The Escapist Presents: Global Agenda Interview

Global Agenda Interview

The Escapist interviews Todd Harris, Executive Producer for Global Agenda.

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Pretty good interview. Gave me a better idea of what this game actually is!

I've been looking forward to this game coming out. I was weary about buying to but I may just get it anyway for the single gameplay and then decide if I want to pay for conquest later. I was a huge tribes player, I love TF2 and MMOs. This has "buy me" written all over it. LoL

Yeah, I'm tapped out right now and there's a ton of good stuff coming out soon, so I think I'll wait on this one. But I will definitively keep an eye on it and if I have some extra cash maybe I'll get the non-subscription version.

Which makes me somewhat leery, actually. I wonder how the subscription service will hold up since it feels like the non-subscription version has a lot more draw to it. It might be ingenious because it would get the game into the hands of a large group of people who then decide it's good enough to move to the subscription model, but on the other hand it may mean the subscription service will always have a much, much smaller base of players (and is therefore less tempting to get into). I also fear the sub service may then be bogged down by newbie (I assume they offer) "free trial" folk, and I wonder what effect that could have on the persistent game state.

This game will be awesome. I'm in the beta and would be playing right now if my internet wasn't shit. Even my GF who isn't all that good at shooters said she loved it.

Meh doesn't look that great to me, too many awesome looking games and this sorta falls into the crowd I guess. I'll wait to check this one out

Interesting sale tactic.

Probably not a game for me, as the action (as fun it may be) doesn't look good enough. It doesn't matter what you do, it matters how awesome it looks when you do it.

The first interview of Global Agenda I saw, Todd Harris appeared as a smug sonuvabitch, describing the holy grail of gaming. This time around, he appeared more humble.

So if you level up a character in Freeplay then decide to move to AvA can you move it accross or do you have to start again from scratch?

crotalidian:
So if you level up a character in Freeplay then decide to move to AvA can you move it accross or do you have to start again from scratch?

You can just hop in, they haven't segregated the characters. In the beta for this game and it's been a blast. Here's to hoping they add lots more content soon! :D

Looking forward to this one (amongst a lot of other titles). I'll definitely give this one a solid playthrough.

oh, god the lag in that game looked PAINFUL!!!

But so long as they fix that it's looking up to be pretty fun...

I've always liked the whole territory concept. i even hoped WoW would make a separate server for that type of game play where say alliance took over Org it would stay their city until the horde took it back.
question though at what point do the developers step in and stop one groups conquest. for instance if one "agency" is made up of hardcore players who just dominate and end up controlling most if not all the territories the AvA has to offer at what point do admins or whomever step in to keep the game fair and still fun. no one is going to want to play on a drastically losing team, you know. or is there something like each faction has one fallback territory that by default cannot be over run? just a thought.

"Players of Tribes, Tribes 2 and TF2, will all see something familiar and... Uh... Recognizable in the gameplay, because every player has a jetpack..." - Todd Harris, Executive Producer for Global Agenda, 2010

Laughed like hell... :D

Having played planetside on and off for several years, I dont really think you can distinguish the multiplayer pay to play side of GA from the sounds of it from planetside, other than to say its new and shiny.

Planetside, you can join outfits to raid with friends, you level up to gain skill points which allow you to gain the proficiency to use different armor and weapon loadouts, and run varying different vehicle's and vehicle loadouts, culminating in the Battle Mech proficiency for getting all the relevant skills and completing the cavern achievements. Hell, as the vanu sovereignty your MAX and mech suits even get jump jets :P

Hmm. If you just listen to the audio, it sounds like an innovative enjoyable game. If you watch the video, however, what you see is a laggy messy clusterfuck.

The game is massively fun, and the lag is all but negligible in reality. Ive enjoyed the beta so far and im sure the finished product will be even better.

Silent but Violent:
Hmm. If you just listen to the audio, it sounds like an innovative enjoyable game. If you watch the video, however, what you see is a laggy messy clusterfuck.

That has more to do with the quality of the video than actual gameplay. I was in the beta and I can safely say that I did not see any lag at all.

For those of you thinking of buying, I've been betaing for awhile and there are a few things I have to say:

- Balance is pretty screwy (combat medics ftw)
- Teamwork plays a big part of winning games
- No head hitboxes (as far as I can tell, they don't have much anti-hacking stuff on it and I saw a forum post that said one of the reasons they got rid of them was to discourage hacking)
- PvE is a grind (although higher level PvE can be quite hard), PvP is easy to jump into at any level and fairly fun
- The skill trees are straight forward and in most cases there is 2 builds per class (1 build per each class-specific tree, 1 tree is shared among all the classes)
- Robotic drone build is way underpowered
- Time to kill is pretty high

Overall, it's a pretty fun game. If you like TF2 and you like guilds I recommend this. However, be warned that there is a pretty low skill cap so after you reach that point it is mainly about communicating with your team and organizing strikes.

So...

Global Agenda = Planet Side ?

Seriously, can people come up with original games anymore? ...come to think of it, probably not. Everything decent has been done already.

This game looks pretty spiffy but I'm not an MMO fan. One day that may change but it won't be this game that does so.

Kiju:
Everything decent has been done already.

That what patent offices said early last century and we know just how incorrect that is. There are plenty of unique ideas floating around and even more still yet to be discovered; you should never say that we've discovered everything that could be considered decent. Especially not in video games!

Kiju:
Everything decent has been done already.

That what patent offices said early last century and we know just how incorrect that is. There are plenty of unique ideas floating around and even more still yet to be discovered; you should never say that we've discovered everything that could be considered decent. Especially not in video games![/quote]

I dunno, I've just gotten to the point where I'm playing games that are like this game, but.

Now, I'm not saying storylines...new storylines can be invented, made, and created indefinitely. However, gameplay wise...well, yeah. Okami plays a lot like Legend of Zelda games; it had a whole different storyline, the equipment was turned into brush powers, platforming and problem solving was pretty much the same, and so on so forth.

I just want to play a game that has unique gameplay elements. Completely unique...that's more of what I meant.

Kiju:

AvsJoe the optimistic dolphin:

Kiju:
Everything decent has been done already.

That what patent offices said early last century and we know just how incorrect that is. There are plenty of unique ideas floating around and even more still yet to be discovered; you should never say that we've discovered everything that could be considered decent. Especially not in video games!

I dunno, I've just gotten to the point where I'm playing games that are like this game, but.

Now, I'm not saying storylines...new storylines can be invented, made, and created indefinitely. However, gameplay wise...well, yeah. Okami plays a lot like Legend of Zelda games; it had a whole different storyline, the equipment was turned into brush powers, platforming and problem solving was pretty much the same, and so on so forth.

I just want to play a game that has unique gameplay elements. Completely unique...that's more of what I meant.

Well, we won't be seeing many video game companies straying too far from the path. Most of them are making a killing right now without taking any real risks and I'm sure more than one would say "If it ain't broke...". Innovations in this industry, especially larger gameplay-related ones, come so slowly and carefully that by the time something unique becomes mainstream it already feels used and commonplace.

If you want to catch real unique gaming you should hit the indie scene. I recommend Alt+Escape under the Escapist's reviews section.

This game has definitely piqued my interest. I'd definitely at least check out a free trial.

paralost:
question though at what point do the developers step in and stop one groups conquest. for instance if one "agency" is made up of hardcore players who just dominate and end up controlling most if not all the territories the AvA has to offer at what point do admins or whomever step in to keep the game fair and still fun. no one is going to want to play on a drastically losing team, you know. or is there something like each faction has one fallback territory that by default cannot be over run? just a thought.

I was wondering about this, myself. If Faction A controls 55% of the territory, Team Omega controls another 40% and Canon Fodder Platoon can only manage to hold on to 5%, where's the incentive to join up with CFP or start my own Agency? Why not sign up with one of the groups that has the monopoly and, well, help them keep it by sheer force of manpower? I admit that I've only played one MMO with guild v. guild mechanics, but on our server, the same guild won every week and the only reason any of my buddies or I could think up to even challenge said guild was, "Because they're assholes and need to be taken down a peg."

I was also wondering about the "balancing" of PvP. Sure, I think balanced gameplay is great and all, but how the game is balanced is important. Does the matchmaking system only allow a certain number of specific classes for each side and try to even out each team's average level? Is the PvP tuned in such a way that a level 3 character could stand as much chance against a level 64 character as a level 70 one would? If so, what's the point in leveling in the first place?

The PvE is another point that's got me curious. When Harris said that PvE featured four-player co-op, did he mean that it only had four-player co-op or could you, say, be out in the Post-Apocalypse Dead Zone, killing T-888's with a friend when some griefer comes over and snipes your mob? When I hear "action MMO" or "MMO shooter," I think of a game with the combat mechanics of Half-Life 2 and the open-world exploration of WoW and, well, every other MMORPG out there. In my mind, it doesn't quite qualify for Massively Multiplayer anything unless you could, theoretically, have 50+ people standing in the same 30 foot radius. Larger-than-average PvP and a level-up system does not an MMORPG make.

A lot of people are getting information wrong here, I've been in beta and joining the early start retail version that launches tonight.

PvE is all instanced, no one can tag your mob etc...AvA, gets harder to control more of the map, hence it balances out, easy to keep one or two hex's, but if you want to control a lot, this takes a lot more organisation and resources.

I know as someone who has played Planetside and WoW for many years that it's hard not to compare (people naturally do), however this feels a lot different.

Someone mentioned a grind, well I found this the least grinding MMO out there, you level from doing basically anything, PvE or PvP. Your able to fight straight from the start of the game in either mode. Once you get to level 30 you have all our skills. It's not like in WoW were a level 30 against a level 70 will be handicapped. Leveling past 30 is just for your character look.

Hi-Rez have done a great job for an iderpendant company, it really feels like (well in beta atleast) they have listerned to players, and designed teh game around them.

I recommend checking it out, it's not everyones cup of tea (I wasn't impressed when a friend described it too me), however it's worth it just to see the different view point the game takes.

I was too late for the beta, but I am in the "Early Start", which is live server playtime for people who purchased the game before release. (We're capped at Level 10, and there's no Conquest (Alliance vs. Alliance) play as of yet.) I'll address comma's questions/comments.

commasplice:
I was wondering about this, myself. If Faction A controls 55% of the territory, Team Omega controls another 40% and Canon Fodder Platoon can only manage to hold on to 5%, where's the incentive to join up with CFP or start my own Agency? Why not sign up with one of the groups that has the monopoly and, well, help them keep it by sheer force of manpower? I admit that I've only played one MMO with guild v. guild mechanics, but on our server, the same guild won every week and the only reason any of my buddies or I could think up to even challenge said guild was, "Because they're assholes and need to be taken down a peg."

First and foremost, GA's Conquest mode is very politically oriented. There are two sets of groups: Agencies (clans/guilds) and Alliances (groups of Agencies working together to some unknown degree, presumably sharing territory and resoures). Just as you can join an Agency at any time, I presume you could get in and out of an Alliance at any time.

It's unlikely that any one Agency would control 50% of the gameworld; defending each hex would require fielding at least 10 players - 10 good players - to play a match and win. (A loss equals loss of that territory.) It is more likely that Alliances would control large swaths of territory.

This is where the backstab element comes in: you can leave or join an Alliance at any time. One hypothetical scenario would be Cannon Fodder somehow manages to sway an Agency of the Faction A alliance to join them, thereby redistributing the power to say Faction A 40%, Team Omega 40%, and Cannon Fodder 20%.

The devs will likely not intervene in Conquest in the sense that they would break up a big Alliance controlling much of the map, but they have the option to open new chunks of territory. To buy territory, you have to bid on it, so economic power is important here. Once you buy it, you then would build a facility on it to exploit it for whatever reason - mining, a factory, etc. In the case of such a large distribution of territory, the devs might decide to open up hexes near Cannon Fodder to better give them the opportunity to grab it.

Even so, controlling a large chunk of territory is very, very difficult. My Agency leader related a story in the beta to me. One particular Agency used a Zerg sort of strategy and captured something on the order of 30 hexes, whereas the next largest Agency had around 20. This "Zerg" Agency had something like 490 members. However, when it came time to defend, they were ill-equipped in both tactics and skills and they got steamrolled. They lost all of their territory in one day because they expanded quickly and had no capability for defense.

So any Alliances or Agencies controlling a huge chunk of territory is really unlikely IMO. I guess we'll find out Tuesday when Conquest goes live.

commasplice:
I was also wondering about the "balancing" of PvP. Sure, I think balanced gameplay is great and all, but how the game is balanced is important. Does the matchmaking system only allow a certain number of specific classes for each side and try to even out each team's average level? Is the PvP tuned in such a way that a level 3 character could stand as much chance against a level 64 character as a level 70 one would? If so, what's the point in leveling in the first place?

The gameplay is a good bit like WoW in that a Level 64 will steamroll a Level 3 because of the level of damage they put out. (Incidentally, the max level is currently 50.) The Level 3 could, in theory, win with better tactics, but its highly unlikely. As you level up you unlock more varied equipment (for instance, a more powerful rifle that has half the range of your default gun). Higher levels can also equip better items. So yes, there is a point to levelling.

commasplice:
The PvE is another point that's got me curious. When Harris said that PvE featured four-player co-op, did he mean that it only had four-player co-op or could you, say, be out in the Post-Apocalypse Dead Zone, killing T-888's with a friend when some griefer comes over and snipes your mob? When I hear "action MMO" or "MMO shooter," I think of a game with the combat mechanics of Half-Life 2 and the open-world exploration of WoW and, well, every other MMORPG out there. In my mind, it doesn't quite qualify for Massively Multiplayer anything unless you could, theoretically, have 50+ people standing in the same 30 foot radius. Larger-than-average PvP and a level-up system does not an MMORPG make.

PvE is instanced. There is no large game world to go running around in. In WoW terms, every single game is a battleground or raid. It's one team against another team; there's no way for a third party to bust their way into your instance.

I think the cap on servers right now is 10v10, but there's talk of raiding Agency bases involving 60 people. Whether this means 60 people in one instances or 6 instances of 10 each, I don't know.

All that said, the game is definitely addicting and fun. The class balance is mostly right, every class has its role (and two distinct builds you can go with), and there's a ton of customization. One of the best bits is that bonuses are not tied to armor but rather implants. Every Level 50 Medic will not look the same; your armor (and its color) are 100% superficial.

As they said in the video, the game is worth the retail price for its standard gameplay alone. Whether Conquest is worth it, well, everyone who buys gets a free month of Conquest play. We'll know Tuesday when it debuts. d:

Ihmhi:
I'll address comma's questions/comments.

Thanks for that. I'm still kind of undecided, though, because, while I am curious, I'm afraid that I'm going to end up paying 50 bucks, upgrading my RAM and buying a new video card just to find out that the grind is more than I'm willing to deal with or that the character hitboxes are screwy and can fuck up gameplay.

I bought this game recently and I almost wish I hadnt. There's no benefit to leveling your character, there's nothing to gain and you miss out on the only decent piece of content if you dont subscribe. Whoever said it was a clusterfuck, you're right, it is. The fact of the matter is that the game has plenty of great concepts and ideas, but none of it played out well enough to see me playing much, if at all.

The BIGGEST eyesore to this game has to be the community. No one even bothers to listen to anyone elses advice and everyone just dicks around in lieu of using legitimate strategy and/or coordination. Granted, a coordinated team can steamroll, but it's no fun when all you do is win with no challenge whatsoever. Team Fortress was addicting because you could dick around and not lose out on anything, whereas Global Agenda almost Penalizes you for making mistakes.

49.99 down the drain. I had some fun, granted, but it's CERTAINLY not for everyone. Wait until they put out a 2-week trial and see if you like it or just wait for the price to come down.

So it's like Tom Clancy's EndWar meets Tabula Rasa. Well, hope it isn't shit like those two.

Cool review. I don't think I'll buy this game, but I probably wasn't the target market anyways (I never drop 50 bucks on a shooter, I'll wait till they come down to 10-20. They're all too similar)

The review seems to make the subscribtion piece look pretty weak, tbh. Maybe it just needed better explanation, but it sounds like the persistent territory is nothing more than a glorified scoreboard backdropping the team vs team gameplay. Unless there is some deeper strategic game going on at that level beyond "let's all log on at 8 and attack X", I really don't see the point.

I think there are still some ideas undeveloped in the MMO world, though we may not yet be technologically there yet to explore them. One is to have a game with a true economy existent in the games cities/towns/planets. Most games have a completely static NPC economy: oggrimar sells the same stuff, offers the same training, a few select NPCs path but in a way that's completely non-player interactive (unless maybe the other faction tries to kill them).

Warhammer inched towards a dynamic city with the concept of city "levels", but it's really just stepped static designs. EVE went the route of making almost the entire economy player driven, which works great where there's a big population, but it leaves large tracks of space boring, static and near empty.

I think there's a place for an MMO with 3-6 factions where a sort of grand RTS AI actually gathers resources, expands outwards and attempts to conquer its enemies, and leads the player characters towards accomplishing these goals by offering dynamic quests against factions it's engaged with. Kind of like Majesty, but in reverse, and made up to an MMO.

 

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