For months, Hi-Rez Studios has been quiet on what we can expect from the Global Agenda end game. Until now. We spoke to Executive Producer Todd Harris who gave us a taste of how their planned “Agency vs. Agency” (AvA) campaign end-game is going to work.
Unlike many competitors that organize players into pre-developed factions, Global Agenda lets player Agencies (their equivalent to guilds) drive the action in an end-game that evokes elements of everything from Counterstrike to EVE Online.
“[We wanted] a gameplay style that would be more emergent, as far as the politics that come into play,” explained Harris. “We thoughts the community would enjoy the shifting alliances, diplomacy and backstabbing that come from that.”
At a high level, this end-game revolves around territory control, resource management and a dynamic, player driven war over that territory and those resources.
The game will feature a series of HEX Maps. These are collections of instances linked together in a group of roughly 100 or more per map. At the map level, players will be able to see which guild controls each area, what is in that area in terms of resources, and what structures await them.
There will be multiple HEX Maps for players and guilds to fight over, each with its own engagement rules. This largely divides players by how hardcore they want to be about the entire enterprise.
For example, one map might have a daily window of eight hours in which enemies can attack new territory. Another map might just be open to attack for an hour a day. The idea being that players will self-select based on their own guild, the timezones they live in, when they generally play and how much time they want to put into the Agency vs. Agency meta-game.
The advantages to controlling territory are many for the guild. Harris wouldn’t go too deep into it, but generally they want guilds to fight to control specific building types, each of which will provide them with some kind of resources. How exactly this all works, he wouldn’t say, but he made it clear these are areas they’ll want.
There are also strategic reasons to capture territory on behalf of your guild or alliance. For example, say an enemy guild is a few zones a head. You can parachute in during the open period and make an attack, but there are distinct disadvantages to going deep into enemy territory. On the other hand, if your guild/alliance controls the adjacent zones, there will be inherit advantages.
“Currently you can attack anywhere, but the way buffs stack up, you’re definitely at an advantage when you’re attacking from a supported position,” he said.
Each zone in the map is, as I mentioned, an individual instance. These are aimed at what they call a “Strike Force,” which is a group of about 8 to 12 people. To capture the average factory, lab or piece of territory, a StrikeForce is all that’s needed.
To initiate an attack, a Strike Force bids on the attack during the open window. This is to prevent one area from being constantly bombarded or a guild being forced to actually fend off multiple raids at the same time. Whoever has the highest bid (a money sink in the game) then enters the instance in a Strike Force vs. Strike Force PvP scenario.
The defending Agency, who should be aware that their HEX Board is open to attack, gets a brief window to assemble a defense and then the 12 vs. 12 encounter begins. The winner of the encounter then takes control of the area.
There are also larger encounters. These are base raids. Guilds can control large bases that provide defensive advantages to adjacent hex tiles and a base of operations for their guild.
To take these on, an attacking guild needs to form a Raid Group. This is a collection of six Strike Forces, and a maximum of 60 players per side.
When the winning bid is accepted during the attack window, again the defending Agency gets some time to get players together. If they don’t have enough online, they can always recruit players from within their alliance, or turn to the game’s mercenary system.
The mercenary system is an extension on a traditional looking for group system. It allows individual players who have no stake on either side of the encounter to put themselves up for bid. They literally list that they’re looking to do some AvA and the Agencies can literally pay them to be on their team. True cutthroats, although exactly how much they’re paid, who decides and how bidding works, Harris wouldn’t yet share.
Once both sides are ready to go, they enter into a scenario that may be the first of its kind in an online game.
“There are actually multiple instances involved that are linked together in real time and the raid leader is doing the coordination of that,” explained Harris.
Each team has one Raid Leader with six Strike Forces under their command. Each Strike Force has a leader as well. The Raid Leader has access to a map and can decide who is in each group, allocating resources to important encounters and moving personnel around to manager the entire raid. So, for example, if you decide one instance is a lost battle, you can stack up to 12 players in another, and cut that one down to the minimum eight. Currently, the Raid Leader also participates as an active gun on top of his other duties.