MWO: How to Play MechWarrior Online

Did you ever run around outside pretending to be a superhero? Perhaps "flying" around with your arms raised up and a blanket around your neck? I did that, too... but I also played "Mechwarrior" with my friends. We would run around the backyard pretending to be 70-story, 50-ton mechanized war machines, shooting each other with missiles, gauss cannons, and lasers. Yeah, LAZERS!

Years later, I would find enjoyment in playing the MechWarrior 4 game for PC, particularly the one which allowed me to recruit my own squad, buy my own mechs and parts, and outfit my unit as I saw fit. I spent hours upon hours in front of my monitor saving convoys and eliminating enemy patrols in less-than-stellar graphics, being that the games were released mainly during the 90s. Imagine my delight when I found someone had resurrected the concept, and had provided what MechWarrior players had craved for years: a reliable way to fight each other.

If you're looking to get into this the best way to describe it game play wise is: A faster, first person World of Tanks with more lasers, rockets, locking on and oh, you pilot giant robotic death machines.

World of Tanks Hand Leveling

Getting in Game

Getting yourself into a mech is very easy: you just head over to, create an account, and download the client. It's free. This is possibly the prettiest game you can get for absolutely no cost (well, unless you count the cost of the electricity required to power your computer and such, but that's going a bit far); the graphics are stunning. But we'll get to that.

Upon starting the client and logging in, you'll find yourself at your home screen. Every player is provided four "Trial Mechs". These are mechs which players are allowed to use at no cost. The four particular mechs available are rotated every so often, so what's freely available one month might not be the next.

F2P vs P2P

Every player who plays for free must use the Trial Mechs available to them. Using these free mechs, you can earn Credits, which will allows you to eventually purchase a mech of your own. Once you own a mech, the game really opens up - the differences between the Trial Mechs and Owned Mechs are very important, and influence the game greatly:

  • Trial Mechs do not need to be repaired or reloaded between battles; Owned Mechs, on the other hand, require maintenance between matches
  • Players do not earn experience of any kind for a match in which they use a Trial Mech; to earn experience, you need to use an Owned Mech
  • Equipment cannot be changed for Trial Mechs; Owned Mechs can be freely customized

Given these differences, it's obvious that you want to purchase a mech as soon as possible. This can be done by saving Credits from matches. For the impatient, you can spend money on Mechwarrior Credits (MC), which will also allow you to purchase mechs (and other things, like additional slots for mechs (8 bays by default)).


Battling other mechs is similar to playing any other first-person shooter, in that you aim and fire with the mouse, and move with the keyboard. However, it's more like driving a tank than it is controlling a person. You have things like throttle and torso (e.g. turret) turn speed, and momentum is a big factor in determining where your mech moves. To get a feel for one of the quicker mechs, take a look at this video:

MechWarrior Online Beginner Tutorial


If you're not going to spend money on the game, then it will take a little while until you're able to afford a mech of your own. This also means that the Pilot Lab and Mech Lab, for upgrading and outfitting your mechs, will be unavailable until you make that first purchase. If you can be patient, though, the game is definitely worth playing.

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