Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Things CCP can learn from SOCOM

 In another look at some of the pitfalls CCP can avoid with Dust 514, we take a look at SOCOM. Many consider this the game that revolutionized shooters for consoles, but any look at its recent releases show the game has certainly fallen on hard times. How this happened is a source of much debate. We take a look at where Zipper went wrong.

1. Watch the Throne - Almost ten years ago, in August of 2002, SOCOM was released. It quickly became the king of shooters with a hardcore but HUGE fanbase and was the pioneer of successful online play on consoles. The Developer, Zipper released a second version, SOCOM 2 in 2003 and most fans agreed, they could do no wrong. They were the King of the Hill and everything they touched was gold. Fast Forward to present day and a recent article on MP1st listed the Top 5 Multiplayer Developers and even Nintendo beat out Zipper? How The Mighty Have Fallen...

2. Cater to your Base -You had to give it to the SOCOM Community, early on it organized itself and on its countless websites and message boards, communicated the things that they wanted to see in future versions of their favorite game. Didn't those guys read any of the thousands of wishlists dedicated to SOCOM Gameplay? You have to wonder why they didn't focus on the dedicated clans that kept their game alive, the features necessary to push the envelope in gameplay and a bigger stage (the PS3) to do it on. Its staggering to think how much SOCOM has regressed since the days of "we can't wait to see what SOCOM will look like on the PS3". That time has come and gone (twice) we saw, and we were not impressed.

3. Don't Encourage Camping - There's more than enough camping in online shooters these days without making it easier, but that's just what SOCOM 4's Cover System did. It was almost comical when you discovered that you could aim from behind cover, quickly fire rounds and then duck right back behind cover. Comparisons online quickly compared SOCOM 4 gameplay to armed games of "Whack-a-Mole" online. Compare this with the revolutionary Frostbite 2 Engine that makes the days of bulletproof trees and rocks a thing of the past. Sometimes you simply have to adjust to what the competition does or risk being a dinosaur in a digital age.

4. Pick a Side - Hindsight may be 20/20 but even before SOCOM 4 released we commented that to develop a COD/SOCOM hybrid was not the way to go. Longtime fans of the series balked at what they described as "too many COD elements". Things like respawn (even though it had been in Confrontation) had never been at the core of what SOCOM was about, but in an attempt to appeal to a more broad fanbase, it was established as the core mode of the game. Adapting is one thing, but changing core gameplay can be dangerous. SOCOM fans were used to slow, tactical almost methodical gameplay and a change to the fast-paced, quick-scoping, kill-streak, KDR focused style of many contemporary shooters was almost sure to backfire.

5. More not Less - Though some fans weren't as high on SOCOM 3 as they were the first two titles in the series, criticisms like "the maps were too big", "vehicles were overpowered" and "too many weapons" showed just how much the SOCOM series was ahead of its time. One look at the top-notch shooters of today and what do you see? Large Maps, Vehicles and a virtual smorgasbord of weapons choices. After SOCOM 3 came Confrontation, and even though it was done by a different developer, if it was going to have the SOCOM name the quality HAD to be there. Then came some of the early hints at gameplay "we're getting back to the core of close-quarters SOCOM gameplay" one interview said. "Things are going to be simpler" said another. All codewords for one thing: LESS. BAD MOVE. While many thought Confrontation was a solid game, it was hardly what many expected of SOCOM when it finally made its appearance in the next-gen. The hardcore fans were decidedly less than satisfied with it and the name Slant Six was made synonymous with Failure. Until SOCOM 4 that is...SOCOM had the chance to be Battlefield BEFORE Battlefield and botched it. Expand people, don't downsize.


  1. "Expand people, don't downsize."

    yup..... :)

  2. agree except for 1 thing. vehicles and socom dont mix imho

    also having large maps and more players doesnt necessariily make it a better game as well

  3. i also see camping might be an issue in DUST due to the risks involved with losing ur stuff everytime u die, ppl will probably play alot more conservative *cough*camp their asses up*cough* in order to minimize dying

  4. my understanding is that if you have clones and blueprints ur stuff is safe. camping is a big part of any game that doesn't have progressive objectives.