MechWarrior Online aiming for 12v12

Piranha's free-to-play stompy robot game MechWarrior Online is aiming to offer multiplayer mech melee in size 12v12, assuming it can deliver a "solid play experience" at that scale. This revelation and more come from a new community Q&A, covering topics including cosmetic customization, mercenary contracts, and influencing key historic battles in the world's story.

If MechWarrior Online isn't up for 12v12, technical director Matt Craig explained in the Q&A, Piranha will knock it down to 8v8--two 'lances' of four mechs per team. Fingers crossed for large-scale mechanised mayhem, everyone.

As for customizing your shiny toys with logos and skins, creative director Bryan Ekman notes, "We plan to provide players with a set of tools and in-game content for Mech and Merc Corp customization." The ability to import your own external graphics won't be available at launch, at least.

MechWarrior Online's story will run in 'real time' within the well-established lore, so key battles and events are already scripted, but it's not yet clear whether players will be able to take part in these. "The problem with historic battles is they have predictable and necessary outcomes," Ekman explained. "We are looking at creative ways to involve the community in these key events."

Piranha is also looking into the possibility of imbalance in faction membership. Lead designer Paul Inouye explains, "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."

MechWarrior Online is slated to launch in 2012.