If you're a fan of MMOs or First Person Shooters, you might have heard about a little game called Global Agenda. It's a spy-thriller MMOFPS currently being developed by Hi-Rez Studios. Global Agenda features huge, team-based battles in a persistent world. It's got big guns, jetpacks, giant robots, drone guns, and just about everything else a growing boy needs as part of a healthy diet.
I had the chance recently to ask Todd Harris, Executive Producer of Global Agenda, a few questions about his new game. Here's what I learned;
1. Global Agenda has foregone the standard server structure of most MMOs and instead has split players up based on which major geographic region they come from. Players within an area will work towards a single end-game. Can you shed some light on what that end game could be like? What will happen to Global Agenda when it comes? (Server reset, expansion, etc).
Sure thing. We’re super excited about Global Agenda’s Campaign play which, as you say, allows all players within a major geographic region, for example all North American players, to compete in the same integrated end-game involving territory and resource control.
The typical MMO server convention requires you to ‘pick a server’ upon character creation which then limits the population you can play with from that point on. For Global Agenda we did not want a server-choice to get in the way of player-driven politics and strategy on a massive scale. So, our shard is designed to support tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of players interacting within the same game universe via systems like chat, teaming/ looking-for group, matchmaking, economy/auction house, and agency management. It is truly a massive world within which players create their own agencies, form alliances, and compete to acquire resources and capture territory in alliance vs. alliance campaigns.
When a player alliance successfully claims an entire zone, anticipated to take approximately 45 days, that group will be rewarded with prestige items, public display of their alliance banner, and permanent notation within the lore of the world; so they are truly making history! The player conflict then moves to a new zone available for conquest.
2. I'm very excited by the idea of PvPE, a concept that your game is pioneering. PvPE refers to players entering an instanced environment that has been modified by other players before the start of the instance. Can you give us some examples of the ways players will be able to modify instances, and in what situations they will be able to do so?
While our virtual game world is massive, player characters navigate thru that world via instanced spaces. We decided on instanced encounters primarily because when it comes to combat mechanics we prefer the feel of tight and tactical team-oriented battles vs. a zerg-oriented numbers game.
Importantly, these instanced mission spaces also support PvPE – the ability for players to actually modify certain playable environments. There are a number of different ways we might leverage this concept in the future but for our initial release we are reserving it for agency secured territories. So, within the context of alliance vs. alliance campaigns, player groups can secure territories by installing elements such as power stations that buff defending player; possibly even turrets or NPC defenders. A heavily protected territory will require effort and resources, but can be an effective deterrent to attackers.
3. Although Global Agenda is a player-driven game, you've made the choice to not do away with NPCs and non-player organizations. Can you tell us why you made the decision to maintain some PvE aspects, as opposed to earlier games like Planetside that are entirely player-driven?
That’s correct. The Commonwealth is a powerful NPC organization that serves many important functions, most notably being the primary enemy faction within PvE missions. From a fiction perspective it is an oppressive regime and therefore an easy target. From a player perspective we’ve seen that PvE can be a very enjoyable alternative and change of pace from the always intense and ultra competitive PvP. And from a character advancement perspective it allows players to level via either PvP or PvE or a combination.
4. What options will there be for players who do not want to take part in head-to-head PvP gameplay? How much can you actually help your agency doing only PvE missions?
Our PvE system supports multiple levels of difficulty and the missions also scale based on your party size. PvE players will definitely be able to advance their character and help their agency via missions as well as crafting.
5. Global Agenda's FAQ states that the game will include 10v10 strike team battles and 60v60 large-scale missions. Will there be instances of any other size?
Yes, we offer a variety of instance sizes but the most common formats include:
PvE missions that can be played solo or scale to support up to four players working together.
Mission-based, matchmade, PvP involving 8 to 12 players per side
Territory strikes within the context of AvA Campaigns. These typically involve 8 to 12 players on the attacking side or defending side. One special case is a Base Raid where one group is attempting to capture a rival group’s base location. This is a much larger operation involving 60v60 organized into six strike teams per side. Each strike team fights within a separate instance but they are all coordinated by a Raid Leader and working toward a common goal. What Strike Team 1 does in their location could very well help or hurt Strike Team 2 in a different location. In this way we support coordination across a large group while still keeping every player close to the action.
6. Do you think we'll ever see large-scale open world combat in Global Agenda?
Open world combat is not planned for the initial release of Global Agenda.
Instead, we are focused on delivering exceptional, instanced, team-based combat where the results of your mission actually matters across a massive, persistent world.
7. Melee weapons rarely play a significant role in first person shooters, yet Global Agenda seems to have quite a few of them. Can you tell us how melee combat will work in-game? When you're slicing someone, can you target a certain part of their body, or do you just hit them and do a set amount of damage?
We’ve spent a lot of time integrating class-specific melee weapons with ranged combat mechanics as well as the universe of other class-specific devices we offer such as stealth, holographic decoys, robotic pets, healing devices, etc; plus a high degree of vertical play since our agents have jetpacks. The action is so fast paced that there is not time to target a certain body part. However, you are able to strike or block or go for a bonus via back-stab attack. Also, as a player you can also use the skill-tree to customize a more or less melee-oriented build.
8. Have you finalized any of the details of your pay system? When can we look forward to a concrete release date?
Global Agenda will be pay to play with a monthly subscription. Our intent is still to release by the end of this year and we’ll be announcing specific dates and pricing closer to that time.
9. There are several giant mech-looking units in gameplay videos. Are these robots that a person with the Robotics class controls remotely, or are they piloted? Can you tell us anything more about your giant robots?
The smaller robots you see are indeed pets of the Robotics class, often under AI control.
As for the giant robots… and who doesn’t like giant robots… many of those belong to the Commonwealth and serve as bosses within PvE missions. There are other ways we intend to use giant robots within the game but we are not quite ready to talk about that yet…
10. Like many other gamers, I am registered for (and cannot wait for) the beta test. Can you tell us when the wait will end, or at least when we'll know if we were accepted?
I can’t wait either!!!
We intend to have multiple beta test phases. With each phase, we will expose additional features for testing and also increase the number of beta testers admitted. So, if you don’t happen to receive an invite for the first phase, don’t panic because later phases are coming.
We’re actually VERY close and I’m looking forward to playing with the first wave of Closed Beta Testers before the end of July.
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The Global Agenda website can be found here. If you want to have a shot at a beta key, you'd better sign up now.