When you get outside the combat, however, things aren't as solid. The game relies on an item system to give players more versatility outside of their skills. Both your weapon and armor can be slotted with modificaitons, which are created through the game's crafting system. Crafting takes on two forms: PvE crafting and Conquest crafting.
PvE crafting uses items dropped from the PvE missions, while Conquest crafting uses blueprints created from labs your alliance sets up on the Conquest map. Conquest crafting is, of course, much more difficult as you need mines and factories, both of which require your alliance to own hexes on the Conquest map. That requires you to win a mission against another alliance and steal land... something alliances don't like to give up easily.
While Conquest itself is fun and the concept of using real people as soldiers in a giant war is a fun take on the RTS, the rewards are muddled. Crafting feels bolted on, especially as it's hard to get parts for basic recipes in the PvE missions. Modifications aren't required, as good skill can easily trump a decked out character. Plus, you need to start with the low level crafting recipes, as crafting levels up much like traditional MMO crafting. Higher level modifications can't be produced until your crafting skill hits a certain threshold.
The levels fall into the same trap as well. Each even level gives you a skill point, which allows you to take your character down into a more specialized role. This, in short, is awesome. I like being a sneaky recon, and I can use my points to make my sword stronger, my bombs go off cooldown faster, and just do better at the things I like doing. Each odd level gives you a new device, such as a new gun or a new skill to use in combat. However, the upgrades stop flowing at 30 while the game's cap is 50. Post level 30, the only new rewards are the ability to buy new armor designs in the armor shop. While the armor designs are quite badass, the post level 30 grind feels empty.
Lastly, the game's only social area is Dome City. Dome City is well detailed, it feels a little empty. The jetpack store, hair and face modification store, and various other buildings in the city are currently shuttered until later updates. You also can't visit territory you own on the Conquest map unless you're in battle, so don't expect to be able to customize your facilities currently. You'll be in Dome City, commanding the battle on a 2-D map of hexagons.
Is Global Agenda worth buying? Yes. Easily yes. The game is built on the combat and the combat shines. Even better, the combat is the "free" part of the game, meaning you can play it to your heart's content without a subscription.
Is it worth the subscription currently? No. Not yet. Conquest is fun and inventive, but it's lacking. The items feel tacked on to the battle system and there's not enough in Conquest to keep people sticking around. Conquest battles certainly feature a more epic scope, as they let agencies (guilds) bring in vehicles and other mechanical tricks to defend or attack territory, but they don't have staying power. I don't feel the pull to really own a hex.
However, the game is built on a solid core with great graphics and animation. With a few updates to the subscription aspect of the game and a few new features, Global Agenda would be a great subscription game. It just needs those added incentives to get me to want to pay my money. (And I would be amiss if I didn't say that Global Agenda has a very, very reasonable subscription fee -- 10 dollars a month.)
Global Agenda is going to be a game that goes somewhere. Hi-Rez seems very committed to adding more to this game, and that's exactly what it needs. It's already a brilliant game of instant gratification; a game that you could easily play along with all your other MMOs and still feel accomplished. You jump in, queue up a match, and you're playing. The match finishes and you can see your experience gained and money earned and you feel like you did something, even if you lost. That's the mark of a fun game -- when it's fun even when you get thwarted. But when more incentive to stick around is added, then it's going to shine.
So if you like shooters, like Team Fortress 2, or have been looking for a more action-based game to get into, you'll want to pick this title up. Don't worry about the subscription fee. Play the core of the game and if you want more, subscribe. If you don't want more, then don't. It's a great hybrid system for a fun hybrid game.