For me, the selling point of MMOs is the huge, open world; a world full of other actual human beings who I can interact with and who can interact with me (almost like real life!). So when I snuck in some time with The Agency
at Sony Online Entertainment's E3 booth this year, it was hard for me to shake the feeling that I was playing an Unreal Tournament-style, Ijji.com
shooter (one powered by a modified Unreal Engine 3, no less) rather than an MMO. Sure, the Deathmatch trappings of my demo didn't help, but neither did lead designer Rory McGuire's explanation of how the game's Player vs Player works.
Essentially, interactions with other players are instanced into online multiplayer matches (30 players max), as seen here
. The results of these battles are said to be reflected in the game's hub world -- locations can be taken by "U.N.I.T.E." or "Paragon" in multiplayer and those locations will show up as belonging to one of the game's two factions. From what I played, however, I'm not confident that what I've come to expect from an MMO -- the feeling of being in one huge world with other human beings -- is present in The Agency