Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Paradigm Shift of Clan Deploy

 The Paradigm Shift of Clan Deploy

by That_Id
While the concepts of clan wars, clan deploy, group deploy and super-grouping have been floated through the MAGosphere for over a year now, very few of us have begun to realize the effects, both positive and negative, that this may begin to have on the game. Several of MAG’s more notable players (and me) have been testing the beta implementation of clan deploy with Zipper’s own MizzSmartyPants over the last couple of weeks. To put up a larger clan deploy for testing and feedback, (many of you may recognize [G|G] – Gas House Gang from the beta) several of Valor’s notable clans joined forces; and the outcome of this experiment, you ask? Massive Action Game just became a lot more massive!
Summary view:
  • Sheer power of numbers.

    • We all know that blue-dots represent the majority of MAG, look on the mini-map; they outnumber you 3 to 1!
    • Let’s face it, better teams aren’t built from just adding more players, but from subtracting total number of ‘blue-dots’ on the field.
    • 4 squads of above average players working together will decimate 4 squads of MAG’s best randoms every time.

  • Realization that you know every blue-dot.

    • One of the first things that you realize when you launch with 31 other players into a platoon level game is that there really aren’t any blue dots anymore.
    • The joy of playing with an entire platoon of people with mics & med kits & skills is something anyone in MAG absolutely has to experience. Likewise, being a squad leader and actively and effectively coordinating with the other SLs and PL is something most active MAG players dream of. As a PL, the broadcast feature becomes the most deadly weapon in the game bar-none. You broadcast that 5 Raven are on the back of the AA and the resulting motion on the mini-map of blue-dots and arrows converging on the AA makes a strafing run or gas bombardment look like a BB Gun. Ordering then watching fields of road mines become emplaced, a bunker repaired in seconds or a hail of rocket fire on an incoming enemy APC is such a thing of beauty that you wonder how the game was ever played before. Coordinating a mass attack from multiple angles, or grouping a whole platoon to sweep one side is effortless and magnificent
    • You have to think twice about using the ‘blame the blue dot’ excuse for poor performance. Blue-dots aren’t chance encounters anymore, you’re going to see them next game, and the one after that. The medic that runs past your corpse is probably clearing the area first instead of racing 50m into an ambush with his med kit out.

  • Mega-Clans.

    • It’s only a matter of time. Logistical and collaborative efforts being the main hold-up, your average clan of 4-10 guys from the neighborhood, will probably have to assimilate into something much larger, simply for survival reasons.
    • Even larger clans with 100+ people on the rosters and 20-40 active players will need to begin considering joining forces.  
    • My estimation is that the first clan to obtain 128 actively online players at any given time will gain the most momentum in assimilating smaller clans and steamrolling the competition.
    • The first Mega-Clan that is able to span a separate Clan Deploy across every game mode simultaneously could be considered Masters of the MAGiverse, obtaining contracts at will for their respective PMCs. This may even solve the age old question of, “What do we feel like playing next?” Half your group wants to go Acq and the other half Dom? Just go to the Clan Deploy room for it and join the clan-mates in that mode.

  • Cliques and organizational structures.

    • Even within MAG’s first experimental ‘Mega-clan’ it’s very interesting and comforting to find that you can still queue with your friends & old clan mates in your squad and the squads to each side of you. Looking through our beta clan [G|G] I see the same faces grouped together with their old clan-mates in the Deploy Roster by squads, like cliques in a high school cafeteria
    • Even if your usual friends aren’t on, you still get to meet new people in a Mega-Clan. And while the brotherhood and camaraderie of a shared clan tag isn’t exactly the same as the precision teamwork you’ve developed with your 7 closest friends over the last 12 months, it’s enough to get you by knowing that they’ve been vetted by some friend of a friend of a friend.

  • Strategic Planning takes on a whole new meaning with Clan Deploy

    • Want the squads defending Bravo & Charlie squad with road mines? No problem.
    • Attacking squads with APCs need specialized drivers? We can do that. (Plus, you designate a driver ahead of time and since you’ve eliminated ‘blue-dots’ you aren’t trying to VTK 20 seconds into the game because some n00b wants to go for a joyride with your spawn point.)
    • Calling out for Sniper over watch down an avenue of approach or employing some LMGs in place to lay suppressive fire before an assault team moves in? These are things that might actually happen if requested.
    • Want each squad to have 2 guys with claymores, 2 SMGs with electronics, two repair kits, one sniper, one driver, 2 LMGs with rockets and road mines, 2ARs with Gas? You can toy with combinations in the deploy roster until you have each person in the platoon where they fit.

  • Complaints that will arise soonest and loudest.

    • Why Clan Deploy instead of Group Deploy?
    • Why can’t different ‘allied’ clans deploy together?
    • Why aren’t clans in Clan Deploy given precedence over the ‘randoms’ when deploying?
    • There are several unresolved issues as of yet concerning how voice chat functions will work in Clan Deploy, regardless of what is decided. Everyone always thinks they have a better way, but this will be a hot-button issue.
    • Many will say that this is the way MAG should have been all along.

In the end, many other reasons, problems and clan strategies will evolve as more people collaborate together on what works well for them. As others notice and adopt successful strategies, those too will evolve. But, after Clan Deploy becomes a reality, this game will have changed entirely, the day of the random will be at it’s end and this game can finally move forward into something great.