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MMOFPS | Genre:Sci-Fi | Status:Final  (rel 02/01/10)  | Pub:Hi-Rez Studios
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Top Three Questions about Global Agenda…. Answered!

Todd Harris, the Executive Producer for Global Agenda, has provided us with this developer journal in which he answers three of the most commonly asked questions about their upcoming MMO.

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Question #1: Is Global Agenda an MMOFPS, MMORPG, or MMORTS?

Well… yes. Global Agenda is an Action MMO that incorporates elements from each of these game-types, but also some important differences.

Global Agenda has elements of an FPS because our in-mission game play is very action-oriented and as fluid as a multiplayer online shooter.

  • Global Agenda is technically a third person shooter. Your character jetpacks to rooftops, grapples onto ledges, engages in melee combat, and darts behind cover to evade rocket fire and we've implemented a third-person camera to provide players the best view of their surroundings.
  • We've taken inspiration from many modern shooters, but at the same time we intend combat to be more than just a twitchy shooter death-match. Due to our very distinct player classes and other game mechanics, our combat is not decided simply by who has the fastest reflexes. It is more about positioning, team cooperation, and using the appropriate device and counter at the appropriate time.
  • Tactics are more important than twitch.

Global Agenda has elements of an RPG because your character does progress and unlock new skills and gear over time.

  • We offer four very distinct but broad player classes and a large set of usable device types including ranged weapons, close-combat weapons, stealth & deception devices, remote controlled robotic pets, turrets, force fields, and many, many more.
  • Your character earns credit with NPC factions by doing missions and acquires a more powerful and diverse collection of gear over time.
  • However, we are definitely not an exploration-focused game, nor heavy on quest dialog, nor a game where grinding content will allow you to easily defeat those of a lower character level. To us 'playing a role' pertains to the role you carve out for yourself on your mission strike team and your player-created Agency. We do not expect the player to simply act out a role via scripted story missions.
  • provide the context but players drive the story.

Finally, Global Agenda has some elements of an RTS/strategy game based upon our episodic Campaigns.

  • Our Campaigns give agencies the opportunity to actually gain territory, construct facilities, produce or steal resources, and compete in an approximately 45 day competition to construct a protected complex for your allies before your rivals do.
  • Within Global Agenda some groups, the best groups, will make history by winning Campaigns.

In this way, your character actions and contributions affect the outcome of a single mission (like an FPS), your character career (like an RPG), and your agency's long-term Campaign goals (like a strategy game).

Global Agenda Screenshot

Question #2 – Is Global Agenda a persistent world?

Yes. Global Agenda is very much a persistent world:

  • GA has persistent characters, skills, stats, gear, achievements, and more.
  • GA has territories that agencies and alliances own, build and fight over
  • GA has PvE content that is linked with our overall game play
  • GA has long term Win conditions
  • GA has vendors and equipment of varying qualities that players can acquire
  • GA has character customization, progression, and levelling
  • GA has an immersive, integrated environment, with multiple NPC factions and exotic cities
  • GA has player-driven politics, wars, betrayals, and diplomacy
  • GA has a single world within which players interact and progress

Global Agenda Screenshot

Question #3 – Is Global Agenda instanced or an open world?

This is a bit of a trick question because all MMOs are instanced to some extent.

  • From a technical standpoint if too many players are in the same area, in any MMO, the performance will be unacceptable and game play will suffer. Period. So, every game with characters segments the population to prevent or minimize this condition from occurring. The real question is the specific number of characters each game allows within an area, how big those areas are, and how the player population is segmented.
  • With most MMOs the player is forced to choose a named server (essentially one really big instance) when creating a character. One consequence of this is that it can be difficult (sometimes impossible) to play with your friends who created characters on different servers. From a status standpoint it also segments the population so you can never be best in the world, just best on your server. We take a different approach because in Global Agenda we plan to have one single server per geographic market (i.e. North America, or Europe, etc.) but beyond that we do not artificially divide the player population by forcing players to choose server.
  • In addition to choosing a named server, many MMOs use instances when they want to limit the number of players for balance and gameplay reasons aside from any technical constraints. For example – dungeon raid PvE instances or PvP battlegrounds typically have limits on the player count per side.
  • So, when people ask about "instances", they are usually really interested in to what extent there are large areas that simulate an open world with many players around. These players may enjoy the combat feel of giant maps and large teams, or enjoy exploring a large, seamless outdoor area. In Global Agenda we do offer large city spaces and other social areas where you interact with other many players and NPCs.
  • For combat however, we do not intent to support giant, seamless maps with hundreds of players. There are both technical and game play issues in trying to support that type of game play. Our goal was to provide a more intimate, mission-based, strike-team experience and all our game fiction, weapon distances & strengths, and travel powers are designed to support that goal. Wars are no longer fought with massive armies, tanks and fighter planes. In our future, elite teams of special agents are outfitted with advanced technology and shuttled around the world on sub-orbital dropships. Our agents do not walk to work across an open world nor travel across fields on horseback. Some other games have focused on large maps and the logistics of transporting large teams from place to place and there is an audience for such a game. But that is not Global Agenda.
  • Our player agents operate primarily within mission instances, working tightly with one another and using a variety of devices and tactics; in the same way television agents within Mission Impossible or 24 operate within mission instances. And, in the same way a TV or film director uses tight camera angles to maximize impact on the viewer, we use instances to maximize impact and contribution of each Global Agenda player.
  • We do support conflict and coordination across very large groups of players and toward a prominent end goal. Global Agenda Base Raids involves larger groups of about 60 players per side, but with each side divided into multiple strike teams. These strike teams fight in separate map locations, but played simultaneously and linked to one another in real-time. For example, if my strike team is able to "Disable the Generator" (Objective 1), that can benefit another strike team attempting to "Breach Base Defenses" (Objective 2), even if we are in different maps. Thus, organized teams formulate cross-mission strategy to complement their in-mission tactics.
  • We have found Campaigns to be a great way to deliver epic conflicts that involve many, many player agents, over a multiple month timeframe, but at the same time not letting battles devolve into a zerg-fest or, at the opposite extreme, have some player sitting around bored out of his mind defending an objective on a large map with no enemies in sight. Each of our maps is designed around specific objectives, with map size tuned to the player population, so you'll rarely be very far from the action.

In conclusion, within Global Agenda, the battles are instanced, but the War is persistent and massive.

Global Agenda Screenshot

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