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Massively Exclusive: Global Agenda's Todd Harris talks 1.39 to 1.5

Jef Reahard

Massively's got its share of sci-fi shooter freaks on staff, so we jumped at the chance for a virtual sit-down with Hi-Rez Studios producer Todd Harris. Big things are on the horizon for the Atlanta-based indie developer, and no, we're not just talking about Tribes Universe.

Global Agenda is soldiering right along, adding PvP and PvE content to satiate the ravenous trigger-happy hordes of super agents that clutter the plasteel and concrete walkways of Dome City. The latest content drop takes the form of version 1.39, a new patch currently in testing and coming to a live server near you sooner rather than later.

Join us after to cut as we chat about 1.39 and beyond, including new Mercenary PvP maps, PvE content, rewards, and in-game event listings.

Massively: What kind of format are we looking at for the in-game news events? Ticker on a vid-screen, system message, something else?

Todd Harris: We are presenting in-game news and updates with text that slowly scrolls up the screen vertically -- similar to the way ending credits roll for a movie or game. In version 1.39 there are actually two new areas that will present in-game updates to players. The first is a new vendor in the Dome City center called Global News. Players can visit this location to learn about upcoming events, contests, or item additions.

The second new area within Dome City is the Hall of Legends. The Hall of Legends uses the same scrolling text presentation but it highlights player accomplishments instead of game events. Initially the Hall of Legends will list past season winners of AvA. But the system is very flexible so we can highlight additional player accomplishments in the future.

Can you detail the new Merc maps? Are there some of each type (i.e. Control, Breach, etc.)?

Our most popular Merc game types are Breach and Payload and with version 1.39 we update each of those modes with some new content. The new Payload map is called Toxicity. It is a push-style map in a very hostile environment. There are plenty of ledges and girders spanning green, toxic goo and you need to look high and low when seeking out the enemy because of all the open vertical space.

Breach gets two new maps. Volcano Assault is exactly what it sounds like. A fairly straightforward three-point progressive map, but also with environmental hazards. Knock your opponent into the molten pools to see a very satisfying gush of lava particles! Himalayan Point is actually based on a very early Global Agenda map that our dev team play-tested often and even featured in some of our early videos but never released. It features scenic outdoor areas, east Asian architecture and a few always popular Buddha statues. Last weekend on the Public Test Server this map supported some great battles.

Crusty the SnowmanWhat kinds of Christmas flair are we looking at? Along the same lines, it seems like the Horus and Anubis helm events this week got a lot of players into Merc PvP (or at least, there was a lot of talk about it in the city chat). Any plans to do more events like this?

Yep. We gave out the Horus and Anubis helms to try out event-based prestige rewards and those were very popular. They did prompt community discussion in city chat and most importantly, we saw high player interest and activity toward earning those items.

So, for December we are planning similar challenges on even a bigger scale. With the 12 Drops of Christmas we'll give players a new in-game challenge every few days. It is cold outside this time of year anyway so why not spend your holidays in Global Agenda, right?! Each successful challenge earns the player a unique piece of holiday flair. The art team did an amazing job with these new pieces -- they are really exaggerated, completely over the top, and hilarious to see in game. Check out Crusty The Snowman! We'll do 12 different challenges from mid December to mid January and if a player earns all 12 they'll get a bonus 13th item -- the coveted Abominable Snowman head -- which is a studio favorite!

Can we get some details on the new Merc rewards?

In our October 1.38 patch we introduced some new player items as rare drops from commonwealth elites in PvE. With this 1.39 version we make versions of those weapons, same stats but with different names, available as rare drops from Merc PvP as well.

In addition with this version we introduce the new line of prototype Crescent jetpacks as rare drops exclusively from Merc PvP. The new jetpacks have a different look, different visual effect, use slightly less power and have slightly greater acceleration. They feel great to use in combat and they are tradeable and auctionable so non-PvP players also have path toward acquiring them.

Can you give us a preview of the DLC that is coming after 1.39?

Yep. Version 1.5 is the next planned major update. It is a DLC primarily themed around the Recursive Colony -- a faction of self-replicating robots that functions like an electronic insect colony. In Sandstorm players were introduced to the Colony as a scavenging minor threat, but in this DLC the robotic hive has become a lot more aggressive. In one Ultra-Max difficulty defense raid mission there are now Recursive Colony bots attacking an instanced version of Dome City itself.

The vendor shops are boarded up and the Dome walls are being smashed open by the invading swarm. Your group of 10 players fights alongside the hero NPC Dalton Bancroft in defending this dome and I'd say it is our most intensely challenging, and fun, Global Agenda mission to date. That is just one part of the update that is planned to include more open zone PvE quests, new PvP content, AvA enhancements, as well as our first offensive raid where 10 players infiltrate and assault a queen node of the Recursive Colony.

Sounds great, thanks for your time.

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