Global Agenda: Three months down, and the best is yet to come

Seraphina Brennan
S. Brennan|05.04.10

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Global Agenda: Three months down, and the best is yet to come
It's been three months since Global Agenda appeared in the thick of the MMO scene, presenting a new way to look at MMO games that many people just didn't agree with. As the debates on its MMO-ness rose, the game seemed to be lost in the thick of things. Everyone was too busy complaining about the 10 vs. 10 battles to actually play those same 10 vs. 10 battles.

But much has happened in Global Agenda in three months, and we're not going to let the game go unnoticed! Already the game has seen two large patches with a third huge patch en-route, the company has stood staunchly by not charging the player base until the game was "worthy of your subscription," and the community is still enjoying the content provided by the game.

So come along with us as we look at what's happened with Global Agenda, where the game stands now, and what highly-requested features lurk on the horizon. *cough*50 player PvE/PvP zone.*cough*
Patch 1.1 -- The crafter's dream patch

When the game first launched, one of our strongest pieces of negative feedback on the game had to deal with the crafting system. The system relied on rare drops for almost all of the craftable upgrades, the upgrades themselves were confusing, and any crafted upgrades would eventually wear out over time and break, requiring you to re-make the item. Even worse, all of the blueprints that created items worked on a lottery system -- you never knew what exactly you were going to create.

Luckily, the Global Agenda devs listened to the player feedback and quickly overhauled the system in less than a month, offering a new system with a much more understandable structure. Instead of having one blueprint that created a random item, they broke blueprints up into specific items. So if you wanted to add range to your weapon, no longer did you have to hope that you'd get an item, you could now easily craft it and find it in the auction house.

Even better, metal plates, the notorious "common rare drop" of PvE missions (and the drop that effectively controlled crafting) had their drop rate doubled. Repair kits were also added, so items wouldn't break and be lost forever. In short, many of the main problems in crafting were fixed in one fell swoop.

Beyond that, PvP players re-inherited the ability to choose what match types they wanted to play, an ability that was available in beta but pulled out shortly before launch due to worries on queue times. An in-game friends/ignore list was also added, allowing players to stay in-contact in the game without having to rely on Steam.

Patch 1.2 -- Arenas! (And Alliance vs. Alliance updates)

No, I'm not having flashbacks of the old G4TV show. Patch 1.2 had some big upgrades in it as well, including the addition of "Arena" mode and two new maps created especially for four vs. four teams. These maps play quite differently, as the Massively Mob found out last week during our Global Agenda night. They're tight spaces, they promote using your jetpack to get an advantage, and in the case of "the well," you need your jetpack just to move around the place.

The other huge change was the introduction of two new maps for alliance versus alliance play (no facility and defensive bases) and the option to steal from a territory, locking it down and rendering it useless for 15 minutes while you collect the territory's resources. Theft allowed players to attack at territories without flipping them, garnering fast resources without expanding their own territory and putting the agency at risk.

This patch also saw the first two zones that were fully conquered by an alliance. The "I" Alliance were the first to do so, conquering the zone of Citadel by controlling every hex on the map. Soon after, the "JL" alliance conquered the Warlord map by constructing the zone's massive forge structure, resulting in an instant victory.

Where does the game stand now?

Last week's Global Agenda event was fun, but a little lonely. As the months have passed, the game doesn't seem nearly as active as it once was in the first month or so. The Arena queue was barren -- no other teams were signing up to play the Arena outside of the Massively Mob squads.

As the zones were conquered, new Alliance versus Alliance maps have gone up in their stay. Agencies still seem active here, as they battle it out for domination over the persistent maps. As always, strategy and knowing where to strike is key, in addition to building the right items and facilities to attack and defend territory.

Lastly, the PvE seems to be a little more barren as well, but the game itself is still interesting for those who like dungeon crawlers. Struggling through the high and maximum security missions is still a great time, requiring teamwork and the appropriate loadouts to conquer the onslaught of enemies and the end boss.

But it seems like the entire community is holding its breath... all awaiting what lies around the corner.

The Sandstorm looms on the horizon...

Patch 1.3, arguably the game's "big patch of awesome," is the Sandstorm. Sandstorm doesn't just seek to add new content -- it seeks to revamp some of the game's systems from the ground up.

The biggest change is the introduction of the persistent PvE zones -- not just one, but two new adventuring areas each holding a large amount of people. These new zones will give solo players a way to enjoy the game, and offer the ability to enjoy large open areas with quest givers, if that's your thing. The initial zones will be opened outside the Commonwealth for high level players, and outside of Dome City for low level players.

With that change comes a big change to the game's weapon and armor system. All weapons and armor will now carry statistics, much like the game's MMO bretheren. These new weapons and things will be dropped during missions, can be manufactured in AvA combat, and can also be purchased with PvE tokens gained from completing missions. The designers still stress that the weapons come down to skill and not stats when they're used, but having the statistics will provide more customization for how your character works.

Speaking of weapons, brand new items will be added to the game, like dual swords, flame turrets, combat jetpacks, and more. These items do not offer more "power," but instead offer different ways to attack and move. Don't expect these new toys to be available off the bat, however, as you'll need a level 30 character to use any of them.

And, for those of you who wanted more players in PvP, the 64 player warzones will be introduced in that patch as well. Hi-Rez is looking to see if they can jam more people into the room without destroying their Unreal servers, so that number may change before the release of the patch.

Lastly, 10 person PvE "instances" are being introduced, with the first one being a Dome City defensive mission. Now you can take 10 people into PvE instead of four people, because we all know that having 10 recons is way better than a balanced team of people. (Editor's Note: 10 recons is a crazy bad team design. So bad that you should feel bad.)

Global Agenda has already seen many updates that have made players enjoy the game, but the best is yet to come. If you haven't given the game a try yet, there's a free trial available now over at their website. The Sandstorm overtakes the horizon sometime in May, so keep an eye to Massively for all of the latest patch 1.3 information, and our impressions of the new content.
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