Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I am really starting to wonder about TPTB that run the BTU.

Here is what I know that could be influencing decisions:
#1.  The lawsuit from Harmony Gold over the unseen
#2.  The times the IP has changed hands
#3.  Paranoia (of people, loosing fans, etc, etc, etc)

There are a LOT, and I mean a LOT, of inconsistencies in the universe.  Not big stuff, but little things.  Some unit appears in 2 places at the same time, or is omitted from the rosters entirely, numbers of jumpships being "scaled by an order of magnitude or more", battles on planets being written like the planet has 10K people on it, when its got 3 BILLION, just a huge amount of inconsistencies, and they are really starting to frustrate me.

The latest is planetary coordinates.  We have coordinates from each of the original house books, awesome, of course they have quite a few errors, that was a LOT of typing at some point.  However, there hasn't been errata once to fix the errors, instead they are completely abandoned.  There are coordinates for clan systems, but with Strana Mechty at 0,0, and all the coords rounded to the nearest light year.  Not very accurate or useful in any way.  Yet there is no new initiative to fix them.  There are now 2977 systems in the universe, and the original house books had 2085, with no periphery.  Oystein has produced some great looking maps, very few that are the entire inner sphere at once, and not one that includes the clan worlds in an accurate enough format to determine where it lays.  Interstellar Operations will come out in a year or so, and any campaign where you need to see if a system is close enough will be, well, a crapshoot.  

On top of that, we don't have a single year in the entire universe where we actually know the strengths of all the armies.  3025 is close, but the rest are always in a few year period, and things change in that period.  We are left with incomplete data, inconsistent unit listings, basically useless data.

But then they come out with War of Reaving, a HUGE book, with a HUGE number of words.  I don't know what it all says, and probably never will.  I really don't care about that level of detail.  Heck, I don't even know what happened to all the clans, and will probably have to search the PDF for text like "destroyed" or "annihilated" to figure it out.  The best info we have on units is a cluster and its quality/morale, thats it.  How the hell are you supposed to play a campaign with that unless you end up writing it all yourself.

Which brings me to the hypocrisy.  TPTB love to write stories, and hate details, yet the universe is about those details, which should be guiding the stories.  I think by having the stories guide the universe, it stops becoming a hard universe, and may as well be 40K.  See, 40K has lots of words, lots of stories, and no detail.  The game system is hollow, somewhat fun sure, but  what you do never matters.  You never know that some special character that got blown away was the *only* one available.  There is no depth, BT has just turned into an overly complex dice rolling contest.  I haven't seen a game in over 10 years that had anything close to a point.  They are all "bring your X BV and I'll bring mine, we fight till nobody lives or the store closes".  That is just the stupidest way to play a game, unless your aiming for the 40K style.

I just think the pro-story/anti-detail view is hurting the universe more than helping it.  It sure is in my opinion anyway.  I'm betting IO will come out with another broken set of interstellar war rules, because TPTB are too paranoid to open it up to scrutiny and extensive testing.  I'm betting each book we see has more and more story, and less and less hard details.

Eventually the universe becomes totally fluffy, where your unit doesn't matter, where your system doesn't matter, where your actions don't matter, because in 3150, "There is only war".

The funny thing is their defense that having too much detail prevents the writers from being creative, yet that detail gives them more information so they don't have to be so darned creative to come up with something.  Isn't it easier to give a writer the actual mechs in a unit, the pilots names, their skill ratings, and let them easily refer to a chart when writing a story than for them to create crap outta thin air, just to have hundreds of stories after be required to check for a particular reference?  It isn't like they can't update canon, it happens all the time, its totally acceptable.  They freely ignore or change things they don't like, but won't do it to help clarify the universe.

I'm just bitching to the few of you who read this, its just so frustrating, I'm betting a lot that within the next year I'll be abandoning the IP all together for something less, well, fluffy.


  1. They haven't got the resources to create the database that this would require. By that I also mean that there is no profit in it for them to spend time creating said database that would generate little accountable profit. It's just the way things are.

  2. Having slept on this over night, I think that setting up a fan driven BattleTech Universe database driven from the official boards would be the way to go.

    Think about it. You care enough, others are fanatical enough to fat check and it would be a lasting legacy to the game.