Tuesday, April 26, 2011

6/19/11: MAG Community Day

Recently a SOCOM 4 Easter Egg has hinted about an event that is MAG-related on June 19th, 2011. Everyone from community long-timers like Fleinn and PhoenixArcher have thrown their opinions around relating to what it could be. Now it's the expert's turn: on 6/19/11, eighteen lucky players will be lucky enough to attend MAG Community Day in Redmond, Washington in preparation for contributing their opinions on MAG 2 gameplay.

Or atleast that's what SHOULD happen.

You see Zipper's most popular title, SOCOM 4, had a Community Day late in the developmental cycle where they brought in many of the longtime, hardcore fans of the series and let them enjoy what would be Zipper's first SOCOM on the PS3 platform. We got to thinking here on our blog, while the people who got to enjoy going to Zipper's offices gave feedback, it's our opinion that the earlier in the Dev Cycle real fans of the series get to influence the game, the better. And let's keep in mind, fans improving games isn't anything new. great wishlist items that make their way into gameplay happens all the time, look no further than "de-repairing" in MAG as proof.

Let's start out with the truth. MAG had flaws, plenty of them. But in this age of blah-blah-blah COD-ification it was a gutsy, genre-changing, revolutionary break from the norm. AND IT WORKED. A massive-scale shooter with MMO elements and an underrated social aspect that was quite possibly its crowning jewel. A sequel to MAG could fulfill the promise of greatness much like the first Uncharted did for UC2. While many of us look for games like SOCOM, Brink, BF3 and Dust 514 to give us what MAG didn't, there's also the chance that they'll drop the ball on overlooked elements that MAG flat out nailed. Games with less than 64 players? NO THANKS. Peer-to-Peer? UGH. No Proximity Chat? Small Maps? See what I mean? At some point we've got to come to the realization that Zipper already has the tech, and that NO ONE could do a MAG 2 better than they could. People get fed-up and furious at MAG for one reason and one reason alone: Because they see the potential and its a wicked tease, they know how GOOD MAG could be.

So who gets to go? Who gets to star in Zipper's MAG version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to influence the direction MAG takes in the future? That's a hard one, and there's really no right or wrong answer. The game has an abundance of hardcore/knowledgeable players that care about its future, but its also important for that zeal to be focused and realistic (it does us no good to send a Zipper Hater who'll just argue and complain) in addition to individuals who won't be so starstruck they won't remember they're supposed to be contributing to the future of MAG. For what it's worth, here's our guestlist: Fleinn, Yamomoto, Shaka Zulu, ContraBanJoe, Plymco Pilgrim, Flonig23, Thagmor, DocEroc, Stylie77, Mudmaster23, English_Snake, AimFix, Jumpman23, KageHoshi, Autumn Windz, PDiggy22, The Last Ninja and Power Extreme. We've watched the message boards and in-game events for over a year, in our opinion these eighteen individuals provide a pretty broad player base to choose from based on their skill levels, opinions and contributions to the MAG-verse.

Here's a compiled list of some of the great suggestions we've seen over the 12+ months since MAG released, we couldn't list every great suggestion, but we've tried our best to list the ones we thought were the best contributions.

Training Mode - More games are WON in MAG by virtue of playing incompetent enemies than they are by skill. This has to change. People should be taught the right way to play the game. MAG is a game with a bit of a learning curve when compared to most of the FPS genre. The training mode should be in-depth, interactive, mandatory (meaning you can't just bypass it) should teach you how to succeed in every game type and should be the only offline mode in the game.

Regular Content - If anything killed MAG it was lack of content. Show me a model where you either get new weapons/skills or a new game mode every month and i'll show you a game people will play for a long time. We'll explain how support like this is feasible later.

Game Integrity - Allowing unlimited alt accounts and allowing people to leave games w/o consequence destroyed MAG's integrity. Reward rage-quitters with Deserter Ribbons, zeroed out end-of-game stats, a 5 minute rejoin game penalty and loss of XP and CP in addition to a loss. Allow the purchasing of alternate PMC slots but with the same Username only, and each game disc should have a one-profile validation code to prevent the use of alts.

Clan Wars - Contrary to popular belief, this has to be balanced or its a disaster, allowing clans to mass deploy spells utter disaster for randoms. While Clan Wars will most certainly be a queue (that pulls in any clan member logged on into the match) lets see fewer instances where clans match up .vs. randoms so the early game experiences of new players aren't ruined. Groups of 6+ people should be pulled into a separate queue so that they match up with other groups of similar size. Let's do our best to limit randoms playing against organized groups of elite players.

Bulky Weapons -You have to admit, it was nice to have a game where people couldn't leap in the air and fire RPGs and use them like an anti-personnel weapon wasn't it? The slow turn speed was well-done (and balanced). While we all know people who can dominate with weapons like the early-tier sniper rifle and LMG, isn't it a better game when people can't use those as CQC weapons or strafe easily while using them? We'd like to see bulky weapons like those reducing players to RPG-style movement when equipped.

OIC/PL Abilities - Many have pleaded for more abilities for officers and we tend to agree. We'd like to see the ability to address players pre-game, change fragos, draw on the mini-map and spawn with any squad under our command, the ability to change the spawns of our subordinates to reinforce high-traffic areas is key as well. Let's see our officers with more user-friendly abilities in a MAG sequel.

More Neutral Maps - Along the lines of Interdiction and Escalation, maps w/o a true attacker/defender are a great way to avoid imbalances.

Weapon Damage - This dead horse has been beaten quite a bit. NO PMC's WEAPONS DO MORE DAMAGE than another's.

More MMO Elements - Persistent elements like XP and leveling-up were some of the aspects that really helped MAG create a sub-genre of its own. We'd like to see more of this.

PMC HQ -What could add more to the game's social aspect than a non-combat area that we can explore via our avatars and interact with others like a smaller version of Playstation Home? The ability to tour the Barracks/Clan Areas, recruit players, purchase weapons and gear, share screenshots, talk to others via proximity or group chat, test new weapons, interact via an in-game PMC message board and shoot on practice ranges? a PMC area that expands the game and provides a great place to frequent before we deploy would be epic.

Revolutionary Economy - While the ability to buy weapons and gear is a given, what about the excess we get when we max out and already have our gear set? Let's make a use for it! Truly revolutionize economy by allowing us to buy/create/own clan areas at our PMC HQ where we can socialize, plan, recruit and upgrade our clan areas. Imagine the ability to purchase overhead maps where we can show our teammates alternate routes to attack/defend, buy add-ons like website links, clan patches and uniforms, shooting ranges/killhouses and even Suppression sized maps for intersquad scrimmages.

Movement - In the opinion of many, allowing people to "armor up" and not sacrifice movement was a very bad idea. Let's see more movement restriction with more protection. seeing people jump/sprint in heavy armor is a big NO-NO. Movement or Protection. CHOOSE.

Knife - MAG is an FPS, not a first-person knifer. Using the melee button while an enemy faces us should cause us to attack with the butt of the weapon we have equipped (15-20 points of damage) stealth kills with the knife should only happen when we catch someone unaware/from behind.

Customization - Gamers love choice, and they love the ability to craft the way their avatars look in-game. Games like Uncharted 3 are improving gameplay by allowing a brand of customization seldom seen. MAG should follow suit.

True Flanking Routes - Allowing us to use more of the maps to out-flank an enemy and even get behind their spawn is important, but it means making the maps larger--no easy feat. What it would do for gameplay would be groundbreaking, however.

Local Server Option - LAG. While it will never truly be eliminated until we have T1-type speeds in every household, it can be less of an issue. While many love the ability to play with players from other regions across the planet, for some its NOT enjoyable.

Winners Prosper - At its basic level, MAG is about teamwork. The problem? Online games are usually totally devoid of teamwork without some kind of incentive. SO GIVE US MORE. 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. If winning is truly the goal, make a bigger disparity between winners and losers. 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.

New Game Modes -  We've seen some really good suggestions as far as this goes. Convoy Mode, an Accumulation game type that incorporates every mode from the game, and an Assassination /VIP/ Envoy/ Hostage mode that uses players instead of AI.

Classic Modes - As much as everyone likes new modes, we also love to revisit older ones. Its all about MORE. not LESS. a sequel must include the sabotage, acquisition and domination modes.

Weapon Balance - Let's see more specialized weapons and less weapons that are perfect for any occasion. weapon balance hurt MAG and we all know it. As an example, the shotgun is notoriously unbalanced and should suffer from less range and a slower refire rate if its going to be a one-shot kill. Run-and-Gun snipers ran rampant, and weapon ranges made the sniper almost obsolete. In the end, every weapon in the game should have Pros and Cons.

Bundled Mics - Communication is the lifeblood of MAG, there's no disputing it. Every copy of a sequel must ship with a mic. Even if the game costs more.

Improved Gameplay - Grids, the ability to "spot" snipers, Self/Ally Healing, labeled maps. There are a ton of improvements that would greatly improve a MAG sequel, hopefully we'll see many of them.

Subscription Fee - We can hear the whining already, but isn't a great, evolving experience worth paying for?  YES. IT IS. As gamers we can't ask for the great features and new content that make games into one-of-a-kind experiences, but continue to support a free model that will cause companies to lose money instead of making it. Great gameplay, monthly new content, a social experience second to none? Who wouldn't pay $4.99 a month for that? The most important part? Allowing people a free 30 day period to see if the game is worthy of paying for.

Well that's our list, maggots. Let's hope that Zipper does the right thing and gets those plane tickets out in early June. For some other great user suggestions by the MAG Community, you can view KageHoshi's outstanding MAG 2 Suggestions thread that has been trending since MLK Day. here you go: http://tinyurl.com/3b5mkxd


  1. solid list bro, but don't you think 5 min is a little long for leaving games?

  2. the economy idea is good. we should have a clan bank members can donate to. we should be able to purchase vehicles.

  3. agree on the knife.

  4. i'd pay for those improvements but thats a bunch of stuff. think they could add all of that?

  5. Well... SOME of those players don't play anymore.
    Wouldn't that disqualify them?

  6. if they reduce the XP for losers and add a training mode i'm all in!

  7. Nice list you got there (however unrealistic, some useful stuff). Though I'm pessimistic, or in view realistic enough to think Zipper are simply done with Mag as an overall project. Dont mean just current Mag, but bleak possibility for Mag 2.

    Btw, flattering you would include me in a list of players who can contribute with some useful feedback to Zipper. But even though I'm a a Mag addict lol, but not to the point if travelling across the globe for (quite likely deaf Zipper ears) :D


  8. played Zipper games forever and the hostage AI was always bad. using players as vips and hostages is a really good idea.

  9. i like the validation code and rage quit idea, alts and quitters killed mag! the game would have to be really good for me to pay tho.

  10. Good call on the majority there. Just this... MEDIEVAL MAG, STAR WARS/TREK MAG, WORLDWAR2 MAG, VIETNAM MAG! And then.. Definately punish quitters within reason, If you've ended up on squads with EARACHE inducing squad mates, randoms without a clue, and others of the type, sure make it a stat but 5 minute penalty box? Seems a bit steep, and the price on Clan Sync? Eh I could go on for days about my favorite game... :) lokean1973

  11. newest release by mag: http://forums.mag.com/t5/MAG-Discussion/Hey-you-Red-Dot-over-here/td-p/1402981

  12. While some of your suggestions are good ones...many were totally absurd and would hurt MAG. Imagine 1/10th the XP for losers now? Who in their right mind would play in Valor?? Many of us play hard for the win.that's ridiculous.

  13. who came up with the community day list?

  14. Alot of these are some real gay idea's like the knife not being 1 hit kill and weapon damage if all the PMC's had same damage on all theirs weapons all the factions are the same and their will be no new experience when you vet -.-. This is not even MAG this is a whole new Game. What they should do is keep the same mag and make a few New upgrades and not all this stupid crap you posting up here be real man Stop trying to change the game to suit ***YOU!***. Make idea's that you know everyone would like -_-. This garbage

  15. the idea to use actual players as VIPs/Hostages is sweet.

  16. several ideas listed are quite good, however some are also quite bad.

    regional servers
    Weapon Balance
    Movement restrictions vs armor usage
    new game modes
    more abilities as leader and in general
    economy and clan tents in PMC HQ

    paying per month. For the type of game it is, it will be very hard to get people to pay the initial 60-80 for the game, then put more money as the basic gamer will shy away from MAG2 right away, and you'd be left essentially with the possible low player counts MAG has at the moment. THats probably the big negative that would affect mag; however if Zipper made GOOD dlc's that people would actually play (like instead of new modes, just new maps and weapons/gear) ever few months say 5$-10, id be more up for that then paying 5 a month, as it'd be cheaper in the long run and allow new content, as i wouldnt want to keep paying more money for the same content

    ~ Berserker007 KEQ/BHD

  17. They will have to pay for my flight and hotel if they want me over ther


  18. EL_CAPITRUCHO, the #1 Player in North America until his retirement about 5 months, ago should definitely be at this MAG Community Day.

  19. I would just like to say that I proved that sniping (with a tier 3 even before the damage upgrade) was not only possible but beneficial to a team in the right hands at the right times.

  20. great list but i see some problems with some of the suggestions.

    the first one is rewarding winners with more xp than losers. The problem i see with this is that this will basically cause a lot of bandwagon hopping. I mean why does SVER already have so many players? Because they win all the time. If they installed a system that allows winners to get more xp than losers than you can be sure a lot of people are gonna rage quit their PMC and head over to the one that always wins. This is the problem we have today. Most of the players head over to SVER because they don't like losing to them every time.

    The second problem is subscription fee. I honestly don't like the idea of paying to play a game when you already shelled out 50-60 bucks on it. I understand why but this is an FPS game and I can see a lot of people not buying this game because of other similar games that don't have a subscription fee. I mean with BF 3 and MW3 coming out if someone had to choose between MAG and those 2 than i'm sure the fact that the other two don't have subscription fees is a big plus for them. I read another idea on your blog about product placements in the game or Ads during load screens. This I have no problems with as long as it's not an actual 30 second commercial! If it's just a picture during the load screen than who really cares..it's not like you can do anything during those screens anyway.

    Another problem is the bundled mic's. This is definitely gonna make the game cost around 70-80 bucks. Which is a pretty crappy deal to those players who went out and already have mics that are great. They should have the option to buy either a bundled pack or a single game but it shouldn't be "mandatory" because i'm not gonna pay 30 bucks more when i already spent 100 bucks on a mic that's way better.

    Also, the PMC's do have different powered weapons. Everyone knows SVER weapons are a bit more powerful. Hell isn't that the reason most people go over there to begin with? I mean Raven has the better defense but crappy weapons..Valor is supposed to be the "in between"..and SVER is supposed to have stronger weapons but crappy defense.

    Some suggestions I have for MAG 2 are:

    have all the same game modes as MAG and also include the escalation and interdiction game modes for free also. As well as having new modes too. They should also have the same maps from MAG as well as add new maps for MAG 2 that way you'll have twice as many maps and won't always have to play the same map over and over again!

    I like the idea of clan wars but there should be rewards given to those who win. I'm not sure what but it should have something to do with your PMCs as well as maybe a little boost in terms of xp to your clan mates.

    Leadership dropping. A person who has the leadership cannot drop it within the last 10 min of the game. It sucks that these "leaders" don't know how to lead and than when they're on the verge of losing they drop it and some random dude gets it and has it count as a loss towards his stats. These leadership droppers should also get some sort of ribbon that shows how many times they dropped a leadership and also have it take away xp from their leadership bar!