Lest you fear that people will begin permanently ventilating everyone with a gun the size of a Volvo, there is a counterbalance: weapons degrade with time, meaning that your epic gun will slowly lower itself down to the level of a common equivalent. This means they have to be constantly repaired in order to keep them in fighting trim. Armor is simpler, with the seven armor slots (Head, Shoulders, Chest, Arms, Hands, Legs, Feet) adding to your health and making you that much harder to kill.
"Skilled players can still chew down their opponents even if they have worse equipment."
It's worth noting that Suits and Helmets are what determine your appearance, not Armor. So you can still look like you want and get all the benefits of excellent armor. It's also worth noting that all players will get a thousand credits per level once the patch goes live in order to purchase their new weapons, with the old guns being removed unceremoniously.
Upgrades are also being done away with, replaced with Mods to both armor and weapons that can be crafted via purchased blueprints. Blueprints are no longer drops from PvE missions, but the materials used to craft the mods are
rewarded from said missions. In addition, the mods come in four tiers of quality -- and ten points for you if you can figure out what they are. Any existing upgrades in storage will be replaced with Mods according to a fairly straightforward formula, allowing you to retain the gist of what you had before.
"But what about those tokens you mentioned?" Conquest and Mercenary tokens will be earned via participating in AvA in an Agency that owns a hex as well as through missions. Subscribers get a benefit here, earning 20 Mercenary and 4 Conquest tokens automatically every day whether or not they earn additional tokens. They can also hold 400 Mercenary and 200 Conquest tokens at once. This is in opposition to non-subscribers, who can only earn their tokens and are limited to 200 and 100 Mercenary and Conquest tokens, respectively.
In addition, there are UI improvements, a number of new weapons in each category for each class (generally trading burst damage for sustained damage), and the addition of the emote system.
So what's the upshot of all of this? The changes are a massive
overhaul to the game, above and beyond even the prior patches (which themselves were huge). Global Agenda
has traditionally been very starkly immune to any sort of problems of ascending gear, but the addition of tiered weapons and armor does limit that... to an extent. It's unknown how fast weapon degradation occurs, but from the sound of it it's aimed at counterbalancing the higher stats rather aggressively. An epic gun is only going to be good for so long, and most likely if you're spraying fire everywhere and not hitting anything, it's going to be back to normal stats pretty quick.
Put more simply, it looks like the benefits are going to affect the start of matchups, not the end. Skilled players can still chew down their opponents even if they have worse equipment. The addition of vendors for the new equipment and multiple routes of purchase mean that it's unlikely players will be stuck in a gear grind for any substantial length of time.
's patch 1.3 is taking aim at the people who have argued from launch that the game isn't an MMO -- it is, and it's become even more like one with these changes. The fact that it has a balanced, equitable, and challenging system at its core makes it all the more satisfying in a persistent world. Fans and new players alike should find things to excite them with these extensive additions to the game, even more so when the small aspects cut from the patch start working their way into the game world.