My name is Jeremy Dunham (PSN ID: zpr_DunhamSmash), Zipper Interactive’s new Senior Community Manager, and I wanted to share some news regarding our latest MAG beta program that we’re kicking off right now. Starting today, we’ve officially moved into our next Beta phase – Beta 4. We’ve made more than 6,000 changes from our last phase to Beta 4, not the least of which include an increased level cap from 40 to 60, a retooled skill tree and experience curve, and an improved ranking system – all based on the feedback from our diligent testing crew.
We’ve also introduced two new major features to Beta 4. We’ve implemented the oft-asked about “proximity chat” feature that allows you to hear enemies communicating as you get closer, or trash talk them yourself as you punch ‘em full of lead. We’ve also introduced Shadow War bonuses. Depending on which PMCs are leading in the number of contracts owned, the entire PMC will earn different bonuses based on gametype. Leading in Sabotage adds experience points, leading in Acquisition increases leadership aura distance, and leading in Domination decreases tactical strike cooldown time.
Other new additions to Beta 4 include improvements to character hit detection and reactions, skill tuning that sees many of the existing skills amped up, refined Leadership abilities and experience points, and numerous other changes that our eagle-eyed testers have spotted over the last cycle.
Beta 4 is exclusive to GameStop pre-orders, and we’ve moved away from our limited pre-scheduled play times and are keeping the servers open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With the change in versions and the last phase now at its end, many of the testers who spent their evenings with us over these last weeks are moving on to other pastures. With that in mind, it’s with great respect that on behalf of the entire MAG team, I want to say thanks to each and every one of you who participated for your hard work, patience, and dedication. Just remember, though, you don’t have to say goodbye just yet. If you still want to participate in our current beta that ends on November 20, all you have to do is pre-order MAG at your local GameStop in the USA and EB Games in Canada to get you the exclusive code you need.
Finally, I wanted to take a moment to let you know that over at MAG.com, we’ve launched our developer blog, which will provide an ongoing behind-the-scenes look at MAG over the next few months before the game launches on January 26, 2010.
Thanks again and I’ll see you on the battlefield.