Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SOCOM 4: A Paradigm Shift

In the time-worn tradition of providing solutions when you don't like everything you see instead of simply whining, The Fan Blog presents, SOCOM: A Paradigm Shift. So let's make it clear: Nearly ALL of us think DEMOLITION is necessary, want better accuracy on hip-firing, want grenade arc, D-pad Lean and True Lobbies, DO NOT support dual primaries and like the FOUR grenades idea, that's basic stuff and not even up for debate. Some of our writers have decided to compile a list of the ideas we think would help S4 and in future versions of the series.

Deathmatch, Deathmatch, Deathmatch - This aspect of SOCOM needs to be revamped. Its 2011 and Deathmatch could be the most cop-out, run-of-the-mill gametype in the history of gaming. A series doing deathmatch in Year One of going online is completely acceptable, doing it in the 5th version of your game prompts me to leave it on the shelf. The sad truth is that even with its varied gametypes, too often objectives in SOCOM are left ignored and games too frequently turn into "deathmatch with a different name" and we all know it. We've all seen people "take a swim with the bomb" or "hide the hostages and play deathmatch". SOCOM fans deserve so much more and Zipper has the resources to give us more. Let's leave deathmatch in casual games like COD where it belongs.

Camping - This is SOCOM's biggest issue, and let's face it, it's no one's fault. The camping (or tactical hiding as some call it--chuckle) mentality is a mixture of the SOCOM one life rule, the game engine and map size. Its also probably made much worse by the new cover system.Why is it a problem? Because too many rounds turn into games of "get to this cover and wait for someone to show themselves" and its monotonous beyond belief! What happens at the end of rounds and in one-on-ones is criminal in some instances.While its silly to believe that we can force someone to "not camp" or "move around more" perhaps we can give people reasons to NOT sit in one place. In a nutshell, what we're proposing is CHANGING THE WAY GAMES ARE WON. SOCOM is supposed to be objective-based at its core, so make it objective based when it comes to determining victors. For so long, rounds have ended when the last enemy combatant is dead and the side with suvivors has been the victor, but those are deathmatch rules! We're asking for a paradigm shift so that victories need to be EARNED. What about a game where in EVERY GAME TYPE each side has 8 obtainable objectives? (3-4 of which are in direct conflict so that there can't be ties) So that even in a hostage match while getting the hostages out would be the Primary objective, special forces would also have Secondary objectives to achieve like download data, destroy a weapons cache, blow up a radar tower or a bridge and various other objectives, and the insurgents would have similar objectives instead of simply winning by default if the opposing team is unable to achieve their goals. Making SOCOM back into a game where players advance in search of objectives instead of one where we hide behind walls/cover abusing the third-person view. Games would still end as the last enemy player dies, but the victor would be the team with the most objectives obtained. The Primary Objective could be worth 2 points while Secondary objectives could only count as one.It would provide so much more drama to one-on-ones at the end of games. Camp all you like, but if the other guy is out there getting objectives instead of hiding behind a claymore like your candy ass, even if he dies from well-placed PM mine, if the other team has more objectives than you do?


*Editor's note: SGP421 reminded us about one of SOCOM's dirty lil secrets/tactics that people used to employ to prevent plants/estractions. SUICIDES. To prevent this lamest of tactics, if the last enemy killed themselves the game wouldn't end until the timer counted down to zero, allowing the surviving team to complete objectives completely unopposed.

More Guesswork - Call us crazy, but the omniscient view and info we get in many videogames so often hurts the experience. The select button with its real-time tally is never more than a button-press away and the kill-feed is constant. We can see around corners, we know the instant someone dies, exactly who killed them and what weapon they used, and we ALWAYS know when we're the last one left on our team. I mean...what DON'T we know? Having to figure out what's going on might bring out the inner detective in some of us, and it could (gasp!) improve gameplay. What if I only knew someone died when I saw their body or was within 10m when they got killed and heard their last words("its too late for me!") and how many sessions "I can camp harder than you can" could be avoided if I had no clue I was the last person left alive on my team? And wouldn't it add to the sheer excitement of the game? Especially when you asked for a response from your teammates and only heard static over your mic? We tend to think it would. LESS is MORE, people.

Map Size - Some may not agree but many of us were fans of S3's larger maps. They provided the area necessary to flank, implement tactics, avoid choke points, maneuver in other game-types (we really couldn't be expected to bring the VIPs to a firefight, right?) and come up behind the enemy. They also make camping very risky. These are valuable elements to any shooter that chooses to have the word "tactical" in its name.

Tiebreaker Criteria -In most aspects of life a tie is virtually impossible and avoided at all costs. There is always some criteria used to determine a winner, so why is SOCOM so happy to give us instances where no one wins? Imagine a tie in the Superbowl, in the NBA finals or in the French Open. Huh? What? In the end, life is winning and in addition to tie breaker rounds, there should always be criteria to determine who the winner is.

Winners Prosper - At its basic level, SOCOM is about teamwork. The problem? Online games are usually totally devoid of teamwork without some kind of incentive. SO GIVE US ONE. In the end, players want to progress and advance. MAG encouraged teamwork by giving players twice as much XP for reviving a player than it did for killing one. Make a bigger disparity between winners and losers in SOCOM. here's a novel idea: LET'S STOP REWARDING LOSERS. Losers should get 1/10th the XP they would normally get when they win. XP is the ultimate goal, and nothing will make players "put the win first" than a bigger gap between the rewards for winners and losers.

Open Mics - This is where us and many of the long-timers disagree. Communication is just too vital. There are 100 stories of how this helps for every annoying "he was talking too much" one. As long as there is a mute player option we're good. Open Mics > PTT.

Zoomed-in View - Here's another instance where us and many long-timers disagree. In the end, we don't believe you should be able to abuse the 3rd person view to see behind you, to see around walls and ESPECIALLY not to see or aim from behind cover. We fully support zooming in the camera for these instances so that all you see is a structure. When you see THEM, they see YOU. SIMPLE.

Right Stick Movement -  Pretty well-done suggestion from DarthViper. BRILLIANT.

Limited Respawn - As long-timers, we've always believed the dead room is a place where you learn the game, converse and can study new tactics, but there's a new breed of gamer who doesn't have an appreciation for sitting for any period of time longer than a few seconds. We love options, so maybe there's a compromise for a gametype where each team has 20 Reinforcements that can be used for limited respawns in addition to the Classic and Respawn game types.

3rd Person Knifer? - SOCOM is a shooter, not a KNIFER. No soldier in the world stops shooting and pulls out a knife when he gets close to the enemy. The knife animation should be a one-hit kill,but it should only appear when we're behind the enemy. The melee button when we're facing someone should cause us to attack with the butt of the gun we're using doing about 15-20 points of damage.

Party System -  Few things are more "SOCOM" than grouping up with your friends and clanmates for organized games where everyone has a job, moves as a unit and is just a well-oiled machine in general. We can't stress how disappointed we are that this social (and tactical, honestly) element wasn't one of the FIRST things implemented into SOCOM 4. Critical error here that needs to be resolved ASAP.

Well those are some of our suggestions. Have some of your own? chime in below. As always, we appreciate the comments.


  1. great article, zipper u gotta patch grouping up in the beta b4 i buy the game. i dont trust u anymore.