Why We Need MAG 2... Already

By Jon Ireson

April 14, 2010

Many gamers in MAG have been experiencing a heightened sense of teamwork in the game. This is the key to what makes MAG stand apart from other first person shooter games out there. In at least one or more instances though, I have began to see issues arise where teamwork takes a backseat to individual priorities like points and kill:death ratio as well as pranks and hi-jinx like team-kill wars. I think most MAG shooters out there will have to agree with me on this one; it seems to be coming mostly from the Valor team in the game. What was once arguably the most organized Private Military Corp in the game has become the most rowdy and out of control. So you ask, what does this have to do with MAG 2? Read on…

Simply put MAG was a game designed for clans but is now being held back by some core systems in place in the way servers and parties operate. With clan size escalating beyond the party limit of 8 players (a full squad) within moments of opening up clans in any PMC there is clearly a distinct limitation that every player has come in contact with. Not being able to bring more than 7 of your clan-mates into you to battle at any given time was a hardship endured at first and now threatens to kill this game off completely. Players quitting the game in droves cite the lack of persistent and consistent teamwork is tearing at its core game play.

The simple solution to this issue seems to be to increase the party size limit to 128 instead of 8. If this is even possible it may take an entirely new title to realize the vision. Even if a party size of 16 or 32 was put in place it would be much better than what we have now. This was considered during design of MAG by Zipper who put forth the notion that allowing so many clan members to head in to battle together would overwhelm new players and/or players who are not part of a clan. I completely agree with this sentiment. However, I suggest that there should have been separate servers for clan wars to begin with.

The latest update to the game did little to change the game other than adding a new weapon or two and is seen by some as a “last-ditch” effort at improving the game play experience. Another issue is the lack of a real team death match mode. Suppression was built as a training mode for new players yet I constantly find myself returning to it when I crave a mindless team death match experience. Many other players online have expressed similar feelings and there should have been a real TDM to replace this and lock us out of “noob-hunting”.

Digressing for a minute the main issue at hand is the party system. If a 32 person party can be achieved commanders will be able to command their friends and clan members on multiple squads at once rather than strangers who may or may not be interested in teamwork at the moment. With the time spent building up a huge clan and elite friends list players need to be able to have that work pay off. Without the co-operation and co-competition levels of the game maintaining a delicate balance in this new massive war experience, the entire MAG concept falls apart.

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It’s time for MAG clans to be allowed to face off and take over leadership positions. If they have a party with enough rank and experience they should be allowed to join clan specific servers, separate from those who do not wish to partake in massive clan wars, and take leadership in all squads. When it comes to the technicality of the issue we have seen much less complex games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 go well beyond the 8 person party system. MAG’s 8 player party system forces players who don’t know each other and players of different clans to play together started off as an accepted hindrance. Now it’s becoming the demise of this epic title.

I do understand that originally the creators of MAG did not want individual people to just run in and be overpowered, but now that is exactly what happens to them. Instead of your buddy telling you what’s wrong and how to fix it you have only strangers for leaders and in the other squads, making it a veritable toss of the coin as to whether or not you have a good team! I understand that MAG isn’t all about clans according to Zipper Interactive, but at this point it seems like it should have been.

At least the booming announcement of MAG and Socom 4 will likely ensure an audience for a more refined and robust MAG title that will bring about the full realization of its core concept. Until then this game is going to be seen as a missed opportunity by the most hardcore of war fans that have already began to leave the game for old favorites or new opportunities. I will continue to play though, as I love the game. I don’t think this game is being given a fair shot by many because of the limitations I mentioned hampering teamwork in some matches.

MAG is the most ambitious shooter to date. It provides a unique and entertaining war experience. The issue is the teamwork mechanics are breaking down a lot lately and the game is beginning to run out of active players to support it. That is why I think it is imperative for Zipper Interactive and Sony to get the foundation for MAG 2 laid down and finish it soon otherwise consider massively opening up MAG through a new party system to restore the original characteristic that brought us all here; great teamwork in a massive game like no other.

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Jon Ireson

Jon is a gamer above all else. He plays all types of games. You can find him mostly in War games. He is very passionate and a hard worker and it shows through his writing. Favorite Games: Warhawk, Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix, Final Fantasy 6

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