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MechWarrior Online Goes Open Beta Next Week

On Wednesday Infinite Game Publishing and developer Piranha Games announced that the free-to-play shooter MechWarrior Online is shifting into open beta status on October 16.

Piranha president/executive producer Russ Bullock and vice president/creative director Bryan Ekman explained that now is the time to launch an open beta, as they feel that the closed beta players have done all they can, and are simply "fatigued." That probably wasn't the ideal description to use, but the point is that current closed beta players don't get to keep their progress, hence they keep starting over which would understandably get stale after a while.

"There are many other reasons but that one is reason enough, it has become time for us to open our doors and allow all of our great players to start progressing towards advancement that they can keep," the update reads. "Also to that point, it has become time for us to let in an entirely new batch of players to continue to help us generate the metrics and data which will help us craft the best game possible."

MechWarrior Online went into closed beta on May 22. It features a real-time mechanic where 24-hours in the game equals to 24 hours in the real world (January 1, 2012 is equal to January 1, 3049). The setting takes place during the early stages of a massive interstellar war, and throws players into the seat of "the most powerful war machine to ever walk the field of battle," the BattleMech. Players can customize the Mech to suit their battlefield role, upgrade systems, replace weapons, and tweak armor with endless options.

"In no way does going open beta mean we are slowing down with our development and improvement of MechWarrior Online," Piranha's blog states. "I can assure you we have identified an unlimited amount of work and improvements we're working through week by week and day by day."

In early November, the team will be rolling out the first pieces of its visual customization feature set including a new section inside MechLab called Camo Spec. This will allow players to customize the base skin of their Mech with up to three colors. They'll also be able to add decorations inside the cockpit with items like fuzzy dice and the family's hula girl.

Then, by early December, players will be able to throw on pre-made decals, and then use their own created artwork shortly thereafter. The decal feature will roll out with the first parts of Community Warfare, Piranha said.

"In late October and November we'll see more content in the form of the Cataphract, a new alternate map, the remaining BattleTech gameplay features (Artemis, Active Probe, ECM) new skins and colours, along with a new game mode called Conquest," the update states. "Oh and let's not forget our first Hero BattleMech. It's the < REDACTED >!"

For more information about MechWarrior Online, which goes into open beta on October 16, head here. To check out our recent hands-on with the closed beta, head here.