Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fresh Perspectives: James-n-Yumi

As a break from so much of the forum whining and spamming of unfit-to-print threads, we've decided to take MAG back to the "Age of Innocence", so to speak and get some of the opinions of newer players. The only criteria  we had was that the player had to have been playing MAG for a month or less. Our first victim was new forum poster James-n-Yumi. a veteran FPS'er. Here's MAG through his eyes:

Give us your first Impressions of MAG?

The very first Impression I had of the game was “gritty”. The game felt rough at first, coming off Battlefield, you notice things right away. Some things that still get me are the lack of a small white dot when throwing something, or the way the vehicles handle. The impression that sticks with me most however is more positive. When I was finally able to join Domination, the impression I got once I really understood what the heck was going on around me was “This is what every FPS should be like.” The scope and scale of it all is great every time I play it.

Many of the people playing this game have been doing it for months, do you still feel able to compete?

Compared to other games, the learning curve needed to play well in MAG isn’t as great as would be assumed. Once you figure out the flow of a game mode, everything else falls into place. When a player understands why the next objective is what has been set, and what should happen next, they will be more focused, and appear to others in his/her squad and team to be more of a “team player”.

Describe playing with other players that are randomly thrown into the queue with you.

It can sometimes be frustrating. When I joined the MAG-verse, I did everything I could to understand game mechanics, focusing on 1 weapon type and practicing to get very good with that weapon instead of multi-tasking different weapons in each load-out. I made a friend early on in Raven named Goombitz. He really taught me a lot about the objectives of the game modes, how a battle progresses through the objectives, what the different pieces of gear do... on and on, my questions were never ending. I don't see that in other randoms who are obviously not doing it right.
Most of the time, in Raven and S.V.E.R., I have good random players who understand med-kits, wear RPG’s in the beginning of an Acquisition attack, and repair load-outs ready for a re-spawn on defense. I had the hardest time with random “blue-dots” during my theater in Valor. It seemed that no matter the time of day, half the platoon would have the dreaded scope icon next to their name during the loading screen. Those who weren’t playing sniper carried no cross by their name. The Valor games I remember most are games where I met some of Valor’s long time veterans. In my eyes, they are champions of their cause. People who are willing work the load of 2-3 players in order to “get it done.”

Describe your first Domination game.

My first domination game was really intense. 1.07 had just been patched in and I was focused on the SMG. I had joined the game with Goombitz and we were defending. He was explaining to me the objectives and what we have to focus on. He was the Squad Leader and I basically decided right from the start that I was going to be his gopher. He said he had to keep the Bunker as the objective and why, and used the waypoint marker to send me around killing/repairing things all over the place. We ended up winning and it was the first game that I won a Grim Reaper ribbon. When he saw that I’d managed over 40 kills at rank 11 with only half the deaths, he said “Man, you can aim good.” The entire experience, hearing the O.I.C. call out maneuver times, the Platoon Leaders ordering the Squads to send their gophers here and there to reinforce one thing or another… the first time I ever heard the call over channel of “bombers incoming, take cover!” and actually –feeling- the entire room shake via the sub-woofer on the surround sound as the payload landed outside of the letters is beyond anything in over a decade of gaming I have ever experienced. I actually felt like I was in a war zone. Domination is intense and spectacular.

Do you have a mic? Do you think its important to have one?

Yes. Absolutely.

What's your favorite weapon early on?

I love the SMG. I have come to be fond of the post-1.07 shotgun and do rather well with the LMG and AR… My highest kill count without tactical assets so far is 73 in which I received an AR ribbon and a melee ribbon.

What made you choose the PMC you decided on?

I picked Raven first because I liked the look of them. They had a more orderly and definitely by far more modern and clean-cut appearance. I moved to Valor after ranking 60 because of the flak they were getting on the forums and I wanted to see if they were truly beyond hope. I am now just ranking to 60 for a third time in S.V.E.R. and will probably decide here in the next week which PMC to finally call home for good.

Give me some short descriptions of SVER, Valor and Raven.

Valor: WANTED – Medical Personnel, on the job paid training included, bring a mic please! Laid back attitude is a plus. Snipers need not apply... PLEASE!

Raven: These guys are really intense. Most people in Raven who have mics are so into the team-play, it's such a focus there. Orders are spoken loudly and clearly throughout any game, even Suppression. One game I was defending with S.V.E.R. about 5 of us were beastly defending our AA against a ton of Raven guys and they finally broke through after a 3 minute firefight and while I was laying on the ground I could hear them celebrating, hooting and hollering. I actually felt good for them and said, “way to go guys, see you at the letters.”

S.V.E.R. – It’s kind of a mix between the two. There is a focus on team-play, but it’s laid back and whimsical. People go and do what they want to do and usually, someone can pick up the slack. There is an even balance of kits almost always, the “leader’ figures know what they are doing. It is almost like this P.M.C. wins and hardly tries. It’s not hard to have fun in SVER, I don’t like the duct tape look though. The hockey masks are definately intmidating though. I went for my knife kills on S.V.E.R. just because it felt so right. Bloody hockey mask, wading through people at letters blindly flailing about. People freeze when you rushed them, it is un-real.

Describe your first Acquisition Game.

My first Acquisition game was against Valor with Raven. It was over in 3 minutes. I was upset that a game that has been out this long had such map flaws. Goombitz told me what the flaw was and I just shook my head. I started to doubt Zipper in the same manner which eventually drove me away from DICE.

Did squadmates seem anxious to help you and take you under their wing?

Yes. In Raven, a lot of people were quick to correct me or explain why I was “doing it wrong” and how to do it right. The stress on the ressurection ability and repairing things while I learn the maps and the way in which game modes progress was how I was taught by Raven Veterans to "learn MAG".

Do you feel as if teammates cooperate with you, or fend for themselves?

Depends on the PMC and what my position is.

During my first (and to date only) OIC in Raven, I had broadcasted before we started that this was indeed my first and that I was going to do this and that and if anyone thinks I should do it differently, say something after I block the enemy command network. I received 23 (Yes, I counted) “Congratulations!” messages over the PSN after we’d won, all from complete strangers... Goombitz wasn’t even there.This experience is why I am against “Voting to Demote”. People have to be given a chance with the stick to learn how to use it.

I usually was a Squad Leader in Valor and it was frustrating. People don’t stay together. I realized that even the Vets were just running off lone-wolfing it and so I spent a majority of my time in Valor with my command icons turned off. As a regular grunt in Valor, I tried to stay with the 2 or 3 guys I saw who were staying together, and I moved up in the ranks getting stuff done… but it pains me to know that there are non-clan people who judge their MAG experiences on playing only in Valor.

In S.V.E.R. I find the game makes me Platoon Leader more often than not, and if not always at least Squad Leader. I don’t have to speak, I set a FRAGGo and it gets handled. I move and find blue dots all around me feeding off my command bonuses. Everything is spoken in short spurts. “They are coming up the left...” or “APC’s coming tword the roadblock...” and “mortars ready, got a sat-scan?” and of course the famous “get me up.” It’s the one thing I noticed the most about S.V.E.R… guys will rush though a wall of fire at half health to get another guy up and continue through the fire trying to get knife kills while 3 or 4 more guys get ressed from the 1st guy. It is self-ish and at the same time team-play. It is pretty fluid most every time I see it or am a recipient of it. The tactic is really very SVEResque.

Have you played with or against any notables from the Forum? If so, what was it like?

I don’t think so.

Have you experienced team-killers or other players seeking to ruin your experience?

Griefers are everywhere. I can't say that I have had anything more than a VTK because I am a SL or PL... always in Valor and SVER though, never got any grief in Raven.

Would you recommend MAG to your friends?

Already do.

Do you see yourself playing MAG in six months?


Is MAG missing anything?

Honestly, Interdiction needs a price reduction. Allow someone who holds a letter in Interdiction to spawn a certain distance from the letter (zipper can decide what’s fair), Valor really needs some map love because I have never seen them with even their own Aqui contract. I’d also like a god-damned white dot when I am throwing a nade so I can aim into a window and not bounce it off a tree and headshot myself.

Does MAG gameplay seem balanced to you? do you feel like there are any weapons that are too powerful or other elements that work too well or not well enough?

The game feels balanced. The knife can be over powered when the load-out is done properly and in the hands of someone with a dominant connection speed.
I’ve thought this one through a lot and every gun has it’s weaknesses, from range to mag capacity to damage and fire spread. It all feels really balanced, although I am 200 shy of my AR medal and haven’t sniped more than 100 people, I can pretty well testify that if you specialize in one at a time, you learn how to play with a weapon. How you play with a weapon, not how you shoot a weapon. How you approach certain scenarios differently with an SMG than you would with an AR… these things aren’t the gun’s fault. People need to learn how to use a gun, then they will understand that the guns aren't unbalanced, some players have a natural talent.

Which gametype do you like best?

Domination. Times Infinity.

Do you plan on joining a Clan? Which?

I started to get random clan invites when I was in Raven... around 8-10 hours of gameplay under my belt. Everytime I joined though, it was some random kid with 3 of his little friends squeeling about one thing or another. After a few of these types of invites, I decided to just make my own clan just to stop getting blindly invited because of last rounds' KDR performance.
I've read on the forums that there are some well organized and very skilled clan players in MAG. I will probably join a clan eventually, I really want to decide which PMC to call home first though.

How did you find out about MAG?

I am a gamer. Anyone who is a real gamer knows about MAG.

Do you feel like you have to wait a long time to start a game?

After I deleted Interdiction, I felt the game times were reasonable.

Do you feel any loyalty to the PMC you chose?

I wouldn't call it Loyalty... more like Duty. During all three of my theaters with the PMCs, I have endeavored to always be a team player, help however I can and kick as much ass as I can. I may become loyal to the PMC I choose once that has been sorted, but I can't say for now if it will ever mature into loyalty or forever remain Duty.

What MAG dislikes do you have?

Nothing really. I enjoy the product as-is and my dislikes are more of a general “FPS” dislike that you can have for any game experience. Things that are usually more player-driven than game or mechanics driven. My grenades still need a white dot.

Say Zipper announces MAG is $4.99 per month to play, do you still play?

Not a chance in hell.