MechWarrior Online mech customization detailed

As every mech pilot knows, customizing and tweaking your mech is half the fun of stomping around in a towering killbot. Piranha Games has lifted the wraps off MechWarrior Online's customization, which'll let pilots mess with everything from weapons and engines to armor and paintwork.

If you've played any of the MechWarrior games, you'll be broadly familiar with what's explained in the blog post. Each mech chassis has a certain number of hardpoints and slots to fill with weapons, equipment and armor, all adding to its weight.

Within these constraints, you can fiddle to your heart's content, arming with lasers, machine-guns, missiles or whatever else you fancy, stripping back to boost speed if you want, becoming an armor-laden tank, or going for the 'glass cannon' approach of big guns and heaps of heat sinks.

MWO's armor system follows the tabletop BattleTech's lead, giving 16 armour points per ton of armor you equip, to distribute as you see fit across your mech. Also like the tabletop game, the front and back of your mech's torso are armored separately. If you're confident in your ability to out-flank other players, then, you could slap it all on your front.

And, of course, you can paint and decorate your mech, with different camouflage patterns, colors, and decals. For those not artistically inclined, you can also select from default skins.

MechWarrior Online is slated to launch some time in 2012, under a free-to-play model. The first gameplay trailer was released last month, if you fancy seeing it in action.