* LONG READ WARNING:
(Given that my post is so long, and it's a reprint of my actual suggestions I've given to Zipper through the Beta plus through the Gamer Advisory Panel, I decided to skip the leader type clips and go right into the DLC).
Also, this is only less than 20% of my Ideas. The full 100% is about five times as long but the details are needed for clarity; which means even this is a trimmed-down version of what I wrote.
You may find yourself... running from a shotgun shack
You may find yourself... in another part of the world
You may find yourself... behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful base, with a beautiful knife. You may ask yourself: well... how did I get here?
-a modified quote based off of Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads
MAG has made a major jump in players for a first person shooter that is akin to the jump from the one-on one split-screen to online multiplayer itself. If handled well, this game will not only justify the purchases of the Playstation, but will breathe new life in the "over-saturated" genre that is First Person Shooters. I worked on additional concepts for MAG that should make MAG a layered, more complex game that will make the re-playability very high from what I last seen it. So I'd like to give a brief introduction and then get into my list of specifics.
Throughout the months that I played MAG and I would say that I noticed the vast majority of us who were able to play enjoyed it immensely. I would although say that MAG seems to be the first Game that breaks FPS barriers on a console that a PC hasn't done yet. This groundbreaking game already has console-selling potential, so what I want to do is to add my two bits as to what I like about MAG, and what can be improve, if anything. The following was submitted during the Beta, which is now over, so I'm posting this here as well.
Table of contents
1. S.W.O.R.D. Control Configuration
3. Branches of soldiers
B. Special forces
4. makeshift bases/pillboxes/sniper nests
5. Trophy/medal adjustments
6. Dress Blues medal system
7. Functional skins
9. Single player mode/rudimentary story
First of all, grab your sixaxis, because you'll need it for the control scheme I'm about to tell you about.
Now you know when you game in MAG you have to cycle through a few items in your inventory and if you misstep, it could cost you your life. I think there is a better way. Using the sixaxis that when used in a tight control scheme, may be able to have a highly efficient cycle system that could make accessing any item (and more, if the game changes) within one or two buttons. First of all, take your controller and think about the various items you have with you: your gun and sidearm, health, repair, bazooka, grenades or what have you. The maximum you have is six items you are cycling through with a maximum of three or four items with one overlapping the other (bazooka, I believe).
Now, here's the alternate solution: First of all for the sake of the example we'll organize it to firearms and other; Firearms (primary and side arm) and a third item (for now, let's say grenades) are on the right "side" and health, repair and a third item (smoke 'nades) are on the left "side". Pretend that you are cycling through two weapons on your R2 or R1, whichever is best for you. When you hit the cycle button, it only cycles two items; your machine gun and your sidearm; nothing special, right? Now tilt your controller right 45 degrees and hit R1 again to cycle through to access your grenades. See what just happened? That's "Switching Weapons On Rotational Distance" or S.W.O.R.D.
*ADDENDUM FOR CLARITY:
To access the alternate control, You would tilt 45 degrees and then hit R1; Tilting only activates the ability to cycle through the alternate item(s) and tilting does not cycle through your weapons itself, so you don't have to keep the controller tilted after you select the item (and you won't accidentally switch weapons if you tilt it... unless you want to set that up as an alternative for those who want to have that). Given the nature of the "quick draw", you still could put something as a quick-select item there, and be okay, but you could also put something there that isn't necessary to have in a quick "quick draw" rotation if you're not comfortable with it there. For example, you could put the Bazooka (or RPG) on the side select, or you could tilt the controller up and select the RPG: the reason why this will be the best solution is because it's intuitive: your handgun is in a holster: your RPG is on your back, your repair kit is on your other side. I was making this button configuration for a game I was considering pitching as a PS3 exclusive because of the control scheme, and I did test the speed of the controls by using other games that actually tilt the controller to test the speed, accuracy, and response of the controller in terms of speed (like Folklore's soul-gathering ability needing you to tilt the control to the side like the S.W.O.R.D., for example).
The two primary weapons you may need are in a quick cycle and the item you may not access constantly will be in the "titled" cycle. Nice, huh? Likewise, if you tilt left 45 degrees *and press L1, you will access your smoke grenades instead of your two-cycled items of repair and health. The tilted-access items will remain up until you cycle to another item, eliminating the need to stay tilted the whole time. When you hit R1 when level, you go back to your right-side primary item, and if you hit L1 when level, you'll revert to left-side primary item. The next time you play MAG, try it out in your head and imagine the difference yourself. This will eliminate a large cycle on either side and give quick access to any item in your inventory.
Fire-teams are for people who like to go at it on their own; they will be released from usual duty to preform acts essential to side-missions in war if needed and used to assist squads when another area is having trouble. When a turning point (good or bad) occurs for the team, fire-teams are automatically activated to secure or construct previously destroyed items to help turn the tide. Fire-team members can also be released by their squad leader to preform certain acts to assist another squad. Once a fire-team is assembled, it cannot be altered during gameplay, and will remain until that wave all dead, so assemble wisely and coordinate with other commanders. When all four people in a fire-team are dead, another four will be chosen; when a set of two are dead, the next qualified and available members of the soldier's respective group are chosen for the next wave. If the soldier accepts the mission, he will be allowed to go to the select screen to choose his soldier; if declined, the next available will be chosen. There is one fire-team member that can be chosen per squad at a time, and availability will be chosen based upon the amount of fragos a person fulfills. A fire-team can consist of regular soldiers, specialists, Black-Ops and special forces for a total of eight people divided into two fire-teams or four fire-teams with two people a piece.
Black-Op headed fire-teams cannot be sent to assist other teams or fire-teams and are composed of two people, and are especially made to take out targets.
This will give a broad as well as a high structure to MAG, plus it will give layered gameplay to MAG: besides having the general objectives, Soldiers in fire-teams will have special assignments when needed if headed by Special Forces, Specialists, or Black-ops. The command structure of MAG remains unaltered. I am not suggesting any changes in that direction, but a broad change. Once a person attains a certain rank, they should be able to have a choice to Command (become an officer up to a general), be in Special forces, Black-Ops, or become a Specialist. If anyone chooses become anything other than command, they are taken off of the ranking scale and put on another, starting again as a "private" in their field of expertise with a limited but powerful range of weaponry.
Basically what MAG does now. If all ranks are equal in a fire-team, the Command officers will head the fire-team.
Basically, in a fire-team, a senior Special forces officer outranks everyone except command if all rank is equal. Rank is limited to Colonel. Special battlefield abilities/equipment: (EXAMPLES) thermal goggles to see through walls and smoke, silenced sniper rifles, chain guns, and automatic shotguns. Special forces will lack the ability to construct and heal, but will have twice the armor, will be able to run farther at the same speed as a regular soldier and the bazooka will not hinder their running speed. When the games progresses past a certain point in the major battle, randomly selected special Forces members and specialists (one Special Forces member from each squad except two, then two specialists for example) will get special assignments on both sides of the war to either secure or recapture items deep in their own or an enemy's line to perhaps turn the tide of the war. For example, when all bunkers are down and one vehicle has escaped out of two, the special assignment will activate and select two specialists and the rest will be Special Forces. Their assignment will be to recapture a bunker so their allies will be able to re-spawn and maybe rebuild an area... of course, more time overall may need to be added to the battle overall. Special forces get their own custom skins.
Basically, in a fire-team, a senior Black-Ops officer only outranks Specialists except command if all rank is equal. Rank is limited to Chief Warrant Officer. Special battlefield abilities/equipment: (EXAMPLES) Immaculate killing abilities using silent weapons such as throwing knives, and silenced, semi-automatic sniper rifles; the ability to disguise yourself as an enemy (if you kill and "strip" him, putting his clothes in your inventory), the ability to track the path of a general when close to their tracks. Black-Op headed fire-teams answer to no one and do the tasks no one is capable of doing such as kidnapping/assassinating the opponent's general, theft, or locating and eliminating sniper nests and pillboxes, for example. When a General is assassinated, the command structure breaks down for ten seconds and the general will have his mike cut for 30 seconds upon return. Armor is limited to light armor, but can run 1/3 faster and 1/3 longer than special forces soldiers. Black-Ops get their own get their own custom skins.
Although Specialists cannot outrank anyone, if chosen to be the fire-team leader, Specialists will allow an armor bonus to the rest of the members of the fire-team. Rank is limited to Captain. Special battlefield abilities/equipment: (EXAMPLES) Specialists are people who handle the sophisticated things that can't be done by the other soldiers, like Sever bomb experts, whose bombs and mines will be twice as potent and can disarm bombs up to twice as fast; Valor bomb specialists have enemy-detecting "smart" mines that can be "push detonated" to explode in one direction, keeping a person safe from being kidnapped or while securing an area, or Raven Specialists have the ability to set-up a minefield with automatic hand-held fielder equipment. (EXAMPLE2): Sever communication experts can boost an ally's radar signal or locate and cripple the enemy's signal in an area by setting-up a booster or scrambler in certain spots, Valor computer specialists can take over bases up to 1/2 of the time and Sniff-out Spec-ops with differential scanners (distance increases with rank/experience) and Raven computer hackers can activate security cameras and three-shot auto-turrets, setting up a automated perimeter. Specialists don't carry any heavy weapons or rifles because of the extra equipment, but they have handguns which can carry many magazines, so they will need to be escorted. Although specialists are not as gun-heavy, specialists aren't helpless and can upgrade their guns up to .45 caliber, have semi-automatic handguns, dual-wield, and giving them the ability to hit their fire button to both pull-out their guns and start firing almost immediately; making them deadly at the quick-draw. Special assignments could include blowing-up or restoring a power grid in an area, setting-up a total communication spy network, or hacking a specific number of computer terminals to disable/restore RADAR capabilities.
Make-shift base: When a squad gets a health, ammo, and armor drop in one spot on top of a building that can be entered into. It uses massive resources which makes your next drops take four times the length for that squad, and a team can only spawn four times from it; if a specialist "reinforces" the area, it becomes eight times, so choose a spot wisely. A base can be bombarded if it is out in the open, and it can be destroyed if a specialist cripples the spot by disabling the computer systems or setting off an explosive. Anyone on the field with the ability to drop health, ammo, and armor signaling grenades (if needed, add those to command officer abilities) will be able to coordinate with other squad leaders and drop one of each (if the did not use it up already) and set-up a high-altitude drop zone. The drop zone will give the coordinating squads the ability to spawn from that area for a limited amount of characters. I also think there should be ammo drops (smiles) I say that because I believe the commander should be able to hide ammo in different spots for his team, so if they have to fall back, the opposing team will have to either eliminate the AA defense to allow their ammo drops, or find the ammo cache, which will allow their team to stock-up (the finder [the one who gets ammo from the cache first] gets a medal or trophy).
Pillboxes and sniper nests should be in a few parts throughout a level for coverage in choke-points or points designated by the commander before gameplay starts; it will be a good place for cover, but a deathtrap if a black-ops soldier infiltrates the area.
I love medals, but i think the awards between medals in a lot of games are too high, I would say MAG needs intermediate and realistic steps between awards. 10,000 heals is not bad, but some might find it daunting and not even try to get it. Let's put it this way: I love Warhawk and got it the first day it came out, I have two platinum trophies and are above 70% in every game I play in terms of games I have that have trophies... except Warhawk. I mean, Killzone, Resistance 2, UTIII, Uncharted, and others have all surpassed warhawk in terms of trophy gathering because they use tough but attainable steps. Warhawk is so grueling that I don't even try to reach any of the goals anymore; if it happens, it happens, but by no means to I care to dedicate that much time into getting some of the things that are there because the steps are too far away between achievements. Now I don't mind getting 1000 kills or heals, but you should have a base medal at 10 kills, then every 500 you get a "tick", a stripe, or some trinket on the medal to keep people interested in the overall goal.
Instead of having the same medal slab that everyone has in every game since a medal was shown in a game that has medals, what Zipper should do is take a character and show the awards on the person while he stands at attention, at rest, or saluting, giving a full 3D 360 degree rotatable character, and you can zoom-in on the medals, awards, special commendations, and etc. And if/when a person attains maximum rank, they are awarded a skin which has their medals on their clothes: Valor will have a gang-like general look with medals and ribbons, Valor will have a Patton-looking character with medals on their bomber jacket, and the clean-cut Raven will have a sporty cutting-edge general outfit with virtual medals on a small screen woven into his jacket.
Special skins should give the generals double-armor and headgear which can allow them to survive one head-shot from sniper fire; after that, the helmet is useless for protection from sniper fire, but can diminish harm from other fire.
I'll be brief here: if I have a helmet, should a head-shot from a non-sniper rifle be as potent? I question that every time I see someone take someone out with a head-shot when they have a helmet on. perhaps a person can get a round xp bonus for going out in battle without a helmet because he has no head armor, but is vulnerable to head-shots by any gun, perhaps?
Next, let's talk about customization. There should be a huge array of choices for each soldier, drawing on the region, history, and possible legacy of each area. There should be plenty of weapons, eyepieces, hats, clothing, armor and vest types to make the average soldier's head spin.
Scars, and tatoos should be EARNED. Scars by getting more than 150-300 points of damage per life. Tats should be given to people who are in clans (initials for tats) or people who worked most cohesively on teams; get many fragos, defend spots, maybe give it to someone who has in his gameplay life ten to twenty bunkers that were never destroyed, things like that.
I would also like to see WOMEN SOLDIERS in this game, as there are so many girl gamers around that I've noticed that it isn't funny.(this was actually addressed in the Beta as to why women soldiers were not included; in short, it was because of the animation cycle).
A Demerit system should be implemented for team killers. Demerits should either detract from your experience per team kill, for example, or if you act like a total "hat", limit your weapons to a handgun until you get the equal amount of enemy kills, make you glow and be visible to both teams easily, or increase your spawn time. An auto-kick will be good as well. If a person gets, let's say, ten team-kills, they are kicked without a vote: Granted, a bold-type warning should be implemented that an auto-kick session in active when a round is starting and the number of TK, but I think it will limit the stupidity that can occur.
Now, with this update, I just saw that there is a story of sorts in the game depending on your wins or losses if I'm not mistaken. MAG can take it up a notch more. How, without CG? An excellent example of a all-multiplayer game (well, with bots) that has a pretty straightforward and acceptable plot has been done before in Star Wars Battlefront II
In-engine cut-scenes *(like Star Wars Battlefront II; best usage of a story without CG or complex in-game rendering) is the best example I've seen where a story can be essentially stitched-together and be totally engaging. Examples are below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGLfiUZGcrI (Example one)
Here are some things I haven't covered that I have large details on:
-Scalability of levels
-Individual versus PMC tech levels
-How to keep balance even at third place
-Weapon/Armor research and the PMC
-Weapons balancing even with totally different weapons
-Sound Effects and weapons: why there should be basic changes to each group's weapons
-Changing the voices to match the region
-Child soldiers, politics, immigration, and PMC recruiting
-Black-OP/Specialist/Special Forces centered missions without changing the levels
-which weapons are too powerful for it's make and which ones need more "kick"
- knockback from being shot to even out the power of the knife-stab
- getting rid of the "warning" sign when too close to the minefield
-and a few more sensitive concepts
I feel that this game will define the future of the FPS genre; finally blurring the lines between MMORPG's and first person shooters, making an entirely new game instead of having it the:
Same as it ever was...
same as it ever was...
same as it ever was...
look what this missile does!
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