The Future of Hawken: Mechanic Mechs and PhysX Physics
Hawken 2013: The New Class
In 2013, the defining class-based warfare titles on PC are Battlefield 3 and Team Fortress 2. Both offer markedly different experiences, but each depends on class diversity for a team to truly gel — it’s funny when everyone goes Recon or Demoman, but it typically ends in a loss, no? The right class combination, coupled with players who are generally trying to complete an objective (call it a lack of trolls?), usually yields positive results.
Class-based warfare is nothing new, so where does Hawken come in? While most of the available arsenal in Hawken is offensive-minded, Adhesive and Meteor are going to start mixing things up a bit, starting with the Mechanic. Presumably the first of many support mechs to come in 2013, the Mechanic is the only class in Hawken that can heal other mechs. Equipped with a Nanobot rifle and a modified SMC, the Mechanic can use the former to heal teammates or damage enemies (its special ability is an additional buff for locked-on teammates), while the SMC debuffs enemies, increasing damage taken by up to 15%. Like a Medic pairing with a Heavy or Soldier in Team Fortress 2, the Mechanic relies on the buddy system, as its offensive Nanobot firepower is lacking when compared to the mechs it’s repairing. Simply put: repairing teammates and imbuing them with a damage resistance buff is priority one, and draining health from enemies while making them more susceptible to damage is the Mechanic’s ace in the hole.
Part of the “One Mech a Month” strategy, the Mechanic (which drops in April) is the first of many mechs that will fundamentally change the way Hawken is played, bringing the experience in line with the likes of Team Fortress 2, or even an MMO.
Paul Loynd, a senior producer over at Meteor, says skill is at the center of the additions. “Different classes have different needs. How much skill does it take? [And] what kind of skill? Ultimately, we want [Hawken] to appeal to different skill sets.” Appealing to John Q. McShooterson is easy, but keeping other kinds of players interested in Hawken seems to be the focus now.