. I initially built it with Dual Gauss and an ER PPC. I had great luck with it and quickly worked through the elite level of skills. At the recommendation of a friend I changed the ER PPC to 4 medium pulse. Gave a much better alpha and heat efficiency. I could take out UAV’s at distance with the ER PPC but the DPS boost was well worth it. This is the build that I mastered the mech in. I included a Beagle Active Probe which in theory with the Tacticon B2000 should give the Sleipnir incredible Info Warfare capability.

I recently picked up the CP-11 P. This is the ECM variant. I initially did not purchase this mech which was on the expansion list. I really did not see the need for it. Then they had two events in which the missiles were flying practically non stop. I found a few extra $’s a ponied up the dough to purchase the reinforcements expansion.

The 11 P is a solid variant with good long range and short range abilities. The ECM proved to be quite useful as I went about mastering the mech. I foresee this being a part of my Faction Play Drop deck when ECM is a required component.

On the whole I am very pleased with the Cyclops and see many hours of enjoyment in the coming months piloting this 90T IS Assault.

My trip to GenCon, or how I learned I need to get a new set of dice…

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to GenCon. This is a gathering of gaming enthusiasts from all across the USA (and from what I experienced across the world). I heard that the people from HyperRPG and Harebrained Schemes would be at the convention last week. After some calendar shuffling and financial shifting I decided that I could attend the con on Thusday. I left the house a little after 5 AM so that I could get to Indianapolis well ahead of my first scheduled event. Oh, I forgot to mention that I got to play Death from Above(DFA), the Hyper RPG Battletech based tabletop game. So I pulled into Indy about 10:45 and found the place I was going to charge my car. After some difficulty with the charger (The company who owns them really needs to get a better way to.. This is a post for sparks road.net) I made my way to the Indiana Convention Center.

I had pre purchased my entry badge so I hunted up the Will Call lines. Um, the line was literally at least a mile long, there was no way I was going to get to DFA if I got in that line. I punted. I went to purchase a new badge, as they had NO LINE! (Lesson Learned, if I ever go again I will buy my Badge when I get there.) Acquiriing my badge I made my way to the HBS Booth in the convention center. It was good that I got the extra badge as I had about a 30 minute window before DFA started and I took me 10 minutes to get from registration to the booth. As soon as I got there I scoped out the place. Along with the RPG table Hyper RPG folks set up, HBS had set up a group of computers so that Conventioners could play a “Super Pre Alpha .007” version of “the Battletech Game” (I will review that in another post). I walked up and ran into Jordan Weismann, the creator of Battletech. I got to chat with him for a few minutes and he graciously agreed to be in a picture with me.
image.Shortly after this was taken I got to be a Mechwarrior in Hyper RPG’s version of the Battletech Tabletop. In this they use enormous 3D printed Mechs (based on MWO’s Mech Models) I and 3 others faced off in Mech Combat. Tyler a programmer at HBS and the Game Master (GM) ran the game and Mitch Gittleman, owner of HBS and DFA Player, assumed his Lord Commander Mason Garalack(sp?) persona. We were perspective Mechwarriors trying out for Mason’s Marauders. After a bit of Roleplaying we got into the game. The Mechs on my team were as follows:

  • Star League Era Orion
  • 3025 Era Trebuchet
  • 3025 Era Commando
  • 3025 Era Vindicator

The Opossing Team had:

  • 3025 Era Marauder
  • 3025 Era Catapult
  • 3025 Era Spider
  • 3025 Era Blackjack

We had 3 turns where no one was able to make a successful shot. It was mostly maneuvering to get into firing position. Garalack(Gittleman) was disparaging our piloting skills when I boldly stepped onto a large hill and let loose with my Autocannon 10 and LRMs on the Marauder. I somehow managed a hit a long range. I drew first blood getting the call sign of “King” because I was “King of the Hill.” Of course I skylined myself and the next 3 turns my Orion was pummeled by 3 mechs (whoops, go figure I went to the front and got hammered). I managed over the next few turns to get my Trebuchet half stripped, kicked a legged and prone spider. I never though was able to hit much of anything after that first lucky shot. So much so that the GM said “well, we can see that you have no luck with the dice.” I resolved to find a new set of dice so that in the future I might get some random number generation in my favor.

DFA ended with a massive airstrike that took out both forces ( the HBS people had run out of time). I had an absolute blast with this game. I met some guys who are as geeky about Mechwarrior as I am (I think all three of them play MWO) and got to play with some beautiful Mechs.
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I did finally manage to find a new set of dice as there were many vendors at this convention. They weren’t quite what I was looking for but as soon as I saw them I knew that they were the dice I was going to get. Dice, I have found, are quite expensive. The ones I bought were $1.54 a piece. That being said, I really liked the design that was the replacement for 6


I have used this symbol on everything from my Ordination Announcements to the Thank You notes I send out to this day so I thought maybe these will be more successful at random number generation than generic dice, here’s hoping…

On the whole this was an incredible experience, possibly a once in a lifetime event. I managed to get a video of the DFA game that once I get a chance will be going up to YouTube. Next up my Experience of the Super Pre-Alpha .007 vesrion of the “Battletech Game”.

Until then,


Father Bill

Battletech Table Top: My First Experience Part 2

Well I have now experienced Battletech tabletop and found that I need to get a better set of dice, more about that later. So I finished my day at the Parishes after Mass at Medora, IL. I hopped into the car and started off to Star Clipper in Saint Louis, MO. It took me about 45 minutes or so (Turned out to be an 1:15 until I got into the store… took a wrong turn walking to the shop.) to get to a parking spot near the store. I had contacted the GM, MadDogMaddux, (AKA Jonathan) from the Catalyst Game Labs Demo Team and told him I would be a bit late. He set up a scenario where I could walk in as I got there. It was Kurita vs Davion and I was (Oh, the Horror!I am a staunch Davion) a member of the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery driving an Atlas AS7-K2. That seems to be a perfect setup to get into a game (Not the Kurita part but the Atlas), well you would think so but I ran into a Guillotine that proved a very difficult nut to crack. Through the trials of RNG (Random Number Generation AKA Rolling Dice) In seven rounds I managed one S-SRM 6 Hit and 1 Melee Punch to the CT of that Guillotine. I took a critical hit on my XL engine and lost most of my armor… not a very good first outing. Probably the first thing I am going to invest in shortly is a set of quality dice, I am not sure this will help much but it may help me feel better. That being said I had a great time. I will very definitely seek other opportunities to play the tabletop version of BT. Jonathan put me on the Facebook group for the Saint Louis, MO area so I could be alerted to events here. Now I just need to get a decent set of dice… smile.amazon.com…lets see…


Father Bill

Battletech Table Top: My First Experience Part 1

I am sitting at the computer having finished breakfast after my first Mass of the day. I am getting ready for a new experience today. I have been playing Mechwarrior video games all the way back to the first Mechwarrior on an 8088 IBM Compatible PC (Yes I am that old). But I never had the chance to play the tabletop version of Battletech. Today that will change. After my second Mass of the day I will be headed over to Saint Louis, MO where there is a monthly BT tabletop game at Star Clipper, a local comic/hobby shop. I have been meaning to do this for the better part of 6 months but this is the first time that the stars have aligned correctly to get me over there. I have been chatting with the GM via the Battletech Forums so he knows I might be running a bit late, as they start around 11:30 and the earliest I can get there might be 12:30. I will take with me my introductory box set and hopefully get to know the gaming system. I will report back here a report on that experience and what I hope to get started, assuming I like what I see and hear. Until then, Peace.

Father Bill

My First Twitch Stream!

Well today I broke the ice and launched my Twitch.tv channel. People even clicked in and watched, much to my surprise!
The recording that I am linking here is not quite right as I used some music that I thought was stream safe, but wasn’t and a couple of other things that I hope I have since fixed. This video is from my YouTube Playlist for MWO which was pulled from Twitch.



Father Bill

To Twitch or not to Twich…

Well, I already have my answer. I am still getting things setup but in the not to distant future I plan on putting up a Twitch.tv stream. I have been playing Mechwarrior for the better part of 18 years now, and Mechwarrior Online for the past 2 years. I have really enjoyed the MWO community and the variety of people I have watched on Twitch. From the folks at No Guts No Galaxy, to Riagaming, RJBass3 and many others I have learned much in the play of MWO.

I suspect that while I am not alone amongst my brother priests across the world with an interest in big stompy robots,I may be the only one looney enough to think I can participate in the MWO streaming scene. I have slowly been collecting the equipment I believe is necessary and I feel I have all the pieces in place(with the almost realized delivery of a decent web cam… get here UPS!) to stream in more than an improvised manner.

I cannot take credit for this as there were many who made possible my foray into Twitch Streaming. The person who I need to thank the most is Phil from No Guts No Galaxy. He walked me through the setup of OBS(Open Broadcasting System) Studio and the various plugins that would add a bit of polish to the stream. I have by no means mastered the tools yet but I think I have the basics worked out.

I will start in the next couple of days and begin to workout a schedule based on my availablity.

You might wonder (I know I do) what I might have to share. I am surely not the best player who can show others the way to play (If anything I will give the example of how not to play) I understand strategy and tactics but am not so good at putting them into action.  It is belief that my experience as a Catholic Priest, Mechwarrior, Member of the 1st Crucis Recon, and Battletech Fan will give insights not only to Mechwarrior Online but also some philosophy and other disciplines that I happen to blather on about.

the channel can be found at www.twitch.tv/Father_Bill

See you online!

Enter the Kodiak: The Ghost Bear Totem Battlemech

screenshot-mwomercs.com 2016-02-05 13-18-01

The latest addition to the list of Battlemech ranks is the Clan Ghost Bear Kodiak. Not an OmniMech this 100 Ton mech is more like its cousins the IS mech or the Clan IIc variants. Having a set number of hardpoints but otherwise very configurable (Endo Steel, Ferro Fibrous, Interchangeable Fusion Engines) the Kodiak promises to be quite the performer in MWO. It will come in 5 different variants with only 2 having anything close to similar loadouts. Each of the Kodiak variants have unique strengths and weaknesses that will lend that particular variant to certain types of warfare.

The Kodiak has a staggering amount of firepower available to it with a good mixture of ballistic, missile and laser hardpoints. The addition of MASC to the hero “Spirit Bear” Kodiak variant will give this mech comparable speed (albeit in short bursts) to a heavy class mech. The Massive 400XL engine will move the Kodiak upwards of 64 KPH before the addition of MASC.  With Dire Wolf class firepower and Timber Wolf class (with MASC) speed this mech promises to be quite a bruiser.

What remains to be seen is what quirks may or not be given. Also what will the hitboxes look like. This mech will drop on the May patch. I managed to sell some unused equipment for my Tesla which I then used to purchase The Collectors Pack with the Hero Add On.

You can find more info on this at mwomercs.com.

1st Crucis Recon Winter Gathering 2016

The command staff of the 1st Crucis Recon gather together in Saint Louis, North America, Terra for a time of rest, recreation and renewal of the bonds of fellowship. Below please find a visual record of this gathering.