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The Firing Line: Global Agenda year two retrospective

The Firing Line: Global Agenda year two retrospective
Jef Reahard
Jef Reahard|February 3, 2012 6:00 PM
The Firing Line - Global Agenda turns two
You! Yeah, you! You still haven't played Global Agenda, have you? I know, I know, you're going to get around to it, it's on your list, blah blah and etc. While you've been dilly-dallying about, Hi-Rez Studios' sci-fi shooter has gone and turned two years old!

That's OK, though, because the game has more options, more content, and more pew-pew than at any time in its history, and thanks to a gaggle of anniversary events, now is the perfect time to saddle up.

Global Agenda - Dome City ARM logo
Compared to last year, the Global Agenda update train slowed down a little bit. Cynics will tell you that this is because Hi-Rez shifted its focus to Tribes: Ascend, but it's also worth noting that Global Agenda has been a solid game since launch. Not only that, but the updates that did come were substantial.

The 1.4 patch: Free Agent

Although it seems like Global Agenda has been some flavor of free-to-play since forever, it actually became official in April of 2011 with the Free Agent update. Prior to that, accessing all of the game's content required you to purchase the downloadable client (or the retail box) for a one-time fee, while trial accounts were level-capped but featured an unlimited expiration date.

Free Agent removed the leveling restriction, opened up access to all of the game's content, and allowed players to earn all of the game's items without spending real-world money. Hi-Rez also introduced the Elite Agent package with the 1.4 patch; it granted end-of-mission XP, credit, and token bonuses for the folks who ponied up for 10-, 30-, or 90-day account boosters.

The boosters offered a chance at elite mission loot, the ability to choose game types when queuing for mercenary PvP, access to GA's auction house and mail systems, and a few other quality-of-life features.

The Free Agent patch also updated Global Agenda's gameplay by introducing Dome City defense raids for agents at level 40 or above as well as a number of tweaks to the demolition/acquisition mercenary game type and a balance pass on each class's skill tree.

Global Agenda - Skyward Jetpacks
The 1.44 patch

While there weren't a lot of game-changers in this particular update, it's worth mentioning because of the introduction of two new in-game shops. First up was Burning Fashion, an extremely loud clothing and accessory store that replaced Carter's and serves as GA's primary flair-dispensing vendor.

Also new with 1.44 was the Skyward Jetpacks store, and I mention it here because despite playing Global Agenda for weeks on end over the summer, I didn't even know about this place until just recently. Getting to it requires that you have your jetpack equipped while in Dome City (which in turn requires that your account have one of the aforementioned 10-, 30-, or 90-day boosters active).

Once you've got that, head straight up and you'll see a platform located waaaaay up in the rafters of Dome City's upper deck. Skyward sells jetpacks and jetpack trails as well as a spiffy set of aviator helmet-and-goggles that I had to have.

Global Agenda - North Sonoran desert
The 1.5 patch: Recursive Colony

Hi-Rez hunkered down after Free Agent, and though there were several balance- and bug-related patches over the summer, Global Agenda didn't see another major update until September.

The Recursive Colony expansion -- the game's first -- featured a new open zone filled with PvE content, new PvP maps, daily repeatable quests, new tutorials, and various convenience enhancements involving chat functionality and the game's UI. The new North Sonora zone offered an alternative leveling path for players who wanted a bit more MMO and a bit less merc PvP, and the devs even added a story-driven progression path as icing on the cake.

PvP wasn't forgotten, though, as the Push Dust and Colony Caverns maps debuted in the merc queue rotation.

Global Agenda - Hall of legends
Anniversary celebration

As I mentioned earlier, Global Agenda is two years old, and Hi-Rez is indulging in some traditional MMO anniversary giveaway shenanigans. First up is the opportunity to earn a Switchblade mini pet who will follow you around Dome City and generally annoy your fellow players with his whirring and warbling. Getting one is as easy as winning one instanced PvE or PvP mission before February 6th (that's this Monday if you're counting at home). Once you notch a victory, you'll have to wait up to 24 hours for the pet deed to show up in your in-game mailbox, so don't panic if you don't get it right away.

There's a also a 6v6 PvP tourney that features exclusive rewards for both participants and winners, and Burning Fashion boasts an extensive back catalogue of flair items available for purchase using in-game tokens or Hi-Rez cash shop currency.

And that's all she wrote for Global Agenda's birthday roundup. If you haven't checked it out yet, and you're in the mood for a lobby-based team shooter with some interesting MMO progression elements, you won't be disappointed.

The Firing Line's Jef Reahard has a twitchy trigger finger, a love of online shooters, and an uncanny resemblance to Malcolm Reynolds. OK, maybe not, but at least if he ever kills you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing him, and you'll be armed.
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