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MAG 2.0 to add in-game economy, PlayStation Move support, and more

Patches, News Items, War, MAG

MAG's latest patch is so significant that the developers are actually referring to it as MAG 2.0, and it's less than a month away.

The developers have been working with the participants of theMAG Beta program, and a long list of suggested changes and additions have been made and are ready to be implemented.

Of course we knew that integration with the PlayStation Move was coming, but it's exciting to know that it's this close. MAG 2.0 will also add an in-game economy, and you'll be able to earn credits to spend on gear at the Supply Depot. Yes, the depot is also new.

Bug fixes, upgrades, even a news feature that brings you up-to-date on everything when you log in, and much more round out this patch. Check out the notes on the MAG site, and we'll keep an eye out for that patch date!

MAG offers extra character slots, on the cheap

Patches, News Items, MMOFPS, MAG

If you're an altoholic playing Zipper Interactive's MAG MMOFPS, chances are you're probably a fan of the recently announced extra character slot promotion. The new service debuted yesterday, and allows players to create two new in-game avatars. For $.99 (US), you can purchase one of the two slots and take it for a 30-day trial run.

After your free month is up, you can opt to subscribe the new characters or keep them for a rainy day, locked up tight in cold storage, where they'll retain any gear and advancements you may have acquired. Check out all the details on the official MAG blog.

MAG's Escalation 3-way battles revealed

Patches, News Items, War, MAG

OK, we should get this out of the way up front, because it comes up every time we cover MAG: yes, it is an MMO. Massively? Well, 256-player battles are about ten times larger than those your average MMO can handle without lagging to hell and back. Multiplayer? Covered that. Online? Duh.

Moving right along, Zipper Interactive's Jeremy Dunham has posted a new entry on the official MAG blog detailing the upcoming Escalation mode. The new game-type, which will be deployed as downloadable content in the near future, is a 96-man three-faction battle royale, the ultimate goal of which is to earn more points than your enemies before time expires. Points are earned by holding objectives, but unlike your standard "run to the flag and stand there for 20 seconds" capture model common to objective-based FPS titles, Escalation features a phased approach that encourages continuous frenetic combat.

You can get your first taste of the new mode by downloading the MAG beta client from the Playstation store on August 24th.

MAG patch 1.07 due out next week

Patches, PvP, MMOFPS, MAG

MAG's next patch, due out next week, will bring some very welcome free updates to players. While the full patch notes aren't available yet, the MAG team has provided a short list of updates to hold fans over for a bit.

MAG v1.07 will bring a number of fixes, content changes, and additions to the game, including a new happy hour feature. Happy hour is a double XP bonus that's applied to the first hour of every player's gaming session in a 24-hour period, giving you a little boost to start off with.

You'll also find better lighting, redesigned maps, a new faction neutral Supression gameplay mode, and new code that allows for faster patching. Check out the current patch notes on the MAG site, and keep an eye out for the complete notes, available nearer the time of the update.

MAG releases Interdiction expansion

Expansions, PvP, News Items, MMOFPS, MAG

Zipper Interactive's PS3-exclusive MAG MMOFPS has released a couple of small content updates since its debut last January. This month however, the action title kicks off its first proper expansion pack, titled Interdiction, and is available to download from the Playstation Store for $9.99. The pack adds a new game type, unsurprisingly called Interdiction, three new maps (Iron Cree Quarry, Sovot Motorway, and Lake Bayano Spur), as well as a bevy of smaller gameplay additions.

These include new ribbons, medals, and trophies which can be earned both in the new Interdiction mode as well as over the course of your MAG career.

"MAG Interdiction is a brand new game mode built for 128 players. In it, two rival attacking factions fight to gain control of three different command posts while using armored convoys for every squad on the map (that's right, 16 APCs onscreen at once)," writes Zipper Senior Community Manager Jeremy Dunham on the official Playstation blog.

MAG is also featuring a double XP weekend beginning Friday, June 25th, for players with or without the new expansion.

MAG announces double XP weekend and Fast Attack pack

News Items, MMOFPS, MAG

MAG is offering players some new downloadable content that is awesome in and of itself, and even better because it's free. The newest DLC is the Fast Attack Pack -- three new sniper rifles and Improved Light Armor. Yes, it is 100%, honest to goodness free and available in the Playstation Store now along with the other PSN updates, so be sure to add it to your account.

That's not the only gift for MAG players this weekend, however. Players can put their new rifles and armor through their paces and earn extra XP in the bargain, thanks to the double XP weekend. The event lasts until 11:59 PM Pacific time on Sunday, May 2nd, and if you're a veteran who already has an XP boost: yes, the bonus stacks. It's important to note that you need to complete every game to enjoy the bonus XP, because it's not applied until the end of a match.

More free DLC coming to PS3's MAG

News Items, MMOFPS, MAG

Zipper Interactive is treating the fans right by offering up another free downloadable content add-on for MAG, their multiplayer-only FPS for the Playstation 3. The latest round of DLC drops on April 29 and is known as the Fast Attack Gear Pack.

Jeremy Dunham, Senior Community Manager at Zipper, brings word of the freebie on the official MAG blog. "Our latest downloadable extra will likely cause marksmen to swoon," he writes.

The Fast Attack Gear Pack will feature three new special edition sniper rifles, each of which will incorporate both visual and performance variations when compared to the game's existing long-range weaponry. New armor types are also included, and Improved Light Armor will be available to all three factions for 400 in-game credits.

Check out the official MAG blog for all the details.

MAG explains the Electronics skill tree

News Items, MMOFPS, MAG

If you're a MAG player, you know that the Electronics skill tree is one of the more confusing in the game. The fine folks at MAG realized it can be a bit much to figure out, and recently posted some help on the game's official blog.

It's a long entry, but very well done, breaking the explanation down by item. Each individual item is further broken down by effect, stacking and activation information, and miscellaneous important points, so it's fairly simple to navigate and figure out.

It's a valuable resource for players, made even more so by the addition of a discussion thread linking back to the blog entry, giving the fans a chance to discuss the skills among themselves and ask more questions.

If you're a MAG fan who has been a bit frustrated in the past by the Electronics skill tree, you'll definitely want to check this out.

First MAG DLC coming next week

MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, MMOFPS, MAG

Jeremy Dunham, Senior Community Manager at Zipper Interactive, has dropped a post on the official Playstation blog detailing the first bit of MAG downloadable content coming next week.

Zipper is calling it the "Trooper Gear Pack," and among its features are the Flashbang Grenade, perfect for disorienting and otherwise annoying your opponents, additional Light Machine Guns, and two new trooper uniforms for all of your urban warfare fashion needs. As a bonus, the DLC pack is free of charge, and the MAG team will also be enabling double XP to reward long-time fans; expect that to go live on March 25 at 12:00am Pacific time and continue through 11:59 pm Sunday March 28.

The Trooper Gear Pack will be available for download beginning on March 25.

Take aim at big prizes in MAG tournament

Contests, Consoles, MMOFPS, MAG

Amidst all the debate about whether or not MAG qualifies as an MMO, not to mention the recent Playstation Network brouhaha, it might be easy to lose sight of the actual game underneath everything. And it'd be a shame if you did, because you'd be missing out on a tournament centering around MAG run by Major League Gaming's Gamebattles site. The prizes? Straight-up cash money. Well, straight-up Sony Style gift cards and Playstation Home items, which is just about as good. (Although you can't rifle through a $1500 gift card like a pack of twenties.)

Here are the details: the tournament will have three phases, with each lasting one full month. Each phase is a contest to earn the highest score in a different area -- MAG XP for March, headshots for April, and total kills for May. There will be leaderboards available on the site, as well, to help track how well you're doing compared to all the entrants. If you think you've got what it takes to make the top of the charts, head on over and take a look at the official entry rules. And no matter what, it couldn't hurt to give it a shot.

MAG moves to patch 1.03

Game Mechanics, Patches, Consoles, MMOFPS, MAG

For better or worse, most MMOs these days live and die by combat. That goes doubly so for the MMOFPS field, since it's difficult to have a game with "shooter" right in the genre descriptor without some form of lethal ordnance being unloaded. MAG, the massive squad-based shooter on the PS3, has made a major overhaul to its combat system with patch 1.03, designed to address several community concerns and elements that the designers felt were unfair and unfun. A large-scale weapon overhaul has taken place as the centerpiece of the patch, with the effectiveness of several weapons and strategies being re-tuned.

The short version: shorter-range weapons have been toned down in terms of their accuracy at range, sights have been toned down for a similar reason, and both battle rifles and rocket launchers have received notable buffs. There's also greater consistency in firing through thin materials such as tents. With changes to the warnings for charges, faster gear switching, and decreased respec costs, the patch also brings improvements not solely linked to weapon balance. MAG players have the patch available now, and we're hoping that the shifts are keeping players more entertained and less frustrated at someone sniping them from half a map away with a shotgun.

MAG resuscitates their medic class with update, prepares to launch stats on MAG.com

Game Mechanics, Patches, MMOFPS, MAG

Medics of the Shadow War, unite! MAG's latest patch did many favors for you, and even those who aren't of the resuscitation persuasion will find some tasty benefits in their latest version, patch 1.02.

The last patch has cleaned up the field support's HUD by removing resuscitation icons from those players who can't be resuscitated, resulting in a much cleaner field of view for medics. Downed players who can be brought back to life also now carry a distance indicator icon on their body, so now you too can GPS your way to help a teammate. The same tracking system has also been given to players who have equipped explosive detectors, pointing out the location of mines. Lastly, medic icons will only be given to soldiers carrying defibulators, so those only holding a healing gun will no longer be medics.

The patch has also improved server performance, resulting in reduced lag during high-end matches, and has made a change to the statistics system to prepare it for integration into MAG.com.

So, if you're going to be jumping into the medic class after this patch, MAG's art director Steve Suhy has some tips for you when playing support. We've got the video embedded for your viewing pleasure right after the break.

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MAG review highlights strengths and flaws of the console MMOFPS

Game Mechanics, Reviews, War, Consoles, MMOFPS, MAG

MAG is a PlayStation 3-exclusive MMOFPS title we've been keeping our eyes on at Massively. The inevitable debate aside about whether Zipper Interactive's title is an MMO or not -- yes, tanks and guns replace dragons and magic spells -- the game accommodates up to 256 players in a zone at a time. The idea of FPS gameplay with that many people at such a high degree of graphical detail is pretty mind-boggling, and it's something we've explored a bit in the MAG beta. Our parent site Joystiq recently sat down with the game now that it's officially launched and wrote a short MAG review.

Joystiq's Griffin McElroy gives a brief overview of MAG's gameplay and his assessment of the title's merits and flaws. That idea of 128 players per side doesn't mean you'll all be charging towards your opponents in one awesome wave, he notes. Rather, you'll typically be interacting with your fellow soldiers on a squad level (4-8 people) to achieve objectives, with multiple squads comprising platoons, and four such platoons forming an army.

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MAG's Veteran Mode explained

Game Mechanics, PvP, War, Consoles, MMOFPS, MAG

MAG's official launch was only a few days ago, but developer Zipper Interactive is already explaining some of the benefits to having a high level character in the MMOFPS. Players who hit the level cap of 60 can enable "Veteran Mode", which Zipper Interactive has mentioned in the past. Now, they've clarified what exactly the advantages to doing so are in a blog post -- essentially it's an incentive to reroll once you've maxed out your character, and experience more of the game.

If you're looking to try something new, you'll be able to keep your past accomplishments (medals, ribbons, and related stats) when you reset your character to level 1. Even though your experience counter resets to zero, your lifetime experience will show everything you've ever earned -- a permanent record viewable on the stats page of your barracks. Players after trophies for hitting max level in all private military companies (PMCs) in MAG will want to take advantage of Veteran Mode and the experience boost it imparts. Veteran Mode gives players a permanent 10% bonus added to the experience total for each match, provided that players sticks through the entire round. Other players can easily recognize a Veteran by the gold insignia displayed beneath that character's rank. While we suspect it'll be a while before most players hit that level cap, Zipper Interactive detailed MAG's Veteran Mode on the game's official blog.

The Daily Grind: What MAG faction are you?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Consoles, MMOFPS, MAG

It's MAG's launch day! Yaaaaay! The servers are up, the sides are being formed, and the never-ending Shadow War and contract tossing has begun. Another MMO action game has invaded the console realm and that's a good thing, even if you may not be a huge fan of MAG.

Even if MAG isn't your thing, you can still participate in today's question, dear readers! MAG prominently features three different armies -- Raven, VALOR, and S.V.E.R. Each army has its own style and way of getting things done. Raven Industries leans heavily on technology, preferring to use devices and upgrades to carry out the mission in a suave, European style. Meanwhile, across the pond, VALOR Company recruits ex-soldiers from the American military, preferring to win conflict through grit, determination, and large guns. Then, coming from the cold climate of Russia, Seryi Volk Executive Response (S.V.E.R.) is all about finishing the mission with what you have available. They cobble together their weaponry, their uniforms, and whatever they need to get the job done.

Of these three factions, which one are you joining, or would you join in MAG? Why does that army pop out at you over the other two? Take your time, think it through, and then declare your allegiance in the comment threads. Go go go!

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