MAG was a multiplayer-only first person shooter developed by Zipper Interactive, creators of the SOCOM franchise. The game was renowned for supporting up to 256 players in each match consisting of platoons of multiple 8-person squads. The maps featured in the game were, for obvious reasons, very large, and so the squads could spawn pretty far apart from each other, but work to converge on a single location. This style of gameplay was meant to emulate the idea of being part of a small team which is also part of a much larger battle.
The general shooting and gameplay in MAG is similar to other modern first-person shooters like Battlefield: Bad Company or Modern Warfare 2, and MAG also features a ranking system similar to those games. Players earn experience through many actions in the field, from killing enemies to healing allies and completing objectives. At launch it had a standard Call of Duty style levelling system, where the player would unlock new weapons and gadgets as they ranked up, but a massive update in December 2010 changed the unlock system to instead be purchase based - the experience points gained while playing could be spent in the game's marketplace to buy new guns, gadgets, weapon accessories and cosmetic items, such as sunglasses, headsets and camouflage patterns, and a large part of the experience points would be refunded when changing to another faction.
At the beginning of the game, the player chooses from one of three generic military groups. Though there are subtle differences to each group, it is primarily an aesthetic choice. However, after reaching a certain level, the player can return himself to level one (a la Call of Duty's Prestige Mode) and side with a different group.
Once in the game, one might notice a distinct similarity to the Battlefield series' signature Conquest mode. Both attacking and defending armies fight towards their objectives while trying to maintain forward bases and vehicles in order to keep an advantage. Different loadouts are beneficial to the team, such as medics and engineers. Usually the winning side is the one who not only shoots well, but can keep their squad-mates healthy and well defended.
What sets MAG apart though, is its system of leadership. Once a player reaches level 15, they are eligible to apply to be a Squad Leader. The squad system in the game revolves around four platoons of four eight man squads, with the leader being the highest ranked soldier in each group. The squad leaders' are responsible for commanding the troops in their squad to accomplish various tasks, such as defence of a forward base or an assault on an objective, in order to improve the division's chances of victory. They can use several special abilities to aid in the fight, such as calling in air strikes and troop drops. In order to give players incentive to follow their Squad Leader's orders, marked objectives and enemies eliminated in a close vicinity will receive double the XP.
Alongside a squad leader, the highest ranking player in each platoon is elected as Platoon Leader and is able to give orders and mark objectives to everyone in their platoon. They also gain more powerful abilities like Gas Bombardments and Precision Airstrikes. Similarly, the highest ranking player of the entire unit is elected as Officer in Charge, and is able to issue commands to every soldier in every platoon, similarly to Battlefield 2's Commander mode. Here is how this system is broken down:
- Each team has 128 players and is led by the Officer in Charge.
- Teams are broken down into 4 platoons, consisting of 32 players each. Each platoon is led by a Platoon Leader.
- Platoons are broken down into 4 squads, consisting of 8 players each. Each Squad is led by a Squad Leader.
On July 16, 2013 Sony announced that the servers for MAG would be shut down on January 28, 2014.
MAG takes place 20 years in the future, and features a conflict known as the "Shadow War." Governments have squandered their money, and are no longer able to maintain a standing army overseas to secure their interests. Therefore, Private Military Corporations have stepped up to take over, and the game centres on three such corporations vying for government contracts. The three playable factions featured in the game are Raven, Valour, and S.V.E.R.
An Euro-centric PMC, Raven is the high tech group of the game. Many of their armour sets have a futuristic appearance, and their weapon load-outs are based on military prototypes or sleek, ergonomically designed weaponry.
A PMC most closely resembling the modern U.S. Army, wearing armor similar to what would be seen on an everyday soldier and using weapons consistent with the current generation such as M16s and .50 Cals.
The game's stereotypical ragtag team of terrorists. Most soldiers wear piecemeal armour or just plain clothes and use weaponry most commonly associated with the Cold War or black markets: AK-47s, RPGs, etc.
Each of the three groups, and consequently the missions taken on in game, involve either assaulting or defending locations of interest to the PMCs, such as oil refineries and bases housing state of the art equipment, in an attempt to hinder their opponents' progress.
There are 4 featured game types in MAG, and two additional types available as DLC:
A 256-player Attack and Defend mode.
The main game mode with the two teams split into Attackers and Defenders. The Attackers progress across the map in stages, completing objectives along the way, similar to the Conquest mode seen in Bad Company or Invasion mode seen in Halo: Reach. As they complete one objective, for example destroying a set of bunkers, the next area of the map will unlock, along with a new objective. There are 3 stages to this process. The Defenders must simply hold off the attackers until time runs out in order to win.
A 128-player Capture the Flag style mode.
In this mode, the attacking team must steal two prototype vehicles from the defending team, and drive them to a capture point.
A 64-player Attack and Defend mode.
Similar to Domination but on a smaller scale. Attackers must complete a couple of set objectives in order to succeed, while the Defenders must try and hold them off.
A 64-player Team Deathmatch mode.
To help new players into the game, only Suppression is available at the beginning of the game. As higher levels are reached the other match types will begin to unlock. Furthermore, to keep veteran players interested in playing the full variety of modes, extra bonuses are given to a particular match type during random intervals of time. One week, Raven soldiers might gain a small experience bonus for playing Acquisition, while Valor gains a command bonus for playing Domination. Another week, the bonuses might change completely.
A 128-player Team Deathmatch mode.
Introduced as part of MAG's first purchasable DLC, Interdiction includes three new maps with a heavy focus on vehicle combat. Each squad is able to utilize their own APC, allowing for a maximum of 16 APCs to be concurrently active in a match.
A 96-player Team Objective mode.
Introduced as part of MAG's second purchasable DLC, Escalation includes three new maps, and allows for simultaneous battles between the three different factions at the same time. Each faction uses a single 32-player platoon fighting for control over three objectives.
Zipper has released four DLC packs to date. Both the first two DLC packs became a apart of the main game without the need to access the PSN store as of patch 1.06.
The Trooper pack was the first downloadable content pack available and was released for free. It included changes to all three factions in the form of higher fire rates and stability. Additionally, two new camouflage patterns were made available, light and dark for all three factions. A new flash grenade was also included.
Fast Attack Pack
The Fast Attack pack was the second DLC released and is also free. Upgraded variants the top tier snipe rifle was added to the main game. A new type of armor was also part of the package.
The first of two packs that cost money, Interdiction includes a new game mode, new multiplayer maps, and other in-game rewards. It was released June 22, 2010.
- Iron Creek Quarry
- Lake Bayano
- Sovot Motorway
- Jump Start
- Mowing the Grass
- Dashed Hopes
- Cannonball Rally
- Roadside Assistance
- Landscape Architect
- Designated Driver
Also included is a new armor type, Heavy Improved Armor.
The Escalation Pack is the second DLC released. New elements of the pack include maps, guns, ribbons, and medals. It was released November 4, 2010.
- Silverback Ridge
- Isla de Magma
- Radiant Barrens
- M31 CIR
- Gotha Elite
- Tamsen Mk2
- Sentinel M421
- Kinmark SRS
- Rubakho SVR
There are three different soundtracks, one for each faction. For no apparent reason, Raven players get shafted with a soundtrack half the length of the other factions'.
The Raven soundtrack was composed by Sascha Dikiciyan, also known as Sonic Mayhem.
|1.||The Battlefield of Tomorrow||5:01|
|3.||A Chaotic World||5:48|
|4.||Raven Shadow War||4:48|
|5.||A Force for Order||2:29|
The S.V.E.R. soundtrack was Perttu Kivilaasko and Mikko Siren.
|1.||The Crushing Heel of Tyranny||2:32|
|2.||Two Hundred Fifty Six||2:13|
|3.||S.V.E.R. Shadow War||1:56|
|4.||The Fire Within||2:02|
|5.||S.V.E.R. Global Conflict||4:07|
|7.||Survival and Rebellion||2:14|
|9.||All That Remains||2:23|
|10.||A New Dawn||5:13|
The Valor soundtrack was composed by Tree Adams.
|1.||A Soldier's Pride||2:49|
|2.||The Long Haul||2:39|
|3.||Smoke 'Em Out||2:02|
|4.||The Upper Hand||2:32|
|6.||Pushing the Line||2:34|
|7.||Skin of Your Teeth||2:48|
|9.||Return to Glory||2:54|