Monday, September 20, 2010

MAG Interviews: The Last Ninja

The Last Ninja - The name alone can give a person chills, but many have characterized this mysterious SVER character as a suppression farmer. We sat down with him and got his take on "noob farming", why haters gonna HATE, japanese players and how a patch can be a "ninja" as well.

I suppose I'll start off with your request and try to shed some light on the "farming noobs in Suppression" thing. I'm not sure how things are in Suppression nowadays, but to call the April/May Suppression people "noobs" may be correct when it comes to the OBJ-modes, considering from what many of them told me, they either don't know how to, or just don't like to play other modes, whether it be due to the lag, or they just like simple TDM. However to call them noobs in the sense that they can't kill, is an insult. What I found funny, is that a lot of them took a very tactical approach to Supp, invading the hotspots, guarding chokepoints.

Now, I'd like to ask everyone a question, many of you say "everyone in Suppression are noobs", and yet, there are plenty of level 30-60 players. Yeah, they may just have played long enough to reach that rank and not be superhuman and they may still be noobs, but here's the thing, you have plenty of the same kind of people [as in, they stuck around long enough to level up to 60] in every other mode. Factor that in with the self proclaimed "elites" and actual skilled killers, along with many of the people competing, and you pretty much have a noob-to-seasoned ratio that equals pretty much every other mode. So, if killing said players in Suppression is "farming noobs" then it would be no different in other modes. They say experienced players playing Suppression scares away the new players, yet I've heard new players wanting to play more so they can earn their wings. Any newbie can pick up a game, go immediately into MP and be put into a match with mixed ranks, the weak players who don't want a game with a learning curve and just wants the whole thing to be easy will leave, and those who like a game with a learning curve and some difficulty will stay.

To be honest, I went into Suppression at the start of the tournaments thinking it was just a normal TDM, not this "training for noobs" mode, especially when I saw all the players with levels similar to Sabotage matches playing it. Here's the reason I started to play Supp for the tournaments. I started on Sabo, the more simple mode that I could focus directly on getting headshots rather than having to worry about OBJs, and for the first couple of days, it worked, however Shookem [great player by the way] and I kept finishing the day off with generally the same amount of headshots. I always feel the urge to go after C if it has charges planted on it, and due to players being incompetent most of the time and not even rushing C to defuse, I had the choice to let the game end early, or I could try to defuse, and sometimes it can get hectic where C will have a charge planted immediately after it being defused.. I then decided I should stop trying to play Sabotage like a TDM for these headshots and go to the true TDM mode, Suppression, that way I wouldn't screw over my team in Sabo due to the lone-wolfing I did, and I wouldn't have the distraction of an OBJ. I also realized that my competition were all in Suppression, and to beat them, I had to stay in Supp to steal headshots when they were on my team, and to kill them when they were on the other team, along with duplicate the stereotypical "elite player" loadout [120HP, motion sensor, foregripped AR, light armor, it became so much easier when I began using these]

Of course after I gained a strong lead and demoralized the competition after playing so damn much at the start, I slowed down the pace before I went insane. :smileytongue:  I had the ability, I had the time, I had the same availability to the tools my competition had, there was money for winning. I had the choice of being the usual elitist I am and staying away from Sabo/Supp/120HP/foregrip/MS/Light, OR, I could play to win. I would be a fool to let that money get away when I had the ability to win it. So, I chose to copy what my competition used so I could stay on their level. Oh well, you know what they say...

Anyway, onto other things... One thing I remember back in the early days of MAG was how people would come to SVER and expect to see the teamwork many boasted about, then would whine and say we have no teamwork after they went to SVER. As a SVER loyalist since beta, I can tell you the whole superior teamwork thing ended when Gamestop beta rolled in and all the new players immediately came to SVER just from hearing how powerful SVER was. You can say I'm biased towards SVER due to me being a loyalist, but wouldn't that make non-SVER soldiers biased against SVER? That's something I find funny, how biased everyone is and yet they say they're not biased at all. You gotta give Zipper some props for making people so involved with the PMCs and Shadow War that they become so biased towards their own PMC and have such a deep hatred of enemy PMCs. :smileyhappy:

I really don't think there's much imbalance other than with some weapons [the knife is overpowered, especially in beta!], although some more accuracy and/or power to SVER guns wouldn't hurt, although I heard they fixed that in the new 2.0 beta, but I personally didn't notice it. The Domination damage bars are imbalanced as well. Personally, I believe it is 80% players, 20% maps. Why?. During my tours through Raven and Valor, I basically noticed the same thing as I did on SVER. If I play with randoms against randoms, usually the defenders would win. If a team mostly composed of randoms fought a team with at least 1 or 2 groups, the team with grouped up players would win. [This stands for Sabo and ACQ, sometimes in Domination] I generally won the same amount of times on each PMC in each mode. They said it was impossible to red-line on Darien and Copper Hills, and yet when I played on the other PMCs, we managed to red-line SVER. The Japanese players have had no problem with winning defending Elk Bay and Flores Basin, which were supposedly the "worst maps to defend" in the game. [Or at least, Flores "used to be"] Along with them steamrolling SVER maps [which, you guessed it, were supposedly "the hardest maps to attack."

Once Gamestop beta came out, oh man, things changed a lot. SVER could usually hold their own, but Raven just absolutely dominated our ACQ map. The influx of newbies to SVER didn't help. During retail, the tears came flowing, people were actually quitting out of battles against SVER before they even started just to protest to Zipper that SVER was "overpowered". Oh well, at least the Veteran feature allowed skilled players to move around the PMCs and help balance some things out. Here's something I have to say about people who are crying about the nerfs and map neutrality, YOU BROUGHT IT ON YOURSELVES. This constant crying of imbalance paved the way to all these tweaks, now, some were perfectly fine, like nerfing the LMG and SMG [sniping with an SMG = bad] along with making maps neutral, I recall posts during MAG's release begging to allow any PMC to defend any map to balance the game, and now that Zipper finally does it, people complain. Zipper just can't catch a break. :smileysad:  

Most of this whole imbalance business comes from PMC loyalty and the morale of the players in said PMCs. Japanese Ravens had no problem defending Flores Basin, however non-Japanese Ravens were chicken**bleep**, once they heard the word "buff" to their map, they stopped pussying out and actually believed in themselves. Honestly, non-JP Ravens nowadays are no harder to fight than the JP Ravens were pre-patch. First day the patch came out, things went normally like before the patch, American/EU Raven lost Flores a few times, then the coming days, word got out about the contents of the patch and oh what's this? They become overpowered overnight. The map isn't the problem, the damage bars are. I bet if Zipper tweaked the weapons of a PMC to be super deadly and does a ninja-patch without patch notes, nobody would notice. It's all a mind-game.

Back in the betas, we usually were only allowed to play one mode at a time, so naturally with all us MAG addicts [seriously, many people had withdrawals between beta phases. XD] we'd get sick of a mode if played too long, ACQ and Sabo were great examples of this. I remember people saying once MAG comes out, they were never going to touch Sabotage again due to being burned out on it, the irony? Just a month after MAG was released, almost everyone was on Sabotage. Oh, that reminds me, people said they only played the hell out of Sabo because of short queue times and would play DOM if the queue wasn't slow, yet if all these people didn't mind the *gasp* 5-MINUTE wait, the DOM playercount would've been much better. Thankfully after some ideas thrown around on forum about Zipper giving double XP for the least-played modes, we got our double-XP Directives. :smileyhappy: The sad thing is the same thing is happening with Interdiction, perhaps Zipper should give INT its own triple XP bonus? :smileyvery-happy:

I personally agree that to balance things out, we need to make things neutral, including weapons. Of course add in a special requirement, like you need to have Vet over to an enemy PMC to use their weapons. People can complain all they want about losing PMC identity, but let's face it, things will NEVER be perfectly balanced, you'll always have that one guy crying that the grass is greener, to fix this, just allow everyone the same weapons and maps. Like I said, we brought it on ourselves. We would still have our PMC identity. Even if the maps and weapons became neutral, we'd still have PMC-based armor, vehicles, winning battles for our PMC, etc. I just don't understand people, they somehow think that by making things neutral, the game's engine will turn into the IW4.0 engine. @_@ [The engine MW2 uses, I think]

mag worldwide: So what is your opinion of the beta?
The Last Ninja: For the most part, it's great, I love the Supply Depot, the Skilltree is
pretty cool as well. Escalation is pretty fun when teams work together.
However my main problem was, and still is with the knife.
mag worldwide: ok even with it being in much closer in proximity with the new update?
The Last Ninja:Yes.
I'm too used to the whole 2-melee everywhere except the 1-hit sweet spot.
And just feel with the latency and speed upgrades, that a 1-hit from the
front even at full health is a bit too powerful. I was wearing medium+
armor with 120HP in retail and even then I got 1-hit knifed from the
front. It wasn't a headshot either.
mag worldwide: how would you fix it?
The Last Ninja: I would remove the knife damage upgrades. Take out the 1-hit for
headshots with the knife because they just come randomly, I aimed at
someone's lower body once and swiped the knife and got a headshot,
that's not right.
mag worldwide:
gotcha. slow knife for everyone then?
The Last Ninja:
Well, personally I'd like the knife to not have any special upgrades.
But, I can tolerate the swipe speed upgrades.
mag worldwide says:
what about knifing someone's ankles?
The Last Ninja: Hmm, well, I think that should just do very little damage, not sure if
it'd be too much coding for Zipper though. this goes for behind too, I'd
like it to be like the melee system in Resistance: Fall of Man. 2-3 hits
everywhere, except a special sweet spot in the spine/back of an enemy.
That way you can't swipe someone's ankles from behind and get a 1-hit kill.
mag worldwide says:
we had a suggestion where the knife w only work from behind, from the
fron tit would be a rifle/pistol butt (20 points damage) what do you think?
The Last Ninja:Oh, that'd be great, as I personally prefer the idea of cracking bones
with the butt of a gun.
mag worldwide says:
good stuff.
best player you've had the pleasure of playing with/against?
The Last Ninja: Hmm, huge tie.
Shookem, PKYxPikachux, Raptor2525
To narrow it down a little
The first two literally gave me a run for my money.
mag worldwide says:
understood. what clan are you in? is there a loyalty you feel to any PMC?
The Last Ninja: I'm in [>P<] Enemy of the Public. I had to lead it in MAG due to many
clanmates not getting into MAG. I'm a SVER loyalist.
mag worldwide says:
a loyalist meaning SVER is home?
The Last Ninja: Pretty much.
mag worldwide says:
makes sense. So what can be done to enhance the shadow war?
The Last Ninja: It depends on what part we are talking about. If we're talking about the
whole storyline...
There was this one guy on the forum who posted fan-fiction Shadow War
GNN updates, those were great, in my opinion.
mag worldwide says:
The Last Ninja:Another thing that would be good to improve the Shadow War would be map
vandalism, Hooligantuan suggested it if I am remembering correctly.
Example, let's say SVER holds Valor's contract in Sabotage, Copper Hills
would have more of a SVER style, the tents burned down, SVER graffiti,
typical SVER stuff.
mag worldwide says:
what about new maps and game modes?
The Last Ninja:With Escalation coming up, I think we should hold off on any more
gamemodes, and focus on making the current ones even better.
Splitting ACQ maps in half and making it 32v32 would improve the mode
overall and shorten queues, for example.
Or, they could modify it so the ACQ bases are back-to-back, but that
would be better for new maps, rather than modify current ones.
As for new maps...
I'm all for it
Both neutral like Radiant Barrens, Isla de Magma, and PMC-based.
mag worldwide says:
people have mentioned nuetral sabo (no attacker) maybe where both sides
spawn on each side and the objectives are in the middle. your take?
The Last Ninja: Hmm, that could work I suppose, but that seems like a toned down
Escalation/Interdiction to me.
mag worldwide says:
what popular MAG suggestions would you like to see implemented?
The Last Ninja: Hmm, well the Black Market would be great.
Not sure who said it, but a requirement to access the Black Market, you
would have to have Vet over to another PMC in order to purchase their
mag worldwide says:
ahh..there's some balance. thats good.
The Last Ninja:Yeah, that would help give incentive to Vet.
Hmm, my mind is foggy when it comes to the popular MAG suggestions. Care
to freshen up my memory as to what the most wanted are?
mag worldwide says: nuetral sabo, map balancing, hostage/convoy.
The Last Ninja: Ah, well we already have Interdiction for convoy. somewhat
like ACQ in the part that you have to capture it. Perhaps combine the
two and you need to ambush a convoy would be nice.
But like I said, I wouldn't really want any new modes at the moment.
mag worldwide says:
ok so clean up the old ones first. be specific, what parts need cleaning? 
The Last Ninja: Acquisition should be split into 32v32. Shortens the queues, can have
more games going, and you get rid of the whole "blame the other side for
losing it for everyone".
I've not seen teams interact with the other side usually, other than a
few rogue repairmen and the occasional squad leader helping out with a
sensor shell.
Domination maps should get the final tweaks, such as Valor and SVER's
roadblock issue where APCs can drive past them with ease.
Sabotage seems fine at the moment.
mag worldwide says:
no OP maps in sabo?
Valor seems to think their are UP. (underpowered)
The Last Ninja:Nope. They all have their advantages, and if the team can't utilize said
advantages, then it's not the maps fault, it's the players.
Their C is pretty strong compared to other C's in Sabo.
mag worldwide says:
on that note, tell me about the Fall of Sver and the Rise of Raven.
The Last Ninja:To put it simply, it's all in everyone's head. Morale plays a big part
in how battles are won.
Raven heard their map got tweaked to be more powerful. So they got the
will to fight
And they did something I only saw Japanese Ravens do.
mag worldwide says:
really? Raven regularly has 6 contracts now. today they had seven.
The Last Ninja:Yep. See, to win you gotta play aggressively.
Most defense battles are won the moment you push the attackers to the
red line.
With Raven getting this will to fight, and SVER seeing this, and seeing
that their map got tweaked, and being constantly red lined by Ravens,
SVER basically went to "Oh #$%@, they can fight back now."
SVER saw many of their soldiers go to Raven, so that didn't help with
morale, either.
mag worldwide says:
So what's Valors problem?
The Last Ninja:Honestly, I've seen Valor put up a nice fight in Elk Bay and Alyeska.
Both non-Japanese and Japanese Valor, that is.
mag worldwide says:
As a SVER loyalist. you've seen people flock to your PMC when you were
seen as #1, what was your opinion of it?
The Last Ninja: It was somewhat annoying. Both because many newbies just came because
they heard we always won, decreasing overall PMC quality, along with not
being loyal to a PMC and just jumping to wherever the battles were won
the most.
mag worldwide says:
understood. How do we dissuade team-killing?
The Last Ninja:Uncharted 2 has a pretty nice solution to team killing in my opinion. I
think it is by the second teamkill from the same person that you get a
"Kick or Forgive" option.
Possibly increase the negative points with the more teamkills you do.
Or even do something like America's Army Rules of Engagement.
mag worldwide says:
ok, so what does America's Army do?

The Last Ninja:Basically, if you shoot a teammate, you'll get minor RoE points
If you kill them with your gun, you get major RoE points.
mag worldwide says:
The Last Ninja:Rules of Engagement.
Once you get too many RoE points, you get sent to virtual prison/kicked
from the server.
mag worldwide says:
essentially you'd be reduced to one-team-kill. not bad. i'm shocked that with all of the good systems out there that MAG didn't adopt a better one.
The Last Ninja:Plus you'd have to watch your fire. I know accidents happen, but 3 times
in a row is not an accident.
mag worldwide says:
agreed. Describe your singular MAG experience.
The Last Ninja:Hmm, well, it isn't as fun if people in your squad don't really work
together. And it can be quite frustrating when you have a waypoint/FRAGO
and people ignore it.
But it's still fun, and I try to help out as much as I can, if people in
my squad work together, or the squad leader asks for something, I try to
follow their strategy.
I mainly play solo so I try to keep varied loadouts so I can change it
as the battle does. for example, if nobody in my squad has a repairkit
and the bunkers start to fall, I'll suicide and get my repair loadout.
mag worldwide says:
suicide? there are alot of KDR whores in MAG. you're apparently not one
of them. 
The Last Ninja:Yeah...I try to do whatever it takes to win the battle, I really don't
care about my KDR. Examples include playing Sabotage and C has a charge
planted and Ravens are swarming it, I get my shotgun, rush in, try to
kill a few that could kill me while defusing, then I defuse, and usually
get killed after.
Same with C4 charges, I try to stay right near it and guard it until
detonation, even if I end up getting killed by the blast.
mag worldwide says: Bravo. so you'd like to see the ability to enter bunkers/spawns and
change loadouts then?
The Last Ninja: Oh yes, that'd be lovely. APCs and bunkers should definitely have this
Make things more simple, because sometimes I'll suicide and have to wait
20 seconds to switch the loadout, whereas I could just enter a bunker,
swap loadout, then come out and help.
mag worldwide says:
right. makes sense. So whats the one thing that's missing from MAG that you'd like to see added? 
The Last Ninja: A bigger playerbase. Hah. That, and new maps/weapons, which are somewhat
being fulfilled.
mag worldwide says:
ok, so.the “carrot” theory to making intelligent
decisions/fragoing/getting squads to work together hasn’t worked as well
as people would have hoped. Should we see penalties put in place as a
The Last Ninja:Well we have Vote to kick already for that, but of course it is abused.
And technically, the penalty is missing out on some bonus points.
So, no, I don't think we really need further penalties, at least I can't
think of any that would work.


  1. noob farmer. nuff said. just joking. good interview.

  2. he's right about A.Army. mag really messed up letting team-killers run wild.

  3. KDR Whores aren't so bad :)

  4. You! (private joke) good article man.