SOE's been fine-tuning The Agency to be on par with other first-person shooters on the market that players already love. This doesn't mean they're losing the RPG layer of the game; on the contrary, the RPG elements define your character, from the clothes you wear to the talents you pick to the gadgets you wield. "You are what you wear," Josh promised.
Today, the team was demonstrating the PvP side of the game. It's certainly not the core of The Agency's content, but SOE wants future players to know that it exists and how it differs from other FPS PvP systems.
Perhaps the most significant element of The Agency's PvP is that you can take whatever you find from the PvE side into your battles with other players, and vice versa. Josh demonstrated a Recon character (Recon is one of the five basic roles to choose from, along with Commander, Assault, Suppressor and Gadgeteer) who had progressed a bit in the PvE side of the game, and was now entering into PvP arenas. Recons have access to small arms, but can -- like this character -- unlock sniper rifles, which are then usable in a PvP environment.
We ran by some characters wearing backpacks, who, as Josh noted, were Commanders. A character's visible gear is not just cosmetic, it appears, but vital to figuring out the roles and abilities of your enemy.
As you level up, you're granted access to more and more types of gear, which is where strategic builds become important. You can only take so many items with you into combat, so finding the right load-out of weapons, gadgets and outfits is vital to your mission's success. Fortunately, you can create multiple load-outs before the fight and can swap between them if one build isn't quite working for you.
Gear is vital for another reason, and that's because it allows you access to your role's iconic ability. Each role has an ability that no other role possesses, and for the Recon it's being able to paint targets. Interestingly enough, when he does this, targets are lit up on both the Recob's radar as well as that of his entire team. As the Recon continues to paint targets, he can build up resources to use a gadget called Oracle Vision, which allows him and his team to see enemies through walls. Not too shabby, and a good reason to become best friends with a Recon player for your squad!
Another great ability to have is the Hotfoot Tactical Insertion Flare, which allows you to teleport directly to one of your teammate's locations. Rapid backup is only a key click away!
We got to observe first-hand one of the Assault PvP modes, in which one team goes on the offense and attempts to capture a certain number of strategic locations, while the other team plays defense and wins if they can effectively deny the attackers. On this map, a Recon is an invaluable defender, holding off attackers with his sniper rifle while teleporting to hot spots when friends are under fire.
SOE wasn't prepared to share all of the PvP modes that will be implemented into The Agency
, although Josh did say that team elimination and other expected PvP modes will be present. PvP offers some of the better loot in the game, which should be a powerful incentive to participate.The Agency
has a pretty cool injury system, where downed players aren't automatically killed, but has a chance for revival if a teammate gets to them before the enemy double-taps their noggin. In this case, being able to teleport directly to an injured buddy makes the Recon a literal lifesaver.