Previously, a credit card was needed for additional features on SOCOM Combined Assault such as ranks, clans, friends lists and the ability to join ranked games. However, Zipper Interactive removed account verification and newly created accounts are automatically verified.
Combined Assault includes the 12 maps originally available in SOCOM 3, along with 10 new maps. So at release, it came with 22 multiplayer maps. As of March 31, 2008, three map packs have been released, adding 11 more maps, making a total of 33 possible maps (map packs originally had to be purshased).
All three map packs are free to download onto a USB memory device (previously they cost $5.99 each to download). You need at least 64mb of storage, although the actual storage amount is around 61mb of memory.
The first map pack was released on June 27, 2006 and contained the three HDD Maps from SOCOM II. The maps are After Hours, Last Bastion, and Liberation. Players were given two weeks (until July 10, 2006), to play these maps online for free. The map pack is still available to download for free through the SOCOM 3/Combined Assault community.
The second map was released with a new patch on November 19, 2007. There are four maps, and they are Blizzard, Desert Glory, Abandon, and Blood Lake. Each of these maps were in both SOCOM I and II. With the release of the second map pack, players were not given a two week trial period like with the first one. It is available for free via the SOCOM Store.
The third map pack was released on March 31, 2008. The four new maps include Frostfire, Fish Hook, Guidance, and Crossroads. With the release of the third map pack, Zipper Interactive have decided to stop charging for the map packs which were originally priced at USD$5.99.
European users are not be able to download any map packs; the reason for this is unknown and unannounced by the developers.
Online ranking system
The ranking system in SOCOM: Combined Assault is based on raw points. When winning a game, you get more points if your team's overall cumulative score (the combined scores of everyone on the team) is less than your defeated opponent, which makes it riskier, but more rewarding to play "better" teams. You will also get more points for winning in the least amount of rounds, so a 6-0 victory is better than a 6-4 victory. Additionally, you gain points by having a greater ratio of kills to deaths. An exception is if one team has "big negative" due to glitching or teamkilling. A big negative is when one player has an extremely low score, such as -100,000, which in turn brings that player's team's score down, making the other team lose points even if they win the game.
Quitting, disconnecting, and getting voted out of ranked games will all contribute to losing points. While in-game, committing suicide or killing friendlies, hostages, V.I.P.'s, etc. will also make you lose points. While the general higher rankings of SOCOM 3 and Combined Assault seem to glitch with "big negatives", no one can be over 1000+ points without ranking up with a big negative... anyone over 10,000 points is ranking up and has never lost a game.
The glitching in the newer SOCOMs (SOCOM 3 and Combined Assault) has not been as large of an issue as in the previous SOCOMs. Because of the similarity in style amongst SOCOM 3 and SOCOM: Combined Assault, Combined Assault has been exploited faster than any of the previous SOCOMs. Those who usually go unpunished, in most rooms, are "booted" through the voting system in each game.
Many games carry the label "Glitch No Kill" or "GNK", for short, and are large level rooms where there is no combat, only glitching. This encourages the spread of glitching, as the knowledge is shared between users. In these rooms, no combat is permitted, and anyone who fires upon another character is booted out of the room by vote.
People have created "mod disks" that allow players to jump to extreme heights, shoot single-shot sniper rifles fully automatic, and run faster than the normal speed. The number of people using a cheating program called 'Code Majic' has increased substantially due to Zipper not scanning for new codes, letting many people use codes unpunished. Problems arise when "glitchers" ruin legitimate games, especially games that are ranked.
Although it is sometimes considered legitimate play, combatants known commonly as "quicksnipers" wreak havoc among new players and tactical realism enthusiasts. "Quicksnipers" are players who utilize one hit kill sniper rifles and the multiple level focus of a rifle scope with extreme speed and accuracy, to fire almost while running, creating a seemingly invulnerable player who can eliminate any other player with one shot. No external mods are used and no weak points in the game's programming are exploited, so many "quicksnipers" do not believe they are cheating. This does not sway the distaste felt by other, less skilled players.
With the update in November 2007, "quicksniping" has been removed. Although people can not "quicksnipe" anymore, they can still "quickscope" which is a variation of "quicksniping", except the player does not jump in the air.
Clans of up to 32 people per roster (with an infinite number of rosters) can be created in SOCOM: Combined Assault. The choices a leader has are changing a clan tag, removing or adding a player, registering the clan for Clan Matches or deleting the clan altogether.
Clan government can range from one end of the spectrum to the other, with dictatorial rule, military style rule or democratic rule. In most cases, especially with larger clans, the clan leader delegates rule to other trusted clan members. Although most clanmates meet in-game, strong friendships can result from this intimate interaction and teamwork and it is not uncommon for clanmates to interact outside of game play.
A Clan war is a battle between two clans. These wars can be unofficial or ranked scrimmages, clan matches, or official tournament rounds. Each clan should ideally have the same number of participants, though it is not uncommon for clans to play a player or two down. Each clan chooses a map and a side (Seals or Mercenaries). Each clan has a right to exercise weapons restrictions (usually outlawing Long Range Explosives), time constraints (usually five minutes or less), and friendly fire options. Once each clan has picked a map, a tie breaker map is agreed upon. The most common tie breaker map chosen is Killing Fields (Demolition), which overflowed from SOCOM 3. However, Anchorage (Demolition) is now becoming a more widely accepted tie breaker map. Most clan wars are set for 11 rounds per map, though clan wars with fewer participants can be set for fewer rounds played.
Unless one clan wins both chosen maps, the tie breaker map is played, with the clan with most rounds won choosing sides. If each clan won the same amount of rounds, the clan with the higher MVP score wins. If MVP scores were the same, most clans use the number of kills each MVP had to determine which clan gets to pick.
Unofficial and ranked clan wars are a common occurrence and very easy to organize and play. Game Battles (GB) wars are highly organized, requiring each clan to be listed on the website and report the outcome of each war. Clan matches are organized in gameplay between clan leaders, and game statistics are handled through the DNAS servers. Tournament rounds are organized through a tournament host. Tournament rounds are organized previously with a tournament representative, and referees may be called in to assist with issues such as glitching or any other form of cheating.