At PAX East 2013 last weekend, we got the chance to speak with Paul Loynd, a Producer at Meteor Entertainment behind Hawken. Also on the scene was Shannon Gerritzen, the Senior Manager of PR at Meteor Entertainment. I'd like to also note that Hawken is published by Meteor, while developed by Adhesive Games.
So let's get into the details! After meeting with Paul we got the chance to check out a new class and new map scheduled for the first week in April. There's also another new feature we'll get into later. Let's start off with the new class announced. You may have heard this and that floating around about the now officially announced Technician mech class. As I was in attendance at the New York Comic Con panel, I heard a thing or two about a support class in the works. You can thank Khang Le, the Creative Director at Adhesive for giving us a heads up without even knowing it.
The reason this patch is going to be big, is that it brings a support class to the playing field. This is going to encourage even more cooperation in matches now and certainly lead to more intense battles and strategy. The Technician class has a weapon/tool that allows them to fire a short-range laser that can either cause damage or heal other mechs. The noticeable red laser won't quite do a ton of damage, but hey, if you're in a sticky damage you've gotta do something right? While the green laser allows you to heal your team mates whether they're running into combat Rambo style, or retreating for repairing. I noticed there was also a yellow laser, so I'm not sure if I may have missed something there or what.
On the note of repairing, we made sure to mention that to Paul. If you've played Hawken before, then you'd know that you can repair you mech by going into an idle state tempararily. In this situation instead, a Technician can heal you quicker than that rate and you won't be vulnerable to ambushes. So it's worth having a Technician on your team every game that's for sure. If not more than one.
Let's go over earning points as the Technician. We've all played a game where being the healer or support class doesn't get you any points and isn't worth it. Or it's some horrendously slow rate of points that when you get to the end of the match, it looks like you did nothing. Plus, you want to get some experience for yourself as well! Fortunately, as you heal allies you will in fact get points. It's not a crazy concept, but I know stupid things like not getting points for healing would make fans stray away from the class. Regardless of how useful the class may be. I'm definitely glad to see it works out with Hawken.
Then there's the Refined Sub Machine Cannon (SMC) weapon wielded by Technicans. What's so special about this that it's refined? With the Refined SMNC, Technicians can fire debuffs at enemies causing them to take more damage. Even better, the debuffs will stack up to 15% damage. First you hear that the Technican can heal team mates, now they can even debuff enemies. It definitely shows that the Technician has an interesting, not too tough place on the field. If you're not a twitch shot type of player as we discussed, then this may be a prime opportunity. You'll keep your allies alive by healing them and in between the healing, shoot some debuffs. Whatever hits will help your team in the long run.
Now that we've discussed the heck out of the Technician class, what's the dealio with the new map? Well, let's dive right into Valkyrie, head first, feet first, up to you. Valkyrie featured in the picture above and below shows that people are still living among the world of Hawken. We won't see humans running around, but with Valkyrie, Adhesive is aiming for a more clean feeling. When you look at a map like Trentik-54 for example, you've got a large difference. Trentik-54 is very dirty, rusty, compact, and has a much darker setting.
Valkyrie says hey, people are still able to live on this world even with the constant war of mechs going on. This is where the wealthy lived at one point, until of course we hop in and start tearing buildings apart and what not.
Earlier I mentioned that there was one other feature to discuss. This is indeed the case, I'm not a liar or something, that'd be preposterous! Adhesive has decided to bring PhysX into play and make sure to get across the destruction in Hawken. Back at NYCC, I recall Khang stating, “Even Michael Bay would be proud of how many explosions are in Hawken.” To make things even more destructive, why not bring in PhysX. Along with buildings now breaking based on falling through a roof, shoot through walls, destroying bridges, well, you get the point. You can blow up a lot of stuff and debri will go everywhere. Currently the team is working on optimizing this, but you can check out the action below.
On that note, that's about everything going on that we officially know about. It was mentioned that Adhesive is testing 24 players on maps right now, but go figure, they're testing it out on smaller maps not quite for 24 players. But who knows where it'll lead depending on development Also, although we couldn't quite get anything out of Paul about game modes, it sounded like there are other ones in the works right now. I'm putting emphasis on sounded like, so nothing official, more so, it's a possibility.
Otherwise, what do you guys think of the upcoming patch. Do you think you'll try messing around with the Technician class? Personally I like to be versatile and get my hands on everything. And the best thing is, if you play with a group of friends, you can try to balance it out so you have an epic little squad going.