Todd Harris: Definitely. We're planning quite a few events for our anniversary month. For the competitive PvP crowd, we're sponsoring the first online tournament for Global Agenda. Team signup, brackets, and tournament coordination will be provided by the website AgendaStats.com. And within the game we'll give exclusive items to all tournament participants as well as in-game rewards for the winning teams. Details will be announced soon, but we are expecting to kick off this event mid-February.
February will also be a chance to "Make Your Mark on Global Agenda" starting [today]! All players who win 50 Mercenary missions and/or Defensive Raids this month will receive the Limited Edition Matrix Dye. The 500 players who win the most of these qualifying missions will have their character names permanently inscribed on a wall within Virtual Reality Arena. And the top 25 will have their names visible within Dome City itself -- not just at the news vendor but permanently within the Dome City environment. So, if you ever wanted to see your character name within a persistent world, you can play your way toward this goal in February and we'll put your name within Global Agenda when we deliver version 1.4.
How's the work on 1.5 coming along? Any idea on a potential release window for the new Dome Defense stuff? The new offensive raid?
We made the decision to delay the 1.5 paid expansion in order to release a free 1.4 update sooner. Version 1.4 will include the new Dome Defense mission, a new PvP map, some AvA adjustments, new rewards including recognition for those anniversary challenges, and of course, some bug-fixes and balance adjustments. We expect to have an early cut of version 1.4 playable on the public test server soon.
How about Hi-Rez itself -- what's new with the company at the one-year mark? Are you in a different place than you thought you'd be due to Tribes or Global Agenda's performance?
Actually we are literally in a different place because we moved the studio just last month. We moved into a larger studio space because we are now advancing three projects -- Global Agenda, the Tribes project, and a new unannounced game. So as a company Hi-Rez Studios is pleased with Global Agenda, and based upon that project, continuing to expand in new directions.
Global Agenda was the subject of some pretty awesome Steam holiday discounts last month, and a fair number of new players seemed to be clogging up the city chat as a result. Are there any plans to expand on those types of promotions or advertise GA to gamers who may not be aware of it (or who may not have been interested in MMOs)?
Yes. In fact, to celebrate Global Agenda's anniversary, we are running another major week-long sale starting Tuesday, February 1st (today!).
Similar discounts over the holidays brought in over 20,000 new Global Agenda players in that single week. And of course, we are pleased to see the GA community continue to grow.
As you know, last year we greatly expanded the scope of Global Agenda -- adding the introductory OpenZone experience to help train people for the instanced squad-based PvP and PvE. At the same time we eliminated any burden of subscription. So heading into year #2 we feel GA is a great value for anyone who enjoys squad-based combat, whether those gamers come from an MMO background or shooter background.
What is the team most excited about with regard to GA in 2011?
Well, rather then try to summarize the entire upcoming year, I'll speak to the next month. One top item is the potential for competitive tournament play within GA. Global Agenda is such a team-based game that we're interested in seeing what team compositions and tactics develop in tournament play.
Secondly, our dev team is excited to play the new Dome Defense mission with the community in the coming weeks. Dome Defense is my favorite experience to date within Global Agenda. The vendor shops are boarded up, Recursive Colony bots are smashing thru the Dome City walls, and epic Juggernaut bosses are launching projectile AoE attacks toward Bancroft while you fight alongside him.
Beating the mission requires 10 high level players who are individually very good but also tightly coordinated. In fact, no offense to our in-house testing team, but we often fail to complete the thing! Our plan is to put this mission on the Public Test Server soon, while some elements are still rough, so our Dev Team can play alongside our best players and see what strategies emerge as they try to beat it.
Looking forward to it! Thanks very much, Todd.